I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions.

Which is a good thing.
If I did, one of them would probably be something along the lines of “blog more diligently,” and, as you can see, I kinda suck at that.
And I’m sure “stop procrastinating” would make the list annually.
Said list would be two weeks late, just like this blog post.

While I may not make New Year’s Resolutions, I do sometimes make decisions that might be considered resolutions, and I do so as the whim strikes me.

In the spirit of the New(ish) Year 2012, I’m going to look back on three of those from 2011.

I had a couple of sodas over the holidays, and they were the first ones I’d consumed in months. If ditching soda had been a resolution, I’d have totally nailed it. It wasn’t. I just made a decision, back in May, that the stuff wasn’t good for me, and I haven’t changed my mind.

Yay, me.

On a related note, as I observed a short while after I made my choice to ditch fizzy sugar water — more accurately, in my case, “fizzy possibly-carcinogenic-sweetener water” — this decision meant leaving behind a once-beloved drink (rum+Coke) and put me in search of a new go-to cocktail.

I’m happy to report that I have settled on the Warren Ellis Cocktail. (Google it.)
Yay, me.
I also made a minor financial decision early last year that I never wrote about.
A few years back, when I started my current job, I was invited to join The Lottery Club. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, it involves pitching in a couple bucks a week toward the purchase of big-game lottery drawings, with the (explicit) goal of pooling resources to “improve your chances” of striking it rich and the (implicit) goal of insuring that you won’t be the one poor bastard left to work for a living should your coworkers strike it rich.
I’ve always known lottery odds are terrible — if you need an example, look no further than Rob Cockerham’s Incredibly Depressing Mega Millions Lottery Simulator — but I finally decided to stop throwing away money in adherence to “everyone in the office might get rich EXCEPT ME!” fear and do something more productive.

So I opened a new IRA for the sole purpose of depositing the $2 I’d been spending in the lottery club each week.

I rounded it off to $10 a month, to make automatic deposits easier, and I started in April.
Results? After nine months, I’m pleased to report that my $90 is now $90.67.

At this rate, I may be able to move up my retirement plans by an hour or so.

On the other hand, my coworkers who are still in the lottery club “invested” the same $90 and do not have even $0.67 to show for it.

Yay, me.

So, that’s three good things I accomplished last year, none of which I pledged to do in January.
As 2012 begins, I have no resolutions.
But I may very well let you know of any that cross my mind as the year goes on.

Liquid Pro Quo

Today completes an improbable week, one in which I consumed no soda.

When I say “improbable,” understand that, going back to at least my high school days, twentyish years ago, I have rarely gone a DAY without soda.

For most of that time, I didn’t have what you’d call a slight consumption rate, either.

Over the past several years, on a typical work day, I consumed absolutely no less than 48 ounces of high-caffeine diet soda, generally followed up by another 24-48 ounces at home.

On weekends, especially game nights, the numbers frequently went higher.

That’s sort of a lot, no?

I decided it was, and, rather than just stop at the acknowledgement, I chose to drop the stuff.


All at once.

No tapering off.


This seemed a more likely route to success, especially when I considered that gradually cutting back would involve some math, maybe even a chart or two. Piled atop the willpower this was going to require, that just sounded like too much work.

So, cold turkey.

Easy enough, except for The Problem, by which I refer in ominous capital letters to my not inconsequential caffeine addiction.

Turns out, you can buy that stuff in pill form: 200 mg tablets, 16 to a box, 93 cents for the store brand.


So, during the Sunday shopping run I picked up several boxes of those and one bottle of water.

On Monday, I popped pills and drank the bottle of water.

On Tuesday, I refilled the bottle from the water fountain and continued popping pills.

Same routine through the rest of the work week.

At home, water and more pills.

Aside from last night, when I enjoyed a beer with dinner and a few fingers of rum while writing (alcohol consumption is a whole other topic) I drank nothing aside from water all week.



• Health impact, part one: Caffeine pills are wonderful. I calculated a dosage equivalent to what I’d been receiving via soda and scheduled taking a pill every few hours, like some kind of medication. My alertness level has gone unchanged.

• Health impact, part two: It takes about half the volume of water to quench my thirst as the volume of soda to which I was accustomed.

• Economic impact: Purchasing caffeine in pill form is far more cost effective than purchasing it suspended in solution.

• Environmental impact: In just one work week, I have eliminated 15-20 plastic bottles (based on my previous consumption of three or four 24-ounce bottles of soda per day.)

• Pain-in-the-ass impact: A few packages of caffeine pills take up negligible space in the grocery cart, the car, and the pantry. The same cannot be said for several packages of soda. Similarly, carrying a packet of pills to work is easier than lugging a couple bottles of soda in my lunch tote.

• Inventory: The few bottles I have left at home may sit around for a while, at least until a soda-drinking friend visits.

• Exclusion: I am going to make one possible exception to my soda-free plan: full-strength regular Coke. For years I have kept my soda consumption almost exclusively to high-caffeine diet sodas, saving only this beverage, which I employ to slightly dilute lesser rums, e.g., Bacardi. (I drink fine rums neat, however.) I am curious whether I might now lose my taste for this concoction; I’ll do some research and report.