Swimming with the Razorfishes

Saturday, July 16, 2005

[pithy post removed at the subject's request]

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Subaru has introduced a car called the "Tribeca." Residents of New York City can engage in snarky speculation about the features of a "Tribeca."

I'm waiting for the Hyundai "Chelsea." Feel free to speculate about its features, too.

Latitude Zero. My God; I'm wasting my life.

Oh my God. I want to go there.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


click for high-res

Please pardon me for posting a photo of the Transamerica Building.

Detroit, Mich.: What exactly is "double secret background?" How does a journalist make use of such information? Presumably, Cooper would have to corroborate any information he got from Rove with another source, right?

Dana Milbank: An excellent question. I believe it was originally coined by Dean Vernon Wormer in Animal House.

Life is so absurd that I'm losing the ability to distinguish between what is real and what isn't.

I'm a little bummed. My high school music teacher died yesterday.

I've never pursued music as a career, but all the musical training I had in high school and college has directed my life in strange and unexpected ways. This teacher kept me from quitting more than once. Teachers have such a huge impact.

Oh my God!

10.4.2 is out! Let's have a party!!!

Start your engines! Start your ENGINES! Upgrade the lappy!


Tuesday, July 12, 2005


click for high-res

Here is a twist: I left my cell phone at work today. I'll be incommunicado until tomorrow (unless you know my double super secret 646 number).

Is Strongbad using a new e-mail client?

Monday, July 11, 2005

Derek Powazek gives some advice regarding making coffee. I'd like to make a few corrections, because if I take one thing seriously, I'm not fucking kidding about coffee.

He suggests getting a pound of Blue Bottle Coffee:

"Buy the roast that sounds best to you - there is no bad choice. The lighter the roast, the more caffeine. The darker, the more flavor. I tend to shoot for something in the middle."

I don't agree. Coffees have different flavors; not all are to everyone's taste. Go for something smooth, like a Guatemala Antigua (or similar blend). Branch out from there.

Next, the grinder:

"If you get whole beans, you'll need a grinder at home. Get one. Doesn't really matter what kind."

Oh, God no. Don't be a dumbass; it does matter. Get a burr grinder.

Burr grinders use conical or disc-shaped steel "burrs" to grind the coffee with a crushing motion. These are distinct from the cheap shit blade grinders that smash the beans with sharp metal blades. Blade grinders spin at such a high RPM that they tend to heat the beans in the grinder, sometimes to a surprising degree. This heating kills some of the beans' taste. It is also near impossible to get a consistent grind with a blade grinder; you end up with coffee ranging from fine dust to large chunks.

Burr grinders are more precise and operate at a lower RPM, heating the beans far less. This makes a huge difference, particularly if you use a French Press, as Derek suggests.

If you want to be a prissy coffee snob, spend the extra $20 for a burr grinder. Other wise, be a fucking savage and drink Sanka.

On to the pot:

"French Press. Anything from Bodum is perfect. No offense to you electric coffee pot brewers - I did it for years. But once you go press, you never go back."

You can make perfectly good coffee with a drip brewer. You can also make perfectly atrocious coffee in a French Press. Two things will greatly influence the quality of the brew: using the correct grind, and using enough water.

A French Press suspends the ground coffee in water and requires a relatively coarse grind. A drip pot just passes the water through the coffee and requires a finer grind.

Regardless of your pot, don't expect to make good coffee with 8 ounces of water. That just isn't enough water to extract the full range of chemicals in the bean that give coffee its taste. Come to make eight cups of coffee, or don't come at all.

Yes, I'm sure that you have some kind of special pot that defies physics and chemistry, that you are the only one on the planet who can make two cups of good tasting coffee.


You have to make enough coffee for 64 ounces or it just won't taste right. That means you don't want to buy that cute little one-cup Bodum French Press. Get the big one. If you want to make less, use an espresso machine. The high pressure water does the job of a larger volume of water in a drip pot or a French Press. That, or pretend you are some kind of English nancy-boy and drink tea.

Take the beans out of that cool, dark place that's not your freezer and put some in the grinder. How much? Experiment and figure out what tastes good to you. Don't be anal about measuring. Nobody likes a math geek, Scully.

No one likes a math geek, but people also don't like a cook who can't follow a recipe. Start with two tablespoons of ground beans for each eight ounce cup of coffee. Experiment from there. I like a little more (3 to 4 tablespoons).

If you want to get a drip pot, go retro: get something like the Chemex pots, rather than the automatic brew electronic pots. The convenience of the electronic brewers is nice, but you have no control over how the water hits the coffee. You want to pour it slowly, particularly at the beginning. Pour enough water to just wet the coffee, then wait a minute. Then pour a cup or two and let it drain through. Giving the coffee time to soak in water and bloom makes a big difference in taste; it is similar to the action of the suspended coffee in a French Press.

Flavor to taste - sugar, milk, whatever. Anyone who says coffee has to be black is a bigger coffee snob than me. Personally, I put a single scoop of Ben and Jerry's vanilla ice cream in there.

No. Wrong. Drink it black. Black is beautiful. If you want milk, or Ben and Jerry's vanilla ice cream, or cinnamon sticks, go to Starbucks with the kids and get a Frapucino or some such shit.

Derek forgot one important point: coffee is oily, acidic, vile stuff with an enormous amount of particulate suspended in it, so you have to clean your pot. If you don't, every next pot will taste a little worse.

Assuming your pot is made of glass, rinse it out very thoroughly with hot water after making coffee. Don't clean it with soap every time; use soap every third pot or so. Soap residue is surprisingly difficult to fully remove. No one likes a pot of soapy coffee.

That is all I know about making coffee. Enjoy.

Does everyone read Jinky Art? The last few photos have been just fantastic. Particularly this one and this one.


click for high-res

Someone asked me to join the Busy Hands group on Flickr.

Waa waa! Apple took more than 24 hours to fix my computer. I need to surf the internets NOW!

Waa waa! Apple hasn't listed my really important podcast yet. Everyone needs to hear me talk NOW.

The internet is the most phenomenal platform for whining ever built.

Apple Computer:

Important: Features added to Cocoa in Mac OS X versions later than 10.4 will not be added to the Cocoa-Java programming interface. Therefore, you should develop Cocoa applications using Objective-C to take advantage of existing and upcoming Cocoa features.


Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Guardian has published another set of photos from Sebastião Salgado's Genesis project: Antarctica.

"At his best, when the going is good and he's relaxed and confident, he can come across as one of the boys -- or as their biggest cheerleader, the Turkey Server in Chief."