Finding your favorite coffee spot

I love coffee. Like a lot. I basically have one cup in the morning and one in the afternoon. Occasionally I’ll add one more to this routine if I’m traveling. I rarely have less.

And I like to enjoy my coffee at home or at a cafe. 

Near my office there are a few places that serve great coffee. But they are always so busy and it’s hard to get a table. And even if you get a table, it’s a popular spot and I often bump into people I know. But sometimes or I usually just want to be alone, to enjoy your coffee in a quiet setting. 

So I found a place. It’s about a 15 minute walk from my office. It’s not a complete secret but it’s off the beaten track. And they have the best pour over coffee in this city. And I’ve been there at least 20 times and have yet to bump into anyone I know — except the super kind baristas. I grab a seat by the window, I drink my coffee, check out some tweets, maybe scan my Instagram feed or Tumblr dashboard, then put the phone in my pocket and enjoy the rest of my coffee. 

Some thoughts on the Amazon Echo Spot

My son needed an alarm clock and he was itching to get the Amazon Echo Spot. So Santa got him one for Xmas.

He loves it. He already connected it to a Philips Hue Light for his bedside lamp and with a few vocal commands he plays tunes, turns on and off the lamp and sets his morning alarm.

Pretty sweet.

So based on his glowing recommendation I got one for the master bedroom. Lauren looked at the little round glowing device with some skepticism but said okay let’s give this a try.

The Echo Spot works as advertised. Voice recognition is great. And it is a mighty fine alarm clock.

But it’s not great for a shared bedroom or with multiple people in the household.

For example the other night I got to bed super late and Lauren was already fast asleep. The only way to set the alarm is by voice. You can’t set the alarm with the Alexa iOS app which is surprising. So I ended up breaking my personal rule and brought my iPhone to the bedroom to set the alarm.

I was also going to get a Philips Hue light for our bedside lamps. I would love to tell my lamp to turn and off by voice. But Lauren would rather use the switch on the wall. The only way this works is if everyone uses the light the same way. And I’m already hard enough to live with so I passed on the Hue lights.

Our master bedroom is down the hall from James bedroom. But I’ve noticed that when I talk to our Echo, it will frequently wake his device as well. Other times I’ve inadvertently triggered our master bedroom Echo during a conversation with Lauren. It’s a little jarring to have the robot butt in.

Another incident happened this morning. I walked James to the bus stop. Afterward I went back into the house and upstairs to grab a few things. His bedside lamp was still on (we are so the same). I tried issuing a bunch of verbal commands to turn off his light. But it turns out I don’t know how he labeled his lamp so I couldn’t do it. I ended up manually switching it off which isn’t an ideal solution since he won’t be able to turn it on via voice now.

I’m excited about smart devices being voice enabled. But right now they just aren’t there for our household.

Uruguay, Part I

 

December 2017
Last month we made our first family trip to South America. We spent most of our vacation in Uruguay.

Getting to Uruguay from the United States requires a long flight but it’s only a two hour time difference which makes jet lag a non issue. After a 10 hour overnight flight from Miami, we arrived well rested.

The drive from the airport to our hotel in Jose Ignacio was about a 2 hours. A rental car is a must. The Jose Ignacio region of Uruguay is along the east coast of the country. While nearby Punta del Este is bustling and tends to get more attention and fanfare, we personally were happy to stay in the Jose Ignacio region. It’s hardly a secret area but it is laid back with a chill vibe, and a place that offers beach, some shops, a gorgeous countryside and some wonderful restaurants.

It is summertime and the weather was quite hot during our week. We spent a few hours each day at the beach. The Arctic currents make the ocean really quite cold but after a few moments we got used to it and it’s quite refreshing. Getting on bikes and exploring all the little streets of Jose Ignacio was a nice way to see more and escape the heat as well. My wife and daughters love horseback riding and its a gorgeous place to ride. Sunset in Uruguay is mighty fine.

One week in a new place is not enough time to do it justice. But I can tell you that we want to make a return trip one day.

Part two with additional photographs here.

(Camera: Leica MP // Film: Kodak Portra 400 // Lab: Richard Photo Lab in California).

A reminder to do your homework before backing a candidate

There is a massive effort in the Democratic Party to get folks to run for public office, up and down the ballot. We are seeing candidates run that have never served public life before and they are bringing much energy and a sincere effort to make a change. 

And as such, especially as new candidates, they need funding and support to win their primary races and to beat a Republican incumbent. 

I have backed a number of first time politicians. For the most part I am happy with the candidates I have backed, win or lose. But occasionally I have made some mistakes. 

The mistakes are because they caught me in a moment where one particular issue was topic of mind (e.g. immigration or the environment). When the reality is I care about a wide range of progressive issues. For example I made a donation to a candidate who shared my concern about civil rights but after I made the donation I found out that we aren’t on the same page with regards to gun control. 

So lately I made a check list. And when a politician asks for a meeting, I send him or her a list of all the issues I care about and ask if we are on the same page, mostly on the same page or not on the same page. 

It’s a helpful reminder to do my homework and not let the emotion get in the way.