Did I even post #1? Eh screw it. 

This is my Confession 2: Comforts.

There are things I will compromise on, but in the winter there is one thing I will not compromise on, and that is the chance to have at least one nog on the rocks.

No rum. There is only one kind of rum I liked and all I can remember is that it was kind of weak.

I’m not supposed to be consuming alcoholic things right now, anyway.

This is my brand. I’m going to enjoy it while I can.

A nog on the rocks a night. A nice thing I can have at night… With a digestive aid of course. This isn’t lactose free.

100 Things REBOOT #2: Tea, plus bonus tea review: Bensons House of Tea All Day Blend

Since I was about 10, I’ve loved tea. I LIKED it before—preferred it iced, not oversweet most of the time; if it was to be sweet SWEET tea it had better be strong enough to knock over a godsdamned house, that’s to be sure. I’ve been basically fiending on it since we accidentally discovered it would work on my ADHD instead of the drugs.

I couldn’t focus, and one day my uncle asked me if I’d tried this tea right here, this green tea that was just really freaking strong that he couldn’t figure out how to make potable to save his life, and in the week it took to figure out how to brew Ceylon teas (remember, we’re Black Americans living in Black America, and this is the mid 90’s at the time, there aren’t resources in our area for tea at the time other than the occasional Claudia-centric Babysitters Club book), the both of us were so mellow and focused that my dad–his brother–wondered if we’d been replaced with pod people. This same week was my appointment for my suspected ADHD. Having heard about this alphabet soup my uncle comes with, as does an aunt. My doctor notices how much more mellow and focused I’ve become, and Unc and I mention the tea adventure. That’s where we learn the beginnings of tea research, and how stimulants (like the ADD/ADHD pills and caffeine) work in managing this thing.

We take one look at each other and go, “Makes sense.”

Dad and the aunt that went with us take one look at each other and go, “Whut?”

Since then my tea fascination has only expanded, from strictly “this is delicious” to “So if this ails you I can throw this that and the other into a pot and have a fix for you, yeah?” That brings us to the bonus section here: a tea review!

BHOT: All Day Blend


No, this is not a comically large spoon or a comically small cup. I typically drink my tea from demitasse-sized or espresso-sized cups, and if I sweeten it I don’t use much—excepting my Lousiana-style iced tea, which is strong enough to knock a house over and sweet enough to convince an idiot not to blackmail your friend. The clarity is very nice, and the scent is crisp, almost coffee-like.

At first I thought it was my brewing method—


But I’d run a cycle of CLR through the thing, which removes hard water deposits from the brewer, and the carafe had received the same treatment. Little tip: when you use this cleaning method, run a second full carafe of plain water through the machine before you brew anything, to prevent any chemical from getting into your cuppa.

Little known trick: If you own a little four-cup Mr. Coffee-style brewer, you have one of the best ways to brew loose leaf tea out there already. Because the water is never AT boil, it’s nigh impossible to cook your tea to death and overbrew it. Further, your leaves have plenty of room in the filter to expand, and you don’t have to monitor temperatures quite as obsessively.

Oh, right, don’t forget to use a filter. Otherwise you have a reeeeeeeeeeeeal bitch to clean up. As an added bonus you can get a second full-strength brew out of those leaves, just like if you used a tea ball or other more traditional infusion method.


This is only a teaspoon and a half of leaves. The general rule is a teaspoon of leaves per person per pot and an extra for the pot (assuming you’re brewing traditionally.) I like strong tea but decided to go with the usual strength. They expand like whoa, and you can see why I said to use a filter if you’re going the Mr Coffee (renamed Mr. Tea for me here) route. In fact, the presene of Ceylon in this blend means you have wicked tannins, and they’ll bake up as hot tea tends to do to them. If you want to minimize the staining in your mugs and the amount of tannin floating around (because it does aggregate), double up. Use two filters. (No more than two. You’ll flood the brew basket.)

Taste 1, straight: STRONG. assertive and coffee-like almost. It’s potent, and has this light but sweet air that almost doesn’t need anything.

Taste 2, with monkfruit sweetener: This is a VERY EASY TO OVERSWEETEN tea. I only used a slxth of a packet and it was overdoing it. If you sweeten this, make it a strong cup.

Taste 3, with sweet cream and a little sugar: OKAY, STOP. WHAT GAVE YOU THE RIGHT.
This is delicious. Sweetening it by itself is NO for me. It just DOESN’T WORK. But with cream, OH GOOD GRIEF. I’d brewed the entire four-cup (translation: four-person intended) thing and drunk two thirds of it like this, just shotgunning one after the other in disbelief. Adding cream to this tea gives it a nutty, almond-like richness. It becomes like a dessert that you want to eat.

b3df0afdcb6b38cf76764b9fb50d1d4fHere, have a glamour shot of cream tea with tiny spoon in a tiny cup.

Verdict: If you like a black tea for all occasious, aren’t frightened off by loose leaf tea, and suspect that you might be a liiiiiiiitle bit of a tea snob (I will willingly admit that I am), GET THIS TEA. If you’re curious about what good tea tastes like, GET THIS TEA. If you like te, GET THIS TEA.


SNAP Judgements and why I'm not a fan. A Rant on Food Stamps.

Tomorrow’s breakfast and lunch are both put together. Birthday debauchery day is done, and thanks to BUREAUCRACY! I’m staring at a month sans Link assistance—meaning $35/10 days is the food budget until they fix it. (You don’t live on minimum wage—you scrape.) Luckily the problem is fixable in 2 weeks and I played Stockpile this month, so I have a nice little stash of frozen meat and meat-alikes packed for just such an emergency.

I hear people all the time griping about people gaming the system, and I will admit, the system does have a few huge, glaring flaws—but most of the complaining I hear is ‘Oh, this person bought a bag of chips and a peach soda, they don’t NEED that program’ and not on the real problems, which is the people you catch trafficking their benefits for an equivalent amount of things that aren’t eligible. While for some this can include drugs and alcohol, it just as often involves things like diapers and straight out cash.

I’ve seen it. People I know have been there. (I was always too paranoid to do it, even if it meant I was going without the meds that kept my foot from being one giant blister.) And while there needs to be some reform to the system, griping when a guy buys a Twinkie—wait, those don’t exist…OK, an apple pie—and a Red Bull instead of some celery and a bit of meat? That solves nothing.

What people do not seem to realize is that SNAP benefits—the formal name for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps—are not meant to be the sole source of food. They’re there as much needed assistance—as I said earlier, you don’t live on minimum wage you scrape.

“But Rai!” I hear you say. “Why would a single woman even need such things?”

I’ll tell you!

Congratulations! You’re me on payday! You skip into the building to pick up your paycheck (Let’s call it weird and say that you have the day off for some unknown reason). Timing couldn’t be better, since rent’s also due this week (we’ll assume the beginning of the month). You open the envelope to discover that you have—oh, generous hours—$360 to work with. Sounds nice, right? Keep in mind that this is an atypical check. Maybe the great Dogakittenspacewestern Con was in town.

Got the check still? Good. Let’s run along, shall we, to the bank/grocer. You deposit the whole damn thing, because you’re paranoid about losing cash. All transactions will be on a card now.

  • Your rent’s due! That’s $170. But there’s a $5 service fee for the secured money order. You’re down to $185 now—which hurts, and you try not to think about that as you put the rent money order in your wallet.
  • A text message pops off—your phone bill is due in four minutes (ok, maybe an exaggeration, but it IS due that day). You reply to the message and pay the bill—the dollar sign with wings flies off of your screen as $61 leaves your clutches. You’re down to $124, now.
  • Did you remember the bus pass? If not, now’s the only time you’ve got! For a month, that’s $72 bucks! You now have $52 to work with. Now the only thing left–
  • –is light bill—oh. Wait. You’re four bucks short, actually. If it wasn’t for the fact that you put that $5 from your tips in with the paycheck, you wouldn’t be able to pay that $58 bastard.

You begin the month on a loss, therefore, before you’ve bought so much as a bag of chips and a bottle of vitamin c-fortified punch to keep your blood sugar from dragging its busted-up legs across the ground just to beg you for a morsel.

…you’d be screwed if it wasn’t for that program now.

Next paycheck is more forgiving—you have paid off the biggest bills—but it would’ve been dicey.

Now keep in mind that there are people who want to discontinue this program. All because they got cheesed off that someone bought something that wasn’t leafy green with their benefits/assistance.

Go ahead. Discontinue. Opt out. But what the HELL am I supposed to do?

Don’t pass blanket judgements based on one person. You don’t know what they’re coming from, what they’re trying to do. The guy who just bought Doritos and Monster Zero-Cal Energy Drink on his card might’ve just spent the last of his cash on his meds.

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Chrysanth WebStory What’s your WebStory today?

*click* *crrk* *KA-CRACK*

My knee is making interesting noises. As a precaution, I’m going to see my doctor (and if he gives me bullshit about my weight again I’m going to tell him that even dropping to only 1500 calories a day and working the job I do and working out, the weight just Will Not Fuck Off. …almost said ‘bugger off’ but here in America that’s considered tame—probably because no one learned its actual meaning, and this makes Nigella Lawson’s lament in last week’s episode of The Taste that much more interesting, as she was basically able to drop a Precision F Strike that didn’t even get noticed.)


I can tell it’s trying to do a thing because the day before yesterday, it woke me up—by sliding right the fuck out of joint. Cue Onion Knight-like howl of pain as my brain tries to parse what just happened so I can fix it. Even if we can’t DO anything about it, I do believe I can get a stronger painkiller. Kinda need it. I have lost all faith in this knee.


Which makes the fact that I’ve spent quite a bit of time on the other one in search of my Memory Stick even odder. (I’ve had some highly irritating days recently. I’d like to beat the fire out of some AIs, maybe improve my Kefka.)


I’ve also spent some time trying to click my brain back on so I can write. I’ve fallen into a bit of a slump and can’t eve focus straight. The good news is flipping my mattress so that the part that’s caving in is on the foot end did help a bit, but I still am going to need a new mattress very soon—it’s a tad crowded.


Heads up!


100 Things makes its official return on 2 February. Be ready for some STRANGE rambles, sometimes.


Got Noms?


I am going to begin working test kitchen operations again. Everything that I’ve cooked up is now going to be noted, recorded, and set up for repetition and refinement. I’ve also been introduced to one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen, Cooking With Dog, and its huge bank of recipes has inspired me to try actually doing something again. Who votes Valentine’s melonpan?