Gothic Granola

“Chai” It: Into It/ Over It, High Altitude Edition

gothic granola national forest camping colorado

It’s time for another round of Into It/Over It, the High Altitude Edition.  The point of this type of post is to point out a negative and replace it with a positive (and sometimes just point out positives).  What does a picture of this awesome-yet-undisclosed location have to do with Gothic anything?  If you have ever read any Gothic literature (FrankensteinThe Castle of OtrantoCarmillaDracula, et cetera), they can be read as travel journals, with significant chunks of text devoted to describing landscapes and characters’ travels.  I re-read Carmilla  on a weekend’s camping trip, and the descriptions of Styria (region in modern-day Austria and Slovenia) reminded me of the critical angle of Gothic literature as travel journals.

But first, we must have tea.

As with most things on this blog 2014-forward, TC asked for something: if I could make chai concentrate.  The first time went brilliantly, but I had substituted and omitted some “traditional” ingredients.  We went to the bulk store in Wrongmont and I learned that I do not like star anise, or at least, not a lot of it.  The second and third iterations were not as tasty.

 

Chai Concentrate
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups water
  2. 2 teaspoons cardamom powder
  3. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  4. 3 pieces star anise (optional; I used one and it was too much for me)
  5. 2 teaspoons fennel seed
  6. 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg (preferably fresh)
  7. 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  8. 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  9. dash ground black pepper (or to taste)
  10. 1 1/2 cups nondairy milk (I used unsweetened almond)
  11. 6 teaspoons loose black tea (I used plain black; assam is traditional)
  12. 1/3 cup organic turbinado sugar (or to taste)
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan over medium high heat, combine water, cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, fennel, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and peppercorns to a boil.
  2. Once this mixture boils, add nondairy milk and return to a boil.
  3. Once boiling again, add the tea.
  4. Lower the heat and simmer for three minutes.
  5. Place a coffee filter in a strainer/sieve over a large, heat-proof bowl.
  6. Pour the tea and spice mixture through said strainer setup.
  7. Let concentrate cool and store in a sealed container in the fridge, or...
  8. Add about 1/4 cup chai concentrate to 8 ounces of boiling water and enjoy!
Adapted from Monterey Bay Spice Company
Gothic Granola http://gothicgranola.com/

I have no pictures of chai available (but I know I Snapchatted it!), so here’s some notes from the last meeting of the Black Cat Society.

black cat society | gothic granola

 black cat society | gothic granola

Over It: The Front Range.  

The Front Range is the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming-Colorado and the Western Slope is the western side.  From North to South, Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver, and Colorado Springs are on the Front Range, and most ski resorts are either in the mountains or on the Western Slope.  Got that Colorado geography square in your mind?  The Front Range is very busy, what with people who continue to come to Colorado pursuing the green dream (earning my unabashed disgust) and Colorado’s ever-growing tech and energy industries.  The real Fury Road is Highway 119.  I’m so mature, the last time I drove out of Wrongmont, I was blasting “Devil’s Night” by Motionless in White, because: “And we have come to scare you to death/ Because that’s what you deserve/ You fucking fake ass hypocrites.”

Into It: Resort Town Living

  1. People constantly cycle through.
  2. I don’t work in hospitality.

 

Over it: Facebook

I have to know how it works for my job, but otherwise, forget you, Mark Zuckerberg, and your little post-showing and hiding algorithms, too!

Into it: Snapchat

Give people a camera and they share a lot of detail about their lives…especially if images disappear in 24 hours.  I’m undead_q.

 

Over it: Uniball Jetstream and Signo 207 pens

I ordered a pack of Jetstreams recently, and they’re just not as fluid as I remember, and that 0.7 mm point isn’t as thick as I prefer.

Into it: Uniball Impact 207 with 1 mm bold point

We’re talking bold ink, baby.  I can run through one of these in a day, what with Morning Pages and general writing.  Needless to say, I order them in bulk and still run out quickly.

 

Over it: Any other notebook

Seriously.  Once you write in a Leuchtturm, every other notebook seems (and usually is) cheap.

Into it: Leuchtturm 1917 Notebooks

Medium, lined, any colour, hardcover.  Thank you, Rach, for giving me my first Leuchtturm.  Notebooks contain 250 numbered pages, a table of contents for you to fill in, a pocket, archival stickers, and sturdy pages.  Given my love of Uniball Impact 207’s, lack of ink bleed is a very good thing.

 

Over It: iTunes, Spotify, Pandora

Into it: Amazon Music, Soundcloud, Bandcamp

I already pay $100/year or more for Amazon Prime…no ads, huge selection, includes my Amazon music purchases, and it’s all mp3s, which is what my car plays from a memory stick. Spotify slows down my compy, either from web player or the downloaded player.  Pandora…just too many inane ads.  I understand, ads are how the company makes money.  If I want ads, I’ll listen to real AM/FM radio.  I like not having to listen to things on “shuffle” all the time through Amazon, Soundcloud, and Bandcamp.  Lack of ads and access to demos/otherwise unreleased tracks is why I like Soundcloud and Bandcamp.  I still prefer to buy music (either as CDs or downloads) instead of streaming since I like having “stuff;” the gym in which I now work out does not have WiFi, and the Western Slope isn’t great for consistent cell signal.

 

Over it: “Popular Music” in general, but isn’t that a given? 

I’m over dubstep in every freaking car and bike awesomeness video; I really dislike dubstep and its adherents.  But hey, this kickass video featuring a BMW R1200GS dualsport doesn’t have dubstep.

Into it: Goth/Electronic/Industrial, duh.

List of artists in no particular order with a favourite song–and also into buying entire discographies when feasible!  Bandcamp makes supporting an artist through purchasing their entire discography a reasonable prospect.

Aesthetic Perfection – “Big Bad Wolf”  Too bad I missed this single for my 23rd birthday in 2013.  “Fvck Industrial” is most hilarious (and of course I’ve listened to more than this single album; I have several albums saved to my Amazon Prime library through which I cycle).

Imperative Reaction – “Minus All”  I’m late to the game on Imperative Reaction, but consistency wins out here.

Kill the Sleeper & Syndrome X/209 – (same frontman; Syndrome X/209 is no more) “Tortured (The Lie II)” and “Optix Noir”  “Tortured” is already my favourite song of the year, I think, or one of the top three. TC and I do a lot of mountain driving to Kettil Sundberg’s songs because they’re “consistent,” as TC says, and the driving beats (literally) keep me focused.

Shadow System – “Feel Me Fuck Me” Don’t take the lyrics literally.  Just try not to dance when listening to Shadow System.

Slashgore – “Welcome to the End of the World” Since I wrote the first Into It/Over It post, I remain obsessed with the model Dmitry “Angel” Thanatos (he is the background on my desktop, laptop, tablet, and phone…sorry not sorry).  On a random search, I found this photo, looked into Slashgore, and found Kirill Tsvetkov’s dark music and lyrics quite agreeable.  

Third Realm – “Diabolic Crush” or “Take Me Back”  Don’t even get me started on how happy I am to have discovered Third Realm.  There’s eleven years of music composed and sung by Nathan Reiner that I’ve missed!  Poetic lyrics, catchy rhythms, varied styles in each album, and every third word isn’t about the sea.  You should also listen to “Corruption” by Third Realm, featuring Slashgore.

 

(TC and I joke that 90% of Goth/Industrial/and similar lyrics involve water in some format–tears, rain, sea, ocean, river, etc.  Latest Kill the Sleeper song falls right into this pattern–“I Am the Ocean, I Am the Sea“–but the song may be some reference to the lyric, “I am an ocean, I am the sea” in “Crucify Me” by Bring Me the Horizon?)

 

 

Into it: Homemade vice cream (as if you couldn’t tell) and chai

Over it: Store-bought versions of the same

Make your own chai (see above!).  It’ll change your life.  For the same price as a pint, you can make your own VGF vice cream, and not support some kind of moral grey area by buying Ben & Jerry’s dairy-free vice cream.  Come on, vegans, wake up: one of the points of being vegan is to vote with your money, and when you’re buying dairy-free VC from a mostly dairy company, then you’re just telling them that they’re doing OK.  They’re not getting rid of the dairy portion of their company!  They’re fooling you!  

I thought being vegan was kind of a red pill experience: you’re awoken to the matrix of animal suffering that surrounds you.  This is about as preachy as I’ll get when it comes to vegan ethics…and besides, I wear leather on occasion.  I’m just as complicit as anyone else.  Here’s how I justify that: leather moto gear will keep me alive, which will allow me to make better choices for animals over my lifetime.*  Unlike Angus Black in A Radical’s Guide to Self-Destruction, I don’t think the ultimate solution to ecological problems is to kill yourself!

 

*Well-made textile gear these days is also quite good.  The debate continues.

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