Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Amputate the Cell Phone

My internet went down last night and guess what...I survived! I love not having internet. In all practicality, I do need to use it frequently, but really there are ways around it. I think this experiment Kare11 is doing with teens is interesting:

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hypermiling Update

On my quest for better gas mileage, I've been trying to use wise practices such as driving as if your car had no brakes (safely) called hypermiling. I've been getting amazing results! One fill up I even had over 400 miles to the tank and the warning light hadn't even come on yet! This fill up I am disappointed by my 280 miles. :-( I will have to pay more attention when I am driving. Fortunately, gas is down below $100 a barrel (though somehow still over $3 a gallon) and its 5% back month for gas on Discover, so I'm still saving in other ways!

Yesterday, I was on my way home from work when my car started making a funny sound. I drove it straight to the best auto repair place in the entire world, Petry's in White Bear!!!! Seriously, the best!!!! I explained to him my car was making a funny noise and I said, "It sounds like the tire is falling off." He laughed and took it for a spin, brought it back, and put it up on the lift. Guess what, my tire WAS falling off! I was pleased to briefly consider myself an educated driver, but sad about the cost to repair the wheel bearing (but we later figured out my tire just wasn't screwed on tight enough and had rust in it, an easy and inexpensive repair!).

Like Ike?

Hurricane Ike has its eye on the great state of Texas. Apparently everything is bigger there, even the hurricanes. Even the evacuations are bigger (and disastrous). Houston will not be evacuating this time around. Under the impending doom of 2007's Hurricane Rita, Houston was evacuated and it was a disaster!

My brother's are hunkered down in their dorms waiting out Hurricane Ike. One is in Waco and two are in Longview. Apparently, they are both in the path. The news feeds from Baylor and LeTourneau are very informative and somewhat unreal. We don't have anything like hurricanes here. We just don't. Wrapped in with all the usual "stay away from windows, if there's an emergency call 911" warnings are the "make sure all electronic equipment is off the floor and covered by a plastic bag such as a garbage bag" and "we are turning the elevators off tonight, we don't want to risk anyone getting stuck if there is a power outage". I giggle a little at these, they are just so far out of my realm of warnings. Good luck, Texas!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Great Book, Yes, I Read A Book!

A book I read a while ago (in 2007) and keep coming back to is Joseph Michelli's "The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary". Apparently Michelli has come out with a new book analyzing the Ritz Carlson's 5 principles. When I read the Starbucks book, I was the Early Childhood Ministries Director for a church. I found this book to be very applicable! In it, Michelli talks about giving people that personally touch, even quoting customer Devin Page as saying "Starbucks could very well operate without even selling coffee." They are just that good at creating a welcoming, belonging experience. Whatever business you are in, this book is a must read!

Hey, Where'd My Pen Go?

Have you ever dropped something and never found it again, wondering how that could be? Perhaps its due to a small black hole created by this machine: I recently read this article about the Large Hydron Collider. Apparently there is concern about this machine, whether it will destroy the planet through the black holes it could create, and what the practical benefit to every day life is. Its a little sci-fi to think black holes could possibly (but probably not) be part of our everyday life. It seems quite humorous! I can just see my children fighting "Mom! He threw my doll in the black hole again!" This could be the new "death penalty"...just throw them in the black hole! Murder mysteries would get really weird as criminals could easily do away with the evidence. But before we get all weirded out by black holes and such, this statement in the article struck me, "Some theorists say the idea would explain why gravity is so much weaker than the universe's other fundamental forces — for example, why a simple magnet can match the entire Earth's gravitational force pulling on a paper clip. " Amazing! Our earth with its amazing pull to keep you and me stuck to the earth and cause things to fall towards it can be interrupted by a single magnet! I feel a Mystery Box coming up!!! In the Bible, Jesus says, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain be moved and it will move. A magnet is kind of like our modern day mustard seed. If you have faith as small as a magnet, you can say to this paper clip, be moved and your little faith can overpower the earth's gravitational pull and change the forces surrounding the magnet! Its amazing! What an amazing little object. I'm continually in awe of God and the magnificent world He created.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Cold Press Coffee

On Sunday I bought some supplies for cold press coffee: 1 lb of coffee, flavored creamer, and french press. I already had a large bowl and a pitcher. Here's what I did:

pour 1/2 lb coffee in bowl
pour 4 1/2 cups of cold water over coffee
set in fridge for 8-12 hours
take coffee sludge out of fridge and pour into french press (it was around 3 cups now)
slowly press the coffee (to strain out the grit) you could use a paper filter or something else too
pour liquid into pitcher
store in fridge up to a week

to drink: DILUTE coffee mixture 1 to 4 (I do 1/4 cup coffee liquid with 1 cup water and a splash of creamer) Enjoy!

Currently, with my purchases, the coffee was $30 (20 for the french press, 10 for 1/2 lb coffee) to make. Since it makes 3 cups, that is $10 per cup!!!! But using 1/4 cup per glass, that is about 2.50 per costs a little more than Caribou at the moment, but after I get through this batch, the french press will have paid for itself (I know if I were a real accountant I would figure out the lifespan of the press and divide the cost equally among all cups of coffee it will make to give a more accurate price, but whatever) and I will only have to buy the coffee at $18/lb (9 cups) bringing the cost down to $2/cup and .50/glass (way cheaper than Caribou)!!! And I could always buy cheaper coffee to bring my costs way down!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Adventures in Cold-Press

I am loving Caribou's cold press coffee! It is so yummy! I've decided to try and make it at home. First, you made some sludge (its in the fridge now...stays there for 8 hours). Then you filter it and dilute it. And voila, cold press coffee! Yummy!

New Blog - Church Quest

I haven't been to church all summer (shameful I know). Also, this is the first fall in five years I have not been working at a church. So I thought I'd go out and see the body of Christ in different forms all over the metro! Join the journey here!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Starbucks Rolls Out New Breakfast Menu
It looks like Starbucks is continuing its re-imaging. I've always appreciated Starbucks (read The Starbucks Experience...its a great book). Being a coffee fan, I've been to my fair share of Caribous and Starbucks (even overseas). Starbucks' food is far better than Caribou's. Caribou recently rolled out a pretty tasty cinnamon-sugar doughnut, but its not my favorite and with its low health value, I'm unimpressed. About a year and a half ago Caribou re-did their food. This made their muffins smaller and not as tasty. My friend's 8-year-old daughter and I recently splurged on a choclate chunk cookie at Caribou and ended up throwing most of it away due to its taste! Starbucks' apple fritters, cinnamon rolls, and croissants (at least in Ireland), though unhealthy, are really yummy! So, Starbucks wins. I'm very delighted with their new menu. I love having healthy options to go with coffee (which, being a mocha, is unhealthy and needs something to balance it). I would much rather have a berry stella or bowl of oatmeal to go with my coffee as I would make when I have coffee at home. Now, don't get me wrong, I rarely eat breakfast at Starbucks, but this will be a nice option for when I go there with friends and would like something more than a cup of coffee or a light meal (coffee and a bite fills me enough).