Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I'm Late with the Coffee News

I had a busy day yesterday so I missed two big coffee news stories. First September 29th was National Coffee Day! I hope you gave your favourite cup of joe a big hug; then downed it. Also Starbucks release their new instant coffee Via yesterday to much fanfare.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Book Review: Street Gang

Did you watch Sesame Street as a kid? I sure did! So much so to this very day I still pronounce Z as zee instead of zed. Much to the chagrin of my Canadian brethren. Apparently, I found the Muppets to be more influential on my growing mind than my grade school teachers.

Also, did you ever get upset that no one believed Big Bird that there really was a Snuffleupagus? I always thought it was one of the greatest injustice of our time. Luckily they rectified this situation in 1985 with and episode where the adults met Mr. Aloysius Snuffleupagus.

If you ever wondered how such a show got off the ground then you need to read Street Gang which bills itself as the complete history of Sesame Street. I can believe it as the book works its way through all of the beginnings and bios of the writers, producers, actors and Muppets that made up the show over the years. It truly is an engaging read and it won't dampen your enthusiasm for the show.

I leave you with this link to 10 amazing performances from Sesame Street including James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Paul Simon and more.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Starbucks Launches 2 iPhone Apps

Starbucks has launched two iPhone apps. The first is called myStarbucks which helps you locate a store and build your own drink. The second called Starbucks Card Mobile is more interesting as it turns your iPhone into a Starbucks payment card. With the app you can check your balance, scan the bar code on the screen to pay for drinks and of course it entitles you to 2 free hours of wi-fi per day at any Starbucks. Sadly neither app seems to be available in the Canadian app store but you know how to get around that limitation, right?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

From Green to Steam

From Boing Boing a video of making coffee from green beans which are air popped/roasted, hand ground and brewed over a camp stove.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Late Report on This Year's Terry Fox Run

Well even with a late start on fund raising this year I ended up collecting $940 for cancer research. Many thanks to all of you who donated this year.

This year I completed the run my friend, Paul Brun, who I've been doing the run with for years now. He brought along his new girl friend, Kate, and brother Jan. Jan broke his toe week end before the run doing a triathlon so we ended up walking the 10 km at a leisurely pace. All in all it took us about 2 hours. You can see our route by following this link courtesy of a new application on my iPhone called RunKeeper. It works really well with the on board GPS.

Along the run I ran into fellow Straight Talking Java mailing list member, Carl Hume and two hockey buddies Shane Barclay and Steve Crane. All three of them were doing the run with their families which makes me think seriously about getting Anna out with us next year.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Book Review: Nextwave - Agents of H.A.T.E. Volumes 1 and 2

It seems like everything I've really enjoyed from Marvel Comics over the last few years has been these wacky non-formulaic books that don't get tied up in their giant company wide crossovers. Things like Agents of Atlas, Captain Britain and the MI-13 and Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.

Nextwave was written by Warren Ellis who is someone that I think is at his best when he lets his warped sense of humour go at full throttle which he most assuredly does in this series. It's drawn by Stuart Immonen before he became super big in the comics world and it's inked by Wade Von Grawbadger who I will forever love for his run on Starman.

The series ran for twelve issues and was collected in Nextwave: Agents Of H.A.T.E Volume 1: This Is What They Want and Nextwave: Agents Of H.A.T.E. Volume 2 - I Kick Your Face.

The series brings together five C-list superheroes to form the Nextwave team. They include Monica Rambeau, a former Avenger; Tabitha Smith a former member of X-Force; Aaron Stack, the Machine Man; Elsa Bloodstone daughter of monster hunter Ulysses Bloodstone; and The Captain. The greatest thing about the team is it is already formed when you pick up the first issue and there is none of the regular mistaken identity/super hero fight when teams regularly get together in comics.

The team has been brought together by H.A.T.E. (Highest Anti Terrorism Effort) to fight U.W.M.D. (Unusual Weapons of Mass Destruction). Unfortunately for the team they find out that H.A.T.E. is funded by the Beyond Corporation which is a front for the terrorist organization S.I.L.E.N.T. Regardless, they steal the Shockwave Rider an experimental vehicle, named after John Brunner's novel , and they travel the USA stopping various and hilarious terrorists threats.

The is quite hilarious and it is comic book action amped up to 11. I really have to recommend it to anyone who is looking to read so fun comic book action while enjoying some great art without needing to know 30 years of back story.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Terry Fox Run: This Sunday!

Things are starting to pick up as I've collected $555 for the Terry Fox Run which I will be doing this Sunday along with my buddy Paul, his girlfriend Kate and his brother John. I also hope to run into Alexandre while were there as he will be biking this year with his son. Sunday promises to be a good day with temperatures in the mind 20's with a low possibility of precipitation.

Please help combat cancer by donating to the run.

Friday Book Review: The Nobody

The Nobody gets it's inspiration from the H.G. Wells novel The Invisible Man. In this updated tale a mysterious bandaged stranger appears in the sleepy fishing community of Large Mouth. Initially his odd appearance gets the townsfolk in and uproar but eventually he begins to fade into the background of this odd town, metaphorically speaking.

In this tale Canadian writer/artist Jeff Lemire gives us two looks at loneliness. One is the title's protagonist, John Griffin, the scientist who's had a horribly disfiguring accident and is forced to wear bandages all the time. The other is the books narrator, the 16 year old Vickie who feels alienated in this small town. Mr. Lemire sets up an interesting point/counter-point using this two characters that I really enjoyed reading.

Related Links

The Secrets of Wednesday's Haul review of The Nobody

Interview with Jeff Lemire
The Nobody in the National Post
The Nobody at Wired

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Coffee House Etiquette

Well written article on the etiquette of using or abusing free wi-fi at your favourite coffee house. I like the way Starbucks does things in Canada where you get 2 hours per day.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Terry Fox Run Wednesday Update Part 2

Well the late start this year is probably going to keep me from reaching my goal but a lot of people have stepped in with donations. So far I've collected $335 for the Terry Fox Run which I will be doing on September 13th.

Please help combat cancer by donating to the run.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Temperature Regulating Coffee Mug

Thanks to Paul for this article on a temperature regulating coffee mug. It is a pretty interesting engineering feat that stores the heat the coffee is radiating then puts it back into the liquid as it cools down.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Book Review: Zoe's Tale

Let me just say that I love John Scalzi's writing. I've been a big fan of his since he released Old Man's War and I've continued to following along with The Ghost Brigades
and The Last Colony. That's why I picked up Zoe's Tale as this book takes place in the same universe and during the same time frame as The Last Colony. Except it is told from Zoe's point of view. To me the shared timeline is the books biggest fault. For those of us who've already read The Last Colony there is no sense of tension as we are already aware of the outcome of the conflicts within the book. This is the same problem I had with Ender's Shadow the companion novel to Ender's Game.

That is not to say that it isn't excellently written because it is. Scalzi does and great job of writing this young adult novel and he gives the teenager, Zoe, a believable voice. You'd almost think he has a teen or pre-teen stalking around his house ;)

I recommend this book to people who want to get into Scalzi's writing of the Old Mans War universe without having to invest in three books worth of material.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

10 Ways to Save Money at Starbucks

Great little article on how to save some cash during your next Starbucks visit. I plan on trying our a Caffe Misto on my next visit instead of my regular Caffe Latte.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Terry Fox Run Wednesday Update Part 1

Late start this year but I've collected $160 for the Terry Fox Run which I will be doing on September 13th.

Please help combat cancer by donating to the run.

Summer Photos

The nicest thing about being moved into the new house is we can update all of our photos which we haven't done since January. Here are three new galleries:

Camping in New York

Summer 2009

Anna's First Day of School

Qishr a Beverage Made from Cofffe Skins

Qishr is an interesting beverage made from the skins of a coffee berry. I wonder if I can find some in Ottawa?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Starbucks VIA to be Released in Canada September 29th

Starbucks is set to release their Starbucks VIA brew to all Canadian locations on September 29th. VIA is Starbucks version of instant coffee which seems to be the opposite strategy to what they are doing with their new specialty stores.