Category Archives: coffee sameness

on time

time is a funny thing, especially “brain time,” which is the clock inside our heads that we rely on as “real,” even though it’s actually dependent on our subjective consciousness and perception rather than fixed increments of seconds, microseconds, etc.

the April 25, 2011 issue of the New Yorker has a fabulous article by Burkhard Bilger on David Eagleman and brain time. David is a fellow New Mexican, which fuels my half-assed theory that kids who grow up in New Mexico develop such a weird sense of space and scale they are bound to have a screwy understanding of time as well.

during grad school David didn’t want to take time away from programming in order to eat so he kept a bag of raw potatoes under his desk. he would cook the potato in the microwave and bite at it while he typed. Impressive!

here’s my version of that, eating the entire bucket of ice cream while waiting for something to process. (definitely a disadvantage to have to use both hands, but it’s homemade salted caramel ice cream and that you cannot possibly manage with one hand).

as everyone knows, our perception of time is context dependent. our contractor told us our garage would take a month to fix up, and now three months later it’s really pretty much, essentially, nearly done. so nearly done that we’ve put up the ropes for the yoga wall, and we’ve hung our contractor up on them. ask him how long he thought we left him hanging there, and he’d say half a minute or more when in reality it was closer to 10 seconds.

which is a long time compared to the couple of seconds it took for me to snap this photo at Lincoln Center, where some guy behind me said “some people think they can stop and hold everyone up for a minute just to take a picture,”

and in the excruciatingly long 80 minutes of opera that followed, my brain drifted to things that take an even longer time (relatively) to happen, like my current writing project, the gentrification of Williamsburg (hello! Blue Bottle coffee!), and the formation of a redwood forest.

after all, for every action there is an equal and opposite abstraction. or in other words, they will make no sticks to chew on, before it’s time.

see yourself in coffee

every once in awhile we take a bullet and agree to work (gratis) for certain non-profits of a spiritual persuasion. we do this, despite what a friend of mine—a non-profit consultant by choice—says about dealing with those kind of non-profits: “RUN!”
this year for their fundraiser they wanted to make t-shirts, and suggested putting a yoga sutra (in Sanskrit) on the front. the one they decided on was 1.33,

which pretty much says: “By cultivating friendliness towards happiness and compassion towards misery, gladness towards virtue and indifference towards vice, the mind becomes pure.”
we suggested that it also pretty much says: “See yourself in others,” and that perhaps that snippet could be a nice English counterpart to go on the back of the t-shirt. like most philosophical texts written in old languages, there’s a lot of room for translation and interpretation, but our little idea got taken down hard by the tight-ass end (fundraising chair), who didn’t want people to think that was what it meant. i guess pretty much is pretty much only some of the time.

to compromise, i’ve decided to see myself in pretty much anything.
in turkey wraps (friendliness):

in traffic (compassion):

in coffee ice cream (gladness): (how can you not see the entire universe in this?)

and in shadows (indifference):

the real best coast

my new favorite band, Best Coast, has the sweetest beach-fuzz sound i’ve heard in a long time. and that’s an earbuds-on-fire-i’ll-coo-with-you, long time.

having spent many years on this best coast, one thing i thought i missed from the east coast were these swirly things that came down from the trees every fall. the few that i found in northern california didn’t have the nose adhesive that i remembered from my childhood.
but, two weeks ago at the amazingly fun Tin House Workshop, i discovered that Portland is full of these things. ah!!

Portland is home to many other great things, including a barista that offered me the extra shot of espresso that he was “going to throw out anyway,” my buddy Too Much Coffee Man, the literary duck that came and sat at your feet as you read into the sunset, and a donation-based service that pays for your taxi home if you’re too cocktail-ed out to do otherwise.

why dentists like suction

my teeth are in really great shape (“only floss the ones you want to keep!”) but i do make a point to see my dentist at least three times a year. mostly it’s because my visits include drinking coffee out of his vacuum pot with his freshly roasted beans (kenyan, usually).

there’s a whole rigmarole with the coffee production that assures me that he’s a fabulous dentist, (he even weighs his grind out before putting it into his 3x espresso basket) but my favorite is that when it comes down to cleaning out the coffee roaster, he’s really just performing dentistry with a shop vac. can you open up a little wider?

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things that make my brain go bonkers

just a short list for today:

–a bonanza of fava beans. god, there’s never enough. lucky for me it’s also green garlic season so sauteing the two together in butter makes everyone lick their plates so clean there’s no dishwashing here until tomato season!

–indecision:

–crazy assed yet beautifully designed Chinese coffee tins:


yes, i did try a packet of “cappuccino,” and no, it was no cappuccino. frothy, maybe, but definitely on the “mild dimensions” side.

i heart slankers

because the convalescent pup needs bones to keep her happy for the 60 (now 45!!) days of crate rest, we ordered 40 pounds of meat + bones from the wonderful people at Slankers. yes we had to fulfill the minimum by adding people meat parts to the order.

so drool over this:
coffee/cumin dry-rubbed meaty spare ribs with little potatoes. what’chu gonna eat?

notice my coveted 10th anniversary deck of cards from Diagram and the not so coveted empty box of toffee in the background. sigh.

ps. vegetables to follow. oh, and cheesecake.