Sunday, November 2, 2008


everyone loves a halloween post.

what's not to love about dressing up, going to parties, and eating like a pig? we didn't get a ton of trick-or-treaters this year, so the kids who came to our house after 8pm had the ultimate treat experience - we were literally dumping candy into their bags. with one pair of sisters, brian said, "dig in," and did they ever. their faces were classic. we still have quite a lot left. hmm. guess we'll have to eat it. we had friends over - we had some pertinent information to announce, which i am not at liberty to post on the internet at this time - so the few kids we did have were greeted enthusiastically with cheers and "yay! spiderman's here to save us!"

Friday, October 31, 2008

some better results at home :)

So, now that I have 99% of what I need to make espresso that I am happy with, and spent plenty of time understanding how finicky our machine is when it comes to steaming... I've finally managed a couple of pours that are WAY better than anything I ever did while working at delicious:

This is a heart from a couple of days ago. I was really happy with this one!

Here's a sort of failed tulip. I didn't make it tall enough, but I still think that it looks cool.

The most interesting aspect of all this latte pouring is that once I scored some proper cups, it all became much easier! For whatever reason, the shallow bowl shape of a demitasse cup really encourages the correct action in the cup. I guess that means all the time I spent struggling with regular shaped coffee cups paid off after all! The best part about all of this is that not only are these coffees nice-looking, they are extremely tasty :)

I've also managed to find some really decent local-ish beans, which is nice. These guys started their business in Wilmington, NC and have since branched out with a bunch of franchises. I don't really trust the people that work at the shops to make me anything drinkable, but at $10/pound, I'll buy my beans from them any day. There is a new shop opening a few miles from our house as well, so it will even be a convenient place to stop. Their beans are certainly not much when compared to the ones that I ordered from Counter Culture a few weeks ago, but I'd say for half the price, Port City Java is doing a pretty bang-up job.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Go Obama!

So, I spent my afternoon/evening canvassing door-to-door in East Greensboro for the Obama campaign. I was paired with a friend of a friend, and we were out there trying to educate folks about early voting. I got some cool stickers, and a sense of being part of it all - pretty neat. They still need LOTS of volunteers.

If you are in Greensboro and reading this, and have some time to give, call Meredith at 336.624.9450 - they need people to do more canvassing, make phone calls, drive people to their polling places, etc.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

So, you want to be a doctor, eh?

I thought that I'd post some reflections after the first few weeks of being a new doctoral student whilst being a new faculty person at the same time.

* I have never practiced this much in my life.
* I have never had to practice more efficiently in my life.
* (most)College students actually take you seriously if you know what you are talking about.
* Even the easy 600-level classes are not very easy.
* Have I mentioned that I have been practicing a lot?
* I knew that I loved coffee before - but it has never felt so necessary!
* 8:45am rehearsal is evil. Undergrads are just not very alert at that hour.

I basically just feel tired all the time now. Having to jet back and forth across town all the time to be present at two schools has its annoyances. I constantly feel like I am a bag-man, except with a cello, which is heavier.

I do, however, love the challenges that have been set before me, and I am really enjoying the whole school process again. I feel like I have a lot more control over my life this time around - which was not the case when I got my Masters.

Well, I think that I should be practicing right now...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The complete set-up!

I picked up a nice, entry-level burr grinder today: The Capresso Infinity (all together now - ooooohhhhh!)

Here's what the coffee counter looks like now:

After some playing around with fineness settings, I got it dialed-in and produced some very tasty lattes for Hannah and I.

I feel complete now :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

that's right, Matt Damon!

this is EXACTLY how I feel:

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

home at last

Well, the espresso machine arrived last week, and after some tinkering it now works like a charm!
Here's a shot of it in its new home - our kitchen counter!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

a new arrival

It's not here yet - but I won this little baby on ebay:

It's safe to say that I am very excited about its impending arrival. I can't wait to start making nice espresso at home, because apparently, there is nowhere to get any in Greensboro. Even at the few places that seem like they would certainly have qualified baristas, I am getting foamy, soapy milk on my cappuccinos, coupled with poorly extracted espresso. lame.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

stretched too far

Well, this was my last latte art pour at the bakery - forever. My last day was on Wednesday, and it felt nice to be done there. In regards to this particular pour, I was going for a curvy leaf, but as usual (at least lately), I over-stretched the milk, which results in the super-fat stem that obliterated most of the leaves on the right side. You may be wondering what constitutes "over-stretching," or even what the hell I'm talking about...

Stretching the milk is the first, very short phase of steaming milk. It is when you introduce a small amount of air into the milk, thus expanding or stretching the milk molecules. Unfortunately, I have a tendency to allow this initial phase to last too long. This produces a final product which is too think and bubbly to create successful latte art with. Oh well.

Friday, August 15, 2008

a real job!

Color me validated - I've been appointed as adjunct lecturer of cello at Guilford College here in Greensboro. It was an opportunity that sort of fell in to my lap, and luckily my interview went really well, and even luckier - they liked me! (they really, really liked me!)

It's a smallish job at the moment, but it is a department that is growing, and it's going to look great on ye olde CV whenever I am ready to move on.

This also means that I am now earning 100% of my income with my cello. That is pretty sweet if you ask me!

Friday, August 8, 2008

adventures in latte art

Since Hannah's photoblog is her new source of awesomeness, this is Brian, attempting to revive our blog. goes!

As many of you know, I have become increasingly more a
nd more interested in the finer points of espresso making. This heightened interest has led me to the exploration of the most frustrating, thought-consuming hobby I've encountered yet - latte art.

Here is a sweet picture of some craziness that I can't even fathom yet:

Pouring latte art is a skill that requires the perfect marriage of three elements: a crema-laden espresso pull; temperature of the espresso, milk, and cup; and the ever-daunting micro foam.

Since starting down the path towards latte perfection, I have discovered that I am a rather inconsistent milk steamer. It's gotten better over the last week or so, but I still have a really hard time getting that variable to be the same every single time. I have also learned that having a dogmatic routine when pulling shots is the only way to get remotely consistent results.

Here's a couple of pictures of probably my best pours so far:

So, I think that I'm doing alright. What I really need to do is pay off my damn credit cards so that I can justifiably spend some cash on a nice/functional machine for the house.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

old school

best mix cd i ever made. circa 2000.

i got a girl (tripping daisy)
talk show host (radiohead)
big bang baby (stone temple pilots)
undone - the sweater song (weezer)
angry johnny (poe)
possum kingdom (the toadies)
say it ain't so (weezer)
the way (fastball)
bulls on parade (rage against the machine)
the perfect drug (nine inch nails)
superman's dead (our lady peace)
inside out (eve 6)
i don't like the drugs, but the drugs like me (marilyn manson)
familiar (incubus)
paranoid android (radiohead)
song 2 (blur)
i'm afraid of americans (david bowie feat. trent reznor)

let me know if you want a copy. :D

Monday, June 23, 2008

george carlin

r.i.p. dude

belle hearts popcorn

i popped up some popcorn this afternoon, and this is belle's reaction. oh yes.

365 project

like i need one more thing to do.

the latest photojojo newsletter inspired me. i have a good feeling about this year. and i like taking pictures anyway. win win win.

hannah's 365 project here

add it to your list of time wasters.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

blue ridge wine tour

we spent this past weekend living large in the mountains of virginia. we joined forces with the dicamillos and the wengers for a few days of beer, monopoly, long windy drives, gorgeous views, cigars, and hanging out. we learned that joel's dream career is "international man of mystery" and that most of us did not play sports in high school - brian made up for all of us by playing three. one big bag of coffee, two cases of sam, and three pounds of salmon later, we didn't do our immune systems any favors, and i think half of showed our age and came down with something immediately upon returning home. but here are some shots.

the view from our cabin

seriously bad ass

heading out for the first day of the tour

yummy cider


after the first day of tasting

and then there was monopoly

"i'll give you all my property for a dollar"
(never have there been more serious fighting words)

amrhein winery on day two - all around favorite with
a band, great food, awesome wine

cute dog at amrhein

the carters

shooting creek brewery - no beer, but delicious ginger beer

bocce at villa appalacchia winery

there are more shots for your viewing pleasure on my shutterfly page

Sunday, June 8, 2008

hello weather

so, here's what was going on in greensboro two saturdays ago:

freak hail storm

huge hail

the result

last pepper standing

and, this is what we had this weekend. granted, the thermometer is in direct sun around 4pm when this was taken, but damn.

but, you're right. global warming's all politics.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

phone hatred

i'm going to punch my cell phone in the face. i've had it.

it can't hold a charge to save its little life. even on vibrate, the descending beedle-boop announces to anyone in a 50-foot radius that my phone needs to be plugged in. you can hear it over choir rehearsal. and my preschool class.

when i hear the "new voicemail" chirp in the silent aftermath of an apparently-your-house-is-a-black-hole-of-no-reception missed call, obscenities that would embarrass pirates spew from my lips. and scare the dog.

"hey hannah! it's kkkkkkktskkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk the car on the way to the kkkkkkksfsdskkkkkkkkkkkk"

"what? what? hang on, i can't hear you."

"kkkkkkkkkkkk now? is this shhhhhkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkffffffsskkkkkkkkk anything?"

"no, i still... hello? hello? UHHHHHHH you've got to be fu-" as i hang up.

Friday, May 30, 2008


this is figaro dicamillo. he sits like a person. he does not actually drink beer. he catches and tortures small rodents, then leaves them as gifts for his family - who are delighted, as i'm sure you can imagine. he used to be fat. now he's just manly and "big boned."

one year down

things i’ve learning this year:

repeating yourself is less obnoxious when the people not listening are kids.

talking to children like they’re actual people yields a far better response than talking to them the way you talk to your puppy.

diaper/potty duty is a lot less scary than I originally imagined.

preschool performances are way more impressive than community theater performances. and about a million times more satisfying.

i am awesome with kids.

a well-timed “time out” produces a short bout of tears, a genuine apology, and an end to the foul behavior.

some kids like “time out.” some kids are sneaky jerks.

kids think coffee smells disgusting. they’re also quick to tell you if you have coffee breath.

i’m good at photographing children. i adore photographing children.

i can’t wait to have my own children.

generally sucky parents beget generally sucky kids.

churches resent outsiders - even education-based, child-centered, rent-paying ones.

a good sense of humor goes a long way (though i guess i already knew that).

five year olds are some of the most creative, articulate people i’ve ever met.

never underestimate the power of your response - or lack thereof.

you can’t and shouldn’t be everyone’s friend.

don’t let anyone tell you your music class is unstructured. because it’s not.

not every child wants to sing and dance. and that’s okay. there is a reason, and it’s probably not me.

don’t wear nice clothes to school. any number of things can (and will) happen.

teaching preschool makes me very, very happy.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

hahahahahaha. oh crap.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

Global Warming

The recent disasters in China and Myanmar, combined with my personal feelings/opinions about global warming have made me want to share my thoughts with you!

I happen to believe that humans, especially ones in developed, industrialized nations, are the cause of global warming.

The following video presents what I believe to be a really sound way to think about global warming:

You can also visit this link:
Once there, you'll find the video's home, which contains links to tons of other videos that deal with questions that may arise after viewing the above video.

Also, Hannah and I cannot be the only ones who are concerned with the rising fuel prices. We both really think that everyone needs to start thinking about what is going to happen when gas prices make their way to $7.00/gallon. So, maybe we can all think more carefully about what our impact is on the environment, and how we can make changes to our habits to counteract the damaging effect that we are having on the planet...

Thursday, May 1, 2008

oh, indy

i don't know about you, but i'm pretty excited.

Monday, April 28, 2008

classy eats

aren't these the prettiest damn plates you ever seen?
happy birthday to me!

chapel of the cross

i was in chapel hill this weekend, and out of the 30 pictures i took, i got one good one. i will learn how to take arty looking pictures. damn it.

i'm looking for a summer photography class, preferably an affordable one. any suggestions? i do feel kind of weird about wanting to get better at something some of my friends are really very good at. i don't want anyone to think i'm trying to compete with them. which i realize is an odd thing to worry about. and probably makes me sound like an asshole. i guess being accused, at one point, of being single-handedly responsible for bringing down a local children's music program and the international company it represents went to my head. go figure.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

feeling messy?

don't. you're fine. :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

mr. a - z

our "row 29" seats turned into "row 5 bitches!" seats.

what an awesome freakin show!

(and yes, that's pretty much what he looks like in real life)

made a new friend:
(okay, not really, but his music is hilarious and funk-tastic)

i took one picture with my camera phone. i'll upload THAT awesomeness tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

p.s. our plants look like crap

it's true. gotta love april for 30+ degree temperature swings - and my antigreen thumb. (dare i call it my "wilted-and-keeled-over thumb?" just give me time.)

it was so pretty before.

and what the hell is that? mold?

check out this little eco-system. this is what remains of the basil. lame.

at least belle is cute.

jason mraz


in case you missed the memo, he's coming to wait chapel in winston wednesday night.

yeah, you could say i'm stoked. 27 hours and counting.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

think spring

spring. what's not to love?

long dog walks
watching belle pass out after said walks
daylight past 7:30p
the smell of hose water
watching erin's garden grow
summer plans
baseball games we forget to attend
cooking out
leaving the windows open
blustery weather
warm rain
the way the sunlight changes color
countdown to tomato sandwiches
driving home from work with all the windows down
budding trees
cheapest-ever gas and energy bills
more natural light in the house
perfect snuggling temperature
seasonal affective disorder takes an up-turn
more wedding gigs
birds in the morning

Wednesday, April 2, 2008