Monday, August 23, 2010

Review: Blue Bottle Roastery & Café

Under the cool summer fog at Oakland's notorious Jack London Square, forklifts are heard loading vegetables, and the streets are cluttered with produce and packed with small and large trucks. Besides the tourist hot spot near the harbor and the restaurants and clubs that dapple the area, this part of Oakland remains primarily industrial, its blocks forged by long warehouses, out-of-use factories and new'ish apartment complexes. However, in the midst of this bustling is the Blue Bottle roastery and café, a place to sit, collect one's thoughts and sip a fairly new trend in coffee enjoyment—artisan specialty coffee.

Baristas are trained in specific techniques to produce the best results from beans served within 48 hours of roasting, a time interval that allows for peak flavor. In fact, this is the best attribute to the high-priced, individually prepared drip coffee and espresso.

Photograph by Deldelp Medina
On this visit, I tried their Roman Espresso and was surprised at the shockingly fruity flavor, a taste so noticeable, I imagine, that even the tongue buds of an unexperienced coffee aficionado will flare at the touch of the foamy crema. The rich fruity espresso is served with a small glass of San Benedetto Italian sparkling mineral water to cleanse the palette.

It is this espresso, and general freshness of their coffee, that will keep me coming back. As a former barista, I know that coffee is roasted and delivered to most cafés within that 48 hour peak period, but it can, and depending on demand often will, sit on a shelf for up to a week before being served. It is Blue Bottle's dedication to freshness that makes the experience a local favorite and a worthwhile trip for any visiting coffee connoisseur.

The fresh, trendtastic specialty coffee is only the first reason to visit. The Blue Bottle Roastery also imbues other essentials: floor to ceiling windows wrap the café, making all sitting areas prone to long, pleasurable stares into space; the staff is friendly and unpretentious; and the atmosphere is very conducive to sitting and letting great ideas flow as the bustle of the surrounding world fades to a hum.

It is a great place to go alone, a favorite mug from home in hand. And it makes a special treat for out-of-town guests on an early Sunday morning or late weekend afternoon. Blue Bottle isn't just a specialty coffee house but is also a neighborhood establishment, a place to bask in the glory of caffeine, enjoy the view and ultimately share the experience with close friends.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Louis C. K. on Conan

Great bit mocking those who take for granted the wonders of human achievement.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

My PSA for "Educate Our Forests"

Public service announcement sponsored by the Educate Our Forests Foundation, an organization dedicated to uprooting trees and transporting them to universities around the world, so that they may earn academic degrees. Representatives are available to accept your donations. Look for the friendly people wearing blue T-shirts and holding clipboards on your local street corner. Donate today!

PSA: Educate Our Forests from M. J. Kelley on Vimeo.

Monday, August 9, 2010

"Premakes" The Empire Strikes Back (1950)

Check out Ivan Guerrero's skilled cutting of found footage to create "original" material for familiar modern movies. Thanks to Peter for linking me.

Dessert: Blackberry Apple Pie

With help from myself and friends M and PML, my wife made a delicious pie with ripe apples and berries picked in the garden.

Trapeze Silhouette Part 2

Another photo from my trapeze series.

Trapeze Silhouette 4

Spheres of Light

I shot this last night with a 200mm lens, experimenting with focus and depth of field.

Spheres of Light 2

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Dinner: Chicken Curry & Lentils

Chicken and lentils with chunks of potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, and garlic cloves seasoned with turmeric, crushed red chili peppers, yellow curry and lemon pepper seasoning--all boiling with 1 cup of water in le creuset.

Before Cooking And on the Plate

Friday, August 6, 2010

Book Jacket Review: Thunderbird O'Connor

I was looking through used paperbacks when I happened upon this gem. Attracted by the cover art of a Heman meets Fabio wielding magical control over sea creatures, then pulled in by the captivating, classic book-setup description, I was soon pleased with the absurd new age mysticism and simultaneously happy with the author's choice in naming a character Thunderbird O'Connor. Is this not a secret comedy in disguise? Could it be so bad it's good? Unfortunately, I'll never know.
The book jacket reads: "In the year 2024, in the shining New World capital of North America's independent Indian tribes, three extraordinary young people are brought together by a series of bizarre events: Kevin Mauney, who travels halfway across the globe to deliver a cryptic, troubling message . . . Kevin's estranged sister Carolyn, who dies and is miraculously reborn while investigating the unexplained murder/mutilation of scores of intelligent sea mammals . . . and a Cherokee diplomat/traditional dancer named Thunderbird O'Connor, who stumbles into a nightmare one evening on a secluded Mexican beach. A shared destiny unites the three here where the fate of civilization will ultimately be decided--for each has a unique role to play in the resolution of a multi-species conspiracy that predates humankind. And here, where the upper and lower skies meet, three unlikely warriors must now prepare to do magical battle--in order to defeat with the power of the word, faith and song a terror that has risen up from the ocean's depths to walk the world of men." Above the Lower Sky Paperback

Photos of National Night Out

Updated my flickr page with new photos from the family friendly National Night Out event in West Oakland. Fire trucks, circus performances, beer and some nice food made the evening fun. Check out The Photos

Trapeze Silhouette

Trapeze Silhouette 2
National Night Out 2010 in West Oakland. Here a young trapeze artist from the local school, Trapeze Arts, shows her strength.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"MASTERPIECE" a recent upload by M. J. Kelley

MASTERPIECE from M. J. Kelley on Vimeo.

This short video portrays the trials and tribulations of one couple's quest to hang the perfect piece of "art" on a disastrously ugly wall. Will they succeed and find their "Masterpiece"? Or will the arduous decision making process tear apart their marriage and everything they thought to be true?