The Rain In Portugal

We are off and running in a new year. Who knew we could live this long. I never imagined a 2022 all those years ago when I was looking out over the horizon. But we seemed to have sailed over the curvature into a new era. And we must now deal with that.

It’s been 30 years since I opened The College Market Books and Coffee in Pocatello. I’ve told that story and it lives here in these pages.

But now it’s time for another venture. This will be my 7th business if I count my little consulting side-show.

Instead of Books and Coffee, this will be Gelato and Coffee. But instead of partnering with a couple of dope-heads from Idaho, this time I will be partnered with Shannon. Kin. Blood. Hard-working, smart, and sweet. So off we go. I’ve been re-acquainting myself with the details of the coffee business. And it’s been fun. I’m learning some new things and re-learning some old things. Java 13 will open in April or May.

When I lived in Idaho, there was a lot of people who were absorbed with and liked to discuss having a home ‘where they couldn’t see their neighbor‘. That was a thing. Never mind that most of them were addicted to society and were constantly out and about. I just never fully understood that. I like to be surrounded by beauty. Mountains. Forests. Water. But I don’t mind sharing that experience with a neighbor down the lane.

How else would I be able to look out the kitchen window and see the neighbor kids having a snowball fight–as I am doing now. Or keep an eye out for the old man down the road who needs help now and again. I’m about as introverted as they come, but I’m okay in my little neighborhood. But to each their own I suppose. 

Well, I do have Black Dog Ridge. No neighbors in eyesight there. So maybe I am being a little overly judgmental. Speaking of BDR, my skilled and interesting neighbor Karl (3/4 mile away and absolutely no line-of-sight between us) built a still over the weekend. As in a distillery. He started on Friday morning and on Sunday morning sent me the picture below. He’s sort of an enigma. A renaissance man. If he wants to create something, he just does it. He also built a sawmill in his garage–which we used to mill the lumber for my platform at the ranch. I envy that sort of ingenuity and courage.

We cooked some excellent pizza Friday night. At first it was going to be just me and Brittany. Then it was Shannon and Trent and me and Brittany. Then I invited mom and dad since I haven’t seen them much. So I kept adding to the dough stash curating in the refrigerator until we had enough. So a Friday Night Pizza Party went down on Friday Night Martini night. And it was good. I got my martini on.

Saturday we had a coffee tasting to start to work through what supplier we wanted to use. I love Salt Lake Roasting of course, and think Jon Bolton is just the coolest. But we really want to try find a regional supplier. I talked on the phone with Julie from Dirty Girl Coffee and was immediately impressed. My kind of gal. Outdoorsy. Mountain Biker. Cool as hell. And, her coffee tasted well. So I think we may lean in that direction. 

The tasting got a little dramatic as my dumb sister invited everyone she knew. So we abandoned the formal tasting and just had breakfast and coffee. I told Shannon I was going to stab her, but ultimately I didn’t. Brittany kept a watchful eye on me because she thought I might actually do it. But I restrained. We’ll be great partners.

I try to never watch a movie with Seth Rogen or Jonah Hill. I just find that the barrier they cross in lack of acting skills is an embarrassment to the craft of storytelling. But here I was watching Don’t Look Up. Which included a plethora of other below average actors ‘Di Caprio, Jen Lawrence and I think a few others. Truly the worst movie ever. Meryl Streep was in it, which sorta broke my heart. Why? Who knows. Maybe she was bored.

The movie did not disappoint my pre-conceived prediction that it would suck because of all the over-hyped and under-skilled actors. So it lived down to expectations and even over-achieved a good bit in that area. And I watched this movie knowing the newly released MacBeth was at the theaters. With Denzel. An absolute master at the top of his craft. Comparing Denzel to DiCaprio is like…..well, impossible really. It’s like comparing, if we move to a food analogy, a meal at DQ to a meal at NOBU. The old NOBU. And Jonah Hill???? What human individual ever let this guy onto a set? Who decided he was fit to tell stories to the masses. He is truly terrible. 

I think we all know this game is rigged. If you’re born into it, then it’s a no-brainer. You are in and become an actor because your mom or dad or aunt or uncle was famous. This represents a pretty significant portion of current actors. No talent. But good family connections. 

Then you have the actual actors. Who come up the old fashioned way. They learn the craft.

Anyway. None of this explains Seth or Jonah. Leonardo has the family connections. He was destined to an easy life of too much money for no real effort. Hollywood should be ashamed of itself, but I doubt that’s really possible. We are of course the ones perpetuating by paying for crap content. I’ve cancelled my Netflix subscription before and may yet do it again.

But all this nasty movie talk has reinforced my very good decision to re-evaluate my reading game. I’ve been putting in 30 minutes or so each morning, as long as it takes to drink a 1/2 Press of coffee, and another 30 or so at night. Like the old days. Sometimes a little lunch break with another 30.

So I’ve knocked out two books since the holiday. Marlon Peterson’s ‘Bird Uncaged‘ and Billy Collins’ ‘The Rain in Portugal‘. Bird drug a little at the end but overall decent storytelling. Young black man from NYC gets into a little trouble and finds himself in prison for 12 years. But he is a good man and found his way through and wrote about it.

Collins is always interesting and imminently readable. I don’t think Portugal was as good as some of his others, but it’s good words.

Brittany and I continued our Ale Trail journey last Saturday with a visit to Double Edge Brewing in Lancaster. It was a surprisingly nice little place. Surprising because from the outside it looks like an insurance agency. They did not have food so after a beer there we went a block over to an excellent Irish Pub and ate and drank there. Then, because day-drinking must always be followed by a nap, we slept on the couch while some show or another streamed unwatched on the monitor.

Not much else to report on this morning. Work is really ramping up now and that and Coffee Shop R&D and planning is keeping me hopping. But life is good. Better than I deserve and I try never to take it for granted.

I did come across a few interesting words yesterday as I was looking for a template I had created for my last gig. This was last summer–not long before our go-live at Brookfield. I found this entry in my work notes that I must have written while working at Key Tower overlooking Lake Erie and downtown Cleveland.

There is a real beauty and truth in observing people who are very good at their job. We sat in multiple meetings the past few days to discuss cutover planning. In Fixed Assets, there are two very smart and capable older ladies who absolutely ran circles around their consultant counter-parts. They showed up prepared and already understood all the steps they had to take to convert and validate data, shut down the old systems and validate all transactional data when the new systems came up. It is complicated shit but these ladies were all over it. Quiet, confident, capable and articulate. Same thing in Accounts Payable and Commercial Lease Management divisions. All led by super smart, hard-working, clever women who have been here for years.

A real beautiful thing to see in a way. The executives are mostly men, except for my boss, Katie, who is the CIO. But these women are all tremendously respected for what they do. I even made them all hot ham and cheese croissants one day–just to show my appreciation for their knowledge and hard work on the program.

Work is so central to our identities in the modern environment. There is validation in being good enough at something that people will pay you to do that thing.

Why the picture of Bruce you ask? Because he’s the Fucking Boss.

No other news of note on this cold January morning.

Humbly submitted.

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