Friday, November 10, 2006

The Lounge - Updated

*Check out the new updated photos!*


I am of the opinion that everyone should have a Lounge. Not "just like mine" but somewhere that they can go to and be surrounded by comfortable things to be able to pause and enjoy life for a while. Some guys call this their "den" or "cave" but I like the the way the word "lounge" kind of rolls off the tongue. It's a fairly accurate description of what I do there - I "lounge".

Being a dedicate lover of pipes, cigars, and all things tobacco-related, I have a special room in my home all to myself so that I can enjoy my pastime and not bother another soul (particularly the non-smoking woman I married!) I have my bookshelves so that I have immediate access to my books and novels - another of my consuming pastimes. There is NO television! I dislike television as a rule and having some way to watch DVDs and films down there woudl ensure that I would probably never reemerge! There's a small stereo that I can listen to my music on.

The decor is simple, yet refined. I have numerous wooden vitrines lining the walls which hold my books, my pipes and tobaccos, my flotsam and jetsam. Seating is provided by a big dark brown comfy club chair and there is a leather couch for guests and for when I want to take a nap. Lighting is indirect - I have this gorgeous lamp that I simply cannot describe. My pipe vitrine is lighted to highlight my collection. I also have a Lava Lamp. Tables are wicker and wood chests that help with storage. I have a writing desk with a banker's lamp.

About fifteen square meters of tiled, heated, windowed bliss in the basement. No cats wandering in and annoying me (unless I want them to, of course.) No wife wandering in and annoying me (unless I want her to, of course.) My wife respects this space of mine so much that she actually KNOCKS before coming in! Just one of the many reasons I married her.

Here is where I spend time in the evenings, winding down from the stress of the day. A fine pipe, a cup of coffee or sometimes a whiskey, and a book in my hand. No phones, no computer, just solitude.

I hope that you have such a space.



Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Coffee and Insanity


Don't get me wrong - I love coffee. I mean REALLY love coffee. My life would be without joy and color if there was no coffee.

I hate coffee snobs.

Seriously - those people who go to fabulous lengths to create the ultimate cup of coffee drive me batshit. Buying the finest
unroasted Guatemalan beans that were picked by the hands of blind virgins. Spending thousands of dollars on home roasting machines so that they have unlimited control on how much or little the beans are roasted. Using only Japanese iceberg water to brew with. Unbelievably complex and expensive brewing systems that look like something that was either designed by Salvador Dali or taken from a BASF research facility.

All that over a cup of coffee? But that's not the worst of it. These are the same people that scoff at a cup of "normal" coffee that I make at my house. To these gourmets of Java - sorry that I'm just not that interested in how intricately one can create a cup of coffee. And fuck you for insisting that I should also care that much and being rude enough to refuse what I made!

Coffee has been simplified for speed in my house. I have a Senseo machine, which has sped up the " I need a cup of coffee" fix to about two minutes. It makes a decent cup of joe - nothing to write home about but it's drinkable. One of the big negatives about the Senseo machine is that the pads are painfully expensive. This is offset by the fact that there is virtually no waste. I tried making a cup with a just-used pad and got a cup of coffee similar to what you get when you rinse out the cup after the last few drops have been sitting in the bottom since the morning.

If I REALLY want something special (and I have the time) I'll go the "grind my own beans and use the French Press" route. Otherwise I'm pretty easy to satisfy coffee-wise.

As a counterpoint to my argument I will say that most fo the coffee that you get in the States just plain sucks. Like the "bottomless" cup of coffee that one gets when at fine dining establishments such as Shoney's and Denny's - more in common with a glass of weak tea than coffee. For this reason I can barely understand the desire to go through with the aforementioned time-consuming and arcane ritual of making coffee .

In the mean time, I hope that you cup - whatever you may be drinking - fills your need.