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Vodka Tasting Experiment [Feb. 8th, 2009|01:23 pm]
[Current Location |Chicago]
[mood |nerdynerdy]

I recently was Emcee/Umpire for a vodka tasting party. By default as I was the non-drinker. I did wear a suit though. I don't wholly approve of this but I might as well post the results from it. I also think its weird to have a taste test on something that by U.S. law is a clear neutral spirit of no discernable flavour or aroma. Study participants were requested to bring one 'cheap' and one 'expensive' bottle of vodka. Cheap being less than $15 for 750ml as priced on Binny's. Of the 8 participants, 14 bottles were obtained, 6 of which were determined to be cheap and 8 were determined to be expensive. None of the study participants are math majors. All 14 vodkas were coincidentally 80 proof. Here are the vodkas, prices, what they are derived from, and their origins, from cheapest to most expensive:

Cheap Vodkas;
Aristocrat - $5.99 - grain - Kentucky, USA
Phillips - $5.99 - corn - Minnesota, USA
Wolfschmidt - $6.99 - grain - Kentucky, USA
Taaka - $7 - grain - Kentucky, USA
Hawkeye - $9 - grain - Iowa, USA
Olifant - $10.99 - grain - Holland, Netherlands

Expensive Vodkas:
Stolichnaya - $19.99 - grain - Russia
Ketel One - $22.99 - wheat - Holland, Netherlands
Effen - $23.99 - wheat - Holland, Netherlands
Clearheart - $25 - fruit and grain - Iowa, USA
Van Gogh - $29.99 - wheat/corn/barley - Holland, Netherlands
Cîroc - $32.99 - grapes - France
Hangar One - 34.99 - viognier grapes - California, USA
Supreme - $35 - wheat/rye/barley - Russia

No potatoes at all.

The test was blind to the drinkers, and I knew very few of the brands at all, let alone prices when I started, so It was almost double-blind. Drinkers had less than a shot (maybe ¼ on average), each vodka being drink simultaneously by participants. There were 4 vodkas in a row, and then a short break for people to digest and cleanse their palates. Participants rated each vodka on personal taste (low of 1 to high of 10), whether they though the drink was cheap or expensive, and what brand they thought it was. After all 14 vodkas were tasted once, a 'bonus round' occurred where a single vodka (stoli) was tasted again and participants were asked to guess which one it was and to rate taste for consistency. Only one participant matched the bonus, though not by brand.

Results of taste preferences, from best to worst with cumulative score. C refers to cheap and x refers to expensive:

1) Hangar one 61 X
2) Olifant 56 C
3) Aristocrat 53 C
4) Supreme 48 X
4) Van Gogh 48 X
6) Wolfschmidt 43 C
7) Clearheart 41 X
8) Ketel one 38 X
9) Taaka 35 C
10) Stolichnaya 34 X
11) Cîroc 32 X
12) Effen 27 X
13) Phillips 22 C
14) Hawkeye 19 C

Clearly Olifant and Aristocrat are the best deals, especially the latter at nearly ½ the price. Cîroc and Effen are the big rip-offs. There did not seem to be much difference in preference as far as what the vodka was distilled from nor where it was produced. Personal preference did vary, and one participant, who got the least number of correct answers, liked Taaka the best. Thus showing most people can probably save a bit of money. Especially with mixed drinks.

Participants were ranked on how many vodkas they could match quality on (cheap vs. expensive):
1) Kariyushi 11
2) Liz 9 (plus bonus)
3) Jeremy 8
3) Laura 8
3) Rich 8
3) Russ 8
3) Terry 8
8) Krista 4

Note that the 5-way tie for third was between all the blood-related individuals.

Participants in order of correctly named brands:
1) Liz 3
1) Russ 3
3) Laura 2
3) Rich 2
5) Jeremy 1
5) Kariyushi 1
7) Krista 0 (did not specify brands)
7) Terry 0

All in all, a successful experiment. People can really save some money. Plans are in the work for a similar trial with tequila. I would like to repeat this with something I personally might like, like chocolate. Other ideas include coffee and cheese. Do you have any ideas?
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(no subject) [Jun. 11th, 2008|09:08 pm]
[Current Location |Desk]
[mood |hungryhungry]

I've been tossing around this idea in my head for a while. You ever watch those shows like "Fear Factor" where they make some schlub eat something gross like brains or blood or scorpions or something? I've noticed that the gross food is pretty much non-veg.

Now while this could be a good point to make to anyone thinking of becoming veg, it begs the question: Are there any 'gross' vegan foods? I've come up with a few but am wondering if anyone else has any ideas.

In no particular order:

1) Durian ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durian ) - I love this stuff, but many people think it tastes literally like poo. And also you can't take it on airplanes allegedly because its pungence can set off the smoke detectors.

2) Natto ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natto ) - Slimy and foul tasting. Definitely an acquired taste i have no real interest in acquiring.

3) Marmite/Vegemite ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marmite ) - Another love it or hate it thing. I tried this a long time ago and didn't care for it, but then i did illegally import a jar of the Guinness Marmite, and then tried it and it tastes like a barroom floor.

4) Cuitlacoche/Huitlacoche ( http://www.thesneeze.com/mt-archives/000344.php ) - Haven't worked up the gumption to try this one yet. Apparently the word derives from the Nahuatl word for raven's poo. Yum!

Any others y'all can add to the list? I'm not really including chilis or spices because, whole its a challenge to eat raw hot peppers, they're not really gross.
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Word that describe smells [May. 30th, 2008|10:45 pm]
[Current Location |Bedroom]
[mood |thirstythirsty]
[music |new Juno Reactor]

I usually try to pay attention to how things smell. I think the reason why it is thought scents are such evocative memory-inducers is not because of any amazing quality that sense has, but in this audio-visual world we pretend to live in, when we are reminded of other senses it becomes real. Not online, not virtual. Plus it's so hard to recreate smells. If something happens, I can draw you a picture or show you a photo of how it looked. I can imitate how it sounded with my voice or play back an audio recording. But i can only describe how it smells.

And poorly at that. I remember reading something about how words for colours are more legitimate if they are native and not tied to something else. For instance red is better than cranberry. I can not look at a paint chip and say 'that looks just like the colour of a red' they way I can say it looks like the colour of a cranberry.

So I'm trying to pay more attention to the smells of things. Walking to work from the bus, i smell bums, rotting garbage, an island of Angelica growing in a parking lot, the smell of sun on dusty cinderblock walls, the mustiness of a burned-out apartment building... I want to use the native vocabulary of smell. But I have to find it first. Below is a quick list of what I have so far. There is some overlap with taste, but such as it is in your brains. And I realize that wine-tasters have their own vocabulary, but I think that is jury-rigging. Hopefully this list comes from the root.


I so want to add 'salty' to this list as it is one of the 5 or so types of taste receptors we have in our tongue, but it is a description of how salt tastes. :(

There is also a word that a big MSG manufacturer is pushing: Kokumi. Apparently it's something like continuity, mouthfulness, and punch. its also like umami but TOTALLY different. That still is very unclear. I admire the dedication though and look forward to tasting what that means. Even if it has disreputable coinage, it may still be a useful word.

Any more words you can think of?
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Halloween Costume Ideas [Sep. 15th, 2006|09:33 pm]
[Tags|, , , , , , ]
[Current Location |Western Adiction]
[mood |productiveproductive]
[music |TARAKO!]

To continue my 清少納言-esque trend of listmaking, Here are some costumes that I am indeed not dressing up as his year, but that would be totally cyber. They're also very easy to put together and capable of sustaining a Sorrycuse Hallowe'en (that means snow for your californicators).

1) Frank Chu - Just need an ill-fitting sportcoat, sunglasses, and neon posterboard with some anto-government-reality-show rants on it. People who ask you who you are can be dispached with your sign as well. And you maybe could get free drinks at 12 Galaxies.

2) Norton I, Emperor of these United States and Protector of Mexico - More munificent version of the above. I'm surprised I've never seen this one before. Could be a good couple costume with above without being so couply.

3) Tarako Kewpie Girls - This would be so ultra cyber. That video is so hypnotic. I must do as the cod roe demands! You wouldn't even have to have a partner for this costume. Or you could have a whole mob (flash mob?) of people. Super bonus points if you also sing and dance. Extra Mega points for finding that MP3 for me.

4) Guy Fawkes - Ok, Few things on this. You may think this takes some ironic chutzpah to do this after the major motion picture, but lemme tellsya a story. Way back in yore, when I was attending university, i dressed up all Hallowe'en day as The Crow. This was just after the film came out. I knew it was lame but i wanted to be the frakkin Crow anyway. But instead of getting i dunno, ANY comments on how derivative i was being, I get comments like "What are you supposed to be, a clown or something?" Google that to see how weird that is. Yea, noone knew what i was supposed to be. It was like rain on your wedding day when you only needed a knife. Never underestimate people's ignorance. I think the masks look hekka von cool too any dang ways.
Point 2 is that the 5th of November is a holiday we need to import seriously. Between the penny recycling, the fires, and the fact that a holiday celebrating terrorism would piss off all the right people. Plus with Día de los Muertos it makes a Halloweekend into a Halloweek. It reminds me I want to make an altar this year and have an outfit for the procession.

5) Anything from Homestar Runner's Hallowe'en toons - I don't know how Los Bros Chaps come up with so many costume ideas each year.

6) Bedroom Sheet Ghost - One of my best costumes. Still a goodie. Everyone will be so jealous.

I have been trying to think up an actual scary costume for some time. It's hard when I ain't skirked of much. What costumes do ya'll find frightening?
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Yes, i am that bored [Jul. 2nd, 2006|12:37 am]
[Tags|, , , ]
[Current Location |Dominion of Emperor Norton]
[mood |dorkydorky]

Movies I actually am looking forward to:

1) Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna; releasing 11 August 2006: Ok, so The director of Kal Ho Naa Ho, with Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Preity Zinta, and not one, but TWO Bachchans. I think it's only missing Saif Ali Khan. Trailer looks awesome, with the amazing use of colour from KHNH apparent, as well as the melodrama and the SRK and Rani dreaminess.

2) Manoj N. Shyamalan's Lady in the Water; Releasing 21 July 2006: This films keep getting better and better, despite what THE MAN says. Probably the only guy who comes anywhere near the ballpark of creeping me out in a filmly way. Watching the trailer is almost superfluous, but definitely added to my anticipation.

3) A Scanner Darkly; limitedly-releasing 7 July 2006: Is there some law that I have to see Keanu the meat puppet in every cyberpunk movie? I mean, i guess he's a big fan, and noone else is. And all the writers want his loagy bod and cream their pantaloons when they hear he's attached to their silver-screen adaptations. I mean, Johnny Mnemonic? The Matrices? I'm waiting for them to do an 'enhanced' version of Bladerunner (à la E.T. or Star Wars) where they replace a fit Harry Ford with his pasty ass. But i'm that starved for decent sci-fi, and especially cyberpunk, that i'll put up with that. This is above and beyond linklater's propensity for preachy babbling, but I have faith he can pull it off. I mean he managed to finish the film without Robert Downey, Jr. going back to rehab or Winona Rider going back to jail. That's gotta mean something, right?

4) Fearless (Huo Yuan Jia); releasing 4 August 2006: I admit I don't keep up with Li's films that well, but the trailer gave me horripilation (my new favourite word). I don't know how my arrectores pilorum know which movies are teh awesome, but they usually do a pretty good prognostication job. Plus they hate THE MAN as much as Jet Li apparently does in this here film.

5) Idiocracy; releasing 1 September 2006: No trailer yet, but it's Mike Judge, and it's about stupid americans. Oh how they make me laugh with glee!

6) Black Dahlia; releasing 15 September 2006: Again, no trailer, but its a James Ellroy adaptation about the original Goth, Fritigern Elizabeth Short. I know Casper will love it too because it has her flavourite actress in it, who coincidentally also has a chromatically-themed name.

What i'm NOT looking forward to:

1) Superman Returns: I'm more excited about Aquaman the TV series than seeing flying guy look even more like a page from the International Male catalog. Is it any coincidence that the intern at work what I thought was hitting on me was trying to get a group going to see this? Sorry, but after seeing The Lion King on Ice my tolerance is a little low. I mean, Aquaman can talk to fish, but its still better than if your superpower is (other than looking totally unrecognizable in glasses) getting the poopies beat out of you for two hours. If I wanted to see that, I'd skip the metaphor and watch SuperJesus or somethin.

2) PotC 2: To invoke Godwin's law, it rhymes with 'Nazi.' I kill the argument like so because I am the only person out there who is not home-schooled who is not looking forward to this movie, so any argument I make will fall upon deaf ears only. We all know I hate Horsey McToothsome, despite being tolerable in Pride and Prejudice, and am not suceptible to the vacuous charms of Mr. Bloom, but after the ending of the prequel, which was apparently written by the dead monkey, i just can't take it. Yes I know Johnny Depp was great and you love him all to undeath, but I don't give a care. he couldn't make up for the last piece of work, so I doubt he can uncrap the sequel anymore than Ewan could save Star Wars.
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I'm in love [May. 26th, 2006|03:16 pm]
[Current Location |SF]
[mood |sillysilly]
[music |RantRadio.com]

I met someone. she's dreamy. I'll anagram her name so noone will never know. It's AURA CLASPER. She's the best like that montage from Karate Kid.
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(no subject) [Nov. 21st, 2005|02:15 am]
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New Site! [Sep. 14th, 2005|02:50 pm]
[Tags|, , ]
[mood |accomplishedaccomplished]

Ok, i have a new site up and it's somewhat presentable. I still have many fixes i have to make, but the big strokes are there. It's a site with all those rodside attractions on it. I put in very complete information, and big pictures. You can comment on the entries like a blog and give updates. So go check it out:

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Im actually making a real site... [Mar. 30th, 2005|02:48 pm]
[mood |determineddetermined]
[music |angeldustrial radio]

Just a little pre-buzz that i'm trying to make a new site with actual content. its slow going though. I'll post real info when it is really real.
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(no subject) [Feb. 18th, 2005|02:34 pm]
[mood |disappointeddisappointed]
[music |amped]

Yea, i know i never post, but there's been some drama and I need to get it out.

So this person i know has decided to hate me. To be honest we did have a quarrel over something i thought was silly. But i get this email that he's been like deliberating for like months and despite me offering apologies and so forth he's cutting me out. here it goes:

I'm writing to ask you to stop contacting me, calling, or visiting my blog. You have done some things in the past year that have been genuinely hurtful. Whether these things were intentional or not, I had hoped that some time and distance would make them fade away. Sadly, time and distance still have not given me the desire to renew our friendship. I would appreciate it if you leave my name off of your future invitations and refrain from contacting me in the future.

Ok, besides the fact that my apologies are ignored and i'm being punished for unintentional acts, he is free to avoid me or whatever he wants. Seems to be the way things go here in SF. But other people in our circle have been given the brush off as well, like my s.o., Mr. E, and others. What's up with that? It's not like noone can hang out with my friends without me being around.

I'm now thinking about all the things that may have happened in the past year that may have been misconstrued or whatever. Also I think of an incident with this individual and another friend of mine. Seems like there was some incident where they allegedly kissed and then my still-friend denied it. or so one side goes. TTK still denies ever kissing him and can't even think of how this story came about. I had always thought it one of those he-said-he-said things because I didn't imagine either to imagine things or take things out of proportion. But now i'm wondering, with how this went down with me, i wonder if something similar happened then...
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