2010s Retrospectives Update

Just an update on the 2010s Retrospectives blog series here: I’ve written a whole lot of these posts by now, with topics ranging all over the spectrum and posts as short as a couple paragraphs or as long as three or four thousand words. It’s been a really fun time, and I’ve gotten to reflect on things I’m not sure I ever would have remembered had I not been trying to think about various 2010s-related topics.

As for the whole project, I’d say we are well past the halfway point by now. For all the topics I would like to cover, there aren’t too many huge ones I’m still missing out on. So there will be another few months of posts, but we will soon finally be able to put the 2010s to rest (albeit several months into the new decade).

I want to make more of the “Best of the Decade” articles about my favorite media from the past ten years, but those posts take extraordinarily long to make compared to the ones that cover a single topic. If I get the time and gumption to finish more, they will probably come closer to the end of the whole series.

And one last thing… While I’m really writing these mostly for the fun of having a strange, public diary of sorts to look back on one day, I am obviously always glad when people find and read through these posts. However, the site stats tell me most of these posts so far have only single-digit views, which is a bit disheartening. If you have the time, please share some of these posts with other people! I’d love to have more readers and especially more commenters as well.

It is perhaps fitting that, ten years after starting my first blog, my latest one gets just about the same number of views per post. Fitting, but maybe a bit sad as well.

[2016] The Return of Crystal Pepsi

I’m not really sure why I was excited for Crystal Pepsi.

It was some nonsense gimmick product, a fake health product released in a time before I was even born that made very little impact on the market and became mostly a forgotten relic.

That is, until nostalgia baiting kicked in. Nostalgic revivals of foods and drinks after they hit twenty-ish years old are pretty common in the United States, like when McDonalds brought back szechuan sauce, or when Crispy M&Ms returned to the M&Ms line.

Crystal Pepsi, though, was a bizarre one. It was marketed as a health product despite not being healthy at all, and its clear coloring is just… coloring. It’s just packaging and that’s it. The soda is caffeine-free, I guess, but there’s plenty of caffeine-free sodas these days, just colored differently. In the 2010s, there is growing resentment towards carbonated, sugary drinks and the health problems they help induce, and so any claim of being healthier than normal Pepsi would be met with wide scorn. Nostalgia for a dead product is all that could possibly sell a revival like this.

Why did this even exist?!

But despite all that, for some reason, I bought into the hype. I became so fascinated with such a stupid product that I was obsessed with trying it out for myself.

In Summer 2016, just two weeks before I was scheduled to move to Japan to study as an exchange student in Nagoya for a year, Crystal Pepsi had its limited-run revival. My friends and I immediately began scouring our local grocery stores and convenience stores to find some.

And… it was zilch. Many stores didn’t receive any in the first place, but everywhere we checked was out of stock. The run was so limited that stores were running out of their shipments in just the first day or two. It was very disappointing, and I was worried that we would never be able to find any–

And then there were a whole bunch of them just kind of sitting there in the local Walgreens.

So I bought like twenty of them.

And in the end… when I finally tried my first-ever Crystal Pepsi…

It was just Pepsi.

It was just Pepsi but clear.

I don’t even like Pepsi. It’s way too sweet and has a bad aftertaste, an opinion that is probably ingrained in my DNA as a Georgian (and a Georgian whose diabetic father exclusively bought Diet Coke).

So now I was stuck with a bunch of Crystal Pepsi bottles with a drink that I didn’t like that much, with just a couple weeks before I would be leaving the country. Luckily, I salvaged things with my greatest plan–a stupid prank.

When I finished a Crystal Pepsi bottle, sometimes I would refill the bottle with water and put it back in the fridge, in case my younger brother or a friend decided to drink one. They’d get some refreshing, healthy water, and also probably spit it all out as a gut reaction! It was an ingenious plan!

…Except nobody ever fell for it, except for me on a couple times where I didn’t pay enough attention to notice the cap seal had been broken.

I was hoisted with my own prank petard.

That’s a metaphor for this entire Crystal Pepsi debacle, honestly.

[2013] Homestuck’s (Fake) Last Hurrah

It’s 10/25, so I’m legally obligated to post about Homestuck, sadly. However, that means I can use this obligation as an opportunity to discuss the comic in the context of one important moment for me– the last time I truly cared about it.

Continue reading “[2013] Homestuck’s (Fake) Last Hurrah”