Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Tastes worse than menudo

(A Jones Soda Holiday Pack review)

Wow. I'm normally an adventurous eater, but last night I really put my iron stomach to the test. Along with some willing guinea pigs from the Columbia Chorale, The Rev & I hosted a little Thanskgiving soirée as we celebrated the traditional foods of the season in soda form.

I never thought I would find something that tastes worse than menudo (that's menudo the mexican tripe and hominy soup, not Menudo the boy band that Ricky Martin was once a member of). I should state for the record that I would eat menudo before I would eat beets or slimy canned mushrooms, but that's another story.

Anyway, the new winner (or loser, depending on your point of view) is Jones Soda Brussels Sprout Flavor. I've always considered Brussels Sprouts as having all the consistency of a ball of sawdust with none of the flavor, and this soda is true to its roots. This is a soda with a message, and that message is, "Beware!" I just couldn't stomach more than a few sips.

Fortunately, Jones Soda Cranberry Sauce makes an excellent chaser. I think I could actually drink a full bottle of this soda without initiating my gag reflex.

I can't say the same for some of the other flavor varieties. Pecan Pie was super sweet; Pumpkin Pie didn't taste like pumpkin pie at all; Corn on the Cob tasted like the water you use to boil corn in; Wild Herb Stuffing tased like selzer water; and Turkey & Gravy had a gravy-ish aftertaste.

Surprisingly, Smoked Salmon Paté was not that bad. Neither was Broccoli Casserole.

Well, at least it was all calorie-free, sugar-free, caffeine-free, carb-free, kosher, and vegeterian. Oh, and it's for the children. The Jones Soda folks are hoping to raise $150,000 through sales of these ghastly flavor packs for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Toys for Tots.

Drive safe this week. Count your blessings. I know we will.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Not-so-fond memories

Yesterday evening I had an unpleasant reminder that the side-effects of my treatment aren't quite dead yet. With the sudden change in temperature, I was treated to a sneak attack of Raynaud's Phenomenon. Basically, my fingertips get cold, change colors (to white, blue, or red), then throb and tingle. In fact, I'm having another attack as I write this.

Meanwhile, combined with peripheral neuropathy - which I still have although it doesn't usually bother me - I can't even feel my fingertips. If I rub them against parts of my hand that have feeling, it's like I have the pads of a dog's paw touching me. Very odd.

Hopefully this won't be a constant problem all winter, but I'll ask Dr. V. next month when I go for my next CT & labs. Maybe some electric hand-warmers are in the cards for me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Hitting the Big Time

Well, this is the break we've been waiting for. I am pleased to announce that the state newspaper for United Methodists did a two-page article on blogs, and The Rev and I got our own half-page sidebar on our blogging contribution. Woo-hoo!

Man, the visitors should start pouring in anytime now!

Anytime now...

Seriously, I will be watching the stats over the next week or so to see if there is any appreciable increase, but I can't imagine there are that many net-savvy Methodists who 1) read this paper and 2) are interested enought to take a look. The average circulation of the bi-weekly is 6,000 (out of a claimed total church membership of 176,000) and it goes primarily to pastors and local church leaders. Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.

For those of you interested in reading, here's that issue of the conference newspaper. The blog story is on the front page; our story is on page 6A.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Flying High

It's been a good month, especially from a flying perspective. I think I've been making up for lost time while I was undergoing treatment. In the past month, I've flown:
  • to and from Columbus, Ohio to pick up a second airplane for our flying club;
  • to and from Omaha, Nebraska to pick up our church secretary from a family gathering;
  • to and from Kennett, Missouri on business;
  • to and from St. Louis twice;
  • plus a few instrument flying lessons as well.
The best part of all this flying is that a good deal has been at limited or no cost to me, which is the best kind of flying there is.

Perhaps the most interesting trip was the one to Kennett. I took my boss down there to speak to a local church after he had agreed to meet with them without knowing exactly where they were located. As it turns out, it would have been a 5-6 hour drive each way, which would have necessitated an overnight stay. Instead, it took about 2 1/4 hours of flying each way. Plus, the cost to use the airplane was less than the reimbursement for the mileage would have been, not to mention the hotel.

The weather has cooperated for nearly all of these flights, save the last one to St. Louis, which had quite a bit of turbulence in the takeoff and landing phases -- enough that both Sarah and I "caught air" when he had a couple of violent losses of altitude (only a few feet). It's a similar feeling to riding in the rear car of a roller coaster and being whipped over the summit of a steep incline.

Now it looks as if some crappy fall/winter weather is settling in. We're planning to fly ourselves down to see my folks for Thanksgiving next week (weather permitting); it will be the first time that all my siblings and their spouses have been together in some time. It may also mark the last time there's any semblance of sanity at a family gathering -- the number of small children may be tripled by this time next year (and no, none of them will be provided by us as far as we know).

I'm also planning a little "exotic" Thanksgiving feast for some folks next week involving Jones Soda. It should be interesting, to say the least, from a culinary standpoint.