Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Retiring from competition...... for now.

It's official. I just registered to be judge at the NERBC/MARBC in first week of February. Needless to say, i'm super excited.

Competing last year was very educational and i wouldn't trade it for the world. I almost beat Lem for first place in the SERBC (short by 8 points), i won Millrock Latte Art Competition, i bombed at USBC, but my teammate Danielle made it to semi-finals and placed ninth! The competitive coffee world has been good to me, so now i'm going to try to give back.

As fun as competition has been, there's a lot of work to be done around Octane in the next 4-6 months, and i'm looking forward to the lack of stress competition usually brings. It also frees up time for me to help my fellow Octaners who are competing in their training.

I think it's going to be a good year.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

"So shouldn't you be in Finland by now?"

So a lot of people have been asking me about Finland recently, and why i'm not there yet.... Pretty understandable. I've only been talking about it for 2 years straight. In any case, here's an update on that front.

I still adore Helsinki, and would love to live there one day. The dream is not dead. My heart is still there, if you will. However, i have decided to put it on hold for a while for a few different reasons. The main reason is that Octane is looking to grow in the relative near future and if a certain set of circumstances took place, i could find myself in a dream job type of situation.

Additionally, i have recently taken on the position of Southeast Chapter Rep for the Barista Guild of America. And if i remember correctly, i think Heather threatened bodily harm to me if i bailed. How do you think she's done so well in competitions? Intimidation. Fear. (Just kidding, Heather, you're great)

To sum up, there's a lot things i'd like to accomplish before i leave Atlanta. I'm invested in a lot of things here, and i can't abandon them just yet.

Also, it'd be nice for my girlfriend, Brooke, to be able to visit there at least once, before i drug her there for a few years.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Time for a change

So i don't know if it's not cool to have a background that doesn't scroll or not. I think it might be a design no-no, but i don't care. The background picture is one i took near Saila's parents house in Espoo, and it makes me feel good.

I think everything is just a whole lot less ugly. Which is what i was going for. I hope it's not as painful to visit this site now. The old one was pretty brutal....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Life Update

I haven't posted in a while, so i figured i'd do a quick update.

Just helped teach a latte art workshop in Charlotte this past weekend. And facilitate a throwdown. It was a lot of fun. On the way back to Atlanta, Tony, Diane, and I stopped by Coffee and Crema where we had amazing cappuccinos made by Shannon. After the caps, we stopped by the blog-home where we were served chili and cookies lovingly made by the blog-wife. I've never left Greenville heading home without a full stomach of Michelle's great food. Thanks, guys!

Octane is keeping me pretty busy. Danielle and I are working really hard and are getting a lot done. We're serving Intelligentsia teas now, which is exciting. The customers are really digging it, which brings me joy. We're certifying two new baristas, Mike and David, and we can't wait to get them on the machine. They're going to kick ass. We're also working on a coffee certification that will be rolling out soon that all the employees will have to take. It's going to consist of a triangular cupping (have to get 5 out of 6 flights right), completing a cupping notebook, and taking a written test based on a manual we've yet to write. It's going to be good though. Everyone's knowledge of the Counter Culture coffees we serve is going to skyrocket.

That's about it for now. Gavin's waiting on me to help him start closing up the shop, so i will help him.

Oh! Also, if you live in Atlanta, come to the Indie Craft Experience this Saturday! My girlfriend is selling her environmentally friendly and stylish wares. They're pretty rad.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Suomi is on my leg

Suomi is on my leg
Originally uploaded by benexhale
So for those who don't know already, my friend Scott is an apprentice at Timeless Tattoo and I'm helping him out by letting him practice on my leg. He's done 8 or so on me now. Mostly Sailor Jerry flash, but we've also done some random stuff as well, like a can of Diet Coke.

Well, today we were flipping through the Sailor Jerry books and saw a flag tattoo. Like tattoos a sailor might get after visiting a place. We switched it up a bit and now I have the Finnish flag with a banner that says "SUOMI", which is pretty great. It's as if I were a sailor whose travels took him to Finland and he fell in love with the country. Which is minus the sailing part, is completely true.

::Update:: Here is a better shot of the "Finnished" product.... if you will.... sorry that was lame.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


The other day, Brooke rented a movie for us to watch called Kukushka or in English, "Cuckoo". The story takes place during WWII, right before Finland is about to drop out of the war. Through a series of circumstances a Finn, a Russian, and a Lapp are thrown together, they can't understand each other, and warm-hearted hilarity ensues. I won't ruin anything, in case you want to see it, but Brooke and I enjoyed it, and most importantly, it was nice to hear some Finnish. I hadn't heard any in a while, and it always does my heart good. And even cooler, i was able to understand a few words! Specifically "ymmärrä", which means "understand" because the Finn kept saying things like "Do you understand me?"

I haven't studied my Finnish in quite a while, so it was nice to know i hadn't lost too much. Even though, at this point, there isn't much to lose...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

Scientificish coffee reading

If you had told me several years ago that i'd be reading an article on Bourbon and Pacamara coffee varietals and really really enjoying it, i would have probably laughed at you.

Yet here i am. Reading a really really really great article on Bourbon and Pacamara varietals. Thanks Coffeed!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday Selections

Josh and I have a fun music blog! It's called Sunday Selections! It's fun!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

James Hoffmann's diabolical plan revealed!

So I'm at the cupping leaders lab today at the Counter Culture training center. Eddie from E2 coffee is taking the lab as well, and it occured to me that I'd never been to his shop. I decided to google map "E2 coffee" on the trusty iPhone, and guess what the first hit was!? Square Mile in London!

I guess James has a secret plan to steal hits from small coffee shops. Truly diabolical.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A declaration of support for my friends at murky

I'm was reading my coffee blogs today (because that's how i roll), when i came across this post on the murky coffee website. Apparently there was some drama there a few days ago with a belligerent customer who also happens to be an avid blogger. I won't bore you with the details, you can find them out yourself if you want to.

Anyways, I just want to publicly say, if you are in the Washington D.C./Arlington area and you want good coffee, go to murky coffee in Arlington. If you don't care about good coffee, then go to a gas station. But if you want really great coffee with a very knowledgeable crew, murky is where it's at. Whenever someone comes into Octane and says they're heading to DC and want to know a good place to get coffee, without hesitation every time i will say murky.

They're not just friends of mine, but they are some of the best coffee professionals out there, and they have the balls to serve people the best coffee possible, even when their convictions are unpopular.

Stay strong, murky! Your friends in Atlanta love you!

Monday, July 14, 2008

The best thing you will see today

I stole this from fellow barista and coffee blogger, Ryan Wilbur, and even though it has nothing to do with coffee or Finland, he is right....... the world does need to see this.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

If life gives you lemons, enter a latte art competition

As many of you may or may not know, one of the next steps in my Finland plans was to go volunteer Nordic Cup, which was taking place in Helsinki this year. I was going to get to meet a bunch of Scandinavian coffee people (maybe even some potential employers.....) and it was going to be amazing.

Sadly, it was cancelled...

Needless to say, i'm pretty horribly bummed. However, there is a silver lining. Nordic Cup was going to be happening the same weekend as Coffee Fest Seattle, which is holding the next Millrock Latte Art Championships. Since i'm not going to Helsinki that weekend anymore, i get to go to Seattle and try to defend my title! I have no aspirations of actually winning again, but i'm sure as hell going to try. If i don't win, i hope Justin Tiesl (from Alterra and who got 2nd when i won) gets a victory this time, because i think he's come in second or third about 521 times. Well, at least enough to be 4th on the all-time money winners board.

In any case, i'm excited to go to Seattle. It'll be fun to see everyone, and nerd out for a weekend. Isn't that why we go to these things anyways?

Become one with your coffee


Is it wrong that i want one? Just for novelty sake, of course......

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Visiting coffee shops is fun

So I'm currently sitting in the very lovely Caffé Medici in Austin, Texas, and figured i'd do a little update for the ol' blog. I'm currently on a mini-vacation, which has been pretty awesome. My friend Nicole just got a car in Washington, DC, but lives in Austin. I offered to fly up to DC and help her drive it home. Of course, along the way i wanted to stop by a few coffee shops and visit some friends, and we did. We've gotten cappuccinos at every place we've gone, and it's been really fun to here Nicole's input, as she is not a coffee nerd like me.

When i first got to DC/Arlington we visited my friends Katie and Nick at murky and had lunch with them. Poor Nicole had to listen to us geek out for a while, but she claims she enjoyed it. She also enjoyed her cappuccino at murky, which the Cho crafted himself. She thinks it might have been her favorite of the trip.

After a day in DC, where we saw some sculptures of giant coffee beans, we got some sleep before we headed on the 1500 mile trip to Austin. In the morning, i was dying for some good coffee before we got too far along on our trip. Thankfully, Espresso Map had informed me that there was a good shop not far called Brew Mountain Coffee, at which we stopped. We were greeted by super nice barista, Chris, who was manning the bar. They've recently made a switch from Intelligentsia to 49th Parallel and he made us some killer cappuccinos (Nicole really enjoyed this one as well) with their Epic Espresso blend. Soon the connection was made that i had won Millrock, and i was propositioned to show my skills (which are questionable) to my new barista friend. I choked on my first one, making an excuse about pitcher size, and then did a halfway decent (but not super great) rosetta on my second try. I hope Chris still thinks i'm cool, because i didn't feel like was doing a good job of living up to my title. In any case, aside from marginally embarrassing myself, Brew Mountain and Chris get two huge thumbs up.

The next coffee experience was in Nashville, where we stayed the first night. I've been to a couple places in Nashville before, but we were eager to get on the road and didn't want to wander around for too long. We were just going to stop at Starbuck's, but saw a place called Portland Brew, and decided to go the "indie" route. It was fine, nothing painful or anything, but i thought it was really cool that Nicole could tell a big difference between our cappuccino's there, and the ones we'd had at murky and Brew Mountain.

We arrived in Austin last night, and this morning are currently enjoying excellent capps (thumbs up from Nicole again) at Caffé Medici, home of the first and second place baristas in the 2007 South Central Regional. We just talked with Patrick (South Central champion) and he said that they're in the process of opening a second location, which Nicole is excited about, as it is really close to where she lives.

So all in all, super great vacation. Heading home tomorrow to the ATL, where i must say, i'm ready to get back to work.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hahaha!! Amazing.

I'm going to start wearing only high cut running shorts to work from now on.

This is my inspiration.

As a dude, you know you're a coffee nerd when the thing you want to know the most is how good the coffee really is...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Hyvää Suomi!

So the Hockey World Championships just ended, and usually i'm keeping better track of how Finland is doing during the tournament, but my beloved Kari Lehtonen (goalie for the Atlanta Thrashers) was not in goal for Finland, so i haven't been on top of things as much. Kari is up for signing a new contract this summer, and was nervous about hurting himself. It's understandable (he has a history of groin injuries), but if he had played, perhaps it could have been the edge that could have gotten them the gold, but bronze isn't too shabby.

This bronze is especially sweet (possibly sweeter than gold) because of how they won it. The got the bronze beating Sweden 4-0. SWEDEN! 4-0! Amazing. I'll have to check with Saila, but i have a feeling Finland is on cloud nine right now. (Finland and Sweden have a bit of a rivalry...)

Canada and Russia played for the gold, and Russia prevailed because of another beloved Atlanta Thrasher, Ilya Kovalchuk. Russia was down 3-2 halfway through the second period when Dany Heatley (a not so beloved former Thrasher) made it 4-2 for Canada. Alexei Tereshchenko made it 4-3 in the middle of the third, but it was Kovy who tied it up with 5 minutes left in the period sending the game into overtime, then Kovy again in overtime with an amazing powerplay slapshot which gave Russia the gold. Goodtimes indeed.

The other sport i'm into these days, football (soccer), isn't such a happy story for Finland. They barely missed qualifying for Euro 2008, which is sad, but then again, England didn't qualify either..... which is way worse.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Back from Minneapolis

Back in A-town! Feels nice. As fun/awesome/great experience SCAA/USBC was, it was nice to be able to watch soccer, and catch up on 30 Rock, Lost, and the Office. Oh yeah, and working again.... work is good. Bills, gotta pay those...

Needless to say i took away a ton of things from the trip. Met some AWESOME people. Saw some mind-bogglingly good baristas do there thing (and put me to shame). But i think the most important thing i learned was, that i am a poor dresser/appearance maintainer. There's some rough pictures of me floating around out there... (just kidding, that wasn't the most important thing)

Speaking of taking this away, i still haven't unpacked.... i should probably go do that now.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

And we're off!

USBC/SCAA, here we come.

M'lissa and I are a few hours away from getting on a plane and spending the next week in Minneapolis. I'm super excited. I'm feeling good about my routine. I'm stoked on my coffee. I think i just might do okay.

There will be some kick-ass online coverage this year somewhere in the vicinity of or so. I'm going 4th on Friday around 10ish or so maybe? In any case, you should check out the coverage, it's going to be super fun/nerdy.

I'll try to post some updates once i'm up there.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


So i'm at the Counter Culture training center practicing for USBC and i've got some down time for a few minutes, because i'm waiting for M'lissa to get here to help me out (because M'lissa is my coach and without her i'm more of a mess than you could possibly even fathom). In any case, i figured i'd do a little update while i wait.

First off, M'lissa, Danielle, and I are leaving bright and early Thursday morning to go to Durham, NC to get Counter Culture certified. We've all been wanting to do this for a long time, and since USBC is only a couple weeks away now, we figured it'd be a good time for Danielle and I to practice our routines. It should be a nice little mini-vacation. We found out our beloved friend (and SERBC champ) Lem Butler is going to be DJing Thursday night, so we're going to have an awesome night out on the town Chapel Hill/Durham style.

Once we get back, the practicing will probably get more intense. I'm really excited about my whole presentation, i think it's going to be really good. I'm doing a slight Finnish theme and my signature drink is inspired by sima, which is Finnish for mead. Obviously, though, there will be no alcohol in it, and while sima is my inspiration, i'm tweaking it quite a bit. I'm putting bilberry juice in it, which is the kind the European version of blueberries, and i have to say, the end result is pretty damn delicious.

M'lissa just got here! Hooray! More later....

Friday, April 4, 2008

Thursday Night Throwdown on

So at our first TNT a few weeks ago, this guy Curt, who works for CNN, did an audio report for on the Thursday Night Throwdown our first night of doing it. He interviewed a lot of us, took picture, and i have to say... it's pretty cool. I'm kind of really pumped about it

Here it is.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Cuz i'm (stressing about) TNT. It's dynomite.

So i know i haven't posted on here in a while, but it's because i've been pretty busy. I'm moving to the other side of town (over the course of a couple weeks....), but mainly the image and link above has been occupying a great deal of my time. M'lissa and I have been spending a ridiculous amount of hours planning and organizing Thursday Night Throwdown. I even had a nightmare last night involving it...

In any case, to sum it up, it's a latte art competition/throwdown that we're having every Thursday at Octane. It's open to anyone who has pulled a shot of espresso and poured a latte before. It's main goal is build some coffee community in Atlanta and it's surrounding areas. Throwdowns have become such a part of coffee culture at this point, and they're such bonding experiences. We wanted to see if we could pull this off......

Weekly. Don't worry, i already know we're crazy.

Well, the first one has come and gone (click the picture above to go the TNT blog, we'll have a post about the first night soon) and it was an amazing first go at it. We had 16 people sign up, and representatives from Cumming and Columbus, GA and even Alabama! Needless to say, M'lissa and I are extremely excited that our first one went so well, and can't wait to see how it grows from here.

So yeah, that's what i've been up to.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Cafiza changes lives

So it's been kind of a slow Saturday afternoon here at Octane. I voluntarily took French Press/register duty today, just because. I've been trying to do a little extra cleaning, but nothing too serious. I broke out the Cafiza on some individual 16oz. presses and tried to give them some love.

About an hour ago, this guy came in with a brightly decorated traveler mug (i checked the bottom, it was from Starbucks) and wanted coffee in it. I had to brew some more coffee, but i told him i'd take his mug for him and let him know when it was ready. I took the lid off, and what i witnessed was the worst coffee stain i've ever encountered in person in my entire life. I tried to rinse it with hot water, and it didn't even flinch. It was as it the stain bad become permanent decoration in the interior of this guy's mug. I wanted so badly to Cafiza it, but i didn't want to seem pushy or rude, so after the coffee was brewed i just poured it in and handed it to him with a smile.

After a few minutes, i started feeling bad that i hadn't done anything about it. There's a fine line between offering help and being pushy. You can have the greatest intentions int he world, but it can be perceived as negative if you're not careful. Especially in the coffee world.

Well, after a few minutes i forgot about it, and went about work. About an hour later, the guy came back and asked for a refill in his traveler mug. I was so excited! I wasn't going to let this opportunity pass by again. The guy seemed really nice, so i just went for it... "Excuse me, sir, can i ask you a weird question? Would you mind if i took a couple minutes to see if i can try and clean the inside of your mug. I have an idea that might work." He said "Sure." but then told me that he'd tried everything and nothing worked. He'd spent crazy amounts of time scrubbing, with nothing to show for it. As i put a little Cafiza in his mug and filled it with hot water, i explained what Carfiza is and that it's specially designed for cleaning coffee machines and urns and the like.

So long story, short(er), by the time i was done with his mug a few minutes later, it looked brand new, and didn't smell like coffee from 10 years ago. He was so pleased, he actually told me that it made his week.

There you have it. Cafiza changes lives, people.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Things are happening...

Just a brief update. I've gotten a couple emails from a couple of Helsinki-based (important) coffee people, thanks to some help from my new friend/personal hero, Sarah. No matter what comes of them, it feels really amazing. If you would have told me a year ago that i would have accomplished this, i probably would have said, "Yes, i will accomplish that by now," but on the inside, i'd have been doubtful.

In any case, i feel amazing blessed at the moment. And just thought i'd share.

Friday, February 22, 2008

A funny thing happened in DC...

So as you saw from the previous posts, i, by some miracle, won the Millrock Latte Art Competition. Before i even made it to the finals, M'lissa and i were joking around, and she said if i made into finals we should get matching latte art tattoos. I told her there was no way i could afford a tattoo right now, but said if i won money, we'd do it. The joking went further and i said if i won the top prize ($5000), then Tony, she and i would all get matching tattoos and that i'd pay for it.

Well, i won. And yesterday we all got tattooed (by Jason Kelly of Timeless Tattoo, who already had tattooed both M'lissa and I). And above is the evidence. Pretty crazy.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Katie Duris on TV!

Katie Duris, one of our friends at Murky coffee in DC and one of my personal favorite baristas ever, was featured in a CBS news story while we were at coffee fest. It kind of talks about the Millrock Latte Art Competition a little bit. Although doesn't really mention it by name....

In any case, go check it out at the Murky site over here.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

If you're curious what a $5000 latte pour looks like....

People have been asking for a picture, so here it is. This was my winning pour. It's the middle one.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Live-blogging the MARBC Finals tomorrow!!!

Tomorrow (well, i guess technically later this morning) M'lissa and i will be live-blogging the MARBC finals over at her blog which if you don't know by now, is over here all along this underlined blue stuff. I will be taking pictures and M'lissa will be commentating on all the action! It's going to be awesome! Blogging will start around 10:30ish.

This is a little surreal...

I'm a little bit in shock. I know i was supposed to finish posting about Day 1 of stuff, but i'll have to do it tomorrow. I'm in no position to say anything coherent right now. All that needs to be said for now is i won Millrock. Chris Owens taught me everything i know about pouring. Helsinki friends, i'm coming to see you soon. Lots of bills will be paid. And i'm FINALLY going to get my sleeve finished.

More later...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Coffee Fest/Millrock/MARBC: Day 1

Day one of Coffee Fest seemed more like a couple or three days in one. M'lissa (read her accounts of our weekend here) and i walked to the convention center from our hotel, which was a Holiday Inn close to Union Station. It's actually really nice. Top notch. M'lissa and i both slept very well. Tony (beloved boss) however, who's 2 floors below us.... not so much. Anyways, we get the convention center really early (about 8:45) because we wanted to watch the Millrock Latte Art Championship. For those who don't know, this is a latte art competition (purely visual, taste does not matter) and the top prize this go around is $5,000!!! Tony and i had tried to register me for it, but we did so the day the application was due, and we didn't hear back, so we thought i didn't make it in.

Before i go any further, i think it's important to note that Octane's very own coffee boss, M'lissa Muckerman, my barista coach/dear friend/co-worker, is on this month's issue of Barista Magazine. It's hard to stress how awesome this is. Let's just say Heather Perry (two time USBC champion, 2nd at last years WBC, coffee
celebrity) pointed out that she's only ever been on "the ass of Barista Magazine", never the cover.... If Heather Perry thinks it's a big deal, it is.

The reason this is important is because there are literally HUNDREDS of this month's Barista Magazine being given away, and M'lissa is having to mentally prepare herself to be stopped by a lot of people this weekend saying, "Wait, that's the girl on the cover of Barista Magazine!" "Will you sign this mine for me?" "Can i take a picture with you?" and also for her friends to come up and congratulate her/embarrass her.

We're at the convention center pretty early, around 8:30 in the morning, because Millrock starts at 9. We're saying hi to people we know, M'lissa is introducing me to some awesome people (shout out to Sarah Allen, editor and co-founder of Barista Magazine, who's going to hook me up with some contact info for some shop owners in Helsinki) and then we sit down and get ready to watch people rock some latte art. They're about to get started and all of a sudden Sarah (one of the judges of Millrock) calls me over. I come over, and i find out they had me on for
today......... yeah. Crazy. I proceeded to stutter my way through a statement of acceptance, and then went to sit back down with M'lissa.

There was impressive art poured, including the above done by Phoebe from Gimme! which was a heart with an arrow through it for Valentine's Day. Pretty bad ass.

I went through the almost the entire morning not knowing exactly when i was going on. It kind of worked out well though, because i was completely relaxed, and didn't stress too much about how i would do. All of a sudden, within 5 minutes of not knowing when i'm going on, i'm pouring some latte art. Earlier, when i had been nervous about whether or not i actually wanted to do it, i realized i didn't bring a tamp with me. M'lissa, not wanting me to miss this opportunity, gave me the great honor of letting me break in the tamp she was holding on the cover of Barista Magazine.

That is correct. Let it sink in....... the above tamp, which was custom made with Louis Vuitton fabric by one of Octane's most beloved regulars, Curt, was broken in by me. The Louis Vuitton tamp on the cover of Barista Magazine being held by my barista coach/dear friend/co-worker, M'lissa Muckerman, i used for Millrock. I used it first. Forgive my excitement, i just think it freaking rules.

To cut to the chase, i choked a little bit, and only got out one decent pour, but somehow it was enough to propel me into second place! So after day 1, i'm in second.

My pour, which you might be able to see better on if you click on the above picture, is second in from the top left corner. I think i can do better if i make it to finals, which i'll find out if i made in about three hours. There's 20 people today, so as long as 8 people don't do better than me, i'm in.

I need to run, but i'll post on the rest of Day 1, and some a Day 2 later on tonight.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Coffee Fest and MARBC here we come!

So in just a few hours, M'lissa and i are on our way to D.C. for Coffee Fest (coffee trade show) and the MARBC (the Mid Atlantic Barista Competition, at which we are volunteering) and we're really excited. Technically it's kind of a work thing with Octane, but basically it's like a little mini vacation, which i need really bad. In any case, look for pictures and tales of awesomeness in the coming days.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Saila is going to get obsessed with this...

Okay, before i explain anything, i need to you click on this link for me. CLICK HERE TO HELP POPULATE MY MINI CITY.

Okay, have you clicked yet? Good. So basically, what this is is a little mini city that gets built by unique visitors to the above link. You can visit once a day. Each visit i get, i get an inhabitant to my city. Apparently it gets more complicated the bigger my population gets, but i just started.

And just so you know, my city is in Finland and it's named Lehtonen after the Thrashers beloved Finnish goalie, Kari Lehtonen.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Samantha Brown in Helsinki

So about a month ago a friend told me that he was watching Samantha Brown: Passport to Europe on the Travel Channel (great show), and that she did an episode where she went to Helsinki. Needless to say, i was super excited and went home to see when it was going to re-air. Long story short, i saw that it was going to air again in about a month, so i set a date reminder in my phone and waited.....blah, blah, blah.

Well, today my phone went off and reminded me and i got to see the episode! It was so great. I knew about or had been to 80% of the places she went. It was awesome, yet made me homesick at the same time. (Can you be homesick for a place that isn't your home yet?)

The best part of the episode for me was when she told a Finn she was out drinking with that she heard Finns drink more alcohol per capita than any other people in the word. This was denied by the Finn, and i laughed out loud... I'm not saying it's true or not, but it made me laugh nonetheless. I also laughed when she talked about licorice because i remember one time Sini gave this licorice candy and i thought it was super nasty.

There really isn't much else to say except that now i'm a little depressed i'm still in Atlanta..... *sigh*

And yes, Saila, i know the weather sucks there right now, but i'd still trade places with you in a heartbeat. (And thanks again for my Six Degrees magazines you sent me. You're the best!)

Monday, January 21, 2008

A Finnish dude did "Sandstorm"

You know how there's songs that everyone knows, but no one knows what the song is called or who it's by? This is the true of the song called "Sandstorm". I'm not even sure how i know i've always known that that is the name of the song, but i have. In any case, you'll know it when you hear it, i promise. They always play it at sporting events and things like that. I hear it at Thrashers games at least once per game. It's kind of a 'let's get everyone pumped up' kind of song.

In any case, i was talking about this with my co-worker, Josh, last night, and i joked that even though no one remembers who did that song, that guy still probably never has to work again a day in his life from the money he's made from it. I decided to look up online who it was by, because i realized i don't think i had ever bothered to (because honestly, it's kind of an annoying song).

Believe it or not, they had an entire Wikipedia article on just that song. Well, it turns out the DJ's name is "Darude", but get this..... he's Finnish! Isn't that crazy?! I got quite a kick out of that. I scrolled down to the bottom of the article and found a video for the song which you can watch below. It's a pretty amazingly horrible video, but at the same time it rules because it takes place in downtown Helsinki! The opening scene is all at the Cathedral of Helsinki! I always can't help but get excited when i see Finnish things on TV and i can say, "Hey, i know where that is. I've been there."

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Black Slabbath vs. Octane Wall

So one of Octane's good friends, Stefan Kjartansson, designed this font called "Black Slabbath". For fun he made a mock-up of the font used on our wall to spell out a bunch of our coffee drinks we have. He then, through the labor of one Mick Bailey, installed it in real life on our wall. The above is a fun little time-lapse video Mick did of it going up.

Friday, January 4, 2008

First Star: Octane Coffee

When attending a Thrashers game (or any NHL hockey game for that matter), after the game is over they announce the 3 stars of the game. They're like the MVP's of the game, but they're ranked. Meaning, the first star is the most valuable player of the game, etc.

If there were top stars named in this month's Barista Magazine, Octane would definitel
y be one of the top stars. Maybe number one, but at least one of the three. First example can be seen on page 20 with a little blurb on the SERBC (Southeast Regional Barista Competition). Both Danielle and I are mentioned (as we placed second and third) and it's also mentioned we work at "uber rad Octane Coffee in Atlanta, GA". There's also a picture of Danielle, M'lissa, Chris, and other awesome Counter Culture affiliates. If you're wondering, the ladies do love Lem. And probably a fair amount of dudes as well. (You can click to enlarge the picture.)

But that's just a blurb. One of the feature stories is on barista certification programs
. Octane's own "Coffee Boss", M'lissa, and "All Around" boss, Tony, are featured for about 75% of the article, in addition there's a picture of Matt (Octaner) in cluster of photographs on the middle one of the pages. HOWEVER, on the opposite page of the same article, there is just one picture that takes up the entire page. And that is this picture....

Some of you may recognize this shirt as being familiar, and that is is my shirt. More importantly, it's my shirt on me, myself. Yes, my torso is taking up an entire page in this month's Barista Magazine. I think Cat (Octaner) took this picture. I'm sure it seems silly to many out there, but i think it's super rad. I wonder if i could put that on my resume....

So let's do a final tally here. Including Nordic Cup coverage, there are 2 pictures of M'lissa, 1 of Danielle, 1 of Matt, and my very large torso. Actual Octaner names mentioned: 2 briefly (Danielle and I) and 2 for 3/4 of a feature article (Tony and M'lissa).

My conclusion: Octane is kind of a big deal/awesome.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

2008: The Year of the Finland Move

2008. Two days in. I have only one resolution. And that resolution is to be living in and settled in Helsinki, Finland by 2009. I'm going to make it happen!

For those who are curious about how i'm progressing with Finland plans, it's going slowly, but going nonetheless. Since college in finished, i can now be more focused. My current problems, however, are all financial. This time of year i always get behind on bills because of lack of work. Additionally, my three jobs have boiled down to just one (Octane), which is both nice and horrible at the same time. Octane is a great job and i love it, but getting used to the income of 1 job as opposed to 3 absolutely blows.

So obviously, number one priority is to find another job. I'm going to start working on resumes and that kind of thing, and hopefully before too long i'll be able to start making some decent money, and save up for my big move.

Number two priority is to make another Finland visit, hopefully in a few months. I miss Helsinki and, most of all, my friends.