candy review! Marks and Spencer Fizzy Pop Sweets

these are wonderful! i already love soda candy, obvi, but these are extra nice because the sour powder is designed so there’s an actually fizzy sensation in addition to the usual ‘sour’ coating on candy of this sort.


the ingredients include citric acid and sodium bicarbonate so it seems like maybe they only react once you eat them and make the fizz. it’s a small thing but i think a lot of soda gummies don’t bother with this so it’s nice that these do. truly the m&s difference.

bottlecaps appreciation interlude: my favorite part of trick or treating was getting bottlecaps and/or trading my chocolates and whatnot for other peoples’ bottlecaps, because those are one of my fav candies, alongside big sweet tarts, gummy soda bottles, OG sour skittles, nerds, and pop rocks. interlude over

also the flavor combinations are magical, because the assortment means you can make all sorts of extra bonus flavors, like cherry ginger lemonade or cherry cola and whatnot. truly a marvel of contemporary civilization.

VR appreciation post

i just got an Oculus Rift and gosh is it neat. here are some early thoughts on it.

i’m typing this right now on the Oculus Desktop that’s part of the Rift Core 2.0 beta, which definitely takes some getting used to but isn’t dramatically slower than a regular keyboard, and is actually faster than the touch keyboard on my surface. more typos than a regular keyboard but part of that is just down to experience. i have the virtual keyboard up in the air so it’s definitely a workout keeping my arms up but i like it. i’ve always wanted to type like i was boxing.

here’s a look at that paragraph before i fixed any of the typos. i should note that this was done with actually typing with my virtual hands; you can also use the controllers, which are much more accurate but feel less like johnny mnemonic.



i also got the Virtual Desktop app from the Oculus store, and while the customization and background is more fun the keyboard on the Oculus Desktop works much better. Neither app is perfect but they’re both a lot of fun and i’m excited to see how the experience develops with each update.

there’s a reason i’m mostly talking about the joys of typing in VR and that’s because one of primary reasons i wanted a VR rig was for ‘productivity’, which is to say, writing and (to a slightly lesser extent) game design. i’m currently finishing up a phd in english literature, an experience that has ruined my back, shoulders, arms, and wrists through repetitive strain injuries. a standing desk has helped somewhat but what’s really wonderful about the ability to type in VR is the range of motion i can get from it, and because my injuries made it difficult to type for any extended period of time anyways, so far writing in VR hasn’t actually been much slower overall.

i’ve yet to try any art or game design programs yet but i’m excited to start working in Unreal. i just got a whole new machine so i’ve had to reinstall everything but once i get back to work on my games i’ll definitely write up some thoughts on what it’s like.

beer review! 3 beers i got today

Magic Rock Brewing Sour Passion Mango & Passion Fruit Gose

i really like the can but i like all their cans. (also i like this liquor store because of how many goses they have, which i love but lots of people don’t)

sour, tastes sorta candy-y, i don’t looooooooooove the fruit flavors even though it smells nice. i think i’d like it better if it was just passion fruit and also had more salt. the head is nice, not big but creamy enough that you get sort of a lime meringue/key lime pie effect if you swish it. 3.5/5 but i probably wouldn’t get it again because it’s just not enough of what i like in a gose. i still really like the can tho.

[eta] it gets better as it goes along but there’s still a sickly sweet undercurrent that i think probably comes from the mango, as it’s something i’ve noticed in a variety of mango-flavored things.

Pilot Beer North Sea and Liquorice Milk Stout

full disclosure i’m a little biased because this is a local brewery that’s just down the road behind the big Tesco.

anyways, this beer is fuckin’ delicious. a nice head, not too big on the bubbles but also not super fine or creamy, which is just right for the texture: magically silky with just the slightest effervescence.

the best part is how the various special ingredients come together, because the combination of lactose, licorice, sea water, and the usual stout maltiness give it a wonderful sea-salt-and-chocolate finish while also somehow being herbal and fresh. it sort of reminds me of a chocolate stout milkshake but way better because you get a whole glass of beer and the milkiness doesn’t leave your mouth feeling filmy or heavy. the sea water does more work than i expected and i was pleasantly surprised because it’s way more than just a gimmick ingredient.

seriously this is so delicious. new favorite stout probably. 5/5

Brewdog Choco Libre Mexican Chocolate Imperial Stout

i was excited to see this because i’ve been waiting for a new round of Brewdog to appear in the shops (aside from the usuals). it’s definitely tasty and a very nice beer to end the night with but i have to admit that after the North Sea it’s noticeably less complex.

i guess that’s sort of to be expected with an imperial stout but i’m a tiny bit disappointed because the ‘Mexican chocolate’ part of it made me expect cinnamon notes a la Mexican hot chocolate but the ‘spices’ they mention on the label are a little overwhelmed by the chocolate and habanero. it’s sweet in a subtle way that contains the booze without being cloying and the chocolate aftertaste is pleasant. i think i was hoping for something slightly creamier to the point of being a dessert beer but it’s more something to pair with red meat, like a chocolate/espresso-rubbed steak.

short version it didn’t do everything i wanted it to based on the label but it’s still very good and another in the line of Brewdog’s eminently drinkable high-gravity beers, which imo is one of their strong suits. 4/5 would definitely get again.

guest wine review! 2016 Just Nuisance Merlot Pinotage

most of this review is thanks to a super special guest reviewer, my fiancée.

the wine is named after a dog who, as part of a series of wacky imperial adventures, was enlisted in the British Royal Navy. fuckin’ imperialist wine man.



From the back label:

Serving as an Able Seaman from 1939 to 1944 in Simon’s town, South Africa, Just Nuisance was the only dog ever enlisted in the Royal Navy. The Great Dane affectionately called Nuisance, a gentle giant always in the way of bustling sailors, was not only fond of boats and the company of seamen; he also often traveled on trains, with or without his companions. To cunningly circumvent the need for train tickets he was enlisted as Ordinary Seaman ‘Just Nuisance’. Bone Crusher by trade and Scrounger by affiliation he was promoted to the rank of Able Seaman,some of his ‘duties’ included stopping brawls between tipsy sailors and guiding them back to base after visiting pubs. This wine celebrates an icon of the Cape and the friendship between man and dog.

it’s hard for me to judge this dog too harshly for the British Empire’s crimes, particularly because inducting him into the Navy meant he could scam the super racist railroad company. anyways, on to the wine.

The fiancée’s notes are as follows:

first nose: wine-y, earthy, and flowery. taste: blackberries, smooth and dry at the end. really good wine; i think i did really good [picking it out]. works well with wedding planning and Gilmore Girls; would go well with pasta w/ red sauce, but also easy to drink on it’s own. i would say it’s an all-around crowd pleaser. i’d bring it to a party. 4/5.

[later] maybe getting black pepper on the tip of my tongue at the end. kind of medium bodied, not super complex and yet still very flavorful.

[even later] not good with cheese and fruit tho.


i only tried a little bit but here are my notes: lots of black pepper on the first nose; dry; i guess i sort of get blackberry but it seems more cassis? like it is boozy [eta, well it is 14%].

wine review! 2016 19 Crimes Red Wine

god this one is extra racist. crazy how often genocide is used to sell wine.

the label is all about a bunch of colonial bullshit that tries to play up the colonization of Australia as some sort of rough-n-tumble rugged individualist garbage reflected in the wine itself. the marketing copy on the back pretty much covers the entire ‘asshole white colonial murderers as rebellious outsiders’ bingo card.


20180207_160621320629378.jpgNineteen crimes turned criminals into colonists. Upon conviction, British rogues, guilty of at least one of the 19 crimes, were sentenced to live in Australia, rather than death. This punishment by ‘transportation’ began in 1788, and many of the lawless died at sea. For the rough-hewn prisoners who made it to shore, a new world awaited.

As pioneers in a frontier penal colony, they forged a new country and new lives, brick by brick. This wine celebrates the rules they broke and the culture they built.

jesus fucking christ this is some whitewashing bullshit. i bought this because it was cheap and had a kind of neat looking black bottle but if i had read all this beforehand i defo wouldn’t have gotten it. even without tasting it i kind of hate this wine and hope whoever made it (and ~especially~ whoever wrote the back label) gets stabbed in the fuckin’ face with their own trash bottles.

i tried to look up more about the assholes who made this but their shitty website is broken so you can’t get past the age check.



alcohol on the first nose, then cloyingly sweet (being generous you might say ‘jammy’), and finally a relatively satisfying finish; it tastes so boozy that the end of it has a bit of heat that cleans up the almost sickly introduction.

the liquid gets 2.5/5 but the label gets like, -10000, so, all in all not a great bit of booze. i might wash the labels off and put flowers in the bottle though, because it is a nice black color.

wine review! 2016 Frontera Cabernet Sauvignon

here’s a real short review.

first nose was almost chocolate-y, earthy, extremely smooth, just dry enough at the end, probably good with red meat (we’ll see with the cheeseburger w/ blue cheese), i guess fruity but i can’t identify any specific fruits, maybe cherry?

update! it was ok with dinner but probably better with just a steak/no cheese.


wine review! 2016 Four Growers Chardonnay

i didn’t read any tasting notes beforehand because this was the complimentary wine at a film screening/discussion. so this review is 100% just based on my palate/tasting vocab. i also didn’t get good photos of the labels because i already looked like a weirdo taking just the one.

These are the notes i jotted down because there was no service there to post this directly:

apple, full, oak, a slight woody sharpness

very apple, as in like apple juice (not in a bad way)

i like this quite a lot. the taste of apple and wood is so strong that it almost reminds me of a flat/dry cider or even bourbon. obviously the texture is much lighter than either of those but i like the comparison (and this wine) because it connotes a particular kind of sharpness that i don’t usually associate with chardonnay.

5/5 would definitely drink for free again.

also the films were neat