Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Eat Indy

Here's a quick list of my favorite eateries around town in Indianapolis, IN.
  1. India Garden, the buffet is amazingly varied and the staff is excellent. The decor is very pretty also.
  2. Brugge Brassierie, the location and ambiance is authentic Belgian-pub style atmosphere. The beers and mussels and fries are scrumptious. My kids love the food too.
  3. Thai Spice on the border of Greenwood, they make a wonderful ginger-spiced goong-ob with the freshest shrimp in Indy. This is complimented well by their ginger tea.
  4. Yats. Cajuny goodness, and the best place for crawfish in town. The red beans and rice is a kid-friendly favorite.
  5. Le Peep for breakfast. The granola blues for rich carb satisfaction. The coffee is well brewed, and flows as freely as the wi-fi. FYI Chicago has Le Peep locations too.
  6. Jockamo pizza in Irvington. Exotic pizzas, spacious tables and quick service. The BBQ Chicken pizza is great.
  7. Cafe Patachou, the sandwiches are fresh fresh fresh and delicious.
  8. Hisago Japanese restaurant, fresh tasty sushi ad a dinner special makes it economical.
  9. St Elmo's, get the shrimp cocktail. Twice. It is world famous, and unlike most things that claim that distiction, this one is deserved. Scrumptious. A nice before-show date stop for a quick appetizer and drink.
  10. Bosphorous cafe. I traveled in Turkey, and attest that the food is authentic. The owner is a gentleman who oversees the restaurant personally and knows regular customers well. The hummus is tasty, the bread is fresh-made, and the vegetarian dishes are delightful for those restricting their diet or not. The lamb is good too.
  11. Claddagh Irish Pub has tasty fish and chips, and the mussel appetizer is great. Again, they have Illinois locations too.
  12. Bub's burgers and ice cream. Good old-fashioned generous burgers and hand-dipped shakes. Unusual options such as Elk burgers available too.
Thanks David Mark for the inspiration for this post.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

6 word resume

There's a new meme going on for a 6 word resume at G.L. Hoffman's blog. The idea behind this is so true: so many resumes are just plain boring. If you could give yourself a quick, entertaining and informative 6 word intro, you'd be ahead as a job seeker.

The meme is to post a 6 word resume for someone. Here's my entry:

"As I live, so does Apple" - Steve Jobs.
Check Hoffman's page for more examples. And share your own!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Unabashedly Reducing my Inventory

I recently read an article about the shameful online resale of books and was interested to see that some may think there is a moral issue here. Why there should be such an issue now, when for centuries booksellers along the Seine have been servicing students of the Sorbonne unaccosted escapes me. Apparently, taking something that has been done in slow and unorganized fashion for ages and modernizing it somehow brings moral issues into the picture.

From a moral perspective, one might think that many would be in favor of used book selling; selling books hits the trifecta of environmental saaviness - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - in a way that many other green initiatives can't compete with. Selling a used book reduces that book from the waste stream. Reusing a used book is an excellent example of fixed cost depreciation, in that doing so reduces the impact of the sunk cost to the seller of the initial purchase. Plus, selling a book is an implicit endorsement of the content and a recommendation, in a way that a recycled tin can can't compete with. I might easily venture to a new author in a seller's collection if I feel an affinity to the authors I know in their store, but am very unlikely to adventure to some new vegetable based on seeing the can left out for recycling in my neighbor's bin.

On my ejly store, I've sold everything from books to CDs to toys to consumer electronics. Check it out if you have a chance.

Why do I sell used items on Amazon?
  1. I used to use ebay, but their pay-to-play modus operandi is sour to me after Governor Blagojevich's fiasco. Why should I pay to advertise something that doesn't sell? For we of the craigslist generation, this makes zero cents.
  2. Listing is super-simple with the UPC code handy, and Amazon has calculated the likely shipping costs for me already. Bravo. Again, simple and easy to get started. I don't need to invest in a scale to start; I can trust their shipping prices.
  3. I can carry a huge inventory at no particular expense. On other sites, the listing fees prohibit this.
  4. I'm shopping on Amazon anyway, so listing there makes sense.
  5. Amazon provides great tracking for sellers to stay on top of buyer activity.
  6. Amazon provides for communications management to buyers within their site.
  7. Amazon's listings are indexed by Google, and your resale item is sold right alongside the new item, which positions it well for the sale.
  8. The ratings system is fair, buyers understand the product better since the inventory is UPC based and can provide ratings easily that are focused on the service of the seller and the quality ofthe merchandise shipped instead of holding the seller liable for the manufacturer's quality. So, for example, you can still get a high-quality review for selling a lousy book. The lousiness of the book is recognized as being beyond the seller's responsibility.
  9. Every item that leaves my house is one less that I have to dust, inventory, and maintain. My square footage is valuable, why should I pay to use it to store a copy of a book at home that I also pay taxes to support a libary to house? My local library, Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library, is fantastic about ordering new books, CDs and movies that are suggested, too. (Disclosure: I have an overload of books at home, and no plans to eliminate them all. The ones I re-read and reference are kept close at hand, in beautiful hardback form. Some of which were bought with funds from used book sales.)

Thanks Monicuta for inspiring this post!

Sunday, December 28, 2008


I use Gantthead for project management info and top-notch templates. I haven't yet found a project plan yet that I could use without alteration, but have found many project plans usable as the starting point for a project. My personal favorite is the EVA project plan template. Gantthead recently rolled out a new feature called Ganttface which encourages PM's to set up their own public profile. My profile highlights for my work as a Project Manager/Business Analyst.

I also recently started using a set of free, public tools on Basecamp HQ for a project I'm working on with Chuck Westbrook. These tools are helpful too for providing starting places for project initiation.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Suffix rule induction and morphology

I teach spelling by telling stories, like The Story of Yed.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wigilia menu, traditional fusion

Wigilia dinner menu - served at the rise of the first star (actually Venus in our case). Per tradition I put 12 plates of food on the table, and always set an extra place at the table for any stranger who might drop by.

We start the meal with the sharing of oplatek and wine. Oplatek are small, thin wafers of bread - basically unconsecrated communion wafers. Each guest gets a wafer and instructions to share the wafer with the other guests, and to make a wish for them and receive a wish in return.  Wishes range from the wacky "good night, good luck, and may your god go with you" to the traditional "health, wealth and happiness in the new year." Also each guest may reserve pieces of the oplatek to share with loved ones who are not at the wigilia dinner (very common for situations when servicemen and women are overseas).

My menu:
  1. potato mushroom soup with imported polish mushrooms
  2. artichoke bottoms marinated in chili flakes and balsamic vinegar
  3. watergate salad (recipe easy for kids to make)
  4. brussel sprouts baked with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper
  5. lima beans with garlic and onion tomato sauce
  6. pierogi, various kinds - cheese, sauerkraut & mushrooms, fruit.
  7. broiled salmon
  8. mussels
  9. fruit compote
  10. baked brie with salted rye bread
  11. black olives and pickled cucumbers and beets
  12. sauteed spinach with sherry, cinnamon, raisins and pine nuts
Cookies a plenty for dessert! And a chocolate fountain! And stuffed dates!

More info on Wigilia for you is available from:

Time to go see if I can roust Santa to deliver gifts. And start up the Holiday Music. Happy Wigilia!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ejly's twitter grade

If you're in a competitive business (and who isn't nowadays?), then keep yourself on top of your game by seeing how you are doing in your social network. Twitter Grader will score your Twitter profile based on certain criteria, such as the completeness of your profile, the frequency of your updates, and your proximity in social networks to their CEO. Actually that last one I made up, but it could in fact be true because their scoring algorithm is proprietary and super-secret.

There's more info on twitter tools in a recent article of mine at Biznology, Using Twitter to Reach Nirvana.

I'll be looking for you on twitter. Find me there at

Other twitter tools posts:

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Wigilia, y'all.

My favorite part of the Christmas holidays is spending Wigilia together - the traditional Polish Christmas Eve dinner. Where I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, it was easy enough to find traditional Polish items. In fact, it was hard not to. Here in Indiana, we're a little further South and a lot less Polish. I think the nearest Polish Deli is in Hamtramck. Fortunately, I've got a caravan hauling Polish goods in on I-65 so we'll be set for the holiday. I'm importing not just one but two 100% authentic Polish Grandmothers so that if one gets a virus we have a hot-swappable spare all booted up and ready to go.

In past years I recall, family would gather at my grandmother's and grandfather's house in the afternoon after work on Christmas Eve and help to prepare the last few dishes together. Most things, like the mushroom soup, were made already and the fragrant delicious smells were thick in the house and would set my tummy to rumbling. There would be a festive red-and-green lima bean dish, a steaming hot cauliflower, and sauerkraut. Ick.

I waited and saved my appetite for pillowy fried pierogi, baked fish, cocktail shrimp, and olives and pickles and beets. And potatoes, with a side of potatoes. There was also crusty rye bread and fresh rolls. Yum. Note there was no meat, as the dinner was a vigil and fast day in the religious tradition. The meal started traditionally with the sharing of oplatek, where we broke flatbread with each other - the bread was similar to communion wafer bread - and gave wishes to each other for the new year. These run from the traditional "may you have a prosperous year ahead" to the wacky, "live long and prosper".

My grandma would never admit to being a trickster, but we were always careful to watch where the sauerkraut pierogi ended up so that we could avoid them in favor of the cheese or fruit varieties. It was like an evil shell game where, if you lost, you had to stomach the vile cabbagey thing and stare plaintively at cousins gobbling up the last few cheese pierogi. Utterly unfair.

Dinner was particularly scrumptious as we kids were told we could not eat until there was a star in the sky; on an overcast day, that could take a while. The hunger never made the sauerkraut palatable, but it was a near thing and we almost lost one cousin to an early-served plate of the vile stuff before we distracted him with a kolache. In the event of a service delay due to tardy constellations, someone with exceptionally sharp eyes was usually called out to 'see' the first star so that we could eat.

I'll be hosting the meal this year, and trying to give my boys some ethnic memories to save for their old age. I posted my dinner menu for Wigilia too. If you pass by and see me out hunting gwiazdka, don't worry - it just means the fish isn't done yet and I'm pursuing a delaying tactic. It always worked for Grandma.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Monogamy at Blogger and Godaddy

I can make godaddy and blogger hook up, but it isn't pretty to try and do multiple-blog linkings to one domain. Godaddy, in terms of its DNS assignments, has all the scruples of Betty Page and is willing to pair up with anyone, anytime, whenever to serve up a website. Blogger, on the other hand, strictly enforces monogamous couplings. Setting up for a bit of tomfoolery on the side takes some patience, listening to blogger's recitation of the ceremonial betrothal: "You, domain providing company, do hereby take this blog to have and to host, to serve and protect, to cherish and obey, and shall put no other above her... "

But I can put multiple blogs on one domain, and so can you. I've had a book blog for some time and also am doing other things online. I wanted to consolidate the various items online and thought a domain of my own might provide for some fun experimentation. And really, where else can you get a $1.19 lesson in domain hosting and blog publishing except from Godaddy and Blogger?

So I moved my book blog to first. Here's steps for you to follow:
  1. Register with
  2. Log into godaddy already to start administering your site.
  3. Go to Domains, then select My Domains
  4. Click on the domain name
  5. Click the link "Total DNS Control and MX Records" - the page is really busy, so do a text search for "Total DNS Control and MX Records" to find it if you can't easily see it
  6. In the CNAMES (Aliases) section, click the button for "Add a new CNAME record"
  7. Add "blog" and "" as the new screen name. Attached is the screen shot showing what it should look like. (CNAME.jpeg)
  8. It may take an hour (at least) for this to start propagating across the internet, and the propagation process may take up to 3 days or more to complete. That gives you time to do the next part. Sometimes it is really quick.
  9. Log in to blogger, go to 'settings' then select 'Publishing'. Then select 'custom domain' then select 'switch to advanced settings'
  10. Add "blog.yourdomain.yourdomainextension" or whatever is appropriate to your particular idiom.
  11. Do step 7-10 again for additional blogs, be sure to vary the first part of the URL. Your original Blog*Spot address will automatically forward to your new domain. That way, any existing links or bookmarks to your site will still work.
Thanks to How to set up your blogger custom domain with Godaddy by Blogger Buster for some tips.

The $1.19 price tag for the lesson is for the 99¢ domain name registration currently available from godaddy, plus the 20¢ ICANN fee.

Ejly on Google Reader

Friday, December 19, 2008

Humane Society of Indianapolis Holiday Supply Drive

I volunteer as a dog foster parent for the Humane Society of Indianapolis. In 2008, I’ve helped rescue 6 dogs and place them into permanent homes with families that are delighted to have them. At this time of year the Humane Society puts out a wish list of items needed in order to provide for the animals. Take the time to de-clutter your closet for the holiday season and help the animals at the same time if you can! Throw in a towel which the Humane Society staff can use for the animals.

Thanks already to the generous employees at W.D.D. Inc and Delta Faucet Company for donating to help provide supplies to the animals. If you'd like to participate, drop me a line to let me know.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I've had a few requests recently to explain a bit about how to use twitter. My rambling explanations got confusing enough that I sat down and wrote up a more detailed view of How I See the Twittersphere. And thus was begun the seeds of what eventually became an article, Using Twitter to reach Nirvana on the Biznology site. I hope it is useful to all y'all as well.

In sum, the article discusses how to set up twitter to update social networking sites and how you can benefit by setting up twitter to be updated by rss. I refer to this as twirvana -
twirvana: the graceful state of existing on twitter in an ideal condition of rest, harmony, stability, or joy.
Tweetback with a hashtag of #twirvana, and follow me @ejly if you want. And if what you just read didn't make sense, go read the article. : )

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I'm using digsby now to consolidate social networking, IM and email notices. Wicked.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Technorati widgets

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tron as made with a lower budget for these desperate times

Cardboard Tron

Uploaded by freres-hueon

Saturday, December 13, 2008


are you a friend on facebook?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Amazon reviews

In this season, when finances are tight, it is especially important to give good gifts. Check out reviews and product information before making a gift purchase - and avoid gifting a dud.

I offer a few Amazon reviews of mine as examples of reviews you might find online to help guide your purchase decisions - also check out and Get Satisfaction.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Delicious Linkroll

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

2008 Wish List Indy Humane Society

I'm collecting items for the Indianapolis Humane Society this holiday season. If you have any items which you'd like to donate, let me know. I'll drop off items Christmas Week. And remember, if you want to buy yourself a pet this holiday season - adopt, don't shop.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sick of tinyurl?

Tiny is tidy, says twitter, and happily abbreviates all your pretty urls into tinyurls. Even the search engine optimized, gloriously specific urls are smushed into the tinyurl container. But if you want to rebel a little bit, check out REALLYHUGEURL.COM

For examle, here's a permalink to this site:

Thanks @swhitley for introducing me to this service!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Skinit Twitter Promotion

I was pleased recently to be selected to receive a new laptop skin from HP for my MacBook through a promotion run by @HPHolidayCheer on Twitter. I love the simple look of the white macbook, but since I recently purchased enough machines to qualify for an OS X site license, I need a way to tell mine apart without booting it. This will fit the bill.

In exchange, I'll offer some kind and constructive criticism for HP on the ordering process.

Great image: this was my most important evaluation criteria, and the HP folks aced it. The image quality is great and the print quality is excellent. I chose a particularly tricky image - a close up of a furry beagle - and the image is clear and not pixelated.

Easy on, EZ-off: the sticker was easy to apply and remove, without any significant residue. I didn't feel fearful of putting this on my laptop and ruining it. It went on without major problems for air bubbles or wrinkles. The 3-step instructions were clear and basic - "clean, peel, apply" and printed on highly readable glossy paper, double sided with my invoice on the reverse.

Shipping undamaged: the skin came in a shipping tube with plastic endcaps that seemed quite oversized for it. On the plus side, it kept my dog enjoyed chewing it up later. I would think that a smaller sized tube without endcaps - such as u-line's Snap-Seal-Tubes would be more environmentally friendly. And they cost 11¢ less per unit for quantities >500. Frugality is the new green.

On the other hand... what is a business day for HP? I ordered the skin on 11/22, and had to calculate in a convoluted way when to expect the skin. Eventually I figured it should ship by 12/2. Should I as a customer care about when HP is open or not? I think it would be more sensible to position days as in calendar days, and just add days to your service level agreement to account for weekends. So, instead of saying 'ships within 2-5 business days' just say 'ships within 1 week'. That would be much easier to understand. And makes much more sense than expectation setting with a convoluted phrase such as the following, quoted from the HP website: "There can be a variance in the length of the production process depending on a variety of factors."

An inflexible customizer: It was a minimum 5 step process to order. It took a bit to get to the customizer in the first place. 3 steps into it, I find out Flickr isn't supported. And there's no way back, so I had to relaunch the customizer. After relaunching, I enter a flickr image url which doesn't end in .jpg. The tool refuses to acknowledge that this is an image and the image can't be uploaded until I backup, restart the customizer, and rename the image. Note I've launched the customer 3 times now. I doubt if I was paying for a skin that I would have hung around that long to go through this . I hope the folks at HP can check out a few other image manipulation sites for some easier ways of doing this ( is pretty nice to work with). Additionally, the customizer did not offer options for standard Apple laptop sizes, although they did have the iphone standards available.

Updates on my order: I received an order confirmation immediately upon placement of my order, which was great. The confirmation email said I would receive a later email. On 12/2, I hadn't yet received an update, so I emailed customer service. I received an email later the same day with the tracking number, showing the Skin had shipped on 11/25. Whatever happened to my shipping notice? Lost on the ether, I suppose.

Thanks to the folks at HP for sending me the sticker as part of the promotion on twitter!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Frappr Map Widget

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Voyager 510

I really really like plantronics headsets. Really truly, even my Amazon review of the Plantronics Voyager 510 says so. I've been using plantronics headsets since I worked at the phone company 10+ years ago and despise other brands (for the record, I have no financial relationship with plantronics aside from sending them money once in a while to buy a new headset). I like the new headset so much so that recently when my office converted to VOIP I was over the moon excited to get my very own plantronics voyager 510 headset. I like our telecom manager. That headset they bought me came complete with a USB plugin to make it work with the VOIP. Sweet. That's my 4th Plantronics Voyager 510 Bluetooth Headset. No, I don't have one in each ear and a failover backup. I have a beagle. I very chewy beagle, who finds nothing so tasty as a Plantronics Voyager 510 Bluetooth Headsett. If they made these things in different flavors, like liver, bacon, or fancy italian dress shoe flavor, he wouldn't be happier.

He destroyed his 3rd one today. Normally, dog destruction is commonplace enough that I wouldn't bother blogging it. But today was an exception. After I kenneled the beagle to keep him from harm, I picked up the pieces of the headset and went back to work. C'est la vie, right? Then I got a phone call. I answered, but there was no audio on my handset. I heard a faint warbling from the bookshelf though. Could it be...? Yes, that poor little damaged plantronics voyager 510 was fighting its little blue-blinky heart out, struggling to produce the audio. It was actually working. And not in a cruddy, half-assed manner, but it was working well enough that the caller could not tell that their voice was being reproduced on a device that until very recently had been intimately and lovingly masticated by the lusty incisors of a very eager beagle. I finished the call, disconnected and thought about how hard it is to design a laptop that can withstand a mild drop, a camera whole lens resists scratching or a phone that can survive a bit of water. Kudos, plantronics, for building quite the rugged device.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Fangirl Confession

On Saturday, I saw Whirled News Tonight at the IO theater in Chicago. For the 6th time. If you've never seen it, you're missing a great show. The shtick is: the audience selects articles which inform the improv scenes but do not confine it. As an example, an article about the shuttle astronaut's freeze-dried Thanksgiving dinners led to an improvised scene where the astronauts decided to return to earth briefly and unfortunately got the shuttle towed by an overeager police officer. But never fear if you missed it: they're on every Saturday, and podcasting now too. Though to miss the physical/visual side of the show is a tragedy - hey WNT guys and gals, how about a vlog? And Padraic Connelly is easily the most eager voyeur I've ever seen in an imaginary bowler hat. Improvisationally, that is.