February 2012

I think I like Instagram more than Twitter

This popped up in my Instagram stream this morning thanks to my friend Shane Nickerson and until I read it I never would have thought it, but instantly agreed when I saw it. Which if you know me is shocking because I’ve been a very long time proponent of Twitter and vocal hater of Instagram. So this is a pretty crazy flip flop. But here’s why I think I suddenly agree with a statement like this:

Twitter used to be about people. It used to be about conversations. Now it’s about news, it’s about broadcasts. And just just from a “who is using it” standpoint – businesses grow and that’s a good thing, but from an approach from the corporate level. As a Twitter user I used to feel like Twitter was paying attention to how I was using the site and trying to make that better, and now I feel like I’m being told how to use it regardless of what I want. I don’t want to hate on twitter, it changed so many things for me, it’s just pretty clear the direction it’s heading isn’t that interesting to me anymore.

Instagram is what Flickr mobile should have been. I hated Instagram initially because I felt that I could already do everything it was offering, and better, on other services. No high res images? GTFO!

Why Coffee?

It should be no surprise to anyone who follows this blog – or any of my interactions online or off now that I think about it – that I’m a fan of coffee. But lots of people like coffee and don’t obsess over it like I do, so maybe I’m a bit obsessed with coffee. Again, not really a surprise I’m sure. But why? That’s a question that comes up quite frequently these days so I thought I’d write a little bit about it and maybe answer some of the questions and maybe help sort through some of my own feelings about it as well.

New cups

Coffee is interesting because it’s ubiquitous, yet still shrouded in mystery. It’s something everyone knows about, and at the same time most people know nothing about. I know that because for most of my life I was one of those people. Hell I’m still one of those people. But I know a little bit more than I did and that is exciting, and when I get excited about something I have a bad habit of talking about it constantly to everyone in earshot. I say it’s a bad habit because most often that constant yammering is met with replies like “OMG Sean are you still talking about [blogs/art/toys/records/minimalism/etc]?!” however when I started talking about coffee I started getting replies like “Oh awesome! I love coffee! Tell me more!!” so then I had to go find more to talk about.

My Travel Coffee Setup, 2012 edition

A few years ago I wrote about my quest for the perfect travel coffee setup. I travel a lot, I like good coffee, so ensuring that I can have good coffee when I travel is kind of important. Since then I’ve been pretty much sticking to that same set up – Kitchen scale, Porelex grinder, V60, Kettle… It’s served me well but it’s not small and that’s always bugged me as I like to travel as light and compact as possible. I’ve messed with some minor variations (collapsing fake V60, etc) to no avail. For 2012 I decided to throw caution to the wind and start from scratch.

People keep raving about the AeroPress – especially in travel situations. I’ve resisted because frankly the shitty to delicious ratio for cups of coffee I’ve had from this device leans heavily on the shitty side. But I decided to give it a shot. If there’s any way I’m going to force myself to figure it out, it’s in a hotel room on the otherside of the world at 3am when Jetlag is making me surely.

Moving to the AeroPress means the slow pour kettle is no longer needed, which is actually the biggest motivator here for me as that’s the most obnoxious thing to try and fit in a suitcase.

Scale wise I switched the the larger countertop model I had to a higher end pocket sized guy that a friend gave me a while back but I hadn’t made much use of.

I’m sticking with the Porlex Hand Grinder because it’s really the best option out there for a hand grinder. I’ve tried everything, trust me, this is the one to get. However, since it’s *exactly* the right size to fit inside the AeroPress, and I can grind right into it I went ahead and pulled off the bottom part where grinds are usually collected.

I also have one of those wacky metal AeroPress filters so that I don’t need to worry about paper ones, but honestly I might not be able to put up with the silt so I’m bringing a couple paper ones just in case.

As you can see, all compacted that’s a pretty small load. Actually the bag of coffee beans I’ll be bringing takes up more space in my bag. At least those get used and don’t have to be brought home.

I’m heading off to Japan tomorrow and will give this a test drive over the next week. I’m excited about trying something new, really excited about how much smaller this set up is, but a bit nervous that the AeroPress will turn my delicious beans into crap. Fingers crossed.

Year Of Less update #5: 1 month down

Today is February 1st so I’ve been doing this Year of Less project for a full month now and I’m really really really really enjoying it. I haven’t been doing it long enough for major impact on my life, but I’ve certainly forced a lot of thought and conscious editing of things. I thought I’d give a quick update on that. Numbers wise I’ve gotten rid of 98 things. In 31 days, so I actually think the “how much did you get rid of” part of this is becoming the least interesting. I’ll get rid of a lot of stuff, and that goes without saying now I think.

But what am I getting rid of?

That’s more interesting.

Especially when I have a goal to get rid of one thing a day, and it’s been a super busy day and all the sudden at 10PM I realize I haven’t gotten rid of anything. Which has happened. And then I scramble and find something I have no use for and I can’t believe I’ve been holding onto for some dumb amount of time. When I look at the doc I’ve been keeping, there’s days when I got rid of 5 things, 10 things, 25 things… those are the days when I was actively working on it and are expected. But the days I only got rid of one thing are the days when I probably scrambled a bit. So what are some of those things?

– A remote control to a broken roomba that I threw out months ago.
– A stack of membership cards to airport lounges that expired years ago.
– A keychain flash light that hasn’t worked in a year but I had been keeping in my dresser thinking I could fix it some day.
– A battery charger for something I don’t even know what it could be.
– Box for an iPhone 3Gs. Just the box. What?!
– The charger for the FitBit I lost a year ago.
– Old eyeglasses with out of date prescription and broken frames

This list goes on and on. All of this is obviously junk, but it’s junk I’ve had for over a year in most cases. Junk I haven’t used in over a year in most cases. And since I moved within the last year, it’s junk I packed up and moved with me in most cases. What the hell was I thinking? Forcing myself to find these things and get rid of them is pretty great.

I’ve also noticed how often I’m resisting the impulse to “1 click buy” things on amazon or whatever. I see something cool a friend has, I look it up online and before I realize it I’m staring at it on Amazon. Last year I would have impulse bought the hell out of that stuff. I did impulse buy the hell out of it. Now I’m catching myself, and at the moment I’m bummed, because I have this mental desire to buy stuff. Which is insane, because it’s something I didn’t know existed minuted earlier, and all the sudden I have this feeling that my life won’t be complete without it. But the next day I’m PSYCHED that I stuck to my guns and didn’t buy something I really didn’t need.

Which is really the reason I’m doing this. So that’s pretty awesome. Month 2, here we go!