Book Clubs in Coffee Shops

I found a site asking Starbucks to add reading clubs/ books to their coffee shops. I think this is backwards. The book sellers need to bring in coffee, not the other way around. Coffee shops don’t have enough seating to really want a group of people hanging around and taking up space.

Smarter for a retail book seller to provide the coffee, books and space. Why don’t they evolve a room for public events? Make it cosy and enclose it (with glass doors to keep out sound but leave everyone a view). The store could promote the local book clubs. Offer members a discount on whatever the upcoming book is (and make sure they have it in stock ahead of time too).

The big chain book stores here (in Ontario) do have a coffee shop attached to them, a Starbucks. But, they don’t go the extra step of giving it a local group appeal. There isn’t enough seating and people are discouraged about shopping between the stores, due to theft, vandalism and accidents.

What do you think?

Creating a Creative Routine

I’m running out of leftovers, frozen things and assorted edible make-do schemes. More importantly… I’m really low on coffee cream!

Grocery shopping has become my laundry day. That trudge to the basement, or the laundry mat in another building. Hauling baskets and soap too. Then trying to stay awake while everything spins around and around in hot water and then hot air. I didn’t like to leave my laundry unattended. I could have… it just didn’t seem polite I guess.

These days grocery shopping seems like more of a chore. But, I have laundry on the ground floor of a bungalow, I’m spoiled.

This year I found a trendy looking fold up cart for groceries. Nicer for taking everything on a bus ride with me. Possibly I will not take the taxi home nearly as often. It’s never been about waiting for the bus. I don’t like the pack mule feeling of carrying all that stuff. I had put it all in a backpack and then bags for whatever didn’t fit. One extra bonus about the cart is how much easier it goes up the stairs than I do. (With all the groceries I mean).

Anyway, this may seem less than interesting but… We write about routines. A routine shows character, cleverness, determination and so on.

How creative can you get creating a routine?

Think about grocery shopping, laundry day, commuting for work, or anything ordinary which is a bit more of a chore and requires a process, some thought and planning. How does your own routine show your character, if you’re not afraid to make it personal?

The Art of Coffee at the Keyboard

Who says you can’t glue yourself to your computer and still have a fancy, hot coffee? We want it all and we want it good. So, I’m coming up with ways to have better coffee, without having to put on your coat and be kind to any others in line at the coffee shop.

Make a Stand

Even the oldest, most worn-looking coffee mug, will look fancier if you put it on a pedestal, a short one. I use an old mouse pad I didn’t want to throw away. It elevates my ordinary coffee to a slightly new level. It also makes coffee circles a quick clean up. Just rinse the mouse pad instead of having to clean things off my desk first.

DIY Coffee Art

Of course you can learn how to do your own coffee art. But, that would take time and more equipment than I have on hand. Instead… use a clear glass coffee mug and add cream (or milk, etc.) slowly. Let it swirl around and create patterns. Don’t stir it until you’ve enjoyed the art.

If that doesn’t work for you go with a coffee doodle. Create your own stencil with your last rejection letter. Once you cut out a shape place the stencil over your coffee mug and let some cocoa powder, or cinnamon drift down. It works better if you don’t drink it black but I’m not telling you how to drink your coffee.

Seasonal Coffee at Home

Add a dash of flare to your coffee with cinnamon, a teaspoon of hot chocolate powder,  a touch of pepper, a lick of salt or little vanilla. Make your own pumpkin spice with actual pumpkin pie spices which you can buy in most grocery stores I’ve ever been in. A bit of extra festivity needed… try liquor. I’ve got whiskey at my desk to add when the coffee gets too cold.

Another idea (if you don’t mind crunchy bits between your teeth) is to add doughnut sprinkles and other small but edible things to the outside lip of your coffee mug.  I don’t highly recommend this. But, I don’t add sugar to my coffee, it may be a great idea for those who do like sweet coffee.

Milk It Up

Heat and then froth your milk. You will need some creativity if you don’t have a frother. A French press pot is nice because it can double as a milk frother (just don’t become a wild and crazy plunger and end up getting it stuck, or breaking the pot). Microwaving the milk does an okay job. Don’t walk away while it’s in there and then remove the milk from the surface (unless that milk clog thing doesn’t bother you).

Frothy milk does change the taste of the coffee. It’s creamier. You can use skim milk and get more froth, likely due to having less fat content in the milk.

Put a Lid on It

I will drink cold coffee, by necessity. I don’t love it. Somehow, coffee gets much colder, faster, at my computer desk than it does any where else in the house. I’ve tested this theory countless times.

I tried buying fancier coffee mugs, those thermal types with take-out coffee lids. They didn’t make much difference and they were a nuisance to wash since they are not dishwasher happy. Instead, I now put a lid over my coffee. Any bit of paper works well. An entire letter still in the envelope does a better job and it gives me something to do with the bills I don’t want to open yet.

Another plus side to having a lid – it keeps the bugs out. I admit I have ignored the odd tiny floating fly when I really did want to finish my coffee, but those occasions were rare. Likely there were more occasions when I just didn’t notice the little floaty thing or it sank… well do you really want to go into the details?

coffeeart

Now you have some ideas to help you with your coffee while you write away at the computer. Hope this helps!

Note: I don’t know the source for this image. I found it on another site which had reposted a lot of images. It just suits this post so well. 

Create Personal Door Signs

My personal door sign would be: Silence is Golden.

We have so much chatter, clutter and noise in our lives every day (and I’m one of the few who choose NOT to add a mobile phone to all of that). I love a quiet day. I might run the TV in the background but I find, more often, I forget to turn it on. I seldom pay attention to it so I don’t miss it when it’s just part of the blessed silence.

Most of the time I don’t need to enforce my sign. I ignore the landline, don’t have any other phone and I can check email when I need some time to procrastinate or take a coffee break. I don’ t live alone however. People are harder to do any enforcing about. But, it would be a weird world if I really were completely alone in it.

In order to let our creative side flourish, we often need to set parameters for ourselves in order to pursue and achieve the things we really want to achieve. Often times we simply need to keep different types of spaces as clear as possible so that we don’t get distracted or held back from what we’re passionate about.

For today’s prompt, write and/or draw three signs that you would hang on your home door, work door, or even your forehead to let others know what you allow and don’t allow in your life. For example, a sign might be, “No Gossiping” or “Please Knock First.”Now write about your signs and how you will enforce them, or how you already enforce them. Are there ways you can communicate your signs without actually posting them? Or should one or more of them be physically posted?

Source: Day 4 #NaJoWriMoPrompt: Create Personal Door Signs – National Journal Writing Month

Pay with a Poem

What is a poem worth? As authors around the world despair of making a living, a company based in Vienna has finally come up with a definitive answer: one cup of coffee.

Julius Meinl, a coffee-roasting company founded in 1862, is marking Unesco’s World Poetry Day with a promotion in 1,100 cafes, bars and restaurants across 23 countries mostly in continental Europe but including the UK, the US and Australia, offering a dose of caffeine to any customer who hands over one of their own poems.

via Pay with a poem: cafes around the world to exchange coffee for poetry | Books | The Guardian.

World Poetry Day is today (March 21st).

Testing the Interest for a WordPress Group in Barrie

kijijiWordPressI have thought about starting a group to meet monthly or more often in Barrie to talk about WordPress. I have been building and maintaining my own sites with WordPress for over ten years. I don’t mind to share my experience and give help to others who are also working on their own sites. So, I’m posting this to see what interest there is in the idea.

I’m not offering to work for free – to build or fix a site for anyone. This would be a social group to share ideas, tips and help each other. I live in the North/East of Barrie so likely any meeting would be in a coffee shop on the bus route in my area.

If there seems to be some sincere interest I can work out details for actually getting together. So send me an email if this seems like a good idea to you – and you would actually show up for a meeting.

Posted this a few minutes ago. Will see what comes of it.

Where Would you Wish to Wake up Tomorrow?

Where would you wish to wake up tomorrow?

I’d like to wake up in a very clean hotel room bed with crisp, white sheets. The room is high, a top floor or nearly so. The location is a big city somewhere in the world. One wall of the hotel room is just a huge window and I can see outside. It is a clear day, a few clouds and maybe a chance for rain.

When I get out of bed I look down on the street below. Everything is tiny, a miniature city spread out with a lake or ocean and far, far away I can see the beginning of the suburban areas and maybe even the green of some rural places.

I debate ordering room service or getting dressed to go to the big farmer’s market which is just a block away from the hotel and has fabulous coffee and loads of fresh fruit and vegetables. The room service wins, only because I want to stay in longer so I can enjoy the great new shower soap, shampoo and conditioner I brought with me. So I order an amazing breakfast and ask them to bring it in half an hour.

Stepping in the shower, making sure the huge thick towel is set out, I take my time in a steamy hot shower looking forward to eggs, bacon, coffee on fancy china with cloth napkins and all the luxurious extras.

Coffee and Artists Work Well Together

I like writing and drawing in coffee shops. The atmosphere is casual yet elegant too. It’s not a family restaurant or diner where you have other people moving around you a lot. There are seldom loud noises, other than the coffee making machines. Something about coffee shops is relaxing to the spirit and yet I feel there is a standard to uphold. You can’t be just a nobody when you sit at the window of a coffee shop with your latte.

Cafe Clutch Artist Group

Starbucks Artist Group

Talk Like Maxwell Smart, Agent 86

get smartDo you remember ‘Get Smart’?

Adams gave the character a clipped, unique speaking style. Feldon said, “Part of the pop fervor for Agent 86 was because Don did such an extreme portrayal of the character that it made it easy to imitate.”[citation needed] Adams created many popular catch-phrases (some of which were in his act prior to the show), including “Sorry about that, Chief”, “Would you believe …?”, “Ahh … the old [noun] in the [noun] trick. That’s the [number]th time this [month/week].” (Sometimes the description of the trick was simply, “Ahh… the old [noun] trick.”), and “Missed it by ‘that much.'”

From Wikipedia: Don Adams.

Take the Maxwell Smart idea and play with your words:

“Ahh… the old dog in the coffee trick.”

“Ahh… the old houseplant in the lifeboat trick.”

“Ahh… the old pizza in the hand cream trick.”

See more about Get Smart:

Organize a Local Blogging Event

Have you ever thought about doing something with local bloggers? I have. I tried (once) to have a local gathering. I was there, alone. At least I’d picked a good place for coffee and people watching. I had a window seat and my book for the whole hour I had set aside for the event. It wasn’t awful but it was pretty discouraging when it came to doing anything like it again.

My only real mistake was in not trying again right away, or within the same month. I did have some people interested and a couple who said they would come (even if they didn’t show up).  So I had a start to what could have become a local event for bloggers and writers in my area.

Starting small is a good plan. For one thing you won’t feel you are taking on too much and if you make mistakes you don’t have a lot of people to inform when you change the date, place or anything else about the event.

Find a great place where people can get their own coffee/ refreshments or snacks. I picked a coffee shop on the main street of my town. Easy to find, right on the bus route and enough parking as long as I had it on a week night.

Keep in touch with people, whether they show up or not. Collect email addresses and give them out on a sheet at the event or email everyone the list (save paper).  If someone has a book out, or another kind of achievement get them to talk about it and turn all of this into an email list for the group. A good way to remind everyone of the next event and get people talking and meeting each other so they won’t feel they don’t know anyone when they do show up at your event.

If you get enough people start a blog or a group of some kind online. But, make it clear the focus is on getting together for coffee not just hiding behind the computer screen and not being included in the live event.

Find interesting places to meet, relevant to blogging, other local events, local businesses and resources for bloggers in your area. Introduce the people in the group to new and great things they didn’t already know about. This will give more people a reason to come out and find out more, while becoming part of the group too.

Resources for becoming a WordPress WordCamp Organizer (but don’t assume everyone is using WordPress):

WordCamp Planner

WordCamp Central