This is the time of year that I become highly unfocused and slightly annoyed. As a transplant to Saratoga from New Orleans, I feel it is my inalienable right to enjoy myself during the Carnival season, but unfortunately, it’s a time of year that goes relatively uncelebrated here in upstate New York.
Despite what you might see on the Travel Channel, the whole season isn’t just fraternity brothers drinking on Bourbon Street. It’s actually one of the best all-inclusive community celebrations on earth. There’s parades, families costuming, eating great food, and joining together before Lent. You find yourself talking to folks you never met before while waiting for the parades to roll. Real fun, real community.
One of the greatest community memories revolve around king cakes, those round sugary coffee cakes loaded with purple, green and gold sugar. When I worked at a furniture manufacturer, hotelier, restaurant, and contractor uptown (a classic New Orleanian company) there was an elderly bookkeeper named Evie. She was from da’parish (Chalmette) and insisted there be king cake all carnival long. Not only was there to be king cake every day, but she would prefer
you purchase yours from Randazzos, also in Chalmette. Yeah, she was picky, but she was such a classic southern lady and hard to resist. I made the long drive to Chalmette to buy the right king cake when I “got the baby”, meaning it was my turn to buy. Once I bought one from Mackenzies, a since closed New Orleans bakery, and it was cheese filled. I never heard the end of it from dear old Evie. For seven years she reminded me not to buy those nasty things from Mackenzies.
Every year I hear tales told of some places in the upstate area making king cakes, and I wait and try to find one on Lundi Gras. One local bakery will make one if you pre-order, but I’ve yet to figure out when the pre-ordering is, and after 4 years, they still never make an extra or want to tell me when I might need to pre-order to get one. Their loss.
I’ve also heard tales told that some Price Choppers make them, and last night I almost missed it when I was “makin’ groceries”, but saw this on the way out.
Yes, pretty anemic. Not the exciting brightly sugared cake I was looking for, but still. It said “cream cheese” on the package, so I figured it had cream cheese filling. Not Evie’s cup of gumbo, but good enough. This morning, I was so excited for that Fat Tuesday bite, I cut into it, and nothing. No filling, no cinnamon. Just a round hunk of bread with some frosting. Not how I wanted to bring my co-workers into this community tradition.
By 8:45, my hopes were dashed, and the parade photos started rolling in via Facebook. I am working on Mardi Gras and my king cake is a bust?
Enter Rick and Olga Gile. We had discussed the king cake tradition in the previous weeks, and they had mentioned seeing them at Bella Napoli. And there it was, a lovely, beautifully decorated king cake!
The frosting was a multi-colored drizzle, a little New York affectation, but the taste was right. The look was right. The dough was hand rolled. At last, Fat Tuesday in New York was happening, and the best part of the carnival season was alive and well in upstate New York!
I got out of bed early this morning. I made the commute, and sat in traffic. During the hour or so from Saratoga to Downtown Troy, I once again thanked the work gods that I somehow have been able to avoid making this trip daily for almost a decade.
I didn’t make it on time, and I almost hit a lovely woman trying to exit her vehicle at exactly the same time I was reading the parking signs and attempting to parallel park next to her car, but in the end I made it upstairs to the Grands Slam Alley Social Media Breakfast.
I made a whole hearted attempt to actually listen to the panel. The topic was supposed to be something about reengaging with your social media, picking back up after stopping. I clocked myself, and it took me about 50 minutes or so before I decided to pull out my phone and “gasp” actually install the Twitter app on the Iphone. It was too tempting. All the hash tag Tweets were rolling on a screen behind the panel. Since all I was looking at was that darned screen and the backs of a bunch of well-coiffed heads, I had to do it.
And then I realized, I was one of them. One of the people who likes to see their own words on the big screen. One who basically loves the virtual sound of their own voice and wants to hear it amplified back through others. Which is why, when the question was asked of the panel, “So what do you guys think of Google+, all the social media-ites laughed. Yep, the whole room chuckled.
I admit, I was really ready to embrace Google+ right away. Since I’m logged into one Google thing or another all day anyway(Gmail, docs, analytics, chat…) why not just make it simple and have my social network there. Except it never was there. No one was ever really there. Sure the concept of a “hang out” is cool, but actually creating one and doing it was just too much work.
And quite honestly, the interface, the circles, the whole thing was just, well, not Facebook enough. I honestly gave it a try. I even had one friend, a librarian at a private Manhattan school, who deleted her Facebook profile and went full “Plus” on us. She said said she was sick of the spamming and advertising on Facebook. It lasted a few months. And she finally had to admit she was lonely.
Yes, we love to see our own words on the screen, but we have to hear more than an echo back. At the root of it, human beings need engagement. Yes, we used to sit together around a fire eating a warthog and we were engaged. Today we re-Tweet, Like, and of course Pin.
But in the Capital Region, and in most other places, people aren’t +1 ing. According to recent data, the average time spent on Google + is down, in spite of the mandatory sign up process now in place when signing up for other Google products. No one cares if they can’t be heard. No one cares if they can’t be engaged and engaging. Except marketers, of course. Marketers will do and say anything.
Unless you live in a cave, you heard about yesterday’s “Internet Blackout Day.” Major sites like Google, Wikipedia, Craigslist,Wired and others blacked out portions of their sites in protest of two internet piracy bills, SOPA (Stop Internet Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act). The stated goal of these bills is to protect US companies from foreign pirates, like Pirate Bay, who sell copyrighted video and audio.
Unfortunately, the ramifications of these bills could be catastrophic to internet freedom and invention.
Looking at these bills it’s clear that our lawmakers still don’t get the internet, and are working to protect the interests of an ailing entertainment industry. It also makes clear that the entertainment industry needs to re think it’s business model to account for the reality that people aren’t always going to pay for their products and find new ways to monetize, as many independent artists already do.
The protest showed how quickly information can run through the internet. It trickled down even to young kids, as some of their gaming sites also shut down in support. It also makes clear that the internet of today thrives because of sharing.
So, take my content, please. And let’s keep the flow of information free.
I thought this delightful piece of spam was for serious real and true until I read the last line. Looks pretty inviting otherwise. But nobody, I mean NOBODY, would use the letter ‘s’ twelve times in the word ‘kiss’. Ten or eleven maybe, but not twelve.
I was so fascinated by your id that I was left with no choice than to contact
you at once. I like to enter into a relationship with a man like you. What do
you think? Pls. let me know. Looking forward to hear from you soon .I am in
love with you ok .please send me your pic,
Thank you and God bless
kissssssssssss me with love
WSG today launched JPMangione.com, a redesign of the digital home for Joseph P. Mangione, Inc.
Their owner and project lead, Gary Mangione, was a joy. He handled content creation duties on the project, somehow finding time to keep the business running and pump out pages and pages of new copy. We thank you Gary!
The new site features:
New information architecture
Light social integration
Multiple, simple calls to action
We thank everyone at JP Mangione for making WSG their firm of choice, and we look forward to continued growth, both for their site and business.
UPDATED: Since we’re getting random traffic for searches on “Mr. Barkev Hagopian” I’m here to tell you it is a spammer nom de plume. He’s also apparently the CEO of something called the Barkev Loan Firm, surely a demanding position, leaving him precious little time to spend with Mrs. Hagopian and all their little Hagopian children.
Spam is funny. And by funny, I mean crippling.
Good day to you. I am looking to work with a reputable firm to mop up most of my portfolio funds under. With your assistance I could evade high taxes that are frustrating the wealthy in US.
Can we work for the mutual beneficial relationship between yourself and my company?
I look forward to your prompt reply
Mr. Barkev Hagopian,