new products not recommended

November 30, 2005

On Sunday night, I gave in to the temptation presented on the bottom shelf of the teas aisle at the co-op and bought a carton of Oregon Chai Nog concentrate. (Actually, for a treat, go to the Oregon main page and watch the silly 5-second animated intro.)

Two wonderful things, combined into one? How could it go wrong?

Well, for starts, it could taste nasty.

At first I followed the directions and used a 1-to-1 ratio of soy milk and the concentrate, and it sort of tasted like storebought nog mixed with nail polish or something. Then I eased the concentration a bit and diluted it with more milk, and I got it to a manageable, somewhat palatable stage. And of course I’ll finish it even though it’s kinda gross. But I won’t buy it again, and I’d suggest that, unless you like nasty things.

More importantly, scope out the whole Oregon Chai website. Advice for the tea concentrate magnates: Don’t tell me to help you get “chai” in the dictionary. “Chai” is in a lot of dictionaries, as it is the word for tea in most of East Asia. Also, don’t tell me to nourish my yin OR elevate my yang, much less both at once. You’re appropriating and marginalizing someone else’s culture (the culture of several billion people actually) to try to sell me a fucking sweet drink that doesn’t really even remotely resemble what that culture would expect to recieve if they asked for the product by its name.


it’s me who does that.

November 28, 2005

An unusual and overwhelming conspiracy of disparate forces resulted in my failure last night to sleep at all (so far as i can remember — I may in fact have put in a cat nap’s worth around 6:30 or something), and my agonizingly painful right ankle affliction today, and a terrifying left hand cramp this evening that I thought might be the undoing of me. I am convinced of a bodily revolt being carried out against me by my own physicality.

Also, this morning, I was moved to brief sad-happy-sleep-deprived tears by the following opening line from a song:

if you take this away i have no one to escort my fears to the place i have built as my fear-fort

Then I was moved to a brief sad-happy-sleep-deprived smile by the closing line of the same song:

in bed do you lay under an afghan humming and wait to find if the day ends without a massive array of self-deprecations? oh no wait, no it’s me who does that.

lurkin’ 9 to 5

November 27, 2005

This morning’s Post-Gazette Forum section featured a few things of interest, front-and-center being a reprint of an article from the Washington Post by David Vise, whose new book on Google is coming out soon. While his angle on the matter is perhaps not in line with mine (I couldn’t care less about the “business status quo”) he makes some good points about the way in which Google treats its workers and gathers personal information about people (although I certainly didn’t have to give anyone a cell phone number to get a gmail account; if I did, they’d be out of luck). So, recommended reading: What lurks in the soul of Google?

(Duly Noted Irony #1: I of course used Google to track down the full text of the article. Duly Noted Irony #2: Once you click the link to the Post site, you have to contend with a number of ads, including one of those ones that pops up in the window but in front of the text you’re trying to read. What lurks in YOUR soul, Wash Post?)

Most of my holiday weekend was spent with Julia Kristeva, if only in a figurative sense (sigh). I’m stoked to finally be delving into Revolution in Poetic Language, as I’ve been familiar with the general jist of it for a while but have been too intimidated to try to actually tackle it. I don’t have a background in a lot of the seemingly prerequisite stuff (phenomenology, Saussure, Husserl, even Hegel), and I don’t even know where to start with all that (or if I could handle it), but I’m pleased to report that in between slogging through entire chapters of near-gibberish, I occasionally (and with increasing frequency) hit an important paragraph and basically get what she’s saying. Congratulations to me.

Otherwise, a lot of family, and friends, and Apples to Apples, and apple pie, and relaxing. I watched the History Channel and the Match Game 1979 and Book TV on CSPAN-2 and wished a little that I had cable at my house. Now back to important things. I guess.

oh, you’re a holiday

November 23, 2005

I had intended to write you many things in the past few days, about the radio, about my impending state of agoraphobia, about sleep and dreams, but it seems that those things (well, replace “the radio” with “a frenzied amount of stuff at work”) have taken up my time, and I’ve not done so. And now it’s nearly time for me to head back to the parents’ (again). There I will eat food, see children, re-read the rest of Dubliners and hopefully read some or all of this Kristeva book. And I’ll definitely take care of the last few pages of Embroderies (thus far it’s been enjoyable but not nearly as breathtaking as either of the Persepolises) (Persepoli?).

Enjoy your holiday. Perhaps I will issue a communique or two over the weekend. Perhaps I won’t. You’ll keep hitting “refresh” because there’s no other way to know for sure.

my weekend to a tea

November 20, 2005

This weekend, I made the unfortunate mistake of venturing into Monroeville. I never thought I would be one to complain about this sort of thing, but honestly, I’ve been pushed too far. It is NOT Christmas yet.

I went in search of nothing in particular, which may have been my first mistake. I was at my parents’ house, got a little bugged out about something I couldn’t do much about, and, since I couldn’t really take a walk to clear my mind (at least not without risking my neck in the midst of the Watkin’s Glen-style road racing), I opted to cruise into the capital capital of the eastern suburbs. In the car, I had to pump in a CD or two because there was Christmas music on the only station that I would consider to be half-decent on the radio anymore.

I tried Goodwill, but it was Super Saturday, the alliterative event in which everyone gets half off everything. I couldn’t handle the preponderance of patrons, so I skedaddled to Gabriel Brothers, skipping out on Michael’s because, while I could use some arty stuff, I’m pretty sure every Saturday is a Super Saturday there.

Gabes’ parking lot was full up. This set my spidey sense a-tinglin’, not so much because I didn’t want to walk the distance I would have to after I parked in the last available space, but because I knew what I would encounter inside. And I did.

Pairs and threesomes walking slowly, blocking entire aisles. Individuals on their cellular phones, describing belts to their significant others. Tons of people in the market for long underwear. Animated Santas. Christmas music piped in to get us in the spending spirit. A man wearing a pair of glasses with the tag still on, obscuring his vision, ASKING ANOTHER MAN TO READ THE SIZE OF A PAIR OF PANTS FOR HIM.

I scurried back to the car, figurative tail between my legs, and made for Giant Eagle, where another sort of holiday rush was on. The organic/veg selection there always makes my toes curl, offsetting the fact that I couldn’t find any peppers (of any sort), and I was sketched by the dude giving out samples of Kashi cereal.

One good find was an assorted carton of black teas from Twinings, with which I was previously unacquainted. Perhaps I’ve been living under an Oolong rock. Regardless, I’m a fan. (Lady Grey tea? What a blend! Where have you been all my life?)

Otherwise, I spent a great deal of time sleeping, which is my new (rediscovered?) passion and pastime. Seriously. A good 10-11 hours a night, supplemented today by a short afternoon nap. I can attribute it to the mono now, but honestly it’s not that far off from my normal needs.

The following things have been on my mind today:

– My spleen. It’s been feeling a little tender/uncomfortable the past few days, and especially today. This comes with the territory of having mono — it tends to become enlarged. I’m not playing drums for a while for fear that it might burst, and I’m attempting to avoid impacts to my abdominal area.

– The bandmates are playing tomorrow night at Roboto with html, Richard Potter’s new band thing, and a band called Commando Kelly. Do go. I don’t think I will be making it, as I will be going home again for the weekend and nursing my spleen.

– Also, Aydin are releasing their album Saturday night at Modernformations and Dan Higgs is doing something-or-other at Garfield Artworks at the same time and it’ll cost you $10 total for both and if I weren’t out of sorts and worried about my spleen, I’d be all over that.

– Be warned, the annual Torley Street Holiday Mixtape Potluck is coming, December 18. If you’re interested and don’t know our address etc., shoot me an e-mail and we’ll work it out. The deal: bring food if you can (vegetarian, preferably but not necessarily vegan), friends if they’re willing, and a mixtape if you want to walk away with one that someone else made. We will drink vegan egg nogs of sorts, but I won’t be imbibing of the alcohol for fear that it may affect my liver, which is right next to my spleen, which is already enlarged.

now is not the time.

November 16, 2005

Since when is Peter Parker concerned with bioethics? Or ethics of any sort, for that matter? This guy is made of half spider DNA. He takes advantage of the superhuman traits he was given accidentally. Is that okay? Has he ever considered that? This is the man who swoops down upon “bad guys” on no more evidence than his “Spidey Sense.” He kicks ass and usually doesn’t even bother taking names. Does he have the RIGHT to do that? Now a dude stole his damn blood and is about to try to patent it, and he’s worried about his RIGHTS?