I was going to start the Good Robot postmortem today, but that needs a little more time. So instead, please enjoy whatever this is:
I’ve often made reference to the fact that I drink a lot of tea. It’s become something of a running joke on the Diecast. This has led to the mistaken conclusion that I’m some sort of tea aficionado. Given how much I consume, I must surely be aware of all the flavors, be particular about my brands, and be picky about how I prepare it, right? Like a wine snob, but for tea?
Well, no. In truth, the only good thing I can say about tea is that I like it better than water.
So why do I drink it?
I sit at a computer a lot, and I like to drink while I’m doing it. And I generally don’t want to spend all day drinking water. I want something with some kind of flavor.
When I was in my 20’s (way back in the 90’s) I drank soda. That is my drink of choice. I preferred citrus-y stuff, like Sprite. I like cold drinks, I like carbonation, and I like tart. Perfect. My mouth still waters when I hear the crack of someone opening a can of soda. But soda has a lot of sugar and I was getting fat.
I switched to diet cola for a bit, but it wasn’t really my thing. Also, diet cola back then had a strange aftertaste that I didn’t like. (I think this is fixed now. These days I can’t even tell the difference between regular and diet.)
I messed around with some other drinks. I tried some Gatorade type stuff and made an interesting discovery: Strong food dye makes me hyper. I have a theory – totally unsupported except through my own personal anecdotes – that this is actually a common thing. For years people claimed “candy makes kids hyper”. Which was taken as “sugar makes kids hyper”. Which has apparently been debunked? But maybe it wasn’t the sugar. Maybe it’s all that dye. (Or some other ingredient common in candy but rare in normal food.) On more than one occasion I’ve watched my own kids eat candy and then engage in pronounced, sudden, uncharacteristic stimming behavior. I don’t know. One family doesn’t make for a study, but I do know when my brain is malfunctioning. And having strong food dyeOr again, maybe some other ingredient unique to candy and “liquid candy” like Gatorade. was clearly causing problems.
So I switched to Propel fitness water. Don’t get me wrong; I knew it wasn’t a “fitness” drink. But it was the right flavor, it was mostly clear, and it wasn’t as sugary as soda. But then money was tight and it turns out that whatever I’m drinking needs to be cheap, because I want to drink a lot of it.
So I switched to coffee. (Black.) It wasn’t cold, it wasn’t carbonated, and it wasn’t tart, but gallon-for-gallon it was probably about ten times cheaper than Propel. And it turns out that caffeine stuff is pretty awesome. But the problem was that I was drinking too much of it. Way too much. It was making my sleep irregular. It was also causing me to clench my teeth all the time. After some months this became agonizing.
So I switched to decaff. That helped, but after some time the jaw-clenching problem returned. Also, my teeth were falling apart and I’d cracked a rib. I was worried all this caffeine was depleting my calcium.
So I switched to tea. My favorite tea would be breakfast tea. But I was also developing various health problems that are too unpleasant to discuss in polite company. Let’s just say that there are somethings that, while they might normally seem harmless, will cause me chestbuster-alien levels of discomfort the next day. (But not, I might add, in my chest.)
So I switched to white tea. I’ve got a couple of brands I trust, and I’m shy about trying new flavors because the consequences for drinking something that irritates my system are pretty extreme.
So no, I’m not a huge fan of tea. I drink white tea, and white tea barely makes my top ten list of tolerable beverages.
If things don’t work out with white tea then I’m switching to water, because I hate herbal tea.
 Or again, maybe some other ingredient unique to candy and “liquid candy” like Gatorade.
Mass Effect Retrospective
A novel-sized analysis of the Mass Effect series that explains where it all went wrong. Spoiler: It was long before the ending.
A Lack of Vision and Leadership
People fault EA for being greedy, but their real sin is just how terrible they are at it.
Quakecon 2011 Keynote Annotated
An interesting but technically dense talk about gaming technology. I translate it for the non-coders.
Starcraft 2: Rush Analysis
I write a program to simulate different strategies in Starcraft 2, to see how they compare.
Silent Hill 2 Plot Analysis
A long-form analysis on one of the greatest horror games ever made.