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Archive for December, 2008|Monthly archive page

Merry Christmas

In Funny on December 24, 2008 at 8:52:38 pm

santa fail

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Quick Review: Starbucks Christmas Blend

In Coffee, Food, Reviews on December 22, 2008 at 10:19:49 pm

Every year, apparently, Starbucks brings out a special Christmas blend. We got some as a gift, so I thought I’d do a quick review on it, now that we have an espresso machine that works properly and all that.

The beans were ground using a Rancilio Rocky grinder immediately before pouring the shot. I poured a double shot and made it into an Americano, because I’m a pompous Apple-using, New York Times-reading, Americano-drinking douchebag.

The initial taste of the coffee was rather mild for Starbucks, and also unusually lively and interesting. The beans were, as with almost all Starbucks blends, very over-roasted, but they still retained a little bit of decent body, which was nice. True to the marketing rhetoric, the coffee had a fairly spicy taste, and a short aftertaste, making it a very good evening coffee.

Overall, I’d give the blend a 6.5/10. It was clean and had some spice (and was one of Starbucks’ better efforts), but was bitter and over-roasted.

An Update on the Espresso Machine

In Followup on December 21, 2008 at 1:43:20 pm

Due to the issues mentioned in this post, we experimented and determined that it was partially down to the grind. I brought home some ground espresso from the cafe I work at, and it brought the time to pour a shot up, which was good. However, we’re still not getting fantastic crema. Perhaps it’s just the machine. I just poured a double shot in about 16 seconds, which is close to optimal, as far as I’ve heard.

Any way you cut it, though, this thing makes some badass microfoam.

New Espresso Machine & Problems

In General on December 16, 2008 at 4:11:05 pm

Our family got a new espresso machine yesterday. It’s a Rancilio Silvia, and it looks really, really good. According to most reviews, it pours a pretty good shot, too. We’re having some problems with it, though, and I was wondering if the blogosphere had any suggestions.

As far as I’ve been taught, a 1 oz. shot should take about 20-25 seconds to pour. Our machine is pouring it in about 5 seconds, and isn’t extracting any crema at all. Also, the resulting shot has the viscosity of water. Something is obviously wrong. We’ve followed the initial setup and cleaning instructions perfectly. As far as I can tell, I’m doing the shot correctly, the grind is definitely fine enough, the coffee should be fresh enough (it’s only about 10 days old right now, from when it was roasted) and I’m definitely tamping it hard enough. I can’t think of anything else to try, so if you’ve got any ideas, please post them below.

Oh, I should mention that everything else is working really nicely, especially the steam wand. Oh, how I have missed thee. Our previous machine’s wand broke a little while ago, and there’s nothing like real milk microfoam.

Top 17 Reasons Why Gay Marriage is Wrong

In Funny, General, Idea, Observations, Politics on December 12, 2008 at 10:40:29 pm

17. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven’t adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

16. Gay culture is a new fad created by the liberal media to undermine long-standing traditions. We know this is true because gay sex did not exist in ancient Greece and Rome.

15. There are plenty of straight families looking to adopt, and every unwanted child already has a loving family. This is why foster care does not exist.

14. Conservatives know best how to create strong families. That is why it is not true that Texas and Mississippi have the highest teen birthrates, and Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire have the lowest. This is a myth spread by the liberal media.

13. Marriage is a religious institution, defined by churches. This is why atheists do not marry. Christians also never get a divorce.

12. Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That’s why our society has no single parents.

11. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That’s why we have only one religion in America.

10. Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

9. Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn’t be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren’t full yet, and the world needs more children.

8. Gay marriage should be decided by the people and their elected representatives, not the courts. The framers checked the courts, which represent mainstream public opinion, with legislatures created to protect the rights of minorities from the tyranny of the majority. Interference by courts in this matter is inappropriate, just as it has been every time the courts have tried to hold back legislatures pushing for civil rights.

7. Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britany Spears’ 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

6. Civil unions, providing most of the same benefits as marriage with a different name are better, because “separate but equal” institutions are a good way to satisfy the demands of uppity minority groups.

5. Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn’t changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can’t marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

4. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

3. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

2. Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

1. METEORS and VOLCANOES.

(nicked from this fantastic Facebook group)