Raising the bar...

Okay, you're right. Blogging about my colon is in poor taste.

I'm trying to come out of the closet with this blog and there are so many off limit topics. I can't bust on tennis people, or neighbors, members of the PTO or my relatives...when I start talking politics everyone gets fired up. I know you're tired of hearing about my puppy, or how much I love Diet Coke. If I were dating me, I'd dump me! (There I go again, talking about "dumping!")

Someone told me that writing about not being able to write is lame. But that doesn't stop me.

I'm clearly I'm out of good blogging ideas.

I need something that can't get me into trouble with ANYONE.

How does one go about creating an interesting blog without trashing anyone, using potty talk or revealing embarrassing family secrets?

Help me out here people! Give me some suggestions for topics. I'll take anything you've got!!!

Enough with the poopy talk!

I know I've hit rock bottom, I've resorted to talking about the lowest common denominator...isn't that what 3 year olds do?? As my husband stated, since I have 2 children, 3 dogs and a cat, excrement is a very big part of my life, but that doesn't mean you need to keep hearing about it.

Let's move onto something a bit more pleasant...

Yesterday I was thrilled and honored to get a SWEET award from my buddy Stacey over at The Life of Sass.

Every Friday she writes about her favorite blogs, and this week she picked me!!!

Is that cool or what?

If you want to check out a blog written by an extremely clever, hip young mom, head on over the The Life of Sass. She has my blog beat by a mile!

The Proust Questionnaire

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Drinking red wine while sailing down the Guadalquivir River in Spain.

What is your current state of mind?
Pensively realistic.

What is your greatest fear?
That I won't take the right risks in life.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

What is your greatest extravagance?

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

What is it that you most dislike?
Thinly-veiled racism parading as "cultural awareness".

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
My pinkie fingers.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
"Epic fail"

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My family.

When and where were you happiest?
My 21st birthday party.

Which talent would you most like to have?
I would like to be an exceptional violinist.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Becoming a Peer Educator.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I'm pretty comfortable with who I am.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what do you think it would be?
A willow tree.

What is your most treasured possession?
My grandmother's wedding band.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Depression and losing loved ones who were in recovery.

What is your most marked characteristic?
Being opinionated.

What do you most value in your friends?

Who are your favorite writers?
Plath & Faulkner.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Sydney Carton.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Maria Theresa of Austria.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Lech Wałęsa, Muhammad Yunus,and Yulia Tymoshenko.

How would you like to die?
On the shores of the Arabian Sea at sunset.

Stupidity Count 2:

At the beginning of this week, a question quota of 3 questions per class was established. This was only enforced when it came to raise-hand questions and not questions and comments volunteered; it seems to have had a bit of an effect, though.

1/26/09: 4
1/28/09: 6
1/30/09: 6

This kid, however, told me that he's simply waiting until we get to medieval warfare before he's going to take the teacher down.

I noticed that he's also not on the Dean's List. And it's not too terribly hard to get on it.

I'm flattered that you thought of me...

I received a rather unappealing invitation from my sister today. She asked me to participate in a MASTER CLEANSE with her.

Apparently I drink the following drink.

* 2 Tablespoons of organic lemon juice

* 2 Tablespoons of organic grade B maple syrup

* 1/10 Teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

* 10 oz of filtered water

6-12 servings a day every day for 10 days.

The diet promises to:
  • You'll normalize your appetite and metabolism so your body can comfortably adjust to it's ideal weight for your size naturally
  • Your suppressed hormone levels will be restored so every cell in your body will be charged with youth giving and feel good hormones
  • There will be a natural shift away from unhealthy habits--without will power
  • You'll cleanse and detox your entire body--the pounds of waste built up over the years will be released in just 10 days
  • Reduced internal inflammation, which will ease aching joints
  • Your energy levels will sore
  • And much more...
Apparently there is all kinds of yucky stuff in my intestines, if you get grossed out easily, STOP READING.
  • It's common to pass pounds of waste in just 10 days on the Master Cleanse, and not the normal kind of waste. It's often black as tar -- The hardened phlegm and mucus comes out like long chunks of rubber -- The waste comes out holding the shape of the inside of your intestine because it's been inside you for years.

    It's also common to pass marble sized gallstones which are green and yellow balls of hardened cholesterol that can block the bile ducts from the liver to the small intestine which can be fatal if you don't remove them.

    How can you live with all this sickening waste clogging up your body?

    I know it's gross, but as you unceremoniously expel this waste you'll feel absolutely amazing. Your body will hum with a lightness and renewed energy that you can't get from drugs, exercise, supplements, or any colon cleansing kit.

Hmmm. I like the idea of getting all the gross stuff that's spackled in my guts out, but this sounds extreme.

Have you ever heard of this? Have you ever done it? I don't think I'm capable.

Do I care? Do YOU care?

So, this Sunday is SUPERBOWL SUNDAY. Do I care? Not really. I was hoping for an Eagles-Ravens Superbowl. Since that didn't happen...I have no interest.

What I am interested in, however, is The Australian Open. Too interested. I've been up way too late the past few nights watching all the drama. I LOVE IT. Can you imagine playing singles in 130 degree heat?? I'd be dead after 3 games.

Saturday is the ladies final and Sunday is the men's finals. YAY!! So much fun.
Superbowl, who cares? Give me Serena, Venus, Roger and Andy any day of the week.

Except of course for the half time show with my buddy BRUCE!

Today was a snow day here in coastal Jersey. I stayed in all day, so I didn't have any opportunities to get into trouble. Life has been kind of boring lately.

Tomorrow is a brand new day. I'll be playing tennis, maybe I'll hit someone with the ball and get into a fight. One can only hope.

YouTube: Enabling Procrastination!

So, I have a major obsession with YouTube. Anytime I'm bored, it's there for me providing me with endless hours of copyright-infringing entertainment, snarky video bloggers, or whatever else my little heart desires. Here's a list of my current favorites from YouTube:

Thunder Perfect Mind: A Prada commercial featuring Daria Werbowy reciting a Gnostic manuscript poem...what else could you ask for?

Karl Lagerfeld for H&M: Kaiser Karl brushes the haters off with his ad for his affordable line for Swedish fashion giant H&M.

Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette: A perfect combination of the excesses of pre-Revolutionary France and the music of the decade of excess: The 1980s.

Edie Sedgwick's Ciao Manhattan! Tapes: Warhol's supernova of a superstar whose self destruction made her infamous describes her experiences. A powerful look at a counter-culture icon.

Escada's Moon Sparkle ad: I applaud whoever decided to have the models make a breezy techno track that plays in the ad, especially since they told Mat Gordon to "rap" spelling Moon Sparkle. Tupac would be proud.

Two Oolong Jars

Two new Oolong jars from the kiln, both designed with storage in mind.

First, a multicolor jian-style glazed jar with slip applique:

Great Red Spot jar

Great Red Spot jar - spot detailGreat Red Spot jar - side detail

Great Red Spot jar - interior

Great Red Spot jar - lid knob

Second, a soft brown glazed dual-lid storage jar with green glaze accents:

Mint Chocolate Oolong Storage Jar

Mint Chocolate Oolong Storage Jar - alternate viewMint Chocolate Oolong Storage Jar - outer lid view

Mint Chocolate Oolong Storage Jar - glaze detail

Mint Chocolate Oolong Storage Jar - inner lid

That is all! I'm off to Atlanta on Thursday for my first business school interview. Wish me luck!

I'm at a loss...

Seriously, I've got nothing...except a couple of traffic gripes.

I do alot of local driving, so I've got a million of them.

Don't you love when you're poised to pull out into traffic and someone trying to be nice "waves you on?" So you decide rather than trust "the wave" you look both ways before proceeding. As you look you notice a large truck traveling at a high rate of speed barreling toward you. You glance back and the "nice person" gets annoyed. They're sign language reads..."I'm waving you on...GO!!!"

Thanks pal, but I think I'll wait another 5 seconds rather than GUN the minivan with my 2 precious daughters in the back seat, just because you're NICE enough to tell me to.

And don't get me started on tailgaters. Seriously, they should be drawn and quartered. When someone is driving 2 inches from my bumper, I take it down to one m.p.h. BELOW the speed limit and turn on my hazards. It not only infuriates the tailgater, it also serves to confuse the hell out of them.

Meanwhile some other Jersey blogger is writing something like this...

"Don't you hate when you're at an intersection and you try to be courteous, so you wave some middle aged chick in a minivan on. And then the stupid woman looks all worried and sees a truck coming, so she won't go!!! C'mon lady. Just do what I tell you! I'm being nice for god's sake!!!

Then later on you're in a rush to get to work and the same bimbo is driving down a residential street going like 3 m.p.h over the speed limit!! C'mon sister, I'm in a hurry here!! Speed up or I'll ride your ass... Then..the crazy woman SLOWS DOWN and flips on her hazards.WTF???!!! So now, I'm mad and confused. These women really need to learn how to drive."

Tomorrow I'll try to do something interesting. But I'm not making any promises.

25 Fascinating Facts about Moi

I was tagged on Facebook by my good bloggy friend Clemson Girl to write 25 things about me.
I figure if I'm going to do it I might as well get a blog post out of it.

Let's see if I'm up for this.

1. People tell me their secrets. I don't know what it is about me. For some reason my friends and acquaintances feel comfortable telling me things that others know nothing about. Maybe they don't care what I think. Or they think that whatever they've done, I've probably done something worse. Who know? I try very hard not to be judgemental. And to only give advice when asked.

2. I have two sisters who I love very much. We are so different, yet so much alike. We always have a great time when we're together and I am so thankful that we are so close.

3. I go through phases with my personal style. About 3 years ago I went through a preppy phase and now I have a closet full of Lilly stuff that I can't stand.

4. I have had more hair colors in my life than Lindsay Lohan. Some of the less desirable shades include bright red, fuchsia and green/grey. All results of very bad choices at the Rite-Aid.

5. I love my dogs but they make my life extremely chaotic. Every time the doorbell rings I have to run around trying to catch them and coral them into the back yard. It's kind of pathetic.

6. I have diagnosed myself with adult A.D.H.D.

7. If I didn't live in New Jersey, I would like to live in North or South Carolina, Northern California or of course Maryland, near my sisters. I love Vermont, but would have to head south from November until March.

8. I absolutely love Manhattan and if I had enough money I'd love to have a little apartment there.

9. I used to dream of being a writer for "Saturday Night Live" for a short time in my twenties I wrote and performed sketch comedy and improv and hung out with alot of stand up comics.

10. I used to do print ads and voice over work. I always played a young mom, nurse or yuppie.

11. I'm learning that I don't always have to give my opinion and that sometimes the best thing to say is nothing at all. (Although I still make some mistakes!!)

12. I have sick sense of humor and love movies like "Something About Mary," "Mean Girls," "Napoleon Dynamite," and "You, Me and Dupree."

13. I love talk radio. When I drive around I rarely listen to music and usually have the radio tuned to Dr. Joy Browne, Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity. (Yes, all you liberals out there...I LIKE conservative talk show hosts!!)

14. Some of my liberal friends tell me how surprised they are that I tend to vote Republican. I think I'm a disappointment to them. I have to explain that all Republicans are not greedy war obsessed fascists, who don't care about anyone but themselves. Luckily most of them respect my opinions, just as I respect theirs.

15. Some of my favorite treats are Swedish Fish, Starbucks Cinnamon Dulce Lattes, Herbal Tea and of course my major addiction, fountain Diet Coke.

16. I love spending time with people that I can debate with. I enjoy hearing others' opinions and discussing both sides of an issue. My husband is one of my favorite people to debate, although we usually agree on politics and religion.

17. I love Dr. Wayne Dyer and listen to his CDs all the time. Here are some of my favorite Dr. Wayne quotes...

"People who want the most approval get the least and people who need approval the least get the most."

"Simply put, you believer that things or people make you unhappy, but this is not accurate. You make yourself unhappy.

"Judgements prevent us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances."

There are tons more, just go to his website...drwaynedyer.com

18. I can't stand the show "The View" I find it absolutely impossible to watch. What an annoying group of women. Yes, I can't even watch Elisabeth.

19. I hate to admit this...but I'm reading "Twilight" and finding it very slow. Am I the only one?

20. My favorite female tennis pro is Amelie Mauresmo, I also like Ana Ivanovic. My favorite male, Rafael Nadal although Federer's game is absolutely flawless..

21. When I'm bored I play with my hair. It drives my husband crazy. I told him I'll stop when he stops biting his nails.

22. I'm immature that way.

23. My girl's love the show iCarly. I can't stand it!! The acting stinks, it's not funny and they scream all the time. I very much prefer Hannah Montana. Jackson is so darn funny.

24. I love where I live. I've lived in this town for almost 12 years and I have never had the desire to move away. I love the river, the beaches, the schools and most of the people. I actually have nightmares about moving away.

25. I used to be a huge party animal and loved to go out at least 4 times a week. When I hit 30 I became a complete homebody and only go crazy once or twice a year at most.

If you feel at a loss for blogging material, please go ahead and do this. Let me know if you do, I want to know more about all of you!!!

Every second wasted is a second I'm counting: a semester-long saga of stolen time

The humanities are a very special department within any institution of higher learning. No, it's not the Socrates, it's not that we'll all be living in cardboard boxes after graduation. It's the larger percentage of idiots with a pathological urge to voice their (wrong) opinions in each class. Some classes are designed for undergraduates to spout off their views, be they about how bad it is that Christianity 'runs' the government in the US, global warming, their love for how Buddhism ran the government in Tibet, or fair trade coffee. Those are seminar classes. Upper-level History, however, is not one of them. It is generally understood that in a normal history class, the student listens to the teacher, takes down thoughtful notes, and asks questions only when he doesn't catch all of what the teacher has said.

I've been keeping tally of how many times this one intellectual giant (ha) has asked 'deep' rhetorical questions, such as, "Did it ever occur to historians during the '70s that ..." or "I don't mean to say your theory isn't true, but let me offer a better one.." This kid is wasting my time and money.

I introduce to you the countdown to epic failure:

1/23/09: 13
1/21/09: 14

An Infinite Closet

Ever wanted an endless closet or to go on a shopping spree to all your favorite stores? Who hasn't? While until recently this idea was a mere fantasy, thanks to the lovely Polyvore this dream is now at your fingertips online.

Find me on Polyvore

Some samples of my Polyvore sets.

Unlike a typical closet or store, Polyvore makes constructing the perfect wardrobe simple by allowing a user to chose clothing and accessories by type, color, or website origin. You can also choose from a wide variety of backgrounds and other accessories to make a complete editorial look. Polyvore is perfect for both the clotheshorse and window shopper alike.

Things that disturb me

1. Chinese restaurants that I have never been to.

2. Bodily secretions.

3. The fact that when you're eating, you're really just putting stuff in your head.

4. Using a public restroom that appears to be empty except for you, and then hearing a high-pitched giggle.

5. Tapioca.

6. The 'presidential pledge' fad, as started by Ashton Kutcher. I haven't exactly sworn by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, but pledging oaths and promises to an elected official is just kind of creepy. It's got that 1930s Germany vibe to it.

7. Mimes.

8. People who use their cellphone headsets in the restroom.

9. Porcelain dolls.

10. Knowing that there are thousands of nematodes on basically everything.

11. Decorative, non-lingerie underwear.

Closing the can of worms...(for now)

The response to my last post gave me a little chuckle.  Bringing up the inauguration blew the condom issue right out of the water.  I have one more comment about the inauguration.

I thought Aretha was awesome.  The hat was a bit much, but her performance was very moving, in my humble opinion.

Now onto something all Americans agree is hilarious.  FACEINHOLE.COM

One of my buddies posted some on her Facebook page and it cracked me up!!

Here are some of my creations...

My first attempt was Elle Woods from Legally Blonde.  As you can see, I need some work on my cutting and pasting skills.

Oops!  I did it again...only this one looks pretty good!  My head on Brit's bod.  I likey!
Stay tuned for more.  

I love this stuff!!  If you do it, let me know.  I caution you.  This is yet another distraction from the things you are supposed to be doing.  

Don't say I didn't warn you.
 I told myself, told myself, that I would not let myself get too wrapped in whether I get accepted into graduate school.  But, I just can't help it!

The more I think about living in Salt Lake, Seattle, Iowa City, or Pullman, the more excited I become! 

Here's the deal, though.  I applied to four very, very, very competitive programs.  Iowa is, by far, the most competitive.  Then, U of Utah.  Then, UW. Then, WSU.  WSU, which is the least competitive out of the schools (besides BSU) still only takes 10 out of 100 applicants!

I need to remind myself to be.  Just be!  Don't stress, don't stress, don't stress.  Enjoy the process.

Uh, right.  :)

The great "Calm Down" incident...

This guilt thing that I should be doing something "productive" is really getting in the way of my blogging. That and my newest addiction Facebook, which I'm getting over already. ( I told you I had a short attention span!)

Anyway, we were talking about how to handle a delicate situation with a 5th grader when we last met.

You all had some great perspectives on how you would address this matter.

Bottom line is my friend told her daughter that she was glad she came to her for information. She told her that she shouldn't be discussing stuff like that with her friend and that yes, sometimes moms and dads use something called birth control to prevent having a baby. She also told her she had never heard of a "calm down."

It ended there. (For now.)

I'm pretty open with my daughters when they have questions. As Zibbs said, I try to keep it pretty clinical, but I'm not going to freak out if they hear something at school. It would be naive to think that kids in 4th and 5th grade don't know at least something about sex.

I would much rather have my child be the one hearing stuff, than have her be the one telling My worst nightmare is getting a phone call from an irrate parent telling me that Meg gave her child a complete run down on "how babies are made." When I tell her things I ask her to keep it just between us. I'm sure she doesn't listen all the time.

I actually have a neighbor who called the elementary school principal to scream at him because her 6 year old daughter heard the word "vagina" from someone at school. She had never heard that word before at home! She told the principal that her son who is in 4th grade doesn't even know that word! I give the principal credit because he told her, "With all due respect ma'am. I'm sure your son does know that word, he just won't let you know that he does." HA!

I think parents have to face facts that kids are curious and they are going to ask questions. They are ALSO going to goof around and get silly about it sometimes. It's natural.

Alright, I'm done talking about that.

I think I'll open a can of worms. How 'bout that Inauguration? It's amazing what a production you can pull together with $150 million dollars.

The Obamas really know how to put on a show!!!

Now if I had that kind of dough, I might consider doing something a little more low key and take the rest of the loot and use it to help people who really need it. But hey, it's his money and if he wants to use it to throw a huge, ostentatious bash, who am I to tell him what to do with his money?

Wuyi Duet: Will's Bei Dou and Jing Tea Shop 2004 Bei Dou

I wish I had taken more photos of these teas.

Last Sunday, we drank these two Bei Dou Wuyi oolongs to break up the pu'er sessions and freshen up our palates.

Will brewin 2

The first tea was sourced from a local farm not located on the Wuyi Scenic Area. Its roasting falls on the high end of medium fire, still a bit green. However, its nicely high oxidation made it fruity in addition to roasty, and only a bit bitter.

The second is Jing Tea Shop's Aged Bei Dou (2004). We drank this in between the two pu'er sessions. The scent was roasty and sweet. After 4-5 years, it indeed tasted aged with a dried fruit flavor that went a little sour, maybe from being in humid Guangzhou. Spicy, too: Davin noted black pepper. I really enjoyed it.

Wuyi pot

What would YOU do?

I debated putting this post up, because it's a bit inappropriate, but it's kind of funny. Unfortunately 5th graders talk about LOTS of stuff, whether we like it or not. Especially when they have older siblings.

A friend of mine's 10 year old daughter came home from school the other day and asked a very surprising question.

"Mom, Elizabeth told me that there is this thing that a dad puts on his you know what if he's going to have sex with the mom and they don't want to have a baby. It's called a "Calm Down."

Whoa! Talk about whisper down the lane!!

How would you handle this?

I'll tell you what my friend said in the next post.

Foodstuffs that I rarely eat but have mad cravings for often

1. Pierogis

2. Falafel

3. Chili's Southwestern Eggrolls

4. Bagel Bites

5. Bagels and Lox

6. Macaroni and Cheese (I like the cheap stuff out of the box the most)


Stress attack! Stres attack! I really need to move out. The ast few days have consisted of a variety of famioy affairs and I have decided now to take a long vacation in Vanuatu. Not realy, but I feel like I need to. Living with the parents, hanging out with Aidens two sets of parents, working with the parents etc.

Anyway, I am feeling the need to compile a list (such a frequent occurence, I know). So here goes:

Things I like about Brisbane:

1. Travelling anywhere is about a thousand times easier than it is in Sydney;
2. Things are cheaper here. Though I am crying about having to pay the same amount of rent as we were in a tiny tiny apartment in Freshwater, realistically we're paying for a 3brm house, yard etc;
3. It brings back nostalgic imagery from such movies as "he died with a felafel in his hand";
4. Big old Queenslanders;
5. Mountainbiking is pretty sweet here;
6. Mt Nebo climb; and,
7. Coffee culture is a few years behind Sydney, but there are a few gems once you have them nutted out.

Things I don't like about Brisbane:

1. It can be pretty fucking hot, I am not going to lie;
2. It's closer to parents, and there's a lotta family time going on;
3. I just want a fucking cute Queenslander in my price range—is that too much to ask?;
4. Fucking people! Everywhere...not just regular people, but people that I know from school etc. I bump into on average about 3 a day. If I want to see people from school I would contact them. There's a reason I moved to Sydney;
5. The average coffee is just that—average;
6. There is an abundance of scary-looking hubbards with tri-bars on their hybrids.

Anyway, seven versus six. Brisbane still wins.

Pu'er Competition Tasting - Six Sheng Bing from 2007-2008

As mentioned, Will of the Teadrunk Forum, Roy, Davin and I met up on Sunday to taste six sheng pu'er bing from 2007-2008.

Our setup:

Puer Competition Tasting 2008 teas - Setup 1

Six 150ml (?) tasting sets and spoons. Preheated with boiling water and decanted. 3g of tea would steep for 5 minutes, then be decanted in succession. We preceded the session with some roasty oolong to prepare our palates, and kept hot water around to clean our mouths between teas. Will also provided some olive oil, which he and I took shots of when we felt our palates began to converge the flavors of the different teas.

The candidates all came from Will's Yunnan Sourcing sample collection. Included in the mix were the 2008 Yong Pin Hao Lan Xiang, 2008 Xiaguan FT Nanzhao Round Cake, 2008 Xiaguan FT Exquisite Elegance, 2008 Shuang Yi ("Hai Lang Hao") Star of Bulang, a 2007 Yong Zhen Qing Bing, and 2008 Menghai 7542-801.

Sample A
Puer Competition Tasting 2008 teas - Sample A

Sample B
Puer Competition Tasting 2008 teas - Sample B

Sample C
Puer Competition Tasting 2008 teas - Sample C

Sample D
Puer Competition Tasting 2008 teas - Sample D

Sample E
Puer Competition Tasting 2008 teas - Sample D

Sample F
Puer Competition Tasting 2008 teas - Sample F

We all remarked on the smoky smell of "factory" green pu'er when we decanted the teas. The smell threatened to become too strong, so we left the leaves in the lidded tasting mugs, lid on, to limit its influence our olfactory perception.

Puer Competition Tasting 2008 teas - Tasting 3

I had some fun trying to guess which were the "factory" cakes--the Xiaguan FT and Menghai 7542--and which were the smaller productions (Shuang Yi and Yong Pin Hao). While I couldn't place exactly the factory, I guessed from the smoky roughness of teas B through E that they were probably the large factories, with A and F having the least smokiness and a more gentle strength.

It turns out I was mostly right. Tea F was the Yong Pin Hao cake. Tea A was the Yong Zhen Qing Bing, which I know nothing about and don't see on the YSLLC storefront. What surprised all of us most of all was that the Hai Lang Hao / Shuang Yi cake was one of the smokiest and roughest teas. Here are our notes:

Sample A: 2007 Yong Zhen Qing Bing
Scent of after processing smoke. Not too bitter. Nicer flavor than the initial scent. Good after taste. Perhaps a blended leaf? Medium-sized and broken leaf.

Sample B: 2008 Menghai Dayi 7542 Batch 801
Smells and tastes like factory tea. Smoky, fruity, and a little sour. Not that bitter, though. Tastes similar to C. Wet leaf is tiny little bits.

Sample C: 2008 Hai Lang Hao Star of Bulang
Thick. Broth transitions from oily in the mouth to dry. More interesting after taste. Little bit sour? Tastes similar to B, but more bitter. Side note - according to Scott, the maocha in this is actually from 2005. Also, it’s not really a Hai Lang Hao cake; it’s a joint production with another vendor. Small leafed.

Sample D: 2008 Xiaguan FT Nan Zhao Round Cake
Bitter. Smooth. Smoky. Round citrus. Bitter aftertaste. Jason guessed it as a Menghai factory tea [oops!]. Distinct after taste. Roy says it tastes like the Pacific North West. Mix of little bits and medium leaves, but mostly the former.

Sample E: 2008 Xiaguan FT "Exquisite Elegance"
Sour with some cigarette. Light scent. Bread mold or dust. Same as D in leaf quality.

Sample F: 2008 Yong Pin Hao "Lán Xiāng"(兰香)Wild Arbor
Least like a factory tea. More herbal. Astringent at the end. Most whole leaf of any of the teas. Largest leaves of the bunch.

Personally, I liked teas F, D, and A in that order. I disliked teas C and E. I thought B was good but maybe too much like dianhong to be convinceably wholly da ye varietal.

But this opinion probably doesn't amount to much: none of us are particularly accostumed to competition-style tasting. I yoinked Will's samples to brew them gongfu at home, and will post anything interesting later.

Puer Competition Tasting 2008 teas - Leaves 1
From top to bottom: C, D, E, F

Pu'er Competition Tasting - Three 1999 Menghai Factory Qing Bing

This past Sunday, Will of the Teadrunk Forum, Roy, Davin and I met up to taste a lot of sheng pu'er while drinking as little of it as possible. After doing a a blind competition tasting of eight young sheng bing, we moved onto these three 1999 Menghai factory teas:

Sample A:
Puer Competition Tasting 1999 Teas - Sample A (2)

Sample B:
Puer Competition Tasting 1999 Teas - Sample B (2)

Sample C:
Puer Competition Tasting 1999 Teas - Sample C (2)

The setup was three competition tasting sets. They were preheated with boiling water and decanted in the succession they were filled. We used 3g of tea brewed for 5 minutes. We attempted to create roughly equal samples in terms of the proportion of chunks to loose leaves.

Puer Competition Tasting 1999 Teas - Decanted 3

This is the result, from top to bottom the teas are A, B, and C.

Sample A
We all remarked that A's darker color probably meant it underwent the most humid storage. Unsurprisingly, it gave off some mold smell on the tasting spoon. However, it did not taste as wet stored as it smelled until it cooled significantly, which was nice. Will and I instantly felt a rush of energy on our first sip, but otherwise the tea didn't offer much. Its flavors were relatively flat.

Sample B
Sample B tasted dry stored and young. Despite its age, the flavor had developed some fruit and just a bit of wood. It easily tasted the most complex of the three and had a good aftertaste. The dry storage made Will remark that of the three, this was his favorite.

Sample C
I liked Sample C best. It underwent slightly more humid storage than B and showed more development of wood and earth notes, but still complex enough in young ways (straw, a little smoke, bitterness on the tongue root).

Puer Competition Tasting 1999 Teas - Leaves

Here are their brewed leaves. It might appear the white balance is off between photos, but it's a trick of the eye. Sample A's leaves are darker, B's the lightest, and C's brown.

Puer Competition Tasting 1999 Teas - Leaf A

Puer Competition Tasting 1999 Teas - Leaf B

Puer Competition Tasting 1999 Teas - Leaf C

Unfortunately for me, tea C is the most expensive, over $400. Teas A & B are roughly equivalent in price, around $150-$180.

The teas are:

A: 1999 Menghai 7542, Sampan Tea
B: 1999 Menghai Big Green Tree, Sampan Tea
C: 1999 Menghai Big Green Tree "Dark Blue Piao", Hou De Asian Art

I'm getting over it...

Okay, so maybe people are going to find out about my blog.

So what? I should be proud right?

Having a blog is a cool thing. (At least I think so.)

I only vent against those who deserve it, so if they read it and don't like it. F-em.

Let the chips fall where they may.

Alright, back to business.

Last year I did recaps of "The Real Housewives of Orange County."

Unfortunately I am unable to do an in-depth analysis of the show this year, but I DO feel compelled to comment on the last episode.

HOW ABOUT THAT GRETCHEN!!!? Gorgeous girl, no doubt, but I have NEVER seen such a gold digger in my life! Her fiance is nuts. Joan Rivers is right. Men and stupid and like big boobs. They will do anything for a hot piece of ass. There's your proof.

He doesn't even CARE that she is only in it for the money. So I guess it works out for everyone, except, of course, his five previous wives and their offspring.


WSU/Washington State/Wazzu

So, I did a "campus visit" today at WSU, or Washington State University, or as Doug likes to correct "Wazzu".  In any case, I visited the campus to get a feel for the program, meet the people that might be my future bosses/teachers, and (hopefully) let them (those future boss/teacher people) see why I'd be a good fit for the program.

(I'd be a good fit for the program.  Seriously.)

The campus is lovely.  Old trees, old buildings, walking paths, hills, steps instead of elevators. The safety of the trees that are like reading.  Steps that cause labor-heavy individuals to pause halfway up.  Walking paths up hills and down hills and over and under things, around other things; paths that walk and walk until you wind up where you were.

Pullman is small, but quaint, and thrives on the university.  One student described the town during the holidays as a twist to the movie I am Legend

(sidenote: what is with all the depressing Will Smith movies lately?)

The CUB (their version of the SUB) is modern.  Much, much more modern than our "updated" SUB.  Much nicer.  They even have a Barnes and Nobles!  But, the food isn't any better than ours. 

The English building is old, as English buildings should be.  It's more interesting that way.  The professors (that I met) seem pretty easy going and happy to be there.  Obviously, they live in Pullman simply because they want to teach as WSU (really, there's no other reason to live here).  

As much as I like this place, there's only one problem.  Out of the 100+ applications that they receive, they take 10.  Ten.  Ten applications out of one hundred.  So, if I were to be chosen, I will feel very important.  And, if I'm not, I will understand. 

In any case, I like this place (did I say that already?).  I think it could work for me (and work well, too).  

Next week: University of Utah!

New Pieces

Black Basaltware Whiskey Cups / Yunomi, Set of Four
Collaboration between Jason Fasi (throwing) and Davin Dawson (glazing):

Black Basalt Whisky Cups - soloBlack Basalt Whisky Cups - first pairBlack Basalt Whisky Cups - 2nd pairBlack Basalt Whisky Cups - foot

Red Stoneware Tea Tray with Rust Glaze and Lichen Detail
The top only fits one way because the lid shrank less than the lip of the tray. Still, I'm very happy with the glazing and clay texture.

Lichen Red Stoneware Tea Tray - top viewLichen Red Stoneware Tea Tray - inside viewLichen Red Stoneware Tea Tray - clay detailLichen Red Stoneware Tea Tray - interior glaze detailLichen Red Stoneware Tea Tray - lichen detail

White Opal Gaiwan
This piece's lid unfortunately suffered damage. Artfully hidden in photograph.

White Opal Gaiwan - wide frameWhite Opal Gaiwan - alternate viewWhite Opal Gaiwan - lid detail

Footless Yellow Spot Gaiwan
Layered glazes, wax resist decoration

Yellow Spot GaiwanYellow Spot Gaiwan - alternate viewYellow Spot Gaiwan - lid