Bleats

How To Use Your Local Cafe As An Office Without Being A Jerk

About to spill the (coffee) beans.

Chances are that if you’re a student or office worker, you’ve at some point sought out a cozy local cafe and enjoyed the ambiance and free WiFi while working away. And chances are, having done so, you’ve pissed off a small business owner in the process.

And that’s the tea on that.

There are going to be two types of people reading this. The first are the blissfully ignorant, who camp out and have never noticed the pointed glare of the barista. The second are folks who are so stressed about inconveniencing the staff, that they break out in a cold sweat the second they start their laptop.

No need to fret, because regardless of which archetype you fall into, I’ve run the numbers and provided below the definitive guide to ‘coffice’ etiquette. You’re welcome.

Hour One

The work day is just beginning, but the good news is that this is going to be the least socially awkward part of it. Just make sure that you’ve fully charged your devices, because leeching electricity is just plain distasteful.

However, you’re going to have to make an informed decision about which cafe you choose, especially if you haven’t yet established a rapport with any of the local businesses. My advice is to find a spot with a large and mostly empty dining area. If WiFi access is a must, scope out the exterior for one of those little stickers – if they ain’t advertising it, there’s probably a reason.

Once you’re inside, make sure you’re at a small table and not a six-person dining arrangement. That’s basic stuff. Once you’ve set up, go and order your first drink – as long as it’s not too embarrassing – and when you do so, get your workspace a green light from the server. Common courtesy.

Hour Two

Your first purchase buys you some time. After all, there’ll be plenty of folks coming in for catch-ups with friends who do the same thing, and what you’re doing is no different, really – even if the Skype conversations are a tad less joy-filled. As the hour wears on, you should really order a second drink, and/or a snack of some kind. Banana bread or a scone would do the trick.

It’s worth mentioning at this point, too, that you need to keep your area tidy. Don’t give the local cafe staff the extra challenge of sweeping up a square metre of crumbs or dirty tissues. And whatever you do, you’ve gotta respect the fact you’re in a public place and not your own home – no shoes, no shirt, no service.

That’s all anyone asks.

Hour Three

Now, this is where things get a little tricky. If you’re determined to stay on, you’re going to have to splash the cash on a full meal – and don’t be stingy, especially if you’re chewing through a serious quantity of megabytes. Once you’ve polished off your (hopefully) delicious lunch, do a quick head count. Are there enough free tables to accommodate peak period customers? If not, it’s time to move on.

Hour Four

If you’ve somehow, against all odds, found the quietest cafe in the country then you can confidently go ahead and breaking that unspoken three-hour rule. You’ve bought yourself the time, literally and metaphorically. Go the extra mile for your kind and generous hosts by going for a walk midway through hour four – it’s good for you and for anyone who comes in wanting to nab that perfect cozy spot. You can always come back if it remains quiet and the place stays open late. If you do, you should probably switch over to hotspotting your mobile data, even if it’s only to satisfy your own conscience.

Hour Five

Now, this is the danger zone, especially if you haven’t moved all day. It’s a miracle that your phone hasn’t died as it is, and now definitely isn’t the right time to whip out the extension cord. But we’ve all had the crazy days of cramming for an exam or being looped into meeting after meeting. In order to avoid pushing the limits of public decency, order another drink and afternoon tea. Don’t worry, it’s a perfectly safe amount of coffee. Tip generously on your way out, and a 5-star Google review is an absolute must.

There you have it. You’ve successful navigated the social protocol of being a coffice worker. But at what cost?

The Creator Of The Xbox Has The Most Bizarre Hobby - Baking With 4000-Year-Old Egyptian Yeast

Let's get this (cursed) bread.

‘Casual gastroegyptologist’ is not the kind of qualification you’d see listed on most techie resumes, but Xbox inventor Seamus Blackley – who pitched the console concept to Bill Gates himself – has truly broken the mould and made @ClubYeast my new favourite Twitter account.

The physicist-cum-game-designer posted a thread on Twitter detailing the process behind baking with ancient ingredients, but I cannot imagine confidently eating anything that came from an ancient tomb. We should be used to hearing about weird food discoveries, but this is next level. Did I hear someone mention cursed bread?

I have to be honest here and say that I find the concept of a sourdough starter pretty gross. ‘Feeding’ a jar of bubbling bacteria like it’s some kind of gloopy pet? No thanks.

But I’m not going to yuck Blackley’s yum, because it is genuinely impressive how much patience and study goes into this particular pastime. From gaming innovation on the Xbox team to bread innovation in his kitchen, it’s quite the 180. Not to mention how good at it you’d have to be to convince a bunch of museums to loan you antiquities that are thousands of years old and from half a world away.

This one belongs to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

The inspiration for this particular endeavor was Blackley’s dissatisfaction with the taste of his previous loafs. “[S]omething was missing” he tweeted, “The fundamental flavor of wild yeast bread comes from the yeast. And our modern air has TOTALLY different microbiology than it did in antiquity!” Thus, using a specially developed, non-invasive technique, teensy ancient Egyptian bread micro-organisms were extracted from previously entombed vessels.

After doing a bit of lab analysis, Blackley and his team should be able to reverse engineer the classic Egyptian recipe. Jumping the gun a little, he used a sample to culture a batch of yeast for his own future use – a process that required a mill, an autoclave and a UV lamp. Turns out it’s not the most accessible hobby when you’re that committed to perfecting the art.

Blackley has been posting pics of his ancient bakes on Twitter since 2016, and his accurate reproductions have become so popular that he’s now posting his grains around the world to other history buff bakers.

I cannot even begin to imagine what a Customs officer thinks when they see these on the X-ray.

So there you have it – in a completely wild turn of events, you too might eventually be able to sample the foodstuff of people long gone from the world, thanks to an Xbox developer’s eccentric hobby. As long as you’re not too stressed about the idea of you and your descendants being pursued by the restless spirit of a pharaoh forever, that is.

Where Are People Storing All These Ridiculous Single-Use Kitchen Appliances?

Why is it always eggs?!

Cable TV and free-to-air breakfast shows have one awful thing in common, and it’s advertising for unnecessary products.

Some infomercials have become so infamous that they’ve established a cultural zeitgeist, and ads for kitchen appliances are often the worst of a bad bunch.

Mainly because as useless as they are, you know that your ageing mother is filling her home with them as you read this.

Sometimes, these cursed objects are both a massive waste of space and an unholy crime. Such as the case of the vertical egg cooker.

Looking into it is like staring into the void, only things do reemerge from it (and you’ll wish they hadn’t). No one needs a long egg on a skewer! You don’t need to eat an egg like a shish kebab! It’s not okay! Just make a damn omelette like the rest of us!

Source: Ebay

And speaking of pointless egg-related purchases, have you seen ‘Egglettes’? How can you be so pedantic about eggshell that you’d rather boil your eggs in silicon condoms than in their natural sheaths?

Don’t even get me started on the ‘ShakeNegg’ and its ‘unique cooking dome’ technology (spoiler: it’s a lid) which is somehow even more unnecessary – y’all, eggs are not supposed to be this complex!

Go one step further and you find yourself in the realm of the gadgets made to accommodate peak laziness, things like the ‘Nutrislicer’ or ‘Nicer Dicer’, which despite the enticing names are essentially an automation of the most basic cooking skill there is – cutting. Just use a knife you demons!

Let’s not forget to shame the ‘Pasta Boat’ here either – you cannot fool me into thinking that’s anything other than a plastic container. I’m not even convinced that strainer would work without all your spaghetti flowing out and down the sink.

Debra, please. They’re just onions. De-stress.

Then there’s a special variety of products I like to call ‘Things I Want And Don’t Need’, all of which are hyper-specialised gadgets that get used a handful of times at best, before being wedged in a corner to accrue dust til the next garage sale.

In this category you’ll find popcorn machines, ice-cream machines, yoghurt makers, doughnut makers, pancake makers, deep fryers, air fryers, fondue fountains… the list is endless.

Pretty much any baked good you can think of has an accompanying cooker, all of which are basically mini ovens with specifically shaped grooves.

They’re great for a party trick and not much more, but boy oh boy is it easy to get addicted to collecting them. And I am 100% certain they only exist so you can gift people with an eternal burden.

Me being crushed to death by all eighty of my appliances sometime in the near future.

But the cream of the crop (ha, food pun) has to be *drumroll* the ‘Hover Cover’. I have no words for how mad this makes me. Every selling point is something that you could achieve with anything that isn’t this product. Look, I’m just going to embed the ad and let you draw your own conclusions.

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