Only It’s Not Coffee


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That's Good Drinkin'!

That mug you see is not filled with coffee as the quote from The Big Lebowski might imply. In fact I’m not sure it was ever used for coffee since my drink of choice at my last job was green tea with jasmine, one packet of artificial sweetener and a squeeze of honey added to kill any semblance of tea (and dignity) it might have had.

And I really wouldn’t consider any coffee I concoct to still be coffee for the same reason as the tea: the additives, only twice as many.

In either case, the current contents of the mug are not meant to give me pleasure but instead provide relief. It is filled with warm TheraFlu Nighttime Formula as I have been fighting off a cold for the last few days with today being the worst yet. While I was able to completely clean then den and then go to work yesterday, the only thing I did today was go grocery shopping at WinCo in the morning and it wiped me out. After lunch, I donned my pajamas and robe and have been roaming the house in sickly comfort. The family, as a result, has been avoiding me and I can’t really blame them.

Being sick sucks. I want to run, go for a 20-mile bike ride, anything to break a sweat. Instead I sit and do nothing. Blah.

So I just thought I’d post since they are so infrequent. My Facebook Vacation also continues but there’s more to it. It’s just not working for me with any browser and I can’t upload pictures from my devices via WiFi. I don’t know what’s going on but I don’t really miss it either. It’s an incredible time-waster.

I think that TheraFlu is starting to kick in. Goodnight.

Composed on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 with the WordPress app

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We Survived Coffeegeddon!


thumbnailThere have been a few scenarios in my life that couldn’t have been predicted by a psychic.

The first scenario involved me being in a white Ford Econoline van with two practically complete strangers, driving up Highway 71 from Arkansas into Missouri looking for alcoholic beverages and girly magazines.

Sound outlandish? Believe it or not, it happened in December 1993 when I was working for Wal-Mart and spent two lovely weeks in Bentonville – a dry county in the middle of the Bible Belt. I’ll tell you about it sometime.

The second scenario was when I found myself jogging up Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood in the morning with a used coffee maker in my hands.

But that’s exactly what I did today.

Today is National Coffee Day and to celebrate, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf was offering consumers the opportunity to exchange their old coffee maker for one of their brand-new single-cup Kaldi machines (retail value of $179.95). The only stipulation was the your exchange had to have the cord still attached and there was a limit of one Kaldi per person.

When Ann saw this on Facebook she couldn’t decide if she wanted to go for a number of reasons. It wasn’t until late last night when she decided that it might be worth the risk of braving the heat and crowds to get close to $400 worth of coffee makers. And with a limit of 2,500 to give out between 11 am – 5 pm, we chose to leave the house about 8:45 this morning.

Driving through the Hollywood area is no big deal to me. I spent many days there as a teenager and know the place well enough to get anywhere. I knew exactly where the event was.

When we arrived in West Hollywood, we saw that the line was already curling about four blocks. To avoid the hassle of parking on the streets and putting money in a meter, we ended up paying $10 to park in the parking lot of The Viper Room. You know The Viper Room, right? Where River Phoenix OD’d? That’s the place.

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Once we parked, we had to lug both of Ann’s coffee makers up Sunset Boulevard and that’s when my surreal scenario took place. In order to get a new Kaldi, you had to get a wristband from one of the event organizers so Ann told me to go ahead of her and Anthony and reserve my place in line.

That’s when I left them behind and jogged up Sunset, fulfilling my surreal experience. I then crossed the street, got my wristband and held our place in line. This was the view looking west down Sunset Boulevard.

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There were still plenty of wristbands by the time I was in line so I called Ann and told her to take their time. They did. Ann got her wristband and we were both guaranteed a Kaldi machine.

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Then the wait began. And it was very hot with spots of shade but nothing we stayed in for an extended period of time. Also, for those who didn’t plan properly (like us), you had to stand or worse, sit on the sidewalks – not really recommended in Los Angeles. Fortunately, the woman in line behind us was nice enough to Ann borrow one of the two chairs she had packed. I stood the entire time. We chatted with her and her family the entire time in line and they were such great people.

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About the only things we brought with us were bottles of water and Gatorade and believe me, they came in handy in that heat. I later ran into a pizza place to grab a few slices to eat while we waited. It hit the spot but again, standing in the heat takes more out of you than what you can put into you. I kept the pizza box and used it to fan us down when we couldn’t find the shelter of shade. And when you can’t, you improvise.

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When the line finally started to move, we saw plenty of interesting things like Mel’s Drive-In

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…a heavily disguised Ford Escape test vehicle (the ovals gave it away)…

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…the KTLA news van since they were covering the event…

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…and then this, which happened right in front of us.

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A woman – sitting on the right in the light blue shirt – apparently had a case of heat exhaustion and needed the aid of Los Angeles’ finest. She was eventually taken away in an ambulance and the situation held up the line for about 15 minutes. The poor woman waited all that time and won’t have a thing to show for it. I hope the Coffee Bean folks can track her down and give her what she was waiting for.

After about three hours in line, we were inching closer to getting our Kaldi machines. Then we finally crossed the final street and saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

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We had finally made it. High-fives from the CBTL workers. Once we crossed the threshold we were directed to a table where we turned in our old coffee makers and were given a certificate for the new one.

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We then walked over to what looked like a wall of brand new Kaldi machines, gave our color preference (red, blue or silver), and turned in our certificate.

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And with that, we had our new machines and the wait was over. I tweeted when we got our machines and CBTL responded.

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Ann took the red one and we are saving the blue for a Christmas gift for some lucky person. Despite the heat, it was definitely worth the drive and wait to get something totally free – okay, in exchange for something old. The value of the machines also made it worth the trouble.

Whew, what a day! We’d like to thank The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf for offering such a fantastic deal. You put a smile on Ann’s face and no doubt will make another coffee lover’s face light up on Christmas morning. And in this tough economy where there’d be no other way we could even dream of buying, let alone giving, one of these machines, your generosity is greatly appreciated. You have definitely earned our loyalty!

Caffeine Buzz


drink-coffee-do-stupid-things-faster-energyI don’t get coffee drinkers.

Ever since starting my current job, I’ve gotten into the horrible habit of drinking a cup of coffee somewhere during my eight hours of non-stop monotony (also known as proofreading). Granted, by the time I’m done adding my cream and sugar, my caffeinated beverage is only coffee in the most academic sense.

Either way, I seem to have become a fan of this awful-tasting drink that I’ve convinced myself will keep me awake and alert as I sit and read piles and piles of stuff in various languages.

And this, my friends, is how bad habits begin.

On a particular day last week, I was feeling especially sluggish so in addition to making one cup in the morning, I somehow felt compelled to take it one step further and concoct a second cup later in the afternoon for a little “boost” near the end of my shift.

While I normally tend to stick to the “light and smooth” variety of coffee, that day I remember choosing “dark and intense” flavor. And what a mistake that was.

I had made it to the end of the day and with both cups flowing through my system, I happily made my way home and as soon as I arrived, Anthony asked me if I wanted to go for a bike ride after dinner. I agreed since, well, who am I to turn him down?

I ate my dinner and then packed up some toys he wanted to play with at the park we were riding to. Along with the toys, I threw in a pack of Extreme Sport Beans that have a little bit of caffeine in them: 50mg to be exact. I usually take these along when I go for my 20-mile ride to the beach every Sunday and because I’m chugging along at a steady pace and keeping busy, the caffeine has no ill effects on me. I use it to keep me going. Additionally, I will have not consumed any coffee since I’m away from work.

But this on day, after drinking two cups and then a having pack of Sport Beans during a leisurely ride to the park, all the caffeine caught up to me.

We reached the park and I let Anthony play for a bit in the sand. I joined him and dug a big hole just so he could fill up his truck and dump the sand back in. I was alright up to that point.

But as we were ready to go, it took over. I started to become really anxious as Anthony found a huge ditch that some kids had made for a hideout. After asking him to please get out of the hole so we could go, I became even more anxious.

“Come on. Let’s go. We need to go. Come ON!” I pleaded to him.

My heart was beating faster and I was getting irritated, more than I normally do when I ask him to do something and he doesn’t comply.

I had the urge to move, move, move and not stop. I had to ride home right then and there. Nothing was happening fast enough for me and all my thoughts seemed to be comprised of fragmented sentences if only for the immediacy and convenience of producing the thoughts themselves.

It wasn’t me standing there impatiently waiting for Anthony to eventually leave the ditch and ride home. I had a caffeine buzz and I had turned into a dickish Caffeine Monster.

When we got home, I sat and thought about what I had put my body though and can’t understand those that intentionally do this on a daily basis. I know some people that drink this shit like water and wow, wouldn’t you know it, they also either have trouble sleeping or sleep too much. Amazing, don’t you think?

And for the sake of all things holy, I didn’t want to end up like that McDonald’s coffee asshole that doesn’t want anybody to talk to him until he’s had his first cup of coffee:

Yeah, that dick. I didn’t want to and refuse to turn into a jittery or drained douchebag like him by becoming a slave to coffee and the ill effects, including terminal rudeness, by craving a cup before I even do anything at work.

Since that day, I have not consumed any coffee at work or otherwise for fear of becoming this moron and even worse, an impatient father who will make his son suffer along with him as the buzz wears off.

And this, my friends, is how bad habits end.

Signs


 

"Machines..."

 

You know, there are certain signs once should heed. It could be one of those instinctive things that your gut just naturally tells you not to do or it could be one incident that might just eventually lead to a chain of catastrophic events.

Mine came a few weeks ago and yes, I should have listened.

I’m a brown-bag lunch kind of guy and have been since I decided to lose weight. Granted there are times when I decide to eat out for lunch or tag along when a group of co-workers goes somewhere but for the most part, I pack my own. And on occasion I look in my bag and decide that what I packed wasn’t quite enough or not exactly what I wanted.

That’s when vending machines come in handy–or drive you crazy.

It was a few weeks ago when I posted this picture to Twitpic, expressing my overall disappointment in the fact that my bag of Pop Chips was thrown into a state of suspended animation as it was dispensed. As you might be able to see, there is another door inside the vending machine that I suppose is designed to deter or discourage theft. When you stick your hand in the machine, the secondary door appears from out of nowhere and protects the machine’s precious cargo from those looking for a freebie. (But should you be fortunate enough to have pliable limbs like Plasticman, you’re still good.)

This somewhat superfluous door, however, presents a few problems as well. First, it increases the chances of items getting caught while making their break for freedom and, if they do get stuck and no matter how hard you shake the machine, it’s damn near impossible to get them out.

But let’s get back to the signs.

This morning, instead of opting for what’s becoming an extremely unwanted habit of drinking a cup of Michael Jackson Coffee (you figure that one out), I meandered over to the cafeteria for a can of Diet Pepsi. I had brought enough change from home to easily buy a few if I needed to.

So I plop 75 cents into the machine and make my selection. Nothing happened.

I try it again and still, nothing. It was then when I looked at the blue LED screen and it was flashing “EXACT CHANGE ONLY” (or 65 cents). Only having quarters I figured I might as well try the bottle machine instead. I wanted my fix.

I take a few steps over to the bottle machine which gladly took my 5 quarters. I make my selection and this time the machine’s display reads, “Please Make Another Selection”. I guess I didn’t want that Diet Pepsi today.

A bit disappointed, I hit the Change Return button–and only get 4 quarters back. Sonofa…

Dejected, I trudge my way back to my desk and get to work. Hours pass and it’s now lunchtime so I head back.

I entered the cafeteria and gave both machines the stink-eye. I could almost hear them telling me, “GET OUT OF HERE, MORENO!” But I didn’t. Instead, I walked right past them and thought I’d take my chances with the food machine again. After all, what were the chances of having another bag of chips get caught in there, right?

There were bags of Harvest Cheddar SunChips in there. My favorite. Much like Sun-Dried Tomato Wheat Thins, I think the secret ingredient is crack or something because once I start eating them I just can’t stop.

I reached into my pocket, grabbed 4 quarters and dropped them in, make my selection and as the machine dispensed my 15 cents in change, I could almost taste the cheddar cheese goodness that was about to hit my tongue.

Except for one small problem… Continue reading

Am I Weird?


First, I’ve a whole bunch of post ideas so stay tuned.

But before all that I have to ask: am I weird?

The reason is simple. When I get to work in the morning, after clocking in I head over to the kitchen and store my lunch in the fridge. The next step is to grab an ice-cold cup of water so that I can have something to wash down my first of two 500mg vitamin C tablets.

Not strange, you say? Then why do I always get devious stares from the coffee-drinking masses that are waiting in line at the brewer like it’s the mailman delivering their welfare check? And for the record, I don’t drink coffee save for those foofy Starbucks drinks that barely qualify.

Anyway, comments are open and there’s a poll to boot. Go to it. I’ll be sipping my H20 while I read the results!