Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tetris vs The Deer Hunter: Espresso, home

The wedding scene from The Deer Hunter:

The theme from Tetris:

OMFG. Same song.

Espresso, home

I had Armando's Rhumba stuck in my head for about four hours last night. It's no laughing matter. Press play at your own peril:

Latte, home

The unintentional puns are usually the best. From Mad Men season two episode five:

"He made a crack about my ass!"

I know she was talking about a wisecrack, but it reminded me of my favourite dadjoke:

"I landed right on my arse."
"Don't worry, it's already got a crack in it!"

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Double Macchiato, Ismael, Tunbridge Wells

Warning: not Ryan. I haven't posted anything about Ismael in a while, even though I go there every weekend, and haven't bought coffee from anywhere else in Tunbridge Wells for probably a year. It is still the best. Really I'm writing this because I'm trying to make it that if you google 'Tunbridge Wells' and 'coffee' this blog comes up. Let's see if it works.

Short Macchiato, home

"...practical kitchen and bathroom..."

Espresso, home

As someone who hasn't watched Thomas the Tank Engine in decades, I'm probably not qualified to say, "The new theme song and narrator are shite."
But I've kind of said it now anyway.
I never thought I'd say, "Bring back Ringo," but I guess I've said that now too.
Here's some guy on Youtube striding his way through the original theme:

Friday, May 29, 2009

Flat White, Tre Bicchieri, Carlton North

This is quickly becoming my favourite coffee in the village.
(I meant Rathdowne Village. Sorry, maybe it's not famous enough to be abbreviated that far.)

Espresso, Brother Baba Budan, City

When a place like this is this busy, you probably won't save any time getting your coffee to take away instead of waiting for a table. Your order will still join the queue just like all the others, and that waiting time is best spent waiting for a table. One will almost certainly be freed before your coffee is ready, and you will be able to enjoy the spoils: a real cup instead of a paper cup.
But if you did opt for the paper cup instead, drink it straight away: the wind will do its best to remove what heat is left of the precious heat in that 30ml of goodness.

Latte, Mr Tulk, City

The Caesar Salad here is work of art, and the waiter was happy to explain it all (white anchovies, the dressing is only on the lettuce, etc) at great length. But I realised it left only one question unanswered.
"How do you cut the bread that thin?"
It turns out you need a day-old loaf and a meat slicer.
If only Kramer had thought of that in The Slicer. Then they could have fed a whole sandwich under the door for Elaine.

Espresso, home

Oh dear.
How much intellectual property can we infringe on in one T-shirt?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Latte, home

C'mon Toad. Just tell me which box it's in. Why do you have to obstruct me in my path to save the princess? You'll get court-martialled for this.

Espressi, home

From the Music Swop Shop website:

If anyone knows a chap by the name of "Ace Blackfeather", could you please tell him to come pickup his guitar! It's been two years dude!

I just Googled "ace blackfeather", and sure enough, the one I linked to above was the only match.
(I'm pretty sure my blog will become the second match pretty soon)
I'll be asking around about Ace though.

This morning I cracked out the Brazil...something... (not the Monte Cristo, the other one) beans that I got from Toby's yesterday. Very chocolatey, very sweet. I really like what Toby does. I don't know if it's something to do with the roasting, or if he only finds beans from around the world that will taste like this in the cup. It's probably both.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Farnham interviews Wheatley: Espresso, home

"Mr Wheatley, come in."
"Hi Johnny!"
"It's John."
"Oh, sorry John. Er, Mr Farnham."
"John will be fine."
"Right. Er..."
"Yes Mr Wheatley?"
"Well, why is this so serious and official?"
"I'm looking for a new manager, Mr Wheatley. It's serious, official, serious business."
"You've had other people through?"
"Well, yes."
"But we've been through a lot. I mortgaged my freaking house so you could record Whispering Jack."
"Yes, but we've still an interview process to get through. Come through, you should meet the panel first."
"Hi guys."
"Chair number one: Jack Jones. The first of many Farnham clones generated in the late 80s: a precursor to the Saddam impersonators, and other..."
"I know, that was my idea."
"Of course. Let's move on. Chair number two: Venetta Fields. Some say she sounds, both in name and in voice, like a cross between a layered ice-cream chocolate dessert and a song by the Beatles. Those in the know, however, know she is a fierce secret agent who can defeat any backing singer in vocal combat. Aja. Exile on Main St. Wish You Were Here. QE fucking D."
"John, I know we're all in a hurry here: looking down the line I can tell you that I know who all these people are. I worked with them for years."
"Okay, let's move on. So Mr Wheatley, your CV says, among other things, that you just did some time for tax evasion."
"Lots of tax evasion."
"My word yes."
"And you want to manage my affairs again."
"And be responsible for all the numbers-y stuff on the upcoming tour."
"Although you just did time for tax evasion."
Sorry, that's about as far as I can speculate. Who the hell knows how Wheatles got past that one*. I'll give him some kudos though: during the very shallow bit of Wikipedia research I just did I found out that he first got into management because he realised how much his band was getting shafted by promoters. Kudos.

* Actually reading the article in today's Herald-Sun may have shed a little light - damn, I wish I'd thought of that earlier

Flat White, Tre Bicchieri, Carlton North

JB was a little worried about the European Hot Chocolate he ordered.
"It sounds more like a sex position!"

Espresso, Toby's Estate, Brunswick

I can't believe John Farmham is touring again. This is getting ridiculous. I'm pretty sure somebody sued him for false advertising for calling a tour "The Last Time" and then touring again. He's just taking the piss now.

John Farmham - The "Who Am I Kidding, I Will Probably Do This Again in Three Years" Tour.

Espresso, DJ's, Ventnor, Isle of Wight

The woman behind the counter looked like everyone's great auntie. Not the little, frail, white-haired type of great auntie, but the tougher great auntie who is always baking. In our case, like Auntie Elsie.

The cup and saucer looked like the dinner set my grandparents reserved for camping only. It was beige, and had a wierd darker brown, textured, feature stripe. And the coffee came with one of those little capsules of UHD milk, and a plastic-wrapped caramelised biscuit.

The shot of coffee, however, did not reflect this worrying build up. It was very short and strong looking, and even had some crema. It wasn't quite hot enough, but that simply meant I was out of there more quickly. Looks can be deceiving.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Piccolo, Wall 280, St Kilda East

Wow, it looks like I have a giant hand!
I almost never order a piccolo, unless I see somebody else with one. Then I often think, "Why didn't I think of that?"
The main reason why I didn't think of that is that it is seldom on the menu.
But they will probably still know how to make one.
I'm still convinced it is a Sydney thing.

Latte, Wall 280, St Kilda East

Just a non-strong one. I really hit the Wall today because I had a hankerin' for their toasted sandwiches, but the coffee is usually pretty spectacular too. Having already had that shorty at Carlton Espresso only just over an hour ago, I decided I really, really didn't need a strong latte. The not strong one will be just fine, thanks.
Look at that. I would never usually want one any stronger than that anyway. Take note, weak latte servers.
Dan ordered a strong soy, and it came out looking like it had fallen asleep in the solarium.

Espresso, Carlton Espresso, Carlton

Look at how thick the cups are! They must take at least five hours to heat up on top of the coffee machine.
Oh, will you look at that: they have been open for about five hours.

Latte, home

I'm warming to the Australian version of Top Gear.
No, scrap that. Mark we warmed. As of last night.
I didn't really dig last year's series at all - though the GPS versus dude-who-can-track-things bit was kind of interesting - and I remember thinking that if this was the first international franchise for Top Gear, that it didn't seem like it translated too well.
See also: the US versions of Men Behaving Badly, Kath & Kim, Mr Bean, etc. You get the idea. Taking a show that works so well because it is British (or Australian, as the case may be) and doing it somewhere else, and totally missing the point.
But if Top Gear Australia is missing this elusive point, it is hitting another one dead center, splitting Robin's proverbial arrow in twain.

Australia's relationship with, and in turn Australians's relationship(s) with, cars, is altogether unlike that of our friends across the pond (sorry - I know there is no one body of water between here and the UK, but I just like saying "pond"), and so the show requires a different angle. Cars in Australia need to fulfil so many duties. They need to be equally comfortable with sitting in traffic on Punt Road, blasting across the desert Mad Max-style to certain doom, hugging the corners of the Great Ocean Road, striking fear into the eardrums of mortals on Chapel St on a Friday night, looking fully sick doing reverse donuts in the carpark next to Frankston Pier, and maintaining dignity while dropping the kids off at the pool - that's not a euphemism in this case. And to convey this versatile multi-talentedness, this jack- or even jill-of-all-tradesism, we need a versatile multi-talented host-of-all-trades. Ladies and gentlemen: James Morrison.

Reading his resumé aloud is often drowned out by the accompanying cries of, "What? Huh? Are you serious? Is there anything this guy can't do?!" He's famous for being a trumpet player, he's one of those guys who can play the pants off nearly every other instrument, but he has also found time to do the following:
  • pilot
  • abseiling (while playing trumpet, I hear)
  • rally driver
  • yachter (if that's the right word)
  • triathlete
I've heard a few more, but am finding it hard to prove them via the Internet. But he does a lot of things. So that's why I'm tuning in. I want to know what else this guy can do within the confines of a show about cars. TV host? Sure. Stunt driver? Why not? He just may be our Chuck Norris.
Chuck Norris never played with Ray Charles, though.

Macchiato, Lombard's, Petworth, England

The tour of places-in-small-villages-that-list-macchiato-on-their-menu continues. I drove through Petworth on the way to Winchester last year, and thought it looked like it should house some decent coffee, but there was no parking to be had, or I didn't look hard enough. So today, on the way to Portsmouth for the ferry to the Isle of Wight, I stopped. There were two cafes to choose from, but the other one listed chocolate before any coffee, so I went to Lombard's.

The cup was enormous, there was shloads of froth, and there was a lingering after taste, but in a bad way. On the plus side, the toasted tea-cake (which in England isn't like what your mum or your gran makes, it's more like raisin toast) was excellent.

It's clear that just because a cafe lists macchiato on the menu doesn't mean they make it the way I like it.

I'm worried about what the coffee will be like here on the Isle of Wight, based solely on the cup of tea I had earlier. I know this comment is better suited to looseleaflea's blog, but what the hell. I ordered an earl grey tea and was given a cup and saucer with a stringless teabag chucked in it. Hmmm. What's the equivalent to that in the coffee world?

Macchiato, The Apothecary, Rye, England

After walking past The Runcible Spoon, and wondering what that meant, I saw The Apothecary, which had both Macchiato and Ristretto on the menu. Thumbs up for the wine glass of water that came with the coffee. Thumbs up for the use of a smallish cup. Thumbs down for filling up the remainder of the cup with froth. Big thumbs up for the shot that was hiding under the four heaped teaspoons of froth (yes, I counted). Overall, a thumbs up.

Espresso, Tennyson's, Rye, England

Warning: this is not Ryan. Last time I wrote some posts apparently people were bewildered by the idea that Ryan could be drinking coffee in Italy within hours of drinking coffee in Melbourne. I have hired a car for a week, so may report on various coffees in various villages.

On Saturday I went to Rye, on the south coast in Sussex. It is much like Rye on the Mornington Peninsula. Beaches, tourists, wierd shops full of what can only be described as knick-knacks. I didn't see a very narrow strip of camping ground next to the beach though. I was desperate for coffee by the time I got there and Tennyson's was the first place I saw that looked like it had an espresso machine. It also had an enormous sign saying "New! Skinny Latte". They're clearly after the "city folk", so I thought it was a good bet, and there was nothing to complain about with the espresso. But then, further down the road, I came across The Runcible Spoon. I wished I'd gone there, not because it looked like it had better coffee, but because it would've been a much funnier title for this post.

I had to look up 'runcible spoon'. says "a forklike utensil with two broad prongs and one sharp, curved prong, as used for serving hors d'oeuvres". Is that not a splade?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Espresso, home

Is that worth 8 cents per litre?

Metaphorwatch: Latte, home

In the Heckler bit of the Sunday Age yesterday:

A Perth-based, British Virgin Islands-registered company called Firepower was selling a “magic pill” that it said extended fuel economy and eliminated vehicle emissions, a sort of Viagra for cars.

Viagra may extend penile fuel economy, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't eliminate your emissions.

Apologies to the metaphor crowd out there: I'm sure you think I'm barking up the short end of the straws without a paddle by even calling that example a metaphor.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Espresso, Ducks Nuts, Darwin

The bad (or non-) apostrophe usage was so prevalent I couldn't get my camera out quick enough. This was easily the biggest one in town:

Good espresso though. They've come a long way since when I came here five years ago. I can now order an espresso without being asked this:
"You mean, just the shot?"

Espresso, Just Coffee, Nightcliff Market, Darwin

It should have been $4.00, but the guy decided that wasn't fair for how much liquid I was getting. Kudos.

It was pretty good. This is the first time I've gone without coffee for 24 hours in years, unless that Red Bull yesterday afternoon counts.
I like to think it doesn't.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

QANTAS, Adelaide to Darwin

Melbourne to Darwin via Adelaide this early in the day means you get breakfast twice. That granola was awesome, even though it did get the riff from Crunchy Granola by Neil Diamond stuck in my head for the rest of the flight.

QANTAS, Melbourne to Adelaide

I wonder who first decided that a bag of cut-up apples is better than just handing out apples. Is it a price thing? A spoilage thing? Who knows. It's weird, but still tastier than those tiny airplane apples you sometimes get.
The coffee, as always, was acceptably above-mediocre.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Espresso, Cumulus Inc, City

"Single Origin coffee $3.50."

If those capital letters are there for a reason, that reason is that the coffee is from Single Origin. Melbournites: you need not travel to Sydney for their beans any more.

Long Macchiato, Cumulus Inc, City

I felt a bit weird having coffee before lunch came out, but let's face it: I would have felt a lot weirder if my first coffee of the day was at 2.00pm.

Cumulus, Inc is brilliant. I had better come back in time for breakfast some time. Oh, and those prawns (that nearly everyone else seemed to order) looked amazing too.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Latte, Mario's, Fitzroy

They were out of apricot nectar. That seems to happen more often than not these days. Who knows? Maybe they haven't had any in for years.

Espressi, home

Winnie Cooper and Becky Slater were sisters in real life.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Espresso, home

I haven't done a Search Term of the Day for a while. I really enjoyed this one last night:
aeropress shit coffee
I've never even said that the Aeropress makes shit coffee. It did once, but that was the stale-ass supermarket-bought pre-ground on-special Lavazza's fault.
But it's hilarious that somebody is even googling it.
It's even more hilarious that they found this blog.

Moonmimer: Latte, home

March 25, 1983. Man walks on moon on Earth.

The historic event is at 3:40.
It's the 25th anniversary of Motown, there's a band on stage, and curiously nobody seems bothered that he's lip syncing to the album track.
Try to get away with that these days.
That's the power of Michael.
He had everyone so blown away by the moonwalk that they didn't care if he was signing or not.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Macchiatone, Milano, RMIT

I'm far more impressed with them having macchiatone on the menu than I am with the actual contents of the cup.

Oh dear. Those two brilliant espressi I had from Toby's seem to have made my standards even higher.

EDIT: Corrected the spelling of macchiatone. It made me the first of ten results when googling “macciatone”(sic).

Espressi, Toby's Estate, Brunswick

I'd been meaning to check out the Melbourne branch of Toby's for a while. Since I heard it existed, actually. I think what held me back was the fact that it is in Brunswick: it confuses me a little up there. But the directions "across the road from Barkly Square" points out how easy it is to find. I had the Yemen in an espresso. In fact, it was so good that I had two.

Good lord. It tasted like dark chocolate with a brown sugar chaser. Sugar-stirrers take note: leave it out if you're having one of these.

IT Sexism, Latte, home

From the Google-sponsored Girl Geek Coffee Club website:

What is the Coffee Club?
The Coffee Club Program is an on-campus initiative that allows women from Computer Science, Software Engineering and related disciplines to have regular casual meet & greet sessions. Its an open forum to connect women in these areas and to offer support, guidance and insight into industry.

The email also said something about FREE COFFEE.
Hmm. Does it strike anyone else as being a bit sexist? What if men want to have free coffee and connect with other women?

P.S. The word “sexism” doesn't look right. But I put down “sexistness” and decided it looked even worse, so I went back to the original.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Espresso, home

Do not watch that unless you want to laugh until tears stream down your face...
Unless you've seen it already, in which case you'll probably still chuckle.

Espresso, Quists, City

Right there. On the corner. That lane is named the same as the hotel it is next to. That should narrow it down for you.Not many coffee places have been around for this long in Melbourne. They were our first roaster, established in 1938. There's only standing room in there, and walking by you might assume that they don't actually sell coffee in ready-to-drink-right-now format.
But for the recession-bustingly low price of $2.00 they will make you an espresso from their gorgeous Victoria Arduino Venus machine. Take-away only, but that's understandable considering they have no chairs. It was a bit longer than, and tasted absolutely nothing like, what I just had from Keffa Han. But they were both excellent.
That's all I really have to go with here.
Damn. I wish I had more coffee adjectives...

Espresso, Keffa Han, City

But what I don't understand is that 200,000 people are queuing up at Cheapo-Sushi-Outlet, and there's only three people at Keffa Han, only metres away.
Oh, hang on.
They're hungry. That makes sense.
They'll all be thirsty and in need of a turbo boost shortly afterward.
That's when the queue moves across the laneway to Keffa Han. I hope.

Heavy/Light: Latte, home

Brand X. 1976. Yes, that's Phil Collins on drums.

Danny: "Man, it's so light!"
Ryan: "That's heavy!"
We had those reactions to Phil's drumming, simultaneously.
How can it be light and heavy at the same time?
That's the kind of logical paradox that only Phil Collins can initiate.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Espresso, home

Mad Men. Season One. Episode 13. Spoiler coming up:

Is it at all common, or even feasible, that someone would not know they are pregnant until they are in labour?
This episode has, for me, ejected Mad Men well past the plausible-o-sphere.
Peggy goes to the hospital.
Doctor says she's expecting.
I say a silent prayer, “Please, whoever’s writing this: do not make her go into labour at the end of this scene. I won’t be able to take you seriously.”
And before you know it:
“UUNNNNGGGGH!" yells Peggy as she collapses to the ground.
“Get her up to maternity!”
Houston, we have a problem.

And I'm still paranoid about the product placement. From episode one of season two:
“People under 25 don't drink coffee, they all drink Pepsi.”
Why Pepsi? I know that the era in which the show is set was at the other end of the cola wars, but they had to pick one didn't they?
And I know that packet of Lucky Strike in Donald Draper's shirt pocket was put there, logo facing out, on purpose.
I'm outta here. To get some Clearasil and a six-pack of Heineken.

Long Macchiato, Pushka, City

I usually expect a long macchiato to be a long drink. A double shot, with some more hot water, and some - if not very little - milk foam. What we have here in front of us today is more like an espresso hibernating under two tons of snow. It's more of an espresso-preservation device; the dense blanket of foam insulates the espresso shot from the cruel world outside until you're ready to drink.
The trade-off is that it gets a little diluted by the milk in the process.
But what the hell. That shot was still killer.
And I've got a loyalty card here now. After ten, you get one for free. After a further ten, you get another one and a tart (or two coffees if you prefer). So that’s twenty-three coffees for the price of twenty: a 13% discount. That brings Pushka’s already-very-reasonable $2.70 down to an almost turn-of-the-century-spec $2.35.
Loyalty cards. I love ’em.

Hubble/Shuttle vs Sun: Latte, home

In this week's edition of Amazing Photo Sunday, we have Thierry LeGault's incredible shot (taken from Earth) from last Wednesday of the space shuttle Atlantis and the Hubble Space Telescope, which were 600km away. That's the sun in the background.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Head: Latte, home

Waaaaay too much head on this one.
If I'd ordered this out somewhere, I'd probably say, “There's a bit much head, isn’t there?"
But at home, I'd already tipped out a shot that didn't work and cleaned up the machine, so I didn't really have the patience to make another one.
It still tastes pretty flippin' good though. Forza blend. Word.
Anyway, on to the poll results.
For the “What do you do when you are served an undrinkable coffee?” question, we had equal first place between drinking it, leaving it, and SMSing/Facebooking/tweeting about it. Only four of you were game to actually take it back. That makes me feel a lot better. Taking it back scares the hell out of me.
Not surprisingly, there was only one person who selected “Start a blog”, and even less surprisingly, it was me.

Flat White, Atomica, Fitzroy


Even the fern is facing the right way to land on a nice angle with the logo on the cup.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Smarter quotes: Espresso, home

I was recently informed that the ever-vertical straight quote (") (or dumb quote, as opposed to smart quotes that change angles at the start and end of what they are quoting) is a no-no. It really worries me that
a) I never knew this until now: it seems like the kind of thing I would love to obsess over, and
b) my 1100+ posts on this blog are littered with the kind of quoting that make some people's skin crawl. There. I bloody well did it again.
And it's not just the quotes. The apostrophes have all been wrong. An apostrophe should be curly too. There's a whole blog about that.
As someone who's used to Microsoft Word sorting out his quotes automatically - and quite cleverly - in the past, I need answers. Who is responsible? Let's round up all the fonts on Blogger first. C'mon guys, introduce yourselves.

"I'm Arial. Nothing to do with the Little Mermaid or former Israeli Prime Ministers."

"I'm Courier. Australian Open Singles Champion 1991-92."
"I'm Georgia. CIS state and US state."
"I'm Lucida Grande. Hopefully my name is impressive enough to not warrant a fictional backstory."
"I'm Times. Prince said a whole lot of things were a sign of me. He still loses sleep over it."
"I'm Trebuchet. I'm name after a French catapult."
"I'm Verdana. Nothing funny about that."
"I'm Webdings. I bet you were expecting something like Wingdings, eh? No such luck. I just have abnormally large spaces."

Ok. You probably noticed straight away that Lucida is a bit of a douchebag.
Secondly, you would have noticed that they were all dumb quotes and straight apostrophes.
Clearly, the fonts are not to blame. Unless it's all of their faults. We'll get to that later, though. I was about to interrogate Blogger, but it's probably not his/her/its fault either. That oh-so-clever quote-smartifying that Microsoft Word (and Wordpress, I hear) has been doing for years shouldn't be necessary. Let's dig back a bit further and take a look at the keyboard itself.

If you're sitting at a computer right now, look down at your keyboard. HANG ON. Wait until I tell you what to look for, otherwise it will be fruitless. Still here? Good. Now, when you look at the keyboard, find the key that does an opening quotation mark, and the one that does a closing quotation mark.

Welcome back. They're not there, are they? Some time around the invention of the typewriter somebody important decided that they needed as few keys as possible on that there new typewriter thing.
"Opening? Closing? Aren't they all just quotation marks? Let's just have one key for those. Nobody will miss it."

I wish I could go back in time and participate in that argument. Since then, although the keyboard has been redesigned a few times (the Dvorak keyboard puts the most commonly used letters under your strongest fingers on your right hand, and Steve Wozniak is a big fan), but it's never caught on in a big way (except for the Woz). This may be because nobody seems to have thought to just add a second quote key. But until that happens there is another way. A slightly annoying way, but still a way. And it's even more annoying for PC users. Over here on Wikipedia is the shortcuts for single and double opening and closing quotes. For Mac: option-[ and option-shift-[ should get you started. For PC: hold down alt and type a really long number. And it'll work on Blogger too:

“Ah, that feels better. It’s almost worth going back and fixing the whole blog now,” he said.

Latte, Kere Kere, University of Melbourne

When you order, they give you a playing card.
When your card is called out, you collect your beverage.
You then put the card under one of the sections: social causes, environmental causes, cultural causes, or the owner (Kere Kere). This determines where the money for your beverage will go.
They also fill mugs. I'm not a big fan of mugs, but on a campus where thousands of people work, this is a great way to cut down on paper cup usage. That's an environmental cause right there.
"But what happens," you may be wondering, "if two people are dealt the same card?"
The answer to that is a resounding "SNAP!" followed by, "Yeah, but what are the odds of that happening?"
Before you pipe up with, "Well it all depends on how many decks there are," I was trying to make that last question sound rhetorical.
We really need a different question mark for those situations.
Oh. I was actually informed recently that the rhetorical question mark was invented, but died out some time in the 17th century. It was a question mark pointing the wrong way.
I much prefer using an interrobang. Mainly because I like the name.
"What are the odds‽"
(if that character didn't come up okay in your browser, it looks like a question mark and an exclamation mark at the same time.)

Latte, Animal Orchestra, Carlton

Do not sit at the table at the bottom of the stairs.
It is a high staff traffic area.
Almost constantly, one of them will be walking past in either direction.
If, by any chance, you want to say to the person sitting opposite you something like, "Your chai looks horrible," or, "I'm not sure about the coffee either," it is highly likely that a staff member could be within earshot for the whole sentence.
Slightly awkward. There's a million other tables too.
Kudos to the panini though.

Espresso, home

A double espresso in fact, of the Forza blend from Veneziano.
Well, it came out a bit fast and was not entirely happening as a result.
But I drank it. By God, I would have felt pretty crap about twenty minutes later if I hadn't. I had many many many much coffee yesterday. I feel I have to at least have half that much the next day to stay functional.
Actually, it's not just a feeling. I think it's been pretty well proven. Mythbusters needn't go anywhere near it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Espresso, St Jude's Cellars, Fitzroy

Excellent. And those tiles sure do make for a nice blog photo.
God knows why I need more coffee.
But it just felt right after a the-one-with-chips-in-it from Souvlaki King.

Latte, Bella, South Melbourne

I didn't really even want another coffee, but I wanted to check out how their shots are shaping up. The answer is, "Quite good, if I had to drive through here every morning I would be grateful."
As soon as I got back in the car, I remembered that my cup holders are kind of useless. That was going to make it tricky.

Ristretto, First Pour, Richmond

Well that's a first.
I just received an SMS from an unknown number, in my patented format:

[beverage], [venue], [suburb]

Anyway, it was Cumulus, City. I haven't been there yet. I should. I've heard some crazy stuff about their 65/65 poached eggs: 65 degrees for 65 minutes.
But that's for later. Right now: Ristretto, First Pour, Richmond.
Single origin, er, Brazil, something. I should have paid more attention, or taken notes, or something.

Latte, Basement, City

My dad accidentally made the greatest swine flu joke I've heard yet.
"How are you?"
"A lot better, I had a bit of a flu yesterday."
"Ah, as long as it was just a bit of a flu, I guess."
"Yeah, not the whole hog."
Sunset at table 5.
It looks like Dark Side of the Moon.
With coffee.

Leopardskinface: Espresso, home

These beans are dead. I'll get some new ones today.

I ate half a bag of Squirms last night, shortly before I fell asleep. The sugar (or that sour stuff on the outside perhaps) had an interesting effect on my dreams. They were pretty out-there.
The most vivid part I can remember is when I saw that band with Tim Rogers playing bass (he sounded terrible) and the band were all wearing Kermit-green suits, and their faces were leopard skin.

Their FACES.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Espresso, Brunetti, Carlton

4 minutes 5.4 seconds
Not a bad time, but it could have been a lot better.
Some confusion on the way in: I forgot to start the timer. Spying an empty front counter, I didn't want to waste time (nor look completely mental) going back out to the street, starting the timer, and walking back in again. So I let one person go in front of me, got my phone out, and started the timer. She possibly looked slightly like Gina Gershon, but that could be just because I was trying to figure out whether she played both Coral (photographer rich girl who gets down with Tom Cruise, and later, perhaps even more regrettably, Bryan Brown) in Cocktail and the dry cleaner in Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Yes, it turns out she did, according to Wikipedia. That's how I know her name now.
Anyway. Gina ordered a skinny flat white or something not too complicated nor time-consuming. I thought, "Awesome", as this was not going to take the barista too long to get under control and thus my order would shortly follow.
But a few things went wrong.
  1. The old lady loitering near the counter. She had a receipt in her hand, so I figured she had already ordered. But then, without queuing up, she ordered before me. She was indecisive. The order came to $11.60. She was dropping change and fumbling with notes all over the place. She obviously wasn't running to a stopwatch like I was. Anyway, I ordered finally, and noticed that the old lady had slowed me down by two minutes.
  2. The short black came out pretty quickly, shortly after a take-away latte. The waitress decided to lift the latte with one hand, and put a take-away lid on it with the other. Then she called out the number and looked around for the owner. She stood there for a long time. Soon, another guy came over and transported my short black to the counter. This all took an unnecessary 15 seconds.
Slurp. Just over four minutes. Almost a personal best, but as you can see, without the old lady (man, I can't wait until I'm old enough to get away with skipping the queue) and the two-handed latte lift, it could have come in at under two minutes. That's what we're aiming for here, it's nice to know it's possible.

Latte, Amsterdam St, Richmond

Yes, that title may look a little ambiguous at first, but fear not: Amsterdam St is both the name of the street and the cafe itself. But it can get confusing in conversation. That's why I'm a big fan of places that are named after streets they are not situated on - Kent St is the only one I can think of.

There it is. The red one in the distance beyond my coffee and my baguette (roast beef, chilli jam, excellency) and within spitting distance of Church St.
I'm glad nobody was spitting today though. It probably would have landed partially on my outstretched baguette while I got the camera ready.

Speed runs: Latte, home

Upon finishing the last level of Braid, you are rewarded with Speed Runs. That is, there are a few levels that you have to try to finish in less than a specified time. I didn't think this was much of a reward, until I noticed that the final speed run you have to do is the whole game in under 45 minutes.
Considering it took about three weeks for me to finish it the first time, this could be tricky. But there are dudes on YouTube who have done it in a little over half an hour. That requires substantially less attention span to watch than that guy who finished Super Mario 3 in one hour and eighteen minutes. But if you're really limited for time, here's the guy who finished Super Mario 3 in eleven minutes:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Latte, Kent St, Fitzroy

Okay, this is a lot more fun than a cappuucciinno.
The Cash Converters on Smith St has finally converted (like what I did there?) to the yellow colour scheme on their signage. I feel like they're one of the last to change over.
I also just remembered that they used to have, quite a few years ago, Sir Douglas Mawson as part of their logo. That's pretty offensive.
Hundred dollar bill? I'm sure Doug would be fine with that.
Cash Converters signage nationwide? You'd hope he got something out of that.
Nope. He passed away in 1958. Let's hope his family got something out of it.
Unfortunately, this seems like it could be another one of those things where, if anyone googles it, they will only get directed towards my blog asking the same questions.
Either that, or Sir Douglas Mawson on the Cash Converters sign was a figment of my imagination.

Cappuccino, Kent St, Fitzroy

According to this blog, I've only had one cappuccino (or is that ccaappuucciinnoo? I know more of those letters are doubled than you would expect) since the start of last year. And that was an accident. So it's hard to explain why I ordered one today. One was being made when I walked up to the bar, and it looked good, so I ordered one.
Oh. That wasn't as hard to explain as I thought.
But amid all the confusion, I forgot to take a photo before I started drinking. So it's a bit mangled. Very good though. If you're into the chocolate-in-your-coffee thing.

#deathtosunrise: Flat White, home

In the news today, a dude gets on Facebook at 5.30am and announces, via a status update, that he finds Facebook impersonal, that he will be ignoring all such correspondence from now on, and that if anybody really wants to talk to him they should do so in real life.
Within minutes, many of his friends agreed via Facebook that Facebook is a terrible way to keep in touch. That's right. None of them even called or dropped by to say so.

Also in the news: just when I thought I couldn't get any more pissed off about keffiyeh becoming a Roger David-level fashion item, Sunrise prove me wrong. Mel and Kochie have gone too far this time. Reject the Recession? Jesus Christ. The recession isn't something that will just go away if you click your heels together enough.
"Hi, I received a letter saying that due to the currect financial climate you will now be charging more for ATM transactions. Well you know what? I reject your recession!"
That's not gonna fly.
Twitter users are tagging links to that video with #deathtosunrise in protest.

As for my Richmond espresso mission that started yesterday, well, that might be where it ends. We were too efficient with our studio time and now I don't need to go back in today. Unless I can find another excuse to go to Richmond today...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Latte, Seven Grams, Richmond

I'm glad the first stop of my Magical Richmond Espresso Mystery Tour was a good one. I'll have to order a cappucino next time: it looked like they were doing some pretty rad pouring.

Latte, home

Search Term(s) of the Day:
1. pickle barrel williamstown
2. 15 squares st kilda

It makes sense if somebody find this blog by googling a cafe I've mentioned. My cousin was trying to find Bay Leaf in Byron Bay last week, googled it, and found me instead. But it's really weird when, as in example 1, someone googles a place I've never been to and still finds my blog. Maybe I will go there in the future, and Google know about it already.
As for example two, they were looking for 19 Squares. They still found my blog. It's nice to know I can correct people I've never even met, without lifting a finger, mid-google.

If nothing else, I am passionate about Google being capitalised when it's a proper noun (ie. when we're talking about Google the company) and not being capitalised when it's a verb (ie. "Stop googling yourself - you'll go blind!")

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Espressi, home

Hmm. I'm not quite in the zone with the Blend X yet.
I'm going coarser now, fitting more in, and it's looking pretty good.
But not quite there.
I think there's still more flavour to be unlocked.
It's like that vault in Terminator 2: you have to turn both keys at the same time. Then, and only then, will you get inside and take a look at that severed robot arm from the future.
Yes. Some people strive for "seeing God in a cup". I'll be happy with severed robot flavour from the future.

Latte, home

Happy Mothers' Day, everyone!
Well, more specifically, women with children.
I'll wish it to everyone else too, but it's not really your day.
Even more specifically: congratulations to whoever was up in those hot air balloons at about 7.30 this morning. What sort of time did you people have to wake up? Four o'clock? Three? Good lord. I was still up trying to cure my insomnia with a Samurai Sudoku at that time.
It didn't work, by the way.
But at least I defeated the Samurai.
That's a first.

Buttermilk: Espresso, home

"Dare me to drink some buttermilk."
"No, you have to say it."
"I dare you to drink some buttermilk."

This is easily the least-appropriately-named thing ever.
Butter. Milk. They both taste great.
Buttermilk tastes like sour cream with all the fun taken out.
I couldn't even swallow it.
How would you even know if it was off or not?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Latte, home

See that pointy bit that had steam shooting out of it a few seconds ago?

It's hot.
Even if you don't eat peas, it's worth having some in the freezer for times like this.

Jug, Sing Sing, Richmond

Ah, the coffee jug at Sing Sing. It's helped me through some long days of "That was great! Let's do it again." I was about to take a photo of the jug itself, but on the way to the kitchen I saw this open doorway and decided it was much more interesting:

Ristretto, home

I looked at the milk jug. I looked at the fridge. I looked at the steam wand. I looked at the hot juicy delicious ristretto sitting in front of me.
I considered the time it would take to do the milk.
I looked at the clock.
What the hell. I sculled the shot and jumped in the shower.
My plan was to go to 7 Grams on the way to the studio.
That didn't work out. They're closed on the weekend.
As are Volley.
Oh well, there'll be plenty of time for that on Monday. And Tuesday. And possibly Wednesday.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Espresso, home

The results of the survey are in.
38% would like at least one more word added to the title, to give some idea what I am talking about.
Narrowly behind, at 32%, are those of you who want things to stay as they are.
I did notice that the first group were lengths ahead until the last day or so. From this I assume that people who read this via Twitter (there are a lot of you!) want to know (vaguely) what I am writing about, and therefore will be able to tell via the title whether it's worth clicking through and reading.
The second group are most likely readers who drop in here less often, and will probably read what is here at the top of the page no matter what it's about.
So I'm going to try to satisfy both of these groups: if it's interesting and I can think of a subtitle, I'll put one in. If not, it's probably just about coffee, and you may do with that what you will.
Ok I think it's pretty clear that poll was useful. I'll post up another one. They're much easier to implement - and quicker to fill out - than the surveys. Actually, it's more like just answering one question of a survey. It's much easier to think of one question for a poll than it is to figure out how many of these justify an entire survey. So let's get into poll #2.
It'll be something to do with how you handle a bad coffee situation.

Seven Commas: Flat White, home

Yes, it's time to do a dishwasher load.
I'll be working in Richmond over the next few days, and I'll take this opportunity to hit a bunch of coffee haunts over there that I still haven't managed to check out yet.
7 Grams, in particular.
I just heard (via Twitter) that Con from 7 Grams was just crowned the Fairtrade Latte Art champion of 2009. Yeah, I should check it out now.

In other seven-related news, the Brother Baba Budan guy is opening a place (a roastery, according to the website) in Carlton called Seven Seeds. Very good news for everyone who, like me, wishes BBB was somewhere a bit easier to get to than the CBD. Like, say, Carlton, maybe.

Okay that's well and truly my day's quota of commas squandered in one sentence. It sounds normal in conversation, but looks truly silly on paper (or on screen, for that matter). Let's try that again.

Like - say - Carlton (maybe).

That's getting better.

Like, say, "Carlton," maybe.

That has just as many commas, but seems a little more balanced. The quotation marks lift the sentence like four hot air balloons, against the ballast of the three commas.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Espresso, Mario's, Fitzroy

Ok I think that proves that you can order, get served, drink, and pay a lot quicker here than at Brunetti. I think I was inside for less than two minutes.

P.S. I can't remember there being that much red light on the subject at the time. It looks like I was drinking coffee outside a brothel!

Espressi, home

Yes, countless espressi. I learnt many things:
  • You know that myth about ground coffee tasting crapper and crapper the longer it's been sitting around? It's true. I made a shot out of the remains of the Bella Vita I ground yesterday, plus some that I ground this morning. It was not good.
  • When you change blends, things are different. You might have to re-evaluate your whole grinding/dosing/tamping process.
  • With the same settings I used for the Bella Vita (which worked perfectly) the Blend X was a bit too fast.
  • With a finer grind and less dosage it was pretty good, but with a nasty case of wet puck syndrome.
  • With more dosing it was getting better. With harder tamping I barely got a teaspoon.
  • With the coarser (the one I started with) grind and more dosing and less tamping I was almost in the zone.
So there you have it. A change of beans can change everything, but that doesn't mean you need to adjust everything: altering one variable can make the right difference. If you'll permit me to go into Numb3rs mode:

"Picture a kitchen bench. There's a loaf of bread, a serrated knife, and a toaster. You cut off a slice of bread, put it in the toaster, and press down the lever. Soon, it pops out, burnt to a crisp and accompanied by a puff of smoke that, somewhat reassuringly, sets off the smoke alarm. After frantically waving a tea-towel at the roof in an effort to waft the smoke away and stop the deafening beeping, you return to the bench. You cut the slice a little thicker. You turn the browning knob down a few notches, thereby decreasing the time that will elapse before the toast pops out, and just to be sure you press that frozen button too - surely that will result in less chance of burning. This time, the bread comes out looking about the same as when it went in. Thicker bread and less toasting for a shorter amount of time took you too far in the other direction: maybe only one of these needed to be changed. So as you can see, in a situation with many variables, it helps to leave most of them alone so you can properly observe the results."

Okay, I'll admit that I wasn't too creative with the metaphor: coffee and toast are both found in the kitchen. But hey, I didn't have much to work with: coffee and toast and blogging is about all I've achieved today.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Flat White, Tre Bicchieri, Carlton North

A flatty at Bicchi. A great afternoon for it too.
I was a bit alarmed at how often JB was using the phrase "a known chode-fancier".
It all started when he said he wrote a highly fictitious Wikipedia entry for his new band Joe Neptune, and promptly received an email from Wikipedia saying they knew none of it was true, and as such wouldn't stay on the site.
That's hardly fair. Consider the following infomationlet:

Before they settled on Joe Neptune, their other candidate for a band name was Jivon and Hardfunkel.

It sounds made-up, doesn't it? But is it? It looks like the kind of thing that could have been added by somebody taking the piss. But it might be true. Who are Wikipedia to judge?
Anyway, a few years ago Harry and I ransacked Ollie McGill's Wikipedia page. Not much survived the fictionality audit, including the now-famous "known chode-fancier" claim. I'm surprised some of those changes survived though; don't you think it's a funny coincidence that his favourite bands are Phish and C.H.I.P.S?

Cold Drip, St Ali, South Melbourne

It wasn't much, but I figured my first cold drip coffee experience was still worth blogging about. I came in for some beans (I went for Blend X - is it anything to do with the Weapon X project, where Wolverine's spine was fused with adamantium? Is this coffee so potent you'd swear it has retractable adamantium claws?) and would have had an espresso too, but after the taste of the cold drip they gave me I didn't need the espresso. No. I wanted to remember the taste of the Yirgacheffe through the cold drip machine. Magic.

It's not really magic, but it requires a lot of patience. I don't know a lot about how it works other than water dripping very, very, very, very slowly through coffee and into another container at the bottom. It takes time for a reason: the brewing equivalent of those old guys throwing corks into a barrel in the Jack Daniel's ads.

Seriously though, I think that's the wrong approach for marketing JD. They should just get a photo of Slash and write "QED" underneath it and be done with it.

Latte, Cafeteria, Black Rock

The place is actually called Cafeteria. It's not just some cafeteria I found.
Similarly, the suburb is called Black Rock. I'm not talking about the similarly-named 1997 Australian film-based-on-the-play-of-the-same-name Blackrock*.
Far from it. The breakfast menu finishes at midday, but I was glad to see so many of its regulars included in the all-day menu too.
Coffee by Giancarlo (that's the beans - not the barista's name, as far as I know). Nicely done.
* Look at that! Heath Ledger's first film!

Luckiest Strike: Latte, home

We've started watching Mad Men. I think it's very well done, but I've yet to run into any storylines that really make we want to keep watching. I hope it ends up being more than just a gosh-was-it-really-like-that sexism exposé drama. You know what I mean: if Twin Peaks was just a normal-ass show about a saw mill town, it wouldn't have grabbed me so much. I wasn't alive in the early 60s, so I do find the upfront sex/race isms side of it slightly interesting, but I'm hoping it gets unmissably good real soon. Oh, but the smoking is pretty out-there.

As you can probably tell from that post a few days ago about the cigarette pouch, I don't really "get" smoking. You're not really allowed to do it indoors much anymore in this country, and I couldn't be happier. If I'm sitting outside and somebody's cigarette smoke wafts towards me, I'll probably get up and sit somewhere else. So it's interesting to see in Mad Men that apparently in the early 60s you couldn't even get a pap smear without the doctor lighting up.

And the drinking-at-work! I maintain that in this day and age that, as a musician, I am in the the only career (aside from those lucky folk who get paid to turn up for beer testing every Monday at 10am in the boardroom at the Boag's factory -- I'm gonna kill my careers adviser) where drinking on the job is not only condoned, but actively encouraged. But look at that! Advertising dudes in New York used to just roll into each other's offices and pour a stiff one every few minutes, it seems! I guess that's why all the jazz musicians were so hard into smack and benzedrine and stuff: to out-deprave the suits.

But what's really getting to me about the smoking and the drinking is that it often comes in the form of product placement. It's no secret that Heineken paid to be included in the plot of a season two episode - a move almost as wack as Ginuwine selling billboard space in his lyrics. But I think it runs deeper than that. The first episode is built around the guys coming up with a pitch for Lucky Strike. This points to how the series may have been pitched in the first place:

SUIT 1: So Johnson, where are we at with this? How can we sell more cigarettes?
SUIT 2: We're not allowed to advertise anywhere anymore. It's not like the good old days.
SUIT 1: I know, I told you that last week. Why are you telling me my own ideas again?
SUIT 2: Sorry, I just thought I should establish some context before I get to the punchline...
SUIT 1: Oh of course. Carry on.
SUIT 2: How about this: we fund a cable TV show about advertising executives in the 60s. Everyone will watch the first episode: it will be wall-to-wall cigarettes.
SUIT 1: So everyone will think they are watching something really clever when in fact...
SUIT 2: It's just an elaborate Lucky Strike ad!
SUIT 1: Brilliant!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Espresso, Milano, RMIT

I hesitate to actually call this an espresso.
But what the hell. I'm desperate.

Ugh. A bit pale. But this is from a place that has espresso-with-lemon-rind on the menu, for "bitter/sour" fans.
I think what I was just served will please the very same audience.

Latte, home

Damn, I have to use the really small milk jug.
The other ones are in the dishwasher.
The cycle is still going.
It's in that quiet end of the cycle where it's been making a satisfied whirring sound for at least five minutes, and you know that as soon as the whirring is over, you can open the door and get your jugs out. (don't laugh - that was a cheap shot)
But who keeps track of how long the whirring has been going, or indeed how long it usually takes to finish? It could finish now. It could finish in ten minutes.
Either way, I wasn't going to let my espresso sit there for 0-10 minutes.
So, not much milk for me.
I trialled an icing spatula as a way of scraping the grounds level (or a little bit concave) in the portafilter. Perhaps not as effective or specialised or What-Would-CSI-Miami-Do as the Scottie Callaghan Dosing Tools for the Professional Barista but slightly better than just using an index finger.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Espresso, Migo's, City

Welcome to Migo's. I think this is the "old Italian guy across the road from Polyester" that Luke and I were looking for when we went to Superfino instead a few months back.
There seems to be only one guy working here. Let's assume he is Migo.
He closes up shop at 2.30pm: "I did those long sentences when I was younger."
The business cards appear to be handwritten (by Migo, perhaps), each with a unique combination of paper, pen colour, size, layout, etc.
And the coffee?
The nuttiest.

Guess who was working at the place on the other side of Superfino? Another "old Italian guy". I guess that doesn't really narrow it down much among baristas.

Espresso, Keffa Han, City

Cheeks's one (farthest from the camera) was shorter.
The comic book panels stuck to the table are a nice touch.
I wonder if we're allowed to bring in a glue stick and some scissors and add to it?

State of the badass art: Latte, home

Bill Paxton has so many good lines in Aliens.

Game over, man!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Latte, home

The Dustbuster is very useful for cleaning up stray coffee grounds.
It is also capable of sucking up liquids, and therefore very useful for cleaning up that ledge next to the bath that annoyingly fills with water every time you have a shower.

Unfortunately, if you do the former followed by the latter without first emptying said Dustbuster, you will probably end up spraying coffee-smelling stagnant shower water all over the bathroom. Eurgh.

Espresso, home

I thought to myself, "Wow, it's easy to get a parking spot near First Pour today," but that was slightly before I realised that it was actually closed.
Let's hope this lasts me a few days:

Latte, Apte, Alphington

One of the 300,000 lattes that came out this morning was this one:

The quality never falters here even under the pressure of a Sunday-strength capacity crowd. The breakfast is worth the wait too.

I gave a sarcastic thumbs-up to the woman outside choosing the stupidest place possible to make a U-turn. Yes, the sarcastic thumbs-up: a seldom-used, oft misinterpreted, yet immensely satisfying road rage manoeuvre. This is what I hope she read it as:
"You think you can get away with a U-turn right there, right now? Yeah, go for it! Not many drivers would be game for something like that. You've got guts! Don't let me get in the way."

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Espresso, Min Lokal, Fitzroy

Overheard phone conversation from a fed-up househunter on Gore St:
"Nah it was shit, I'm not going to the next one now either."

Not bad.
The toilets here require you to walk outside, down the alley, and into the first door on the right.
Curiously, there was also another room of chairs and tables back there too.
Maybe we should just get a table in that second room next time, for its toilet proximity if nothing else.

Espresso, Brunetti, Carlton

Today it was the barista who looks a bit like the one-armed man from The Fugitive.
5 minutes and 1.04 seconds, door-to-door.
Not bad for a Saturday morning.

Optus Lamesong: Latte, home

The Optus Whalesong ad at the cinemas is really starting to get to me.
It shows an orchestra on a barge in the middle of the ocean playing whale sounds, and they have microphones underwater. Eventually the whales call back. It's clever.
Then at the end it says this on the screen:
When it comes to communication, anything is possible.
Anybody who has dealt with Optus on the phone will understand why that pisses me off.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Traffic: Latte, home

We tried to see Wolverine.
The traffic had other plans for us however, and so we went for dinner first.
Dinner took slightly too long, and we missed the next session too.
We drove home, leaving about ten minutes before we had to leave again to catch the third consecutive Wolverine session.
Yeah, traffic is shithouse.
And it's out to get me.
The street I really needed to drive down was blocked off.
Then after dinner it was open again.
See what I mean?

Hanging Up: Espresso, home

More iPhone annoyances:
  • if you receive an SMS (or should that be "a SMS" - it's not "an short message service" ) during a call, you have to dismiss that message before you can hang up.
So when you finish the call, if the other person hangs around, they hear this:
"Okay, seeya," followed by four seconds of silence as you try to hit the "end call" bit and then realise you have to "close" the SMS and then finally end the call.
Like I always say, it's not a good phone. But all the other stuff it does is rad.

iPhone auto-correction hack: Latte, home

Sometimes if I try to type too fast on the iPhone, I miss the spacebar.
Yes, even on a touchscreen, I still call it a spacebar.
This often mangles the meaning of simple sentences. "How are you" becomes "Howare you", which in turn was auto-corrected:
Howard you
Really? Are Apple auto-correcting to proper nouns now? That must have been laborious, deciding which names were important enough to be in the dictionary. But then I started noticing other capitalised auto-corrections: they were all names from my Contacts.
Yes, the iPhone is clever. If I start typing the name of someone I know into an email or SMS, it offers to automatically complete it. However, this only works in practice if you have a meticulously-maintained Contacts list.
I do not.
I have names like Trevor Rubbish (some guy who collected the rubbish last time we moved house), Michael Lapsteel (some guy who plays lapsteel guitar), Lach Wood (not his real name, but sounds pretty badass), a few prank entries I emailed to people as a joke (Name: Spring Break. Address: "Wooo!"), a few ambiguously initialled surnames (Jeremy D - that could be one of three Jeremies I know with a surname beginning with D), Brook Symbiosis (people whose surname seems to be the name of the band they're in), and of course countless entries with no surname - they've been migrated from mobile phone to mobile phone all the way from back when Nokia hadn't added a Surname field yet.
Once you add the sensible-but-confusing tendency of the iPhone to sort by surname (Nokia never thought that to be an idea worth adopting), it's hard to find who you're looking for.

Rather than going through and fixing all the names, I figured it would be a lot more useful and worth my while to start adding words to the dictionary. Would all the words that are missing from auto-correct be available if I add them to my contacts? Yes.

So if you're like me, and it really gets your goat when the iPhone automatically changes hell to he'll, give one of your friends a badass new surname.
Kumar hell