Juliana

I used to only dust my records too but over time I'd end up with microscopic gunk still in the grooves and static that kept the dust coming back.

What I do now is use a solution of distilled water with a splash of 90% isopropyl alcohol and a drop or two of regular Lysol, wipe the records in the direction of the grooves with a soft t-shirt, and put them in a MFSL sleeve. I've done this for about a year now and I haven't had issues with static or dust since.

This is what an owner of a nearby high-end record store uses to clean his records. In fact, that's who told me about it, and it works extremely well.

Someone reading this will think it damages vinyl becuase of something they heard somewhere a few years ago, but I challenge you to find a sourced article that comes to that conclusion. It leaves no residue, evaporates instantly, and actually works for most applications. The guy with the "pro-tips" doesn't know what he's talking about.

This method will work fine if the record is actually made of vinyl.

Alcohol will dissolve shellac 78s. Yes, dissolve. I can't find any reliable articles about what it does to styrene.

The use of soapy water to clean the record is a poor choice, what happens when soap is dried off or it evaporates?

It leaves residue, this residue then attracts other dust and grim and isn't good for the stylus either.

Also the use of a cloth, or micro fibre style cloth would seem like a perfect way to pick up the dust and grime not just on the surface, but in actual fact these cloths are never fine enough to really penetrate deep enough into record grooves to lift the dust. Also when wiping the records down your in most cases inducing a static charge onto the vinyl which in the long run will now attract even more dust then before.

I found the best cleaners that in both short term and long term are beneficial to your record are the liquids you pour over the record, let it dry and the pull off the skin almost like it's peeling, specific products also are anti-static charge and also leave no residue; with a little googling you can find a couple good ones.

But then as hobbies go it is just part of it I guess.

I only clean when I really have to. When I get a new record from a non-professional collector. A lot of hat I said damages them is what they are taught. I was told by my local record store that manufacturers of LPs and record players recommend against cleaning as it actually does more damage than good.

I searched for this when he told me and sure enough, there it was, a Rega:

Do not use any record cleaner that works while the record is playing or any cleaners that use water or solvents. If you keep your records stored in their sleeves, avoid touching the playing surfaces and keep all water and fluids away, cleaning should not be necessary. Do not worry about visible dust on the record surface, this is brushed aside by the stylus and any that collects on the stylus can be easily blown away. In general, record cleaning is overdone and one should not believe all the claims made by record cleaner manufacturers.

Now I know why we all hold themin such high regard.

If you want to get rid of static you can actually get sleeves that do that I place them in between the original paper sleeve and the LP and it also protects any of the sleeves that might get worn at the bottom

Juliana

So I have been searching for a new teapot. No, not the ones that our grandmother would bring out on visitis. Something a littl more modern.

I just picked up this beautiful Hario teapot and I've been brewing with it exclusively ever since, ignoring my poor porcelain pot that I got from my grandmother's estate.

What I have noticed is that I use my glass ware for only green teas as heat retention is less of an issue for a tea that prefers lower temperatures.

But honestly glass' benefit is more visual than best performance.

A gaiwan is also easier to clean.

If you want a true test, steep an equal ratio of tea side by side and see if there is a difference. I know I've noticed times I used glass the tea was much weaker.

For instance, if you drink puerh the gaiwan has the size advantage if you're brewing for one person, as puerh resteeps much more than other teas and 180ml would use a lot of leaf and produce liters and liters of tea, and might be too much for 1 person. 150ml is my max vessel size for one person.

Other types of tea would have the Hario size to be better. Apart from the size issue adressed before, pots are always a bit more ergonomical than gaiwans imo, less burns, less accidents, the heat retention might be more or less an issue considering what teas you drink and how you like them.

Pour time might also be a factor to consider. You can pour the gaiwan faster, probably. You can pour the gaiwan 1-handed. You might need your off hand to hold the lid on the pot.

The glass allows you to watch tea unfurl and expand and also look at the color of the liquor and brew it to desired strength.

Juliana

Records aren't an investment. Stocks, bonds, gold -those are investments.

This is just music, it's great, but you'll never get rich on any of these albums. As for weird indie stuff that only a few people care about? It'll likely only appeal to those who might of heard of it or might remember it -unless you love it, don't bother buying it thinking it'll be worth a mint 30 years from now.

If history has taught us anything, 95% of vinyl releases will be worth next to nothing 30 years from now. Sure, some of those 1/100 records may be worth hundreds/thousands/etc, but most won't be worth the vinyl they're printed on.

Unless an album is an absolute "must-own" (in my opinion), I don't own it. I pre-order a lot of stuff, but if I don't like at least 75% of the songs on a given record, I sell it. Not enough space for " decent" records on my shelf.

My record collection is worth much more than I paid for it, because the music itself, not the vinyl, is collectible.

Juliana

It is possible to get equally good results with either but the truth is ceramic is better. And there are reasons why.

The Japanese cast iron kettle, Tetsubin, is meant to be used as a kettle for boiling water rather than as a teapot. These days, you see these kettles sold and marketed as teapots, but this is just done for aesthetic purposes.

Cast iron has a lower heat capacity, which means it heats up faster but also releases that heat more quickly. When infusing a delicate tea all that heat the iron absorbed will be released back into the tea which often results in bitter infusions. It takes a lot of experience to learn how to precisely pre-heat cast iron pots and add the right temperature water so the desired infusion temperature is obtained. Or you just use very sturdy and durable teas that don't mind a bit of scalding, but most of those aren't very Japanese.

Ceramic on the other hand has a very high heat capacity.

They are slow to warm but retain that heat well without releasing it back into the tea too quickly. You have better control over the water temp and thus better control over your infusion results particularly with delicate teas.

There's two things going on that make it seem that way:

  • The first is that people assume it's retaining heat because whenever they touch it, it feels extremely hot. That is because it is releasing the heat quickly to your hand, not because it is retaining the heat.
  • However, despite the low heat capacity it is keeping the tea hotter. This is because the pot is releasing its heat into the water very rapidly, but being in an enclosed container it has nowhere to go except back into the pot. So the tea is over-heated and kept hot, at least for a while.

The other side of this coin occurs when you do not pre-heat the cast iron pot: underheating. Try infusing tea in a cold testubin-style pot. It will absorb most of the heat from the water into the pot so your tea will be infused at a temperature less than you expected.

I'm using "heat capacity" in the technical sense rather than common usage. Materials that take a low amount of heat to heat up (absorbs heat quickly and thus release heat quickly) have a low heat capacity. Items that take a long time to heat up and a long time to release (essentially act as heat storage) have a high heat capacity. Iron is the former and ceramic is closer to the latter, not particularly high but far higher than iron.

Iron has a heat capacity of 0.45 which is pretty low. Compare it to other substances like glass (0.84), sand (0.835), brick (0.84), and gypsum (1.090). I could not find a listed heat capacity for ceramics, but it's close to the range of these higher heat-capacity materials.

This all sounds very complicated, and tea is a lot more complicated than most people think. But unless the pot is preheated to a higher temperature than the water, it won't release heat inward. As the water cools by evaporation, the iron pot will release heat back faster to maintain the temperature, but that should be offset by the fact that ceramic is a better insulator.

Juliana

I like to collect things. Well, I really only like to collect little porcelain figurines. Disney usually.

My tea habits really are not, from my perspective collecting. True it is a hobby, I am always on the look out for the right way to cook the best tea but that is more like personal development.

And it has another purpose than just sitting on my shelf.

As for records, well, people buy music for their iPod. A lot of it. I think that my records, my entire collection, cost less than the music that my nephew has on his phone.

Speaking of my nephew we have more things in common that just our taste in music. Well, we don't have anything in common in our taste in music. But he does love figurines.

These just happen to be Japanese in origin.

He is an only child and his parents saw him grow up with anime. To be honest it was my sister who initially influenced him to watch and collect manga and anime, for him it was like a little spark went off and boom the rest is history.

He has been forever collecting ever since. This (he is my godson) has given us a lot to talk about when we go on outings together.

He has been collecting for almost 10 years now and he finds it frustrating to explain to people how he lives his life worrying about what other people think. He isn't alone, there is a whole Chibilicious culture for him to connect with. And I have tried to instill a sense of not giving a flying f*ck what anyone thinks of his collection.

I collect for myself and no one else. And you have to accept that people will find it strange. I don't think any hobby will be free from people telling you that it is dumb.

The fact that I collect Disney figures has led me to wonderful things in my life. I met my husband through figure collecting and as you get older the ones that accept it will be the friends that you keep. And I have even made friends who are from figure collecting. I hold down a job and I can pay my bills. Not because I am a figure collector. But it does make you more contemplative and I feel like I make better choices becuase of it. So why would I care if anyone doesn't like it, they don't live my life, I live my life and I love it.

But knowing that I can share this with my godson is one of the biggest rewards of the whole experience.

If I could instill one value on him it has been this one. I'm an adult, I do as I please and I don't have to explain myself to anyone.

Juliana

Porcelain is just another type of clay, one that doesn't have a lot of big grainy bits like earthenware. And this could be some other white bodied clay.

Usually you throw a bunch of stuff on the wheel and set it aside to firm up. You want to trim when the clay is "leather hard" so it actually takes some skill to keep track of where all of the work is in the process.

Porcelain, especially thin porcelain, can dry to leather hard pretty quickly though.

And sometimes on larger pots you intentionally leave the walls thicker towards the bottom so that the wet clay doesn't slump and deform as it dries. That could be why they are having to take off so much clay during trimming.

The neat psychedelic designs are basically there for the amusement of the potter, sort of like sand painting a mandala.

There's usually zero intention of keeping them on the finished pot, because they frequently don't look as good on a stationary pot as they do spinning. If there's designs etched on while trimming, they'll be a lot simpler, like 1-3 bands slightly below the lip of the pot or maybe a texture applied across portions of the surface.

Trimming also adds another satisfying but subtler element of design, which is that it allows you to basically re-shape the outside curvature of the pot if you have enough extra clay on it.

I love porcelain, it's really buttery feeling to throw, it's just more fragile before you fire it.

But even though I love throwing porcelain on a wheel the stuff you see in stores tends to come mostly out of molds. You take a plaster of paris mold, fill it up with porcelain the consistency of a milkshake. The plaster draws water out of the porcelain, drying just a thin skin from the outside in. You time it until the walls are as thick as you want them then you pour out the excess, it will shrink slightly and pop right out of the mold when it's dry.

They use that same process pretty much for any hollow ceramic, everything from mugs to scary clown figurines to toilets.