How To Be A Better Coffee Shop Customer

 As someone who works in a coffee shop, I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly of customers. A better experience for the employee means a better experience for you, so follow these tips to have a better coffee shop visit next time. 

Decide Your Order In Advance

It may be hard to pick between that macchiato and the vanilla latte, but try and think through what you want before you reach the front of the queue. There’s nothing worse for the coffee shop worker or for the people behind you then a person who stands there deciding for a full minute before they come to place their order.

Order From The Menu

This one tends to be a pet hate of coffee shop workers. If the menu says Blended Iced Coffee, don’t order a frappucino. It is annoying as well as confusing for the person trying to put your order through the till. Saying exactly what you mean will put the coffee in your hand faster, as well as making someone else’s life easier. 

Wait Patiently

Again, this may sound hard to carry out. You’re already late to work, you’re tired, need the caffeine- all you want is to grab your drink and run. But the coffee machine, till and people can all only work so fast. If you don’t have the five minutes to spare, you shouldn’t stop to get a drink in the first place.

Try To Be Nice

That person behind the counter is a person too. If they smile and say hello, you don’t have to launch into a full on conversation if you’re busy, but it’s polite to acknowledge them. Smile back, place your order, chat a little. Apart from spreading a bit of happiness, they may well make your coffee a little hotter, put in a little more syrup, and generally give you a better time. Even if your server is busy and not very friendly, remember that they are trying their best and keep up the kindness!

Simple points to make your life as a coffee consumer better, and help out a coffee shop employee. 

Sexual Identity and Cultural Revolution

Symposium

19_-surgeon-cartoon

I would not normally comment on such things, but the recent Irish referendum on instituting same-sex marriage has brought out an ugliness of language that fairly compels any person of conscience to speak out. Indeed, the great irony of our time is that what was once the most liberal of causes has become a locus for the most illiberal of behaviours: Western society’s current obsession with human sexuality has, over the course of a very short period, mutated into a litmus test for social orthodoxy, and in so doing, become a stick by which those who fail the test are beaten.

I do not believe in conspiracies, which is why I detest phrases like ‘gay agenda’, as if homosexual people secretly gather someplace to plot the overthrow of society. As far as I know, the gay people I am privileged to call friends tend to want to get on with…

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Stop the Hatred Now

P-Squared

(oversimplification alert)

It starts innocently enough.

A friend posts a story that makes up details and marginalizes one group of people at the expense of another and I repost it…

Or… I share my prejudices with my child in an angry fashion, so that they pick it up and believe the same thing… even though the story that I read and reposted and then read aloud to my son was innacurate in the first place. I might even say that I don’t think a particular kind of person deserves to live.

Now my son sees the world through a lens that is tainted by lies, fear, prejudice and a sense that the world is against him and he sets his teeth on edge and then seethes quietly, raging inside against a world that actually doesn’t exist, but I made real enough in my hate and anger and fear and prejudice…

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The 21st Century Pan-African Mind

By Jordan Stier

On 25 May 1963, an historic meeting of African leaders contributed enormously to the culmination of colonialism on the continent, the first great act of what would later be termed “Pan-Africanism”. Now, 52 years later, this continent has changed significantly, and so  has the understanding of what Pan-Africanism entails. It is an important part of our cultural heritage, yes, of course. But what is it? To discuss what the term now means, and what the 21st century Pan-African should be doing for her continent, Former President of South Africa Kgalema Motlanthe came to Rhodes University for the Pan-African Youth Dialogue’s (PAYD) 2015 Africa Day lecture.

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Pen Name

Kate Beth Heywood

It’s difficult to describe the feeling of intense excitement I feel when I think about writing for a living. (But surely I need to be able to describe it if I want to write for a living so here goes.) I get a real proper bubbly feeling in my stomach which spreads up to my face into a smile and makes me light-headed and almost delirious. Seriously, it does!

I am getting closer and closer to revisiting the novel I half-wrote back in 2011. I think about it a lot. And I chose my pen-name today. Kate-Beth Heywood. It’s more memorable than my full name.. and every second author seems to be called Kate.

So why am I resting on my laurels? Note to self. Get off your arse you lazy cow and just f*cking do it!!!

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Book Critics?

Kate Beth Heywood

I finally succumbed to the pressure of showing my work to somebody. It was just the first 7000 words of my newest novel and it was well and truly in its first draft. All my fellow writers will know what that means and will probably be groaning that I showed it to somebody at such a rough stage.

And rightly so.

I am still forming the story; still forming the characters; still forming the theme. The scenes were a little jumbled up as they’ll, of course, be put in best order later. Some crap scenes and lines were still in there but would probably be completely re-written or culled completely later. Even the names of the characters, and some of the characters themselves are subject to change.

However, my lovely sister took a look at it for me. Probably simply because I wanted somebody to rave, ‘this is brilliant!’ if I’m…

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I Never Learn

Kate Beth Heywood

Despite my previous blog post discussing the trials and tribulations of that famed nemesis for writers, ‘the difficult second novel,’ I have to admit that I did not reallybelieve in Second Novel Syndrome.

You would think that by the age of thirty-six, I would have learnt that dismissal and judgement will only ever come back to bite me in the arse, wouldn’t you? (A bit like pre-children, I judged the parents of badly behaved children. Wow, did I pay for that one.) But no. I recall seeing a fellow writer lamenting the writing of her second novel and I smugly thought that I would have no such problems.

I’m sure you can see where this is leading.

Damn, am I stuck. I decided to finish a book I started to write four years ago. Last week I continued writing it before realising that it was going nowhere. So, I…

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Mini Review; The Great Gatsby

  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is often considered a true American classic, and for good reason- it captures perfectly the ambience and feeling of the 1920s Jazz Age of America.

The novel begins with a long speech by Nick Carraway, the narrator, telling us about the way he lives his life and his recent move to a small home near New York. While not the most engaging of starts, it is worth reading to reach the more fast-paced action.

Gatsby, a character constantly shrouded in mystery, is introduced, and we learn that he is in love with Daisy, a shallow, beautiful girl he knew he was young, and who is now married to his neighbour. Most of the novel surrounds Gatsby’s love for Daisy, and whether it can ever really work.

There are many problems for the characters to face, and Fitzgerald focuses largely on their feelings and thoughts as the story progresses. It is these deep explorations of thoughts and dreams which make the novel what it is, so it may not be for the reader who prefers constant action.

That being said, there is enough action in The Great Gatsby to keep things interesting. Adultery, drunken parties, smuggling illegal alcohol, car crashes; the dark side of the Roaring Twenties provides plenty of interest for this story. 

Be warned, the ending is a little frustrating. There is no clean cut “the good end happily, and the bad unhappily” type of conclusion, so brave yourself to face a stark reality. 

Definitely worthy of its reputation, The Great Gatsby is a wonderful read, provided you don’t mind the fact that it may disillusion you as to the romance of life for the rich and famous of 1920s America.

The Blank Page

Blame the Amygdala

Tabula rasaThe blank page terrifies me.

As I’m sure many writers know, sitting down to craft their thoughts and opinions into articulate and resonating sentences is often accompanied by at least a mild emotional experience. Sure, there can be the thrill of waiting to find out how you manage to express the fantastic ideas that’ve been rattling around your head for at least the last few hours (seconds?), but this is not without risk. If you do your job well, it’s a rewarding and a gratifying experience. If you fail to articulate those burning spots in your mind, it can be deeply frustrating, even depressing.

I sometimes see the blank page as a kind of magnet, pulling the sentences from my mind as I tell the story to myself. Once it’s out there I can often re-work it to strike a deeper chord. However, sometimes this magnet is not charged, and…

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Of Loving The Art in Yourself

Of Opinions

writers-block-1000x664

Love art in yourself and not yourself in art. – Constantin Stanislavski

I disagree.

You have to love yourself a little bit in art, in order to love the art in yourself.

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