crowded around a table in a bar
Tuesday, September 2 2014
This afternoon I drove into town to meet Gretchen after she got off work. I stopped on the way at Hannaford with 41 beer bottles (all either Sierra Nevada Torpedo or Blue Moon Wheat; Hannford doesn't accept returns on beers it does not sell). All but one of the bottles scanned correctly in the bottle scanner/crusher/coupon-printer, meaning I had $2 when I bought another 12 pack of Torpedo. Sierra Nevada Torpedo is the most affordable "world-class" beer that can be bought in this area. I met Gretchen on Fair Street just after parking the Subaru, and we went together to Vicenzo's for french fries, ice tea, and empanadas. Gretchen had two things she wanted to celebrate. The first was the successful teaching of an English class at the jail as part of the new jail literacy programs she's developing. The second was that we had an accepted offer on the house we've been looking to buy on Wall Street (about a four tenths of a mile south of the center of Uptown). But our eating of fries was only the start of the festivities. At 5:30pm, we took over the large front table at the Stockade Tavern, and before long we were joined by about as many people as could possibly fit around it all scrunched together. Nearly all the important people in our life were there: Susan and David, Deborah, Carrie (but not Michæl), Mark (but not Maresa), Kate (but not Joe the Muffler Shop Guy), Sarah the Vegan, and both Nancy and Ray. We almost never see Ray any more, though now that there's once more a bridge across the Esopus in Hurley, we'll probably be seeing more of both Ray and Nancy. Truth be told, there were too many people crowded into too small of a space and, sitting at a table, I was pretty much trapped with the people who happened to be near me (David on one side, Gretchen on the other). I talked with David about things like his idea for building a sauna and the thermal properties of rock outcrops, but it would have been nice to be able to talk with Ray about his new Black and Decker battery powered chainsaw without having to shout across the table. The heavily-tattooed waiter with the shaved head knows Gretchen and her girlfriends so well at this point that he always knows to ask if they want Elizabeth Amargos (a pinkish cocktail they love). But at this point he even knows me well enough to suggest whatever IPA is on tap.
Yesterday in the laboratory, I spilled water on the table where I have my hot water pot. I normally keep a bucket of water next to the tea pot to add when it runs out, but to give the table a chance to dry out, I placed that bucket on the floor. That wouldn't have been remarkable until Oscar the Big Fluffy Cat showed up. He took one look at that bucket and decided it was the enemy. He snuck up on it, charged it, and then hissed at it and retreated. This happened multiple times, and I assumed he was reacting to his reflection in the water. But he can see that same reflection in many other bodies of water (both small and mid-sized) around the house and in the yard, and he never reacts that way to them. And I've never seen him react so aggressively to any actual cat, even one like Julius (aka "Stripey") who regarded him with default antipathy and still barely tolerates him.
By today, I'd moved the bucket up to its normal place on the table, but that space was soon occupied by a rock I'd brought up from the greenhouse for photographic purposes. This evening I saw Oscar being aggressive towards that rock in the way that he'd been aggressive to the bucket. There was no accounting for this behavior except for its unfamiliarity in that spot. But things come and go throughout the house, so it's strange that he should single out a rock for his weirdo animus.
Tonight there was another little crisis on that Los Angeles film site. I'd had trouble dumping its database on the tiny 8 gigabyte virtual hard drive that constitutes its server's storage system, though somehow a failed dump managed to devour all of its free space, making file caching impossible and thus throwing an error. At the time I'd been unaware that the live and development site exist on the same server, and hadn't considered the fact that storage errors could cause chaos on the live site. The chaos was actually pretty small compared to the database fiasco from several weeks ago, but it did inspire some frantic instant messages that began while I was down in the greenhouse on a stint of jackhammering.
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