Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Vault: Drinks like a Soda, Kicks like an Energy Drink

First of all, I'm not really getting the hang of this nomenclature. I keep thinking of “Surge” when I write about Vault. Probably because it is Surge, just with a new name. In the never ending battle to knock Mountain Dew off its high throne, Coca-Cola does something interesting with this new Vault of theirs.

I have to say, I loathe the taste of original Mountain Dew. After drinking several gulps of it, I feel as if I'm going to puke lime-green liquid all over the floor. My gag reflex acts up about halfway through a bottle of it. Everytime I find myself with a can or bottle of Mountain Dew in my hand, I have to ask myself the question: Why? Why am I drinking this abhorrent beverage, riddled with so much sugar and caffeine, you feel like you are going to urinate super-concentrated yellow liquid. I never liked it before, what would have changed this time around?

Well, it's a big hit with the gaming crowd, supplying them with much needed caffeine to last them through the night. And Mountain Dew: Red Code ain't all that bad either. Since it is a soda, many people don't know how much caffeine they are ingesting when they chug down 5 or 6 cans per night. This inevitably begged someone to make a Death By Caffeine calculator, where you choose your caffeinated beverage of choice, enter your weight, and click on the truly macabre “kill me” button.

Apparently, it takes:

136.5 cans of Mountain Dew
107.25 cans of Vault

to kill me.

Wow, it's really that potent? Interesting...

But anyway, enough of this Mountain Dew talk. Vault is the relatively new energy soda (well, pretty much the only marketed “energy soda”) on the market, and you'd like to know how it tastes.

Well, for starters, the liquid is very crisp without a lot of lingering sugary slime; compare 7Up's crispness to Sprite's sweetness, and that's how Vault compares to a can of Dew. The all-too-familiar gag reflex was pretty nonexistant, I was surprised. The actual taste of Vault tastes exactly like Mountain Dew to me. Heck, it tastes like Surge, Mello Yello, and whatever other supermarket generic “mountain dew-like” soda is out there. No surprise there. I honestly wasn't expecting much, but I guess it tastes OK. Not awesome. Not Barq's Root Beer awesome. But pretty good nonetheless.

The real kicker is finding out that one bottle of Vault has the same amount of caffeine found inside 1.5 cans of Red Bull. Wow, you should have told me that before I went out and drank one at 2 in the freakin' morning. Hey, I didn't get any warning either, why should you? ;-)

But yeah, I drank a bottle of Vault at midnight (stupid!) one day, and couldn't sleep until about 8AM the next day in which I promptly had to get up at 9:30. Let me tell you, that was a pretty bad day. (Not as bad as today, however, where I did not get a single minute of sleep. As of this moment, I've been awake for close to thirty-five hours minus the three hour nap I had yesterday afternoon. Schweeeet.)

Oh, and get this, since it was from a vending machine, it came out in your standard 20 oz. PET soda bottle. Bwahaha, that means I had ingested ~120 mg of caffeine by the time I finished it. As you may know, an 8.2 oz can of Red Bull contains 80 mg of caffeine, and a 12 oz can of Mountain Dew has 55 mg of caffeine. After thirty minutes or so, I unconsciously started becoming uncontrollably jittery. Although, I also had a renewed vigor to work and I punched out a research paper as well as an analytical paper. All in four hours time! So, yes, I can attest to the fact that the caffeine in this stuff really works. It isn't all talk. It really does have some kick to it. It has become my primary beverage of choice when studying for exams or when I need to write a paper(s). I need to have gotten a sufficient amount of sleep the night beforehand, however, as I do not want to die of heart exhaustion or whatnot.

What would I rate it, you say? Hmm.

6 out of 10.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Naps: part of the devil's toolkit.

Due to my erroneous poly/biphasic sleep cycle, there are times when I cannot take any naps in order to refresh myself. Usually, I go to class on 3 hours of sleep, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I am able to take a late morning/midafternoon big nap (3-4 hours). But what about the days when I need to attend some sort of event that occurs in the middle afternoon; could be a test or a deadline I have to meet. Today, for instance, I had an Econ test at 4:00 PM. Originally, my plan was to get out of English class around 9:15, sleep until 11:15 and get some studying done before I headed down to the test room.

After a series of surprising events, our English teacher handed back some of our papers and said to us, "On account of it being sunny today, I'm cancelling class." Whoa there. Did I hear you correctly, Prof. NvC? Did you just say you are cancelling class? WE ONLY HAVE SIX CLASS MEETINGS LEFT. WE ALSO HAVE TWO MORE BOOKS TO READ. I'm not complaining, though. Any cancelled class is an awesome class. So I smiled and said, "Thank You!" and waltzed my merry way out of there. So, it was 8:10AM and I was disoriented. What did I need to accomplish today again? Ahhh yes, that's right. I need to print out my two-page rough draft on Mao Zedong and his critique on The Scholars by Wu Ching-Tzu. I e-mailed the document to myself and headed over the computer lab to print it out. I handed it in promply at 8:50AM, a full 8 hours and 10 minutes before the actual deadline. Sweet. I'm ahead of schedule!

I go back to my room. Hmm...it's 9:05AM and I have around 6.5 hours left before the test. Come on, who're you kidding, you're only going to study for an hour at most. Yeah, that's true. Maybe I'll check the various fora that I frequent, check my email, surf the web, etc. Ok, I'll do that. Next thing I know, it's 9:50 and Math class is in ten minutes. GAH. Maybe I should skip it? Yes, that would seem like the more practical choice. I mean, it's just going to be a review of what we did yesterday and so on. And, I really need to be awake for my Econ test. So at 9:55AM I climb into bed and set my alarm for 11:55. That's a good two hours of sleep there. I should be rested. Gah, who am I kidding. You'll probably wake up and say to yourself, "Hmm, I still have a good 4 hours until the test, and since I'm only going to study for an hour, I can allow myself a little more rest." Well, I'd like to give myself the benefit of the doubt. What if I suddenly think of something that I forgot to study and need to allow myself time to learn it? Fine.

ring ring ring goes the alarm clock. Aaarrghhh, it's 11:55 already? DAMN! I'll put it on nap mode for another 40 minutes. I should be awake by 12:30PM.

ring ring ring goes the alarm clock. What the freakin' hell? 12:30 already? Gah, never mind, I still have 4 hours. Plently of time. I'll set it on nap mode for fifty minutes. 1:20. I should definitely be awake then. Yeah, sounds like a good plan.

ring ring ring. Okay, wtf. I seriously just slept 5 minutes ago, how can it be 1:20?! Nap mode. Ten minutes. Give. It. To. Me. PLEASE. Okay, you can rest until 1:30. 1:30 seems like such a better time anyway. I mean, come on, who counts in 20s? What is 1:20 anyway? A third past one? Half past one sounds much better. Yes, 1:30 it is.

ring ring ri---. pllleassee, just ten more minutes! I'll just lay in bed. I won't set anything. I'll watch the clock with my eyes open until it hits 1:40. I just need time to wake myself up. Mmmm....my pillow is so nice....maybe I'll just ---

GODDAMN. It's 1:47PM. Fine. Fine. I'll get up.

I get myself up and take a shower to refresh. Get to the library by 2:15. Only studied for an hour, like I predicted I would, and came back to my room at 3:30 to grab my backpack and headed for the test. Glorious.

Moral of the story? Well, now that I look back at the day, I didn't do anything wrong. I did everything I predicted I would do. I didn't miss anything (with the slight exception of math class), and I didn't get in trouble at any point in the day. I think I fared well...yes, yes I think I did.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

So, you want to be like Jack Bauer?

For 24 updates and more tech stuff, visit my new blog @ SIMA.org (Snakes in My Ass!)

No one can be exactly like Jack Bauer. He's too hardcore. You'd kill yourself by even dreaming that you were Jack Bauer.

You, however, want to be in his likeness. So, I have compiled a handy list for those Jack Bauer wannabes; perfect for a night out on the town or for saving the United States of America from biological or nuclear obliteration.

There are essential items that Jack Bauer wears that contribute to his overall trademark ruggedness and badassness. They are:

(1) his jacket
(2) his over-the-shoulder bag
(3) his watch
(4) his sunglasses
(5) his cell phone
(6) his pistol

If you are able to pilfer all of these items you are one step closer to being similar to Jack Bauer. If you dare claim that you are Jack Bauer, Jack will personally appear at your house in the middle of the night, shoot your loved ones in the kneecaps, kick your dog, smash your fine china, and then personally torture you by carving off a chunk of your FACE. Do you really want to go through all that? No, I didn't think so.

Item 1: the Jacket

Jack uses a variety of suave and sophisticated jackets over the 5 days that we've been following him. A personal favorite of mine is the jacket/hoody. After intense deliberation and speculation, a lot of people have claimed that Jack's jacket is the japanese-made: Supreme Water Proof Hooded M65 JKT Black.Not only will you be stylin', but you'll also be pragmatic with the hood. You'd dare not take your chances catching a cold while saving the world, would you? Of course, Jack Bauer doesn't get sick, he makes other people sick.

Item 2: the over-the-shoulder bag

Pack smartly for any situation with this shoulder-strapped bag: the Heavyweight Classic Messenger and Travel Bag -- Unisex made by Ultra Force.
Jack brings this thing everywhere. Whether he needs a fully-loaded magazine for his pistol, some expertly-crafted C4 demoliton packs, or his freakin' sunglasses, this thing holds it all and more.

Item 3: the watch

Time moves unbearably slow in the world of Jack Bauer. Heck, he needs to stop conniving terrorists in a single day. No bathroom breaks, no naps, no showers, no time to eat, no nothing. Jack Bauer focuses on the task at hand. And what perfect timepiece to showcase than the:
Ballistic band MTM Special Ops watch. MTM is recognized for their specially designed military watches: perfect for Jack.

Item 4: his sunglasses

Jack Bauer likes to rock it 80s style with his huge aviator glasses that intimidate even Christopher Henderson (i.e. Robocop "Murphy"). Any aviators will do but as a suggestion: Elite Metal Aviator Sunglasses with Mirror Lens by 80s Purple will do fine.
The mirror effect on these babies will prove handy when interrogating suspected perps. For Jack Bauer, as soon as you can see your reflection in his sunglasses, you're probably already dead and Jack's image is just seared in your mind for the rest of eternity.

UPDATE: If the 80s Purple style doesn't suit you, and you want to go totally official Jack Bauer style, try out the Serengeti Large Aviators...you won't regret buying them. (Thanks Ali)

Item 5: the phone

You find yourself in a ventilation shaft high above some terrorists. You need to snap some high quality pics and upload them to Chloe, but you have no digital camera and/or laptop computer! You also need to dupe German special agents by letting them think you transferred over to them the list of undercover CIA operatives in Europe, but you have no PDA! Also, Kim's birthday is coming up but since you've neglected her, you don't know when it is! You need some sort of calendar/address book type thing! Have no fear. Jack Bauer is a hardcore pirate and can afford a brand-new Palm Treo 650 Smartphone.

Item 6: the pistol

Believe me, you do not want to be looking down the barrel of this thing. Jack's H&K USP Compact has the unholy power of not missing. If Jack fires, you die. Simple.

That's it! You're done! Now slap on some jeans, a kevlar vest, some SWAT tactical boots, and you'll be rockin' it like Jack Bauer.

Furthermore, if you want to embody the true essence of Jack Bauer. Here are a few tips:

Be a white guy. Have blonde/brown hair. Be 5'10 and a half.

Get a bachelor's degree in English Literature from UCLA. Get a Masters of Science in Criminology from UC Berkeley.

Get married. Have a daughter in the likeness of Elisha Cuthbert.

Join the military and be part of the Delta Force Counter Terrorist Group. Go to the LAPD Swat School. Be on LAPD SWAT. Get hired by Los Angeles Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU).

Have your wife killed by a co-worker.

Work your way up to be the special agent in charge, and eventually Director of Field Ops. Go undercover in the Columbian drug cartel. Become the special assistant to the Secretary of Defense.

Fake your own death.

And finally, be reinstated into duty by a corrupt President of the United States.

Source: Fox Broadcasting Company