Rants and Raves

What I’m Listening To (when I have time)

During the times of ‘Rona I’m not listening to podcasts as often as I was previously. I’m not commuting so I’m not listening to them with any regularity (or reading in the same way). But I do try to fire up something to listen to a few times during the week.

Here are some of what I’m listening to and have queued up. Below that are my old “regulars” that I still recommend and like (maybe with a note or two)

Queued up:
Winds of Change. Recommended to me by multiple people, mostly because of novelty, but many because they know I’m from SA and SA has a special place for Scorpions trivia.

Bumping up in priority: Scene on the Radio (multiple recs, seems very timely with what’s going on right now).

New for me:
The Reset Button from Dylan Tweney*
The Adulting Well Podcast*
*I work with both of these podcast creators. Not sure why I feel a need to disclose this, but hey.

My regulars:
The Moment with Brian Koppelman (I’m getting selective w/ episodes – but I’m a big fanboy)
The Cycling Podcast – due to time conflicts, I’m getting more selective with the episodes as well- but I still really enjoy this.

Media consumption has been tricky lately. Have you been keeping up with your podcasts and reading in the same way as pre-quarantine?

Ordering Coffee in the Time of Covid

I mentioned online that I’ve been trying to order coffee beans lately instead of roasting my own like I usually do. I’ve been trying to support some local businesses and I’ve listed some of them out for you here. This list is by no means exhaustive, I just thought it may be useful.

I’ll try to add more soon.

SF Specific

Others I like:

One more quote from that piece

The list of questions never asked is almost infinite: what were the mercenaries I kept meeting truly there for? What about those contractors, specifically in the intel world, who foisted a never-ending line of gadgetries on my men to be field-tested and then shipped off to the global marketplace? Why did the gear never work? Why was it so unwieldy? Why did it slow down ops, and why did no one seem to care that it usually had to be escorted by those with the appropriate clearance, which meant putting my guys

Source: ‘A torrent of ghastly revelations’: what military service taught me about America | News | The Guardian

Interesting “long read” in The Guardian

Writing this now, I’m embarrassed by the comparison. There is something ludicrous about relating foot patrols in a combat zone to Bluetooth shopping a few miles beyond a stateside base. But there was a way in which I had been conditioned, before and during my military years, to be suspicious of the outside, wherever that outside might be.

Source: ‘A torrent of ghastly revelations’: what military service taught me about America | News | The Guardian

The Financier – **

The Financier (Trilogy of desire, #1)

The Financier by Theodore Dreiser

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I got stuck in the middle of this and almost abandoned it. Now that I’ve powered through it I’m not sure I enjoyed it. I need to stew on it and update this later.

I also need to go back and find the podcast that recommended it and figure out why. I know it was brought up at some point on one of Brian Koppelman’s podcasts or when he was on someone else’s show. And since I like BK a lot I immediately grabbed the book- and now I want to know why they brought it up.



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Coffee Recommendations in México City (CDMX)

I should have posted this list earlier- but a lot of you have asked which spots you should try when they’re in México. I have my own short list here.

Before I give you the list, I’ll just say the easiest way to make your own list if you don’t know anyone in CDMX is to check sprudge.com and look up all of Ximena Rubio’s posts. She has a guide to cafes in Colonia Roma and a lot of other great posts.

my chicken scratch
my chicken scratch

Also- if you can read Spanish, you can look up her articles and reviews on TimeOutMexico too (or pick up a copy when you get to CDMX).

Something to remember for my list- I tend to stay in La Condesa or Reforma, or in Cuauhtémoc if I’m at a work hotel. CDMX is huge and there are a lot of great neighborhoods and a lot of great neighborhood cafes. I also can speak Spanish and forget that it’s easier for me to get recommendations and other tips from friends who live there. Your mileage may vary.

My personal faves:

Buna 42
Orizaba 42 Colonia Roma

Chiquitito Cafe
Rio Lerma 179 – Colonia Cua.
(near the Churro place- Churreria El Moro)
they have another location in La Condesa

Cardinal Casa de Cafe
Córdoba 132, Cuauhtémoc, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico

One other thing- if you go to Buna, try the chilaquiles. And if you go to Chiquitito, sit down and get their open-faced avocado, feta and grain bread toast.

Toast at Chiquitito
Toast at Chiquitito

Have other recs? Leave them in the comments.

Weekly Roundup – wine, music, books

Stuff I was talking about this week, in case any of you are bored and want further reading:

Wine varietals: Corvina and Dornfelder. (I didn’t know Dornfelder was a ‘new’ varietal). I was referring to it because of I tried Loring‘s new Dornfelder. I was talking up Corvina because I had tried CB Wine Cellars new release. Yummo in both cases.

The band Tom was referring to was The Tragically Hip. Wikipedia and Final Concert Links

Clowns in the news, but not this one

Book I referenced this week: Blood, Bones & Butter

Links – Weekly Reading

GoogleReaderDo any of you regularly look forward to and check out weekly posts like the Inner Vision posts on TheWirecutter/Sweethome? It’s one of the few I remember to regularly manually type in and go to and read.

That said- I wonder about ‘updates’ and content a bit.

Maybe it’s because of the demise of Google Reader in the past and the way I used to use it, but I don’t remember to check sites like I used to. I got to the point of automated delivery and reading and then abandoned it when my favorite delivery tool went away. And I never adopted a new tool.

So, are there sites you “check”? Also- is there a “delivery system” you use? Leave me a comment below if so.

The Last Train to Zona Verde – ****

The Last Train to Zona Verde: My Ultimate African SafariThe Last Train to Zona Verde: My Ultimate African Safari by Paul Theroux
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I coincidentally started reading this while friends were traveling in Namibia and posting pics online. It was interesting to see their tourist posts and safari pics while at the same time reading about the area in Theroux’s book. It was like reading a behind-the-scenes account of what could be happening there.

Overall it was a sobering look at parts of Africa. The main points of interest to me were reading about Angola and the Portuguese, the effects of charitable giving, Theroux’s aging, and some anecdotes that I had forgotten about in South Africa: Amy Biehl’s death and a Bono story.

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Why so salty?

I’m not sure why I didn’t do this sooner, but I finally went to the local home brew supply store and bought some Burton Salts (named after an English town that has a particular brew affected by its water supply – wiki). Home brewers use the salts to condition water to make ales in the style og Burton, but as a non-brewer you can dissolve the salts in water to make mineral water in your selzer bottle or sodastream.

Although I could have used the spreadsheet that the Khymos blog has (see this lengthy article) and made my own particular mix of salts and minerals, I decided to go the lazy route and just get Burton salts.

I may try the custom route later, but I was curious to see if the Burton salts would even work. They did. I can now make better mineral water and my hope is to convince someone to stop buying so many expensive bottles at the grocery store and to get a sodastream and salts instead. But we’ll see.

semi-interesting pics:

1 after putting in 1g of salts into 1L of cold water and

2 then after 5 mins of waiting (the water gets even more clear after carbonation)

salty-water salty-water2