Wednesday, November 30, 2011

things from Klout: Lot18 credit for Superba coffee

For my readers with hearts too gentle to venture into social media, this is Klout. It's unpleasant because it turns communication and sharing into a ranked game with no clear rules for winning, and it's kind of interesting because -- well, because even obscured rules are interesting, and because Klout has partnered with advertisers to give its members free stuff. Citizens of the Internet provably enjoy free stuff, and I'm no exception.

One of the genuinely cool things about Klout is that they have a forthright free-stuff disclosure policy. Members aren't obligated to talk about the samples & other perks they receive, but if they do, they're asked to disclose that they got it for free. Which is an important thing to do because the act of receiving a gift creates a bias.

So the thing is that I don't actually recommend signing up for Klout -- Schmutzie details a whole lot of good reasons why you shouldn't over here, including shady privacy issues and the aforementioned unpleasantness -- and I'm really only in it for the free stuff, and eventually, when my sense of morality outweighs my appreciation for free stuff, I'll quit. But I've discovered a few awesome products via Klout, and I wanted to share them with y'all. Here's one of them.

This one time Klout gave me a free $20 credit for Lot18, with which I ordered coffee from Superba. (That link to Lot18 is an affiliate link. If you go sign up through it and then buy something, I get credit there.)

I adore the roasty bitterness (erm, and caffeine high) of all coffees, and I'm unlikely to turn my nose up at any cuppa. But I do have a binary categorization system for coffee quality: I dilute & soften less-good coffees with milk and I drink tasty-unto-themselves coffees straight. The iteration of Superba's Classic Blend that I received falls into the latter category. Rich and dense, this coffee smells savory and tastes like wood and chocolate and citrus and caramel. When brewed in a drip cone it has a serious gravity to it, and would stand up to all sorts of heavy, sweet, holiday-spiced desserts -- linzertortes, apple pies, buttery cakes, gingerbread. It's a bit more delicate when brewed in a French press, but still heavier than the description on Superba's site indicates. And it's a kick in the head in the morning, which is generally what I'm looking for.

Superba roasts and packs its coffees when you order them and sells only whole beans, which is pretty much the best way to treat coffee -- after a couple weeks, roasted beans begin to go stale, and grinding them expedites the process exponentially. (All pre-roasted & pre-ground coffees go into my add-milk category. And while we're talking coffee snobbery: Get yourself a drip cone & some filters or a French press. Using either will improve even the cheapest coffee over using an electric coffee machine.) The company is based in L.A. and claims to source its beans responsibly. Their coffees retail for $12 to $16 per 12-oz. package (which is what good coffee costs), plus $7.95 flat-rate FedEx shipping. For the record, my standard of tasty coffee is Counter Culture.

Most of what Lot18 offers is wine & schmancy things that're out of my price range, and since my qualifications for 'good' wine are a) Is it less than $12? and b) Is it dry?, Lot18 isn't really the best service for me. And at honesty o'clock, I have to admit that I find the site's voice pretentious and their default email setting (2-3 per day) complete overkill. But I can see it being a nifty thing for someone with more cash & feelings about wine than I have. In case you're interested in trying Lot18 out, Klout is offering the first 5 people who use this link a free $20 credit there. I'm not sure whether you'll have to sign up for Klout to get the credit, but there you go. Lot18 offers free shipping deals regularly, so make the most of your credit by watching for those.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

while I was out

Ohai. This blog still exists.

My editing gig at How Stuff Works has been kicking my ass -- mostly all in ways that I love -- and between that, freelance editing, and general laziness, I haven't had much motivation to actually use this blog in the past, what, six months? I haven't even been writing on paper. It's seemed too much like work.

Which is really just an entirely lame point of view to embrace. Creation is work, but it's fabulous work. It's the kind of work that makes this whole silly Universe a worthwhile place to hang out in. So ohai, readers. Here are a few things that I've been working on while I was out:

Articles on sundry things, such as How Megalodon Worked, How a Supernova Works, and How Coffins Work among many others. I get to learn about new things every week and source bizarre images and do grammar every day and work with ridiculously intelligent people, and when it's not overwhelming it's the most fun I've had at a day job.

Christopher Buecheler's sequel to The Blood That Bonds, Blood Hunt. And bits from the third book in the trilogy, The Children of the Sun, which I am studiously not linking because all of the parts of the Internet that pertain to it involve spoilers for the first two books. I do recommend editing nonfiction by day and a vampire novel during your off hours, should you happen to have the editing skills and sense of masochism for it. It blends realities in ways that'll make you research historical details for the novel and expect exciting fight scenes in the nonfiction, and probably improve both ventures in the end.

Creative assistance and moral support for a couple of live-action role-playing games (LARPs) that some dear friends run in the Atlanta area, Legynds and Second Dawn. Which is partially unavoidable given that I'm dating one of the owners, and is partially self-prescribed therapy for my wacky anxiety. Which is another thing I recommend -- erm, the self-prescribed LARP therapy, not the anxiety. It's a relatively safe environment in which to experiment with social interaction and performance: Most everyone there will be just as awkward as you or at least sympathetic. And some of them will be dressed as orcs.

And this is not a thing I've been working on, but because I like posting pictures:

my dog doing some serious lounging

More stuff about things later -- but in fewer than six months this time, I promise.