Several little things have been bothering me today. 1. This blog needs a little kick in the pants. I think with 5 days off from work, I should revitalize biberfan.org. I'm a little tired of reviewing baroque recordings, if you couldn't tell. Who reads this stuff? I used to get quite a few hits to the old biberfan, when I wrote on three subjects at once. 2. I had a secret blog where I'd write about things that were private, or else, graphic enough I wouldn't want others to read it. Turns out it wasn't so secret. Neumann?! 3. Why did I get into this whole blogging thing... ah yes, the stories. Does the name, biberfan, still have any cache? 4. Someone today asks me... after telling them about a restaurant I ate at.... "Did you review it?" Hell yes, I did. What is with that? Don't these people use RSS readers, or else, visit my food site? How rude, I felt it was, to be asked that. If you ask about someone's blog and what's going on there, but don't visit that said blog, that's either just lazy or rude. Likely one but not both. I'm still figuring that one out. 5. Cappuccino maker. Tough decision. I've been reading all night about these things. Never before after Christmas have I had such "return all the gifts" feelings. I received a cappuccino maker for Christmas. It seems nice enough, but it looks like it will be a lot of work to use it. Let me break out of my numbers here to convey just what's involved. A cappuccino maker (espresso with a steamer wand) is a far cry from what they have at Starbucks. I owned a Krups model that kinda stunk. It was all plastic, was from around 1993, and needed some serious cleaning inside. You filled it with water, waited like 5 minutes, and made your espresso. No "crema," and the frother was tough to use on milk. 2007. Spend more money, but you get a decent pump-based system that does all the same. - grind beans - tap (tamp) these ground beans into a little cup - fuss with getting this cup into the machine - fill the machine with water - turn it on, make the espresso - get the milk out, fill the little tin cup - change the machine to steam mode - wait - steam/froth your milk - finish by combining the two parts of the latté - add your sweetner, stir Yeah, not so simple. There's a reason, I guess, that I pay Starbucks over $4. And it's not for the sayings on the sides of the cups. I go there like 5 times a week. I like: - lattés, triple lattés - white mochas - chai lattes Those are my boys. So I've seen these totally automatic machines at Williams-Sonoma et al. Seems the Jura-Capresso is the big daddy brand, and among those, various levels, E, F, S, and Z. There are probably more. Who cares. Tonight I read all up on them. Seems I've mentally settled on the S series, which can take a lot of abuse, and uses a dual-tank system so that steam and coffee making can happen without any wait. But this thing is $2300. That's +$2050 more than what I have now costs. Who is to say it will make a better latté? But it will save time. It grinds the beans, filters the water, tamps the grounds, froths the milk, etc., etc., all but add the sugar. You want another latté? Just hit the button. You'll have lattés coming out your ears, just by pushing some buttons. But I don't have $2050 sitting around waiting for a super automatic machine... but if I was going to buy an espresso machine, that's the one I'd want. So, do I pull out all the money for the ultimate machine? Or keep the one I received? Or just return it all, and get the money? Because there is plenty more to buy. Copper wire. A new camera. Trips this year. Bagh. Next year, I'm going to vote for Festivus. You don't have to exchange gifts, try and keep secret blogs, and you still get to feast at a meal. Here's to 2008: more banter.