I know, let’s put a full cup of coffee’s equivalent of caffeine into a chocolate bar!

We got a box of these delivered to the office today. Awake Chocolate is new, but I can already tell they are going to be successful. I’m jealous that they thought of this before I did.

You can follow them on Twitter and Facebook, if you like, which proves they are social media savvy.

But they also sent a box of them to my small-city newspaper newsroom.

We don’t get as much swag as we used to, in the newspaper business. The cartons of CDs, which hung on for a long time, have dwindled to  trickle. For advertisers with samples looking for coverage, things like mommy blogs are the way to go now.

So why did Awake Chocolate choose the newsroom model?

Well, from their website, it sounds like they blanketed the country — so newspapers are probably  just one of the target markets.

But guess what? Newspaper newsrooms, for all their faults, are still filled with dedicated wordsmiths. And journalists are some of the most dedicated social media types out there. They are addicted to Twitter and have been long-term bloggers. If you’re looking for viral coverage — and have a product you are confident will cut through the chatter — journalists are always on the lookout for the next neat link. And us sensitive journo types love it when someone still appreciates us.

It doesn’t hurt that a chocolate bar with caffeine in it is laser-focused to hit our weak spots: candy and coffee.

The only thing that could possibly top it is my favourite ever newspaper swag — a bottle of Grant’s Whisky, shipped directly to me.

Contact me to arrange for delivery of future swag.

So — how’s the chocolate? Well, in a word: Good.

It’s not the best chocolate I’ve ever tasted, but it’s far from the worst, too. I would rate it a solid A-minus consumer chocolate — maybe a bit better than a Cadbury, but not quite as good as a Lindt. There are some tiny crunchy bits, which I presumed were solid caffeine. The chocolate was not too sweet, and was pretty soft, but maybe because it had been delivered on a 32C day. It had the company’s cool owl logo embossed on it.

Would buy again! (For the first time.) In fact, I pocketed an additional two bars from the box of 12 that the company sent. Hey — newsroom culture is cutthroat. Elbows out, journos!

(Cross-posted to my actual newspaper blog, because it’s appropriate.)

Somebodies That I Used to Know

If you’ve been on the Internet, or listened to the radio in the last several months, you have certainly heard (and seen) Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know.” It was probably the biggest song in recent memory. If you haven’t heard it you live under a rock.

I would argue that the song didn’t really get popular until it was covered by the band Walk the Earth and singer Sarah Blackwood — all playing one guitar. That video went viral, and it catapulted the song into popularity. In fact, the radio station I listen to at work only played the cover for a long time.

Fast forward a couple of months, and the song is everywhere. Everyone and their dog has done a cover. It’s been so saturated, that a song I used to love (hah) has grown tiresome.

Now, we have the cover to end all covers. Gotye himself compiled covers of his song found on Youtube, and made the ultimate remix:

He said this in the Youtube description:

Reluctant as I am to add to the mountain of interpretations of Somebody That I Used To Know seemingly taking over their own area of the internet, I couldn’t resist the massive remixability that such a large, varied yet connected bundle of source material offered.

And what he created is beautiful and fascinating. I also love an artist with a healthy dose of self awareness.

(via: everywhere on the Internet)

Death Wish coffee

I’m intrigued (and salivating) after reading this review of Death Wish coffee, which advertises “200% more caffeine”:

My expectations for Death Wish Coffee were low. I figured the strongest coffee in the world would also be the most bitter and harsh coffee in the world. I assumed it would taste like over-cooked, stale coffee and I was expecting a repulsive after taste. Well, my expectations couldn’t have been more wrong….

The fullness of the liquid was the first thing to hit my tongue. It was deep, rich and seemed to have layers of intensity …. complex notes (almost nutty tasting) smoothly slid down my throat, waking me up instantly. The consistency seemed to be creamy even though it was completely unadulterated.

Two cups of Death Wish Coffee got me through the whole day.

Review: Death Wish Coffee Company | the Dropp.

Now, doesn’t that sound great? At $20 a pound, it’s mildly pricey, but not way out of the realm of, say, Starbucks roasts.

Here’s their official website. Sadly, they say that they don’t ship outside the U.S. But PayPal appears to let you order to Canada (although the $20 shipping doubles the cost of the coffee).

(Oh, a pet peeve: They advertise “200% more caffeine”. But they also say “200% the amount of caffeine.” Those are two different things: Do they mean double the caffeine? Or triple?)

The dangers of a cross-country charity ride

Since I work for a newspaper that’s conveniently positioned right near the centre of the Trans-Canada Highway, every summer we are swamped with people passing through on a coast-to-coast journey, looking for a little publicity as the ride, glide, run, walk or bounce a few thousand kilometres for charity or some other cause.

It was big news when Terry Fox attempted it. And the hundreds (thousands?) of emulators since all seem to expect the same level of media attention. Sadly, when there is a new cross-country marathoner passing through each and every weekday, though, it’s no longer news.

(BREAKING! Sun to rise again this morning!)

So, you get people trying to capture attention by doing wacky things — they’ll dress as a medieval knight, for example.

Or, as one recent passer-through did, don a Guy Fawkes mask and a VERY revealing blue skin-suit — go here to see a picture of his balls-to-the-wall outfit.

That same guy posted this video to his website — a cautionary tale:


Keep track of Olympic medals

I am appreciative of the new site MedalCount.com, done by Animal. The site does what it says on the tin: It keeps track of medals won by countries at the Olympics.

You can pick up to four countries on your “watch list.” There’s no Facebook or Twitter integration, you can’t earn badges, you don’t have to decipher a captcha, you just get numbers of medals. I don’t even think you can click through to see which sport the medals were won in.

It’s mildly zen. And I like it.