Archive | March, 2013

Wine Glasses from Hollow Chocolate Easter Bunnies

31 Mar

A whimsical idea of how to serve wine at Easter. Watch out Easter Bunny!

via Wine Glasses from Hollow Chocolate Easter Bunnies.


An Easter Eaves Sale! 20% off this weekend only!

29 Mar

An Easter Eaves Sale! 20% off this weekend only!.

If you haven’t experienced Empire Avenue yet, well, there is good news! They’re having a 20% off sale on Eaves (the resident currency) this weekend. Think Ron White and coupins! Also check around Twitter using the hashtag #eAv and the multitude of tutorials on how to use this social media tool / community effectively across ALL of your social networks!

Appreciation: What your boss gives you instead of a raise

28 Mar

…Or “Why I am not grateful for recognition”

So I’ve been asked lately about my attitude towards recognition and why I don’t have any love for the limelight, and have furthermore been accused of being ungrateful in general. Let me begin by saying that, yes, I do understand that beyond just simple politeness, that true appreciation is given by those who are truly grateful for the things that you do for them, and not conversely to them. There are times where genuine appreciation is recognized by a simple, yet humble, Thank you. To be involved with those people, I am surely blessed.

Then there is all the BS niceties… And that’s a pretty distinguished line with me.

You see, one thing that I have learned about Corporate America is that employers from upon high believe they grace you with a paycheck. Most times, in their eyes, they believe — and some fit their stereotype enough for them to maintain that belief — that you simply didn’t earn it. You’re the little people. A necessary evil. A cost of doing business. Employment, pshaw, is so highly over-rated in the eyes of a board of directors that simply want that ‘just a little bit more.’

Now admittedly, not all Corporations, American or otherwise, are like that. I worked with about a dozen Fortune 500 companies in my lifetime so far, and that is where my opinions lie, upon my personal experiences. I don’t expect everybody to agree, but even if you disagree, there should be an underlying sense of urgency to make things just a little bit better.

You see, I was one of those guys. I was the cubical dweller who wouldn’t stay at their desk. I was the field service agent who went above and beyond for the client. I was the one who helped push my community college into offering advanced mathematics courses. I was the one who worked 60+ hours washing dishes in a tourist trap, so that I could afford to be more available elsewhere in my personal life. I was the one who was taking college courses in high school. I was the one taking advanced courses in junior high. I was the one who was offered — but my parents turned it down — to skip two grade levels in first grade because my academic test scores were completely off the chart. I was the little bastard who wouldn’t sit still in class, yet made my teachers feel like a million bucks!

Yeah. I still am that guy.

When I was thrown to the wolves (or did I throw myself to the wolves, I forget…) after leaving Corporate America, I woke up every day seeking one thing: To impress at least one person. That’s right. One person a day. It isn’t narcissism, but simply using my God-given talents to help at least one person along. Most days I pull it off. The others the lack thereof saddens me. It usually doesn’t take much, given the world we live in now, but with the hardened attitude of others it takes a little more work on other days.

So coming back around to appreciation… I work. That’s the bottom line. A wise man once said that if you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life. It’s true, so long as you get paid or otherwise have your financial burdens lifted from you. That’s what that Corporate paycheck was once about. I remember the 1990’s and how it was a complete and total financial 180 from my situation now. I’d eat steak when I wanted to eat steak. I’d get a haircut when I felt a little shaggy. I’d buy clothes when I wanted a new look. Being married with two kids is so much different… Every week is a struggle, and you never know if or when you’ll ever catch back up. It’s mentally and emotionally taxing. Now that I own my own small business — mainly due to the fact that my credit is a complete and utter train wreck, to the point I couldn’t get a decent corporate job now, even if I wanted one — the whole perspective on the act of appreciation boils down to a pathetic plea for assistance.

If I were raised a circus performer, I would perform every day, regardless of what I received back from the world, and life, albeit burdensome, would never be boring. I guess that’s how I feel most days. I’m always excited to put my best foot forward and to impress people. When those burdens of life start to equate to financial debt, that’s when the simple act of appreciation takes on the social equivalent of trying to help a wounded animal. It’s not that the poor thing isn’t grateful, it’s just that in the short run, it does little to ease the pain.

Fatty Patty’s: This is NOT Fast Eddies, But It’s Worth The Trip!

16 Mar

NOTICE: If you have been getting your reviews from a toxic wasteland like topix dot net, then you need to seek mental help and you should not handle a firearm…

So my wife and I, who love food, were excited to see a dollar burger joint finally make its way into our back yard and anxiously awaited payday and its opening to give it a whirl. As we watched the initial reviews roll in, we became quite perturbed at all of the locals remarking about “it’s not Fast Eddies.”

Well, damn right.

First of all, there is only one Fast Eddies in Alton, Illinois, and I’ll give you three good reasons why I haven’t been to it for nearly three years, starting with: “I have young children.” Granted, if you’re one of ‘those’ people who leave your kid at home with your dog as your babysitter, taking the misses to the “Over 21” Fast Eddies is no problem for you. The rest of us more responsible people have to get a sitter, which by the time you rack up that cost, you’re lucky to afford even the quality prices at Fast Eddies.

Two: I eat with my family. God’s Word frames meals as an intimate event, as noted in all of the traditional festivals and especially in ‘The Last Supper.’ The few times that I don’t, it’s hardly a meal.

Three: Fast Eddies has a ‘two drink minimum.’ Don’t get me wrong, I love beer. I love hard liquor. Unfortunately, these past three years I’ve been on diabetes medication, so drinking a beer to me is the equivalent of inhaling a loaf of bread. I just had my A1c this morning. It was 9.1, which is down from 10.2, but still… No beer. Yes, St. Patrick’s Day is going to suck with me. I’ll deal.

So with the ‘Fast Eddies’ stigma out of the way, let me tell you about Fatty Patty’s. First off, it considers itself family friendly. Even though there are pool tables, darts and two bars, as well as live music on the weekends, the staff was nothing but friendly to my kids and all the families who were there with kids. That really impressed me, and it really distinguished itself from… Well… Let’s move on.

The food there was phenomenal for the price. My wife mistakenly purchased two burgers, thinking they were small and was overwhelmed by the actual size, not to mention the nice smoky char and juiciness of them. The fried mushrooms were great, and not gushing with piping-hot grease or cold and slimy, but just the way my mother used to make them. The fries came in straight and curly and were both great-tasting, not skimping on the potato quality at all.

Like that one place, condiments were placed on a table at the side of the food pick-up window. The essentials were present: Dispensers and packets, as well as onions (white and red), sweet pickles, banana peppers, even sliced tomatoes and the like. Napkins were abundant, and we sure needed those! Parents will recognize that statement to be true, for sure.

Somehow the steak kabob was left off of our order. When I brought this to the attention of the kitchen manager, our whole order was re-fired and boy are we going to be eating chicken and fries for the next day or two! It was so refreshing to get that sort of attention from a new eatery. Had I complained at that other place, I probably would have been waved off or had to wait behind the masses who were waiting on their food…

The occasional visit from a floating waitress smoothed out any bumps that would have negated our complete dining experience here. We were even asked if the ambient music was too loud for our kids. That was sweet, and no, it wasn’t. As a matter of fact, it was drowning out how loud and obnoxious my kids were being.

From my family to yours, you should really give this place a shot. For no other reason than, well, it’s not that other place. In essence, it’s unique.

Sure, there were some grumblings, but they were minor, and as I point them out here, it certainly doesn’t diminish the whole experience, and I know eventually they’ll get it corrected.

For instance, the seating was somewhat limited. Four tops and elevated four tops, as well as the bar, don’t accommodate but the smallest of families. As with most ‘pub’ protocol, couples were claiming the tables in the middle, which made scooting two four tops together nearly impossible, but we were able to gather six around the table without it being a disruption. There also weren’t any high chairs, but for the most part this is a minor inconvenience, unless you have that toddler who likes to sky dive off of regular chairs.

The sweet pickles were great, but man, a good dill would have made the burger. I could have also gone for any available barbecue, steak or hot sauce. Again, minor. Those patties were so juicy, you could have ate them plain and the steak kabob was so worth the wait. It wasn’t over-seasoned at all and tasted like it came straight off the grill.

Bathrooms. My wife freaked out when she went to use the stall at a prominent Clayton establishment and some heel-stumbling débutante had crapped a big turd on the rim of the toilet, and ever since then I have been her sounding board on bathroom reviews. I wasn’t too pleased when the redneck in front of me had left the seat down and I had to change my kid. I know this isn’t necessarily the restaurant’s problem (more like the mismatched clientèle), but checking the bathrooms often would certainly serve any place well.

In essence, we will certainly return. This building has been host to many restaurants of many types, and we wish the current ownership success in this new venture.

…And this is what a WordPress site is for.

14 Mar

Hello, visiting audience. If you know me and know my projects, you might be saying to yourself, “Hey? Why in the Holy Hubs of Hell is @javadewd posting stuff on a WordPress site? I thought he hated those damn things!?” Well, yes, it’s true. My grudge against WordPress sites has nothing to do so much with the company or the concept itself, but more or less how some people and small businesses use and abuse the privilege of having them. Let me explain…

When a person claims a WordPress site and spews vitriol, WordPress doesn’t exactly jump in and shut them down, unless they are traditionalists who have simply had enough of these same vitriol spewers. It appears WordPress is so kind as to shut them down right away. *Eye Roll* Or better yet, when a corporation tries to claim a WordPress site as their website. They don’t put much thought into it, and it shows. Even if they were desperate enough to pay some doofus a fee for a ‘customized template,’ the poor quality of verbiage that usually accompanies it pretty much seals their fate as a bunch of cheap, oily-haired jack-wagons.

In my humble opinion (IMHO), a WordPress site makes a great component of a corporate website, but should never be the whole website. It’s one thing to have a dedicated blogger submitting verbiage to the masses and gushing over your product or service, but those examples are far outweighed by the ones that duplicate, replicate, plagiarize or otherwise cheat in the marketing realm by putting up some pasty-white filler that they claim represent their organization. Anymore, these examples stick out to me like a sore thumb. I’m not going to give examples, mainly because they know who they are, and if I’m going to get retaliation on WordPress of all places, it’ll be for a much more venomous topic, which surprisingly I would probably post somewhere else anyway.

Behold, the benign collection of posts!