Posted in z friends, z personal

More recipes – SOUP PARTY edition

I love soup parties. They are in keeping with the preppers trend of making meals beforehand for quick weekday lunches and dinners.  But they make an event of it.  Noone ever eats all the soup,  so you are always left with tons of leftover (This also may be due to the fact that I make army proportions, though).  Plus, you get to hang out with your friends who bring beer, wine, bread and desserts (of which there are ALSO leftovers).  Everyone wins.

As requested, here are my recipes for my most recent soup party.



olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups carrots, coins
1 cup celery, sliced
2 large cans of diced tomatoes
1 cup spinach/kale, chopped
64 oz broth/stock
2 cups of lentils
at least 1 tbsp of cumin
2 thyme sprigs
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp celery salt
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tsp herbes de provence
2 bay leaves
Put everything in a pot and low boil until the lentils are soft.

The more you stir it, the more the lentils break up.  If you like a broth soup, don’t stir too much.  If you like a thicker/heartier soup, stir a bunch 🙂



olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup ginger, minced
4 cups of carrots, coins
32-64 oz of broth/stock (the less you use the more thick the soup)
1 cup butternut squash, cubed
1 cup OJ
1 tsp cinnamon
salt & pepper
– Saute onions & ginger in olive oil until onion are translucent
– Add in carrot until carrot start to soften slightly
– Transfer mixture to a pot, add stock & raw butternut squash
– Low boil until carrots/squash are completely soft
– Use hand mixer to puree until smooth

– Add in OJ & cinnamon, s&p to taste



2-4 lbs of beef chuck roast,
olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups carrots, coins
1 cup celery, sliced
2 tbsp garlic, minced
64 oz broth/stock
3 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp salt
1 tsp peppercorns
1 tsp fish sauce
2 tbsp of worcestershire sauce
1 cup wine
1 cup barley
– sear full roast in hot pan with olive oil on each side until golden brown, remove to a plate
– add onion, carrots, celery, garlic to pan and saute briefly, transfer to a container for later
– cut beef into 1 inch cubes, with as much of the fat removed as possible
– add beef, broth, thyme, bay, rosemary, salt, peppercorns, fish & worcestershire sauces to pot and low boil for 2 hours
– add back in veggies, barley and wine and low boil for at least an hour, until barley opens up
– add more salt & pepper to taste.

– Soup is better after sitting for a while



2 boxes jif cornbread mix (vegetarian or reg)
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1 can creamed corn
1 small can green chiles
1 cup sharp cheddar
– Mix all ingredients and spoon into tiny muffin tins (lined or greased) or into a shallow pan(s)
– Bake at 400 for 10 min or until golden brown (takes a bit longer for pans instead of muffins)
– Cool on baking rack
– Muffins freeze AWESOME in a ziplock
Posted in online community, z friends

Just Be Cool (Netiquette 101)

Had a bit of a family flame war on Facebook today.  Oh, n00bs… So I wrote this letter to my FB friends, old and new alike.  Thought I would share it on here too.

I have been an internet nerd for over a decade now and I am excited to see such an influx of those who “aren’t good at computers” joining the connected world.

As a online community person, I know that there is a trajectory that a user goes through, no matter their age, as they are introduced, learn and soon, master this brave new world.

I wanted to take this chance to remind my newbie FB “Friends,” as you climb higher up the ladder of knowledge about these new playgrounds, there are somethings you might take for granted or forget in your haste to assimilate into this new environment:

  • Take control and use your blocking and filtering tools. If you don’t like something, almost every site (including FB) has tools to help you not see those things – and you can always leave too.
  • FB has very few content rules, meaning anyone can post whatever they like – esoteric, prolific, insane, benign, professional, inspirational, etc – it’s the beauty and drawback of social media.
  • Give people the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe they WEREN’T mocking you.  Maybe YOU read it wrong.  Usually, it is text, after all.  you don’t have the benefit of body language or tone to help you out.
  • You can liken it to a playground for kids – Just because you want to play a fairy tale princess game on the jungle gym, doesn’t mean everyone else does. There are also: kids who want to play tag, kids who want to read, kids who want to kiss up to the teachers, kids who want to tell dirty jokes…
  • Don’t be a hater – there are too many of those already in the world online and off. And noone likes them. Anywhere.
  • The internet is a relatively public forum. Social networks are a bit more walled, but they are just the same. If you wouldn’t rip on your nephew at the summer bbq, in front of the whole family, don’t do it online. Online is almost worse as it’s now documented.

So, my newbie friends, if it feels like I am giving you a lesson that I would an 8 year old, it’s kind of because I am.

You are new here in this digital space and we will have patience with you while you learn the ropes. But don’t use up your newbie cards to soon, because the internet is like the real world and people will just stop dealing with you here too.

Now if you can’t manage the offline space either…

Posted in web business, z friends

Random SXSW bits

Couple more notes for posterity:

Celebrities (big and small) seen:

  • Robert Scoble
  • Hugh McLeod
  • Tom Merritt
  • Kent Nichols
  • Kevin Rose
  • Billy Bob Thorton
  • Steven Speilberg
  • Violet Blue
  • Henry Jenkins
  • iJustine
  • Jonathan Coulton

Fav bars:

  • Club Deville – red river and 7th? – cool rock formations on patio.  We saw a fun DIgital DJ contest and I won at the Dorkbot cell hone game.
  • Six – red river and 6th? – chill club and fun party for Moo/Etsy/Threadless, Timbuk2
  • Emos – red river and 6th? – great music venue, tons of indoor outdoor space and I got to see Jonathan Coulton play 😀
  • Headhunters – red river and 8th? – head banger music and tiki drinks.  Cool bar
  • The Side bar – red river and 6th?-  great patio

Fav foods:

  • Stubbs – Red River and 8th? – mmmm…. ribs and spicy cheesy spinach and mashed potatoes and fried okra and… also a big music venue
  • Salt lick – far away, like 30 minutes, but worth it for the bbq
  • Robbinos or something – trailer on the side of the road with GREAT late nite pizza
  • Hickory Street – Congress and 4th? – all you can eat salad, soup and baked potatoes for cheap
  • Star seeds – I35 and 25th? – Breakfast – chicken migas were AMAZING.  old punk hangout – new owners tho
  • Gueros – South Congress – Awesome tacos and STRONG margaritas
  • Star light – trinity and 6th? – fancy appetizers + fancy drinks + beautiful servers = good
  • Iron Cactus – 6th and trinity? – sit upstairs on the patio for lunch and/or beers.  good people watching and nice sun.
  • Alice’s ice cream – didn’t go, but i hear it’s awesome
  • Wiki Wiki Teriyaki – congress and 5th? – good chinese food – beef noodle soup and bento boxes
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Posted in kids, web business, z friends, z personal

Edgar & Ellen get twin 2007 Elans

Edgar & Ellen, Bardel Entertainment: Delna Bhesania, Barry Ward, Trish Lindsay, Barbara Ferro

Edgar & Ellen: Crushed, Bardel Entertainment: Greg Huculak and Zoe Evamy

Gamine Expedition: Barbie as Island Princess Rakes in the Awards at the 2007 Elans

Congrats to my old crew. You deserve a big ole professional hug like this for all of your hard work, blood, sweat and tears on that project. Go Farmers!

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Posted in Club Penguin, Disney, gaming, kids, marketing, mobile, MySpace, Nick, online advertising, online community, television, trends, tween, virtual worlds, web business, Webkinz, z friends

Proactive online content for kids

Those of us who understand the positive aspects of online play need to help shape the climate online in the next couple years. Gone are the days of bragging about how your child knows so much more about technology/computers/internet than you do. More and more of our lives are being spent online. Let’s treat that sea change with a bit more respect than simple awe/wonder.

If we don’t want EVERY brand space online to be blatant consumerism with no message or goal, we have to be proactive about preventing that from happening. We must work toward not just calling out the bad sites, but creating and commending the good sites. And not just ones that give lip-service to more holistic goals – ones that actually step up and do it.

I ducked out of the Kids and Teens talk at the Virtual Worlds conference last week in order to see a young girl doll brand case study. Oy vey, was that a hard one to sit through. The developer giving the talk continually talked sarcastically about the girly brand that he developed, which showed me that he didn’t respect the audience and community the site was trying to develop. How can you create a great community if you don’t care about them?

Through his talk, he talked a couple times about the core values of “Empowerment” etc that the site’s founders wanted to convey in the virtual world. But almost in the same breath, he would reiterate multiple times that the only purpose for the site was to “sell more dolls.” Makes you wonder if the brand managers of those dolls know and care how their brand is being conveyed to conference audiences and their online community.

If “to sell more dolls” is truly the reason that the parent company wanted to launch this world, fine. They certainly are not alone. But that doesn’t mean all the other sites that will be developed in this category have to be like that.

Sesame Street’s Panwapa world is a cool approach to get into a space that is bound to be crowded in the next 2 years – preschool to early readers, 4-7 year olds. Kudos to them for being there before anyone else with a solid idea for a world (and not just the mindless wandering and silly games that make up almost every world in this space).

Whether we like it or not, a child is assimilated into the tech space earlier and earlier as the years go by. To pretend that this isn’t happening or block the kids from sites on a micro level is not the way to improve the situation. It’s the ostrich effect and doesn’t improve anything for anyone, especially the kids.

People who grew up with technology are now having kids. These younger generation parents have less or no aversion to introducing their kids to the online/tech coolness that they have grown up with. As producers of content (be it for a marketing purpose or pure creative), we have to develop for the parents AND the kids. These younger parents will still want the educational aspects that the past decade of attentive parents wanted, but the younger parents understand all of this on another level. Many of them understand that you can have fun, build relationships, and develop as a human online. They also understand the importance of design, navigation and user interface in your online experience. AND they will, directly or indirectly, teach these concepts to their kids.

Hopefully the content will start to catch up with paradigm shift that is happening world-wide as I type. Is your content up to the task?

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Posted in traveling, web business, z friends

Just got a Dopplr Invite

Actually, they just opened it up to everyone.  I think this is a great idea, as I travel a bunch and knowing if other people re in the same city to connect with is what I do manually.  A more automated method is just my style.

Add me as a fellow traveller:

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Posted in online community, z friends, z personal

8 random things tag

I was tagged a month ago by Doug Meacham at NextUp, but I am throwing in my “I’m a workaholic and took my first long vacation” card as my defense for the long reply time.

Here are the rules I must follow:

  • Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  • People who are tagged need to write their own post about their eight things and post these rules.
  • At the end of your post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
  • Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Here we go (better late than never…).  8 random things about me:

  1. I am the oldest of 5 siblings and 20 cousins and we were raised very closely.  The latter number I always have to count, even though there hasn’t been a recent addition in roughly 5 years.
  2. I went to 7 different schools, moved 5 times and grew up in 3 different states before graduating high school.  Because of this and a breadcrumb from haphazard of genealogy research, I like to refer to myself as a gypsy.
  3. I prefer small dishes to large, i.e. tapas, buffets or appetizers rather than big meals.
  4. I love red wine and just spent 2 weeks exploring Northern Argentina learning about their unique regional wines, focusing on Malbec.
  5. I made it to my 2nd semester of my Junior (3rd) year of undergrad at Ariz State Univ as an undeclared major and still accidentally graduated in 4.5 years with a Bachelor of Arts in Math and Bachelor of Science in Women’s Studies.  I chose all my classes until declaring a major by wandering the bookstore and signing up for classes with interesting textbooks.
  6. I adore pop, hip-hop and rap music as much as I do indie, classical and rock.
  7. I haven’t owned a car or land-line in 4 years, but I will never be without a TV.
  8. I revel in my math geek identity, although lately only materially – I love lists, graph paper and collect relics of math history (abacus, adding machines, slide riles, etc).

I tag Izzy, Bill, Chris, Melissa, Danah, Jake, Lee, and because he is my doppleganger that I know of but not at all, Joi.

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Posted in kids, mobile, MySpace, traveling, trends, z friends

Notes from Argentina…

Quick notes, as I am very much into 2 different books right now and want to get back to them this evening. 🙂

Cell phones
Argentinians – They are everywhere. The most impressive aspect of cell phones are all of the cell phone stores. We have tons of them in the states, but they seem to be more plentiful in the cities here. Buenos Aires, Salta, Tucuman all are overflowing with them. We even saw some small huts similar to hot dog stands (called panchos here), butselling cell phones. My favorite brand name is Movistar, which is a cell phone store, not a rental place. The other observation is how crowds of people stand in front of the cell phone stores (and most stores, for that matter) staring longingly at the phones.
My international group – I have a couple brit gals in our group, both 19 years old, who are very connected. SMS´s have been flying on one of their phones whose still works down here. Our guide uses SMS all day to keep in touch with her friends. The brit gals say that the 8-12 year olds in the UK mostly have their own phones and they see it´s use as more for SMSing than actual calls.

Internet cafes
This oasis for the foriegn traveler and local alike is so sparse in our US cities. Why is this? I usually travel the US with my own computer, but if I didn´t, where would I go in the average US city. I can think of only one or two cafes in Chicago off the top of my head. I passed 4 on the way back from the public square here in Tucuman, a couple blocks from our hotel. This was true in every semi-big town we have been in so far. I find it so odd we don´t have as many.

Facebook and other Social Networks
Facebook – I was able to sit next to the aforementioned brit gals in the last internet cafe I was at and watch them use Facebook together. They were sure to edit their status daily on the trip, check for messages, return any wall comments, check who had tagged them in photos and, of course, search for others in our tour group and promptly friend them. On gal was shocked when I was less than creative in my “how do you know this person” response.
Hive – One of the Dutch gals on the trip was not familiar with FAcebook and only by name with MySpace. She said that everyone is “hiving” in Holland. I intend to ask the same question to the others on the trip as well.

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Social Networking On and Offline

I had a wonderful coffee with a new colleague this morning, Chris Rollyson. We talked about SO many wonderful things that have been on my mind, and my blog, for sometime now. We covered topics including the importance of content AND management in online community strategy, integrating customers and their experiences into the product development process, cultural divides that are forming in this new digital age and methods to bridge those divides among other things. It is always great to talk shop with someone in the field, especially when there is no project attached and it’s just philosophizing.

One of the great things about social networking online is all of the new OFFLINE contacts you can translate that into. I met Chris through another colleague, Steven Jones from CapableNetworks, who I met at the Online Community unconference last month. We reconnected at the recent Chicago TechCocktail, where he introduced me to Chris. I am now, of course, connected to both of them on various online social networks, but have also had the opportunity to have great talks with them both offline. In both cases, we all were able to read up on each other’s professional interests and background so that we could jump right into conversations form the material we read and connections we saw online.

Basically I just wanted to post about the power of networking on and offline and how, if you set your goal as establishing relationships with people, rather than collecting business cards you will never use, it is so rewarding to get out there, virtually and not.

On a similar note… I recently resynced my gmail address book to LinkedIn to check if any of my new contacts were already on the LinkedIn network and saw an interesting trend. Many friends who were already in my address book last time I synced now popped up with new LinkedIn accounts. When I sent them emails saying as much and requesting to connect, more than a few said that they had just signed up and weren’t clear on the value of LinkedIn. This is reminiscent of early 2006 when people were joining MySpace without really understanding why.

I told my newly LinkedIn friends stories of finding jobs for friends by leveraging my network and my friends network. I also told them to hang in there, as I felt that site was going to get better as more and more people join. Chris Rollyson has written an unofficial guide to LinkedIn for executives for those of you fielding similar questions form your friends/colleagues.

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