February 2018

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On Monday morning, I had the pleasure of attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newest branch of the Blind Tiger Café and Ella Bing Haberdashery, two establishments that share a space in Tampa’s SoHo neighborhood.

Roberto Torres, outside the Blind Tiger Café in Ybor City.

This Blind Tiger is the third branch of Roberto Torres’ café (the other two branches are in Ybor and Seminole Heights), and like the other two, they serve fantastic coffee that they roast in-house (I’m especially fond of their nitro cold brew), tea from TeaBella, and Mother Kombucha in a wonderful setting. Unlike the other two branches, this one has food offerings, including some incredibly addictive guava-and-cheese pastries that I had to tear myself away from.

Here’s what Roberto had to say about the food in the Tampa Bay Times:

“We wanted to elevate our offerings at our newest location,” Torres says. “So we decided to do food. We hired 22-year-old chef Reilly Bierhaus, from Bloomington, Ind. He attended Tante Marie Culinary Academy in London. He graduated with a Cordon Bleu diploma and after graduation went to work at Duck & Waffle in the United Kingdom. He came back to the U.S. and wanted to find a challenge.”

That challenge is cool spins on traditional cafe fare: Bierhaus is making gluten-free muffins and vegan cookies and there are signature breakfast sandwiches, acai bowls, quinoa salad and celebrations of indigenous Tampa foods like guava and cheese pastries.

Brent Kraus and his bowties.

Ella Bing Haberdashery is the brick-and-mortar version of Brent Kraus’ store for gentlemen’s accessories, which include beautiful bowties — some made of cloth, some made of hand-carved wood — sunglasses (all made of wood and sold in cigar boxes), hats, socks, cufflinks and other accoutrements for the well-dressed, or those who aim to be.

The ideation workshop at the Dali Museum, April 2017. Click to see it at full size.

Now that the Blind Tiger/Ella Bing joint store is open, I can now talk about: I participated in an ideation workshop for it at the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg last April. Facilitated by Nathan Schwagler, the founding co-director of the Dali’s Innovation Lab, it was a two-day workshop in which I and about 18 other locals helped brainstorm ideas and concepts for Roberto and Brent.

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The stores were packed with friends, well-wishers, media, chamber of commerce, and even governmental types that morning to have coffee, try on some bowties and sunglasses, and take part in the various opening ceremonies.

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Our local Congressperson Kathy Castor, representative for Florida’s 14th congressional district (“the fighting 14th!”) was there to take part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony and present the businesses with an American flag that has flown over congress.

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Castor praised both Brent and Roberto for their hard work and its beautiful outcome, and pointed out that the Blind Tiger is just one example of what immigrants (Roberto came to the U.S. from Panama) can do. She also reminded the crowd that immigrants are twice as likely to start a business and are disproportionately involved in entrepreneurial activities.

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I had a chance to talk with Ms. Castor. I told her about my upcoming trip to D.C. to do an augmented reality programming workshop and tutorial at RWDevCon, my plans to tour around D.C., and to try the guava-cheese pastries. She was kind enough to pose with me for the photo above, which I’m including in the portfolio for my Green Card “re-up” interview next year.

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With the ceremonies concluded and a delicious Blind Tiger iced coffee in hand, it was time to get down to the second part of my mission: checking out Ella Bing’s wares and getting a pair of their wooden sunglasses. Ella Bing’s shades are handmade from different kinds of wood — bamboo, walnut, redwood, ebony, and zebrawood — and they stand out.

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I think it’s been long enough since Tucker Carlson stopped wearing bowties that they’re no longer ruined. It may be time for me to pick up a couple of Ella Bing’s gorgeous ties. And maybe some socks. And cufflinks. And a hat. I worry that I’m going to end up dropping a lot of money at this place.

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In the end, I went with a nice chocolate-colored pair of shades. I’m going to have to ask Brent what kind of wood these are made of. They package them in an old cigar box (an homage to one of Tampa’s original businesses), and while I took it, I opted to wear them out of the store (with the tag removed, of course). Shades this nice have to be worn!

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What’s on Ulysses Klaue’s mix tape?

by Joey deVilla on February 22, 2018

There’s a scene in Black Panther where the secondary villain, Ulysses Klaue (played by Andy Serkis), where he offers CIA agent Everett Ross (played by Serkis’ fellow Hobbit co-star Martin Freeman) a link to his Soundcloud mix tape. Later on, when interrogated, Klaue breaks into the early ’90s one-hit wonder hit, singing the “Don’t hurt me” refrain from What is Love by Haddaway.

These two little bits led me to wonder: what else is on Klaue’s mixtape? A number of fans are wondering too, so I though I’d put together this best guess. For those of you who didn’t know, I was a DJ at Crazy Go Nuts University in the early ’90s, so I know this stuff pretty well…

Haddaway — What is Love

KWS — Please Don’t Go

2 Unlimited — Get Ready for This

Urban Cookie Collective — The Key, The Secret

Black Box — Everybody Everybody

Crystal Waters — Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)

2 in a Room — Wiggle It

Snow — Informer

Betty Boo — Doin’ the Do

Kris Kross – Jump

Messiah — Temple of Dreams

Rebel MC — Street Tuff

C&C Music Factory — Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)

Utah Saints

Sir Mix-a-Lot — Baby Got Back

Culture Beat — Mr. Vain

Right Said Fred — I’m Too Sexy

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It’s a lovely day at the Sourcetoad office…

by Joey deVilla on February 16, 2018

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…and it was also a great day for a walk (as you may have learned from an earlier post of mine, walking breaks are good for you and your productivity). I took these photos around Sourcetoad’s office complex around noon.

I hope your Friday’s going well!

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Click the photo to see it at full size.

Click the photo to see it at full size.

Click the photo to see it at full size.

Click the photo to see it at full size.

Click the photo to see it at full size.

Click the photo to see it at full size.

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Our incredibly concise “Black Panther” review

by Joey deVilla on February 15, 2018

Oh yeah, go see it. Anitra and I enjoyed it greatly.

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The school shooting in Parkland, Florida will mark the 8th school shooting in the U.S. in 2018 resulting in injury or death. If that number seems low to you, please remember that we’re just seven weeks into the year.

Tweet from Marco Rubio: 'Just spoke to Broward School Superintendent. Today is that terrible day you pray never comes.'

Click to see the original tweet.

Tweet from Terron Moore: 'marco rubio has received $3,303,355 from the NRA (and counting)'

Click to see the original tweet.

Article from 'The Onion': ‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens

Click to see the original article.

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Valentine’s day at Sourcetoad

by Joey deVilla on February 14, 2018

Card featuring Chewbacca featuring 'Be my copilot!', a lollipop, and 4 Lindt chocolates.

Here’s what was on my desk at the Sourcetoad office this morning. It’s one of a constant stream of many little things the company does to make it a nice place to work.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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This Valentine’s Day, give her what she really wants

by Joey deVilla on February 9, 2018

Poster on telephone pole: 'This Valentine’s Day, give her what she really wants: A THRONE FORGED FROM THE BONES OF HER ENEMIES AND A RELENTLESS REIGN OF TERROR OVER THE MASSES'

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