My Coke Zero Methadone

People have been asking me how I’m dealing with my Lent-esque commitment to keep from drinking Coke Zero through Easter. The answer is that it’s been going pretty well. The commitment was to stop drinking Coke Zero, but I took it as an opportunity to also scale back the amount of caffeine I was drinking. This had the effect of me not being able just to switch over to, say, Mountain Dew or Doctor Pepper. I could have and been in the letter of the law of the agreement with my daughter, but it would have felt like violating the spirit of the agreement.

So Coke Zero intake is zero (heh), and the caffeine intake is way down. Not absent completely — I had vending machine flavored coffee today (white chocolate caramel English toffee) which I suspect had just a touch — but nowhere near as much as I have habitually had in my system day in and day out.

I had also planned to scale back the amount of soda I drank in general, but that was meeting with somewhat more qualified success. It turns out that staying hydrated is a fine way to avoid feeling hungry, and without soda I was doing a not particularly great job at remaining hydrated; we have well water here and even the best filters don’t quite get the well out of the water. As a result I started jamming food into my face. After gaining about three pounds in a week, I decided the goal of totally avoiding soda could wait for another time.

So the above are my compromise: zero-calorie, zero-caffeine fruit-flavored sparkling water, which is to say, soda, only not marketed as such to allow people like me to feel slightly more virtuous about drinking them. These are a Wal-Mart store brand equivalent of Clearly Canadian, which I remember fondly from the late 80s-early 90s, and for the purposes of keeping me drinking something rather than eating my way through the pantry, they do the trick. Don’t worry, I won’t drink all of these today. There’s a dozen one-liter bottles here (each a different flavor — welcome to my OCD!) and that should get me through the week. And yes, we’re recycling the bottles.

So that’s the Coke Zero Pseudo-Lent Experiment update for this week. Only four more weeks to go. Whee!

Diana Wynne Jones

News is coming across the Twitter that writer Diana Wynne Jones passed away in the night; I imagine it will be confirmed by official sources soon enough. I have no connection to Jones other than as a reader, but I think that’s enough to celebrate her life and mourn her passing. My favorite book of hers was one called Dogsbody, in which the personage of the star Sirius, accused of murder, is sent to Earth, where he has to live in the body of a dog, and in that form discover the truth about his situation.

It’s a genuinely wonderful book, with strong characters, a good plot, and a fine melding of both science fictional and fantasy elements. It was one of the first science fiction books I read as a child, along with the Heinlein juveniles and L’Engle’s Wrinkle in Time series, and I have to say I am indebted to Jones (and to L’Engle) for being in the right place in the right time for me as a young science fiction reader, since the excellence of their books, and their importance to me in my understanding of science fiction, meant I was able to skirt around the chauvinistic shibboleth that science fiction was by and for boys only. It was nice to have been inoculated against that at an early, and influential, age. I still own the book; it’s in my daughter’s library now.

Others who knew her and her works better than I will have more and better things to say about her and her writing. What I can say is that from an early age I was grateful to have read her, for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which was that she was a very good writer who gave me a work I treasure.

Thank you, Diana Wynne Jones, for your books. You are remembered, and fondly.