The Coffee Life – Rochester NY Edition

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It’s been a hot minute or two since I’ve used this blog, and since I’ve recently moved to Rochester NY and am currently squatting in a hotel till i find an apartment, I find myself with a bit of extra time and my usual coffee addiction

Since I’ve been here i’ve obviously settled for Starbucks about a dozen times, convenience and all, but on my days off i’ve done some exploring. So far I’ve tried 4 independent coffee shops. Oddly enough my favorite place esthetically  isn’t even close to my favorite for coffee quality.  So here’s what ive found so far.
1.Fuego Coffee
So hipster it’s painful. And this is from the guy wearing skinny jeans and black rimmed glasses. However the coffee quality is amazing. I’ve had a cold brew and a Latte and both had really great flavor. I’m a huge fan so far.
2. New Roots Cafe
This place is every bit as hippy as its name indicates. It’s in a converted house with study rooms and music practice rooms. Very relaxing vibe. Coffee wise, I’ve tried a hot dark roast and of course the obligatory Latte. Coffee was very good, I drink it black, and the Latte (no flavoring or sugar) is pretty smooth.
3. Java’s coffee
This place f**king kills esthetically. Picture the private den of an Anthropology professor/Aspiring artist/musician/obsessed book collector. and then make it a tad weirder. super comfortable, artsy atmosphere. The Coffee? A bit disappointing. Price was a little high for the latte and only came with two shots (ala Starbucks). And the quality? even with my requested two extra shots there was a noticeable weakness to it. I may give this place another shot because of the atmosphere, but the verdict doesn’t look great.
                 (this was an actual Java’s customer sitting across from me painting)
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3. Village bakery and Cafe
Normally i shy away from mall coffee places, but it’s an indie and it was that or Starbucks. Small footprint, kinda crowded. There’s a little loft over the main floor with tables, but this is really a grab and go kinda place. They supposedly make all their own baked goods, but i didn’t try.Probably a good thing because this is where i messed up. I ordered a flavored Latte, French toast to be exact, and by time i got to the opposite side of the mall i had a mild stomach ache from the sweetness. The bored teenage girl behind the counter apparently used the entire bottle of flavoring. I might give their straight coffee a try next time, but my opinion of mall coffee shops still stands.
4. Union place coffee roasters
It’s hard to rate this place. It’s really not a coffee shop, it’s truly a coffee roasters. They roast right on site and sell it there. They only have one of their coffee’s brewed each day to showcase for customers, which they only charge a buck for if you get larger than the sample cup. The French roast I tried was decently strong, with really good flavor, black of course. I’ll probably go back and grab a bag when i have an apartment.
I estimate i have another 7-10 local coffee places to try, plus there’s a few Spot coffee’s and Norma Jeans (both Chains) that I’m sure I’ll hit eventually. I hope if you ever hit the greater Rochester area, this helps.
Know a place in Rochester I should try? Drop it in the comments.

A Janky Definition of “Courage”

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*Disclaimer: i don’t care for Apple products. While i think they function decently, i even owned a Mac desktop for several years, and had an i-phone & I-pad as  work issued devices, there is nothing revolutionary about them, and they are trendy products in the same way PBR is inexplicably a trendy beer for hipsters right now. So take my opinions with a grain of salt.*

So, there’s a new I-Phone coming out. Let’s focus on the revolutionary and courageous new Specs & features:

  1. THEY GOT RID OF THE HEADSET JACK!!! REVOLUTIONARY!!! COURAGEOUS!!!!  Wait, didn’t Motorola already get rid of the jacks on their new “Z” line phones?
  2. IT’S WATERPROOF!!!!!  -Wait, Didn’t Samsung release waterproof phones starting in 2013?
  3.  AN EVEN BETTER DUAL CAMERA!!!! -Wait, didn’t  LG do that in 2011 & HTC in 2013-current? 
  4. IT HAS A REVOLUTIONARY 64 BIT QUAD CORE PROCESSOR!!!– Wait, didn’t Oppo start that trend in 2014 with the R5?
  5. HUGE BATTERY!!!!  3000 mAh battery!!!!!! –Wait, hasn’t Motorola had 6 phones since 2013 with at least a 3500 mAh battery?
  6. Professional photographers will be happy to know that the iPhone 7 finally supports RAW image format-Wait, didn’t Samsung release the Note 5 and LG release the LG G4 and LG V10 in 2015 with that feature?
  7. BUT HEY, THEY’VE IMPROVED THE FINGERPRINT SCANNER!!!! AND THEY HAD THAT FIRST -Wait, didn’t Motola have a fingerprint scanner on the Atrix in 2011?
  8. WELL, THEY PUT OUT AMAZING WIRELESS HEADPHONES!!!!!– Here’s a list of the 10 best Wireless headphones. It came out a year ago HERE     

The fact is, Apple has revolutionized its own phone for its core customers. This is a phone for people that know nothing about phones, and think 95% of Americans have an i-phone (it’s actually Android 52%, Apple 43%… Worldwide Apple is at 23%)

I’m not saying don’t buy an i-phone. If you want to make calls, text and listen to music without ever learning anything about your phone, or technology in general, then yeah, an i-phone is ok. But don’t think for a moment that Apple is doing anything revolutionary or courageous, they’re just continuing their 4 year trend of following everything everyone else does, long after they’ve done it.

Remember, Prior to the 6S & 7S, Steve Jobs said no one was ever going to buy a phone larger than 3.5-4 inches because “you can’t get your hand around it”

Visionary indeed.

 

 

Shut up and play your music…

Alicia Keys is the latest artist to ban smartphone use at her concerts. Here’s how it works:

You walk in to a Keys concert and security makes you put your smartphone in a pouch. They then lock that pouch and hand it back to you. You can’t remove your phone from that pouch until the end of the concert when security unlocks you on the way out.

So what will this do?

“We think smartphones have incredible utility, but not in every setting. In some situations, they have become a distraction and a crutch — cutting people off from each other and their immediate surroundings.”

So yeah that’s their official reasoning. But let’s be honest, its about ego. Artists like Alicia want the world to revolve around them. They don’t perform your you, you pay to experience their genius.

Additionally, in the wake of the Pulse terror attack, do we really want to limit communication in a large social setting?

I agree that people need to use their phones less and experience the moment more, but it’s not an artist’s right or responsibility to decide that for us. Remember, you’re famous because of us, not in spite of. So shut up and play your damn song.

Asshole Musicians Of The Week

Celebrities do a lot of dumb things. All the time. I know it, you know it and if they weren’t to busy doing afore-mentioned dumb things, they’d probably know it too. So here’s my top  asshole moves by bands/musicians.

  1. Maroon 5.

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Everyone that knows me knows I support gay marriage, have several gay friends and fully believe in a “live & let live philosophy”.

However, let’s play a game of spot the hypocrisy.

In Russia homosexuality was classified as a mental illness till 1993 and being openly gay was banned till 1999. Anyone that falls under the category of LGBT is openly discriminated against, has no legal protections and zero domestic partner rights. There are multiple documented cases of transpersons being beaten by vigilante groups for using the wrong bathrooms or being openly trans. Want to see freedom for openly gay people? Read up on the Russian punk band Pussy Riot.

Why bring this up? Maroon 5 has decided they can’t perform in NC because the anti-lgbt law there goes against their principles. Yet they still plan to perform in Russia this summer.

I guess principles get all “grey area” where their wallets are concerned.

     2. Beyonce

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Beyonce is all about girl power, woman power, race power….power power, power. We’ll skip over the fact that she completely fucked over the original members of Destiny’s Child and talk about her clothing line Ivy Park. Because, while she’s all about empowering women, she opted to have her clothing line manufactured in Sri Lanka. And while Beyonce is all about empowering women, the seamstresses in her factory make $6.23 a day. Now that’s power(Honorable mention goes to the national review that claims Beyonce is a hero because most workers in Sri Lanka make slightly less than $6 a day).

3. Justin Bieber

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Poor Bieber had to cancel a show in Argentina. During a visit to Argentina in 2013, Bieber was seen disrespecting Argentina’s flag during a concert and in 2015 an Argentinian judge issued an arrest warrant for him related to the assault of a photographer.

Although let’s be honest, he makes this list as long as he’s breathing.

 

 4.Wes Scantlin (Puddle Of Mudd Vocalist)

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The Charming, lovable lead singer of Puddle of Mudd has a warrant out for his arrest after failing to appear in court for one of the 12,000 dumb things he’s done in less than 2 years.

The singer’s arrest record is a laundry list of charges, including trespassing and vandalizing his former home, multiple DWI / DUIs and even riding the baggage carousel drunk at an airport. Scantlin’s also made headlines for multiple mid-show meltdowns where he accused a fan of stealing his house, shutting down a show after verbally abusing the venue’s sound guy and ranted at the crowd from a chair onstage while the rest of his band walked offstage. He even somehow managed to avoid charges for being involved in a standoff with 30 police officers. While attempting to jump-start a car, Scantlin hurried from the driveway and into his house when the authorities arrived, refusing to come out for two hours. Winning!

Friday Night Math

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So Wendy’s is going to put in self order kiosks at 6,000 locations this year, and if it goes well, start rolling it out to franchises next year. I’m going to guess if this does well, McDonald’s, Burger King and other fast food chains will follow very quickly, like right around the time minimum wage hits $15 in NY, CA and the other states putting it in to effect.
 
So here’s a quick economics lesson:
$15 is more than $9 or $10
but $9 or $10 is a lot more than what you get when your unemployment runs out because you’ve been replaced by robots.
Additionally, $9 or $10 is also enough to afford that GED you didn’t bother with or $9-$10 is enough for most people to scrape by with to get an associate degree at a community college.
lastly, $39,000 a year average for most people with associates degrees is a lot more than $9-$10 an hour. Probably worth you racking up a few years of student loans so you don’t have to smell like fry grease.
My Point?
You did this to yourself.

The Most Important Band In The World…?

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Radiohead is one of those bands.

Yes, they’ve had massive success, even your grandmother probably knows the band exists and maybe even heard “Creep” on Muzak (yes, it happens).

But in reality they’re a band for critics and music geeks. They’re the musical equivalent of Forrest Whittaker.

A few days ago, Radiohead got a cryptic. They erased their FB & Twitter, blanked out their website and sent weird postcards to members of their fan club and people who had recently purchased from their website.

“Something has to be coming!!!!”, the masses screamed.

And today, lo and behold, they pulled a Beyoncé (who has been pulling a Radiohead/Nine inch Nails for her last few releases). Here, ladies & gents, is “Burn The Witch”.

Now I’ll admit I like Radiohead. I don’t love them, but i do see a certain genius in a lot of their work. This, though?

For years Coldplay wanted to be a more mainstream Radiohead. Listen to any song off 2008’s  Viva La Vida and you’ll hear a band desperate to be taken seriously. Of course then they did a duet with Rihanna and went shitty pop. I blame Gwyneth. But I digress….

Listen to “Burn the Witch” again. Then listen to the title track from “Viva La Vida” and try not to laugh. Yes, after 23 years of pushing boundaries and “blowing minds”, Radiohead have put out a single that is essentially a super mopey  retread version of a song released by a band that was trying to sound more like Radiohead 8 years ago. Need a flow Chart? I have a headache.

 

Let’s be honest. Radiohead have been believing their own hype for years. The BendsOK Computer were fantastic, Kid A was claustrophobic and engrossing, Amnesiac was slightly more filler than killer, Hail to the thief was mostly misses, In Rainbows regained some glory, but King Of limbs was really listenable to critics and diehards only. What we have is a band determined to seal their legacy by  becoming a bit more self-indulgent every single album. They might as well become a prog rock band. And not a good one like Yes or Dream Theater. no, they’re becoming The Mars Volta bad (another self-indulgent hype loving crap fest).

Radiohead is one of those bands that people feel important for loving. So I wonder what those people will do now that Radiohead is a step away from releasing The Scientist?

 

Wasting the American Dream

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Tonight on Fox there was a reality game show called “Super Human”. Basically a show about people with heightened observational skills. I’ve definitely watched worse, but not by a lot.

Anyway, the last “Superhuman” was a young latino man with a ability to memorize things in ways that esentially give him a photgraphic memory. Now before they show the contest, the do the typical humantarian background bullshit piece. In his he talks about how him mother imigrated to America for a better life for her kids. They grew up dirt poor and he sold random things door to door to help support the family. Nice story, right? ehhhh. Here’s my issue:

When he realized at a young age that he had his ability, did he buckle down in school? did he share his special skill with people that could’ve gotten him free rides to some of the best colleges in the world? Nope. He spends his 20’s being a novelty act, scraping by when he can and of course jumping at the chance to make $20K on a game show. And of course none of that should matter to me since his mother is in the audience crying with joy & once a week he teaches kids at a high school some of his memorization techniques. I call shenanigans.

This kid has squandered his life in the worst way possible. He could have been anything, ANYTHING, and yet he’s chosen to be a birthday party/corporate gig/Reality tv sideshow. His mother should be crying with shame, not joy.