Thursday, February 23, 2006

What Theo Did ......

.... on his day off.

"I had the day off yesterday. The entire day. Susan came in to work with Diane. George and I went kayaking in the morning. It was a great day on the water. The bay was calm. It was warm but with enough of a breeze to make it comfortable. We paddled here, paddled there, poked into the seagrass, spotted fish, watched birds soar and dive. There were spots where the current made us have to paddle a little harder.

"At night, I went to play bocce with Tony at the courts near Higgs Beach. Paradise Scooter Rentals has a team entered in the bocce leagues. I just wanted to try it out. I doubt that I'll join the team, but I had fun. We lost, by the way, 11-4.

"Tony congratulated me for getting away without having to rake the court. That job usually falls to the newest player.

"Thanks, Tony."

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Piper at the Gates of -- Jail

Dennis Riley, the Southernmost Bagpiper for the past 26 years, was arrested by Key West police on Monday afternoon as he piped down the sun from City property next to Mallory Square. The arrest was made based on a complaint from Joyce Domenico, manager of the grounds at the Hilton properties, location of an alternate sunset celebration very near Mallory Square.

You saw Dennis' picture here at the Coffee Plantation on February 10th, in full regalia. Now here's his mug shot, and his arrest record.

Arrest Date: 02/20/2006 CAD #: Offense #: KWPD06OFF1115
Name: RILEY, DENNIS FRANK DoB:08/29/1953 Age:52 Sex:M Race:W
Address: 1023 WHITEHEAD ST., KEY WEST , FL 33040
Occupation: PERFORMER
Arrest Location: 245 FRONT STREET, KEY WEST
Charges:1 Misdemeanor Count(s) of 810.09.2b
Officer/Agency: KWPD, - KWPD Bond Amount: $0

The incident came about when Dennis challenged a performer on the Hilton Pier to lower the volume of his amplified music, which was directed towards the corner at Mallory Square where Riley has been playing for as long as there has been a sunset celebration. The Hilton Pier attempts to attract people off the main Mallory Square location by a variety of means in hope of attracting customers to the bars they have set up in several locations on their privately-owned pier.

Dennis first asked the "musician" playing reggae tunes on a synthesizer keyboard to lower the volume so people at Mallory Square could hear his un-amplified pipes. When the Hilton performer refused, Dennis strode on to the bridge separating the two properties and began playing there. It was then that Domenico called police and demanded that Riley be made to leave the bridge, which is City property where he was standing. When Dennis held his ground, police took him to the ground, kilts flying, and transported him to the Monroe County jail for booking.

Some of our customers, friends of Dennis, are going to tell tourists and visitors to avoid the Hilton Pier at sunset, since they are bad neighbors to the long-running official Sunset Celebration.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Our move from start to finish

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Sounds of Caroline Street

Theo finished installing our new, improved sound system yesterday. He acquired a high-end stereo receiver and a collection of bookshelf speakers along with a gigantic subwoofer, connected our normal music system to it, and now there's music in every room at a listen-able, unobtrusive level. We like to offer a mix of music to our customers, so we've put together play lists that are sometimes slow and soulful, sometimes lively and lilting, but always intended as background to whatever our clients are doing -- relaxing, working, or chatting with friends. We left one area, on the side near the parking lot, without speakers and have designated that the "Quiet Room".

If you come in, ask Theo to tell you the story of how it all came together.

We think it's the best music on the island, just like our coffee.

To Let

These are the rental apartments behind our coffee shop at 713 Caroline Street. They are a part of the redevelopment of this property, which was at one time both a grocery store and the home of the owner of the grocery. Now that former home is our coffee shop on the first floor, and the offices of the newspaper, Celebrate!, and an advertising agency. The building in the picture consists of six two bedroom, two bath apartments available for rental at $2200 a month, which includes off-street parking under the building. The front, seen here, overlooks Caroline Street, while the view from the back is out toward Schooner Wharf, which is only a minute's walk away.

At present, most of the units are unrented. We don't expect that they'll stay that way for very long. It's a prime location.

And just think, fresh coffee and breakfast just steps away. I doesn't get much better than that, does it?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A C-o-l-d Morning

It was c-o-l-d this morning. Our shop was filled with customers, most of them our regulars. In the photo, from front to rear, are: Houseboat Ric (with the hat); Captain Bill; Impresario Jeff; Trumpet Bob; and artist Joe. Scribe Bob took the picture. Mongo was also in the house. The guy way in back is an unknown transient. Everyone was dressed appropriately for the weather. It was hot coffee all around, but for Trumpet Bob, who chose a cold drink. Why? I dunno.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Piper at the Gates of the Coffee Plantation

Dennis is the sunset bagpiper at Mallory Square. He's been piping the sun down for almost 10 years. He stopped in for a cup of our fine 100% Colombian coffee yesterday before heading down to the waterfront.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Jury Duty

Diane was picked for jury duty this week, a five-day trial, and very interesting (so Diane says though she can't talk about the details) so I, Theo, am here at the Coffee Plantation pretty much by myself, with help from Susan in the morning.

It keeps me hopping during late-morning all the way through to middle-afternoon, when Diane makes her return after her full-day of jury duty.

Come on in and see for yourself. I'm wearing something like five hats - chef, internet master, server, barista, et al. Come and watch me run around. It is actually very relaxing (watching, that is), if you're doing so from, say, the rattan lounger at the front in the beautiful morning sun, or on the sofa in the South wall that gets the afternoon light.

So everyone is invited to come on in and help to contribute to my load for the week. After all, it builds character!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Wireless Laptop

Mongo Nikol showed up at the Coffee Plantation this morning with a wireless laptop. I tried to help him to get it to synch with the wireless network, and even tried connecting it directly using Ethernet and USB, but without success. We're looking for the web site for Underwood in the hope that we'll be able to get some tech support.

There are a couple of photos below.

Friday, February 03, 2006

More CP Grand Opening photos!!

Theo Holding Sign Up
YEA! Here are more photos of our fabulously successful grand opening party last week. It was terrific fun - throwing it and having it - so we are show off a little because . . . we love our new Coffee Plantation location!

And thanks again to everyone who helped, who showed up, and everyone who has made our move such a tremendous success.

Besides, any excuse to have a fountain flowing with pounds of melted chocolate . . .

. . . as a matter of fact, we're already looking forward to our party next year!!


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Clean(ing) Key West

Bob (our Scribe) came in today and had this story: "I was driving over here on Simonton St.," he said, "and I noticed this guy crossing Fleming St. He had a big, clear plastic bag, and he was picking up trash along the street as he walked. As he turned in my direction, I noticed his t-shirt. It said, 'Volunteer to America', and underneath, 'Donations Accepted'.

"Wow, I thought. An entirely new approach to panhandling, and one that has real social utility."

Theo asked, "Did you give him a couple of bucks?"

"Ah, no", Bob answered. "I was in the car. But if I was walking, or on my bike, I certainly would have. At least he's doing something useful. I'm going to look for him again. He needs to have his picture taken, maybe even an interview."