Saturday, August 4, 2007


The carbonated OJ was pretty good!

You can see it here in the carbonation bottle (I should have started with a clear bottle, huh?) and side-by-side with a normal glass of OJ (Minute Maid frozen concentrated if you must know)

It didn't foam up very much and the fizzy texture makes you want to smile as you drink it.

It did lose some of its sweetness and the going-crazy-on-your-tongue pop-rock like effect it has in your mouth (must... resist... innuendo) gets annoying after awhile, so I don't think I'll make it a regular addition to the breakfast table, but at least I'm not throwing the rest of it out like I immediately did with the chocolate milk.

I'll bet kids would love it. I don't have any handy to test it out on, though.

So - what's next?!?!? Any reader suggestions?
I'm tempted to try out some non-drink items that I can fit through the mouth of the bottle like grapes. I'll bet fizzy grapes are cool (ooh OOH! And if you let the pressure off real fast maybe they'll POP!!!).

I figure I'll do one more installment of "what is XXX like when carbonated?" and then move on to something else. I don't want this blog to become TOO one dimensional.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Chocolate Milk Hell

Okay... so the carbonated chocolate milk wasn't the best.

I was intensely curious about carbonated chocolate milk and made it my first experiment with the CO2 setup. I put about a half liter of 2% milk and some Hershey's syrup in my empty and clean 7-up-bottle-'o-pressurization and ran it up to about 40psi with the CO2 bottle. I shook it thoroughly to mix in the syrup and to get the carbonation kicked off right (agitation helps the CO2 to mix in), left it in the fridge, and went to bed.

When I went to try it the next day, I immediately discovered a few problems with this drink idea:

Issue #1) Chocolate doesn't stay in suspension in normal milk. Maybe this is why premade chocolate milk is always SOOO thick and bizarre when you buy it. When I opened the fridge, I found a bottle of slightly brown milk with a big layer of chocolate sediment under it. I was able to shake the bottle a bit and get it to redissolve, which might have contributed to issue #2.

Issue #2) Now I know why they don't carbonate liquids that are significantly thicker than water... there was a bit of a foam problem:

It was fine until I started letting off pressure hoping to open the bottle. I even let off the pressure very slowly hoping to avoid a flare-up like this, but apparently that's not enough when dealing with a relatively thick liquid. It took me about 10 minutes of letting it settle and then slowly letting off a bit more gas before I could even get the top off. I expect if I had yanked the top off quickly there would have been a very impressive mentos+coke-like fountain of chocolate milk foam.

Issue #3) Mmmmm... tastes like.... pecan shells?
To be fair to myself, I fully expected this to be a disgusting drink (hopefully I mentioned this in the last post). Due to the carbonic acid that forms when CO2 is mixed with water, I expected the milk to be curdled and foul. It did not curdle and it really wasn't THAT bad, but it definitely had a bitter and astringent quality. It tasted l ike I'd mixed in some of that bitter reddish wood that's inside pecan shells nestled around the tasty pecan nut. I hate when you eat a piece of that stuff by accident - and I pretty much hated my carbonated chocolate milk. Even my special makes-everything-better freezy cup couldn't save it:

Still, though, I had to do it in the name of science :-)

Next up (whenever I get around to it): Orange juice!
I expect OJ to carbonate pretty well and be fairly tasty. It may have some foaming problems, but it is naturally sweet enough that it should counteract the bitterness of the CH2O3 fairly well.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Carbonate Me, O Lord

Let's just get this out of the way: I'm a big dork - but a cute one.

Okay - now that that is established, let me show you my latest squee (it's a word... shut up)

I have recently acquired a CO2 setup that I use to air up tires and run air tools when I'm offroading. It works really well and I'm finding all kinds of uses for it. It's like having a shop compressor with me everywhere I go.
(Why CO2 you ask? Because unlike the other mostly inert and readily available gases, CO2 becomes a liquid at room temperature around 700psi. So the tank is actually full of liquid CO2, which when turned back into gaseous CO2 produces a HELL of a lot more air volume than a gas that was not stored in such a compact liquidy form! So the tank lasts a very long time for its small size)

So the other day it occurred to me that there are other cool things I can do with this neato setup too... like.... FORCED CARBONATION!!!

Now I'm sure you are asking yourself:
"What is forced carbonation and what can it do for me, Anxiety Man?".


Forced Carbonation is what happens when a liquid is put under pressure with CO2. A portion of the CO2 dissolves in the liquid, carbonating it just like a soft drink (this is, in fact, how soft drinks and beer are carbonated. There are other ways to carbonate beer - but they're all "natural" and take TIME. Forget that - we're Americans! We want it fizzy NOW!).

A few minutes of research, a few bucks at Auto Zone (Because when I think "food safety" I immediately think of Auto Zone!), and a few minutes with the Victoronox and I had this:

For now all I'm doing is keeping my 7up nice and fizzy down to the last drop. No flat gross last glass for me! But that's only the beginning of the stupidity that will ensue with this marvel.

I can carbonate ANYTHING.
DO YOU HEAR ME WORLD?!??!?!? AAAAANNNNYYYYTTTHHHIINNGGG!!!!!! (well, any liquid... maybe some solids... I dunno.... I'll get to that later)

Next stop, Chocolate Milk - CARBONATED!
I don't expect that one to turn out well as CO2 creates carbonic acid when exposed to water - which might tend to make things come out a bit sour.
I have high hopes for orange juice, though, since it's already acidic.

I foresee a long line of "What can I carbonate next" adventures coming soon. All manner of alcoholic drinks will ensue to be sure. Ready-to-go rum & coke or mimosas will be standard camping fare from now on - but what I'm really interested in is how stupid I can get with it.
I've heard of carbonated ice cream, but I'm not sure if I can do it with this setup. What about coffee? That might put a little extra punch in the morning brew (though it'll have to be cold).
Are solids possible? Can I make a fizzy carrot?

Perhaps one day I can achieve the Holy Grail of carbonation: Pop Rocks. I'm tearing up just thinking about the possibility...


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Podcast Mania

I'm addicted to podcasts. I listen to them while I'm working, while I'm on long drives (which has been happening quite a lot lately) etc. I was never much into talk radio, but podcasts are different somehow. They're entertaining and often educational.

Here's a rundown of my current favorites (some of which are in the new Links list over to the right):
Ask a Ninja
Funny videos of questions being answered by a Ninja - what's not to love?

The Bitterest Pill
Dan Klass talking about his life. I don't know why I like it so much, but it is riveting. This is my favorite podcast.

Chicken Fried Radio
No holds barred comedy show - hilarious. Not currently producing episodes but supposed to be back soon!

Cush: Things I Say
Sage life advice from Cush - a friend of the Bitterest Pill guy and similar in tone.

Feast of Fools: Gay Fun Show
These guys are wonderful. They somehow manage to crank out an hour long show nearly every day and they're always entertaining. I spend more time listening to this show than any other because they are so prolific.

The Hollywood Podcast
Tim Coyne - another friend of Dan Klass. He does a lot of interviews with local actors/actresses that I don't find very interesting, but the shows where he talks about his life are great.

Coffee Break Spanish
I've fallen behind on these - but this is a great language learning podcast. And it's extra interesting to be in Texas learning Spanish from a couple of strongly accented Scots.

Savage Love
Aren't other peoples' sexual problems intensely interesting?

A great skeptic/science show.

The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe
Another great skeptic/science show.

Sowerby and Luff
Wonderful comedy podcast put on by a couple of saucy Brits.

Penn Jillette used to have a podcast and it was awesome - but alas... no more :-(


Fish Sticks

So I went down to this cool little shack of a coffee bar/theater called the Hideout last night to watch some improv comedy. In my experience, improv is funny about half the time when it's done by extremely skilled people. These folks weren't quite up to that level, so it wasn't exactly a gut busting evening. Still, it was entertaining and I'll probably go again some time.

Anyway, the point of this post is that there was one line from the show that will stick in my mind forever. This cute guy/girl duo troupe had worked themselves into a scenario where the guy desperately wanted to try fish sticks but was too afraid. He would keep buying them and heating them up - and later when he didn't eat them his "wife" would throw them away. At some point Mr. Fishsticks came out with "Sometimes when I have a belch that doesn't taste like anything in particular I dream that's fish sticks".

That's deep, man.

I'll leave you with this:

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Dirty little secret

So I made a bit of a life change today.

I didn't really plan for it to happen, but some things just blindside you and force you to reconsider who you are. I guess I'll just have to accept this about myself and hope that others will understand and that they won't judge me too harshly for it.

Mom, I'm............

a blogger.

Maybe now that I've come out as it were we can work on changing that ridiculous web-poppy teenspeak name, eh?