Study solutions part 2: instant coffee

If you’re a dedicated reader who’s wondering why I’ve been away for five weeks, it’s because my life has been fucked with school and will continue to be fucked with work until I finally go to the grave after a lifetime working 70 hours a week for people I will hate.  It’s definitely better than starving under a bridge, but sometimes I wish I hadn’t been born into a family that demands so much of itself.

That said, I’ve also been playing Fate/Extra a bit.  It’s fun but it also has problems.  I can’t recommend it to players who aren’t already fans of the Fate series.  Maybe I’ll post a more in-depth review at some point.

Fuck you, Shinji.

Fuck you, Shinji.

Since I’m back at school, I’ve been looking for more caffeine-enhancement options.  And I’ve found that, although it definitely isn’t the best coffee you can find, instant is one of the cheapest and most convenient forms of caffeine intake available.  It’s especially good for students who don’t have any time or money to spare.  So if you’re not willing to illegally buy Adderall or Modafinil without a prescription, consider these study aids:

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1) Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Colombia Medium

I know I said “cheap” a few sentences ago, but Starbucks instant coffee, as you could perhaps guess, is not cheap.  I got a package of eight instant coffee packs from Kroger for seven dollars, which is a great deal if you usually buy coffee at an actual Starbucks but which isn’t so great if you usually make it at home.

VIA is pretty decent.  It doesn’t have so much of that weird aftertaste that instant coffee is known for, and I would even say it’s better than Starbucks’ regular “Pike Place” brew (which I don’t like, so this isn’t a high compliment.)  And at Starbucks’ quote of 130-140 mg of caffeine per pack, one of these will get your ass moving – depending on your tolerance, anyway.

That said, I won’t be buying VIA again because it’s too expensive.

2) Cafe Bustelo Espresso Instant Coffee

This is what I’ll be buying instead.  Cafe Bustelo is stocked at the supermarket (at my local Kroger, anyway) in boxes of six for one dollar each.  I can’t find the caffeine info anywhere, but it carries a kick, and it’s at least as strong as the Starbucks blend and probably stronger.

It’s also pretty good at far as instant coffee goes.  Cafe Bustelo is a well-respected brand that specializes in Cuban-style coffee.  While these packs of instant coffee aren’t going to taste the same as a freshly brewed cup at a Miami or Havana cafe, they are definitely better than the shitty Folgers/Nescafe powder you’ll find occupying the kitchen cabinets in most parts of the world.  At less than twenty cents a pack, I’m basically losing money not buying these things.  If you’re looking for a quick, cheap, and not-horrible-tasting coffee solution, I’d highly recommend Cafe Bustelo Instant.  They’re not even paying for this endorsement, I promise.  I wish they were, but they aren’t.

3) Trader Joe’s Instant Coffee Packet

I go to Trader Joe’s at least twice a month.  They have a great selection of stuff that you can’t get at most other places, like decent hummus and pita bread and good frozen food packages.  Unlike Whole Foods, a lot of their products are also affordable.  So when I saw this weird instant coffee packet on the shelves, I had to try it.

I say weird because the packet itself is a lot bigger than you’d expect.  The reason for this is that Trader Joe has put powdered milk and sugar into the packet along with the instant coffee powder.  This is something I wasn’t thrilled about, because I like to drink coffee black or occasionally with some cream – but never with sugar.  For that reason, Trader Joe’s instant coffee pack was my least favorite among the three I tried.  However, they are cheap (two dollars for a box of ten) and if you can’t stand coffee without milk and sugar, this might be the instant coffee pack for you.

Good luck with your studies/work.  As for me, I’m going to continue to be not dead and to post here as often as I can.  That’s the plan, at least.  Law school might just kill me at some point.

Seven questions that apparently need answering

One of my favorite things about having a blog (now that I’m actually writing on it again, I mean) is that you can occasionally see what kinds of search terms bring people to your articles and posts.  Some of these terms are pretty mundane and expected.  My post on Shin Megami Tensei IV’s alignment system has gotten a lot of views from people search google for ways to get on the various paths to achieve certain endings (by the way, sorry that I don’t actually tell you how to get on each path in that post – I’m a really useful writer like that.) The terms there are pretty standard – “smt iv chaos route”, for example.

However, some search terms I find are just puzzling. Some of them are quite understandable in meaning and purpose, but I have no clue why Google decided one of my posts could answer their search query because they sure as hell weren’t anything I ever talked about. Others are truly bizarre. Since I can’t imagine these people got the answers they were looking for at my blog, I thought I’d take a selection of these search terms out of my stats page and address them one by one.

1) how early in a.m. can i get fried chicken at piggly wiggly

I have no idea. A better question would be why the hell you’re getting fried chicken at Piggly Wiggly when it is injected with something that they refuse to specify on the box. Also, if you have a Piggly Wiggly nearby, I’m willing to bet you also live near a Publix, and Publix fried chicken is about a thousand times better. Go to Publix instead.

2) why ummayyad consider as irreligious

This might have been directed to my now dead post about Damascus, where the Umayyad Mosque still stands (hopefully, at least.) Damascus was also the center of the somewhat short-lived Umayyad dynasty, which ruled most of the 7th-8th century Islamic empire following the death of the last of the “Four Good Caliphs”, Ali. The Umayyads were the first to establish a traditional father => son dynasty over the empire – initially, caliphs had been chosen by election and thus were pretty smart and capable guys (hence the “Good Caliphs” tag they are honored with.) The Umayyad caliphs, as tradition goes, were a bunch of no-good dirty bastards who enjoyed wine and women and all that sort of thing. That’s probably why they were overthrown in the 8th century by the Abbasid dynasty, though a branch of the Umayyads did escape to Spain to rule al-Andalus for a few centuries. But that’s your answer.

3) can you have more than one of the same demon in your party smt 4

Not sure whether I did address this, but the answer is no, you can’t.

4) anime that religious people really hate

This is an interesting one. I’m not really sure of a good answer, though. Maybe Neon Genesis Evangelion, that one’s pretty blasphemous. I’m more interested in why this guy is looking for anime that religious people really hate. Is he trying to upset a religious person? Maybe he’s religious and is looking for a reason to stop watching anime.

5) young lucifer over a camel and everything burning

Okay, this isn’t a question. I suspect he was directed to my blog because of all the Shin Megami Tensei posts I’ve written, but I wonder what exactly this guy was looking for – maybe some kind of fantasy painting? I’m no Roger Dean, so you’d better check out his website instead. I’m not into fantasy art, really, but Dean’s stuff is much less “dragons and huge-breasted bikini armor women” and much more “otherworldly landscapes.”

6) the bad about abu dhabi

I did write about Abu Dhabi, back when this was also a travel blog, but I never addressed any of its bad sides. So here are two reasons not to travel there:

– It’s harder to buy booze. If you’re a tourist you’re naturally going to be drinking at hotel bars and such, which is totally fine since UAE law allows that. Unless you have a letter from your employer, though, as I understand it, you can’t buy any from the special shops they have. And if you have a Muslim-sounding name, it’s totally impossible even with such a letter. Still, you can get a friend to buy beer for you instead.

– It can be a bit boring. Abu Dhabi isn’t nearly as flashy as Dubai. On the other hand, it is building up, and the rulers of AD are doing their best to bring more attractions to the city, even if some of those attractions are gaudy and fakey-seeming. Maybe they think westerners like that sort of thing. Maybe they’re right.

7) i hate pickled foods

This is also not a question. In fact, unlike the lucifer guy above, I have no idea what this searcher was seeking out. People with similar opinions, I guess? In that case he’s out of luck, because I love pickled foods. Better visit a different blog, guy.

So that’s all, I guess. I’d like to think I’m providing a sort of public service here, but let’s be honest, this was totally worthless. But at least it was entertaining for me, and that’s all that counts.