Get your own ham; it’s all about self reliance

When my son was just shy of his fifth year, we found ourselves in an Old Country Buffet on a Saturday afternoon. For those of you not familiar with the format of the all-you-can-eat-for-one-low-price buffet, these places usually have a lower price afternoon service that did not include carved meats and a higher price evening service that started about 4:00pm. For the extra savvy buffet-goer, it was generally known that if you came in about 3:30 or so and stalled a bit on some salad, you could sneak in and get the good stuff for a lunch price. I did not partake of this little loophole but sometimes, we found ourselves in that limbo time.

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#140conf Road Trip in Dayton, Ohio – Photos and video

Jeff Pulver of 140Conf poses with Gary Leitzell, the Mayor of Dayton at the Dayton Road Trip meet up for the 140conf.

When we arrived at Blind Bob’s for the 140conf Road Trip Meet Up, there were already a dozen people there, waiting for and watching Jeff Pulver and his “roadies” navigate the Ohio freeway system. When Jeff arrived we had over twenty people there and more on the way. Apparently, this was a very large crowd, so we’re very proud of our Dayton peeps!

Gary Leitzell, the Mayor of Dayton (the REAL mayor, not the fake one on Foursquare) joined us early and stayed almost the whole time until his official duties as Grand Marshall of the Ale Fest kick-off parade pulled him away. We can now claim another “first” in a long list of firsts for Dayton, Ohio; the first mayor to join an official Tweet Up! Dayton, first in flight; first in Social Media!

We’ll be publishing the more “official” story in the next couple of days, but for now, we have a ton of photos and some video. Cindy DeVelvis also shot some really cool footage that will be available soon. Links here when that is online.

To download all the photos, grab the zip file here.

And some videos…

Olive Garden serving priceless service and jokes

I went to a #140conf Meet Up with Jeff Pulver in Dayton this afternoon (more stuff about that later) and afterwards, we headed out to dinner at the Olive Garden to celebrate my son’s birthday. He ordered a plate of something that was on the menu, but had no price.

“How much is that,” I asked Beth, our server.

“13.99,” she said… “Oh, wait, sorry… that is 14.99.”

Naturally, I thought we were negotiating, so I proceeded to question the price of everything everybody else ordered and threw out a counter-offer each time. It went all the way down to how much she was going to charge us for the puppy box, the mints and water.

It was fun; we connected.

Then our bill came. I opened it up and found the itemized receipt above. She got the tip she said she was worth, which was a bit more than 20% of the bill.

It wasn’t the great service or the food quality that was worth the tip, but that Beth showed she was engaged with us, she got the running joke and was willing to not only play along, but took the extra step to do a “Yes, and….”

So Beth, this blog post is your “Yes, and…” from us to you.

Thank you for the wonderful dinner. You were successful in making the sameness of a franchise a very memorable place.

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Facebook Places. Only because everyone else is writing about it

Let the world know you are at the Grand Canyon and your 60″ flat screen TV can be easily removed from your wall and that thieves will also have enough time to search for all the cables and the remote, maybe even have a cup of coffee to relax after loading it into the van.

Geotag your photos so people know exactly where you live and what you have, where you go and when you’ll be there.

Read how someone else experienced the Golden Gate Bridge so you don’t have to think too hard for an original thought. Just add a “I totally agree” button to everything you do.

This is dangerous, people. Time to think about who you are online. Time to think about who you want to be off line as well.

PS Guy eating with his baby (2:27). Really? You had to check in during dinner with your wife and baby? Does anyone else what to be married to this douche?

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We got Jeff Pulver #140conf Road Trip – Dayton, Ohio

Come join us at Blind Bob’s in the Oregon District for the social media event of the year. Jeff Pulver will be stopping in Dayton on Sunday, August 22 from 3 – 5pm to mix it up with the most fun group of awesome Daytonians (and a few from the surrounding area, but we’ll deputize them for the day!)

For complete information, including the list of people going and directions, click here. And when you get there and find that the most exciting person you know won’t be there, it’s only because you haven’t sign up yet! Really, awesome you.

There will be lots of video and photos shot courtesy of Michael Blackwell of DryRainMedia. So, comb your hair, put on a clean shirt and get down to Blind Bob’s.

Read the press release here

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Quit scaring us and quit calling us ignorant. The great Park51 mosque debate

I’ve been mulling over this issue of the Park51 community center containing a mosque for the past week now, trying to reconcile in my own head the disconnect I have with an unconditional freedom of and from religion and the general unease and empathy I feel with those who oppose the placement of a community center containing a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero. After being scared to death by the Republicans and called ignorant and intolerant by the Liberals, I struck me what was at the core of this issue.

Most Americans don’t see Islam as a religion but rather as an imperial political and cultural machine. When a “religion” becomes politicized, it then becomes fair game to oppose, much like Fascism, Communism or Socialism. The intolerance becomes perfectly rational because this “thing” you oppose is no longer a religion. Ok, just hold on a minute and I’ll explain how I’ve arrived at this conclusion.

In the West, we’ve been conditioned to believe that the natural state of religion is separate from the secular state. When we look “over there” at governments like Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, The Philippines and such, we see a religion that trumps the secular state. To us, it is the equivalent of the Supreme Court being overruled by clergymen and The Bible.

I object strongly to the Republicans painting a picture of fear and mistrust, comparing Islam to Naziism and the like. I get why they are doing it. Nobody pays attention to the rational anymore. Everything has to be hyperbolic. But what irritates me even more than the calculated contrived craziness of the Right is the haughty indignation of the Left, calling us all ignorant for not recognizing Islam as a religion for which we need to be tolerant. They scold and berate us for having a bit of trepidation about the intent of the Muslim community when clearly we can see established government states being unnecessarily cruel and inhuman, run by the same religion that tells us it is peace-loving. We are conflicted. What is Islam then? Islam ultimately must be a religion that is peaceful until it gains power. Then it is not.

For eight years, the peace-loving Evangelical Christians had the US Government at its beck and call, wielding power over who was and was not worthy to serve as an elected in a secular government. Only toward the end of the George Bush Administration did their stranglehold loosen.

A Catholic as late as the 1960s was seen as unelectable because it was believed that allegiance to the Pope in Rome would trump the Oath to defend the Constitution. John Kennedy proved that wrong; Bart Stupek made us wonder all over again.

In 1620, the Puritans landed in Massachusetts after getting kicked out of England and The Netherlands and promptly set up a theocracy which eventually led to some witch trials some seventy years later. Eventually, secular sense took hold, but not before a lot of people were scared into confessing sins which they did not commit as a matter of civil law. It is a convenient myth to believe that the Puritans were kicked out of England for practicing their religion, when in fact, they wanted their version of religion to rule the State. King James kinda had it right.

We mistrust the Muslim intentions because we mistrust our own. We’ve seen how a religion that purports itself to be tolerant, patient, peace-loving and kind will turn cruel, ugly and destructive when it gains power. While many of us can’t articulate exactly why we feel like we do about the Mosque at Park51, these feelings of uneasiness are no less valid. It is not empty fear stoked up by loud voices nor is it intentional ignorance and faulty logic the arrogant intellectuals would have us believe. Perhaps it is our own sense of history with regard to religion that gives us pause.

But we are not ignorant, fear-mongering intolerant trolls. We mistrust because there is a reason.

And a small pup is easier to kill than a full-sized bear.

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We should trust Verizon on net neutrality why exactly?

A Verizon service truck parked at one of my neighbors yesterday and I snapped a photo of it on our walk. Notice the sticker stuck on the side, crooked and added as an afterthought. When I see that, I see Verizon treating Internet access as an afterthought, an add-on feature, like the sticker they slapped on their trucks.

They couldn’t even get it on straight. And we are now going to trust them in bed with Google on net neutrality rules? Why exactly would we do that again?