everybody knows that you’re in trouble; everybody knows what you’ve been through

“You should join Twitter!”
“I can’t.”
“Why not?”
“If I had another outlet for self-indulgent blurbs, I’d have nothing to write about.”

. . .

Thanks to everyone who came out to Asgard last night for my birthday. I appreciate all your shout-outs and dedications. I reserve a special spotlight for Doug, the only man who can pull of Andrea Bocelli at karaoke; Melissa and Fraley, who came out all that way; and Rachel V., who rocked a vicious rhyme like she never did before. And to choreographer Kate, and MB back from New York, and the drunken panda, and, and … well, you’re all great.

. . .

The water in my Brita tank has started to take on a vaguely sweet aftertaste. Since my initial efforts at diagnosing it have all failed, I’m using PathWise Root Cause Analysis to find an answer.

What is the object affected? Taste of water.
What other, similar, objects could be affected but aren’t? Appearance of water (no weird particles or changes of color); temperature of water.

What exactly is wrong? Very mild aftertaste of something sweet.
What else could be going wrong but is not? Could be a stronger aftertaste. Could be a really foul aftertaste.

Where do you see the problem? In the water that comes out of the Brita pitcher.
Where else could I expect to see this problem occur, but hasn’t? In the milk. In the bread. In the cheese or yogurt.

When did the problem first occur? Couple of weeks ago.
When else could the problem have occurred, but didn’t? Couple of months ago. In the old apartment. Just yesterday for the first time.

When in the process flow does the problem occur? After the water’s been sitting in the fridge for at least a few hours. (I discovered this on Tuesday, having poured myself the dregs of a pitcher and getting that sweetish smack of the lips. Then I poured myself a second glass, having just refilled the pitcher, and tasted nothing)
When else in the process flow could the problem occur, but hasn’t? As soon as the water filters. Before the water filters (i.e., could be originating at the tap).

In what pattern does the event occur? Every instance, given enough time.
How else could the problem repeat itself, but hasn’t? Every second or third or nth instance.

How big is the problem? Mild but not ruinous aftertaste.
How big could the problem be? Bad taste that ruins the water-drinking experience.

Based on the above, I’m going to test one theory, by filling the pitcher with water and leaving it on the counter rather than refrigerating it. I’ll keep you posted, as I’m sure the suspense is killing you

Edit: I never spelled out the next step, confusing some of you, so let me continue. What I do now is test several theories and see whether they satisfy the Is/Is-Not conditions listed above.


  • “You need to change the filter.” This doesn’t satisfy the “when” condition – the fact that a pitcher sitting in the fridge for hours gets funky, but a freshly-filtered pitcher does not.
  • “There’s something in the fridge emitting odor.” This one gets a little shaken by the “where” condition – it’s odd that only the water would be affected by whatever the thing is. But right now it’s a strong possibility.

  • “The tap water itself is funky.” This is a heavy runner-up. Any changes to the consistency of the tap water would be beyond my control. It seems odd that I wouldn’t have noticed any other symptoms (see first question – “what other, similar objects”), but it’s eminently possible.

Science – it’s a method!

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