Mar 30, 2008

2008 WRBC

Since I had such a great time last year, I spent my afternoon in Berkeley at the 2008 Western Regional Barista Competition, sucking down cappuccinos and watching baristas from all over California compete for the regional championship and the chance to compete in the U.S. Barista Championships in Minneapolis.

For those of you who don't know:
The Western Regional Barista Competition strives to foster the production of quality coffee, encourage creativity and innovation, and create an regional, national, and international community of specialty coffee professionals.

Each contestant prepares and serves 3 espresso beverages for each of four sensory espresso, one cappuccino, and one "signature" drink of their own creation. Competitors have only 15 minutes to prepare all twelve drinks while being observed by four sensory skills and two technical judges. Competitors are judged based on drink taste, presentation, technical skills and cleanliness.
My favorite thing to watch are the different techniques the baristas use to dose and tamp their shots. If you're into that sort of thing, it's really interesting to see the differences in technique and the complete comfort they have when working with these machines. Back in my barista days, I could steam milk like nobody's business. But the grinder? Trial and error, my friends. Trial and error.

Ritual's Chris Baca, my favorite, got first place. I'm sure his cherry-lime-cheesecake signature drink had a lot to do with his win (aside from his stellar technique, of course) which, as I've heard from friends of mine who've tasted it, is super delish.

Chris Baca in action

Here's a list of today's winners:

1st: Chris Baca, Ritual, San Francisco, CA
2nd: Kyle Glanville, Intelligentsia, Los Angeles, CA
3rd: Heather Perry, Coffee Klatch, San Dimas, CA

And I would be remiss to neglect giving mad props to the last guy who competed today from Intelligentsia (sorry dude, I didn't catch your name, my bad) for including Snoop Dogg's Sensual Seduction in his music mix. That's espresso-makin' music right there, baby. Aww yeah.

(Photo courtesy of WRBC's Flickr page.)

Mar 27, 2008

Bathing With Bierko: John Malkovich

Oh man. You gotta watch this. Interview show meets bath time.

Fucking fantastic.

Thanks to BYO for the link.

Mar 25, 2008

Holla At a Panda

Oh, those pandas, always needing help with their sex game:
Animal handlers in China have developed a "sexercise" program to try to encourage extinction-threatened pandas to overcome their notoriously low sex drives.

Featuring hip and pelvic-strengthening "dances" for male pandas, the program also sees inexperienced pandas watching their older relatives make love to learn a few moves.

The handlers hope to encourage mating among the sex-shy-but-endangered animals, the Chinese state media reported Tuesday. They work at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in the southwestern Sichuan province, the China Daily said.

Keepers teach male pandas a dance-like routine to strengthen the pelvic and hip area -- it also boosts the animal's stamina, the paper said.
Poor pandas. Not only do you have to deal with heightened scrutiny surrounding your sex life and your handlers making you watch panda porn to help you get busy. Now they're trying to teach you how to get all freaky deaky on the dance floor while making you watch other pandas --- who may essentially your aunts and uncles --- have sex right in front of you as a means to get you in the mood.

After all of that, it's no wonder why you pandas have low libidos. Performance anxiety, anyone?

I you ask me, I say you leave them in a room with a bottle of tequila and some Barry White/Luther Vandross playing in the background, and let nature take its course.

Props to Ceci for the link. Photo lifted from here.

Mar 23, 2008

Nietzsche Family Circus

As a kid, I totally hated that Family Circus comic. I found it utterly corny and trite. But this, courtesy of LosAnjealous, makes the whole thing way more palatable. Here's an example:

The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends.

Props to Scott for the link.

Mar 11, 2008

And I'm off ...

... to New York for a few days. See you in a few.

(Photo credit:

Mar 5, 2008

Project Runway After Party - Season 4

Season Finale: Congratulations, Christian!

Christian Siriano wins Season 4 of Project Runway, and I think it was well deserved. With all of the bitchiness and all of the Fierce aside, his collection was edgy, modern, and way stylish.

I did, however, love Rami's woven gown and the one with the 1930's vintage lace. Gorgeous.

Jillian's collection was alright, but after a while, the models just looked so drab and robot-like, just like her. So that was a turnoff for me. Not fierce.