Am I Missing The Point?

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So here at the new place of employ, we have a very nice building to work in. It’s an old warehouse in a now gentrified former industrial district that has been updated with all the conveniences of a modern office.

It’s a pretty nice place to work and probably the nicest of all the buildings my employer leases or rents for us minions.

For the 150 or so people located in this building we have a pretty nice break room that includes fancy steel microwaves, up to the minute toaster oven and even a dishwasher.

And then there is the “coffee system.”

Yes, I said system.

In lieu of a good old glass pot of coffee burning on a hotplate all day, we have two Keurig devices. These devices utilize what are called “K cups” for the brewing of single cups of coffee.

My company only provides the machines and the water. Employees have to bring their own K cups.

My coworkers seem very whipped up and excited about K cup coffee and tea. In order to play along, I went to Safeway and invested in two boxes of (highly overpriced) K cups, one box of coffee, one box of chai tea.

This Keurig machine seems all very futuristic. You put in the plastic K cup, clamp the machine down and press “brew”. The machine whirs quietly and makes important beeping noises then it creates your warm mug of beverage.

Only…couldn’t I just dump the contents of the K cup into a mug, add hot water, stir and have the same results?

That’s when I realized these Keurig people are a bunch of really smart and somewhat evil entrepreneurs. They have employed the Hewlett Packard home printer model to coffee.

The Hewlett Packard model is thus…charge $100 for a small personal printer. Then charge $70 for the ink cartridges to use with the printer. They make a couple bucks off the machine, they make a LOT of bucks off of what they call “consumables” (i.e. something that gets used up and needs to be replaced).

Keurig has done this brilliantly. They have made the end user experience feel special with blue lights and soft whirs and beeps. They make you want to run to that machine and slap in a K cup that runs about a dollar to a dollar fifty each. Starbucks and Bed Bath and Beyond are in on the scam, selling their own versions of K cups.

Meanwhile I’m thinking this is just instant coffee all tarted up in a new way. What really boggles me is the people who “loooove” (<- direct quote) the green tea K cups. Because, ahem, dunking a tea bag in a cup of hot water is just too much work? The name Keurig led me to believe this was a european company (the name is the Dutch word for excellence) and I was going to make some comment about the Euros having one over on us Americans. Then I looked up the company and discovered they are from Massachusetts. That there is some Yankee ingenuity. You brilliant b*stards. I know I'm being hornswaggled and yet I play along anyway. Well done Keurig-onians. Well done.








Image from theburr. Click the link to see how to recycle K cups.




Happy Gobble Gobble Day

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Now a holiday tradition. Doodle-y goodness!

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First published November 25, 2010

To celebrate the holiday, I present to you a doodle from my marker board at work.

I was on a *really* long conference call. It was boring. I got distracted.

May you and yours have a fabulous, gluttonous day!

Photo and doodle Copyright 2010, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the right column of this page. Photo taken with an iPhone 4 using the Hipstamatic app.



When In Rome…or Reading

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While on my way out the door and quite ready to make a voyage to England, among the parting thoughts from The Good Man was:

“Enjoy the traditional English breakfast.”

I’m a fan of all things breakfast so I readily agreed, despite not really knowing what a traditional English breakfast was all about.

My first morning in country, I stumbled downstairs to the complimentary buffet and started to understand.

It looks a little something like this.





I say “a little something” because this plate is missing a couple key components, mainly blood pudding (a sausage, also sometimes called black pudding), fried tomatoes and fried mushrooms. But other than that the main items are there. Griddled eggs. Hash browns. Bacon (center cut and YUM).

And the key component: Heinz Baked Beans.





No other will do.

I’m no stranger to eating beans for breakfast. I’ve been eating pintos in many forms alongside eggs for years, so this was zero hesitation to me. That said, I usually hate baked beans because they are just too sweet. Too much brown sugar, I think (as if such a thing as too much brown sugar exists).

I really like the Heinz baked beans because they aren’t especially sweet. They are tomatoey but not sugary sweet. A perfect compliment to eggs, in my humblest of American opinions.

Here’s the thing…I started having the Full Breakfast every day. They even served it at the cafeteria where I reported for work the second week of my stay. This meal formed a good solid start to my days of battling with suppliers and the English rain and pesky coworkers.

I felt like I could climb mountains on that breakfast.

And now that I’m back home, I miss it.

Breakfast now just seems sort of…blah. Sad. Lacking. And without verve.

So I looked at a couple local grocery stores. Lo and behold, I found the key ingredient here locally.





The real stuff! The good stuff. Ok, it’s a little more work to make all the fixins myself rather than ladling from a hotel buffet bar.

But it’s worth it.

Oh so worth it.

Now that breakfast is sorted, let’s chat about British dinners too, eh? Here is a beauty shot from one night at the local pub. Big yum.

Though all of that on the table (except for the Pedigree, a proper English Ale) is quite readily available here in the US. Thank goodness!





So now I have quite a menu for my post travel life as there is plenty of can’t-live-without-it food from Singapore (laksa, chili crab and kaya toast) and Costa Rica (tostones, Olla de Carne and Cas) and now the charms of Britain.

Tonight, however, I head back to my roots. We’re cooking New Mexico style in my house. All that British culture made my green chile blood level get a little low.

Must fix that problem right away!




All photos Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons in the far right corner of this page. Photos taken with an iPhone 4s and the Camera+ app.



It’s All So Wonky

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I’ve now been twelve days in Britain. I’ve sorted out shuttle buses, trains, the grocery store, a local pub and even the post office.

Basically, I’m living here. I have a job, I have an income and I have friends. Hell, my hotel room is about the same size as my first apartment out of college.

What I’m saying is, I got this. I’m even getting better at recognizing and correctly using British money.

I’m walking with a bit more of a swagger. I’m a local. I’m confident enough that people have been asking me for directions and “is this the bus that goes to the technology park?”

A few days ago I did a quick Yelp search and found a little place that gets good reviews. It’s called Pret a Manager and it reminds me a bit of Panera. It’s tasty sandwiches and soups and really excellent coffee.

So took a walk and easily found it. Once there, I got some mushroom soup and a tuna melt and a decaf latte. Yay! It looked delicious.

Then I went to grab some sweetener to add to my latte. I was presented with these two choices:





The white one is sugar and the yellow one is Splenda. Right?

So I grabbed three Splenda (the packets looked small) and I dumped them into my coffee and stirred.

Only the Splenda felt gritty. Like large granules.

Look a little closer.




Whoops.

Why are the packets reversed in this country? Why isn’t the twenty pence coin larger than the ten pence? Why do all the exit signs look like someone running to a rectangle and WHY don’t toilets flush right?

The nice guy working behind the till at Pret a Manger said to me, “I can’t quite place your accent. Where are you from?”

“America,” I said, “Can’t you tell?”

He laughed and said “oh yes, you’re the people who put salt in your coffee.”

Yeah.

I kinda sorta don’t really got this. But I’m going to act like I do.

Fake it until you make it. It’s going to be my new life philosophy.



Photos Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons in the far right column of this page. Taken with an iPhone4s and the Camera+ app.