How McDonald’s Messed Up Styrofoam

I’m posted before about how wonderful McDonald’s Premium Roast coffee tastes. I’ve also expressed how that seems to go against everything that’s right in the universe. I mean, really good coffee? From McDonald’s??!?!?!. But alas, it’s true.

That being said, while they may understand how to brew good coffee, they apparently haven’t figured out physics. Or perhaps they haven’t figured out Styrofoam. Let me explain.

In the photo above, you’ll see that McDonald’s has taken a regular Styrofoam cup, and covered it with paper. Perhaps so no one realizes they are still using Styrofoam, since it’s so environmentally taboo? Who knows. Anyway, you’ll see the mysterious coffee that happens to be under the paper. Anyone who drinks McDonald’s coffee very often has had a cup drip from the bottom. It’s very frustrating because you don’t expect a drip from the bottom, and since it’s dripping from underneath the paper sheath — there is no way to stop the drip. It stains your pants, your shirt, your desk, your paperwork, etc.

How does the coffee get there you might ask? Well, the answer is physics. Look at the following photo:

What starts as a small imperfection in the top of the Styrofoam cup, turns into a physics dynamo, which pumps coffee directly from under the lid onto your pants. If the paper weren’t there, you’d get an occasional drip, which your thumb would catch, at which point you’d simply adjust the lid so it no longer leaks. Thanks to the paper coating, however, the drip is quietly and sinisterly absorbed into the paper. It then wicks all the way down the cup, and begins randomly dripping from around the entire bottom of the cup.

The first few months of this were maddening. I thought I just kept getting leaky cups. It turns out it was much more complex. So my only suggestion to fellow McDonald’s coffee drinkers? Drink fast. Wicking is relatively slow. And the most frustrating part? Throw the cup away after you’re finished. I tended to use my McDonald’s cup all day, to save on disposables. If you keep using the flawed design, the dripping gets worse and worse.

So there you have it, your lunchtime physics lesson. 🙂

Fire and Smoke, Awesome Edition

Yesterday I blogged about my day of awesome. There was one little thing I left out — the family bought me a combination early Father’s Day and birthday gift in the form of an awesome grill!

If you think an awesome grill would have propane fire, quite frankly you don’t know the awesomeness that is charcoal. Here you can see me with my ninja cooking utensils and my chimney starter full of burning briquettes. (If you don’t have a chimney starter, go buy one. You’ll be thankful you did.)

Just out of frame is a bowl of soaking hickory chips. I debated whether to use hickory or mesquite, but since it’s the beginning of summer, I figure I can alternate all year. Because really there’s no wrong answer. Mmmmmm…

I hope your weekend is half as good as mine. I’d wish it to be as awesome, but I fear you might explode. 🙂

My New Year’s Resolutions

I figure, if I make them publicly, I’ll have slightly more motivation to keep them. In the end, it won’t likely matter, because let’s face it — you aren’t the boss of me. (Well, not true, a few of you might actually be the boss of me. Your powers are limited to the ability of adding a new resolution to my list that looks something like “get a job” though…)

Anyway, in no particular order, here’s what I hope to do in 2010:

1) Finish the project I’m horribly behind on.

Unfortunately, it’s a time sensitive project, and the time has long since passed the sensitive zone. The people I’m working with on this project are incredibly wonderful to work with, and beyond understanding when it comes to my crazy schedule — but I gotta be honest, they deserve better. I’d like to get this particular resolution done in January.

2) Learn to use a Linux video editor.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a zealot when it comes to Linux. I’m really not. Here’s the deal though, I’d really like to make the videos I do for Linux Journal on a Linux machine. It just seems like the right thing to do. My lack of motivation for switching has been because I can already edit video really efficiently on OSX, and it took me a long time to learn Final Cut. Still, I’d like to use Linux as my primary system, so this is a goal. (Kris Occhipinti has been a huge motivation on this front. Thanks Kris.)

3) Change the way I eat.

Note: This is not a, “Lose Weight” resolution. This is an, “Eat Better” resolution. There are two major problems with my current eating lifestyle: Quantity & Quality. Once I finish resolution #1, hopefully I can take some of that time to actually cook food. I still eat at restaurants way too often.

4) Exercise.

I’ll be honest, this is the least likely resolution I’ll be able to accomplish. Donna convinced me to go into the local gym every morning and work out with her for a month. Since I’ll have to pay for the membership, I’ll do my best to accomplish it. Perhaps walking on a treadmill next to Donna will make it less horrifying. Man, I really hate exercise…

5) Write a Book.

I don’t care if it’s a little all year, or a cram session in November (NaNoWriMo), I really want to write a book. I’m not sure if I’ll start with fiction or technology — but I must write a book. Really.

So that’s it. It’s a lot, but I purposefully didn’t put anything on there I don’t think I can accomplish. If all you’re lacking for your New Year’s Resolutions is the commitment to make them, feel free to do so in the comment section. If you slip up, we’ll know. Well, ok, only if you tell us. But still, feel free to commit below. 🙂

Happy New Year’s!!!!

Tofu: The Other, Other, OTHER White Meat

Yes, I like to eat this stuff plain.  But only *real* tofu, not that weird, jiggly Silken stuff.  Bleh.In my attempt to de-fattify myself, I find that cooking is a must. You see, it’s just too easy to buy fast food. And, it’s like, fast and stuff. When I cook, I tend to cook vegan, or at least very vegetarian. I think it takes a REALLY good cook to make something delicious when you don’t have meat as a flavoring ingredient. Plus, veggies are absurdly expensive to buy fresh, and if you add meat to the budget, well, the restaurant starts to look reasonably priced…

Yesterday we bought tofu. I really love tofu. I can eat hunks of tofu cold, and think it’s a great snack. (My family vehemently disagrees with me, but whatever) Seriously though, tofu is often thought of as a way to cram protein into a vegetarian dish — honestly, I just think it’s cool how versatile it is. I mean really, it’s a blank slate flavor-wise. That means you can make it taste any way you like. Heck, I’ve even seen people cook tofu in lard, so it takes like meat, but I’ve never really understood such a procedure. (Just buy meat!)

Anyway, this tofu is going into a huge pot of miso soup. So yes, it’s basically soybeans in soybean soup. But I’ve added veggies, so it’s not all soybeans. 🙂 I make miso soup with spinach instead of wakame, because my family DOES NOT like seaweed. Oh well, they eat tofu. I suppose I can’t complain!