Saturday, November 28, 2009

Fountain of Weird: Iron Beer

Who owuld have thought such an interesting carbonated brew would come from Cuba. As far as weird sodas go, I can't go to Miami and not have an Iron Beer. Simply can't and it's a rule of thumb, index, ring, middle or pinky finger. One of my favorite sodas is just not as accesible as you'd like it to be mainly because it's from Cuba and if you haven't noticed, the US and that beautiful island can't seem to get along too well. Actually, the company is based off Miami but it doesn't have a massive distribution scheme and apart from southern Florida, I have no idea where you can get your hands on it.

Political agendas and socio cultural conflicts aside, this soda is an original in every sense of the word because its taste seems like some strange combination of flavors. Almost as if you'd taken three sodas and mixed it all in one peculiar drink. Some people say it's a fruitier Dr. Pepper and that's not a bad assessment, but if you ask me, it's a mix of Kola Champagne (a Puerto Rican sugar bomb guaranteed to make your jaw hurt from the sugar rush), Orange Fanta and maybe a dash and a half of some strong lemon soda.

Carbonation is top notch and you'll definitely get your burp on. For me, it is best drunk straight from the can and super cold temps so as to avoid the use of ice that might water down the peppy drink.

So next time you're at Miami International, be sure to swing by La Carreta restaurant or ask someone who looks hispanic, where you can find an Iron Beer and bottoms up.


Tiempo de Parapapapapa

Si algo caracteriza a Puerto Rico durante las Navidades son tres cosas. Las mejores fiestas de Navidad en el mundo, la gente más ruda en la carretera en todo el año y la abundancia lluvia de plomo que hemos tenido como plaga navideña más de lo que quisiéramos.

Por suerte se ha creado una consciencia social o al menos el aguaje de una y por al menos dos o tres años se han reducido los tiros que se lanzan al aire y las lesiones y muertes que vienen con esto. Pero como anda la ignorancia, la intolerancia y la enfermedad mental este año, veremos si se continuamos la buena racha de no llevar los tiros al aire o si terminaremos un año no tan bueno con noticias para continuar poblando los titulares de nuestros periódicos.

En serios, como andan las cosas últimamentes no me sorprende que cada día tengo menos y menos ganas de salir a janguear. Ir a cena a San Juan te puede ganar el que te utilicen de escudo humano contra una balacera, estudiar en Toa Baja te puede ganar el que seas el jamón del sandwich en una guerra de pandillas y trabajar en un banco te puede garantizar el que te pongan una pistola a la cara y ni puedan conseguir a los que robaron.

Perdonen el cinismo y la carencia de espíritu navideño pero nada más de poner las decoraciones de Navidad en Walgreen's y la gente pega a guiar como más becerros de lo que son y a perder cualquier pisca de urbanidad que nos quedaba como un colectivo metropolitano.

De seguro tenía que haber algún momento en donde mirar al cielo para admirar la estrella de Belén era costumbre. Cómo llegamos de eso a no poder estar en la calle porque algún imbécil se creía guerrillero y haló al gatillo en una dirección lo más lejos de él posible, no lo sé. Pero ahí le vamos.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Injured in perfection

So no one likes to get sick, or get injured. That's more than natural because we should all be trying to be enjoying ourselves creating memories that will compensate for the endless hours we invest in our respective dayjob torture. Being a surfer has its definite pluses but also has its drawbacks.

On the positive side, surfing is liberating, fun, exercise, good for your health, great for the soul and something I plan on doing as long as I am able to. The negative side is that it depends on weather conditions often times and getting the right tide, the right swell, the right wind direction and the right rhythm for your surfing is not exactly easy. Which makes getting injued when it's epic that much more painful.

Last Sunday I was at the beach, the conditions were blissful to put it lightly and I'm bummed at myself for not having gotten up sooner (who knows if I would have been able to avoid the injury). But I was going to make the most of it. First wave, a bit tentative and got barreled..... on a tentative wave... so you can imagine the smile, the satisfaction and the idea that I was going to get my fix and then some... then something happened... call it silly, odd, stupid, unfair, illogical or just plain bad luck but when I was going back out, look towards my right while paddling and there went my neck... a spasm as I'd never felt before because it wasn't massive but it definitely felt wrong and I thought it would pass..... which it hasn't, and it's been more than 24 hours since the event.

I insisted on staying out and took five more waves which probably aggravated the injury but I didn't care because I was about to cry. Even with a bum neck, I got two more barrels an air and a roll.... that last one really sucked for my neck.

As I sit here, writing against what's probably best for me because I'm too desperate to continue laying in bed, I ask myself if this is just the first of a series of injuries and physical setbacks, because I'm not old, but I'm not getting younger.

I also realize that not being at work really doesn't bother me that much and I totally understand that I'm just there to earn a living even if it's the first job I actually enjoy. But the thing that bugs me is that I didn't get hurt when surf sucked, when I was shopping, when I was working or any other situation where it would have hurt less... no, I got hurt when it was epic and the conditions I've been begging for months upon months. I get to realize that it's not fate, or life, or anything working against me, it's just something that happened but like most humanity, I need to attribute some extra meaning to the event simply because of the circumstances and because you at least want an answer of why something like that has to happen, even if it's a little blip in the grand scheme of life.

And I guess it just helps me put things in perspective. Why should I get hung up on one moment, if my entire life is but a blip that I really should make the most of.

Just something to think about.


Fountain of Weird: Manhattan Special

Take espresso, soda and a truckload of sugar, mix it up, bottle it and that's Manhattan Special Espresso soda. As far as weird sodas go, the unique thing about Manhattan Special is that it TRULY tastes like freshly brewed espresso coffee expressed in a chilled soda expression. Is this a good thing? Well depends on how much you like coffee and on how high your palette's sugar threshold is. Mine is pretty ridiculously high and I struggled to finish the bottle because I swear it was so sweet that I felt the underpart of my tongue trembling and my jaw clenching.

So interesting, very, but delicious? Well to me it was a very interesting tasting experience, but I don't see myself buying a six pack soon. Maybe in a few years I'll be working long nights and need something to keep me up that isn't illegal and at that moment, I think I'll have another, but for now, show me the next bottle.


Fountain of weird: Moxie Soda

I'm somewaht of a soda freak and any chance I get, I try any different soda I come across. The only thing that limits me is pretty much availability and I've known to finish a soda I don't like just for the sake of saying I gave it a bottle's worth of a shot.

Enter a few random sodas I've had and I decided to give my take on them, starting with the oldest of em all, Moxie Soda.

Since 1884, this cold syrup meets jäger delicatessen has been sold to soda lovers near and far and though it's no Coca Cola, well for lack of a better word, it has Moxie. By this I mean that this soda is not for middle ground people looking for something most people will enjoy. You either enjoy it and find it interesting or would rather use it to clean your toilet or driveway. Its flavor reminds me to the cola flavored Bottle Cap candy and I really enjoyed it. If you need another reason to enjoy it, then just look at the logo and product design. It's so oldschool that you can't help but go with the flow of the vintage brew.

So if you're looking for something that goes good with a bit of ice cream or after an especially hot afternoon and want it to have a kick, try and find this 19th century soda. It's not easy, but I honestly think it's worthwhile and then some.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pacquiao makes history

This will be the headline tomorrow in pretty much every newspaper in the Philippines. Manny Pacquiao, a little over an hour ago did the unthinkable, he won his 7th world title in his 7th weight division against one of the best in the business.

If anyone dismisses Manny's victory because of the beating Cotto took last year, please slap that person for trying to rain on the parade of one of the greatest boxers of all time. Regardless of what happens in the future, Manny Pacquiao has cemented himself in boxing history along the names of Louis, Frazier, Ali, Leonard, Duran, Haggler, Hearns, Armstrong and Robinson. He has given everything we need to see that he is the pound for pound best in boxing and #2 and beyond seems like it all comes after a huge dropoff.

I had thought Cotto was going to win via decision but unfortunately, greatness has other plans than to allow some boxing fan to predict an outcome. After a flash knockdown in the 3rd round, Manny gave Cotto the punch I knew could be a key to victory, a huge uppercut from which I don't think Cotto ever recovered. If you had any questions about Manny's speed and power at welterweight, consider yourself served.

Simply put, I have never seen a boxer like Manny Pacquiao and he's just showed that no matter what distractions he may find, when fight night comes around, there is nothing remotely there to suggest he can be phased or defeated. If losing the fight wasn't bad enough, it came via stoppage but to Cotto a nod of approval for his courage to insist on going out on his shield even though it was obvious he was going to lose.

To sum it up all: Manny was too fast, too powerful and just too good for the Puerto Rican icon. More on this later.