Monthly Archives: December 2013

I Can Still Be Surprised

By people acting politely, I guess. 

So I’m sitting outside at Starbucks,  enjoying my coffee.  And I smell some sort of flavored tobacco product.
Now, I get that outside is a designated smoking area – I’m not trying to look around abs see where is coming from so I can hassle the person. I just want to know so I can decide if it’s close enough to me that I should move because I am finding the smell very unpleasant.

Turns out it is the well-dressed young man at the table next to me. He clearly noticed what I was doing and took it on himself to get up and go back to his truck.  Mind you, I didn’t say anything to him or even grumble bad-temperedly under my breath (about this *g*). He just noticed and moved on his own.

Evidently thoughtfulness hasn’t completely deserted the human race.  Who knew?

In My Attempt To (Sort Of) Spend Locally

I’ve been patronizing the local coffee shops this holiday season.

Now as I’ve pointed out, I am not a coffee snob. But when spending boutique prices for a cup, I do have certain expectations. SOmetimes they are met, sometimes the results fall short.

The other day I was up in Scottsdale and stopped by Village Coffee Roastery. Your run-of-the-mill looking Scottsdale coffee shop, in an upscale strip mall (there’s a Melting Pot!) with mediocre outdoor patio furniture and a view of typical Scottsdale retail architecture. The inside was not much better, and the staff didn’t seem to want to admit I was there (it never ceases to amaze me how standing there with a “Take My Money!” look fails to encourage people to take my money).

But the coffee. Oh my, the coffee.

I had a latte – how unadventurous of me. It was creamy, flavorful, just the right temperature, full-bodied, you name it. Delicious. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a better one. I’m back there in a heartbeat, just because of that. I’d drive out of my way.

Next day I stayed closer to home, and gave a chance to Lo-Fi Coffee in Mesa. Right on Main Street so convenient. Cool interior if kind of last-century-too-cool-for-school-John-Cusack-in-“HighFidelity”-ish, but it’d be a comfy and cool place to hang out. Kind of what I expect coffee shops to be – what can I say, I’m old *g*. The staff once again wasn’t too eager to encourage my spending habits but they were more polite and the use of tech to check me out was a nice touch.

But the coffee. A disappointment, the coffee. Nothing really wrong with it, it was a perfectly acceptable latte I guess. Not creamy, but decent. Not bitter, but nor loaded with layers of flavor. A little bland even. Nothing to write home about.

I’d go back, if I happened to be downtown and wanted coffee because they’re local and I try to encourage that sort of thing, but I’m also not going out of my way to go back either.



What A Pleasant Segue Into The Holiday Season

Went out for coffee after having homemade scones. Wife made cookies, I went to the local gun store. Then dinner at a nice local German restaurant, a little shopping and driving around looking at Christmas lights.

Not a bad day at all.

Statistics Say It All

I Love Oversimplifications

Especially when the entity coming up with the incredibly simplistic graphic stands to make a profit from people buying into their analysis. “Why Gartner” indeed…


Gartner’s 2013 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies Maps Out Evolving Relationship Between Humans and Machines

Governmentally Acceptable Holiday Decoration

for the rest of us…

Late To The Bateman Party

but I still wanted to stake out my position for the 2 people who read this and aren’t clear on how I would react to this tool.

Weer’d says it all:

I frankly would not waste my piss on Lieutenant Colonel Robert L. Bateman if he was on fire, and I am ASHAMED he is allowed to wear the Uniform of the United States Army.



I’m a fan. Not in the “must have freshly ground beans (ground to the right consistency, mind you) that were roasted yesterday and brewed in a Japanese pour over rig/Chemex?Aeropress with water at just the right temperature and steeped just *so* long” type (I’m looking at you, Cartel). But I’m a fan. I have 2 different types of french press and an old Krups Moka 468-42 low-pressure steam coffee maker on my counter, so I take it a little seriously.

But I do believe that if you can’t enjoy any coffee, from the best fussy crap I mentioned above to the finest camp coffee made with waaayyyyy hot boiling water in whatever vessel you can find over an open fire with grounds poured straight into it and then left for half an hour, then you aren’t really a fan. Coffee snobs are wasting my time – it’s COFFEE, FFS.

That being said – how is it that the Pike Place roast drip coffee I get at every Starbucks (there I said it – I frequent Starbucks; I like consistency) is more bitter and less flavorful than the presumably same coffee I get made at the little food service cafe right next to my library on campus? Sure, the equipment is different and the beans at the Starbucks store are probably fresherandgroundthatdayandroastedthatweekandohtheendlesssnobberypleasejustshootmenowImayaswellarguewithteaafficiandos…but shouldn’t that make it *better*, not worse?

Ah well. It’s all coffee, which means it’s all good.

Gun Show

So, went to the SAR show in Phoenix on Saturday. It was fairly crowded, I’ve seen it worse during the great Obama Panics but it was plenty busy enough. Tons of black rifles and parts, lots of miscellaneous rifles, shotguns and pistols to be found.

I saw an entire case full of of S&@ M1917’s in quite fine condition from what I could see through the glass (I didn’t look closer since they had no prices listed, and as we all know if it doesn’t say hat it costs you probably can’t afford it *g*). 

the few things I was actively looking for – Ruger 10/22’s were mostly overpriced, no way I would pay $300+ for one unless it was tricked out somehow. Remington Nylon 66’s – same thing, didn’t see one for under $300 and the black-stocked ones were marked higher (no green stocks, which I’d pay extra for *g*). Is that reasonable for those? I thought they were relatively inexpensive. No Nylon 66 spare mags that I saw but that’s a know bottleneck for that model.

.22LR ammo – WTF? I hoped we had gotten over the panic pricing, guess I was wrong. Other ammo – Mi Wall had lines set up to even get to their counter and nobody else had bulk ammo that I saw, didn’t really look at he remanufacturers as I made sure a year ago to have sufficient stocks of everything to get by but I’m guessing they are probably still overpriced as well.

Generally a decent show, I didn’t do all that thorough a job of scouring it since my knee is still acting up. Good fun was had.

And People Wonder Why Scholarly Publishing Is Such An Incredibly Niche Subset

of everything published in this world. I mean, c’mon – who *wouldn’t want to read: “… a study of college students from Finland who had trouble “fully differentiating the core ontology of physical, biological, and mental phenomena.”1 ” Riveting stuff, I tell you what.

And yes, this is the sort of thing I have to read to stay abreast of the literature in my chosen field. Thank goodness I get paid to read it while on the job *g* (sometimes, anyway).


1 Lindeman, M., Sveldhom, A., Takada, M., Lönnqvist, J., & Verkasalo, M. (2011). Core knowledge confusions among university students. Science and Education, 20(5-6), 439-451. doi: 10.1007/s11191-009-9210-x;  in Bivens-Tatum, Wayne. “Education Is Not Salvation.” Library Journal. Library Journal, 3 Dec. 2013. Web. 6 Dec. 2013. <;.