There’s a Day for This?!

National Coffee Day: an annual event for the celebration and enjoyment of the popular beverage coffee.

i just learned about the existence of this observation yesterday.  My morning cup of coffee sits on the desk in front of me at this moment.  My arms are positioned to either side of it while i type.

Now it is empty, having just reached the ideal temperature to quaff in large amounts.  Back in the days of lounging at the coffee shop for hours like it was a Parisian cafe, we would have said it was PCT: Perfect Chugging Temperature.

Coffee has been an important part of my life since i was…however old you are in like 7th grade.  What is that, like 12 or 13?  Somewhere around there.  There’s an old RPG from the late 80’s called Talislanta that was unique for the vast amount of races you could choose from to create your character.  One of them is the Jaka, a race of cat-people.  They had a great fondness for a hot beverage called “mochan.”  Imagine my surprise to find a tin of that very thing in our cupboard at home.  Was International Delights somehow connected to the fantasy realm?  Was my mom aware of this connection?  Either way, here was my opportunity to find out first hand what these mysterious cat-people were enjoying so much.
A few unmeasured spoonfuls of the powdery stuff got dumped into an empty mug.  It was reconstituted by what i can only surmise was incredibly strong coffee that i’d made, again with unmeasured spoonfuls.  The resulting liquid looked intimidating.  Dark, steaming, swirling from the residual force of a vigorous stir.  i’d be lying if i said at least a little part of me didn’t think that once i imbibed the concoction, i’d be transported to another world.
i was hooked.  The alchemical mixture (that’s how i thought of it) was instantly delicious.  There was a chocolately-ness to it and something else.  Something strong and bold that made my mind awaken.  This was definitely magical.  Probably why those cat-people had such alert senses.
A little research this morning revealed that the mochan beverage so beloved by the cat-people is a product specialty of another of Talislanta’s myriad races: the Kasmir.  They are wizened, short, hook-nosed race of nomadic desert people known for being adept with money matters, who eloquently point out the absurd (i.e. complain a lot), but have a good sense of humor in contrast despite frequent persecution and hostility in the places they roam and settle.  Anyone who knows me well will no doubt find it quite amusing that my adventure with coffee began thanks to them.  Think about that for a moment.
In honor of this day, a newly-discovered holiday for me, i have just finished my second cup of coffee.  i have a lot of work to do today, and will no doubt go to the well – or pot, or carafe – a few more times.  Probably more than i typically would.  Did you know that up to 6 cups of coffee per day is considered good for your health?  Take that with a cube of sugar though.  It’s not too difficult to find facts to support your argument on the internet.  For every “this is good for you” article there’s a “this is terrible for you” counterpoint.
Funny side story: when i used to work at this one coffee shop, this girl that worked there throughout the course of the day explained to us that milk was bad for the body and pointed out all the awful things it did to your health.  Later in the day, she extrapolated on the benefits of XTC, how it was good for your body and so forth.  i remember laughing about what she’d said.  She got offended and asked why i was laughing.  i pointed out that she had alternately informed us how milk was so bad but street drugs so good.  She said she’d read articles about these things (this was pre-Internet).  See what i mean?  In the hyper-information age, you can live your life however you like and there’s plenty of material out there to support your decisions.
It’s your world, we’re just living in it.


Long Shot:  typically shows the entire object or human figure and is usually intended to place it in some relation to its surroundings.

This is a term that a friend used to describe frequent schemes that had low odds of success.  The earliest use was back in 2003 (i think) when a writing partner and i, after multiple rejections of spec scripts we submitted to various film studios, decided to just make our own film.  At that time, a mutual friend of ours dubbed us “The Longshot Brothers” because we so often took chances on things.  This was coming off a stint of spontaneous one-way trips to Europe and across the US, and the aforementioned collection of spec material.
Over the years the concept of the long shot has endeared itself to me and the myriad permutations of the term have come to represent my outlook.  Despite the connotation that a long shot is something with little to no chance of winning, i think it is important to focus on the latter portion of that definition.  Maybe that’s naive, or just plain dumb.  Or dumber.

*For the curious, that film was completed: Bad Service

i sat in front of the computer screen a few minutes ago staring at the blinking cursor in the space where you input the name of your soon-to-be blog.  Catchy names eluded me.  Concerns of pigeon-holing myself with a constrictive title focusing on one aspect of myself plagued me.  Self-conscious thoughts of what i wanted to represent dogged me.  Finally the idea came to me: The Long Shot.  The definition of the term, that readers first encounter here at the beginning of this post, spoke to me in a profound way.  i don’t know for certain what will evolve from this project, but whatever it is, i hope that it shows me as a whole person and where i fit into my surroundings.

As a side note, i’ll be continuing to use the lower-case “i” in reference to myself.  i can’t tell you exactly when it was, but i have a fuzzy memory of learning about the usage of the letter in elementary school.  Used as a pronoun it is, of course, grammatically correct to capitalize it whereas other pronouns (like he or she) are left in the lower case.  i remember thinking to myself “that’s weird,” and ever since then i’ve stuck to using the lower case, even at the beginning of a sentence.  As something of a grammar nerd, but also someone who enjoys being a little different, i guess it’s my way of thumbing my nose at the rules.  i know the correct way to use it, but i’m just not going to.  It’s also worth noting that there is no known record of a definitive explanation for this capitalization practice.  So i’ll leave you with a challenge: show me some definitive proof as to why it should be capitalized, and i’ll seriously reconsider my conviction.