Tag Archives: Not-so-cool kids

Caffe? I walk the line.

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EM - hanging out with Pimms Cup at Perfect Drop

A good coffee, people:  A good coffee.

This morning I have made one.  This I am proud of.

It’s not even – well, just – I normally don’t spruik my own wares too much is what I am promising you.

Back to the beans though.

Let me clarify exactly what I’m talking about with the coffee:

Latte.

Because we (all of us included) need to be specific.  We need not to delve into the expertise of others;  blacks (short or long), “cuppa cappucinno” (as my mum likes to call it), or anything else.

Latte is endgame.

Maybe not for you?

It is for me.   Except on random occasions where I (and my feelings) suddenly decide espresso on the rocks is the only creature on the planet that could ever really understand where it is that I come from.  (That could be true regardless).

So, according to research (including mine) a good latte needs: correctly frothed milk (keep the pitcher cool people), good fresh beans (not talking baked here), an eye on thermometers (no need to burn baby burn) and, a well maintained machine…

BUT.  Let’s take a step back then and look at that evidence.

Now…

Let’s throw it aside and forget pragmatics are necessary.  Because: they are not.  Ok, there are a lot of reasons (for sure) why the pragmatics get good coffee happening.  But just to humour me (and let me have my humour), pretend there are some things that just go above and beyond these pragmatics.  There’s a lot o’stuff that goes on in this world that doesn’t jump on the bus all stops to Pragmatic (and even those that do: some don’t pay the fare), right?

Taste.  For example.  We all have it…. well, ok, debatable.  And I don’t mean to be offensive to those who suffer Dysgeusia.  (Pretty please Karma, do not be a bitch).

I, for example, seem to like a good hard kick-in-the-teeth (sweet-bitter-sweet) coffee flavour (I could munch on beans like they were a packet of Supreme Cheese Doritos – I quite like them, is all).

Second to this, I like a bit of chocolate to my flavourings (pattern emerging here – I like chocolate, like… ok, chocolate and I may need some relationship therapy soon because obsession is not completely healthy.  Not in technical terms anyway).

Chill…

I am not here to dole out lectures on how to make a good coffee.  (For those of you interested in wasting some time on the web of the wide world today – learning some tips – the following could be up your spooky, cold, dark alley: Coffeegeek.com and Radified).

Anyways, learning from those that know, be damned.  My ability to turn out something worth drinking can be put down to 3 plain and simple pieces of the reality of what it means to be me.  (I still think all good things come in 3’s).  These are the difference between me personally creating coffee nirvana or, alternatively, creating a latte that looks and tastes like it’s straight from a Tim Burton fairytale:

1)      Fluke.  You can call it Celestine Prophecy if that’s your thing, but: right place, right time is probably the safer option for this topic.

2)      Coffee Kudos.  Ok, ok, we all have to probably recognise the fact that mean bean=mean ends.  I’ve tried a few.  Mmkay, a LOT.  A lot of beans is what we have tried over the course of our existence with a coffee machine.  And before that?  Well, I have been drinking coffee ever since Nescafe tempted mum with the free Shaker deal (young: I was shorter and a whole lot lighter than I am today).

So.  Skipping all the ones that may not have crossed my life-path and destiny to date, and the ones I won’t talk about (because, even I fear litigation), there are, for me, two standouts:

Coffee Basics.  These dudes are my new local roasters and I love them.  You should check them out too.

Atomica.  A friend-fellow-fan rec.  I’m not sure what the full story is to the growing, roasting and what not.  But you can figure it out for yourself by visiting Atomica Cafe in Fitzroy.  Whilst you’re there, get one of their breakfasts.  (I insist).

Also, I asked the bean question to the Book and Twitter today.  Sneaky survey purposes only.  (Shits and giggles behind all that).  Responses?  Well.  Well, what did I expect?

“Anything Fair Trade!” claimed B from the Central Coast.  Wholeheartedly supported with a thumbs up by J from a similar place.

(Yes, I’m hip to that, because Fair is Fair, and Fair is one of the best things to happen if we are ever to save this world from the slippery slope it’s on).

Cousin C from Bathurst: “Fish River Roasters

(Proving a point that you can always rely on family to be helpful in times of need.  Although:  trust my dad to throw in some random comment clarifying his passion for Maccas coffee.  Not helpful).

Peaberrys” piped in G-R.

(More helpful.  And she’s a dancer.  So, you know.  I’ll know where to turn if I want some extra kicks. ‘Like’).

And:  A comment from M from Morpeth leading me up the garden path about some joint in Manly that she couldn’t remember the name of.

But.  (BUT).  At least M made an effort.  Way to go team.  390 “followers” (and I know I’m not Jesus, but JEE-SUS) on Twitter, and 655 so called “friends” on FB and not even – not even 1% of them can be bothered to watch my every move and comment on it?  I even posted at 9.30am whilst I was sipping the latte (feet up, back deck, nice view).  What gives!  Give it up!  What?  Do these people that I know (mainly know.  At least 10% of them anyway) have work to do or something?  Whatever dudes.  Don’t come crying to me when you think I should have publicly commented on your latest change in relationship status.

Move along crowd.  (Me included).

3)      Pushing the red line.  I like to use the analogy: going for broke.

Despite my adventures as a smaller Darls (riding pushbikes with no brakes, jumping bareback on horses that didn’t belong to me, hurling myself off ladder swings, throwing rocks at school windows on a dare…), I am not what many would describe as an avid risk taker.  But.  But, I can surprise those that even think they pretend to know what I’m all about.

To be technical about this in coffee making terms:

Imagine me.  Imagine my kitchen (the one with the flies).  Imagine my beam me up coffee machine (yes, it’s a Sunbeam).  Also:   Imagine a couple of accessories that help me make my coffee.

Now, here’s the thing.

Accessories are crucial to me pushing the red line.  Because.  (This is what happens):

I just like to shove a whole lotta ground coffee (and press it down as tight as my pathetic muscles will allow) in the thingy that gets shoved up into the thingy.  Then – well, all hell breaks loose.  That is what happens.

I press the button that says it is “manual” (whatever that even means in this context), and then I grin maniacally whilst jumping up and down when the dial on the beam machine for beans goes beyond it’s sunny gold and heads where pragmatics would tell it:  it just shouldn’t head.

Red line.  (It’s not even a thin one).

I get off on it.  Every time.  (I won’t dare use analogies here).

Look, this is enough talk about me and pushing boundaries.  Time to finish up.  But before I do…

Quickly let’s just touch on two other important things, shall we?

One is something that I’d love to be able to do: I get hearts and stars in my eyes when it’s presented in front of me.  The other is a relatively new revelation to me – something I think I could marry, should this country ever truly embrace the term “marriage equality” (up yours Jules and Abbottface, I see Green):

1)      Latte art.

Come on peeps – you know what I’m talking of.  And don’t tell me you wouldn’t smile a little bit if you were served up a latte etched with the image of a baby seal (or one of these things).

And the like.  Let’s keep it simple yet complex – “Beauty:  Appreciate it.  Red hot technique: big applause.”

Summary: I like a bit of art on my latte.  (My own attempts are still a little like Leunig on Speed – just, not in a good way at all).

2)      Espresso Martini.

I know, I know, not latte.  Still, this is a factual point worth stating that needs to be said and shouted from the roof tops to share with all coffee lovers of the world.  (Unite!)

You are looking here at someone who digs cocktails deeper than some of the excavation action happening in W.A and every other beautiful place on the planet (not cool, people, there is only so much dirt in this world).

My “first time” with my new love was a gentle, but thrilling experience at Perfect Drop.  (Deliciously perfect wine bar in the magical land of Daylesford).  Not meaning to be slutty or anything, but I backed it right up a few days later by spending some time with EM (that’s what we’ll call her now, ok?) over at Horvat’s (another wonderful great wonder of Daylesford town) just a few days later (hey – that dirty little martini called me, people – she called me).

(Latte side note: if you are in this place of all great wonders of the world there are some good cafe coffees to be had.  Just sayin’.  Hot tips: Breakfast and Beer, Ego’s Culinaria, Frangos and Frangos, and The Gourmet Larder to name just a few… hey, only been here a little while, will try everyone’s eventually.  Because Fair is Fair.)

Back to your direct needs though.  If Jo down at your local R-y refuses to put in the time and do you some action that results in Espresso Martini, I reckon you should do it for yourself.

There are a few versions apparently, but for starters… See here.  And see what I’m talking about:  Take action.  Trust me, you’ll never look back.

Don’t care for me dishing out plugs for Absolut?  No worries, do your own Google dude.  Heh, maybe EM is old news to you (an ex-lover even)?  Sorry, I can be a bit slow on the take-up of uptakes.

Will try harder, better, faster, stronger next time.

Yes my friend(s) (if that’s what you profess to be), push the red line is what I am prepared to do for you.

80 dead flies.

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Dead on: 80 dead fly creatures.  In the kitchen alone (together).  We could be talking Guinness Book here (someone get on that, please?)   Insane!  I counted ‘em.  (More insanity!)  80 is a lot, right?  I mean, this could be one of the few times anyone ever has even bothered to count that far towards 100.  It’s a LOT of gross is what I am mainly saying.  Scale of 1 to gross?  Pretty-damned-gross, people.

As for photographic evidence: ugh, don’t make me do that to you.  ‘Cos I will.  Yep, I would go there.  THAT is how I feel about proving points.

To compound this terrible, terrible, shocking reality: another member of this household (who shall remain nameless at this point because of the shame of this situation in general terms) – is absurdly furious about the whole thing.  And not just furious about the flies – furious about the fact that I don’t spend all of my day, every day, getting the situation under control.  (Especially, now that I have some time to get situations under control).  Like, it’s MY fault?

I mean, really?  Seriously?  It’s not like I’ve put word out on the street: Yo, flyguys, come fly with me and be all at this house we live in.

This, THIS, is a naturally occurring phe-nom-e-non.  At least on par with Mammatus clouds, that’s what this situation is.  (Not that I’ve ever really seen existence of said cloud activity, but you can kill some time at http://weathersavvy.com/Q-Clouds_Mammatus.html if you, like me, have some time on your hands).

X-Files, be damned.  Mythbusters get on this.  Phenomenon is happening right in this house.  Every day.  The chosen ones:  that is what we are.

Ok, ok, so we does live back in the bushy parts of Australia now – and bush=fly, hot bush=lots of fly.  And right now there is a lot of hot bush surrounding us (do not, I said…do not, go there).  Creeps.

And ok, ok, kitchen room was in a horrible, mean mood-state this morning after a very big night (more on that tomorrow perhaps when the red wine induced haze has cleared).  But, it has nothing – or at least not…. that much – to do with that.

Just… let’s not think about that… because this problem is an occurrence independent of that problem… often.

So, now (that we’re clear):  Let’s get back to the whole-lotta-fly-in-a-single-room-short-space-of-time problem at hand.

These particular creeps… or grown up maggots as I have started calling them today, were in place before the big hand hit half the day gone.  And, putting my feelings of bewildered wonderment aside, sometime around abouts 2pm I was counting them.  (I’m serious people; I have some time on my hands for some moments.  That is just a factual statement).

Directors Cut aside, let’s fast forward the boring bits: fly spray – check.  flyscreens – landlord doesn’t believe in them.  Close all the doors and windows  – are you kidding me?  I suspect I suffer lack of oxygen to the brain as it is.

So, you are thinking, (actually, probably I am alone by myself in solitary confinement on this one): What does a girl do in a situation like this?  Well, correct me if I’m being inappropriate or misguided, but this is what I think my sensible options could be after having thought about it (a little, not a lot):

1)     Delegate:  Give Evie and Augie (they are dogs – so don’t get crane your neck too far to examine what I may be capable of inflicting on tiny people) a treat every time they catch the fly that dares to fly itself in the door (obviously hell bent in taking advantage of the proximity of the kitchen room).  Anyways, these dogs (that are kind of like children anyway) seem to get a kick out of catching flies when their attention is not focused elsewhere, so it’s not that stupid to think it could be possible.  (You heard it here first: I ain’t stupid).

Except: No way in the history of nasty supermarket superpowers is there ever enough of the doggy smack that is Schmackos (they don’t call it that for no good reason) this side of Bendigo to make this a really, plausible and viable option.

2)     Involves my own capacities:  Research methods of how-to-keep-a-fly-at-bay until I have bled Google dry and am offered (because of my inevitable awesome expertise) an interview on The Project (talk to the hand ACA: I’m not interested in your gutters).  (BTW, I refuse to appear on The Project on a night Steve Price is on.  I do want Charlie Pickering to be there though.  Shut up.  I am not being a diva.  Not asking for fruit platters with sides of steak in my dressing room here.  Just putting it out there and up front so we are all clear about who I think the cool kids are.  Anyways, generally speaking, I am flexible with my contracting).

Except:  I have the attention span of a gnat at the moment – and Research: I’m sorry honey – I thought we were “taking a break”.  We need time and space man, I’ll see you in Feb.

3)     Turn to those who really care: Get some sound and solid direction from the good ladies of CWA.  (That’s Country Women’s Association for those of you not hip to the early-acronym-lingo…or you know, not up with Australian icons).

See, I knew talking through this problem would be a help.  Talking about problems is not over-rated after all (looks like I may not regret going down the Social Work path after all).  Because…

Number 3, is I think, not a bad idea.  Even for me.  Think about it gang.  CWA is all of the following, and much (much) more:

  • From the Country – and we all know Country people are good people (well, with the exception of idiots, a.k.a. Bob Katter and the like).
  • Are women – and women are tops (probably a few exceptions here too, but I’m hoping you’re happy to generalise.  Visualisation helps.  Think..um.. Jane Addams, Mother Teresa, Aung San Suu Kyi, … or one of those other I’ll-just-go-save-the-world-quietly Nobel Peace Prize Winning lady peoples).
  • Are a group of women – and women who get their heads together are a powerful force, an agent of change, for the greater good. See how I’m leaning here?  Whistling to myself.  Example: CWA

Bringing me back to point.  A good old fashioned letter posted with a stamp and all should get me some of what I’m after.

(Dear CWA ladies,

I have a real issue with flies.  I have seen many of your missionaries at work on other matters.  Scones and cakes mainly.  There is a reason I know how good you are, is all I’m saying.

Now, about these flies….

Etc. etc.

Pretty please with jam on top,

Darls from Daylesford

Ps. Do you think Maggie Beer and Margaret Fulton are as downright cute as I do?

Pps. Would really love it if that CWA lady who guest-starred on Masterchef were to hit reply, personally.  To my letter here.)

I have some collateral too.  If they have secrets about solutions for this stuff, they are especially going to find it hard to resist me if I tell them I am a lady from the country just like them, now, are they?!  I WILL have my way with them.  You’ll see.

Oh, and whilst I’m at it, I’m going to throw in a santa sack of other things that are causing me anxiety type emotions on a daily basis:

What will leave the granite benchtop shiny streak-free clean? What will get the red wine stain off the carpet that SOMEBODY (nameless) in this household caused last night?  What will get the bleachy mark from either dog pee, or my inept attempt to fix it, off the same carpet?  And, the big one: What will cure the big, ugly, burn streak that is etched on (my soul, and) bathroom number one timber bench top.  (I have some problems with the amount I like incense and candles, ok?)

Members of this household: we have been here not much more than 80 days.  Now, I know that’s a LOT in fly terms – but go tell that to the real estate industry.  I mean, we probably haven’t even maxed the cooling off.

Ok, woah up before you all make me panic some more.  I’m already feeling anxious with all the painful memories this is causing (will need a bex and a good lie down before sharing feelings regarding a landlord-experience from recent history).

This letter to those CWA ladies needs to be written.  STAT.