All posts by Anthony

My day job involves online marketing and running on caffeine. the rest is spent maintaining a few blogs on things I find interesting about the Internet, online marketing and coffee.

The Gloria Jean’s Valley Experience

Black Coffee at Gloria Jeans
Black Coffee at Gloria Jean's

I thought it would be best to start with a joke. An Italian, an American and an Englishman were going to meet in the Valley for a coffee. The Italian could not make it. So they go to Gloria Jean’s instead.

The Gloria Jean’s shop on the mall in Fortitude Valley has nice chairs, a few couches and air conditioning. They also charge $4.25 for a regular long black. The stores are similar to Starbucks: all coffee is served in disposable cups with an ironic ‘Rainforest Alliance’ logo (take that evil trees!), they offer a wide range of syrups and substances to add in, and if you order a black coffee, it usually is not that great.

The coffee smelled burnt in an interestingly worrying way and was too hot, which was almost certainly the cause. It was also one of the more watery long blacks I have had recently. Even the McCafe coffee compared favourably to it.

Like Starbucks, Gloria Jean’s is not really in the business of serving black coffee. Just one quick look around the store and it is obvious that they sell far more milky coffee flavoured beverages than black coffee. With the market they cater for, and the range of syrups and interesting interpretations on the theme of ‘coffee’ on the menu, maybe a sugarless black coffee is not what they had in mind.

TL;DR

  • Nice franchise stores
  • Coffee is not really their thing

Gloria Jean’s Fortitude Valley Mall
Gloriajeans.com
McWhirters Urban Market
Fortitude Valley, 4006

Do not Install Minecraft on your Mobile

Towers in Minecraft Pocket Edition
Towers in Minecraft Pocket Edition

Just don’t. You will lose hours of your time, run your battery down and if you just get the free demo version, probably buy the full version. Finally the mobile version of Minecraft now works with more handsets. Minecraft, as you probably know, is a popular indie game that features an 8-bit aesthetic and gameplay options that range from vicious survival to peaceful sandbox, it is not as good as the P4rgaming games but it does the trick.

Until just recently, the only mobile version was optimised for Xperia, and as I have a Samsung Galaxy S, that was not very useful. Fortunately this has recently changed, so now if your phone is running Android 2.1 or higher you can run it. Both paid and demo versions of Minecraft Pocket Edition let you build whatever you want in a sandbox mode. Neither version has the survival mode, though the paid version has more blocks to build with, and the ability to save worlds between sessions.

Aside from some very occasional tearing, the graphics looked good, and the game ran smoothly. Minecraft’s visual style seemed to work well for the limited capabilities of mobile. It did kill the battery, which should be no surprise considering the load it puts on both the screen and the hardware, and given how easy it is to lose yourself even in sandbox mode, this is not a game you should play when you are more than an hour away from being able to charge your phone.

Should you get Minecraft Pocket Edition?
Should you get Minecraft Pocket Edition?

If you have an Android mobile, and you enjoy 3D world creation games with a sandbox mode, you should get Minecraft Pocket Edition. If you prefer to not run your battery down at the worst possible moment, because you just had to finish that castle while waiting for the bus, then you might want to avoid it.

TL;DR

  • Addictive and fun game
  • Devours time
  • Murders battery life

Takeaway Coffee from Little Big Man Espresso

Little Big Man Espresso
Little Big Man Espresso

There is a strong positive correlation between the number of cool suburban cafes in Brisbane and the value of the Australian dollar. This is hardly controversial as any country able to support a growing number of nifty locations serving coffee away from the inner city must have something going for it.

You’ll find one more of these on the corner of Thorrold and Dickson Streets in Wooloowin. Little Big Man Espresso is in a good position for the morning commuters. Dickson Street carries a lot of through traffic, and it is surrounded by houses and near a train station.

Takeaway Coffee From Little Big Man Espresso
Takeaway Coffee From Little Big Man Espresso

Little Big Man Espresso is actually located in a mostly unchanged old corner store. With the counter at the back of the building, there are tables and chairs inside and a number of stools and low tables just outside the door. There was even one solitary drawing on one of the walls, hopefully promising more to come.

The cafe looks very cute and is so new it has no real visibility online just yet. They serve Genovese coffee and do a respectable job with it, and already seem to be attracting the early morning weekend crowd. If you live in Wooloowin, be sure to check it out, a local cafe is not to be ignored.

TL;DR

  • Looks cool
  • Great commuter location
  • Serves decent coffee

Little Big Man Espresso
Facebook Page
86 Dickson Street
Wooloowin

Long Black & WiFi at Bar Moda

A Long Black Coffee at Bar Moda
A Long Black Coffee at Bar Moda

It is hard to find a good coffee in the city outside of normal work hours. After 4pm, almost all of the cafes close, leaving just a handful huddling around the mall, nothing like the number of options available during the workday.

Bar Moda is an office hours cafe. Sitting in the foyer at 307 Queen Street and surounded by other office blocks, it is not likely to get much foot traffic on the weekend. During the week is another matter entirely though.

Bar Moda has two counters, one facing out of the building and another inside. There is seating near both, but most importantly, the two counters keep the takeaway orders turning over fast. The coffee is strong and good, though the latest one I had was pretty hot for black coffee. I imagine it would have been fine as a milk coffee.

There is one more thing: they have free WiFi via CafeScreen. The service looked interesting and it ran an image insert/replace in some RSS feeds within Flipboard. Twitter and email were fine, but I did not stay long enough to try it out properly.

TL;DR

  • Takeaway orders move fast
  • Good coffee, better if you like it with milk
  • Free WiFi

Bar Moda
307 Queen Street
Brisbane CBD, 4000
ph: 3221 0101

Breaking Under the Bar

The broken part
The broken part

(Part one of a series on my injury and recovery)

I actually remember hearing two distinct cracks when my right arm broke a year ago. The spotters thought it was the sound of my squat suit snapping, at least until the bar started to move. I had just walked the bar out of the rack for my second squat of the day. It was only 192.5kg, which really isn’t much, compared to what other lifters can do. It was as I stood there getting set for my squat that things kind of went wrong. I wasn’t going to be able to live-blog this competition after all.

A Squat Rack
A squat rack

Everything from the spotters re-racking the weight, getting myself out from under the bar and the part where I apparently looked at my arm and said, ‘ah shit’ passed in a blur of adrenalin and shock. The pain only started to set in while I was waiting for the ambulance to arrive. Fortunately the ambos brought drugs. (Apparently I am funnier on painkillers.) They also wanted me to choose a hospital, which given the state I was in seemed to be expecting a little too much. One of the guys who had been hanging around waiting with me suggested I go to the Royal Brisbane, as he worked in ER there, and lacking any cohesive clue myself I went with it.

The rest of the afternoon was more or less a haze of morphine. Only a few things stuck in my mind from my stay in emergency: the fun that was cutting me out of my squat suit and t-shirt (my girlfriend arrived in time to ensure they cut the suit along the seams), and the part where they needed to check my arm for puncture wounds (when aforementioned girlfriend was too busy being morbidly fascinated to be sympathetic). Because both the radius and ulna were broken (see helpful diagram above) my wrist was only connected to the rest of my arm by flesh. It was floppy. As a result checking the underside of my arm for punctures was going to be problematic. To see all of my arm they had to lift it up, and to do this, they needed to hold both loosely connected parts and move them at the same speed. They did it perfectly once in two tries.

I don’t really remember when they were done, but the first x-rays showed that I had a compound fracture of both my ulna and radius. I was told later that these almost never happen in powerlifting, and it seems there might have been contributing factors other than the weight on the bar. At first it looked unlikely that I would get into surgery that day. Just in case I had to spend the night in hospital before they could cut me open, they knocked me out to set my arm. Being properly unconscious was the best thing to happen to me that afternoon, with morphine coming a close second. Thankfully I actually did make it to surgery that afternoon, though not until about 5pm. By the time I got out of theatre it was 10:30pm, and my girlfriend, who had been waiting the whole time and keeping people informed via Twitter on my phone, told me I had been in there for over five hours.

The next day was mostly spent trying to read (and failing) and realising my phone was dangerously low on power. I also discovered that touch screens are easy to work with your non-dominant hand. In the afternoon both of my sisters and one of my brothers-in-law came to visit me. And they bought me coffee from the coffee cart in the food court. Considering the morphine-fuelled haze in which I spent most of the day, this was clearly awesome. It was only a few hours later that I was discharged, once I was able to prove that I was more or less functional. It was not long before I was getting into my sister’s car, wearing a shirt I couldn’t quite get on, a blue sling I had to chase down from the physios, a nearly flat phone, a prescription for a cubic ton of painkillers, my arm in a backslab and an appointment for the following week.

TL;DR

  • If you plan on going to hospital, take your charger
  • It is hard to read after surgery
  • Apparently morphine makes me a better person