Thursday, October 7, 2010

Volume 5, Number 27: Holy Crap--More Reviews!

Following are diet soda reviews, followed by reviews of the TV shows I was looking forward to in an earlier entry:
  • Diet Faygo Chocolate Cream Pie: Thumbs down. I tried it because it's a flavor Coke and Pepsi don't make. I do see the appeal for dessert-flavored diet sodas--anytime you feel like a certain dessert, just take a swig of this stuff instead--but it just didn't blow me away as either a diet soda or a diet dessert. That means it lands alongside the spork and the XFL as things that are jacks of two trades, but masters of neither.
  • Diet Faygo 60/40: Thumbs up! Finally, a Faygo diet soda that I like! "60/40" is Faygo's version of Squirt, one of my all-time favorite sodas (and Faygo's regular version was also a favorite of mine). This time, the flavor blends well with the aspartame. (The "60/40" refers to the grapefruit/lime flavor--60% grapefruit, 40% lime.)
  • Diet Faygo Rock & Rye: Thumbs down. The regular version one of my favorite Faygo flavors. The aftertaste of the diet version, however, wasn't to my liking. (For those of you living outside Michigan who are asking just what "rock & rye" is--This blog does a decent job of explaining it. But I always say, "Like anything else, you have to taste it before you can decide whether or not you like it.")
  • Sam's Cola Zero Calorie: Thumbs up. You read correctly--I actually liked this better than Coke Zero (but I still like the Cherry and Vanilla Coke Zero's better than this one). I liked the taste, I liked how it went down, and most importantly, it didn't have much of an aftertaste. But it isn't going to win the Diet Soda Federation Inter-cola-nental Championship; that title belongs to Coke Vanilla Zero.
  • Diet Dr. Pepper: Thumbs up. Even though I wish they'd try the aspartame/acesulfame potassium blend instead of just aspartame, the aftertaste isn't bad at all and the taste is close enough to regular Dr. Pepper that I can buy this one again.
  • Diet Meijer Cherry Vanilla Dr. M: Thumbs down. I was hoping this one would be good because Dr. Pepper is among my favorite sodas; thing is, Dr. Pepper stopped making their Cherry Vanilla version in early 2009. So I was happy to see that Meijer (a local supermarket chain) was still making a Diet Cherry Vanilla version of their Dr. Pepper knockoff, in a rare case of the store brand making the "knockoff" even after the "national brand" stopped making the "original". I tried it, and while there wasn't much of an aftertaste, the taste reminded me... of cough medicine. Luden's Cough Drops is my guess. I'm going to try mixing it with Diet Dr Pepper and let you know what I find out in a future blog entry. But just on its own--sorry, no can do.
  • Diet Faygo Cream Soda: Thumbs up. The aftertaste from the aspartame is muted by the flavor of this cream soda (which, incidentally, is different from the flavor of A&W's Vanilla Cream Soda--not as strong, more refreshing taste).
Evidently, my favorite diet sodas have one of four flavors: Vanilla, grapefruit, Dr. Pepper-flavor (no cherry) or root beer.

Now. On to TV show reviews:
  • Detroit 1-8-7: Thumbs up. I still miss Life On Mars and like Michael Imperioli as Det. Ray Carling in that show better than as Det. Louis Fitch in Detroit 187, but I tend to agree with those who say it's the best cop show since Homicide: Life on the Street (an NBC series from the '90s).
  • S*#! My Dad Says: Thumbs down. It has its moments, but for the most part, it feels like "just another shitcom" with only one or two of the crankier and wiser pre-Baby Boom grandfather's wisecracks. I wanted more of him railing about the mess-ups of the Baby Boom and subsequent generations, especially those of his son; and furthermore, as much as William Shatner's improved over the years, when I read those wisecracks on Twitter, I always imagine either Christopher Lloyd or Harvey Keitel reading them, not Shatner.
  • Outsourced: Thumbs down. I made two mistakes: One was fearing that the writers, producers and directors of this show would make light of Corporate America outsourcing customer service jobs to India (thank goodness that didn't happen). The other was expecting them to not make the Indian characters look dumb (which, sadly, they did--the "no, this is Detroit, home of automobiles and black people" bit was one example, and the "Don't You Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me" bit just turned me off altogether). For Pete's sake, India has its share of engineers and doctors and I would have liked to have seen at least one Indian character who was only working in that customer service job because he was deemed either "underexperienced" or "overqualified" for the job he really wanted. Outsourced also resorts to using American pop culture as a crutch source for jokes, and to a greater degree than most "shitcoms" (the series is set at a company that sells novelties such as Green Bay Packer cheesehead hats, fake vomit, and so on). Hopefully this show will be cancelled quickly and NBC won't even consider outsourcing all its other sitcom jobs to India.
  • No Ordinary Family: Thumbs up. It is shaping up to be Life Goes On meets Fantastic Four*--Michael Chiklis (who played The Thing in both Fantastic Four films and starred in The Shield and The Commish before that) is the dad who can catch bullets, is darn near indestructible and can make huge leaps; his wife has super speed (although I didn't think she would be so crazy as to go running on the freeway); their daughter can read minds; and their son (who supposedly has some learning disability) has turned into a genius. I particularly loved the scenes where Chiklis' character tests his powers. I'm not so sure I would have introduced super-powered bad guys so soon in the series--I would have spent more time establishing the conflicts among the family members and their internal conflicts, and hey, I hope at least one episode deals with the property damage Chiklis' character has been causing--but yes, I'm interested in seeing where this series takes me. May ABC's execs not mess with it the way NBC's execs did with Heroes.
Update on the "Healthy Foods Fund": Since I resolved back on August 3 to cut out spending on junk food, I have saved $17.86 (roughly speaking, that's about 30 cents a day, but stretch that out to a year and I will have saved over $100 at that rate). My weight this morning was 179 pounds. (I feel like it's been hovering around 180 for some time, and I still have room for improvement, but I still believe that I can continue to lose weight; anyway, 179 is such a huge improvement over 191, after years of letting my weight creep up.)

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