September 2006 Archives
This one was another of the bought because of the name sodas. As Wikipedia correctly notes, the soda is pronounced "ore on zhee nuh." As Wikipedia also notes, it could be pronounced "orn gina." Okay, so it's a little sophomoric but it amused me in the store. The initial taste is definitely orange juicy with a very mellow citrus aftertaste. I couldn't imagine drinking this often, but it's pleasant as a rare treat.
Official site | Wikipedia Entry
4 of 5 stars
I've been noticing lately that I am too quick to make judgements. I first learned of this problem from Aaron T. Beck, who called it "catastrophizing." In a nutshell, that's the practice of blowing innocuous events out of proportion. Examples abound in my personal life: someone doesn't respond to my instant messages for hours or emails for days and I start to wonder if I've lost a friend or burnt a bridge; a friend doesn't hang out with me and I feel an intense desire to confront him; my wife comments that the kids are out of control and I assume she's derogating my parenting.
It's a very real problem because it can sour a relationship due to resentment, anger, need for reassurance, and even hostility. It hasn't happened very often to me because I've learned to keep it inside—I feel all of these negative emotions but I don't express them. But it can lead to dwelling on problems even though the catalytic event had a perfectly reasonable explanation that had no personal causation: busyness, inattention, insensitivity, or even self-absorption.
But the act of keeping it inside isn't terribly satisfying because it is very distracting. I am constantly analyzing the events leading up to the triggering event, searching for actions on my part that might have contributed to the perceived breakdown. Generally, I can't find them (for obvious reasons) and so I tend to lash out internally at the person. This cathartic behavior often allows me to introspect on my reaction, thereby defusing the catastrophizing.
The introspection typically takes the form of Socratic self-questioning. "Is there an alternate explanation for this person's behavior?" "Is that behavior consonant with past behavior?" "Does it fit the level of friendship or love you've established?" "Is it possible that you're overreacting?" "Can you wait a few days to confront the person?"
I think that these questions get at the heart of the matter: catastrophizing is often a psychological version of injustice. Justice is the act of granting that which someone deserves. Psychologically, this takes the form of gratitude or righteous anger, to pick but two examples of justice-related emotions. Catastrophizing severs this tie: leaving emotions that aren't truly related to the other person. It's almost as if you whip yourself into a froth over nothing.
This is the first in an ongoing series of introspective entries I wish to undertake in order to gain a better insight into what makes me tick. They may have no meaning to anyone besides me as they are not intended as psychological treatises and undergo only the lightest of editing.
Coming on the heels of the Waialua Vanilla Cream, this was something of a disappointment. Perhaps if I had tasted prior to that exquisite one, I might have rated this one higher. As it stands, there was no aftertaste save a hint of vanilla and the mouth feel was quite strong. It reminded me of something that I unsuccessfully attempted to recall while drinking the entire bottle. It's very bubbly, like champagne, and maybe a little tart.
Official site | BevNet Review
3 of 5 stars
Since I bought my MINI Cooper three months ago, I've regularly noticed new design touches that have made me appreciate the car more and more. Only a few of them are unique to the MINI, but taken as a whole they spell out an attention to detail that is unusual in a car priced (for the most part) under $30,000. I'll start the list off at ten, but I will continue to make updates as I discover more things (and you're welcome to add to it in the comments):
- Sunroof: if you press the top-down button on my convertible, the roof retracts about 16"—creating an excellent sunroof. To my knowledge, this is the only car that has this feature.
- Variable-speed windshield wipers: if you've got the wipers on anything but intermittent, stopping the vehicle reduces their speed to the next-lowest setting.
- A/C vent in the glovebox: keeps the glovebox contents from melting or freezing, depending on your air conditioning selection.
- Single-use trunk unlock: pressing the trunk unlocking button on the remote does exactly what you'd expect. But when you close it, the trunk locks itself again. Exactly what you'd want even though you didn't expect it.
- Locking gas cap: there is no visible lock on the gas cap nor is there any obvious lever in the car's interior with which to open it. Unlocking the doors (maybe just the driver's side alone—I'll have to check it out) unlocks the gas cap and vice versa.
- Lights on the bottom of the doors: when you open up either of the doors, a light on the bottom of the door automatically turns on. This illuminates the area that you will soon be standing in and has saved me countless times from stepping directly into a large puddle.
- Chair memory: I didn't opt for the power seats but the basic seats have a limited positional memory. When you move up the seat to let the back seat passengers embark, the seats will return to their original positions by just pushing them back. It's hard to describe but it's very nicely done.
- Headlights: the headlights are attached to (or a part of, rather) the hood. This allows you to pop the hood with the headlights on and illuminate trees, billboards, low-flying witches, and the like. As far as I know, this is utterly unique to the MINI—and sadly is going away in the 2007 models.
- Self-locking top: the convertible has an interesting guide system that fully automatizes the closing and locking process. I've had several convertibles in the past that required manual intervention at the last moment to secure the top. This is much, much better.
- Cigarette lighter in the trunk: this, combined with the fold down nature of the trunk, makes for a very useful tailgate party vehicle.
To my mind, these collectively remind me of Apple's famous reputation for detail.
I hesitated drinking this because I remembered that I had had it before but I couldn't for the life of me recall my evaluation. I don't generally like colas. Now I wish I had bought a few of them! Cheerwine is delightful: slight hint of cherry à la Dr. Pepper but not the harsh acidity of most colas. It does have the aftertaste that colas always have, but it didn't seem as bad as others I've had.
Official site | Wikipedia entry
5 of 5 stars
Absolutely delicious vanilla cream soda. I enjoyed it profusely. I can't say that Hawaiian sugar cane made the difference, but it certainly couldn't have hurt. Light, delicate taste with no discernible aftertaste.
5 of 5 stars
Orange creams are so wonderful: they remind me of 50/50 bars and summer. I could drink them all day long—if I were interested in becoming a diabetic. As it stands, they're an occasional drink due to their sugary flavor. And this one is one of the best of the breed.
5 of 5 stars
I have a thing for lemonades. I'm also, for reasons that I can't seem to introspect successfully, a Francophile. Oh, and I adore berry-flavored drinks. So this one has a lot going for it before I've even opened the bottle. The first sips are delightful: no aftertaste, no filminess in my mouth, and the flavor is tasty. I don't really get the lemonade aspect, but I'll trust Lorina that they're not lying. The "sparkling" aspect of the lemonade is a little distracting—enough that I can't give it five stars. (Sidenote: one of the ingredients is "grape skin extract." What the heck is that!?)
Official site | Review
4 of 5 stars
This is another soda I bought because of the name. I don't know if it's pronounced "See See" or "Sissy" or some other way entirely (it's Dutch after all), but I prefer "Sissy" myself. It tastes like orange juice but I don't know if there's even anything orange in there besides coloring: vruchtensap—I think that means fruit juice—10% (8% is sinaasappelsap—I think that's apple juice—and 2% limoensap—I think that's lemon juice). Also, the label said "JUN.05" but I can't tell if that's when it was bottled, which is slightly alarming--or when it expired, which is very alarming. All in all, "enh" for the taste and "bleh" for the coating in my mouth.
2 of 5 stars
- Start a software company
- Take my family to Disney World
- Learn Japanese
- Renew my vows
- Skydive (apparently with Sandi)
- Plant a Japanese garden
- Own a house boat on Lake Powell
- Try skiing again
- Buy a piece (or pieces) of art that I love
- Write an encyclopedia of Phoenix history
- Start a regular poker night
- Write a movie script
- Develop a hobby with each of the other four Browns
- Backpack with family
- Pay for The Girls' college
- Host a salon
- Restore a classic Mini
- Explore Arizona thoroughly
- Get a patent
- Drive on the Autobahn
- Explore and hike the mountains of Phoenix
- Have no debt besides small mortgage
- Visit Fallingwater and Taliesin
- Buy a pink MINI convertible for Sandi
- Write a book on Phoenix history
- Write a novel
- Finish my PhD in history
- Stay in Glacier National Park
- Ride a train from St. Paul to Seattle
- Learn to SCUBA dive
- Write Whole Ass It
- Teach my girls to drive
- Learn to cook
- Own a jet ski or boat
- Write a Mac OS X application
- Help The Girls start a business
- Further capitalism somehow
- Hike the Grand Canyon and stay at Phantom Ranch
- Volunteer at the Pioneer Arizona Living History Museum
- Visit Ouray, Colorado
- See Granite Reef Dam
- Visit Europe
- Vacation at a tropical paradise
- Start a non-profit relating to history
- Learn to play the piano and/or guitar
- Write a song
- Try out for an acting role
- Watch a favorite play
- Learn to appreciate classical music and jazz
- Write an article and have it published
First off, any soda with instructions on how to open it (6 steps!!) is a point ahead in my book. Second, any soda whose cap is actually a marble held firmly in place by the carbonation of the soda itself is getting another point. Finally, I like oddly-shaped bottles of any sort. These things may be minor but they add to the experience and bespeak of an innovative spirit that most sodas demonstrably lack. But packaging will only get you so far in my book. It's got a Sprite-like taste and Sprite's one of my least favorite sodas. Add to that the fact that there's 6.76 ounces of soda and it's only getting 3 stars. I'd buy it again, but only because opening it was so much fun.
Official site | Wikipedia entry | Amazon page
3 of 5 stars