domestic tips

The Right Coffeemaker for your '70s Style Orgy. Trust Me.

Today, a Tassimo coffeemaker arrived in the mail. I don't know how we ended up with it. Schmutzie knows, and periodically reminds me why we have it, but there's no room in my brain for those kinds of facts. So once again, thirty minutes after finding out the whole back story on this machine, I am befuddled by the Tassimo. Which is serving us delicious coffee and creating its own landfill of waste with every cup.

The Tassimo came in three boxes. First, a featureless cardboard box containing packing materials and another featureless cardboard box, which fit snugly around the proper Tassimo box. Our kitchen is littered with boxes, which now contain alert and curious cats.

Anyway, here's our new Tassimo, with a little plastic soldier in a wine glass for scale.

If you don't know what a Tassimo is, it can best be described as a coffeemaker for people who are insufficiently impressed with their current state of home coffee technology. Filter drips? Auto shut-off timers? Indicator lights? Screw all that. With its barcode scanner, mode dial and 'T Discs' of ground coffee/ tea leaves/ powdered milk/ hot chocolate/ beagle snouts, the Tassimo is a brave new step in the wrong direction for kitchen gadgetry.

The Tassimo is an impressive device that mildly resembles an espresso machine in form and function. Hot water is forced through a portion of coffee grounds, which comes in a dedicated packet called a T Disc. The T Disc has a barcode that provides your machine with instructions to produce the desired cup of coffee. It's a coffeemaker that encoded a barista.*

Tassimo doesn't produce a good, great, or even the best cup of coffee. It makes optimal coffee. Actually, it brews your optimal drink. The entire concept behind the Tassimo is embedded and readable in that one phrase: your optimal drink. Why does it have a built-in water filtration system? Because hard water can interfere with the brewing of your optimal drink. Why does it have a descaling program? So as not to screw with your optimal drink. Why does Tassimo produce more waste than any other coffee brewing device I know of? It's all got to do with that drink of yours and how it should be optimal.

Over the last decade or so, kitchen implements have taken a turn for the artisanal. Sure, there's some fancy tech in your toaster, and maybe your gas range shuts down and calls the police if it detects a hot-knifing in progress, but the thrill in kitchen tools has rested in their Luddite flair, their cast-iron will to simmer, their alchemy of metal and precision curvature. The balance of each implement, the way in which that ice cream scoop just slides right in to that frozen block or that hand held grater is just so damn geared to that block of Parmesan, bespeaks the expertise of its maker. Good kitchen tools provide a pretentious but satisfying experience, a sense of connection to old traditions. Even if you grew up eating casseroles from recipes off the back of a Bisquick box.

Tassimo gives you precision, but the thrill comes from the other end of the field. There's a utopian guilelessness about the machine, a promise that the classy world of cafés and bistros can be yours at the press of a button. It's going for that European classiness (even though it reminds me most of those automatic coffee machines in Australia that spit out flat whites on demand). It's like a Star Trek replicator in a Kitchen of Tomorrow. Except the kitchen is straight out of 1972, and the Bistromatic2000 One-Button Coffee Brewer is right next to the fondue pot and the electric wine muller, and the first guests are just about to arrive for a sophisticated evening of melted cheese and mutual groping. Get Your Orgy Started The Optimal Way, With Tassimo!

I recommend the little Starbucks T Discs. That is one smooth, erotic brew.

*And now that barista is trapped in the electronic landscape of the Tassimo, forced to battle light cycles on an infinite neon grid.

consolidating my assets

I’ve noticed over the last few months that the global economy is not quite as much as of a powerhouse as it once was. Billionaires are becoming millionaires, millionaires slipping down to thousandaires, and the thousandaires are examining trash for scraps of food. Surely we need to reexamine our lives and embark on a more frugal and sustainable way of life.

Food

In that spirit I’ve decided to consolidate and unclutter my life. For example, I needlessly eat three meals a day. I plan on rolling my breakfast into my lunch, and then rolling my lunch into my dinner. If times get a bit tougher, I can further consolidate by rolling my supper into the packet of ramen noodles that I stole from the 7-Eleven. Hopefully that’ll take me through next week.

Grooming

In today’s world of male models and outrageous masculine grooming standards, beards have become a costly but necessary accessory. As any modern professional knows, beard upkeep, including beard creams, dyes and specialized combs and pins, is ruinously expensive. Here’s a handy tip: moustaches, goatees and sideburns are extremely cheap. Combine all three for a handy facial assembly that looks just as good as anything Joaquin Phoenix is sporting.

Family Life

I have several wives scattered across the continent. First off, I now declare a moratorium on traveling to new cities, hanging around in convention centres and pretending to be a neurosurgeon. Secondly, I will take my various wives and glue them on top of each other, so that I am married to one, very tall, very angry person with a confusingly long name.

Marrying multiple women has also resulted in an untenable number of dependents. Since my many children are still growing, I won’t glue them together. I will, however, ask them to hide behind the furniture.

Palinode's domestic tips

For years, people have been coming to me for advice on ways to make their homes more beautiful, more secure, less ketchup-spattered. And I've been giving them the best advice that the twenty-first century has to offer. Here's the advice that, frankly, was simply too amazing, too galvanizing, to deliver face-to-face.

Coffee beans: Warm-climate countries all over the world grow and export coffee, a hard green bean that is usually roasted to blackness. Not many people know that the roasted bean can be ground up and passed through boiling water for an exotic and refreshing drink! Warning: Tincture of coffee bean contains caffeine. Warning: you could be spending your money on alcohol instead of sucking back $4 lattes.

And here’s a handy tip: you can use coffee grounds to help ‘round out’ a bagful of garbage.

Walls: Walls are those vertical slabs set perpendicular to the floor to keep rooms from bleeding into each other. They’re also there to be run into at high speed! Ha ha just kidding. They are there to keep you from moving from one space to another too easily. Architects and builders hate your freedom, people! Reclaim your liberty with a sledgehammer. If you’re in college, you may apply for a license to tape Klimt posters to walls, but unlicensed or overage Klimt users are usually chased through the streets and pushed into the sea. And you know what? They deserve it.

Beds: Beds are designed to make the experience of lying on the floor a little less ridiculous. How many times have you laid down on the floor and thought what the fuck? A good bed will answer that question for you.

The bed industry was initially a marketing gimmick on the part of pyjama manufacturers, who understood that customers would not buy comfortable lounging wear just to lay down on a hard floor. Initially a wooden or steel rectangle on short legs was introduced to provide a kind of ‘frame’ to mark an area of ‘laying-floor,’ but the real breakthrough came when a soft but resilient elevated pouch for the bed was added by inventor Bob Mattress Jr. His father, Bob Mattress Sr., invented a hair mousse that renders users susceptible to mind control.

Peter Garrett famously observed that sleeping in a bed is much more difficult when it’s burning. Usually it is the mattress that does the hard work of being on fire. My advice is to remove the mattress and sleep on the floor, the way god intended. Unless you want to have regular sex with anyone.

Electronics and Home Entertainment: No matter what kind of style you choose for your home, chances are that your electronics are not going to match (unless Faceless Tech is your decor theme). The secret here is to use the hollow chambers of your body and your inbuilt neural system to accomodate your home entertainment needs. Laptops and compact component stereo systems can usually be cut into bite-sized chunks for oral administration. To prevent unsightly cords protruding from your orifices, install a small generator wherever you can fit it.

Pitchfork-wielding Mobs: You don’t find these items often in the home, but when you do, you’re probably Frankenstein’s monster. If you take the precaution of barricading the doors, installing archers at the windows and rigging tripwires to pour huge cauldrons of boiling pitch on the approaching mob, you can be certain of being a Frankenstein’s monster who’s hip to medieval defense methods.

Balusters and Balustrades: Well la-di-da, Mr. Fancytron. While you’re having your balustrade installed, why don’t you build some faux-classical ruins at the entrance to your hedge maze out back? Oh no, you go on wandering the halls of your plywood-and-vinyl McMansion, listening to the echo of your steps and wondering why nobody likes you and your money. I’ll stay here with the pitchfork-wielding mob. We’ve got hay to poke and monsters to chase.

Dance Dance Revolution: I have no advice for you. When the shock troops of DDR come jumping and turning down the street, you will dance or die horribly. Nothing I say can make a difference.