Thursday, January 29, 2015

It's Been Settled - AKA: Yes, I *Do* Drink Coffee!



It was a little over a year ago that I wrote about that now infamous Great Coffee Experiment of mine here on the blog, and I thought I'd give you all a little bit of an update on that front.

So, just to refresh your memory, I left that experiment not too enamored with the idea of drinking coffee. I gave it the ol' college try, you see, but it just didn't appear as if my body was responding to caffeine in the same way it seemed to affect most people. For me, an "average" cup o' joe did nothing more than make me even more sleepy than before. I suspected it was the warmth of the drink which brought about this contrary effect. Either that, or my body processed caffeine so well that it flushed it right out of my system before I could even begin to feel its power. There are tests I can take to determine the latter, if I cared enough to get them done (I don't).

Turns out the key word here is average, though. See, your regular cup of drip-brewed, watered-down American coffee doesn't do much for me. But give me something stronger and preferably espresso-based, and apparently that makes all the difference in the world!

Because of its ubiquity here in the greater NYC area, as well as its general good standards across the board, I decided to stick with Starbucks as my go-to java establishment of choice in order to continue this experiment. Plus, I liked that they offered a LOT of choices. If I were going to narrow down my preferences, I would need a varied menu of beverages from which to determine. My darling Cin disagrees, though. She thinks I've become a "Starbucks snob," in her words. See, she swears by Dunkin' Donuts' coffee. Which, if you've read my coffee experiment post, you would know I hate with a deep-seated passion!


This American does NOT!


So, despite Cin's adorable protestations to the contrary, I remained steadfast in my loyalty to that Seattle-based company. I started out with a cappuccino from them, but that was too weak for me. I then tried a latte. Better, but too bland. So I had vanilla added to it. Oh man -- so much better! It quickly became my favorite drink. And by adding an extra shot of espresso to the mix, it made it plenty strong and potent enough for even my body to sit up and take notice. I was surprised to find out, in fact, that my productivity in the office actually did pick up a few paces. Extraordinary!

But just to be sure, I next tried straight up espresso. First a single shot (called a "solo" in SB's lingo) served in a tiny little cup, then a double (or, "doppio"). I felt like a little old Italian man sipping on my tiny little dollhouse cup. It was good, but just not enough beverage for my buck. So I tried a macchiato next. This one seemed a bit stronger than a latte, even though it pretty much is a latte made in reverse. At least, this is the way a macchiato is made at Starbucks. I'm sure there are differences if one actually went to Italy.


A Starbucks latte.


Still, at the end of the day I decided to stick with my vanilla latte with extra shots added for strength. It was strong, it was flavorful, and it actually kept me awake and energized throughout the morning. Wow, imagine that?

Now, I don't drink this every day, mind you. Not even every other day. I only hit up Starbucks maybe twice a week, if that. Especially now that we're in full blown winter mode here in the city, I find that a nice tall vanilla latte really hits the spot when it is freezing outside. Sometimes I even go all out and splurge on SB's 16-ounce size option, called a "grande." That's when I'm feeling especially indulgent.

And this is how it's gone for the past year or so. That is, until last week when my good friend and author, Cindy Pon (different Cin, no relation), recommended something different. A beverage she herself orders from Starbucks on the regular. Behold, the Americano:


Add a little more steamed milk for that "misto" effect!


An "Americano" in Starbucks' terms is espresso coffee like the Italians enjoy, but with a lot of hot water strained through it in the American drip-brewed fashion. So in other words, it's espresso with a whole lot more hot water added to it. You would think this would taste awful, but it's actually not bad. And that espresso kick is still quite strong. Stronger than regular American coffee, at least. Cindy actually recommend that I order it "misto," which is to say with steamed milk added. An Americano Misto is basically a fuller-bodied latte -- just less milky, and more of that special caffeine kick. And it's just about perfect. Add a couple of pumps of vanilla syrup for yours truly, and it really is perfection!

This. This is my preferred drink all of a sudden. I just love it!

What's yours?

Friday, January 9, 2015

You Probably Never Saw This Coming . . .



Yes, I have a confession: I like watching Friends.

I could just end on that statement right there, drop the mic and walk off the stage. But I guess I can spare a few more words to explain. Ha!--A few? *ahem* Anyway ...

So, you see, recently Netflix decided to put all 10 seasons of the hit NBC show, Friends, up for streaming. And it's weird because I never actually liked the show at first. Nor did I have any friends who liked it, either. It was never really targeted for my demographic, appealing instead to the naive, vanilla-white college students where I went to school and whom all thought that they would move to the big city after graduation and live like these characters do. Only, I came from that big city -- and it looked nothing liked the one depicted on the show!





Friends is about six 20-somethings living in New York ('though filmed on a back lot in L.A., naturally), who stumble through every-day and often comedic encounters as they filter through life's ups and downs, break-ups, promotions, firings, relationships, etc. You know: the basic sitcom formula, but with very adult themes considering that the show was not centered around a core family in the traditional sense, but rather the familial bond made between friends living far from home in a large metropolis.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Bimillennial Man's Top 10 Posts of 2014



So it's that time of year again . . . the start of a new year, that is! Historically, with my mother's passing on this date 29 years ago, New Year's Day has never been a time for celebration on my part. There have been years where I've tried to go out and have fun, sure, but usually this is a somber time for me in which I hole up at home and play things very down key.

And yet, the New Year is always a time of hope and renewal. I'm not immune to the changeover, and can honestly say that I'm very much looking forward to a brand new year. 2014 was not really the best of years, but it was not the worst. And it was definitely a step up from the previous three years before it, which were terrificly shitty years in my life. Probably the worst ever!

But with 2015 upon us, I thought I would continue with this little tradition at The Bimillennial Man of reflecting on the blog posts of the previous year. I started this tradition last year, as some of you may recall, in which I listed the Top 10 most successful posts of 2013. And by "successful," I mean the threads which had received the most views. So let us see how 2014 faired, shall we?

To set the scene, I just want to briefly mention that 2014 saw a huge explosion of new visitors and traffic to the site. I don't have the exact numbers on hand, but by my estimation this site had FOUR TIMES as many visitors as the previous year, despite the fact that I only published half as many posts in 2014 as compared to 2013. It's true I didn't have much to say this past year, apparently, but I'm happy that this hasn't stopped the site from becoming even more popular and very searchable on Google---which is still the number one search engine being used to find this blog. Thanks a bunch, Google!!!

So then here is my list, in chronological order, of popular posts for the year, followed by tally numbers of total unique visitors to each post as of this date:


My Top 10 Threads of 2014

1.  State of the Batista Union.   (114 views)

2.  Top 10 Crushes From Hollywood's Golden Age.   (356 views)

3.  Game of Thrones: Season 4 Anticipation Begins . . . NOW!   (154 views)

4.  Living Single.   (1,370 views)

5.  What Girls Don't Know We Know They Know.   (205 views)

6.  Dream Come True -- I'm An Actor Born!!!   (140 views)

7.  This Kid Is A'iight!   (134 views)

8.  Dear Dad: A Letter To My Father.   (149 views)

9.  Model Spotlight: "Nazneen Contractor".   (234 views)

10. My Quick(ish) iPhone 6-Plus Impression.   (167 views)


Click on any link above if you're curious to see why a particular post proved to be as popular as it was. Hint: the ones with lots of pics are usually the most viewed. Hmmm, I wonder why?

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