Monday 20 September 2004

Vacation Update, Part Three (Vermont)

There is no Governor Howard Dean. There is no State of Vermont. There is no nineteenth third part to this vacation series of blogs. Sorry.

Monday 13 September 2004

Vacation Update, Part Two (New Hampshire)

As though Maine weren't fun enough all by itself.

So there we were, sitting in Maine, behaving ourselves and being generally polite little Canadians, when all the other New England states start to taunt us. Come visit now, they say, or Deleware's getting a One of our other brilliant new ideas was to attempt a tour of a Ben and Jerry's ice cream plant. Now, as you might expect, Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream (Vermont's Finest™) is actually made in Vermont.

Now, quick history lesson. Vermont is a bastian of independant thought and creative government in the United States. It's brought us such people as former president Calvin Coolidge, America's last great, lost, hope, Howard Dean, and Rep. Bernard Sanders, the only socialist politician to ever hold office in the United States. For those of you who slept through your PoliSci intro class, the word socialist is best defomed as Not George W. Bush.

Back to Vermont, though. Vermont, I discovered, is a lot like the speed of light. One can travel as close to it as they like, but to actually get there requires an infinite amount of energy (time). So after trouping toward this statistical impossibililty for several hours, and reaching the New Hampshire border doing so, we thought it wise to give up on our foolish adventure, and turn south through the beautiful mountains of the Granite State. Our ultimate destination: the Mall of New Hampshire, in beautiful Manchester, and immediately following that, a meandering drive to the Massachusetts border, only to immediately return to New Hampshire, to the Wendy's restaurant in the border town of Seabrook, bringing us to this trip's note of sadness. Chili-cheese nachoes: only in Canada.

Pity. Also, Wal-Mart is closed here.

Other New Hampshire highlights: the absolutely beautiful scenery of the Franconia region, the frequent highway-side tax-free liquor and lottery ticket stores (or as I dubbed them, Vice Centers -- I counted six), and mind-numbingly awkward hour-long trip to Victoria's Secretin Manchester, where comfortable, proper-fitting, well-made underwear, also tax free, was purchased for all. Except you.

All things considered, a good day, but nowhere near as much fun as Maine.

Vacation Update, Part One (Maine)

None of my pictures yet, I'm sorry to say. All analog, I'm afraid to say, and I haven't had any free time with a scanner yet. When I do, I promise you'll see la cr??me de la cr??me here. Branflakes Dot Not - you may not see it here first, or even the best, but you... will... eventually. Really.

I was lucky enough to spend another afternoon at Popham Beach State Park. The weather was absolutely magnificent; sunny and warm, with not a cloud in the sky. The water -- perilously icy, for some reason. Being Maine, that's to be expected, I guess. Regardless, Nancy was able to coax (bully) me into the water, though not enough for her satisfaction.

The astute among you may have noticed that the name of this webpage, never particularly static, has changed again. Two incarnations ago, this page was Branflakes' House of Pancakes, then it briefly became got branflakes? I suppose my reasons for playing with these names in the first place center around my insatiable punctuation fetish. That's right - a link for punctuation fetish. Bask in it, I tells ya.

Right. Now about this punctuation fetish name changing phenomenon, you notice I've now changed it back to the slightly modified punc International House of Branflakes. Because I've decided that question marks and apostrophes no longer get me off. :-P Also, I felt less guilty using a name that rips off the trademark of the International House of Pancakes, now that I've eaten there. Twice.

Oh, and did I mention? Delicious. Every staff person I've ever met is a completely a doll, including the burly kitchen staff (all men!), who were able to produce pancakes like nobody's business. Okay, so they were more... action figure-ish, I guess. But still, awesome. Go eat there. iHOB. Ummm... iHOP. Yeah.

Back from the realm of new traditions to old ones. Like Wal-Mart. Now in the United States, at least in large populated areas, Wal-Mart does this thing where they never close, so crazies can get their always low prices, you know, always. Crazies, like two sleep-deprived Canadians who like to get their beer in big-box superstores, and their cookies, all-American. With instant artery-clogging icing. You have never lived (or died, according to my description) without having inhaled one of these cookies. My. God.

Other highlights of Maine include my introduction to the world's best board game, Cranium, and Chinese food, available in those little boxes if you wanted them. Nancy and I opted out of boxes this time, though. Rah.

Coming up next time: that other state. Ummm... New Hampshire.