Tag Archive | review

Return of the Coffee Review: A Maxim Adventure

I’ve been staying up way too late recently. I’ve also been able to sleep in very late but that’s mainly due to a sharp decline in my “working schedule” due to a number of students either moving away, going on long trips, or just…vanishing into the maw of the city. Which means they don’t answer my emails. But I’m happy and healthy and progressing in things I love which is nice.

Anyway, where was I? Oh right, coffee.

Now since most of my business takes place in coffee shops I’ve become quite an expert on coffee. Like did you know that most coffee shops call the wringings from the cleaning rag a “small regular coffee”? Now you know.

So usually I get tea at most places. Being from the South, however, I have an affinity for ice tea which takes far more work at home to produce. (Wait for the tea to cool? Why I never!) This lack of willingness to exert any effort on these beverages is what first led me to the idea of the “instant” coffee sticks. You might remember when I reviewed those with the Blendy coffee stick brand. In fact as I write this I am drinking from a cup of 1/2 calorie Blendy blend brew. Which, hilariously, is in fact literally only about half as much powder as a normal stick. Cheeky bastards.

I was in the store the other day when this other brand of coffee sticks caught my eye because they were on sale. For about 10¥ less than the Blendy brands. So, thinking there might be a blog post in this somewhere I snatched up a box of each type they had on offer. Not the best idea perhaps given my financial prospects lately but we have to press forward. Read More…

Wherein the future is discussed.

So it’s been a few days since I quit drinking. I haven’t really had much trouble staying away from it though. Everyone’s been pretty supportive and that’s really helpful. Most are still in the “eggshell” phase I think, which is when friends of the alcoholic try to act very carefully around the recovering addict lest he shatter into a million pieces at the slightest gust of wind or whiff of booze. It’s sweet but unnecessary.

I have been staying up much later than I would normally, however. It’s not such as bad thing though as I’ve been trying to focus on where I want to go in the future. I’ve only got about two months on my current visa at the moment and a less than solid footing on my renewal chances. So things are a little nervous which is the best time to quit drinking, of course.

I’ve been trying to focus that energy that was usually suppressed by the warm fuzzy blanket of spiritous liquors on something productive. To whit I’ve got it into my head to try and learn from scratch how to use the various products that Adobe has to offer in the realm of creative computer wizardry. This is an expensive proposition, however, as even the most basic package they offer can cost over $1000 if you want to buy it outright. I think it would be a good investment in skills for the future despite requiring a level of investment higher than most developing nation’s average income several times over.

I mean I have the money, but it’s hard to complain about spending it without coming off as callous. I digress.

I’ve been dabbling with iMovie for a little while now. Nothing special but I’ve learned the system well enough that the actual creation of the movie takes very little time. It is a little limited in its ability to correct problem footage which is a shame because my camera is pretty crap. So you can see what I’m talking about, this is a movie I shot last month of a band I’ve talked about before briefly. Kazumi Struts:

Now the video quality was pretty junk, though a lot of that is my camera, but it looked pretty bad until I added the filter to make everything kind of dark. That seemed to help the focus for some reason. Also it is easier to make a smoother video. I guess that’s key, simple is best when it comes to iMovie.

This one I made in Adobe Premiere Elements. A much more robust, though still hamstrung program. It’s not exactly the full version which is probably well beyond my scope at the moment. Keep that in mind. I am in no way good at this stuff. But it gives me something to do instead of drink so I’ll take it.

This clip is a bit longer as I could make a few more clips look good enough to leave in. Some were so bad that I had to cut them. Given the video quality on display here you know that’s pretty bad.

Premiere felt like it could do more but was harder to wrap my head around. A lot of the adjustments to quality had to be left to the program itself. It could be that I just haven’t figured out how to do manual control of things like color saturation and sharpness but there was at least some option for it made obvious in iMovie. Also Premiere is a beast of a performance hog even in the limited form. It would lag on occasion, crashed once, and took over two hours to process and upload to youtube.

It’s obvious that Adobe has more room to grow I’m just worried my little macbook air won’t be able to handle anything more intense than a grainy iphone movie from the bottom of a well at midnight. So yes, expensive hobby I’ve decided to pick up.

I want to try out the polling feature of this blog space so I’ll pose this question:

I’ve also been on a bit of a workout kick with Fitocracy. Which is kind of fun.

Blendy Drink Sticks: A review

So I’ve been doing pretty well with my Nanowrimo thing. I’m about half a day ahead of schedule right now and if I can keep it up I’ll “finish” around Nov. 26th. I’ve had a lot of free time this past week though, so we’ll have to see if I can keep up the momentum.

One way I’ve done that is by drinking a lot of tea and coffee. So much so that I think I might explode. But I am a freelance English teacher. A job that requires a lot of trips to coffee shops. So I’d like to think that I have a little experience with caffeinated drinks.

In that spirit, I give you Blendy Drink Sticks!

Two coffee, two tea

So we have two coffees; Cafe’ Au’lait and Espresso Au’lait. As for tea we’ve got Green Tea with Milk and, uh….Brown Tea with Milk.

I’m not good with names. There are a few more types including a hot chocolate I want to try, but I missed the closing time of my local grocery store by 5 minutes. Perhaps tomorrow. (^_^) So which is better?  Well it wouldn’t be very sporting to compare tea to coffee. That’d be like comparing apples to pomegranates. First up: TEA!!!!

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own so if you follow my suggestions and don’t like this stuff it’s not my fault if our tastes differ. (-_-)

Left: Green Tea, Right: Brown Tea

 

Both types of tea are good. Very milky. Great for sipping on a cold day. It’s tricky getting the water right as you shouldn’t let it boil all the way. Neither are very good if the water is too hot. Which is better? Tough call. The green tea comes with one less stick and the boxes cost about the same. So Brown has more bang for your buck. But, there can be only one.

Green tea baby!

Green tea was by far my favorite. It tastes creamier and the green tea flavor is stronger without being over powering. My vote goes to green tea.

 

Speaking of which, think I’ll make myself a cup right now.

 

Ahhhhh. Now where was I? Oh yes, COFFEE!!

Two coffee's enter, one will leave

So on the left we have an Espresso blend and a coffee with milk mixture. The boxes have a little circle (which you can’t see in the picture) that tells you the ratio of coffee to milk. The one on the left has a ratio of 1/6 and the one on the right has a 3/6. The espresso is certainly the stronger brew. Wakes you right up. The taste suffers a bit for it though. The green box has a smoother taste but not quite as strong as a kick.

Which do I prefer?

Sorry espresso but I don't need that much of a jolt

I’m a sucker for taste. The espresso does wake you up but it’s just not that tasty. Cheap though, because espresso comes with a whopping 10 sticks per box.

 

 

 

Tune in tomorrow, if I get my word count done that is. Comment if you like but I’m off to bed. Got a hell of a cold invading my systems.

10/30