Boulder happenings

Much has changed since my last post, for I now have a job AND a place to live.  Two things that many would consider necessities, though in my opinion they’re definitely both optional.  Firstly, my job, which I found using:

Boulder Craigslist—>gigs–> “Wanted Taste Testers”

Turns out there is a god.

After an email and a couple phone calls I was all set up to become a professional taste tester for a market study on mints.  Like the candy type of mint.   Yesterday, my first day on the job, I rode my bike to the mint-tasting location, the Courtyard Boulder hotel.  I walked my bike in the lobby, immediatly got confronted by an employee but before they could tell me to leave the bike outside I told them I was here on business.  Mint business.  The let me pass.

I was pretty surprised by the turnout.  I imagined I’d be in a room with like three other people, but there were about 25 in the room, with more people coming and going every minute.  The pay is $100 for four nights of taste testing, each night being 30 minutes of work.  That’s $50 an hour for all you mathless people out there, which is more than I’ve ever made per hour before.  I eagerly anticipated consuming pounds of mints, but alas, the quota was only four mints a night along with a thick booklet of multiple choice questions.

I took my seat, was served a plate of unsalted saltines (talk about your stupid buffalo) and a cup of water, then got down to business.

1) How do you like the APPEARANCE of the mint?
2) How do you like the SIZE of the mint?
3) How do you like the COLOR of the mint?
4) How do you think you’ll like the TASTE of the mint? (I hadn’t consumed the mint yet at this point)
5) How do you like the AROMA of the mint?

Now take a bite of the unsalted cracker and a sip of water to clear your pallet.  Then eat the mint, consuming it however you like.

Then there were another 15 or 20 questions after you ate the mint, including two questions where you got to write a couple sentences. I took full advantage.

What did you LIKE about the mint?

“I really enjoyed the high quality mintyness of it.  It had a nice sweet taste, more like a dessert mint than your regular old breath freshener mint.  I like!! (in Borat’s voice).”

What did you DISLIKE about the mint?

“Nothing!! Nothing at all HAHAHAHAH!! I ‘et that mint right up!”

After the questions you were supposed to wait one minute and eat another cracker to “clear your palate” and then take on the next mint and its set of questions.  The whole time I felt like I was in some sort of secret social experiment with the mint-tasting as the cover for the real study, which could have been anything.  I looked for hidden cameras, one-way mirrors, kept conscious of anything strange I was supposed to or not supposed to notice.  Were all the other people part of the experiment or were they the experimenters?  Would someone fake a heart attack and see what I’d do when everyone else ignored it?  Was this actually a cracker taste test to see if we noticed the amazing quality of the oxymoron unsalted saltines?  I paid close attention to the details of the questions to see if they were trying to slip something by us without us noticing, like a random curse word in the middle of a sentence placed their to see if we were still paying attention, maybe even just an incorrect usage of the word “their” when they really meant “there”.  I found nothing.  Maybe all these mints have the same exact taste and they’re seeing if we can tell the difference?  Nope.  I think.  Maybe they’re releasing a gas into the room that will make us have crazy, wild hallucinations and what we’re actually eating is peppermint not mint!!  No on that one too, because I remembered that we were sampling all the mints in the mint family, including peppermint and spearmint, which I’ve decided is my favorite of the mints. For some reason, spearmint is always green. Peppermint and regular mint can be any or all of the colors of the Italian flag.

I grew bored of looking for abnormalities and became preoccupied with the speed of the person next to me who just sat down.  They seemed to be flying through the test, flipping pages at twice the speed I was.  I wasn’t going to let her beat me so I began rushing through the test and dropped her good and hard.  I walked out with fresh breath and an air of importance that you only get by being a hard-working, wage-earning, productive member of society. It feels good to do your part, ya know? I held my head high. I also took one of the fruit candies placed in bowls on the tables.  This was my final idea about there being a secret test going on: that no one would want to take one of the hard fruit candies after eating a bunch of mints.  I grabbed a fruit candy just to spite them, but dropped it on the ground by accident and threw it away.  That pretty much sums up my job.  I went again tonight and go two more times this week.

The place I just moved to this evening was also found on Craigslist (of course).  The rent is cheaper than anything else I’ve seen but still twice what I was hoping to pay.  Boulder is expensive.  Gotta find some more taste testing gigs.

A few days ago I went snowshoeing up in Breckenridge with my then roommates Philip and Justine and a couple of her friends. Philip and I took off on our own and somehow made it up to the top of Buffalo Peak, elevation 13,000 ft, despite not following a trail and starting late in the day. I haven’t been that high in a while. I spent the whole day and night being very excited about the high elevation and the amazing amount of red blood cells my body was busily making. Breckenridge itself sits just above 9,000 ft! That’s a lot of ft!!

What’s up with WordPress’ new weird picture set up?  I don’t like this.

4 thoughts on “Boulder happenings

  1. I’m glad your “their” was intentional. Grandma emailed me and said to read your blog today, that it was a good one. I was on the point of giving up on the whole post after the incorrect “their” usage, but decided to read on. Occasionally I’m a glutton for punishment that way. When I realized it had been on purpose I relaxed. It was a close call though, I almost contacted your college to tell them to revoke your degree. If that didn’t work my next plan of attack was to tell Thomas about it. I know he’d have been disappointed. I sympathize with your housing difficulties. Silicon Valley is stupid-expensive.

  2. Tracy, if I ever use the wrong “your” “you’re” “there” “their” or “they’re” you have permission to smack me across the face with a large halibut.

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