Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Coffee Chronicles

I love coffee.  Really, really love it.  When I gave up booze for period earlier this year, the denial of my thirst for that drink only heightened my affinity for coffee, much like a blind person developing greater hearing.  Since going back on booze, however, the coffee cravings have not subsided.  Which is fine.  We're only talking about two cups a day here.

I got a Keurig machine for Christmas, which instantly solved one a crisis I was going through, the unreliable availability and terribly poor quality of the coffee served at work.  You could never tell how long the coffee had been sitting there, who made it, or when the last time the carafe had been cleaned.  Then I installed my trusty new coffee buddy right in my cubicle quad and began brewing hot, fresh, clean coffee on demand.

The next development was my realization that I was limited to the coffees available in K-Cups and to the costs of those K-Cups as well.  Per cup, it was much more expensive than buying a bag of grounds.  Also, there was the waste factor.  I feel guilty when I have to put anything plastic in the trash and when I thought about the Keurig revolution and all the waste it was creating worldwide, I had a moment of pause.

Then I made one of the great Target purchases of recent memory, the reusable K-Cup in which you load your own grounds.  No limits, no trash.  For months, I have been singing a happy tune come coffee time thanks to this wonderful invention.  Why couldn't I just leave well enough alone?  No one can ever truly sustain contentment, I suppose.

I began to wonder recently, whether K-Cups of any variety were producing a filtered coffee or something more equatable to a french press coffee, which, as still many people do not know, is very high in cholesterol.  Having been diagnosed with elevated cholesterol, I feared I may be begging a cardiac incident every time I scratched my coffee itch, which breaks down to 10 times a week at work.  I took to the Google and found that standard disposable K-Cups actually contain tiny little paper filters in them.  They're rather cute actually when you see the photos, kind of like those little doll-sized tents they display in the camping aisle at Target.  Anyway, my reusable K-Cup employs only a metal filter, which further research finds does NOT magically make the cholesterol go away like a paper filter does.

So I am left with a choice, pay more for the disposable K-Cups and toss more non-biodegradable waste onto the heap of the nearest landfill or risk cardiac arrest.  I'll tell ya, I'm in a real pickle here.

OR(!) do I think outside the cup and get innovative?  I realize, I am foolish to publish this, but I think I just....yeah, I just had an idea.  I have instructed my research & development team to cease work on my Pie Crane and devote all manpower to the K-Cup sized paper filter for use inside the reusable K-Cup apparatus.  This could be a game changer not just for me, but for all of coffee-drinking mankind.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mental Dump Wednesday

I'm growing my beard out.  Mostly out of sheer boredom.  When I get the itch to go shopping but find it absent from the current budget, I guess I respond with facial hair.

The Cold War of today is the constant battle with office temperature.  Employees and the A/C or furnace that rules them have been embattled in this bitter feud for decades.  When the weather is cold, people wear warm clothes, and vice-versa when it's hot outside, of course.  The Office tries to play nice but the problem is it seems to have only two options in its arsenal and both of them are nuclear.  In my current situation, there is a vent twenty feet above my head that blows directly at my head and face with an arctic blast jet stream.  I'm currently wearing fingerless gloves.  Tomorrow, I'll be bringing a scarf to work...in June.  It's only at my particular desk.  I can hold up my hand and feel the breeze of icy, robotic air blowing against it.  Six inches to the left, nothing.  I would complain, but I fear rocking the boat could lead to my banishment to the newly opened 4th Floor with it's cruel and unusual short-walled cubicles.  It's Hell with a view up there.  No, I think I'll just keep adding layers and taking my vitamins.

Post-Class, Angels Game Live Blogging

Sorry I'm late, but as I type this, it's still Tuesday and the Angels are going to the bottom of the 14th inning.  How weird is this...Over the broadcast, you can hear the voice of a young boy cheering on the team.  I have heard that same exact kid at a game I went to earlier this season.  I know for a fact it's the same kid not just because of the sound of his voice, but also by the fact that he chants "Let's go Angel," as in one Angel, singular.

One out, nobody on....

It was a really good class tonight.  I had been struggling a bit finding a way in to my new scene because it's written as very...opaque.

Two outs, nobody on....

Anyway, there are a thousand things I love about acting, but tonight I was reminded of a few particular reasons.


One is how studying a character and a scene is like figuring out a puzzle of human behavior.  Why does this character do what he does?  What is he thinking when he says that?  What does he want from this other person?  Often, they are not very challenging puzzles; the motives and conflict are crystal clear.  With my current scene, however, it's been difficult to get a handle on.  Tonight, I found the soft spot in its armor and I broke through to the core.  I get it now and it's really creatively inspiring.  It's that challenge, that process of looking at it from all angles over the course of maybe several days or a week until you finally make that discovery that I really love...

It's funny, they dumped the Gatorade on Cowgill.  They'd already ripped his jersey off so he's standing there doing an interview in his Dri-Fit undershirt, soaking wet.  Dude is friggin ripped because you can see his six-pack through his shirt.  He looks like the Chris O'Donnell Robin right now.

Batman_forever_robin.jpg (360×450)  Displaying photo.JPG

Anywho (BIG WIN, HALOS!).....The other thing that came to mind tonight was how in the process of taking on this puzzle of human behavior, you really learn about yourself as well.  You can't help but find some way of relating to the character or to what he's going through.  Even if the character could not be any more different from you or even if the choices they make in their circumstances are the opposite of the choices you'd make, simply examining their differences or similarities to you brings you a greater understanding of yourself.  And that, in the broadest sense, is the essence of the whole big tamale, isn't it?

Thank you, Halos.  Goodnight and let's sweep tomorrow.

Monday, June 09, 2014

This I Vow To Thee

I hereby declare to post something on you, dearest blog, every day henceforth or at least Monday through Friday, excluding major holidays.  I owe you that commitment and, let's face it, I could use the company.  I can't promise every post will be of any certain length or value, but I can guarantee it will show up.  That's what matters, right?  Here we go!

I live in an apartment in a pretty nice neighborhood.  There's a few things to walk to, but it's also nice to just walk around the residential streets.  I've done that a few times over the last couple months and it's really got me thinking about lifestyle, expectations, the future, etc.  Growing up, I never lived in a house, yet it still seemed to me a very normal, regular thing that just kind of came automatically with adulthood.  This was in Long Beach, not LA, and all of my friends lived in houses.  No one struck me as particularly wealthy, just normal, middle-class people with decent jobs and kids.  Walking around my neighborhood now, with the exception of the occasional huge, mega-house, it reminds me a lot of those same Long Beach streets I played wiffleball on and chased the ice cream man down.  I have a decent job now and feel mostly like an adult, and yet even the average 2.5-bedroom, 1000-sq. ft. house is utterly unattainable.  The house that I knew to be home to a single-income household of a cop or a factory worker here and now costs over a million dollars.  Unless my career trajectory takes an unexpectedly sharp new incline, that's never going to be possible for me.  Not here.  It's a humbling, glass-ceiling type of feeling to realize that the middle-class American dream of a modest house with a tree in the front yard, a basketball hoop over the garage, and a relatively safe school nearby is now the life of the millionaire.  I feel like going door-to-door to ask, "Excuse me, what do you do?"

Sure, I could move, and maybe someday I will, but in the meantime, it feels somewhat surreal to live in my neighborhood and at the same time feel like a complete outsider there.