Posts Tagged ‘David’s Coffee Place’

You're just too physical physical to me

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Although I was told that the baby grand piano of David's Coffee Place would be replaced by an upright piano at Babycakes, the latest that I'd heard is that they'd since determined not to do this. Now, I'm not sure that they've really determined against it; it may be merely that they are postponing installation of the upright piano until after renovation of the south room (in which the baby grand piano used to be).

I don't actually know where the mass of opinion is amongst the present customer base. Chris, the regular pianist, used to do 90-minute medleys, drawing largely upon popular music from the age of Gershwin and Porter. Some people find it hard to connect to such music, and for them it was made harder still because Chris chose other than dance arrangements. Many people are only comfortable with music with the rhythms of dance, even if no one is going to be dancing.

The other thing that has happened, musically, at Babycakes, is that they are drawing on a different sort of music for the sound system, and playing it much louder. I was told that this change was because they now sell beer and wine, as opposed to being just a coffee place. I'm not sure how to interpret this reasoning unless the idea is that, because they sell some of the same product as would a bar, they feel that their music should be more like that of a bar.

On this score, I can tell where the mass of opinion is amongst the present customer base; it's mostly negative. People want to be able to converse without raising their voices, and they're not pleased to have the sins of the '70s and '80s return.

Now, I refer to the present customer base, because the new owners presumably want a larger customer base, and that may mean a very different customer base. None-the-less, I don't think that many people are particularly going to want to shout over Olivia Newton John as they sip merlot or nibble on raspberry tarts.


Tuesday, 22 July 2008

David's Coffee Place is apparently now replaced with Babycakes. [image of the front exterior of Babycakes] An expert came and inspected the piano, which is being sold.

Again, I regret these changes, though in most cases the new owners may be making the best choices available to them.

Meanwhile, a block-and-a-half north, a place named Mille Feuille is scheduled to open in August. They advertise themselves primarily as a chocolatier and bakery, but apparently will be offering tea and sandwiches as well. Since Babycakes has been envisioned as having more in the way of desserts and baked goods than David's Coffee Place, and as more of a restaurant, the appearance of Mille Feuille may be a problem for them. (There are many other restaurants in the immediate area, but Mille Feuille seems to be closer in intended product mix.)

Addendum (23 July): The piano that is being sold is a baby grand (in fact, an especially small baby grand, but with a good lower range). I was informed last night that Babycakes has an upright piano that they will be putting into service. (The notion being that it will take less floor space.)

Return of the Game Weasels

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Last Tuesday evening marked the return of the Game Weasels to David's Coffee Place, but I must admit that this time they were reasonably well behaved, and certainly not so terribly noisy. Perhaps one reason for this was that only one male weasel was in attendance, at least while I observed them. (At some point, the Game Weasels moved outdoors to the front patio.)

Sic transit canum

Friday, 27 June 2008

Those of you who followed my LJ might remember that a few years ago I took care of a neighbor's Yorkie for a while.

My neighbor had a partner who had (and has) AIDS. His health had notably worsened, and so he had left, to be with family. (He later seemed to bounce-back, and when last I knew he was doing alright.)

Anyway, the two of them had jointly shared responsibilities for the Yorkie, and I picked-up some of the slack for a bit. During part of that time, the dog simply stayed with me. At other times, I was just getting him from my neighbor's apartment, taking him for a walk and returning him, once or twice a day.

I really like that little dog. I would have been quite willing to just take ownership of him, but I didn't want my neighbor to lose his dog to me in a moment of weakness, so I never suggested such a thing.

A few weeks ago, my neighbor moved from our complex to another part of the city. I regretted the fact that I would probably never see the dog again. I do, however, see my former neighbor occasionally, as he has come to David's Coffee Place.

On Tuesday, I asked him how the dog was doing, and learned that the dog had been given away. My neighbor had felt that he couldn't handle the dog's needs.

Apparently, the dog has been placed with an affluent family, and now has a privileged existence. I'm very glad of that. But part of me wishes that he'd been offered to me.

(I would in any event of course have had to clear acceptance with the Woman of Interest. Anything that cannot be kept in something like a medium-sized terrarium, aquarium, or bird cage should get her okay.)

Game Weasels

Friday, 27 June 2008

Many people at David's Coffee Place play games — there are a fair number of chess players, and I think that there is usually a card game going on the patio. A number of people take advantage of the WLAN to play WoW.

Unfortunately, there is also a weekly meet-up of the SDBG, AKA the Game Weasels. The Game Weasels crowd those around them, physically pressing up against strangers, obliviously bumping into tables, unplugging power cords, and so forth. They somehow associate having a good time with being loud, such that their noisiness feeds on itself. And they love to play games that are tests of knowledge, but they don't seem to be very knowledgeable; their noisiness makes their ignorance hard to ignore.

Other regulars, patrons and baristi, are starting to complain amongst themselves. Some of us need to figure-out how to address this problem. Some of the Game Weasels seem like the sort who would respond well to an individual, but others seem to have an exaggerated sense of entitlement, so they are best approached by a group, or by a representative of the firm (one of the owners, or a barista).

A Less than Manic Monday

Monday, 2 June 2008

While I was visiting the Woman of Interest during the second week of May, I had a hold placed on my mail. During that time, a CD arrived dall'Italia. Unfortunately, some time between then and when the carrier attempted to deliver it, it went missing within the local postal facility. Finally, on Friday or on Saturday, I found a note in my mailbox declaring that they'd made a final attempt at delivery — the package requiring my signature (rather than that of the apartment complex manager) for some reason — and would hold the thing until 22 June. I wasn't thrilled, but I had two other reasons to go to the post office to-day anyway. I had a package to send to the Woman of Interest (which package holds two devilish rubber ducks and a fair quantity of jelly beans), and needed a small money order to pay for a purchase made by way of eBay.

Also in my box on Friday or on Saturday was a note that the complex office had a package for me, which package contained A Drawing Manual by Thomas Eakins, a volume of lectures by Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises that had been absent from my collection, and a DVD of In the Heat of the Night (1967).

At Bronx Pizza this evening, someone spotted a dollar left on the floor; I knew who had probably dropped it, and gave it to her. Not exactly the scenario of one of my polls, but quite close.

Later, at David's Coffee Place, I noticed a group of four people whom I've seen there on prior occasion, again discussing a business venture built around a social networking site. I won't name their site here, because I really don't wish them ill, but to me, they seemed foredoomed to failure. First, centralized social networking already has some heavy hitters, and if this new site has useful innovations then they are going to have a hard time avoiding imitation by those established players. Second, the group of four only have one actual programmer, and the others don't seem to have a prior background in the business side of any similar venture; further, the programmer doesn't seem to have the personal connections to the other three that they have to each other. Third, I over-heard mention of a failed attempt to secure funding, which would have stuck them with a 35% APR — such debt doubles in less than 2 years and four months.

Miscellaneous Economic Observations

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Last night at about 20:00 PDT, on my way to David's Coffee Place, I glanced into the Brass Rail, a San Diego night club. On a Friday night, there were no customers. That had changed by the time that I headed homeward, but it still wasn't particularly busy. Nor was it yester-day. David's Coffee Place has also been slow the last few days. Carlos, one of i baristi, suggested that this is largely an artefact of the increased price of gasoline. I think that he's correct. I also think, as I told him, that current petroleum prices are a bubble; but I don't know when the bubble will collapse, nor what will trigger the collapse.

Locally, there are various store-front locations in Hillcrest that have been vacant for months. It's an inescapable that there is some price at which someone would be willing to rent any given one of these sites; but landlords are evidently unwilling to drop rents to such levels. This refusal might seem simply unreasonable, and perhaps in some cases it truly is, but all landlords (reasonable or unreasonable, renting or refusing) are unavoidably gambling. Any who enter into an arrangement at the market-clearing price of to-day is gambling that those prices won't rise to-morrow enough to off-set revenue forgone by waiting. At the same time, those who are refusing to lower their prices are hanging tough on a theory that prices will rise in such manner, or that they'll connect with someone who'll pay their price in spite of generally prevailing prices.

I don't know what the national economy is doing right now.

Apparently, growth figures for the first quarter were revised upward; I read mention of a 0.9% annualized rate (rather than 0.6%) yester-day. This is still low — one normally expects growth of about 3%. Some respected economists are predicting that the annualized rate of growth in the second quarter will be about 0.4%, followed by 2.2% in the third quarter. Since that would suggest that we would avoid a recession altogether, I can safely predict that present efforts by pundits to redefine recession will intensify.

There has been some yammering about consumer confidence, which has dropped to levels not seen since the economic down-turn during the Presidential administration of GHW Bush. The consumer confidence measure seems to be a garbage statistic to many economists, including me. Further, it hit that previous minimum at the end of a down-turn, rather than leading a worsening of conditions. (And the down-turn in question didn't even qualify as a recession proper, as it did not last for two quarters.) If the statistic means much of anything, it doesn't mean what journalists seem to think that it means, nor what they want their readers to think that it means.

Conventional wisdom seems to be that the worst of the credit-crunch has passed. That means, however, that the Federal Reserve System will counter-act the pressure on prices creäted by the measures that it took to loosen credit; those counteractives are, unsurprisingly, things that will re-tighten credit — the hope being that a credit crunch doesn't resume. I don't think that they'll get to have their cake and eat it too; prices will rise, or the economy will go into recession, or both.

Had Their Day

Friday, 23 May 2008

David's Coffee Place, transitioning to Babycakes (or perhaps to Babycakes @ David's Coffee Place), now has a notice posted on the entrance door, quoting local health regulations, and declaring that companion animals other than service animals will no longer be permitted in the building or on the patio.

Any reasonable response to this change must turn upon how one feels about the more general change of the business. There is little question that local officials will be more zealous about enforcing such things as the quoted regulations if that general change is made.

And I don't know whether David's Coffee Place as I first knew it could have survived. (Certainly no one has shown the accounting books to me.)

From Neoliberalism to Neopets?

Thursday, 3 April 2008

There's a fellow who frequently comes to David's Coffee Place who looks and very much sounds like Paul Adolph Volcker. Paul Volcker was the Federal Reserve Chairman who bit the bullet and broke the back of the inflationary spiral that threatened to destroy the American economy (and thence the world economy) in the late '70s and early '80s. (His immediate successor was Alan Greenspan.)

Anyway, I have discovered that this fellow at David's Place spends much of his on-line time playing on At first, I though this an amusing juxtaposition. But then I asked myself

What if he doesn't merely look and sound like Paul Volcker? What if he is Paul Volcker?
The economy is acting all scary, and maybe Paul Volcker is responding by focussing on Neopets! Or maybe the reason that the economy is going wack in the first place is that Volcker started messing around with Neopets!

Should economists be rushing to Neopets? Should we drag Paul away? I don't know!

No Place for David

Sunday, 30 March 2008

David's Coffee Place in Hillcrest has a rear patio and some sort of back room which have long provided meeting places for chapters of Alcoholics Anonymous and similar organizations. Yester-day, I learned that the new owners have applied or will be applying for a license to sell beer and wine. To-day I saw a notice on the front door declaring that, beginning on 1 May, the patio and back-room will be remodelled and no longer available for such meetings.

The notice also indicates that Babycakes is imagined as a bakery and bistro.

David's Coffee Place has been around for about 15 years, but it has only been a few weeks since I started hanging-out here. Now it is apparently to be gentrified. Perhaps I should be glad that I didn't have more time to get attached to it.