New Year, same old story

It’s 2021, I just had my 48th birthday, and seditious traitors, followers of the worst President in US history just stormed, were allowed inside, and occupied/vandalized the US Capitol. Oh, did I mention there’s a potentially deadly virus rampaging across the globe? The US just hit a new record for daily deaths at over 4k yesterday. Dystopian doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Meantime, I’m expected to continue doing my mundane sales job, and to try and care about office supplies, printers, toner cartridges, and “business solutions” as if I haven’t had to work from home since March (I love *that* part by the way, I hope I never have to return to the office) while seeing my customers lose jobs, their purchasing decline, and my paychecks practically disappear. Note to self: you should’ve listened to your gut 20 years ago and never taken a commission only job. Too late!

And I’m white! So really, my life is exponentially better than roughly 40% of the US population, by default! I’ve never felt so sad/mad/depressed/hopeless by the state of my world, despite having (so far) a mostly healthy family, a roof over our head, and food on the table. I somehow manage to pay to stay connected to the Internet and have computers, smart phones, and streaming services to occupy our time as we maintain strict safety rules for ourselves, while growing increasingly tired of being required to stay home while those who have ZERO care for anyone but themselves forgo rules & regulations because that somehow infringed upon their “rights.”

I can’t even put into words everything I’m feeling right now, not coherently anyway. But as I said, New Year, same old story, I hope/plan to do more writing this year, and now seemed as good a time as any to at least put a drop in the bucket.

If I haven’t scared you off, please feel free to interact with me regarding any of my writings here. I’ll post them regardless, but it’s always more fun to interact with folks than to yell into the void 😉

Photo Blogging Challenge: APRIL 2020 – MY WORLD

As I said last time I wrote anything here, when I initially mentioned this challenge, I really thought I’d be spending more time here, writing more, creating more, sharing more, but it’s just not been that kind of month. It’s been weird, being home ALL the time. Not going outside nearly as much as we expected too either. My world is often my desk, and the two “common” rooms the family tends to share, where the boys play with action figures and LEGO sets and we all play Xbox games or watch TV. On sunny days, my world is the back yard, where the garden is, or the front where the rain garden is. All Kellie’s doing really, I’m just manual labor on those projects.

But this is a snapshot of our urban paradise. Neighbors mere feet away, but green and bright on good days, and yes, there’s flowers later in the year. Hope you enjoy.

Photo Blogging Challenge: APRIL 2020 from A Lil’ HooHaa

I’d hoped with all the time spent at home lately I’d be writing more, but I’ve not made much move toward it. I work from home, but I’m not really in the frame of mind to write anything substantial during work hours, then I’m playing with my kid(s) and playing Elder Scrolls Online, trying to watch shows with my love (Kellie) at night, so I’ve just not prioritized doing any writing. Yet, hopefully. BUT I saw this today form PJ at A Lil’ HooHaa and thought it sounded like fun.

The theme is Your World. Please click through to the site and read about the challenge, but in a nutshell it’s this: take pictures of your world, your sphere of life, and by the end of April, choose 4 and make a blog post, and link it up through PJ’s site. Again that’s over at A Lil’ HooHaa

Join in, let’s see those pics. I plan to get my post in by April 30th and link up, but I’ll start of with a random photo from earlier today, the aftermath of playing with Star Wars figures outside with our 4-year old:

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Play Ball!

These two little words are a big deal where I’m from, and the Major League Baseball season officially starts the day pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. Despite the fact we’re in the dead of Winter here at home, interest in the sport heats up immediately once the boys of Summer get to Florida and start throwing that little cowhide wrapped ball around.

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Though I’m not the avid fan I was in my younger days, it’s tough not to feel a thrill when Spring Training begins. I played baseball as a kid, up into my high school years. I wasn’t good enough to compete at high levels without putting in all the extra work it takes, so I drifted away from the fields, but you could always talk me into a quick game of catch.

Going to ball games was an integral part of growing up, and while it can still be fun, having kids of my own completely changed my perspective and enjoyment of the game. When your kids see their first game, their sense of wonder is palpable, and mostly the reason I had fun, but the reality today is that it’s such a huge monetary commitment to take your family to the stadium that we simply can’t it more than maybe once a year. Kids in the house can also change the way you allocate your time, and with games nearly every night, it’s tough for me to watch them as often anymore.

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The game moves a bit too slowly for my taste these days. Starting right on the heels of hockey season, baseball struggles to hold my attention, at least for the first month or so. My favorite team boasts the second most World Series victories of all-time, but I was put off the game for years by my hometown team having a manger I just couldn’t stand. He kind of ruined baseball for me for a while there. He’s since been fired and moved on, and I’ve been trying to rekindle my love for the game and the team. Heck, I’m still drunk on the excitement of our hockey team winning the Stanley Cup! That’s stiff competition for my time and attention.

 

But again, those two little words, Play ball! are quite powerful in conjuring memories, nostalgia, and emotion, for a guy who grew up with the game. Cheating scandals aside, I’m looking forward to the new season and definitely plan to watch a few games with my kids. Those words may even be enough to convince me to dig out my old glove.

 

This post was inspired by the Can of Corn Challenge over at the blog, A ‘lil HooHaa. It runs February through October in concordance with the baseball season. click on the link to visit the challenge page to read other entries, or even join up!

What Drives Us

Some of you may know that a group of friends and co-workers started a podcast last year, the Sports Take Lunch Break, sponsored by Office Essentials. In talking with Andrew yesterday and again this morning, we discussed the nature of sports culture in America and its proclivity towards a few main focal points: Winning, often at any cost. Making money, as much as possible, again, often at any expense. And finally, violence. Yes, sports are often centered on physical contact and I’m not here to say “American football should be touch-only, or use flags!” I’m just thinking about how prevalent the violence is and how we as fans have been conditioned to expect and desire it.

mirrorTalking about these points got me wondering, where does this come from? What is it about us as humans (probably more specifically here in the United States, as that’s my only perspective) that makes us crave winning so much that we’ll overlook a bit of cheating to see it? Or that makes us accept the ludicrous amounts of money exchanging hands and being made by sports franchises and their owners and, to a lesser degree, their players? OR that makes us see a violent hit and probably a fight in a hockey game and think, Yeah! That’s part of the game! while in any other situation we’d be looking for the police or suing someone for the result?

I’m not looking to make sweeping generalizations about anyone or anything. I simply find it fascinating to know about root causes and motivations, especially when something seems to be so prevalent across an entire society. Where does it come from? What started it?

Of all the posts I’ve made this is one I probably hope the most for some interaction from you readers. What do you think, am I way off base? I have more thoughts but will wait to see if any of them come out on the podcast before sharing more here. What do YOU think the underlying motivators are of our society?

Finally Friday, Jan. 10th Edition

I’m trying something new, a weekly post. Let’s see how long I can keep up with it!

I am part of a group here at work we call the Marketing Content Team. We focus on making a connection between Work & Life in the spirit of broadening the reach of our brand through various media: blog posts, videos, and audio from our podcast that we share across multiple social media platforms. We were talking yesterday about how the average length of blog posts (in general, based on actual statistics) has grown over the last few years, and about how most successful blogs have a focus. It won’t work if you try to cover everything.

Not sure what it means to be successful at blogging, but I’m guessing it means you have a lot of readers or subscribers, and possibly it helps you make money? I don’t have a lot of either happening here, and perhaps it’s because I don’t have a specific topic I focus on. I think that’s because I’m interested in a lot of different things and have many opinions on them to share. I respect my readers/subscribers and I’m grateful for your input and interaction, but at the end of the day I believe I’m still writing these posts for me. I do wish I’d get more questions, responses, or arguments from readers, but I don’t think it will determine whether I continue doing this or not.

On to continuing to blog about pretty much anything & everything!

In the off chance you’re not following me on Goodreads, here’s what I’m currently reading/trying to finish:

 

Half a War (Shattered Sea, #3)

 

The Massacre of Mankind

 

The Blues won last night

as they should have against a far inferior Buffalo Sabers team. They’ve got a young Captain, center Jack Eichel, who is the kind of player I’d probably root for when he’s not playing the Blues. He scored a goal and really looked like he was getting frustrated his team was getting spanked, probably knowing he was one of only a few good players and couldn’t do everything himself. The Blues won 5-1

The Cardinals made a trade

Yes, I’m still a baseball fan, and while the Cardinals get mentioned in conversations about blockbuster deals and potential trades, their ownership/management seldom seems willing to buck up for the marquee players. Yes, they made a deal last winter for Paul Goldschmidt, a bonafide star, but they’ve been few and far between since Albert Pujols left all those years ago. The club seems content to make money hand over fist, be near the top of the attendance numbers every season, but not, from the fans’ perspectives, do whatever it takes to be a championship team again.

 

 

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Image Credits: Creator: Dilip Vishwanat Credit: MLB Photos via Getty Images Copyright:2019 Major League Baseball Photos

 

That said, they traded Jose Martinez, a fan & clubhouse favorite, and rookie Randy Arozarena, to Tampa Bay for lefthanded pitching prospect Matt Liberatore. He’s a very highly touted/rated prospect, but it’s the offense that failed them in the playoffs last season, so every is still scratching their heads about what the organization might (hopefully) do to improve in that regard. Yes, there’s a blockbuster out there waiting to happen- Colorado 3B Nolan Arenado is likely to be traded this winter, one of the best at the position- and some think this deal could be a precursor to the Cards making a big move, but I doubt it happens.

That’s it for today. I could rant for hours about the dumbest president in our nation’s history, the lies, his sycophantic cabinet (I’m looking at your stupid face, Mike Pompeo) and the most evil person in Washington D.C. (Mitch McConnell for those not keeping score) but I won’t. Have a great weekend!

Missed it by a MILE

Weird saying for referring to a timely deadline that has nothing to do with actual distance. Anyway, what was I saying about posting something every day? Yeah, let’s just ignore that and move forward. I guess I really don’t have that much to say.

Nothing good anyway, at least not every day. Especially when the morons supposedly leading this country are apparently trying to send us into a war with Iran. Brutal wake up call for all Americans that something must be done to remove this idiotic despot from the White House or we’re not simply talking about the end of Democracy, we’re potentially staring down the barrel of World War 3. Think I’m being dramatic? Then it’s already too late for you. I’m not ready to lay down and allow the greedy, manipulative, misogynistic, white supremacist assholes win yet.

Well that was a lighthearted way to start the day, huh? How about hockey? Games? Birthdays? Celebrated mine recently, and I must say, 47 doesn’t feel anything like what I expected, though to be fair, I’ve no idea what I figured it would be. I’m just me, and I sorta still feel like an immature kid, albeit one with kids of his own, a 9-5 job, stress, physical ailments, bills, debt, and all the other bullshit adulthood carries. It’s fun right? Just try, as I have, to find an incredible person to share it with, mind body and soul, and we’ll be okay. I think.

Here’s 3 things that I’m thinking of right this minute:

The Blues hung on to beat the Sharks last night

by a score of 3-2, despite going 0-for-3 on the Power Play and looking awful with the man advantage in the process. Defenseman Niko Mikkola made his NHL debut and was very solid, I thought, for his first major league action. Jordan Binnington looked every bit the star who backstopped the Blues to their first Stanley Cup last season (they went through the Sharks to do so) on the anniversary of the night that started that amazing run:

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Our boys have too many LEGO bricks!

and we want our living room back! We don’t have a lot of space at home, and while it would be great if they had a playroom to spread out in, it’s just not happening right now. Despite my best (futile) efforts to sort and store bricks by color, everything ends up jumbled after a couple of hours play, and while we do have storage bins to the bricks, there seems to either be a new bin filled up every time we turn around, or bricks end up in shoe boxes, backpacks, and everywhere else a 4yo can stuff them. I’m seriously thinking of getting into this new program LEGO introduced in the US this past year, LEGO Replay:

Old guys play D&D too

and not just famous ones. Actor Joe Manganiello has been very vocal and public about his love for Dungeons & Dragons, even taking inspiration from the tabletop gaming aesthetic to launch his own clothing line, Death Saves. I could include a bunch of links to Joe’s stuff but I’ll just include this one, from Inverse.com.

I mention this because while 42 (Joe) and 47 (me) aren’t exactly over the hill, I think there’s still a negative stigma when older folk play games. Maybe it’s in my head, but I’m as excited today as I was 35 years ago to play D&D and will finally get the chance later this month. I very good friend of mine who has moved back to St. Louis wants to run a game and I’m so looking forward to playing again. For those of a like mind, you can see the new character I’m starting over at D&D Beyond

 

Missed it by *that* much

It’s a new year, and you know what THAT means, right? Another year where I tell myself I’ll write more, starting by posting to my blog (at least) once every day…

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Now that we’re all done laughing at the idea, I bring your attention to the date, January 2, 2020, so we can chuckle again because I’ve already failed in my quest. So… onward we go, and maybe if I finish the year with 363 days of posting I can look back in anguish at my inability to even log in to WordPress yesterday, but that’s unlikely to happen. I’ll just move ahead. Join me, won’t you?

I always have a lot to say but I usually say it on Twitter, or I say it on the podcast we started at work last year, or simply at home with the (mostly) like minded love of my life, but I’d enjoy more involvement from you readers; more dialogue, more arguments, so I’m going to try and put more of those things here this year. STLB_Logo_twitter

In 2020 I’ll be discussing St. Louis Blues hockey, my kids, food, books I’ve read, music I’ve listened to, blogs, Tweets, politics, the ongoing demise of humanity, all the ways the place I live (St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) is great and/or cool AND the ways in which it’s decidedly NOT. If I offend, it’s probably not my intention, but I will not apologize. You can choose to not read it. OR, maybe comment and let’s talk about it. I can be reasonable in the face of reasonable objection.

The Blues are in 1st place as 2020 begins, coming off their 1st ever Stanley Cup win. I’m still riding the high of that so not much that happens this season will bother me, though I did pick them to repeat, which almost never happens in the NHL. While I’ll remain a loyal Blues fan forever, I struggle with the NHL becoming more and more of a burning pile of garbage in the way the league is run, the rules they make/enforce, and how they handle themselves from an executive standpoint. Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, indeed.

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We subscribe to Disney+ and for me, The Mandalorian alone is worth the cost. Very excited for Season 2. I grew up on Star Wars, and I’ve passed my love along to my kids, though at times I almost regret it. Our 4yo is in character (and costume!) nearly 24/7 and it’s exhausting. This Christmas was wall to wall Star Wars LEGO and they’re a source of contention between our boys on a daily basis. Neither (4 & 11) have seen all the movies, but we’re slowly getting there. Empire Strikes Back is still my favorite, The Last Jedi was near the bottom of my list, and as of today I’ve not yet seen Rise of Skywalker, so no spoilers, thanks.

I missed my “number of books I plan to read this year” goal for 2019 by a only a few, and currently I’m close to finishing The Massacre of Mankind, by Stephen Baxter, and Half a War, by Joe Abercrombie. The former is a sequel to “The War of the Worlds,” and though it was published in 2017 it’s got the same dry, British voice of the original 19th Century tale. The latter is the finale of a trilogy from one of my favorite all-time authors so you can probably guess which I’m enjoying more. I recommend both. Question: will you finish a book even if you don’t like it? I tend to be unable to leave a book unfinished. Maybe it’s an OCD thing. Follow me on Goodreads!

I’ll leave today on this: I will vote for the Democratic nominee, regardless of who he or she turns out to be. You should too. Whether the election is fair/legal/upheld/etc remains to be seen and is largely out of our hands, but it’s the only recourse we have to have even a remote chance of ending the nightmare that is our current state of government in this country. Have a great 2020!

 

My Favorite Hockey Players To Wear Each Number 0-99

Note: I just noticed today that I started this post on July 19 *last year* and thought I’d go ahead and finish it. I left the intro for irony’s sake. My attitude changed slightly too, since I started it, and I did end up skipping some numbers. Oh well

 

Hey! It only took me 9 months to write another post, wow, I’m getting good at this. Today’s post was inspired by an article of interest over at Fansided’s Puck Prose page where they list the best player to wear each number in NHL history. I’ve only been lucky enough to watch hockey for about 3 decades, so many of the earlier, notable players were before my time, but I figured I could probably find a favorite to wear each, if not most, numbers on the list, whether considered among the best or not. Here we go (and yes, this took forEVER)

Except for 0 (zero) because I’ve never heard of the only guy to ever wear it so…

1: Mike Liut, one of the first Blues I can remember, goalie from the 1980’s

2: Al MacInnis, easy choice, one of the best ever, still with the organization

3: Al Arbour, obviously never saw him play, but he’s the link between Blues & Islanders

4: Marc Bergevin. the original Bergie. Terrible GM now, but hilarious on the ice

5: Barrett Jackman, hope he continues working with young Blues players

6: Phil Housley, got his autograph once in the parking lot of the old barn

7: “Big Walt” Keith Tkachuk, one of my favorite players ever

8: Mark Recchi, one of the few non-Blues on my list

9: Gordie Howe, greatest of all-time

10: Pavel Bure, one of the greatest Russians I’ve ever seen play

11: Brian Sutter, probably my favorite Blues coach too

12: Adam Oates, had he stayed with Hullie, both would’ve lifted the Cup with the Blues

13: Pavel Datsyuk, despite playing for arch-rival Detroit, hard not to love his game

14: Geoff Courtnall, wish he’d been a Blue earlier in his career

15: Stanley Cup Champion Robby Fabbri

16: “The Golden Brett” Brett Hull, obviously

17: Basil McRae, a face only a mother could love

18: “The Twister” Tony Twist, toughest guy I’ve ever seen on the ice

19: Brendan Shanahan, because I’ve already got 1 Red Wing on this list 😉

20: Stanley Cup Champion Alexander Steen #GOBLUES

21: Peter Forsberg, one of my generation’s greatest players

22: Mike Bossy, many of you may not know I’m an Islanders fan

23: Craig MacTavish, a classic

24: Bernie Federko, Blues Hall of Famer

25: Dave Andreychuk, a true NHL workhorse

26: Peter Stastny, I liked him far more than I liked Paul

27: Stanley Cup Champion Alex Pietrangelo

28: Bob Bassen, Bobby B!

29: Stanley Cup Champion Vince Dunn (there may be a pattern here)

30: Martin Brodeur, wish he’d stayed with the Blues management

31: Curtis Joseph (CuJo!)

32: Mike Eastwood (most of the NHL “greats” who wore this # were assholes)

33: Patrick Roy, I had the luck to grow up watching the 2nd generation of greatest goalies

34: Murray Baron, stalwart of the Blues lean years

35: Brent Johnson, my 1st Blues jersey

36: J.J. Daigneault, another smooth, brief, Blues blue-liner, plus, just a cool name

37: Eric Desjardins, French-Canadian, defenseman, from my other favorite Eastern team

38: Pavol Demitra, RIP 😦

39: Doug Weight, another vet with a brief Blues stint, almost said Dominik Hasek

40: Fred Brathwaite, breifly a Blues goalie, good guy

41: Stanley Cup Champion Robert Bortuzzo

42: Former Blues Captain David Backes

43: Patrice Brisbois, another guy who I came to know & love thanks to NHL ’93 (game)

44: Chris Pronger, probably my favorite player of all-time

45: at this point I stop picking guys just because they played for the Blues, I got nothing

46: Roman Polak, the door’s been opened, and now I love to see the Blues beat him

47: Rich “the pylon” Pilon, maybe the slowest player ever to play in the NHL?

48: Scott Young, part of the last Blues team that shoulda won the Cup (before they did)

49:Stanley Cup Champion Ivan Barbashev

50: I’ll say Stanley Cup Champion Jordan Binnington, because the Cup

51-52: did you know no Blues player has ever worn these numbers?

53-54: these were worn but by nobodies 

55: Stanley Cup Champion Colton Parayko

56: Sergei Zubov, a legend

57: Stanley Cup Champion David Perron (3rd time WAS a charm)

58: Dan Hinote, tough not to like the guy once he was on “your”team

59: nope

60: another one no Blues player has worn (Vladi Sobotka wore it in BUF after The Trade)

61: Corey Stillman, another guy who should’ve helped the Blues win more

62: Ollie Jokinen, have you seen his face? lol

63: zilch

64: Stanley Cup Champion Sammy Blais

65: Erik Karlsson, not really a fan, but I respect his status as one of the best

66: Mario Lemieux, no contest

67: nada

68: Jaromir Jagr, another no brainer

69: heh, hehe

70: Stanley Cup Champion Oskar Sundqvist

71: Evgeni Malkin, beast

72: Matheiu Schneider, one-time Islander, gotta be one of the best US born players

73: Kenny Agostino, the kind of guy you figure will return to hurt the Blues someday

74: T.J. Oshie, still a fan, had to leave to win It

75: Ryan Reaves, Reavo will always be a fan-favorite in St. Louis

76: P.K. Subban, hated him playing v. the Blues, but he’ll kill it in NJ

77: Pierre Turgeon (I wasn’t a huge Ray Bourque fan)

78: Beau Bennett? Nice guy, had a cup of coffee with the Blues

79: Alexei Yashin, one of the Russian standouts from the 1990’s

80: Geoff Sanderson, mostly just because I like to say Gee-Off

81: Miroslav Satan, what a name!

82: Stanley Cup Champion Zach Sanford, barely counts though, he switched to #12

83-84: no Blues, nobody else I really even know

85: Petr Klima, sick mitts

86: Nikita Soshnikov, really thought he’d contribute for the Blues

87: Sidney Crosby, hard not to like the Kid

88: Eric Lindros, maybe my 2nd favorite player ever

89: Alexander Mogilny, another ’90’s Russian sniper

90: Stanley Cup Champion, Conn Smythe & Selke Trophy winner Ryan O’Reilly

91: Stanley Cup Champion Vladimir Tarasenko

92: yeah, no

93: Petr Nedved, another classic, one-time Blues player

94-96: zero interest in anyone who wore these numbers

97: I’m including Jeremy Roenick here, one of my LEAST favorite players ever

98: Brian Lawton was the only player to ever wear this one, never heard of him

99: and of course, Wayne “The Great One” Gretzky, who did play part of one season with the Blues, and who ultimately committed the turnover that led to their playoff ouster. The last game he’d play for them. Thanks for nothing, Gretz! 😉

 

 

Reblog: Office Essentials St. Louis Technology Spotlight: Kaldi’s Coffee

I do some writing for my company’s (Office Essentials) blog on occasion and this is my most recent piece. You can find the original HERE and feel free to browse, share or comment on past articles, by me or any of the other excellent folk there. 

As part of my ongoing look at how St. Louis companies use technology, I recently had the opportunity to talk with Frank McGinty, Director of Sales and Marketing for Kaldi’s Coffee in St. Louis, Missouri. Kaldi’s is just one well-known, local partner for Office Essentials and I thought it would be interesting to know a bit about how they utilize technology in their business to bring about the product that is known so well.

Kaldi’s is known for their hand-roasted coffees, but make no mistake, they’re a modern company who understands how to integrate their time-tested, manual procedures with the benefits of today’s technological advances.

I asked Frank to describe the different ways Kaldi’s brings tech into their world of hand-crafted products.

“The first one that comes to mind is with roasting specifically. Everything is still- I call it hand-roasted because the guys are still altering dials that control the open flame, right? But they have a piece of technology that kind of tracks, due to two temperature probes and timers, it’ll essentially track the trajectory of the roast.”

You can picture the massive, old bean roasters, with their rotating blades and huge hoppers, adapted and attached by a few wires to these probes which are then attached to a computer screen or a laptop computer that is tracking the rise and fall of the temperature of the beans in this particular roast over time.

“They’ll pre-warm the barrel, add coffee, then the temperature drops, plateaus and then recovers, then starts increasing as the roast progresses, being able to throw that data on a chart they’re able to save for every roast. Then afterward, as they go back and taste the coffee they can say, “Hey, the recipe you did last Tuesday for this house blend is the best I’ve ever tasted, let’s save that as a new trajectory.” We use that equipment quite a bit.”

Kaldi’s uses these recipes as roadmaps to replicate certain roasts, but it’s nothing that you can simply plug into the computer then set on the roaster and walk away.

“We will kind of copy and paste these trajectories making sure we’re all on the same page with how heat and time are applied to the same product across our brands- We’ve got two other brands. One is Honolulu Coffee Company in Hawaii and the other one is called Frothy Monkey Roasting Company- but the roasters are always there manually manipulating the temperature on the beans, following along with the tracking data we’ve been able to log.”

As you might imagine, they didn’t always have these probes and monitors attached to computers that can log everything and store it for quick retrieval. Technology plays a much larger role in Kaldi’s products today than ever before.

“Yeah, literally only maybe five, six years ago, the guys had a clipboard and pencil and they had waypoints when they would check the time and make notes. As I mentioned, the temperature dips then recovers, and they’d have to log it, things like, “after 1:26 recovery happened- four minutes until the first crack,” throughout the entire roast. The first crack is like the audible sound of popcorn, it’s actually the cell structure of the coffee bean rupturing. They would manually write this down for every single roast we did, and we would just have charts and charts and charts”

So, from the days of their roasters carrying a stopwatch, a pad of paper and a pencil, to today when computers log temperature changes and times for their roasts, Kaldi’s compiles their data and stores it in the Cloud making it easier than ever to share data with their entire company and their partners. This includes all the information they use to run their business.

“We have a guy on our team who built a data analytics program through Power BI (a Microsoft application) and he’s essentially able to pull all of our inventory, sales, and customer information. It’s kind of a combination between a CRM and a data analytics tool. That’s helped us a lot from a customer support, customer service standpoint: What does their product mix look like? How often do they order? And everything in between. And again, before, it was just a bunch of Excel spreadsheets with information.”

The last aspect of technology that Kaldi’s utilizes, and very well I might add, is social media. It’s almost a necessity in today’s business world, to stay in front of customers and investors and I asked Frank if Kaldi’s had someone dedicated to that mission.

“Yeah, for sure. She oversees all of that and all of our community events, charities, donations, event activations, that kind of stuff. She’s managing and she and I work together quite a bit. We’re always trying to figure out through like, Instagram Insights, for example, and all the data we get from that is like, what’s working? What’s not to like? Like lately we’ve been doing giveaways. So, you know, Mother’s Day, give away a free coffee class, or a Cardinals ticket giveaway, and it’s been interesting to see the engagement and how the use of hashtags and all other things that are somewhat algorithm driven, affect what we do. Sometimes it’s just luck of the draw if it works or not.”

I appreciate the fact Kaldi’s relies on someone in-house to accomplish this. Frank mentioned it’s easier now to find someone you can hire from outside, but they prefer to handle it themselves.

“You can pay people to come in, a consultant, to tell us what might work or what all the data means, but you know, we’re trying to figure it out internally, it’s kind of almost beta testing, like, hey, if we do this, then this happens. Then if we do it next week, and it didn’t have the same effect- it’s a learning curve all the time.”

I’d say they’re learning a lot and putting their knowledge to good use. Their list of accolades is available on their website https://kaldiscoffee.com and while there you can also see other ways they’ve integrated technology into their business. You can also sign up for coffee classes, get tips for home brewing and a lot more on their site, including what’s next to come from this innovatively traditional St. Louis roaster.