I really love chai.

The darker the light turns in autumn, the colder the mornings and evenings are, the more I crave spicy chai tea. I just want the stimulation, I want to TASTE something, to counteract the bland chill of life.

Yet I really dislike commercial chai teas.

For one thing, they are FULL of sugar. I don’t need that much sugar in a drink I am going to have five times a day. For another, there are a lot of ingredients I can neither identify nor pronounce in the commercial packets. I don’t really want five mugs of glycomystery every day.

I want tea/em>. I want tea that tastes good.

So I’ve been making my own chai.

Here’s where I’m at this autumn:

2 cinnamon sticks
6 cloves
16-30 dried cardamon pods
2-3 teaspoons preserved crystallized ginger

Grind those together in a spice grinder (aka a coffee grinder.)

Add three heaping teaspoons of loose-leaf black tea, like an English Breakfast blend or something.

Shake it all up in a bag or a tin or something. Makes three servings.

To serve:

Pour about a half-inch of half-and-half, milk, or cream in the bottom of your mug. Put your tea blend into the strainer or tea-ball of your choice. Let the water get really hot — boiling, as it needs to heat the cold milk. Pout the water into the mug, let sit about five minutes. Remove the strainer, drink.

To make it spicier, add 2-4 black peppercorns or cumin seeds to the initial mix, making sure they get chopped up in the mix.


It’s good news, just, inconvenient …

We found someone to come put drain tile and a sump pump in the basement!!



We have to empty the rooms of the basement affected by Sunday evening.


We’ve been working on it this week, and will continue to do so through the weekend.

I could hashtag this #myexcitinglife.

Ah well.


Who’s the punchline, here?

So, there’s an ad for an iPhone trade-in.

If you haven’t seen it, the gist of the ad is as follows:

Guy sees an ad saying he can trade in his iPhone for the new one. His current phone wakes up and asks him what’s going on. Guy denies anything is happening. He walks to his car, his phone asks him if it can plot a route for him. He says he can handle it himself. The phone plays “Just the Two of Us” while they are in the car. As he walks into the store to make the trade, the phone tries to get his attention again, and he switches it off.

Funny, huh? The phone, see, is acting like a person! It doesn’t want to be … what, exactly? It doesn’t want to be abandoned? Broken up with? Sold? … Killed?

Throughout this commercial, the phone speaks in a woman’s voice. It’s the Siri voice, of course. It’s an iPhone.

The effect, unintentional or deliberate, is of a woman trying to get the man who controls her to … what, exactly? To tell her the truth? To keep her? To spare her life?

Sure, sure, it’s supposed to be funny because it’s just a PHONE, right? It’s funny because it’s a PHONE begging for its life.

It’s funny because we’re comparing something trivial to something way too important, right? We’re comparing trading in a phone to … emotional abuse, overcontrolling men lying to and manipulating women, possibly domestic violence and murder.

Because that’s funny.

Or, not. Really. At all.

Even the kindest interpretation of the metaphor is lousy. In the best, kindest metaphor, the guy is in a relationship with a needy, clingy, desperate woman whom he no longer desires because something better has come along, and instead of breaking off the relationship cleanly the man lies and hides his intentions from an increasingly-desperate partner, until he ultimately runs away without explanation.

Because, I don’t know, crazy bitches are clingy monsters? Is that the funny part? Is the funny part that women don’t deserve honesty? Or is it that new women are always better than established relationships? Or perhaps the lying to your partner is the funny part of this metaphor?

In the most sinister version of the metaphor, the man sees a woman he wants more, lies to his partner who he controls so utterly that she can’t get away from him and must merely attempt to placate him, and then kills her to shut her up before he goes to meet the new woman.

Funny, funny commercial, comparing a new phone to a new relationship. Comparing leaving an old phone to leaving an old relationship. Comparing the phone to a woman. Comparing the phone to a woman one no longer desires. Comparing the phone to a woman who is afraid of being left. Comparing the phone to a woman who is lied to. Comparing the phone to a woman who is lied to, taken to a place where she will be abandoned, and then silenced.

Funny, funny commercial.

Endemic, entrenched, relentless, unavoidable cultural misogyny. It’s in everything. It’s everywhere.


Fall season television, I adore you

The new fall season is here! So far, I am very happy!

I’m probably not going to talk too much about new tv shows here. I’m not interested in providing spoilers. But a few points of note:

1. Scandal is essentially doing a reboot. The new season starts up some months after the events of the previous seasons, with all out characters in new places doing new things. It’s a good place to jump in, and it … removes .. some of the REDONKULOUS plot convolutions of last season. Moreover, it looks like Portia di Rossi will be a recurring guest, which is great news as far as I’m concerned.

2. Sleepy Hollow is back and in fine form! And it looks like the bulk of the new characters are still women and people of color — not straight white guys, still and always. And Orlando Jones is STILL a joy on Twitter and Tumblr.

3. Brooklyn Nine-Nine! This is one of the rare comedies I like. It’s … weirdly sweet. I get the distinct impression that the show, its writers, its staff, and its actor genuinely like and respect all the characters, regardless of the jokes told. And, I suppose, that’s my main problem with most comedy — lack of respect for human foible. The comedies I enjoy retain that basic respect. And Andre Braugher is still a national treasure.

4. I am so far watching How To Get Away With Murder. I like the cast a LOT, and the premise is interesting. The plot seems a wee bit Revenge-y (the tv series, I mean) in that there’s a murder in the first episode and a tight timetable and I suspect the show will include lots of flashbacks and fake-outs and Stunning Revelations. That can be good! But it can also be tedious. (It is, in fact, why I stopped watching Arrow. Tedious flashback fakeout reveals.)

5. I am also watching Gotham, so far. As I have said before, and many times, I love everything about the Batman story EXCEPT Batman. Batman, I detest. (Unless we’re talking DCAU. I kinda love Batman in the DCAU. Everywhere else, I dislike him with a fannish anger.) Gotham, then, is just my sort of thing. A comprehensive cast of Gotham City characters, without the tediousness of Batman. I love the actors, I like the writing, and so far the show seems to have a nice balance between grim-and-gritty and self-aware-scenery-chewing. Jada Pinkett Smith is glorious as Fish Mooney, for instance.

6. The Blacklist is back! And still fairly ridiculous in its plot convolutions! But I enjoyed the season premiere, and hope it continues in this vein.

7. I gave up on Doctor Who. I watched every episode of the season so far. The last two, “The Caretaker” and the heist one whose title is escaping me, were glowingly reviewed in a number of places on the internet. Best of the season, folks said. A resurgence of good writing and acting. So if it’s not working for me? Well, it’s just not working for me. Perhaps I’ll pick it up next season.

8. Gravity Falls! I like this show a lot. And I turned the kids on to it, and they also love it. Victory!

9. I thought the Agents of SHIELD season premiere was interesting. Lots of set-up, little delivery. The show is CLEARLY playing a very long MCU game and is willing to string the audience along. Since I am a veteran comics reader I understand this pacing, and accept it. So far. Also, I really love the connected MCU and the various guest appearances.

10. I haven’t watched the Once Upon a Time season premiere yet. I have COMPLICATED FANNISH FEELINGS about that show, and it takes me a while to work up to it, emotionally. :crazy fan is crazy:

… Is that it? I feel that I’m forgetting something. Hrm.

Well, that’s it for not, anyway!


Watching Criminal Minds for the first time

The tv series Criminal Minds is on NetFlix! Finally! So I am watching it!

Guest stars spotted that I know from other things:

Francis Capra (Veronica Mars)
Paula Malcolmson (Caprica)
Jane Lynch (Wreck-It Ralph, Glee, everything)
James Van Der Beek (Dawson’s Creek)
Lukas Haas (Lady in White)
Keith Carradine (Deadwood, everything)
Amy Madigan (everything)
Erica Gimpel (Fame, Veronica Mars, everything)
DJ Qualls
Jason Beghe
Lindsay Crouse
Gregory Cruz
Amber Heard (Zombieland)
Anton Yelchin (Star Trek)
Michael Cudlitz
Kate Jackson (Charlie’s Angels, everything)
David Ramsey (Arrow)
Laura Allen (Terriers)

And that’s just so far.



Stanislav Petrov Day

Today is Stanislav Petrov Day.

Today, in 1983, Stanislav Petrov saved the world from nuclear annihilation.

Never, ever let anyone make you think that the actions of individual humans make no difference to the world. You matter. I matter. We are all vitally important.

Thank you, Stanislav Petrov, for allowing us all to live.


No news

I went to the Mayo Clinic.

They have no idea what is wrong with me, on a first intake exam.

They will pass my info around until someone sees something that looks familiar.

I am a wee bit stressed about this.




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