Very Short Introductions

Tea across Tamriel - Master post

So I am done with my serie of headcanons/worldcanons on various teas in Tamriel, be it actual tea, imaginary fantasy tea, herbal tea, various infusions, and habits regarding tea drinking. Here’s the list to the various parts, along with very short descriptions for each :


[Introduction] A brief overview and some gushing about tea;

[Elsweyr] Or strong sugary, spicy and fruity teas consumed like it’s water;

[Alinor] Or delicate flower teas carefully made by afficionados and snobs;

[Valenwood] Or The Biggest Waste of tea and tea necromancy;

[Cyrodiil] Simple blends of tea and lots of trading;

[Morrowind] About native tea that’s not actually tea, social privileges, and mockery of N'Wahs;

[Argonia] ?????????? Is this tea? Is this poison? We’ll never know;

[Hammerfell] Of refreshing teas and cacti juices;

[High Rock Bretons and regular tea, nobles being crazy and gross, and Orcs not giving a flying butterfly;

[Skyrim] Tea hell and old medicinal concoctions.


This was a lot of fun to come up with, and I certainly hope it was/is/will be just as fun for you to read my thoughts on the subject. =)

Now, I say my thoughts, but it would be unfair to take all the credit. I have to thank a few people here on tumblr with whom I had very pleasant conversations about fictional beverages, who have listened to my dumb ideas and contributed a lot to maturing them. Here they are, in no particular order :

Tatyana, Vonlyth, Lleran, Adelein Gardinier, BloodOfTheAncients and Astarill.

I leave you now to enjoy it all for yourself. Feel free to reblog, comment, or contact me about it if you want to discuss tea in The Elder Scrolls universe. =)


Jim Holt: Why does the universe exist?
Why is there something instead of nothing? In other words: Why does the universe exist (and why are we in it)? Philosopher and writer Jim Holt follows this question toward three possible answers. Or four. Or none.

As a great supplement to this talk, I highly recommend Nothing: A Very Short Introduction by Frank Close.


The Laudatio Tauriae is an inscription by a Roman husband about his wife, ‘So great was her sense of duty that, when the marriage proved childless, she offered divorce to allow her husband to seek a more fertile partner. His response speaks volumes: “…What desire, what need to have children could I have had that was so great that I should have broken faith for that reason and changed certainty for uncertainty”’ - Gwynn, David M. The Roman Republic A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: OUP, 2012)

Yeah, Doctor Who has parallels with Ancient Rome

I’m getting a very wintery vibe from my new duvet cover, despite the fact that it’s unseasonably warm at the moment which is making me grumpy. I refuse to go into November able to go out without a cardigan. 100% unacceptable.

On another note, this is probably my least favourite VSI so far, the author is just waffling on about William trying to hide the fact that there was a regime change instead of, you know, actually telling us about the Norman conquest.

Morning Cake


   In other news, I finished that Very Short Introduction on The Computer by Darrel Ince. It was a strange book, incredibly dense in places and then really condescending. For instance, did you know that you can use a computer to send and receive messages? And sometimes these messages contain viruses that can fuck your computer up? Meanwhile, here are some formulas that contain more letters than numbers. You know the basics of quantum mechanics, right?

  There wasn’t much on other forms of computing, like DNA or chemical which would have been more interesting to read about, though I understand binary (kinda…) now. Or at least I sort of get out it works.

  Ince name dropped a few of his favourite websites and while I guess this says something about his likes and dislikes, perhaps his personality, I didn’t really care. One that did stand out simply because of I can do this?! factor was the Human Genome Project. You can apparently help them decipher DNA, or at least download some software that uses your unused memory to analyze data. The ability to say you helped unravel the mysteries of the human genome gets a thumbs up in my book, and mark my words, I’ll be looking into this when I’m not having to sit on the floor in the hallway.

  And here’s an interesting factoid; ever wonder where the term ‘bug’ came from? Back in ye olde days, when a single computer took up an entire room and consisted of ticker tape and levers, a moth got stuck between relay points in the Harvard computer.

  So in conclusion, would I recommend it? Possibly not. The author obviously knows his stuff, but he doesn’t seem quite sure of who he is writting for. The Amish or undergraduate engineering students? He does helpfully direct you to other books on various issues in computing and technology in an index at the end, so if you’re intrigued, try giving that a scan instead.

  Next up: Cosmology!

Many human efforts, particularly those in the service of serious ambitions rather than just comfort and survival, get some of their energy from a sense of importance—a sense that what you are doing is not just important to you, but important in some larger sense: important, period. If we have to give this up, it may threaten to take the wind out of our sails. If life is not real, life is not earnest, and the grave is its goal, perhaps it’s ridiculous to take ourselves so seriously. On the other hand, if we can’t help taking ourselves so seriously, perhaps we just have to put up with being ridiculous. Life may be not only meaningless  but absurd.
—  What Does It All Mean?: A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy  
By Thomas Nagel
The Smiths: A Very, Very Short Introduction

Here’s a quick rundown of who exactly The Smiths are, in case you were wondering:

The Smiths formed in Manchester in autumn 1982, and had broken up by September 1987. In those five years, they released four studio albums and became one of the most influential “indie rock” bands of all time. (Decide for yourself if that’s too much of an exaggeration.) They were signed to Rough Trade, and have pretty much achieved cult icon status over the past 30-odd years.  


  • Morrissey (second left): I don’t really know how to describe Morrissey. Morrissey just is. He’s a national icon of sorts (he was voted second greatest living Briton in this poll by the BBC Culture Show), famous for being poetic, outspoken, and waving flowers around while he performs. He was the singer and lyricist for the band, and went on to have an extremely successful solo career (which Kimberley Huston covered brilliantly on this blog, so I won’t go on too much about him)
  • Johnny Marr (far right): my favourite Smith, and the love of my life. I’m only slightly kidding. He’s the genius behind that famed jangly Smiths sound, wrote the music for all their songs, and is revered pretty much everywhere as a guitar god. After The Smiths, he was involved with musical projects in pretty much every genre imaginable, and has released 2 solo albums since 2013.
  • Andy Rourke (far left): bassist extraordinaire. People tend to forget him (and Mike) because of the supernova that is Morrissey/Marr, but Andy and Mike really were working magic on the rhythm section of the band. Since the breakup he’s gone on to play with a bunch of other musicians, as well as playing bass on a couple of solo Morrissey singles.
  • Mike Joyce (second right): played the drums incredibly. Like Andy Rourke, he went on the play with other musicians after The Smiths broke up. There’s some bad blood between Mike and Morrissey/Marr (if you take ‘some’ to mean ‘million-pound royalties lawsuit’), perhaps more so than between them and Andy. Mike’s 25% is legendary. If you want all the gory details of the royalties disputes, Wikipedia is your best friend.
  • Craig Gannon (genius points for guessing that he’s not pictured): replaced Andy as bass player for 2 weeks in 1986 (after Morrissey kicked him out over his heroin addiction), and after that stayed on to play rhythm guitar until October ’86. He’s usually known as the Fifth Smith, and he now works as a composer for television and film soundtracks.

This is the briefest possible description, and there’s a hell of a lot more to say about these people (I’m serious, people have written academic studies on Morrissey), but this should be enough to get you started. 

It’s got to the point where I have books piled up in front of my bookcase and in my wardrobe and on my desk, and yet I just added about 30 new ones to my Amazon wishlist and I keep having to really restrain myself from buying more (they’re those Very Short Introduction ones, and excuse me, but I need the ones about Egyptian Art and African Religions). This is why I need to move out, because then I will have space for more than one bookshelf, and I can finally begin the library of my dreams.