Monday, February 28, 2011

a bumpy start

corner gallery

My first attempt at screen free sundays was a resounding failure. The morning started off well. I chipped away at the epic scientology article from last week's new yorker while I ate breakfast and drank my third attempt at making a hario pour over* without a gram scale. Then I cooked several things for this week's homemade eating crusade, but somewhere in the midst of chopping onions and grinding almonds, charrow suggested we go see black swan before the oscar award ceremony, and it all went downhill from there. I had to fire up the computer to check movie times. Then we sat for 2 hours in front of a screen larger than all the screens in my life combined while natalie portman's skin flashed with the nubbles of her avian transformation.

After we were sufficiently depressed and discombobulated by both the movie and the off-kilter people at the theater, we rode home and gathered our things for a bike ride** to williamsburg for a red-carpet-oscar-viewing-shrimp & grits-cream-puff-extravaganza. What can I say? I'm weak and the oscars don't come around every sunday, so I made plans to watch it with friends. A social fall from grace is better than sitting at home in my house pants overdosing on the A-list.

Measure of success: I didn't check facebook or any other blog or social media type mental gadget the entire day.

Measure of failure: I spent a combined total of 5.5 hours watching television.

*analogous task for those of you that are unfamiliar with a pour over, which is a relatively precise coffee brewing method: trying to thread a needle using your phone as a flashlight on a bumpy bus ride in the dark. It can be done, but it's not pretty

**three cheers for tolerable biking conditions!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

collectively amazing

somebody else's night

Ways I would not like to spend my evenings: smoking lucky strikes, eating a banana and drinking corner store coffee (or who knows what) out of a styrofoam cup.

The morning of our first full day in Copenhagen, we were met with this sight as we left the hostel to go on a coffee expedition. It was simultaneously nauseating* and captivating (hence the need to record it).

We left this lovely scene and went to the Coffee Collective, which is an incredible shop in the Norrebro neighborhood that just happened to be within walking distance of our hostel. The baristas were friendly and made great coffee (I think we had at least 3 drinks a piece every time we went there). We lurked for so long that I'm sure we overstayed our welcome (sorry Annastina! and also sorry if I spelled/got your name wrong). It was hard to force ourselves to visit other shops in the city because we knew just how good the coffee would be at the Coffee Collective.

coffee geekdom

Eventually I will blather about non-coffee related vacation activities. I promise.

*sorry, smoker friends. I can't and don't usually hide it. I hate cigarette smoke, but I have reasons.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

the land before the new york times

just add coffee

The other night at a dinner party, a friend asked me if I wanted to borrow a book, and instead of reflexively saying yes! which I am wont to do whenever this friend recommends a book, I respectfully declined because I actually have too many other things to read right now. When I revealed that those other things included 2 weeks worth of old newspapers, someone else scoffed and said "why? they're irrelevant!" (here's a tip: if you want to make people feel good about themselves and enjoy spending time with you, don't tell them their goals are irrelevant)

You know what? I don't read the news every day. I don't even read the news every other day. Those 2 weeks of newspapers are actually really informative for me, and I have no intention of pitching them into the recycling bin unread. I understand if all of you horrified news hounds decide to leave this blog in the dust and move on to more informed pastures.

All of this is to say that I am instituting Screen Free Sundays in an effort to avoid piles of blue plastic bags filled with prehistoric information. No blog reading. No blog posting. No email checking. No work hub checking. No picture posting. Nothing. Nada. Analog only, with the exception of using my phone, which now has a pretty sizable screen because I finally upgraded to a smartphone, and my ipod because life with a soundtrack is just more enjoyable sometimes.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

third time's the charm

morning paper

I have yet to discuss any of our trip to Europe last fall. I took copious notes in a little black book provided by the wonderful Ester, and I took tons of pictures, but I never figured out a good (and not overwhelming) way to share the experience beyond posting pictures to flickr. I still don't have a concrete idea of what I want to do, so I'm just going to periodically post a picture and a short description because something is better than nothing.

Today's picture was taken at Cafe CK in Berlin. It was a beautiful morning and we rode across the city* to the coffee shop to have breakfast and amazing coffee before heading off to do yet another Fat Tire Bike Tour. We went to Cafe CK 3 mornings in a row because the baristas and the owner were so nice and the coffee was some of the best we had during that leg of the trip.

Two other great shops to try if you ever find yourself in Berlin: The Barn (tasty food, exceptional coffee and Ralf, the owner, is beyond friendly) and Bonanza Coffee Heroes (I'm guessing they just go by Bonanza).

*note to self: do not stay in West Berlin when most of your planned activities are in East Berlin. It's a sprawling city (especially compared to New York) and while public transportation is great, we were attempting to rely on bikes with tires the width of a basset hound, which was not a pleasant experience. We finally gave up and turned our bikes in for the comfort of the train.

growing stains


I find cryptic "exciting or strange things are afoot, but I can't reveal them right now!" updates to be exasperating, so I'm just going to lay it all out there with some points of necessary obscurity.

Large Event Number One: I am now employed by a Very Successful Coffee shop that also employs Charrow*. The job is fast-paced (although I'm told it's usually even faster-paced), engaging, educational, and menial all in one brown-stained package. It feels good to be out in the world, interacting with people and getting my hands dirty (but washing them before helping another customer, of course).

Large Event Number Two: I'm painting for one of the owners of said coffee establishment. It's a huge job that involves kitchen cabinets, high ceilings, and more trim that I can fit into a week's worth of nightmares, but it will look good in the end. If I ever get to the end of it.

Large Event Number Three: is waiting in the wings for now. I've put my website development and dog training business on temporary hiatus. Events number one and two are consuming most of my physical energy, leaving me with fumes to scrape together a functional household, a regular exercise routine, and maybe, just maybe enough mental energy to revive this here blog. I know there is no perfect time to start a business (or have a baby, so I'm told) but I need to get into a working routine and finish the painting job before I jump headfirst into the world of dogs and self-promotion. There may be some behind the scenes brainstorming when the brain has enough juice to storm, but the major creative activities will happen down the road a bit.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go find a way to get this primer off of my elbows before I head to the coffee slinging.

*yes, we work in the same shop, and no it's not weird or causing any problems. It's actually pretty fun. I get to hang out with someone I really like while giving people coffee that they really like and there are jars filled with money at the end of the day!