Inside the daily world of Luana Spinetti

The Inside Scoop About Your Morning Cafe Coffee

Fun Stuff · December 24, 2014, Wednesday

Discover surprising, sometimes odd, facts about coffee and learn unusual new ways to enjoy that cup of Joe. 🙂

It’s an American obsession. Every weekday morning, thousands of people wait in line to order the special cup of coffee that makes getting up worthwhile. Unimaginable thirty years ago. Coffee shops and baristas were nonexistent. Now there are over 50,000 coffee shops bring in more than $18 billion dollars annually in the United States.

So you enjoy that barista-crafted gourmet nonfat latte, but how much do you really know about this tasty, invigorating beverage? Some of these strange but true coffee facts may surprise you.

Coffee and Bacon…and Cats

Creme Puff the cat is a record holder. She is not around anymore but, according to the 2010 Guinness World Records, was the longest-lived cat ever recorded. Her owner, Jake Perry, of Austin, Texas, also owned Granpa, a cat who lived to the ripe old age of 34. Perry fed his cats an unusual diet that was most certainly not recommended by his vet: Every morning, the cats ate bacon, eggs, asparagus and broccoli along with a bit of coffee. Folgers was Granpa’s favorite, according to Perry.

Coffee and bacon are paired together in Boca Java’s Maple Bacon Morning Coffee. Reviewers frequently mention its pleasing aroma and smooth taste. Of course, there’s also Joy the Baker’s Coffee Bacon Sandwich. Some people can’t get too much coffee and bacon.

Instant Coffee: A Presidential Invention?

George Washington invented the first mass-produced instant coffee. No, not THAT George Washington. This George Washington, whose first brand was called “Red E Coffee,” came up with his invention for American soldiers in WWI. The brew, according to most, didn’t taste very good, but soldiers in the trenches loved it.

Theodore Roosevelt had, according to his son, a coffee cup that was “more in the nature of a bathtub.” Roosevelt reportedly drank a gallon of coffee a day. He was also instrumental in helping Maxwell House come up with its famous slogan. One day when Roosevelt and Andrew Jackson were having coffee together, Roosevelt exclaimed, “Good to the last drop.”

The Cup of Joe Conspiracy

Where did the term “Cup of Joe” come from? It’s a good question. Theories abound, but no one knows for sure. Some think it started in the Navy in 1914. That’s when Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels prohibited alcohol on Navy vessels. The strongest drink left on board was coffee. Using a play on Daniels’ first name, the sailors started calling coffee a “cup of Joe.”

A second theory is that “Joe” is a combined, shortened version of two slang terms, java and jamoke. In fact, jamoke is a combination of java and mocha.

The third theory is also based on slang usage. First appearing in the English lexicon in approximately 1846, “Joe” was slang for the common man; therefore a “cup of Joe” became the drink of the common man. The term “cup of Joe” first appeared in the English language lexicon in 1930.

The Life of the Barista

The word barista is the Italian word for bartender. In the United States, baristas are the coffee shop artists who make your custom cup of coffee in the morning. It’s not easy being a barista. It takes a lot of patience to make coffee for people who haven’t had their first cup in the morning yet. Many baristas are college grads and have attended barista school. It takes time to become great, but top-level baristas compete in contests. There is even a United States Barista Championship. Who knows? You may be getting your favorite cup of coffee from the champ.

You Put What in Your Coffee?

People put some awfully strange things in coffee. How does smoked salmon cream cheese sound? Probably not good, but there are some additives that may appeal to your palate. Spices like cinnamon and nutmeg are tasty additions. Some swear that the taste of crushed bananas in coffee is heaven. Cocoa powder gives coffee a richer flavor. Ice cream in your cup turns a hot summer day into a delight. Scandinavian people like to mix a raw egg with the coffee grounds, believing it clarifies the coffee and gives it a sublime color.

Coffee: The Legend

It all started with dancing goats, or so the legend goes. Shepherds in Ethiopia discovered that after their goats ate coffee berries, from whence the seeds that are coffee beans come, the goats became lively and started dancing. African tribes originally ate coffee berries, which gave them an edible form of energy. Coffee is the second most traded commodity on the face of the earth. The first is oil.

Still a Student, After All (Lifelong Learning)

The Student Life, Thoughts · November 5, 2014, Wednesday

Hello! 😀 Guess what? I’ve almost completely recovered. Such a good feeling!

Me, Luana, with my headphones

I have completed an article for a client today and done some social media work for them, so I feel good and accomplished. Now, time to update my personal blog and have some fun with my Character Blogs, too. Yup!

So, today’s post is about studying. Oh, I know some of you will make a face and say, “nooo, studying is awful! All that yucky homework to get done, bleh!”.

Well, I know there are teachers out there who make it really hard to enjoy a subject (been there, done that), but that’s not the ‘studying’ I’m referring to.

I used to be a university student until 2012. A Computer Science undergraduate. I was really slow to progress on exams, though, because in addition to my health issues I had almost no background in Mathematics and computer architecture, so everything was new to me and I had to absorb it bit by bit.

Never mind, I told myself, I love it so much that it doesn’t matter how long I take to graduate, as long as I DO graduate, right?

Some people around me had different thoughts about the matter, though. Long story short, there was this strong idea that paying several years of tuition (albeit I paid half of it with my own money) for a student with health issues who doesn’t make steady progress wasn’t a good idea, so I was strongly pressured to quit.

[NOTE: I know I shouldn’t have cared about that idea, but not being financially independent and the excess stress and pressure added to my ‘malfunctioning’ and made studying almost impossible.]

I didn’t quit, though— I just put my studies on hold. I don’t pay tuition anymore, but my university ID is still active, so while I can’t take exams, I can still use the library and the CS lab.

I keep in touch with my old classmates, I attend to student reunions (in semi-incognito, as I can’t participate actively) and I give and get advice on subjects.

I still study. I believe in Lifelong Learning. I attend lectures every time I can drop by the faculty, I study lecture materials that professors put online and I email professors who know my story and agreed to keep an open channel with me. (They also hope I’ll be back as a full- or part-time student, some day!)

So you see, I’m still a student, after all. And I will never stop being one. I became a Lifelong Learner.

It’s not just my university. I keep studying thanks to free materials from MIT’s Open Courseware and public course pages, and websites like Coursera and Udacity that let you enroll to university-grade courses for free.

Some people now know they can’t do anything to stop me.

Besides, I’m a freelancer thanks to my multi-area studies. I tend to use what I learn, so it’s thanks to the notions of Linguistics if I can write a better English and do better text translations for clients; and it’s thanks to Automata Theory if I learned to recognize patterns behind a language (natural or artificial) and understand programming better.

And if I’m starting to get a name in the freelance marketing field, it’s because I studied Marketing and SEO on my own.

So this is really it: I can be taken out of university but, in a way, university can’t be taken out of me.

This is who I am, and I love it.

From Cold to Bronchitis… And I’m Sick Once Again

That Luana Me, The Freelance Life · October 24, 2014, Friday

Sickness as of 14-10-2014It started as a cold, I swear.

That was a tad more than a week ago, can’t remember exactly, but it looked like nothing serious. I kept on working, doing my stuff, going out and so on.

Bad joke, right? Over a week later, I’m home, working through the sickness while dreaming to spend a whole day in bed, resting as my body demands. And work is crap, because when you’re sick you’re not exactly in the mental shape to do things as they should be done. I feel kind of disconnected, my brain goes ways I don’t want it to go— and I don’t need a high fever to have that. A bit less than 100°F suffices.

I can barely sleep at night, always sneezing and coughing. I only slept 4 hours last night, and believe me, it can mess up my brain even worse. Not sure this blog post will make sense after I publish it, but well… I can say I tried, at least. (And my daughter Mandi Pope is an angel! She proofread the post for me. I love you, sweetie!)

So, I have a mild bronchitis now. My chest hurts and some other stuff I don’t want to write in detail (eww). I’m taking the whole weekend off to rest and recover, and I hope my freelance clients will understand that I need rest (oh, they do! But of course they need my blog posts, so I’m doing my best to heal quickly).

This is my to-do list for Monday 27:

That’s it, I guess. I don’t want to fill that up too much, because the stuff I listed doesn’t take ten minutes to get done, but I look forward to push it a little more next week, so I can get my backlog cleared.

And I hope to see my Love again, too, because I miss him badly. I haven’t seen him in almost two weeks now. Not cool. 🙁

Oh well. Lunch is almost ready, and then off to bed I go.

You take care, too, and careful that you don’t catch a bronchitis. I don’t want to learn that you’re going through the same crap as I do.

Love you all.