2013-11-22

Another Good Day

Days start at 0630 hours, in theory.

Following an ordinary day at the cafe (ornamented by a tea tasting session, thanks to a prospective supplier), I had dinner chat and coffee with a former classmate, and her former classmate.

It was fun to just hang out, and talk about life for a bit, with a stranger and an acquaintance. This month I actually have some sort of a life routine that I can point at and talk about. All present had spent some time in Malaysia, and some outside.

I had the opportunity to show them a new pop-up third-wave espresso place near our meeting place, and then ended up telling them much about the industry as I have experienced it over the past 10 months. I knew some of the baristas at the pop-up, and had seen some of the customers before, so I felt as if I was in an industry community where I had something useful to say. (This is rare.)

Later I got called to play DoTA, and thought about how I have made that too a part of my social life, despite lacking special affection for the game otherwise; just as I have little special love for coffee. Both local communities have been kind to me, and to that extent, from my nerd point of view, as a guy whose main preoccupations are studying, I am grateful for what they have thrown my way.

Now I write in my car. I will nap until the DoTA folks announce quorem, or the lack thereof, for tonight's game. Later I will drive home, rest, and return to the cafe for an 8am opening shift.

Life is good. For a little while.

Also today I came to the epiphany that a guy who can feel at home everywhere should not date a girl who cannot feel at home anywhere. A reflection on a past relationship.

0224 hours. On the drive home.

Hit me again.

0354 hours. Just before bed. My study documentation is in a bit of a mess. Cutting corners, I need to link these for tomorrow's post-shift study:

2013-11-21

A Good Day

All consulting job applications bounced. Phew. Due-D done, options further reduced. Till next time!

Freedom is a curse upon the living.

Recently changed my CV copy to demand balance sheet responsibility. Makes me even harder to hire, but I get more study time. :p

Reflections on someone saying that I sometimes give too much credit: Give credit when none is due. Under promise, over deliver. Do work for free. Customise lessons to the student. Be professional. Be kind.

Excursion to LowYat: Galaxy Note (III) 8.0 rm1200. Touchscreen notebooks. And other shit I don't need. Good job world. We've come a long way, baby.

On buying food for the colleagues: Happiness is a warm tummy. Heheh.

I need to print more study material before bed: Falling asleep at desk reading about financial statements. Switching to Haskell-MongoDb and realising that I want the monad tutorial. >_< Haskell typesystem. We meet again. Turning into that guy who studies a database driver for a summer to remember how to use the language that the driver is written for.

Life is good. For a little while.

I miss her but I've got nothing she needs. So I stay away. #emoStory

Gotta open shop in a few hours. First, much driving and sleep. So time to hit the road again... Home. Great day, working to this point of exhaustion, but it is dangerous. I have almost lost fingers and killed people by accident before.

Non-con

All consulting job applications bounced. Phew. Due-D done, options further reduced. Till next time!

2013-11-20

Latte Art Calibrations

So (over a span of several weeks) during the training for latte art, I have asked the folks whom I report to if we can have specific targets of art styles to emulate. The answer has been no, and that instead we should deliver what is considered "pretty to the customer," which eventually led me to think of how we should design a survey with minimum bias to determine what latte art customers would find "pretty."

Should it be like Facemash, where we structure a primarily binary choice between two milk drawings selected to isolate a particular parameter? Or should we simply throw random sets of images at customers and as for a "prettiness rating," from 1-5. Perhaps in the latter case, customers should be first asked to identify their "prettiest," and "least pretty," image from the given set of images, so that we can normalise the distribution of their ratings.

Just a few thoughts which I really shouldn't be bothering with on my day off from work. I'll try to avoid thinking about this, and to come back to it when I am on shift.
Conversation continue, none the less, and since it is a on a narrowband medium (Whatsapp), I offer that "pretty latte art," on Google is probably a safe mean, less then etching and hard foam. Also, a couple of popular tutorials published by other cafes was brought up, so I will be emulating those directly.

Statigram searches by hashtag, sorted by likes, also works. This was insight from a colleague.

Day 20 on the job purely as a trainee barista. Things look swell, albeit a little mundane. But that is where the rest of my hobbies come in, I suppose. Here's to a simple life. For now.

Espresso Calibration

Shared this with some friends:
So this is the kind of pre-scientific stuff that I get to think about at work, these days.

This example is a slide prepared to lay out my thoughts to my colleagues (based on data, etc.) regarding two shots of espresso, and what we should do next. We go through DOZENS of such iterations in a day. Each iteration takes a competent operator 1-3 minutes to tweak a variable and test it, and costs $1-3 of raw material, on a setup costing about $21,000.

Often, we don't talk about every dimension of available data. I hope that in the future, a more rigorous framework can be designed by which people in the industry do more consideration of all available data.
Someone asked what the end goal was.
The process? Espresso tastes like shit unless you fix it up every few hours or so... so you have to keep re-calibrating it. Yes, the aficionados who are actually excited about coffee look for the "god shots".

My own goals? This job pays my bills and doesn't require me to sit down. The rest is stuff I'm told to do. Not shooting for any rockstar barista WTF here. I have too many other things to focus on... :(

Optimisations

Moved financial statements analysis textbook and MongoDB-Haskell notes to cafe locker. Will study those at the cafe. Perhaps then, math can be done at home and on the road.