We all know you can't swing a dead civet cat in this world without hitting a Starbucks. But can all the world's Starbucks be hit by one live -- and likely jittery-as-a-cat -- man?
Winter -- yes, the name is just Winter -- is the guy giving this daunting coffee crusade his best double shot. The 42-year-old computer programmer from Houston hopes to visit every Starbucks on the planet, providing him with a mission in life, a great excuse to travel and the fuel to stay awake the whole darned time.
His caffeinated campaign began in 1997, back when there were only about 1,500 Starbucks branches. Ah, Winter, so naive. Little did he know that the chain would explode like an overheated espresso maker with more than 19,000 retail stores in 60 countries, according to Starbucks' website. He's made quite a dent, though, visiting 11,676 locations during these past 14 years, including some in Chile, Australia, Kuwait, the Bahamas, Switzerland and more.
Impressive. Yet his quest never ends. "I do not expect to ever complete the project, as I have every reason to think that Starbucks will outlive me," Winter recently told the Daily Mail of London. Perhaps he should switch to decaf.
Seems Starbucks coffee is not Winter's only love. He does a little forty-weight philandering on the side, stopping at independent java joints, too. His S.F. faves include, in this order, Sight Glass, Ritual, Blue Bottle and Four Barrel.
You can follow Winter's amped-up adventures on his Facebook page, Starbucks Everywhere.
(Fun fact: Did you know Starbucks is named after the first mate in Herman Melville's "Moby-Dick?" You'll thank me when that question comes up on trivia night.)
A bridge quite near
Bridge, the card game, may not be the first activity that pops to mind when one thinks of, well, activity. But it's a game burgeoning with brain power and competition fierce as some people's insatiable love of coffee.
It's a challenge of memory and tactics, of calculating probabilities and engaging in tricks, squeezes, end plays and trumps -- no relation to The Donald that we know of, but Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are big fans of the game. There's contract bridge, duplicate bridge and rubber bridge. There's stuff about bidding, auctioning, redoubling and even dummies, one of the latter of which would be me playing bridge.
To expose more people to the game, Bridge Center No. 503, the Peninsula affiliate of the American Contract Bridge League, will hold a five-hour Learn Bridge in a Day seminar, 9:30 a.m. June 14 at 432 Stierlin Road, Mountain View. And lest you think this game is just for old folks, Silicon Valley Youth Bridge is offering a bridge camp the week of June 16, open to those ages 10 to 17. Learn more at www.paloaltobridge.com.
Contact Angela Hill at email@example.com.