driving miss silvia

Here’s the obligatory post about my new coffee machine and grinder, and here’s the obligatory pic:

I’ve had them for about a week and a half now, and I’m super-happy with both — as you’d expect, they’re both nicer to use, and produce better results, than my old Saeco machine and Lux grinder, even though they’re fundamentally fairly similar machines. They’re both built like tanks, and the Silvia has a nice big brass boiler, so its temperature stays quite constant during brewing and it has a tonne of pressure while steaming milk.

The other great thing about the Silvia is that it has a standard 58mm group, just like a commercial machine — indeed, a number of the Silvia’s parts are shared with Rancilio’s commercial machines. That means that, in future, I can look at getting myself a naked portafilter, which I’m sure would be a lot of fun to play with.

coming up milhouse

Feels like time for another bullet-point update!

  • We got a house! Well, provisionally anyway — we sign the lease on Saturday. It’s a cute little renovated two-bedroom place in Footscray, so it’s got a bit of that same old house charm that our Surrey Hills place had. Living west-side is going to be quite a change, but it’s a quiet spot, and it’s not far from Kensington or Yarraville, which both seem like awesome places to hang out. The timing is great too — we get the keys on January 5th, so we have plenty of time to give notice here and start packing and cleaning.
  • Royal Crown Revue tonight! Last week, Kat spotted that they were touring, so we grabbed some tickets. It was going to be a pain heading off to two house inspections this afternoon, then heading home and having to head back in to the city for the gig, but now that we’ve been approved we don’t have to worry about those inspections now.
  • I have a new coffee machine! I had been using a plunger at home since my old machine died a couple of months back, so I’m very glad to have a new one. It’s a Rancilio Silvia, and I got a new grinder (the matching Rancilio Rocky) as well. Perhaps now wasn’t the best time to buy new toys, but I got a great deal on it, and I sure as hell need my coffee right now!
  • I ended up on the Open Source Musicians podcast again on the weekend; one of the usual hosts couldn’t make it, so the other host, and a few of us that were online at the time, jumped in to a Skype conference call and talked crap for a bit instead. That episode isn’t online yet, but I’ll link to it when it is.

random updateapalooza

  • The Beatles: Rock Band isn’t the only thing I’ve been playing lately; I also picked up Shadow Complex, which I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. The short review for this is: Shadow Complex = Super Metroid. The graphics are entirely 3D (and quite sophisticated at that — Unreal Engine 3 and all), but the gameplay is 2D, and a shameless ripoff of/homage to Super Metroid. For 1200 spacebucks, it’s a bargain, and an absolute must-buy (or must-download-trial at the very least) for anyone with a 360 and an interest in classic 2D action platforming.
  • I have a couple of little upgrades at my little home studio — I’ve borrowed Kat’s old keyboard to replace mine as the controller, since it has aftertouch and my old Yamaha doesn’t, and I picked up a little mixer as well. The mixer’s mainly there to give me some mic preamps, since the next thing I want to grab is a decent entry-level mic.
  • I’m writing again! It’s just a small part of a feature article, but the invitation to do that was quite a welcome sight in my inbox. It’s due on Monday, so I’ll have to get cracking on it over the weekend!
  • The work coffee machine is back! It was out of action for nearly two weeks after the guys here managed to burn out its element from sucking too much hot water out of it; the damage was damned impressive. The whole thing was especially annoying because my home machine has broken down as well, but my trusty plunger came to the rescue.
  • On the subject of coffee, it’s actually interesting to see a minor resurgence of non-espresso coffee in some of Melbourne’s best cafes. There are no plungers as such, but Seven Seeds has a Clover, which is somewhat akin to a very sophisticated plunger, St Ali serves coffee made with a vacuum brewer (usually called a vacpot or siphon), and Liar Liar has both on offer. St Ali also has a new espresso machine: it cost over $30k, it’s called the Slayer, and yes, it’s fucking metal. \m/