24 December 2008

Red Hot & Blue

I recently devoured the Red Hot & Blue's All In Burger piled high with shredded cheese, pulled pork, fried onion rings, pickles, lettuce, and tomato. Although a very tasty treat, I'd tag it as a 'tourist' burger. As my list details, this burger really has everything. I can't completely tell if the lack of top notch quality was due to the restaurant being extremely busy with the lunch crowd, the fact that it is a chain restaurant of sorts, or just not the best burger. Don't get me wrong, it was good, but not award winning.

The patty shape was interesting though. Either from a special patty maker or frozen or both. Note the sweet tea, fried okra, and turnip greens in my pic below. My experience was in Irving, Texas at the Las Colinas location.

Country Pancake House and Restaurant

I finally got to sink my teeth into a cheeseburger topped with a fried egg and bacon. The Country Pancake House & Restaurant was delicious and very inexpensive. Not to mention the basket of chocolate chip cornbread.

Luckily this location is about 300 mile from my residence...otherwise a heart attack would be a real possibility. Check out this picture displaying my mountain of goodness.

Louisville Pronunciation

Proof that there are several different pronunciations for Louisville.

02 December 2008

Way to go Gators...keeping the campus green.

Click HERE to check out an article published in the Herald regarding the University of Florida banning Kleenex products to support the green movement.

...A harsh move to cut the supplier off, but it's just one piece in the larger puzzle of sustainability and the next 7 generations.

Hopefully Kimberly Clark can come out with a different or updated tissue product in the near future so campuses can adopt their brand rather than ban it.

24 November 2008

Strange animals and plants..

Web Urbanist continues to entice me. I have them bookmarked but try my best not to surf there as I could spend hours. Check out the pictures here from this recent article they posted: 100+ of the World's Weirdest Plants and Animals.

12 November 2008

College Football Playoff...Never

This podcast with Herbstreit and Mike & Mike really sums it up. I like to blame the Rose Bowl scenario... i.e. PAC10 and SmallTen. Really good listening.

And the comments about the bathrooms are right on. What's up with that...Wash your hands.

Definitely dated if you are checking out this post in the future: week ending 14 November 2008

Click HERE to listen.

10 November 2008

The Electoral College

Even though the recent election didn't work out the same as how I cast my vote, it still worked out for me. As I said to one of my good friends months back, "Whoever wins, I'll be happy."

The crazy thing was watching the popular vote on Tuesday night. Yes, I know that the president gets elected by the electoral vote. But when are they going to do away with this electoral system? What is it going to take for us to modify this 18th century policy? And if they are going to keep this antiquated system in place, they should at least have to wait for the popular vote to be final before declaring each state's electoral votes.

This latest election visibly displayed that the variation of the electoral vote and popular vote is definitely possible.

15 October 2008

The good ol' days...X-Country practice

Check out this article about a high school Cross Country team in Carolina: Green Hope.

Props to Michael Miragliuolo for getting this many kids out there. Great to hear that there is exercise going on at that level.

14 October 2008

Who gets to go to Miami?

The BCS may very well be in for another dose of "Who do we leave out this year?" With the Big 12 stealing the spotlight from the superpowers of the SEC, we are being led to believe that the champion crowned in Kansas City, Missouri on December 6th will certainly have proved their worth in the NCAA Football title race to compete for the overall championship in Miami.

And what about the SEC? Surely when the cloud of dust settles in Atlanta on the same day (06 Dec) and the one left standing has however many loses, they deserve to scrap it out in Dolphins Stadium. Don't they?

Well the BCS Standings come out for the first time next week and we'll get a peek of what's to come. It looks like we're due for USC, BYU, Boise State, or Ball State to spoil the easy pick 'ems. And don't forget about Penn State. If they run the table, JoePa's crewAtlanta, Auburn University, Ball State, BCS, Big 12, Boise State, BYU, College Game Day, Kansas City, Lee Corso, NCAA football, definitely deserves a shot at an early Spring Break.

I can just see it now. College Game Day at the Iron Bowl at the end of the season, when Alabama tries to finish the regular season undefeated. Corso incorrectly picking the War Eagle...I mean Tiger...what is the Auburn mascot anyway? And all of the Playoff signs in the background being hoisted by my beloved SEC brothers and sisters.

Hotel Green Linen Policies...

I am back on the road again for work and have been staying in some rather reputable hotels here in Louisville, Kentucky. Although the general ambiance does make one feel somewhat special, the level of service and hospitality are actually nothing to write home about.

I have recently stayed at the Brown Hotel, the Seelbach Hilton, and the Hyatt Regency Louisville and other than giving me a room key when traded for my credit card they haven't once in four weeks tried to explain anything about their properties. At first I thought it was the individual facility, but it seems as if it might be the industry in general here. I guess it's important to note that everyone has been nice and polite...just no above and beyond hospitality practices or much that would warrant ratings above 3 stars or diamonds.

The real point of this post was the linens though. Since I'm green conscious I always try to reuse my bath and hand towels since my typical stays rarely exceed 4 nights. Each of the mentioned facilities all have the new age stationary displayed in the rooms advocating that they will leave linens alone that aren't on the floor. Meaning, if I hang my towel on the hook on the back of the door on on the shower rod, they should leave it there to air dry. One thing is for sure, it has been consistent at each hotel everyday of my recent stays. That is a lot of detergent, water, and energy just on me alone. And further more, what a waste of paper if they are not following through on this effort.

I'm sure it's hard to train everyone on this 'radical' concept, but I have been surprised at how consistent the city was at the 3 different hotels. I guess, I'm going to have to revert to my previous plan of using the DND sign to save the materials and energy myself. It's not like I can't make my own bed...

07 October 2008

a BCS playoff...not at least for 5 years

For those of you who haven't seen the news flash or can't read between the lines...there will be no BCS playoff. Best case scenario is 2014. I know this is old news, but this season is shaping up to be another blockbuster and who knows how it will end this time.

Click HERE for an article posted on the Fox BCS site that paints the situation as "healthy".

Maybe I have a biased viewpoint being a big SEC fan, but the PAC10 and Big Ten aren't helping matters not letting go of the Rose Bowl. I understand their perspective a little bit since a trip to Pasadena has been theirs since the start, but if we all ever want a better system we need to shift gears to a playoff of sorts, plus 1, etc...

As for the other conferences, why would they want to let 2 SEC teams lock down on 2 highlight spots every year.

01 October 2008

My opinion on the whole 700B bailout plan

I'm not really too fond of this $700 Billion bailout plan that is front and center to rescue our American economy. Has anyone done the math? That is something to the tune of $2300+ per citizen. There is no way we are really in that much trouble.

Why don't they implement another crazy stimulus package. If people are really $10K+ in trouble, maybe it's their own fault. What about all of the people like me who have had their property go down tens of thousands and are still paying the man. No one is reaching out to give me a hand.

24 September 2008

The Fringe

Have you seen that new TV show on Fox called the Fringe? The first few episodes have been really good, especially the first one which was 2 hours long.

First Cheeseburger in America...Kaelin's

I will be working onsite in Louisville for much of this fall. So, one of the first things I settled upon arrival was asking a local about the best burgers around. To my surprise, he claimed that the first cheeseburger was made nearby. I also had a great tip before I even left good ol' south Florida to check out another local restaurant called Jack Fry's.

So there you have it...my checklist for Louisville had a great start with 2 solid leads. On my third night in town I got a cab to Kaelin's, which claims to be the "Birthplace of the Cheeseburger."

Upon arrival, I could tell this was the place. The neon sign out front was likely to be the same sign before there was cheese on meat patties. Check it out for yourself.

Then I had to figure out how to get in. The building appears to maybe a combination of add-ons over the years or acquisitions of the property on the lot. I found my way around back to a parking lot with multiple cars. Which made me feel much better as the website and a sign out front boast about $2 Cheeseburger night..a different end of the spectrum I have recently been privy to. The large front patio was somewhat empty. But, to Kaelin's credit I was dining a bit early for dinner or maybe even a bar crowd.

I entered through the back door which I found with an arrow from the side door. A classic feel that is kind of hard to describe. The booths and tables were what one might expect of the area and the joint's potential age...wooden and old, while the decorations were a bit odd. Items that you could pick up at a garage sale or maybe see at your grandparents home.

Let's talk about the burger. It came with home made potato chips and was cooked to order and color coded with a mini yellow pirate sword which I suppose indicates medium rare.

Let's just say I've had better. I'm happy that someone invented the cheeseburger, but this original doesn't make my top 10 and won't get me to send anyone out of their way except to experience the history. I could have probably finished 2 of them. The bun was quality and of the right size. Not a pillowy dream that many of you want to dress your sandwiches with. Staple garnishings included a healthy slice of tomato, nearly a full slice of onion, and a piece of romaine.

Apparently they serve a lot of burgers each day and the patties are made in the back. I hope you enjoy the pics and make sure to check out their website.
I will probably make it back in the weeks to come to give them a second try. We'll see how it goes.

The Hot Brown is all that.

I just got finished eating my first Hot Brown at the English Grill in Louisville, Kentucky. I didn't know about the dish being so renowned until last night when one of my great friends gave me the heads up. It just so happens that I am staying at the Brown Hotel for work this week, the same location as the English Grill.

Let's get to the food...

The ambiance was upper class and vintage. Can I say vintage? I don't know. The restaurant was really nice. All the walls had custom woodwork and you can tell that it was original, or at least very old. There were many horse paintings with museum style lighting above each.

After ordering a beverage, they brought me a large sampling of breads and a fancy cup of butter with shapes carved into the spread. Each one I tried was tasty. Then my Hot Brown arrived. I snuck in a quick pic to show to my viewers...then I started eating. I would describe the dish as a medley of home cooking and fine dining. Large hand carved thick slices of turkey surrounded by broiled tomatoes, pieces of bread with the crusts cleanly cut off, and smothered with a gravy cheese sauce. All topped with 2 slices of bacon and some shredded cheese.

The portion appeared small to medium upon arrival but set me on my way with a smile and a full belly. I claim the middle ground of home cooking and fine dining because the dish was something you could create at home, but I was spoiled at my table for 1. You should know this type of fancy restaurant...multiple servers every few minutes helping you out. I haven't had this good of service since Ola.

I'll close by saying this won't be my last Hot Brown and that I just took away a better impression of the Brown Hotel.

Another thing I have learned outside the doors of where I am working this week is Louisville is pronounced "lu-i-vil" as one one syllable and not "louie-vil", the "i" is pronounced like the "i" in the word "it" without the "t". This is my best attempt at the phonetic spelling. I welcome comments.

22 September 2008

Cafe Nuvo

Looking for tight squeeze, semi-dive bar in South Beach? Try Cafe Nuvo on Espanola Way. This replica Cuban bar is tucked in between the [Cafe Nuvo] restaurant and either a hotel staircase or a pet store on the south side of the street. Definitely a stop worth making when you are in the area especially if you are a rum drinker. Cool ambiance, pleasant staff, and good appetizers.

Jaxson's sells hamburgers?

A few weeks back I actually dined at Jaxson's. I say this because I have been going there at least every other month. Typically I spend most of my time waiting in line out front for a black raspberry sugar cone with chocolate sprinkles. I always knew you could get food inside but not a burger like this. I was presented with a Salisbury steak shaped meat patty with the standard toppings: lettuce, tomato, and onion. It is served on a hoagie shaped egg roll of sorts. We also ordered some killer Sweet potato fries and had a trio of dipping sauces...check this: maple syrup by recommendation, barbecue sauce by request, and a marshmallow dip by recommendation as well. The fries appeared to be freshly cut and were served in a small metal frying basket. It appeared to be for presentation and it did the trick. When were getting our check we saw the guys next to us getting their order of a couple of foot long hot dogs and some onion rings. Presentation, presentation, presentation. I also received an email today regarding the upcoming SoBe Food & Wine Festival to found out that Jaxson's will be competing at the annual Burger Bash. I was disappointed to not see Le Tub on the list, but happy to see the local representation. ...And you should know that if you bring your entire little league team to Jaxson's they can order a kitchen sink full of ice cream, literally. Make sure to save room for some candy too.

19 September 2008

Upper Deck was as consistant as the last time.

I went to lunch today at the Upper Deck Ale & Sports Grill in Hallandale Beach today with a friend. I ordered another cheeseburger to observe their consistency compared to last weeks stellar performance. I switched my order up a bit...this time I opted for the American cheese instead of bleu and requested the sweet potato fries instead of the regular potato fries. No ketchup, just a side of bbq sauce. My friend asked about the wait and the waitress explained it takes 17 minutes to cook. I told my buddy it would be worth the wait as we enjoyed our beers. I was pleased to be served a dripping, hand pattied,10 ounce Angus medium rare burger. The bun displayed a few rings of raw onion, a nice green leaf of a romaine style lettuce, and a healthy slice of tomato. The cheese wrapped the top of the seasoned meat perfectly...as if it was intended to shrink wrap around the crisp roof of the burger. I didn't bring my camera as our plan was to go to a bank, but we squeezed in lunch too. Here is a shot from my phone.Two Upper Deck burgers within a week...it won't be the last time.

18 September 2008

SEC football matchups are thick this weekend.

No matter where you are looking for previews and story lines pertaining to the upcoming weekend's college football match-ups, you are probably reading or hearing about what the SEC has to offer.

The key games being Florida @ Tennessee, LSU @ Auburn and Georgia playing out of conference at Arizona State. One that is off most radars is Alabama @ Arkansas. A lot of action among these 4 games to choose from. And as usual the TV gods have spaced them out for the most part for our viewing pleasure.

On a final note...
Even though I am a die hard Gator fan, I really am subconsciously focused on the Bulldogs Saturday night. They really need to represent the SEC strong this weekend. Especially after the Tennessee @ UCLA upset during week 1.

My personal pics:
Florida and Auburn winning by only a few, but, Georgia and Alabama winning by decent margins.

More Google Search Tips

Click HERE to learn some new Google tips and tricks. I found this techradar article via delicious a while back, but am just getting around to posting it.

There are so many, you are bound to learn something or will quit reading before you make it to the end of the list.


News Cafe - A South Beach Staple

Head to News Cafe if you are trying to figure out where to eat in South Beach for a good lunch, a pit stop after playing at the beach, or a late night meal. They have a comprehensive diner style menu...you know, one that is really well rounded where usually everyone can find what they want. They are open 24 hours a day and have two bars, one with a window overlooking Ocean Drive and the beach, and the other in the back of the inside area. There are cool seating options: you can ask to sit front and center for the best people watching by the entrance, off to the side by the newstand to get the outdoor cafe feel under the trees with a roadside view, or inside to get out of the heat.

I would explain their food as good...not the best, but always a fair value and more or less what you'd expect from a reputable establishment. I'm trying to say that I'm never disappointed. Drinks are priced on the high end, but that's the norm on Ocean. And of course there is the 18% gratuity added to every check since there are so many visitors who lack tipping etiquette.

The pics displayed here are a black and white of the umbrellas served in the fruity drinks (not mine), one shot from across the street, and another of my brother eating a burger. I can't speak to it directly but it may have been frozen.

Cheese Grits...it's what's for breakfast

Cheese Grits.

What more do I need to say.

16 September 2008

Community Supported Agriculture

Does anyone in Hallandale Beach, south Broward, north Miami-Dade or south Florida in general know of a reputable Community Supported Agriculture program? I am a Publix and Fresh Market patron but would be happy to support something local and try out different fruits and vegetables at the same time.

My best friend in New York City raves about the CSA he and his fiance are a part of and I did some preliminary research only to find I would have to drive a bit to pick up goods in our area.

Advice and/or Comments are welcome even if self promoting in nature.

Upper Deck Ale & Sports Grill

I was shocked this past weekend to find that the closest bar to my condo has a great burger. I have only been there a few times in the past and haven't ordered a burger previously. This is because I always assume sports bar's burgers are frozen or otherwise, just not that great. The Upper Deck Ale & Sports Grill really changed my bias against these types of establishments. I am going to have to give more places an outright chance to fail.

That being said, the bleu burger I ordered was an 10 oz. ground sirloin cooked medium - medium/rare. I thought it would have been impossible since my brother and I order our food to go and it was in styrofoam. We would have eaten at the bar, but we truly wanted to watch the "Collision in the Coliseum" (at this point, I'd call it thee Ohio State debacle). I thought for sure they would screw it up the burger as it was to go. But, no! It was great and nearly perfectly cooked. Excellent burger to bun ratio and a perfect spread of bleu cheese. It was a healthy sized patty too.

I look forward to eating an Upper Deck burger again.

Are iguanas invading south Florida?

Two weekends ago I snapped a few pics of some wild iguanas while visiting my mom's house. I can remember a few years back when we would only see a wild iguana once in a while. Over the years it has become more routine. And even lately there are many of them. As you may be able to decipher in these pictures...I could easily see 3 within 40 feet of one another simultaneously.I've always kind of liked checking them out sit around or climbing up trees. They eat a lot of the fruit on my mom's mango tree but seem pretty interesting when they are not all caged up.

Then I ran across this interesting article in the Herald. I guess the population is growing.

12 September 2008

Miami or USF, which is the better football ticket?

Will someone please tell me how the USF Bulls football program continues to pack Raymond James Stadium in Tampa...while the Miami Hurricanes, or should I say the "U" can't fill up Dolphins Stadium or better yet stopped filling up the Orange Bowl?

Aren't the Hurricanes supposed to be some kind of all-time regime? I know the sports market in Miami sucks, but is it really that much better in Tampa?

Why don't people want to go to Hurricanes football games?

And by the way, this was a series of rhetorical questions...but I would enjoy some accurate comments regarding the recent attendance of each school.

White House - Atlantic City, NJ

Although the White House Submarine Shop in Atlantic City appears to have a great following of regulars, provides an overwhelming quantity of meat per sub, and has a nostalgic atmosphere, my one visit there a few months back will probably be my last. That's probably half to due to the fact I never plan on making it back to Atlantic City and half to the over-rated factor.

White House serves subs the length of you arm...no joking. Click HERE to see the best representation I could find on the web. Watch out for the older woman that runs the door. She'll keep you in check, if not throw you out all together. Just stay behind the line until she comes to get you.

Definitely worth the one-time experience, but I've had better subs.

And bringing closure to the experience was the 8" chef's knife in the otherwise empty public garbage can across the street. Our crew incidentally noticed this while throwing something away. We wanted to report it to the police but never saw any on the walk back to the hotel/casino.

And for icing on the cake, I have inserted a picture of what you may see on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. Pay special attention to the high heels this man is wearing. Yes! It's a man. Imagine this real life inappropriately dressed figurine strutting his stuff like the planks were a strip club runway.

SEC fans unite for good reason...your thoughts?

I was at a beach barbeque party a week ago and ended up in a conversation that I have been in before. It was regarding why SEC fans support other SEC teams. The guy I was talking with couldn't understand why I wanted Tennessee to win against UCLA. And referenced how he always likes other conference teams to lose (not an SEC fan).

It's just natural for me...and most of my Gator friends. I don't agree, but I understand his point. And I also understand where he was coming from. Especially since the Gators face off against the Vols next week.

I'd be lying if I said I haven't had this conversation before. So let's break it down. The SEC is the best NCAA football conference in the land. You can't be the best conference without all or many of the teams being great...that's just the start. If you want your team to continue to have a high ranking, they have to beat highly ranked teams. And if 6 of your annual games are within conference, and if you can win 5 or 6 of those, you make it into the SEC championship, and by that time, you'll be in a hefty bowl game. Make sense?

If you are playing multiple in-conference teams that are unranked, wins just don't stack up as much as wins against highly ranked opponents.

And at the end of the day, SEC pride is where it's at. I have the luxury of having a great circle of friends and a few of us made a decision to do the full SEC tour to get a better feel for the conference. Let me tell you...it's been great and I wish we started earlier. So far we have been only been to a couple, Auburn and Mississippi. This year's road trip destination is Fayetteville to watch the Gators take on the Razorbacks.

I have left the Florida/Georgia game out of the conversation as it is in Jacksonville and I've been to the Cocktail Party 7 out of the last 9 years. Eventually I will have to go and watch Georgia play someone else between the hedges to complete the full dozen.

Let me know what you think. Do you have conference pride? Do you want your fellow conference teams to win? Of course, when it comes to the end of the season and another team's success affect your team's post season prospects, I know that no one roots for them in that situation.

08 September 2008

2008 Iron Bowl

The Iron Bowl could be a tough ticket by the end of November. Most likely overlooked by the other 49 states at this stage in the game, but who knows. Even if both Auburn and Alabama have one loss each, this year's clash could decide the SEC West. It's obviously early in the game, but LSU is awfully vulnerable if the weather keeps obstructing their schedule. Alabama has been looking great and the pollsters sure have a high opinion on the other Alabama team.

But you never know with the SEC, there are still South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Mississippi and other teams who don't think either of these squads will be that successful this year. Especially Georgia.

But that's why I said 1 loss and not undefeated.

Funny Subway Story

Click HERE to check out this funny blog post about a recent NYC subway experience.

I stumbled upon Matt's blog and article via a recent A Hamburger Today post.


07 September 2008

Gators finally beat the "U"

It was nice to see the Gators finally conclude who currently controls the state of Florida in college football this past Saturday night. Being a sports fan, I am objective enough to admit that the University of Miami has had our number for some time. 23 years to be exact. I didn't get to see every play of the game but I did see some that mattered.

All of that said, the Hurricanes will surely be a force to be reckoned with in the next two seasons, if not sooner. I was very disappointed to see Randy Shannon's immediate reaction to the loss on the field. The mid-field hand shake between Urban Meyer and Coach Shannon was not even a shake, I'd call it a hand slap. I don't know if there has been previous bad experiences or if Shannon was just pissed that Florida kept putting up points in the 4th quarter. On some levels I could see that the final points may have been inappropriate, but as far as I'm concerned, long overdue.

I've been tired of the Canes and their fans for many years. I personally was happy with the 4th quarter score run up and was even more happy that we beat the bloated Vegas spread of 21+. Not to mention how nice it was to see Murphy backing up his mouth with his touchdown.

Even though this will help solidify our reign within the state, I hope we don't start picking up loud mouth athletes that the "U" is so famous for.

02 September 2008

500 Brickell Condo

While driving around last week after the Snow Show we had to wait for the Brickell Avenue Bridge to go down. The adjacent condo made for a great colorful photo (displayed below). I just found the name of it on the internet: 500 Brickell

Snow Show in Miami

I went to Slava's Snow Show in Miami a week and a half ago at the new ARSHT Center and have a few things to post.

First let me start by saying the 'show' was definitely interesting. Slow by design, but it ended with a bang and it was full of audience participation. The finale was crazy with lights, cobwebs coming out at you all over, and bouncing balls the size of living rooms. You can see them for yourself in the pics I have posted here.

As far as events go, I'd definitely say it was overpriced. But maybe that's because I typically frequent sporting venues. We shelled out $55/ticket. I'd pay more than $150 for a Gator ticket for a good game but no more than $20 to see this show again.

The ARSHT Center was superb. Great venue. A bit smaller than I expected. But it appeared that the complex had a few interlocking arenas and we were only within one of them. I don't find myself at fine arts facilities often, but this one was pretty nice.

An afternoon at the Snow Show was definitely different for me. It turned out to be a great day with my family. It's rare if ever we are all together, especially out of the house.

In summary, I'd explain the show as a two part super mime show with clowns and colors galore. But what do I know, I'm just a football junkie. Not much of a fine arts guy.

Todd Blackledge's Taste of the Town...Apple Pan

Hi all,

Those that are not College Football fans may have missed last night segment on ESPN of the Apple Pan. Todd Blackledge covers a 'taste of the town' for every week's prime time college football game and since last night's overtime showdown was at the Rose Bowl, he ended up at the Apple Pan.


The only thing you'll be missing is when they ate the pie on the live broadcast.

29 August 2008

Burger Madness

For those of you fellow burger lovers...you need to check out all of the recent A Hamburger Today posts.

They have been going off over there...and so has my stomach. I am getting hungrier by the click.

Check out this pic from one today's many articles.

Click HERE to read the full article on A Hamburger Today:

And the source photo comes from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ccaviness/2625223578/

27 August 2008

14th Avenue public parking

Parking is really tight where I live in Hallandale. All of the surrounding condo buildings have between 30-70 units each and pretty much every building allocates only one parking space for each unit. That used to be good enough when all of the buildings were 55+ only. Nowadays visitor and extra parking is hard to come by at most locations on my street. Mainly because everyone is so lazy to walk 1 block.

So...what's my point? An entire strip of 14th Avenue a block away recently started getting repaved. Some of us locals got excited to learn not only was the city going the extra mile to make this street a lot nicer, they were obviously going to have to re-line the street as well. For the past years (at least the one and a half that I've lived here) many locals pulled in straight since it was more or less a free for all. That allowed for at least 80 spots up and down the street. I guess it may have been a bit dangerous when backing up onto the road. Sure enough, the city lined all of the spaces available to be parallel parking just the other day. My pics to the left were taken mid-project so you can only see some lines.

Well, the street and parking spaces do look nicer, they provide for better safety, and obviously prevent door dings. But we only ended up with about 40 spots. It would have been a lot nicer if they took a look around to see how many cars there are and gave us the 80 we need now or are going to need since the neighborhood is continuously getting younger. But I guess I can't complain all that much since there is free public parking and it's now clearly lined.

Big Pink, Warm Salad

I went to Big Pink in South Beach last weekend after an afternoon of bar hopping with some friends and have to report on the experience. Overall, the dining stop moved it off of my places to revisit, but no regrets.

Let's first start with the menu. We sat at the bar and it took us a while to get menu's but when we did they were overwhelming. See the pic embedded. Can I assume this is why it's called "Big" Pink? ...Ginormous.I took some time to even order beverages, even though we sat right at the bar. To their credit, they were busy. We finally ordered and asked for everything all at once, beers, and entrees. Some time later we got our food: steak quesadilla's, meatball hero, and soup & salad.

My meatball sub was the only item near normal. The steak quesadilla's were pretty much overcooked and had nothing on them but steak and cheese. Where's the guac? Shockingly the salad was warm. 2nd time this month for us at a different place. Strange. Why is a salad left under a heat lamp? Is there some new process in the food service industry?

Our bartender/waiter was nice enough to get the soup/salad taken off the bill, but the only thing we really walked away happy with was a book of matches. (slick logo)

Desktop Wallpaper

Check out this blogger's site...

I'm not sure who this person is, but their wallpaper images are pretty cool. Nearly something for everyone. I haven't taken the time to read through his posts and have no idea if they are creating the graphics or just finding them all and posting them in a central location.

Anyway, good site to pass on.

Click HERE to check it out.


It's finally here. The NCAA football season starts tomorrow night. 220+ days since the '07-'08 BCS National Championship. It seemed like a long time, but not anymore.

College Game Day...what else do I need to say.

22 August 2008

proper etiquette for forwarding email 'forwards'

How to forward 'forwards'...

I enjoy many of the forwarded email I receive from friends and co-workers. But they should really be cleaned up before being sent, i.e. strip them down of all of the garbage text and friends of friends email addresses and more important, send links instead of attachments.

Continuing to send large attachments is what clogs up email inboxes and the related mail servers, they make your inbox run slower and IT/Communication departments at work can isolate many of the offenders by mail file size.

Here are some tips...
  1. Strip out all of the forwarded text, email addresses, etc...from the body of the email.
  2. Then find the video on the internet, post the link in your new message.
  3. And finally, remove the attachment altogether.
Doing it this way (properly) is probably on average 100 times smaller than just clicking the forward button and sending attachments on their way. Think about it, you are sending a large media file, a video, which you could not have done 10-15 years ago vs. a line of text.
For Example:
I received a forward email today with this video named Capoeira Fighter.wmv attached. You can Google the title: Capoeira Fighter and if the video doesn't come up, add additional identifying words, such as "show off". I immediately found it on youtube.

Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2VwnBU1-iU

Check out my example below.


Example forward:

This video is hilarious. Watch this guy show off and then get knocked out.



Tell your friends who are offenders of this simple practice as well. After all this is the type of work behavior that ends up causing extra rules on everyone. Like attachment size limit, etc...

21 August 2008

21 great tips on writing blogs

- 21 Must-Read Tips To Write Better Web Content -

Click HERE to read this great article I found on del.icio.us recently. The author, Abhijeet Mukherjee, goes on to list 21 other great articles on what to do and not to do when authoring your blog articles.

It's like a Cliff Notes for perfecting your blog.


the best beach cruiser out there...

If you are considering buying a bike to cruise around the city or back and forth to the beach, look no further. The Electra Coaster 1 is the real deal.
It's lightweight aluminum frame makes you feel like you are riding on air. You really can't find a lighter bike in it's class. Part of the reason is Electra keeps the bike so simple by only using a coaster brake and not adding any others bells and whistles. Not to worry though, they use top end parts and spare little expense.

The cranks are where it's really at. Solid custom 3-piece cranks make this bike a real speed demon. For those of you who know little about bicycle components, this is one of the main things you should be shopping for. And also one of the main reasons prices fluctuate between different rides. Always, always, go with 3-piece. There is no reason to go with 1 piece unless you are purchasing a tricycle. This is one of the best examples. Most folks think a beach cruiser is a beach cruiser is a beach cruiser. That's not the case. It's all about weight, cranks, and style.

This cruiser comes in all black, has full size 26 x 2.125 tires and sturdy rims. Trust me, I have put my baby down a few times and she's still true all over. If you weren't looking for a bike, you should be now.

Rascal Flatts Concert

My girlfriend and I went to the Rascal Flatts / Taylor Swift concert last Sunday in West Palm Beach. Although I have respect for the artists, I didn't have a killer time. I guess it was the combination of a late Sunday night before working the next day, Tropical Storm Fay moving in and it raining nearly the entire time, and the Cruzan Ampitheature is so far from our place.

The one thing the event taught me is how popular Taylor and Rascal Flatts songs are. Nearly all of them were recognizable from local radio. The stage effects were great. The intermission entertainment of this dancing, singing, performing robot was really cool.

I definitely wish that country artists played at venues farther south towards or in Miami. We have to always go to West Palm Beach to see country music live. Will someone please tell me why there are no country concerts in Miami?

Parking Situation...Feedback desired

Hi to anyone out there on the web.

I live in a Condo building in South Florida with 56 units, and 1 parking space assigned to each. We have 7 visitor parking spaces, but the parking is starting to become more and more of a problem. This is because more than 7 of the apartments have 2 or more vehicles. And the bigger issue is that some of these individuals don't move their car from the guest parking so they never lose their spot. So basically we don't have visitor parking anymore. And this is quite ridiculous for everyone, even the offenders, since their friends can't park here either. Originally the building was built for 55 and over and typically each unit had 1 car or less, so it's only recently a big deal. I am trying to come up with the best plan but don't expect too much cooperation from some folks.

I am posting my draft of rules below. Please add some comments to help me out. I have also substituted other words/names for real names.

Parking Program

This parking program is to protect the the unit owner’s rights to their own parking spaces and to provide each resident with the best possible accommodations for their friends and family while visiting our building. Please recognize that when each condominium unit is purchased, only one parking space is granted in the sale.

Resident Parking

1 Each condominium unit has one, and only one assigned parking space provided by the association simply due to how much land is available. Please see the drawing below for which spaces legally belong to which units.

2 All vehicles of unit owners, renters, and any other non-temporary residents must be registered with the condo association. A resident decal will be provided for each vehicle at no charge and must be displayed in the lower driver’s side front window. Registering each resident’s vehicle is the responsibility of the condominium owner and should be updated with the association as necessary (i.e. new vehicle, new resident, etc.). Each owner will be required to sign a memo regarding the Resident Parking Rules in order to obtain each decal and will then be held accountable.

3 Only registered vehicles with decals will be permitted to park in the assigned spaces for each unit. Unit owners can also choose to permit other residents to park in their assigned space only if written permission is provided to the association in advance. This letter of written permission will be kept on file with the association and must contain:

a. the assigned space being shared,

b. all named individuals allowed to park in the noted space,

c. all approved vehicles (Make/Model/License/…),

d. an effective date,

e. and an end date.

Each of these vehicles will also be required to be registered under the above guidelines.

4 Resident Parking decals can be obtained from Board Members during specified Office Hours by appointment only.

5 Our building requests that all residents and visitors to drive with a speed limit of 15mph while on property for the safety of children and others.

Guest Parking

1 There are Guest Parking spaces reserved for building visitors only. Guest parking is not to be used as additional parking for units or residents that have multiple vehicles.

2 Each unit will be provided 2 guest parking permits at no charge that can be obtained from the association. Each owner will be required to sign the Guest Parking Rules in order to obtain each guest parking permit and held accountable for the rules. Visitors must hang this Guest parking permit facing forward on their rear view mirror. Lost or stolen guest parking permits will be recorded and additional permits will be provided at no charge. When permits that are used after being recorded with the association as lost or stolen will be treated as no permit at all and vehicles using these permits will be towed at the owner’s expense.

3 Vehicles that have a valid resident decal are NOT allowed to park in the Guest Parking spaces. A registered resident’s vehicle parking in a guest spot is a violation of these rules and is subject to being towed at the owner’s expense.

4 Visitors that are displaying the proper Guest parking permit are also allowed to park in their hosting resident’s permanent space. (Remember, no resident vehicles can park in the Guest spaces).

5 Visitors parking in the guest spaces regularly will have to comply with the Resident Parking Rules. This will be at the discretion of the Board of Directors.

6 All guest parking spaces will be identified with signage stating something to the matter of ‘These Guest Spaces are for visitors of our building only with proper guest parking permit. Violators will be towed.’

7 Guest Parking permits can be obtained from Board Members during specified Office Hours by appointment only.


1 All Vehicles without decal parking permits or Guest parking permits will be towed at owner's expense without notice.

2 Parking in front of the entrance way (awning near elevator area) will only be tolerated for a few minutes and is only acceptable for dropping packages and items off, unloading, or to be used during undesirable weather. Vehicles parked in this area are also subject to be towed at the owner’s expense without notice.

3 Washing of vehicles must be completed in the designated ‘car wash’ space. Parking is permitted in this location when following the above Guest Parking rules from 6PM to 7AM. This is not a parking space during the hours of 7AM to 6PM. Any vehicles found parking here during ‘car washing’ hours are subject to be towed at the owner’s expense without notice.

4 Alternative Parking: Our building has 56 units, 56 corresponding resident parking spaces, 1 car washing space, and 7 guest parking spaces. When parking secondary resident vehicles or for additional guest parking, the closest alternative parking option is one block away on 13th Avenue. The city offers many public parking spaces all up and down 13th Avenue just east of our building. The spaces are clearly lined indicating where to park and where not to park.

5 All Vehicles must be parked with the front facing in towards the parking block in resident or guest parking spaces so that license plates are easily viewable.

6 Please also note that any motorized vehicles (motorcycles, scooters, …) powered by a fuel source (gas, oil, ethanol, …) are not allowed to be parked in any of the building’s stair wells or within any of the actual condominium units. Violation of this rule will be considered a fire safety hazard. Fines will be imposed upon the vehicle owners or respective unit owners by the association and local officials will be brought into the matter if necessary.

7 Non-operational vehicles must be removed from our property. Vehicles found to be inoperable can be towed at the owner’s expense without notice.

8 Vehicles should not exceed 23' 6".

9 Boats, boat trailers, recreational vehicles, campers or similar cannot be left or stored on our property at all.

10 Parking anywhere near the building not on our property (not in a lined spot) is outside of ourcontrol and rules are not defined here. The city and nearby neighbors will be encouraged to ticket and tow vehicles when obstructing vehicles in nearby spaces, stop signs, through fares, or sidewalks and when otherwise not compliant with local law.

Bulldogs Celebration Penalty 2007...The Gators will get the last laugh.

Mark Richt and the Bulldogs may have beaten Florida in last year's battle in Jacksonville, but they are going to lose the war. Check out this awesome excerpt from the Jim Rome show.

The Georgia Bulldogs may be the pre-season NCAA football favorites in a lot of polls, but there is only one way to go when you're ranked #1. And that's down. Mark my words... Georgia won't even win the SEC East this year.

19 August 2008

Riding bikes to work is cool.

Check out this interesting article about some people that ride their bicycles to work in the Boston area on Boston.com (I know one of them). Click HERE to see the regular article and/or click HERE to see more pictures that are related.

216 hours and counting...

How awesome is it that the weekend college football kick's off, we have games on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday? Life can't get much better...and it's Labor Day Weekend.

For Thursday, I'm happy to see Vandy start off the SEC season on the road at Miami of Ohio. Then from the left coast we have Oregon State at Stanford.

Friday night has some action but nothing to stay home for. (Temple at ARMY).

Saturday we really get to see some teams strut their stuff. USC at Virginia, Washington at Oregon, and Illinois at Missouri all look to be great games. FAU at Texas could be interesting, but we'll see how that goes. Alabama at Clemson is where I am setting my hopes for the day though. Let's see how Saban has settled the Tide in. And let's not forget that the Gators are playing host to Hawaii.

Then we've got the interstate matchup in Kentucky on Sunday with the Wildcats going to Louisville.

And finally, Monday night brings us another healthy dosage: Fresno State at Rutgers and Tennessee at UCLA.

You gotta love it. If it weren't for the BCS and the PAC10 ruining the potential playoff, this sport would be perfect.

18 August 2008

Trying to get others on the Green Movement

I have really been on the whole green kick lately. The city I live in is a bit behind...Years to be more precise. Hallandale Beach, FL only picks up paper recyclables from residences and condo buildings. They do however offer 3 satellite stations that other recyclables (plastics, glass, and metals) can be dropped off at. Here is a pic of the closest one to where I live, Three Islands.

I convinced our building to get some new bins and post some signage in our laundry rooms to see if we could do a better job. The bins I ordered were a great deal and the signs turned out pretty slick after I got them laminated.

The only thing is that the residents aren't picking everything very quick. It's either that I spelled everything out too much and made things too complicated, they can't read, or just don't care. For years they have put all recyclables into the old bins only to be thrown into our building dumpster each morning by our maintenance man. The worst thing is that many of the residents actually thought they were recycling.

I thought about putting together additional flyer's to give to everyone explaining the new program, but didn't want to waste all of the paper (defeating the purpose of the whole thing).

If everyone in our building really recycled all of their paper goods, we'd have less trash and save money that way...in addition to doing our part for the environment.

Michael Michael

My personal web log about my life of non-randomness. I just switched the title as attempt at a bit of humor from my name Michael Makis to Michael Michael. I discovered a few years back that the double is my actual name. My given name is Michael. And my last name is Makis, which actually translates to Michael in Greek. Go figure...Michael Michael.

5 ways to tell you are in a long term relationship...

5. Going to Walgreens turns into a shopping endeavor and takes more than half an hour
4. When you're right, and all of the facts say you are right, you're even more wrong
3. There are more open, half full bottles of water all over your apartment than there are brand new ones in your fridge
2. Reality tv show reruns are on non-stop at your place...as if the first time wasn't enough
1. The Devil doesn't wear PRADA, she sits on your couch

17 August 2008

Hollywood Beach (FL)

Living near the beach in Florida is a tough life, but someone has to do it. He are some quick picks I took while lying on the beach yesterday (early) morning with my girlfriend. It's summertime, so the ocean is like bath water now and the air temperature obviously gets super hot also.

Hollywood Beach near Tyler Street looking North
Hollywood Beach near Tyler Street looking South

Here are some other pics we took on route...

Me, riding the best bike ever...Electra Coaster 1...all black on black on black.
Some land crabs near South Lake in Hollywood.One of the bigger land crabs in the bunch.
Me, riding into the sunset...more like the sunrise...

Nexxt Cafe

My brother was craving a burger yesterday for lunch so we drove south. We were headed towards a great spot in North Miami (Kingdom), but he wanted a bigger atmosphere with a better opportunity for people watching. We ended up on Lincoln Road headed towards one of the more bar oriented establishments, but were not satisfied with the menus upon arrival. Our decision was to stick with Nexxt Cafe, as I have had many good experiences there before and consider Nexxt a staple of the beach.

Surprisingly, they weren't packed to the gills like usual. They were busy, but multiple tables were open (see the pic). After waiting about 5-10 minutes, a waitress came over. We were ready to order by then...and both asked for iced teas. My brother ordered the classic burger and I ordered the Navajo Fried Bread sandwich. Our wait seemed like forever. Our waitress came over about 15-20 minutes later and checked with my brother to confirm the type of cheese he ordered. This clued us in to the fact that something was going on. After waiting several more minutes I asked her if our food was about up and she went to check...and came back to tell us about 5 more minutes. My objective here isn't to exaggerate, but our wait was definitely 30+ minutes. And this was a surprise for me as I have always had good experiences at Nexxt.

Our entrees finally came and at least they we looking good. The cheeseburger came with some undesired sauted mushrooms and onions, but we were so hungry, those just ended up on the side. My flat bread sandwich was great. The bread had a Taco Bell Chalupa taste, but 10 times better, both aestically and by taste. It had huge slices of avocado and everything was glued together with the perfect amount of cheese. I strived to eat the whole thing, but Nexxt has portion sizes for ARMY men. Not to say I can't eat a lot, but I was only able to finish about 90% of the sandwich. One thing I always wonder about when dining there is the food waste. Ohhh. The fries were great too. I asked for a side of barbeque sauce since I hate ketchup. Their portions are so ginormous. Even if nearly everyone takes a 'doggy bag' home, there still must be literally tons of food thrown out. Hopefully they give it away to bums or compost it somehow.

Even though we were very disappointed by the service, the food made up for everything. I'll definitely be back. I guess all we needed was some updates and some real expectations set. Maybe something like, "I never put your order in, Sorry, but I asked for it to be rushed though." Or, "We're still grinding the meat for your burger, it is going to be another 20 minutes."