Experiment # 34:

Question: What happens when you mix a caffeine with vanilla extract and drink it?

Hypothesis: A stimulant may prove helpful in assisting with my novel revisions.

Procedures: In an attempt to gain relatively accurate and repeatable dosage information. 2 grams of caffeine were dissolved into 25 ml volumetric flask. This means that every ml of mixture will contain 80 mg of caffeine. Roughly the equivalent of a strong cup of coffee.

Notable statistics:

ORL-RAT LD50 192 mg kg-1ORL-HMN LDLO 192 mg kg-1

According to this, my minimum lethal dosage of caffeine would be in excess of 17 grams.

Therefore I should be well under tolerance, no matter how much of the mixture I consume. (Unless I bunged up the math.)


1. Caffeine seems to be rather insoluble. Heat must be applied to supersaturate the solution.

2. Volumetric flasks get hot when you hold them over the gas burner of your stove.


Mixture is a pleasant amber color.

Mixture is intensely bitter, causes burning sensation in mouth and throat.

Stage one: Consume 5 mg of mixture.

Short term effects:

0-30 seconds: Intense urge to gag.

1-3 minutes: Nausea. Extremely unpleasant aftertaste. Some coughing.

4-5 minutes: Coughing fades. Aftertaste remains. Nausea subsides with direct application of skim milk and cinnamon bread sticks.

Mid-term effects.

10 minutes: Desire to watch Invader Zim. (May be coincidental.)

20 minutes: Mild excitability. Belief that I could, perhaps, lift up the front end of a car, if one were available, or if I could be bothered to go outside.

30 minutes: Continued desire for Invader Zim. No appreciable increase in the desire to work on novel.

Stage two: Consume additional 5 mg of mixture.

Short-term effects:

0-30 seconds: Bitter taste. Burning sensation. Intense urge to gag.

1-3 minutes: Nausea. Extremely unpleasant aftertaste. More coughing.

4-5 minutes: Coughing fades. Aftertaste remains. Nausea subsides with direct application of Southwestern Chicken Grinder from Toppers.

Mid-term effects:

10 minutes. Feelings of doubt. Uncertainty. Tendency to question my own sanity. Depression. Further desire for Southwestern Chicken Grinder.

15 minutes: Moderate excitation. Sensation of bloating. (May be unrelated.) Desire to check e-mail.

20 minutes: Moderate desire to write.

30 minutes: Strong desire to write.

Long term effects:

1-5 hours: Productive revisions on book two. Mild Nausea. Mild elation. Urination. Some jittering. Weird pains in large muscle groups, most notably quadriceps and triceps. Tightness in chest. Tunnel of light. Mild dementia and/or conversation with God. Continued desire for Invader Zim. Twinkie.


While this a marked success over Experiment 15, as it involved no prolonged vomiting, the discomfort-to-revision ratio still seems rather high. Also, the small N prevents determination of statistical significance.

And now, sweet, jittery sleep.


This entry was posted in hodgelany, my rockstar life, ScienceBy Pat22 Responses


  1. Mr Pudifoot
    Posted July 6, 2007 at 3:05 PM | Permalink

    is there any way we can get a recap of experiments 1 though 33? did they all involve caffeine? or just things you are just curious about?

  2. Anonymous
    Posted July 6, 2007 at 4:04 PM | Permalink

    Um… please don’t kill yourself with ingestive chemistry experiments before you finish the trilogy. ‘Twould be a real shame, because I want to read the next two books.Oh, wait – they’re already written, aren’t they? Never mind. Here’s to the scientific method!

  3. Ryan Kanable
    Posted July 6, 2007 at 4:35 PM | Permalink

    Here’s to caffeine! Way to kick it in, Pelé.

  4. Hob Gammidge
    Posted July 6, 2007 at 5:38 PM | Permalink

    Teehee…that was the funniest thing I’ve read in months. God bless the scientific method and performing experiments on oneself!

  5. Althalus
    Posted July 6, 2007 at 5:47 PM | Permalink

    You, sir, are very strange.Vanilla extract is very good though.

  6. Sailor Matt
    Posted July 6, 2007 at 11:41 PM | Permalink

    And to think, while you were posting that, I had already been at work for an hour, wondering to myself “why the hell do I have to get up so darn early?”You live a very interesting life, Pat. Wanna trade? I’ll throw in a wife and kid (no warranty on either).P.S.I’m most productive if I surround myself with things I enjoy much less than writing… who knows, it might work for you, too. I usually get most of my writing done at work :)

  7. Mary J.
    Posted July 7, 2007 at 3:37 AM | Permalink

    This made me laugh and laugh! I cannot believe you did it twice!Thank you, Pat! After working all day with rabid children participating in the library’s summer reading program I desperately needed some giggles. I agree with Matt H. btw- I find I can accomplish all sorts of constructive things if it is between doing them or catching up on my laundry. (Just as an example)Have a good weekend!

    Posted July 7, 2007 at 3:55 AM | Permalink

    Only a true geek would combine caffeine, math and chemistry in such a fun way.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted July 7, 2007 at 4:33 AM | Permalink

    You could place the extract in a capsule of some sort; That would probably eliminate most (if not all) of the after-taste.

  10. Althalus
    Posted July 7, 2007 at 4:42 AM | Permalink

    Or mix it with coke or something.

  11. Mr Pudifoot
    Posted July 7, 2007 at 4:55 AM | Permalink

    Althalus:but not spaghetti-o’s… i tried that once… it didn’t work :-/

  12. Sean T. M. Stiennon
    Posted July 7, 2007 at 5:10 AM | Permalink

    Dude, just get the blue potion. Surely you have enough rupees.

  13. K
    Posted July 7, 2007 at 2:15 PM | Permalink

    KK – You are MADE of awesome LoL.

  14. Althalus
    Posted July 7, 2007 at 6:32 PM | Permalink

    Sean:I don’t like blue potion, it’s got a funky aftertaste and it makes me giddy…Not to mention how outrageous the prices are around here, 150 rupees for a bottle!

  15. Mr Pudifoot
    Posted July 7, 2007 at 7:15 PM | Permalink

    you can get the blue potion at granny’s for only 100 rupees, but you need to supply you own bottle.

  16. cameron
    Posted July 7, 2007 at 8:10 PM | Permalink

    Was the vanilla extract organic or synthetic? If synthetic, what percentage of ethanol did it contain?

  17. Teec
    Posted July 9, 2007 at 4:08 AM | Permalink

    Pat, have you heard of these chocolate covered coffee beans? I haven’t tried them yet, but they are supposed to be great, and a easily adjustable source of caffiene…and hell, they have chocolate…..

  18. Steven Ford
    Posted July 9, 2007 at 4:18 PM | Permalink

    It’s a constant source of amazement to me that you have survived this long Patrick, especially without the moderating influence of Ryan and myself…/waves to Ryan

  19. Chris J
    Posted July 10, 2007 at 1:40 PM | Permalink

    Ah Caffeine. My helper through the long retail store days I endure. Having to put up with stuck up passengers with $10,000 watches and Pin stripe suits is made a little easier with the good ol’ punch of a cup of joe. Awesomeness Incarnate.

  20. Cameron (the other)
    Posted July 12, 2007 at 11:12 PM | Permalink

    I feel like I need to comment on the hilarity of that blog by saying, if it were possible to meet Chuck Norris, or you, Pat, I might actually think of meeting you before I chose Chuck Norris. ^_^

  21. Rawan
    Posted November 15, 2007 at 6:19 PM | Permalink

    I tried caffiene once, consumed way too much coffee for my own good. Did you feel like… your blood was jumping in your viens? Yeah. That bad.

  22. bookworm
    Posted August 9, 2010 at 8:47 PM | Permalink

    If *I* had to decide between you and chuck norris, it would be… (Drumroll)


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