Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Holiday Reflection Typed By The Non-Dominant Hand

* I was a little hesitant about blogging this week because I really couldn't tell if I could type a long blog with just my left hand. My right arm will be in a fiberglass cast for two weeks, today's my second day of strong-hand immobility. It's starting to get itchy. You see I have extremely swollen ligaments around my right wrist that may become a major tear. Anyway, I've been online since coming home to San Pablo last Wednesday, I thought I might as well channel my status update-typing energy to that of a blog-typing one. And so here I am on this white text box composing my blog entry for this special week. Wow, I really type fast with one hand.

* It's a pleasure for me to report that our Yuletide Concert and Christmas Party last Saturday was a blast! A lot of people were there and we even had a gingerbread man-making contest sponsored by Ate Marisse. Of course the highlight of the party was the CAnton staff exchange gift. Everyone went wild because everybody got what they wanted. It was also a treat to celebrate the occasion with Segatron, LIME, and Yield Avenue. These guys really put on a show and they really enjoyed the food! I think Sega ate the most baked macaroni! Haha! 

* The CAnton gang had enough energy to go to Tagaytay and shoot the Sigaw music video by Yield Avenue. We were there from Monday to Wednesday. We actually shot the video on Monday and just spent the following days chilling, eating, and looking at the nighttime clouds. That was like a staff retreat for us, together with a few of our CAnton gang-mates. Well, it certainly did recharge us, our spirits not our bodies. Most of us got sick when we got home. We will resume the shoot at the cafe on the 27th. I would just like to thank Julius and his mom for letting us shoot in their house. To Sir TJ, thanks for doing this pro bono! And to Khitz and Yield Avenue for trusting us to help them in their music video.

* So that's what happened these past few days. We've been through a lot this year and I'm very pleased that the year ended on a high note. I'd like to share an illustration that I just thought of during one of my reflection times:

For those of you who have been blog readers since 2008 I guess you've read about one of my old illustrations that I always use on pep talks and speeches. The Vegetable Illustration. When I was a child I used to eat all the vegetables first on my plate so that I could enjoy the meat and the rice later. It means that you should do first what you are required to do before you can "fool around", act silly, and do what you want. 

Now for the new one, a somehow related thought. Clean your room first before you can play in it again. You see, we're a happy bunch of kids at the cafe, we love fun. But we had to deal with a lot of things and ball sheaths before we permit ourselves to be loose and have fun in our jobs. The year 2010 was a stressful year, and a lot of cleaning up was required. Example, leaving the old site and transferring to LB Square; the legal battles in LB Square. You can't just play and play. You have to be responsible enough to clean up your mess and other people's mess (if required) too. So the next time you see your room, think about yourself and let your room be a reflection of who you are.

* Jesus cleaned up our mess for us so that we could live in this world with freedom. Remember Him this Christmas and start cleaning your room, He wants us to enjoy it! Merry Christmas y'all!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Instant Coffee Goodness in Real Coffee

* I write many kinds of blogs for CAnton. Sometimes I write reflective/inspirational "heart" pieces. There are times when I just rant and type my heart out and then end the article neatly. There are also times when I just tell a story or report an event or occasion. When the noodle ain't working I resort to looking for a neat article to repost or when I run out of words to type I just do a photoblog with cool captions. But I also write informative blogs. It's one of those FYI types. Or "now you know" or "just so you know" kindathings.

* One night, the beautiful fairy that occasionally visits my mind reappeared and reminded me of the age old question, "how do you get people to drink espresso?" It's been a challenge for us baristas to promote the espresso as a beverage of accessible sophistication. It's a new concept here in our country, actually. Only a few people know that an espresso is just a shot of pure coffee joy joy. It's pure coffee joy joy if it's prepared well, it's pure coffee hell hell when it isn't prepared correctly. 

* I'm originally a fan of black coffee, it's not until the barista competitions and barista jams that I have found a renewed interest in drinking and preparing lattes and cappuccinos. I wanted people to taste the coffee and not the other stuff but then I realized that it's hard for people to transition from something familiar to something that is not within their comfort zone of taste. So I thought, as a barista, I have to facilitate the journey of young coffee drinkers, or what I like to call, The Coffee-Drinking Youth. 

* What's the most familiar coffee taste in the country? You're probably right, it's the taste of instant coffee. It goes well with pandesal every almusal. I have to admit, instant coffee still has a certain appeal to me. It's the kind of coffee most of us grew up with. And most Filipinos have already been endeared by its "safe" taste. Not too strong, not too sweet.

* We can't sell instant coffee at the cafe, that's for sure! But we can replicate it's taste! The concept of 30 mL shots fascinate me. So I tried to mix a shot of milk, a shot sugar syrup, and a shot of espresso in a cup. Then I added hot water. Kaboom. Bring on the pandesal. We promoted the drink last night and we got awesome feedback. Although it tastes like instant coffee, I told our customers that what they're drinking has a real shot of espresso in it. So you get the espresso and the familiar taste of instant coffee in one hot cup. It's a good transition drink, we will call it the Instant CAnton. Thank you LB for giving us the nickname CAnton. Try it tonight, if you have leftover pandesal, you can bring it. I like peanut butter, bring some too.

Monday, December 6, 2010

There's No "I" in Famly

* I'm a very very "hermitty" person. I mean, I can lock myself up in my room for days watching DVDs, playing NBA Live and stuff. All I need is a bag of supplies from 7-11. And I usually don't like guests inside the house because it would disrupt my tranquility. That is why the idea of "inviting people" into my life seems like a rather odd, ambivalent, push-and-pull, like-unlike,  oxymoronic paradigm to me. Oxymoronic paradigm? Is there such a thing? What?

* All these years of working at the cafe, several people have come and gone. And yet the CAnton gang remains a tightly knit group. It started small, mostly composed of my high school batchmates, but now we've formed a loosely organized clique with the cafe as the common denominator. My parents were right. These people have become my family here in LB. My two older sisters have their own families to take care of and I have the cafe. 

* Uh, no we're not an arrested development kind of group that can't move on with life and swings life away drinking coffee and playing boardgames. I'd rather see ourselves as people who aren't rushing life but are mature enough to handle the real world. I like that, I just thought of that last night. I was in "muni-muni" mode while I was reading Mon's book, Why does Popcorn Pop. 

* That's what I am actually, a person who is not in a hurry to grow old but has matured enough to handle whatever sh*t the world gives him. It's a subject for pep talks, definitely. There's no "I" in famly. You can see that, look at it again. And without a famly, in whatever context it is, you can't have that too many roadtrips. Someone has to drive and pay for the gas. Hehe. Yeah! 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Double Ristretto Americano with a Shot of Milk, a Pump of Vanilla, 14 mL of Sugar Syrup with Some Cinnamon, Please!

* I just woke up at 5:00 pm today. What a slob. My throat felt a little dry and my head was as heavy as whatever-metaphor-you-could-think-of-that-relates-to-the-word-heavy (because I can't think of one right now). What a great way to start the day! Nothing a little Pito-Pito tea would heal. So I put 3 more tea bags into my backpack before I left for the cafe. Strummed some songs on the guitar after taking a bath for good measure. Assurance of a good day? Haha, not really. Who would have thought that singing a song to yourself before leaving the house is a good form of motivation? You do that? Okay.

* Most of the Christmas decorations are up, what a pleasant sight as I approached the cafe's frontage. It sure takes away all the stress. The Yummings Super Bake Sale is ongoing too, I had a sampler of the choco truffle (sweets pa!). 

*  The CAnton staff had a long day yesterday. We started the day with a reflection from Matthew Paul Turner's book The Coffeehouse Gospel. And then we had a pictorial of our food and drinks. I give kudos to the men and women who dedicated their lives making the food and drinks for the shoot and the brave man who took the photos. You are very brave indeed. After that, new barista, Ian, and I went to their house to get their fun van. That's because the crew decided to shop for Christmas decor supplies at SM City San Pablo. Unfortunately, the van had a flat tire. It took Ian and I an eternity to change the tire and have it vulcanized. We ended up with dirty hands and wet clothes, that's because it rained very hard. Perfect timing. However, the incident was a bonding experience for us, good times.

* When we got back from San Pablo we installed the lights at the al fresco area and stared at it for quite a long time. Then we decided to let Kuya Jeg and the girls handle the decor for the cafe's interiors. The boys, on the other hand, played Counter Strike. After closing the shop, the rest of the crew joined in. Counter Strike, not the decorating. We finished before 5 am. And that' we roll.

* We'll be giving away these cards (see photo above) this December when you order and you'll get 20 pesos off on any coffee-based drink on your next order. I'll be printing them tonight. Cafe Antonio Sessions XII is on Saturday, be there! Buy a LIME shirt!