Last week on campus, walking from Econometrics class in the Ag Quad to Sibley Hall, I passed a woman, ordinary enough from a distance, walking opposite me on the sidewalk. As I approached her, I noticed that she had an absolutely horrified look on her face, and she was staring up at the sky, darting her eyes in different directions. She did not notice me. As soon as I passed her, I got a bad feeling, what could almost be described as an aphysical “pain” in my chest. It was not real pain, but some psycho-spiritual thing that had just gone down. For the next few minutes I was literally afraid – I kept watching my back. I passed through the music building, where I knew someone would be playing the piano, and this would make me feel better... mitigate the effects of what had just happened. Or at least that was the theory. I did feel a bit better after passing through, but I kept eyes in the back of my head for the rest of the day. I’ve never been superstitious, but this was genuinely strange.
Lately I've been thinking about that which is "real." The questions in my head go something like this: What is real, exactly? What does it mean to us these days? Is the internet real? Does real necessarily mean physical? Probably not, but...
Right now, I'm studying real estate. As you may imagine, there are bundles of legal definitions that attempt to identify just what constitutes "the real."
Personally, I like to think of real as things you can feel, things you can kick, things that have roots in the ground. No matter how involved I get in the study and creation of "intellectual goods" (websites, academic papers, blogs), I can't escape my desire to place physical things in the world.
I have some bad news for the consulting and IT professionals of the world: the word “architect” is not a verb, and you’re not allowed to use it. There is no such thing as "architecting" a solution. And contrary to popular belief, you can’t "rearchitect" a server. Using these words in front of your peers or your boss my make you appear credible, but to the rest of the (literate) world, it just makes you look silly.
I was told last night that I will always be an architect, no matter where my professional endeavors lead me. This happened during the course of a discussion I was having with a (former) architect who had become a project manager for a large real estate asset management company. “You never lose the world-view that training in design and architecture gives you,” he said.
Architecture is a way of seeing the world. It is a type of training, experience and inherent talent that enables individuals to truly see the physical and experiential realm (space, both real and conceptual), and understand its implication on human existence. Architecture manifests itself when people design things- buildings, interior spaces, exterior spaces, products, and graphic communications… nearly anything. With respect to what I said earlier, the design of less obviously related things such as the development of strategic plans for companies, or the creation of peace treaties, can indeed approach something that could be considered “architecture.”
However, you can’t understand architecture unless you are trained and experienced in design- in the creation of ideas where there were no ideas before. And you can’t understand design until you understand how to see the world with uncluttered eyes.
- You MUST start with whole beans- none of this Maxwell House crap. And don’t grind the beans until you’re ready to brew the coffee- they’ll stay fresher that way. Store the un-ground beans in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Measuring: I use 1 teaspoon of un-ground beans for every 6 oz. cup. This makes strong coffee. I like strong coffee. If you don't like strong coffee then you should drink, like, chocolate milk or something. (BTW- make only as much coffee as you need. Never reheat cold coffee and never re-brew coffee.)
- Grind the beans thoroughly, until the coffee has a fine texture. Don't leave big chunks in the mix.
- Use a cone-type paper filter (you must have a coffee maker that takes a cone-type filter). The cone seems to concentrate the flavor. Melitta #2 or #4 are the best.
- Use cold, filtered water (don't use distilled water). Remember, 6 oz. (1 cup) of water for every 1 teaspoon of un-ground beans. Your coffee maker should have measurement markings.
- Brew the coffee. Hopefully, you own a coffee maker with a long brew time. Longer is better.
- This is the most important step, and if you don’t do this you’ll screw everything up. If your coffee maker is the type that has a burner to keep the coffee warm, let the brewed coffee sit on the burner for 3-4 minutes after all of the coffee has finished brewing. THEN, POUR ALL OF THE COFFEE INTO AN INSULATED CARAFE. This will accomplish two things: a) It will keep the coffee from getting scorched on the burner (which will ruin the coffee), and b) it will properly mix the coffee so it has equal density throughout.
You see, when the coffee is brewed into the pot, it is sort of “stratified.” It has different layers of density throughout, and different flavors. When you pour the first cup, it will taste different than the last cup. If you pour the finished coffee into a carafe, the coffee will get mixed well and the entire pot will have a consistent taste. Thermos makes the best carafes.
Like I said, if you skip step 7, don’t even bother making coffee, you pathetic loser. Go buy a cup instead at your local, non-chain coffeehouse. Coffee is an acquired taste, right? So if you don't like it, if you don't love it, then don't bother going through the trouble. Of course, this whole discussion has all been about Cafe Americano, the watered down version of true coffee. But that's something we'll just have to address later. Enjoy!