Monthly Archives: February 2011

“Keep It Down Out There!” or “25 going on 90”

Intro note: This post will paint me as a bitter old woman.


There are about four bars on my block, two of them located directly across the street from my apartment. Whenever I miss a night out at one of these bars, I constantly wonder what cool, party-scene I lost my chance of joining. Luckily, my bed is pushed up against the front wall of my building, allowing me to hear every single incident that occurs outside. This is great when those four bars start to empty out their drinkers into the street in the middle of the night, so that I can live vicariously through the sounds of people who don’t give a damn about drinking on any given night of the week because a scene’s a scene, and they will not miss it. Phew! I am still in touch.

Case in point: Last night around 2am, I woke up to a rap battle in full-swing outside of one of the bars across from my window. That’s pretty cool, right? Two guys going back and forth spitting words, with a crowd around them egging them on. Spontaneous awesomeness. Who needs sleep? I wish I was out there sitting on the curb watching, maybe even filming it for my documentary-in-progress titled “Life in the East Village: What Goes On At 2am”*. Or maybe I’d jump in and spit my own lines “My name is Mel! I cannot spell!…”

But that’s all looking back.

When I was actually in the moment, recognition of the coolness was nowhere to be found. I had the following thoughts:

  • Um… is this for real right now? I don’t even want to know what time it is
  • Okay, I’ll check my cell phone, but the bright lights are going to hurt my eyes and possibly cause my brain to really start to wake up, which is the ultimate worst case scenario
  • It’s 2am! Can I open the window and tell them to keep it down out there??
  • Yeah right.. “keep it down.” I might as well throw curlers in my hair and trade my t-shirt for a nightgown before I lean out the window.
  • Wait a minute, when did I stop being part of the young crowd?! I’m still young!
  • … but I’m not hanging with the young crowd, I went to bed at 10pm like an old lady… man I wish I was a little cooler right now
  • Maybe if I peak out the window I’ll see other people peaking out theirs, and we can all make eye contact and through a series of head nods agree to start a revolution!
  • No Mel, this is not a movie.
  • Damn, it’s 2:30 now. Best just to plug up my window with pillows and put the heat on to drown out the sound…
  • 3am: zzzZzz

Now it’s 7am, my brain is throbbing, and I think no amount of coffee will save me (or so I’ll find out as I drink my way through the day). Note to self: when looking for my next apartment, avoid one with a bar across the street from the bedroom. Though I still kinda wish I could’ve been on the street for the battle.

*I’m not actually making an East Village documentary.

The Cheap Coffee Experiment

Hello, my name is Melanie, and I’m a caffeine junky.
Now that we’re done with introductions, I’m going to tell you a story about coffee this morning while I sit here and sip mine (while eating a pancake).

Ever since my best friend got me my own coffee maker, I have been buying my own ground coffee beans and making a cup in the morning. If you’d click on that last hyperlink and read the post, you’d see that I used to be an instant-coffee-when-I’m-at-home kind of girl, for no other reason than simplicity and I’m easy to please (heh).

Coffee addict

The first ground coffee beans I bought myself were at Associated supermarket, from one of those “grind the beans yourself” machines. I filled a white bag with whole beans hailing from some part of Africa, poured it into the machine to grind, payed $9.99/lb, and went home. The first cup I made was freakin’ smooth and amazing (isn’t everything, compared to instant?), making my caffeine habit a liiiittle worse.

Since that first bag I’ve tried a few different brands of coffee, always looking for a new favorite that is easy on my wallet. Because that’s what people do in NYC when they have really high rent (unless they’re rich people, and I’m not those people). This weekend I was at Key Food grocery shopping, and coffee was on my list, so I got to the aisle and surveyed my options again. On one side of the aisle there was the grind-your-own station at $9.95/lb again, and jars of well-known brands like Folgers and Chock Full O Nuts both for around $6. On the other side were bricks of vacuum sealed coffee for $2 under the brand Cafe Bustelo, and other Latin names I’ve never tried.

cheap coffee

As someone who works in marketing, I know that brands often charge a premium price to give consumers the perception of a high-end product. I started thinking–am I paying $4 more for brand name coffee, just because of who they think they are? I let my thoughts completely snowball until I was absolutely convinced that Bustelo coffee would not only be as good, but better. Hah! These coffee guys can’t fool me! Damn the man!


I made my first cup of Bustelo this morning. Cut open the vacuum sealed bag, the air swooped in and carried the coffee bean smell out and I thought: this will be wonderful. I brewed it, took a sip. As it reached the back of my tongue, a bitterness engulfed my taste buds evoking a wince on my face in the middle of my kitchen. The verdict? It’s not good. So… sometimes low price does indeed mean low quality. This coffee fail will follow me for two more weeks as I work through the bitter brick in my fridge.

Doesn’t the fridge keep ground coffee fresher? Or am I wrong again?


My Office Director, Paola, who hails from Ecuador, just walked over to let me know that this brand of coffee is made especially for espresso machines. It even says it on the headline packaging. Heh.. heh..

New Song: Back Of My Eyelids

It seems that I’m not posting anything but songs these days.. but hey, it’s still me talking, right? 🙂