Greensboro Coffe House Tour- Day One

This morning I began my tour of Greensboro Coffee Houses at 'Coffee at the Summit'.

Coffee at the Summit has been a favorite haunt of mine for some time now, although I'd not nearly qualify as a regular. Since it is near my office, I typically just drop in for a to-go cup and quick hello to the owner- I enjoy his dedication to the community and, particularly, the youth as he promotes music education as a means of touching the hearts and lives of local youth.

From their website: "In a unique coffee house in the heart of the Aycock Historic District. We are dedicated to providing the residential and business communities with a welcoming place to fellowship and network with friends, family, and associates. We offer a delectable array of food and drinks to suit all tastes in a comfortable, friendly atmosphere that invites you to relax and enjoy yourself. Oh yes, we also serve an excellent cup of coffee !"

My (humble and totally unqualified) review:
  • coffee: Upon entering I was given a large black coffee- Albeit flavored. I'm not into flavored coffees- they just don't taste as good as they smell, to me. But I did appreciate the service. My second cup was a delicious Americano- I'd say 3.5 out of 5. Tasty, hot and strong- A bit more water than In prefer, and no crema... although I'm not sure if this is a fair expectation. Somehow they pulled crema on an Americano in Paris, but don't know if that's typical.
  • Atmosphere: An easy 5 of 5... absolutely love being in this 98 year-old victorian house. Amazing renovations highlight all the best features, includes a stunning wrap-around front porch.
  • People watching: I'm amazed that there are not more folks wandering around this place. Three people stopped in for a bit, but not too long. I really think this business is just an undiscovered gem and hope that more people find it soon! To his credit the owner has kept the outside very unpretentious, althoug this may cause passerbys to not notice as much. Anyway, people watching oppotunites are few and far behind.
  • Proximity to home: 7.45 miles from home- it takes me from 10 to 20 minutes to get here, depending on traffic. Not too close to home, although it is seconds from work and another establishment I frequent.
  • Wi-fi: Is free and unlimited!
  • Price: Went with a friend of mine and we paid $7.42 for four large coffees- $1.85 a cup! Outstanding.
  • Music: Stan is a jazz aficiando and hence the music here is spectacular- and as it turns out, the cd we were listening to was made by the group of kids he teaches; I never would have guessed it- So interesting and professional...
  • Miscellaneous:
    • pros:
      • Well thought design and atmosphere.
      • Friendly and knowledgeable barista
      • I proudly spend my money here, knowing that it is going to support a number of worthwhile issues/ causes- music education, reaching out to youth at risk, African-American owned small-business, etc...
    • cons:
      • parking is an issue- I'm not sure if the lot next door is permitted.
      • the shop was not yet open when I arrived at 9am, but opened shortly thereafter. While inconvenient, this somehow added some charm.
      • I really like to have my 'for here' coffee served in a mug, rather than a to-go cup. Nit picky- I agree.
Another blog I ran across that mentions CATS.

Come here often?

Well hello there- Long time no see. What an inappropriate way to end a blog. Sorry bout that.

Lots of changes here since last we spoke... but I'm not in the mood to get into it. Summer's here and, as usual, I'm trying to start a bunch of ambitious projects I'll never finish (write book, get a personal trainer, start a garden to end all gardens, etc.) mostly to put of the projects I should really be working on (clean out my townhouse, which has sat unused, besides to store ratty clothes, unwanted books and piles of dog hair, for the past year.

One project I may work on (see?!) is to tour my local coffee houses. Just back from Paris, and no longer drinking, I am increasingly interested in coffee houses/ cafes. What makes a good coffee house? Here are some ideas:
  • Coffee: Is it safe to assume that they all have a good sense of what to serve? Don't know the answer- I would hope so. But... Chances are good they know more than me...
  • Atmosphere: Does it have the 'feel' of a genuine coffee house, or more of someone's strip mall side project? Can't put my finger on it, but if there is an absence of 'funk' we'll be scoring low here. Commercial chain shops will score low here.
  • People watching: My favorite past time... The reason Parisian cafes exist...
  • Proximity to the home: After all, it's all about me.
  • Wi-fi: Whatcha gonna do when people watching is slow? Charging for wifi is bull... Especially more than a couple bucks... 1... 2... 3...
  • Price
  • Music: As I type this I'm listening to an adult contemporary, "all the hits, all the time", guaranteed not to offend anyone generic bullshit... 1... 2... 3...
Anyway- Lets see how it goes.... Now, on to that book.... "Once upon a time there was a fairy princess named Bruce..."

Ramblin' on bout livin'

I was lonely kid, no doubt about it. I held very special value for my family for my lack of friends and, as a result, I suspect, it took me quite a while to figure out how to pick up and hold tight to friends. Believe it or not, it was not until High School until I realized that I liked having people around, and it may not have been until College that I learned how to keep them around. I was so deeply connected to family that I was homesick for the the first three years of my career, at least.

It can be slow progress, socially, as a gay man, and slower still with other stuff going on (and I ain't gettin' into all that...) What I have come to learn, though, is that I have developed a strong sense of what I understand to be life: that is, how actively I integrate myself into the living around me.


  • skiing

  • talking with close friends

  • singing while driving (specially from the passenger side)

  • rock and roll

  • drums

  • playing music

  • eating dinner with friends, while playing with their kids and puppies

  • listening to a friend play you a song

  • singing alongside a friend, hearing them sing for the first time

  • frisbee

  • recognizing God in one's surroundings (I saw ten turtles sunning on a log deep in the woods; I had a 2nd grader tell me, "There's power in this hand," after writing an unusually long essay, etc...)

  • checking out hot boys (especially when they KNOW you're checking them out...)

  • long conversations about nothing (and everything?!)

  • trying to explain emotion

  • light reflected off of snow

  • silliness and laughter

  • circles (fire circles/ drum circles, etc.)

  • dancing

  • honesty

  • sex with a man you are in love with

Not-living/ avoiding life:

  • videogames

  • television

  • drinking/ drugs

  • stress

  • isolation

  • hiding

  • shyness

  • ego

  • wearing masks

  • fear

  • lies/ living in your mind alone

  • celebacy to please others (and they don't care!)

I've been thinking lately about the difference between living independently and interdependently. I feel pretty independent, although we all need someone from time to time. Despite this independence I am constantly seeking interdependence. I long for my partner to stand at my side and work with my towards a common goal. That's not happening. I love when I get that feeling of working towards a common idea: this usually comes with playing music... This is really where I found my earliest connections and I thank God for this... Without Drumming I don't know that I'd be anything more than I was at 10 years old, and that wasn't good. Trust me.

Okay: Off to take a vicodin and watch TV.... We all need room to grow :)

What if?

One day, long ago, young God was sitting on the stony banks of his great sea, alone in the universe he had freshly created. God was happy, but not yet content; he felt that more remained. As he thought about the overwhelming possibilities he began to feel emptiness and then sadness. God took in a deep breath to calm himself and exhaled slowly and with purpose.

God's breath left His being and floated calmly out to the very sea he had thought into existence. Th sea rose to meet the friction of this breath creating the first wave. this wave continued to roll upon itself, putting in motion the beautiful yet stagnant rock bottom of the sea. The rocks swirled and crashed against themselves creating the sands which would follow the waves onto shore, lie themselves still and become beaches upon which the moving inhabitants of the sea were moved to perch.

Initially god felt little resolve from his breathing exercises and looked around for some hint as to his next move (God's never been good with free time...) Unbenownst to him the world had changed around him and soon these changes appeared to Him. Above him, where there had only been stale glimmers of light, the stars began to flicker, clouds began to roll over (although they had been placed far behind him at the mountain tops) and the moon began to fall, as the sun rose ahead (it had been intended only for the vast warmth of his other favorite sitting spot on the far side of His world).

God worried. He'd spent so much time and energy working on this project, his little 'get away from it all' spot and now it seemed to be caving in on itself. God had faith in his abilities and sat back and watched. Birds flew over, the moons an sun alternated their positions, and great rains fell.

God felt better. He enjoyed the constant changes in his vaca spot as well as the ability to see it all without travel (he used to have to walk sooo far to those plains). He enjoyed the dolphins out playing in the water, the snow upon his tongue and feeding upon the luscious vegetation that surrounded Him, bu the emptiness remained. "What more can I do?" He thought and right on cue, as if by plan, a young human couple walked out on the beach before him. He looked curiously at his creation and smiled at the uprightness of it all... "What a clever beast this is," he said, and patted himself on the back (much as he had done with the other's that had crossed this particular ground.)

As he watched he realized there was something different here. The two humans frolicked, much as the other animals had; they played, rested, ate... all the activities God had seen a million times before... and then they kissed. God sat slack jawed... what was this? He had sensed something similar in the other creatures, and even in himself, but had never seen it played out in quite this way. As he watched the couple grew closer physically and emotionally and He smiled more and more. As the couple's emotional state grew, so did His until it reached the point that God's heart, for the first time in his young life, was full. "Love," He pronounced, and His creation was complete.

It's about damn time...

Thank GOD I finally heard someone say it (even though you have to watch the the entire clip to see the cut off version of his answer...)... It's seems so fundamental the only way to resolve the issue of gay marriage in our country is to require that our government accept, acknowledge and promote civil unions of all people, straight or gay with the individual churches deciding whether or not the union is a marriage... It's a matter of vocabulary within belief and the government has no place in making that decision for a church... The candidates that support separation but do not see it this way contradict themselves... I'm liking this guy more and more every day...

Go Obama Go!!! (And I agree with Jon on the jacket; why didn't she ask about his hair?!)

I know, it's not the only issue, and truthful, not the most pressing issue out there, but one that continues to build my trust in this man's honesty and passion... Hope I don't have to eat those words...

On the highway to .. the inner light

Interesting website I heard about last week at the Quaker meeting I attended:

No huge surprise that I came out with 100% tendency toward Liberal Quakerism and 94% each of Unitarian Universalism (which I currently attend) and, of all things, Reformed Judaism... That one never occurred to me, but makes some sense... (Two of my lowest, I'm proud to say, are Catholicism and Jehovah's witness...)

Side note: Is it coincidence that Bush finally signed a anti-"torture" bill the day before he went in for his colonoscopy?