the next two weekends are a part of the cambridge discovery days, with various free historical tours and events scheduled throughout the city. i decided to go to 2 tours, "a walk down tory row" in the morning (11:00) and "churches, colleges, taverns & homes [of harvard square]" in the afternoon (1:00). one of the tour was pretty interesting. the other one traumatized me so much i have a hard time talking about it and may have to use dolls instead.

the tory row tour was the good one. about 2 dozen people showed up in front of the cambridge historical society house on brattle street. we went around the neighborhood checking out old houses, some of which were centuries old. i only have a casual interest in architecture, but for someone with a more proper passion for old houses, cambridge and neighboring boston must be heaven. i learned about the various styles - first period, georgian, federal, italianate, second empire, shingle, queen anne, and all the subsequent revivals. looking at pretty houses was one thing, but it was also fascinating to learn about the famous people who lived in these houses: former governors, prominent writers, renowned scholars, and illustrious business people. the architects themselves were famous, and many designed some better known landmarks in the capital.

the tory row tour ran a little late so i didn't have time to go home. instead, i went directly to the second tour in harvard square. this particular talk was given by a historical reenactor, which should've been my first clue to avoid the tour altogether. but mistress elizabeth sounded attractive enough that i was a bit intrigued (even though i found a few photos online already). the second clue that should've warned me to turn away was the fact that nobody showed up for the tour. besides me, there was one other woman, and a young couple. mistress elizabeth spoke in colonial english which was hard to understand (i understood about 20%). she never broke out of character, which made me worried that maybe she was in fact actually crazy. the things she talked about might've been interesting for somebody from the 1700's but it was boring for a 21st century audience. the young couple left after 15 minutes, said they got a call from the boy's mother while he was pretending to talk to somebody on the cellphone (it was for the best, the boy had his collar flipped up, i would've punched him eventually). i wanted to leave as well, but with so few people on the tour, i felt it'd rude to do so. besides, mistress elizabeth handed me a packet of handouts thick enough to be a book so i felt a little obligated to stick around a bit longer. throughout the tour she kept on trying to add more people to the group, "you're welcome to join us if you like," but everyone else had more sense than i did. whatever the case may be, i wasn't having fun, i wasn't learning anything, and i felt embarrassed because people on the streets were constantly staring at us and laughing (who are those people hanging out with a colonial time traveler?) - especially when the mistress broke out into songs. at least she didn't play her flute which i saw poking out from her bag. it was one of the most painful 2 hours of my life, and why i didn't just leave remains a mystery. maybe i'm just a masochist.

i wasn't expecting to be out of the house so long and didn't have any breakfast or lunch. i ate some baby carrots when i got home but left soon afterwards, this time on a search for black lights. i just wanted to get a fluorescent tube that would fit inside one of my aquarium lights. home depot might've carried them but i searched their website and didn't find what i was looking for. however, lowe's was selling exactly what i wanted, an 18" GE brand fluorescent black light bulb. the only problem was while i'm surrounded by 3 nearby home depot stores, the closest lowe's is in saugus, a 20+ minute drive. wasn't like i was too busy, so i head up 99 north. it was slow going, a lot of traffic lights, but eventually i got there. i bought a black light ($8.98) and also a replacement 18" grow/aquarium fluorescent bulb ($7.98). coming back, i stopped by a rite aid to buy some soft foam bandaids to cover my thumb.

i've always thought checking for stains with an UV lamp was something you only see on television and not anything you can actually duplicate at home. i'm here to tell you it's no myth, that a UV light does in fact reveal all, and the truth can be scary. i brought the light into the bathroom and i was horrified. there were stains i didn't even knew existed. i spent the next half hour cleaning the bathroom. the cool thing is the UV light turns bathroom cleaning into a rave, except there's no music and no dancing and the only ecstasy comes from knowing that my bathroom is now 100% clean.

after some quick dan dan noodles for dinner, i soaked for an hour in the newly-cleaned bathtub. the heat must've loosen the last of the dermabond because that detached piece of thumbnail finally fell off. [thumb back 090808], [thumb front 090808]