The Totally Objective Ranking Of Things To Eat At Your Desk

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FunDip is not included in the ratings because it’s not food. It is awesome, though.

1. Fresh Fruit. “Nature’s candy”, as natural food enthusiasts will tell you when you ask, and even if you don’t. Pros: Infinite variety, tastes good, pretty colours, actually fucking good for you. Cons: sticky juice hands, obnoxious crunching, equally obnoxious sense of superiority to those inhaling Cheetos around you.

Rating: 3/5 Hungry Rats

2. Vending Machine “Cookie”. This isn’t a real cookie. Real cookies don’t hang out in a metal box waiting for your willpower to drop at 3 pm. At best, it’s sugar glued together with vegetable oil and boiled hooves. At worst, it’s already home to a cockroach which you will discover only when it’s half a cockroach. Pros: Sugary, quick energy, can be dipped in coffee, comfort food if your idea of comfort is being kicked in the lower intestine twenty minutes from now. Cons: expensive, tastes like regret and cardboard.

Rating: 1/5 Hungry Rats

3. Trail Mix. Suitable even if the closest you’ve ever been to hiking is that time you got an allergic reaction watching Naked and Afraid. Sweet, salty, both…there’s a mix for everyone. Or you can just throw a bunch of chocolate chips and almonds in a bowl and go to town. Pros: Tasty as fuck, customizable, probably not deep fried. Cons:People with allergies will stab you in the neck; also, everyone’s got that friend who picks out the stuff they like and leaves everything else, which clearly violates the social contract.

Rating: 4/5 Hungry Rats

4. Chips. Like cocaine to us salt addicts. Pros: Available fucking everywhere*, cool regional varieties, enough salt to de-ice a road. Cons: Salt bloat, that asshole who “just wants one” and then takes a handful.

Rating: 4/5 Hungry Rats, minus 1 for having to go up a belt notch.

5. Coffee. As a starving student I learned the age-old truth: with enough cream and sugar, this can be a meal. These days I drink it black because I lost my taste for sweets. Plus I’m lactose intolerant and soy milk is a crime against nature.** Pros: Keeps you awake, cool mugs, your only friend on lonely nights when your face is lit by the neon glow of your laptop screen and you can pretend you’re in a noir movie. Cons: NONE DON’T YOU DARE SAY ANYTHING BAD ABOUT MY BELOVED I WILL FUCKING CUT YOU.

Rating: 11/5 Hungry Rats SHUT UP.

*Except the graduate pub of my old university, which banned unhealthy snacks but still served beer. I dunno, man, my eight pint while I drank away my thesis stress just didn’t go down right with celery sticks.

**Soy milk tastes like drinking smugness and dishwater.

Monday Challenge: I Like My Coffee Like I Like My Stories*

I love you, too, coffee.

Back in the long ago, Krys and I used to spend boring moments—bus rides, waiting room visits, that sort of thing—discussing every possible preference of fictional characters. Favourite drink. Preferred cigarette brand, if they smoked now or ever did. Favourite leisure activity. Sexual preferences. So many things that never make it into the story, but which real people do.

The one I remember most is a classic morning question, asked in diners and unfamiliar kitchens the world over: how do they take their coffee?

Don’t scoff. Anyone who’s ever had to deal with a cup that’s over-sugared or far too bitter knows that, while it might be personal preference, it’s still kind of a big deal. And, for lactose intolerant me, having someone else dump cream into the cup pretty much ruins the experience.

And it’s not just the taste. There was one character that, after much argument, we decided took his two ways. When he was around others, he’d order it strong and black, but when he was alone, he added so much goddamn cream and sugar that it must have been like drinking dessert. Because he had decided that he wanted to be the kind of guy who took his coffee black, even if he didn’t like the taste all that much. Anyone who’s spent time around insecure teenagers pretending to like the taste of beer has seen this phenomenon in action.

So, assuming you haven’t just skipped down to the bold text, you know what today’s writing prompt will be. If you have just skipped down to the bold text: seriously? It’s less than 400 words. If I can write it on the teensy amount of sleep I got last night, you can manage to read it. God.

Monday Challenge: how does your character take their coffee? Black and bitter? Sweet? Floating in cream? Decaff? Irish? One of those coffee-milkshake things available at Starbucks? Do they not drink coffee at all because of an ulcer, or PTSD because of the incident with the carafe and the monkey? Tell me what they’re ordering because that tells me about them.

I’m going to go make another pot.

*Dark, strong, and able to keep me up all night.

Monday Challenge: Running Out

Coffee

Yup. (Photo credit: arewethereyet?)

I’m almost out of coffee. On a Monday fucking morning. How the hell did I let this happen?

I blame myself. For drinking it. In retrospect, that was a dumbass move.

Also, I’m trying to quit sugar for a while. So, no sweet tea for me. Which means more coffee.

It’ll be okay. It’ll be okay. I can make it last. At least until I can get more delivered.* I think. I hope.

Well, really, it’s everyone else that should be hoping. The spectre of me caffeine-less at the beginning of a week should inspire only slightly less horror than the contents of your grandmother’s sex toy chest.

Sorry for that image. But if I have to suffer, everyone has to suffer.

I foresee a lot of running to the local coffee shop today. Might as well have a go at depleting their supply as well. Then the town will be filled with wandering caffeine junkies, all red-eyed and twitchy, trying to knock down pedestrians and and devour their adrenal glands. BRING ME YOUR ADRENAL GLANDS.

Today’s Challenge then, sinners: something is running out. What happens when it does?

Coffee, food, vaccines, watchable episodes of Lost, people in your small town you can fuck without committing incest…sooner or later, all supplies run out. And after that, it’s fucking chaos.

That’s it. I need to go hunt down some caffeine. I’m out. *Drops the mic, leaves the stage, kills an audience member for their sweet sweet adrenal glands.*

*Clarification: we own a Nespresso machine. Which makes a better long shot than any place in town. But the capsules can’t be bought anywhere around here. On the upside, delivery is fucking stupidly fast. Which, come to think of it, makes sense for a coffee company.

Monday Challenge: Zzzzzz

diagram of a human digestive system

Seriously, caffeine. Get it together. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is 11:30 AM and the coffee has not kicked in yet. This seems unfair.

I’ve been up long enough to consume an entire pot of coffee. It’s just not finding me this morning. Got fucking lost somewhere between my digestive tract and my brain, I think. I’m contemplating swallowing an anatomy chart to help it out. And I’m groggy enough that this seems like a good idea.

But whether the mood-altering chemicals are effective or not, it’s Monday, and that means it’s time for another Monday Challenge. And, since I should be setting a good example*, once I finish writing mine, I will be posting it in the comments section for you all to pick over with your eyes. The unedited raw version, too, with its shirt half-undone and its shoes on the wrong feet. Hell, I’m having trouble getting going this morning; maybe this will get my writing day properly started.

So, to arms, lads. The Challenge is attacking.

Allow me to set a scene for you: early morning, so early that the mist hasn’t lifted yet. There’s some light, but just that silvery, doesn’t-illuminate-shit light that passes for it at this time. The only things properly awake are the birds, who have been screaming their heads off for the last hour, and the damn super fit neighbour who makes everyone feel bad about themselves by getting a workout in before the rest of us have finished hitting snooze. That asshole.

Your character is awake. They got maybe two hours of sleep last night. And two hours of crap sleep at that. So they’re up in plenty of time to properly get their hate on for the fit neighbour.

What the hell are they doing up?

Take it where you want. Stress keeping them up? Drugs? Don’t need to sleep since the experiment? Can’t sleep more than a couple of hours without getting up to take a look around? Did the birds wake them with their incessant screaming? Are they getting a rifle to show those little avian bastards who’s boss? Is the rifle for the super-fit neighbour instead? Or are they happy to be up? Do they have some reason to fear sleep?

Tell me of their morning. In return, I will tell you about the morning of one of my characters. Show me yours and I’ll show you mine.

But first I need some more fucking coffee.

*Or being a terrible, terrible warning. Either way.