November 6, 2011 Progress Notes:

"Five Autopsies"

Words today: 300 on Friday, 450 today.
Words total: 2250.
Reason for stopping: Sleepy.

Books in progress: Charles Yu, How to Live Safely in a Science-Fictional Universe.


Not the most active weekend here: There are things I know better than to do with my blood sugar, and yet sometimes I still do them. And then I pay for it. Moral: Eat three meals a day, kids. Don't be me.

I did get a haircut, and I did get to Caitlin Sweet's book launch at the bookstore, which was packed and a lot of fun until I ran abruptly out of blood sugar. And I did stop in at Chabichou for cheese, and found out they apparently stock a few kinds of Mariage Freres tea, which is probably the best thing that's happened since I got home. I used to have to rely on French nationals smuggling this stuff across the ocean. And now you are mine, tea. Hah-hah.

But otherwise, it is late, and I did not get the things I wanted done this weekend, and I am tired and a little grumpy, and going to bed. And I will drink my tea in the morning.
January 6, 2010 Progress Notes:

"The Closet Monster"

Words today: 700.
Words total: 4400.
Reason for stopping: Out of tea. Out of plot. Game over!

Books in progress: Dashiell Hammett, The Dain Curse, The Glass Key, and Selected Stories.
The glamour: Not a lot, actually. I got home cold in that way you just can't shake, and finally had to retreat to the bathtub and soak for an hour to get warm again. Yes, I am a born and bred Canadian girl. No, I do not do cold weather well.


Today after work I made pilgrimage to Tap Phong with [livejournal.com profile] ginny_t to ogle piles and piles and piles of really inexpensive kitchen stuff and have a nice, satisfying materialist binge. Luckily, a nice, satisfying materialist binge at Tap Phong only really costs you forty bucks and includes virtuous things like five million kitchen sponges, a cheap saucepan to melt candle wax in for purposes of candlemaking, a tagine pot-like object so we can eat off dishes at work like a civilized person (tm) instead of warming stuff up in battered tupperware and hoping for the best, a tea tray (also for work), a replacement for that ceramic soup spoon we broke, and a new teapot.

New Teapot has already earned its keep. Aside from costing me four bucks ($4.00 CAD), it has a very nice little mesh cup thing that you put the tea in and suspend into the pot proper, a good grippy handle, and holds three or four mugs' worth. The spout isn't great, but I will consider this to be New Teapot's nod to Wabi-sabi.

I was greatly pleased and nipped down to Furama for a box of tasty Chinese bakery buns to express my pleasure. You know, while I was in the neighbourhood and stuff. Like you do.

Some reviews are coming in, and there's some other announcey stuff to do, but I will save that for tomorrow, when I'll be more awake and you guys will probably be...awake, period.
Out this afternoon/evening at the ChiZine Publications double-barrelled two-part book launch -- one at the bookstore, one at The Central on Markham -- wherein I saw a good bucket of people, conversed on subjects from publishing in general to the difference between swear words in Quebecois French and France French to how Lester B. Pearson is a superhero but nobody seems to realize it, and had a nice cup of tea (Tuscany Pear). In between these things was dinner with [livejournal.com profile] devils_exercise and Karen and friends of theirs who have the awesomest 13-year-old daughter, and a trip to Romni, where yarn fell into my bag and money fell out. Oops.

(This was technically only half a yarn accident: I had gone specifically for the bamboo stuff I bought and saw Fitted Knits there and had already decided I wanted it, so that was fine. It's the two skeins of Punta Yarns Merisock at $20 a skein that brings the accident into yarn accident. It was really, really blue. I couldn't help it. It just happened.)

Headed home because it was stuffy and I was getting a monster headache, but I seem to actually like and enjoy extended bouts of social these days. Go figure.

And now, going to make some hot chocolate, take something to stave off the headache, and see if I can't squeeze some words out. Stay tuned.
This was one of those afternoons/evenings where I was an Awesome Freelancer. This is what we call those days where, if I was this productive and sharp and motivated and clever all the time, I'd actually be able to go freelance and not starve and it'd be fun and not just stressful. I get about four weeks' worth of those days in any given calendar year.

So I will just share with you that today I finished another mini-project for the Great OWW Home Reno (a self-directed site-updating production by Yours Truly), shovelled non-insignificant amounts of workshop support mail, dispatched a whole bunch of Ideomancer second reads to their various dooms, managed to get back in touch with two authors I'd lost touch with about their stories, wrote a book review for the December issue, tidied my apartment a bit, and blocked out my schedule for this week, since I appear to actually have a social calendar going this month.

There are five actionable e-mails left in my inbox, and two of them are easy. Mwaha.

The other thing I have to do tonight is this post.


A while back, a gentleman from Golden Moon Tea dropped me an e-mail asking if he could have a link on the website (yes, sadly neglected right now; I'll get to it, I promise). I don't make a habit of linking things on the personal website that I don't actually, well, like and use; longtime denizens of here will probably have picked up that I am not really hot on advertising in general and prefer to have it blocked from my life whenever possible, never mind not being huge on being a conduit for it. Also, having been a bookseller for four years and change, I'm...in some ways a touch sensitive about my credibility when it comes to taste and recommendations: when your taste in something is being used as a barometer, positively or negatively, for people to decide which books they're going to buy, you get really hardcore about giving honest, unbiased evaluations of things and not recommending something unless you mean it, so as to not lose that customer's trust. I told the nice gentleman this, and he offered to mail me some samples.

Okay, thought I, mulling over whether this constituted selling out or not, and when they arrived, I brought them to work to share with [livejournal.com profile] ginny_t, who is among other things my Dayjob Partner in Fancy Tea Snobbery. We drank the tea over the past few weeks and Had Opinions on the matter.

Therefore, this is my tea review.

Sugar Caramel Oolong

This was okay -- not too sweet, not too tannic -- but really, really, really light. [livejournal.com profile] ginny_t noted she is not an oolong drinker habitually for just this reason; I have it sometimes, but also tend to prefer something stronger. I'm a Russian Caravan kind of girl. This is really light. So, kind of struck out on grounds of personal taste.

Honey Pear black tea

Okay, now this one was really awesome. Gutsy and sweet and sort of smooth, the way things involving honey are, and smelled and tasted distinctly like real pears. The balance was really good -- not too sweet -- and all elements were in there as advertised. I would have this one again. Nom.

Coconut Pouchong

I was feeling a little sicky the day I had this one, which may have spoiled my objectivity on the matter. What I do recall here was that the predominant taste was young coconut: if you've ever had coconut water or juice, it had that same strong, sharp mid-tongue kind of flavour. This decidedly did not taste like fake coconut, but it tasted a lot like coconut and in some ways not enough like tea?

I do like nice long pouchong leaves though. Pretty!

Nepalese Afternoon Tea

Advertised with "notes of honey, lotus, and fragrant sandalwood." While obviously a good-quality black tea, it didn't really strike me as fancy or awesome among black teas. It was there. It was there nicely enough, but mostly it was just there.

Tippy Earl Grey

This, though, was nice. There is a certain degree to which earl grey is earl grey is earl grey, but you can tell the good stuff from the mediocre stuff very easily, and it's to do with the balance of bergamot flavour to black tea ballsiness to other. This one apparently has lavender in it, and you can spot it there both in the nose and when you taste it. It really added something, and it was subtly different enough to make the whole thing interesting without taking this out of the subgenre of earl grey. Bergamot was light and not cloying and tasted oddly fresh. I'd possibly go back for seconds on this if I had to get specifically earl grey (not my favourite, although I'll drink it).

I split this one with a different coworker; [livejournal.com profile] ginny_t doesn't like earl grey and Other Coworker needed tea badly that morning, and knows my desk is where it lives. He gave good report.


So, general verdict?

1) I'll probably buy some of that Honey Pear sometime.
2) I probably won't actually link this tea place on my website, since I can only vouch for one unqualified win here out of five; otherwise, while it was good-quality stuff, I wasn't head over heels. That's maybe not enough to place an ongoing recommendation on the wider internets.
3) I find myself not opposed to people sending me free tea. I suspect it's not hurting my popularity at the office either.

This has been your first and hopefully not only Tea Review. Good night and good luck.

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