Mountain Thunder Coffee

With a name like Mountain Thunder Coffee, I exect big bold flavors from these Private Reserve Kona beans. Unfortunately, the friend accidentally picked up a lighter roast. Per the website, the American roast is a light roast. If readers recall, most of the previous Kona beans have been medium and dark roasts.

Making my latte, I definitely do not get the ashy flavors typical of dark roast Kona’s. The bold flavors from Kona coffee are absent. Instead, I’m left with delicate hints of floral and fruit flavors.

Big Island Coffee Roasters

As I mentioned in a previous coffee post, I will be getting a few bags of Kona coffee from Hawaii. This bag of Kona Peaberry comes from Big Island Coffee Roasters. Again this smells amazing but it lacks the ashy, earthen aroma that previous Kona beans usually smell like.

Making my latte, I taste honey and chocolate predominantly. However, the latter half of each sip is where I get bits of the ashen after taste that I recognize more as originating from Kona. There’s also a slight hint of fruitiness with each sip.

Equator Coffees

With all the Kona/Hawaii coffee over the past few months, I temporarily postponed both of my coffee subscriptions. In the near future, I’ll be getting more Kona/Hawaii coffee soon so I may have to postpone the subscriptions one or two more months. However, I run into a dilemma where I’ve ran out of the beans from my trip to Hawaii but I know I will be getting more Kona/Hawaii beans later this month. What do I do!?

Well I obviously go to roaster to buy a bag to tide me over right? Equator Coffees recently opened up a brick and mortar shop near by. I’ve actually heard of them because the coffee subscription have sent me a few of their bags in the past. They were always top notch delicious. So buying a bag is obviously the right thing to do to tide me over until the next wave of Hawaiian/Kona beans drops.

These beans are a light roast from southern Rwanda. They’re a single origin coming from an all woman’s cooperative (per the website). Making my latte, I taste this super delicious and creamy chocolate flavor with hints of florals at the back of the tongue. The more I drink this, I get a more earthy flavor that replaces the florals. This is really delicious that somedays I’ll make a second latte shortly after finishing.

NBC’s War Games!? Seriously!?

I stumbled upon this YouTube video from NBC (click here) where US experts play a mock game of China invading Taiwan.

After my initial shock of the whole concept of the mock war game wore off, I think there are two major questions that really will determine how the invasion will play out.

1) What is America’s appetite to fight a war for another country? Or what is American’s appetite to fight a war based on principles of democratic freedom?

2) What is the global response if/when nuclear weapons are used?

For #1, let’s admit it that the current war between Ukraine and Russia is a proxy war between Russia and US/NATO allies. More importantly this is a proxy war of two political ideologies: autocracy vs democracy. Despite many countries currently helping Ukraine through money, weapons and other sources of aid, Russia is dead set to reclaim Ukraine. I’m not sure that US/NATO will ever send troops to help Ukraine push Russia out. I also don’t think US/NATO will retaliate even if Russia accidentally/purposely fires upon US/NATO assets resulting in loss of life. Ultimately, US/NATOs unwillingness to commit troops for bloodshed is Russia’s current saving grace. Furthermore, as this war continues to extend, reports about future famine in African nations looms as Ukraine supplied a significant amount of the world’s wheat. Nations who are affected by the lack of food may become important players in forcing peace by supporting Russian claims. How’s that for a global political russian mafia move?

For #2, I’m not sure how the world would respond. Would the global community come together to fight against the country who first used the nuclear weapon? Or would it only condemn the first user resulting in no real consequences? Based on the fact that the global community DID NOT condemn the invasion of Ukraine, I have very little hope that the global community will protest the use of nuclear weapon. I think the “NIMBY” attitude will prevail but I fear that attitude will only lead the world towards more negative feedback such as medical issues from radiation, contaminated food and land, and human migration to get away from the radioactive zones.

Let’s talk about Gun Control

US political inaction is pretty ridiculous. I think for the most part the Republicans are the ones who are do not want to anger their NRA donors. So much for representing the people right?

This is what I think the US should do immediately.

1) The US government should create a new department whose sole purpose is to create, manage, administer and enforce a brand new gun database.
2) The new gun database will register all new gun purchases going forward. Law-abiding citizens are also required to re-register their guns in this new database. As part of the startup, existing databases from any/all states will be used to cross check previous registrations with the new registration
3) Registration involves satisfying four different requirements. First, the gun owner needs to be trained at qualified gun training centers. Second, the gun owner needs to pass an psycholocial evaluation administered by a psychologist/psychiatrist to determine if the gun owner is deemed fit to handle the responsibilities of a gun owner but also as a “law abiding citizen.” Third, a registration fee must also be paid. The fee amount will depend on the type of gun being registered. The goal of the department is to be as self-sufficient as possible relying only on registration fees to be operational. Fourth, gun owners must maintain their training, psychological evaluation and paid registration fee every 3 years. Failure to do so will result in extra penalties, extra scrutiny and forced confiscation. After all law abiding citizens shouldn’t be missing payments.
4) The US government should also seek to regulate the gun market by setting higher prices for gun ownership. Simply put, the more damage a gun is capable of doing results in the gun being more expensive. Consequently, the more damage a gun is capable of doing, the more training, the more extensive evaluation and higher registration fee.

I will admit… I don’t know if this will work. But the fact that we’ve gone over 20 years without ANY LEGISLATION IS RIDICULOUS!! If we just look at school shootings, the fact that Columbine occurred in 1999 and we have also experienced many more deadly school shootings like Virginia Tech, Sandyhook/Newton, Marjory Stoneman/Parkland, and now Robb Elementary/Uvalde. And these are just school shootings. We’ve also experienced other mass shootings like in Las Vegas, Orlando and even in Buffalo. EGADS….

WE the PEOPLE of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA must vote for change. We must vote against the NRA interests.

Public Transit supported by Car Driving and Highway usage?

Watching this YouTube video (https://youtu.be/zysL_lkdtys) on the Tokyo public transit system, the narrator points that car driving is highly discouraged through fees and tolls. The Japanese are essentially taxing the usage of cars in favor of public transportation. By making it economically inefficient to navigate by car, the Japanese may have provided a potential solution to limiting cars being driven. I truly believe a similar system will have to exist in major GLOBAL cities in order to accomodate any climate change initiatives to reduce car pollution.

Readers who are familiar with my social media feed may have remembered I had once posed a question of why CA can’t expand the current FasTrak system (or at least in the Los Angeles area) into a fee/toll per use of the highway systems. Every driver wanting to use the highway system would be required to have the fastrak transponder in order for payments be properly deducted. The fees obviously would be used to keep the highways maintained but any excess will go into supporting and expanding the woefully sparse public transportation in Los Angeles (either through light rail, subway, bus routes).

The fees should be kept at a level where people have to think about their own car usage, trip planning and alternative means of getting from point A to point B. These fees should be kept high enough either through dynamic market pricing based on usage or at a set price adjusted every 3-5 years based on the cost of maintenance. Given that potentially half a million cars use the LA highway system each day, the amount of money generated will quickly add up.

Would this system actually work? Japan shows it’s possible but their mindset from the start during the post World War 2 rebuilding was to purposely avoid car in favor of rail system. In US, it’s such a car dominated culture that switching to an alternative transportation approach would be almost impossible. Although newer generations might be more open to the alternative transportations compared to the older generations, I personally think that LA needs to commit to buidling/rebuilding their railway systems even co-opting existing freeways to build a rail system on top of it before implementing the toll usage. The current public transportation system has to be improved at least 10fold in terms of efficiency, speed, cleanliness, and punctuality.

Maui Coffee Roasters

The final bag bought is also from Maui Coffee Roaster. However these bags contain normal coffee beans unlike the peaberry from the previous post.

Making my latte, it was no surprise that these tasted similar to the peaberries earlier since these beans also came from the same farm. I found that the latte had a slightly more fruity, more chocaltey flavors but also less sweetness compared to the peaberry. I find myself actually enjoying the peaberry more… I think probably because it has a sweeter more lighter taste than these normal beans.

Maui Coffee Roasters

Yes I’m still working through the various coffee beans I bought from Maui. These beans are from Maui Coffee Roasters and in particular, this bag is special. They are roasted peaberry from Maui.

Making my latte, I’m greeted with an ashy, minerally flavor that lingers in the mouth with each sip. It reminds me of the dark espresso roasts from Starbucks that cook coffee beans almost to a point of bitterness and burnt chocolate flavor. I don’t get many fruity or floral flavors.

Wailuku Coffee Co

Another one of the coffee spoils from Hawaii. This one comes from Wailuku Coffee Co. It’s main store is this small cafe that opens up onto the pedestrian walkway where customers can relax and enjoy the breeze. It’s unfortunate that there were construction at the time which really detracted from the ambience.

Interestingly enough, during the flight back from Hawaii, I think the depressurization of the luggage compartment removed most if not all the air from the 5 coffee bags I brought back (yes I bought 5 bags of coffee, and this is the 3rd to be reviewed!!) Opening the bag up, I smell floral and earthy aromas. The beans are from a variety called Red Catuai. I’ve probably have had them in the past but roasters rarely call out the sub species/varietals of coffee.

Making my latte, I am greeted with a sweet, nutty, and chocolatey flavor. Each sip goes down very smooth with a after tatste similar to that of Kona. This after taste has a very mineralistic, volcanic nature to it perhaps unique to the Hawaiian islands.

The SCOTUS “Leak”

By now, if you haven’t heard about the SCOTUS leak of the draft documents of the majority opinion of a recent court case…. You really need to at least read/listen the news on a daily basis. The consensus from various news pundits say that the DRAFT MAJORITY OPINION as it stands now would OVERTURN Roe v Wade. If nothing changes to the current draft, this ruling is extremely consequential and devastating.

Three thoughts come to mind….
1) What happened to the separation of Church and State?
2) The ruling calls into question our freedoms…. so then where are these “freedoms” that the “Land of the Free” claims to have?
3) What is happening to this country?

Separation of Church and State: A draft opinion comes out and suddenly all the high profile religious leaders start saying things like “our prayers have been asnwered” or “praising god“. How is this not religiously motivated? Would you expect this kind of reaction from religious leaders if we were talking about banning guns used in dometic terrorist mass shootings? Clearly the religious leaders “thoughts and prayers” have been shit for mass shootings and I think I now know why… these “thoughts and prayers” were all focused on creating political miracles that allowed the Republicans to shit on the Constitution in order to retain the power and advantages they need. Technically… McConnell for cockblocking Obama’s nominee (Gorsuch) because it was an election year and then fast tracking Trump’s nominee (Barrett) also during an election year. Egads… What is happening to this country?

I also don’t understand religions. They have an inherent double standard that they seem to ignore. Many say they follow the bible… yet it seems like they only cherry pick the passages of the bible that suits them AND ignore other inconvenient passages. Is that really “FOLLOWING THE BIBLE” or is it more like “taking inspration from the bible”? During the pandemic, Sure you don’t want to wear a mask, get a vaccine shot, whatever… because your religion/bible/pastor says its a sin (or whatever stupid reason). The government made exceptions for your religious values. YET, you expect the government to also support your religious values and impede on a person’s choice to get an abortion or not? Egads… What is happening to this country?

Land of the Free? For a country that claims “to have various freedoms”, specifically which freedoms are talked about? Freedom of speech? Freedom of religion? Freedom of fair trials? Freedom to bear arms? The founders/writers of the Constitution clearly couldn’t list all the enumerated rights (Ninth Amendment) but these rights do exist ie… the Right to privacy, the Right to Vote. Do these unenumerated rights follow the basic human rights list? Perhaps? From the 30 basic human rights, one of the rights advocates “to marry and have a family.” It should also be assumed that the converse is also a right (to marry but not have a family) or any variation of marriage and family to also be held as a right. Or perhaps the unenumerated rights follow the “natural right.” Regardless of which unenumerated rights are being defined, what is absolutely clear is that religion is actively violating these rights because religion says it can. Furthermore, why must someone who is NOT religious comply with the religious words/beliefs that are being written into law across various states? For American’s who “scoff at the Middle East and the Sharia Law“, I find that these abortion laws are strangely Sharia-like.

What is happening to this country? Whenever I read/listen to the news, I ask this as well. I think there are two major issues. First it’s the Republicans. They are disregarding any semblance of bi-partisanship. They are seeking to just destroy whatever the Democrats propose instead of offering a counter proposal. Remember the Affordable Care Act aka “Obamacare”? Many of their constituents were given healthcare probably for the first time through ACA and liked it. Yet Republicans denigrated Obamacare causing such a fury repealing the ACA would have negatively impacted their constituents. Another despicable Republican act is their opposition to the infrastructure bill. Yet, these Republicans are going back to their constituents claiming victory for something they voted against. The US Government should be reformed. Opposition to a bill should result in zero distributed funds. It’s all or nothing since that’s what Republicans are doing with the government.

Second, its the current duopoly party system. Both parties are heavily influenced by MONEY. The current system requires candidates to establish a large war chest in order to fund their campaigns. Funding campaigns requires meetings with rich individuals/corporations hoping to influence the candidate. Sure candidates can say they are not influenced by big money… but seriously…. Money buys influence. The government needs to transition away from dark money and lobbyists circling around the candidates and government officials. The government should abolish rules that support the two party system and seek ways where a 3rd/4th/multi party candidates can also succeed. Yes a parliamentary congressional system is possible requiring bipartisanship and coalition building. The current two party system are such broad based coalitions that effectively there are already multiple parties. But the government rules prevent 3rd party candidates from standing out.

Feeling disgruntled and hopeless? To be honest, I feel the same too. But I still believe if we continue to vote on what matters to us in 2022.

2022 IS AN ELECTION YEAR!
VOTE! VOTE!! VOTE!!!