Tuesday, March 08, 2005
The Low Countries
It's taken an army of urban planners, county commissioners and city council people to build and maintain Riverside County's position as SoCal's Least Fashionable County. Granted it's not that difficult surrounded on three sides by fabbo-glam glitz-ball neighbors like San Diego, LA and OC.

Still, it takes work. We've got miles and miles of unchecked sprawl in every direction. Giagantic new housing tracts, each one indistinguishable from the next, edged up against 100-year old neighborhoods of falling-down houses that look like they were specifically built for very small people with very large crack addictions.

We gladly accept all the smog from our neighboring counties, lovingly collecting it within the ring of mountains that surround us, breathing it deep into our compromised lungs, happy and secure in the knowledge that we deserve their exhaust fumes. We're Riverside. Spill-over is what we do.

But despite all this, despite the meth labs and the orange air and the freeways that don't go anywhere, we have still failed to keep Starbucks away.

There was a time when I was but a lad, knee high to an elephant's eye (that's how that saying goes, isn't it?), sweating to death in one of Riverside's many lovely parcs des trailers, when a flashy retail-service chain like Starbucks wouldn't be caught dead out here. I guess when the same dumpy 3 bedroom pre-fab houses that used to go for $80,000 are going for $350,000, you have to expect some kind of outside attention to leak in.

Starbucks is here now. And as all of you know by now, once Starbucks invades a host region, it is only a matter of time before it divides and multiplies until the infection is systemic. It's like AIDS, but with foam and chocolate shavings.

I'll be honest, I know very little about what happens inside a Starbucks. Pops doesn't drink coffee. I drank tea for a while, but that's only because the hotel we stayed at in London offered it free with your 3-day old croissant for breakfast. Hot drinks and ADHD do not mix. I can be somewhat... er... impatient, I guess you'd say. I'm worried that you can only scald off your taste buds so many times before they stop working altogether.

Plus, I'm worried what might happen if I ever decided to kidnap someone. See, when you kidnap someone, you can't leave the house. If I became a regular Starbucks goer, I'd be forced to brew my own coffee at home while I watched over my victim, waiting for the ransom demand to be complied with.

I think we all know what happens when you mix kidnapping with a piping hot pot of freshly brewed coffee. Who gets the scalding liquid thrown in their face? That's right: the poor innocent kidnapper. Every single time. Meanwhile the plucky kidnapee makes a mad screaming dash for the basement window and shimmies her way to freedom while I'm trying to keep my flesh from falling off my skull.

No, it's just not worth the risk.

I would have preferred it if we had been able to keep the plain block-lettered green Starbucks signs beyond the mountains, safely behind the Orange Curtain where they belong.

Maybe I'm just being naïve. I've seen enough movies and TV shows to know that the kidnapping victim always finds a way to throw boiling liquid into your face. We do eat a lot of ramen out here.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 4.6


Kidnapping made easy:


Blow torch

Ball gag

And just like that, no boiling face.
Do you have a Starbucks right across the street from another Starbucks? You know you're fucked if that happens.
MPH: Thank Jesus, there is an answer! Starbucks here I come.

Brent: All the way across the street? Ha! We have two Starbucks in the same strip mall.
Blog-Jesus delivers again! Booyah!
Speaking of ramen, did you know Maruchan and ramen beef soup is made with dry joints and pieces of dry bone marrow?
Two Starbucks in the same mall? I'm not too up to snuff on my biblical apocalypse stories, but if that isn't a sign of the apocalypse... it should be.

Help us blog-jeebuz!
At least the bone marrow is going to waste.

Did you say "joints"...excuse me I have to go now.
I, personally, am against Starbucks on principle. They are taking over the world, and I don't like that. It's obviously my job. But anyways, they are right up there with Walmart and McDonalds. Yup. At least there weren't any Starbucks in Argentina. There were the other two though. How awful.
Well, I'm glad to read that everyone here has their sense of right and wrong firmly in place.

Pops shouldn't be bothered with such demands as keeping the hostage alive, or keeping the feds off his trail, when there is no half decaf mocha latte with a twist of lime to be had.

MPH: Is that all you deliver or can I get a shoebox full of crystal meth to go?

Yoli: that's the same thing they make gelatin from. Think about that next time you're enjoying some delicious fruity Jell-O.

Brent: You hear people say "Man, this Starbucks sucks. It's always so crowded. Hey, let's go next door to the Starbucks instead. Nobody ever goes there."

Rambuncle: Is it 4:20 already?

K: You go, you Wisconsin anarchist you. It's all for nothing though. I'd be willing to bet money that there will be a Starbucks in Buenos Aires before the year is over.

HFB: Finally! Someone understands. Thank you.
I think my dawg Henry in your neck of the woods can get you two boxes. Blog-Jesus delivers again! Booyah!
Well, if Starbuck's is taking over the world, count me in since my last plan for world conquest via Republican gay marriage support fell through. One way or another, someone else is going to be peeling grapes for me and I don't care what it takes.

Besides, there are worse things that could take over the world than tasty frappuchinos, like megalomaniacal totalitarian regimes.
Or giant, fire-breathing lizards from Tokyo. Don't forget about those, they're a bitch to get rid of.

I haven't been able to post on your damned blog for three days! WTF?!

The beauty of Starbucks is that you can get anything DECAF! It may not sound all that great to you, but coming from someone who cannot have caffeine, it's like divine coffee intervention.

Decaf availability made me a Starbucks whore.
Rita: Megalomaniacal totalitarian regimes? Hey, I know where we can find one of those!

HFB: No, that's easy. You just need to get your hands on (figuratively speaking of course) a giant moth the size of a football stadium. Fixes your lizard problem, no sweat. Common knowledge.

Jess: Sorry, I was experimenting with blocking certain users from posting. Apparently it doesn't work perfectly.

(Joking! Only kidding... everyone knows if I were going to ban anyone, it would be MPH)
all this talk about kidnapping, and no mention of duct tape? wtf!? duct tape can do just about anything, it can plug a hole on your bike tire, stop that crack from growing on your winshield, fix your relationship, it can muffle, keep people in one place and of course restrain hands and feet = no coffee in the face. happy day.
Jeez, about time--your comment window's been thwarting me! Now I can't remember what I was going to say. OK, something about how surely this can't be the first Starbucks in Riverside--even in the gulag known as the 951 there must have been some before this. But it sounds like you guys are making up for lost time. Two in the same strip mall, eh? I wanna see a picture of this sign of the coming apocalypse.
TM: The only problem with duct tape--and you're absolutely right about its versatility, no question--is that in every movie I've seen, there's always a piece of broken glass or an exposed nail or a rusty old shovel that the victim can use to cut themselves free. That's why I'd discourage duct tape or any kind of fiber rope.

If you did use duct tape, you'd have to use a lot of it. Like every-square-inch-of-their-body a lot.

Steph: Actually we have many Starbucks. Because once you have one, you suddenly have 10.

The two-in-one feature is at University Village down by UC Riverside. They aren't close enough to get them both in the same picture, but I could very easily take a picture of one while sitting at the other.
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