Monthly Archives: August 2013

Can I Get a Cuppa Joe?

I like Santa Cruz. It’s a swell town. It’s been getting some attention lately because of its happy tweets and its job growth, but just now I’m feeling more like the character, Grandpa, in “The Lost Boys.” In the morning, I just want some coffee. If I have errands to run and a full day ahead, I may not take the time to make coffee at home and instead will count on buying a cup or two as I’m going from place to place. But there are very few places in Santa Cruz where you can just get a cup of coffee. Verve will do it. Lulu’s will want you to select from a bewildering array of possibilities, where the beans are all sourced from different locales and they are all roasted differently. Santa Cruz Roasting Company offers a similar set of choices. Starbucks, like Verve, keeps it pretty simple.

You know, tea varieties are so easily distinguished. Ceylon, oolong, darjeeling, and Earl Grey are each distinct and distinguishable by someone who has never drunk tea before, and that’s just sticking to black teas. But coffee? In this decade? Everyone is growing and selling arabica, so it comes down to very subtle differences in terroir. Like that’s even a thing for coffee. One might possibly be able to detect the difference between an Indonesian coffee bean and a Mexican coffee bean, but after they’ve been roasted (one to very dark and one light) and then brewed (one by someone who never cleans the coffee maker and one by someone who rinses the carafe with lemon juice) are we really going to pretend that the distinction between the two cups of coffee comes from their country of origin? And seriously, is it at all reasonable to require me to be a coffee hipster before I’ve even had any coffee?

One of Grandpa’s more dramatic lines is, “One thing about Santa Carla I never could stomach: all the damn vampires.” One understands that Santa Carla is really Santa Cruz, and if one substitutes “hipster” for “vampire” then I’m right there with Grandpa. I must remember: when going out and getting coffee, just stop in Boulder Creek first.

Software Progress

Over the past few days I have managed to put together enough patches for SifterReader that it is usable for me from my phone. I’ve submitted pull requests to the developer, but until he pulls them in, if you want to try using the app on your phone you will have to build it yourself. Use the ‘integration’ branch from my repo on GitHub if you want it.

Bagpipe Surgery

The other day at my lesson my instructor was tuning up my drones when he noticed an unexpected breeze on his wrist. Uh-oh. The grommet for the outside tenor had cracked and I needed a new bag. Fortunately, I knew that this or something like it was coming and already had a new bag just waiting. I love the L&M Scotian bag – not only does it have the swell zipper that makes swabbing it out a simple task, but it has grommets for all the stocks except the chanter stock. This makes tying-in a breeze, also. Andrew Lenz has already posted a swell page with instructions and some photos for how to tie in a bag, so this is less of a how-to and more of a photo record of How I Spent My Saturday Afternoon.

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Organizing my Life

Listing saves us. It is a way of exporting intelligence into the environment. Every datum the environment remembers for you is one datum you don’t have to remember. I am absolutely in favor of this, but it gets me into trouble when the systems I use don’t work well together. The smartphone and web services have been a godsend for me. I use Remember the Milk to keep track of grocery lists. I have bought into the Google keiretsu and use multiple calendars to coordinate events and appointments with various family members. I use Dropbox to store files and share data with my trusted associates. I use Neat to keep my records tidy and searchable. And because these services are out there in the nebulous Internet, I can get at them from any computer and even from my phone. But none of these services works well for me as a to-do list. My tool of choice for keeping track of workflow is a bug tracker.
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