Ramona was acting strangely on her morning walk with Gretchen and Eleanor, and only later did we discover what the problem was. As we sat drinking our weekly coffee in front of a blazing cardboard fire (it was too cold to be out on the east deck and we were wresting some much-needed heat from the boxes that had once contained the basement's new vinyl flooring), we noticed that Ramona had a distinct bump on the left top of her head. She also kept chewing at a part of her left back. Clearly she'd been stung by something, probably a nasty late summer hornet. We later gave her a couple benadryls, but this didn't prevent the tissue around her left eye from swelling nearly half-way closed around it.
My firewood errand today (to the same spot I visited yesterday) yielded a load of 118 pounds, all of which went into the woodshed's growing fourth tranche.
I did some tinkering with my clock today and was able to design the bit array for special extra-tiny numeric digits that were legible even though they occupied a grid measuring only two pixels wide by five pixels tall. (I'm not counting a single pixel on the side of such an array to keep it from merging with a neighbor.) Using these tiny numbers, I was able to add seconds to the left of the normal-sized hours and minutes on my eight by 32 pixel display grid. Here are the definitions for my tiny digits:
There are several ways to integrate these additional characters with the proper character set. An easy way is to just replace a swath of unused characters (such as lower-case letters). But with a slight modification of the code, these small digits can also be added to usually-invisible part of the character set with ASCII codes less than 32. Adding them to the part of the character set after ASCII code 127 was impossible as far as I could tell; referring to characters having such codes caused the clock to crash.
Late this afternoon, Gretchen drove up to Schenectady to participate in some sort of vegan poetry thing. Soon after she was gone, I heard a noise outside and looked down to see the car belonging to Mark, the guy from the Brooklyn who periodically shows up to drink beer and putter around my greenhouse and laboratory. He'd given me some warning he would be coming up, so this wasn't a surprise. When I went downstairs to investigate, I found Mark's car was being driven by his wife Lynne. Nancy was riding shotgun and his daughter Vivienne was in the back. They were all on their way to the Hudson Valley Mall, and Mark had wanted to be dropped off here instead.
We ended up drinking all the beers in the house, which included about eight Rolling Rocks and six Weyerbacher Last Chance IPAs (they're not very good). Mark also entertained various fantasies about how I should turn my greenhouse downstairs into a constantly-cycling verdant indoor waterfall. At some point we went on a little stroll through the nearby forest, going down the Stick Trail a couple hundred feet, turning east, and coming home up the ravine between our place and our downhill neighbors', arriving at the greenhouse again, Mark's favorite place. Later on, we watched the usual mix of Youtube videos, starting (of course) with Accept's Balls to the Wall, which Mark first introduced me to. When we got hungry, I made bean glurp and we feasted on smallish burritos. I noticed that not only is Mark something of a beer criminal, but he didn't eat all of his burritos either. He did, however, completely devour a container of brownie scraps leftover from a recent Gretchen baking jihad.
Soon after Gretchen returned home, Mark headed down to the greenhouse to spend the night in its upstairs. I could tell from the amount I'd drunk that I would be suffering from a hangover tomorrow.