Self Care – And Speaking of Green Tea… Matcha! (4 YouTube Videos)

Another one of my absolute favorite green teas is Matcha, which is a green tea powder. Like Gyokuro, the tea plant is shaded for at least 20 days before harvesting. Then, the leaves are harvested. If they are rolled out to dry, like Sencha, you end up with Gyokuro. However, if the leaves are simply laid out flat to dry, they’ll crumble a bit and become Tencha. The Tencha is then ground down into powder.

I’m going to give you two videos now. The first shows the modern, mechanical processing of Tencha leaves. The next (which is below the fold) shows the traditional method of grinding Tencha into Matcha:

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When They Go Low, We Go High – Part 2

(You got the sugar… now here’s the medicine…)

First, I need to say this:

I really like Michelle Obama. And yeah, I loved it when she said “when they go low, we go high”. So she is not the one I’m mad it. She is not the one who made this bullshit. It’s everyone else. People have twisted this statement in the same way white people like to twist MLK to use him against, for example, Black Lives Matter protesters.

When Michelle Obama said it, she was talking about being better than Donald Trump. We had the moral high ground. And for an election, it was a great soundbite that probably contributed to Hillary Clinton’s 3-million popular-vote win.

But the thing is, His Lowness, the Cheeto Fascist, Agent Orange of Fake-Tan-Landia, won the electoral college.

And “going high” is costing us way too much.

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When They Go Low, We Go High – Part 1

You know, I really debated making this part of my Self Care series. It really should be, because it’s just so… so… satisfying. In the end, I decided not to for two reasons:

My Self Care series is on a set schedule: every day at noon. Today’s Self Care post has already gone up, and I want to put this up today.

Also, this is going to be the sugar to a spoonful of medicine I plan on dropping shortly about the whole “when they go low, we go high” bullshit.

So…

If you want, consider this part of the Self Care series. I know I do.

And what is it I’m talking about?

Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer getting punched in the face:

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Self Care – How to brew Gyokuro tea (YouTube Video)

I’m obsessed with tea.

No, not bagged tea. I don’t mind bagged tea (not even Lipton! I’ve used it before, and I’ll use it again), but when I have access to loose leaf, why would I go with bagged?

Green teas, brewed properly, are my favorite. And Gyokuro is definitely the best. It’s Japan’s highest quality tea, and is a phenomenal one.

“Gyokuro” (玉露) is Japanese for “jewel/jade dew”. It’s a shaded green tea. What that means is that at least 20 days before harvesting, a particular varietal of the Camellia sinensis plant (either Asahi, Okumidori, Yamakai, or Saemidori) is shielded, usually with bamboo, from the sun. This forces a process in which theanine and caffeine within the leaves is increased, yielding a unique, interesting aroma and flavor.

The brewing process is also rather unique. The reason for this is, specifically, the water temperature. You see, most green tea is fragile. Try to steep it with full on boiling water, and what you end up with is a nasty, bitter, undrinkable mess of a brew. And especially with a tea as expensive as Gyokuro, that’s a complete waste. Gyokuro specifically calls for water temperature range of 122°F–140°F (50°C–60°C).

And how do you brew it, exactly?

Well… watch…

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Self Care – Boiled Water Recipe (from Serious Eats) + Comments (For Purposes of Laughter)

This has always made me laugh.

Back when the amazing Serious Eats was still new, and they were testing out the recipes section, Adam Kuban decided to post a detailed, step-by-step recipe for… boiled water. Obviously, it was a joke. And the comments just took it further.

Sadly, the original recipe is gone. However, the wonderful Wayback Machine came to the rescue. So I’m going to quote the recipe, and some choice comments, here for your enjoyment.

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Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown Support Ben Carson for HUD Secretary

I am so fucking angry at this right now it’s not even funny. And I probably shouldn’t be. But I am.

I’m fucking livid.

Fucking Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown are fucking supporting fucking Ben Carson for fucking HUD Secretary.

Et tu, Warren and Sherrod?

In a statement regarding her decision, Warren expressed “concerns” about Carson’s “inexperience in the field and his comments on poverty and government dependency,” but supported his numerous promises to expand affordable housing options—including for the homeless and LGBTQ people—and recruit a bipartisan team. “In light of these promises, I support Dr. Carson’s nomination, and look forward to working with him to ensure that he follows through on his commitments,”she said.

“Dr. Carson is not the nominee I would have chosen to lead HUD, due both to his lack of experience and his often troubling public statements over the last three years,” said Brown in a similar statement. “But despite my reservations, and my disagreements with some of his positions, I will give Dr. Carson the benefit of the doubt based on commitments he has made to me in person and to this committee.”

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Self Care – Astronomy Picture of the Week: The Observable Universe

(I’m also incorporating this series into my Self Care series for the foreseeable future…)

I guess this is the best way to follow up the last post. I’m using Wikipedia for this one.

This is one simulated image of the entirety of the observable universe. As I already mentioned last week, the universe is currently estimated to be roughly 93 billion lightyears in diameter, putting the edge around 46.5 billion lightyears away from us.

This image is taken from the Wiki page linked to above, as is the information I’m including about it and about the universe…

Observable_Universe_with_Measurements_01

Visualization of the whole observable universe. The scale is such that the fine grains represent collections of large numbers of superclusters. The Virgo Supercluster – home of Milky Way – is marked at the center, but is too small to be seen.

Diameter 8.8×1026 m (28.5 Gpc or 93 Gly)[1]
Volume 4×1080 m3[2]
Mass (ordinary matter) 1053 kg[3]
Density 9.9×10−30 g/cm3 (equivalent to 6 protons per cubic meter of space)[4]
Age 13.799±0.021 billion years[5]
Average temperature 2.72548 K[6]
Contents Ordinary (baryonic) matter (4.9%)
Dark matter (26.8%)
Dark energy (68.3%)

So the universe is not only old (to us), but huge.

From HuffPo: “The Most Dangerous Bill You’ve Never Heard Of Just Passed The House”

Oh great. Wonderful.

This is where we’re headed…

The Most Dangerous Bill You’ve Never Heard Of Just Passed The House

Last, week, under the cover of a media bliss-out except among Koch funded right-wing channels, the House of Representatives passed a bill which would effectively repeal future standard setting under every important environmental, public health, consumer protection, labor standards, occupational safety and civil rights law on the books.

The bill, called the REINS Act, requires that any future major regulation adopted by an Executive Agency — say a new toxic chemical standard required by the recently enacted Chemical Safety Act, or a new consumer protection rule about some innovative but untested kind of food additive — must be approved by a specific resolution in each House of Congress within 70 days to take effect.

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Self Care – My Own Ultimate Bisquick Maple (Non-Dairy) Pancakes

Woops! This is a bit late. Sorry.

I decided to share my own little recipe, here, with included nutritional facts courtesy of MyNetDiary.

I hated maple syrup when I was a kid, but now I can’t get enough of it. The flavor is incredible.

I use a maple syrup and maple sugar from a place called Breezie Maples Farm, which is featured at Long Island’s Chocolate Expo every year. Make sure that whatever maple syrup and sugar you get, it’s pure. Also, this recipe is non-dairy by necessity; we don’t have any milk in the house, just non-dairy almond milk. If I had milk, I probably would have used it.

And finally, this is Bisquick’s Ultimate Pancake recipe split in half and with a couple replacements, since it’s Bisquick I use to make pancakes (because we have it; yes, I can also make pancakes from scratch).

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