Sunday, 29 March 2015

Turkey brothers, assuming that you didn't see them enough yesterday

Today's going to be mostly photos, since I have something else I want to get done this morning besides blogging. You had enough words for a week from me yesterday, anyway.

Here's Tom being spoiled by my hand. He can be a bit of a sap when he's not being a turkey.

They're being turkeys right now, by the way. They're playing some sort of game that involves running in the room and around my feet. I'm not sure of the rules, but if they don't watch out they're going to have a referee anyway.

Do you remember me telling you about Bob's thing for damp face cloths? It hasn't stopped. Earlier this morning he presented the one from the upstairs bathroom to me. Down here. In the basement. At the computer.


Now, just for fun, let's have a little cat bed retrospective:

20 September 2014
4 October 2014
24 October 2014
23 December 2014
Yesterday (28 March 2015)

And aren't they sweet?

Yeah, they'll fool you. They're still obviously close, though. And partners in trouble. I think they'll be good cats, but right now they're still in the I look like a cat but my brain is still a kitten phase. That can be destructive when you're as solid as these guys. You can't tell from the pictures, of course, but these two have the deceptively muscular build that makes you think twice when you pick them up.

That's enough turkey for now, I think. There may possibly be something on the other blog later this morning if I can get anything to go. We'll see.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

So, tea

And cats.

Because you can't open a new shipment of tea without cats.



I should warn you that since you haven't had to put up with a lengthy post about tea for a while, I'm not going to have much sympathy if you get bored. My place, after all, and I feel like talking tea. Especially since there hasn't been any new tea since Christmas. As I said a while back, I was sort of surprised about how empty my various canisters were getting. It's the problem with using canisters at all, I suppose. It's much better for the tea to have it away from sunlight, but you don't really have a handle on how much you actually have at any given moment. Ah well. It's not a problem for a while now. Shall we begin?

I ordered eight teas in all this time: four 50 g bags, and then some stuff I got from the winter sale section. My two fans will know that I always try to get juuust enough to qualify for free shipping, and I barely hit it this time. Yay math. Incidentally, I really scratch my head at how well these teas in plastic bags are always padded for shipping. I guess they don't want them to get broken.

First, the reorders. Quangzhou Milk Oolong is rapidly challenging Darjeeling for the spot of favourite general tea in my life, and that's saying something. It's so very smooth, though. When I saw that I was nearly out it was no question that there was going to need to be more.

Then, Saigon Chai. This one's a nice, basic chai with no black pepper. Yeah, I know that lots of people like chai with black pepper, but I guess that I'm a little hypersensitive to it. Not that I dislike black pepper in cooking; it just doesn't turn me on in tea.

The last reorder this time around was Chai Guarana, which I haven't had for a while. I'll probably regret not getting more Chocolate Rocket (looove Chocolate Rocket), but I figured that I'd switch out my caffeinated brews for at least this time around. Besides, I'm learning more and more that I prefer spiced teas over just about anything.

Now, the new-to-me. To get my chocolate fix I decided to give Coco Canela a try. I'll fill you in when I try it. Oh, and if anyone's wondering about all of these stimulant teas... well, that's what I was out of. I guess you can tell that I do a lot of my tea drinking in the morning at work. Yes, I'll often make a non-caffeinated tea after supper, especially in the winter, but my supply of them is still in decent shape.

That's it for the specific teas that I wanted. After that I headed to the sale section and picked up a small tin of Cocomint Cream, which I won't link to since the sale link will probably die soon. It was one of the teas in my Christmas gift and I was sure that I wouldn't like it. Apple, coconut, blackberry leaves, peppermint, and spearmint? Coconut and mint? Ew. Or not, actually. It's kind of surprising.

I also got their Take Me To India set, which consists of Assam Banaspaty, Organic Pure Chai, and my old friend Second Flush Darjeeling. Still my all-time favourite. For anyone who's not had a Darjeeling, a first flush will be much like a green tea (and usually too expensive). I personally like second flush. If I want green tea I'll buy green tea.

Lastly (ah, quit yer whining. I'm almost finished), they always send along three samples with a shipment, and here's where I can give you a couple of reviews. Last night I tried Lime Gelato. Yep, I did. Oh, it was ok -- it tasted like lime-flavoured green tea, really. And I like lime, but maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it in tea. I dunno. A perfectly passable tea, but not a buy for Yours Steepingly.

This morning's sample was Buddha's Blend, which is white tea based and apparently a Fan Fave. Now, I have a basic problem with so-called white tea. They'll tell you that it's delicate blah blah blah but what they really mean is that it has no flavour, and that they charge you a lot for it. Having said that, this was an enjoyable tea. No surprise, really; the ingredients are white tea, GREEN tea, jasmine pearls, hibiscus blossoms, and flavourings. See how much help white tea needs to taste like anything? It's a good blend, though, and I might consider it sometime.

The last sample made me laugh. It's Coco Chai Rooibos, and it's the tea that got me started with this particular company. My sister-in-law brought me some, no doubt after she'd read my complaints about Teavana (have I mentioned how little I like Teavana?) for the umpteenth time.

I think she created a monster.

I'm surprisingly ok with that.

Lunch time now. You've had plenty of words out of me today anyway.

Even if they were about tea.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

The wrong rock

With a new feature model, I guess. I've had it for a bit now, but I just realised that he doesn't have a name. Maybe let's make him Alfred.

Alfred is, of course, modelling some of my stash of rocks. And no, I'm not talking about them today (oh, shut up with your sighs of relief). What I did want to talk about is inappropriate rocks.

But can rocks be inappropriate, Dee? Of course they can, if they're being used for inappropriate things. Take hardness, for example. One of the things that makes me laugh when I watch the bad jewellery shows on the shopping channel is how often those companies use rocks that will be worn once or twice and then look like crap. Take apatite, for example. It's a lovely mineral and, when polished up, can be very attractive in a jewellery setting. Here comes the but. But apatite's hardness is 5 on the Mohs scale. That translates as not very hard, when it comes to jewellery. Lots of things can scratch it. It'd be fine as a pendant or maybe in earrings, but in a ring it would quickly become a destroyed mess. To be fair, some of the more educated hosts do mention the Mohs number of a given rock. But how many shoppers are familiar with the Mohs scale? They may have learned it in school (it's learned in Grade Three here), but other than remembering the name would most people know anything else about it?

That's just one example. There are tons others out there. Even pearls which, yes, not rocks, but are often found to be bedazzling fancy-looking shopping channel rings. Well, I have a ring of my mother's that's set with a pearl. It's a neat gold ring with a small pearl in the centre. I like it. I never wear it. And why? Pearls are soft, and all the lustre on that pearl wore off years ago. I'd have to get the ring reset. Probably not expensive since it is a small pearl, but when I look at the pearl monstrosities that people pay too much for on television I just shake my head. Don't wear your pearls on your hands, ladies.

Hardness is just one example of why you should research your rocks. You may have a reasonably hard rock -- I'll use pyrite as an example even though the small pieces used as marcasite wouldn't really apply to what I'm getting at -- that's also brittle. One good smack and you have two pieces of pyrite. There are plenty of other factors, but work &c &c...

I guess what I'm saying is before you make that impulse purchase, look up your favourite rocks and find out a little bit about them first. There are ways to wear fragile rocks (ever wonder why I do the pendant thing so much?), but don't waste your money on something that will turn out to be completely wasted too soon.

Thus endeth the public service message, I guess. I've been typing too long. See you the next time I actually have something to say.

For a change.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Posting? What's that?

Yeah, I've been pretty quiet this past... what? month? year? Whichever.

The reason? Stuff. Sorry, that's the best I've got. Just recently? Busy, not in the mood, busy, not around, buggered up knee, busy... I could go on, but it doesn't mean anything if you weren't there, I suppose.

The knee was just last week, however. Managed to take a fall in my own apartment (don't even ask) and landed hard with a twist. For a couple of days I hobbled around the place pretty sure that I'd torn something, but now it's acting more like just a sprain. It made yesterday's three hour programming fest out at a school interesting, though. First of all, the classrooms were on the second floor. Yeah, even just getting there was interesting. The kids were great, at least, so that makes up for a lot.

This is all you're getting today, I'm afraid. I really do need to get back to work. Besides, Louis Armstrong's playing Frankie and Johnny, and there's chair dancing to be done.

Um, gingerly (as opposed to astairely). It'd be just like me to re-twist my knee doing a stupid chair dance. Ah well, at least it would be exercise.


Monday, 23 March 2015

Quick pointless photo of the day:

Juuust to prove that I'm still around.

And that, apparently, Tom's a narcissist.

Back to work now.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Things in the yard. And, of course, rocks.

This is pretty much a pictorial today, since it wouldn't make sense to hold onto these photos for too long. Consider it a look at early spring here. Also consider that we'll likely have at least one more winter storm and probably a few hard frosts coming up, so don't look for flowers anytime soon.

Oh, and I know the order of these is a bit wonkus. I wasn't in the mood to fix it. Having said that, let's take the tour.

To the left, daffodil shoots. These ones are by the dryer vent, so the soil thaws early. There were also European crocus shoots, but I noticed that the long shot I took also featured turds from one of the neighbourhood cats. Thought you'd appreciate it if I left them out.
That indistinct thing in the background is very important, really, even if it was massively disinclined to have its photo taken. That's my first spider of the season.

Pretty much as important as the first violet.

I'm serious. And for those who don't know about the spider thing, just hit the spider label at the bottom of this post or search spider at the top of the page. Then you'll understand.
For whatever reason (weirdness), I have a thing for melting ice. I have so many pointless photos of melting ice.

Here's... another one, I guess.
These are the first shoots of what most people around here call Prairie Crocus, but I find myself increasingly calling Pasque Flower (the alternate name) because it's not a crocus at all. It got called crocus because it's one of the first flowers of spring and the purple colour reminded settlers of the European Crocus. Similar colours, yes, but Pasque Flowers are what's called pubescent. Relax, it just means hairy in biology. Pasque Flowers are very fuzzy.

Here are some images for those who aren't familiar with the plant. It's a favourite of mine.
And now... rocks! Oh, come on. It's been a while since we've done rocks.

My local rock shop had its big semi-annual sale the other week and I... missed it. For a variety of reasons. I should explain that the sale isn't a sale as in fantastic prices (although some of them are ok); it's quantity. They bring in a whackload of stuff. Whackload, as always, being the correct scientific term.

Well, as I said, I missed it this time. To make myself feel better about that -- that's the excuse, anyway -- I stopped in on my way to Dad's place to pick up a few new things. Oh, and for anyone new to the program who wonders why most of my rocks are imprisoned? It's just the easiest way to wear rocks if you don't happen to own a rock drill. I generally wear my rocks as pendants; thus the rock cages.


What you're seeing this time (clockwise from the left) is Zebra Jasper, Tree Agate, a Snowflake Obsidian marble, and a Tiger Eye pendant. Yeah, more tiger eye. I just have such a hard time staying away from that stuff, and have had since I was a child. This one's cool (she excuses to herself) because although it has a brown base it has streaks of blue as well. Between tiger eye and amethyst, though, I could probably outfit an entire jewellery box if I didn't force myself to look at other things.

If anyone's noticing a mottled/stripey theme to Friday's buys, I agree. I couldn't tell you why. Mottled mood at the time, I suppose.

And if anyone's noticed as well that I only gave you image links for the rocks rather than information links, it's because I've got so sick of reading the healing crystal stuff out there that I'm leaving it for you to google if you're so inclined. Everything out there made of rock is apparently some sort of positive energy, if you believe that sort of thing. Funny how you never seem to find any malevolent rocks. Surely there are some minerals out there, at least, that hate humanity?

My apologies as usual to those of you who do believe in the power of positive rock wearing. I just can't. Rocks look nice. The end. Any other benefits you find? Well, good for you, I guess. It's not like it's going to hurt anything.

Anyway, enough words (and photos) for today. Next? Either tea buying or doodling. Maybe both, if I can get the Bob to stop sitting on my foot. He's a bit of a heavyweight these days, and my toes are tingling.

Um, yeah. You needed to know that.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Books. And books. And tea.

And a random cat, because.

And incidentally, sometimes even in this day and age of "brainless" blogging applications that work just like a word processor, it can still help to have a smidgen of HTML. A slight computer glitch (operator-caused, I freely admit) threw some really random stuff on this post when I had to save to draft. All gone now, though.

I think.

Anyway, books. I have a lot of books. I have less books than I used to since I'm getting a lot better at giving things away when I know that they're one-use books, but I still have a lot of books.

I like books.

I'd never manage with an e-reader, because... well, it's not a book. I have a DS card that has a bunch of classic books on it, and I almost never use it because it's just. not. a. book. It's a thing pretending to be a book. It doesn't have the feel of a book (see previous art rants for my whole weird thing about texture), it doesn't have the smell of a book, and it doesn't have the utility of a book. What do I mean? Well, as an example, if I baked using recipes I'd looked up electronically, I'd have flour-covered electronic devices. Easier to clean up a cook book. If I travel with e-books and forget to bring a charger/extra batteries, I'm kind of screwed when the power runs out.

And besides, people. Books.

Having said that, my two fans may have noticed that a while ago I removed the bookshelf that used to be on the sidebar. And why is that, Dee? Oh, well, it was kind of cluttering things up, and I kept forgetting to update it. Besides, the only thing I ever went to that site for was to update the bookshelf, and it seemed kind of pointless.

So here's the thing. I kind of figured that I might add photos of the books I'm currently reading to the regular rotation of pointless photos here. I even took a bunch of shots, which I've since deleted. And why? There are better pictures online at the Home of All Things That Used To Be Just Books And Is Now Apparently The Universe (official title, yes), for one thing. For another, do you really care if I'm currently reading a book on printing, a book on book-making (yes, seriously), and (trying my damnedest to re-read) The (concise) Golden Bough? Or that I'm thinking of buying a Deborah Cadbury book?

You probably don't. But it is my blog (as I used to say too often: my house, my rules), and I'm generally short of topic matter.

In other words, it'll probably happen. Bad photos and all.


We've had in other words already, so now here's in other news:

In other news, I think I'm going to have to buy some tea. The Christmas gift tea is pretty near gone, and when I went to fill my infuser for work the other day I was reminded that what looks like a humongous stash is actually several tins that have enough for about two cups each. I might -- gasp -- have to resort to using tea bags, folks.

And for those new to the blog, I should say that I'm really not that much of a tea snob. I've just got used to loose teas, that's all.

You really missed tea talk, didn't you?

Oh, don't make that face.

At any rate, I may be doing some tea cruising this afternoon, and I'm sure you'll find out the results soon enough.

Next up, rocks.

No, I'm not kidding.

Oh, don't make that face.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Oops. Forgot to title this when I first published. Shows how the day went...

Another quick one, because I ended up doing work on my lunch hour.

I mean, really. How dare work happen?

Anyway, short version of what I was going to rant about: the project I mentioned a while ago (which hasn't gone away from my brain yet, amazingly) means I need, amongst other things, a brayer. Sorry, brayer. And they can be used for other things besides block printing, so don't get any ideas there. I'll also need a piece of plexiglas, a stamp pad, and my hot glue gun. Confused yet?

Anyway, there are lots of places to get brayers, but I figured I'd just go to Michael's because I knew where to find them there and it'd be quick.

Bad move, Dee. That store is kryptonite for you.

And there was a bead sale.

And one on canvasses.



In the end the damage was under $60, so yay me. And I needed that brayer anyway.

And the hematite diamond-shaped beads are pretty cool.

And I might decide to paint on a black canvas someday...


Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Pointless photo of the day:

My father's weird cats are fascinated by water and will stick their heads UNDER the tap if you run it for them.

Yeah, I know.

I had an unexpectedly weird day that I'm definitely not going to tell you about, so the photo's all you're getting. Tomorrow may be better, blather-wise, but we'll see.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Quick pointless photo of the day:

That's an interesting way to sleep, Tom.

The Turkey Brothers have learned a new trick, by the way. They get up into the suspended ceiling in the basement and push down the tiles. On purpose. Like human brothers -- or so I've heard, seeing as I only have the one brother -- they egg each other on to new heights of trouble.

I was right when I named them Turkey Brothers. And it's politer than calling them shits.

Sorry for the silence yet again, by the way. A combination of being busy and having neck problems. We'll see what I can manage this week.

As usual, no promises.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Chapter 2028: Wherein Dee considers a project

Yep, just as the post title says, I'm considering a project. An art project.

This oughta be good.

For those new to the program, I'm as weird about my "art" as I am about... well, most things, I suppose. First of all, you'll notice the quotes around art. I'm not an artist; I'm a dabbler. I doodle. And for any of you out there who get their backs up about that word doodle, I'd just like to say stuff it. I like the word, and it's a good reflection of the fact that I don't take what I do seriously. Seriously takes the fun out of it. I got serious about music for a while, for example, and now the only music I do is singing to myself. Music's still there and always will be, but it would take a pretty swift kick in the backside to get me to be more public about it again.

As far as art goes, until I had to start drawing for myself for work (non-profits don't generally have illustration budgets) no one really knew that I even did it. It was just doodles. It still is, mostly, and that's how I have to keep it in my mind even if some of my stuff has been shown in public and a bit's even been published.

Weirdly, I even furnished the title page picture for a conference on hibernation a while back. It's very odd what contacts the internet will bring you.

Anything else and things stop being fun. And then, if you're me, things stop. Full stop. I just get way too self-conscious about the whole matter. That, plus I start feeling the need to make pieces "right" or "perfect" and that... that's just too much pressure for what should just be a bunch of doodles.

So why is it exactly that I'm considering doing something involving a technique that I've never done before, a display method that I've never used before, and poems that I'm not sure I want the public to see? Sounds like a recipe for a full-on neurotic breakdown if you ask me.

Well, the fact of the matter is that there are a couple of things I'd like to try out, I've found a pretty good way to put them both together, and there's not really a snowball's chance in hell that the public will ever see it anyway.

That last bit I have to keep telling myself so that I don't freeze up. If things work out, yeah, it might make it past my apartment. The important thing for this one really is the process, though, so it really doesn't matter in the end if I'm the only person who ever lays eyes on it.

She says.

And mostly believes, I guess.

Anyway, that's where things stand. You'll get an update if there is one. For now, though, I think that I need to stop typing. The neck/shoulder thing has gotten much better, but it's obvious to me at the moment that it's still not great.

Catch you later, then.
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