Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Plunger, Bakehouse, Richmond

Woah. This should get us through the rehearsal.
I can't help but think I'll need even more coffee tomorrow though.

Latte, Jasper, Fitzroy

Why do I feel like I need another coffee already?
Oh, that's right. I had four yesterday. Yikes.
This one was better than all of them, though.

Long Black, home

I could become quite hooked on Mutant Sounds. It's a blog of obscure deleted fusion/krautrock/prog/weird albums, some on cassette, all posted with cover art and ZIPped for download. I'm sure there's some unlistenable stuff on there, but I've had fun listening to Solution, a jazz/rock band from Netherlands. Their self-titled 1972 album is described on Mutant Sounds as "just about as good as jazz rock gets". I also think a few bits sound like Rod Stewart fronting Jethro Tull.

I also clicked through to Website Value Calculator, curious as to how much advertising revenue I could be raking in for all my hard work, aside from the $10.31 Google is due to send me that has accumulated over the past nine months. Website Value Calculator gave me a few handy hints, such as this little gem:

Your site could earn approximately $0 monthly through independent advertising arrangements specific to your site's niche.

Want more?

This site could sell text link advertisements at approximately $0 per link per month.

Wow. I feel a lot better about my $10.31 over 9 months now.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Qantas, Perth to Melbourne

The airline is flying slower to save fuel, but because of the wind assistance we'll get home an hour early.
I understand neither of these, but I'm happy with the outcome.

Espresso, Qantas Club, Perth Airport

After four hours in the car, I figured I deserved to squander my free Qantas Club invite. Wanna see how the other half live, coffee-wise? Well, the other half fall into two categories:
  1. People who fly enough to know that they don't have to sit with the other people anymore, and deserve tranquil surrounds where they can relax with the knowledge that they are with people at least as successful and professional as, but probably not more successful or professional than, themselves.
  2. People who PAY to be a Qantas Club member, because they really love telling people, "I'm off to Qantas Club, see you on the plane."
Well, the coffee machine wasn't very impressive, more like the kind of thing you'd find in the foyer of a cheap German hotel near the airport. But at least it sounds like it's named after a very pompous yet flamboyant dance move.

Do the Swiss Mambo! The resulting coffee wasn't very inspiring, as you can see. In fact, it pales (in more ways than one) in comparison to the bog-standard jug of coffee that comes around in economy class on Qantas. I can't wait until we get on that flight.

Masters Premium Blend Espresso Iced Coffee

Sometimes it pays to walk to the next servo. None of us had ever seen this flavour before.
It was pretty good, but still a bit too sweet for my liking. I'm not sure why they have to weigh these things down with so much sugar. It also seemed like whoever wrote the text on the carton didn't really do their research.
"We've sourced premium roasted coffee beans to create Masters Premium Blend Espresso."
The ingredients guys disagreed, and painted a much less idealistic picture of how flavoured milk is made.
"Milk, Water, Sugar, Coffee Extract (Min. 0.5%), Flavour, Vegetable Gum (407)."
I guess it would not move as many units if you wrote, "We sourced the most cost-effective Coffee Extract, Flavour and Vegetable Gum but still thought some of you would get sucked in by the words 'espresso' and 'premium'."

Espresso, machine at service station, Hyden

In sharp contrast to the rich velvety caffeiriffic goodness last night, is the coffee machine at the servo. But hey, it was either that or sit in the car for three hours until the next servo. It was tolerable with sugar. The individually-wrapped Mint Slice was welcome too.
I should also mention that the egg and bacon sandwich was amazing.
But not as amazing as the stars last night. We could see them reflecting off the lake. I would've thought that wouldn't be possible, but it is. It just has to be dark enough and the water has to be still enough. Luckily there was no moon, no clouds, no wind, and no street lights for hundreds of kilometres in every direction. I should really get this far out of town more often.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Espresso, Coffee Van at Wave Rock Weekender

I don't usually trust coffee vans at outdoor music festivals. I've seen some horrendous things in the past. But these guys were good. The guy who served me looked about thirteen years old, and I'm not saying he was actually twenty but just looked young. He actually looked thirteen. But his mum came over and did my espresso. It was rad.

I just realised that I missed Coffee Porn Saturday. It was supposed to be posted yesterday. Well, there's a good reason for that. I started googling other coffee-related terms to see what sort of images come up, and I quickly started to find the kind of thing I'm REALLY not going to post on this blog. Don't do an image search for "plunger". Eurgh.

So, based on my findings, the inaugural Coffee Porn Saturday post will probably be the last. Let's just stick to Lavazza advertisements.
How small a part can the coffee play in the photo, and it still be about the coffee? I think they're treading that line here.

"Small" Macchiato, Gino's, Fremantle

Small Macchiato? Large Macchiato? Well, I'm used to "short" and "long", but we're on the west coast here. Some things are bound to be a bit different. So I ordered a small one.

It came out looking like a weak flat white. Odd. Maybe the barista was verbally instructed. "Do an espresso and pour a bit of milk in there," could result in a short macchiato, or a weak flat white, depending on the pour. But it was still streets ahead of that other one I didn't drink this morning.

Strong Latte, Angel's Cafe, Fremantle

The milk was heated beyond the point of ever tasting okay again. Aside from that, it didn't taste good. Four fifths of it was still staring back at me from the glass when we left. I bet you're thinking this is the most negative review I've ever given. Well, it gets better:

If a guy's breakfast order goes missing and he has to ask twice if it's on the way, and it then gets sent to the wrong table but the wrong table doesn't notice until they've already put on some salt and pepper, splashing some more hollandaise on in the kitchen does NOT disguise that same salt and pepper, nor does it make us think you magically cooked another Eggs Florentine in two minutes. If you're going to serve us the food you sent to the wrong table, the trip back to the kitchen is a little bit pointless.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Strong Latte, Gino's, Fremantle

I was given a large takeaway cup by default. But otherwise pretty good. Gino's does a staggering amount of business. They seem to be pretty full of people no matter what time you come here. Luckily the quality hasn't waned.

Strong Flat White, Urban Bean, Margaret River

The girl at the table next to me had that odd combination of dreadlocks/bandana/sunglasses that makes people look a bit like Predator. Solid work on the coffee. Margaret River seems to be living up to its "a bit like Byron Bay, but with less dickheads and it's on the wrong side of Australia" reputation.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Masters Iced Coffee

Sadly, I'll probably never do a head-to-head comparison of Masters and Big M. They're from opposite sides of the country, and the journey alone, if unrefrigerated, would probably disqualify them both. The only way is to take one of those fridge bags on the plane, but they might not even let that through the metal detector. Bec was aghast this morning when they didn't let her take duct tape on the plane. It can be used to tie people up from behind. I assume tying people up from the front with a seatbelt isn't as frowned upon.

Long Black, home

Sitting down for ten minutes and having a cup of coffee instead of slamming it down fast and racing out to the car because it's Friday and who the fuck knows what the traffic will be like between here and the airport, is time well-spent. Honestly, this is the first time I've ever done it. That ten minutes could also have been spent on another snooze (or another two snoozes if your phone is five-minute-snooze-compliant), but I can tell you I felt 15% more relaxed on the way out to the airport. Unfortunately we're flying Virgin Blue, so there's no Qantas coffee for me today. And studies show that Qantas planes are up to 15% more relaxing than Virgin on flights over three hours in length, so this could actually negate some, if not all, of the relaxation power I gained from not having another one to two snoozes.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Espresso, Pushka, City

When I found out, many months ago, that Pushka is open until 11PM or something, I thought to myself, "That will come in handy one day."
That day is today.

Long Macchiato. Coffee HQ, Monash Clayton

If I'd thought ahead, I could have posted a message on the blog asking, "I'm going to be at Monash, where should I get coffee from?" But I didn't think ahead. Luckily, I took the Eastlink and so got here with plenty of time to look for coffee. Who would've thought driving twice as far, but with no traffic lights, could possibly take less time?
Coffee HQ seem to have four coffee machines. I'm not sure why, but it's reassuring. Nothing makes me leave a cafe quicker than the waiter saying, "The coffee machine has broken down," although that's only happened to me once. Surprisingly, a debate sprung up between the coffee drinkers and the non-coffee-drinkers.
"C'mon, can't we just have breakfast here and you guys can get coffee later?"
"Why not?"
"They should be prepared for this. They're not. Let's go somewhere else. We can do better."
"Surely you can go for an hour without coffee."
"I can. But not if I haven't had one yet today."

Halftte, home

I drove out to Monash Clayton, with Donna Summer's I Feel Love on repeat. If you listen to this song for long enough, you start to feel like you are in Blade Runner.

I love how many videos there are on Youtube now of a song playing, with a shot of either a turntable playing the song or just the motionless record cover. Anyhow, the photo in this one is not accurate. It's not the 15 minute-long remix. The length of the video gives that away. Anyhow, the main reason this song is so addictive is because Donna decided to go and hang out with this guy:
Giorgio Moroder. He of the horizontal stripes, vast modular synth, and amusing facial hair. An Italian-German record producer, he is responsible for very much rad stuff over the years. Not only was he behind the wheel of Blondie's Call Me, the Scarface soundtrack, Take My Breath Away, Flashdance, Never Ending Story, Highway to the Danger Zone, and countless others, but his influence is quite obviously heard in other artists of the period immediately following. Don't try to tell me Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart didn't sit down and listen to I Feel Love and then say, "Woah, let's start a band. But we need a name first. Something rhythmic, but a bit European at the same time..."*
I just checked Wikipedia. Eurhythmics formed in 1980. I Feel Love came out in 1977. That checks out. I also found this quote from David Bowie:

"One day in Berlin ... Eno came running in and said, 'I have heard the sound of the future.' … he puts on 'I Feel Love', by Donna Summer … He said, 'This is it, look no further. This single is going to change the sound of club music for the next fifteen years.' Which was more or less right."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Latte, Pushka, City

A bit on the weak side, but I'd still come back for the bagels. It's strange, I don't usually get into bagels. These guys have really good combinations of stuff in the bagels though. Just be wary if you order the one with the fried egg in it. If the yolk is positioned exactly in the hole of the bagel, when you bite into it there's a chance the yolk can shoot right out of there. Depending on the diameter of the bagelhole, I bet you could get liquid yolk up to ten feet across the room. Or at least on someone else's milk crate.

Some guy came out one of the doors into the street near us, knocking over two bikes with the door in the process. He turned, realised what had happened, and then kept walking. Jeff yelled, "Yes, it was you," followed shortly by, "Pick em up, ya turkey!" But he kept walking. Thumbs down.

Halftte, home

Watching Stop Making Sense, the 1984 live Talking Heads concert/movie Jonathan Demme-directed event. It's rad. Way rad. It starts with nothing on stage, then David Byrne comes out with a boombox and a guitar and does (the famouser version of) Psycho Killer, then they keep adding more dudes and instruments until Bernie Worrell (from Parliament, Funkadelic, etc) comes out too. Anyway, I'm watching it for the running-on-the-spot move that they do in nearly every song, most noticeably in Life During Wartime about 50 seconds in:

Somehow, I've never noticed the running move before. It's pretty cool.

It's milestone time. Some time this week I reached 500 posts. Woo! It's actually on about 516 now, but there's probably a few handfuls of drafts and abandoned ideas that I never finished posting. So let's say this is the 500-ish-th post. That's a whole lot of coffee.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Latte, Rathdowne Food Store, Carlton North

I probably didn't need another coffee, but I was stopping to pick something up for lunch, so I figured that was a good enough reason. I got the chicken and avocado and rocket etc, on dark rye. It was darker than I expected. If they made bread in Mordor, it would look like this.

Strong Latte, North, Carlton North

If I'm meeting somebody for coffee at 10 AM, should I not have another one beforehand? It's not too hard to hold out until 10:00 without coffee, but there's also absolutely nothing wrong with having one at, say, 8:30. That leaves one and a half hours for it to sink in. Well, next time I might err on the side of sociability. I didn't have one before 10:00 and I was okay, but probably not very talkative for a while.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Latte, Las Chicas, St Kilda East

Beer o'clock or still coffee o'clock?
We had to flip a coin.
Hideous day out there too. I should be wary leaving the house at 8:30AM with only enough layers for the current weather situation.

Short Mac, Izzi, Elsternwick

It's a little too windy today to be putting a short mac that close to an open window. I kept worrying that I was going to actually cop a crema on my nose, or something.

Latte, Brother Baba Budan, City

Wow. BBB definitely gets my "Just Go There Right Now, Everybody" award.
Something strange happened with the tea order though. Did they give us milk just out of habit, or are there really people out there who have lemongrass tea with milk? Eurgh...
I'd better answer one of the questions I posed in my first post about BBB.
Q: What's with the chairs on the roof?
I have no idea. There are chairs of different shapes and vintages hanging from the roof like stalactites. It seems like an extravagant way to use that many chairs, but I probably only think so because I am currently experiencing a chair deficit. It must be good for the acoustics though; the smaller the chairs and the more there are of them and the more non-parallel surfaces there are the less reflections you would have. It's probably negligible in a room this size with normal-sized human chairs, though.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Aeropress, home

I haven't used it for months, but the Aeropress is still, in my opinion, technologically the best way to get water to taste like coffee beans. I should bust this thing out more often.
I am reading Geoffrey Blainey's A Short History of the World. My interest in this book may have been spurred by the amount of time I've been spending playing Spore. He answers lots of questions I've never thought to ask before, like, "If humans began in Africa, how the flip did they get to South America?" A few years ago I was tossing up between reading this and Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything, and chose the latter. I guess (having only read two chapters of Blainey so far) Blainey's book is a history of humans, whereas Bryson's is more of a history of humans discovering things. "This happened," versus, "This guy figured out how this happened." Hopefully they will fill each other's gaps.
I'm sure neither book mentions the invention of the Aeropress coffee maker in 2005 by Alan Adler.

Flat White, Birdman Eating, Fitzroy

I didn't have my camera with me, but trust me on this one: the crema pattern looked like an emo fringe.

Latte, home

Well, it's only a matter of time before I start playing Spore again.
Did I mention Brian Eno did the music in the game? If you don't know who Brian Eno is, he was the keyboard player in Roxy Music for a while, and then became a mega record producer, delivering us such gems as Talking Heads's Remain in Light; U2's Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby, and Zooropa; Devo's Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! and Coldplay's newest one, but I haven't really checked that out. He once made David Bowie jealous for looking more effeminate. He composed the three-and-a-quarter second-long Microsoft Sound for Windows 95. He is also artsy. Well artsy. So artsy that he urinated on Marcel DuChamp's Fountain. If you have a Mac I highly recommend downloading the "Oblique" widget. It's a Mac-nerd version of the Oblique Strategy Cards that Eno made in the 70s, designed to stimulate the mind and help with writers block and other creative roadblocks. I'll consult the cards now.

Go to an extreme, come part way back

Well, Wikipedia describes Eno's soundtrack to Spore as "procedural". I have no idea what they mean by that.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

3/4 Latte, home

Dad came over for a coffee.
"Does this mean I'll be in the blog?"
He also apologised for notifying me of the death of a relative over the internet. My response at the time was, "Well that's easily the first death notice I've had on MSN Messenger!"
He thought it was pretty bad form and should have at least called or something, but I said it was okay, and very "Death 2.0".

Long Black, home

I took a long time to post this one, mainly because ZOMG I WAS PLAYING SPORE!
This game is fully rad. Highly addictive too. I'll post up a photo of my creature soon.

Latte, home

The tagging system on this blog was intended as an easy way to catalog which coffees I had, where I had them, and whether they received a BOMB award. The resulting statistics weren't as interesting as I'd hoped, but a few other non-statistical tags crept in, some of which haven't been used much in the blog. In a quick browse through the list of tags, I couldn't help but notice that the coffeeporn tag had only been used once. There's so many clever marketing people out there trying to use sex to sell coffee, and I'm sure they're quite often successful. There should be an arena to applaud their efforts, and I think it should be on this blog. And so, people, welcome to Coffee Porn Saturday Volume One.

For today's issue we'll show you how widespread coffee porn is. Do a Google image search for the seemingly-innocent word "Lavazza", and the second result looks like this:

Crikey. Are they grinding for a stovetop or a plunger?
Because this photo was only the second result in the search, Lavazza gets a GIMP (Google Image Measure of Porn-ness) score of 2. Tune in next week, where we'll Google another coffee-related word.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Strong Latte, Las Chicas, St Kilda East

What an awesome day. It feels hot. And it's not just because this table at Las Chicas is right next to the hot water service.
Shane Bourne was sitting a few tables away. I kept expecting someone to say, "Thank God you're here." Just like in Alien 3.
You don't believe me? Watch that movie again. Just when you think the dialogue couldn't get any crapper, Ripley walks in and the other guy says, "Thank God you're here."
Furthermore, who the hell names their kid Sigourney?!

Latte, home

My internet procrastination this morning is all about one thing.
This photo says it all:
It's all about kids learning to play drums in church, and getting real good, real fast. There's a whole scene for this thing in the US. And for every scene, there's stuff on Youtube. Here's Tony Royster Jr, at the age of twelve:

I feel like I should say something like, "Goddam! Jesus! The drummer from hell!" but that would be inappropriate, wouldn't it.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ristretto, Brunetti, City

Four coffees in one day may seem excessive, but we just had pre-rehearsal beers at Transport. I think that justifies another coffee. I like Transport during the day, before all the fuckwits get there, but it is interesting to be there and see how quickly the place fills up when everyone finishes work. Kudos to the two slappers downing vodka and Red Bull at 5:04PM.

Latte, Pushka, City

Single chocolate Teddy Bear biscuits for $1. Thumbs up.
I've run out of change. Thumbs down.
The guy put my change in the tip jar instead of handing it to me first. Thumbs down.
He gave me a free chocolate Teddy Bear biscuit. Thumbs up.

Latte, North, Carlton North

Lamington. If you say it enough, it feels like you've just invented a word and actually have no idea what the chocolate- and coconut-covered jam-filled sponge square in front of you is really called.

I'll never forget when that guy in LA saw our lamington and said, "That's one decadent fuckin' pastry."

Latte, home

Spore. It's a rad-looking game from the creator of The Sims. I bought it on Monday but haven't even installed it yet. Damn. I'll post something about it when I finally do get to play it. From what I've heard, you start off as a single-celled organism and then do a bunch of stuff to evolve into something else, and then start taking over the planet and it kind of turns into Civilization from there. Rad. People also seem to be using the phrase Massively Single-Player too. That sounds like either a contradiction or a tautology to me, I guess I'll figure out more when I play it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Latte, Small Block, East Brunswick

Crap photo. Nice day though.

Latte, Onyx, Cheltenham

The foam on top was the consistency of well-beaten egg whites. I've never seen that before. I could have sculpted it into a Taj Mahal or a Sphinx or something with my teaspoon, like those rice ads from the 90s.
Musicmax was on the television in the corner. Something strange is going on with Yumi's hair. Either she just got out of bed and only had time to fix one side of her head, or she fell asleep between takes and then stood up in front of the camera again.
Either of those could be the case, but it's probably a really hip hairdo that I'm not really aware of yet. A kind of Flock of Asymmetrical Seagulls thing. Then again, I don't really get my hair cut, so I'm not the most reliable hairyardstick. Good lord, the spell checker had no problems with that one.

Strong Latte, North, Carlton North

How do these North-hangers look so hip this early in the morning? I have serious trouble doing anything hip before midday, let alone before 9.00AM. But these guys looked like they'd been sitting around drinking coffee all afternoon already. I walked home with my tracky dacks between my legs.

I still haven't quite recovered from last night when, on the way home, I turned on the radio in the car and noticed that both Gold and Vega were playing Shake it Up by The Cars at the same time. They were about thirty seconds out of sync, but it was still astounding. Then the stations went their separate ways, one taking the Blinded by the Light road, the other Taking Care of Business.

It was a fun gig last night at Manchester Lame. Dave was tuning up his guitar in between songs, sans-tuner, and after a while a guy in the front row piped up with, "Your low E string is a bit sharp." I wish there was a human guitar tuner in the audience more often.

I also ran into Miles at the Toff, which was amusing because last time I was at the Toff is the last time I saw him. From that, I assumed he goes there a lot. But it turns out he hasn't been there since he saw me there in June. He is now writing the Readings St Kilda blog:

The psychic astrology guy Jonathon Cainer makes about 3 million bucks a week selling random sentences to strangers. We need that stuff, that little dose of the future, like coffee, to get us through the day. So in the name of free enterprise and good will I offer here; The Black Market Guide to the Future, Happiness and Wisdom. And you need never buy the Hearld Sun again.
Step 1. Choose a book at random

Step 2. Turn to page 53

Step 3. Find the second paragraph

Step 4. Read the first 2 sentences

Here's mine for today, from A Clockwork Orange:

"Violence makes violence," said the top millicent in a very holy type goloss. "He resisted his lawful arresters."

Yep. I know what that's about. Let's compare that to what Jonathan Cainer has to say today for Leo:

...You're getting away with something now that, logic suggests you shouldn't be having success with. Who cares why? Just enjoy your good fortune!

Kind of similar, eh? Anthony Burgess may have had a hard time with a spell checker had Microsoft Word been invented in 1962, but at least he knew how to use commas. It might be interesting to check another book, but I don't think that's how horoscopes work. I'll pick another random one tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Latte, Alimentari, Fitzroy

My latte came out. I was sitting near the coffee machine. Another latte came out. It looked better than mine.

"Can I have that one?"
"Oh. Haha...?"*
"It's soy."

I sheepishly turned back to the table. She was onto me. I tried to make it look like I was joking (the asterisk denotes my nervous laugh), but she knew that I was only bringing it up to voice my dissatisfaction. I'm glad I asked (just in case the second one was not soy) but it's a little unsettling. Is my body craving soy now that it's had a small taste of it? Crikey.

But this "Can I swap coffees with that guy?" joke is a good thing. It's far more subtle and light-hearted than the conversational equivalent of that wrong-answer-in-Family-Feud "Ba bow!" noise. Only once have I gotten away with that. It was at Dizzy's Jazz Club (may she rest in peace) a few years ago, and I ordered a long black. It came out looking pretty weird. The guy who made it didn't look convinced either.
"Did something go wrong?" I asked.
"I think the machine might be off. I'll try again."
"Uh, I might not have a coffee, actually."

I'd love to be one of those guys who can tell when they've been given skinny milk when they didn't order it. I love that shit. I tried it a few times but wound up looking like a bit of a douchebag. But it's another form of false subtlety that can be handy. "Is that skinny?" is far less likely to offend than "This is shite."

Latte, home

Watching Snuff Box. It's a sketch series starring Bainbridge and Fossil from Mighty Boosh. It has some hilarious bits, but honestly, I'd already seen them on Youtube before I hired the whole series. Here's one of them. If your sense of humour is anything like mine you will totally lose your shit around 1'10".

Monday, September 15, 2008

Short Mac, Brother Baba Budan, City

I could go on and on about this delicious gem in the city, but honestly you're better off either just going there or checking out their website. Here's an excerpt, from a blog entry entitled Where We Are At:

"Our focus is on quality and sustainable coffee, and our passion is to understand as much as we can about coffee and put that knowledge into practice."

Wow. Right from the get-go you can tell that they're serious. There's no kitchen either. Just coffee and coffee-associated small edible things. There's other things I could tell you about Brother Baba Budan, for example:
  1. The chairs on the roof
  2. Who is Brother Baba Budan anyway?
  3. What is the Clover and why is it such a big deal?
  4. Wtf is "cupping"?
BUT I feel like this is going to become one of my regulars, and I'll need something to write about in the countless BBB blog entries in the future. And so the answers to the above will be dealt with the next four times I go to BBB.
Not only have I invented an acronym for this place, I've used it twice already.

Latte, Batch, St Kilda East

It's been months since my last Batch. I should do it more often. Just check out this bad boy:
It was a hideous day down there. Remember that wind that sent my coffee flying off the hood of my car this morning? It's still there. Queens Parade was terrifying on the way here. Branches flying everywhere. A good day to peruse around in Second Spin, away from the wind. I got Ratatat's new album. I had no idea they even had one out. It's rad though, with way more keyboards than their last one. The first track sounds a bit too much like the X Files theme though. That's not a bad thing, but not many people would hear it and not think, "That's the same as the X Files." Track two sounds well War of the Worlds-y though, so I guess that's some saving grace. I got the new Nightmares on Wax, which, on first listen, seems a bit patchy. But the good patches are very fun to listen to. I also got Ultramagnetic MCs' Critical Beatdown, a steal at $14. The cover is worth at least $11.

Shame about the extraneous apostrophe...

Latte, Cafe Mediterraneum, City

Mediterraneum? Wtf is a mediterraneum? This is what Google had to say:

Did you mean: mediterranean?

Of course I did. Well, not many places are open this early. Switchboard is but a clever stone's throw with a lot of spin on it away, but they were not yet open. Bummer. This latte tasted a bit weird. Not necessarily bad, just a little unsettling. Something smelled really good and made me think there was a vanilla cannoli somewhere nearby. But there wasn't. I therefore had to stop at Brunetti on the way home for a cannoli run.

Long Black, home

I didn't technically drink this one, but I thought it was funny enough to mention anyway. Stats be damned.

I made this one in a takeaway cup (with pirates on it!) and walked out to the car. Then I realised I'd forgotten my guitar strap. I put the coffee down on the hood of my car, took a look up the street and decided it wasn't windy enough for this to be a problem, and went inside to find the strap. It wasn't until I was back outside walking towards the car that the wind picked up and blew the whole cup off the hood with such vigor that not a drop landed on the car. It made quite an elegant splotch in the gutter that was tragically washed away an hour later by the rain. I was running too late (or, I was running exactly on time, rather) so I couldn't make another one.

Later that day, Will said, "I can't believe you thought it wouldn't be windy. The forecast said gale-force winds!" I hear the hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico has thrown everything else in weather world-wide out of whack. Ike is a world-wide weather whack thrower. It doesn't sound too far-fetched. If a butterfly flapping its wings can cause a tornado on the other side of the world, it's entirely conceivable that a tornado could cause gale-force winds.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Long Black, home

Two. I can't believe how early I have to be in the city tomorrow morning. I'd better not have any more coffee this afternoon. That could complicate things in the scheme of up-late-action/sleep-in-reaction things.

Long Black, home

Weird. The coffee machine made a bit of a "blaat!" sound, then a "fizz", then the coffee started coming out. I figured these beans are too good to waste, so resolved to drink whatever it was that came out. It was still good too. But, you know, nothing like what those kids down at Jasper can whip up.

Watching Video Hits, a bit bewildered by this reunion and tour of New Kids on the Block, the artists formerly known as NKOTB, before which they were known as New Kids on the Block. Joey McIntyre looks a lot older, but that's probably because he used to look about 14 years old. Donnie Wahlberg looks almost exactly the same as both himself fifteen years ago, and his brother now. The new song is a bit wack, mainly because of the 40 year old New "Kids" on the Block cavorting around with 18 year old girls. Yeah. A bit weird.

Okay, Video Hits has now progressed to a special on Neil Young. Nathan Sapsford must cram on Wikipedia really hard before all these VH Presents shows. Hey who knows, maybe he really is into Neil Young. Keep on rockin' in the free world.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Long Black, home

Fine and 24 degrees. No clouds in sight. I'm sitting in the backyard listening to dub, with a Blue Mountain long black. All Saturdays should be like this.

Qantas, Brisbane to Melbourne

Well, that's the end of my Brisbane trip! It was a short one, with very not much coffee consumed. No wonder I felt so buggered at 10PM last night. I really wish I'd had a coffee at Fat Boys, just so I could post a lengthy analysis of their anomalous pricing scheme on the blog. I'm sure I'll be back there soon though.

Plunger, Megan's parents' house

I'm not sure what the beans were, but they were damn good. Thanks for the plunging, Des. Splitting a one-cup plunger between two people always means you're going to end up with something mega strong and mega short.
Meg's dad came up with the funniest large hadron collider related comment I've heard yet. In regards to there being fifty months before the really scary experiments start:
"That's good. Harvey Norman are doing fifty months interest-free."
We've got nothing to worry about, people. I'm sure Harvey did the research before he put that deal out there.

Friday, September 12, 2008

QANTAS, Melbourne to Brisbane

Am currently watching episode two of Hollowmen on my iPod. I could get very hooked on this TV-episodes-on-the-iPod idea.
Listening to Flying Lotus too. I know very little about this band, but I could get hooked on them too. From Wikipedia:

"His great aunt is the late Alice Coltrane."

Cred! Seriously though, have a listen. The phrases "hip hop producer", "laptop musician" and "Warp Records" should give you an idea of what he does.

Long Black, home

The Blue Mountain is delivering. On the first sip I thought, "Oh right, it's so early in the morning that my taste buds aren't even awake yet," but the second sip realised this coffee is just that smoooooooth. Your taste buds are expecting coffee, and instead get a waterslide. Very nice. I had time to sit around and drink this before I went to the airport but, of course, I would have had time to park in long term had I left the house earlier. That short term parking for two days is going to sting when I get back on Saturday.

P.S. I was right. It did. One way of looking it is that this coffee cost $70 more to have at home rather than while on the move. Grr. But it's kind of worth it for the Blue Mountain gear.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Espresso, St Ali, South Melbourne

The coffee of the day was, er, something from somewhere. I really should have taken advantage of my phone's camera's aid-to-memory function there. It was pretty intense; the kind of thing where if you gave that to someone who didn't drink coffee they'd probably punch you.
"What the fuck man? That tastes like dirt mixed with vinegar! You're mental, if you enjoy that!"
In hindsight, I don't think I really enjoyed it. I'll have to come back here again though.
I was in the area looking at one of these:

Wow. How sexy is that colour! It's called Candy Cola. Yeah yeah, I know, it sounds like a porn star. But trust me, it's the business. It's so shiny, I can even see my reflection on the WEBSITE.
I've never really dug Jazz Basses until this week. I just woke up and thought, "Yeah, two pickups, a thinner neck...it makes sense really. I'd better go play one." I'd love to get my hands on an old rad one, but they're getting too expensive. They've got a '70 in the shop for a bit over $5000, and I'd like to think that it won't be worth more than that in two years, but it probably will be. Mind you, pre-'65 is where it's at for Fenders (as anyone who's seen Wayne's World a few times knows: "It's pre-CBS corporate buyout!"), but the price tag sure as shit reflects that too. But those early 80s vintage reissue ones are pretty sac too. Okay, before this blog degenerates into a bass-nerd-shopping-guide-monologue I'd better press that "Publish" button...

P.S I think that's my first use of the slang word "sac" in this blog. Sac.

Latte, Jungle Juice, City

It's pretty tough to get a table here. I've walked past the last three times I've been in the Focaccia District (hit and miss, but generally wherever you can find a free table is worth going to) and it's been full. That's not surprising though, there's not a lot of room in there. But we managed to get a table today.

Worst-quality camera photo ever on this blog, but damn good coffee. Thumbs up for the kransky bagel. The rest of the experimental bagel department on the menu looked interesting too, particularly the borek bagel. I'll have to come back here earlier, or later, or something, some other time. Actually, 12:30, after which tables are reserved for those who are having lunch, was probably the ideal time to get a table: just when all the coffee-onlies are getting kicked out.
Thumbs down to the place across the road who have no prices on the menu, and then shaft you when you ask for the bill, as they did me last week. Fourteen bucks for a toasted sandwich and a can of Solo. Shame. The sandwich (Chicken Schnitzel Ciabatta, from memory) was pretty good, but its memory was besmirched by that menu business.
Thumbs up in general though because I finally found something else that rhymes with orange:

Medium Black, home

I'm getting started on the Blue Mountain beans. It's pretty clear that Jasper have
a) skills, and
b) a better coffee machine/grinder/etc
But it's still pretty rad. Just nowhere near the radness of the two I had in the shop last week.

The toothpaste just turned up. They sent me TWO tubes and a thank you letter. I think something went wrong with the mail merge though.

Close enough. But now I really want to know who complained about the Ribena, and what the complaint was!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Latte, home

MGMT's marketing tentacles have been within striking distance since Friday, and today I finally succumbed to the pressure and bought their album. I bought it on iTunes. The tunes are pretty good, and that whole tribal/hippy/Lord of the Raves vibe in their videos is pretty fresh, but man the album sounds like crap. Bands like this who can generate a worldwide psychotic fanbase without much radio play (the video below has 4.5 million views - wtf?) shouldn't have to squash the balls out of their record in mastering to get it on radio. Mind you, an iTunes download is hardly the best place to judge what's going on sonically.

(note: I planned to embed the video of MGMT's Time to Pretend in this space, but not only has embedding been disabled, YouTube also informs me that the video is not available in my country. I guess I'll just have to watch one of the three or four thousand bootlegged ones that fans have uploaded. Nope, they seem to be unembeddable too. A link will have to do.)

I also downloaded iTunes 8, mainly for the new visualisation stuff. It's amazing. If iTunes can do THAT, just imagine what's going on in the Large Hadron Collider, which got switched on this week. Stephen Hawking has put down $100 saying it won't prove anything. A whole bunch of other people less intelligent than Stephen Hawking are buying canned food and running to the hills in case the LHC accidentally generates black holes. Somewhere in between these two extremes is me. I just get a bit of a chuckle out of how easy it is to accidentally type Hardon instead of Hadron.

Halftte, home

It's a sunny morning out there. Lovely. Too bad I can't watch the Sopranos out there...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Latte, North, Carlton North

It's a quiet afternoon at North. The breakfast menu looks enticing, Tom Waits is gruffly honking away in the corner, but GOOD LORD how long is that milk going to sit on the bench basking in the warmth of the coffee machine? Is that not why God invented the refrigerator?

Halftte, home

I bought some toothpaste yesterday. Sensodyne. I haven't used it for a while, so had no idea which flavour I liked. Blue is usually a trustworthy toothpaste colour, so I went for that one.
Bad idea.
That's not the kind of sound I want to be making when I start brushing my teeth. Sensodyne is supposed to prevent this kind of thing. But it tasted really bad. Kind of bleachy-smelling, but a bit herbal-ish at the same time. Not much fun. I should have gone with the minty-fresh-looking green one.
The funny thing is, I've actually bought the blue one before, and thrown it in the bin after one brushing. But because the packaging said "New Fresh Flavour!" I thought they must have worked on it a bit. If this was $4.00 toothpaste I could have let it go, but $9.00 is too much toothpaste to throw in the bin TWICE.
That's when I saw the phone number for the Glaxo Smith Kline information line.
I dialled.
It was Sunday, so of course I got the answering machine.
I dialled again, today.
I pressed 2, for "toothpaste".
They put me on to an expert.
I explained the situation.
The expert on the other end was sympathetic. She then asked for the serial number.
I read it out.
She explained that they are standardising flavours worldwide, and that this kind of feedback is important. They are still working on the "New Fresh Flavour."
I said it tasted more like something I should clean the toilet with.
She sent out the green Sensodyne in the mail.

Wow! That really is why they have those phone numbers printed on everything. I still don't really know what "Glaxo" means though. Smith and Kline both sound like surnames, but GLAXO? Maybe it's an Aussie abbreviation; his name might be Dave Glacksenberg, and his mates all call him GLAXO!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Latte, Quikfix, Sydney Airport

Damn. My camera still has no room for a photo of this. The coffee was rad again. At least they didn't call me Grame (sic) this time.

Strong Latte, Canteen, Noosa Heads

This is the best travel-day-eating-forward-thinking I've ever had:

That baguette I just had for breakfast was so good, I should probably buy a second one to eat on the plane later.

Brilliant! There's no need for that semi-frozen Virgin Blue sandwich now!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Flat White, Van, Noosa

Anybody who is disgusted by food-related puns, especially when used in the name of a business, look away now:

Well, I'm sure you can still read it. I'll get to the bottom of this photo rotation thing soon...
The paper cup was beautiful too. One of those mega arty-looking ones. My camera was full, so I couldn't get a photo. I'm just not having a good photo day, am I?

Strong Latte, Canteen, Noosa Heads

I wonder what happens if you drop a Berocca into a latte?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Strong Latte, Canteen, Noosa Heads

About ten other dudes had been waiting an hour for their breakfast when I arrived. I ended up getting my food about five minutes after them. Sometimes it pays to be late.
The coffee was awesome. I think I'm going to enjoy Noosa.

(not that I wouldn't enjoy it without good coffee - it's just the coffee-flavoured icing on the cake)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Latte, Quikfix, Sydney Airport

"Sorry, does that say Graeme?"
I asked the wrong question. I might have gotten somewhere by asking, "Does that say Ryan?" Adding, "Ryan is my name," may have drummed the point home. But all I confirmed was that she had indeed spelled Graeme strangely.
Seriously though, for a minute. Quikfix is the best airport coffee in the world. It may have seemed ridiculous to stop in Sydney on the way to Maroochydore, but I was glad because it meant I could get off the plan and go to Quikfix. Awesome.
Their production line is amazingly efficient, yet still leaves room for excellence. Two people take orders and write them on lids, which they add to the lidqueue next to the barista. The barista can take as long as they need to make the coffee, then all they need to do is put the lid on, and inform Grame that his regular latte is ready. Awesome. I've got a feeling I'll drop in here on Monday afternoon on the way back to Melbourne.

P.S. The reason this post took so long is that I just couldn't figure out why Blogger (or Preview, or Picasa, or whichever link in the software chain was at fault) insisted on making that photo stay in portrait mode. Then I gave up, as you can see.

3/4 Latte, home

6:00 AM!
I'm off to the airport. I'll drink this on the way there. The seas should be pretty calm this early in the day. I'll probably finish the coffee somewhere around the Melrose Dr turnoff, and it will still be sitting in my cup holder the day after I get back to Melbourne.

EDIT: I did. It is.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Latte, Kent St, Fitzroy


The big news this week is the Quad Stack burger from Hungry Jack's. Far out. Four all-beef patties, four slices of cheese, god knows how much bacon, no lettuce or tomato or any of that stuff. In an age when McDonald's and KFC are both introducing healthier choices on their menu, it's either admirable or deplorable that the head honchos are struggling out of their business-class seats and saying, "Fuck it, we know why we're here. This is junk food. Let's give them more meat!"

My no-HJ's-ever-again policy kicked in at just about the right time, it seems.

Latte, Kent St, Fitzroy


"Do you remember Punch Out on NES?"
"You mean Mike Tyson's Punch Out."
"Yep. Remember the theme music? It's pretty epic."
"You mean like Zelda-epic?"
"Well, Zelda was still pretty girly. Punch Out was..."
"Less elven?"
"More punching-dudes-in-the-face epic, rather than Zelda-epic."

Latte, home

I'm currently working on getting my keyboard to make that do-do-DO-do-etc three-octave sequenced thing. It's important work. It's for the gig on Saturday. As soon as that's done, I'll be able to dedicate some time to working on getting my keyboard to make that "out of time" noise from Now You See It. You know the one.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Latte, Gerald's Bar, Carlton North

Well I've been living this side of Alexandra Pde for nearly a month now, and still haven't explored the coffee very far. I'll try to apply myself better over the next few weeks, starting right now: Gerald's Bar.
Located next door to the original La Porchetta (where, rumour has it, the guy who started it all is keeping it so real that he still does shifts in the kitchen) and decorated with countless empty Mumm bottles and a quite intimidatingly large David Bailey portrait of an old-school Michael Caine, Gerald's is hip in that 60s/Euro/Brit kind of way that makes you want to sit and have a drink rather than stand -- and yet there are few tables. An intricate maze of shelving (which has to be seen before you'll understand why I decided to call it an "intricate maze") hangs over the bar, and a fireplaced back room leads to the quaint "Comfort Station" doors. Nice. Only one thing could make it hipper.
"Sorry, we don't have takeaway cups."
Bingo. I sat down as the one-armed DJ (only the second one-armed DJ I've heard of after that guy who plays with Dizzee Rascal) chucked on whatever the first track is on Faithless's Back to Mine, watched Rathdowne St's traffic slide away into the sunset, and realised I had no idea whether the record was playing at the right speed.
A latte in a cup with a handle (that looks like it would be more comfortable housing a portion of chicken and corn soup) on a matching saucer came out soon, looking a little like a second sugar bowl from a distance. They may have mistaken my order for a flat white, or perhaps they were trying to say, "We all know that we all know that a caffe latte and a flat white is the same thing in a different cup, but go on, complain if you really are that petty."

Latte, Flavours of Lakhoum, Richmond

Read this first.
Okay. Remember how I called a dude who I thought recommended a coffee place in Elsternwick but it was actually in Richmond? Flavours of Lakhoum is the one in Richmond. It's rad. The word on the street is that the guy who used to do ridiculous latte art doesn't work here anymore. Bummer. But it's still damn good. The food looks amazing too. I was tempted to get some baklava, but 11:00am seemed like a weird kind of twilight zone where it's starting to get pretty close to lunchtime, and therefore harder to justify eating some baklava to tide you over until lunch.
Nice photos on the wall of all sorts of wonderful stuff in Lebanon too.

Latte, home

Well, it's a big day of Google news today. They've released a browser. From what I can see, they got fed up with trying to get other browsers to be compatible with their apps, so they've made their own one that will work. It sounds like it could be handy for me, considering most of my time on the internet is spent on Google or Blogger. Too bad it's still windows-only.
Google have also launched a satellite. If they couldn't see me sleeping in through the skylight in the bedroom before, well they sure as hell can now.
That aforementioned skylight is my DIY weather forecast when I wake up in the morning. It might be cloudy and raining on the horizon, but if my little square periscope shows blue sky, it looks like it's gonna be a good day. And that's nice to wake up to. Thankfully, today the forecast was right for long enough for me to drink coffee outside and discover that my latte fits pretty well in the drink holder of that $10 Bunnings chair with the drink holder in the arm.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Flat White, Romeos, North Balwyn

I saw someone else's triple-leafed flat white come out onto the counter, and thought, "Yeah I could go for one of those."

I only got two leaves, but that's still above average.  Bloody strong too.  I wonder what would have happened if I'd ordered a strong one.

I have a Mac question that I'm hoping someone can answer.  If I have two Safari windows open, is there a keyboard shortcut that lets me switch between them?  In Windows you can alt-tab between two instances of the same program, but if I use command-tab for the same thing it will only switch to whichever Safari I last used.  Using multiple tabs instead of multiple windows would solve the problem, but Hotmail insists on opening a new window.

Latte, home

I've still got some more Sidamo in the grinder, so I can't get started on the Blue Mountain beans yet.  Until then, here's some Blue Mountain-related lyrics from Damian Marley:
(skip to 0:56)

Kudos to the guy who waves a flag at all of their gigs, and kudos for still waving the flag indoors under such a low ceiling, and even more kudos for rhyming Al Pacino with cappuccino.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Medium Black, Jasper, Fitzroy

Next up in New Category Week here at Ryan Blogs Coffee is the Medium Black.  I asked for a "medium black", then described it, then asked, "What would you call that?"
"A medium black."
Rad.  I wanted to sit down for a while, but I still wanted to taste it.  The reason I dropped in was to have another cup of the Blue Mountain before it runs out.  That's why I wanted to taste it.

I couldn't find a copy of today's Age, but thanks to technology I already knew that the big news today was that Helen Mirren stopped doing cocaine because it was funding Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie.

"Until that moment I had never grasped the full horrifying structure of what brings coke to our parties in Britain."

I'll sure have a moral dilemma on my hands if it turns out some really bad guy is running the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica.

Oh, and I bought 125 grams of the stuff too.  I just thought, "$220 per kilo sounds like a lot, but $3.00 per cup doesn't."

Strong Latte, T... Express, Richmond

I can't really remember what the place was actually called.  T...something...express.  Torino Express?  Torana Express?  No, they both sound like cars.  Even Google Maps Street View didn't help me out.  Take a look on the corner of Stewart and Tennyson and see if you can read the sign over the door.  Yeah, it's a bit blurry.  The photo from my phone doesn't give away much else either:

Nice coffee though.  I'm glad I saw Chantal on the way in, who told me, "It's good, I really like weak lattes."  And so I ordered a strong one.  It was pretty rad.  I also now know that a takeaway coffee fits quite snugly next to my Nord.

I guess I don't need to buy that microphone-stand-mounted cup holder now.

Latte, home

I know I'm not really supposed to talk about tea on this blog, but I just thought you might want to know that I just found out what that strange minty-smelling plant in the backyard is.
Mentha x piperita!
That means free tea.  Perhaps that also means I can justify buying some Jamaican Blue Mountain beans from Jasper?
Nah, probably not.  I don't drink that much peppermint tea anyway.  Maybe I will now, though.