Saturday, April 26, 2008

After hours at Kopplin's

In less than a week the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) will roll into town with all the hubbub of the United States Barista Championship (USBC). Uh, it's going to be a wild ride. A lot of these people are completely insane about coffee and espresso competitions so they're going to be intense, they also party pretty hard. Tonight I was helping Milstead with his comp stuff. Actually I'm just sitting and blogging, drinking bourbon, and giving him crap. This crassness helps I think.

"I can now make four espressos and four comp capps in five and a half minutes." He says with a wry grin.
"Huh... thats what she said... " I drink more bourbon.
I am intrigued by all the work he's putting into it, I like the idea of making a signature drink and the kind of class it puts on the work that we do.
"Shut up you stupid hole refrigerator!"
And then I hear that and watch him hump a steaming pitcher ... and know that the USBC is just a show, even though we both like coffee and what we're doing as barista's a lot, it's still just a show. And the SCAA coming here is all about money and if they say it's not, it's about bling. What I like about what Milstead's doing is he's bucking some of the norm - for these competitions - and talking about a single farm and using that coffee, another single farm and using their milk, and how what he's really doing is showcasing their hard work and making it more about them than himself. From what I've heard, a lot of the competitors do talk about their coffee's and where they came from, but not to the extent of who actually worked on it; the force of labor behind Milstead's competing is far stronger because names are given and someone can put a face to a name.

"It's one thing to read about a car accident, it's another to watch someone have an accident right in front of your face."

He's refering to the kind of coffee he's using - La Montana, from El Salvador. Raul's done an amazing job with his farm, holding these titles:
Cup of Excellence 2007: 1st Place (Pacamara)
Cup of Excellence 2006: 3rd Place (Pacamara, with Jose Montiel)
Cup of Excellence 2005: 5th Place (Pacamara)
Cup of Excellence 2004: 31st Place (Bourbon)

But while harvesting the 2008 crop a devistating storm came through and detroyed his farm, stripping trees of their leaves and berries, so he was only able to harvest a couple bags (about 300 or so pounds) before it was destroyed. Milstead is using this coffee partly because of the storm awarness, and partly because it's an amazing coffee, that coffee would be 60 dollars a pound. This is the cool part about the coffee world, helping out farmers from third world countries. All the sales that Kopplin's and the importer received have been sent to the farmer to tide him over untill 2010. I wish that were all of the competitor's goal, that the livlihood of third world peoples are increased by our efforts.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Mudslinger

This morning I helped my uncle Kevin install some pottery for the Art Crawl in the Park Square Court building. I love my uncle Kevin. He's so great. I really like these old buildings too.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Kitty Cat Clubbin' ... baby seals ...

I went to a show last night, after church and working out, to see my friend Chris play in his new band, Priss. He did an awesome job, and I feel like I should be writing this post in where the cat wanders but it was such a great experience (and I don't have a quality photo) that I feel this is the right place for it.

Set #1: Priss

"The next song is called: the skinny part of Idaho ... and in the notes it says, my girlfriend wants more bass."
A quartet lit only by colored lights swoons the dim and moving disco ball's tease as someone from the audience yells: "bring it up fat!" followed by a lone laugher. I feel as if we're on a great cruise, manifest: talent, will and strength. Cruising smoothly with determination across some vast lava bed. My ears are on fire, my face is starting to melt as they play. When jazz is played - when I experience it live, I feel love. Not in a Barry White way but a flower blooming way, so tender and free to be itself.
The bar itself is so great. It sits above railroad tracks. The pool table is messy. Chalk litters the tables. Candles, icons, mirrors and couches that eat you. There's no pure light anywhere but the candles. Ceiling fans are on high. This is what trouble looks like when the cat is let outta the bag! And the cat happens to be hip and jazzy.

Set #2: Priss is morphed into: Black light poster

I met with Chris and Haley a little before he had to go back on stage and play some more. The first set had music prepared, but this second set was more free, playing solid for an hour. I love to see an artist at work, and four of them at that. It is all such a freeing experience, and then I text my brother: dude, jazz is the shit.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

What doesn't Big have?

The other day I went to my storage unit to find something buried deep there, and low and behold who do I find? BIG!! Big was there! Big and Ace are customers of Kopplin's and he was there cleaning out his storage unit.
"Hey Pat, know any body that wants a scooter?"
"Dude, I'll take it. How much?
"Oh, you can have it for free."
"Ah man, sweet. What are you getting rid of it for?"
"I need more space."
I looked into the unit only to see about seven more scooters, crated and stacked on top of each other. And next to those about twelve single cylinder engines, a motorcycle BMW engine and a Harley engine, all crated and stacked on top of one another. We loaded the scooter into my truck and he helped me strap it down.
"Dude, any more crap you want to get rid of?"
"Ah, here. I give you these engines."
"Ah man!"
He then loads me up with these two engines! I was so happy, so so happy. What am I going to do with the scooter that doesn't work? Rebuild it. What am I going to do with the two engines? ANYTHING!! There is no limit to the uses of these two engines, so far I have the idea of building a wooden motorcycle. Pretty cool huh?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Everyone, meet Angela.

There is a new addition to the outdoor cat's life, not counting the whole of the Steiger house - which is still pretty new, and the rest of the church - which is still important, but this new person is very special. Her name is Angela, and she is my little outdoor kitten. She is very sweet and pretty and I hope you meet her soon.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Lucy 09/98 - 04/09/2008

Lucy was put to sleep today, after a startlingly quick illness.  I will miss that dog.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Cat turns 26

Today, is my birthday. And I am now 26 years old. Yay...
I was supposed to go to breakfast with my family, I slept in. Everywhere I turn someone was saying "happy birthday" to me. Yeah yeah ok thanks, I'd say. I did get a visit from Angela, Spencer and Brendan, that was great. I did like that. They made pictures for me, each of them. I couldn't quite tell what Brendan and Spencer drew, and then he explained that it was Simba and a whole lot of ... stuff going on (he was really animated, as he always is). Brendan gave me a cracker. That was nice.
Ok, that was nice, I liked that, they were nice, no more excitement for the day - I thought. About an hour later I see my parents walk through the door. "Ah, shit." I say under my breath. They came complete with a Sponge Bob Square Pants Balloon, a raspberry cheesecake, forks and napkins. "Alright everyone!" My Dad said, to the full house of people. "C'mon dad..." I said silently. And then he started, singing: happy birthday.
When it was over I got regulars saying - oh, I didn't know it was your birthday! Yeah, ok. Thanks. I was then expected to share the cake. So I did, and everyone thought it was cute my parents came and that I was passing out cake. "Your parents really love you Pat." Sari said to me as I handed her cake. I know, I thought, but why come to Kopplin's? The few hours moved on and I finished work.

I walked next door and began to talk a little with Sammy, my favorite bar tender. He took my food order and placed a beautiful vessel of goodness in front of me! What little sun light came through the window danced in it's amber glow, it's flowing foamy head still moved from side to side as if it were wooing me to itself, winking and smiling. I felt dirty. Should I be dangerous, should I live life high on it's fast wild horse?! Yes, I will!

Beer number one.

These weren't the only thoughts in my head. Why do I not like my birthday? I've liked it in the past, why this year? I don't mind being older, maybe it's that I don't like the attention?

Beer number two.

I wandered back over to Kopplin's were I sat and talked with Damon for a while. We talked about birthdays, work, money, our dating histories, why I was sad, why she was sad and how it all could be remedied. We came to the loose conclusion that relationships won't make us happy (though I could argue for our relationship with Christ as a happy-making relationship ... but I didn't) and neither will work, but that it's still good there are people around both of us that love us deeply.

I drove home, thinking about that conversation and asking God what can I do with all this, and with what I have. I was met warmly by Angela, Noah and Wendy, and when I say warmly I mean that my heart melted (so much so it slid right outta my ass!) and I couldn't help but feel loved, and any response of mine that wasn't in love would be a lie. I felt like I was in blankets, warm blankets, and my nose was cold but it didn't matter cause my toes were warm and fuzzy soft stuff was all around. Paul, Libby, Gibbie and Ezra soon came to dinner and we had a wonderful time. I can't remember who made what, but there were beer bratwursts, sauerkraut, potato salad and home made buns. For dessert there was raspberry cheesecake (AGAIN!!) with whole raspberries and chunks of mango on top. Stories were told, children played and we all had a great time.
What a day to start out bitter and grumpy but only to finish with the wonderful company of those you love. Praise God for life in Christ, praise Him for love laid bare and praise Him for being the example!