Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ak-100 the teaser for the sequel

Photo from The Vain Gourmet.

I'm a little unclear about a lot of things, especially Mrs. French's AK-100. This exceptionally foul beverage has the dubious honor of being the worst thing I have ever drank AND has the best review I have ever written.

Sneaking around the internet this morning, I'd hoped to find a place in Brooklyn to buy some more as I really don't feel I gave the stuff a fair shake the first time around. I mean, it could've been spoiled or just old or an angry person might have shat in the mixing machine. All of those things are more likely true than the possibility that someone actually intentionally concocted the thing I drank to actually taste that way.


Anyways, sniffing around I found this blog called "The Vain Gourmet". In it they found an apparently in-house restaurant version of AK-100 sold in a bottle with a sticker reading "AK-100". This completely changes my understanding of the world in that either:

A) AK-100 is a type of drink in general usage in the Caribbean. The wicked Mrs. French didn't originate the stuff, but instead just makes a (hopefully) exceptionally vile version of it. But how the hell does a whole category of drink denoted with a seemingly military code?


B) Some perverse Haitian restauranteur is making knock-offs of Mrs. French's products. Next to that AK-100 bottle might be a bottle full of thin grey liquid labeled "Coca Cola".

or possibly

C) The restaurant was rebottling Mrs. French's stuff, possibly after cutting it with bleach. But that seems silly.

Either way, this must be investigated.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Enigmatic Slurpee-in-a-soda-cup Pricing

I used to always fill a Super Big Gulp cup with Slurpee whenever I went to a 7-11. Unfortunately, the local place started flipping out and charging random amounts of money for said uber-Slurp, sometimes $4+. It drove me nuts because it was so arbitrary, sometimes I wouldn't be charged extra, other times I'd be charged way too much. I finally quit getting the mega-Slurpees locally.

This is the first time I've seen anything in writing addressing the issue. Sadly it doesn't really clear anything up. It actually seems like you're getting a deal, that they are going to charge you for an Extra Large Slurpee even if you get a Double Gulp sized cup. You're getting more for the same amount.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mtn Dew Typhoon

Yo Punchy! Do the Dew!

Holy shit, never have I had such a disconnect between drinking a Mountain Dew and reading about it on the internet. Hee-larity reigns. Okay okay okay, I guess I guess I have to do this in order:

Mountain Dew, as many of you will know, is having a hokey "Choose the Next Dew" contest votey thing. They are trotting out three Mountain Dew flavors and we the drinkers can call or vote or text or something to get one of them to stay around. Straight up marketing gimmick, I dig it. In fact, I actually worked on a marketing campaign for a cereal which had a voting gimmick for new flavored shapes mixed in the cereal. What stupid shape will win? You decide! Of course, the commercials advertising the voting gimmick and the commercials announcing the winner were made at the same time. Your votes didn't count, not one bit.


Anyways, Mountain Dew is doing this stupid contest and there are three new flavors running around: A Sprite Mountain Dew, a Lime Mountain Dew, and a baffling little retard Mountain Dew. Being in NYC, it is completely random what any given store keeps in stock. I go to a dozen different places to round up new versions of standard drinks, getting suspicious glances every time I leave without a purchase. The three new Mountain Dews I found, drank and didn't write about. And repeat. Two of the three test flavors are really good which is why I kept buzzing through them without writing, the third one sucks. That sucky Mountain Dew flavor is, of course, what I'm stuck reviewing today - Mountain Dew TYPHOON! I first drank some in desperation two weeks ago while playing with my XBox, horrified I returned it to the refrigerator half empty. Today my wife prods me into drinking it and writing a review, something about needing space in the refrigerator for "vegetables". Bah.


It's a fruit punch Mountain Dew. Not good fruit punch, not 1950s-era-dance fruit punch, but bad discount store fruit punch. The sort of fruit punch that's a mish mosh of random fruity flavors poured directly out of a vat, each flavor denoted by a number. "Hmmm, this here fruit punch needs more 1297A". That sort of punch. It tastes cheap. It's too perfumey. It's all yuck. It's similar to the grotesque Red Alert or Code Red or whatever it is.

So yeah, the Mountain Dew Typhoon flavor sucks. And it doesn't only suck, it's named in poor taste. Hey! Let's name a soft drink after a natural disaster! I'm looking forward to "Coke Plague! Feel the POX!" next.

But the hilariousesness isn't in the bad Mountain Dew drink. It's in the label. And not in the label but OF the label. The label has a random name on it: Shanea Wisler. It's next to a little star, so I thought it was a sort of footnote but it wasn't. Puzzled, I broke my "no research" rule and typed "shanea wisler mountain dew" into a Google search bar. Or at least I started to, it auto filled so I didn't even have to finish typing.

I THINK this means that a lot of other people searched for the same thing, because, seriously what the hell is this random name doing on the label? The public needs to know! I immediately found this article by Jason A. Kahl on the Reading Eagle website. In it we get some juicy quotes from Shanea E Wisler who designed the bottle label:

A 2007 graduate of Boyertown High School who is studying to lead religious youth groups has won a $10,000 award for her label design for a new flavor of Mountain Dew soda.

Shanea E. Wisler... said she felt divine inspiration for her design for the new Typhoon flavor Mountain Dew set to hit stores in April.

Okay, so the design wasn't even hers. I wish she'd given credit where credit is due, though. Who inspired it? Jesus? God? Mary? Buddha? I guess Satan would technically be "diabolic" intervention, so it probably wasn't him though he IS the Prince of Lies and could certainly put one over on a 20 year old aspiring graphic designer.

"I got an e-mail about the contest and felt the Holy Spirit move me to design this," said Wisler, whose interest in art began at Boyertown Junior High School...

Oh, wait. It was the Holy Spirit. That's the Catholic version of God, right? Where you have the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and you say the names and say "The power of Christ compels you" and Satan stops being an Exorcist or whatever. I thought the Holy Spirit was supposed to be the unknowable one, the one where if you "got it" you were a real Catholic. Hmmm. Seems unworthy of the ultimate Omega being to be dabbling in soft drink labels.

Regardless, I want to see this email. I bet it was all like "Yo Shanea, It's G-O-D and I (that's like double capitalized) got an idea for this thing you have to work on or, like, there'll be a toad plague to beat the band."

The three finalists were flown to New York City for a press event and each received $10,000, an Apple laptop computer and other prizes.

What? Mountain Dew had a press event in NYC and I wasn't invited? Oh the shame! I live next door Mountain Dew, you could have at least phoned!

"I found out that I won on Oct. 14, which is my parents' anniversary and also the 10th month and the 14th day of the year," Wisler said, continuing her sense that winning the contest was her destiny. "I see those numbers, 10 and 14, everywhere and have been seeing them since I was in junior high school."

Given the above quote, I'm surprised that the label didn't have a little more Dr. Bronner in it.

Wisler said her name will be on every can and bottle of Typhoon Dew nationwide and she hopes the flavor and design are selected to be permanent parts of the Mountain Dew lineup.

Okay Wisler, I think you just pointed out the worst thing about democracy: Those with a vested interest in something bad often vote against the greater good. Typhoon is a disgusting flavor, I earnestly doubt that anyone - ANYONE - would be able to say it is better than the other two flavors.

At last she looks nice...
Hang on a second, that design looks NOTHING
like the actual label. NOTHING.
(photo from the Reading Eagle, credited Erin Shoaf)
Seriously, look below:

What the hell? There swirl is completely different,
the color palette is only vaguely similar,
the actual can has fluer de lis or whatever
they are called... I call shenadigans.

Because I am interested in the sort of people that get to meet the Mountain Dew higher ups, I'm going to internet snoop for some more "dope". Here's some quotes from her on a Yugoslavian site called "":

I will only pursue relationships that the Lord tells me to pursue and will hold that relationship with the utmost integrity. The Lord is continuing to do a work in me to become exactly what I need to be for my future husband. It's a beautiful journey :) and I'm loving every second of it!

Careful there, Shanea, that's the sort of stuff left Mary giving birth in a barn. A jealous God forbids her seeing other people, spending his time showing her how "to become exactly what I need to be for my future husband". Bang zoom, giving birth in a manger, hunted by Romans.

[The Dewmocracy contest] seems rigged to me too. I truly believe that people only like white out because it's white. :( which is a sad reason. I can understand though, how many times do we see soda thats white? but Typhoon tastes so much better.

Whoah there lady, let's not go hating things just because they are white. But I must say that your suspicions point you out as more than an unthinking tool of the Mountain Dew brand...

[In response to a question about what goes into the Typhoon drink] if you're talking about mountain dew typhoon, i did not create the flavor. That would have been Dominick from the Mountain Dew Brand team.

Dominick? You know these guys on a first name basis? I am afire with jealousy. I must craft a latex suit which gives me the appearance of a Shanea Wisler, then I will seduce this "Dominick" and soon the Mountain Dew empire will be MINE.

I'm with you on Supernova being the best. That one was by far my favorite in the last dewmocracy. I still think its probably better than typhoon, but typhoon does have more sentimental value.

What? But this is positively human. You liked another flavor better, and admit that you like Typhoon for special reasons? Curses! My innate dislike of you for your connection with horrid Typhoon is being confounded.

[On being a vegetarian] I tried it last year for a little while while working out. I was losing weight, getting into shape and feeling really good about myself. But then I stopped. So I decided I wanted to start again. No political or social or religious reasons.

Wait, what? You're a vegetarian? But Christians are supposed to be consuming the Earth as fast as possible in order to bring on the rapture... Stop making this so difficult for me!

[On designing the label] Though it was a collaborate effort because the typhoon flavor nation in the dew labs helped me create what I created. They gave me opinions, voted on different designs. I had to change a few things and if I would have just made it on my own without the flavor nations input, it wouldn't look nearly as good as it does.

Hey, you just totally cockblocked my righteous anger over the blatant adjustments your design went through between the two photos above. It's like you are purposefully not being a horrible, boastful, lying person. Man that pisses me off.

So what do we learn from Typhoon flavored Mountain Dew? I'll tell you!

The Christian God can't come up with a unique Mountain Dew label. He just sort of looked at all the other Mountain Dew labels and made something that looked like them. Then he showed it to the rest of the triumvirate who said "Dude, shouldn't you be worrying about more important shit?" Then he beamed it into the head of a girl and probably got her fired from her job at the t-shirt printing place. Good job God, you jerk. I somehow think a Japanese God would have made a totally awesome label and then gotten the girl a job flying robots in the army, much cooler.

Facebook is useless for picking soda labels. You offer people dozens of identical nothing designs and, yeah, one'll get picked BECAUSE IT'S DESIGNED BY GOD. Jesus, people, God has totally fucked over democracy here. I sort of suspect that the submissions were pretty carefully vetted by MD first, anyways.

This Dewmocracy gimmick isn't very good. I mean there's all this crazy shit going on about "Flavor nations", but I've never heard about any of it and I sit down and write about soda once every month or two.

Religion ruins everything and this horrible Typhoon drink will prove that when it wins.

God likes natural disasters and I propose that when he made this label He didn't know it was for a soft drink. "Holy shit", says He, "they are doing branding for the disasters I use to punish people for being brown? I'm all over this."

This sort of nonsense is going to run Mountain Dew out of business, I mean seriously, they already had to pawn off the vowels in Mountain.

Don't use Yugoslavian social networking sites that make all your postings available to an internet full of creepy, bearded soda reviewers who want to become your body double so they can seduce Mountain Dew flavor designers. Just don't.

In conclusion: Don't even try this Typhoon crap. Get the other two new Mountain Dew flavors or one of the video game flavored ones. Or a Mello Yello, they're being nationally distributed now. I think I have a new motto relating to how Mountain Dew should resemble a chartreuse spinner bait:

"If it's yellow
then I'm mellow,
if it's not
it'll taste like snot."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Elephant Ginger Beer

EGB - "Elephant Ginger Beer"

As far as I understand it, ginger originated in India. Here is a historical account from the Bagha Disaata Bahir:

...and for seven days did Baahir walk

along the dusty road towards the sea,

until he did come upon a large and ferocious head

buried partially in the roadbed.

"Oh grotesque head, how did you come to be

buried in this road that passes by the sea?

The head was that of a man, with

a fearsome brow and tremendous teeth

upon it's brow it bore a shining trapezohedron

knitted upon a band of gold flecked iron.

It's hair was snakes and the nose

was that of the small bears found in the hills

near Muldorre beyond the mountains.

When the head opened it's mouth to answer

Baahir was as quick as a snake -

he cut out the tongue which was rough

and dry like an undesirable root vegetable.

"Ha ha fearsome head, I have cut out

your tongue" crowed Baahir.

"And I don't even want it, observe as

I bury it here in the roadbed beside you.

Now watch as I shame you further."

Baahir squatted over the head

lying in the roadbed

and began bobbing up and down.

From the locked camera view of the head

on the roadbed

it was quite degrading.

Thus was ginger brought onto the Earth.


Anyways, that tongue grew into the first ginger plant. It was promptly trampled by a passing ox cart because it had been planted in a roadbed but by that point everyone thought it was such a swell idea that Jesus made a new one and put it some place else and God made Moses get it and put it on the Arc because saltwater would ruin the plant and Jesus didn't want to have to go and evolve a new one again. It's a lot of work and Jesus just likes hanging around.

The moral of this story is that India loves ginger and wants to honor it as one of its most famous sons. Which is why I initially theorized that EGB - Elephant Ginger Beer - was created by Pakistan for Indian markets.

I found this bottle of EGB at one of those Indian groceries on the middle East side, in the 20s and 30s. The NYC indy comic thing was held at the armory there, and I'd loaded up on enough shit for my wife to kill me twice over. Barely able to move under the combined malefactions of a fortune in comic books and my awkward comic-girl-admiring erection, it truly shows my dedication to both of your readers that I stopped to snoop in an Indian market. After all, my wife couldn't kill me three times so more soda didn't really matter.

Truth be known, I'd already picked these places over pretty well. I was shocked to find three or four drinks previously unknown to the Western hemisphere - one of them being EGB. I bought 'em up and lugged all the crap home.

When I finally got around to trying the EGB I was shocked. SHOCKED I say. India, the first birthplace of ginger, had made an utterly unremarkable ginger drink. It had the most generic taste of any ginger beer or ale I've ever tasted. I'm thinking I would be unable to distinguish it from Tommy's in a blind taste test.

Now let's be clear: This crap was bottled in Tekkawatte, Biyagama on the island of Sri Lanka. This shit came from the OTHER SIDE OF THE FUCKING WORLD and pretty clearly uses "Generic Ginger flavoring no 3" as it's main ingredient. AND I PAID $5 for it! I think it's the most expensive drink I've ever bought over the counter, the most expensive period if you don't count shipping. And to think that other assholes thought this crap worth sending over here.

A quick aside: I have a theory on how most foreign grocery items wind up in the US. I believe that every country has its own version of the dollar stores that are ruining our cities. Poland, India, Canada, all of 'em. And when these dollar stores go out of business they have a fifty cent sale, and then when the doors actually close for good they are opened one more time and all the crap that no one would buy for fifty cents and no store employee would steal and no store owner would take home to store in his basement, all that remaining junk is put into a shipping container and sent to the United States to be sold in an ethnic market or whatever you'd call it. Because, seriously folks, why the fuck would anyone want a Polish made Brillo pad? Is grandma really so attached to that crap that she needs her Korean rubber bands enough that someone needs to import them? No. It's totally random crap. But anyways...

In the bottom middle of that there picture is a
bit of what us literary types call "foreshadowing",
just like on Lost.

India! You are magic! You are supposed to be bizarre and wonderful and a little uncomfortable to visit! How can you FUCK UP GINGER BEER!... Oh, wait, I see why, because it's bottled under the authority of Coca fucking Cola.

Coke, like religion, ruins everything.

I'm going to copy out the label for you completists out there:

Nutritional Facts
Ginger Beer Soda Soft Drink
Savings Per 100ml (3.5oz)
Energy 42 kcal
Fat 0g
Proteing 0g
Carbohydrates 11g

Containts: Carbonated Water, Sugar, Permited Flavours, Colours (110, 102, 122, 150d), Acidulant (330) & Preservative (2111)
Manufactured by:
Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka Ltd
Tekkawatte, Biyagama
Under the authority of
The Coca-Cola Company

There. My favorite bit is "Containts". It's a perfect amalgam of "Contents" and "Contains".

So here's what we need to do to wrap this up: Imagine me drinking some of the bottle, looking disgusted, a freeze frame and Animal House style text pops up saying

"Tim went on to get both diabetes AND pancreatic cancer from writing this soda blog".

Then we zoom into the bottle and the text reads

"The EGB bottle was left on a file cabinet corner, unfinished, for two weeks. At that point a cat knocked it off the cabinet and onto the floor, making a sticky mess all around Tim's desk. It looked liked he'd had one boss internet pornography session you bet. He walked in and got all pissed off and had to clean it up but did a bad job and still sometimes finds little bits of sticky here and there and put the bottle on the big table in the area that passes for a living room in his tiny apartment and the bottle sat there for like another three weeks before Tim realized that his wife hadn't yelled at his for leaving it there for so long which really WAS her way of yelling at him for leaving it there so he finally decided to write up the review. The bottle will eventually be emptied down the sink and recycled and Tim will wonder if the empty bottle itself should be sold on eBay but, man, that's a lot of work and probably no one would want it anyways."

This review is dedicated to the blog poster who posts actual comments on the blogs but still advertises Viagra in his little name tag thing. This is for you buddy.