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Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Brewed Response

Apparently my last major post actually received more than 30 hits, which 30 is usually my average. I guess what bumped it up to 100 or so was the fact that people shared it on social media, and that's what I want to talk about in this blog post. Because! Elsewhere on Facebook, some people had some comments for me. I know this because I was able to see the comments because someone shared my link to my blog post that I posted on my own wall.

It's just kind of funny what people will say when they don't assume that I will read or see their comments. And instead of just replying on a Facebook wall, I decided to blog my responses.

Here are their comments:
Pixelated censorship ftw!
I've been brewing up a response in my head for the past two weeks. Why do I have to be so brewed?

Here are my responses:

R. - "Is it just me or does she talk about drinking her Latte's black about halfway through the article?"
No. I don't know who "she" is. But if by "she" you mean "me" whereby "me" as the author of the blog post, I am very much not a female, and I can say that with supreme confidence.  I know, I talking about pumpkin spice paraphernalia and the use of a Jimmy Fallon-dressed-up-as-a-preteen-girl-going-"EW!" in a GIF for that blog post is probably misleading.
For proof, here's a dashingly handsome picture of me with my overly adorable chihuahua who is a she, but not the author of any blog posts unless she's some super secret spy dog when I'm not looking:
Lastly, I'll admit that I did not make a clear distinction that I was comparing a latte to a brewed coffee of pumpkin spice nature. "Black latte" sounds like such an impossible feat that only snobby, pinky up, get-what-I-want-all-the-time types would request. 
A. - "yeahhh, i noticed that too..hahah i think it was twice"
Even more admittedly, I did Google how to make a latte prior to taking pictures for that blog post. I even attempted to froth milk: 
But never have I ever steamed or frothed milk in my life. And I failed. It never frothed so I gave up and proceeded to make my intended Catholic monk pumpkin spice latte as a non-latte, which is fine because I drink my coffee black, and I normally don't go for variations on a coffee theme like lattes, espressos, macchiatos, Americanos, Cheetos, etc. 
Oh and does almond milk make a difference? Maybe, because I switched from soy. And I only like cow's milk raw because I'm not a 2%er. And I no longer work 10 minutes away from a raw dairy farm. So there's that. #MildlyLactoseIntolerant
D. - "Um...this seems like a really long winded commercial for coffee made by monks. And some tool bag who thinks he can make lattes black. Lol"
This is by far the most offensive comment because I'm seriously offended that you equate me with a tool bag. A tool bag doesn't have rational thought or feelings or chihuahuas (though they have the capacity to carry them) or the ability to attempt making failed lattes! >_<  
Of course, we live in a world where it's okay to call things what they're not because we feel like doing so.  But even then...
A tool bag doesn't equal a human being. But this one has lifetime warranty. #Craftsman
Thanks for denying my humanity, but I forgive you. :-)
But if you are suggesting that I am a "tool bag" because I possess tools, then I'll take that as a compliment. In my blog post, I utilized my mathematical skills as a tool for analysis to objectively prove that I save money not buying Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes and buying/brewing my own black version.
Or if you are suggesting that I am idiomatically a "tool bag" or as Urban Dictionary defines: 
 ...then you're somewhat right. I'd like to think that I'm not a loser so I do try too hard to be cooler, but perhaps the difference is that I'm actually kind of cool as I'm not running a fever. I'm not better than a Starbucks barista because I clearly fail at making lattes (see above). Hey, while I do blog, I don't expect a lot of people to read any particular blog post (see top) so I'm automatically not the focus of many peoples' attention. Even still, to keep my ego in check, I've totally gotten into this Litany of Humility. It'll be useful when I actually get good at making actual lattes and start making Facebook comments about said latte skills.
Oh and I don't get smuts... much less smuts with diseases because that's
There I go again... I'll probably get mistaken as a girl elsewhere on Facebook...again. smh 
Lastly, #nonsacramentalConfession -- it was indeed a long-winded commercial for monktastic coffee. Have you ever met a monk or friar? They're pretty cool. They live purposefully and intentionally poor lives so they can dedicate any work they do for the greater glory of God and to better serve the rest of us. Sometimes that involves making great coffee. Sometimes they skateboard. And they're not typically allowed to have Facebook so they can't comment on things on social media. Must be nice to have that sense of peace.
D. - "He can also change his oil cheaper himself"
I know, right?! I don't even need to do mathematical computations to prove that! But in all my humanity and laziness, I'd rather pay someone else to change my oil. See, I can afford to do so because I'm not spending $12 a week on a daily pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks, Monday thru Friday. $12 x 4 = $48 (AKA, what I save in a month) which is more than enough to cover for a quarterly oil change.
Besides, waiting at the mechanic is where I get some epic reading and blogging done. :-)
A. - "Might as well go live off the grid"
Interesting that you should say that because I've recently been inspired to live off the grid by people I met while visiting a Benedictine monastery (more monks!). The monastery is in the middle of nowhere in Oklahoma, and there's a community of like 100 people who live near the monastery. I met a family that literally built an off-the-grid house/shack thing or two, and I admired the design and engineering. They also have the luxury of defaulting to brewing their own coffee and never face the daily dilemma of buying Starbucks coffee because the closest Starbucks is 48 miles away:
D. - "If he did that, he'd have to give up his tablet that he does all his math on. That would be unacceptable. Lol"
And that's why I can't live off the grid! I'm too much of a gadget nerd thanks to my engineering background! I was sad because I ran out of engineering paper so I had to use my iPad as scratch paper to carry out difficult math. I guess I could have used my TI-89 graphing calculator but the screen is relatively tiny and too LCDish.
Just you wait! One day my iPad will control my coffee brewing.
R. - "I feel like he could have just said, "I like brewed coffee, but I like pumpkin spice flavor as well. Here's what I found that lets me have both." I'm not even sure why he's calculating the cost of lattes when that's not what he drinks. I'm also not sure why he's making a side-by-side comparison of brewed coffee and a latte. Try selling brewed coffee to a latte person. Go ahead. Try."
I agree! I totally should have just said "I like brewed coffee, but I like pumpkin spice flavor as well. Here's what I found that lets me have both."  However, that would have been a really short blog post sorely lacking the use of memes and the square camera on my iPhone/iPad. Not only that, because I am a non-literal-tool bag-who-possesses-analytical-tools-and-not-smuts, I wanted to use real math on my iPad because I don't have engineering paper anymore. 
As explained above, I did attempt to make my own latte, but that didn't work out. So then I had to do a total jerk move and make normal, black coffee using pumpkin spiced-flavored monk beans, which is fine because I normally don't drink lattes because A) I don't know how to make them and B) I like my coffee black because it teaches me life lessons.
And as I recall, in my blog post, I do acknowledge that it isn't a one-to-one comparison:

I think I'll just not even try to sell brewed coffee to a latte person or a latte to a brewed coffee person. A coffee barista would be much better at that than me as an aspiring barista with failed latte skills who can do math on iPads.
A. -  "He obviously ran out of worthy things to write about. D is right, this is just a super long commercial for Catholics and coffee growing Monks."
Uhh, I suppose you don't read my blog much at all. It's not like I've been consistently blogging for about two years now with some breaks here and there. #FunFact My list of potential blog posts numbers somewhere near 100.
Conveniently, I've had blogger's block for the past two weeks. It's not like I've been busy at home packing and cleaning or preparing for lessons, but even then, I totally appreciate the convenience of these comments and how they totally gave me something worthy to write about even at the postponing of My Next Greatest Blog Post That Only 30 People Will Read.
No, seriously, thank you. :-) 
Yes, it's a commercial for Catholics and monks that grow coffee. Sorry to advertise the fact that there's better and cheaper coffee out there. And like certain math problems, there are multiple solutions to a "I need coffee" problem.
S. - "I love Starbucks and all my favorite baristas!!! You guys rock :-D"
I guess I don't share the same love for Starbucks. It's like...too mainstream for me. I guess I'm hipster because I like drinking hot, black coffee before it gets cool (#pun). And Starbucks is too expensive knowing that I can, in fact, cut my coffee costs down. Yes, it's a cool place to hang out, and the baristas are always cool to talk to. But nah, Starbucks is never my first choice. No offense. But 'tis true. -sips Tim Horton's coffee literally imported from Canada-
A. - "Miss you S!!!"
Dude, S. A misses you! Aw. Quute.

In conclusion, I appreciate their feedback. Perhaps in these past two weeks since the original blog post I cried maybe ten times, but only once because of what they said. Did I really just admit that? Nuuuu! I'll get mistaken as a girl even more! >_< But dealing with a friend's death is real stuff in addition to all my interior conflicts. Those are potentially future blog posts, for sure.

Thanks for the criticisms. Really, the most offensive thing was equating me with a tool bag because that denies my humanity in totality. And that ain't cool. Sometimes when I wear cargo shorts I can put lots of things in my pockets like things that would normally go into a tool bag. But that doesn't mean that I, myself, am a tool bag. Rude.

But as the prophetess Taylor Swift muses and motivates... I gotta shake it off.

Haterz gonna hate.
- JD

Jimmy Fallon ew // Reddit-Tumblr

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Most Epic Safety Video

Not all airline safety videos are created equal. As a decently traveled traveler, most that I've seen have been pretty standard, mundane and not exactly exciting to watch.

But! I suppose it only makes sense that Air New Zealand gets Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings-style treatment.


So there's that.

As I'm currently reading The Lord of the Rings, I can definitely appreciate this safety video.

And as a bonus, maybe I have engineering experience in airline seats, perhaps the very ones seen throughout the video. No big deal.

One safety video to epic them all.

ANZ 747 // Wikipedia

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Better Deal For Pumpkin Spice Coffee

As I recall, about a month or so ago, people were posting about their excitement or resentment that Starbucks would soon put the much acclaimed pumpkin spice latte back on the menu. Really, that was simply a sign...

Personally, I like pumpkin pie, tarts, and other pumpkin-flavored baked paraphernalia. But I have reservations about buying pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks. Simply put, it's not cheap or it's not the most economical solution for me. I noticed the other day that a tall pumpkin spice latte at the Starbucks at my work is $4.50! Ok, maybe it's slightly cheaper out in the wild...

$3.95. Plus tax. Delicious choices make for smaller wallets.
Let's do some math. And math is hard, so I kindly ask you to suffer with me as I do math.

If JD (that's me) drinks one cup of coffee a day during the work week...

That's $21.40.  A week. A week. $21.40 a week. For a pumpkin spice latte. I like pumpkin flavored things and as far as coffee goes...what if I don't even want the whipped cream, milk and extra spice because I drink my coffee black?

Ok. So. I need a more economical solution that simply fulfills my requirements of enjoying pumpkin spiced flavored coffee drink without having to spend that much money, and without having to spend money on the extra stuff.

That's when I had a stroke!

...of inspiration!

To brew my own pumpkin spiced coffee!

Luckily, I live in a Catholic world. And living in a Catholic world, there exists the awesomeness that are religious communities of friars, monks, brothers, sisters, nuns, etc.  And sometimes they actually sell stuff they make/grow.

That's where Mystic Monk comes in.

In Wyoming, there's a community of Carmelite monks who have a routine of prayer and manual labor. Part of their manual labor is growing coffee beans, which they sell through Mystic Monk. I've heard lots of good things from Catholic friends and acquaintances about how great their coffee is, so I decided to try them for the first time.


They have...

Pumpkin spice coffee beans! From Mystic Monk! (No, they don't sell college mugs or knife sets or paper towel holders with paper towels included...)


I immediately had to bust out my coffee making skills... (in caption narrative)

I'm too lazy to boil water over the stove so....electric kettle...
Just opening the bag and scooping the beans unleashes a tsunami of pumpkin spice aroma that drowns my nostrils!
Wasn't sure if tasting through mouth or through nose
Go go grinder gadget!
Dang, looks so fine
My preferred coffee brewing method--the Aeropress
Funnel it in
Just add the electric kettle'd water and stir the water and grounds...then press...then add more hot water...then boom. A pumpkin spice coffee! (Of course, you could always use other coffee machines and Keurigs, etc)

Best enjoyed while sitting at the table reading Lord of the Rings, I'd say
I'm not high enough of a Coffee Barista level to create lattés, but even then I drink my coffee black.

So how is this a more economical solution than what Starbucks has to offer? If you check out the page for Pumpkin Spice flavored coffee beans at Mystic Monk, you'll see they sell individual 12 ounce bags for $11.95. Plus shipping and handling, that comes to about $18.10 (or at least that's what I paid).

I've had about 5 cups of pumpkin spice coffee and I've used half the bag of beans. Some more hard math:

As you can see, I save about $12 a week by making my own rather than paying for the Starbucks version. Sure, I know it's not a 1-to-1 comparison because Starbucks uses espresso, pumpkin sauce/syrup, spice, whipped cream and steamed milk. Oh and apparently these ingredients contain a ton of sugar, not necessarily organic stuff, and a Class IV Carcinogen?!

Maybe that's why it tastesssss soooo goooodsss
But even if I were to suddenly start making actual lattés, adding milk and whipped cream wouldn't increase my per drink cost that much.

So then, thanks to math, I was able to remind myself why I don't like going to and paying for Starbucks, and I was able to find a better deal. Praise God for coffee-making Carmelite monks in Wyoming!

Now, they do sell a wide array of other things besides pumpkin spice coffee.  Things like normal coffee in the usual roasts, other flavors of coffee, specialty coffees, teas, MONK SHOTS (for the K-cup lovers), coffee storage and making devices, shirts, Catholic religious gifts, and Gregorian chant CDs. AND you can even sign up for coffee subscriptions. Whoa.

If it suits your fancy... head on over to! Banner on the right sidebar or links on this blog post. By going to them via my blog, you'll basically be saying "JD sent me here" and any purchases you make will help the "JD is going to Poland in 2016 for World Youth Day" fund. And I'll be using the extra cash I'm not spending at Starbucks and save it for Poland!

Much appreciation if you do make a purchase through my blog! And either way, you primarily help the monks out so they can continue making great coffee as they pray for us as well as helping out their local community.

Math is hard. But tastes so good.
- JD

Brace Yourself, Pumpkin Spice Everything is Coming // The Sprouting Seed
Jimmy Fallon Ew meme // Reddit-Tumblr

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Manly Michael Move

Apparently earlier this week, Michael Phelps got into some trouble. In his own words, on Facebook:

You know, maybe I'm just used to other kinds of celebrities getting into alcoholic trouble that for Michael Phelps getting into this kind of trouble seems like a non-issue. No one died, no one got hurt, but the potential for bad things could have happened.  I only know what Michael has revealed here.

I did appreciate his sincerity in how sorry he feels to have let everyone down. I mean, one does not simply be the most decorated gold Olympian and not have people look up to you. And he knows this. And that's why I appreciate him expressing his sorrow in letting everyone down. Most famous people don't really do that.

While stalking my News Feed, I saw this earlier today:

Wow, so it seems like he's making steps to get some help, even at the sacrifice of swimming for a while.

That's awesome!

And it's awesome because he made a manly move.

What makes this manly is that he recognized he had made a mistake and that he owned up to it. Not only that, but he didn't settle for staying that way. He recognizes that he's got a problem within himself that needs to be fixed. He is actively trying to be a better version of himself, and not just in the pool. That's manly.  My respect for Michael Phelps has gone way up because of this.

This resonates with me because lately I've been having to admit my own mistakes and own up to them. Yes, and even seeking help. It sucks. It quite humbles me, but as I'm striving to be the best version of myself, there are some things that I know I can strive to perfect and overcome. What they are, I won't say right now, but just know that I am in a constant process of improvement in some areas of my life.

Being the best version of myself, even at the sacrifice of my ego and vices. That's manly.
- JD

Michael Phelps // Wikipedia

Thursday, October 2, 2014

My guardian angel... someone that I have done a craptacular job of acknowledging or even perhaps developing a relationship with.

I mean, I'm not saying my guardian angel isn't looking out for me. I'm certain that they are. But it's never plainly obvious to me.

In my poor practice of being Catholic, a healthy devotion to my guardian angel has been rather lacking. For referencing sake, I'll refer to my angel as he.

And I guess that's why it's cool whenever I do acknowledge my guardian angel. It's like...I've ignored him so much that whenever I finally do acknowledge him, I can sense an ecstatic joy that is obvious to me that it is not from me. In other words, it's almost as if some outside joy rubs off on me and I can't help but be happy and joyful myself knowing that I've acknowledged my guardian angel, and he's like "ZOMG JD FINALLY NOTICED ME!!! EEEEEK!"

So, I've gotten a little better about acknowledging him today considering October 2nd is when the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels.

-raises glass-

Here's hoping that I don't ignore him all the time!

I owe him so much, but I wish I knew exactly what to give him credit for.

Here are 8 things you should know about guardian angels.
- JD

Guardian Angel icon // Catholic Company
Heart eyed emoji // Purseblog (what the heck...)