My machine needs about 30 seconds to sort itself out every time you switch from steam mode to coffee mode or back again. This isn't really very inconvenient, unless you want to make four coffees in a row. Either the espresso shots are going to sit around for a long time, or you have to do espresso, then milk, then espresso, then milk, etc. That just takes a long time. So I tried doing heaps of milk first to save time, but that meant the milk had to sit around for a long time while I switched back to coffee mode, cooling down and separating. After the latter was well underway, I started pouring and realised all the milk slid out from underneath the foam, which was left floating in the jug like an iceberg. But hot.
So this one was a bit dodgy.
But if I'd put a lid on it, I probably wouldn't have noticed.
It's a "three quarter latte", not a "three four latte". That would be some sort of waltz. Jasper have the Jamaican Blue Mountain beans in store now, and the guy talked me into having a cup.
"How do you usually have your coffee?"
"Latte, long black, short black, anything really."
"Okay it might be good as a 3/4 latte or a piccolo latte."
"That sounds good."
"What's the difference between that and a piccolo?"
"It has more milk; a piccolo is much smaller."
"But a short mac is less again?"
I decided it was worth adding a new category to the blog, now that I was aware of the existence of the 3/4 Latte. It is also expressible as 3L/4 but that's a little harder to visualise; you don't really have to make three lattes, distribute them between four glasses and then discard three of them. Pouring "a bit less" milk works just as well.
Well, the first 3/4 was terrible. Bombworthy. It may have been three quarters of a latte, but at least four fifths of that was foamy nonsense. I just picked it up and looked at it. I wouldn't let that slide for $2.50, so I certainly wasn't going to drink it for $6.50.
Yes, it was six dollars and fifty cents. The Blue Mountain beans (which attracted some serious comment action when I last mentioned them in a post) are $220 per kilo, and they don't get them in very often, so the price is pretty justified. As is convincing everyone who sets foot in the store that they should order a cup of it. Anyhow, I just picked it up and looked at it. The barista broke the silence.
"Hmm, there's a bit much foam isn't there?"
I let the silence hang around a bit longer.
"Should I make another one?"
My continued silence was enough of an answer. The replacement was awesome though.
It tasted like it was from the other side of the planet; like it was on holiday.
It tasted like evolution.
It tasted like Charles Darwin looks.
It tasted like it knew things that humans don't know yet.
It tasted like all the things that had lived and died and decomposed in order to be the soil that raised the plant the beans came from, had really thought about what a serious job they had been saddled with.
It made me realise how important a part the sun had in making this cup of coffee happen, and how much of a shame it was that it can only do so for another five-ish billion years.
I now have a barbeque. It's a Weber Q. It has personality. It looks a bit like Wall-E.
I've caught myself a few times looking out the back door just to see how it's doing. After a few spontaneous lid-down sessions, I'm convinced that owning a barbeque is going to be life-changing. However, I have to pull up Weber on just one thing. I get the feeling that a lot of hard barbeque heads would look at this thing and say, "That's not really a Weber, it looks more like a handbag. Why didn't you get a man barbeque? That one's a bit gay." There's no arguing your way out of that with a big letter Q staring at you. Dear Weber:
PERHAPS THE LETTER Q WAS NOT THE SMARTEST CHOICE.
There is a whole alphabet out there to choose from, Weber! Why did you go for Q? Q is unsure of itself; it is a QUESTION MARK. I want my barbeque to make a STATEMENT, perhaps even EXCLAIM the fact that it is cooking with gas and rolling LID-DOWN! PORTABLE! and WEATHERPROOF! all the while. Let's take a look at the alternatives. For starters, Weber S sounds like Weberess, which could be construed as feminine. Weber G sounds like Snoop Dogg did a track for the Spiderman soundtrack. Weber E sounds like something customs would seize at the border, Weber B sounds like the second-best choice, Weber Z sounds like a one-hit wonder band from the 80s, Weber C sounds like a sexually-transmitted disease, Weber F is a little too profane, Weber X sounds like a covert federally-funded barbeque experiment, Weber W is clumsily-pronounced, Weber V sounds inexperienced, Weber Y also sounds like a question, Weber A is just a bit crap, Weber K also sounds like it would be seized at the border, Weber O could be confused with Weber 0, Weber P is too urinary, Weber R sounds like a pirate, Weber T sounds like Mr T's full name, Weber U sounds like groovily-advertised tampons, Weber H is ambiguous ("aytch" or "haytch"?), Weber I sounds like something Ali G would say, Weber J is...er...
I'm starting to think the whole alphabet might be redundant.
Let's just stick with "Weber 3000". It's not going to sound dated for another 993 years.
It's proving hard to snap out of this sleeping-in thing. I don't want to get up at 6:00 or anything like that. 8:00 is good enough. That leaves four hours before midday. I can work with that. However, I didn't get home until 2:00 last night. That's incompatible with early rising. I guess the only solution is a siesta. That's something Spain really got right. You can stay out late, get up early and see the sun rise before work, bugger off home after lunch, and all the shops are open late. Sadly, the siesta lifestyle doesn't work in a non-siesta-adhering country.
"So, Johnson, I got your email. You want to go home for four hours in the middle of the day?"
"Yeah. For a siesta."
"I feel like I'm missing out on the best part of the night. Not just that, but I have to be at work during those boring doldrums between lunch and sundown."
"You mean the afternoon? That's half of the day."
"I know. It sucks. I'd rather go get some sleep so I can do fun stuff at night."
"So you want to go home after lunch?"
"Couldn't you just stay at work instead, and go home at the end of the day?"
"Yes. Of course I could. I currently do that every day."
"Excellent. I'm glad we had this discussion. Good day."
I usually get a take-away from Mario's if I feel like a coffee at Bar Open, but I only just realised tonight that Bar Open actually have a coffee machine too. It's probably worth a try. But they also have Coopers Pale on tap.
Mario has proven to be consistently awesome, though. And only $2.50 for a take-away! That's crazy. It's like 2002 prices!
I'm sure you've all been in this situation: you're watching So You Think You Can Dance, it gets to the end of the dance, the couple have put their all into it, they're sweating bullets, their do-rags nearly fall off, you've seen how far they've come from being completely unco at the start of the week to this amazing display tonight, and then some twat you've never heard of at the judge's table rips them to shreds, citing things you've never even heard of. You leap out of your chair and scream, "Yeah, but who the fuck are YOU?! I've never seen you dance!!"
I'm sure a lot of viewers have this problem. If you haven't heard of the judges, how can you take what they have to say seriously? How can their professional experience and knowledge possibly compete with what you thought?
Well, that all came to an end last night. Toni Basil was one of the judges. That's right. Toni Basil "Mickey" Toni Basil. You can't fuck with Mickey. Here's why:
From the "named after what it is" department, Cafe on Collins is one of those places where you wish they'd spent slightly more time on the name. It's located outside the entrance to the IOOF building at 303 Collins St. Ioof! That would be an awesome name for a cafe. It looks like something a Batman villain says when he gets punched in the guts. The logo writes itself:
I'm a big fan of planting weird things in conversations for waitresses to overhear as they approach the table, so they can walk away thinking, "What the hell were they talking about?" But occasionally they hear what you were really talking about, and it's just as weird. I had a good one of those tonight:
"...and I was like, 'Can the neighbours hear me vomiting?'"
Awesome food here too. I had the ox cheek. I love telling my grandad about weird cuts of meat I've eaten, just so he can say, with the authority of an old school butcher, "We used to put that in the dog food."
Ahh. Coffee, sunshine, and a labrador. That's what the weekends are all about, people.
But she wouldn't drink from any of the communal dog bowls on Main St. There were about six of them. Her bowl could sit growing mould in the backyard untouched for ten years and she'd be fine with it, but a bowl that other dogs drink from? Never!
This place is really good, but it never seems to be too crowded. There's always people here, but not so many that you can't get a table. It's surprising. With food this good, I thought it might be hard to even get in the door.
But maybe it has something to do with ordering at the counter. I get the feeling that people in Mt Eliza might not like the idea of having to get up and order. Also, the waiter put all our cutlery in the middle of the table, rather than setting it where it should go in ready-to-pick-up-and-use position. Frankly, I couldn't give a shit. But it must have been a conscious choice to deter just enough people so it wouldn't get too crowded. Kudos.
Kudos, also, to the kid sitting near the window who laughed like a kookaburra every twenty seconds.
Drive east along Alexandra Pde. Somewhere near Wellington St, you will see a sign on the left, advertising, "LAST COFFEE TILL FRANKSTON."
It's true. Sort of. If you take the Eastlink from Ringwood. Before the Eastlink opened, you would had to have been a loony to drive to Frankston via Ringwood. Unless of course you were going via Car City, in which case you would have to be a loony to go to Frankston via anywhere else.
It's also the last traffic lights until Frankston. That's how lazy you have to be to take the Eastlink in this case: you would rather drive twice the distance, but at least you don't have to move your foot anywhere near the brake pedal.
Christ. I was waaay sick last night. The kind of double-ended sickfest I haven't been a part of since the whole band got the same thing in one night in Cuba. Yuck. I've thought about it, and there are two things that might have caused it: the Stella or the Hungry Jack's.
I only had one Stella Artois last night. I usually have a staunch No Stella Ever policy, but I figured it wouldn't be much of a problem.
The Hungry Jacks is scarier though. It's going to be hard to go back there after this. Oh, one of the other guys in the band had the same results when he got home. Gross. That Hungry Jacks always temptingly sits there across the road every time we rehearse, and occasionally I cave in and run over there for a bite. "What's the worst thing that could happen?" I often ask myself as I walk in.
I think I answered that question. In volumes.
So only one coffee today. Mainly because I wanted to figure out if the headache was from lack of caffeine, or from overexhaustion due to excessive vomiting. Euww. I think I pulled a muscle in my tongue, or something.
I haven't been here in at least four years. It was kind of hard to remember which corner it was on, actually. The coffee is still just as rad, though. It reminds me of one of those places in Sydney where there is no real barrier between the coffee-ers area and the coffee-ees area. Sorry about the hyphen, but I try to avoid using the word "coffeeees" at all costs. Anyway, you walk in the front door and think for a moment, "Hang on, did I just come in the wrong door? It feels like I just walked into the kitchen."
Nice collection of things on the wall too. There is a signed photo of, er, somebody on the wall. I have no idea who it is. We asked the waiter for more information. He tapped the side of his nose and then returned to the coffee machine.
"It's a photo of your nose? Wow!"
I didn't really say that. But the same waiter came back again later and said, "It's a Melbourne celebrity." I wanted to blow this guy's cover and just ask another waiter, but they all seemed busy dismantling one of the windows. For cleaning purposes, presumably.
Well, that's the last of the Kona. This one actually turned out to be half Kona, half Ethiopian Sidamo. I've kept pretty good track on the blog of when I bought the Kona and how much I've used it. So it's time for an audit.
Plus one latte that didn't work that I tipped out. Plus today's long black. Plus the latte I made for mum last Saturday. That makes it nine. Fourteen grams (approx.) per double shot. Fourteen multiplied by nine equals...one hundred and twenty-six! Amazing. Jasper are so generous. They gave me one extra gram for free! Okay, back to the Sidamo.
Atomica was great today, but I couldn't stop thinking about sorting CDs.
So where do I sort D'Angelo? I initally put him in the R&B category, but then realised he is the only artist in there. He also belongs in the "gratuitous cornrows" and "unnecessarily shirtless album cover" categories - he is the only member in both of those - as well as "those bastards who write songs, sing them, and occasionally play all the instruments too". George Michael belongs in that one too, but as I explained in the last post, he's my "pop" yardstick too. And D'Angelo ain't George Michael. So he's going, reluctantly, with Cody Chesnutt and Plantlife and Nino Moschella, at the latter end of the soul/funk/etc category, which just happens to be populated by some of those bastards who write songs, sing them, and occasionally play all the instruments too. Aha! I'll put Lenny Kravitz in there too. For now. He was sticking out like dogs' balls in between rock and..er...oh shite maybe he was somewhere else. I'll have to look around for that.
While we're on the subject of D'Angelo, his first album mysteriously turned up in my collection about a year ago. I can never remember buying it, and I can most certainly remember thinking it wasn't really worth buying except for one or two tracks. So how did it turn up in my collection? Well, I might never find out. It seems to have disappeared again. Odd.
Just bought a few more CDs today too. I'll have to figure out where to sort them.
Senor Coconut - Around the World. It seems pretty straight forward, cheesy but incredibly clever latin covers of things like Sweet Dreams, etc. But every now and then you realise, "Hang on, that was a complicated computery glitchy thing. Is this dance music?"
Secondo - A Matter of Scale. Occasionally acidy breaky bits (with the odd slap bass interruption) that have been taken to with some sort of very funky digital machete. Easy. The not-commercial-dance shelf. Oh hang on, track eight suggests this go in the coveted top five loudest hand claps ever category.
Still not sure about CD singles. Do they have their own shelf, or do they get sorted with everything else? Decisions...
Yes, long black is the way to go. Some Russian bird just got the world record in pole vault. 5.05 metres. 25cm higher than the silver medal. That deserves 5.05 exclamation marks!!!!!. I've been catching up on coffee blogs all morning. Better go do something else.
The roller door was shut over the window, but it had a sign on it that kind of reminded me of the "I ASSURE YOU WE ARE OPEN" sign at the start of Clerks. Maybe they got their window smashed too. Amusing gaggle of artsy-looking kids in here today. Haircuts and glasses make me think, "This must be the next generation. I'm not like them."
The coffee blog hasn't been exploring the outside coffee world very much recently, what with the sickness- and house-moving-induced hermit-like state I've been in. But this ought to retain your interest:
My shoddy effort at keeping all the CDs in order in boxes during the move has meant that it's pretty much worth sorting them again, and I saw this as an opportunity to try a new sorting regime.
Genres. And within that, chronological, by development of that genre.
With alphabetical, it always gets hard to find stuff if it's been put back in the wrong place. In chronologenreical sorting, it doesn't matter if it goes slightly out of order. You'll still find it.
With alphabetical, you have to know what you are looking for. With genres, you can just go to a SHELF you feel like listening to, then something will jump out.
There's also more chance you will listen to stuff you forgot you had, because it might be sorted next to stuff you listen to all the time.
Pophas been the hardest area to define. At first I thought, "Everything that has verses and a chorus and something else in the middle is POP. I'll sort them all chronologically." But that's where it got difficult. Is Led Zeppelin pop? Sort of. But not as pop as some other things I've got. Is dance music pop if it has verses and a chorus? Yes. But some of it belongs in the same shelf as dance music that has absolutely ZERO chance of getting on the charts. They're all part of the same evolution, shouldn't I sort them together? Maybe. And what's the difference between pop that sold millions of copies, and pop that had just as much pop in it, but nobody ever bought it? Then I realised that commercial success was a stupid thing to take into account when sorting music. I'm sorting music here, not sales figures. I eventually came up with one question that answers whether something goes in the pop category. "Does this belong in the same shelf as George Michael?" It was pretty clear-cut most of the time. But then maybe George Michael belongs in the dudes-writing-and-singing-songs-whether-people-like-it-or-not category. That's something I might have to address NEXT TIME I sort CDs.
I also discovered new genres I'd never even thought of. Sometimes I pulled out a CD and thought, "I have no idea what to call this." I put it aside, until I added more artists to the same pile. One of them is called "Bands With Lots of Members Who Play Lots of Stuff." Another one is "Instrumental Unlistenable". Another one was the aforementioned "Dudes Writing and Singing Songs Whether People Like It Or Not."
It's a long journey. And there are piles of CDs everywhere. The only true odd-one-out I have is Jerry Seinfeld's I'm Telling You For the Last Time.
Oh wait, I just found the CD single of John Safran's Not the Sunscreen Song. This could get confusing...
Watching The Beast with a Billion Backs, the second of four Futurama straight-to-DVD movies that are being released over the space of a few years. I think I got more laughs out of it than the first movie. It is still kind of weird watching Futurama and having the story go for 90 minutes, instead of the usual 23, but I think it worked a bit better in this one. It's good to see the story goes on (Amy and Kif get married, Farnsworth and Wernstrom get along for once, Scruffy the janitor dies [in a deleted scene though]), rather than it being just an unrelated movie. The Tron-esque Deathball scenes were awesome. The preview for the next one looks pretty nutty too.
When I was thirteen years old, we went to Hawaii. I can remember something about it being a good time to go, before the kids got too old to go on all-in family holidays. I've heard of people my age now going on holidays with the fam, but it was still a great time to go. It was in other ways, however, horrible timing for me. I was going to Hawaii, and I hadn't discovered coffee yet. We even went to the big island (confusingly-named Hawaii) where, on the volcanic slopes of Mauna Loa, the Kona coffee region is situated. From Jasper's website:
Hawaii Kona Fancy Coffee is highly valued in the Specialty Coffee world for its intensity of flavour. These unique flavour characteristics are directly attributed to the Guatemalan heirloom Typica plant stock and the exquisite Kona growing conditions.
High demand, particularly from American connoisseurs, coupled with small parcel production means this coffee is in very limited supply. Rarely does Kona becomes available in Australia. As with all our Special Release coffees, this is the real McCoy 100% Genuine Kona Coffee.
The Kona region itself is very strictly defined and limited to a land belt, 2 miles wide and 22 miles long wrapped around the Volcanic slope. Containing around 670 independent coffee farms, often only three to seven acres in size. Only Kona Coffee produced in this area can bear the 100% Kona Seal of Approval.
So there we were, at one of these 670 independent coffee farms, where the beans were grown and picked from the rich volcanic soil, roasted, ground, and then brewed. My parents and my sister were just freaking out. I didn't get it. I hadn't discovered coffee yet. I've thought about this a lot lately. You can imagine what went through my head when I saw the bucket at Jasper labelled thus:
Hawaii Kona - Koa Estate. $100 per kg.
Wow, that big font was by accident, but I think it's worth leaving there. $100 bucks per kilo was a lot, but cheaper than going to Hawaii. I only bought 125g, but I figured that would be enough to make up for not drinking any of it thirteen and a half years ago.
Rad. I also grabbed another 250g of Sidamo for when the Koa runs out.
That jar of Jasper Premium Freeze-Dried Instant Organic Fairtrade Coffee is another thing I've been saving for occasions such as this. Not bad. I might be imagining it, but I felt like I got more of a kick from this than an espresso. Or that might just be because it closely followed that half-a-can of iced coffee I just had. I'm glad it worked though, had to continue moving house until about 3:00AM. Ouch.
Oh Christ. Just moved the coffee machine, turned it on, and... FUCK! I've run out of beans! In desperation I cracked open a can of Sangaria Latte that I'd been saving for an occasion such as this. Disappointing. I guess the can of iced coffee is something I can only get into in hot weather, which Melbourne most definitely is not experiencing right now. And Sangaria is not the most palatable canned iced coffee I've had...
There's no food in the house, which is a fine excuse to go out for breakfast. I didn't really feel like anything too crazy, so I paid $6.50 for Vegemite on toast. I might have hoped that sum might be me more than two slices, but goddam they were filling. I was actually pretty full at the end of it. The latte was top-notch, as usual. I'd post a photo of it, but my Bluetooth dongle and all my USB leads are packed. Somewhere. Portuguese neenish tart. Takeaway. Does anyone know what the hell "neenish" means? See my previous Rathy Food Store posts for more on their neenish tarts and how they reflect the racial inequality prevalent when they were cooked...
There's a piss-funny bit in Microserfs by Douglas Coupland where there is a (geeky) guy talking to a girl at a party, and he's saying stuff like, "The thing I really love about Sony products is that their name always describes exactly what they are. Like the HDRCX12MS Memory Stick Handycam, or the KDL32V4000 Full HD LCD TV." Obviously the products he mentioned were a lot more 90s-sounding. I googled around for the exact quote, couldn't find it, but then found this other quote about Sony anyway:
"Don’t discuss Sony like it’s a great big benevolent cartoon character who lives next door to Astro Boy. Like any company, Sony is comprised of individuals who are fearful for their jobs on a daily basis, and who make lame decisions based pretty much on fear and conforming to social norms — but then, that’s every corporation on earth, so don’t single out one specific corporation as lovable and cute. They’re all evil and greedy."
Anyway, I thought the Rathdowne Deli and Courtyard Cafe was an example of this Sony-style naming convention. If you can read the sign, you know it's a deli on Rathdowne St that is also a cafe and has a courtyard out the back. You don't need to ask any more questions. They even include "BYO" on the sign, twice. It's not often I order coffee from a guy who gives the meat slicer equal priority to the espresso machine on the bench. But he knew what he was doing. Everyone around here does. Maybe there's something in the water. Caffeine, perhaps. You need only look at a map of Carlton to feel the effects. If you need a kick to get through the afternoon, just close your eyes, and click your heels 3054 times.
Well, the movers only booked in for two hours so it looks like they won't be able to move all of our boxes of crap. Bugger. The coffee machine is still on the bench. I used it this morning (as the existence of this post suggests) which means it won't be at the new house today or possibly even tomorrow. Was it worth the sacrifice? EDIT: They did have time for two loads. Woo! Still some heavy annoying stuff left though. Oh, and CLEANING.
An espresso? At 9:00PM? Yes. We're moving house tomorrow morning and there's a fair bit of work to do. The funniest bit would have to be dismantling the bed, realising there's no floor space to put the mattress back down, and sleeping on the couch instead. Movers will be here at 9:30AM. By the way, all this was possible because I am still delaying the inevitable: having to unplug the coffee machine and put it in a box. I'll still need it tomorrow morning though, that's for sure.
This wireless broadband thing is working great! Love it. I think placement of the modem makes a huge difference though. Near a window is better. That would be a pain in the arse if you had one of those little USB ones plugged into your laptop. Are you supposed to balance your computer on the windowsill or something? The only problem is the connection indicator light. If it is blue, then it's connected to WCDMA. If it is cyan, then it is connected to 3G. 3G is faster. But it's hard to look at the light and tell whether it is blue or cyan, unless it switches from one to the other while you're looking. But it's working. I was worried that wireless broadband might be a bit shithouse, but it's working fine. I called both mum and dad on Skype and that worked okay. More coffee soon, I'm sure. I have blisters from last night's gig. Good gig though, and the first time we've had all the Cats in one room since, oh, Easter maybe. Weirdly, the first blister came up on the third finger on my right hand, which I don't use. I think it was just flapping around and hit enough strings to develop a blister. Ow. Better have a day off. Tomorrow's gig might be interesting though, better get some Liquid Band-Aids. Or super glue. That was invented for medical purposes in WWI, after all. And it's way cheaper than Liquid Band-Aids. But I guess one of my primary school teachers must have said, "It's poisonous!" enough times to put me off the idea.
Hmm, I think I let a bit too much water through in this one. Especially when the ratio of milk to espresso is so low - unavoidable in a glass this size - you don't want to tip the balance any more. But it was still pretty rad. These beans are awesome.
Optus turned up, and I was finally allowed to leave the house. We're free! This is only my third Atomica this year. I really need to apply myself better; I can walk there in about four minutes. It was rad too.
On hold with Optus again. I'm just calling to double check that they are indeed delivering something today. The fact that this territory has been covered so heavily in the blog recently doesn't necessarily mean I always drink coffee when I call Optus. It's just a coincidence that I drink coffee in the morning, and if I need to call Optus (wow, notice how I'm talking about it like it's something we all have to do every few days?) I do it first thing in the morning too. If they're not delivering and I don't have to wait around for them, I'd rather know sooner. And so the hold music coincides with the coffee. The only problem is the coffee grinder drowning out the sound of the phone no matter how close you hold it to your ear, leaving you in serious danger of missing out when someone finally answers the phone at the other end.
Speaking of hold music, I thought this might be a good time to arrange Optus's hold music in order of least-annoying to most-annoying.
The one with the piano riff at the start, it sounds a bit like Chicago. It makes me wish Peter Cetera was singing in it.
The Primal Scream-ish one. Congas, two-handed piano riff, weird vocal sample that probably says, "Conditions apply, see store for details." It sounds kind of like Loaded. But with no horns. And not quite early-90s enough.
The James Bond-ish one. It's actually pretty well done, but I have a feeling I've heard it on TV before, accompanied by animals doing stuff. I don't get why they use those animals in their ads. Remember when One.Tel started doing ads with crap little plastic animals, and said something about how they couldn't afford real animals for the ad but they could give you the best long-distance savings in the country? That's surprising, considering they had no trouble paying founders Rich and Keeling multi-million dollar bonuses as the company disintegrated in 2001. I'm assuming that Optus saw this as a sign that it was okay to keep using the animals.
The Sixpence None the Richer-ish one. Sorry to mention a vague 90s band, but they had a hit with Kiss Me, followed by a very piquant version of There She Goes. This sounds like the former. It starts with a wurly-ish Optus-sounding melody.
The Groove Armada At the River-ish one. You know, slo-mo drums, descending string pads, repetition. Groove Armada must be responsible for more sound-alikes in advertising than anyone else. It's kind of soothing, and reminds you that you'll finally get off the phone one day, and at least there's no trombone.
The fucking trombone one. With that weird little ghost-of-a-theremin floating around in there. It's far too jolly to have to listen to repeatedly when you're stuck on the phone.
That gypsy-swing-ish one in the background of of the "We apologise for the delay" message. It's not particularly irritating, but it gets cut off on the same note every time. That is irritating.
At least I haven't been subjected to that bloody "Give Me The Simple Life" song they used a while ago.
It's also worth pointing out that a hoody with no drawstrings doesn't work quite as well for my handsfree phone invention. I stood up a few minutes ago and the phone fell out and landed on my laptop. If necessary, you can just leave the hood hanging on your back, and drop the phone into it. It's a bit hard to get to it, but you can still hear what's going on.
To make matters worse, a woman was just on TV demonstrating how easy it is to use Optus Wireless Broadband. Fuck. She didn't mention anything about the delivery ordeal. And her clothes look like Fraulein Maria made them out of the curtains.
RIP Isaac Hayes. He's been around for a long time. He wrote the theme from Shaft, was the Duke in Escape from New York, AND was a voice in South Park. This is like Gandalf dying, or something. He was around in the early days of Stax. He co-wrote Hold On I'm Comin'. It's a shame I never had a chance to ask him, "Is that song about what I think it's about?" From Wikipedia:
Hold On, I'm Comin', when originally released, received objections from radio stations over the potentially sexually suggestive title. This resulted in a quick name change by Stax boss Jim Stewart, and almost all original U.S. copies of the released single bear the title "Hold On, I'm A-Comin".
I don't know about you, but I find "Hold On, I'm A-Comin" just as, if not slightly more, sexually suggestive.
Something weird happened on the way here. I was listening to Gold 104. Love Shack was on. John Peters came on and started saying stuff, so I changed stations. I heard the end of a song on Vega, and then John Peters came on and said some more stuff, including, "coming up next, the B-52s!" Sure enough, after the ads, Roam came on.
It's really strange that John Peters was on two stations at the same time. But it's downright cosmic that he back-announced two songs by the same band, on two stations, within five minutes of each other!
Remember how cool John Peters was back in the early 90s? He was the closest thing we had to Howard Stern. He didn't get girls to get busy with each other on the air or anything, but he was at least mildly offensive. Maybe Triple M's R&D Department (not to be confused with their R&B Department - shut down at least ten years ago) had him cloned as a precautionary measure, and maybe the clones have started escaping and moonlighting at other radio stations around Melbourne. They really need to work on their timetabling if they don't want to attract any more suspicion.
I just saw an ad on TV for www.studentexchange.org.au, where one of the testimonials was, "It helps you develop your own sense of independence." I instantly asked the TV out loud, "Who else's sense of independence were you expecting it to develop?!"
Am I getting too cynical?
I have a busy day today. Well, it's not that busy really, just busy compared to the seven weeks of holiday followed by two weeks of being sick. I'm assuming that means I'll need more coffee soon.
He says the track Graceland was built on top of the remains of another song they recorded. He only liked the drums, and so got rid of everything else and wrote Graceland over it. It's funny, I've always thought I'd enjoy Graceland more if it actually had no drums.
They also said it has sold 14 million copies. I own it twice: on CD and vinyl, both second-hand. So I am sharing possession of the album with two of those 14 million people. If this is a frequently-resold album, it means it's probably reaching millions more people than the sales figures show.
Hypothetical: what is the the most-resold of the highest-selling albums ever? I think it would have to be Thriller. The three or four amazing tracks on there don't excuse the suckiness of some of the other songs, and I think this would drive many people to sell their copy. With that in mind, it is possible that one in every two people on the planet have, or have had, a copy of Thriller. Yikes.
They sold out of wraps! All of them. I just have to get here earlier on the weekend. The girl making the coffee went pretty far with the meniscus, and I thought the surface tension wasn't going to keep up and explode milk and crema all over the bench, but it held it together at least until the lid was on. "Woah, thought it was going to fall over!" "Nah, I know what I'm doing." Fair enough.
Video Hits. I am a little confused by the video of Shake It by Metro Station. Why did they shoot Dance auditions in the same room? Was the studio double-booked maybe? It doesn't make sense. It all smells a bit manufactured, but that's been happening for years and it doesn't really bother me that much. But this band actually frighten me a bit. The lyrics are just really disgusting. Take verse one, for instance:
I'll take you home If you don't leave me at the front door Your body's cold But girl, we're gettin' so warm And I was thinking of ways That I could get inside
Who are these date rapists and what are they doing on my TV?
(21:58:10) Ryan: did you see that fireworks thing? (21:58:18) Ryan: ok that is rad (21:58:52) Josie:woah wierd lighty drummy things (21:58:59) Josie:cool (21:59:16) Ryan: i love how a few dudes are accidentally turning theirs off at the wrong time.. (21:59:27) Josie:can't expect it to be perfect! (21:59:34) Ryan: Yes you can, it's China! ...
(22:24:14) Ryan: Wow. (22:24:22) Ryan: I have no idea how they're doing that. (22:24:43) Josie:no, but apparently it's not computer generated. commentator said we will be suprised (22:25:20) Josie:there's not a dude under each one is there? (22:25:43) Ryan: Mabye (22:25:53) Ryan: Wtf?! They all disappeared. (22:26:17) Ryan: Dudes wearing...er...square...Slinky-suits? Maybe? (22:27:01) Ryan: Woah (22:27:18) Josie:wooooaaaaahhhhhh (22:27:23) Ryan: My jaw dropped (22:27:26) Josie:woah! (22:27:26) Ryan: YEEEEEEAHH!! (22:27:36) Josie:they're loving it! (22:27:57) Ryan: I'm sure they are. We've got a f*cking Qantas ad. ...
(22:31:39) Ryan: Man, they've mispronounced "dynasty" about 200 times (22:32:50) Ryan: I don't know who this special comments girl is on channel seven but she ought to be taken out and shot after this (22:33:10) Ryan: "It's very difficult to dance on that carpet without making a mistake"...??!? (22:33:56) Josie:get fucked. bbc commentary hasn't annoyed me yet. (22:34:18) Ryan: Not bad. 33 minutes in and they're not annoying. (22:34:47) Josie:spoke to soon. "These paddles are very very heavy". ...
(22:34:51) Ryan: That looks awesome. Did China invent the Mexican wave too? (22:36:46) Ryan: Ah! The compass was the other invention. (22:37:00) Josie:ah of course (22:37:36) Ryan: Remember when they did a "sea voyage" type thing in the Barcelona opening ceremony? This makes that look like a bunch of girls. (22:38:01) Josie:this makes everything look like girls. remember the dudes on horseback in sydney? girls. ... (22:57:23) Ryan: HOW DO THEY STAND IN SUCH A PERFECT CIRCLE?!?! (22:58:16) Josie:and then get back into lines so perfect? (22:58:24) Ryan: unbelievable
(23:04:09) Ryan: She looks a bit weird. (23:04:10) Josie:oh fuck fucking sarah brightman (23:04:15) Josie:fucking hair extensions (23:04:21) Ryan: Oh that's why she looks weird (23:04:53) Ryan: Like the offspring of Lindsay Lohan and a Troll doll.
Wow. Read the previous post first to Just to summarise:
I called up to order wireless broadband. They said it would be there on Tuesday.
I called on Tuesday to make sure everything was going ahead. They said it would be there on Thursday.
I called on Thursday, and they said it was on the way.
A few hours later, they delivered the wrong modem.
I called up, went on hold for about thirty minutes, and explained the situation. He took some convincing that I had indeed received the wrong modem. Not the one I ordered.
They'll call me back.
I said that nobody called me back on Tuesday when I was told somebody would, and asked what I should do if nobody calls this time. I was told I should call back again if that happens. "And be put on hold for another half an hour?"
I'm tempted to just plug in the modem they sent me and use that. But I'm paying for the other one. So I should probably wait. It doesn't matter, I can still post coffee blogs, I can still check my email, I can still sort of get on Facebook. I'm in no real hurry to get broadband up and running. Except for all that stuff I want to download for the Mac. That will just be painful on dialup speed.
But on the bright side, I invented a new kind of handsfree phone.
Step one: put on a hoody.
Step two: swing the hood onto your left shoulder.
Step three: put your phone in the hood.
Step four: tighten the drawstrings on the hood.
There. You can walk around the house and do stuff without missing your chance to talk to a customer service representative.
Soy latte. With honey this time. It tastes like Byron Bay looks. Very good. I could get used to this. But it was a bit cold. Does soy milk lose heat quicker? Or did I just get it wrong?
Ugh, the coffee still tastes like crap to me. Luckily, the taste of toast seems to be unaffected. I've signed up for Twitter, but as far as I can tell it's just like updating your Facebook status waaaay too often. Not sure if I'll keep twitting, unless something really useful comes out of it real soon. I'm at home today waiting for Optus to deliver a wireless broadband modem. I'll keep you updated. Depending on how this goes, it could turn into some sort of an Optus-dis-fest. I'm sure there's something in their Terms and Conditions about blogdissing Optus while using their service, but if they do everything right then the dissing won't be necessary, now, will it?
9:12AM I missed the shower window. If I have one now Optus might turn up while I'm in there, and then they'll have to deliver it on another day. I can't take that chance. If Yo Gabba Gabba weren't so addictive I probably would have had a shower some time between 8:35 and 9:00.
More updates are available in the Twitter box below. Just use the up and down arrows. This is the first time I've kept a log of how long I've been on hold for: (Twitter feed preserved for future generations:)
Even though I don't approve of Kent St's open-roof sugar canister policy (anything floating about in the air can land in it - not a good idea for outdoor tables in a high-traffic area I think), I stirred in some sugar because I didn't really like what I was tasting. "Don't put sugar in, the soy makes it sweet anyway!" "I don't find it sweet." I could have added, "it tastes metallic," but everybody might have thought I was on acid.
The most overjoyed, fun-loving, fun-having dude to ever ask for change on Smith St came up and asked us for change, and then merrily trotted away down the street. He had a Kiwi accent but seemed to be wearing green and gold from head to toe. Wow, Australia is even claiming successful hairy beggars from New Zealand as their own now.
If anyone needs a shitload of 3.5" floppy disks, you can get a box of eleven for $1.00 at the Post Office on Smith St. Someone out there must have a use for them. C'mon, at least buy all of them and see how many you need to fit all the photos currently stored on your phone. Then be glad nobody had a camera phone in 1993 because it would have been hell awkward carrying all those floppies around in your pocket.
"Eurgh!" I tipped the first one down the sink almost straight away. It tasted, well, pretty bad. I fired up the machine again, made sure everything was all clean, no bits of old coffee grounds stuck in there or anything, and pulled another one. It tasted the same. I thought maybe the Ethiopian Sidamo Oromia I bought from Jasper might have been a bit suspect. But then it hit me. According to Wikipedia, "metallic taste" is a possible side-effect of the stuff I'm taking to get rid of this bloody annoying thing that makes me have to run to the toilets every three days or so. Well, I promised Dr J I wouldn't go into too many medical details on the blog, so I'd better leave it at that. Wikipedia also says I will be "violently ill" if I have any alcohol. Yikes. Does that mean I'll start barfing and then have a weird urge to play Doom? When my taste buds go back to normal (even Listerine tastes bad now - wtf?) I'll let you know what these beans are like.
Who is this Mac-using soy-drinking freak who has inhabited my body?
This is the first soy latte at home on the blog, but not the first I've ever made. I tried making a (shudder) decaf (shudder) soy latte about four and a half years ago. Not surprisingly, it put me off soy until now, and decaf until further notice. But this one is okay.
Oh, the Mac turned up too. My facebook is getting flooded with people saying things like, "Once you go mac, you never go back," etc. So far nobody has written "Fuck you, you Macfucker! Go put on a black turtleneck and jeans, you Steve Jobs wannabe!" or anything of that sort. It seems Mac folk are more welcoming of newcomers than PC users are resentful of deserters. To mark the occasion, here's the obligatory Photo Booth contribution:
Things I like so far:
The camera. I can barely see it, but it makes things look really good.
Garageband. It's waaaay better than an entry-level comes-with-the-machine music app needs to be.
I plugged in my MIDI controller, and it just freakin' worked. I'm pretty sure I had to install stuff in Windows to get this thing working.
HAVING A GAP BETWEEN THE KEYBOARD AND THE SCREEN. It sounds simple, but after using laptops for years, I've never been able to put my MIDI keyboard in this useful piece of real estate.
This massive screen! I've used laptops (which were bought for their portability) for years, and I'm pretty sure the last desktop I had was plugged into a 14" CRT. So this is the biggest flattest thing I've ever used, by a long shot.
The thin-arse keyboard, and the wireless mouse.
Searching anywhere. Can't be bothered finding the button for "Displays" in System Preferences? Start typing "displays" and Spotlight will show the way. PC people: this is like going into Control Panel and searching for things. Yes, they're all in front of you, but searching means you don't even have to look.
The "Oblique" widget that I downloaded, inspired by the oblique strategies flash cards that Brian Eno made in the 70s. You click on it, and it gives you handy creative hints like, "Bridges - build - burn" or "Change specifics to ambiguities".
The fact that you can pretty much press "command" instead of "control" and your Windows shortcut keys will probably work.
The fact that things just work.
Things that confuse me:
The backspace key is now called "delete". The delete key is still called "delete", but it doesn't always delete things. This could take some getting used to.
I need a mini-DVI adapter to plug in my second monitor. This makes sense on a laptop where there is not enough room on it for a full-size DVI plug. But this is an iMac. There's acres of black space on the back of this thing. It would have been nice to just be able to plug in a DVI cable.
Whenever I plug in an external drive, Spotlight goes mental. "Woah, haven't seen this before, what's on it?" I disabled Spotlight for this drive (the volume is called "The S.h.h.i.t" in case you were wondering) but I have a horrible feeling it will go mental when I plug in ANY new external drive. That could get annoying.
iTunes has stolen focus away from Safari about six times in the time it's taken to write this blog.
Do I need to turn off the mouse when I turn off the computer? Am I wasting batteries?
I was watching a DVD in Front Row (using the remote to pause and adjust volume - very cool) and there appeared to be some sort of auto-volume-limiting thing going on. Is this Front Row, or the sound card, or something else?
Ah. Well, hopefully the comments section here will double as tech support. Does anyone have any clues?
I'm buying a Mac. This is quite a big deal. Ever since I learnt how to type "dir" and "cd mean18" and "golf" into a DOS prompt, I've been convinced PC was the way to go. I've argued for the PC for years, and got quite a significant amount of enjoyment out of finding new ways to deride Mac users, but it all ends this week. I'm now a fencesitter. After realising how much of a nightmare it was trying to actually be productive making music on a PC, I finally snapped a few weeks ago and realised, "This isn't going to work. I should just throw in the towel and buy a Mac." If you told me two years ago this would happen, I wouldn't have believed you. But let's face it, Steve Jobs planted the seeds early on... Does anybody else have any memories of trying to find discarded dockets from Coles that could be traded for valuable house points (or some such thing) at school, which the school would then somehow trade in for Apple computers? Well, I never would have thought that fifteen years later I'd be ordering an iMac. He gets results, that Steve Jobs...
"I came all the way from Australia for this!" It was a lie, shouted from the next storey up in the shopping mall, but it sounded good. It was probably also a symptom of the Boss-induced shock that had set in when he just happened to spot his idol out in public in Philadelphia. But it worked. The sea of security guards parted, and he walked through and got a photo with Bruce Springsteen.
This is my first soy latte on the blog. I've gotta stay away from dairy for a while, and I always think it's downright antisocial to order a short black1 when someone else is having a latte. So I figured soy was worth a try. "Hi, er, do you have...soy?" "Yes." "Do you recommend it?" "It's Bonsoy. It's good."
It was. It felt more like I was eating an entire meal. I'm not sure why I found it so filling, and I'm even less sure why I decided to order a second.
1. A long black is far more sociable, but I'm hesitant to ever order one. There are so many wrong ways to make them. Wow, I think I just actually found a useful statistic in this blog: of the twenty-three long blacks I have had, twenty-one of them were made by me. One of the other two was a short black that just had too much water in it and was thus categorised as a long black, and the remaining one was a potentially good espresso before it was blasted into oblivion with boiling water. THAT is precisely why I don't usually order a long black. Wow, I'm impressed these stats are finally coming in handy.
Have started playing Boom Blox on Wii. It's the Wii game by Steven Spielberg, if you haven't heard. I guess the short story of what the game is about is this: it's Jenga with more rules. You know, lots of this: point at the thing you want to move, hold the A button, and pull the Wiimote to move the thing on screen. Sometimes you throw stuff to get some of the blocks to come out, sometimes you want to knock a few blocks off while leaving the others standing, sometimes you want to get the purple ones to all hit each other and explode, sometimes you have a time limit, sometimes you get more points for doing less moves to finish the level, etc. So yeah. Jenga with more rules, controlled by a Wiimote. Highly addictive.
That is absolutely the best parking spot I've had in the city. But it's a Sunday night - that gave me a head start. I got the one in Flinders Lane that is almost across the road from the police station, and it's a loading zone until 7:30PM. Awesome. The cut-in-half walking time it allowed me also allowed me enough time to go and order an espresso at Brunetti, sit down, and think about the universe. For about three minutes. Then I had to get to the gig.
It was an interesting gig. Two fill-ins; Ollie is in New Caledonia and Will is sick. I'm sick too, but well enough to do the gig. It would have been pretty funny if all three band members were last-minute replacements who turned up, had never met before and didn't know what to play, or whether they were indeed at the right venue on the right night at the right time. If that had have been the case, I probably would have turned up in disguise (just to see the sparks fly. It reminds me of that story about some guy in New York who called every bass player in town and just said, "I've got a gig, come and meet me on this corner." He sat upstairs and watched the corner gradually fill up with bass players, and then took a photo. I bet he was a sax player too. Oh, that reminds me of the best advice I got all night.
"If you think one sax makes the band sound like it has too much sax, try adding another sax. They play less if there's two of them."
There is a film of the Beach Boys live in 1980 on ABC2. The drummer looks like a homeless guy who has just wandered onstage and accidentally played drums really really awesomely. Well, let's face it, most of the Beach Boys looked pretty homeless by that stage (except maybe that guy in the white suit...maybe he begs for dry cleaning money all day), but this wasn't just a guy with too much hair. A few songs later, some other guy was on drums, and I figured the security guards had finally realised, "That's not a Beach Boy," and thrown the first guy off. Then half way through Heroes and Villains the homeless drummer guy was at the front of the stage yelling, "We love yooooou!" repeatedly into the mic. Stage invasions aside, the band sounded pretty rad. But it felt kind of like walking through a museum (as a Beach Boys gig in 1980 may have indeed felt). According to something I just found on Google, this was the last time the original lineup played together. It seemed a bit of a weird vibe; Brian Wilson looked like he was reading a ransom note whenever he sang. This was followed by the Classic Albums episode about Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life. It's worth watching for the footage of Stevie playing drums. The interview bits with Coolio were a strange inclusion (as is his haircut) but I guess it puts the album's timeless appeal in context - albeit in a 90s kind of way. Some of the other studio footage is good too, especially when Nate Watts reminds us all that big fat guys playing bass can just do things that skinny guys cannot.
We're watching series one of Spaced, the show otherwise known as "that British series from the late 90s with the two guys from Shaun of the Dead in it". It's pretty rad. A lot of the references are pretty 90s (X-Files jokes...Matrix jokes...Pulp Fiction jokes...etc) but it's all exceedingly well done. Just the kind of thing I need to prime up for watching the new X-Files movie tonight.
P.S. I never saw it. I'm still a little apprehensive.
Let's take a journey back to the year 2000, when Starbucks began opening stores in Melbourne. I found it hard to trust any company whose business model shuts down the kind of places I like going to. Well, I didn't think that at the time, I didn't know much about Starbucks's business model until about a year later when I read No Logo (c'mon, gimme a break, it was the turn of the century!). But I still figured it was worth checking out at least once. I can remember the whole experience was a little confusing. Why did I have to queue up twice? That's never happened anywhere else before. After queueing to order my drink, I then had to queue up again to collect it. In the confusion, I accidentally stole a copy of the Age. The coffee wasn't great either. It made me wonder why I would come here, queue up twice, and pay more money for worse coffee. It made me wonder why anyone would.
CONRAD: This is fucked, let's get out of here.
He was right. Well, at least the newspaper was free. From that day on, more stores kept springing up, and the tide of dissent rose a little with each "coming soon" sign. "STARBUX SUXS" screamed the semi-literate graffiti set in purple from the corner of Brunswick and Johnston St where it was alleged yet another outlet was poised to open. The 'bucks continued to roll out elsewhere, however, their success astonishing me. But what the hell. Lots of people seemed to enjoy it, that's fine for them, but I sure knew there was no way I was going to go back there. The following grew, and their advance continued unabated. They seemed to be able to open almost anywhere and get business. It all made sense, except for one of their location choices:
Lygon Street, Carlton.
I couldn't understand why Lygon St needed a Starbucks. You can't swing a cannoli around your head without hitting a short macchiato over there. It's a neighbourhood with a rich tradition of people who take their food and their coffee very seriously. The only place on the PLANET (as of a few years ago - things might have changed now) where a McDonald's closed down shortly after opening, for lack of interest. Why did Starbucks think this was an area they could muscle in on? Well, eight years later (today, that is) my jaw dropped just in time to be out of the way of my cameraphone being whipped out in disbelief at the notice I couldn't help but notice:
It's all over. This came shortly after news that Starbucks were going to get together and have a bit of a chat about what was going on with their stores in Australia. The result was, it seems, store closures. Sixty-one of them. Oh well, I guess all their old punters can still go to the Coffee Bean around the corner if they really need a coffee-chain-coffee hit. I'd rather hit up Brunetti.
P.S. I walked past the Coffee Bean around the corner a few hours later. It seems all is not well in their camp either. The premises has been locked by the landlord. No entry without the owner's permission. Ouch...