Hi! SC Here. (What Again? Where’s PuzzlePaws? Is she OK?) PuzzlePaws is fine, but between the Stay-at-Home, the Coronavirus, and the Groundhog-Day-like effect this produces, nothing much has been going on. Like everyone else, we’ve been living.
Puzzlepaws has been adding to her library personally, has been signing up for “Blog Tours” to make her name as a book reviewer, but her puzzle suppliers have dried up. As a puzzle reviewer, she’s basically unemployed. (What do you mean “dried up”? Where did they go?)
Typically, puzzle makers send PuzzlePaws puzzles to review, but puzzle companies and manufacturing companies are “non essential”, so they’re home like everyone else. We got quite a few companies who said they’d send us puzzles at Toy Fair 2020, then the country shut down. We haven’t seen a shipment. Normally we’re buried in puzzles by now, setting the schedule for the entire year. This year? Nothing. Since puzzles ARE PuzzlePaws’s income, she’s unemployed (and on unemployment).
Also, we’re not really buying puzzles. (What!?) Yup. There aren’t any. Walmart is out, Target is out, and the price-gouging online is outrageous. Puzzles that list for $20US are going for $80US New, $60US Used. On Amazon. Not worth it.
So I’m upgrading the Laptops (2012 Razer Blade Pro R2 for PuzzlePaws, 2008 Dell M6400 for myself), building new gaming towers, building a NAS for the house, and generally using our government income to improve our standard of living. I didn’t buy these laptops recently, both were gifted to us. I design and build tower computers on the side.
I’m also the caffeine addict in the house (and kitchen chemist, I do things with caffeine that make wiser heads cringe.) I decided our caffeine stores were low, so I hit my favorite vendors.
First up was Redux Beverages. This is (was?) a small company out of North Carolina. Rumor has it, one of the founders used to work for Red Bull back in the early days of Energy Drinks (this would be in the aughts, about ’04). He wanted to make something stronger, but Red Bull didn’t like that idea so he struck out on his own. He came up with a very controversial beverage that was the same size as a Red Bull, but contained 3.5 TIMES the caffeine. He called it COCAINE.
They had a new flavor: Peach Mango. The other flavors are: Regular (Hot Cherry), Mild (Cherry), and Black (Cinnamon Kola). When you buy it, you’re buying 12-12oz cans, and paying UPS shipping. Total cost is about $40US in the lower 48. Each can contains 280mg of caffeine.
There are seldom sample packs and very few retail stores carry this beverage (If you do find it retail, it is usually $5/can). Some municipalities have banned this beverage altogether, and the FDA has attempted to do so on multiple occasions. (Thus why it is labeled as a “High Caffeine Energy Supplement” now.)
My next stop was FOB Kick The Can. (Forward Operating Base Kick The Can, WTF?!)
Quite a few years back I discovered “instant” energy drinks (4C makes a powdered variant, available at Walmart, we’re not discussing that one). You took the packet, tore off the top, and added the contents to water, theoretically. And, poof! Instant, sugar-free energy drink. 160mg of caffeine in 16-20oz of (now flavored and “sweetened”) water.
Strike Force Energy was created by a modern US military veteran for reasons known only to him. (A different US military veteran also created Crayons, Ready-to-Eat so there you go.) I, being the caffeine addict I am, immediately added one to an energy drink (400mg of caffeine, no waiting). That’s one way to start your day! (NOTE: Do not try this at home. If you do, please have adult supervision other than yourself.)
I used to work Security for Anime conventions (back before COVID-19), but I got into the Con Staffing gig late. (Most people do it between the ages of 18 and 24, I started at 26.) So I had to keep up with the 18 year olds. I believe in leading from the front, if I can’t do it, I can’t expect you to do it. But 26 (and later 30) isn’t 18, so I needed energy, and energy drinks weren’t cutting it anymore. So I created my own.
Wake the Dead is a proprietary blend of caffeine and other compounds that shall not be enumerated in a public forum. (Barring screaming from our legal advisors, we might put it on the Patreon, on one of the upper tiers.) If misused, adverse side effects, up to and including death could result. (It is actually THAT dangerous!) The recipe is known to only 5 people in the world to my knowledge, myself included. I have never seen it online.
When completed, WTD was 50mg/oz caffeine concentration. Most sodas are 4-6mg/oz, energy drinks are 6-14mg/oz. But the mechanism of action wasn’t just in the caffeine concentration, one of the ingredients came from Harcos Labs.
At the time Mana contained a blend of digestive enzymes that enhanced your ability to digest ANYTHING (including cellulose, weird that.) Which was good, since that level of caffeine would kill your appetite otherwise. So WTD would make you HUNGRY. So hungry that I was consuming 5,000 calories every 19-hour day. (You read that right, I was eating FIVE THOUSAND calories a day! If I ate less than 4,000, I lost weight.)
That was then. Much to my disappointed shock, Mana is now just flavoring, sweetener, food coloring, caffeine, and a pretty bottle. The website says that Mana still contains the enzyme blend, but these do not (neither does the Blood). Hopefully I can get my money back.
Where to Buy:
Cocaine Energy: Click Here
Strike Force Energy: Click Here
Mana Potions: Click Here
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