life’s keys

life’s keys
by kevin berardinelli
october 20, 2009

There’s a key to being happy
etched deep within your soul
to find this key and use it
should be your lifelong goal

It’ll open doors to friendship
and show the world you care
life is only as pleasant
as the smiles that you share

There’s a key to finding love
found deep within your heart
the thump and beat will echo
when shot with Cupid’s dart

Although the road’s not easy
and the signs are never clear
embrace the path to get there
and the key will soon appear

There’s a key to growing old
found deep within your mind
a key to understanding
that starts with being kind

A simple thought or question
or lending a helping hand
reminds us that we’re all
a part of something grand

Though these keys may seem absurd
and taxing to obtain
the lesson here is crucial
and actually very plain

Look deep within your self
for guidance every day
your heart and mind and soul
will ne’er lead you astray

official st. calzone’s day 2010 announcement

And here we are, only five months away from another spectacular spring celebration of friends, food, and fun! I would now like to officially announce the date for the Seventh Annual St. Calzone’s Day celebration:

Saturday, March 20th, 2010
The venue is TBD, although, due to the great success of last year, there is currently a high probability that it will take place in Arlington, Virginia once again. The menu is by no means set, but I can promise there will be food and it will be good. I don’t think we’ll make another 15 pans of food, but will probably get some catered dishes supplemented by some homemade St. Calzone’s Day favorites: Spider Potatoes, Sausage, Peppers, and Onions, Beef Cutlets, Stuffed Shells,…
Anyways, mark your calendars for 3/20/2010 and I hope to see everyone for another great celebration!
With Sauce and Cheese,

find a voice

find a voice that makes you loud
for those refusing to hear
a voice that binds the friends you find
with those that aren’t quite so dear

find a voice that makes you proud
to shout out the feelings within
a voice that’s strong and never wrong
expression is always a win

find a voice that sets the tone
for those that walk by your side
a voice that carries a friend in need
or a stranger who’s trying to hide

find a voice that makes you known
to those not wanting to learn
the echoes will carry, the thoughts will remain
a flame that forever will burn

bogeys and birdies

Sports are great because they are all so unique. The rules, methods, people, challenges, results, rewards, feelings, and takeaways are all different depending on what you’re playing, who you’re playing with, and the level at which you are playing it.

Although I don’t play it nearly as much as I wish I could, I find golf to be one of the most intriguing and rewarding experiences. Here’s why:

The Pace – Slow and relaxing, there’s plenty of time to think about each shot and take in the surroundings.
The Science – Angles, calculations, rolls, spins, trajectories, and slopes all make it a mind game as much as it is a physical one.

The Atmosphere – With the aura around the clubhouse, concentration on each individual shot, and the interaction with nature, it’s always refreshing and relaxing.
The Landscape – The surroundings are always different with so many possibilities with weather, time, and season. Even on some cheaper public courses, the hills, trees, and sand always make an invigorating, lively piece of art and nature.
The Anticipation – Every shot might be the best shot. I sometimes freeze myself up before hitting a 8 or 9 iron because I begin to think I’m lined up so perfectly that I’m going to sink it. Then I’m already thinking about my reaction if I sink it. Then I can’t shoot at all and need to re-think my shot all over again. It’s a fun cycle of anticipation and anxiety.
The Goosebumps – Phil jumping after sinking his putt on 18 at the 2004 Masters. Tiger’s chip-in on 16 at the 2005 Masters. Goosebumps every time.

The Party – You can’t beat golfing with good friends… having good conversation, a good opportunity to meet new people, a good opportunity to build relationships, and a good opportunity to enjoy some beers, dogs, seeds, and cigars.
The Luck – I’m convinced that it’s not a purely mechanical game. There are some things you cannot calculate, such as the wind 75 yards away and 100 feet up or the surface moisture or dead spot 10 yards from the green. Therefore the rest of the game is filled in by luck – good bounces, rolls, gusts, and magical forces.
The Rules – It’s a game of honor, patience, and etiquette, and therefore helps guide life lessons. Noonan

The Unattainable – One always can improve. There is always more to learn, and every game is different. It never gets old and tomorrow is a new day. No one has ever hit an ace or eagle on every hole and that should make you strive to keep playing and improving. Most people have never hit an ace, and that alone gets me out there with excitement each time.

I’ll end with the best advice on golf I’ve received, from my cousin Kenny… Go through the same routine before and during every shot. Same steps, thoughts, swings, pauses, breaths, and time. With consistency comes improvement (and more manageable mistakes).
The Zen philosopher Basho once wrote, “A flute with no holes is not a flute. A donut with no hole is a danish.”
Photo 1: My whacked out swing at Rock Creek Golf Course, great photography from Benny T.
Photo 2: East Potomac (Blue) Golf Course on 5/30/2009, with my favorite tree in the world in world in front (Japanese Red Maple) and a nice Weeping Willow in the back left.

start using twitter

Overview What is it?
It’s an easy-to-use application that provides a unique method of networking, news gathering, and friend updates – all in an environment void of censorship or maybe professional restrictions (although there are some general guidelines to follow). Start by setting up your free account, editing settings, personalizing your page, and then researching the use a bit. TubbyBundle has a blog post that is a good resource for beginners, and hopefully the below info can help as well. As of the end of March 2009 there were over 9 million site visitors, a number more than twice that of Feb 09. It will grow more as an acquisition is close to integrating it with everyday Google products…

Definitions & Meanings What do I need to know?

Tweet – A single post of 140 characters or less using Twitter
Followers – People who follow your updates (depending on your settings, you can be open to the public, or require approval before someone becomes a follower)
Following – People whose updates you follow (depending on their setting, you may need to be approved before you can follow)

Mentions – Formerly known as “@Replies”, you can use the “@” symbol before a username to mention another twitter user in your tweet. Instead of mentioning that person by name, mention them by username using the “@” symbol before their username.
Re-Tweets – You can re-tweet something someone else posted. This is useful to spread a post to your network in cases where it may bring good value (and it properly cites the original user who posted it)
Direct Messages – You can write directly to another user that you follow (so nobody else can see that tweet but that user).
Hashtags – Unique way to follow certain topics. Follow the user “hashtags” and they will immediately request to follow you. Then the system can automatically index tags you apply to your tweets and you can follow other topics of your choosing. 
StrategyWhy am I using it and how will I use it?
Is this for business use or for personal use? Will I post news articles I find interesting? What topics would I consider interesting? Is there a niche to fill in my area of interest? Who do I want to be my audience i.e. who will I seek to follow? (news, NGOs, celebs, friends, strangers, experts, academics, etc). Consistencies are nice, but not absolutely necessary (punctuation, humor, cursing, tone, frequency, etc). In my opinion, the best strategy involves being multi-dimensional with some structure to your posts. Maintaining some level of frequency is important while using similar language/structure also helps portray your personality through each tweet, which is important to your followers. I like to post on math, science, me, hot topics, numbers, technology, blog posts, humor, sports, food, education, history. Wide range of stuff, but all within the realm of who I am. I like to post a few in the morning, few in the afternoon, and maybe in the evening on some sports or food or something of that sorts to bring the day to a close – an interesting way to decompress the day is to summarize in 140 characters – weird, right?
Additionally, link your Twitter account up with other social networking or personal applications such as Facebook, LinkedIn, personal blog, etc. Keep in mind the different audiences and who may have access to what you’re posting. If you’re Tommy Lee on Facebook but Martha Stewart on Twitter, either don’t link them or go see a psychiatrist.

Applications – What’s out there for me to use?
There are plenty of web applications, desktop applications, and phone applications to choose from. Check out the Twitter PBwiki page for a comprehensive listing. Some I’d recommend:

  • Web – Use the Twitter homepage or use Twitpic to post images.
  • Desktop – Spaz is a simple app to start if you don’t follow many people. TweetDeck is nice because you can categorize who you follow. I’d go with TweetDeck.
  • Phone – I use Twitterific on the iPhone. I’d change a lot of things on it but it works for now.

Other Resources

Spend some time on the Twitter PBwiki page listing additional resources. Click around on some as they are quite fun. Some good ways to find similar users in your location, follow topic trends, and find out how valuable your page really is. I won’t go through them all but I’ll list a few:
  • TweetValue – get a monetary value of your twitter page
  • Twitterank – see how your user rank gets better over time
  • TinyURL – shorten URLs to put in your tweets
  • Twitter Search – search the public timeline of tweets
  • TweetWheel – see connections b/n you and your friends
  • Twitter-Stats – see stats about you with a visual or two
  • WeFollow – user-generated Twitter directory
Visualization of those I follow and our shared connectivity (from TweetWheel)…
Lastly, have some fun finding value in Twitter. Go to the pages of your close friends and see who they follow, and follow them. Search on some topics and find people who post regularly on topics of interest. Find the news organizations you watch on TV. Find similar users in your area. Don’t follow everyone, but you’ll have the ability to build a network of direct contacts and a feed of real-time info that should be engaging and interesting to you as a daily web user.

st calzones day

So quick little post on the origin and the meaning of St Calzones Day. This year is the 6th annual St Calzones Day celebration, and looks to be the largest celebration to date. It started back in 2004 with Ben Woolley and I having a light discussion that turned into a wild night of fun and laughter. Despite a long night’s sleep that night, we remembered the ideals on which our initial discussion took place and characterized the day as a celebration to continue. And so, St Calzones Day was born.
Throughout the years, we have defined it to be a celebration of the Three F’s: Friends, Fun, and Food. It is to occur on whichever weekend in March works best for the most amount of people, and is really not bound by anything more. There are some traditions that have stuck, including the passing of the calzone, drinking of the wine, wearing of the jerseys, breaking of the Carlo Rossi, and tunes of Lou Monte. Each year usually brings something new including a secret swap of new jerseys, presentations on calzonius topics, games such as trivia, and new items on the menu.

I must say that this is my favorite day of the year and truly represents the happiness that should always be shared amongst friends. For those of you that could not make it this year, we hope to see you in celebrations to come!

With Sauce And Cheese,

Mister Pepperoni Chef