Angie’s Blog

Because I Can

Company-Y webcomic

I apologize for not updating more often.  The Mustang is garaged now because of an over-heating issue that caused my heater core and various other weak points to start leaking.  The dash wiring never got figured out either and I’m considering making a serious project for myself by getting a Painless wiring harness and putting that in to see if it solves any problems.

Programming also isn’t going as expected.  I’m straight up just not meant for it.  Ruby, Python, PHP, CSS have all been tried and cast aside.

A hobby I have picked up and have been enjoying is drawing a webcomic.  Company-Y was created by my husband and I late one night at a cafe down in Austin.  It’s primarily a dramatization of our lives with a flare for the geeky and bizarre.

Check it out! Company-Y comes complete with an RSS feed, a forum and two twitter accounts – @awesome_avery and @steven_dev – that we will gladly be-friend you with.

We update every MWF and are not opposed to throwing in some extras as time permits.


No comment

A Bushel of Onions and my class notes



[poin-yuh nt, poi-nuh-nt]

- adjective

1.) Keenly distressing to the feelings: poignant regret

2.) Keen or strong in mental appeal: a subject of poignant interest

3.) Affecting or moving the emotions: a poignant scene

4.) Pungent to smell: poignant cookings oders


Can you see where this is headed yet?

Why’s (poignant) guide to Ruby.

I’m taking a break from the tutorial and am now trying to read up a little on the language.  Since a dry manual won’t cut it in this case, I was told to try Why’s (poignant) guide to Ruby, complete with comics and onions!  I am honestly considering trying the onion, just to get the full effect, y’know.

I’ve made it through the first two chapters of the online book and all I have to say is, this guy is crazy.  A cat who talks like the Daddy Alligator from Pearls Before Swine, pixelly rockers from the 80′s, or a bad computer game, or both, and an adventurous small mouse.  And this teaches me…what exactly?  I read on to find out..

Alright! Onions!  Sweet!  But is that all…

Dogs and baby teeth?  I’m seriously starting to wonder about this guy..and I’m not even to the third chapter yet..

Lies! There is no Vitamin R! And if there is, I demand a restructuring of the education system! it water or fat soluble?  What would you take with it to enhance absorption?  Let’s just say it goes great with calcium and vitamin C for now.  Oh, and I would like to point out that I can now already nod intelligently during Paul’s conversations to himself.  I can actually visualize some of the code he’s talking about when he’s weighing the pros and cons of his new language.  This, thanks to Ruby’s interactive hodge-podge of madness-inducing keyboard prompts.  Ooo, clear thinking, I like the sound of that, too.

Ruby was apparently created on my little sister’s birthday, too.  When she was turning 3 years old.  Note to self: call her on her birthday this year.

Oh, okay.  Apparently now the book starts.  That was just the..intro…

I’m intrigued by the idea of this language being a form of coderspeak instead of a computer language.  This gives me hope that instead of rewiring my brain to accept a foreign language (very hard, very unlikely), I can just rewire my thoughts.  Same language, different order.  Lets see.

exit unless "restaurant".include? "aura"

So, code can ask questions.  Code can use minor English punctuation such as exclamation and question marks.  Ask a question in code, use a question mark within the code to identify where the question is taking place.  Almost like identifying where a fork in the road is with a sign (in case, y’know, you’ve missed your turn).  Is the color blue or red? (Sign) If blue, exit; if red, continue.

['toast', 'cheese', 'wine'].each { |food| print food.capitalize }

Ichi, ni, son.  Instead of referring to them by their individual names, we refer to them as a group.  This group is a group of numbers.  Want to do something to the entire group (of numbers)? Say that each of these are included in the group numbers then specify what it is you want to do to all the numbers.

Variables: Letters, digits (1-9) and underscores.  Different from math’s variables that are numerical values given to letters.  X, Y & Z are variables, with their numerical value changing from one equation to the next. 1, 2, 3 are constants with their numerical value always that of its face value.  How does ruby’s variables differ from mathematical variables?  Ruby’s variables are compiled together to create words or sequences that are recognizable and readable.  “A”, “P”, “L”, “E”, “S” & “2″ are variables but can be combined to form “2 apples.”  This to ruby is still considered a group of variables but is arranged in a way that we can understand what it is.  What good would code be if it couldn’t translate into our language?  It’s like teaching the computer english..

Not sure what I think about that explanation, moving ahead and will think more on it later.


Just as X can equal 2 in math, Ruby’s variables (when constructed into form we recognize) can equal a numerical value, too.  X=2, Apples=2.  Everywhere you use “X” in a given math equation, it equals two.  Everywhere you use “apples” in a given piece of code, it equals two.  Better, I like that more.


Numbers: Here’s our equal to a constant in math.  Numbers are numbers are numbers.  “1″ will always be one, “909″ will always be nine-hundred and nine.  No commas when marking thousands.  Why no commas?  No idea, use underscores or count zeros but don’t use commas.  Check.  These numbers “can” start with a plus or minus sign.  Does this signify if the number is positive or negative?  Shouldn’t the positive be implied and the negative stated?  Can you do math in code, if so, how do you state “plus” and “minus” if the signs are already in use to signify positive and negative?

  • Floats: Interesting, I hope they explain these further.  A float can be either a number with a decimal point or scientific notation.  2.5 or MC^2.

Strings: Similar to variables.  Title=content.  Print “title” and a poem will appear.  The title is a shortened version of the poem.  Instead of typing out the poem every time you want to reference it, use the title instead.  Used in common English already.  The string portion refers to the poem portion.  The poem portion is enclosed in quotes to signify where the string (poem) starts and where it ends.  Also common English.

Title=Deja Vu

String = “Mirror, Mirror on the wall,
Surly you do lie.
Mirror, Mirror on the wall,
We don’t see eye to eye.
Mirror, Mirror by the stairs,
Your image is surly haunting.
Mirror, Mirror by the stairs,
My self-esteem you’re taunting…”

Therefore Deja_vu=”Mirror, Mirror on the wall, Surly you do lie.  Mirror, Mirror on the wall, We don’t see eye to eye.  Mirror, Mirror by the stairs, Your image is surly haunting.  Mirror, Mirror by the stairs, My self-esteem you’re taunting…”

Symbols: Just like variables but with light-weight strings.  So, instead of printing that poem twice to prove a point, I could just say :deja_vu.  I’m guessing at least so far..
Constants:  Also the same idea behind the mathematical constant but instead of being a number, it’s a Capitalized Word.  Can’t change a Constant in Ruby.  Once the Constant is set in Ruby, it stays like that for the entire piece of code.  Angie=”totally awesome chica.” Yeah, I like Constants already :) Good example used is the Empire State Building.  The Empire State Building doesn’t change, it doesn’t move.  You tell me where the Empire State Building is, and that’s where it’ll always be.  Unless Godzilla visits, then who know where that bad boy might end up.

Methods: The code version of a verb.  Methods are attached to the end of variables and constants by a dot (a period).  So, Angie.jog.  Then, Angie.jog?

  • Method Arguments: This looks hopeful but what would I use to ask if Angie was jogging and then return what I was doing based on my heart rate?  More on this later.  Note: Argument=better thought of as extra information.  It’s not an actual he said, she said argument.  More like TMI.  Method TMI.  Something like, :hot_chocolate).prepare_for_bed(30).sleep.  I asked Paul to proof-read this and he says it makes sense, but I think he’s lying.  Because it sure the hell doesn’t make sense to me.  Apparently there is understanding I’m still missing because he started babbling about functions and parameters and it making sense depending on what I set for each.  Naagghhh!  Must come back to methods arguments for better understanding.

Class Methods: Oh yah, not out of the woods yet.  So, here’s a side story.  Last month I went to Home Depot to get some new paint for our bedroom.  As I was choosing my paint and waiting for it to be mixed, a Home Depot Contractor Rep came up to Paul and I and asked us what we hated about our kitchen.  Well, don’t get me started.  How about the shape, or the color, or the size…well, he didn’t care about those things, he just wanted me to say the cabinets so he could sell me on a great promotion they have going on.  In reality, I don’t like the cabinets either, so I played along.  We set up an appointment for a designer to come out and show us samples of cabinets and counter tops.  We chose a warm honey oak to replace our white cabinets with and a silestone counter top to replace our laminate butcher block.  According to Ruby we cabinets::new(:oak) and countertop::new(:silestone) and bank_account::new(:empty) and home_depot_credit.acquired.


Global Variables: Okay, these look easy.  Something like, every household in America holds the ideal that $ford=”the one american manufacture that didn’t need to be bailed out cause they rock”

Or something like that :)

Or how about $ford=”Angie’s favorite car manufacture” Basically, the string attached to a given variable is constant throughout the program.  $x will always equal 2 in this program.  Is $x=2 the same as X=2?

Instance Variables: Use an “@” to describe an attribute about a variable/constant.  Angie@short.  Paul says maybe there’s a dot in there. Neither of us know, apparently I need to keep reading.  Their example of using the width of the front door is a little confusing to me, I would like to see them at least type it out so I can see if I’m missing any punctuation.  (Also, is it the width of the door or the width of the opening? Rough or finished? True or American? C’mon people, get your act together!)

Class Variables: Dammit.  What?  I suspect that class methods and class variables have something do to with each other.

angie.distracted_by_sidebar(10, :tired_of_ruby).pet_cats.go_to_bed


The Bet

Well, it’s not really a bet, but it sounded better as a headline.  Paul and I made a deal last week that I would dabble in his interests if he would try mine.  It sounds dirty until you take into account that he is an avid programmer and I’m a health guru.  It’s like mixing black and white and hoping for a rainbow, but we’ll give it a shot.  Variety is the spice of life, right?

So, the details of ‘The Bet’ go something like this.  Paul has agreed to put said-programmer body to use (read: loose weight and tone up) and I will exercise my nerdy muscle and take up programming.  I haven’t blogged in awhile but I knew this was going to be an experience that I couldn’t afford to forget.  It’s like getting your teeth extracted or dating a complete lunatic, you can’t afford to just lose that experience to memory!

It goes without saying that I’m a little lost at knowing where to start my endeavor so I asked Paul for some advice on which language to start with and how I should go about learning it.  He pointed me towards Ruby, a language which focuses on “simplicity and productivity,” ( making it one of the “easiest” (Paul) languages to start with.  I started at the Ruby website and went straight to their Ruby tutorial that is interactive and runs in the browser.  Pretty easy so far, nothing to download and the step-by-step prompts make it so you can get right to the good stuff.

I started the tutorial this past Sunday while I was at work.  Between scrubbing the gym floor and greasing the weights, I sat down to prove my l33t hackzoring skillz to the world.  Needlessly to say, that tutorial had me stress-eating brownies from the break room and hunting down a coke from my co-workers cubby in no time.  I’m sure Ruby is one of the easiest languages to learn but the fact that I overlooked is that learning a new language, regardless of how focused you are on simplicity, is going to be a bitch!  What helped me gain some glimmer of understanding of the language is how Interactive Ruby used references to physical objects when explaining the relationships between…the things.  The things being the brackets, quotations, periods, bleeps, blops and bloops.  Other then that, I was at a loss.  When Interactive Ruby wasn’t proving my inadequacy at spelling under stress (“r…e..v..r…dammit! how do I spell ‘reverse’??), it was crashing.  Alright, I thought, I’ll just jump ahead in the lesson and hit “help 3.” Nope, lost a big chunk of understanding when looking through the summary.  Exclamations, square brackets, chaining, oh my!  This wasn’t working, I realized.  I could spit out what they told me to write, but I wasn’t understanding a lick of it.  I needed a list of rules to follow, a reference guild of commands to use, the ability the type traditionally.  You see, that’s going to be another one of my setbacks – I can’t type without looking at the keys.  Now, I’m not talking granny’s hunt-and-peck, I’m talking a crack-head on a hit kind of hunt-and-peck.  I use my left index and my right thumb and index and can blast through a sentence if I know what I’m going to type (45WPM if it’s completely new content), however, I don’t think this style of typing will get me very far when learning how to program.  Not only does “poem.to_a.reverse.join.mumbojumbo” look odd to me, but now I have to be staring at the screen as I type to make sure all the little bleeps and bloops are in their correct spots because I am miles away from being able to proof-read code to find which bracket or hyphen is misplaced.

Learning to properly type will be an adventure in of its self, though, so lets just focus on the programming for now.

In conclusion, my first day of ‘programming’ was similar to any other first day of learning a new language.  Horrific, and I’m glad no one was around to watch my sanity crumble.  However, I do feel like I am a smidgen bit closer to earning my thick-rimmed glasses (hey, I’m blind, so sue me for being an impostor!) and I did enjoy the tutorial’s easy interface and guild lines, even if it takes me a couple days to finish it and even longer to understand it.  I am very hands-on and mechanical-minded so typing some gobbledygook and seeing it spit out jargon is a little hard for me to wrap my head around, but I’ll get there.

I hear “Hello World” makes it all worth it.

1 Comment

If You Smell Gas, It’s Too Late

While I was attending college in Oregon, I worked at a gas station on the other end of town. Most of us are aware that pumping your own fuel in Oregon is against the law and can be punishable by a fine of up to $2,000. I was a gas station attendant and heard a lot of flack from customers who were tired of having someone else pump their gas. Mostly it was out-of-towners who complained but now and then you would get a 3rd-generation Oregonian who was fed up with the system and just wanted to gripe at a minimum-wage worker. If it wasn’t about the fuel dispensing laws, it was about the station’s rules, if it wasn’t about the rule’s, it was about the price, if it wasn’t-

Well, you get the point. We heard a lot.

Let me shine some light on the largest complaints from customers so that you, as an American citizen who will likely buy at least 10 gallons of fuel this week, can have a better understanding of what goes on behind the scenes at the 3rd level of Hell. (The DMV ranking in at the lowest and most dismal of the levels).

Why can’t I pump my own gas?

I didn’t write the laws in Oregon and trust me, this hurts me as much as it hurts you. However, it is rumored that it is cheaper for the companies to allow only a select few to touch their station pumps. Insurance, for one, will have lower premiums because station attendants are trained on the equipment and are much less likely to start a station fire due to misuse of equipment or product. When you insure only 10 employees vs. 500 high school students, 2,500 college students and the town’s elderly, insurance companies feel a lot safer knowing they only have a few trained individuals to worry about instead of the entire driving population. But how do lower insurance premiums affect the driver? Compare Oregon’s fuel prices to California and Washington. I’m sure having a ‘Portland’ in Oregon, with massive shipments of fuel coming in every day and very little distance to travel to it’s destination, factors into this equation, but if a fuel station company is spending less on insurance premiums then they have a little wiggle room to offer better prices to their customers that are competitive when compared to neighboring states. For example, the current fuel price in Portland, Oregon is $3.93 for regular at Arco vs. Seattle, Washington $4.07 for regular at Arco. In Oregon, you can even find gas for as low as $3.83 at Bob’s Auto and Gas whereas Washington prices range from $4.07 to $4.39 just for regular. (Don’t look now, Diesel is at $5.11 in Washington, too!). California, despite it’s reputation, has a slightly lower price for regular, $3.91 in Sacramento, when compared to Washington and Oregon. However, prices can get as high as $4.39 for regular at Shell and have shot up to $5.29 for Diesel at Valero. ( Oregon gas prices would be even lower then the surrounding states if Oregon taxes didn’t charge so much per gallon, which currently sits at $.24 per gallon (Oregon ODOT)

You might try the argument that everything the companies are saving on insurance premiums, they loose to paying all those extra employees. Uh, not likely. Even with Oregon minimum wage at $7.95 (whoa, maybe I’ll move back there!), thats only $1,200/month gross per full-time employee. Considering you only need 4 extra full-timers in addition to your regular crew of approx 6 to run the pumps, that comes to only $4,800/month that you pay for extra employees. The station I used to work at was open until 10pm and could easily pull in $2,000-2,500 a night, and that’s ignoring what they made during the day! Yeah, I’m guessing they could afford those extra employees without batting an eye.

Another good reason to have a few select employees pump your gas for you is because of the link between fuel products and certain types of cancer. The chemical Benzene, a lead substitute found in gasoline, is a known carcinogen to humans and is believed to be linked to breast cancer. The chemicals 1,3-butadiene are also found in gasoline but are believed to be linked to a wider range of cancers. (Think Before you Pink) A French study has shown that children living near a gas station have four times a greater chance of developing leukemia because of the Benzene from the gasoline and the platinum particles from catalytic converters. (Sepp Hasslberger)

Perhaps this hasn’t been put in writing yet, but wouldn’t the state of Oregon rather treat 10 cases of disease and cancer ridden individuals as opposed to treating the aforementioned hoards of students and elderly? State health insurance would be less, treatment for cancers would be more readily available due to the low number of diseased, everyone is healthy and happy and babies are born with ten fingers and ten toes. Sounds good to me…oh wait, except that I’ll be the one with cancer. Dang it.

Why can’t I smoke at the Station?

I’m assuming most of us have seen The Dark Knight by now. Remember Mr. Dent’s mistake of covering himself with oil and then getting lit on fire? Everyday there is one kind of accident or another at a gas station involving some amount of fuel. Whether a nozzle didn’t click off in time and over-spilled, or a gas can got tipped or someone has a hole in their tank intake (seriously), we attendants get covered in gasoline somehow throughout the day and then you wonder why we don’t walk up to you with that little death stick in your hand? Maybe we don’t feel like becoming charcoal today. When we walk up to your window, covered in our Eau de’Petroleum and you roll down your window to grunt “10 dollars of 89″, the vapors on our clothing are wafting into your vehicle and mixing with the air that your cigarette is surrounded by. Since fuel is more flammable in its vapor form then in it’s liquid form, this causes a very dangerous situation for both of us. If enough vapors enter your vehicle, the air will literally catch fire. Though the fire might be short-lived due to the low concentration of fuel vapors vs. air, the damage will still be done, especially if you’re wearing flammable clothing or your interior catches fire. Not to mention you just fried the poor attendant. Also, along the subject of igniting gasoline vapors, is the fact that every gas station sees many fuel spills a day, and some of them are large. We may put cat litter down to soak up most of the gasoline but the vapors are still there as the gasoline slowly evaporates. You pull up to the pump with the spill, roll down your window and- KABOOM!! Those vapors surrounding your car just came into contact with your lit cigarette and caused an explosion as they ignited. This can lead to a damaged pump and, considering the extent of the damage, the fuel lines running from the pump to the underground holding tanks are now exposed. As the vapors burn, they ignite all standing and evaporating fuel, assume that comes into contact with the pump and travels down to the holding tanks…well, considering there are thousands of gallons of fuel down there with access to air via the ventilation system, now you just blew up an entire city block. Just cause you won’t put out your cigarette.

I had one irate customer once ask me why she should put out her cigarette “It’s not like I’m going to throw it in a puddle of gas!” I’m sorry, but liquid gas is the least of our worries. If you smell gas, it’s already too late if your holding a burning object.

I hope this clears up some questions you may have the next time you’re driving through Oregon or just running down to the corner station and observe the ‘No Smoking’ and ‘Turn off Engine’ signs posted. They aren’t there to make your life miserable, I promise. They’re there to make sure you, and everyone around you, still has a life when you pull away from the pump.

Road trip!


23 Flavors of Dr. Pepper – Part 3

In addition to the taste test that Paul and I conducted earlier, I’ve come up with a few more flavors that are possibly in Dr. Pepper. We somehow stumbled upon Coka-Cola’s wikipedia page (which, by the way, is amazing) which lead us to OpenCola’s page after awhile. OpenCola is the open-source version of Coka-Cola, so to speak. They have the recipe and directions for production on wikipedia, which can be changed at any point by anyone who feels it’s necessary. It’s my theory that if these products could be found in OpenCoke, and therefore likely to be in Coke in one form or another, then why couldn’t Dr. Pepper use these ingredients too? No soda company has the rights to an individual ingredient, just the combination they use to produce the product, so it’s feasible that parts of Coke can be found in Dr. Pepper.

The ingredient list for OpenCoke is as follows

Cassia oil is an ever green that is native to China and Vietnam. It is a close relative to cinnamon and is commonly referred to as “true cinnamon” or “vietnam cinnamon.” Coriander is, get ready for this, cilantro. Yes, that leafy little green thing that is commonly used as a garnish in fancy restaurants could be floating around in your Dr. Pepper or Coke. Since Dr. Pepper was advertised as having medicinal properties, I think it is very likely that Coriander either was, or still is, apart of the recipe. Folk medicine uses Coriander for the relief of anxiety and insomnia. When boiled, Coriander also has diuretic properties and can be used as a general digestive aid. Coriander is also used as a carminative, which, if you look it up in wikipedia, also lists anise seed, basil, cardamom (ginger family), epazote (Mexican vegetable/herb, used to flavor black beans for its antiflatulent properties), ginger, lemon balm, liquorice, marjoram (sweet pine and citrus-y), muna (a digestive aid made into tea), nutmeg, peppermint, rosemary, saffron (those stigmas that are used as seasoning or coloring), spearmint, thyme and wormwood. Any of those sound like Dr. Pepper material? I thought so, too.

In conclusion, Dr. Pepper has stepped away from our traditional lemon, lime, cherry concoctions and has stepped into a world of spices, herbs and green leafy things. Working backwards, I would be interested to find the actual medicinal claims of Dr. Pepper because the list I’ve complied here is mostly digestive aids (which, makes sense given the medium) but if one was able to find those claims, then the list could be broadened to include other natural aids such as laxatives, blood pressure remedies, or appetite suppressants for example.


Texas Safety Inspections are no joke

On Tuesday night I got pulled over while heading home from work. I was given three warnings; I didn’t have a Texas license, I didn’t have Texas plates and my head was “out”, aka, the cop was fishing for excuses to pull a hotrod over at 11pm on a dark street.

I’ve had an awesome record with the cops these past three years. I went from 5 speeding tickets, one arrest (for speeding) and a pulled license back when I was 17-18 to having not one incident in three years. Since I really, really like having the cops leave me alone now, I decided to begin taking care of my warnings the following Wednesday morning. I took a trip to Cedar Park, a good 30 minutes away, to a DMW where I planned to get my license. Since the license only requires a vision test, i assumed it would be a quick in-and-out procedure. Well, I learned the hard way that the DMW won’t give you the time of day unless you have a Texas registered vehicle so I went back to Round Rock to get a safety inspection.


Totally failed the safety inspection. Apparently, they don’t appreciate a disabled power steering system (either, you have one and it’s functional, or you tear the damn thing out completely), or my custom exhaust (pipes exit underneath the trunk, oops?), or my totally awesome horn that sounds like a dying water buffalo on a good day. The shop where I got the inspection quoted me at least $1,000 to start fixing everything and I sobbed all the way to work because I’m BROKE. After a day or two of total and complete panic about my future transportation situation, I took the Mustang to a friend of mine at Texas Custom Auto for his advice. He said we can start with a new power steering pump, a new return line and a belt for $250, the exhaust can have extensions welded onto it and the horn just needs some new under-the-hood dohickies from Auto Zone. All for under $350. Far cry from $1,000, yeah?

Before I got this fantastic quote, though, I was seriously considering picking up a Ford Focus SVT or a 2005 Mustang. The great thing about the SVTs is that they have the most horse power out of all the other models of Focuses. An LX or SE Focus is about 110hp, a ZX3 is 130hp, a 2.3L ST is 151hp and an 2 door hatchback 2.0L SVT is 170hp. An SVT is also the only model that comes equipped with a 6-speed GETRAG manual transmission, opposed to the 4-speed automatic and the 5-speed manual of other models. An SVT, to my knowledge, does not come with an automatic option. SVT are hard to find though. They were only made in 2002, ’03 and ’04 and everyone wants one since they can cost less then $12,000 used. Ford can also use the SVT on other models, not just the Focus. SVT stands for “Special Vehicle Team” and is used on Mustangs, too. (2003 Cobra SVT, anyone? yummy..)

Even though I don’t immediately need one of these car yet, I’m still looking to buy one within the year. I’ve always liked the new Mustang style and the more I read on the Focus SVT, the more I’m beginning to like it, too. It’s like a super charged Geo Metro, but SO. MUCH. COOLER!

Wikipedia on the Focus SVT



1 Comment

Snickers Charged: The biggest waste of money yet

I just saw my first Snickers Charged in a “healthy” vending machine at work. Being hungry, and having enough money, I decided to get it and see what was “healthy” about it. Well, the “charged” pertains to the fact that it contains 60mg of caffeine, not any healthy ingredients and was most likely miscategorized.

Being a big fan of Snicker’s candy bars, I would normally just eat this bar regardless of it being healthy or not, but wow, it tastes like shit*! In addition to a normally good Snickers bar, the Snickers Charged contains the aforementioned 60mg of caffeine (the same as a cup of coffee), Taurine and B-vitamins. Considering Taurine makes up a large part of bile, which is very similar aftertaste of the Snickers Charged, I would assume this is the major assaulting ingredient in this case.

Why, Snickers, why? Couldn’t you just stop with the caffeine and b-vitamins? Did you really need to go and ruin a perfectly good candy bar? As a coworker of mine just pointed out, no one drinks energy drinks for their taste, specifically because of the taurine, so what was the idea of adding it to a candy bar. Call me crazy, but I never eat a candy bar because I NEED to, I eat it for the endorphines that are released when I shove my face with the sugary chocolaty goodness of a candy bar. Endorphines were most definitely not released in this case, as I had the vague impression of eating, then throwing up, the chocolate, then eating it again.

But don’t take my word for it. If you enjoy eating chocolate covered Yellow Jackets and rinsing the whole thing down with a Full Throttle spiked with concentrated Rockstar, then this is totally the candy bar for you. Me? I’ll just go hungry, thanks. It’s been 30 minutes after the fact and I still have the ruminates of a bile taste in my mouth.

*shit: sour after taste, bad grass, like chewing the worst part of an energy drink, Snickers taste lasts only about half way through chewing, kinda of like vasaline too.



23 Flavors of Dr. Pepper – Part 2

Paul and I conducted a little taste test last night using both hot and cold Dr. Pepper poured into glass cups. Here is what we came up with using Dr. Pepper with high fructose corn syrup.

Hot Dr. Pepper smells like:

-Boiled dried fruit (raisins and apricots to be exact)

-Cherry Syrup

-Lip Smackers brand chapstick

-Cherry Lifesavers

-Sassafras (rootbeer)


-Coffee (empty glass at 30 sec)

-Artifical chocolate (empty glass at 1 minute)

-Caramel (empty glass at 1.5 minute)

Hot Dr. Pepper tastes like:

-Cherry lifesavers

-sugar water (go figure)

-sweet tea (Arizona brand to be exact)

-Cinnamon ACT mouthwash

-boiled raisins


-artificial strawberry


Cold Dr. Pepper smells like:


-Clean cardboard

-Cat litter

-Crensha melon

-Black tea

and tastes like:

-black cherry

We literally burned out our tastes buds during this test so when it came time to taste cold Dr. P everything just started melting into one big blob of flavors. We can however safely assume that Dr. Pepper does in fact have








Some other likely flavors are




-Black cherry (not as sweet as a regular cherry)

And some flavors we can’t explain yet are

-Black tea


-Sweet tea

-Fresh cardboard

-Cat litter (well, we do have 4 cats, I’m sure that explains something)

*I also have the theory that every flavor of Dr. Pepper (berries n’ cream, cherry vanilla, cherries n’ chocolate etc) are using flavors that are already in regular Dr. Pepper, they’re just using more of the flavor to make it stand out more then before. With this in mind, we can also add vanilla to the list of assumed flavors even though we couldn’t identify it last night.


23 Flavors of Dr. Pepper

Now, we should know by now that a large, well-established company such as Dr. Pepper wouldn’t actually disclose their secret formula for the most beloved drink in Texas (at least among programmers). There are some good guesses floating around, though. One that is undergoing large scrutiny is prune juice. The company denies straight up that there is no prune juice in their drink but what about prune juice flavoring? The can I am holding right now does list “artificial flavoring” under it’s ingredients so why the heck can’t there be prune juice flavoring in it? I remember when I was a little kid, there was the rumor that there was some sort of prune juice derivative or product in Dr. Pepper and c’mon, with a taste like it has, you can see how the rumor got started.

For the record, I love prune juice.

Other flavor guesses are your generic vanilla, cherry and cola (is cola an actual flavor or a brand? Now I’m confused) and some far reaching but understandable flavors are black licorice, blackberry, rootbeer (again, flavor or brand??), orange, and lemon. My favorite guesses however are amaretto, caramel, pepper (did we not see this coming?), anise (explains why Paul likes it, at least), molasses (compliments the high fructose corn syrup) and, of course, plum! (or, we could just call it prune, really, no one will be offended)

Since there is no hardcore evidence at all out there proving what is or isn’t in Dr. Pepper, I’m interested in conducting my own investigation taste-testing. I’m going to need a case of real Dr. P and a room full of super-tasting nerds.

Oh wait, thats just Paul’s work…okay, nevermind.

Next, I’m going to conduct a taste test between Diet, High Fructose Corn Syrup and <gasp> because we do live in Texas, mere miles from the plant, Real Sugar!

Flavors from Kulterblog




Our Hypochondriac Cat, Lily


This is our new cat, Lily. Lily is a 6 year old female who came from Lily decided to spend her first two nights with us at the emergency vet all because of what the vets can’t claim is anything but an “anxiety attack.”

So, what happened?

Lily was dropped off at our place at 12:30pm on Wednesday. She was kept separate from our other three cats as she slowly got used to our home. She made it through her first night at our house by hiding under the bed and in the closet and coming out only in the dead of the night to eat and use the catbox. On Thursday morning we thought she was doing better and might be ready to meet our other cats so we left our bedroom door open to let them mingle at their own rate. Lily survived through the day by hissing and glaring at our other cats as they slowly entered and inspected the room. Thursday night, Paul picked her up and brought her into his office to watch some tv with him. Well, that lasted about 23 seconds until Lily jumped off his lap, threw up and started foaming HEAVILY at the mouth while twisting her head and smacking her tongue against the roof of her mouth. We put her back in the bedroom and shut the door and kept an eye on her while Googling her symptoms. She hid underneath the bed for the better part of a half an hour, still foaming and becoming less and less responsive to us except for the occasional hiss when we got too close to her. I was starting to panic at this point, so we got the broom and pushed her out from under the bed and put her into the tub where she stayed, still foaming and drooling. We found a webpage that stated that if a cat had been foaming for longer then a half an hour, then it was a good idea to phone the vet. Paul phoned the vet and listed her symptoms, which at that point just included foaming and drooling. Five minutes later I phone the vet back and added that she was also lethargic, non-responsive “butt reflex” and was just staring into space. While on the phone, I was looking for any other signs and noticed her pupils were very noticeably uneven and that her second eyelids were half way closed. The vet suggested that it was a neurological condition and that we bring her in. Since rabies is a neurological disease, we were becoming very concerned at this point. We couldn’t find any other reason for her to be reacting this badly, no foreign objects in her throat, no chemicals she had gotten into, so rabies was sounding feasible. Another condition that can cause these symptoms is Feline Leukemia and since we had only had Lily a little more then 24 hours, we had no idea of her past health diagnosis.

So, midnight on Thursday night we took a trip to the emergency vet with Lily to get her some professional care. They ran a full blood panel on her to see if any of her values could be causing her symptoms. Her glucose was high (diabetes or stress), her white blood cell count was low (possible leukemia) and her liver values were high (poisoning, severe allergy or other chemical assault on the body). They put her on an IV-drip and injected her with anti-nausea medication to stop her fluid loss. We left the vet at 2:30am and Lily stayed the night to be monitored. The emergency clinic suggested we take her to a day-vet to get a leukemia test in the morning and to continue the IV-drip and monitoring for signs of poisoning.

When Paul and I got home we bleached the entire bathroom and anywhere else her saliva has gotten since Feline Leukemia is spread by saliva and is contagious to other cats. Needlessly to say, this was a very hard few hours for us because we now had our other three cats that had potentially caught a deadly virus.

At 6:30am, I went back to the emergency vet to pick-up Lily and take her to the Forest Creek Animal Hospital for further treatment. She was still drooling but was well hydrated and was more responsive. The emergency vet had nothing to report on her condition and said nothing else could be done until she had her leukemia test. At Forest Creek, they drew blood for her test and hooked up her IV-drip again. An hour later at 8am, the test results came back negative and the vet doctor came out to talk to me about our options. Lily stayed at the animal hospital for another 24 hours. Within that time she became fully responsive, started eating like a pig, recovered her fluid levels and stopped her drooling. Lily’s previous owner met me at the Animal Hospital on Friday evening so that we could also discuss Lily’s future home placement if it was needed.

Paul and I picked Lily up from the Animal Hospital on Saturday morning at 11am and she’s been doing great ever since. She’s eating between 3/4 of a can to 1 can of cat food a day and seems more comfortable with our surroundings. We decided to keep her separate from the rest of the house for at least a week regardless of her improvement because we don’t want to trigger a relapse. Based on the lab results, the vet still can’t determine what caused her episode.  Stress, seizures or a chemical poisoning are the most likely so far. We’re taking her back to the Animal Hospital on Wednesday to get another blood test to see if her liver and white blood cell count have returned to normal. If they haven’t, then we will order an ultrasound to check for a gastrointestinal disease.

Her pupils are still uneven sizes but less pronounced. It’s possible it’s a condition that she’s had for life but that was aggravated to a noticeable amount during her episode.

1 Comment