Bryan Joiner

Why then I

Tag: coffee

House and home, House and Holmes

It’s a little before 6:40 a.m. here in Phoenix, and I’m sipping on McDonald’s coffee and drinking down some SportsCenter between World Cup games. Grant’s girlfriend has to be at work at some ungodly hour that coincides with the early games, so I woke up from my spot on the floor and clicked on Netherlands/Denmark and decided not to go back to sleep once it was over. I justified it by telling myself it was better to get back on East Coast time early, but mostly I wanted the coffee.

Yesterday I spent the majority of the day taping up Grant’s new home—which he bought—so that the other worker ants could paint around me. I was a taping machine. I didn’t paint the walls at all, to the point where my dad forced me to paint my own clothes so that I fit in with everybody else. To my friend Sam, whose novelty bachelor party shirt I painted over, I apologize.

Oh shit, Italy plays today. That gives me about four hours to learn the Paraguayan national anthem.

No, I do not like Italy, despite the quarter-blood I cling to despite my very English name. (I swear I’m from Sicily! Or at least my right leg is.) They play boring football and they flop, and they threw Amanda Knox in jail for being flighty and kept her there. I’m not comfortable with the decision to imprison very likely innocent American girls, no matter how ditzy they are. In fact, I just searched the entire Paraguayan penal code and didn’t find it in there anywhere. It’s settled: Go Paraguay. (Except imagine that in another language.)

Here is Paraguay’s flag:

Toward the end of yesterday, after the basketball game, Grant and I entered the gloaming of my vacation, where it was too early to go to sleep but too late to do much else. We decided to buy a movie through the TV and after a quick negotiation settled on Sherlock Holmes, which neither of us particularly wanted to see. Grant made it through 15 minutes; I made it through a Coke Zero-aided 40. My thoughts on the movie were exactly was I suspected they would be: if you like Holmes, just watch House. Simpler execution of the same idea, and except for the Flight Club stuff, Downey’s basically doing a Hugh Laurie impression.

Oh, and Rachel McAdams is no Dr. Lisa Cuddy. Consider it said.


The Caffeinated Internet

I will resist the urge to post the Humpty Dance below.* Too annoying unless you’re under the  spell of one John Jameson or one of his contemporaries.

Rarely is there a time where I need coffee to become “human,” as the T-shirts say, but today counts. Those shirts are an indication of coffee abuse, by the way. No one’s plunking down $19.99 to inform the world of their caffeine dependency unless they’re pumping enough joe into their bloodstream to wake a wolf that Sarah Palin just shot dead from a helicopter. And no one’s buying those shirts unless they’re in the throes of a caffeine binge. Caffeine plus the Internet has spawned more bad decisions than pride or envy could ever aspire to. Stripping the Internet of its caffeine addicts would be like stripping a caffeine addict of her coffee.

I was searching YouTube for the newest McDonald’s coffee commercial, where a guy makes a morning out of telling people he can’t talk to them before he drinks his coffee, but I found this instead and I have to say it’s pretty good:

* The original title of this post was “Hump Day.” So yeah.


As I sit at my office, foot jittering up and down on my knee, I got to wondering: how much coffee does one city block’s worth of workers and residents drink in a single morning? It’s got to be a lot, especially around here. We do not suffer from a lack of choices. In fact, we have the coffee chain. I discussed this with a friend the other night, and now I bring it to the world.

The first link on the coffee chain is the coffee within the office. We always have a warm pot going, just in case there’s some visitor who might desire a cup or an employee who doesn’t feel like leaving the building/spending money for their caffeine fix. The abject horrendousness of this daily brew is mitigated by the hazelnut and french vanilla creamers we stock by the hundreds; without these delightful little devils, the Folgers or whatever it is would only be fit for weed control, paint removal or lawnmower fuel. The most disturbing part of this brew is that at the bottom of every cup there’s a grainy residue: the grounds have bounced around in their foil packaging long enough that they are small enough to regularly sneak through the filter. You are quite literally drinking dirt at the end. So I try to stay away from this stuff. But it being free and all, I don’t always succeed.

If the work coffee doesn’t do it for you, there’s the deli across 30th street.

The deli is not one of these New York “delis” that are really glorified bodegas. This is an honest-to-God Midtown deli, with hot and cold food buffets, a sushi bar, make-your-own salad station and everything, and the coffee does the place justice. It’s $1 for a small cup a quarter more for a slightly bigger one, and there are all sorts of flavors, from regular (which sometimes I choose) to vanilla creme (often) to french roast (more often) to chocolate raspberry twirl (zero percent). This is the default option: it’s good enough and cheap enough to work in most situations, and paying with an even dollar is always a plus. I’m having the vanilla creme right now. It is delicious. The establishment — named Au Bon Goût — also has an iced coffee bar, whereupon you make your own takeaway cup of the beverage, an idea which puts mere iced coffee slingers to shame.

But suppose you want more! Across 31st Street is Dunkin’ Donuts. I think the best thing I can say about Dunkin’ Donuts coffee — to add to the long list of plaudits sang by pretty much everyone — is that it’s fucking awesome.

Which leads us, at long last… to the Starbucks. Located a daunting block and a half away, it is the third best tasting coffee available (beating only the office pot) and the most expensive. But Holy Shit, does it do the trick. All the other brands give me a coffee buzz. Starbucks gives me a life buzz. And I get the smallest one. There’s really no way to describe it, or no need to, as everyone reading has downed some whether they liked it or not. They could slap an age limit on that stuff and I wouldn’t even blink. It could probably use one.