Chemex acquired; coffee 100% more awesome. So awesome, in fact, it's a little difficult to get any work done while drinking it. Amazing how much difference clean equipment makes when brewing joe. The old drip machine, like most of its ilk, was very hard to keep fully clean. Run all the vinegar water through it you want and crud still accumulates, affecting the flavor. I think the thing I like most about the Chemex is its simplicity--it cleans just like any other glass vessel. That alone, I think, will have the biggest long term effect. Also, it's cool-looking and the combination between that, the thick filters and the inherent tweakability (that's a word, right...RIGHT?) makes for amazing coffee.
Writing update: I've been letting the plot outline stew over the last week. This afternoon is for tweaking. Make sure there's enough space for Claire's segments, make sure there's the requisite number of twists and turns, room for Cam to die a lot and, most importantly, make sure that each chapter is something crazy enough that I look forward to writing them. Key!
It's a weird stage in the process. Still bright-eyed, full of energy, but there's a bit of tension: you want to dive right in and start banging away, but you also know that you might want to spend a bit more time preparing. You have to balance the two instincts: dive in too soon and start banging away and it's like walking out the door with no pants on, minus the tasering. Unless your editor is very harsh. Don't pay money to those kinds of editors--unless you're a patron of S&M dungeons dealing with struggling novelists ("THE WORD HOLE", "THE WRITE WHIP", "LETTERS OF PAIN").
On the other hand, you don't want to over-prepare. There's a definite point when you're just wasting time. After all, it's only a first draft. It's supposed to suck.
I tend to go to both extremes if I let myself. I either just jump in and start laying about me, like a drunken mall Santa thrashing his way through a Christmas display or I use the act of preparation as a procrastination device. The worst thing about that is that most of my preparation is thrown away, because writing is very much a thing of the moment. Sometimes you don't know what you want or what you can use until you're hammering words home on the page.