04 November, 2008


In the light of recent changes in my life, I have decided to enter semi-permanent retirement. Naturally I am not referring to work, as I am unemployed at the moment, but it does mean that Oolong Fancies and Sencha Steeping will both cease to update. For those of you who religiously check these two sites, this will come as no shock. Perhaps an article or two will be posted here and there, but for all practical purposes, these two blogs will be defunct.

Do not cry, my dear reader, for there is a new project in the works. I hope to unveil it tomorrow with an introduction and edited version of a post that piqued my interest this summer.

It has been a good run, dear readers. Peace be with you.

Eric Garner

20 September, 2008

On a Very Special Oolong Fancies

Dear readers, it is time for a shameful confession to you all: I am leading a double life.

Perhaps some of you are aware that I’ve led a monogamous relationship with my bicycle, Her Majesty the Cannondale for nearly three years now. I’ve always prided myself on how good of a bike she is. Sure, it’s a big investment to have a bicycle, but I figure it’s a better use of money than having a girlfriend – but I digress.

Her Majesty has stood by me through the best and worst of rides. She was an excellent companion on a majestic ride along the Monterey coast last autumn when I wanted to go along the 17 Mile Drive, and she stood by me after a car hit us. Yes, she has been a lovely bike… And I left her behind to go a chase a crazy dream out East.

Where am I going with this and why am I telling it to you? Yesterday I had a brief run-in with the law that has convinced me to come clean about a few things – firstly said run-in:

On an excruciatingly long trip to a vegetarian restaurant my RA wanted to go to, we gave a little love tap to the car in front of us. We were going all of two miles per hour, but we knew we had to pull over to access the situation; however, the people we hit didn’t seem to be aware of such things, but rather turned on their hazards and fully intended on sitting in the middle of a four lane freeway during Jersey rush-hour traffic… I am no expert, but I think that’s how you get yourself shot.

Several minutes of cars honking at us later, we both arrived at the shoulder. In my experience it is common for people to get out of their car and access damage, exchange information, be on their separate ways, but once again I was operating under different paradigms than the car ahead of us. Our driver did look at our vehicles and noted that no damage was done, not even to the paint, and so he patiently awaited this driver to get out of their car… for twenty minutes. Eventually I was elected to go and make contact as our least threatening member. Not wanting to get maced, I approached the car as contritely as possible. “Are you two alright?” I asked, only receiving an indifferent nod in reply. I slouched back to our car. Twenty minutes pass. I go again to see what they’d like us to do. “We’re waiting for the police,” the passenger informs me. I slouch back again. Twenty more minutes pass. The police officer is friendly albeit perplexed at his call, since no damage has been done. We leave and eventually dine upon mock-meat products.

All of this to say, I’ve realized that I need to come clean! I am leading a double life! Whilst living in this place:

My room

Bryan, my suitemate

My campus

I have fallen into a new bicycle relationship with this beauty:

Her name is Yoshimi, and while she is a little older than Her Majesty, I’ve enjoyed her company a great deal.

Some of my friends here have rationalized this new relationship as my being in a ‘different zip code,’ but I can’t get over my need to share this double life with you…

…Or at least my desire to show you some sweet pictures of where I live.

08 September, 2008

Flight to the Future

I am somewhere over the middle of America, roughly heading north and/or east. I had no idea America was so flat – at least not in a non-academic sense. Yes, dear reader, this entry is what you think it is: I am moving back east. However, unlike my ancestors whose work I am reversing, I am traveling by sub-sonic jet travel (which is not to say my ancestors came via super-sonic jets).

“Eric,” you’ll no doubt question, “why exactly are you flying east? And isn’t this flirting a bit with diary?”

Well, my dear reader, perhaps you’ll remember that a number of months ago I defiantly waded through the mire of seminary applications and eventually came to be accepted by Princeton Theological.

“Isn’t that the only application you successfully completed?” you most rudely interject!

Yes, it is true that in the end I only submitted one application; however, you must understand that application fees are quite steep these days, my pugnacious reader. The key point here, if I may finally state it, is that I am in the air heading to Princeton (via San Jose via Phoenix via Pittsburgh via Newark).

This morning began at 4:30 amidst the obnoxious vibrations of my phone atop my sister’s coffee table. After quickly taking a shower and loading my luggage into my sister’s car (with comparable speed), Cari whisked the two us off to San Jose’s airport where I was gouged for stowing luggage and then herded through security to my plane. Though my flight was clearly scheduled for 6:15, apparently SJC doesn’t allow planes that size (whatever size that may be) to depart until 6:30. Lame. I suppose the only part of today that has gone off exceptionally smoothly was my stay in Phoenix (assuming my luggage actually transferred), which only lasted for about thirty minutes.

This would be a fair time to note that the magnanimous Brandon K. Baker hails from Phoenix (or at least close enough). He is worthy of mention for multiple reasons: he was a fellow intern, is a fellow blogger, adventurer, and seminarian. I hope this is enough to pardon him of his intellectual inbreeding.

Needless to say, this has been quite a long day, but most experiments with time travel are. Yes, dear reader, the true purpose of this entry has not been to tell you about my journeys, but rather to unveil this next stage of my life as a time traveler.

“You’ve made some big claims before,” you will doubtlessly say – and I’d probably agree, “but this takes the cake! We could sort of stomach your claims about the Fountain of Youth because of your demythologizing it. We rolled our eyes at your tales about vampire, spiders, and prehistoric bird monsters, as we assumed mental-derangement. We even put up with your Santa bashing, but this is madness!”

Perhaps I am mad, but I assure you that I join the ranks of HG Wells, Doc Brown and Marty McFly, Donnie Darko, Dr. Samuel Becket, and the Terminator robot. For all of you remaining on the west coast, I will be experiencing time three hours ahead of you. Just think of all the scientific advancements I’ll be able to report back to you all! Perhaps we’ll have a viable green fuel source or flying cars or genetically-altered, pigmy elephants or maybe even a way of heating up bath towels for post-shower use! And guess what, I’ll be at the forefront of all these developments. If you’d like to look a couple of hours into your future, tune in here! I’ll do what I can to be a seer, omen, fortuneteller, or whatever you’d like to call it.

I’d keep writing, but I’m afraid I must get back to the future.

20 August, 2008


Dear reader, the summer is over! It has been so long since I last graced your life with a witty, albeit poignant post on pedestrians or port holes. I hope you are not too testy because of my absence, but I won't place a wager on it.

"You're lucky I don't poop on you," you coyly coo -- or at least so I imagine you spoke thus.

I know that the world missed me, for two days ago I finally made it as a blogger.

"Someone finally payed you for a blog entry?" you incredulously ask.

Oh, well I suppose that would mean I've made it as well; however, this may be even better; I have exposure!

Two days ago, whilst adventuring with my friend Brandon, I borrowed the Apple Store's interweb to check my email and noticed a strange name in my inbox. I was about ready to delete it, as I'm sick of random people questioning my manhood; however, I then noticed it was a reply to an Oolong Fancy article I wrote back in November. While I did not recognize the moniker "Any middle-aged German Witch in Amerika," I was not concerned, for in the past I received a comment from a stranger on my entry about Otter Pops (those corroders of moral and molar hygiene).

Happily my blogs show up relatively early on some Google searches (especially under images) and I am the first entry if you search for "Rockus Caucus." What fun! So naturally, I was not surprised that this middle-aged German witch found my blog whilst searching for Hannes Wader (German, folk singer). However, also naturally, I was surprised by the content of her reply!

Back in November I penned an entry about international Emoism -- truly it was a successful entry, garnering four heart-felt comments from my friends. While this German witch from Amerika did respond in a heart-felt manner, it was a heart I did not particularly want to feel. Her comment is posted in its entirety below:

~~~ Hello, I was googling Hannes Wader, and so I was led to your site, since you mentioned his name.

I am German, and I cannot keep myself from commenting. You must be at least 25 years younger than me, since I have a hard time understanding what your entry was really about.

But I was annoyed that you used my native language in such an unqualified way. Please learn the german language before writing such a nonsense. 

"Kindern" => Kinder is already the plural form of singular Kind, while Kindern is the dativ case!

And worse, "weisst nicht, wie gut ich Dir bin" does NOT mean, "how good I have been to you". My toenails are rolling up when I read that...

And yes, we Germans have emotions, what a surprise! ~~~

What brought about this animosity? Clearly she misread me.(!!!)

"So why are you so happy about all this?" you query.

My poor, dear reader -- don't you see? I've received my first hate mail! How else can you tell you've made it in the blogging community other than having people verbal about how much they hate you! This is like my first successful single or piece of pop-art placed on a greeting card! I'm in!

So if you'll excuse me, I've got some more people to irk off.

24 July, 2008

To Podcast?

So, here's the deal: I have recorded two podcasts, but I have no idea how to get them online. Can you help me?

10 July, 2008

Birth of a Nation

Sometimes being a history major is rough, let me tell you! People expect you to always know everything about any history, and when you can’t give an answer, they question the validity of your degree.

Recently, (on the Fourth of July to be exact) I was asked about why America didn’t have a mythology to it. After this person became annoyed by my stating that native peoples did have their own mythologies, so I offered that our folk tales of Paul Bunyan, Johnny Appleseed, and John Henry were all evidence of a thriving American mythology. They still weren’t satisfied! Can you believe that dear reader? Actually, on second thought, you don’t need to answer that question.

So, what could I do? Here I had an inquisitive mind, wondering about this country’s origins, and they were not accepting my answers! So, I made something up.

“You make something up, Eric? I’m aghast!” You coyly remark.

Not that I don’t appreciate your sarcasm, dear reader, but this is actually a serious issue! So, I present to you my creation myth for the modern, American patriot:

In the beginning, in 1776, the Great Liberty Eagle flew over the waters, but it could not land, for as of yet there was no land. The Eagle then laid the Freedom Egg into the waters, which upon hatching became the continent of the United States of America – from this land came all others, and the other lands went out to fill the earth.

However, the Great Liberty Eagle was sad, for there was no one else to agree with its democratic ideals, and in it’s sadness, it cried a tear that landed upon the great continent of the United States of America. The tear planted itself into the fertile earth, and a cherry tree grew from it. The tree bore two great cherries, which both bore a George. The first son of the cherry tree was George Washington, and the second King George III. King George III in his evil heart wanted to control the entire world, and so he departed from the fair land of the United States of America, leaving George Washington alone on the continent.

Seeing that the cherry tree could bear both good and evil, George Washington smote the tree with axe and fell it thus. In this he forever declared himself a self-made man and set out to make his own destiny (which was manifest – of course).

George Washington sowed the values of the Great Freedom Eagle into the bountiful soil of the United States of America and they created 13 Colonies, populated men and women and slaves (which George Washington and his son, Abraham Lincoln would later free). Of these thirteen colonies, George Washington elected 13 rulers: Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and his brother Samuel, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, Paul Revere, William Whipple, John Penn, Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine, John Marshal, Casimir Pulaski, and Benedict Arnold (who betrayed him).

With these thirteen rulers, George Washington sought to bring peace, freedom, liberty, and the right to own land to the rest of the world. However, his brother, the tyrant King George III longed to enslave all free men, and thus decided to conquer the Chinese with opium and the Americans with tea.

George Washington, disguising himself as a savage, thwarted the English attempt to bring tea to the United States of America by thrusting the tea deep within the Boston harbor.

King George III became furious with his brother and sent his agents of evil to subjugate the free, American peoples. The English donned coats of blood to show the horrors they would commit against the Americans.

However, the Americans easily began to drive back their adversaries until the once noble Benedict Arnold turned on George Washington by sowing taxation without representation into the United States of America’s soil.

Fortunately George Washington was not thwarted by the efforts of his wayward compatriot. And so George Washington rode stalwartly into battle and slew both the traitor Benedict Arnold and his despicable kin, King George III.

Thus the United States of America created an era of world peace founded upon its democratic values.

With liberty and justice for all!

27 June, 2008


Disclaimer: Don't read if you are offended by abbreviations of papal names.


Yesterday was my day off, and a day off is a glorious thing. One of the many things I did was visit our local Catholic bookshop, Agnus Dei - which aside from containing a wide assortment of religious literature and vestments also is a good reminder of amazing conversations I'd previously forgotten.

Last time I was in San Luis Obispo I said my farewells to a lovely town, filled with friends; however, I also talked a good deal about the abolishment of Limbo. For those of you who don't keep up on the news of the Catholic church, on April 27, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI reversed the churches' stance on Limbo - namely he abolished it. What does this mean? Namely, all infants and Jewish Patriarchs were sent directly to heaven. Now, this doesn't mean a change in doctrine, for Limbo was never officially recognized by the church as a theological certainty.

"Eric," you interject, "I'm certain this is all very interesting, but perhaps this would better fit your silly little experiment in Sencha Steeping. Why bore us here too?"

Well my saucy, dear reader, I give this to you here because of a conversation I had with Brian and Ben whilst in San Luis about how good Catholics throw around the term JP II. For those who aren't up on the hip-Catholic slang, that is how the cool kids talk about John Paul II, the pontiff prior to Benedict.

Now, I thought that maybe I should be offended by this, but as earlier noted, I have heard my devout Catholic friends liberally toss around this term. So, following in their ways, B, B and I decided that we should give our current Pope a nice little pet name as well. B-16 it is!

Really, the only reason this is remotely funny to me (in the most horrible way possible) is that B-16 bombed the hell out of Limbo.

I wonder if Dante's Purgatorio will now be relegated to being as apochraphal as Milton?

Well, B-16, wherever you are, keep flying high and flying free - soar them babies straight to heaven.


Disclaimer: that wasn't so bad, was it?