Archive for October, 2010


Pet Peeves #4

This is a multiple part pet peeve. Since they fall under the same general subject, I think that its a good idea to make some pet peeve parallels.

So we all have become a culture dependent on our cell phones, right? Just ten years ago, when I liked a girl, I had to call her house phone and hope that her dad didn’t answer! Now they just text all day without even having to hear each other’s voices. I’m not saying that having your phone on you all the time is a bad thing, necessarily. Its great for emergencies, and for people who travel for their profession; I mean its a pretty fantastic invention when you really think about it.

But we become addicted to things. Its what we do. If we like coffee, we drink it till we have the jitters, if we enjoy a meal, we eat until we can’t move. Its not like we are alcoholics, but we just get dependent on anything from asprin to pepsi to the internet.

So I have some caricatures of cell phone addicts for you that really get under my skin.

This first one is for anyone who has had to work at a register. A man walks in on his phone, going on and on. You watch him as he talks and talks, thinking “I sure hope whoever is listening is getting paid to listen to this man”. He approaches the register.

“Yeah, and so I told him I can’t sell it for anything less than fifty thousand! I’lltakeanumberonenopickleswithcheeseandadietcoke – I know, I mean I have a business to run, and we need synergy if we want to….”

Did he just order? I could have sworn that he said something about pickles… “I’m sorry, what was that?”

“Thats why I hired Terry Tate, he has been a huge boost to productivity- numberonenopickelswithcheeseandadietcoke Yeah, he has really brought us closer to the tipping point!”

It is now clear that you don’t deserve his attention for even a fraction of a second. Hes sending you the message I am more important than you. These people sincerely believe that they are so busy, that they cannot set their phone down for about 30 seconds just to give you the dignity and order. I have seen a sign hanging in a few independent cafes and shops that simply says “we will gladly help you with your order when you are done with your cell phone conversation”. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, its about like saying “we will gladly give you desert after you eat all of your vegetables”, but some people really just have no manners at all.

Then theres the guy who talks so loud, you wonder if the person listening is hard of hearing or working on the runway at the airport. You will find this guy is very important; he goes on and on about everything he can do for his friend, and how he is going to help. Do you care? No, but he will sit in the chair next to you and talk so that you can hear how benevolent he is with his advice. Is there anyone on the other line? Probably not, but you would be smart to leave before he puts his phone down and starts trying to help you!

Next is the guy girl (lets make it a girl this time) who is in your circle of friends. She wants to be entertained. She can’t wait to see you and hang out with you! You make plans to hang out a week ahead of time, and she knows just how to show you how much she missed you; minimal eye contact, and texting on her phone. It doesn’t matter if there is a movie going on, a birthday party, if its the 4th of July, or if its her own dad being pulled out of a Chilean mine, she is texting on her phone.

Sure she thinks shes being social, but later she will wonder why no one calls her to hang out anymore. Its cause shes sending out the message whoever I am texting is more important than you are. Now granted, maybe she has Katy Perry’s number, and they are secret friends- or Shaq is asking her out on a date. Maybe its Steven Spielberg, who wants her to star in his next film, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Heres the honest truth: we are too dependent on our phones these days. If someone doesn’t return your calls, you don’t think that their battery died, you assume they are in an awful, fiery car wreck on the interstate! I think that the cure isn’t to end your contract with AT&T and toss your iPhone in the trash, but to realize the message you’re sending when you are on your phone, cause I have news for you; if you don’t know anyone that fits one of my caricatures, it might just be you!

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Coffee Time

Ok, so I am working on a collaborative blog with some of my friends. It is going to cover certain creature comforts that we all enjoy from coffee to restaurants, to wine, cigars, cafes, and more. Obviously, my area of expertise in which I will be writing will be coffee,  some teas, and probably a few restaurants. As a little promotion for our blog, I figured I could put my first post on here.

So how do you drink your coffee? Do you drink what ever the cheap stuff is at your office coffee maker? Something instant that kind of resembles coffee when you think really hard about it? What I’m encouraging you do is drink coffee with the intention of enjoying it, not to give you a little rush to make it till 5:00. Drinking it solely for the caffeine is like using a wheelchair when you roll your ankle. This is why coffee and caffeine get shown in a  bad light; people drink it in excess, getting the jitters, acid reflux, or even ulcers.

Something you may not know about coffee is the good side effects. All of these come from two cups (thats 16 fl oz)  of coffee or less, which I have been told is the most one should drink in a day.

  • Coffee helps regulate your blood pressure; in small amounts, it actually dilates your veins and arteries, lowering your blood pressure slightly. It should go without saying that too much will definitely raise it, though.
  • It helps your short term memory stay sharper; caffeine passes the blood brain barrier, and can momentarily help you with that last minute cramming you do from time to time.
  • Coffee in small amounts can help your exercise. In a test on cyclists, the ones given caffeine went 29% farther than the ones that went without it. (working on citation)
  • It helps you stay “regular”. I dont think you should need any more details.
  • Coffee increases your coolness by at least 79%, just by sitting back and sipping on it. That is a fact.
  • Coffee has no calories! Well thats not technically true, I believe that the ratio is something like 5 calories per 8oz, but hey, compare it to a small can of Red Bull, and the calorie count is 110!

Now that I have you on the coffee bandwagon, there is something you need to understand; coffee drinks such as McDonalds, nescafe, maxwell house, and those pouches in your hotel room are not coffee. Yes, maybe they pass as coffee, because they do technically contain coffee beans, there is not nearly as much quality as needed to make yourself a decent cup of joe. Its like calling a pack of parliament lights cigars; yes there is tobacco, but bring it into a cigar shop, and you will get laughed at. Most of these kinds of coffees do the minimal. They pay the cheapest prices for beans that may not be completely ripe, roast them for a minimal amount of time, or till they reach their first “pop”, immediately grind them for a paper filter, freeze dry them, and who knows how long they stay on the shelves?

So here is what I want you to do; go out and have some real coffee.

I’m not saying that I want you to swing by Starbucks’ Drive Thru and grab a grande drip with cream and sugar, I want you to sit down and enjoy coffee as it should be. If you can, go buy a French Press and a grinder, or else find a coffee shop nearby that will press your coffee for you (most Starbucks will if you ask). Get you some gourmet coffee (preferably a Latin American coffee if you aren’t used to a press).

Heres the simple directions for making a french press;

1. Coffee: 4 heaping scoops of whole beans ground coarsely does it for me in my 8 cup press.

2. Water: as close to boiling as you can get it, coffee brews best in temperatures between 210 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Let it sit for 4 minutes. Dont press the big metal rod down just yet. I know it, its hard to wait, but just hold on. After the 4 minutes are up, press the grounds to the bottom, and…

4. You got the Java!

Don’t rush to the fridge and get your Coffee Mate caramel macciato flavored creamer- give it a try black. Smell the aroma, and let out a big slurp as you get your first few sips. This is how coffee is meant to be enjoyed, not as a stimulant  that you feel needing an intravenous injection. Drink it out on your porch on these fall evenings or on a Saturday morning before you get going.

I hope this is inspiring to you to rethink your coffee addiction.

Other topics I’m working on in the near future: Cafes in Nashville, how to pick a coffee to brew, how to tell if the cafe you walk into is quality, coffee shop 101, and how to drink your coffee(press, espresso machine, percolator,etc),

Nothing on TV

This is for all of those people who think that nothing is on. I know that having 300 channels is overload, but there are some really quality shows out there, and I’m here to list the ten best shows out there right now.

1. The Big Bang Theory: This show is witty on a whole new level. It follows four physicists who are socially inept, awkwardly dressed, and unable to make any kind of connection with the opposite sex. The worst of them is Sheldon (who just won an Emmy for this show), who is more awkward than the rest of them combine. Every episode is an adventure trying to figure out how they get along, and how their (comparatively) normal neighbor tolerates them.

2. Pawn Stars: This show is so cool, and I would have never thought it. Its a reality show about a pawn shop in Las Vegas owned by three generations of family. Its really great, because you get the craziest stuff brought in there by some of the craziest people. Its really fun, and makes me want to own a pawn shop.

3. Modern Family: This show is too funny. Its shot in a similar style as The Office, but is centered around a grown up family and their kids. This show really is too hilarious to miss, take my word for it.

4. American Idol: I don’t know how many years I avoided jumping on this train, but its a fun show to watch. I think its going to be especially interesting this year, because they are replacing two of the judges  and the new dynamic should be interesting to watch. I mean seriously, if you’re still judging me, at least watch the first couple of episodes. I mean that way you can at least laugh at the pathetic people.

5. How I Met Your Mother: I just started watching this show, but it seems like its Seinfeld for a new generation. Its a funny show for sure, but I havent made up my mind whether or not its as iconic as I’ve heard.

6. Ice Road Truckers: This show is intense. Its another reality show, following truckers in Alaska as they take on a road that is mostly covered in ice. It really is a lot of fun, although its stressful too.

7. Glenn Beck: Oh, I went there. This guy gets called every name in the book, but no one refutes him. Hes the kind of guy you love or hate, cause he does not sugar coat anything. People use hearsay, and don’t give him a chance, but pay attention to him and his chalkboards, and you might start gaining some clarity on whats going on around you. Still judging me? Watch him for two weeks, and tell me what hes wrong about.

8. House: Dr. House is one of the most interesting characters out there. Hes a diagnostic genius, and a total jerk. The writers have done a great job with this show, because they were able to have a show where the characters progress, but you can still watch any random episode and have a good idea of what is going on.

9. Man vs Wild: Bear Grylls is the man. Enough said. If needed to I’m pretty sure he could start a fire with a mean look, and kill a tiger just by growling. The man will go anywhere, eat anything, and make a decent bed out of stone, sweat, and

10. Psych: I saved the best for last. This is the funniest show on TV right now, and hardly anyone I know watches it. Shawn Spencer is a great detective who claims to be psychic (not to be confused with the Mentalist, which apparently ripped the show off). The show is centered around Shawn and Gus as they help solve crimes for the Santa Barbra PD, but its more than another CSI show. These guys will crack you up from start to finish. Its equal parts Scooby Doo, CSI, 80s and 90s humor, mystery, comedy, and wit.

Honorable Mention: LOST. This show was the best show to come on TV. You can’t just watch reruns on a Saturday afternoon while you nap, you have to see the show in its entirety. It is centered around a plane crash in the south-pacific, that ends up becoming more and more mysterious. I cannot express to you in words how good this show is, only that you have to try it out. Just go to your netflix or blockbuster, and try the first season; I guarantee you will be hooked.

I get the news I need

I think of the Simon and Garfunkel song that says “I get all the news I need from the weather report” , and think about how that used to be my old philosophy. When I was a poor, deprived child who had no cable TV (this may lead you to ask yourself “did he even had running water?” Yes, as long as I showered before my sisters.) There wasn’t much of a difference to news stations. There were Channel 5, 8, or 10 news, and they all covered most of the important things by themselves.

When I was in Media Writing, we were told that journalists’ mission was to report the news in an unbiased way. The writer or reporter  was to take their personal sentiments out of the story, give the facts, and give two different views on the story.

We were shown Walter Cronkite reporting Kennedy’s assassination. This was a huge shock, because no one was to show emotion on the television. My teacher told us that people always speculated about his personal ideology, but it was after his retirement that he showed that he had political views that were much more liberal than what most speculated.

What I missed from all of this was why this quality was so necessary. I mean, is it truly possible to be completely unbiased? Would you rather listen to someone who is honest with their views, but still entertains the opposite view? Or is it better that someone places subtle, not always conscious nudges around their “unbiased” reporting?

Even the most brutal murderers were supposed to be showed that they had a rough childhood, and reasons as to why they became they way they were, all with an emotionless face. We all were required to read Grendel, and understand that sometimes society and events can take a place in shaping monsters. I think that its fine to show this side, but to call Charles Manson a sociopath and a murderer does not need any more explanation than to call Snoopy a lazy, daydreaming dog.

We are slowly moving away from Cronkite-types, and are moving towards commentators. We as a people in general are becoming more educated, and looking for people to help us reinforce our point. We, as Americans, should keep ourselves educated, and come up with our own ideals. I’m not trying to call all journalists manipulators, I’m just simply trying to state that no one can truly be a dispassionate observer. I think that as long as the facts are clearly separated from opinion, we should be able to decide our own thoughts from whoever we get our news source.

What we really need is a news station that is honest with its self. Fair and balanced is necessary to give two sides to the argument, but to think that any news source is really unbiased is as absurd as thinking your grandmas cookies are fat-free. People need to quit concerning themselves with all of the other news sources, and look at whether or not the facts are given, and if there is a reasonable conclusion to take with them.

Forwards and such

So we all get email forwards full of the most awful/amazing things, right?

http://www.hdtrailerz.com/video/the-world-s-longest-basketball-shot

Amazing basketball shot.

corgi belly flop

This can only be described with one word: spiderman.

This lady has a flair for storytelling. She told it so well I kind of doubt that anything took place.

This guy is call the A@#hole, and its just clips of him playing (mostly) harmless, but insanely obnoxious jokes on random people. I bet hes a great sprinter.

http://www.oldspiceguy.com/other/im-in-your/

I love these commercials.

 

Anyways, I know that this is a short post, with little substance, but I am working on more!