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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Jarritos Variety Pack: Grapefruit (Toronja)

The Lab, like many institutes at which cutting-edge research is accomplished, can sometimes get a bit...messy. It's really not unique to the Weird Soda Review Lab; I was once a graduate student at UCLA, and I can testify that things there could also get a bit disorganized. You'd be walking the halls of a lab building, and inevitably, there would be random stuff littering the corners, stuffed in the alcoves, and (occasionally) spang in the middle of the hall. This accumulated debris of scientific inquiry ranged from broken office chairs to supercomputers which were one generation behind the leading edge. However, no matter what comprised these piles of castoffs, they were always accompanied by indicators that the piles were NOT TO BE TOUCHED. Somebody had PUT that stuff there, darnit, and they'd be sorting through it ANY DAY NOW, so you should just LEAVE IT ALONE. This was nearly universal, despite the fact that some of these piles had been there since before I became a graduate student (and my PhD took...well...let's just say longer than it should, so that things which were there before I got there were ancient indeed). In some cases, I'm not sure tat the person who had PUT IT THERE was, in fact, still EMPLOYED by UCLA, and might in fact be PUSHING UP DAISIES, and thus unlikely to HANDLE THE MESS except perhaps in a Jacob Marley-ish fashion.

Professor Scrooge fell upon his knees, and clasped his hands before his face.
“Mercy!” he said. “Dreadful apparition, why do you trouble me?”
“Man of the professorial mind!” replied the Ghost, “do you believe in me or not?”
"I do,” said Scrooge. “I must. But why do spirits walk the earth, and why do they come to me?”
“It is required of every professor,” the Ghost returned, “that he or she should not litter the halls of his building with stacks of unpublished data, discarded CRTs, and unclassifiable office furniture; or, if he should do so, that he CLEAN IT THE &@#$ UP BEFORE RETIRING, and if that spirit cleaneth it not up in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the lab—oh, woe is me!—and witness what it cannot tidy, but might have tidied on earth, and the consequent plugs of desperate undergrads trying to find their way though the ever-ramifying maze!”
Again the spectre raised a cry, and shook its chain and wrung its shadowy hands.
“You are fettered,” said Professor Scrooge, trembling. "Discarded printers are chained to your ankles, and an antiquated gene sequencer depends from your neck. Tell me why?”
“I wear the crud I abandoned in life,” replied the Ghost. “I left it there in the hall bit by bit, and pile by pile; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I always intended to call Facilities to have it discarded, but never quite got around to it. Is its pattern strange to you?
Scrooge trembled more and more.
“Or would you know,” pursued the Ghost, “the weight and length of the huge pile of crud you bear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves ago. You have laboured on it, since. Remember that iMac you got for the graduate student? The one with the built-in CRT? Still there.”
Scrooge glanced about him on the floor, in the expectation of finding himself surrounded by some fifty or sixty generations of obsolescence and probably-useless-but-can't-quite-bring-mysef-to-throw-it-out: but he could see nothing.
“Jacob,” he said, imploringly. “Old Dean Marley, tell me more. Speak comfort to me, Jacob!”
“I have none to give,” the Ghost replied.
 -from "Ramifications of Paranormal Experience on Microeconomic Behaviors: an fMRI study", C. Dickens, PI*

Well, in any case, the Lab has gotten a bit...messy. In fact, I got up early this morning, and was just about to get started on thinking about finding a pile of papers to sort into smaller piles of papers, when the Kibbitzer in Chief got up. She came out into the Lab. She looked around.

She shuddered. Her eyes closed, and seemed unwilling to open.

"I'm going out," she said, "for a bit."

"When will you be back?" I asked, poised precariously on the precipice of springing into action on considering starting to clean up a bit.

She opened her eyes for a moment, then squinched them closed, as if confronted by visions dangerous to sanity and health.

"It'll be a while," she said.

"Anything you want me to do while you're out?" I asked, in my usual selfless, helpful mode.

She came close, and opened her eyes only when my face would fill her peripheral vision entirely, blotting out the non-Euclidean landscape of assorted junk mail.

"I'm sure you can think of something," she said, while fixing me with a deeply meaningful look.

Then she left. I sat, puzzled and pondering her cryptic departing message, until finally enlightenment struck. She wanted me to do a Weird Soda Review!
Well, heck. It's the least I can do.

Today we go with the penultimate soda from the Jarritos Variety Pack, "Toronja", which I believe to be grapefruit, based on the fruit depicted on the bottle and the English message "Naturally Flavored Grapefruit Soda" printed below. Just to be sure--we're meticulous scientists at the Lab--I looked it up in an incontrovertible source**.

Apparently, it's either Portuguese or Spanish, and means "grapefruit".

All right. Bring on the Toronja!

Where and when: Donated by Jarritos
Color: I would say greeny-tan, although the JAT ("Wyvern") says "yellow, with a hint of green". Slightly cloudy.
Scent: Errr...not promising. To me, it smells almost exactly like lemon-scented floor cleaner. There is a sweet undertone, but the lemon is aggressive and unpleasant.
Wyvern: "Lemony-ish". The use of two vague-ifiers is interesting.
LAT: "Lemony lime...No! 7-Up!" There's something to that, although it lacks the crispness of 7-Up.
Taste: Significantly sweeter than the smell. Strong lemonade, with little or no grapefruit bitterness. The lemon is much like the smell--acrid, and synthetic tasting. Underneath is a sticky sweetness. Pretty unpleasant.
Wyvern: "Uhhhheeeehhhhhuuh."
LAT: "Bluh. It sticks to my mouth. It's like 7-Up jello syrupy. Let me try that again."
"Vleh. It sticks to the inside of my mouth. Gross."
It's really too bad the K-i-C couldn't be here. She'd hate it.
LAT: "Blech. Now it's bitter."
Hmm. I don't really get the bitterness. It still tastes more like lemon floor cleaner to me. It's really not grapefruit-y at all, more of an unpleasant lemonade. It's quite strong, very sweet and strongly tart. If you had strong lemonade with too much sugar and added SweeTarts or Pixie Stix powder, it might be like this.
It's not so much actively unpleasant as yecchy but not nausea-inducing. Much less pleasant than most Jarritos.

Quaff rating: 1.5. Not nice to drink.
Cough rating: 1.0. The "floor cleaner" aspect is unpleasant, but nothing in it makes me actively want to spit it out.

Now, what to do for the rest of the day?

* Text from


  1. Wyvern?

    I can totally visualize the "deeply meaningful look". :)

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