A photograph of the site's author, Mike Kelsey
Developer, writer, musician, and traveler. I like to run, code, yell, and wander.
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Mike's Blog
Adventure | Code | Music : Love

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Why Joule in Raleigh is the best coffeeshop I’ve ever used as an office, period

I’m working there now and I have to stay focusedish, so I’ll make this quick.

  • Really good coffee. All single-origin. My pallette is sub-amateur, so take the following with a grain of salt:  The espresso is above average; the drip coffee is absolutely top notch, and the more creative stuff is par (try the Green Bird with rum after you get your work done).
  • They serve you. What? Yeah, like, waiters. You sit down and they take your order, bring you coffee or food, and then check on you ever so often. Working for eight hours? It’s cool. “Stay as long as you like,” they keep insisting. You’d be surprised how much more focused you can be when someone is essentially waiting on you for the entirety of your day, keeping you hydrated, caffeinated, and fed. Also, they’re really, really nice. Probably too nice.
  • Reliable internet, a gazillion outlets. Dude, I have never worked more consecutive hours in a busy coffeeshop without losing my connection. It’s SO refreshing.
  • Food. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even cocktails. And it’s good. Prices reflect this, however.
  • Atmosphere. The place feels clean, modern, and chic. Wood, distressed[?] metal, real ceramic mugs, good levels of light, the works. The entrance to the shop is lined on either side by two giant display windows. In front of each is a long bar with stools and outlets. You get a view of Wilmington street, and when people glance at the shop and see you, you get to feel like you’re cool and important because you’re getting shit done downtown. You’re not cool and important, of course- if you were, you’d have a real office- but the feeling is motivating.
  • Stand up desks. Not really. But the bar that serves as a table in the front of the shop is, at least for me, the perfect height to work standing up. Stand up when your antsy, pop back down onto the stool when your legs get tired, rest your feet on the footrests. I like the set-up so much that if I ever get a real office, I’m going to literally come in here with a tape measure to get measurements for my own sitting/standing desk. For reference, I’m 6′ 2″, but the stool heights are adjustable.


  • If you’re really gonna chill all day, it can be expensive. First off, if you don’t live downtown, parking can be, eh. There’s a lot on the corner of Wilmington St and Carbarus that’s a max of $8 a day, which is the cheapest I’ve seen downtown. Second, because the waitresses and waiters are actually bringing you stuff and checking on, you should really tip (don’t be that guy who works there all day and doesn’t tip). Third, the food and drink is fairly priced for its quality, but it’s good quality, so bear that in mind. It’ll run you between $3 and $4 for the various combinations of espresso and milk (comparable to Starbucks, iirc), and between $8 and $11 for breakfast and lunch. Never had dinner here, not sure about that one.
  • Only open til 3PM on Sundays. Meh.

Alright, back to work.

On Hitchhiking in Iceland

One week ago yesterday, Melissa and I stood in the Icelandic countryside, upon the grasses at the edge of a farmer’s field at the intersection of Highway 1 and Highway 60, six kilometers North of Bifrost. I reveled in the absolute perfection of the warmth and calmness – it was the temperature at which you want no clothes at all; the air itself felt like soft, dry cotton on your skin, and breathing is effortless. As Iceland has almost no creatures of any bother at all to humans, insect or otherwise, we could quite literally have lay down on the thick, springy grass of this valley between the arching volcanic horizons and taken a nap in the open air. I might have done so, just to stay longer in this strange Eden, except for a nagging predicament: it was in the middle of nowhere, and we were, in a sense, stranded.

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Just having a coffee and working on the laptop in Reykjavik, Iceland

I am sitting in Kex Hostel’s very hip (-ster) cafe and bar in Reykjavik, Iceland. Though we have stayed at Kex, we didn’t stay last night- but the cafe is open to the public, and a great place to get a cup of coffee, wine, dine, or get some work done. It’s spacious, warmly lit, cleverly decorated with a hodgepodge of vintage furniture, and a row of windows lining one wall give you a fantastic view of the ocean. I have my laptop out, plugged into an Icelandic-outlet-to-American-outlet converter. I am sipping on a rather light and zesty beer in a glass mug, seated at an iron-and-wood table, surrounded by the buzz of excited world travelers . Next to me, of course, is Melissa, who is doing almost exactly the same thing as I am, though she is drinking wine.

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Mike's Portfolio
Samples of my development, writing, and design

Some of my work cannot be publicly listed.

Please email me at Mike (at) MikeKelsey.com for a password to access my full portfolio.

Queensboro's Checkout

  • Back-End Developer
  • March 2013
  • The new checkout process is simple, modern, and user-friendly. The user has the option of uploading a logo if they have not done so, setting a deadline, checking out with their Amazon account, and reviewing the details of their order.


  • Lead Developer
  • December 2011
  • ZapTee is a start-to-finish t-shirt designer, allowing customers to upload images, add text, position and resize elements, and order their finished design on the t-shirt of their choice.

Band Posters

  • Designer
  • 2011-2012
  • These are some eye-catching 11" x 17" posters I created for singer-songwriter Dylan Holton and for the reggae band The Sound Down Shore, for which I also played keys and wrote music.


  • Designer/Developer
  • 2011
  • The website for former Wilmington reggae band The Sound Down Shore.