Traveling Coffee Kit

My on the go coffee kit consists of a hand grinder, digital thermometer, battery-powered milk frother and an AeroPress. I pack my beans (weighed in advance) in Ziploc bags. I’ve been wanting something a bit more elegant for the beans, but hadn’t found it. Until now, that is. I saw these “GoStak Twist n’ Lock Storage Jars” and thought they might be just what I’d been looking for. A bit of quick Googling turned up this “coffee converter” calculator (ain’t the internet grand) which told me that the 60cc size will hold 25.92 grams of coffee beans. Perfect for my application. Plus they sell them in a 3 pack, which is exactly how many I need (for daily use). I’ll report back once I get them and have used them for a while.

Thanks again, internet!

A sign?

Last week I was checking the balance in my 403(b) retirement plan. The wheels got to turning and I had the realization that I could cash it out and buy a series 1 Jaguar XKE.

It turns out, just a few hours after I had this epiphany, my employer mailed me a certified letter notifying me that they are terminating the plan. My options are:
a) Roll it over into an IRA or
b) Cash it out (and buy an XKE, clearly)

It’s like some sort of cosmic double-dog dare.

So… British Racing Green?

Stop with the “Super Moon”

When we sensationalize everything, we trivialize the truly sensational.

Tonight’s full moon isn’t all that “Super”. Tonight the moon will be full and at perigee.
This happens once every 14 lunar cycles (basically yearly). It will appear almost imperceptibly larger and a bit brighter than usual. Can we please stop acting like it’s some rare and spectacular event?

Let’s be honest, if no one told them it was “super” most folks wouldn’t notice the difference.

Amway Changed My Life

But not in a way you might think.

Years ago a friend from high-school that I hadn’t seen in years was back in town. He called me up, saying he had some sort of business proposition for me.
His evasiveness when I asked any questions and the fact that he insisted I should just attend his meeting or seminar or whatever set the warning bells to clanging.

He did drop off some cassette tapes for me to listen to. At one point, early in the tape, the narrator put forth the notion that I could be making money during the time that I spent fishing, phrasing it in such a way as to suggest that this time was somehow wasted. I was completely at odds with this supposition.

In my mind time spent working is time that would be better spent fishing. That was when I had a moment of clarity. In both the literal sense and metaphorically, I would rather be fishing. Having heard all I needed to hear, I stopped the tape at that point. When my friend called to ask me what I’d thought of the tapes and to again try to convince me to attend his seminar, I told him what I’d realized — That I’d rather be “fishing”.

Over the years I’ve found myself referring back to that moment; it’s become something of a touchstone. Recently at work there were some gaps in the schedule that needed coverage. I could have taken an extra shift (or several) and made some overtime. Of course I could use the money but I didn’t really need the money.
“I’d rather be ‘fishing’.” I told myself.

I just don’t understand people who work 2 or 3 jobs; work like it’s a competition or a compulsion. What’s the point of being so busy working for a living that there’s no time left for the actual “living” part of the equation?

I am thankful that people like that exist. They can do all the work that needs doing while the rest of us are “fishing”.

I’m back!

I haven’t posted here in over a year. Here’s my excuse: My webhost upgraded their servers to the latest version of PHP, which was incompatible with the (seriously out-of-date) version of WordPress I was using. They were able to recompile my database to work with PHP 5.3, but if I posted anything, WordPress broke the database again.

Since my version of WordPress predated the automatic updater (by several versions), this meant a tedious, and time-consuming manual update.

Anyway, several failed attempts later, here we are. There are still a few glitches I need to work out, but overall things seem to to be working okay.

Things that go bump in the night

Just as I was falling asleep Saturday I was jolted awake by a loud CRASH. The cat was next to me on the bed (though she made a mad dash for cover) so I knew it wasn’t her. Since there was no one else here, I decided it must have come from the downstairs neighbor. Replaying in my mind what I’d heard, I decided that it sounded like someone dropped a large metal can full of smaller cans, or possibly dishes; probably in the foyer. Satisfied with this explanation, I dozed back off, though I was still contemplating it. Sometime later I awoke again, worried that the noise could have come from my apartment somewhere. Checking for signs of calamity, I made my way to the kitchen. There, sitting in pool of water amid the shattered shards of the cat’s water dish was my old toaster, which apparently fell from its spot on the shelf of the microwave cart.

I’d refilled the cat’s water when I got home, then gone to bed. A short while later I awoke and went to the kitchen for a drink. I noticed that I hadn’t put her water in its usual spot, next to the microwave cart, so I moved it. At no time during this process did I notice the toaster (which hasn’t been moved since I got a new toaster last Christmas) resting precariously.

Here’s the really crazy part. This isn’t the first time it’s happened!! A couple of years ago the toaster dove into, and smashed, Caldonia’s food dish while I slept.

This is obviously the work of a ghost. A ghost with a taste for toast. Or a ghost that doesn’t like my cat. Or an evil mouse. Whatever the fuck it is, I wish it would stop. One thing’s for certain: I’m getting rid of that damned toaster. Then, if need be, I’ll call an exorcist and/or exterminator.

Checks: Are people insane?

As I do almost all of my banking online or via debit card, I use, at the very most, 3 or 4 checks per month. This means that an order of checks lasts me a very long time. After writing the check for my rent (the only check I write every month, I discovered/remembered that I’m almost out of checks. I had noticed this some weeks ago, but since I was still using the freebies from when I opened the account (literally 3+ years ago!) I couldn’t just re-order online and would have to talk to a “customer service represenative”.

So, I call the 800 number and navigate through the menus until I get “Troy” on the line. Troy was quite personable, making chit-chat as he gathers the necessary information (evidently, the weather in Manila, Philippines is quite nice now). Troy asks me if I want the same checks as before, “sure, that’s fine” says I. Then Troy dropped a bombshell; 250 of the rather ordinary-looking checks I’ve been using will cost $77!! First of all, I do not need 250 checks, it’s taken me 3 1/2 years to use 150. Secondly, $77 for checks? That’s fucking crazy!

So, I politely explain to Troy that there is absolutely no way I’m paying that much for checks. With little fanfare he hooks me up with plain-old, regular-ass checks, yellow, I believe, for a much less angina-inducing $21.50 per 150. Assuming I don’t move (or die) I should still be using these checks 5 years from now.

$77 for checks! That’s just crazy talk!

That’s How They (USPS, UPS, DHL, FedEx, et al.) Get You (again)

Back on April 1st, I ordered a (warning: nerd content) serial to RJ-45 cable which I need to update the firmware on my new-to-me Belkin 8 port KVM.

Yesterday it still hadn’t come and the seller’s website was showing its status as “processing”, which would imply that it hadn’t shipped yet. Naturally I emailed them to ask what the deal was and, naturally, it arrived today. It just blows my mind how often that exact same scenario plays out.