24 days of tea: Week two December 7, 2016Posted by thejinx in life.
Tags: 24 days, advent, calendar, davidstea, herbal, infusion, tea
It’s another week of tea-related adventure with my DavidsTea advent calendar!
Pretty much lives up to the name.
It has a nice flavour, though the spice is strong enough that it’s not something I can enjoy often (I’m weird about spiced tea like that.)
Has a nice fruity aroma dry, but prepared I could mainly only taste the ginger. It’s a blend I would love to have around when feeling under the weather, but not something I am likely to enjoy on a regular basis.
Oh, I like this one! Not as nutty as the name would have me believe, but the mixture of apple, cinnamon, and almonds gives it all the delightful flavour of an apple tart without any of the sugar. Would definitely go back to this blend.
I braced myself for something I wouldn’t like when I saw the name, but actually, I enjoyed this blend. Pretty fruity taste and mild green tea flavour. While I’m not likely to pick it up on my own, I did enjoy it in a sampler pack.
Day eleven: Hot Chocolate
Actually a fairly passable substitute for hot chocolate. Rather lighter on flavour, not surprisingly, but that’s probably more than a little due to the decreased amount of sugar. Not bad.
Day twelve: Bear Trap
So fruity. It’s the fruitiest. In other words, I’m a fan, especially since only one of the many fruits in this blend has sugar added, which makes the sugar content in the prepared drink negligible. It is aggressively fruity, for those who might not enjoy the flavour as much as I do. Probably also tastes very nice iced.
Stay tuned for more next week!
24 days of tea: Week one December 1, 2016Posted by thejinx in life.
Tags: 24 days, advent, calendar, davidstea, herbal, infusion, tea
This year, I’ve been increasingly enjoying loose leaf tea. So, in an effort to try out some new varieties, I decided to pick up a DavidsTea advent calendar.
It’s a cleverly packaged assortment of teas and herbal infusions that can also double as a really neat craft supply/loose part storage box. Each tin holds about enough tea to make two cups. In the interest of sharing my discoveries (but mainly just so I can remember what the heck I drank) I thought I would keep something of a log as I go.
Cute presentation. Vanilla-y scent was a bit of a turnoff, but the only distinct flavour I picked up in the drink was a pleasant minty taste. Of course, given that the ingredients are pretty much chocolate, chocolate, sprinkles, and peppermint flavouring, it’s not exactly friendly to a diet. Probably why I enjoyed it so much.
Wow. They’re not kidding when they call this a stimulant. With two types of high caffeine tea and four types of whole coffee bean in here, this thing has enough kick to replace my morning coffee. Has a pleasant coffee, nutty taste. I am concerned that a theme is forming, though, as it does also contain white chocolate. I like tea because it’s not loaded with sugar…
This was one of my concerns with getting a set like this, as I don’t generally care for green tea. But, I try to have an open mind, and after all, at one time, I didn’t like tea at all. Alas, despite the rice mitigating the green tea flavour, I didn’t enjoy it.
Now this one I liked! Fruity teas are right up my alley, so this blend definitely struck my fancy. Lovely fruity aroma straight from the tin, but there was also a pleasant spice to it as well. This is one I would go back to.
This blend smells stronger than it tastes. In this case, that’s a good thing, because it has a powerful aroma. Not a bad flavour for the most part, but the sugar from the candied fruits made it a little too sweet for my taste.
Not technically apple cider, but it is mainly made with apples. Nice aroma dry, even better prepared, and in fact tastes like a watered-down apple cider. Considering most I’ve drunk have been heavy on flavour and heavier on sugar, that makes it a win. It’s cozy, comforting, and the perfect accompaniment to falling snow and a warm blanket. Delightful.
More to come next week!
Music Monday: ‘Tis the season November 28, 2016Posted by thejinx in music, Uncategorized.
Tags: arrangements, carols, christmas, final fantasy, holiday, kart, mario, melody, music, remixes, season, songs, tunes, vgm, video game, world, xmas
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Now that (American) Thanksgiving is done and gone, I thought I would share some holiday-themed music for this week’s post.
The OneUps – Super Mario’s Sleigh Ride
This song is a classic, and for years, it was pretty much the Christmas video game arrangement, at least in my collection. It’s a masterfully performed and seemingly effortlessly blended arrangement of songs from Super Mario World together with “Sleigh Ride”, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, and “Jingle Bells”. Sometimes the tunes trade off having the spotlight, sometimes the Mario music makes a pleasant backdrop to the classic carol, and sometimes both songs are played at the same time on different instruments. The effect is flawless and catchy and delightful.
ROCKtendo – Vanilla Lake
There were a number of great tracks on 2014’s Super VG Christmas Party, but this one was an absolute gem. The source material is from the original Super Mario Kart from 1992. The artist here took the original 30-second bossa nova tune and turned it into a fantastic 3:21 crooner ballad with lyrics about Mario Kart. And also Christmas.
I’ll be chasing that checkered flag
No more gifts to bag
You can keep all your jingle bells
I’ll take turtle shells
Of red and green
Jay Epperhart – Carol of the Final Fantasy Belles
A lovely piano medley arrangement of several themes from various Final Fantasy games and Parasite Eve woven together with the classic “Carol of the Bells”.
Dale North – Christmas in the Village (Silver Bells)
Dale North, also of OneUps fame, has made a few Christmas-themed video game arrangements over the years, though I think this one, mixing a theme from Lufia II with “Silver Bells”, is my favourite.
Goomin Nam – Fisherman’s Horizon (Christmas ver.)
A lot of Christmas VGM is more like this – it doesn’t have any actual Christmas music and is just an arrangement of the original track from Final Fantasy VIII, but the instrumentation and tone have a Christmas-y feel to them, and it’s just a lovely song.
Happy holidays! I hope you enjoyed these songs. Do you know of any other holiday video game music/arrangements? Feel free to tell me in the comments, I always love discovering new music!
X-Wing Miniatures: Death Star trench run November 26, 2016Posted by thejinx in life, photography.
Tags: board, board game, death star, game, gaming, homemade, miniatures, minis, photography, photos, star wars, table top, tie fighters, trench, x-wing
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I took some shots this week of a custom made scenario my husband constructed for Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures and couldn’t resist sharing them. Enjoy!
The game board was constructed of wood with a printed graphic overlay. The turrets were printed on heavy stock paper from a free downloadable template, with painted balsa stick barrels. Backdrop is a star field Gripmat and of course the ships themselves are from the game.
On self-image November 22, 2016Posted by thejinx in life.
Tags: appearance, beauty, confidence, esteem, image, looks, self
A few weeks ago, I was walking through a shopping mall when I passed by a kiosk selling face cream or some such thing. A salesman tried to stop me as I walked past, but I waved him off. Then, the other salesman decided to try his luck on me with a different approach.
“Miss, there is a small problem with your pores.”
He was obviously leading into how their product could help, but I didn’t break stride. I tried to inject some lightness into the situation when he told me not to be shy and I called back, “It’s not shyness, it’s laziness.” It’s not a lie; I find a lot of personal care stuff to be a hassle and don’t bother with it.
But a number of years ago, a comment like that would have devastated me.
As a teenager, I hated getting my picture taken, even avoided looking in mirrors. I had a laundry list of aspects of my appearance that I felt looked ugly, though the worst of it was my many (cosmetic) skin problems. Coupled with teenage hormonal depression, it was all I could see when forced to look at myself and I was very self-conscious about it.
Largely, due to the aforementioned laziness, my method of dealing with it was to avoid mirrors and cameras and not think about it, but occasionally, I tried to do something about it. None of it worked. A certain multi-step acne treatment did nothing, despite my dilligently following the system for a month. I even tried putting egg yolk on my face when I read that that would help.
Eventually, I gave up. Although I wasn’t any happier with the decision, I accepted that nothing I could do would help.
I don’t care anymore. I can’t care. I was more miserable trying something that promised results and failed to make a difference than if I just accepted that I couldn’t do anything about it.
Eventually, this led to acceptance of myself, though I don’t kid myself that it was all a matter of attitude. I was very lucky. My depression gradually faded in my early 20s, letting me build my own self-confidence, some of my skin problems cleared up naturally, and I married someone who tells me I’m beautiful every day – and while I didn’t believe it at first, I ultimately realized it doesn’t matter because I knew he does.
I’m no longer afraid of mirrors and cameras. But I look back at the person I was and the person I could have been if any number of things had been different, as well as the many, many girls and women who struggle with the same self-image issues, and a tactless comment like the one from that man only trying to sell a product rankles me. That’s the kind of careless remark that can keep someone up at night in tears, thinking they’ll never be pretty.
The worst part for me is that given all those lucky factors that contributed to the self-confidence I have today, I’m not the right person to be giving advice on the topic. So to anyone who might face that type of casual belittling, I will just say that you are not alone.
And to anyone who might use such a tactic to sell something, I would like you to know that no matter how you intend it or how politely you phrase it, a comment like that can be very hurtful. Dangerously so, in the case of someone with depression or another mental illness. Wouldn’t it be better to make a sale based on a positive experience rather than a negative one?
Music Monday: Smile! November 7, 2016Posted by thejinx in music.
Tags: feel better, happy, music, songs, video games
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Because everybody could use an extra smile on a Monday, right?
My “feel better” playlist has a few different types of songs on it to help combat a bad day. There are some with uplifting lyrics, some sweet or bouncy tunes that always bring a smile, and some that are just silly for various reasons that make me laugh. After a very lengthy hiatus from my so-called weekly feature, I thought I’d share some of these favourites in case it makes anyone else feel a little better about their day.
Owl City – When Can I See You Again?
It’s no secret, and probably no surprise, that Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph is one of my favourite movies. While my enjoyment of this song, the ending theme, is probably increased by my love of the movie, it has great energy and inspiring lyrics and tends to make things feel a little better.
The Big Band of Rogues – Super Mario 64 Opening Theme
While we’re on the topic of energy, check out this delightful jazz ensemble arrangement from Super Mario 64 (going all the way back to the Nintendo 64, 20 years old now). This rendition of the track couldn’t be better in my opinion, and it never fails to cheer me up.
Mirai – Open Up Your Mind
For a more traditional feel better song, here’s a track from the soundtrack to the anime Saiyuki. It’s a sweet and hopeful song with a lovely sound.
Helen Trevillion – Ode to My Cake OH CAKE
A lot of Helen Trevillion‘s music belongs in my feel better list – such as “Waiting For the Snow”, which has sad lyrics but a lovely melody, or “Stepping Stones” which has hopeful lyrics but a sad tune – but one of my absolute favourites of hers is this track, which also helps bridge the gap between the happy and silly music. It’s adorable, it’s catchy, it’s got a sweet bouncy melody, and it’s about cake. What more could you want?
Sir Jordanius – Interstellar Sasuke 5ever Space Funkadet (warning: includes NSFW lyrics)
Who wants some funk? Truth be told, when I first heard this song, I wasn’t sure if I hated it or loved it. It is so unlike most video game arrangements I’ve heard that only the weirdness struck me at first. But it grew on me fast. The production quality is great, the fact that it arranges the old 3D Pinball Space Cadet game from Windows XP never fails to amuse me, and I love the weirdness.
anterrior, Chimpazilla, timaeus222 – They See Me Rollin’ (includes NSFW lyrics)
Disclaimer: This song probably won’t be as enjoyable if you haven’t played The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. But if you have, it’s pretty darn funny.
I think that’s enough for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into part of my music collection. Maybe if there’s interest, I’ll share some more tracks on this list at another time.
As a bonus, I’ll close with some more music that never fails to calm me down: the Secret of Mana original soundtrack. Yes, the 16-bit instruments are a bit dated at this point, but I love the sound of them in a way no real instruments can quite capture and the tracks themselves are beautiful.
An autumnal interlude October 16, 2016Posted by thejinx in photography.
Tags: autumn, barn, canada, cat, colors, colours, faded, fall, kitten, leaves, nature, old, photography, photos, pictures, season, stone, trees
Pictures taken 10 October 2016 in Huntsville, Ontario. The third image is the only one with any post-processing done to it (and I’m still not that happy with it, but I am only using my tablet’s built-in image editing).
An arboreal interlude August 10, 2016Posted by thejinx in photography.
Tags: boulder, forest, nature, photography, photos, rocks, squirrel, trees, wood
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Pictures taken 23 May 2016 at Hilton Falls Conservation Area.
Breaking silence July 21, 2016Posted by thejinx in life.
I don’t usually post about social or political issues (as anyone who has followed this blog, or indeed, any of my online presence has probably realized). I call it cynicism, because I honestly don’t feel like anyone who fundamentally disagrees with my opinion will be swayed to think differently by anything I could say, and otherwise I’m just preaching to the choir. I do what I can to work through my feelings the only way I can, through my art, but it doesn’t seem like talking about it will accomplish much. I also don’t want to deal with the backlash anything I say might provoke, because arguing such topics is exhausting, particularly because I don’t feel like anyone’s opinions will change.
But now, as I sit here seething over yet another black man shot by police, I can’t contain myself any longer.
It doesn’t matter what the colour of one’s skin is, or what is in their record. What matters is that yet another innocent, unthreatening civilian was shot by police when complying with police instructions. It makes me physically sick that this has happened so often so recently. It tears me apart inside that anyone would blame the victim for these unwarranted assaults – even murders – against unarmed people who were doing as they were told.
And frankly, it makes me scared for my upcoming trips to the U.S. As a white woman, I am far less likely to meet with such hostilities, but this atmosphere of unprovoked violence that seems to be permeating the U.S. is terrifying me. I don’t care that the colour of my skin protects me – that makes me more disgusted, not less. And it doesn’t protect me if some situation escalates beyond the next innocent person targeted.
It is wrong. It is horrible. And it is sickening that this keeps happening.
I don’t mean to blame all policemen and -women, either. I know that not all – or most – police officers would act that way in those situations. But the frequency with which these attacks are occurring is soul-crushing.
I believe Black Lives Matter, because all lives matter – and these lives are being targeted. Something has to change. I don’t know what; all I can do is talk about it.