Sunday, July 7 2019
Our friends Robert and his boyfriend Jorge would be spending the night, so, since Gretchen was off at the bookstore (this time without Neville; he hadn't come back from the forest in time to go), it fell to me to do most of the household cleaning jihad. When people are spending the night, the jihads have to be much more thorough, since they necessarily must include the basement. The climate in Eastern North America has become increasingly humid over the last couple years, feeding the basement's perennial mold problem. We have a dehumidifier for the master guestroom, but the basement hallway is dank and unpleasant, with so much mold on the ceiling that even cleaning it with a bleach solution leaves dark smudges. In recent weeks, one of our useless cats has also started pissing somewhere in the hallway (fortunately, there is no carpeting to absorb that). So I did some bleaching, mopping, and vacuuming in the hallway and master guestroom (sorry about that, long legged spiders!). And of course I also did a conventional vacuuming jihad on the first floor. I was on such a chores-doing roll that I also did laundry (and hung it out on the clothesline) and mowed the yard.
In amongst all this, I finally figured out how to run a Python script from within PHP, which makes it easy for me to now write web pages that can do just about anything in the physical world with a Raspberry Pi. The key, it turned out, was running the scripts with sudo. (Changing ownership and giving permissions had done no good.) Since I have considerable PHP expertise, I could easily write a bare-bones web page that could automatically list all the audio files in a directory, making hyperlinks that, when clicked, played the files through the megaphone. There was now some unwanted noise in the system, probably because of the way the unshielded components are packed together in the megaphone's battery compartment.
Robert and Jorge arrived via ZipCar at around 5:00pm. They'd brought a neurotic little chihuahua (the kind with long hair hanging from his ears) named Toby. Initially Toby thought he might be able to kick some feline ass, but when Ramona and Neville came bounding out, his machismo whithered and he began to tremble. But the dogs (even Ramona!) were nice and Toby eventually calmed down.
I rode with Robert and Jorge to Woodstock to our dinner engagement with Gretchen. The car, by the way, was a Subaru from the future, with adaptive cruise control, a wide-angle backup screen, and automatic lane detection. I could see automatic deer detection being an extremely useful feature, though Robert was unsure such a thing existed. I was riding in the backseat at the time with tiny Toby, who regarded me with persistent suspicion through eyes that were clearly too big for their sockets.
We arrived at the Golden Notebook in the midst of a huge uptick in customer traffic, so Robert, Jorge, and I went over to the Garden Café for drinks while waiting for Gretchen to close the store and come join us. While the boys (not being vegans) went for the Beyond Burger and a tempeh BLT respectively, Gretchen and I both ordered the cauliflower tacos with potatoes instead of salad. For some reason they weren't nearly as good as they usually are (both Gretchen and I agreed).
We hadn't brought Ramona and Neville, mostly because it wasn't clear that there wouldn't be an altercation between Toby and Ramona. But there were plenty of dogs (as there usually are) in the outdoor garden of The Garden. One was very cute tan-colored "Sally-style" dog.
Both Jorge and Robert are big vaping enthusiasts, and when they asked the staff what The Garden's vaping policy was, nobody seemed to know.
Back at the house, I received the first professional haircut of my life. Jorge, who is a professional hair dresser in Manhattan, had been eager to give me a haircut. And, since I needed one, I'd agreed. It ended up being much more of a production that I expected, taking more than an hour. (By contrast, when I cut my own hair, it never takes more than ten minutes.) When it ended up being a little longer than I wanted it, Jorge sent me to retrieve my electric clippers from the greenhouse. Things went faster with those. The haircut looked good, and Gretchen remarked that my wearing "a real haircut" was going to take some getting used to. Amusingly, Jorge asked me a few questions that he should've known the answers to. Had I ever colored my hair? I had, but only in the 1990s to make it black. Do I use any products? No, I don't use products. And I don't particularly like the pronounification of the word "product."
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