So what did I do with my two weeks? Nothing interesting enough to write about, apparantly. I don’t normally slow down much in winter, but this year seems to be an exception, or it did until I realized why I was so run down earlier this week–caffiene withdrawal! Yes, I inadvertantly bought two pounds of decaf from Dunkin Donuts; one for work and one for home. I blame my personal decaffienation for my failure to notice this until someone else pointed it out. Anyway, when I realized how severe my withdrawal was, I decided it’s time to take a break from coffee. Really I’ve known this for awhile, since I no longer actually feel a coffee buzz, but being sleep all day and ready for bed by 8pm tears it. I’m back to juice and water for awhile.
My other not-really-interesting story is our (the ‘rents and I) visit to Plimoth Plantation on Black Friday. As the name suggests, this is the historical park outside Plymouth, MA. They have reconstructed native and pilgrim villages with interpretive staff, but their real business is hosting modern and 1620-style dinners. More on that later.
The villages were interesting for their historical accuracy (I assume) but even more interesting was the contrast in political correctness. Signs on the path warned us that the native staff are “real indians” (not necessarily Wampanoag) and are not in character. Visitors are to please refrain from whooping, using words like “squaw”, “chief”, “brave” etc.–apparantly “indian” is alright. The pilgrim staff on the other hand are reenactors, are in character, and we told that they will speak with the attitudes and ideas of their day. This turned out to mean, in one case, a lecture on how the Irish are “very much like the savages”. Silly, not that it’s a big deal. But this is Massachusetts afterall.
The star of the trip was the Mayflower II, a 1950s reconstruction of the original, which was just a charter and went on to other jobs and an unknown fate after the Pilgrims’ voyage. The ship is in excellent condition and is taken out sailing a few times a year. I had the impression that it’s possible to crew on it, but will need to check into that more. If so, I know what next year’s vacation will be!
The 1620 Thanksgiving dinner was a mixed bag. The food was interesting and good, with the centerpieces being mussels saute’d in the shell, pumpkin squash, and english “cheesecake”–basically a sweet-ish quiche without the ham. There was some rather mediocre entertainment that reminded everybody (literally, all the strangers around us mentioned it) of a rennaissance festival, and the company left something to be desired. You sit at long tables as in a pub, seats assigned by last name. I was wishing for a pretty girl to sit across from me, and I got my wish–sort of. She was cute alright, but in high school and didn’t want to chitchat with someone old enough to drink. I’d have probably been the same way at her age, but it made it a long hour and a half. My mom told me later that a guy my age sitting near her was from Alexandria. I knew I should have taken the inboard seat!
I decided to clean my coffeemaker today. It’s probably needed it for weeks now, but I was spurred into action by a conversation at school the other day. The campus is across the street from a local independent coffee shop called Misha’s, which is a hipster hangout straight from central casting. The problem: their coffee tastes like it was made with a used oil filter. People who otherwise sit around talking about how corporations are killing America will walk six blocks to Starbucks just to get a halfway decent cup of coffee. There was once a Dunkin Donuts as well, but it closed just before their coffee became cool.
Anyway, I theorized that Misha’s coffee tastes so burned because they never clean their coffeemakers, which logically implied I should finally clean mine. Now, I’ve long since lost the manual, but allegedly this is done by running a couple cups of vinegar through it. So I did that, ran one full pot of water through to rinse it, and then made a pot of coffee that smelled like paint thinner. I didn’t really need to taste it, but did anyway just for kicks. Bad idea!
So now, 5 or 6 full pots later, what comes out finally smells like normal hot water, but the port where the water goes in still smells like vinegar. Which leads me back to the title of this post. All the smell testing has really cleared my sinuses, and also reminded me of an incident waaaay back in 7th grade. In those days, long before Columbine or even political correctness, we kids were actually left alone with a science class supply closet stocked with hydrochloric acid. Through the agency of a classmate who was known for pranks, some of that stuff found its way into a glass dish and under my nose, with the admonition “hey man, sniff this water, it smells kinda funky” …one giant snort and my nose has never been quite the same!