Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Will You Marry Me and Tweet About it?

Twitter messages about my wedding
Photo via Mark Hillary's Flickr. It seems he broadcasted his wedding on Twitter.

It's a leap year, which means folks have come up with all kinds of excuses to do whacky things on February 29, including women proposing marriage to men. This got me thinking, of course. The sad truth is that there's no one in this God forsaken dramaville we live in I'd want to marry. Or maybe they're all married. Or maybe I'm in the deep friend zone with most guys to want to marry them. Or maybe they're medicated. Or they're gay. Or maybe ... maybe, so many maybes.

This got me thinking more, of course. As we all know, no one person can fulfill all your needs, carnal or otherwise. What if I could build the perfect man from all my Twitter friends? So I'm giving myself 15 minutes to come up with a list, stream-of-consciousness style ... no editing!

1. I'd marry @sfdb because he can compile editorial in a regular, orderly fashion, likes cool cars and vacations in Colorado.

2. I'd marry @mikelamonica because if we had kids -- oh hell, they'd be stunners! -- but more importantly he could take nice pictures of them and write a sweet, heartfelt blog post.

3. I'd marry @ivanmladenovic because he could fix my computer. Oh and he has a super cool last name that is fun to pronounce with an Eastern European accent.

4. I'd marry @grantstern because he hates Walmart and makes shit happen in the the community.

5. I'd marry @ipanemic because he could photoshop my ass and make me look like a porn star.

6. I'd marry @freddystebbins because he makes me pee in my pants with laughter.

7. I'd marry @mklopez because he drives like a Jedi warrior and there isn't a damn thing he wouldn't do to help me.

8. I'd marry @bradaschenck because he once wrestled an alligator.

9. I'd marry @carlosmiller because he's a great storyteller and friend. I'd marry him in jail, of course.

10. I'd marry @alexdc because he could keep me on track with my diet.

11. I'd marry @brianbreslin just for the cute dimple. No, wait, he could he could also design an iPhone app for me.

12. I'd marry @sean_ohanlon because he loves algae and has the nicest goatee I've seen in Miami.

13. I'd marry all the brothers @beachedmiami after moving to a polygamous community, because they can write so well and are so damn cute you just want to pinch all their cheeks. And I'm not talking about their faces, either.

Ooops! 15 minutes are up! If you didn't make it to the list, don't worry. You are all a wonderful bunch. Thanks for being the guys in my life, even if we aren't married.

Now please retweet this post.

So ladies, what do you think of my frankenhusband? Feel free to leave a comment below on your favorite Twitter guys.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

It's Like Gravy on the Chicken: Comedy Improv on the Streets of Hialeah

"People judge you for being beautiful. Unlike a lot of people, I don't care about my looks. It's all about being genuine." -- Lizette, part-time cargo flight attendant who is registered at FIU.

One of the best experiences I've had lately is filming improvisation comedian @freddystebbins in Hialeah as part of the Yo Soy Hialeah project. The out takes -- these particular two scenes -- were precious B Roll that will end up on the cutting room floor for the "clean" version; however, they can definitely have a life of their own here.

Thanks to @oscarpiloto for taking camera duty after two hours because I was literally peeing in my pants holding the mic -- ok maybe not literally -- but you tell me after you see the video above. And thanks to the staff at discount stores ño que barato! and ño que caché for putting up with us.

That Camera Is Holding a Hot Guy
Oscar Piloto held the camera on the second round. The steady stick helps.

Hello? Clean Your Headlamps!
Get your headlamps cleaned, bro.

When Lizette lights up, you just can't help but laugh.

Here are ten things I love about Lizette:

1. She works part-time for Air Miami Cargo, which ferries chickens and Blockbuster Video items on "non stops" [sic] flights to Tallahassee which is less than a couple of hours away by aircraft -- and she gets FREE flights to that ultimate tourism destination, Tampa. While in Tallahassee, she stays overnight at the Quince de Fiesta hotel, which is really close to the outlet mall.

2. She is the daughter of a bearded woman who worked in a circus in Santiago De Cuba in order for her children to get scholarships at FIU.

3. She freely admits to her hormonal problem and she appreciates the candor of her friends.

4. She uses CHANE not CHANEL facial foundation, which she purchased in Hialeah. It does the trick.

5. She breaks down and cries like a regular, normal human being when she talks about her challenging relationship with her ex-husband, Lazaro, with whom she had a child.

6. She's not afraid to call the camera guy a faggot. Or the street pole, for that matter. (For the record, the camera guy is not a faggot.)

7. She's a PROFESSIONAL WOMAN but she's not technically going to FIU.

8. She believes the best sex organ is the brain, but it's ok to be good looking on the outside, too. That's an extra bonus. Ladies, how's that for your self-esteem corny quote of the day?

9. She's the only woman in Miami-Dade who gets a pubic waxing job on lay-away. "$120 for the whole procedures [sic]. I have stubble, but at least I don't have HAIR, you know what I mean? Whatever."

10. She lives in Kendall.

Sigh … I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Miami Captured: Fresh Fish Five Dollars a Pound

Fish Vendor on Miller Road

Move over South Beach Food and Wine Festival ... here's a real Miami culinary story. Yesterday, my actor and I were driving north on the Palmetto to film in Hialeah. Our crew member called to report his car had broken down, so in order to fetch him, we took a detour down Miller Road.

And then we saw this.

Only in Miami, folks: five dollars a pound on the corner of a gas station for this beautiful red snapper. I believe the plump street vendor himself was not for sale, although he'd probably command a good price if he were by the pound, too.

My favorite snapper recipe is simple. Lightly coat a fillet with egg and dip in flour, cook in frying pan with butter until done. Remove fish. Add mango slices followed by cream, a few dashes of cayenne pepper and finish off with fresh chopped cilantro. Pour over fish. Buen provecho!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Miami Captured: Metrorail

Metrorail on Miami Heat Game Day

I've taken it upon myself to use a lot more Miami-Dade and South Florida public transportation lately. And with that extra time on my hands, of course Instagram and its friendly street photography capability keeps me entertained. Expect a few photos here from the gritty, dirty side of town from time to time.

Taking Metrorail on a Heat game day is a riot, especially on the way back. Mind you, it's not that I go to the American Airlines Arena, but all my fellow train passengers do. I don't know what's more fun -- the idea of a basketball game itself or the crazy drunk people, some even puking on the platform like the high school girl who couldn't handle the freshman frat party. Oh and that one time I rode on the train with parrotheads after a Jimmy Buffet concert at the triple A? That was pure entertainment. All for a mere $2. Somebody should open a bar at the Government Center track.

I must say, the train these days is usually always packed. If anyone says Miamians don't use public transport, they're full of it.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Silicone Bitch: No Rest for the Social Media Weary

News and notes about the South Florida social media and blogging scene, with a little tech thrown in for good measure. And maybe some other random events, too.

WordCamp Wordpress Engine
Super cute geeks from WP Engine were giving out t-shirts and basic free hosting to WordCamp attendees this weekend.

No sooner did HeartCamp end than a flurry of activity ensued with Social Media Week, WordCamp and BarCamp taking place in a span of seven days, in some cases overlapping. There was definitely no sabbath for the hardcore last week.

Yours truly is still recovering from HeartCamp plus one panel and one presentation on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. Here are a few thoughts on last week's social media orgy -- three very different yet somewhat related conferences done in three very different ways.


A packed house at Social Media Week for the Real and Organic Panel. Photo by Soul of Miami.

Social Media Week was great to attend either virtually through the hashtag (#smwmiami) and/or in person at the beautiful Arsht Center in downtown Miami. A full week of panels with diverse professionals from all walks of life made this a cross between a curated conference and a free camp style unconference. Some folks complained it was too 101 (good point) but it seems that the audience was hungry for information at that level. (Yours truly was on a panel with colleagues, Keeping Social Media Real and Organic, to a packed house. Check out the live stream recording.)

There were fabulous parties, too, some officially organized through the event host BRPR group at the Mandarin and Betsy hotels, as well as one rogue tweetup by the Miami Rat Pack ("drinkers with a social media problem").

Kudos to the BRPR Group for organizing this intense week of panels. Pulling this off ain't easy, so it's very much appreciated.

Yet Silicone Bitch is not so sure the idea of a Social Media Week should even be an entire week. While the idea of Social Media Week is brilliant -- founded and owned by Crowdcentric in New York City -- each community should really tweak to its own needs. In Miami, workshops from beginner to advanced, as well as solo presenters, would have been useful.

Also, something so broad as this shouldn't be owned by any one particular agency but designed with community think tank -- including local chapters of Social Media Club -- in what could very well become Miami's own version of SXSW if you throw in WordCamp and BarCamp. This week had "interactive" written all over it. And while many panels at Social Media Week Miami were crowdsourced, voting SXSW style by attendees would have provided community vetting. Silicone Bitch is also beyond perplexed why the Social Media Week Miami Facebook Page has a closed wall. Isn't it all about community sharing?

Silicone Bitch feels that while we have made great strides in Miami's social media community, there is still too much division between the public relations agencies that are selling social media services and those who are actually pioneers in the movement or are have just been simply living social media. No one is a guru, remember?

We should work together, not apart. Social media is open source in nature. Let's not forget the original mantra of Social Media Club: "If you get it, share it."


Ah, the beauty of WordPress.

And speaking of open source, WordCamp Miami gathered WordPress novices and professionals from all over the country, featuring a beginner's track on Friday followed by sessions the next day for beginners, power users and developers. All curated sessions included blogging basics, community building, using BuddyPress and widgets, networking skills for geeks, how to avoid and recover from a site hack and all kinds of code technique that's even way over Silicone Bitch's head. What's the beauty of open source? You can see slide versions of many presentations even if you couldn't attend. Yours truly posted her Blogging Basics presentation over at SlideShare.

It wasn't all just shop talk. Great times followed at Bougainvillea's in South Miami where many of the geeks gathered for cocktails.


The truest of the true -- a complete unconference schedule.

Back-to-back with WordCamp, BarCamp finished off the weekend with a full day of talks at Miami Dade College downtown in the true camp style, followed by a happy hour at Amuse Lounge. Speakers who showed up discussed Pinterest, career coaching, a beta social search called Tawlk, social networks, Startup Bus and even mental health, plus so much more. What really impressed Silicone Bitch this year was the diversity of the audience -- it wasn't just your wonderful software and game developers but also folks from legal, law enforcement and other industries not necessarily related to this kind of tech. The cross-pollination was refreshing.

Even more impressive? The event was fully crowdsourced in about three weeks, with no website other than an Eventbrite host page. Over 400 people signed up.

Thanks to Social Media Week Miami, WordCamp and BarCamp organizers and volunteer teams for giving us an intense week of activities.


Don't forget: Superconf and Refresh Miami are this week.

Yours truly is working with a hotel partner in Key Largo to plan a SOCIAL MEDIA WEEKEND sometime this year either before or after the SXSE tweetup. This will probably be in the community crowdsourced, unconference camp style though some sessions may or may not be curated. Any agency or individual interested in more information or being part of a think tank, please follow @sxse. Everyone is welcome to participate.

We missed adding She Streams to our last post about upcoming social media events and conferences. It takes place in Fort Lauderdale, March 30 to 31. Yours truly will be on a panel on producing quality content. Details to follow.


Got anything newsworthy coming up? Don't forget to pitch me by email (find it via my profile). Silicone Bitch loves to hear about what cool things you are doing and we can also feature you on my co-hosted radio show at Social Chats.

If you were part of all or any of these events, please feel free to share below in comments -- anything you want, including links to other posts about the events.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hot Italian Sommelier Comes to Miami

Matteo Tosso, Award-Winning 2012 Espresso Italian Sommelier
It was a pleasure to break bread and clink a glass with Matteo Tosso, Italy's best sommelier, according to Guida Espresso.

I may not have a Valentine this year, but I did get to enjoy a media lunch with hottie Matteo Tosso at Anacapri in Coral Gables last week. Though young, Matteo has earned the prestigious rank of Best Sommelier from the Guida L'ESPRESSO 2012 -- it's the European version of Wine Spectator, but in a more beautiful language.

And speaking of language, nothing could top the day after listening to Matteo, his girlfriend (yes, of course he's taken!) and a Beni Di Batasolio winery rep wax poetically about the wines in English inflected with the lilting, lyrical tones of that ancient tongue.

Our actual tongues were none the worse for wear either, as we sipped several varieties of wine from the Barolo region of Piedmonte in northwest Italy. Matteo is the sommelier at La Rei, a restaurant attached to Il Boscareto, a luxury property in this wooded, hilly area. Even at the tender age of 26, Matteo has over ten years of hospitality and wine studies under his belt.

Now, to be fair, I haven't been to Il Boscareto, so I can't write about it. But after having lunch with these folks, I did feel transported to my own mental movie script -- think a cross between Under the Tuscan Sun and Eat, Pray, Love with some very delicious ending. And the Barbaresco wine with Anacapri's hearty spaghetti and meatballs didn't hurt. In fact, I may have to reconsider my opinion of Scarpetta's spaghetti, as a good red wine goes so well with a truly meaty meatball -- a meatball with substance.

During lunch, we spoke of romantic picnics, sneaking away to make love in the vineyards and the aphrodisiac properties of white truffles -- expensive and exclusive to the Barolo region. By dessert time, my Coral Gables repast had turned into a much needed Italian vacation for my imagination.

Barbadesco Wine with Spaghetti and Meatballs
A tough job but somebody has to carb load.

But it wasn't all sexy talk and it wasn't all noodles. My favorite red was the Briccolina, somewhat dry yet fruity and sweet enough to make a great accompaniment for our third course, grilled steak and arugula.

Which got me thinking: what's a sexy drink for Valentine's Day? The sweet Moscato D'Asti with fresh peaches and lemon gelato might be a good way to start or end the evening. Heck, any evening for that matter, when love is in the air. You can find Batasolio winery selections at Milam's, Crown Liquors, Epicure, Doral Wine and Spirits and of course, at Anacapri restaurants.

Don't be surprised if this story continues with a dispatch from Italy later this year. Sex and the Beach loves to cover romantic travel anywhere near or around a body of water, but I think a good glass of Barolo could count as a liquid equivalent. If I can't find a husband in Miami, maybe there's one abroad waiting to give me big baci e abbracci sometime in the future, which reminds me, I need to renew my passport!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Don't Give Up Matheson Hammock to Developers

My Idea of Urban Beach Week ...

UPDATE: Save Matheson Hammock PHOTO DAY scheduled for Sunday, March 4 at 2 PM.


About three weeks ago, I attended a presentation at the exclusive Gables Club condo with the big players behind the Matheson Hammock dry dock development behind the helm. Coral Gables architect Richard Heisenbottle presided with a Powerpoint and lobbyist Dusty Melton was in the room. Front man Nick Buoniconti was there too, as well opposition activist Charles Girtman and a handful of residents and boat slip owners.

I intended to write a more investigative journalist piece on this issue. I took over 10 pages of notes. But it's impossible for me to not get personal. I'm exhausted too and at the end of the day, I'm only going to write from my heart.

I will, however, give you my take-away and my bottom line: It's not about this boat warehouse facility, it's about where it could be built.

And it certainly isn't about the common good. This is about money in developer's pockets. And if developers can be selfish, so can I.


Stillness is Serenity

I don't have children. I have no legacy. But I do have Matheson Hammock Park.

I have the wily raccoons that greet me when I walk through the marina uninterrupted and unthreatened by fork lifts.

I have the clank, clank of ropes against the masts of sailboats, with the sound of nothing else, which I dearly love.

I have the sound of that crazy parrot that chirps like mad during twilight. I think it lives on someone's boat.

I have feral blue and gold macaws flying overhead, speaking of birds.

I have breathtaking moonrises.

I have the memories of fishing for reds or bones with light tackle, wading in the south end of the park.

I have the thrilling anticipation that I might see a crocodile on said wading beach. Just maybe. Please!

I have the herons and gallinules and seagulls and pelicans and terns I have come to consider quiet friends in my afternoon walks.

I have the myriad of tidal variations I have observed day to day while circling the lagoon on foot. No day or hour is ever the same at Matheson Hammock Park.

I have the memories of romantic picnics.

I have the boundless variations of light that each glorious sunset brings with Matheson's palm trees to frame my blessed view of the universe.

I have the sound of manatees and dolphins coming up for air.

I have the sweet yet musky smell of mangroves, not the smell of diesel and oil.

I have the memory of an alligator that I once photographed in the pond.

I have the experience of walking under the moss-covered oak trees, which is always magical.

I have the peace, quiet and serenity that makes this park a respite from Miami's hectic energy.

For pete's sake, Matheson Hammock is one of the reasons I moved back to South Miami after living in the concrete jungle of Miami Beach.

Matheson Hammock is living, breathing poetry for me. Matheson Hammock has me.


The Sexiest Twilight

Matheson is mine. It's yours. It's ours. It belongs to all of us. We all "have" it. Do you really want to hand over such a huge chunk of it to a private developer? Bring in a project like this and no matter what you argue, it aint gonna be the same.

So no, Nick Buoniconti, when you talked about capitalism and how "it's just like building an ice cream parlor," it's not. How can you compare this enormous marina structure to a simple concession stand? Would that it were only ice cream!

Building this boat facility in Matheson Hammock Park reminds me of Werner Herzog's brilliant movie Fitzcarraldo -- a dreamer tycoon who dragged a steamship across a steep hill in the Amazon in order to reach a rubber plantation so he could make enough money to build an opera house in the middle of nowhere. Bad idea in the wrong place.

Opera house? Sure, why not? Just not there. And at what environmental cost.

You get my point. So much hubris and not enough respect for the simple nature of this place that is practically sacred to so many of us. We kept the Icon Brickell from smothering Miami Circle. Why can't developers draw the line?

As I sat through Heisenbottle's presentation, I kept thinking the proposed building would look great in an already urbanized boating community such as Barcelona in Northern Spain. But not Matheson. No way. Far from it.

The building is supposed to have special artsy lighting at night. Why? The park closes at sunset. Something like that would work at Museum Park in downtown Miami not at Matheson.

I ask that all citizens who love the integrity of Matheson Hammock to oppose this development. And I respectfully request that the developers take their idea to another location. Again, it's not about the building itself, it's about where it's proposed. I'm an architect's daughter and I love the idea of great new buildings. Just not here. Matheson Hammock marina does need some improvements but not in this order of magnitude.


Please join me on Sunday, March 4 for a Matheson Hammock Photo Day where we'll capture the natural beauty of this park. Instagramers, hop on board! Maybe we could even get a naturalist from History Miami to give us a tour.

Stay tuned. Want to help? Sign the petition. Follow and use the #savematheson tag on Twitter. And check out the SAVE OUR MATHESON HAMMOCK Facebook community page.

What are your memories of Matheson Hammock? Please share in comments.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Silicone Bitch: Occupy Miami and Citizen Journalism

News and notes about the South Florida social media and blogging scene, with a little tech thrown in for good measure. And maybe some other random events, too.

Last night, I was on video duty at the Social Media Club South Florida panel on protests and citizen journalism. From my laptop, I was able to live stream the prior Occupy Miami press conference as well as the panel, which featured recently arrested photojournalist Carlos Miller as well as Janie Campbell of The Huffington Post, Jared Goyette, Online Producer at The Miami Herald and Founder and Producer of Open Media Miami, as well as Muhammed Malik, Co-Producer, Let’s Talk About It Radio (880 AM).

You can see it all below. If you are coming to this late, scroll through the archives. It's the first two broadcasts.

Here's one pet peeve of mine: citizen journalist or not, it's everyone's responsibility to broadcast responsibly. It's one thing if you capture a moment on your phone camera and put it out to the world, but if you are writing something post-event, please always fact check your information if it's something that warrants fact checking -- rule number one of blogging. And as you know, I don't even like the word blog. It's a self-published product, call it a blog, apple, orange or whatever. I think in this day and age, everyone should get an education in basic journalism principles as early on as elementary school, just like we get lessons on avoiding plagiarism and learning academic research. Citizen journalism need not be sloppy or unreliable. If you're gonna do it, do it right.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Silicone Bitch: February is Bangin' in Miami!

News and notes about the South Florida social media and blogging scene, with a little tech thrown in for good measure. And maybe some other random events, too.

Photo by Rosaura Ochoa on Flickr.

Sex and the Beach is slowly coming out of a brief hiatus and is happy to report that the social media and tech season is starting out with a huge bang this month.

HeartCamp (organized by yours truly) was a smash success this past weekend in Fort Lauderdale and set the tone for a month of great events. Visit HeartCamp on Facebook for follow-up coverage.

OK, so here we go!

Social Media Club South Florida follows TONIGHT February 7 with a surely controversial session featuring recently-arrested photojournalist Carlos Miller of Photography Is Not a Crime. Social Media, Protests and Citizen Journalism takes place at 7 PM at The Stage in the Design District with additional panelists Janie Campbell of The Huffington Post, Jared Goyette, Online Producer at The Miami Herald and Founder and Producer of Open Media Miami, as well as Muhammed Malik, Co-Producer, Let’s Talk About It Radio (880 AM).

Next week presents a trifecta, traditionally known as Tech Week Miami.

Social Media Week Miami starts on Monday February 13 as part of a week-long global movement. Sessions featuring many local social media thought leaders will be at the Arsht Center and other venues all week. Best of all -- most events are free, but make sure to register.

Members of the Miami Rat Pack will be presenting on Thursday, February 16 at 2:30 PM on Keeping Social Media Real and Organic, followed by a free tweetup later that day organized by Soul of Miami. (Details to follow on the tweetup.)

WordCamp Miami is even better this year with not one, but two days of informative topics on everything WordPress at the University of Miami. Friday, February 17 is dedicated to beginners while Saturday, February 18 is for all -- newbies to developers. Get your ticket soon.

The weekend continues with BarCamp Miami on Sunday, February 19 at the beautiful new Little Haiti Cultural Center. Who should be there?
  • Anyone working on a new startup that wants to get some great feedback.
  • Anyone looking for talent. Anyone talented looking for work.
  • Anyone looking to invest in brilliant new ideas.
  • Anyone looking to find partners for their brilliant new ideas.
  • Anyone who wants to practice a presentation s/he is working on.
  • Anyone who has a passion for blogging, wikis, design, coding and the web in general.
  • Everyone is welcome. Everyone is encouraged to present.
  • BarCamp is totally free and an excellent source of what is hot, new and upcoming.
Tickets are free but registration is suggested. Sponsorships are kindly appreciated as well.

Geeky goodness continues February 24-25 when Superconf comes to the Miami Beach Convention Center. SuperConf 2012 is where web development and entrepreneurship converges with 9 startups and 8 speakers over 2 days.

It doesn't stop after this month of geek love. Save the dates: Hispanicize, a conference for Latino trendsetters, April 11-13 in Miami; Foursquare Day Miami on April 16 (details to follow); and SheCon, a Florida-founded blogger's conference in Orlando, May 25-27.

By the way, yours truly is presenting at Social Media Week, WordCamp, BarCamp, Hispanicize and SheCon. Whew ... hope to see you there!

Did I miss any events? Feel free to list them in the comments section.