Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Your guide to eating cheap including tips, recipes and techniques

Archives for In The News

1/8/11 | Whoops

[ Currently Eating: Broken Permalinks ]

Ugh. Sorry for everyone who’s been getting either a blank page, or being redirected to the home page when viewing the Cheap Eats site. I had a bit of a problem with a failed WordPress upgrade, which left files out here and there. I fixed that after some grief last week, but neglected to re-do the permalinks – so everything was redirecting to the main page! I only discovered that this morning and fixed it.

I’m not very familiar with how search engines take that kind of mistake – a week’s worth of redirecting all indexed pages to the home page. But, I guess we’ll see how it goes. Supposedly, a website like ours that’s been up and running for 5 plus years should have some sort of “forgiveness” factor for major screwups like that. But we’ll see – if it turns out the site goes back down to very low traffic, I guess I’ll revisit the concerns from my previous post.

OK, go back to your lunch of bologna on bread…

Also – sorry this post was so serious and contained no inflammatory puns, science fiction wankling or Vonnegut/PKD inside jokes. I will try to make up for it in the next post.

9/12/10 | Chicken Meatballs

[ Currently Eating: The Big Island ]

Well, seeing as I have to skedaddle (and just try looking up where that word came from), let me leave you here with a picture of chicken meatballs on sticks. I’ve been trying to find a good recipe for them, along with a non-sweet sauce to dip them in, so let me know if you know of one.

Actually, wait a couple weeks to send your recipe. That’s cause we’re skedaddling off on vacation. Where we’ll go, no one will know. Or actually: try wait we going go. I come back bumbye. I would elaborate, but I’m afraid of further butchering the language.

We’re hitting the mothership. Well, one of the motherships. Perhaps a half or quarter mothership, or just an adoptive mothership in theory, but one that has a special meaning anyhow.

This post has been brought to you by the words “skedaddle” and “mothership“.

What, pau already.

8/24/10 | Yellowtail Sashimi

[ Currently Eating: Non-Salmonellized Omlette ]

Breaking news flash: Over the past couple weeks, I’ve finally started to slightly enjoy sashimi, i.e. raw fish.

And it only took me 38 years.

This will certainly help with my J credibility. I’m sort of an “egg” – or is it a banana? Still heavily anti-wasabi but I’ve slowly come around on the raw fish thing. I guess it doesn’t hurt that this is probably the freshest yellowtail sashimi I’ve ever had – it was probably swimming (minding its own fishy business) around 2 days ago. I know, because my dad caught it – or rather, caught like 15 of them.

This is not an isolated incident.

Maybe I took it for granted, but we’ve always had this kind of fresh fish. If it wasn’t my dad or relatives, it was his friends. I still live with this crazy fish-flinging culture that’s always been more the rule than the exception. “Oh, you’ve been a great friend – here, have a whole albacore tuna.”

I still remember high school friends being bug-eyed at an enormous 7 pound plate of sashimi. Oh, I understood how much it would cost if you bought it at a sushi shop. Probably hundreds of dollars. I could only smile and nod, while secretly wishing for a big plate of fried chicken with a side of mac and cheese instead .

Hard knock life, eh?

I mean, I could eat a piece if I was forced to. I just didn’t see why it was so great. Since it was so expensive, I felt it was my sacred duty to abstain from eating as much of it as I could so that other people could enjoy it. More for them. Imagine your parents own a saffron farm, but you really don’t like the taste of saffron. Now replace “saffron” with “sashimi”, “farm” with “catch”, and re-order the words around variously and welcome to my world.

I know: sux to be me.

Something in my brain, maybe an anti-sashimi brain slug, has caused me to take a pass on raw fish for all these years. I don’t know what it is, but suddenly I’m sort of OK with a few pieces. Maybe all the Jack Daniels we’ve been sampling at Friday night’s dinner-with-the-folks has finally neutralized (or pickled) the anti-sashimi brain slug.

In any case, I’m also sorta proud that I actually sliced up the sashimi shown above from a huge slab of the yellowtail. Just call me Morimoto.

Nothing else to report today.

Move along.

[Editor's Note: No anti-sashimi brain slugs were hurt in the making of this post. Some slabs of yellowtail, however, were slightly mangled.]

[ Currently Eating: Upgrade Soup ]

Great Things are afoot. Or, more likely, Things Have Changed Forcing Me To Finally Get Off My Ass And Upgrade Stuffs.

You know how it goes.

Well, maybe I should explain. Last week the Cheap Eats website went kablooey. Thank Jeebus it happened on a Saturday, when traffic was at a lull. In any case, this was entirely the fault of the server that this site lives on. Some flag of some sort went “ding” (or more likely the site tripped it, or some over-zealous, newly-hired employee decided to bust our balls), and we started getting 500 server timeouts.

I ended up having to upgrade the WordPress that this site runs on. Let me just say that this has been a LONG time in coming. You’re not going to believe how old the previous WordPress version was. That part was my fault. But I have my reasons.

Most importantly, I just hate to be told what to do.

I’ve been accused, by my parents no less, of having what some bears or giraffes (or extinct dodo birds) may call a “Hard Head“. That is to say, if you tell me I ABSOLUTELY need to do something, my first response is to say, “Why?” My second response is to ask all sorts of annoying questions. My third response is often to delay the inevitable.

Basically, I will go far, far out of my way to avoid doing something you tell me I have to do.

I am not a team player.

So let’s talk about WordPress. Amazing, amazing open source software that is currently caught up with pleasing all the teeny weeny 15 year old bloggers who want to talk about Miley Cyrus’s magical Diplodocus. (What’s that you say, there IS no magical Diplodocus? Damn damn damn.) Upgrades every 3 weeks, plugins to put a single line of text into your blog, and AJAX Oh My.

I have hoisted myself with my grubby middle-aged hands up onto my soapbox.

[Editor's Note: Now is about the time you should tune out in case you are allergic to boring rants.]

Whatever happened to writing a few lines of text in a program to do something you want, instead of complaining to the community to get that new Facebook plugin sidebar doohickey into the next upgrade? (Don’t get me started on how much I hate Facebook or how many people have asked me if I’ve joined yet.)

Me, I just want to write some crap every 2 or 3 weeks. This crap, if people like it, may be commented upon. People can also visit old archived crap if they wish. If they wish to contact me, they may use a crap form. Also, if you happen to have a laptop, you may read my crap while you take a crap of your own on the crapper.

La la la la It’s simple, and it works.

I seriously believe, if it ain’t broken, then by Ganesha’s wonderful elephanty trunk, Don’t Fricken Fix It!

We all have better things to do than worry about upgrading, or whether or not something is breaking in the custom code that I’ve written. Like go and eat a mythical KFC Double Down today. (I time travelled back 5 days to get the picture above – you like?)

Yes, I know you’re saying – “But WordPress has the auto-upgrade thingy so you don’t need to worry.”

Let me tell you, young grasshopper, that I used to have over 50 different WordPress sites. This was before WordPress MU days, or at least before it worked well. If you have ANY sort of custom code in your blogs, be prepared to update it manually and continually, whenever the WordPress geniuses decide they need to roll out another Miley Cyrus-centric update.

Yes, I know that the majority of this code will be contained in the theme if you’re smart. And oh sure, you can rely on plugins, but that’s even worse. What the bollocks do you do when a plugin that is essential to your site becomes incompatible with the “new” version of wordpress? It happens more often than you think – wiz kid plugin author gets bored / gets a job / gets laid / gets married / gets religion / gets greedy / gets drunk. It isn’t a question of IF it will happen. It’s a question of WHEN it will happen. There is no money to be made in free plugins.

To make a long story longer – I was pretty happy sitting around with the WordPress 2.0.11 branch, which the WordPress Gods had decided not to upgrade any longer, but would support as far as security updates went until 2010 (I think that was back in 2007 or so). Well, then they decided to go against their word and throw in the towel long before they said they would. And I decided to say “F-em”. I decided that the probability of some hackologist figuring out some new exploit in WordPress 2.0.11 was so unlikely that if they could do that, they would probably try to take over the world instead a la Pinky and the Brain.

La la la la website stopped working last week.

Well, I decided to upgrade at the same time I fixed the mess. It turned out that quite a few people visit this little blog, more than I had realized. (I have no idea why any people other than my food reviewer friends would visit – there’s so many better options out there.) As such, it was wonking major gremlins with the shared server that it sits on. The solution was turning the dynamic pages (yes, WordPress pages are usually dynamically served) into cached static pages. But it was way too difficult for me, with just my old Electrical Engineering degree, to figure out how to do it. And the plugin required me to upgrade.

La la la la so I upgraded the bizatch.

I wasn’t happy about it, though. In fact, I was VERY unhappy about it since it cost me a whole Saturday and half of Sunday. You have won this round Matt Mullenswag, but I will be coming for you with fricken bells a buzzin’. And I will be taking no prisoners. I will strike you down with great vengeance and then make you eat my poo.

What I’ve done is remove all plugins that were “unnecessary”. Plugin authors who decide not to support their plugins any longer are the Absolut vodka bane of my existence. It drives me crazy. There should be a law against it.

So I’ve vowed (I’ve vowed this many times in the past, but always cave in when some new cool Miley Cyrus quote plugin comes about) to use as few plugins as possible, so that I don’t have to pull out my non-existent hair when I have to upgrade yet again to satisfy the WordPress Gods.

La la la la now I only wish they would get rid of that idiotic Hello Dolly plugin once and for all.

So, finally, this is what it has to do with you, dear reader or readerette. The site may look a little different, but hopefully all the main functions are there. I purposely waited a week to say anything, just to make sure. One of the main changes is that I had to get rid of the Poll plugin, and I don’t really want to find a new one, unless it is completely 100% independent of the core code. I just don’t want to have to worry about not being able to upgrade the poll in the future. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. But please remember it has to be 100% independent of the stupid WordPress core code.

I’ll be holding my breath quite literally everytime there is an upgrade. Because who knows what monkeys they’ll throw into the wrench. But other than that, reviews and such should continue as they have previously. I’ve settled into one post every 1-3 weeks. Seems OK to me. I get mail every so often from a new razzafrazz jumpin’-at-the-bit food blogger who seems to think that it’s an afront to the senses to post less than once a day. Let me tell you, young Beeblebrox, that you will learn that it’s quality and not quantity that will contribute to your longevity in the blogosphere. And no, I won’t link your new blog unless you give me $1,583,302. And 35 cents.

I guess what it comes down to is: I Fear Change. I hate changing things up. I want people to listen to LP records and cassette tapes again, heck even listen to CDs. I want my Wendy’s Pasta Bar back. I want my McDLT. I want Carl’s Jr. not to suck ballz. I want Facebook to die a horrible death.

I guess that a food blog that doesn’t keep evolving is eventually bound for the Internet Archive Death Star graveyard. But know that you stormtroopers will have to drag me there kicking and screaming.

La la la la la Hooray Cheap Eats is running again.

12/17/09 | A Little Break

[ Currently Eating: Time Sandwich ]

Hi there Cheap Eaters – sorry for the unannounced posting delay(s). I had a few products lined up for review, but one thing after another has conspired to keep them from being talked about. Actually, my shoulder-back issue has been acting up as well, so that’s another reason I’ll be staying away for a bit. I might return to posting before the Ticktockman ticks (and no, I will not repent), but if not, I’d like to wish everyone a happy new year! Thanks again for reading Cheap Eats ~ Bryan

7/8/09 | On Vacay…

[ Currently Eating: Bread and Stuff ]

Hi there Cheap Eaters. Just wanted to let you know that I’ll be on break for at least a few weeks. I didn’t feel like rewriting the post about the whole vacation thingy, so you can read more about it on Cheaplander.

OK, I’ll see you all in a bit!

[ Currently Eating: Kiwi ]

UW - Cheap Eats at BloglanderThe United Way is kicking off a $25 Grocery Challenge starting today. I’m actually not sure how nationwide this event will be, since the only information I could find about it was on the blog of the Northwest Arkansas chapter of the United Way. I actually think it might be a local PR event, just for Arkansas.

But in any case, I won’t be participating.

It’s not that I think it isn’t a worthwhile effort. We could easily pull it off here at Cheap Eats HQ – beans and rice and dollar store and repeat. This is a really great way to raise community awareness about how hard it is to subsist on the type of food income that someone on food stamps might get in your region. The participants have to limit themselves to not spending more than $25 for one week on food. Sort of a limited hunger strike.

In other words, it’s a very, very noble and nice stunt.

At the end of the week, I can see a lot of people just turning around and eating their usual kobe beef, caviar, foie gras and $1000 24k gold foil wrapped hamburgers.

Goshy, I’m such a heartless cynic.

Seriously, I think it’s a great gesture and good publicity (and karma) will certainly be forthcoming. I just think that doing this as an example for only one week isn’t as good as showing moderation on food spending throughout the year. What people who are subsisting on food stamps need to see ISN’T Mr. Rich Fatcat slumming it for one week on $1 chicken sandwiches. They need to see better behavior on food spending in general by the public: you go out to an expensive restaurant only on special occasions, try and cook more often at home and don’t buy expensive food you don’t need or want. If you want to show solidarity with food poverty, donate money to one of the causes that fight hunger.

(Accidentally falls down off of rickety soapbox before people can point and say “what a hypocrite”.)



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