Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My Libation: Cherry Coke

Leah said, I wish you'd write a review of Cherry Coke. So ok. First let me go to the personal fridge and grab a can (thanks to Lindsay room 7) to inform my reviewing.

Ok, (diet canned) Cherry Coke in hand:
It's bubbly. Fruity, but dark. The cherry flavor itself is pretty good, especially because it's subtle. I just like it.

Something about Cherry Coke harkens* back to the 50s. I don't know why I was recently siezed with the desire to drink this particular drink, but there it was. What to do but submit? Leah and I searched up and down State St but Cherry Coke "from the tap" wasn't to be found. Eventually we settled on Coke + grenadine (see Leah's review) from Nick's (closest thing to a diner in 53703).

A few days later, with Chelsea & Julia (room 2), I had my first experience at Jimmy John's. That place is ok. I really like shredded lettuce, but there was too much mayo. Anyway, it was a surprise relief from the usual pain that comes from drinking Cherry Coke from the can. The crux of my Cherry Coke experience lies in the chest-tightening that inevitably comes--with increasing intensity--with every swallow. This is a special treat that only comes when I have Cherry Coke from a can, hence the search for Cherry Coke from a fountain.

Because of the chest-tightening, I can't drink a whole can in one go. So I find a suitable jar in the kitchen and pour the remaining 3/4 of the can into that jar. Then ensues the search for a matching lid. Though most glass jars look exactly like other glass jars, they are not threaded the same, so they require different lids. At this point in my co-opping experience I can tell which kind of lid a certain jar requires: Ball/Kerr mason jars take that two-pieced doo-hickey, with the flat lid part and the collar. These are the kinds of jars I like to store my Cherry Coke in. The contrast between the ornate Cornucopia molded onto the glass and that dark liquid may inspire deep thinking in some: what other things can be stored in a glass jar? McDonald's food, granola to take to class for eating during the breaks (as Emma room 28, Elise room 29, and I room 4 do), jam, small religious artifacts. But I digress. The point is that my mason jar holds the Cherry Coke until my heart palpitations subside, at which point I can resume drinking it, and by which time it has mostly gone flat.

*child's name alert

Infinite Jest

Okay so I finished IJ, and I don’t really want to get into it, but I am really glad I read it and am really into trying to get other people to read it. You can borrow my copy which originally came from Sarah. In fact, Sarah, I think you would like it, so do you want it back?

Since my original review, I moved away from the NY area and the activity of reading on public transit. This was the right condition to continue reading IJ! I made a lot of progress after I stopped lugging it around all the time. Though I did lug it through some airports and during my many mile (seemed like) walk that day in Madison round trip from W. Gilman to the end of Willy St., ending with many blisters and that familiar old sore shoulder.

There are so many little things I could mention about reading this book! Just doing a brief google search makes me want to re-read the whole thing. I think that’s an important point though – that you can read it as a Hamlet expert or a grammar/syntax expert, or maybe someone who has gone through AA or whatever, or you can just read it as someone whose friend gave them a copy one day without any prior knowledge about what is about to happen.

here are some interesting tips to prepare for reading -- not sure if this will encourage or discourage. The forward by Dave Eggers is also quite motivating -- it will make you feel like you are a part of something bigger than yourself by taking on this book.

"The older Mario gets, the more confused he gets about the fact that everyone at E.T.A. over the age of about Kent Blott finds stuff that's really real uncomfortable and they get embarrassed. It's like there's some rule that real stuff can only get mentioned if everybody rolls their eyes or laughs in a way that isn't happy." -- 529

cherry coke

While in Madison, Julia and I got really into cherry coke. But not just regular cherry coke – from the fountain! So the first part of this review is that we discovered that it’s not common to find it “on tap.” Misleading, since we had access to it every second of our college experience in the soda fountain in Bates. Who knew Bates had such a rare offering!

So we compromised and found that regular coke from the fountain with grenadine was a suitable replacement. Though apparently Jimmy John’s has the real thing, and the new-McDonald’s Drugstore (Ox and Rabbit) in Durham has an old-fashioned soda shop set up where you can make up any flavor you want. Plus they have crushed ice which I love and compostable cups.

144 hours in Madison, WI

I knew very little about Madison before I visited, other than what I’d heard from the three friends who live there, and from other people who always say “I’ve heard it is very nice.”

I agree that it is very nice, especially during the last week of July, especially when coming from southern East Coast humidity.

Lots of things pleasantly surprised me. Julia (who I went to visit) had told me about the Capitol building in the center of town, but I didn’t really understand how central it is in the downtown area where she lives. Hopefully Julia or someone will read this and correct me if I am wrong, but to me it seemed the Capitol building and four main streets radiating from it orient the whole downtown area. You can look down State Street (a bike/bus/pedestrian only mall) and see the dome looming, reminding me of cathedrals of small European cities like Seville. Julia and I enjoyed going to the Capitol most days, for the air conditioning, the superb water fountain selection, and to see all the architectural treasures.

Other things of note include the farmers market every Saturday which takes place on the sidewalk around the square block of the Capitol. They sell cheese curds there and cheesy bread and everyone walks around it in one direction very slowly like cattle. Also everyone loves it. All of Julia’s housemates we saw that day had to reference having just been to the FM or asking if we had been to the FM or saying “we are going to go to the FM” with such excitement!

The general water fountain quality and quantity of the whole city is really quite superb. I really appreciated the water quality of city water.

Also, Madison is on the isthmus between two lakes. Who knew? I enjoyed James Madison Park, a grassy knoll on the water, and the Union Terrace at the university where you can sit and watch the sailboats.

I also enjoyed my walk down Willy St. including the food co-op and the lovely flowers growing and in everyone’s yard, and cherry coke at Nick’s, Julia’s new favorite place. Also, I think if you were to look into the city’s history of co-operative housing (and co-operative other things), like the International Co-op where Julia lives and I stayed, you would be intrigued.