Monday, July 6, 2015

Interstellar... And other stuff...

This year I had one of the most interesting experiences of my life: I spent a good five minutes on Christmas Day, sitting on a bench in a movie theatre with my head in my hands thinking about the day that I will die. (Sorry, WARNING THIS IS KINDA REALLY SAD AND DEPRESSING). But in all seriousness, the pit in my stomach while sitting on that bench was so painful. The idea of one day I will take a final breath on this earth, and in a bodily, earthly form cease to exist is an incredible idea. People spend their entire lives ignoring that thought and moving day to day life whirring by, and here I am, a twenty year old mess of a human being who had to take a break from the only good Matthew McConaughey movie I think I have ever seen (for the record not a fan of his looooong syllables) to relax his mind of the thought of not existing.

When you think about it, it really doesn't seem like it should be all that of an outlandish thought. Known history, obviously dependant on whether you believe God created the earth a few thousand years ago, or you believe that the earth is millions of years old and has evolved from a desolate empty planet to the beautiful world we are in, well it is much bigger than our own life spans. I have been on this earth for 20 years. Twenty very short years as compared to the entire timeline of this universe in which we live in. For the history of the written world, the earth has been here for at least 300 times the amount of time I have been here. So the thought of me, as a person not existing for a time is not that outlandish whatsoever. 

I wouldn't be the first person to say that I am scared of dying, I am scared of not existing on this Earth. I do believe in Heaven and I do believe that being there for the rest of eternity is the absolute culmination of happiness. I am also going on faith. Faith can be tricky, in basic non religion terms, faith can mean basically anything. I can have 'faith' that the Blackhawks will win another Stanley Cup in my lifetime (re-reading this on July 6th #ICANPREDICTTHEFUTURE). There are the Cub 'faithful', that are fanatics of the Chicago Cubs. Something can be promised in 'good faith' and someone could be breaking 'faith' by not showing up for a promised event. There are seven dictionary definitions of the word Faith, as according to Most if not all of those definitions revolve around the ideal of trust. In layman's terms, Faith is Trust. 

This all reminds me of my bible class from the private school I went to when I was younger. Particularly a class in which our teacher, Mr. Brink explained how important faith and trust is, in life and in christianity (and by extension, all of faith-based religions of the world). He started off by explaining how our senses and bodies are very much trust based as well. You trust that your eyes and transmitting the correct electrical pulses to your brain of what you are seeing. You trust that there isn't something being missed, such as a light pole directly in front of you. If you hit that pole, you would expect your feeling of touch to tell the rest of your body that you hit something and that you could be hurt. Same thing with your other senses. However there are times where our senses can 'mess with us'. I am sure that anyone can relate with hearing or seeing something that isn't there, your hand or foot being numb or not being able to smell something. We trust our senses, we trust our brain interpreting those senses. Our brains can create massively complex worlds and scenarios through pure creativity both conscious and subconscious through dreams. Even though dreams may feel real, we trust that when we wake up, our senses return to our own physical conscious world and we trust that, that is the true world we live in and not that of the dream subconscious. 

Of course from then on are the endless complexities of the brain and so on. The point is, we trust our bodies. We trust our senses. And because of our belief and trust in the endless complexities of these, it is not at all impossible to have faith and trust in a God that created all of that, and then on, Heaven. 

So to return to the beginning, while I was sitting there on a break from Interstellar, while all of these thoughts were racing through my mind significantly faster than any of McConaughey's lines (seriously though... I do not like him) , I realized that I probably was not alone, I am not the first or only human being to have these thoughts by a ridiculous amount. So take solace in that fact. 

And because I mentioned it, my thoughts from Interstellar... 

Jonathan and Christopher Nolan are seriously one of the best writing/direction duos in my opinion (FRIENDLY REMINDER: this is my blog this is all my thoughts and opinions). And a requirement of their movies is a lot of thinking.... a lot.

Matthew McConaughey... well... He is the Christina Aguilera of Hollywood Actors, making his lines last longer than anyone else. Which is probably why Interstellar was about 30-45 mins longer than I thought it would be.

Other than the pathetic existential crisis it caused me to have on Christmas (thanks Nolan bros...), it was definitely one of the best movies I have seen. The complexity of the storyline is incredible, along with the cinematic prowess of Christopher, it makes for a long but overall attention getting movie.

Also TARS and CASE were the best characters in the movie.. hands down..

ANYWAY. Now that this post has literally gone in every which way it possibly could have gone, and that it is 4:38am and my computer has 7% battery, definitely going to wait and proofread this (delete that last thought after proofread) I am going to leave this here for whoever would like to read it.

All the above is the thoughts of a 20 year old college student that does not know everything, or even a fraction of the knowledge of the world, Don't take it 100% seriously..

So Today is July 6th and I wrote that on January 3rd, I was honestly too scared to go back and read this because I never know what my mind does with that little sleep.

Thanks and DFTBA. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Coffee Master.

So this past week, I was officially certified as a coffee master for Starbucks. Whenever I mention this I get the same few questions.

1. What is a coffee master?

2. Does that mean you get a raise?

Well I am writing the first part of this post to answer those questions; and to make it so I did not have to think that long for a title for this post.

A coffee master is someone who has taken the time to learn more about the coffee we serve as well as the practices we as a company employ to ensure the sustainability of the coffee industry as a whole and the areas that produce the coffee used worldwide at Starbucks stores. It is usually an 8 to 12 week course that is completely voluntary and really does not give you any raise or anything other than the satisfaction of having customers come to you specifically for information regarding basically anything in store.

(for the record that is my own definition and if you look it up and anything I said is incorrect well... Sorry bout your life)

The other perk about being a coffee master is that you get a "sexy black apron" and yes that is how it was originally described to me. Just imagine the normal green apron you see whenever you go to a store, only it's black and has the word coffee master under the logo.

Yes. The apron is a perk. It's cool guys, I swear.

I had spent an hour every other tuesday since the beginning of April working towards a half of an hour in the afternoon of June 30th. It seems like it may have been a waste of time when you strictly break down the "perks" versus how much time was put into it. But honestly it was probably the most exciting thing I have been able to accomplish in the last few months. I now am a source of information for my customers that already enjoy coming to my store who want to know a little bit more about how the company operates outside of the stores.

Most people look at Starbucks as a large corporation that makes 'high priced, high calorie drinks' and does not care about the people who work for them or well anyone not spending a RIDICULOUS 2 DOLLARS AND 29 CENTS FOR A CUP OF COFFEE (at my store/indianapolis area). Admittedly those people are half right, Starbucks is a large corporation that has offices and stores all over the world and a lot of the drinks that we make are high in calories, sugar, and compared to Mcdonalds anything, overpriced. However, the average person only sees what Starbucks calls 'The Last Ten Feet', they completely ignore the thousands of miles and possibly hundreds of hands that have touched the coffee from beginning to end.

When coffee beans that haven't been boiled or roasted are planted in the ground and allowed to flourish and grow, that coffee bean won't be an adult, coffee cherry producing tree for 3 years at the minimum. The trees are taken care of and are given the right amount of nutrients and water to grow to produce high quality arabica beans that we are used to seeing in coffee everywhere. I am not really going to go that in-depth into the coffee roasting process and everything that goes into it.

But just as an example of how Starbucks takes care of their investment (which is a huge investment by the way), almost every coffee bean that is purchased by Starbucks (that's right we actually don't produce the beans that we use, It's almost all purchased from independent farmers) is what Starbucks calls C.A.F.E. certified. C.A.F.E Practices are Coffee and Farmer Equity practices, more or less every single bean has a paper trail/person history of where it was grown, who handled it, how much was paid for the coffee, how much the people who grew the coffee are paid etc... Along with every farm being evaluated by a third party to make sure that the farm and the people who work on it are treated fairly and compensated fairly. This also includes creating a positive environment for the workers that includes building clean water wells for the community and sometimes even schools for the families.

In 2014, 96% of the coffee Starbucks purchased was C.A.F.E certified. That's almost 400 million pounds of unroasted green coffee beans. The goal is to have 100% C.A.F.E certified by the end of this year. That also includes a decent amount of the coffee being Certified Organic and Fairtrade Certified. There is a yearly responsibility report that you can see on the starbucks website here:

As you can probably see from me babbling on about coffee for a few paragraphs is that I REALLY enjoy my job. You can ask all of my family members about how I never really stop talking about my job. I just get really frustrated when I hear people talk negatively about my company or people who really don't understand what all goes into making it so easy for you to be able to get the quality drinks that millions of people really take for granted in this era of instant gratification and never-stop mentality. If you take a minute and really enjoy that cup of coffee in the morning, the latte before work, or the frappuccino on your day off and the journey that all of the ingredients have taken to make it so easy for you to enjoy. Then you can kind of use that to enjoy and not take for granted all of the things that make today what it is.

Just kind if a closing note, For most of the beans that are used in a cup of coffee, each bean has probably travelled farther in its production than you have in a couple of years.

Thank you to those who actually took the time to read this, I really appreciate everyone who does. Hopefully it won't be that long until my next post