Friday, April 10, 2009

Gin Tasting, Shoes, Compost, and an Acronym Foray

Update on Hazel's Attempt at Gin (H.A.G.)

The gin turned out GREAT. I had Sally* and Janet*, the church ladies who helped me make the gin, over for a tasting. We compared it to Tanqueray and Bombay Sapphire, which I typically use to make gin and tonics and martinis, respectively. We also compared it to Stolichnaya vodka, since this was the base for the gin. So there you go, a perfectly controlled taste test. There was one hiccup when Sally got hiccups. Better a hiccup than a hookup, I always say!!! No, I don't always say that.

Figure 1 illustrates the data collection process:

High Heel Gin (the gin we made) is smoother and less dry than both Bombay and Tanqueray, prompting 50-75% of investigators to state loudly that they prefer High Heel to either of the commercially produced gins. High Heel also boasted a pleasant citrus overtone, no doubt due to the lemon and orange rind infused therewith. Therewith? Hereof? Thereto? Therein! I'm going with "therein" even though it looks like a celebrity baby name. I think next time I'll cut back on the citrus; it wasn't unpleasant, just not expected in gin, at least not so much that you notice it. I served up High Heel martinis after the formal taste-test. These were highly acclaimed, even prompting Stanley to make the regrettable statement to me that "This is better than your (Bombay Sapphire) martini." Oh really. Hmmm. No martinis for you!!!

Update on Some of Hazel's Online Expense Shenanigans (S.H.O.E.S.)
Note the shoe in the center foreground of the above photo. That's new. I have another one just like it for the left foot. I bought them at, which I highly recommend if you want a cheap shoe fix. Here's a better photo.

Note that they have FEATHERS, much to the chagrin of Mr. Spupspe (Stanley's dad) who was visiting from Texas on the day the shoes arrived. He was all bent out of shape about why anyone would want feathers on their shoes. This, to a progressive mind, begs the question, "Why not?"

He was less narrow-minded about these shoes which arrived in the same shipment.

I would like to take this opportunity to mention that I don't give a rat's ass what he thinks about my shoe purchases. Thank you for that opportunity. I lend much more credence to the opinions of my new shoe mentors, Sally and Janet. They gave both sets of shoes an enthusiastically positive rating. I plan to wear the silver ones for Easter service, pending the presence in my closet of an outfit to match them that isn't decidedly non-Easter or inappropriate for church.

Despite temptation, I have disallowed myself from buying an Easter dress/outfit online as I have been kind of addicted to online shopping in the last few weeks. In my defense, I have been finding some amazing deals and am getting a lot of bang for my buck. But I'm calling it quits for now. It's always something with me and the Internet. For a while it was political blogs (btw, the current administration is trying to keep and expand the "state secrets" exemption from lawsuits having to do with warrantless wiretapping of American citizens, despite railing against this during the campaign, proving that power corrupts, carry on), then environmental blogs, then interior decorating blogs, then facebook, and now online clothing retailers. I get a list of sites to check and then I check them over and over. It's like a slot machine; you get rewarded for pulling the lever once out of a hundred times, so you pull the lever thousands of times, sitting there, in one spot, for hours, drinking for free, ciggie hanging out your mouth, your eyes glazed, your mind blank, watching the wheels go round and round. I really love to watch them roll. But I'm no longer riding on the merry go rou-HOUND! I just have to let it go.

Update on Hazel's Initiative To Learn Earth-friendly Routines (H.I.T.L.E.R.; name of initiative under expedited reconsideration):

Stanley built us a compost bin using this design. You stack more racks as you fill it and as you run out of leaves in the other stack. I have begun filling it with organic materials and a little dirt to get some microbes into it, and I covered it with plastic to keep the moisture more constant. Nature, take it away!

Can't you just see the nature happening? Apparently I just need to make sure it is:
  1. aerated but not so often as to disrupt the heating (up to 150 degrees or more!) and decomposition process,
  2. moist but not too moist (if I read the phrase "like a wrung-out sponge" one more time I'm going to buy another pair of shoes, perhaps featuring sponges) and
  3. fed with an adequate balance of leaves or paper, grass, and kitchen waste, not including meat or meat by-products, with some notable exceptions such as egg shells and cat hair. The feeding should not take place any more often than every couple of days, because you're supposed to mix it in when you add it, and this would cause too much disturbance. It apparently helps to chop the kitchen waste into small pieces, but not so small as to create a dense blob that resists infiltration by the microbes. I can't be bothered to chop my kitchen waste into smaller pieces, so this might present a problem. I have a cute plastic pail in the kitchen with a lid and handle, which has already proven itself to be capable of storing waste for several days without producing rotting odors. I'm sure this would depend on what was in there and the ambiant temperature.
There are at least two benefits to composting: less waste goes to the landfill, and compost helps your garden. I think I am more interested in the first benefit, while Stanley may be more interested in the second, so it balances out nicely. I'm interested to see if we can produce the proper amount of waste so that it is not overloaded but still has enough to complete the process, and also doesn't smell. If it smells we are doing it wrong.

I have no segue into a discussion of these shoes, which arrived in the mail this week. My first pair of red shoes. Regard.

They have cork heels. Cork is a renewable resource. This is my justification.