September vacation

It looks like I will be taking a blog vacation again. This time it’s not to deal with Internet addiction (I’m quite happy being addicted to the Internet and plan to stay that way, thank you very much!) it’s actually because I have too many projects on the go. I have agreed to read and edit a manuscript for someone and now I am also diving head-first into my own creative writing project. Now, look, I’m one of those people who has started writing a novel multiple times and never actually finished any of them, so I make absolutely no promises that I will eventually show you the fruits of my labor. However, the creative juices are stirring and so it’s time to take a break from writing political opinion pieces for a while and try storytelling instead.

You all know what I’d have to say about politics anyway. Every day there’s another article about a toddler socially transitioning because he’s been playing with the wrong toys, a school forcing teen girls to accept pervy boys in their locker room, and a transwoman in prison who’s going to die if he doesn’t get his makeup delivered on time. After a while there’s just no need to comment anymore. Kids can play with any toys and this means nothing about their “gender,” women and girls deserve privacy from men, no matter how those men feel about their “gender,” and transwomen in prison should have considered not murdering or assaulting anyone if they didn’t want to be in prison. And they aren’t going to suffer any harm because they can’t wear makeup. (For fuck’s sake, actual women have been fighting for the right not to have to wear makeup!)

I say I’m taking a blog vacation, but I will still be on WordPress reading other people’s blogs. I just won’t be writing new pieces for a while. My last blog vacation was about a week and a half, so I don’t know, maybe this one will be like two weeks? Three weeks? I don’t really know, it depends when is the next time I see something that really pisses me off and I have to say something about it.

You are welcome to comment on old posts if the mood strikes you, and you can consider this an open thread for now. By the way, I seem to have quite a few new followers lately. Feel free to say hi and let me know what brought you to the gender critical blogosphere.

Discussion about pets and recipes okay here. The only thing I won’t tolerate is anyone saying they’re jonesing for a pumpkin-spice-latté-flavored consumer product from a mass-produced chain coffee shop. Puke! Pumpkin spices should only be consumed in an actual pumpkin pie.


45 thoughts on “September vacation

  1. I knew you were wise and brave, but never imagined you were wise and brave enough to stand against pumpkin pie spice in coffee. I salute you! Please enjoy the time off, secure in the knowledge that the outrages will continue.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I don’t understand “pumpkin spice” or “curry powder” or “chili powder.” If you’re serious about food, you make your own. With a spice grinder.

    Good luck with your endeavors. I need to get back to my novel too, and my guitar, and the chalk…..

    Liked by 2 people

    • I confess: I blend some spice mixtures for days when I’m in a hurry. I have a bottle that I’ve labelled “for lentil soup (F)” and another labelled “for lentil soup (E)” and a few others with equally cryptic notations. (This is why I never throw away old spice bottles – that and the fact that the majority of my spice purchases come from the bulk section of the health food coop.) And even when I use them, I taste and adjust using single spices. I do have ones at the house I work in that have less cryptic labels because few of my coworkers can cook and if they ever are motivated to do so, I don’t want the spice bottles to intimidate them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve started making my own taco seasoning. I used to buy the commercially-made kind of taco seasoning, but as I get older I get more sensitive to processed foods, and I can no longer eat that stuff. So I have been buying the individual spices that go in tacos and mixing them myself into a jar. I really should have started doing this years ago, but I’m glad I do it now.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I was less clear than I should have been. Buying premade blends means you are at the mercy of the tastes of whoever designed the blend, and also they can be stale. I don’t grind all my own spice and I don’t do it every time I cook. I do keep spice refrigerated to a great extent. I make my own curry powder, garam masala. I don’t bother with whatever is in “chili powder” because ground chile gets stale and I just use fresher stuff and oregano, cumin, all of which are easy enough to get at a much better price anyway. Actually I buy four oz jars of leaf spice online, supermarket spice in jars can run horribly expensive.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. if you are serious about coffee, you would grow your own beans. If you are serious about food, you would grow your own. If your serious about writing, you would make your own paper, concoct your own ink, and find a nice goose feather to make a quill out of (itself almost a dead art). Its a good thing I don’t take too many things seriously.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Doing ‘real’ writing is fantastic! Best of luck! Here, you’ll be needing this ☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️ Don’t worry no p*mpk*n sp*c*s have touched it! 😒🎃

    Looking forward to your return to blogging. And now I have time to get caught up!

    Especially if you’re reading someone else’s work you’ll need this ✏️

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Enjoy your blogging vacation! If you’re not already connected with a local writers’ group, I can’t recommend that highly enough. The NaNoWriMo website has a lot of boards for different cities and regions, and many of them have writing groups that meet year-round, not just during November and the Camp months of April and July.

    I agree about the pumpkin spice. I never understood the appeal of pumpkin flavor in the first place, let alone as a spice. I’m all about the chocolate, peanut butter, berries, and fruit. My younger self would’ve called pumpkin spice “a boring grownup flavor.”


  6. I thought this quick chemistry lesson was apropos to the pumpkin spice conversation:

    What’s pumpkin spice flavor, and why do we fall for it every autumn?
    The popular latte and treat seasoning contains no actual pumpkin, but it boasts plenty of food chemistry
    By Carmen Drahl
    Like chemistry, pumpkin spice is everywhere.
    Credit: Starbucks Coffee (Coffee); Mike Mozart/Flickr (other images)

    Stand down, cider: The pumpkin spice latte is the official beverage of fall. At least, that’s what a barrage of advertising and artfully composed Instagram photos would have Americans believe.

    Like the zombie of so many B-grade horror flicks, every Halloween season the sweet, spicy beverage arises from Starbucks Coffee’s flavor graveyard. “Only it seems to be coming back stronger every year,” says flavor chemist John C. Leffing­well. As president of food and flavor consultancy Leffingwell & Associates, he dutifully takes reporters’ calls about pumpkin spice mania every time the leaves turn. He’s busy, given the recent proliferation of pumpkin spice products: bagels, hummus, even body butter and dog treats. Retail sales of pumpkin offerings have experienced double-digit growth for the past several years, reaching nearly $361 million in 2014, according to market research firm Nielsen.

    And that figure doesn’t count Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes, which new product expert Lynn Dornblaser of market research firm Mintel Group credits with starting the trend: Starbucks has sold over 200 million since their 2003 debut.

    Pumpkin spice backlash was inevitable. HBO comedian John Oliver has lambasted America’s obsession with “pumpkin-flavored science goo.” And food industry critic Vani Hari, who is better known by her blog moniker the Food Babe, triggered outrage when she wrote that pumpkin spice lattes contain “absolutely no real pumpkin.”

    With apologies to the disappointed hordes, pumpkin was never the flavor intent. Pumpkins have volatile constituents, but they’re not the cloyingly sweet kind consumers expect in a dessert. A pumpkin spice product is made to evoke pumpkin pie, which, for the record, isn’t made with carving pumpkins either. The real filling is a specially bred sweet squash that is less fibrous and watery than a typical jack-o’-lantern gourd. The pie’s characteristic taste comes from cooked squash mingling with a spice mixture: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and clove or allspice.

    The pumpkin spice latte recipe is a closely guarded Starbucks secret. According to Leffingwell, it’s possible to create a pumpkin spice flavoring by steam-distilling pumpkin pie spices or performing extractions with solvents.

    Unfortunately, it’s hard to ensure consistency in flavor strength or taste with natural spices, says Kantha Shelke, a food chemist with food science research firm Corvus Blue and a spokesperson for the Institute of Food Technologists. It’s more sustainable, she says, to use nature-identical flavor molecules in large-scale production. The combined mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and clove or allspice contains at least 340 flavor compounds. But human brains can fill in the blanks if provided with about 5–10% of that natural cornucopia. Major players include cinnamic aldehydes for cinnamon, eugenol for clove or allspice, terpenes such as sabinene for nutmeg, and zingiberene for ginger.

    By themselves, however, spice compounds won’t create an appealing food flavor. Heating pumpkin spice ingredients together creates caramelized, slightly burned, wood-fired flavors and aroma compounds. These compounds—products of the Maillard reaction—are “what takes things from air freshener to food product,” Shelke explains. She’s not sure exactly what notes round out a pumpkin spice latte—“those are the treasured secrets of the flavor chemist,” she says. But cyclotene, the go-to compound for maple or brown sugar flavors, or vanillin are likely candidates.

    That list of compounds makes sense to Donald E. Mencer. He and his undergraduate students at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania analyzed alcohol extracts of grocery-store-bought pumpkin pie spice powder with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.

    Although the data were what Mencer expected, some results surprised his students. Pinene, which turns up in cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice, reminded the students of pine resin and wintry ever­greens, not tasty fall desserts.


    • I read awhile back about how bottled juice (the pasteurized kind, not fresh squeezed that only has a shelf life of a few days) is actually made by taking all the juice flavor out and then putting it back in, in specially concocted formulas. I am not describing this well but this is actually a thing, they don’t just juice fruit and flash pasteurize it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Okay, I just ate a pumpkin-spice flavoured donut from a mass-produced major coffee chain. I guess this means I have to kick myself off my own blog! I couldn’t help it, my coworker brought them to work so I had to try one! It was actually kinda gross, I definitely wouldn’t buy my own.


  8. Okay, open thread time. I decided to join a Facebook group dedicated to fighting transactivists and it includes women of all political stripes. Well, the diversity in membership in itself makes it hard to ease tension and it’s our common interest and the fact that where all grownups that keeps us running smoothly…right? Nope. The group has existed for a week and people have already left or been banned and there have been several fights due to…language. Obviously, a concerted effort needs to be made to respect such a wide variety of opinions, but no one has said anything that can be remotely construed as an attack and they get in trouble anyway because they can’t agree on the definition of the word liberal. No joke. A number of liberal commenters have been critical of mainstream liberal culture, including using such awful slurs as “latte liberals” and the tendency of younger liberals on college campus to display class privilege. Again, these are not conservative rednecks but people who are, themselves, educated liberals. Well, some liberals took great offense to this (factually true) talk and went into great detail about how offensive it was to generalize about liberals, how they’re liberal and educated, and they’re not like that! It is quickly getting to the point where the most radical members are being pushed out because they don’t tiptoe carefully enough. And for fuck’s sake, I hate it when I get the reply, “How would you conservatives like it if liberals generalized about you?” First of all, I’m not conservative, second, I don’t give a shit. I have the good sense to not make everything about me and to know when things apply and when they don’t. If they do apply and they’re correct…I own that. If they’re wrong I can challenge it without derailing the discussion with my hurt feelings over semantics.

    And the left continues to cannibalize itself and render itself ineffective.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love Facebook, but it can definitely be a shit show sometimes and that sounds exactly like something that would happen. I used to engage in pointless fighting with people who have nothing better to do than sit around being outraged about FB messages all day, but that got old quickly, and I can’t be bothered anymore. If someone is being a lunatic, I just dismiss them as a lunatic and move on with my life. You’re so right about the left cannibalizing itself. At this point, I reject the knee-jerk SJW types and don’t even consider them left anymore, and I don’t consider that there is a left at all. There’s just the hard right, the nutjob right, the moderate right, the centre-right, and then a bunch of liberal wankers. On the rare occasion that I find someone who understands the concept of seizing the means of production it’s like I’m seeing a unicorn.

      Liked by 2 people

    • On FB one tends also to be dealing with a lot of sub rosa history. You start a group and invite all the people you find interested in the topic and it turns out some of them absolutely hate each other.

      Liked by 1 person

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