What a Great Sunday

Sometimes sundays fall together and just “work”, you know what I mean?

Up early this morning with my lovely wife and shared a pot of the last of my homeroasted Sweet Maria’s blend French Roast. She took off to spend the day in Sac-town with her sister and I puttered around. I made myself a great breakfast (bacon, eggs, hashbrowns) to start everything off right.

After that I put together a loaf of whole wheat bread using my house recipe (I bake all of our own bread… although I cheat and use a bread machine). Then I roasted a half pound of Ethiopan Yirga Cheffe in my new Behmor 1600. After that roast, I pulled out a half pound of Brazilian Daterra Santa Colomba and roasted it up too, so after 3 or 4 days rest we should have some really good coffee. Seems such a waste to put it through the drip machine and I’ll use the Bodum as much as I can.

The Yirga Cheffe was the last of my stash of that bean. The first half pound (of a 1 lb batch) was my first roast ever and, well, it sucked really bad. I was very paranoid and way underroasted it, stopping the roast just as the bean started to enter first crack. The resulting coffee is sour and honestly upsets my stomach. This time I roasted it to all the way to just into 2nd crack, probably somewhere around a FC+ level but definitely not to Vienna like I normally like (I’m not very good at determining final roast level numbers yet). Everyone says roast this bean to a regular city roast and it will bring out the lemon and citrus but I’m going to have a hard time breaking my dark roast habit I think.

The Daterra is another bean that’s getting a lot of press although the Santa Colomba is (I believe) a blend and not the top quality. I tried to just let it run through a normal P3 profile on the Behmor without me fiddling with it just to see what would happen. I maxed the half pound P3 profile to 15:30 and just let it rip, and it ended the roast just as the very first signs of 2nd crack were starting. This is a definite full city roast and we’ll see how it tastes after a few days.

After roasting coffee and cleaning up the garage I planted some cucumbers and Purple Queen bush beans. The snails and slugs ate all my red lettuce so I repurposed that part of the garden by building a couple of cucumber mounds. We have terribly thick clay soil so I’m not expecting much but we’ll see what happens.

After that I busted out some chores on the honeydo list, hanging robe hooks on the back of the door and installing a new light fixture. Then it was off to Sacra Tomato to pick up the wife (she drove a car up there to sell it, so she needed a ride back). Back home, then she jumped into bed (poor thing, she’s getting sick again and had the chills). I stayed up a bit longer, puttered around the house a little bit, played a couple of City of Heroes missions and then crawled into a nice warm bed chock full of dogs, cat and wife.

Yeah, it was a good Sunday.

The Jesus Phone

I hate cell phones. No, let me rephrase that, it’s not quite correct. I loathe cell phones. There, much better. Cell phones are truly the work of the devil and I hate them with a passion. I have never had a cell phone that I liked, only ones that I tolerated.

Every single cell phone I had except for my very first one (a nokia candy-bar style phone) aggravated me for one reason or another. The nokia didn’t aggravate me, but then cell phones weren’t super fancy gadgets then and I had a lot more tolerance. My motorola slvr drove me up a tree until I dropped it into a bucket of sanitizer, quickly sanitizing it out of existance. The motorola razr I replaced it with (a free one from a friend) wasn’t nearly as bad, but it still was a chore to talk on with horrible sound quality unless I used the blue tooth headset. It was tolerable with the headset but only just barely.

Well, I went ahead and took the plunge and replaced my razr with… (drumroll please) an Apple iPhone. Now, this phone has been overhyped beyond belief. It’s been shoved in our faces and down our throats by all the hip coolhunter trendsetter types until you just want to scream IT IS JUST A PHONE FOR CRIPE’S SAKE before you take out an automatic weapon and start hosing down all the smarmy hipsters who are hawking it.

Boy… either I’m getting soft in my old age or I SERIOUSLY misjudged the hype on this thing because I’m here to tell you, it lives up to the hype. Yes, you heard me correctly, this thing is truly the Jesus phone. I absolutely love it and after only two full days of having it I can’t imagine giving it up. This thing successfully marries so many different technologies, so many communication mediums, and it’s got the typical Apple “it just works” gloss and sheen. There’s no fumbling, no swearing, no wondering “how the hell do I do insert random task here“. It … just … works.

Apple… when they nail something, by God they nail it. I never thought I’d ever hear these words come out of my mouth but I love my cellphone.

The Art of Being Alone

I have lost the ability to be alone. I used to be extremely comfortable being alone but somewhere along the way I’ve become accustomed to a (sometimes) chaotic household with two dogs, a cat and a noisy morning person wife who delights in tormenting me when I’m sleep-addled. My wife has been out of town for two weeks and I’m about to go stir crazy.

I went from a crazy chaotic job environment in the video game industry to a quiet, conservative telecom programming job where I spend most of the day buried in a code editor and not talking to a single soul. I come home after work to a house with two hungry dogs who, although I love them dearly, just can’t seem to carry on a conversation with me. I bump around the house making myself dinner, cleaning up, messing around on the computer a little bit and then going to bed. All without speaking more than 10 minutes of conversation to a person throughout the day.

I’m not good at this. In fact, it sucks. I miss my wife and I’ll be very glad when she comes home. I’m married for a reason… I’m married because I love my wife and more important than that, I like her too. I miss her and I’ll be glad when comes home, even if she does make up crazy lyrics and purposely mangle The Piano Man just to drive me crazy.

My Christmas List

A few people have been asking me what I want for Christmas this year.  My wife already got me a HUGE Christmas/Anniversary present, and I just got a new job after being laid off from my last one so my list is pretty empty.  However, there are a few small things I’d like if you really want to get me something :)

I’m learning slack key guitar, and although I have a few books it’s tough to find ones that are at my skill level (which is a hair above “I suck”).  I have Keola Beamer and Ozzie Kotani books but the Keola Beamer one is a bit above me right now.  The Ozzie one seems to be just perfect.  So, in the spirit of getting more beginner books and you not having to listen to me playing Manuela Boy over and over and over and over because I only know two songs, these might be nice:

I already have Ozzie’s book, but not the DVD.

Musings About Faith

My faith is an important thing to me. I don’t consider myself all “holy holy”, and I’m sure as heck not a bible thumper by any stretch of the imagination, but I do think that having a spiritual outlet in my life is important. I generally suspect people who aren’t capable of believing in something bigger than themselves.

I’ve been feeling a bit out of touch with my faith for a little while now. I’m a practicing catholic and am used to being at church every sunday, as well as on holy days of obligation. One of the benefits to being a regular attendee is that you find yourself caught up in the rhythm of the church, you find yourself falling into the cycles and seasons of the church that are wrapped up around Lent, Advent, Ordinary Time, etc. and you just naturally go with the flow. The cycle of the church and of the “spiritual” seasons impose an order on the otherwise chaotic year and is, at least for me, something that is very welcome. I am, after all, very much a creature of habit and ritual.

Lately I’ve been out of cycle quite a bit. I’ve been moving, preparing for a wedding, finding a new church, etc and haven’t settled in to my new church yet. I don’t know anyone there, and I’m not involved in the daily or weekly life in the church. This is weird for me, since I used to know hundreds of the people in my old parish and I also volunteered and taught RCIA bible study classes for the catechumenate during the year. I’d march them out of the church after the Liturgy of the Word and we’d go off and discuss the day’s readings. I’d do what I could to gently instruct them and help them understand the faith they were moving towards and every Easter I’d go to the vigil and watch them be baptized. I always felt a small amount of personal pride and joy in watching them and welcoming them into the church and I miss that.

Once things have calmed down a bit I plan on doing what I can to fix this. I’ve made a serious commitment to myself to learn to pray the Rosary properly. I understand the basics but the whole joyful/sorrowful/luminous/glorious mysteries thing has me a bit bamboozled. I recently heard it explained in a way that made sense to me though, and I think with a little bit of applied diligence I can incorporate this into my faith life. I’ve also decided that I am not just a “sitter” when it comes to my parish, I want to get to know the other people in my parish and be involved in the rhythm of life either as a lector, by getting involved with the RCIA program, or some other program they offer. It’s important to me to be a do’er, not a sitter.

I’m not really sure where this all leads me, or where I will end up. I don’t picture myself taking holy orders anytime soon (heh), and I surely don’t intend on ever becoming super-churchy but I do believe that my own faith and my own spirituality is something that I need to pay attention to and nurture… every bit as carefully as I nurture my family, my relationships or myself. Life is, after all, a delicate balancing act and this, at least to me, is important for me to keep balanced.

— WF