Visitors to the lair know that when I’m devoted to a show, I’m in it to win it until the very end. I’ll even follow you into continued “seasons” in book form if I’m really into you (which reminds me: I need to finish the “eighth season” of Deep Space Nine before I completely forget the first three books from the run). It’s no surprise, then, that I have continued to watch the original CSI: Crime Scene Investigation through every bump and dip the show has seen in recent years. And, even though I confess to no surprise from the announcement earlier this year that CBS had cancelled the series after 15 years, I still felt a pang of loss. This show has meant a great deal to me for myriad reasons
Talk about much ado about nothing. I relaunch the blog after so much time and effort to rebuild my online lair and then…nothing. Pfft. Fizzle. A couple of Flashback Fridays, some book reviews, some PhotoShop trickery…but no meat. Just sides.
I want more. Truth is, though, that I feel sometimes like there are so many variables against “more.” My job has evolved into something far more consistently all-consuming than before, which means that by the end of the day, there’s not much intellectual energy left. I mean, come on now, I’m practically running on fumes all the time anyway…now, I’ve reached the point where by the end of the day, I simply can’t brain anymore.
Please don’t make me brain anymore.
Seriously, though, I work out my focus all day long, trying to keep multiple projects on track, on time, on budget, on fleek. I come home and I got nothin’ left. The jam jar is empty and all that’s left is the dried-out jam crust around the lid. No one wants that.
The other problem (beyond my tendency to make really disgusting analogies) is that I’ve lost my indignant fire. In my Angry BloggerTM Days, I had no dearth of anger for fueling myriad rants. I’m old now, and I see the futility of ranting. Not to say that I don’t still go on rants…but they’re usually about things meant to incite wrath from the geek community. I’m really good at that.
Ranting about things that matter IRL though? Ranting just deepens the divide. I’m more into (or I’m more into trying to be more into) seeking solutions. Trying to find the problem and fix it. Trying to find answers to questions that I’m quite frankly tired of asking and tired of watching everyone in charge ignore simply because the answers aren’t…simple.
The problem is that this path isn’t easily packaged into a navel-gazing blog blurb. And this path shouldn’t be easily packaged or reduced or simplified. It’s a path of thorns and brambles. A path abandoned for too long because choosing this path requires serious work, and who wants to do that? It’s way more fun to keep ignoring this path and taking the easier one that solves nothing but lets us all be utter cockwombles from the anonymous comfort of our Internet-trolling couches.
[Loba Tangent: In other news, my British friends have taught me the word cockwomble, and I now try to fit it in whenever I can. Because cockwomble.]
So that’s where I’m at. I’m still here, pacing the lair, trying to figure it all out. I’m still writing blog posts. I’ve got a couple saved as drafts (which I couldn’t do before I repaired things, so progress!!). If it makes you all feel any better, I’m not just ignoring the lair. I haven’t even really been reading all that much lately either. Again, jam crust.
And just so I don’t leave you all with that disgusting image in your head, have this. Uzo Aduba is one of my new favorite people in the entirety of the universe. If you don’t know why, then get thee to a Netflix account and stream the hell out of Orange is the New Black. Hers is one of the most captivating characters from what is one of the most delightfully diverse, female-centric shows ever (a shame, though, that we can only get diversity behind bars).
You might have noticed that I haven’t been around the lair all that much lately. It’s not for lack of desire, denizens. I’d love nothing more than to come hang out at with you all with the same frequency I used to. It’s for lack of other things…lack of time, mostly. But also lack of motivation. Lack of inspiration. Lack of give-a-damnedness.
There’s been a lot going on IRL: good things, great things, frustrating things, worrying things. It’s a Damoclean life, the professional one I lead, and presidential election years only make it that much worse. Plus, the state of things is so depressing that for a while I simply lost my will and way.
Mainly, it’s because I am so tired of and sickened and disheartened by the continuing devolution of the “of, by, and for” part of the equation: We The People.
Plainly put, We The PeopleTM kind of suck, and it’s time we started to fix that. It has to start with us because, if all those sacred and holy documents are to be believed anymore (if ever), we’re supposed to be the lynchpins of Mr. Toad’s Wild Government Ride. We’re supposed to be the ones steering this ship; the politicians are supposed to be the ones reporting to us. Yet, somewhere along the way, the politicians mutinied, started changing the rules when we weren’t paying attention. Wasn’t that difficult to do, really…for a “highly evolved species” or “greatest nation in the world” or whatever other self-awarded accolades we like to tout, we’re not exactly the brightest crayons in the box. We’re kind of like the Pakleds of the planet.
For you non-nerds, this is not a compliment.
Now here we sit, a divided, divisive muddle of easily distracted dolts, unable to see the forest because we have to stop and piss hate-filled comments onto every tree. Corruption continues to run amok while we stand in line to buy a fried chicken sandwich. Because that fried chicken sandwich represents the protection of our freedom of speech!
To paraphrase Inigo Montoya for a moment, “You keep using that phrase, but I do not think it means what you think it means.” Seriously, look up “Freedom of Speech” and learn what it really means. That’s a really good place to start.
Now, the title of this post is sort of a tip of the paw to a recent episode of Dan Carlin’s Common Sense, which he called “Put Up or Shut Up.” I used to love listening to Common Sense, mainly because Carlin’s viewpoints on so many things match my own viewpoints. Everyone likes to listen to people who
agree with them, right?
However, I stopped listening a while ago because, quite frankly, I was tired of listening to reinforcement of how I felt, but no suggestions for how to change things…how to make things better…how to reroute the abysmal direction of this country.
Seems like Carlin felt the same way. In “Put Up or Shut Up” he basically stated that even he was tired of listening to himself go on and on about these things without providing a plan for how to fix it. And he called on himself and listeners to…put up or shut up.
So this is me putting up. It’s time to start turning things around before we really do end up plummeting off into the abyss. Our government is corrupt and unresponsive, why? Because we let it become so. All of us. Not just the Republicans. Not just the Democrats. All of us. Somewhere along the way, we lost our ability to reason and debate and problemsolve and now we spend most of our time and energy attacking each other, either in person or via the vitriol of online comments where anonymity apparently bleeds us dry of any empathy or compassion.
What do I propose as part of the solution to this mess? It’s time to grow up, America. Time to start behaving like the “evolved intellects” we liken ourselves to be. Because whether you believe we’re 2,000 or 2 million years old or more, we’re old enough to know better.
First on the agenda? Stop playing the Blame Game. Blaming everyone else for your problems is what little kids do. Also? Doesn’t fix a damn thing, does it? No. So stop it. Stop pointing fingers and saying that it’s _______’s fault that things are the way they are. It’s lazy and ignorant. It’s also how the politicians keep us from ever coming together to fix the problems we have…because they know that part of the fix will mean stopping their free run of the place. Divide and conquer…who knew it worked, eh? George Orwell, actually. I always fall back on one particular passage of his book 1984, which once again speaks relevance to our current state of affairs:
Heavy physical work, the care of home and children, petty quarrels with neighbours, films, football, beer, and above all, gambling, filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult. A few agents of the Thought Police moved always among them, spreading false rumours and marking down and eliminating the few individuals who were judged capable of becoming dangerous; but no attempt was made to indoctrinate them with the ideology of the Party.
It was not desirable that the proles should have strong political feelings. All that was required of them was a primitive patriotism which could be appealed to whenever it was necessary to make them accept longer working-hours or shorter rations. And even when they became discontented, as they sometimes did, their discontent led nowhere, because being without general ideas, they could only focus it on petty specific grievances. The larger evils invariably escaped their notice.
Primitive patriotism. “You’re either with us or against us.” Sound familiar? Aren’t you tired of it all as well, denizens? Aren’t you tired of bloviators telling us who’s to blame and riling up this primitive patriotism as a means of blocking true progress, true change, true hope? We are capable of so much more, so much better.
So stop playing games. First, stop your own part in the Blame Game. I’m just as guilty of this game as anyone else. I’m in no way proud of how I have readily bought into various notions that it was X group’s fault that things were the way they were. I was negative, bitter, and resentful. It didn’t solve anything and it just served to make me feel even worse about everything and about myself. Even more? It wasn’t true and it wasn’t fair.
You cannot blame all the problems that ail us right now on one group of people. You also cannot broad-brush an entire sect of the population based on interactions you’ve had with limited members of that sect. In true scientific method of inquiry, it’s a matter of case-by-case analysis that will continuously test, form, and modify ideas and opinions. We’re “individuals” for a reason. Is it easy? HELL NO! Why do you think so few people do it? Is it what needs to be done?
Yes. Yes, it is. It’s called logic. Spock it to me.
Second, call people out for their part in the Blame Game. If you find yourself surrounded by people who just want to spew this kind of negative passive bullshit, call them on it.
Hold on. Don’t go out and start screaming at strangers. Start at home. Not with the screaming though. That doesn’t go over well at all. Be respectful, but point out that blame doesn’t solve anything. Also? Constant complaining is actually antithetical to problemsolving.
So, combat negativity and complaining and blaming with proactive responses. “Okay, what can we do to fix the problem? How can we improve things?” Start seeking solutions! And if you find that there are people who simply refuse to change…well, then leave them be. That’s right…leave them be. Some people would rather throw themselves the mother of all pity parties than try to come up with solutions. You don’t have to stick around and help them celebrate.
See, right now, the United States of America looks like a hard drive that hasn’t been defragmented since it was purchased…all the way back in 1776. And there has been a whole long line of fragmentation ever since. It’s time we activated the national defrag program and leave those “unmovable files” right where they are. They won’t be able to stop the rest of us from rejoining and working together efficiently, if we want to. They’ll just stay where they are, inevitably being as useless to the improvement of this country as all those groups they like to hate on so much. Karma, betches. Look into it.
We live in a country of extraordinary freedoms. It’s one of the many reasons I am, indeed, thankful that I live in America. But I am not proud of who we have let ourselves become as Americans. We have allowed the politicians to take total control, to divide us with incendiary wedges designed to blind us to the solving of true issues and the striving toward true progress. We bicker and blame like children, and we gain nothing by doing so. We simply harm ourselves while the politicians continue to drag us further downward toward a drop we might not survive.
It has to stop. I’m willing to try. Are you?
Do you know what separates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom?
A hot shower and a hairdryer.
I exaggerate, of course. But not really. I know that we like to think of ourselves as highly evolved (or children of God, if that’s how you like to swing), but it’s such a thin sheen, this civility we pride ourselves for possessing over the rest of the mammals.
Remove one of those tenuous threads that connect us to that higher plateau and watch how quickly it all unravels.
We lost our electricity on Friday night, thanks to a jaw-droppingly violent storm known as a “Derecho.” It swept through the area with winds strong enough to snap healthy trees into shards of kindling and rip power lines completely free from their poles. And the rain! The idiom “sheets of rain” would not be hyperbolic in this case. Rain poured down as if dumped from a giant basin, with no delineation of size or shape…just a solid wall of water through which we found ourselves driving. VERY SLOWLY.
It was stunning and frightening and utterly humbling.
And then we reached our neighborhood and the unsurprising though frustrating reality of complete darkness.
This was our reality for almost four days.
Several years ago, New York was hit by a blackout so severe that former Energy Secretary Bill Richardson described us as ” a superpower with a third world electricity grid.” This statement is perfectly applicable to the state of the electricity grid as operated by the Potomac Electric Power Company, known as PEPCO. Although, it’s not really “operated” by PEPCO anymore, which is probably a major part of the problem. PEPCO sold their energy generating assets in 2000. They said that it would benefit customers by giving us lower rates. It was also supposed to open up free-market competition.
Yeah, not so much.
What actually happened has been a decade-plus devolution in service and reliability from PEPCO to the point that if you sneeze too hard near a substation, thousands go without power for days. Granted, Friday night’s storm was fierce. However, PEPCO’s response was the same as every one of their responses to massive days-long power failures (which seem to occur at least biannually anymore): no human customer service; spotty updates to their automated response system that always lack any concrete commitment to timelines; slow decisions to reach out to nearby power companies for help in restoration efforts; and, when finally they do commit to a deadline, it’s offensively distant.
Case in point: We lost power on Friday, June 29. Sunday, July 1, PEPCO finally committed to the “promise” that 90 percent of the people without power would have full restoration by 11 p.m. on Friday, July 6.
This is customer service? Did I mention that temperatures have been in the mid-90s to low 100s since the power went out? And there’s no sign of relief all week?
This is how civility’s sheen sloughs away: Under the oppressive pressing persistence of heat and humidity that leave patience in shreds and tempers inflamed. Major intersections become free-for-alls as people abandon lawfulness and common courtesy. You think this area’s traffic sucks and blows as it is on a normal day? Try making it down a major roadway when every stoplight is dead and there are no police officers available to direct traffic. Mad Max would be left in tears by sweaty, enraged D.C. area commuters unfettered by the superfluity of traffic rules and simple human decency.
Then there were the lines at the gas stations that still had power. I wasn’t alive during the 1973 oil crisis, but I’ve seen photos of lines of cars snaking down roads, around blocks, waiting to get to a pump. Believe it or not, this was the scene this past weekend at the few stations that still had power. You’d have thought that we’d gone weeks without access to gas, the way people were behaving. Horns blaring, tempers flaring…I honestly question and fear what would happen in an actual gas shortage. Good thing I like to walk as much as I do.
By Sunday evening, our third-world power grid problems sparked a first-world worry regarding…our wine fridge. We’d just gotten back from a very prosperous adventure (about which I had planned on telling you all prior to PEPCO SUCKS 2012!!!11!!) that left our wine fridge fully stocked with some amazing new discoveries.
Discoveries that were now beginning to warm up.
Have you ever heard the phrase “like looking for a needle in a haystack”? That, denizens, might have been easier than looking for a bag of ice in a blackout. I drove around for almost an hour in search of ice. The closest I came were random shards and cubes abandoned at the bottoms of empty ice bins and one incredibly questionable offer from a gas station attendant who looked almost exactly like Borat’s producer Azamat Bagatov, for me to “come back in few hours and I will have for you two bags of ice.”
Thankfully, I found a 7-Eleven with a full ice case, the wine was promptly cooled down, and I even got to enjoy a glass of non-tepid tap water that evening.
Monday morning brought with it another round of frustration: My office building had no power. No electricity at work, no electricity at home, I suddenly found myself in full nomadic form, netbook in tow, standing outside the local Barnes and Noble bookstore with two goals in mind: free wi-fi and a giant cup of coffee. Possibly two. At the same time.
Caffeine withdrawal is an ugly thing to witness, denizens.
Thankfully, the B&N staff understood the desperation that rolled off us all in waves (as well as a bit of funk, I’m sure; cold showers are great for cooling off but you cannot convince me that they are suitable for successful hygiene). The Starbucks cafe was ready with hot coffee and the promise of quiet tables and no pressure when we camped out well past the point when our cups were drained and nothing remained of our muffins beyond crumbs and blueberry-stained napkins. Actually, B&N was a lovely oasis of civility in an otherwise calamitous experience. The staff were kind, the store was quiet and cool, the wi-fi never faltered, and I ended up leaving with the complete works of H.P. Lovecraft for $20.
Now, I sit here in the cool comfort of our house, listening to the appeasing sounds of our mist-thin civility once more humming around me. I suppose I should be thankful to PEPCO for restoring our electricity well before their estimate. However, I can’t help but chafe at the thought that they set the bar so impossibly low that I can’t really find it in myself to thank them for anything. Yes, I appreciate the workers who are out there, busting their asses in this heat to fix what went wrong; but I can’t forgive the arrogance of the upper management who not only act as though they are above answering to their customers for remarkably poor service but actually have the audacity to want to discuss the possibility of imminent price increases.
Right. Perhaps I should approach such an increase with the same reliability and responsiveness that they approach these regular power failures…
…even the ones you can’t see.
I want you to just look at this photo for a moment or two, denizens. Ponder it:
Do you notice anything off about the positioning of the crosswalk signs? Want a closer look?
Yeah. Pretty awesome, right? The one sign is positioned RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER ONE. Result? Total visual blockage.
The signs have been like this for probably three months now. The county had sent a crew out to regrade the sidewalk crossings, and they installed a couple of new crosswalk signs while they were at it. What I want to know is, how did they not realize while they were installing this sign that they were screwing up?
It took me all of five seconds to deduce the DERP of the sign placement. The work crew was there, futzing around with the sidewalk and the signs for more than a week. Did none of them at any point not look up and say, “Hey! Hey, guyz?!!?!11! I think we need to re-evaluate this game plan.”
Or did they all notice it and just not give a damn? Who’s to say. All I know is that I’m very glad that my parents taught me to always look both ways before crossing the street…
While driving home from a weekend stay in the great
hate state of North Carolina, we spent a large portion of the journey past Richmond being treated to a view of the back-end of a “dualy”
First, allow me to vent for a moment to the companies, corporations, organizations, etc. who hide behind the “green” concept to keep more money for themselves. I’m talking about the businesses that do things like no longer provide printed instructions with their merchandise under the guise that they are “protecting the trees.”
No, you’re not. You’re saving yourself the cost of providing us with what we now must provide ourselves. I don’t think you’re being environmentally friendly. I think you’re being capitalist dicks.
[Yes, Loba is in a less than chipper mood this afternoon.]
Tangentially, I have a gripe about the local government where I reside doing something quite similar. Beginning January 1, 2012, all stores (with the exception of pharmacies and fast food restaurants) now charge 5 cents for each bag that they provide their customers. The stores get to keep 1 cent while turning over the rest to the government. The government claims that they are doing this to help reduce litter in our landfills.
Allow Surly Loba to call shenanigans.
Mind you, I have no problem with the concept of BYOBag to stores. We’ve been taking our own bags to the supermarket for almost 3 years now. Back then? Stores actually rewarded us eco-friendly shoppers by giving us…a 5-cent-per-bag discount on our bill. Now? Nothing.
Unless you don’t remember to bring your own bags.
I get it. Governments all across the country are strapped for cash and are trying to figure out how to bridge the gap in frightening financial shortcomings without raising the ire of idiotic TEA baggers by raising taxes. So they’re coming up with inventive ways of side-stepping the scary “T” word by doing things like this. But not only can I see through your rather flimsy “we’re being green” smokescreen, I can also do enough math to put 2 and 2 together and see that what used to be a positive reinforcement toward eco-responsibility on the part of consumers has now been turned into a big fat negative.
Essentially, they’ve taken the carrot of rewarding our conscientiousness and stuck it right…well, you know.
I guess what irritates me the most is that I’m tired of all the pretending that these things are being done for anything other than purely financial reasons. It’s for the same reason that where I live insists that I have Sammy inspected every 2 years to confirm that his emissions aren’t polluting the air and killing all the wildlife in the state. Oh, and by the way, that’ll be $14 for the hassle.
Are we as a society really this dull-witted that we don’t balk at such blatant manipulation…but we’ll go bat-shit crazy if the mere suggestion of raising taxes is brought to the table? Call me crazy, but I would much rather you just raise my taxes than nickel and dime me (literally) in these frustratingly capricious ways.
So, first, the poster. I’ve decided to go with the initial teaser poster, which had no text on it beyond the movie release date. That’s right, it didn’t even have the movie title on it at first. But, honestly, when you use imagery like this poster uses? You’re just going to attract even more attention by the fact that all you’ve included is the release date. Brilliant bit of marketing, no?
So, no text, no name, no tagline. Only a minimally written date in a nice white font, with dots as separators. Obviously, we’ve got to figure some things out based on what we do have. Let’s start with the primary focus of the poster: a headless Statue of Liberty. Not just headless though. From the exposed, jagged remains of the support frame, the torn copper, and the plume of debris and smoke, it’s obvious that Lady Liberty’s head was removed rather violently. By something very large.
And that very large something has headed into Manhattan. See the wave pattern in the water, leading from the Statue of Liberty toward the destruction within the city? Something has moved from the harbor into the streets…and it is hell-bent on taking down Manhattan. Look at the wreckage of the buildings that were in its way when it came ashore. Look at the plumes of smoke rising from the heart of the city. Look at the helicopters hovering overhead, so incredibly tiny in comparison with the surrounding damage.
Whatever has done all this is large enough that those dinky little choppers aren’t going to do much else besides probably annoy the hell out of it.
Not much else there though, eh?
Not so fast. There are conspiracy theories about “hidden images” in the Cloverfield posters. First, there’s the attacking sea turtle head:
See it? It’s the cloud shape to the right of Lady Liberty’s torch. It seriously looks either like an angry sea turtle…or a peener monster. Personally, I don’t want to think about either attacking the Statue of Liberty…
Next on the list? The smoke cloud monster:
Now, this one is a little more convincing and impressive if it’s true. Take the original poster, duplicate it, flip it horizontally and line up the edges…and voila! See the face? It actually kind of does look like what’s ultimately revealed as the Cloverfield monster. Or any other monster from any other J.J. Abrams movie. The man’s about as original as a Xerox machine.
Which brings me to…
Bonus Movie Review
I hadn’t seen Cloverfield since I went to see it in the theater. I did remember liking it enough that when I saw a used copy for sale for a couple bucks, I went ahead and picked it up (looking back, however, I was probably remembering the fun I had with the friends I went with rather than the actual movie). However, even more vivid was my memory of nearly hurling from the unrelenting shaky cam action. Not even The Blair Witch Project made me feel quite as queasy as Cloverfield did. Every time I thought about watching the DVD, that memory would drown out all others and I would simply put it back on my shelf.
I am pleased to report that the shaky cam was almost unnoticeable to me on the small screen.
More noticeable to me on this second viewing, however, is how truly unoriginal and lazy J.J. Abrams is as a filmmaker. Admittedly, my opinion of him is forever tarnished by the hot mess he ladled into my lap in 2009 with his Trek abomination. That was when I first decided that he was lazy. He could have made an original science fiction film. Instead, he usurped the name of a globally revered science fiction franchise, had some hack writers throw together a script that isn’t even worthy of being pulped into Communist-grade toilet paper, and smeared his Star Wars-loving paws all over a legacy that is so beyond his reach, it’s pathetic.
Why people wouldn’t let me space him for his crimes, I still don’t understand.
But I digress.
Back to Cloverfield. Most people have probably heard it described by genre fans as “Blair Witch Meets Godzilla.” That’s pretty accurate as descriptions go. Although I think a real match-up of the Blair Witch versus Godzilla would not only be awesome, it would be far more original than this movie. It’s fairly derivative as “monster attacking the city” movies go. The only “inventive” addition made here is the Barf-O-Rama shaky cam “found footage” aspect, which wasn’t really all that new by this point anyway.
What’s most troubling, however, and what makes me label Abrams as lazy, is the fact that there are several scenes in this movie that tap directly into a pre-programmed societal fear that was developed on September 11, 2001. New York under attack. Buildings toppled in the middle of the City That Never Sleeps. Plumes of smoke and debris roaring through the heart of Manhattan. Survivors trying to escape by foot on bridges leading off the island.
Some of the scenes from Cloverfield are almost frame-for-frame images that we witnessed on auto-repeat on all the 24-hour news channels that were covering that awful day in 2001. For Abrams and his band of filmmakers to tap into the still raw emotions of that day for what otherwise would have been just another cheesy monster movie (with CGI that has not aged well at all in some areas) feels cheap…and lazy.
I know that great horror often taps into our darkest fears and exploits them. This, however…I don’t know. Maybe I’m being too critical because I hate Abrams so very much. Although I do remember feeling displeased by these scenes the first time I saw the movie as well. Back in the halcyon days in which I still had hope that Abrams wouldn’t punch Trek fans in the collective naughty bits with a power converter from Tosche station while blaring Beastie Boys the whole time.
Douchey hipster tool.
All that aside, though, is this a good monster movie? Meh. There are far better ones. Far more original ones. At best, it’s brainless background fodder for when you want to watch something that’s not going to require any form of activity from you beyond blinking occasionally. I know that there were a bunch of Web sites out there, giving clues about what the monster was…tapping into the new way of presenting a movie as a holistic “new media” experience. Something that Abrams would try again with his Trek movie…only this time it wasn’t for free. “Hey, fans, does none of this make any sense to you? Well, that’s because you have to go buy the accompanying comic book! Then it probably still won’t make sense…but we’ll be that much richer!”
Okay, now I’m just making myself angry…
I love coffee. Anyone who knows me, knows this truth. Don’t try to communicate with me before my initial caffeine intake has had time to reach my blood stream. Bad things might happen to you if you do.
It’s no surprise, then, that I would invest in a coffeemaker that’s a little more high-end than your average Mr. Coffee. It’s not that Mr. Coffee makes bad brew. It’s just…I’m a coffee snob when I’m at home. There, I said it. I am a coffee snob. I rarely buy pre-ground coffee. I buy whole beans, which I store in vacuum-sealed containers and grind per my own various specifications for the perfect cup to fit my varying coffee moods. I have been known to pay top-dollar for specialty selections, like 100-percent Kona beans. I use only filtered water. I tear down my machine for regular cleanings and decalcifications.
I succumb to very few personal indulgences in this life, but coffee is one of them. My coffeemaker of choice for more than a decade has been Bunn. My dad (another coffee fiend) purchased our first Bunn machine when I still lived at home. It was such a magnificent machine that when I finally moved out, my parents bought me my very own so that I would always have a decent cup of coffee to make everything better. The sprayhead on these machines disperses the water over the grounds in such a way that, to me, the end result is a pot of coffee that’s stronger and more flavorful than a conventional Mr. Coffee brew.
The primary reason I have long preferred Bunn machines, however, is because of their “velocity brew” line. These particular machines have a water reservoir that keeps a potful of coffee constantly at a brew-appropriate temperature. The reward for this? All I have to do is grind my beans, place them in the filter, pour in a pot of fresh, filtered water, and 3 minutes later, I have a full pot of perfectly brewed coffee.
It’s coffee nirvana for the terminally impatient.
The downside, of course, is the fact that these pots do expend a significant amount of energy, keeping that tank constantly at brew temperature. Also, if you go through a stretch of time in which you don’t drink a lot of coffee, you still have to remember to either switch off the reservoir or refill it regularly so that it doesn’t evaporate all the water and burn itself out.
The ultimate downside, however? When the reservoir seal fails and the tank leaks all over your counter.
This seems to be the intrinsic failing of the Bunn velocity brew line. And it’s gotten worse over the years. My first machine, the one that my parents bought for me when I moved out, actually lasted me a little more than 8 years. In that time, however, my parents went through three Bunn machines. Subsequently, others in my family (we are a long line of coffee snobs, apparently) went through even more of these machines. Almost every single one ended up suffering the same containment breach.
And now, the Bunn machine that I bought to replace the one my parents gave me has done the same thing. It’s not even 3 years old.
This is unacceptable. And so ends my relationship with Bunn. Obviously, some corporate douche in a suit made the decision to skimp on materials in order to make more money available for their own year-end bonuses. Fine. But you can no longer expect my money to add to that bonus level. Nor the money from my family. And, as far as I’m concerned, from this point on, I’m going to discourage people from wasting their money on anything from the Bunn coffeemaker line.
Hell hath no fury like a coffee snob who can’t make her own coffee at home without threat of electrocution from a leaking reservoir.
After some research, I have decided to give Cuisinart a try. Several of my family have already embraced this brand, including my dad. The problem was, I couldn’t find the machine that I wanted locally, so I had to order it online. It shipped today. I shall report back once I have had it and tested it out. Photos may be included.
Until then, though, you might just want to steer clear of me while I’m un-caffeinated…
To Whom It May Concern (You Will Soon Know Who You Are):
Thank you to all the politicians who have, for years been dedicated to the cause of digging us deeper and deeper into a national deficit of vulgar proportions through your uniform and bipartisan complacency in your roles as the supposed Watchmen of the “American WayTM.” Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Apparently, no one.
Thank you for the years you have spent bending the American people over a barrel in deference to the demands of corporations that own you like the cheap dockside hookers you are. Oh, and a special thank you to the Supreme Court tools who last year ruled that corporations could be considered “people.” Who knew free speech was reserved for those with the most money to buy it?
Thank you to the slew of Republican presidents from Nixon to Bush II, all preaching the fairytale gospel of “fiscal conservatism,” who helped to increase the national debt by a combined total of nearly 62 percent, including golden boy Dubya. In his final term in office, he helped increase it by 20.7 percent with all his decidering and warmaking. Way to go, Georgie! Not only did you beat your dad