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Back Buzz - June 23, 2012

pumping heartTemple Coffee, 2771 East Broadway, Long Beach, California

During my recent trip to America I spent several days exploring brewpubs and cemeteries with my Bay Area friend, Mistah Rick. After two days in Los Angeles we returned to my hometown of Long Beach to spend the night at my mother's suburban house. The following morning I suggested we head down toward the beach, to the old part of Long Beach where I lived for the majority of my early adulthood, to find a coffee.

As we drove down Temple Avenue we admired the vintage California bungalows framed by abundantly flourishing tropical and Mediterranean plants. Before we reached the cafe I had originally intended us to try, we spotted Temple Coffee on the corner of Temple and Broadway and decided to try it instead.

As we entered we found a coffeehouse in the true sense of the word with a very gay feeling to it. That's not surprising, as my old neighbourhood was known for its gay culture. Cushions and sofas were scattered everywhere, and the current art being displayed on the walls was Iranian-born Shahryar Amiri's somewhat homoerotic mythology-inspired paintings. The coffeehouse, as one might expect, has live music events, and on the current schedule as I write this review is the wonderfully charming and witty Lon Milo DuQuette.

Sadly our actual coffee experience wasn't very impressive. Our single cappuccinos were served in big paper cups full to the brim with mostly steamed milk, making them more lattes than cappuccinos. What a shame. I could barely taste the coffee and I doubted I'd be able to drink all that milk. The coffee, according to Rick, tasted like a roast that was roused too early in the morning and it was going back for another 40 winks.

Every other customer but us had laptops, making us feel a bit out of place. We weren't even busy checking Facebook on our mobile phones with MP3 earphones plugging our ears. In fact, we were actually talking to each other, using our mouths and voices and looking at each other's faces, sort of like in the olden days before WiFi. What dinosaurs we must have seemed.

But alas, our conversation was having trouble rousing itself, as we listened to the very mellow music sipping our way-too-mellow coffees that were in danger of putting us to sleep thanks to the unwanted wealth of soporific lactic acid.

The menu features speciality lattes that go far beyond the flavours I remember in Seattle, specifically coconut, Aztec, Horchata, and Almond Joy. Bagels are also sold as well as breakfast burritos and paninis, making it sound like a good place to have breakfast. Too bad the coffee is mellow to the extreme.

Speaking of extreme things reminds me of a recent e-mail exchange with Mistah Rick:

After joining the LinkedIn website a while ago but never spending the time to put down any work details, I went there last week and spent some time uploading my job experience and my talents in case it makes any kind of difference. And in the People You May Know section, up popped an old workmate of ours who told me about how he is a consultant and trainer for Extreme Programming, Agile, and Lean. I looked these various terms up and it sounds like it's all an outgrowth of structured programming. Extreme Programming sounds tantalizing. Does that involve something like posing with a flowchart template and paper while clinging to a rock cliff or walking a tightrope over a surging river filled with crocodiles? Is that something we could transition into at this stage in our careers? I can picture our ex-workmate hanging off the face of Half Dome, one hand clinging onto a jagged rock and the other hand adeptly typing in code on a netbook attached to his waist. If ironers can manage it, so can programmers.