Will the Real Chocolate Tea Please Stand Up?

A hand holding a navy blue mug that reads I heart NPR and has dark brown cocoa tea inside it.

I have tried an assortment of chocolate-flavored teas over the years and trust me when I say they never came close to the real thing. Most reminded me of those sugar-free chocolates that have the consistency of chewing gum.

Now I’ve discovered the secret to low-calorie chocolate awesome–brewing cocoa nibs.

I don’t know how it never occurred to me to just brew the nibs straight. Humans have discovered all manner of tasty drinks by steeping plant pieces in hot water. It really should be no surprise that cocoa nibs make a smashing tea.

This chocolate tea is good, angels sing as hot water hits the nibs. Your tongue does the samba in anticipation of the glorious taste party that is about to happen. All the other chocolate teas in the world look on with jealousy and realize they have lost the battle of style vs. substance and even their fancy filigreed packaging can’t save them now.

It’s either nibs or go home. All other chocolate teasers are just fakers.

Okay. Done now. I promise.

I’m so glad one of my coworkers shared her nibs with me. Now I can squash my chocolate cravings with tea.

One side note: This is NOT a caffeine free tea. Steer clear of this tea if caffeine is a migraine trigger or otherwise makes living in your own body unpleasant…

If Talk Is Cheap, Stop Giving It So Much Value

talk

I’m beyond tired of talking being the only parameter people use to measure my worth as a human being. Most people know talking is a terrible measuring stick for a person’s character. “I value substance over style!” they declare, and then they pull out the talking stick and hold it up next to you.

Somewhere along the line, we as a society have established that talking = interest, talking = intelligence, and even that talking = love. If we accept these equations as truth, then people who don’t talk must not be interested, dumber than a monogamist at a swingers party, and incapable of love.

As usual, there is some truth to this perception. Communication deepens relationships. Discussions breed ideas and inventions. Sharing intimate thoughts and feelings brings people closer together. But here’s where most people get it wrong.

Talk is not scalable.

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Life on the Honors Track

A picture of a pair of glasses resting on an open book.

I spent my entire academic career on the Honors track. Aside from math, which seems to be the one subject my brain processes at the speed of paint drying, I took the Honors and AP courses available in every subject. Yet I never really thought of the implications of separating out the smart kids until I read this editorial by Judy Jones.

The advantage of Honors courses was we could drive dragsters while everyone else puttered about in sedans. We could blow through material faster than the regular classes. When teachers knew everyone in the class could absorb material quickly, they could cover more ground and still fit in time for the students to explore their own interests.

At the same time, I recall being in those classes with a lot of the same people. The “gifted” students stuck together because, let’s admit it, it’s very fun to hang out with people who are at the same geek level you are. It’s great to be able to crack jokes about math or physics and have people laugh so hard that soda rockets out of their nose. Everyone else would just give you a look that asked “so what Star Trek dimension are you from?”

But that environment doesn’t reflect the working world.

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Mad Max: The Feminist Action Flick No One Saw Coming

Mad_Max

There be some tiny spoilers past this paragraph. Those who prefer a pure unspoilerified movie-going experience should stay far away from this post.

Few franchises are as testosterone-soaked as Mad Max. With supercharged car chases, tricked-out vehicles, and bone-cracking-flesh-ripping violence, the target viewer for the series is undoubtedly the same 20-30-something year-old guy who spends far too many hours playing Grand Theft Auto.

Which is why it is so damn surprising that Mad MaxFury Road has taken one of the biggest leaps to showcase women on the big screen.

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Dear Customer, You Can Help Us Stay Open Late

opensign

Dear Customer,

We at Local Business Inc. appreciate receiving the feedback you have so graciously shared with several of our cashiers, the shift manager, and the delightful homeless veteran who plays the banjo across the street from our establishment. We have also enjoyed receiving your emails and Facebook posts. They are a daily dose of joy for all of our staff.

We understand you’re a working American with a 9 to 5 job, and that you cannot frequent our establishment as much as you would like because we close our doors promptly at 6:00 PM on weekdays and traffic just sucks. We are sorry these hours inconvenience you, and we know how enthusiastic you are to patronize our business. So we have put together some suggested steps you could take to assist us in keeping our doors open late like the Walmarts and the Targets.

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Living Tweetless and Loving It

By now, most of the Internet has likely seen the music video for Stromae’s “Carmen.” The singer doesn’t mince words when it comes to his perspective on social media culture. He aptly captures the affect of the pull of social media and how it encourages us to consume information to the point at which we are consumed by social media itself.

Watching the video reminded me of the mostly empty Twitter feed I have sitting on the side of my blog. Other than some appeals I’ve made to support some worthy fundraisers, I haven’t paid attention to Twitter for more than a year. Stromae’s video definitely hits on why I’ve allowed my Twitter account to stagnate.

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No More Old Maids

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I just turned thirty. I’m single, female, and have no kids.  A generation ago, folks would have slapped me with the “old maid” label and made tart comments about how empty my house must feel without a husband and children crammed into it.

But I live in a time when I can tell anyone who tries that bullshit to stuff it right back in the hole it came out of. The only “Old Maid” I intend to associate myself with is the card game.

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The One and Only Peggy Rae

peggyrae

My friend Peggy Rae died.

I just got the news last night. I got home from the mountains super late, and I couldn’t really process it until today.

The first con I ever went to (Capclave) is one of the cons Peggy was always heavily involved in. Capclave set the bar high (it still does), and I have compared every con I have attended to that standard. Every con I went to that had Peggy Rae working behind the scenes met that bar, or set it higher.

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A Beach Mini-Adventure

BeachAdventure

There’s no point in freelancing unless you take advantage of some of the perks.

So when it was freezing, rainy, and miserable in Chapel Hill yesterday, I headed to Wilmington. Not only was it twenty degrees warmer in Wilmington, but my friend and teacher Matt White opened for Orlando Jones at TheatreNOW.

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Spock: A Hero Without Emotion

MisterSpock

Leonard Nimoy spent a good chunk of his acting career hating Spock. For an actor, I can see why being typecast as Spock would be frustrating. Why would any actor want to play a character with no emotions? From an actor’s point of view, Spock was a dry psychopath who had a few good quips. I can see how that would get boring.

Yet Spock broke boundaries. Here was this character who, despite his lack of emotional intelligence, wasn’t a mad scientist or a mass murderer or any of the other stereotypes Hollywood shoved introverts into back in the 1960s. He was a hero.

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