panoply of updates, part 2

More updates. I had planned to post this immediately after a panoply of updates (part 1) but I got distracted by the arrival of really large book. Perhaps you heard of it? Harry Potter and the Weekend of Accomplishing Absolutely Nothing?

The Return of the Cold-Brewed Coffee

My iPhone post was exceptionally popular the week I posted it, what with frenzy being at its peak just before the phone was released. But then as I watched my stats I noticed something funny: there was another post that was consistently getting better hits. A post I wrote almost exactly two years ago about cold-brewed coffee was by far the most popular post on this blog, even more popular than the iPhone post.

What the hell? I thought. It didn’t take long to figure out what was going on: the New York Times had done an article about cold-brewed coffee, and it had sparked a fad. Suddenly my review was in great demand from the curious. (the same thing happened when I wrote about no-knead bread; perhaps if I want to be a more popular blogger I should just always write about what the New York Times writes about.)

I panned cold-brew coffee in that original post. I had nothing good to say about it. “Tastes like ass” was the term I used, and I stand by that assertion. (“assertion,” ha ha ha. I’m sorry. I am 12.) I have a bunch of friends who have glommed onto the fad recently and they insist that my method was flawed, that you need to make smaller amounts than the full pound at a time I was making, and you don’t need to dilute it.

I am still dubious. But perhaps I will try it just to update that post and keep my stats up.

Death and Camping

An update for the happy camper (1 and 2)

A couple weekends back we drove out to the Sierras for the Death Ride, one of Eric’s two big bicycle events of the year. I’ve written about the Death Ride before, here and here. Eric wrote up his Death Ride story on his blog.

Normally for the death ride we get a motel room some distance from the ride, wake up at 3AM, and drive in a panic for an hour to the start of the ride in hopes of finding a good parking spot. At 5:30AM when Eric leaves I go back to sleep in the back of the car and wait for him to get back.

This year we have the VW camper van. This year we could camp along with a zillion other bicyclists in the park next to the start line. This year there would be no parking spot worry. And best of all, we could sleep in. All the way through to 4AM, when the Death Ride organizers turned the loudspeakers on, put the volume up to 11 and woke us all up with rousing music. The Mission Impossible theme. Appropriate.

This was our first big camping experience with the Eurovan and I am happy to proclaim it a success, mostly. On the one hand, sleeping in the poptop is comfortable and spacious. The windows in the side of the poptop are right at eye-height, which means as you’re dozing off in the wilderness you can look out at the stars (and the night sky in the sierras without any urban light pollution: tremendous). On the other hand given that the poptop is canvas it is very noisy up there. If you’re not used to a lot of noise — and we’re not, we live in the country — normal outdoorsy noise from other people can keep you up at night. We didn’t get a lot of sleep. I’m thinking earplugs.

Hanging out in the Eurovan is awesome. All the windows have curtains and there are accessory curtains for the windshield so you can make it entirely private if you, um, want to do private things. With all the doors and windows open it’s airy and comfortable, and sitting on the rear bench seat with a lemon soda out of the fridge and a bowl of blueberries on the table, reading a book, is almost decadent.

On the other hand if you really want to have the genuine sweaty and uncomfortable camping experience you can shut all the windows and does get really hot and stuffy inside fairly quickly. If you’re really lucky you can trap a couple really angry yellowjackets inside. Your choice.