Coffee 10/17/14

This is my morning coffee post. I just steeped a cup and a half in the French press. After a few days of using the drip machine, it tastes especially robust.

Some strangers have gone above and beyond to help me out recently, and I want to return the favor. I don’t want to make it sound like I’m a jerk and that I don’t do nice things for people. I’ll open doors, offer help when I should, etc. It’s just that these three people did things that were especially nice, and I want to go above and beyond my baseline agreeableness to spread the love.

Last month, I was driving down to Albuquerque for that Better Call Saul shoot. It was later in the evening, after 9 pm, and my car was almost out of gas. I stopped at the first station I saw in Colorado Springs. It ends up, the station I stopped at was “Members Only”, and you have to scan your membership card for the pump to activate. I’d never heard of anything like that before, but apparently it’s a thing. It was dark, I didn’t see any other stations on the horizon (not that I would have been able to drive that far anyway), and nobody was around to sell memberships. A car drove past. I caught the driver’s eye and he looped around alongside me. “Not a member?” he asked. I offered to pay for a top off for him if he’d scan his card, but he just scanned the card and drove away.

The night Spandy died, we wanted candy. It didn’t have to be good. Just sugary and fatty. It was the start of Halloween season, so the store had buckets of chocolate lying around. We picked up a bit, no more than a dollar’s worth. When we went to check out, the register wouldn’t scan the candy’s price. The checkout man tried a couple of times and then handed me the candy. “Free,” he said.

Then last Friday, I was going to a friend’s house later, so I’d shaved and put on nice clothes. Until it came time to head out, I was looking for used books. I’ve decided to write a book myself, and I figured I should do some inexpensive research. I was going to hit up all the thrift stores within 3-4 miles of my house. The first thrift shop was a Catholic-run secondhand store. They had a big book selection, but not a lot to choose from of the type of book I was looking for. I found one, which would’ve run about $0.75. I went to pay, but the cashier couldn’t make change for the bill I had. I offered to put it back or make a donation, but she just gave it to me.

All told, these three people probably gave me less than 2 minutes of their time and $1.50 worth of goods. But each of them stuck with me. The stranger at the membership gas station didn’t have to stop, but he helped me make it to my job with an hour to spare. The cashier who gave the candy on the night that Spandy died couldn’t have known how much it meant. And the cashier who gave me the book had no idea that this was the first book I was picking up to use as research for my own.

So these stuck with me, and I want to return the favor somehow. Ideas?

Drinking Coffee in Hollywood

coffee

All this blogging about coffee reminded me of this picture. Me, drinking coffee in Hollywood. This was the last morning of my most recent trip, the one where I won a giant toy on the Santa Monica pier and had ideal seats for The Price Is Right. It was a fun vacation and the coffee was good, but you might not be able to tell that I was enjoying myself from the look on my face. It takes a few sips for my brain to catch up to its surroundings.

What I Thought About While Drinking Coffee This Morning: 10/14/14

After my recent uptick in coffee consumption, the jitters were starting to take over too much of my day. So I tried to cut back and only poured one cup today. It was a good brew, strong but not overpowering. I tried to savor it as much as I could but it was gone quickly. I’m used to a long morning coffee routine, waking up sip by sip, and it just felt rushed and over too soon. Rather than obsess over a second cup, I decided to take the dog for a long walk. The day was sunny but cool. I thought a lot about how alert I didn’t feel and how nice it would be to drink another cup. I made it back home and there was just enough left in the carafe for a three-quarters cup. I suppose I cut back a bit from the day before, but it wasn’t til that second cup that my morning felt complete.

What I Thought About While Making Coffee This Morning: 10/13/14

I’ve been drinking too much coffee recently! I stayed up late on Friday to go to the War on Drugs concert, which was great, so I had an extra cup or two (or three…more likely three) to help me wake up on Saturday. And yesterday was cold and rainy, which is perfect coffee weather if you ask me. I finished my last cup at 3 pm. I had a more reasonable amount this morning. Last night I started a rough outline of the direction I want to take my book in, and I thought about that. I’m optimistic and excited. But the coffee was strong enough that I’m jittery even 90 minutes later. Anyway, I suspect that I’ll need to change my morning routine soon. I’ll probably try to switch up my routine so I’m jogging before I have any caffeine, and I’ll probably switch from coffee to hot tea for a couple weeks. It will be a strong tea, no doubt, but not as intense as the coffee I’ve been making. That means that this coffee mindfulness exercise might be nearing an end. It’s a pity because I’ve been enjoying the very short cycle of activity and reflection. But all things must pass.

What I Thought About While Making Coffee This Morning: 10/10/14

It looks like it’s going to rain all day today so I took the dog for a walk before I made my coffee. I was feeling a little more alert than usual. I didn’t lose count of scoops.

My birthday was back in July, but my birthday present arrives today. The War on Drugs come to town tonight, and I got tickets. I saw them play in Salt Lake City when their first album came out. They were opening for The Hold Steady, who were alright but War on Drugs stole the show. Since then, they’ve put out two of my favorite albums, Slave Ambient and Lost in the Dream. I’m pretty excited. They’ve made indie rock news this week…fellow musician Mark Kozelek seems like he’s trying to manufacture a feud with the band.(Link has NSFW language.) I’m half-hoping he shows up tonight.

I’ve been a little worried about my dog. After Spandy died, he’s been more excited to see me when I get home, which is endearing but also a sign of separation anxiety. He doesn’t seem to be enjoying his chew toys as much anymore. Yesterday, I noticed a sore spot on one of his front legs. It looks like he’s licked it raw. I’m trying to figure out how to help keep his brain occupied. We’ve been going on longer walks and spending more time at the off-leash dog park. Normally I don’t let him sit on the couch with me but I let him this morning. He had his head in my lap while the coffee was steeping.

What I Thought About While Making Coffee This Morning: 10/9/14

I stayed out rather late last night. I met up with some friends and it was after midnight when I got home. When I woke up this morning, I felt rested but not quite alert. I made French pressed the coffee, blending the light roast and the dark roast this time. While the coffee steeped, I caught up on sports stories. The National League Championship Series and the American League Championship Series start this weekend. I’m curious to see how these play out. I’ve always had a soft spot for the Orioles, so I’m happy to see them doing well. In the National League, I was pulling for the Dodgers, about half of whom I saw play in AAA with the Albuquerque Isotopes, but the Cardinals eliminated them in four games. I’ve always lived in National League cities, so it feels a little strange to be following the American League pennant more closely this year.

It’s an overcast day. We had a burst of eighty degree weather earlier this week, but the clouds rolled in and according to the weatherman it doesn’t look like we’re going to be topping seventy for a few more days.

The coffee had a really nice taste, probably the best cup of coffee I’ve had all week.

What I Thought About While Making Coffee This Morning: 10/8/14

Recently, I’ve been using morning roast ground coffee from Caribou for my cup of coffee. It’s a local roaster with some shops here and there. I’ve never been to one of their shops, but the bags are on sale at my local grocery store, so I bought them up. I decided to change things up today and use whole beans from Dazbog, another local chain, this one with a vaguely communist USSR graphic motif. This bag was also on sale when I bought it, but I’ve been in the mood for a lighter roast up until today. Lighter roasts don’t have quite as bold a flavor, but the tradeoff is that they have more caffeine. The dark roast sounded good today. I haven’t used the grinder in a while.

I made up my mind about two things while the coffee was steeping. One: I’m going for a jog today. I mentioned before that I fell a little over two weeks ago. It’s been a slow recovery. I went for an abbreviated run a week ago. I took the same path as when I fell and was prepared to be especially mindful at the point where I got tripped up, but I got distracted by the geese and a work e-mail, so I was almost back to the car before I realized I passed the spot without incident. So I was psychologically prepared, but my hip was rather sore by the end. I miss being in my twenties; I would have recovered from this in two days. But I’m an adult now, so I gave it another week. My hip is still a little sore, but I wonder if it’s from inertia. I’m usually pleased when I go for somewhere between 4-5 miles. It’s a workout but I still have enough left in reserves to finish the day. I think I’m going to do only one or two miles today. I’m sure I’ll want to go further, but I don’t want to risk having to take another week off.

And two: I blogged yesterday about my ambivalence about National Novel Writing Month. It seems like a great time to get started, but November is always so busy: I’ve got visitors coming, and I’ve got some visits to make myself. I also have a whopping four (FOUR!) concerts to attend that month. I just don’t see how I’d finish 50,000 words in the month. But I do have the idea in my head and I’m determined to see it through, so I’m just going to start today or tomorrow. I have dozens of school notebooks at home, the spiral-bound ones that cost a quarter. but I never seem to get anywhere with those. I’m left-handed, so the spirals always leave marks in my writing arm. I have a couple of those inexpensive composition notebooks, too, the ones that are bound with string or staples. They’re better for my arm, but they’re both half-filled with other projects. I’m debating whether I should work around what I have, or just shell out the extra money and buy a notebook with a sturdier paper stock.