Thursday, July 31, 2008

Latte, home

We're moving house soon. Am currently investigating online - and tabulating my findings in a comparative spreadsheet - who to go with for broadband at the new place. My current Optus service has no problems accessing the Telstra website, yet it keeps timing out when I try to look around the Optus site.
Should I bother going to the internet cafe around the corner to investigate Optus plans because my current Optus plan won't display its own page, or is this a sign that it's time to ditch Optus?
Let's face it though, inability to access their own site wouldn't be the only reason. Anybody who has ever called them for any reason knows how much of a nightmare it is. I used to just not say or press anything until they put me through to someone, but that doesn't work anymore.

"Please describe briefly what you are calling about."
"DSL internet."
"Did you say, 'home phone'?"
"No."
"Sorry, I didn't quite catch that. Please answer yes or no."
"NO."*
"Please describe briefly what you are calling about."
"IN. TER. NET."
"Okay. So this is about your...internet connection. Is it about your wireless, your DSL, your cable, or your dial-up internet?"
"D. S. L."
"Sorry, I didn't quite catch that. Is it about your wireless, your DSL, your cable, or your dial-up internet?"
"TURNIP."
"Okay. Please hold the line for a few moments while we figure out which indecipherably fast-talking customer service guy in India to handball your request to."

(The asterisk * denotes where you start to overemphasise every syllable, in an effort to be understood by the machine)

The call goes on. After it's finished, you'll probably have to call back because something didn't work out. I've had "St Kilda" misspelled in two different ways. Remarkably, I still received my bill.
And don't get me started about the singing fucking animals in their ads.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Latte, home

Well, I got through one day without coffee. It hurt.

Gotta go. I'm going to bol up some spag.

EDIT: I just noticed an ambiguity. I said I got through one day without coffee. This means the day known as Tuesday did not involve any coffee on my part. However, if I had a coffee at 13:00 on Monday, and my next one was at 13:00 on Tuesday, this could also be interpreted as "going one day without coffee". Maybe this is what I should have said:

Well, it's been over 48 hours since I last had a coffee. It hurt.

Not only does this more closely describe what actually happened, but "48 hours" is cool for two reasons:
1. It is twice as big as "one day"
2. It instantly makes me think of Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte

Monday, July 28, 2008

Long Black, home

Well, it looks like I'm really sick. This could have been an opportunity to get off coffee for a few days, but the fact that this blog is titled "Long Black, home" pretty much proves that there has been no downtime. If I'm all better tomorrow, I'll almost certainly drink one, maybe two coffees!
Then again, why would I want a day off? Coffee is too much fun to have a day off.
I'm sure these last few sentences are textbook testimony of addicts of all kinds of substances...
The doctor was courteous enough to give me a courtesy call to say the appointments were running 45 minutes late. That left me just enough time to shoot home and have this long black and play Dr Mario.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Long Black, home

Ugh, getting sick. Not good. I've been home a week now, could it possibly be some weird shit I picked up overseas that just took its time to kick in? I hope not.
Anyhow, a long black seems like the subtlest way to introduce caffeine into the system, so I don't fall asleep one hour from now.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Halftte, home

Currently gearing up to watch Batman Begins, which in itself is a gear-up for Dark Knight, tomorrow (k)night.

Careful writing that last bit in MSN Messenger, the (k) is interpreted as a kiss emoticon. If you use MSN for business, it could get awkward.

Latte, home

Hmmm. Weird. The machine ran out of water, so I refilled it and pressed the coffee button again. The machine continued where it had left off with the espressing, and looked pretty normal. It tasted pretty normal too. Maybe espresso isn't the moon-landing-like event of specific conditions that everyone says it is...
But if the grind is wrong, you're still fucked.

Latte, Rathdowne Food Store, Carlton North

It was way packed last time we were here for breakfast. A huge queue to get a table. Maybe people have decided, while I was overseas, to stop eating out for breakfast. But there was a choice of tables today.

Nice juice, too.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Espresso, Las Chicas, St Kilda East

"Two flat whites and a short black?"
"Er, no, it was actually three flat whites and an espresso."

Yeah, stick it to 'em Jan! I'm sure it wasn't intended, but it looked like he was correcting the waiter on their inappropriate and vulgar use of the term "short black". Awesome. I don't know anyone who would take a stand for that cause in public, unfortunately.

Flat White, Las Chicas, St Kilda East

This was getting to the later end of being able to have coffee in the morning without just giving it up and declaring, "I didn't have a coffee this morning, my first one was in the afternoon."
Many of you may point out that 12:30 PM is the afternoon, not only traditionally so, but also by definition: it is after noon. I, however, like to shovel everything before lunch into the morning basket, which may or may not include noon. And while my breakfast time may vary, lunch is not usually situated within the day that differently to a normal person's.
I saw a mega sports-looking bloke on TV the other morning selling his diet idea, where you eat six meals per day to make your metabolism go nuts and therefore devour whatever you throw at it. Somehow I don't think it would fit in with my lifestyle:
"Remind me to set my alarm for tomorrow morning, I don't want to have to eat three meals in an hour!"

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Long Black, home

I drank this one while sitting waiting for a tram with twelve layers of clothing on, with my bass strapped to my back, listening to Queen's A Night at the Opera. It's sooo rad. I give it another listen every few months, but this time it's because I just read Freddie and Me by Mike Dawson.
Check out The Prophet's Song. I don't really know how one goes about writing something like that. Mainly because of the number of voices involved. I mean, in 1975 Queen must have been busy guys, what with the worldwide fame and all that. It's not like they had time to all gather around a microphone and a delay pedal and work the whole thing out. Or maybe Brian May played the whole thing and said, "Hey Freddie, let's write some medieval lyrics and get the other guys in and sing this guitar solo instead!"
Actually, that must be what happened.

Latte, Kent St, Fitzroy

Latte, Kent St, Fitzroy

Stu Hamm turned up at the Night Cat last Saturday. He was in town with Joe Satriani. I wonder how he knew about the Night Cat? Is it internationally famous, or does Joe Satriani's entourage include someone who finds out hip places to go after the gig, or did Stu get in a cab and say, "Take me somewhere with fusion," or did he just leap out the window as soon as he heard the sweet sounds of Ross Irwin Soul Special playing "I Wanna Be Your Dog" pulsating through the windshield?
We'll never know...
That reminds me. I was at Melbourne Central yesterday and saw a poster for Noosa Jazz Festival. This was interesting for two reasons:
1. Noosa is almost 1500km from Melbourne, but they still thought it worth postering here.
2. The billing order of the bands at the festival.
The top row was in this order:
Jackson Jackson, Los Delincuente All-Stars, Watussi, The Bamboos
I thought to myself, "Wtf is Los Delincuente All-Stars?"
And then it hit me. I called Ross, leaving a voicemail.
"Hey Ross, I'm looking at a poster for Noosa, did you call the band Los Delincuente All-Stars?"
He texted back that yes that's what we're now called, and god knows how we got billed second, considering we barely exist.
Hmm. We'd better rehearse or something.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Espresso, home

I need coffee to keep myself focussed on blogging. About coffee.
The more blogs I write, the more coffee I need, which in turn means I need to write more blogs.
Can anyone else see the trap I've walked into here?

Latte, home

Ahh. It's good to have the machine up and running again. I love this thing.
I picked up 250g of Ethiopian Djimma from Jasper yesterday too. Rad.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Long Black, Mum's house

Wow, I'm going to need coffee to get through five gigabytes of holiday photos...

And drive back to the city...

And stay up until 3am playing bass, after not playing any for seven weeks...

Espresso, Sousou, Fitzroy

Number two.
I think I've made this joke before on the blog, but here goes anyway:
The espresso was a bit long and a bit weak. Wow, just like in France!

Strong Flat White, Sousou, Fitzroy

"Can I have a...strong........flat white......?"
I remembered halfway through the sentence that I usually think the coffee is a bit weak here.
Well, this one was rad. The new system of things being stacked all over the bar makes it look like the barista is actually locked in a cage, but maybe the confinement is a good thing. As you can see, I ordered two coffees here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Latte, Pushka, City

Hmm, I wasn't too impressed with this one. You'd think that, after weeks of being disappointed with coffee overseas, that I'd be impressed by anything in Melbourne.
You'd be wrong.
BUT Pushka do make the strongest shortest death-defying espresso of death in the city. Maybe I should steer away from lattes here, or order strong ones, or something.

Strong Latte, Newtown S.C, Fitzroy

Yow! Yes, that's strong. I appear to have settled into an almost normal sleeping pattern already. Jet lag be damned. My strategy - planning lots of things for the day you get back so you have no option but to stay awake - worked a treat. If anything is going to make sure I stay awake all day, it's a coffee like this one.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Latte, Jasper, Fitzroy

I can't help but notice that there are currently more than three movies out at the cinemas that I am more than vaguely interested in seeing. This hasn't happened since the 90s. Movie studios keep lamenting the death of the cinema - if one can lament something that hasn't quite happened yet - blaming file-sharing, affordability of DVDs and the popularity of home cinema. Many believe it is the combination of the three (man buys movie for cheap on DVD only months after its release, uploads it to bittorrent, millions download it and watch it on a big screen with surround sound without ever leaving their home or going into overdraft trying to buy popcorn). If the exorbitant markup on the popcorn and post-mix beverages is really where the cinemas make their money, they're in trouble. Nobody's dropping in via the cinemas to visit the snackbar on their way home to watch pirated movies all night.
The internet is not the real bogeyman here though. I can't help but point out, "You may have more patrons if you stop making so many shit movies!" Hollywood big wigs have stopped calling me for advice as a result.
But I yelled it loud enough that it would echo around in their heads long enough to green-light the following movies:
  • Hancock - yep, I'll see that.
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - I liked it, saw it twice.
  • The Dark Knight - it actually looks kinda dark, which is what I dug about the first Batman movie. I'll see that.
  • X-Files - wtf? A new X-Files movie? It seems about five years too late to be relevant to the last movie, and about three years too early to make any blips on the retrometer. Ah what the hell, I'll see that.
Unfortunately I've made a pact to go see Hancock first. It's a long story.

Latte, Alimentari, Fitzroy

Here at Alimentari they occasionally have a chip tin on display in the window. It's a yellow square (ie, made up of 90 degree angles) but rectangular (taller than it is wide or deep) tin with "Carmichael's" ornately written on it next to a woman with curly hair. I guess the only bit of the last two sentences that I haven't really explained yet is the phrase "chip tin". I guess potato chips used to be sold in tins, before the paper era and subsequent revisionist fresher-in-foil revolution of the mid 90s. Whatever they were used for, we had one in the house when I was a kid. We used to keep those 12-pack Thins/Ruffles/etc mini bags in that tin.
Back to the story: Alimentari sporadically has one of these tins on display. I really should ask about it one of these days. It must attract them a lot of business.

QANTAS coffee, Sydney to Melbourne

"Coffee?"
I sat bolt upright and held out my cup. My girlfriend couldn't help but notice that I was excited.
"Ah, is their coffee good?"
"Not really. But I love it."

Ahh. And I do love it. It usually means I'm almost back in Melbourne whenever I drink QANTAS coffee. We've been holidaying all over the world for the last seven weeks. It's the kind of thing I wish I could do all the time, but sadly not possible unless I can convince somebody to pay me to drink coffee all over the world and occasionally write about it. It sure would make the blog interesting and a little less Melbourne-centric. That may attract (or rather, not detract) some Sydney readers, but hey they're too busy living it up in Sydney which is, according to the Mastercard ad I saw at the airport, priceless!
That has got to be the least imaginative Mastercard ad I have ever seen. I don't know who let that one through. The tradition of the Mastercard "priceless" ads is that they hit you a few times before KNOCKING YOU OUT with the "priceless" line. There are some things that money can't buy. For everything else, there's Mastercard." That is what these ads are all about. You can't just say, "Living it up in Sydney: priceless" and leave it at that. If it really was priceless, nobody would be doing it, especially not with a Mastercard. The ad should maybe go something more like this:
(forgive the stereotype, please)
  • Sneaky Sound System CD: $25.00
  • something else...
  • something else...
  • Smug grin that says you know you're living it up more than anyone else in the country: PRICELESS
Okay, sorry, I couldn't really come up with a Sydney stereotype on the spot. I guess I don't really know why Sydney and Melbourne don't get along. I guess it's possible that we actually agree on everything.

Except, of course, Sneaky Sound System.

Welcome back to the blog, we're back on daily coffee detail again. I'll gradually post all the coffee I took photos of overseas. Watch the space below, the one between June 4 and today.