Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Too Much Karl

I love the Ricky Gervais Podcasts - love them. It's great when something makes Ricky laugh so hard it sounds like he must be wetting his pants.

Throughout the first season, Karl was somewhat quiet except for his Monkey News. Monkey News consists of fantastic tales of monkeys (actually chimpanzees) performing incredible feats normally handled by humans (like controlling a rocket into space, landing an airplane, performing surgery, etc.), and during the telling of these tales, Ricky becomes very angry at Karl for broadcasting total bullshit.

There were some gems from the first season. Karl's translation of Ben Franklin's "waste not want not": "Don't be chuckin' that out, you might need it later." Or when discussing the proverb about people who live in glass houses...: "People who live in glass houses have to answer the door. "

But these doses of Karl were small and well spaced throughout each show, and I was downloading and listening to shows only once a week. With Season 2, I may have made a mistake.

With the second season, I downloaded them all at once and put them on my Nano. This week I've been listening to shows back-to-back and I think I've overloaded on Karl.

It's too much weirdness at once. When asked how he would spend the day with or what he'd do if he encountered his doppelganger: "How would I know which one was me?"

Today I listened to the show where he was supposed to report what he'd learned about Freud. About Freud's theory on the stages of life, he thought Freud was saying "you should drink milk because it's good for you."

It gets to the point where it's too much, but I can't stop listening. In the future, I think I have to go back to listening only once a week, otherwise I'm afraid I could end up actually understanding some of the shit Karl says.

Some Karl Pilkington Fansites/Info:

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Good Life

The past few weeks have been stressful. Lots of commiserating/complaining with friends about work-related woes - the usual. To be fair, some things have especially sucked, but part of working through those things is the bitching & whining with your comrades so you can start finding a way through it.

Last week in particular was rough. There was so much "commiserating" at one point that things seemed rather bleak. No way to make it better, it all just sucks and we're all doomed...

Then this weekend my little bank called to verify recent activity as they occasionally do. I always appreciate that they're keeping an eye on things.

The phone rep rattled off the list of recent purchases, and as he kept going down the list I thought, This sounds pretty good - a pretty good life, really:
- Specialty's Bakery & Cafe
- Netflix
- La Pinata (a fantastic Mexican restaurant)
- Sephora
- SF Ferry Plaza Wine Bar
- Rincon Chiropractic
- Safeway
- Trader Joe's
- University Art Supplies
Having someone else read to you a list of your recent purchases provides a whole new perspective. At that moment I thought, What the hell am I complaining so much about?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Mood Wheel

Boys have it easy. Except for adolescence, boys don't have to deal with an ongoing roller coaster of hormones throughout their lives that means each day brings a new mood adventure.

The cycle is always in flux, it changes with age and there's no warning. "Please note, in approximately 10-15 days you're going to start to feel some mild depression - more like a harmless mope. Remember, it's only temporary and due to an ongoing hormone shift. Thank you and good day."

Or it could just as easily be a notice that in a few days I'll feel especially giddy and that I should take full advantage of the goofy moments because those hormones will start to subside a day or two later. I'd like to know why it happens and have some forewarning. Just like the weather.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Joy of Saeco (Thanks Dad!)

This post is for Griffin, who isn't sure if he'd want his coffee/espresso to be *that* automated. If you had one of these, that thought wouldn't enter your pretty little head ever again.

Here's the smart little guy sitting comfortably on my kitchen counter:

It sits on a swivel base so you can easily access the water reservoir from the top on the back left side and/or the bean hopper on the top right side. The reservoir holds about a liter of water & the bean hopper holds about a half pound of coffee beans - enough to last me a week or more drinking a couple of cups a day.

The water dispenser/milk frother is the nozzle on the right, and the espresso/coffee dispenser is on the left. Underneath those is the removable drip tray that slides out for easy dumping/cleaning. To the left of the espresso dispenser you can open up the front door of the unit to access and clean the "brew group" - the unit that receives the ground coffee from the hopper, tamps it, pre-moistens it, brews the coffee & then expels the "puck" (used coffee grounds) into the little compartment you can access on the left side of the machine for easy removal.

I only have to dump the pucks once a week and I've cleaned out the brew group a few times with a soft brush - that's it. The drip tray needs to be dumped & cleaned once a week and the water reservoir needs to be filled every other day or so depending on the demands of the habit.

In the bean hopper you adjust the coarseness of the grind as well as the dosing - how much coffee is used for each brew. Once you have that set to your liking, all you have to do is turn it on (the button on the left), wait about 45 seconds for it to warm up, turn the dial to the amount of coffee (single espresso size to a full mug of 'americana') then press the button in the middle and get ready.

The button on the right is for dispensing hot water, though that's the one thing I don't recommend using as it means refilling the reservoir a lot more often and the water isn't boiling hot - it seems to cool off fairly rapidly. For things requiring hot water the tea kettle seems the most straightforward route.

If you want to steam milk for a cap or latte, after the machine warms up, you turn the little nob on the right side of the machine above the steamer nozzle and wait about 30 seconds for the hot water to turn to steam, then shove that sucker into your pitcher of milk and in a minute or two, you've got hot foamy froth ready to go.

And the crema... look at the crema!

I never minded making a pot of coffee in the mornings before work, but now with this wonderful robot, I have a delicious cup of coffee in a minute, vs. 15 or 20, and each cup is a fresh cup. I'll never go back to a regular coffee machine again.

Ponder that over your next cup of drip...

Time & Energy

This morning I was reminded of something I heard on NPR this past weekend - stories about time, time travel, and a theory about how time is not linear at all. Time just is.

Every moment we experience just is - it's not past, present or future. It exists. Meaning, everything is what it is and we're all here experiencing moments that just are, and there isn't any free will.

Trippy, huh?

What got me thinking about time was energy... That there must be some sort of energy at work that I find fascinating. Before all the wedding hub-bub started, I wasn't unaware of the possibility of getting married. It had occurred to us both long before that time - we'd discussed our feelings about it, the pros & cons. It's not like it hadn't come up before.

But all that time, there were never any "signs" or coincidences that could have shown we were headed in one direction or another. Bear with me, I'll hopefully come to some sort of point in a moment.

So, last December we got engaged and Mom went loopy and started immediately planning everything -- but it was a very low key affair - low stress, low administration - mellow. Not much hub-bub at all, really.

This event didn't take over our lives or become an all out gonzo project requiring time off work. Life proceeded as normal, albeit a little busier than usual. I took Bart to work as I always do, I did a few crosswords now & then and passed the occasional street performer in the Bart station.

In the three months leading up to the wedding, nearly every crossword puzzle I did contained clues about getting married, though previous to this time period, I don't remember seeing any crosswords containing clues like that.

Also in that three month span, every time a certain saxophone player was in the Bart station (about twice a week) he played the same song - the song that's plays when Melanie Griffith and Harrison Ford enter Trask's daughter's wedding reception in the movie Working Girl.

I'd never heard the saxophone player play that before and I would remember it if he had. I love that movie and when I hear that song I can see Melanie and Harrison walking into the crazy tiki reception.

So maybe all this was supposed to happen - or just is. As for the funny coincidences of the crossword puzzles and the saxophone player, I'm not sure how all that fits in.

Some would say that because I was about to get married, I was likely more aware of such things and that's why I noticed them - that it had been happening all along but I didn't realize it because getting married wasn't forefront in my mind.

Well, I've done a number of crosswords since the wedding and I've not come across one with a clue regarding marriage, weddings, cohabitation, dating - nuthin. And this morning the saxophone player was only blowing spit out of his horn.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Ooh! Newsreading!

Last night while watching my favorite local newscast the lead story was the *shocking* announcement that Katy Couric would be leaving the Today Show to become the first solo female anchor of a network news broadcast.

Isn't that amazing!? A solo female anchor on a network broadcast! Aren't you excited!? Isn't it fantastic!? Is anyone else aware of what year it is? Is anyone else wondering why it's taken this long for a woman to hold this job?

Every now & then something reminds me that it wasn't until 1984 that women were allowed to run the marathon in the Olympics. 1984. I'll never understand it. What a joke.