The Cheesesteak Diaries, Chapter 1: Primanti Bros., Pittsburgh, PA


Philly, yo!

Those of you who know me are probably aware that I grew up in Philadelphia and spent a few years working in a cheeseteak and hoagie shop (“The Original Steak and Hoagie II”, now closed). I take my cheesesteaks and hoagies seriously. Possibly too seriously.

As a field organizer I have the opportunity to do some traveling, and I’m often curious about what gets passed off as a cheesesteak in other cities. Inspired by a couple of epic wtf-this-is-not-a-cheesesteak experiences, I thought I’d start cataloguing some of these “Philly cheese steak subs,” or whatever it is they get called in different cities. Continue reading “The Cheesesteak Diaries, Chapter 1: Primanti Bros., Pittsburgh, PA”

Puberbiebs: Did Justin Bieber’s Voice Drop Yet? A Quick Investigation for No Good Reason.

Recent pictures suggest that Justin Bieber is not a kid anymore. A few nights ago I wondered if his voice has broken yet and how that might have affected his singing—or does he still sound like a chipmunk version of Usher? Because I generally don’t give a crap about Bieber, I didn’t know, so I decided to spend some time online looking for an answer. What can I say? The Internet is great for that sort of activity.

A quick YouTube search for “justin bieber 2011” turned up this treacly bit of holiday fluff: Continue reading “Puberbiebs: Did Justin Bieber’s Voice Drop Yet? A Quick Investigation for No Good Reason.”

Conversations with Spambots, Part 2

Sexy Spambot with HatToday  I sat down at the computer to see a new IM from a potential new friend.  I didn’t recognize the screenname, but that’s not unusual. I considered briefly that it may have been from a spambot, but “mattp204” didn’t seem like a sexbot’s screenname, so I responded. After a couple of lines, however, the text coming in turned pink and the conversation turned familiar. I gotta say—some of the responses really surprised me.

mattp204: I got you now !lol was up
CFI Debbie: ?
mattp204: 🙂 hi cutie what’s up?
CFI Debbie: Just working. Do I know you? Continue reading “Conversations with Spambots, Part 2”

Baking on a Sunday Afternoon

On Saturday my coworker and roommate reminded me that there’s a CFI community potluck on Wednesday! It’s like the best day all month, with all sorts of tasty noms for eating and a fun crowd to hang out with.  He plans to make pork and vegetarian dumplings, although I can’t believe he’d want to spend so much time pinching so many little dumplings closed. I have little cooking experience (or interest), so I usually bake desserts instead. For some reason, I’m completely willing to spend hours baking—I even enjoy it!—but cooking for more than 20 minutes seems like an unnecessary chore.

There were leftover carrots in the fridge from Christmas weekend, so I decided to whip up carrot cake with some tweaks to the recipe. Because I know there are raisin-haters out there, I made one batch with raisins and one without.

The cake with raisins is two layers (nine-inch rounds) topped with cream cheese frosting from scratch, chopped pecans on the sides, and some almonds thrown on for decoration. I got impatient so didn’t smooth out the top as well as I could have. (It still tastes fine, I’m sure.) Continue reading “Baking on a Sunday Afternoon”

Fortune Cookie Consideration: Letting Things Be “Good Enough”

I always read the little slips of paper that come in fortune cookies, and if I get a good one, I save it in my wallet for a while. My favorites are the actual fortunes, like this one from last week: “Tomorrow will be a productive day. Don’t oversleep.” Thanks, Fate! That’s a great fortune, and it’s advice I thought I’d try to follow (…I said to myself, as I worked at the computer until 2:00 am. But I shifted the goalposts and set my alarm for noon, so when I woke up at 11:00 am—mission accomplished! That still counts, right, Fate?).

I opened up this gem last week:

"It could be better, but its good enough."

Continue reading “Fortune Cookie Consideration: Letting Things Be “Good Enough””

JibJabbin’ with the Family

Last weekend I was hanging out with the fam back home in the Philly region for my brother’s wedding on Saturday. My younger sister came in from LA, my older one flew up from Miami, and I drove down from Buffalo. It was a lot of fun!

On Friday night we were sharing funny stories, and in a roundabout way I ended up on JibJab.com putting some heads in a couple of videos. This first one cracks me up: Continue reading “JibJabbin’ with the Family”

“Sliding Board” v. “Slide”: Some Notes on the Mid-Atlantic Dialect

When I moved from Philadelphia to Buffalo a handful of years ago, I thought I was pretty prepared for the major dialect differences. Pronunciation-wise, I had steeled myself for the Western New York pronunciation of words like car and crab shack, and I knew I wouldn’t be understood if I asked for a glass of water the way I was used to. (Check out the fantastic Super Grip Lock commercials on YouTube for examples of the accent here.) They say garbage where I say trash, pop for my soda, and they’re generally clueless about hoagies—but at least they don’t say tennis shoes or youins. Continue reading ““Sliding Board” v. “Slide”: Some Notes on the Mid-Atlantic Dialect”

On Writing Things for Stuff (or, How I Didn’t Do That Last Weekend but Am Doing So Right Now)


Cake, mmmm…

Last weekend I set a goal of finishing a blog post for Skepchick and writing a new post for this here personal blog thing. On Saturday night, I sat down in my office and started poking at the things on my computer screen. But my roommate was hosting a birthday party in the living room, and at some point the cake and the merriment were just too enticing to ignore. There went Saturday.

On Sunday evening I gave it another shot. It seemed like a good night for writing—my boyfriend was also in his office writing; the temperature was perfect; there was a kegger next door a few feet from my office window, but the fan in my office did a pretty good job of drowning out the party sounds; and I didn’t have anything urgent happening to draw my attention from the task at hand.

I finished neither post. I wasn’t feeling inspired, and I didn’t want to create sub par writing. Continue reading “On Writing Things for Stuff (or, How I Didn’t Do That Last Weekend but Am Doing So Right Now)”

Conversations with Spambots, Part 1

(Last week, this was my first post ever on my newish Tumblr account.  Then I realized Tumblr doesn’t do what I want it to, so I will probably never use it again.  Therefore, I am reposting here.)

A few times in the last few months, I’ve received random unsolicited IMs from spam accounts trying to get me to go to their stripper webcam sites or something.  Last week I was contacted by a repeat offender from an account I recognized.  So after engaging for a bit, I looked up the old conversation and pasted it, along with the new one, below. Continue reading “Conversations with Spambots, Part 1”