Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Buying, Not Buying, Selling, Not Selling

Fair warning: there is no real progress on the airplane to report. I'm still sanding the canopy fairing whenever the mood strikes me, and the mood has not struck for more than a week now. So if you don't care about the rest of my day-to-day stuff, you might want to just skip the rest of this post.

It's not as if there haven't been plenty of other ways to fill my time, though. As do nature and that buffer between you and the car in front of you on the highway, discretionary time abhors a vacuum. It's amazing how much time can be spent doing what at the end of the day appears to be a whole bunch of nothing. Case in point: Saturday was spent going to Sams Club to buy dog food. $800+ dollars later, we not only had dog food but a mountain of impulse buys as well, the most notable of which was a brand new caffeine delivery system for myself.

I've been intrigued by these fancy new Keurig K-cup coffee makers for awhile now. The appealing aspect of them is that they brew a single cup of vacuum-fresh coffee at a time. As the only coffee drinker in the house, and even then only on one or two days of the week, a machine that can solve the problems of keeping the coffee fresh, making only as much as I need, and doing it without the hassles of grinding the beans and dealing with the resulting mess is very compelling. But...

I had heard mixed reviews of these things. On one hand, there were plenty of positive testimonials from neighbors and co-workers that love them. On the other hand, there were those that said that the coffee was horrible; it was stated that the little brew cups do not contain actual "raw" coffee but instead were over-priced delivery mechanisms for what amounted to instant coffee. I've had instant coffee before, and there's a reason that I don't choose it over fresh brewed. So, I was at an impasse. Even internet research was unable to provide a definitive answer since there is a lot of noise about a class action suit that seems to indicate that Keurig is being sued for false advertising by saying "fresh brewed" when it's really using instant coffee, but after reading enough standard press releases I finally found a better researched article that provided the detail that the case was actually against a single K-cup provider that was marketing a low-cost alternative.

Sams Club finally solved the dilemma by having a machine set up to dispense free samples. Unfortunately they didn't think to provide any sugar so I had to drink it black ("This tastes like mud! Well of course it does - it was just ground this morning!") which is not my preference, but even so it tasted just like real coffee to me. At that point, I decided that I didn't care how they achieved the taste, as long as it tasted good. I bought one.

Once at home, I immediately brewed up one of the sample K-cups that had been included with the machine. With over 200 varieties available, I look forward to years of being able to sample new brands and roasts. Anyway, it was a fine cup of coffee. Once I had finished it, I satisfied my curiosity through the simple expedient of cutting open the used K-cup. Drum roll......

It was full of used coffee grounds. In other words, "real" coffee.

One of the interesting things about the machine that I bought is that it can brew three different sizes, one of which is about the size of what I would brew when making Espresso. I drink Espresso on those days when I need the caffeine jolt to satiate my addiction, but I don't want a lot of fluid volume because I'm going to be somewhere where rest rooms aren't available. Think flying, for example. With the small liquid volume of the lowest K-cup setting, I no longer needed my Espresso maker - it was just going to eat up valuable HCS (Horizontal Clutter Space, aka "counter space") if I didn't get rid of it.

I didn't want to just throw it away and we've sworn off garage sales, so I decided to bring it to work and just give it away. I thought I'd just anonymously place it in the break room with a little "Free to a Good Home" tag on it, but as is my wont, I got too clever about it:

After the fifth person came to my office asking if I was the one giving away the Espresso maker, I realized that putting together a clever sales flier had been pretty much self-defeating on the anonymity front.

One of my other little projects has been to sneak out of the house with Co-pilot Egg under the auspices of various plausible excuses ("we're going shopping for clothes," etc.) to try to test drive a new Mustang. The first effort fell victim to a very shoddily run Ford dealership. Their web site said that they had five on the lot; they had none. When I was finally able to wake a lethargic salesman sufficiently to ask when they thought they might be getting more, I got a non-committal grunt and the question, "Would you consider pre-owned?" Well, yes, yes I would, but only a 2011 or newer. To which I received a stumped look that said "Why so picky about the model year?" Which was just sad; I don't think I should have to educate a salesperson about the product he is (lackadaisically) trying to sell. He really ought to have known about the new V6 that arrived with the 2011 model year. After all, a 50% horsepower boost combined with a 25% better fuel efficiency is a pretty important change.

I won't be going back.

The most recent effort was last Sunday when Egg and I hit upon the brilliant idea of going to the Columbus zoo, which just happens to be more or less in the neighborhood of another Ford dealer. This one had three Mustangs on the lot, but the dealership was closed. On a Sunday. Which I have to say is astoundingly customer unfriendly. It's really all moot, of course, because I'm not buying anything of that magnitude until the RV-6 is sold. Which it is not.

The zoo was fun, though.

Unfortunately, budget cuts at the zoo have been devastating. Just look at how thin the animals are:

New to the zoo is the nearly extinct American Crane, notable for being both flightless and featherless. They were roaming around free on the paths:

Look at all of the facts about bears, but they still don't answer the most common question about bears:

"What question?" you ask? Seriously?? No one has ever asked you if bears sh@t in the woods? Huh. People ask me that all the time!

Speaking of bears, I had to wonder just where this bear's paw was and what it was doing:

I thought that this had to be the stupidest zoo exhibit ever, but Egg was fascinated enough with it to go back twice!

Egg has always liked the flamingos. Back when she was a stroller baby, she stood up in the stroller to get a better look and fell forward, right on her face. Doesn't seem to have done any permanent damage:

This one remembered and was hoping for a repeat performance:

See if you can pick out the newest baby gorilla:

Finally, something remotely airplane oriented in this post:

The polar bears were engaging in some horse play (so to speak). It was nice to see some activity; most of the other animals were spending their day in animal activities that I could have seen at home with the dogs, by which I mean laying around licking themselves.

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