Friday, November 20, 2009

Mountain Dew Gamer Fuel

That can looks very small for some reason.

Mountain Dew Gamer Fuel

It's hard to improve on Mountain Dew. The stuff is heaven, sweet and bitey with a caffeine zing that few other sodas manage. It rocks. The long parade of non-Mountain Dew flavored Mountain Dews was nothing but a string of failures, beginning with "Red Alert" or whatever it was up to present.

"Gamer Fuel" might be an exception, however.

I laughed when I first clapped eyes onto a can of Gamer Fuel. It's a ludicrous cross promotion, almost offensive in its stereotyping - Gamer Fuel pairs Mountain Dew up with World of Warcraft. There's a somewhat angry looking orc on the can front, looking like a cranky, green Down's Syndrome child dressed up by an older brother with a Tolkien fetish. Or a Warhammer fetish, actually. I was sort of surprised how much Warcraft bit off of Warhammer, especially with the tremenous shoulder pads. Orcs armor up like it's the 80s.

There is a long standing problem with orcs: They are either
faceless mooks getting endlessly mowed down by
Dungeons and Dragons characters, or they are over
the top cartoon bad-asses like this here. My favorite orcs
are the Rankin and Bass guys from Return of the King,
truly horrific. The live action remake orcs were
kind of lame, suffering from the "guys in masks" problem.

As long as I'm picking on the can art orc, I'll draw attention to his ludicrous neck chain. It's a large linked, metal chain, and it sits on the orc in an incredibly unrealistic fashion. It's not so much that the bad-ass orc has draped a metal chain around his neck but rather that he took one of those redneck welded-metal-chain-steering-wheels and hung it over his head. It's hilariously poorly done, floating.

The chain is also confusing. It looks like it starts as a link of earring and connects to one of the awful Bloodbowlesque shoulder pads. The whole illustration is full of little awkward bits where lines fall into visual holes, looking like things they are not. The big goofy spike earring in the orcs left ear looks like it folds down over his left shoulder, blah blah blah.

Which leads me to my next point: Warcraft characters sure are vain. Look at this orc, looks like a tough character, eh? He's wearing at least six earrings, a necklace, a metal band to hold his purple dyed topknot in place, a nose ring, a TOOTH piercing, and that snappy necklace. Maybe the nose ring and the chain around the neck are practical tools used to enforce his servitude by his evil orcy masters, but the rest is just fancy pants and battle scars.

I bet he gets his fashions out of "Pretty Orc Monthly".

At least when a sailor wore a gold hoop earring it had a purpose, to pay for his burial if his body washed up on some foreign shore. The orc "bling" is just... visual busyness. An attempt to lend personality and authenticity through a glut of meaningless details.

Bonus: This orc is about fifteen feet wide. The layout people cut the orcs left arm off and moved it to the other side of the Mtn Dew logo, tripling the orcs size. Hilariously awful. I only wish this could come through on the photos.

Okay, okay, enough about the Bloodbowl wannabee orc. Yeah yeah yeah, it's silly, it's indicative of the kid-ification of games like this, it's a knock-off of Warhammer stuff which suffers from the same cartoon affliction. The rest of the can art is pretty neat, black and red is a kick-ass color palette. The black bands at the top and bottom ends of the can are edged in gold fancy work, and the metal parts of the orcy armor are all naked can metal.

All in all, it's a serious can, orc doofus aside.

And the drink itself isn't awful, either. Like I said earlier, Mountain Dew has an awful track record with it's flavor additives. They all taste cheap and chemically, totally dissipating the carefully cultivated air of class which Mountain Dew has spent generations acquiring. This stuff isn't as bad as the other Mountain Dew mutants, I mostly blame that on their choosing to go with "citrus cherry" instead of "double dingle berry" or "triple jungle lingonberry". Simple tastes are the best, and adding cherry to any soda makes it better.

The cherry isn't quite cherry, of course. They had to qualify it by adding "citrus" ahead of the "cherry" on the can itself. It's a little sour, and little mediciney, a little off-putting. It reminds me of nothing so much as these terrible cherry chew candy strips I had been given as a child, they were covered in crystallized sugar and sour stuff. Not very good at all, but those didn't have the blessing of Mountain Dew.

So yeah, I could actually see myself drinking this more than once. Shame they discontinued it. Seriously Mountain Dew people, this is the only non-straight Mountain Dew flavor you people ever got right.

I swilled this stuff down while playing twenty minutes of "Call of Duty: World at War". It's a game I'm not especially good at, but am lucky enough to have friends who are almost all worse at it than me. For this test, I played on-line against against unknown people, and didn't do exceptionally better than my typical game. No super-powered moments, no godlike omniscience and speed. No nuthin'.

Now the embarrassing part:

I didn't drink this stuff because I was anxious to do another review. Nay, I dread writing these reviews now. Rather, I wanted a caffeine dose to keep me awake as I went to a pseudo-rave party thing. Yeah, I'm embarrassed, but I had reasons. I shall enumerate them:

1. The party had a theme close to my heart, the Galapagos Islands, Darwin and the HMS Beagle. The title of the party was "Stranded", which also had a touch of nice to it. There was an interesting list of events, including some artsy stuff which I was interested in seeing. I also was under the impression that some puppeteers I wanted to see were going to be there, but they weren't. Alas.

2. The party was being held in a part of Brooklyn where I hope to get a work space. Actually, it's not that I want a studio there so much as it's my only possible hope of ever having an art studio. To be an artist nowadays takes a lot of dough, something which I ain't got, fat Google advertising checks aside. It turns out that the event was held in a building run by a somewhat overpriced studio rental company, not in their studios but on a floor below. I'll admit that not much was learned.

3. I was curious.

So I went and the event was a raging bore, a failure on all three counts. Of course, everyone else seemed to be having a good time, so I'm pretty sure the fault was mine. I hate people who have fun.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Top Pop Cola, Found!

Top Pop Cola, Found at Last

Top Pop Cola reminds me of an incredibly beautiful woman I've long admired from afar, yet only got around to seducing last night. The delayed gratification heightened my interest in the consumation of my desire, but the act itself turned out be a disappointment.

As loyal readers will know, I first spotted Top Pop empty on a sidewalk a few months ago. I cased the local shops but didn't turn up a bottle and had to decide that the litterbug had ported it in from some far off locale. Fortunately I was proven wrong when I saw some in a deli about four blocks from my initial encounter. A whole range of generic flavors was lined up for the eager customer, so generic I can't remember what was actually there.

Fearing my wife's rage, I only picked up the cola. I'm sure that those same bottles will be lingering on the shelves when I return in a year or two.

First off, the cost to flavor ratio is tops. I believe the bottle was sixty five cents, and it contains twenty four "fl" ounces of drink. That's pretty good, considering it tastes like medium class generic bar cola. It ain't bad at all, certainly not as awful as what I'd braced myself for.

Which brings me to an aside: The sodas I've been drinking for the past several months are all pretty not-awful. I mean, I haven't had a Skeleteens level of awful since the Skeleteens drinks, and I haven't had "sweet corn drink" awful since I woke up while sleep-eating out of the cat litter box. Damn you Ambien! The danger and excitement is sorely lacking from my reviewing, it's now sort of like hanging dry wall as I work through my umpteenth orange drink which is only differentiated from all the rest because it was mixed up in Oregon.


Drinking Top Pop is like drinking dry wall, review-wise.

Anyways, it's a better tasting cola drink. Not as thick as Coke or Pepsi, none of the chemical nasty found in those drinks. No after taste, no slime on the teeth. It's still made with corn syrup, but I couldn't tell. It's main impression is that it's a diet soda that wasn't made with diet sweetener, as silly as that sounds.

In fact, that's what it is. It has all the qualities of Diet Coke but it's not aspartame sweetened or whatever that crap is.

Reviewing this soda makes me feel like Clement Greenberg.

As a failing artist, I appreciate the label in particular. It's a combination of Jackson Pollock with a Roy Lichtenstein drawing of a paint brush stroke worked through in a 60s slasher film color palette. The yellow band across the top reads "20% MORE THAN 20 OZ." then there's a circle with a U in it. What the hell does that mean? I know the "circle K" for kosher, maybe circe U means it was packed by an undine. Or it's safe for consumption with brains for the undead. Or the liquid is less than twelve percent umber hulk.

Anyways, there you go. Not great, not bad, just middling blah. But a good blah for the price.

Monday, August 10, 2009

President Lincoln Hated Fast Food...

...and they've banned it at the Lincoln Memorial. He'd written that in as a requirement in his will, or his estate wouldn't have payed to have it built. Considering his book proceeds alone, that estate is worth a fortune. And with the money he gets from letting his likeness by used on the five dollar bill...

Friday, August 7, 2009

New 7-11 Gimmick

New 7-11 Gimmick

I don't know what they're selling me, but I doubt that they'd've done this if they'd realized how tacky it is to make something so similar to the "missing children" milk cartons.

Speaking of which, do they still have missing children pictures on milk cartons? When did milk companies stop caring about missing children?

I wrote them a letter that goes a little like this:

I love Slurpees and drink them all the time. However, I was a little uncomfortable with a recent promotion I saw on a Slurpee cup. It shows the profile of a Slurpee cup and says "I lost my Slurpee".

I'm not an old fogey, but man... Do you folks realize how similar this is to the old missing children on the milk cartons? It's sort of tacky.

I'll be writing about this on my soft drink review blog, and would love to hear your side of the story.

I do love Slurpees, though.

tim h

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Stealing Stuff at McDonalds

I commend whoever was able to get their act together enough to keep a McDonalds cup intact long enough to try and use it over two separate visits. I'll also salute whoever was cheeky enough to bring in their own cups to fill them at the station, and then tried to justify it by saying "But I was in here last week and bough at a soda, I thought it was all you can drink?"

I myself could never manage any of these things. Try as I might I could not keep a Taco Bell cup in sanitary shape long enough to use it twice. I'd stash it in my car in a safe place and by the same time the next day it was so full of dirt you could use it as a plant pot.

I wonder if I could score a free McDonalds meal by offering to fix the capitalization on their sign? Mind you, I don't eat at McDonalds very often, just when there aren't any other options. Or I'm in a foreign country, few things more awesome than a McDonalds full of funny talk and crazy items that should be in a Jack in the Box.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ralph and Charlie's Green Apple and Kiwi Pineapple Juice

My hand isn't to scale.

Ralph and Charlie's Green Apple and Kiwi Pineapple Juice

This is a drink fraught with contradictions - it tastes watery and thick, all at once. It's a little bit sour like a green apple, but in a way they isn't very convincing, as if pineapple was wearing a cheap green apple costume it rented from a discount masquerade shop.

The juice matches my teeth.

I just realized why this stuff strikes me as gross, even though it really isn't... It's the consistency of milk. It has the thickness and viscousity of 2%, and the mouthy aftercoat of fat free. I shit you not, it's identical.

With all my willpower I will push that horrid realization aside and focus on the taste. It really is pretty good, few manufactured flavors go out of the bounds of decency faster than green apple. It's like some guy in a fancy suit says "Make me an X that tastes like green apple" and the flavor chemist says "Oh, you want something that tastes like green apple Jolly Ranchers". In a just universe the chemist would be beaten and have his taste buds shaved off with a planer. Sadly, in our universe the suit guy would nod just dumbly as he dreams about his new sports car-

"Of course".

This stuff doesn't taste like Jolly Rancher's.

The label says it's "naturally turbid", a word my iPhone insists should be turbo. iPhones show an uncanny wisdom at times. The label also calls it an "everyday beverage", I am a little uncertain what that means. Maybe it's like writing "Consumer Loyalty" right on the box.

Oh no! Corn syrup! C'mon Ralph, charlie! I am ashamed of you both. It says "sugar (A) and/or glucose - fructose syrup (B)". That means corn syrup, right? Right? I'll cheat and look it up... Yep, generally means corn syrup in disguise.


Anyways, I drank it, hated it at first, got over it, sort of liked it, then didn't finish it. That's the big measure, if I finish the drink or not. And I didn't, so there.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Snake in the Grass, Coca Cola Slurpee

It's important to grip the adder firmly behind the head,
so it cannot twist and bite you. Be strong.

Snake in the Grass, A Coca Cola Slurpee Betrayal

In an effort to offset the crushing sadness inherent in my being a guy who gets up for work before six and seldom gets home before ten, I bought an xbox. This was to ensure that the twelve free minutes I enjoyed at home each day weren't frittered away on my wife, or my cats, or my robot or my novelization of this blog. None of those things hold up to being cursed at by the effeminate voices of the next-next generation, a rather high strung people thick with racism and innumerable other incarnations of ignorance.

I mean, really, I have yet to meet a twelve year old who actually knows what "hull down" means. What do kids learn in school nowadays?

So in this "xbox" there is a game called World at War. One of a myriad of World War II games where we get to take the role of soldiers who never lived to be our grandfathers. While playing these men doomed to never don the mantle of "confused giver of unwanted and uncool Christmas gifts to ungrateful children", you can earn "achievements".

At least I think that's what they are called. An achievement is acquired when you've done something deemed noteworthy by the game designers like killed three enemies with one bullet, or having team killed your fiftieth crying eight year old.

Achievements, by the way, are pretty arbitrary. I've done things I thought were pretty remarkable but went unrewarded by the happy little pop up bubble announcing my accomplishment. In World at War, for example, I managed to roll a tank all the way over and back onto it's treads. Pretty cool, and I've only ever managed it once, no matter how much effort I've devoted to repeating the feat. But, roll a tank - no accomplishment. Neither do you get an accomplishment for making your friends sputter with anger, or for choking on a grape during "Headquarters". Fall off a building roof, however, and the game congratulates you.

I've fallen off roofs before, and nowhere in my swimming vision was a pop up commending me for it. Blood, gravel, stars - but no pop ups.

A charming characteristic of achievements are their often clever names. "Hammer Time" and "Soul-Survivor" are two examples. Maybe not so charming. "Saved Private Ryan" is another that quotes popular media, kids love that.

One particularly not charmingly named achievement is called "Snake in the Grass". You get it for shooting a Japanese soldier in a gilly suit while he is hiding in the grass. In the campaign versions of the game, there are numerous places where enemy soldiers hide in the underbrush, then leap up and rush you with bayonets. After playing once or twice you learn where they hide and can gun them down before they act.

Not very sporting - after all, it's basically cheating to use knowledge of the ambush to forestall an otherwise unforeseeable event. But that's sort of the point of any xbox game, to break the unfolding of the game so as to play it out with the least possible enjoyment.

But, "Snake in the Grass": an incredibly easy achievement to collect. I have it, got the way I described above. I'm not proud of it and certainly didn't learn from it. I wish the achievement conditions had been refined a little - that you only had the chance to earn it the very first time you passed through a level, before you learn where all the enemies are hidden.

But that just means that someone would release a cheat guide, detailing enemy locations so you would enter prepared. It's my honest belief that xbox players hate a challenge more than anything else, except possibly being surprised by something.

As someone who has a bronze medal in shooting threats before they manifest themselves, you might think I wouldn't have been surprise-bayoneted by a slurpee. But like I said, my qualifications weren't honestly earned.

Here's the story:

I was craving a Coca Cola slurpee, but the dispenser at the local 7-11 was broken. Two weeks went by without satisfaction, even the Burger King slurpee dopplegangers were consistently unavailable. During that time I even pressured my workmates to buy me a slurpee from a nearby town when they drove over on business. They merely laughed in a sinister manner and consistently "forgot".

I started calling the 7-11 and asking if the machine was online, to save myself the six block walk. Eventually the machine was fixed, I was informed via telephone and scudded over to fill my void.

I was immediately suspicious, the machine which dispensed Coca Cola slurpees wasn't repaired, they had merely changed one spigot on the sister slurpee machine over to Coke. This wasn't a well reasoned suspicion, but more of the feeling a cat seems to get when it enters a room and discovers something has been fundamentally changed about it's universe, maybe that someone dropped a sinister envelope on the living room floor or left a frightening umbrella leaning in the corner. Alert!

So I filled my cup, tasted and a screaming Japanese soldier rushed out of the weeds and stabbed me in the mouth with artificial banana flavoring. Alas, the worst of all artificial fruit flavors - and in my mouth no less! The slurpee machine had not been cleaned out properly, and a horrible flavor lingered from before. Awful.

Having committed myself (those cups are inventory!), and still burning with slurpee lust, I resigned myself to my imperfect drink, cut it with extra fountain Coke, paid and left.


[Note: This was written on my iPhone during my daily commute. Please excuse the ad hoc nature of the writing, and any totally bizarre words. I would assure you non sequiturs are the result of the auto-spell build into my treacherous phone.]

Friday, June 12, 2009

Maine Root Sarsaparilla

I get those stupid plastic pillows
from Amazon and keep them to reuse, but they suck to
store as they are just little balloons which take up
a lot of space en masse. Keep forever, though.

Maine Root Sarsaparilla
Maine Root Sarsaparilla smells like a mixture of lake water and SweetTarts, being from Missouri I like this. Really. It smells like a good summer's day spent menacing fish from the safety of a flat bottomed boat. Taste-wise it ain't so hot, though.

It has a great aftertaste, a bit like minty discount toothpaste. The initial flavor though, ugh. Somewhere between freezer burned vanilla ice cream and cardboard. You only get a flash of sarsaparilla about two seconds into a taste, then it yanks off it's Halloween mask revealing itself as root beer.

Yeah, this is a pretty bad flavor right out of the gate. Too foamy, too, right when it's opened but much better after it sits for about fifteen minutes. The foaminess early on covers some of the nastiness, but it really is better flatter.

Maine Root is puzzling in the big picture. It's part of a wave of designer soft drinks waving the flag of environmentalism and responsible social activism, which rocks. These are great things. What baffles me is that I bought this at Duane Reade in a fancy 4-pack. Why are these hoity toity drinks being carried by a big pharmacy chain? Is this part of the movement that put fancy coffee and fresh made sandwiches in 7-11s? It's puzzling.

The thing is that I don't trust it. Maine Root sells itself like it's a small label, but it must have a pretty significant factory output to fill all the Duane Reade's and everything else in the world. It says right on the label that it's a handcrafted beverage, but how? It's that sort of fake down-homeiness that puts my guard up.

I mean, yeah, it's awesome that it has certified organic fairtrade sweeteners and spices. That's hard to beat, but it feels... disingenuous. And it doesn't taste good, which is a bummer.

By the way, I used to work in Maine during the summers and have no idea how this relates to Maine at all. It doesn't taste a bit like the state.

I dub thee, Sir Buck the Cat, defender of the true faith
and upholder of my right to look at internet
pornography when my wife isn't around.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sweet Leaf Cherry Limeade

Diluted with my wife's spittle.

Sweet Leaf Cherry Limeade

Who would ever have thought that Sweet Leaf tea and etc products could prove so vexing? Not I, or else I would never have embarked on such a hopeless venture. At every turn I am faced with insurmountable obstacles, threatened by unfathomable forces, and generally menaced. I find my capers cut short and my spirit leadened by the hopelessness of my Sweet Leaf quest. I shall endeavor to explain:

After a long travail, I finally acquired a bottle of the Sweet Leaf Sweet Tea, only to have it consumed by a vengeful wife fueled by spite. She, no doubt, converted the organic cane sugar in the drink into further evil plots designed to thwart my life's ambitions. A kindly angel from the Sweet Leaf company sent me a packet hoping to rectify the situation. It contained some stickers, some postcards, some coupons, and a business card.

The business card was unusable as it didn't have my name on it, but the coupons proved useful. Very useful. They rode around in my bag until I found stores carrying the Sweet Leaf brand beverages, few and far between I found them, too. I would trade one coupon for one drink, and never had a coupon refused.

Mind you, this is New York City. I've never had a manufacturer's coupon accepted EVER until now. I travelled all over town trying to pass a trash bag coupon and had it universally reviled. Sweet Leaf has pull in this town, and it's a rush of power to be attached to them, even if in such a small way.

Excited through and through by my easy acquisition of the drink, I sampled a Sweet Leaf Black Tea, or maybe it was Earl Grey?, and wrote a review. The review was long, insightful, amusing. No man could have found fault with it, the only woman who could have done so would be my wife. If she had ever had a chance to see it.

Which she did not, for fickle fate flung me far afield from chosen path. That review which I labored over, which I loved, was lost. How? I have no idea. After writing a review I set it aside for a little while, then come back after I've forgotten most of it. I reread it, fix all the spelling errors, remove the accidental curse words, and post it on this blog. This time, however, I couldn't find the review anywhere. Between the initial writing and the second examination it had completely and utterly disappeared. Not even Apple-F could uncover it.

What I now call the Sweet Leaf Curse had struck again. Clearly the puffy cheeked goblinoid on the bottle label was set on my complete and total dissatisfaction.

Still reeling from the hurt of my great loss, I stagger into the living room only to find my semen-thief of a wife glugging her way through one of my cached bottles of sacred Sweet Leaf - a bottle of "Cherry Limeade". Having not been detected due to her haste to deprive me of my sole ambition, I laid her low with a hearty swing of a stout chair. Her skull was so damnably thick I knew the stunning effect of my blow would be short lived, I spirited away the paltry remainder of the Cherry Limeade bottle and concealed it in the refrigerator. Then I hid on the top shelf of our hall closet until after her rage abated and her loss forgotten.

Now, weeks later, I slip to my computer with the precious bottle concealed in the pocket of my cargo shorts. Door closed and braced with a table, I pop open the cap of this nearly lost treasure...

A slightly odd aroma. Something like a public swimming pool full of watermelon juice in use by anthropomorphic lemons from the trailer park side of town. I can't stop smelling it, though, finding in it the forbidden pleasure I might find in sniffing a finger rubbed in nether regions on a hot summer day.

The taste is baffling. The tart aftertaste of lemonade from a cardboard container is all I can remember after the first swig left me totally overwhelmed. I might have blacked out for just a moment. I brace for the second taste, refusing to let it overwhelm my reason - having met it on its own terms and asserted my dominance, I find the taste pleasant. I have its respect now, we can speak together as equals.

Another pull on the bottle reveals myself the victor. Now the Cherry Limeade is working for me, doing what it can to bring me pleasure in the humble manner of bottled beverages. The organic cane sugar is deployed in a manner bereft of the sarcastic grinning so common in other natural drinks, it's an earnest handshake with a friendly smile. The cherry lurks in the background, in the shadows but ready to step forward to help the limeade should it show any sign of difficulty. The "other natural flavors", no doubt, are contributing as well, but most likely as a support role. Maybe caterers.

Inexplicably, when I took that second drink I had a vivid mental image flash through my mind of the place my mother took me to buy my Cub Scout uniform as a child. It was a private home in a run down neighborhood, the garage of the house was densely hung with used Scout uniforms. I can only imagine the pit out back was just as crowded with the naked bodies of the previous owners.

A final toss of the head and the bottle is empty, my day brighter and the world more colorful. I've made a friend this day, and look forward to meeting them again under a more auspicious star. The rest of this enlightening evening will be spent following my treasure map to the concealed sugar maple grove where I buried my bottle of Sweet Tea Original Lemonade. This will be spirited back to the apartment and concealed in a location proof against my wife's crafty fingers and keen nose, and saved for another day.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Jones Berry Lemonade

Jones Berry Lemonade

There's one of those fancy metal
water flasks in the background. See? I'm hip.

I knew this stuff was trouble the minute me wife took off the cap. A thick roiling blue cloud of berry/bubblegum/champagn horror billowed out and flowed knee deep around the living room, I half expected to see some stupid blue Disney djinni appear. My first wish would've been that I hadn't let my wife buy the Jones Pure Cane Berry Lemonade Soda. The second wish would be for the paradox to go away.

This is a real loser. It's like an American soda tried to imitate the cheap Central American champagne sodas. It did it just about perfectly, which means they copied the "suck" part just as well. Bah. It's slightly lemonadey, which tempers the horrible champagne berry crap. It also helps to take a drink, recoil in horror, put the cap back on and let it sit overnight. Drinking some more the next day you'll find that foamy foam foam aspect of the drink has calmed down.

It's sweet and potent, filling my mouth with a skim coat of sugar scum that makes my teeth vibrate and my gums go numb. I'm wondering if this some side effect of the diabolical "inverted cane sugar". This "inverted" sugar is that same stuff that gave St. Peter all his martyr cavities. (Is it St. Peter? I think he was the guy who was crucified on an upside down cross, right?)

All my complaining aside, the stuff is bearable after it airs out. The berry perfume drops off and the lemonade is allowed to come through. The ingredients are all pretty good, you know things are comparatively healthy when "Natural Flavors" shows up fourth on the list.

I'm embarrassed to say that this is my first Jones drink that I can remember. They aren't terribly common, and are usually sold in four packs, not the sort of thing I buy - I'm a low commitment kind of guy. A few years ago they had that Thanksgiving stunt, where they made sodas that were turkey flavored and the like, sadly I didn't get to try any of those.

So overall, I dunno. I think this is probably a crap flavor from a pretty good company. It's certainly a better "champagne" than most, and certainly healthier. The best part, though, is that it's something I can hold over my wife for a few days, "Honey, I let me pick what we watch on the television because that soda you bought was total crap."

Note: I did the tasting about ago, two full bottles still sit in the refrigerator, waiting for some sucker guest to come and drink them.

Note note: It's been three months and I think there are still two bottles in the refrigerator.

Note note note: Four months, still two bottles in there. That's a horribly long lag between writing and posting this article.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A-Treat Big Blue

The bottle wears a hall monitor sash.

A-Treat Big Blue Soda

My pal Dino bought this for me. It's from Pennsylvania and is a fond or hated reminder of his childhoood. I can't remember which as it was many months ago that he donated it to The Cause. I finally cracked it open to entertain some house guests, one of whom said that he liked to drink anything that's blue. I opened this stuff up and tried to trick him into taking a berry Jones Soda home which he conveniently forgot. We each had a taste of the A-Treat Big Blue and...

I was shocked.

A-Treat Big Blue is heaven. It's a carbonated, not frozen version of the blue part of the bomb pop. Now I've had people tell me that the blue part of a bomb pop is raspberry, but I've always disagreed. It's far to lemonadey to be something as awful as raspberry. It's its own flavor, unique and wholesome, proudly bearing upon it's head a shining torque crafted from pure delight.

Seriously, folks. A-Treat is great.

I'm a little nervous about the ingredients list. It says it's sweetened with sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup. That speaks to me of something that might be uneven in its sweetness, perfection in one bottle and a horror in the next. Being that this is probably the only bottle that I'll ever have, I guess I can't really complain though I can grow incredibly sad. No more A-Treat breaks my heart.

It's absolutely true that I have not had A-Treat Big Blue at it's Big Blue Best. I think I was given this at Thanksgiving, which means it sat in my room unrefrigerated for six months before I sampled it. Who knows how long it sat in whatever Pennsylvania market Dino bought it in. There was blue sludge in the bottom of the bottle, a sure sign of it being past it's prime. Then I opened it, shared, capped and put it back in the fridge for two weeks before finishing it off to write the article. What I'm having now is pretty flat, and that sucks.

But... it's still really good. Really good. Certainly reason enough to move to Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ground Ork

I assume that's a Warhammer 40K ork.
Hope it's not a cheap gretchin substitute.

Ground Ork

I would like to take this time not to address the amusing misprint on ground pork package, but instead to write about orcs. Briefly and in a poorly realized manner.

Orcs are many things to many people. With the coming of the Lord of the Ring films, they became one specific thing to many more people, and that was my greatest fault with the LotR trilogy. The orcs sucked. They sorely suffered from guy-in-a-mask-on-Star-Trek syndrome.

You want orcs? You want scary fucking orcs that'll make you wet your pants? Rankin and Bass orcs, that's where you go. They're abso-fucking-lutely the most unhuman, evil looking orcs you'll see in moving pictures. They are twisted, stubby limbed, shifty eyed walking mouths full of hatred and teeth, not a guy with a fake vampire fangs and some black face paint. I mean, fuck!, at one point an orc is about to bite off Frodo's head! The live action orcs cannot begin to compare to the animated versions, it's not even a fair comparison.

And as long as I'm here, I'll say the Rankin and Bass dwarves were dwarfier, the elves elfier in the case of wood elves and more majestic in the case of the not-wood elves. The hobbits are more charming, and the trolls about a zillion times more interesting. Hands down.

The Lord of the Ring movies were entertaining, but I honestly believe that the Rankin and Bass films were better at capturing a J.R.R.T. feeling and I could only imagine how much more fantastic they could have been given a gabillion dollars like the Hollywood blockbuster which has, sadly, redefined on-screen fantasy. The Lord of the Ring books weren't about backflips and overdone fighting, and that's about all the LotR live action films were - action films with backflips and incredibly long fight scenes.

So, yeah. All you folks who think the live action version was better can go to hell, and not MY hell as you are completely and utterly foreign to me and I don't want you hanging around for eternity. And those of you who babble on about the greatness of the LotR story and never read the books, and I've met you, can come over here and lick this cat shit stain off my desk as I can't imagine any other possible use I might have for you - unless I was to take a core sample of your stomach fat, mold it into a vagina, microwave it up to body temperature and use it to pleasure myself. That you would let me do that sickens me.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Irn Bru Goth commercial

So I went here, which took me here, and I found this video. I laughed at it, and so should you.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pee Cola, just a link

fail owned pwned pictures
see more Fail Blog

So my wife sent me this link off of that "Fail Blog". I assume this is real, unlike about a third of the stuff that they show on there, as I also see a picture of an empty bottle here. That last link indicates it's a soda from Ghana. Well, I'm Ghana drink some if I ever find it.


Looking at this photo some more, I am a little alarmed at the pop-off appearance of the plastic bottle caps. They don't strike me as firmly affixed.

My real concern is about the bottles full of white liquid. I mean, if the yellow is pee then logically the white is...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Jellybellies: A&W Root Beer and Dr. Pepper

Jellybellies, Soda Flavored

I shouldn't have squeezed the rabbit so hard.

A&W Root Beer Flavored Jellybellies: Holy shit! They taste just like root beer!

Dr. Pepper Flavored Jellybellies: Holy shit! They taste just like Dr. Pepper!

Things that taste like things that taste like other things are funny. So are things that taste like brand name versions of things that taste like other things. I guess these two sentences point more towards the A&W Root Beer candy, as Dr. Pepper doesn't taste like any particular thing that isn't Dr. Pepper.

Anyways, don't do what I did and put twenty of them in your mouth at once. They expand as you chew and get way, way too flavorful to boot. I thought I was going to choke.

Points for each individual jelly bean having the brand name on it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Wonderfarm's Nuoc Yen Ngan Nhi

Those are the noises Curly makes when he's slapped by Moe.

The can tried to tear out my throat,
but fastened onto my upper lip instead.

Pray for death.

Imagine a baby vomiting up curdled milk, to which an enterprising entrepenuer adds vanilla and more vomit. That's Wonderfarm's Nuoc Yen Ngan Nhi. Let me add that the baby might have vomited because it had taken a sip out of someone's mint flavored chewing tobacco cup. Just a sip, but enough to add a certain tang of despair and loathsomeness.

My pals Todd and Katherine brought me this stuff from their rolicking trip around Asia. I'm not sure where they actually bought it, but it was made in Malaysia. Lots of drinks are made in Malaysia, I have a whole boxful waiting for my attentions. Them Malaysians sure like to drink awful, awful things.

The magic part of Nuoc Yen Ngan Nhi is revealed by the translation on the reverse of the can: White Fungus Bird's Nest Drink. Yep. I'm down with the fungus part, but the bird's nest part is the novelty.

It's also exceedingly naughty.

These nests are built only in certain caves, which have been traditional collecting sites for hundreds of years. Photos of the caves are impressive, as the collectors have ancient bamboo scaffolds reaching up to the cave roof many stories above, allowing them access to the nests.

Everything I've ever heard about the edible bird's nests says that they are an overharvested resource. There is a traditional schedule of bird's nest collecting. You let the birds build a nest, then you harvest it, and they build another one. Then you harvest that one, after they are through with it. Apparently nowadays greedy bird's nest collectors harvest the second nest immediately, and that nest isn't replaced. A whole generation of birds are lost.

0000026 <- That's where my cat just stepped on the keyboard. In The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, Poe describes how he thought the bird's nests were formed. He wrote that cave swallows (I think the birds we're talking about are swallows) flew to the sea where they picked the innards out of sea cucumbers. These innards were used to build the nests. The nests are actually made from bird vomit. But from Poe we can take a reasonable guess that the dried innards of sea cucumbers and the bird's nest nests are similar stuff. And both were valuable commodities in the Asian markets, perhaps another reason to confound the two.

But back to the White Fungus Bird's Nest Drink. It's awful. If I was Pym and had drank this stuff, I would shove the white angel aside and embrace the steaming waterfall. They don't mess around with the ingredients. Water, sugar, white fungus, bird's nest. Peering into the murky depths of the glass, I'm not quite sure what's what. I imagine the little white jelly shreds are white fungus, but if so then where is the bird's nest? Part of me vaguely remembers bird's nest soup being compared to shark's fin soup, which might mean that the bird's nest is embodies in the thickness of the drink itself.

Eh. Who knows.

It smells just like it tastes, by the way. I don't think I can finish this stuff. Many drinks I choose not to finish, but this stuff chose for me. I suspect I'll vomit if I try to choke it down, in fact, I'd probably do so if I took another drink. I just tried to fool myself into drinking some more, I picked up the can and started to read it then spun around and grabbed the glass and tried to drink. Sadly, the smell got to my nose before the glass reached my lips and I had to abort.

Back to the can. Right here on the side it says "Under 100% Foreign Processing Technology". Hey Malaysia, have some nationalistic pride. More can looking shows me the address of the company: Trade Ocean Holdings SDN, BHD. 700, Jalan Valdor Dungal, Valdor Industrial Estate, 14200 Sungai Bakap, Penang, Malaysia. First off, arch-villains shouldn't put their addresses on their products, it makes it too easy for James Bond to find your lair. I mean, c'mon, if "Valdor Industrial Estate" isn't an evil lair, what is? I'm just disappointed that the Penang region allowed such a horrible taste to come out of it. I mean, they created Penang curry, and what could be better than that? The manufacturer has a website, Go there and explode them.

The last bit of information I can garner from the can is that what I drank is about two years old. It looks like it was canned on 03.08.07, which could mean March 8 or September 3 - I don't know which way Malaysia goes on this issue. However, it's good till 02.02.10. That's February 2 no matter where you're from, unless it's Dyslexia-ville. Okay, I'm going to go in the bathroom and try to chug this stuff down. Wish me luck... ...Couldn't do it. Tried to drink, gagged. Poured it into the toilet and peed on it. Go to hell Todd and Katherine.

Like a glass full of jellyfish
cleverly disguised as semen.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Caffeine Free Pepsi, Home-made Jucy Lucy's

I took this picture for insurance reasons.
I had to prove that dent was there when I received the can.

Caffeine Free Pepsi

Caffeine Free Pepsi reminds me of the Biologic Show comics. You know, the short lived series by Al Columbia who did all those terrifying comics for various compilations like Zero Zero.

The similarity lies in the discovery of the thing. I'd been an Al Columbia fan long before I saw Biologic Show comics for sale, they'd been out of print and impossible to find. I go to Austria on "business" in 1998 or 9 or 2000 or something, and visit a Viennese comic store. There I find Biologic Show comics for sale. "!" I exclaim, and buy doubles so I'll have one to share when I get home.

I get home and find out that these comics were on sale everywhere now. I'd just happened to be someplace far away when they re-entered general circulation with a new print run. Ha. I'd thought that some rare pocket of comics had just miraculously shown up in Vienna, like when I saw all the Polish weight lifter guys wearing Vision Streetwear clothes in Warsaw. That was just a wacky coincidence with discount goods going on sale.

So it was with Caffeine Free Pepsi. I see it on sale while looking for Pepsi Natural, buy a can and take it home, thinking it a rare treat. Later that week I see it everywhere. Ha. Nothing special at all. Just newly distributed.

Anyways, I'm not a big Pepsi fan but I like the Caffeine Free Pepsi. Much more so that I like regular Pepsi, believe it or not. It's different. Or maybe the cans aren't as old and stale. Who knows. It's sweet the way Pepsi is supposed to be sweet, but not chemically tangy like Pepsi usually is. I think I also prefer it to caffeine free Coke, it tastes sweeter and doesn't have as much senseless carbonation.

I drank my first caffeine Pepsi with home-made Jucy Lucy hamburgers, so it was kind of lost in the shuffle. A Jucy Lucy is a Minneapolis delicacy, a hamburger patty stuffed with molten American cheese. It was incredible when I had one at "Matt's Bar", but mine weren't so hot. I couldn't manage to cook them the proper amount of time, I'd either melt the cheese and have a dried out hamburger or a perfectly medium rare burger with a lump of unmelted cheese in the middle.

Then I ate too much and felt sick.

A real Jucy Lucy is crispy on the outside of the patty, soft no the inside, and the cheese center is no longer just cheese. It's a super goop composed of boiling American cheese, melted fat, and blood. It's heaven.

Surprisingly enough I managed to get pretty close to the original by accident. I cooked way too many hamburger patties so I put some in the refrigerator for the next day. These I microwaved and they came out perfect, an almost identical eating experience to a real Jucy Lucy. The microwaved heated up the cheese inside, but didn't overcook the medium-rare meat. Really good, though I'd be embarrassed to have a microwave be a part of my hamburger cooking.

This is a home-made Jucy Lucy. Note the unmelted cheese
and that it's upside down on the plate. I like to think of myself as an
"Outsider Art" style cook.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Goya Jamaican Ginger Ale

Much like in the GTA games, the Spanish hate the Jamaicans.

Goya Jamaican Style Ginger Beer

Oh my god. It's all the burn you can ever want from a ginger beer without any of the good. Tastes like medicine mixed with jalapenos. I think that macaw on the label must have been trained by the Prince of Lies to scream "fahk you! fahk you, Tim!"

Seriously, this is horrible. Who would drink this? I once drank a novelty ginger ale that was formulated to be novelty hot, I'm not sure if it was as bad as this. The worst part is that I'm really thirsty, so I can't stop drinking it. I drink it and it burns and I drink more to quench the burning, which is like that whole quenching-a-fire-with-a-bucket-of-gasoline thing.

Help me.

Hot aside, it still tastes bad. Like discount medicine that your grandmother gives you just because she has it laying around. "Grandma, no! I don't want to take your out-of-date hormone pills!" "Now Tim, if you don't take them they'll just go to waste. Look at the fine tits on your Grandpa, don't you want some of those?"

But that's a wholly different kind of hot.

You get a half whiff of the stuff before the burning starts, and that split second of flavor is awful. Awful awful awful. It's kind of like... Kind of like some sort of cheap fruit drink mixed with alcohol and poison. And hot peppers. They're on the ingredients list.

Do not drink this crap. It goes down bad and burps up bad. I just took a pull and got distracted looking at some render settings, it sat in my mouth too long and it made me cough/gag. My mouth was full of shitwater that I didn't want to spray on my keyboard, so this cough/choke full of moist ginger ale vapors came out my nose. It hurt. Then I swallowed down the rest of the soda, and that hurt too.

Okay, no more. Down the sink and a big glass of water to flush me out.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Yes, most Mexican Coke has corn syrup in it

So this site linked to one of my posts, a commenter mentioned the rumor that Mexican Coke is now made with corn syrup. I'd like to confirm that rumor, most of the Mexican Coke I've seen over the past seven or eight months is, indeed, made with corn syrup. And beware of the sugared Mexican Coke anyways, it was one of those that set out to wreck my bike and kill me.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I need a Cocta put in my mouth

You certainly can't say I'm not hopeful.

I've added a "buy Tim stuff from Amazon" button on the left there. Right above the "Share on Facebook" button. You should mash them both down.

Get to work.

You can buy me stuff like this. Don't buy any of the big cases of drinks unless your using a stolen credit card, as the shipping is ludicrously expensive.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Slurpee trick

A. Note the Dome on the Mountain Dew Slurpee.

This is a handy trick for easy Slurpee drinking after you've gotten down to about half way through a large sized cup. Eventually the slush level gets low enough that your straw lacks buoyancy/support enough to stick out of the dome. Or at least it doesn't stick out of the dome enough for convenient access.

Rather than removing the lid or engaging in an unnecessary amount of "lip grasping", take the dome and push it down into the cup so that the convexity pops into a concave shape. Voila. You have easy access to the perfectly centered straw, but still have your convenient covering for your remaining drink.

B. Note the "Timulated" dome on this Slurpee.
Mighty convenient, eh?
(Is that a pie on the stove? How old is this photo?)

And your straw is still kept conveniently centered.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Unicorn Chaser, a link, not a review

The Unicorn Chaser is a hilarious idea from one of my favorite buyin' stuff websites.

Thanks Brian.

Of course, there's a catch...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pepsi Natural, Journal Entry Seven

All Natural Pepsi, meet all natural tile pear.

Pepsi Natural, Journal Entry Seven:

The story so far:

Part 1

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

And now...

So today I ride my bike a long, long way to the one store I KNOW has Pepsi Natural - the Columbus Deli on 18th Avenue and 86th Street. It's cold and my bike has a wonkity-wonkity element to the ride ever since the ugly incident during my first attempt to pick-up some of this alleged wonder drink.

The bike ride is long and cold, but easy. It's all downhill with the wind at my back. All I can think is that the ride back will be colder and more miserable, as it's uphill into the wind. I mosey along and find the place, caddy corner from an all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurant. I knew it. I was sure it was there the other day during the false start bus trip, and now it's confirmed. All you can eat restaurants are a rarity in NYC, one needs to keep track. And I have been forbidden eating dinner as my wife is getting off work early and wants me to eat with her.

What a horrible, selfish person.

Arrive in the deli, snoop around and grab three bottles of Pepsi Natural. All they have left. Hoorah! They also have what appears to be kvass made from apples, but only in super-mega sized bottles that I am loath to carry uphill and into the wind for a long cold ride on my bike. So those are left behind. I'll always miss you, suspicious russian faux alcoholic apple drink. Another time.

The Middle-Eastern fellow at the counter asked me if I was Muslim, making a little "I'm pretending I have a beard" motion with his hands. I said "No, I just have the dopey beard". Ooh. With that level of suave you'd think I was talking to a pretty girl. My drive to self-deprecation overwhelmed my drive to not offend minority religions. Whoops.

I tool around the area trying to find other drinkable novelties. I pick up an imitation Mountain Dew I think I already have, but couldn't risk NOT having, and a few other bits. Nothing important.

Long, long cold ride up hill into the wind back and...


Wow. It's... good. I think. There's a weird tinge in it, something fruity like oranges or apples. The smell is perfect, it's everything Pepsi should smell like. That fruit taste is maddening, the back of the label says that apple juice is present for color but that isn't what I'm tasting.

It's oranges, I swear it. No, apricots. Maybe it's apricots. It's the taste of a marginal citrus fruit that no one sensible every really eats. When that flavor runs out into the light, I get a little suspicious of the whole drink but otherwise it's a good, clean taste. Enjoyable, sweet, and natural tasting. How about that?

Those little marks are from my remaining cat rolling over onto the keyboard when I ate the last bit of asian bakery hotdog bun thing. Poor abused cat, not getting any hotdog to eat.

Yeah, I think it's an apricot flavor. A little bitter, or tart or whatever.

The Pepsi Natural bottle is pretty classy, minimally texted and entirely bare for the upper half. That's how I like my drinks and my women. Wait a minute, there's a relief of a Pepsi logo up at the top, but it's still classy. And the little drink by date is stamped right above that, I guess that's functional classy. Secret classy are the little ring of bumps on the very bottom of the bottle, the pattern is irregular so I sort of wonder if there is some secret purpose to these bumps. I bet they somehow orient the bottle during the manufacturing process to ensure that the "Pepsi Natural" text is printed on the proper side in relation to the relief logo.

The bottle shape is a little sci-fi, a little cartoon-made-real. The color of the Pepsi is a little lighter than your usual, a little browner. Just a shade darker than very strong tea.

So Pepsi Natural medium-rocks. Much much better than regular Pepsi, and better than standard Coke, but NOT better than real sugar Coke.

Edit: A year later I have come to love this stuff. The favorite drink of me and my wife. Of course, they no longer make it, so go to hell Pepsi.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Pepsi Natural, Journal Entry Six

Pepsi Natural, Journal Entry Six:

The crafty Manhattan distribution manager has been out to lunch for six days. I give up. My wife and I bust out the Brooklyn bus map pdf and plan a trip to the other deli that sells Pepsi Natural. A simple bus ride. I call and confirm that they have it in stock.

We set out, it's really cold - our warm day had turned miserable and we are underdressed. Nonetheless, my wife wants ice cream from a chain place on Third Avenue. We walk and walk and don't see it, try to look it up in Google and realize that it must have closed within the past week. Alas. [edit: It didn't, it was just a block further north than we thought it was]. We're hungry so we stop at a family style Italian restaurant, complete with an old guy singing love songs. Sad that these were wasted on a married couple.

We emerge from the restaurant into the thickest fog I can remember seeing in NYC. Visibility peters out at about three blocks, fog horns rumble out on the river. We head home, this is not a good night for adventures that don't involve murder and/or zombies.


I made another dream drawing out of one of our cats. It's far too horrible to show, but I'm copyrighting the Pepsi logo I made. It's... unique.

My whole Pepsi Natural Saga:

The Prelude
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

Friday, April 3, 2009

Pepsi Natural, Journal Entry Five

Pepsi Natural, Journal Entry Five:

I bicycle to the nearer store. Turns out that there is no "Stop One" deli at 72nd and 5th Ave. There's a Russian pharmacy with a name which sounds similar when spoken out loud, but they don't have soft drinks for sale. Or so they claim. If I was a real investigator, I would break into their store room at night, just to be certain. But I'm not.

However, the trip was not without adventure. I picked up a Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi, something I'd never actually seen but had only imagined in my most fantastic dreams (not pictured). I also picked up a Mexican Coke with real sugar, a rarity nowadays.

Then disaster. I quote from my "Facebook" page:

Tim used a his bike spokes to open a bottle of Mexican Coke. While riding. On accident. I could've died.

And the follow up...

I didn't get to enjoy the Coke. It was in a cloth bag, which swung down from my shoulder and caught in the spokes. It was spun with the rotation and jammed up into the front brake, which made my front wheel seize up. As it caught, the cap popped off and a jet of soda shot out of the bag and into the air. Meanwhile, the back tire of the bike lifted high up into the air and my butt left the seat. My legs flailed straight out in a successful effort to keep my balance, which was quite remarkable in itself.

At the peak of my arc, with soda spraying in the air and myself balanced on the handlebars and my butt higher than my head, I looked over at a passing mini-van full of Middle-Eastern men. Our eyes met, theirs were full of horror and sympathy, I suspect mine were already shot through with embarassment.

The caffeine-free Pepsi survived intact.

Yeah, you fucks. Laugh all you like.

Another dream. I'm in a poorly drawn sloop and see a gigantic bottle of Pepsi Natural bobbing on the waves. I heft a harpoon, put my knee in the clumsy cleat, "dart the harp", and then all goes black. I have a vague memory of an ominous voice saying "1d6 investigators per round", but I don't remember what happens next. I think the dream symbolizes that Pepsi Natural is like an ice berg, and 90% of the deliciousness is concealed under the water.

Here's the drawing I made:

1d6 investigators per round

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Pepsi Natural, Journal Entry Four

Pepsi Natural, Journal Entry Four:

At my wit's end, I decide I have no recourse but to invoke a higher power fraught with forbidden knowledge.

I call the Pepsi company that serves New York City. They give me the names of two different distribution managers, one for Manhattan and one for Brooklyn. The Manhattan guy never seems to be in, the Brooklyn folks are very helpful. They give me names and addresses of two different stores that stock Pepsi Natural.

Ah. Pepsi Natural is the name of Pepsi Raw in the US.

One is a short bike ride from my apartment, the other a long slog. We'll see what a new day brings.

Another dream, I drew it out below. I think this one symbolizes my belief that I am hot on the trail of Pepsi Natural. Or that it will be Pepsi's hot new drink. This dream interpretation stuff is pretty easy.

My whole Pepsi Natural Saga:

The Prelude
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Pepsi Natural, Journal Entry Three

Pepsi Natural, Journal Entry Three:

While testing a "make your own soft drinks in your office" thing at a friends business, one of his co-workers tells me that the local Whole Foods is selling Pepsi Raw. He's wrong.

I had another dream last night. I won't tell you what happened when the cap came off, I'll just say that it was an erotic combination of sex and murder.

My whole Pepsi Natural Saga:

The Prelude
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pepsi Natural, Journal Entry Two

Pepsi Natural, Journal Entry Two:

I've visited dozens of stores and called many more, no one seems to have ever heard of Pepsi Raw or any all natural Pepsi product. At each turn I am greeted by a lack of understanding, whether due to the fantastic assertion that there is an organic Pepsi product or because most deli workers speak English as a second language I do not know.

My wife hollers at me whenever I try and break away and investigate a new shop, my will is breaking. Does this marvelous thing exist, or is it a hopeful wisp of fantasy? Will I be jostled by a swarthy seaman and wind up dead by poison, a victim of those who wish to keep Pepsi Raw out of the eyes of man?

I had a dream last night, I drew it out:

My whole Pepsi Natural Saga:

The Prelude
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

It's a bottle of Pepsi Raw atop a volcano spouting lava. The banner of the top reads "Persevere", there's a bunch of other words but I didn't bother reading them.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Pepsi Natural, Journal Entry One

Pepsi Natural, Journal Entry One:

A friend sends me a link to a webpage which mentions the release of Pepsi Raw to a handful of markets in the US. New York City is on the list. I use the marvel of "social networking" to see if any of my Facebook associates have seen the stuff for sale. I'm greeted with derisive jeers, and assurances that Pepsi Raw is only for sale in Europe.

The fools, I'll prove them all wrong.

My whole Pepsi Natural Saga:

The Prelude
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The lucrative world of soda reviewing

So I just received a check from Google for $107, which means that my blog averages about $25 a month in clicks. Yep, those annoying ads in this blog are finally paying off. As the old joke goes, I need to start one hundred more blogs and I'll be sitting pretty.

Fanta Orange ah la Russia

I kind of dig that orange slice graphic.

Fanta Orange, Russian

So I fall all over myself singing the praises of sugary soft drinks, as opposed to their corn based cousins. Sugar can do no wrong in my book. Well, this crazy Eastern European Fanta I bought falls flat. Not in a non-carbonated way, but in a flavor way.

I've never been a big Fanta fan, but sometimes when you travel it's all you can get. I've drank enough of the stuff that it doesn't bother me, and I'll even sometimes pick it up on a whim when given other choices. It definitely has a European reputation, and I have a vague memory of some guys I used to play the Palladium RPG with calling me "Eurotrash" when I brought a bottle to their game. I'm not sure if these guys had ever left New York City much less gone to Europe, so that reinforces its Back East reputation.

I'm so unenthused about Fanta that I changed my plans for this review minutes after buying this ginormous bottle of the crap. My plan had been to buy an American bottled Fanta as well, and then taste test the two back to back. Common sense stepped in and declared that this was going to be way too much Fanta, and I shouldn't think about that sort of crap.

So, one huge bottle of Eastern European Fanta. That's what I have. The little sticker says it was imported by "Trilini intarnational Imports..." That's all I can read of their name, as the sticker is rubbed away at that point. Or burned away, or something. Their phone number is (718)437-2700, I'm going to call them and ask what other wonders they import. The best thing about this little white sticker is that it reads "Drink with taste of an orange".

That is pretty much what Fanta is, I cannot deny it. There is definitely a taste of an orange in there. The oddness about this stuff, though, is that it tastes like corn syrup. The sweet is the burned corn husk sweet of Coca Cola. So, Russian Fanta loses big time. How can you screw that up?

Further investigation of the little white sticker tells me that there are a whopping 31 calories per serving, with 20 servings living inside this big old bottle. Europeans certainly are classy folks if they drink their Fanta a third of a cup at a time. This is a soda, not a hard liquor. Wait, Russians don't drink hard liquor in small doses, clearly they flipped their drinking volumes around.

But that little white sticker is where the sanity ends. Everything below is in cartoon Cyrillic, except the actual "Fanta" itself. And the numbers. And the Pepsi Cola logo. Blah blah blah.

So, to wind up: Eastern European Fanta is not much better than US Fanta. And US Fanta is pretty unremarkable, so the idea is not to bother with either. The follow-up thought is to wonder why someone would bother importing this stuff if it's so similar to what we already have?

Edit: Oh neat, there's a little raised star inside the cap. It probably means I just won a zillion rubles.

The bottle text comes out looking like a lonely chat log.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mountain Dew Slurpee

The chartreuse, which so becoming on fishing lures,
doesn't quite come through here.

Mountain Dew Slurpee

I used to be a true Mountain Dew fan. I'd drink a can almost every morning before going to school. I'd get a horrible stomach ache, but it was better tasting than the water where I grew up. I'd drink them at night, in the afternoon, whenever and wherever I could get one. In one night of playing Dungeons and Dragons I drank two 2-liters, after everyone left I did this vomit hiccup thing that resulted in Mountain Dew bile rushing up into my sinuses.

I sat for hours, staring into a mirror, weeping Mountain Dew tears which I would gently blot away with a tissue. It hurt a lot.

Today I got home from my two hour commute and was feeling a little wild, what with it being a Tuesday night and my not working the next day. I stop at the 7-11 and buy a plate of nachos and a medium Mountain Dew Slurpee.

I'd not had a taste of Mountain Dew Slurpee since the Bad Days of 7-11 drinks, when the Slurpees all tasted like Sweettarts. I'd had a marvelous Mountain Dew crushed ice thing at a bowling alley in Maine, in 1996, which set a pretty high bar for other icey Dew drinks. In fact, when I returned to that town six years later, I beelined for that same bowling alley only to find out that the slurpee-type machine had long since broken down and been discarded.

The guy behind the counter agreed that the Mountain Dew pseudo-Slurpees had been really good, then we wept in each others arms. It was beautiful.

So I carry my nachos home in my jacket, as its twenty degree outside. The Slurpee I carry in an ungloved hand, gingerly swapping it back and forth when the cold gets too great. At home I get my first taste and...'s really good. It has all the wonderful flavor of Mountain Dew, but none of the carbonation. MD does well with it's carbonation, it's an odd thing for it not to be present with the taste. There's some kind of poppy bite there, though, is it possibly to have carbonation magically locked in the icy slush of the Slurpee? Regardless, it doesn't just taste like flat Mountain Dew, and it isn't the horrid Sweettart flavor of six or seven years ago.

The bad news is that I happily pig my way through the Slurpee, feeling a caffeine rush creep up behind my eyeballs. I don't get much caffeine nowadays, so it really kicks me in the ass when I have some. I vibrate my way over to the computer only to find out that I DO work tomorrow, so I'm screwed. I'll be up till 3am, staring goggle-eyed at the ceiling and levitating off the bed at every noise the cats make.


But, 7-11 Mountain Dew Slurpee is a go.

I'm gonna give you bums the science on 7-11 nachos, but not today.

Edit: Yes, I was up all night. Asleep maaaaybe at four and was up at six to catch a train.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Stewart's Root Beer

Stewart, I like you. You're not like the other root beers, here, at the trailer park.

Stewart's Root Beer

I'm a big fan of some of the uber-sweet Stewart's drinks, especially the Cherry Cola and the Dark Cherry. They're mostly syrup and totally rock. The root beer flavor, on the other hand, doesn't particularly rock at all. It's kind of a Disneyland-esque pretend root beer flavor, and acts strangely in the mouth.

Most root beers are a foamy explosion as soon as they hit the tongue, Stewart's Root Beer takes half a beat before it expands. It's a little odd, a little unnerving. The taste is a little off, too. There's not a whole lot of what I would call root beer flavor in there, just a parody of most of the flavor and a weird aftertaste.

The best thing about this particular bottle, though, is that I drank it with my lunch from Five Guys. Five Guys is a really good hamburger chain that has pretty much eclipsed any other hamburger maker in my neighborhood. I'd called my order in to the place, and then called back a few minutes later to change my hamburger to a cheeseburger. When I got home I found a piece of cheese wrapped in tinfoil, separate from my hamburger.

So it might be a little unfair to judge Stewart's Root Beer at this time, as it is being consumed alongside a really good, oniony hamburger.

There's the separately wrapped cheese slice. This photo
is both better arranged and more sanitary
than the first one in this posting.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Missed Connections: Top Pop Cola

What sort of logic has someone neatly putting the cap
back on an empty soda bottle and then throwing it on the sidewalk?

You: Drunk, abandoned on the sidewalk. Full of the spittle of the person who used and discarded you. Still handsome in your blood spattered blue vest. Uou caught my eye and certainly were "20% More Than 20 Oz" in my book.

Me: Chubby guy with a bad beard, glasses. Spiderman suit. Desperate to top the taste. I walked to all the local delis, but couldn't find hide nor hair of you. Let's get together.