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Back Buzz - December 18, 1998

Zoka's Coffee Roaster and Tea, 2200 North 56th Street, Green Lake

Zoka's is situated ironically close (i.e. across the street) from the Honey Bear Bakery. This wouldn't be so unusual in a more urban area like Queen Anne or Capitol Hill or Downtown. But Green Lake seems so suburban, so residential; and on this little cluster of businesses at the intersection of several erratically-aligned residential streets, it just seems funny that there should be two coffeehouses.

Although diehard Green Lake breeders would be shocked to hear this, I think Zoka's is a far superior coffeehouse to the Honey Bear and a much more pleasant place to hang out. At the far end of the room is an actual coffee roaster which was in the process of roasting a batch of beans when I visited, imparting an exquisitely heavenly aroma to the room. Zoka's sells a wide variety of whole-bean coffees as well as fine loose-leaf teas. The room is big, wood-floored with wooden tables and chairs, and feels almost like an old-fashioned (but recently restored) classroom. There were lots of customers there, too, mostly young people studying and reading and balancing checkbooks and sleeping. Perhaps it was that one snoozing woman with her head resting on the table which made me think of school -- college, in particular. Yes, Zoka's could be easily situated directly next to a college campus; but I don't believe there are any in Green Lake.

My double short cappuccino was served in a big green coffee mug with no spoon -- two points off there. But the espresso itself is delicious: quite flavorful, robust, almost spicy in nature. The foam was dry and fluffy in its too-tall tower of a cup. But this would be an excellent place to have a straight shot of espresso; I did notice proper espresso cups at the counter. If only they had a coffee bar one could stand at like they have in Paris...but then I guess it's not particularly Parisian. Nor is it particularly Green Lakelike, because of one factor: children! There are no babies or children here! They must all be at the Honey Bear across the street. Perhaps Zoka's is Green Lake's childfree coffee haven. I don't see any signs posted reflecting such a policy, but perhaps it's simply evolved this way...or perhaps I was simply lucky in my timing.

Continuing the comparison with the Honey Bear Bakery, there really is none in my opinion. Everybody raves about the Honey Bear's pastries; but I had one of Zoka's cinnamon pecan scones which was quite delicious. (I don't normally eat with my daily afternoon cappuccino, but I was shorted on my lunch this particular day.)

So how come one never hears about Zoka's? Those of us from the denser, more urban parts of Seattle have heard plenty -- way plenty -- about the Honey Bear Bakery. ("What? You've never been there? Oh, you have to go to the Honey Bear!" How many times in the past eight years have I endured this urgent, dictatorial decree?)

So all I can say in return is if you live in Green Lake or are passing through in need of a coffee, tea, or snack -- or specifically an espresso or a macchiato -- then try Zoka's instead of the Honey Bear. I think it's much, much better. And then you can run across the street and read the Honey Bear's message board if you like.

I have to admit I got lost getting here; the zigzagging multiple intersections and weird little nongridded streets can be very confusing. I believe this little subsection of Green Lake is called Meridian, and all the street names sound the same: Kensington, Keynote, Keyhole, Keystroke, Ketone...which brings to mind the Pike-Pike confusion here in Seattle. Why do people always confuse Pike Street and Pine Street? Is it that one little letter, or is it the whole concept of the two streets lying one block apart? Is it related to the same reason I always confuse the digits 3 and 7 in multiple-digited numbers? For instance, I might remember the number 583 as being either 583 or 587; my normally impeccable memory for numbers gets somehow cloudy there.

But then things do tend to get mighty confusing this time of year. This close to Chanukah and Xmess and New Year's and Kwaanzaa and the Winter Solstice and my best friend's birthday and my mother-in-law's 80th birthday I can't even remember what my name is or where I live. What's this I'm writing, anyway? Some sort of coffee column or something?

Which reminds me, before I forget about it completely (as well as everything else), of a very confusing e-mail exchange from a year and a half ago with my Chicago friend, where I ended up having to communicate with him solely through my SUBJECT headers:

My friend MistahRick has been receiving some of my e-mails decapitated, i.e. with headers only. It's really horrifying; there must be a serial e-mail killer in our midst. Since it happens to him at both his addresses, I need to figure out if it's Compuserve's problem. So I'm going to send you a few short test e-mails today. Let me know if any of them are decapitated -- or if you find any bloody e-mail heads in your bed tonight.

Oh yeah, and this one, too. If this text isn't here and you aren't actually reading this, be sure and let me know.

I, too, received a bodiless e-mail, with the heading "The Mysteries of Life". What up with that? At first I just thought you were fucking with my head, man. And just when I'm at my most vulnerable. But then I realized that it's merely some fascist gearhead at Compuserve on some sort of penis envy power trip who gets off by censoring certain individuals' e-mail output. This is a much more comforting thought.

Forgive me for I have sinned.

No wonder you didn't answer my last ! What's the matter with you -- aren't you psychic? Okay, I'm re-sending my e-mail entitled "Mysteries of Life And Bodiless E-mail".

(Boy, this is pretty scary! Is Marlin Brando sitting in a trattoria somewhere, having spaghetti for lunch, while Al Pacino is leaving a bloody e-mail head in our bed? I guess I'd better call Compuserve...)

SUBJECT: BRING ME THE HEAD OF DON COMPUSERVELLI

If either of you can read this, it seems that the beheading problem is CompuServe's. When I learned that Dogandi, as well as a business associate, had both received empty e-mails, I logged onto Compuserve and checked some forums, and many people are having this problem. One person said it isn't local, that networks all over are reporting it.

Max thinks this is "It", the Big Crashing End of E-Mail On The Net. But he just went back to work, chuckling contentedly to himself. I, on the other hand, am just a bit concerned. Does Compuserve understand what an urgent problem this is? Who's in charge there, anyway? Is everybody receiving empty words from me? Do my friends think sending random e-mail headers is a new form of JC art?

(But are you even reading this? Does this even exist? Do I exist?)

SUBJECT: RE: BRING ME THE HEAD OF DON COMPUSERVELLI

JC...

Your latest e-mails have a startling resemblance to the contents below.

[   ]


What up with that?

SUBJECT: AAAGGGHHH! WHY CAN'T YOU HEAR ME?

I can't believe this! It's driving me fucking crazy! It's a Compuserve problem, as I explained in "Don Compuservelli", but it doesn't have to do with Compuserve losing messages. The problem I'm having, as described below, is that the mail is sent and received, not lost -- the header is there, but the body is wiped out.

In some of the earlier complaints some technical person suggested it was a problem with the What's New? file in Compuserve. But that's just a list of places to go in Compuserve that's displayed when you log onto Compuserve. I don't understand why that would have anything to do with wiping out mail message bodies. And then the later advice was for everyone to GO FEEDBACK and lodge a complaint. I did that today, but it said it takes 1 to 5 days for a technical support person to respond.

...this is so fucking FRUSTRATING! Just keep telling me which empty messages you receive, and I'll keep sending them again and again and again and again...

SUBJECT: CAN YOU HEAR ME? ANSWER ME, PLEASE!!!!

I just need to know if you got my last message ("Don Compuservelli") empty or not. If it was empty, let me know and I'll send it again. And let me know if the second version of "Mystery of Life" arrived intact -- if not, I'll send that again and I'll call you (because I need an answer to that one).

This is some stupid fucking Compuserve problem, and a lot of people all over the network are having it. Many people are frantic because they do daily business via e-mail. I'm just fucking frustrated because I keep talking to people and NOBODY HEARS ME!!!! I keep being witty and nobody responds, and by the time they do, I've forgotten what I ever said in the first place.

AAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! I hate Compuserve!!!!

SUBJECT: I NEED TO TALK TO YOU! I HATE THIS!!!

Fuck! I don't BELIEVE this! Compuserve is completely falling apart! Can you read this? If so, let me know right away! Below you can see what fucking kind of fucking DAY I AM HAVING!!!!!!!

SUBJECT: RE: I NEED TO TALK TO YOU! I HATE THIS!!!

Just say it. Don't spray it.

I think Compuserve is punishing you, but must I suffer as well?

SUBJECT: 1DOGANDI -- PLEASE TELL ME WHICH E-MAILS YOU'VE RECEIVED

You can't see this so why should I waste time writing anything? What about your dog Soter? Can he hear me in this range? Soter! Soter!

SUBJECT: RE: 1DOGANDI -- PLEASE TELL ME WHICH E-MAILS YOU'VE RECEIVED

What the hell is a "1DOGANDI?" Does it have anything to do with angels or DOS?

SUBJECT: 2WITHBLANK MESSAGES, AND I'LL RE-SEND THEM, OKAY?

Mares eat oats, and does eat oats, and little lambs eat strychnine...

SUBJECT: RE: 2WITHBLANK MESSAGES, AND I'LL RE-SEND THEM, OKAY?

What up? Another blank...why oh why!

SUBJECT: 3YOU SEE, I'M TRAPPED HERE IN COMPUSERVE'S HEADERS

...mmmm...what the world needs now is another folksinger like I need a hole in my head...mmm...I see the light at the end of the tunnel...will someone please tell me that it's not a train...

SUBJECT: RE: 3YOU SEE, I'M TRAPPED HERE IN COMPUSERVE'S HEADERS

How about just writing normal JC e-mail and then edit it to fit over 50 or 60 headers?

SUBJECT: 4AND I NEED TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT A FRIEND OF YOURS, AND I EVEN

Hmmm...Robert, robert, bo-bobert, banana-fana-fo-fobert, fee-fie-mo-mobert, Robert. (yawn) (scratch-scratch)

SUBJECT: RE: 4AND I NEED TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT A FRIEND OF YOURS, AND I EVEN

An answer to a....yes...is this some sort of test?

OK...we even took her to a tanning bed?

We even sold her our cats?

We even...oh I just can't keep at it. Am I even close?

SUBJECT: 5TRIED TO ACTUALLY CALL YOU ON THE PHONE BUT YOU

(this space left intentionally blank)

SUBJECT: RE: 5TRIED TO ACTUALLY CALL YOU ON THE PHONE BUT YOU

Yes?! I'm listening? Well, if you're interested, Earthlink is $19.95 per month for unlimited Internet access, including your own web site and, thus far, no problems.

SUBJECT: 6DON'T ANSWER! WHY CAN'T I REACH YOU? AAAGGGHHH!

Well, I'm a cowpoke-poke-poke-pokin' along...puke-puke-puke-pukin' along....

SUBJECT: RE: 6DON'T ANSWER! WHY CAN'T I REACH YOU? AAAGGGHHH!

What does Compuserve say? If anything? Maybe I should sign up with Compuserve and then I can have a legitimate excuse for not answering e-mails (not yours, of course).

SUBJECT: WHAT ABOUT THIS ONE? CAN YOU READ THIS?

Can you read this yet? Compuserve is working on the problem, the jerks.

This is just a test. Let me know.

SUBJECT: RE: WHAT ABOUT THIS ONE? CAN YOU READ THIS?

<Can you read this yet? Compuserve is working on the problem, the jerks.

This is just a test. Let me know.


I can't read this. At first I thought I was going blind but than I thought maybe it was something with Compuserve. Hell if I know...

SUBJECT: THE AFTERNOON TEST (IS THERE A BODY TO THIS?)

Are you reading this? Is this working yet? If not, please ignore this part.

SUBJECT: RE: THE AFTERNOON TEST (IS THERE A BODY TO THIS?)

Are you reading this? Is this working yet? If not, please ignore this part.

Hey! Quit fucking with my head, man!

SUBJECT:HEY, IT'S ALMOST WORKING!

I'm going to assume you can read this, because Mistah Rick has been successfully receiving all my e-mails since this morning! The last one, though, arrived in a slightly altered condition, as follows:

What I sent:

FROM: JC
TO: MISTAH RICK
SUBJECT: MID-AFTERNOON TEST

Ah, it's a glorious cloudy, cold day, the faintest of sprinkling here and there, bulbs popping up everywhere, and I just mailed you an e-mail letter. Strange concept, isn't it?

...and what he sent back:

<>

FROM: MISTAH RICK
TO: JC
SUBJECT: TSET NOONRETFA-DIM :ER

!devieceR
****---
From: JC
To: Mistah Rick
Subject: Mid-afternoon test

?ti t'nsi ,tpecnoc egnartS .rettel liam-e na uoy deliam tsuj I dna ,erehwyreve pu gnippop sblub ,ereht dna ereh gnilknirps fo tsetniaf eht ,yad dloc ,yduolc suoirolg a s'ti ,hA

So if my latest e-mail tests to you have been successful, too, I guess everything's okay! I'll just have to remember to use a mirror in the future.

Sknaht, Evresupmoc! Kcuf!

SUBJECT: HEY! QUIT FUCKING WITH MY HEAD, MAN!

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