Thursday, February 03, 2011

Coffee, a Puzzle, and An Unexpected Rant

It all starts with coffee.  Fresh ground coffee.  The kind of stuff that wants to be imbibed immediately.  Usually it is, paired with some 1% milk to give it a boost of flavor and distinction.  The rest is hermetically sealed in my less-than-good stainless steel thermos and carted off to work, where I'm forced to quickly down two or three more cups if I want anything resembling hot coffee.  Typically the first cup is fine.  Enjoyable.  Savored.  I'm doing good and the world is going well.  Then I pour the second cup.  My mouth is not ready for more brew, nor are my stomach and bladder, but they're gonna take it whether they like it or not.  I wind up regretting this choice almost every time.  Halfway through the cup I'm sick of coffee.  I'm sick of how it tastes and how it makes me feel.  I'm sick of the bitterness left on my tongue and the yearning for the bathroom.  I usually just throw the dregs down in one quick shot, wincing and convulsing--literally shuddering sometimes.  And then it's over.

I find myself wondering why.  Probably because I paid for the stuff and I'm danged well gonna get my money out of it.  But really, is physical and emotional anguish worth the few paltry dollars spent on coffee beans?  I don't know.  Perhaps I should invest in a new thermos, one that will keep stuff hotter for longer than one hour.  Then I would have all day to enjoy the rich tasting aroma that makes coffee a favorable drink.  Until then, I'll stick with my failed thermos.*

For any wordsmiths out there, yesterday's puzzle (from my daily puzzle calendar**) was quite challenging.  I'll repeat it here below.
None of the answers below contain an A, E, I, N, T, or S - six of the most commonly used letters in English.  Answers 1 to 5 are nine letters long; answer 6 is eleven letters and is the longest common word that lacks any of the six letters mentioned above.
1. Groundhog
2. Never-failing, as a method
3. Machinery that runs as a timepiece
4. Study of Earth's water
5. Nonsense; hogwash
6. Green pigment in photosynthesis

Good luck.  I was particularly happy with #4 since I took a lot of classes in this during my college years, and my job is heavily involved in it.  This calendar has been pretty fun and occasionally challenging. 

So Sunday is the Super Bowl.  This is the first year I've actually ever sat down and watched football intentionally, and I have to say, I'm looking forward to the game.  Granted the team I was rooting for (Colts!) didn't make it, but still, I'll be interested to just watch and experience the Big Game.  Service has been moved for the Youth to someone's house and I've been asked to help lead a little worship service at the start of the festivities.  A year ago I would've said no, no way, find somebody else, heck no, no, No.  But I simply said sure, no problem this year.

I'm astonished at how far I've come.  And lest anyone think I'm boasting, it's all for the glory of Jesus Christ, that God will be exalted and worshiped.  Without His help I would be nothing.  I see my guitar playing and my singing as gifts that God has blessed me with, and while I think I play and sing merely mediocre, I now no longer care.  I do it not to be heard or seen, but that the Spirit can move and lift up the name of Jesus and that the Youth will grow in their faith and will have no fears when serving God.  After all, a follower of Christ living in fear is only defeated by themselves. 

I used to say no because I was scared and timid.  Stepping up was uncomfortable and God had other people that could do the work.  But the more I read the Bible (especially Matthew), the more I realized that Jesus called us to be uncomfortable, to be in awkward situations.  It takes faith to step out into awkwardness, an attitude of the heart that says God, I trust in You that You know what You're doing.  And in that faithfulness, whether we see any fruit of our labors or not, His will is working.  It is this that has led me to stepping out and stepping up.  Too many "Christians" are sitting comfortably in their traditions, in their pews, in their hearts, that they've grown lazy and stagnant in their faith.  As the adage says, "If you're not moving forward, you're going backwards."  That's very true with God.  He hates lukewarm; He spews it from His mouth.

This same sentiment extends well outside the doors of Christianity.  If you're going to commit to something, commit, don't just sign up and stay uninvolved.  Who wants a benchwarmer on their team?  Or an occasional paladin?  No one.  I suppose it's our fallen human nature that wants to stay complacent and lazy, but this must be bypassed in order to live a life worth living.  It's easy to come home and plop down in front of the tv or pick up a book.  Get involved in your own world.  Ignore the rest.  That selfish attitude is simple.  Everybody's good at that.  But that's not living life.

It takes work, uncomfortableness, awkwardness, and effort to truly live.  How does a family grow if you give it no time?  Or how does a community grow, or any other relationship?  Relationships are a fundamental part of a functioning, meaningful, committed life, be it with friends, family, church members, or strangers on the street.  And the only way to grow relationships is by getting up and stepping out.  It's like in KOTOR 2: "Apathy is death."

.......I don't know what happened.  I was going one way and I ended up with a rant.  Sorry.  So, uh, happy Thursday?  I've got a new flash fic piece for tomorrow that I'm really proud of.  Hope you read it and enjoy it. After I read it to Keisha she said "you are one twisted person."  That's the kind of response I like.

*The thermos used to work, but due to my negligence (i.e., it not being dishwasher safe), I ruined the rubber seal, so the thermos seeps out heat.  Something something thermodynamics...

**This comes from THE MENSA PUZZLE CALENDAR 2011.  Not sure who came up with the riddle or I'd give them credit.  The box the calendar came in says by Mark Danna and Fraser Simpson, so I'll give them credit.


Bill said...

Don't you "something something thermodynamics" me! One of our class projects for Heat Transfer was actually the design of a thermos that had to keep a "biological sample" frozen during transport for 36 hours. It was frustrating but educational.

On the same topic, I once owned one of those thermos's you see in movies at construction sites; built-in serving cup cap included. And I have to say that thing could keep something warm or cold for nearly the whole day. Definitely worthwhile if you're in need of keeping something hot, and especially if it helps cut down on coffee purchases or consumption.

And lastly props to the sentiments in your "rant." (That period just doesn't look right inside the quotes! /offtopic) If someone doesn't believe in carpe diem then perhaps they're just a carp in denim. (I imagine a fish wearing jeans would be a pretty unproductive member of society)

Anonymous said...

i don't drink coffee, but i understand the thought of "i paid good money for this...". i am particular about drinking my hot tea hot, it just doesn't re-warm, and so i have taken to actually using some of the little teapots i've been gifted. your description of your consumption was brilliant by the way.

--will have to work on that puzzle, thanks. i like puzzles.

--growth is good, and praising God for it is wonderful. which gospel i tend to gravitate towards for encouragement changes, but I am ever drawn to Romans to humble and uplift.

--how non-football a family are we three here? the only remarks on the superbowl coming up last night was..."hmmm, maybe we should stock up on Dr. Pepper and Chips since they'll be on sale, you know, with the SuperBowl and all..." the daughter (10) goes: "The SuperBowl?"


David Wagner said...

Coffee is beautiful, in moderation. Of course, I get my coffee from Starbucks. What I pay for it could never be labeled "moderation", lol.

I've discovered that people are just people, whether they be Christian or not. Nothing to be timid or nervous about, really. Of course, when I act in front of large groups, I do it without my glasses on. The "audience" is one big blur to me, and I can easily forget they are there. If I could see them all, with their beedy little eyes watching me, I know I'd forget my lines and run for the door...

Did you really work a KOTOR quote into your rant? That is awesome...

logankstewart said...

@Bill: Yeah, I want one of those green Stanley thermoses. Mom has one and that thing keeps stuff hot all day long. And I agree: a fish wearing jeans would be pretty unproductive... hahahaha

@L: Ha, I love hot tea, too, but that does even worse with the thermos. I boiled some water and poured it in and brought it to work and thought I'd steep some brew, but it was so nasty that I couldn't even finish. Have fun with the puzzle!

@Dave: Why yes, yes I did quote KOTOR into my rant. What can I say? I loved those games back when they came out. I even got a Darth Revan action figure thing at home...