Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Saturday, July 19, 2008

My Bicycle

I got my bike for my 15th birthday (or maybe it was my 16th). A purple and silver Trek 800 Sport with shimano brakes, a heavy-ass frame, Kenda wheels, and a screwy shifter system. I rode it a few times, but I never had much of an opportunity to go places in Goldsboro, unless I had some insatiable wish to kiss asphalt courtesy of a swerving car. Besides, I can picture myself just telling my mom, "Bye mom! I'm going off bike-riding to the library!" "WHAT?! Don't do that, TREY! You'll get yourself KILLED!" And she wonders why I moped so much before I could drive. But I took my bike up to Chapel Hill-Carrboro because it's smaller and bike friendly. Except for those 4 or 5 people who were tragically creamed by buses in the crosswalk. Anyway, my bike developed a slight problem with the grip shifters, front derailleur, front tire, rear tire, front brake calipers, pads, and possibly the cables. But nothing major. I took it to a place and got the front derailleur fixed along with the brakes that had managed to lock up on the rims and refused to move. The repairman also pointed out that the quick release on my front tire was in the open position. Yikes. "If you went over a bump, you wouldn't be needing a bike adjustment, you'd be needing a dental adjustment." Good point, guy. So got all that fixed and some air in my tires, I hope to ride around town today and see what the bike's like.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Writing Exercise

I'm attempting to strengthen my creative writing skills. The exercise is to think of a famous person, alive or dead, who has impacted you and to write about them for 10 minutes on how and why you admire this person.

So, I've just started the timer, and I can't think of anyone famous who has impacted me. Sure, I guess President Bush has impacted me, but I don't want to write anything about him or Congress. That would be painful to read. Painfully boring, that is. No, let's see. I could write about Hugh Laurie. Yeah, Hugh's got musical skills, writes funny skits, falls down pretty well, pulls odd faces. Impacted my life...dammit that's a tough one. If I was really going to go for who really impacted my life, I'd have to write about the guy who invented food. I don't know how much money that guy sunk into R&D and how many failures he had to invent before he finally created food. But doggonit he came up with a winner, and we've been using his invention ever since. Actually, now that I think about it, I'm not sure that was an actual person. What do I enjoy in every day life? Someone could've invented something that I enjoy everyday and I could write about them. Making a list would be a good step: I like coffee, I like tea, I like food. Mmm, the packaging wrap that comes in packages. Ooh, I also like it when I get a haircut and feel my hair and it feels really weird. Nah, I don't really think I like that. I like shaving. But I don't like the guy who invented the razor. Umm, I like getting hot and sweaty in the gym and grunting and straining as hard as I can. HAH! jk, jk. I actually don't really like getting hot and sweaty in the gym because then you start stinking and there's nothing worse than a sweaty guy who reeks of BO who uses every piece of equipment in the gym. I like electricity, there's a good one. Tesla invented electricity, I think. Maybe not. He did something with electricity, I know that much. So, here's to you Tesla! Lemme think. I haven't researched his life at all. I'm going to have to make random shit up about him. Awesome. Tesla was born to a mother and a father, but unlike a normal mother and father, his mother had spasms that caused her to flail her arms about, and the father expended all his energy in growing an awesome 'stache. Tesla got his first taste of electricity when he clamped his teeth on a metal pipe that had static charges built up on it, which discharged onto his lips.

And I'm out of time. So hoping you learned a little something about Tesla, Newell out!

Ethiopian Beans

Holy Ethyl Acetate! I roasted the Ethiopian Dry Process Koratie beans at a City+ roast and just had a cup this morning. The link I provided has the tasting diagram and notes describing the overall character of the coffee. But it was really awesome; I've never had such a fruity, sweet coffee before. I'm definitely relegating this to an afternoon and dessert coffee.

The Problem with Chapel Hill

The problems with Chapel Hill:
It's full of snotty people
It's painfully small
There's nothing to do here
Cost of living is insane
There aren't any jobs to be had
So as of right now it looks like I'll be moving to Raleigh in a quest for monetary independence, or moving back with my parents (ugh) because there'll be affordable places to live in Raleigh, things to do there, and actual jobs. As far as I care about Chapel Hill, Durham can have this stinking town!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Great Coffee Roast


















My life's filled with mundane things. But as I was roasting coffee today, I had an idea "Wouldn't it be great if roasting coffee had some sort of commentary like those guys off of the Tour de France?"

I can just see it now...

Phil Liggett: Welcome back everybody, we are here in the first stage of home coffee roasting at the dining table of the kitchen area, joined here by my co-host Paul Sherwen and of course Bob Roll. The first contender is a young American by the name of Howard Newell with several coffees to roast. Now, we know Newell has selected several different coffees today, ranging from the Sumatra region to the highlands of the Ethiopian country of Africa.

Paul: That's right, Phil. I talked to him and his manager last night asking about the choices and why they chose them. He explained to me that he was looking for that nice Ethiopian dry process character with the sweet, fruitlike character coming through the cup of coffee, and when asked about the Sumatra peaberry, he simply said, "Well, why not?"

Phil: [laughing] Why not indeed. But it's imperative that he be able to roast these beans correctly to stay in this home roasting competition. And now let's move on to Bob Roll to get more on Newell's roasting methods.

Bob: Yes, thank you Phil. Now, most guys wouldn't want to bother with this method and would just go ahead and plunk out the cash for a home roaster that uses convection to roast the beans, but not this guy. Sure, it's finicky, it can really scorch the beans, but I've seen him roast before, and he just keeps his head down and plows through it without any sort of problem. He'll be using a pan and shaking the beans so that they don't scorch and also a spoon to agitate the beans, make sure they don't stay in one place for too long. He's absolutely determined to do it in the most classic way possible. And, if you notice, he's actually using a crepe pan which distances himself even further from other contenders like Al Lawson and Bob Green. But, at the end of the day, it really comes down to talent which he has plenty of and the cup of coffee, which by the way is pretty tasty! [gives goofy grin]

Phil: Now, did you actually taste some of the coffee that he's made with this method?

Bob: Uhhh, yes I did Phil, I think it was a New England roast of a Central American bean that was low-acidity and very sweet.

Paul: Well, it looks like his pan is about ready to begin roasting. Yep, there's the timer going off, and he's off!...Now, he's measured out about 1/2 cup of the beans onto the pan, covering almost all of the surface, and he's shaking the pan. What coffee is this, Phil?

Phil: I believe this is the Ethiopian Dry Process Koratie from Sweet Maria's, I believe, a very good sponsor that for supplying the beans of such good quality. The way it looks brings to mind the famous home roasting Spaniard Alberto Vallan since this what he would've picked out if he were still in circuit.

Paul: And now, if you're at home watching you'll notice that the roast is progressing quite nicely, the beans lightening, and OH! they've just gotten into the elusive yellow stage with about a minute thirty into the batch!

Phil: And Newell knows that this is much too slow for a solid roast! He's telling himself, "Calm down, take it easy, turn up the heat, it'll be ok," but that roast stage is progressing so slowly that the beans will be flat by the time he's done!

Paul: He's turned up the roast now, but I think his nerves are jarred a little. Hopefully this won't turn into a dreaded fire like the start of his home roasting career.

Phil: And I think not, Paul, the beans are starting to shed their seed coats, and if we listen in carefully, we can hear the first crack about to begin.

Soft snapping is heard as the beans crack and expand.

Phil: And that is really something. I've always said that when you're using Ethiopian beans, it makes you roast like two men.

Bob: Yes, well, the Eh-theeopeh-ahn region produces some interesting coffee beans, and this is no exception. And just look at him! He is passing through these roast stages like kidney stones!

Paul: Looking at it, I can't help but wonder if he's progressing too fast with the roast; it's like he lit the blue touch paper and is setting off the second crack on those beans! Can't help but be reminded of the famous Italian roaster Iban Villa who blazed through those roast stages and actually won all the time trails in home roasting from '78 on up to his retirement in '86.

Phil: Now he's lining up the roast...tapered off the heat a little...steady hand, good shaking. And now he's in the perfect position to complete the roast. He knows what it takes, he's got the cooling pan ready, and JUST LOOK AT THAT FORM!

Paul: I think we're coming into the finish, this is intense! You can just see the concentration on his face as he makes those beans dance in the pan! Nothing is going to stop him from completing his coffee!

Bob: I also seem to notice that he's sweating profusely. And unfortunately for him, sweat doesn't go with an Ehtheeopehahn bean! [slight pause] It goes with an Indonesian coffee! [goofy grin]

Paul&Phil: Hahahahaha!

Phil: And I believe the beans are ready! Yes they are! All he needs is that last crucial seconds to get the roast perfect! Look at him go! He is digging deeply into the suitcase of courage, avoiding the smoke and chaff! HE IS POURING THE BEANS INTO THE COOLING PAN! THEY ARE THE PERFECT ROAST AND NONE ARE UNDONE! [pause] That was a PHENOMENAL performance by young Newell today, wouldn't you say Paul?

Paul: Indeed it was, his overall performace will be decided by a panel of barista judges determining the overall roast quality, but it wouldn't surprise me if he moved up to being a General Classification and started wearing the yellow apron or the tablier jaune as opposed to wearing the white apron! The white apron, of course, is the best roaster under 25, yellow apron is overall roaster.

Bob: And I believe we're getting something from the judges saying that the roast is good, his technique was perfect, but c'mon judges! Tell us something we don't know! Just one look at his face and you know that he knew he nailed it!

Newell starts pumping his fist after examining the beans and removing the chaff.

Phil: Well, day one of the home roasting circuit well underway. Lookout, leaders, the young American is going to prove himself and give no quarter!

Paul: And tune in tomorrow on television or wireless at 8AM for the second stage roast involving the Sumatra beans. And Bob, I believe you're going to show us proper defense tactics in the kitchen?

Bob: Yes I am, Paul. If caffeine addicts break into your home, I'll show you how to correctly defend your gourmet coffee beans tomorrow at 8! [goofy grin]

Phil: And now from all of us, signing off, and see you again tomorrow at 8.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Garfield Minus Garfield

I don't know why, but google blog likes to switch my bold font on and off so that if I press the button for bold font and write a title in bold and then switch it off, it stays on so that all I write is in big, thick letters that are easier to read but ultimately useless since I can just increase the font size on my screen by pressing control and scrolling my mouse's button down.

So after that random rant I found a new website that made me laugh.

http://garfieldminusgarfield.net/

Enjoy. There it goes again. Gah.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Coffee

Aside from tea, I get my caffeine flavor fix from coffee. But I got tired of paying $5-7 per pound for coffee that tastes bitter and burnt. So, I do the next best thing to hiring a mustached Colombian guy with a mule and a poncho to grow coffee in my yard. I buy green coffee beans direct from Sweet Maria's. I got the 4 pack 1/2 pound sampler and Ethiopian Dry Process Koratie. And a coffee called Sulawesi Goo Goo muck from Indonesia.
Last night I finished roasting the last of the Costa Rican Peaberry Cacao. I haven't had real coffee in a long time, so I'm not able to tell all of the nuances in a cup, but it tastes like caramel, toffee, and has a citrus note to it. Oddly, I remember the beans being more round, almost like peas, as opposed to a classical bean shape which makes me wonder if the beans at the bottom of the bag are lower quality. I don't remember what the Mexican coffee I had was like, only that it didn't taste bad, and that I wasn't roasting the beans properly. Hopefully the sampler and the coffee from Africa and Indonesia will introduce me to a wider spectrum of flavors that will make me second guess that coffee is in my mug.

Food

Food

Breakfast
Oatmeal 300 calories (10g)
Cherries 200 calories
Protein shake 120 (26g)

Lunch
Sandwich 540 calories (37g)
venison broth 300 calories (25g)

Supper

Snow peas, rice, ginger chicken 628 calories (40g)

2088 calories (1788 with exercise), 113 g protein

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Food

Breakfast
eggs 140 calories (14g)
banana 120 calories
cherries 100 calories

Lunch
Venison 1130 calories (277g)

Supper
Akai Hana sushi 200 calories (20g)


1700 calories, 311 g protein

Monday, July 7, 2008

Food

In my endeavor to build muscle I've packed on weight. So to lose 10 pounds, I'm trying to consume about 1800 calories and 130 g of protein for a month while exercising. Today I had:
Breakfast
Quiche 400 calories (20g)
cherries 100 calories
Lunch
sandwich 540 calories (37)
salmon 150 calories (37g)
Supper
Lentils, rice, and beans and protein shake 600 calories (47g)
1790 calories, 141g protein

The Weekend

For the 4th, I went down to the beach after the job interview and drug test and went out to eat with my sisters for dinner. I can't remember the last time we actually ate together, but it was nice. Except for the outrageous prices and Hope's oysters which reeked. I was hoping to take the kayak out on the 4th with my dad, or Katie, or Daniel, but nothing came of it since the surf was too rough. I drove back Saturday since I was under the impression that I had a ballet to go to in Durham, but when I got back, Lara and Sarah decided that we weren't going. Sunday we all went to Mass and to see Hancock. I would've rather hung out at the local pool hall or a street corner than watch the movie. I'm not saying it's bad, but it looked like they hired a caffeine junkie to hold the camera since it kept shaking, today's videogames have better graphics than the CGI in the movie, and the dialogue and plot were extremely boring. So maybe I am saying it was bad.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Job Searches

Today I went to the ARC of Orange County for a job interview. It went well, I think, but it's a part time job with hours up in the air since most of the clients are in school in the fall, or at camp during the summer. On top of that, I have no idea who my client is, or what personality they might have. But the interview went swell. My voice only cracked twice!
After the interview I immediately went and took a drug test (I'm sure I'll pop a positive for oxalic acid and paraxanthine from all the tea I drink...on second thought, I'm not sure they would test for that, since it's not mind-affecting or illegal) and dropped off an application for Tarheel Temps. The guy at the desk took my application and did his damnedest to straighten out the folds I'd put into it when I tried mailing it to them (they want you in person to hand in the application). After this, he told me,
"Things are a little slow right now. Part of that's because with the students come the need for jobs, and the other part is that the job market is...well..."
"Really awful?"
"Less than ideal-well, yes, really awful is a way of putting it."
When filling out the other forms the guy handed me, I was tempted to put "Trey D. Newell. The D is for Danger," as an answer for the question, "Do you go by any other names?"
I resisted the temptation. Danger might be my middle name, but had I put that in, I would have a totally new audience to test my humor on: the unemployment line.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

New Digs

On Monday the lease ended on my apartment at the Villages, so I had to vacate completely by close of business. I moved out all my stuff over the weekend and packed two days before, so I was prepared. What I wasn't prepared for was the truck that I borrowed being too small to fit the couch in. No matter how hard I tried to cram it in, the most i got was about 1/3rd of the couch in the bed. So I got online and tried to find a U-Haul truck. I got the smallest kind and thankfully found the location to be on Jones Ferry Road. I made the reservation (which is weird because it's not apparent that rental trucks would be in high demand) and immediately got a call from a woman with the rental agency saying, "The truck you selected isn't available at the location you chose. Would you like me to expand the search?" "Sure" "Well, the closest one available is in Durham." "That's fine, I'll take it."
And so at 9:30, my search for Guess Road was on. Mapquest wasn't specific in its directions; I took 15-501 Business and somehow took a left turn, winding up on 15-501 East, arriving at some rather quaint neighborhoods. "Well, shucks, this isn't where I wanted to go."

So turning around in my trusty Taurus, I went in the complete opposite direction from whence I came...which resulted in me going by several parks in downtown Durham and going straight through Duke University's campus. I turned around and finally got on the right exit for Guess Road. As I was driving down the street, looking for any U-Haul trucks, I noted to myself that I was in a rougher part of town. An ABC store, via a large sign, politely informed potential customers that its parking lot was solely for the buying of high alcohol content beverages, and not for drug deals or any other sorts of underhandedness. An adult "entertainment" video store offered wild excitement inside...along with the ability to wire money and pick up lottery tickets and plastered its walls with images of people actually wiring money and looking excited about it, as if to say, "I'm so happy to send money to my relatives while watching porno! "
I think that says a lot about your multi-tasking ability if you're able to scratch off lotto tickets and wire money to your family while watching adult videos.

I found the location which was a service garage that was missing an easy to read sign. It was next to The Dog House (a hot dog establishment). I got the U-Haul truck and drove it back to my apartment, loaded it up, and drove off to my new home. In certain parts of Carrboro, Hispanics congregate to be picked up by various employers for general labor or odd jobs. And it just so happened that I was about to turn onto a street where they were all congregating. The first one to see me tapped his buddy on the arm while I was in the turning lane. Soon, all were pointing at me, and when I turned onto the street, they actually walked into the U-Haul's path with cries of: "Hey! HEY! HEEEEEY! OYE! OYE! hey! HEYA!" Unfortunately for them, I didn't need any help. I unloaded and drove back the same way, passing by the migrant workers again (listless cries: "hey. heeey. oye. hey."), and dropping off the U-Haul. The afternoon was spent cleaning my entire apartment.

Often when you remove large amounts of furniture from a room, you stop and admire it: "Gosh! Look at all this space! Why, I could've put a mini-bar right over there between where the couch and lamp used to be!" Not so with my apartment. When I moved out everything and was looking at the shell of the apartment, I noticed: "Gosh! Look at how small it looks now! How did I have that much furniture in here anyway?"

I cleaned, and checked out, gracing the leasing office with my BO and sweat laden t-shirt (Hey, I was moving furniture and cleaning all day), and moved to my new place. Hopefully I won't have to repeat this experience when I move out in 4 weeks.
 
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