Sunday, August 03, 2008

Crema!

Do you drink espresso? Do you pay attention to the latest snobbery surrounding espresso? Machines, shops, mugs, beans, brewing times, etc etc etc? Then you've heard it said that the sign of a good espresso is the crema - the foamy, beige stuff that floats on top of your shot o' concentrated caffeine.

Well I've got news for you, bucko. Why pay through the nose for 1 oz of high-pressure bean extract when you can have a mugful for cheap? Behold!


My instant coffee has a crema! Granted, it's not flawless what with the oil bubbles, but it does have that "tiger striping" so coveted by the espresso drinker in the know and . . .

Do I detect the sound of massive screeching brakes being applied? Perhaps you, faithful reader, are aghast at my comparison of instant coffee to espresso. How can you drink that swill, you may ask? Believe me, I asked myself the same thing when I bought it for a backpacking trip - but this ain't your grandpappy's Taster's Choice.

This is coffee extruded from the veins of 100% Columbians (and then subsequently freeze-dried). I give you . . .


Trader Joe's 100% Columbian Instant Coffee. Try it and you'll see. Depending on the volume of "grounds" you add to the water, it's just like drinking an entire mug of espresso - only with less jitters (and cost). Granted, my viewpoint may be a bit skewed since I'm on my third cup of the day, but nevertheless - this calls for a side-by-side comparison!

Next steps: making an instant coffee cappuccino. Or Insta-Cap.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This perplexes me to no end.


1. Either there's an emergency happening and no one told me about it.

or

2. If there is an emergency, I'm fresh outta luck.

There is a third option, of course. It could be that if I'm having a "towel-hanging" emergency, I now know where to go.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Boardwalk and Pikes Place

Oi, I'll tell ya right now. Starbucks' new "Pike Place" roast doesn't get any better by being Decaf.
And yet I wanted decaf coffee. And it was my only option that came with wifi on site. Peet's is across the street, but they don't have the Webs. I stood on the corner torn, laptop hanging heavy on my shoulder. A book would have tipped the scales in Peet's' favor, but I've just finished two and haven't replenished.
Hence, I write and roll my overtaxed tastebuds around the surface of my scalded tongue.
Ok, in all honesty, it's not the worst coffee. I have a coworker who brews the worst coffee. If someone could summon enough drool to fill an entire coffee carafe, and that same someone drooled 12 cups of drool over a spoonful of coffee grounds, that would be a strong version of the "coffee" he brews when he gets his mitts on the coffee maker first. I've banned him from making coffee unless he KNOWS beyond a SHADOW OF A DOUBT that he's going to be the only person in the office all day.

Back to Pikes Place. It has this peculiar brewed-in-a-balloon "synthetic rubber" finish that not even 100% half & half can cut. And isn't 100% half & half an oxymoron? No? Well, it ought to be.

I'm thinking about getting a warm-up. They're battening down their hatches at the mo' - maybe they'll give it to me for free. Why I want another cup of Reebok-insole-filtered coffee is beyond my ken. Maybe it's because I paid for the first one, and frankly, I didn't get enough unleaded bang for my (star)buck.

[Update: It was free]

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Now playing: Up, Bustle & Out - Coffee Contamination
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sen-tea-ments

I discovered this bit o' wisdom on my tea bag yesterday.


That's nice and all. Apparently, the following also holds true:

"An attitude of gratitude brings platitudes"

. . . assuming the tea-proverb author(ess) lives a life of thankfulness. I'd imagine that's a prerequisite to work at Yogi Tea. What exactly is being thanked is another matter entirely.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

aaaaand here's the link to Ted's photoset, with your humble narrator pictured therein:


Saturday, May 31, 2008

Here's how I spent my Saturday.

"On top of Mt. Wiiiiiiillllsssson, All Covered with Antennaaaaaae!"

The fellow in the photo isn't me. It's Ted Beam, of Thornbeam fame.

For the complete set of completely awesome photos, go here.

Prepare to be perplexed into wonderment!
video

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I just got a phone call a moment ago from Wells Fargo informing me that since I'm a valued customer of theirs, I can try out million dollar life insurance FREE for 60 days. If I'm not completely satisfied, I can cancel within those 60 days and I owe nothing.

Wow. Free!!

Wow.

That's . . . um . . . great. How does one "try out" life insurance for sixty days, exactly?

I guess there are several different options, really:

1.) I can die and be completely unhappy with the million dollars and then cancel.
2.) I can feel a general sense of lack of protection (I need TWO million dollars! to be truly comfortable) and then cancel.
3.) I can imagine what it would be like to have to pay the monthly fee, feel unhappy about that fantasy malaise, and then cancel.
4.) I can keep it.

Life insurance doesn't lend itself to a trial membership like a lot of other places. Say . . . Netflix, for instance. I did a trial membership with them and found that I used them so I kept the service. Great!

I don't want to start a trial life insurance membership, find that I will use it, and then . . . .*

Besides, I already have insurance through my company so there's that.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Heh! heheheheheh! This is easily the strangest oatmeal I've ever come across:

(as seen at the Glendale Whole Foods) I really . . . words really can't describe how yak-tastic this "oatmeal" appears to be. Well, they can but I run a family site and frankly no one came here to read about Ordure du Chien in salamander-skin sauce.

Whole Foods, I expect better of you when you steal my paycheck! And anyway, you owe me after busting my tooth. (which broke again, bye-the-bye . . . this means two more visits to the dentist. Methinks I need a crown.)

Monday, April 14, 2008

My Jeep's on Google StreetView


View Larger Map

It's a good thing I washed it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

From today's Miscreant Bouillabaisse on buzz.mn . . .
(please visit the link in my RSS feed reader on the right for the full post)

"Elsewhere in the world of blatant larceny:  Theft.  A man left Sam's Auto Parts after paying for two tires, but not the 16-inch rims and hub caps the tires were mounted on.  The man put the items in his vehicle and fled.  He was later contacted by police and told that he would be charged with theft.  He responded by saying that he didn't care."

Lileks goes on to say . . . "How old was the thief, five?"
Oh yes. Ooooohhhhh yes.

Can't you just feel the powerful waves of "Authority" emanating from my person? Don't I exude a blaze-orange confidence as I stand five floors down from my office, texting subtly? I told you that being a Floorden is awesome! and now you have proof. Solid proof.



Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It's such a beautiful night here in Burbank that I had to go someplace out of doors to work on my blog. As I parked, the Jeep thermometer said "70." That's a comfortable number - a number that you ought to feel shame in squandering indoors even if you do have a month of free cable with a bazillion movies "on-demand."
A gentleman, who I see in the neighborhood often, is playing guitar nearby. This keeps me from plugging in my headphones. Instead, the Doppler white noise of the Riverside Dr. traffic and the acoustic noodlings of the middle-aged white man blues (his current song is called "Midnight Special," I believe, due to the repetition of the phrase) keep my wandering mind undistractedly distracted.
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The Fire Extinguisher Man stopped by today with his trolley full of candy-apple colored wares.

Oh the joy when the distinctive tinkling chimes of the Fire Extinguisher Man first drift down the hall. Why, it makes the children's eyes light up so! It's so much fun to see them fretting over which flavor to get: "Instructions" or the sour "ABC." Both are packed with fun!

I asked the Fire Extinguisher Man if I could take a picture of his extinguishers all lined up on his trolley. He was in the middle of tallying something on a rumpled piece of paper and glanced at me from underneath the brim of his cap.

"Eh?" he grunted.
"It's just that I've never seen so many fire extinguishers lined up like this all at one time," I said as I pulled out my camera phone.
"Ohhh-kaaaay." He replied . . . skeptically. I guess he's grown accustomed to the uniqueness of his situation.

Speaking of fire, we're due to have a fire drill at our building sometime in March. I don't know about you, but the words "Fire Drill" evoke all kinds of elementary school memories - mostly of hassles and sirens and interrupted classes. Oh the learning lost!! I've been designated the floor warden by default since I'm the only local person at my company with whom the building has any contact. As the acting floor warden, I need to designate an alternate should I be crushed by a steel beam or hurtled headlong out of an 18th story window in the course of my duties.
The fellows at work aren't exactly clambering over each other to be the first to volunteer. Not because they're afraid of danger either. I think it has more to do with the whole "Hall Monitor" aspect of the job. Counting heads, directing traffic, checking hall passes . . . that type of stuff. If I have any amount of luck, the building will provide me with a safety vest and helmet (perhaps a badge? but I dream!) . . . and then I shall take a photo of me looking official in my official garb and I shall post it in this blog.

We have an official Floor Warden's (or Floorden's) meeting on the 4th of March whereupon I shall meet my fellow Floordens and size up their mettle. The Floorden motto is "Twenty-three-floors-worth of Panicked Office Workers CAN BE CONTROLLED In Times of Crisis."

Our logo . . .


Yup. I can't wait for March 4th.


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Now playing: Bob Dylan - This Wheel's On Fire
via FoxyTunes

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Soundtrack for Dental Work


I heard this song and immediately thought of the rigamarole I've gone through to get my molar fixed. It's fixed now. That's good. This song makes me laugh about it. I wasn't laughing at the time. In fact, I was downright mad . . . which helps when you're being stabbed in the gums with a thick needle full of numbing agent. I drummed a beat on the dental seat and thought "Is that the best you can do, Dr. Kay?!" I would have said it out loud except my mouth was full of gauze, suction hoses, and rubber bite wedges.


03 Ragging the Scale.mp3

Friday, February 08, 2008

Wanna know the latest drama? I broke a tooth. This seems to be a year o' injury for me - at least, breaking calcium-based parts of my body . . . toe, tooth. Luckily it's a molar so I don't have to worry about any crazy cosmetic dental implants. The dentist (Dr. Kay) can do a sloppy job and as long as I can bite down without discomfort, I'll be good to go.

She's tried this once already, but the composite didn't stick. After looking at my busted toof, she tsk-tsk-ed and asked how I managed to break my farthest backmost molar.

"I had a rock in my broccoli from Whole Foods," I sighed. My buddy, Mark, said that I had a rockoli for lunch - I laughed a bittersweet laugh. It was funny but my tooth is still broken.
Anyway, yes I had a rock in my brocc and I think I swallowed the offending pebble. However, I managed to salvage something hard and white out of the mess in my mouth, but I think it's just part of the tooth. It's in a small, 3"x2" manila envelope and hopefully I'll be able to get Whole Foods to pay for my visits to Dr. Kay.

Anyway, my first visit wasn't without drama, but it's boring drama so I'll avoid it. Instead, I'll pick up with me in the dentist's chair, watching the hygienist bust open plastic packets of sterilized stainless steel tools in order to dump them in a clatter onto an aluminum tray. After all the tools were heaped onto the tray, she proceeded to scooch them around into a rough assemblage that I can only assume is Dr. Kay's preferred heap of instruments. The best part was the horse-sized needle that she loaded with numbing agent and stabbed through a piece of cardboard to prop it up on the tray. The industrial syringe looked exactly like this one:


. . . minus the istock watermark, of course. I wanted to snap a photo of it sitting on the tray, but two things happened at that moment.
1. My phone fainted at the sight (or at least, it ran out of batteries)
2. Dr. Kay informed me that she wasn't going to numb me for the procedure.

Ok, granted it was 5:30 and the office closes at 6, but that's no reason to cut corners, is it? We're talking about tooth nerves, after all. I grimaced and said, "you know, it hurt when you blew air on it just a second ago." I glanced at the drill as she affixed a conical bit and closed my eyes.

"Well, let's just see how you do," she said, altogether too pleasantly.
I paused. "Is that a challenge, Dr. Kay?" I asked.
"Perhaps," she replied, "Now open your mouth."

I complied, waiting for the moment when she would hit the nerve and my entire body would hit the ceiling. Surprisingly enough, though, that moment never came.

"I'm going to try to rebuild your tooth without removing more of the tooth," she explained. "Let's hope it holds. Otherwise, you'll have to come back in and we'll have to get serious."

Get serious. Hmmm. So this is the corner being cut, eh? I knew from my reading on dental repairs while I waited in the lobby that molars are exceptionally hard to fix due to the tremendous pressures exerted upon them during mastication.

Sure, I had hope that she would perform a miracle and it would hold, but the nagging voice of doubt in the back of my mind told me that I would be back. The process took twenty mostly-painless minutes and I left glad to be able to chew again.

The tooth broke again the next morning.

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Now playing: Laurie Johnson Orchestra - Sucu Sucu
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, February 03, 2008

They say a picture's worth a thousand words. By the end of this entry, I'll have posted the equivalent of 4050 words, give or take a dozen. I'd say that's a good first day back, wouldn't you?

Ok, fine. It's a cop out. And for those of you who are counting my actual words - cease and desist! In all likelihood, I'll have written WAY over 50 actual words by the time this is done. So with that unnecessary caveat out of the way . . . on to the pictures! (all photos were taken with my camera phone, btw)


Sadco. I can't think of a place that surpasses Sadco in "I-don't-want-to-work- there"-ability. I'm using this photo as my cellphone's wallpaper right now, and I get depressed every time I flip it open to make a phone call. The idea of going to work everyday at Sadco is in itself saddening . . . which makes this a very successful business, apparently.


Here's a fabulous place in San Anselmo that I hadn't noticed before, though how it has escaped my attention until now baffles me even as I type this. I type in a state of baff-L-mohn to be continental about it. The picture above shows the main hall of the San Francisco Theological Seminary which does not loom large over the Golden Gate bridge as the website might lead you to believe. Instead, SFTS is located on a low hill in San Anselmo, CA, a town nestled in the evening shadow of Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County. I spotted a tower or two as I made my way to Marin Coffee Roasters and had to check it out. There's some swell architectural detail to be found there, too. Case in point . . .


Here's the door to their memorial chapel. Dig those hinges, man! I think each individual hinge on that door weighs more than the entire congregation attending services each Sunday. Seemed pretty quiet on the grounds today. As I meandered about, I didn't encounter a single soul. Some neat details are embedded on the archway's facade for those of you who are dying to see some pixellated close-ups.


At the end of the arch on the right hand side is an architectural stone carved with the likeness of a child.


The opposite end of the arch has a stone with an elderly, bearded man. Both figures have their eyes closed, one in birth and one in death. Fascinating! I expected there to be some sort of profound verse from the Bible etched into the arch along the lines of " A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth" or something. Instead, it just says "Montgomery Memorial" which is okay, I guess, if you know what it is about Montgomery that you are memorializing.

So there you have it. A photo in the blog is worth two in the phone and if each photo is worth a thousand words, I've actually posted well over 10,000 words worth. Now that's productive (and somewhat cliche-skewing).
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Now playing: Amon Tobin - Proper Hoodidge



Friday, January 25, 2008

Ok . . . been a while. This is simply a post to demonstrate that I haven't forgotten about this blog and that I intend to return to regular writing soon. Hold on to your hats (and sides, lest they split.)