6/10/05 - The obvious solution to the excessive-coffee-blogging problem is to put it all in a subsite: voici -- the Picafe.

There is a Starbucks two blocks from the office. Because getting there does not involve crossing a major highway and risking life and limb, and because all Starbucks are supposedly the same everywhere, I have been patronizing it for the last couple of days. I used to abjure this place -- easy enough to do in Madison, where alternatives abounded -- but lately we've called a sort of truce, and they have hooked me with those "dolci." This one, furthermore, has contraband wifi, as well as a large advertisement: "Who says mocha can't have a summer sidekick?" Who indeed? Who on earth? Me, I guess, given that it's some kind of Frappuccino and thus the vilest poison.

A classy cafe -- this is how you identify them -- gives you a spoon with your cappuccino, so you can navigate the foam. (Needless to say, it also gives you enough foam to require spoon-navigation.) A really classy cafe gives you a spoon and a twist of lemon with your espresso. At humble Starbucks you must ask the barista for a plastic spoon, which is all right, but aren't they supposed to be all hoity-toity? They print guides to ordering your drink. It's all preposterous -- early on walking into a Starbucks was like venturing into some Other America, the one full of people who watch reality TV and think of plastic surgery as normal and adopt low-carb, low-gas-mileage "lifestyles" and consume "Real Simple," the Magazine of A Thousand Ads For Products To Simplify Your Life. It has since become banal -- I feel awkward writing about it; I can't maintain a perfect distance -- but my attitude towards conspicuous consumption keeps shifting. It's never easy.

How was the cappuccino? Oh, it was all right. I had a better one at the 24th St. Tully's sometime this week, in my adoring Noe Valley calm after the move, amid the resettling, listening to "One Beat" and writing.