Thursday, May 29, 2008

Los Angeles

Cedric has had a fantastic time visiting LA in the past two months. He loves LA--everything about it. The first trip down he posed, as you can see, with some of his favorite new acquaintances. (I keep telling him there's nothing like a dry martini, and he finishes every single one I offer him, then orders another single malt.)

This last trip, he helped out on the set of Gary Mairs' Hemingway Night. We couldn't get a picture of him on set because he wouldn't keep still--that's our story and we're sticking to it. Paul put some pictures of the shoot up, and maybe next time we help Gary out with a movie, Cedric will sit still long enough for us to get a photo of him!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Old Foghorn

Anchor's Old Foghorn Barleywine Style Ale is Cedric's new favorite beer. This is really saying something. Cedric enjoys his beer and is partial to ales, and has been trying many of the brews available from around the world at his new favorite store, Ledgers Liquors--he had heard Ledgers called the adult Disneyland, and they weren't wrong. (He's also amazed by Ledger's selection of single malts--in fact, he gets emotional about the single malts, and can't yet speak openly about them.)

In his quest to not only support local businesses, he, like any traveler, has been trying to experience a new culture through the local food and drink. So he had a martini made from Anchor's Junipero Gin, and was transported. When he watched the online video of the bottling of Junipero Gin, he wept openly. It may have been the martini, but he's been walking around with a suppressed joy ever since.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Baking soda to the rescue

The merino wool sweater that I found at Goodwill for $4.99 has become my favorite biking sweater--it fits well while allowing full movement while biking, looks decent at work, and, most of all, keeps me warm around dawn while biking into a headwind on the Embarcadero. I found, though, that it was spending more time at the dry cleaners than at home.

So I decided to try washing it. Some gentle detergent, cool water, and no agitation, and I had a soft, lovely sweater. Mostly. Because I wear this sweater for heavy exercise, the armpits were, shall we say, still seeming fresh off the bike.

I tried searching the Ravelry forums, and a few of my usual online resource haunts, but everything that talked about deodorizing wool seemed to be concentrating on unfortunate incidents involving pets and wool rugs. Keeping in mind the few weeks I spent in chemistry, I didn't think that methods for removing odors from mammal excrement could be used for removing odors from human sweat--maybe I was wrong--I hope I'll never know!

So I turned to the manual for all things domestic in my abode: Home comforts : the art & science of keeping house by Cheryl Mendelson. Her recommendation: baking soda.

Keeping my chemistry in mind, I double-checked: baking soda is alkaline, and my detergent is alkaline. How does it work? As with everything in the book, she explains:

As a deodorizer, [baking soda] works neither by perfuming or masking odors nor by absorbing them. It chemically neutralizes odors ... most unpleasant odors are caused by strong acids ... or strong alkalies ... Baking soda reacts with the odor molecules to bring them to a more neutral pH ... the deodorant effect is also present when baking soda is dissolved in water ...

Of course I have no idea if that's what actually happened in my basin, but with a much-darned sweater from Goodwill, I was willing to experiment. (I would never try any of this with my handknits--those go straight to Sam's Cleaners!) A few tablespoons of Bob's Redmill's baking soda and some cool water in my small basin, and about ten minutes of soaking, followed by adding some gentle detergent for another soak, and, voila! A completely deodorized, fluffy, soft, sweet smelling sweater!