Excavations of Claymore: Granny's Turbo-Charged (Butterscotch) Latté

OK, I confess: I didn't exactly try Granny's Turbo-Charged Butterscotch Latté last night. Reason being that when I asked for it, Kenya, the bardude of the night, was like "No no no! Get a better turbo-charged latté. That much butterscotch is bad for your soul."

I listened to the wise words of the bardude and ordered English toffee, French vanilla and Irish creme in my three-shot bucket of epic. Then I realized that it wouldn't have mattered what flavors I chose; a drink with that much espresso in it wasn't tasting like anything but espresso. So this week's review is short and sweet (or bitter, depending on how literal you're feeling as you read it ^_^).

I do not recommend the turbo-charged latté if you want a yummy cup of coffee. It's not horrendous, but even in a large cup it's like 50-proof espresso, which inevitably spoils the flavor.

However, I highly highly highly recommend the turbo-charged latté if you wish to stay awake for days on end.

I drank mine at 1:30 this morning and was still fully functional and coherent by 7AM. Normally my psyche dissolves into the realm of absurdity around 3 in the morning (if it doesn't succumb to sleep first), and normally, even without coffee, I then become very silly. I may have laughed a little too hard at one too many "that's what she said" jokes last night, but I wouldn't say I was bouncing off the walls.

I actually fell asleep watching District 9 with the Bathrobe Guy, who had his coffee cherry unpleasantly popped last night (yay the Bathrobe Guy! Uh, I mean, sorry about the peer pressure...). I went to bed just after 7 and fell asleep without any trouble.

But the tale does not end there. I awoke three hours later feeling refreshed and ready to face the day. I leapt out of bed and went about my morning routine with, frankly, far more energy than I normally do, which led me to believe that all that caffeine was still ricocheting about in my brain.

That's right: I got a coffee hangover. What now.

Excavations of Claymore: The Irish Dream

The Irish Dream: Unlucky enough to have misplaced its name card, and yet (I'm told), lucky enough to remain one of Claymore's most popular selections. In lieu of a name card, I will now proceed to share a picture of an Irish setter that I wish to will someday own.

The Irish Dream is a mocha with Irish Creme* in it. I suggest the dark chocolate cocoa mix for maximum nommability.

Honestly, I don't know what to say about this drink besides the obvious de-freaking-lightful. Usually in these reviews I like to caricature each drink by personifying the ingredients or elsewise exaggerating their bizarre flavors. But I've got nothing on this one. It's not too bitter, although it is a little bit; it's not too sweet, although it is a little bit; it's not too rich, although it is a little bit. It's like Baby Bear's porridge in Goldilocks and the Three Bears: juuuuuuuust right!

You know that gorgeous girl you pass every day, or sit next to in class, or who works at the dining hall? The one who makes you wonder every time you see her, "how come she got to be so drop-dead good looking?" and you want to hate her for it, but dammit, she's just too pretty to hate. You know her? This drink is like her. But liquid.

"Ah," as the Wizard of Oz said to Dorothy, "you liquidated her, eh?" Yes, Mr. Wizard. Yes, we did. And she was four stars worth of delicious.


*A side note on Irish creme... umm... I still haven't figured out exactly what it tastes like, but I have come to the conclusion that my prior experience with it was bad because a) I had never, ever had coffee before, and/or b) I was just unlucky enough to have a bad barista that night. It happens. Now I'm crossing Irish creme off my list of things I do not like.

Things I do not like:
Going to the dentist
The possibility of being crushed in some dark, claustrophobic, underground tunnel
Irish Creme

See? All better.

Next week, since the Bathrobe Guy is visiting for three days and we won't be sleeping, I'll be reviewing Granny's Turbo-Charged Butterscotch Latte. That's right, friends: THREE shots of espresso. You don't want to miss this.


Remember growing up and learning about the three states of matter? Solid. Liquid. Gas. Maybe someone mentioned plasma, but as I recall it was still being researched and not official.

Apparently there are now five official states of matter. Plasma happens when atoms move even faster than they do in a gas. Sometime in the 90s, scientists realized that Bose-Einsten Condensates happen when atoms move even slower than they do in a solid, so slowly that the atoms start to clump together to form these mega-atoms. This shouldn't be possible. But I guess it's as possible as Pluto not being a planet; that is to say, so possible it's true.

It just goes to show that there's always more to learn. There's so much about the universe we don't know yet. There are probably some things we can never know, and some of the things we think we know are probably wrong.

It's a humbling reminder of how tiny we are and, by contrast, how huge everything else out there is. Huge enough for God to be possible. I'm mostly past the point of wondering whether there's a God - I believe there is one even though I don't know exactly what to think about him - but I still find this reminder encouraging. A discovery like this says the universe is so vast and complex that not only is God possible; he's necessary.

I've been feeling this on a personal level, too. I love a lot of people and have fun with a lot of people, yet sometimes I sense this disconnect, like there's nowhere at all that I totally fit in, even with my closest friends. I've always felt I have this big bubble of love inside of me that I want to give to someone, and I've tended to think that someone would be a romantic partner or a best friend, but maybe all along it was God.

There's a depth to my well of love that people can't (or don't) tap. Giving this volume of love away is dangerous, even more so when it's not (or doesn't feel) reciprocated. According to the religion I was raised with, God is the only one who can reciprocate on the level I need.

Sure, I have no idea who God is anymore... and I struggle to imagine what "friendship" with an invisible, intangible other might look like... but where's the harm in talking to him? To those of you who are... "spiritually connected," what do you do to feel close to God, or whatever other spirit you think is out there?

Peace, love, and question marks,
Miss Rex

In which the lamb overtakes the lion (at least for now)

What a fabulous week it's been! Sunny and 60º+ since Wednesday! Let's take a look at the highlights, shall we?

10. Eating ice cream makes sense again!
9. The grass is not white. The sky is not white. Everything feels less dead.
8. I can walk outside in just a sweatshirt without feeling compelled to curl up in fetal position.
7. Birds! Birds singing, birds flying around, yes, even birds pooping on the quad!
6. Grass. Smells. Amazing.
5. Peepers!! I can't even tell you how many winter nights I lulled myself to sleep just imagining their incessant cheep-cheeping, and now they're here!
4. BEAAAACHHH! Salty air, warm dunes, and best of all, SANDY FEET!
3. Ultimate Frisbee. If you don't know what it is, watch this.
2. Going barefoot everywhere!
1. People! Everyone's outside and sun-drunk, which makes finding things to do a no-brainer. Nobody wants to do work when it's like this. People simply don't go to classes. I was lucky to have my only class canceled today... and nothing can top the moment of epiphany when I realized it was canceled.

I must say my hopes were not high on Monday when my GPS took me on a wild goose chase through Medford in the pouring rain. After telling me to turn left at a No Left Turn sign, which it does at least once a trip (that or directing me down one way streets... the wrong way), it decided that the best route to the building I needed to get to was to go around 3.5 sides of a block, amounting to over a mile of walking in the wind and rain with an already-mangled umbrella. I was late for the interview I was conducting, looked like crap when I got there, and was so cold that once I got inside my nose started leaking, just to add to the embarrassment. BUT, the interview was way fun, and the article got picked up by TWO sections of the Boston Globe regionals.

And then the sun came out (hence my sudden Disapparation after I promised to post this week)! I spent a lot of time at the beach IN SPITE OF THE GODDAMN WIND and played my first game of ultimate frisbee in way-too-many-months. Can you say glorious?

But today was the best yet. I ran into a friend I hadn't hung out with since he helped me make a 30-second PSA for fair trade coffee last spring. I joined him and his friends for lunch on the grassy space outside of Lane, and then a few of us went out into the woods to take pictures. For a change, I was not the one wielding the camera (mine happens to be broken).

The trails were still quite messy from the rain on Monday (and the entire month preceding Monday). The two guys who were there went barefoot, and since I hadn't felt like going back to Ferrin for my galoshes, I did the same. It was delightfully icky! Playing in the mud was never something I did as a child. I was very clean. We do have a rainy season swamp behind our house where my friends and I used to play, but the point of the game was always to build bridges over the muck or find ways around it. Falling in always sucked. So at first I was quite displeased with my choice of footwear, but I quickly learned that mud is incredible. End of story.

On the way back, one of the boys caught a garter snake (note, I have no qualms about using the word "boys" for these twenty-year-old men; they were certainly acting as such, and that is not a negative statement). It was adorable! (The snake, that is. Not the boys.) I was so excited to pet it because earlier this semester I was going to get a pet snake before I found out you have to keep them in freaking climate-controlled terrariums. But the poor little guy was scared and did that smelly musk thing, and it made him feel all slimy. Ick.

All of the above have conspired to make me an incredibly happy person this week. And also a rather sunburnt and very tired one. But we have one sunny day left before the lion cows the lamb back into submission, and I shall not let a moment go to waste!

Peace, love and step-rock-step,
Miss Rex

Excavations of Claymore: Tarzan and Jane

Helloooooooooo, my loves! As always I apologize for the long and unexplained absence. I dunno what happens to me when I go home for vacation. It's like an anti-blog forcefield. Even though I spent most of the week griping about how boooooored I was, I still could not find it in my heart to sit down and write anything of interest. But never fear! Now that I am back at school with actual work to procrastinate from, I have TONS of fun ideas to write about!

We'll begin with a coffee review. Just to whet your whistle. This one is a little wild, so hold onto that swingin' vine, and watch out for that tree!

Okay, I know it was George who hit the tree, not Tarzan. But YOU had better watch out for that artificial banana taste! I'm no feminist, but I think it's safe to say that Tarzan totally dominates Jane in this drink, and it's time she became a liberated woman (as the saying goes).

Fake banana is a really hard flavor to work with. Real naners are most delish and go well in or with many things, such as bread and yogurt. And pizza, according to Razzmatazz and Mnomanoms, but Le Skeptic remains skeptical on that point.

Regardless, I was less than bananas over this drink. I know I raved about banana flavoring when I tried the Blondie back in September, but I have become wiser and realized that in fact it was the hazelnut I appreciated, not the banana. You know the really cheap, crappy fruit-shaped and allegedly fruit-flavored candy you get out of those 25-cent hand-crank machines at shopping malls and arcades? Fake banana tastes like that. Liquefied. For some reason hazelnut can mask that, but English toffee and French vanilla can't. Maybe Jane is one of those submissive types.

Or maybe it's just a question of ratios. I have in fact had a poorly-made Blondie that tasted pretty much the same as the Tarzan and Jane. I think the drink could pull three stars, but I suggest you order it with just a *hint* of banana, unless you're a little farther back on the evolutionary scale than the rest of us.

^ Yep, the modern blogger needs purple Chucks and a cute pink dress. At least this one does ^_^

Next week: The Irish Dream, as requested oh-so-long ago!

Peace, love, and primates,
Miss Rex

Creating the Cast

It's characterization week for Miss Rex! Yes, these individuals have lived in my head for more than four years now, and on some level I knew them... but it wasn't deep enough. My shallow relationship with them was getting in the way of telling the story because I didn't know what each person would be likely to do. I had characters who, while being distinct from one another, weren't really three-dimensional people; they were just archetypes carrying out my bidding. Fellow writers, you understand my position.

So this week I've been delving into them. Putting on their skin, so to speak. Which reminds me of this weird episode of Pokemon I just watched with my friend down the hall (then again, what episode of Pokemon ISN'T weird?). There's this guy named Bill who lives in this random lighthouse where he studies Pokemon and hopes that one day the Dragonite making mysterious noises across the ocean will come be his friend. Apparently this Bill guy dresses up as Pokemon for kicks and giggles in order to understand them. So that's what I'm doing this week: Dressing up as Pokemon. I mean, as my characters. I guess it's pretty weird either way, huh.

But I know I've been successful because the characters now feel out of my control. It's odd being worried that a character might behave in ways that make you, the author, look bad. I don't think most people (that is, non-writers) understand that, beyond a certain point, the character has her own free will - she's a person, not a pawn. She does what she does without any consideration for how beating up her fourth-grade classmates and swearing might make me look. Lila, dear, I would very much like my book to be suitable for young readers, not to mention classy....

To which I'm sure Lila would reply, "The hell do I care about your scant readership?"


Writers, how do you get to know your characters? And what do you do with the rogue ones?

Excavations of Claymore: The Long Islander

You know how Strong Bad calls beers "cold ones" so that kids watching Homestar Runner won't realize he's drinking alcohol? I feel like the Long Islander should be called a "hot one." Yeah, its name card specifically states that it contains no alcohol, and nor does it contain the coffee addict's drug. I just want to call it a "hot one" based on the name's resemblance to Long Island iced tea.

I can imagine myself walking down a busy New York street, drinking a Long Islander on my way to work in the morning. It has that NYC class, maybe even a hint of flair: a sophisticated sweet for the sophisticated New York sweetheart. And you're guaranteed to stand out for drinking it, which I hear is how they like it in New York: you're strolling around the coffee-guzzling capital of the world, yet the Long Islander hasn't got a drop of espresso to its name.

It's warm in flavor and temperature, which makes it a good choice for those yeah-it's-still-February-but-I-really-want-it-to-be-summer-blues nights. But I might actually recommend it even more in late fall. Autumn and chai are practically synonymous in my book.

Chai and tiramisu may sound like a complicated (and ritzy) blend, but it's actually quite simple. The sum total is sweet, with a spicy undertow and creamy froth. It's like someone took the J-Brands off steroids, which chilled it out to the point of being tolerable, but gave the kid a bucket of Halloween candy instead. I.e., this thing is still pretty hopped up on sugar, but if you're in the mood for rolling-on-the-floor-laughing company, maybe that's exactly what you want. Overall I give the Long Islander 3 stars.

And no worries if you're not a sophisticated New York sweetheart. The unsophisticated, catty Wisconsiner can most certainly enjoy a nice hot one.


Several of you have asked me to try the Irish Dream. Michael, if you're reading, are you working this week at all? You're the only person I trust to make me drinks with Irish Creme, haha.

In the event that Michael is not working, let's hear everyone's votes for this week's Claymore selection!

Almond Joy
Cherry Cordial
Coconut Island
English Challenge
Fiona's Wicked Minty Apple Cider
Irish Dream
Kyle Lincoln
The Orange Real
The Perfect Cap
Platelet's Perfection
Prickly Cactus
Rasp-LIMErry Fizz (clearly NOT coffee)
The Shortstack Chai
Tarzan & Jane
Thrilla in Vanilla
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