Saturday, December 30, 2006

Jones Soda Holiday Pack: Antacid Flavored Soda

All right, ladies and gentlemen (I say as if anyone actually reads this blog), it’s time for the fifth and final selection from this year’s Jones pack: Antacid Flavored Soda. Although it comes complete with a little plastic dosage cup (marked in cubic centimeters, milliliters, fluid ounces, tablespoons, and drams, so you can measure it however the heck you want), they are careful to assert that it is not actually medicinal. This pastel pink atrocity has been taunting me since I first laid eyes on it, and I have been awaiting this moment with great dread. The very concept of antacid flavored anything--particularly when it is not actually antacid--is deeply disturbing.

Under the cap: “Imagine whirled peas.”
My response: Boy, someone was really scraping the bottom of the barrel for cap messages. Talk about going out with a whimper.

It really does smell like Pepto Bismol . . .


It really tastes like it too. Complete with that chalky aftertaste. I find myself rubbing my tongue on the roof of my mouth, just as I do when I drink actual liquid antacid. Of all their flavors, this is the one which truly most closely matches up with the actual taste it’s supposed to represent. However, I’m not actually sure whether that’s a good thing. If you close your eyes, only the viscosity and carbonation tell your mouth it’s not actual Pepto.

Ugh. What were they thinking!?

But it’s still better than the pea soda.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Jones Soda Holiday Pack: Turkey & Gravy Soda

Yes indeed, Turkey & Gravy Soda is back. Of the five flavors in this year’s holiday pack, this is the only one which was also present in last year’s pack. Since I’ve had it before, I know what to expect: something like cold soup broth. Let’s see if it lives up to my memory.

Under the cap: “Adopt a pet.”
My response: I already have. Two is plenty for a one-bedroom apartment.

Yep--cold soup broth. The pale brown gravy color only adds to the effect. The turkey flavor is not very strong, so it brings chicken more to mind. But the gravy is definitely there. I feel like I should be warming it up and adding thick, doughy noodles, carrots, celery, and hunks of shredded turkey. It tastes pretty good, actually. I wouldn’t buy it every day, but I’ll actually enjoy finishing this bottle.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Jones Soda Holiday Pack: Sweet Potato Soda

Today’s flavor is Sweet Potato Soda, the very idea of which disgusts the friend who gave me the Jones pack. However, I’m actually looking forward to it. I love sweet potatoes, so if this tastes anything like them, I’ll probably enjoy it. The color is a cheerful amber-orange, the right and proper color for sweet potatoes.

Under the cap: “Walk barefoot in the grass.”
My response: It’s December. The grass is dead. And cold.

The smell is faint, but recognizably sweet potatoish. I am encouraged.

Hmm . . . I like it. It’s sweeter than actual sweet potato, but the flavor is there--sweet potato drenched in sugar and butter, with a hint of mulling spices. Maybe not quite as good as last year’s fantastic cranberry sauce soda, but I’d put it on par with the pumpkin pie soda, which is to say, yummy. If this flavor were available outside the holiday pack, I would probably buy it for normal consumption.

This one’s a winner!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Fungus and Otter

And now a digression from the Jones Soda trials . . .

A friend and I went to the forest and the zoo today. We didn’t see much in the forest beside the flash of white that alerted us to a fleeing deer, but we did see a vast proliferation of a particular type of fungus. I don’t know the name of it, but it’s actually quite beautiful. This formation looks like a rosette.

Later at the zoo, we saw many cool things, from an adorable baby corn snake to snow leopard cubs playing with a ball. But the most fun of all was the otter standing on the turtle. This poor turtle was sitting on the bank, minding his own business, when the otter popped out of the water, then stood on the turtle’s shell while he rubbed his face on a branch. Unfortunately, the lighting was not very good, so this picture is absolutely terrible.

Jones Soda Holiday Pack: Pea Soda

Yes, you read that right. Pea Soda.

First, I must comment on the color of the pea soda--somewhere between green and yellow, it is not a color that any food or drink ought to be. Perhaps “pea” is misspelled, because it looks rather more like “pee.” The repulsive hue alone is enough to turn my stomach, but I must at least taste it, in order to make an accurate judgment of the flavor.

Under the cap: “Your reputation for being honest will bring rewards.”
My response: *shrug* Can’t argue with that. But sometimes it’s hard to tell rewards from punishments.

Now I’m staring at the bottle, afraid to take a sip . . .

Okay . . . still psyching myself up . . .

Closing my eyes . . .

I got the bottle near my face, and the smell was enough to make me put it back on the table. I can not describe this odor, other than “not food.” Peas are not necessarily my favorite vegetable (legume, whatever), but I like them well enough. This vile, cloying smell, however, is not pea.

Okay, ready to try again . . .

Oh. Dear. God.

This taste, also, is most decidedly not pea. This ranks somewhere between last year’s flavors of Brussels sprout and wild herb stuffing, which is to say darn nasty. Also, it is sweet. Really sweet. Now, I do have a wild sweet tooth, but there are good sweets and there are bad sweets, and this is definitely a bad sweet. It’s considerably worse than the disgusting Japanese white candy pellets you buy--and throw away uneaten--in order to get the cool toys. In fact, that’s actually the closest flavor comparison I can make to this soda.

Okay, I’ve had my sip. Time to pour the rest into the toilet.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Jones Soda Holiday Pack: Dinner Roll Soda

For Christmas, I received the Jones Soda Holiday Pack, a collection of five soda pops with flavors to simulate a full meal. Last year’s pack provided me with a five-point scale on which to rate this year’s flavors.

Last year’s flavors:
1) Brussels Sprout with Prosciutto = unfathomably nasty (I had to pour most of it out)
2) Wild Herb Stuffing = plain nasty (I finished it, but it was a struggle)
3) Turkey & Gravy = not bad (in fact, surprisingly good)
4) Pumpkin Pie = quite yummy
5) Cranberry Sauce = delicious (I’d buy this year-round)

This year, four of the five flavors are new. I have lined them up in my refrigerator in the order I would consume them if they were part of an actual meal on my plate: dinner roll, pea, sweet potato, turkey & gravy, and antacid. I will have one each day, and post a report on the flavor.

Today’s flavor: Dinner Roll

First and foremost, the experience of a true dinner roll is as much about texture as taste. In fact, I’d say that texture is absolutely critical to any bread experience. So the very concept of a bread-flavored soda is deeply disturbing to me. Bread is not meant to be liquid.

Well, here goes . . .

Under the cap: “You will seriously consider a move by year-end.”
My response: No. No, I won’t.

If the label did not say “dinner roll,” I’m not certain what I would call this flavor. “Butter” comes to mind, with a faint chemical aftertaste. It reminds me of a less-sweet version of the Jelly Belly “buttered popcorn” flavor. It’s actually not a bad taste. Certainly not one I’d care to have again, but not wash-my-mouth-out horrible, either. I guess I’d rank it in the middle, with “turkey & gravy.” However, a “dinner roll” it most certainly is not.

Oh, and by the way, according to the “What Jones Holiday Soda Are You?” Quiz, I’m . . .

You Are Broccoli Casserole Soda

Vegetarians taste better!

I’ve never tasted that soda, nor have I tasted a vegetarian, but I do love broccoli casserole . . .

If you really have nothing better to do with your time, you can take the quiz yourself at:

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Driftwood Cross

Even though it’s a couple days early, I’d like to wish everyone a merry Christmas and (if I don’t post before then) a happy New Year!

I’d like to share this beautiful driftwood cross which belonged to my stepbrother. I imagine he found it while hunting. He had it hanging on a pair of nails in his garage, with “Acts 6:10” scrawled on the wall beside it. The wood grew this way naturally. I’d never seen anything like it before.

Peace be with you!


I know I haven’t posted much lately. I’ve been quite busy, and not much in the mood for writing. But I thought I’d share this picture of the sculpture I made this week. Many years ago, Dad told me that I was never to spend any money on gifts for him, which translates as: for every birthday, Christmas, and Father’s Day, I sculpt something. (Needless to day, Dad has quite a collection of my figurines.) This year I was stumped. What to make? Yet another dragon? He’s got dozens of those. I’ve already done unicorns, griffins, cats, squirrels, mallards, tropical fish, and many others--I was running out of ideas. Then I realized, I’ve never made a sphinx before. (Or at least not a permanent one. I did once make an awful sphinx out of blue Play-Doh, but I didn’t save it, so it doesn’t really count as anything more than a three-dimensional doodle.)

The penny is there for scale. I’m not really happy with the sphinx’s face, but it’s not bad given that I normally only do animals and I’m generally terrible with humanoid faces. This is a hybrid sphinx, with elements of both the Egyptian style (pose, hairstyle, and ornamentation) and the Greek style (wings and breasts--yes, it’s a female, and no, you can’t tell from this photo). The cartoonishness is just my own style overriding the others. I probably should have made the face a more humanish flesh tone, since the color makes it look like a Simpsons character. But I imagined that a sphinx should be furry all over, so the face, though human shaped, would be the same color. Perhaps that’s a mistake, but it’s too late to fix now.

Don’t worry about me posting this picture before Christmas. Dad doesn’t have a computer and won’t see the blog, so it will still be a surprise for him.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Extinction of the Baiji

In the news today, I read that the baiji, a white dolphin native to the Yangtze River in China, has officially been declared extinct. Its habitat was destroyed by heavy traffic on the river.

The baiji is one of the creatures the late Douglas Adams wrote about in his fantastic book Last Chance to See (co-authored with Mark Carwardine. Harmony Books, 1991, ISBN: 0517582155). Last Chance to See was funny, as one would expect from Douglas Adams, but it was also very sad. He went on an expedition all over the world to see and write about several seriously endangered species. As the title implies, he expected that these animals would be gone from the world soon, and that this was truly the last chance to see them alive. In the case of the baiji, he turned out to be right.

I hope the same fate does not befall the other animals he wrote about. It is sad enough that the world has lost the baiji. It would be sadder still if the kakapo or the komodo dragon followed.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


I’m not a poet,
But I often write haiku,
Because I can count.

(Yes, I write bad pseudo-haiku when the mood strikes. Get used to it. It won't be the last time you see it on my blog, but I promise not to inflict it on you too often.)

Although it is the season of Advent, it is Easter in my heart. Hearing the stories about my stepbrother, reading the warm comments from his many friends, the faith which permeated his life and illuminated his every relationship becomes contagious, like his smile.

From the time I heard the news of his death until his funeral, it felt like Black Friday.

A haiku I wrote on my kitchen whiteboard then:

Death seeps like water
Through cracks in the foundations
Of the lives we build.

When Jesus died, the apostles and the others who loved him didn’t know he’d be back. They wept and mourned and felt the darkness fall over their souls. Easter brought light back into their lives.

As the stories about my stepbrother sink in, I feel that his light is not diminished by his death. Because of his faith in Christ and the good life he lived, I am certain of his place in Heaven. Not “I believe,” but “I know” he is with the One he loved most. He showed the Christ-like life by example.

A haiku I wrote tonight:

A light snuffed from earth
Reignites in Heaven high,
Fanned by the Lord’s wings.

Peace be with you.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Farewell, Beloved of God

My stepbrother, only 36 years old, died very suddenly on Saturday from a heart condition none of us knew he had. He was vibrant, active, and seemingly healthy. There was no warning, no reason, and his passing still seems utterly incomprehensible.

On the good side, he died painlessly in his sleep, with his beloved black lab at his side, after a week of doing what he loved, hunting with his cousin.

But he’s gone, and we miss him dearly. He was the kind of person who made the world a better place, both actively (through charity and mission work) and passively (simply by being himself). The world is poorer without him.

His funeral was today, and a magnificent event it was. He had touched so many lives, there were more flowers than I had ever before seen at a funeral, and the church was thick with people. The eulogy was delivered by his dear friend, who lost his notes and had to wing it. And he said all the right things, all the beautiful things. One who loved God dearly and wanted nothing more than to serve God, is now with God and has all the answers to all of his questions. Then we sang “Here I Am, Lord,” a favorite hymn, but I couldn’t sing past the first few words because I was crying so hard.

At the gravesite, his hunting buddies, clad head to foot in camo, gave him a shotgun salute, beginning with a chorus of duck calls and ending with twenty-one reports echoing through the cold, crisp wind. After most folks had left, some of the hunters lined up the empty shell casings on the casket lid, a final salute. He would have loved it.