Category Archives: Random Neuron Firings

Review: CrioBru Cacao

Here I go again, testing a new product to see if it’s worth the hype. (Looking at you, Bang Cookies.)

This morning, I tried the CrioBru cacao beverage instead of my usual coffee. I wanted to see if A) it would satisfy my (probably made-up) morning requirement of having a hot-beverage jolt to get me going, B) it could provide a healthier alternative to caffeine, and C) it tasted good enough to spend the money regularly on it.

The CrioBru gang have many flavors to choose, but given my love for all things chocolatey-sweet, I went with the basic double variety. The initial skinny:

  • For a 12-oz. bag of grounds, including shipping, it’s $18. (As a reference, I’d pay $7.50 for the same size of Dunkin’ Donuts ground.) If that’s a deal-breaker, then yeah… It ain’t cheap.
  • The first place I look on sites like this is their manufacturing page. While no company is going to hit it out of the park in every area, I was pleased with their methods and vision.
  • What especially interested me was the nutrient info. The phrase “natural appetite suppressant” didn’t escape my notice, either. ;-)

I followed the directions on the back of the bag, and used 2 tablespoons of grounds in my one-cup French press.

You’ll need to readjust your color expectations, as this is a lighter brown than the almost-black hue of brewed coffee. In fact, for a moment, I thought that 2 tablespoons weren’t going to be enough, because the brown just looked “weak.”

Another difference between this and coffee is the steep time. When I make my Dunkin’ Donuts brew every morning, I wait about 2-3 minutes before pouring it into the mug. The Crio directions say to steep for 6-8 minutes, then press, then drink.

I think I made it to the 4-minute mark before charging ahead. haha

Of course, all the above yammering is just stage dressing for the true test: What does it taste like?

For starters, it depends on your palate. I like my coffee sweet. I don’t need cream, but it can’t be bitter. So, as the Crio people tell you, it’s the best if you just sweeten or lighten it however you like.

I added a shot of ReddiWip out of the can, and my standard sweetener. And wow, is it ever tasty. Delicious, even.

It’s exactly like hot cocoa (because, actually, that’s what it is), but without the super-super-sugary sweetness. *You* control that aspect. Again, points for that. If you’re like me and also enjoy European drinking chocolate, there’s another readjustment of expectations, in that this brew’s consistency is that of coffee: much thinner than drinking chocolate.

I’m still waiting to see the nutritional effects, of course (especially the “appetite suppressant” part), but it was like having dessert for breakfast.

I wouldn’t begin to have the nerve to drink it straight, but different strokes and all that. The downside is that I want to have another mug of the stuff, and that will end up costing me down the line.

Great — one more obsession to wrangle.

However, I recommend this highly to anyone who wants to shake some caffeine, and who also loves chocolate. It’s not like the weak excuses for “mocha” flavor that some coffees attempt. This is the real deal, and you can definitely taste the difference.

They have smaller packages on the site, and there are variety packs to try as well. I say go for it if you’re curious! I loved it.

I’m still standin’

Hellooooo darlings

Yeah, yeah, yeah 

Are you still there? Six months without anything from me…I’m sure you thought I’d given up (or maybe you didn’t think anything at all until you got the notification that a new post was published). Regardless, if you’re reading right now – thank you!

I haven’t forgotten about this place, or you. Safe to say that a bit has happened since I last wrote to you, not the least of which has been the ongoing battle against this pandemic. When I checked in back in June, I’d just weathered the School Year from Hades, and everyone everywhere was just wiped out. I had no idea what I’d be up against in the coming fall, and lo and behold, it’s been a lot of the same.

This past week, school was shut down for three days because of the Covid resurgence. No clue what the next month is going to bring, but I hope it involves getting back to regular rehearsals for Dinner Theatre, because this week-off business isn’t getting the tap shoes on the floor. Speaking of which…

Time to get to the basement, with fingers crossed that Monday’s tap rehearsal can actually happen. I hope you’re all still standin’.

On being an apology apologist

A Facebook friend posted this meme the other day, and I thought, Hmm…almost.

While changed behavior is certainly the desired outcome of the apology, I think that without an actual spoken or written “I’m sorry,” the aggrieved party is still on the hook for the feelings. You know?

Have you ever been hurt by someone, and when his/her behavior just magically changed for the better, you said, “I guess that’s his/her way of apologizing”? I know I have, on more than one occasion. But not only is that giving the perp a get-out-of-jail-free card, it’s also withholding ultimate closure of the matter from the victim.

Now, that said, I don’t require a sonnet or a treatise or begging on bended knee. Sometimes, changed behavior is totally an appropriate gesture. Still, when hurt someone, I feel compelled to look him/her in the face and make it right. I always told my sons to apologize without uttering the word but, because once you do that, the person you’re apologizing to stops listening, as you’ve turned an “I’m sorry” into a “here’s why you made me do this,” to wit:

I’m sorry that what I said hurt you, but I was having a bad day, and your complaining just pushed me over the edge. To me, everything after the “but” negates everything before it. It’s all about empathy (the ability to understand the feelings of another; the ability to “put oneself in another’s shoes”), and sometimes — just sometimes — we need to put the feelings of others in front of our own.

Other people may be fine with just a 180 on behavior because it delivers the desired result, and feelings don’t really enter into it. Anyone who knows me knows it doesn’t work that way up here. I gotta feel all the feelings, both for me and for everyone else. I guess I’d rather use the old Golden Rule as a general guide, you know? I like this graphic. ;-)

So those are my RNFs for today. Happy Sumday! I hope you’re relaxing, wherever you are.

Much love!

162 Days

Almost five and a half months. That’s how long this little break has lasted, and while it’s probably been a wise idea to let it rest a while (there’s a lot going on), I’ve missed you all. And of course, I’ve missed writing for my own enjoyment, although I didn’t particularly enjoy what stared back at me when I logged in, haha.

During my second major hiatus from RtB, I had a birthday! Rockin’ the Bourgeoisie turned 13 back in February. The odd little blog with the strange name and zero topical focus is now a moody teenager.

I’ve been asked once or twice over the last decade, “Why did you choose that name for your site?” Well, at the beginning, I thought about writing stuff that would sort of shake up my fellow working-class compadres. You know: trying to inspire feelings of sticking together, weathering hardship, giving the ol’ Bronx salute to the Man, etc…typical facets of the basic bourgeoisie. I had no clue on that first day what direction this little endeavor would take, and 13 years later, I still don’t. Go fig. But I’m glad you’re here.

Anyway, the only true aim that remains is to write for writing’s sake, with zero ads. I sell nothing, and want nothing except camaraderie. You have given that to me in spades over the years, and I thank you for it.

The 2020-21 school year was difficult for me, artistically (and financially, yikes). However, I think it was more difficult for my students, who, when they could have easily dropped my class, chose to stick it out. They are the real workaday heroes in my book. Now that the next school year is looking a bit different, I hope to try to make it up to them. Musical theatre is back, and full choir rehearsals are back. Looks like, for the most part, the car is back in “drive.” At least I hope it will be. I’d be delighted if my last handful of years in the biz was a bit less laden with offstage drama.

For the second summer in a row, there is no Odyssey for me. That’s OK, though. Plenty of work to be done around here, as well as bashing on through my coursework. Yes, I’m back in school again, after swearing I’d never take another class in my life. I’m currently halfway through the certification process to obtain my Paralegal license. I’m excited about this post-retirement opportunity.

I hope this finds you all well! I know that some of my readers aren’t connected with me on Facey, so it’s definitely been a while for them. Please check in if you have time, and also let me know if anything looks janky on the site, as many updates were applied (which always, always screws with stuff).

Much love,

RF

I was on hiatus.

Nah, not really. I thought about writing to you many times over the last three months, but I wasn’t sure I had any positive, fun things to tell you. And you know what our moms and grandmas always told us: If you don’t have anything nice to say…

So here I am, with my year-end random neuron firings about things that happened to us, individually and collectively, and what I’ve learned from it all. Stay with me — there’s a quiz! :-)

If there are any lessons or maxims I’ve learned over the last nine months, they’ll be in this list (in no particular order):

  1. Many — heck, most — heck, all — of us have gone soft in our nearly endless comfort with doing what we want, when we want, and with whom. And we tend to be not very nice about being told to do otherwise.
  2. There is always something to do at home! (Most of it involves drudgery and some unpleasantness, but it’s a great feeling when a task is done.)
  3. The world did not fall apart when our kids weren’t forced to take semester exams. And it will continue to spin if they’re not forced to take them when they return to school after break.
  4. Lots of people possess kindness and cruelty in equally passionate measure. Exactly when those sides come out to play depends upon how uncomfortable we are with our situation at the moment.
  5. Being alone is not so bad. I’ve had a lot of practice at it since March. I know there are those who would give an internal organ for some peace and quiet (I see you, moms and dads of little kids, and those whose spouses are working from home and are f-o-r-e-v-e-r  n-e-a-r  :-D ), but the grass on the other side, and all that. Besides, I have Remy. What’s not to love?
  6. Teaching a performance ensemble remotely is crappy. I’m not one of the Kool Kids who jumps into the “virtual choir” vat fully clothed. The truth is you have to not only have the tech available (which I do), you have to have a majority of kids who are unafraid to sing solo (which I don’t). There are so many moving parts to this problem, there’s not enough space in my brain to share it today, so I won’t. Suffice to say that for good or ill, and for a litany of reasons, I won’t be offering my students any ethereal, esoteric, transcendent Eric Whitacre virtual choral experiences this year, or any year over the next three. Did I mention that I’m eligible to retire in the summer of 24? ;-) Down to three fingers…
  7. The people who have lost their jobs over this pandemic need help, and they need it now. I took a substantial pay cut this year, because events for which I am paid supplemental contracts were canceled. And boy, am I feeling the pinch. I’ve complained loudly to my family about it. However, I’m still guaranteed a paycheck, and I’m making ends meet, which is infinitely more than can be said for millions of families in this country who are looking at destitution next week, or close to it. So I really need to snap it shut and do what I can for people who have next to nothing, because the “haves” seem to have run out of, well…give-a-darns.
  8. I’ve realized that all our anger about <fill in topic that honks you off> only serves to make us a slave to it. The anger, I mean; not the topic. We need to let that crap go.
  9. You will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever change anyone’s mind about their politics. Never. Never, ever. Please stop arguing about it, because you’re neither listening nor being heard. Savvy?

QUIZ: What is something you’ve done, noticed, or are happy to have realized since February? Points will not be deducted for clarity, spelling, syntax, or general snark. Insults will, however, earn you an F. If you want to say something political, it has to be super creative and not snippy. :-D

Go!

Much love.