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skot AT izzlepfaff DOT com

Wednesday, 03 December
More Notes From The Diseased

Okay, I am well and truly sick now--yesterday I stayed home from work, and yet somehow felt the rotten urge to check work email remotely, which I did; I answered two questions from panicky Canadian doctors, shivering sweatily in my cotton robe, which felt decidedly weird, because I was foggy and all, and I truly hope I didn't lapse into some febrile kind of fugue state and tell them something baffling, e.g.:

"Skot, blah blah bone marrow aspirate blah blah inconclusive dibble wingnut is this patient eligible for the trial?

"Dear Canuck doctor. Feed the patient bacon. You should also get a dog. Dogs are so nice. P.S. I need rigid discipline at all times. Call me, lover."

Also, feeling crappy all the time isn't really conducive to bringing the funny much, unless it's in a very Krusty-ish vein: "Hey hey! I coughed so hard today I almost vomited! Mhoohoohoohahaha!" Which really did happen, charmingly; it's one of those wonderful things about being a smoker: despite the fact that you know that it will make you wheeze and cough (even more than usual) and that it will really taste like freshly grated ass, your brain inexorably snarls at you to smoke anyway, maggot! And so you do, and so you cough, and so you nearly vomit, and so your brain goes, "Well, that's what you get for being such a total dong. Drop and give me twenty, maggot!" I am of course only drill instructor-level tough in my head. Actual dropping and giving of said twenty probably would make me vomit, if only out of sheerest disgust that I was actually doing exercise.

But I did manage to crawl unhappily to work this morning. I stopped at my usual coffee joint, but coffee sounded just dreadful, so I pondered the tea menu. I don't generally do tea--actually, it occurs to me, I only drink it when I'm sick--so staring at the menu was really just an exercise in futility. But you do it anyway, kind of like when people stare at the Rosetta Stone, patiently waiting for it to somehow make sense, when what it actually is is just a meaningless jumble of incomprehensible bullshit.

And here is where I get to blame Star Trek: TNG for a little problem that I've always have. See, as I said, I don't know jack about tea. But I have, over the course of my indefensible life, watched every single episode of that fucking show multiple times, even the shatteringly boring ones that are all about Worf. So here is the sum total of my knowledge regarding tea: "Uhl Grey! HAWT!" I am incapable of thinking about Earl Grey, in fact, without mentally adopting Patrick Stewart's RADA-perfected intonation. And so, inevitably (I honestly realized this just this morning) whenever, in the past, that I have become sick, and ordered tea, I have always ordered Earl Grey.

And, it hit me again this morning, as I sipped my freshly brewed tea: I fucking hate Earl Grey. It tastes like boiled despair. But since I never order tea, and I go so long between drinks of it, I manage to forget, every time, that I find the stuff thoroughly dreadful. And mark my words, in a year, year and a half, whatever, the next time I get sick, you'll be able to find me staring beetle-browed at a tea menu, only to finally rasp out, "Earl Grey, please."

I might be proof that Darwin was a babbling wombat. If I were Early Man, I'd probably cheerfully try several times to domesticate hungry cougars. Kitty cat! I will hold him and pet him and love him and OH GOD BAD KITTY EATS MY HEAD!

Anyway. When I did get into work, I ran into bosslady, who gave me the once-over. "You look foul," she said, quite accurately. "Are you sure you want to be here?" I stared whitely at her, measuring my response. "I rarely want to be here," I didn't say. She continued on: "If you need to take off, you go ahead, all right?" (She's actually a pretty good egg.) "Ogay," I croaked.

And then--you can almost see it coming if you squint--she said: "You should have some tea!"

No thanks, bosslady, but that's sweet. Instead, I went downstairs to smoke and cough and nearly vomit. It beat the shit out of Earl Grey.

Note: Comments are closed on old entries.


Even at your sickest and most unfunniest you're funnier than some of us poseurs out here.

Can't really help on the what-kind-of-tea-to-have front, but I CAN tell you that you're an idiot for working if your boss offers you an out. Come on, man. Go home and watch the Price is Right.

Comment number: 003971   Posted by: i on December 3, 2003 05:46 AM from IP:

Order Darjeeling.

Also, you really really need to learn about tea, just so you can appreciate the pure absurdity of tea grades, where (for real), "Fancy Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe" is the grade given to a good tea.

Comment number: 003972   Posted by: Mike Kozlowski on December 3, 2003 06:23 AM from IP:


No, I'm not addressing you; I'm suggesting something that helps. Personally, I like Earl Grey a lot (it's my fav), but I rarely drink tea without adding a little bit of honey (seems to help it a little). Then again, I rarely drink tea any more since I swore off caffine several years ago. But when I DO drink tea... About a teaspoon of honey helps out immensely.

There's also this "constant comments orange tea" or something like that... (ugh, can't remember the exact name) I seem to remember enjoying.

You know... if you ever decide to try tea again or something.

Comment number: 003973   Posted by: dave on December 3, 2003 07:22 AM from IP:

I'm *so* glad I'm not the only one. I wanted to be all cool and "Earl Gray, Hot!" too and man I think that stuff is disgusting. The only thing I like is chai, and that's because it's all milky and sweet (which probably isn't the best idea when you have a cold).

Comment number: 003974   Posted by: Kimberly on December 3, 2003 07:25 AM from IP:

actually, you should have some valeria tea, the plant that makes valium, it knocks you on your ass.

Comment number: 003975   Posted by: -_- on December 3, 2003 07:41 AM from IP:

I just wanted to say that "boiled despair" is the best phrase I've ever heard. Also, I agree with you.

Comment number: 003976   Posted by: Kisha on December 3, 2003 07:43 AM from IP:

Skot, why for make you so with the tea hatred? Cozy up with a mugga herb tea with honey and lemon, and in no time at all, you'll once again be coughing without feeling like vomiting. I recommend chamomile, but be sure to get it from a tea shop that can guarantee that no child labor was involved in the harvesting.

Comment number: 003977   Posted by: Avocadro on December 3, 2003 07:48 AM from IP:

"It tastes like boiled despair." That is fucking GENIUS.

Comment number: 003978   Posted by: Bet on December 3, 2003 07:49 AM from IP:

Jeez, Skot. Tea of all varieties SUCKS and it's about time you figured that out. 24th century magictea may be fine for galaxy-cruising communists but today's tea LICKS ASS.

I recommend Orange Juice, the Official Drink of Liberty.

Comment number: 003979   Posted by: Dave Adams on December 3, 2003 07:53 AM from IP:

yet another boring tea recommendation: chamomile with honey and lemon. really helps the pipes when you're sick. orange juice is good too, if you can handle the burning fires of hell that the acid will impose on your already shredded throat.

"boiled despair" is the best thing i have heard in ages. maybe you should drink nyquil and write some more!

Comment number: 003980   Posted by: Tracy on December 3, 2003 08:05 AM from IP:

I was raised drinking tea probably eight times a day. No wonder I'm such a twitchy wreck now. Always the same: Typhoo Tea, which is a really good English brand that we got from horribly abusing the natives in India or something. When I had a sore throat or a cold or, you know, typhoid or something, the cure was always MORE TYPHOO!

And the key to it was that it had to be insanely hot when you drank it. Of course, this tea had to be consumed with milk, as is only right and intended by God, but when ill, the milk addition was limited and you had to pour that scalding brew down your windpipe.

Turns out third degree burns in your esophagus really take your mind off the croup. When I get sick, I still drink scalding hot Typhoo. Or sometimes I get achieve sentience and opt for peppermint tea.

Also, try whisky with lemon and a little butter melted in it. It may not be the most efficacious of medicinal compounds, but after three you won't care.

Comment number: 003981   Posted by: kaf on December 3, 2003 08:46 AM from IP:

I'd just like to say that I apologize for the length of that comment.

Comment number: 003982   Posted by: kaf on December 3, 2003 08:47 AM from IP:

Also, try whisky with lemon and a little butter melted in it.

This sounds great. The wife will make me hot toddys when I'm ailing, which is always just fine too.

Comment number: 003983   Posted by: Skot on December 3, 2003 09:33 AM from IP:

Where can I order my Izzle Pfaff mug, in white porcelain with plain black letters saying "Boiled Despair"? Money not an issue.

Comment number: 003984   Posted by: weremonkey on December 3, 2003 11:36 AM from IP:

Steaming hot pickle juice is also great when you have a cold. Of course, I drink it every day, and I never get sick. I buy a gallon of pickles every Monday at WalMart, for less than three bucks. The empty jars are great for brewing herbal sun tea!

Comment number: 003985   Posted by: Avocadro on December 3, 2003 11:38 AM from IP:

Second the Typhoo, or similar brit tea. Second the whiskey. Second the mug saying "Boiled Despair" -- brilliante. Second the suggestion of going home.

Comment number: 003986   Posted by: moose on December 3, 2003 01:08 PM from IP:

Just want to say that, if this boiled pickle juice person is serious, he/she needs to get some help A.S.A.fuckingP.
Boiled pickle juice? Why not just down a tall glass of hot piss?

Comment number: 003987   Posted by: Joe on December 3, 2003 01:43 PM from IP:

I firmly believe that for pure, scathing horror you can't beat chrysanthemum tea. Seriously, go to a Chinese restaurant and order it the next time you're unbeatably chipper. It'll have you whimpering in flower-despising nausea in no time.

It's boiled flowers. Sorry, but chrysanthemums don't even _smell_ particularly delightful. Now boil them and drink the hoary offal. Order refills for the kids. What's next, "roasted salmon cock infusion"?

Comment number: 003988   Posted by: ColdForged on December 3, 2003 01:48 PM from IP:


Comment number: 003989   Posted by: avogadro on December 3, 2003 01:54 PM from IP:

I'm with you Avo.


Comment number: 003990   Posted by: Dave Adams on December 3, 2003 02:47 PM from IP:

the cup. the cup. the cup. the cup.. hammering on the wall and screaming: THE CUP NOW.

Comment number: 003991   Posted by: david on December 3, 2003 05:28 PM from IP:

" awful is the interface to the replicators in the TNG-timeframe Star Trek shows.

Consider the archetypal replicator command: "Tea. Earl Grey. Hot." Captain Picard never orders anything else from the replicator, yet either there's no way for him to get the replicator to know that when he wants tea he wants hot Earl Grey; or there is such a way, he can't figure out how to set it up, and he's too proud to ask anyone for help.

What's more, the captain's utterance implies that if he just asked for "Tea. Earl Grey.", either the replicator would give him iced Earl Grey or the ship's computer would ask "At what temperature do you want the Earl Grey?" like a text adventure parser. How come they had time to do a molecular scan of a cup of Earl Grey but not time to put into the 24th-century equivalent of Cyc that Earl Grey is the sort of tea you drink hot?

This is not rocket science; it's the sort of thing that contemporary programmers use as fanciful examples in their EuroPython talks. "Let's take a hypothetical Person, Jean-Luc. Jean-Luc likes Tea, so he sets that as his default Drink, but there are many different kinds of Tea, so he can set a default for Tea as well..." It wouldn't be hard to do the interface either; after you got your elaborately specified tea you could say "Bookmark. Tea." and thereafter it would just be "Tea." Except for the inevitable wacky malfunction, where the attempt to bookmark tea would give you a tea-colored bookmark, you would be fine...."

Comment number: 003992   Posted by: Sumana on December 4, 2003 08:36 AM from IP:


Comment number: 003993   Posted by: BB on December 23, 2003 12:06 PM from IP:
for the hot toddy recipe.

To get that, I typed '"hot Toddy" recipe' into Google. 5 seconds.

cf. The Brunching Shuttlecocks' "Kitchen Floor" sequence.

Comment number: 003994   Posted by: Todd Derscheid on January 17, 2004 02:23 PM from IP:

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