PortaBloggy: A Pivot for 2017

Hey everyone!

So starting in the next few days, AKA when we feel like it, you can expect to see some new content right here on PortaBloggy.

Our original mission was to write long form pieces that would last throughout an entire BM, but, as you can certainly see, that was simply not feasible.

In light of this, we’ve decided to move in a different direction, and treat this space as kind of a medium for us to describe “shit.” Now that could mean stuff we find displeasing, or just stuff in general. We’d like to keep the theme of the name relevant, and that’s the best way to do it, I think. Personally, I’d also like to post a “Weekly Digest” (staying on theme!) of links and articles that I found interesting during the week on either Saturday or Sunday.

I’d also like to point out that, I’ve removed all pages and categories from the site. I think a big issue in our launch was trying to be too many things at once, so we are going to focus on one thing and one thing only: getting content up, in whatever form possible.

There will be venting, there will be high level discussion, and there will be complaining. But my hope is that we will be able to be consistent in both delivery and voice, and that you will enjoy what you see and read here.

So with that, welcome to the PortaBloggy of 2017!


The Vending Machine of the Future

There’s a pretty huge problem facing the Internet. I may have a way to start solving it.

On Sunday, The New York Times ran a piece discussing at length the issues currently being faced by the media industry.

“Oh no,” you might be thinking, “another article discussing the failure of print? I already know about that!”

Not exactly. This Times, (haha, see what I did there?) the focus was on the online sector, with sites like Buzzfeed and Mashable the examples used to back the thesis that questions the longevity of online news. Mashable, at the beginning of the month, announced lay offs of some high ranking editors, and Buzzfeed missed it’s 2015 revenue projection by 32%. For two behemoths, both looked to by those looking to break into the industry of online media as potential soft landing spots in an industry mired in uncertainty, this has come as distressing news. The reasons for these unfortunate signals are many, but The New York Times, in the first article linked, points to the availability of ad blockers for mobile browsers, and the potent power of Facebook with its encapulsating grasp and its strong desire to keep users on its site as opposed to following links to external content.

I’ve thought about this downtrend, as plenty of more informed others have, extensively. As the Times article points out, users of mobile devices have moved toward interactions where they are merely checking app feeds with the goal of consuming as much content as they can in as short of a time as possible. Things that can get in the way of that are advertisements and anything else like surveys or newsletter signups that a user can identify as a ploy to make them a pawn in an internet revenue game. As younger people grow, taking that awareness for ingenuity and money making business gimmicks with them into the world, it’s very difficult to imagine a world where these methods for making money can survive.

Everyone pretty much wants the Internet to work like this (and this is pretty much how it works right now): as a vending machine, where all the pretty content is displayed for you, and all you have to do is push the right buttons, and it is delivered to you, for no charge (save the monthly subscription fee to your provider).

Media sites have tried to monetize the delivery of this content, as mentioned above, with ads, surveys, email newsletters containing ads, and plenty of other means. One would think that the subscription model would work quite well, as we do like to shell money out on a monthly basis for access to unlimited content, as we do for video streaming. This hasn’t really translated, or it doesn’t seem it has, to online media, as the inputs to the conversation are so numerous, the thought is always “I can get this information somewhere else, without this $10/month charge.”

Many sites are funded by venture capitalists, looking to cash in on the “millenial media boom” as termed in the above-linked Vanity Fair article, and I thought this could translate to the public when I suggested that Gawker conduct a crowd funding campaign, like a Kickstarter, to pay off the Hulk Hogan verdict. To some degree, I think, people will spend their own money when it seems “cool” and “beneficial” to the world as a whole. If marketed properly, perhaps there is some viability to this solution of raising funds for a media site, but that isn’t the solution I am proposing here today.

To remedy this situation, one must keep the vending machine analogy in mind, and think about how selfish it is to be constantly standing in front of it, pushing button combination after button combination getting fat on the acquisition of information we partake in every single day of our lives. There are actual, live human beings on the other side, filling that machine with content every single day. They are just like us, with bills to pay and goals to meet, perhaps even with a family to feed. Perhaps the mean we use to get to the vending machine, our technology, has led us to be deluded into thinking the Internet is some magical creature stocking that machine full of content for us to digest, but that isn’t the case. (at least not yet? *Gulp*)

The Internet is a special place for all it gives us, like the access to thoughts from all over the world, the connectivity to our family and friends, and the place for our own voice, just like this site, when we ourselves want to be seen and heard. It would be amazing for that continue forever, unobstructed and untainted by corporate interests and greed, but sometimes you have to be realistic, and really think if that will be allowed to continue to be the case. by those in higher power like the service providers and the companies holding controlling stakes in some of the suffering media sources.

The solution I think would really work is some kind of credit or token system, a consummable form of currency that would be used up when one wants to read an article or gain access to a certain piece of content. I’ve heard about a “pay per view” kind of system, where a user’s credit card would charged a small fee for access to an article, and some sites have even started charging a small fee to recoup ad revenue lost to ad blockers, but rhe token system would be different for one main reason: it would be tied to your monthly service provider bill. For instance, let’s say $50/month gets you your regular high speed Internet, but now it also grants you 100 credits to be used on the “Internet vending machine” whenever and wherever you please. A 2,000 word article or less with video costs you 2 tokens. A hour long documentary costs you 5. A Buzzfeed listicle costs 1 token. A Mashable video review of a new tech gadget deducts 3 tokens. Need more tokens? Take it up with your provider as you would with a higher data plan with your wireless carrier.

Now this idea would be largely, actually hugely, dependent on the ability of the stakeholders involved to figure out a way for content providers to get paid from service providers based on tokens used on the site in question. It’s eerily possible to imagine a world where certain ISPs have deals where things like “no token access to Netflix for your first year!” and “half token cost to The Verge for your first six months!” exist. There is also the question of moving sites like Netflix, already super profitable based on its subscription fees, to this model. Perhaps video streaming is on too solid of ground to be messed with. I think we can all be ok with that.

Of course, corporations would make out nicely here, and frankly this kind of world is slightly scary, but hopefully this would lead to a stronger and more stable job market for content creators, and less layoffs in an extremely important industry.

A big retort to my argument is going to be that it fattens up already massive corporations like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and Time Warner, giving them more power over what you can gain access to. Yes, I admit that there could be some serious moral issues here, like letting your provider know of the content you are consuming. However, why not remedy that by treating the privacy of content viewed as sacred as your Social Security number and home address, infinitely more sensitive information that your provider already has? In doing so, an end user can experience the Internet in peace, and the provider merely makes its money and shuts up.

This just a thought, but could be a potential solution to the declining health of media. Maybe this has been discussed at length in board rooms somewhere, in which case this writing will be a preview, rather than a solution. Whatever the case may be, let’s hope for a route that continues to provide valuable content and journalism, that doesn’t come with such selfishness on the part of the consumer.

I would welcome your discussion with me on this, whether here in the comments or on Twitter: Peter Sarian. Thank you for reading.

This Sure Feels Like Phil Jackson’s New York Moment

Two years ago, Knicks fans were ecstatic.

Legendary NBA figure Phil Jackson had just signed on to be the team’s President, a position that would enable him to oversee personnel decisions along with General Manager Steve Mills, and to, more importantly, develop a “culture of winning,” as the Zen Master put it.

This was great for the Knicks, a team perceived by many, including it’s own fan base, to be run by a self-absorbed billionaire in James Dolan, who made ill-advised move after ill-advised move in hopes of pushing the Knicks toward competitiveness and relevancy. Jackson was finally, mercifully, going to be putting an end to the overreaching steps taken by Dolan far too often. Dolan would listen to Phil, and Dolan would shut up. Phil couldn’t have won 11 rings by accident. He had credibility, and Dolan was going to respect that. Things were going to change. And the Knicks were going to be good.

Well, things certainly did change, and quickly, as Phil Jackson made moves that shipped off guys like Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert, JR Smith, and Tyson Chandler, the latter three being key parts in New York’s 56 win season in 2012–2013 under the recently fired Mike Woodson and Co. Talks with fellow Knicks fans centered around the same thought: Phil was making good on his promise to change the culture, and it started by rooting out these four bad apples in an otherwise good bunch. The winning, though? That was, and is, a completely different story.

The 2014–2015 season was a disastrous 17 win campaign, one that saw Derek Fisher flounder in his first year as coach, Carmelo Anthony undergo career-altering knee surgery, and guys like Lou Amundson starting at the 5. (No offense to Sweet Lou, I love the guy, but I think even he would admit he is not a starting 5 in the NBA) It was tough to watch at times, and the games were mostly ignored with the thought that this season was a sacrifice for good things to come, and future deep playoff runs.

The NBA draft didn’t yield much happiness either, as the Knicks used the #4 pick on a young Latvian who’s name we all know by now. Kristaps Porzingis was destined, or so it was declared on Twitter the moment the pick was announced, to be the classic Euro-bust that comes along every so often and completely blows up a team’s plan for the future. The pundits were out, not the least of which was Stephen A. Smith, a “native New Yorker” who claimed to be “completely disgusted” with the pick.

Thankfully, young KP proved the majority of us Knicks fans wrong when he went out and had a hell of a season, dazzling us with dunks, sinking deep 3 pointers, sometimes from Steph Curry Land, and going to the All Star game and putting up some great numbers in the admittedly completely offensive-focused affair. Unfortunately, like the rest of his team, Porzingis seemed to hit a wall of sorts, becoming less productive and energized as the calendar turned to February. Once at 22–22, the Knicks limped to a 32–50 record, which obviously meant no playoffs, and more questions.

KP’s stamina and Carmelo’s patience weren’t the only things that didn’t survive the season, as the Knicks (read Phil Jackson) decided to cut weight in the firing of Derek Fisher. Citing reasons like it being “time for a change” and an opportunity to “move forward” Jackson met with the media and installed interim head coach and triangle worshipper Kurt Rambis, who oversaw the final 2o or so games without any noticeable improvement. With the Knicks not engaging in playoff action, and being without a draft pick, the conversation surrounding the team has focused squarely on the huge head coaching decision on the table.

After two seasons of relative failure, many fans, myself included, are calling for another significant change, this time at the head coach position. After the disaster that was Derek Fisher, (who perhaps got a bit of a raw deal, but I digress) and the incompetence of Kurt Rambis , it feels like the right time for Phil to spring for a coach like Tom Thibodeau or Jeff Van Gundy, two disciplinarians focused on hard practices and motivating players, instead of more system focused basketball. Given Thib’s recent success with the Bulls, who became a mess this year without his guidance, many fans and writers are bullish on the idea of him coaching at MSG, with some reports that the Knicks job is the one he always wanted and that he would “crawl to Madison Square Garden” for it.  Some have even gone as far as claiming it’s time for Dolan to re-enter the fold and declare his wishes for a change, or for Melo to demand a trade if a competent and established coach isn’t hired.

In light of recent developments, including words directly from Phil Jackson’s mouth, it seems he has no desire to abandon the triangle offense, the system that rewarded him so handsomely for his loyalty, in favor of a popular move at the head coaching position. In closing press conferences last week, Phil expressed his desire for a “simpatico” relationship with his head coach, and his reinforcement of the “system” and its principles. Phil’s alleged phone call to (an uninterested) Luke Walton, a disciple of the Zen Master and ticket holder on the Golden State Express, confirms Phil’s words with actions, and further evidence came while this was being written, which said that Phil, Kurt Rambis, and about 4–6 players would meet to review “triangle offense principles.”  Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on one’s attitude, it seems like Phil will stick to his guns, and continue to hold the principles of the triangle close.

This situation has all the makings of a legacy defining moment for Phil Jackson’s New York experience. Will his staunch defending of the triangle offense prove correct and fruitful, or will his stubbornness to see what this team really needs lead to him being held in contempt with Knicks fans, his name muttered in the same breath with Isaiah Thomas and Stephon Marbury? While Phil seems to have made his decision, history has not.

Dear Gawker,

This must be hard. Your very existence, ironically, has just been threatened by a story you posted on your site. This one is to be exact (it’s SFW now): http://gawker.com/5948770/even-for-a-minute-watching-hulk-hogan-have-sex-in-a-canopy-bed-is-not-safe-for-work-but-watch-it-anyway. Usually, you post these audacious things and enjoy a lot of click traffic and some tweets from the inner circle of the Internet (you know, the one that seems to get to decide what is cool and what is not cool in the blogosphere). But not this time.

This time, you went too far. Regardless of Hulk Hogan knowing or not knowing if he was being filmed, or the reason for him suing you not being this tape but another, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that any reasonable human being can agree that you crossed a line here in your pursuit of viral content and constant relevance.

Now, we do agree on one thing, and that is the enormity of the $140 million settlement awarded to Hogan by the jury. Seemingly on the heels of Erin Andrews’s $55 million victory in another privacy invasion case, we have learned that white people’s privacy is worth more than black lives, but I digress.

So, you’re going to appeal, and you are confident that this large amount will be reduced drastically, or perhaps entirely, if the appeals court buys the arguments made in Nick Denton’s response here. Even so, a verdict any larger than $50 million would certainly not be ideal, to put it in the lightest of terms. For example, in 2014, you guys made $6.7 million in profit against $45 million in revenue. At least Denton sold a minority stake to semi-prepare for this outcome, but it doesn’t seem like it would come anywhere close to putting a dent in that 140mil, evidenced when he said, “We don’t keep $100 million in the bank, no.”

Regardless of the final verdict, right now you have to pay a bond of $50 million under Florida state law when appealing the case. That’s a good amount of money, and it might clean out your rainy day fund. (Are we wrong? Tweet us if so!) Perhaps you even already paid this $50 million, but in any case, the team at PortaBloggy has a solution for you. It might take some pride swallowing, but please just hear us out.

You guys should totally just crowd fund this. Like, as in, make a Kickstarter right this second, and just see what the hell happens. You have nothing to lose and only money to save if this works out. Will it be embarrassing that you have no other options? Probably. But you know what is more embarrassing? Shutting down because you published (parts of) a sex tape.

Maybe you’re a tad skeptical, but this idea works for a few reasons. 1. Some people are actually taking your side, and would you believe it, they actually like having you guys around! Give them a chance to show you how much they care by giving them this contributing opportunity (Maybe hire them after as freelancers also?) 2. This (sort of!) follows Kickstarter’s rules for a project, that a. projects create something to share will others (you continue to exist and share content), b. projects must be honest and clearly presented (never been a problem for you guys), and c. projects can’t fund-raise for charity, offer financial incentives or involve prohibited items (depending on how you view yourselves at this point, the charity thing could be a slight issue, but I think you can argue your way through that one). And finally, 3. You can’t pay this money and still exist in your current state. Just be honest with us.

So please guys, save money and save yourselves, and crowdfund the Hogan verdict.


The PortaBloggy Staff

Haunted Dreams 2016

Monday, 3:45 am.

I gulp for air as I break out of the nightmare, the same one for the third straight night.

I’m sweating, and breathing heavily. The cat is terrified, staring at me at the end of the bed with its head cocked to the right. “It’s ok buddy,” I say, gesturing for him to join me. He obliges, and places himself in my lap. I reach for the water on my nightstand, still lost in thought, and stare at my Ikea carpet, recollecting the dream once more.

I’m on the New York City Subway. It’s the 2 train, downtown, towards Brooklyn. I know this because of the signs, yes, but also because the stops are being repeated by the conductor rapidly, without hesitation, and while the train is motion.

We stop, but not at a station. I turn to the man to my right to bemoan yet another “train traffic” hassle, but just then the doors open, and from somewhere below the door level, men in suits climb aboard. Except they’re not quite men. They have the heads of rats.

I freak out. I feel the sudden need to get off the train. I have to. But the men keep coming. And coming. And coming. They’re filling the car rapidly. They’ve taken all the seats and are now clogging the standing areas, grabbing hold of the poles. I suddenly am struggling to breathe. I try to push my way past them, and this act of resistance is met by every single set of beady eyes turning to me. I feel all of them. They’re gnawing at me from every angle. I push and I push and I push. But I can’t get off. More of them are pouring in. I’m getting squished into nothing. The lights dimming as the men continue to stare. I’m going to pass out. My head and neck are pushed from the left and I face the rat closest to me on the right. He says something.

“Good night Donald.”

Now I can’t fall back asleep, so I might as well get the day started.

I turn the shower on, and the water hits the basin with force. I undress and jump into the warm water, hoping to calm down, but I can’t. My mind turns to the dream.

I used to take the 2 train to work in lower Manhattan, but haven’t taken it in quite some time. It’s a popular express train line that serves three boroughs: The Bronx, Manhattan, and Brooklyn. I’m not sure why this dream happens on this subway, but perhaps since it’s the one I am most familiar with, it is the one my subconscious has chosen. I have no idea what to make of the men, dressed in suits, with rat faces for heads. Why are there so many of them? Why are they flooding onto the subway without ebb? Why did one call me Donald? That’s not even my name!

I’m washing my hair when I hear the voice. It’s so low, so faint, that I can’t make out the words, but it does seem to be repeating the same two words over and over. It continues throughout my shower, subsiding only when I shut down the water.

“What the hell is going on?” I mutter, grabbing my towel. I dry myself, and look in the mirror. In it is a black mass that quickly dissipates when I notice it. I jump and knock my head on the wall. I’m dizzy, and I stumble with my eyes closed when I see something in the black of my eyelids. Senator Ted Cruz.

Tuesday, 8am.

I wake from a restful sleep, one spared from the horror of the dream, and set my alarm for a 20 minute snooze. Hey, after the past few nights, I’ve earned it.

I relax under my covers, and fall into that not-quite-awake-but-not-quite-asleep phase that often follows the press of the snooze button. Images of Ted start to flash; he’s at the podium, then on a different stage with a microphone in hand, then taking pictures with supporters holding signs in a large auditorium.

I pop out of bed, thoroughly discomforted by the images in my head. I grab my phone, and call out of work. Something is happening here, and I need to investigate.

I call New York’s top rated demonologist, and he tells me he can do 2pm. Perfect.

I spend the morning doing more research, and it turns out that there have been similar cases across the nation, of people seeing presidential candidates in their dreams, and even hearing words being said aloud in their heads.

Lunch time approaches, and I head out for some food. At the corner of my block, two construction workers are having a lively discussion. They’re shouting expletives in front of each other’s names. One of them is named Ted.

I return to my building after lunch, and kill some time watching CNN. Ted Cruz is on the rise in many states, passing Marco Rubio and threatening Donald Trump.

The demonologist arrives.

Upon entering my apartment, his body language shifts from greeting to suspicion. “When did this start happening did you say?” He asks. “Well, the first dream was Friday night. It happened again Saturday night. Then it happened AGAIN Sunday night. I didn’t have it last night, but I’ve been seeing his face and hearing things while I’m awake.”

He nods in comprehension as he walks my apartment. Living room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom. He joins me again in the foyer and says, “Look man, I’m not sure what’s going on here, but I’m feeling a presence in this apartment. It’s not serious yet, but it could get there. If you have the dream again, give me a call, ok?” “Ok,” I answer him skeptically, and he bids me goodbye while pulling out his phone to shoot off a text. I watch him walk down the hallway of my floor and down the stairway, with an air of familiarity. Had he been here before?

I’m on the train. The conductor repeats the stops. The train comes to a halt. The men are coming in. They have rats heads. They don’t stop. They are staring at me. They are laughing at me. Why are they laughing? “Why are you laughing?” I ask. They keep laughing. Louder. Louder. Louder. The train gets smaller. Smaller. Smaller. I’m going to pass out again. I’m not going to make it off this train.

Wednesday, 5:06am.


I’m awake, but I don’t feel alone. I realize that the cat isn’t in my bed.

I sit up to call him, and that’s when I see it.

“It” is a black mass in the shape of a man at the edge of my bed. It’s saying something over and over. “Trust me.” “Trust me.” “Trust me.”

I’m horrified. I back into the corner of the wall my bed rests against. I gather my courage to ask the figure something.

“Wh — wh — what do you want from me???”

The muttering stops. The figure leans closer to me.

It speaks clearly now as it says, “Your vote.”

I jump out of bed and the figure disappears simultaneously. I grab my phone and call the demonologist. I expect to be waking him, but he answers on the first ring. Was he waiting for my call?

I’m in shock and can barely speak. I stutter, “H — he — hey. Uhh, I — I had the dream again — and — uh — um — he — was — in m — my — my room.” He tells me to wait outside of the building. He’s on his way.

15 minutes later, we shake hands and we walk into my building and subsequently into my apartment.

He stiffens up as we enter, severely this time, and takes a deep breath. He withdraws his phone from his coat pocket and places it to his ear. He doesn’t greet the recipient of the phone call, just gives him or her the address to my apartment.

He turns to me. “Do you have somewhere you can stay for the day?”

The knock on the door is surprising at this hour, but not unwelcome. The man declares confidently, “Come in.”

The assistant enters the large bedroom and addresses the man in an exasperated voice. “There’s another, Mr. Trump. We need you to get down there ASAP.”

The candles are lit and the living room is crowded with his staff. Trump looks around the apartment. “Who could live like this?” He asks rhetorically. The demonologist gets his attention. “We’re ready sir.” Trump sighs, and pulls a folded piece of paper from his back pocket.

“Ok, let’s make this quick,” he says into the air. He then turns his attention to the paper, and begins to read.

“Ted, I know you’re here Ted. Come out now Ted. I found you, ok, I found you because I have the best people and the best demonologist in New York, ok. What did you think was going to happen, Ted? Did you think you could just set up shop in my city and remain hidden? No way Ted, ok. I could maybe expect this carelessness from Baby Rubio, but from you? Frankly I’m disappointed.”

Trump’s arms, which had been wildly gesticulating, fall to his sides, and he looks to his team. “Ok everyone, time to chant.”








The last chant is interrupted by a high pitched, rat-like squeak. A black mass comes from the bedroom and into the center of the circle, where the candles are, and materializes into Ted Cruz.

Trump is elated. He has found the soul piece Ted had sent to New York. Trump addresses the figure in Trump baby speak. “Ha! I got you Ted, just like I told you I would.” The business man is handed the hat, a Make America Great Again hat, and places it on the ghostly representation of Cruz. The rodent-esque screech returns, loudly, and the figure vanishes into thin air.

Trump smiles widely.

“That was fun.”

I hang up with demonologist. He tells me the apartment is safe now, and I can return whenever I’d like. I thank my friend for her hospitality, and head to Starbucks for the beverage with the highest caffeine content they have.

I order my latte, with 6 shots of espresso, and sneak a look at the barista’s name.

It’s Ted.


$#*! Tech: 2009 MacBook Pro

Editor’s Note: Complete $#*! is a new section we are launching today that will focus on topics  we find to be $#*!, or want to find out if they are $#*!. Here is the first post, regarding an old MacBook. -PJS

Backsliding is what they call it; where an individual returns to an ex in the hopes of finding what once was, thereby completing the regression into a certain time in his or her past that is remembered as so much better than the present.

I’m pondering this term as I put my 15inch MacBook Pro with Retina display atop a newly purchased iPad Pro. In fact, the iPad is still residing in that temporary buyers’ remorse phase where it still sports its plastic wrap. I won’t be needing either of this devices this evening.

It’s time to explore an old friend, and find out if he has turned to $#*!.

The 2009 MacBook Pro, the elder statesman of my devices, sits on its side on the floor by my bed. It has to remain constantly plugged in to avoid the quick death that comes with having the battery carry the weight of handling background computing functions.

I remove the old laptop from the sleeve it’s lived in since it was given to me as a high school graduation gift. The shell of the device gives away its age immediately. The aluminum unibody casing is discolored and scratched badly, giving the computer a battle tested, yet unaesthetic, look. Even so, I can’t help but smile as I recall all the late nights in the library, the meetings planning events, and the classes spent on Facebook instead of taking notes. The damage on its aluminum is not so much a product of neglect, but rather of intense use and companionship.


I place the laptop on it’s rightful perch on my thighs, and the weight and thickness from the old components, like the optical drive, is immediately evident, and unpleasant. Not only does the computer look old, but now it comes to light how old it feels as well.

I flip the clamshell open, and that doesn’t feel too great either, to be honest. Over the last 7 years, the hinge has become mushy, and now the top flips open haphazardly. This is bearable though, because once I select an angle to use the laptop at, it holds. I press the power button, and the screen reluctantly comes to life.

After years of using Apple products with Retina displays, the ‘09 computer’s screen looks deplorable. One really has to ask how he or she survived using the low resolution found here for so long. It’s remarkable what passes as “cutting edge” when looking at one generation of technology to the next. Look, you can even see the pixels in the picture below! Perhaps this is too personal a gripe, as many continue to use this same screen or a similar one on computers like the the MacBook Air without complaint. At the same time, there’s a good chance these people haven’t gotten a chance to use a Retina laptop, so they have no basis for comparison, and no idea what they are missing.


I bang the old keys to enter my account password, a welcome reminder of the papers written, emails sent, and Facebook messaging done. In fact, this keyboard feels better than the one found on the 2014 MacBook Pro with Retina Display, which frankly feels kind of “clickity,” as opposed to the elder Mac’s “clackity.” The travel and rebound on the ‘09 are more noticeable for sure, while the ‘14 feels quite shallow with not a ton of travel in the keys. A keyboard has never been a huge deal, but rather an added delight to my computer experience, so I can accept the slightly less than ideal experience typing on the ‘14 in exchange for improvements like the Retina display. However, I may begin to reach for the ‘09 instead if I find myself in a situation where a lot of writing needs to get done. The trackpad, on the other hand, is a different story. It feels sluggish and clunky compared to the new one found on the ’14.


That about does it for the hardware that you can see and touch. Now for software performance. I should note that everything in this machine is as it was purchased back in June 2009, except for the RAM, which was upgraded from 4GB to 8GB in early 2014.

Since the end of my college career, I’ve been a pretty light laptop user. I really only went with the 15 inch model of MacBook for two reasons: 1, because I was an Apple Retail Store employee at the time and wanted to maximize the use of the massive discount, and 2, a desire for the extra screen real estate. As such, it’s probable that the ‘09 can handle the tasks I need done: browsing the web, watching video, writing for this site, sending some email, etc. I didn’t test the laptop on intense tasks like editing video or gaming, because they are not essential to my ability to use this computer as my daily machine. Additionally, it’s rather obvious that a 2009 computer of any brand would not be ideal for this kind of work.

Anyway, Let’s get on with the testing. First up: checking social media. The computer should be able to accomplish this, which is probably/pathetically the majority of what I do with my current devices, and usually the first.

I navigate to Facebook using Safari, and do some browsing. It’s not bad at all, as pages load comparably fast to my newer tech. However, I notice some lag in scrolling through the news feed, and the trackpad feels even slower to respond on the webpage than on my desktop when no programs were running. I open Twitter in another tab, which puts additional and again noticeable strain on navigation. It’s slight though, and tolerable.

To add to the stress on the machine, I add another tab, the PortaBloggy WordPress page, and boot up YouTube to stream some music. I start typing, which goes is alright at first, but after a few words, lag sets in. Auto correct is also slow to respond to corrections, and YouTube skips in the background. This would not work as a writing and listening solution for me as a soon-to-be-world-famous-blogger. It is a poor experience, and introduces frustration in the form of hiccups when trying to write.

I now open a fifth tab, Gmail. I mark some conversations as read and draft an email to my co-bloggers about who is going to cover Thursday with a post. Same issue, more lagging on text input and a skipping video in the background.

Tab #6. Netflix. I switch off the YouTube music for now, and fire up an episode of Always Sunny in Philadelphia (watch it if you haven’t). Oh man, does this computer hate me right now. The video of the show is stutters badly. I jump back to Facebook to check notifications and Twitter to check new tweets, and both are super sluggish in their response to my trackpad prompts. Typing a post on WordPress is impossible, due to pauses when the website auto-saves my work. With this much going on at once, this machine feels truly unusable. I step away from the laptop for a moment, and return to jump around tabs again, only to find the performance has worsened greatly. The fans are going at top speed, and in the 30 minutes I’ve been using the computer, the battery has gone from full to 50%, so taking this out of the house for work on the go, without the charger, is not an option. This wouldn’t work for someone looking to head down to the local Starbucks and get some writing done.

All things considered, the ’09 MacBook performed admirably and surpassed expectations. While not a buttery smooth experience like the two products I set aside for this review, this computer would step up when required to do some very light web browsing and writing, as long as that’s all one is doing. Oh, and bring your charger if you are leaving the house.

I know this omits a ton of topics a typical review would cover, but this is what I do on my computer, and what I believe the majority of computer users do on their computers as well. Besides, a tech-informed individual would already be aware that this machine would not provide a usable experience for video editing and the like, so I felt it unneccessary to explore those use cases.

While I wouldn’t make this computer the first choice for fulfilling my needs as an individual and my needs as a blogger, it certainly was a dose of nostalgia to use it, and made me smile in the process.

7/10, might use again. Not $#*!.


Introducing Chipotle Roulette

Editor’s Note: This post is the first in a series of PortaBloggy “Life Hacks,” centered around the digestive system and ways to get creative with your #2 time. Enjoy! -PJS

This past Wednesday, I decided to play a dangerous game. I ate Chipotle at 2pm, and I had a flight at 8:30pm.

In light of the recent E. Coli outbreak and questionable food safety at America’s favorite slightly classy fast food restaurant, I figured it would be fun to eat it for lunch, and then fly halfway across the country that evening. This was to be the ultimate test of my intestinal fortitude, using perhaps one of the best methods for doing so in the 21st century. I was being a millenial. I was being a blogger. I was being irrational. People have written long form pieces and even books about less interesting topics. Pondering this, I ordered, then devoured, my double-chicken-guacamole-Tabasco-added-on-top burrito bowl in about 15 minutes. It went down great. I wiped my mouth with the brown recycled napkin. Now, it was time to play. The name of the game? Chipotle Roulette.

For the rest of the afternoon, I ran some errands and packed the rest of my items. At around 5pm, my friends and I headed to the train station to catch the AirTrain to John F. Kennedy International Airport. Everything went smoothly; from checking in at the automated kiosks, to clearing security, to finding seats together at the gate.

As we sat down and placed our luggage by our feet, my friends announced that they wanted to get something to eat. I, having eaten such a high volume of chicken, white rice, and black beans, decided to skip this meal, and volunteered to hang back with everyone’s bags. This actually turned out to be pretty stressful. What if my digestive system decided now was the time for the unruly gang of ingredients to be purged from my body? I reached for my phone to tell the guys not to be long when a text came in from one of them: “We’re getting Chinese, want something?” I thought for a minute. While not hungry, I could certainly eat, especially a little pork lo mein perhaps. The side benefit being, the stakes in this round of Chipotle Roulette had just been raised and compounded significantly. I responded with my order, and in a few minutes four young men were chowing down on some Chinese food at Gate 7 in the JetBlue terminal of JFK airport. Dignity optional.

We finished our meals and boarded the plane without issue. I grabbed my seat on the plane, proud of my body for still holding the garbage I had put in it without complaint. The flight was pretty smooth, aside from the delay in taking off due to a backlog of planes waiting for runway space. After four hours in the air, we landed in Denver, and this round of Chipotle Roulette was won by me, handily.

My goal in writing this is to inform PortaBloggy’s readers about this fun, self-imposed challenge that can be issued at any time. Have it for lunch before a work event taking place that evening. Have it for the dinner before going out drinking for the night. Will you have to go or will you not have to go? That is the question. The answer is yours to find out. May the guac be ever in your favor.

Also, PortaBloggy would like to announce a business relationship with and our own endorsement of Chipotle. They get more diners, we get more readers who find themselves on the toilet after their meal. It’s a win win here, so please, head over to your neighborhood Chipotle and PortaBloggy, in that order.


This story is the work of a guest contributor who preferred to remain anonymous. – PJS


“Help me man. Make sure you don’t leave any fingerprints.”

“It’s our bathroom dude. It’s going to have our fingerprints!”

“Fuck you. I’m stressing out right now. The least you can do is give me some God damn sympathy.”

“Sympathy? I’m in the shit with you now. Plus, I’m not the one who invited their friends over.”

“Whatever man. Go get some plastic garbage bags from under the sink and the cleaver from the kitchen. Get the rubber gloves too.”

“Fuck y–”

“Matt, just go get them.”

The body was on the couch now, carefully placed onto a commemorative 1999 New York Yankees World Series blanket that had been spread out by the two men.

“Where did it all go wrong?” The man muttered to himself.

He was startled by Matt’s re-entrance to the room, “Here are the bags. I couldn’t find the cleaver, but I think there’s an ax in the back shed.” The man nodded, but he wasn’t really listening. Instead, he was pondering the precision needed to correctly maneuver the situation he had put himself in. A single slip in the oncoming events could screw him and his brother for the rest of their lives.

“Ok, fine. Go get the ax. Just be quiet. We can’t wake Mom!”

The man opens one of the bags and tosses the Yankees blanket into it. The figure had fallen into a sitting position, staring at the man. His face was contorted into a grin.

The man recognizes the face. He recognizes the smile. He hears the laughter that accompanied both.

The voice of the figure taunted the man. “Why did you do this to me? Answer me! Hehehe.” The man questioned whether he was going crazy, but knew there was no time to do anything about it. In a few hours people would start asking questions about where the figure was.

The man needed to hurry. He couldn’t bear to look at the figure much longer. He was a friend. He was part of the family. He was also a lover.


Matt returned from the shed with the ax. “Hey Kel, are you alright man? Should I call someone for help?”

“I’m fine. Let’s just get Ben into the bags.”


Kel and Ben first met back on the bus to Our Lady of Forgiveness in the 6th grade. Kel, too scrawny to protect himself from the endless onslaught of the bullies of the local public school, was sent for a Catholic education by his parents.

The first day at the bus stop was intimidating to young Kelvin. Throughout his life he had been surrounded by loving family and friends, never knowing the cold feeling of being an outsider. There was an arctic breeze that autumn morning, stinging Kel with previously unknown loneliness and pain. Children at the bus stop would recall that Kel did not say a word during that first day, ironically. They say that now they can’t get him to stop giving unwarranted hot takes. Privately, they yearn for the Kel they met on the first day.

The bus arrived 20 minutes late that morning, an ongoing theme Kel would endure for the rest of his life. Slowly walking up the steps, the boy can smell booze coming from the overweight, middle aged bus driver. He was familiar with the smell from an uncle on his mom’s side that couldn’t handle Thanksgiving dinners. “I wonder if we’re ever going to make it there,” Kel nervously thought to himself. All of a sudden, the boy hears a faint, high pitched sound from the back of the bus. At first he couldn’t recognize the words, but the sound continued to draw him closer to the back, until he was facing a smaller Indian boy singing Will Smith’s hit single, “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It.” Kel’s favorite song.

Ben was an innocent child. Well-mannered and always sitting up straight, he was the perfect young gentleman. The only issue with his behavior was the consistent backing out of obligations. From birthday parties to calling his grandmother in India, he would promise to do things, but would ultimately stand up the engagement. His parents hoped the strictness of a Catholic education would stop this behavior.

Kel the white Irish Catholic, had never before seen a darker skinned boy of his age. He was intrigued. His parents had warned him of those of a different skin tone, but he was hypnotized by the way Ben’s skin glistened in the light.

The site of Kel’s intimidated face brought Ben’s singing to a sudden halt. Mustering the courage to say something, especially to someone he was fascinated by, Kel said the only words he could think of. “Hi, I’m Kel.” Ben smiled.

Little did either of the boys know, but this was the beginning of the most important relationship of either of their lives. What started as a friendship would grow into a forbidden love. Once their parents caught wind of the romance, they chose to split the boys up. Kel’s parents were old school Catholics, and would probably make Ted Cruz blush on the topic of homosexuality. Yes, they loved their son very much, but they knew young Kel would never get through Heaven’s Golden Gates of Endless Happiness if he didn’t change his ways. To remedy the situation, they sent their son to the once prestigious High Holiness High School, a different school than Ben was going to. The school held the principles of the Catholic Church, no doubt, but also was lenient on discipline. They hoped that the right girl with just the right amount of insecurity could change the course of Kel’s future.


It wasn’t always easy, but Kel and Ben kept in contact throughout the years, even during college. They would meet up during breaks, and were able to keep their love a secret. They graduated, and both were fortunate to start working in New York City. They planned to move in together into a quaint apartment in Brooklyn in the fall of 2015, and they decided that would be the right time to reveal their love to the world.

That was at least the plan.

There’s a saying, “Tell God your plans and he laughs.” On the day Kel and Ben were planning to sign their lease after weeks of negotiations, God laughed thunderously.

It had been a week since Ben and Kel had agreed to the price with their new landlord, Gloria Goldstein. Gloria was a hardened soul, growing up and living in the Brooklyn home since she was born. Her grandfather, the original owner, had won the home in a poker game during the early 1900’s. Having being passed down from generation to generation, the house had a certain life to it. Ghosts of past family members would often creep their way through the halls. Gloria, as the home, was once a strong, peaceful woman. But as the years passed, she changed dramatically. Bills began to pile up and renovations were desperately needed. Reluctantly, Gloria with the help of a young Asian neighbor, Anthony, were able to put the “Renters Wanted” posting on the Internet.

As any landlord would, Gloria had a simple background check run on the young men. In the report, Ben was found to have no alarming incidents. Kel, on the other hand, was a different story. Five incidents were listed involving Kel while he was in college. All five involved apartment cooking fires. Two of them were due to tin foil in the microwave. Gloria had no choice but to deny Kel from leasing the apartment.

Ben saw the apartment as too good of a deal to let go. After 2-years of commuting to New York City on the LIRR, he could not take it anymore. So he went on Craigslist and created a “Roommate Wanted” post. “Young Indian millennial looking for roommate that enjoys hiding the pickle.” Unknown to Ben, hiding the pickle has a sexual innuendo. When he was growing up, Ben and his family would make their own pickles. After they were done, his parents would hide the pickles all over the house for him and his siblings to find. Needless to say, Ben loved the game.

Alex Dabber was an interesting fellow. The man had always had a self-entitled and totalitarian attitude. This was evidenced by him being upset when excluded from weekend plans and complaining about not being invited to sporting events, which he didn’t actually enjoy (he just wanted to go to give his opinion). Ben originally met Dabber at a high school party with Kel. Although no one knew of their partnership, Alex was able to see past the ruse. He sensed their love and was jealous of it. So pure and unadulterated, if he was unable to have it, no one could. Seeing a chance to finally disrupt their love, Alex quickly sent Ben a text. “I want in on the apartment!”


For the first 2 months, everything was working out great between Alex and Ben. They rode the subway together to and from work, and ate together during the nights. On Wednesday nights they would head to the bar down the street and play Roc n Roll Bingo. On weekends, Kel came to visit, and all three men would go out together. They even went to a Knicks game, where Alex was on his phone the whole time. Even so, Ben couldn’t have enjoyed living the city more.

Although Ben had always been faithful to Kel, Kel was suspicious. Alex was always around when he was over and was a little too comfortable with Ben for his liking. His Instagram was filled pictures of Ben, and one night, he thought for sure he saw Alex make a pass at him. Though he feared the worst, Kel thought he was being jealous and should keep these thoughts to himself. He came up with a plan, which was to invite Ben and their larger group friends over the next weekend. They would play some poker, drink some beers, and everything would be great.


That Friday, Kel and Ben met at Penn Station after work to catch the train back to Long Island.  Like the bus that fateful first day of 6th grade, the train was late by 20 minutes. This wasn’t actually too bad for the Long Island Railroad, and Kel thought this was the first sign of a good weekend to come.

They returned to Kel’s parents’ home, and Ben got his things for the evening ready. As he was getting his things out of his bag, his phone beeped. Taking a look to see what it was, he laughed.

“Hehehe, that Alex,” he said to himself. Ben picked up his things and continued to the bathroom for a shower.

Kel had overheard Ben. “Fuck Alex!” Kel exclaimed. Ben’s phone continued to get notifications, again and again and again.

“This guy, I should tell him to get the fuck out of my face.” Kel walked over to Ben’s phone. He then saw something he could not unsee. Several naked photos of Alex appeared on his phone. Kel shivered in pain, but that quickly grew into uncontrollable anger. He proceeded to grab a towel, wrap it around his hands, and he headed to the bathroom. He quietly opened the door and scowled at the figure in the shower. He positioned himself so he would be behind the figure. He firmly grasped both ends of the towel, took a deep breath, and with catlike reflex pulled back the curtain and wrapped the towel around Ben’s neck, taking him out of the shower and down to the cold bathroom tile.

Ben struggled, but Kel was able to get on top and establish leverage. Kel’s weight was too much for Ben to get himself free. He stared at Kel and smiled before he took his final breath.

Realizing that the deed was done, Kel got off Ben. Hearing the struggle, Kel’s brother, Matt, walked into the bathroom.


“Matt, grab his legs, we got work to do,” Kel promptly told his brother.


Glaring through the window, having seen the whole evening’s events, a dark figure stood in the shadows. The only areas on him that were visible were his hands, one holding a freshly lit cigarette, and the other a new iPhone 6S.

“Yes officer, they’re leaving now. You need to hurry,” said the voice in a composed tone as he hung up the phone.

A devilish grin appeared on the man’s face. He took another drag of his cigarette as Kel and his brother started to pick up the trash bags. Snow, which had started over an hour ago, began to get heavier, covering his beanie. Sounds of sirens blared in the distance, drawing closer to his location. He watched Kel grab the final bag and turn off the light.

Now, Alex could only see himself and his reflection in the glass of the window. He was cold and alone in the dark. He continued staring at a face that he did not recognize anymore. A face that had deceived and manipulated. The satisfaction he was feeling seconds ago was replaced with depression and despair. He cried out to the sky, but only the devil answered because God wasn’t there.

Alex grabbed the revolver from his pocket and raised it to his head. The devil stared and smiled at him through the reflection of the window.


– The end-

Welcome – A Letter from the Editor


Welcome to PortaBloggy! This site is the result of over a month of discussion, collaboration, and procrastination by myself and three of my good friends: Brandon Babwah, Brian Graney, and Kevin Hunker. I speak for all of us when I say we are looking forward to producing content that will sometimes be solid, but most times will probably disappoint. But hey, we’re trying, so that’s got to count for something right?

Our goal here is simple: to produce pieces of writing that are long enough for your bathroom time, but not so long that you spend your whole morning in there (well, unless you want to, in which case we won’t judge). Like any bowel movement, the writing here will be a collection of different styles, different genres, and different stories. We have a pretty eclectic group of individuals writing here, each bringing something unique to the table that will allow us to hopefully appeal to a broad audience. We wanted to write, and we wanted a place to do it, but we also wanted a site that came to be thanks to a strong objective and mission, and we think PortaBloggy is just that.

We welcome feedback and suggestions in the comment sections and on Twitter. This won’t be perfect for a while, but we’re going to work hard to achieve our goals, and hope you will enjoy watching us grow. If you’d like, for some reason, to contribute or have something published here, please email us. Also, check out the About and Staff pages.

So please, grab a seat, pull out your phone, and let’s take this journey together.