like a fart in a space suit
Thursday, September 19 2019
It was a foggy drive into work this morning, and if the Prius windshield hadn't been so filthy, the pictures I took would've been worth posting somewhere. It was about 7:30am when I crossed the Hudson, and, though the Jersey barrier installation hadn't completed, traffic had yet to back up.
At work, I added more familiar features to my Angular-based generic reporting system, particularly a system for running SQL before the generation of the parametric form. Being able to do this is essential if one or more of the parameters are to be based on existing data. If you want a value to be selected from a dropdown to be based on records in a table, that's how things have to work. I actually managed to get this system working better on the first attempt using the asynchronous Node.js backend than I had when building the Mercy For Animals version (which used a much easier-to-work-with synchronous PHP backend).
Not everything at work was great however; today when I went to the rustic gentlemen's room in the back, I found that its toilet seat was suffering from the same sort of disgusting condition I'd first witnessed at the more-trafficked gentelmen's room in the front. This besmirtchment places a brownish smear in the back center of the toilet seat, as if the person who had last sat there had an asscrack so big, nasty, and (perhaps most importantly) hard-to-reach that they were helpless but to leave any surface they sat on in a stomach-turning condition. In the past, I've fled toilets I found in this state, but today I cleaned the toilet seat and made do.
Humans are inherently disgusting, a view that was further confirmed later in the day when I listened to a YouTube video describing how American astronauts are forced to deal with their bodily functions in zero gravity. For some reason, the thing that haunted me the rest of the day was the information that if you fart in your space suit, there's no avoiding smelling it. For some reason, having that thought in my mind (more than the vision of that besmirched toilet seat) made anyone I looked at instantly repulsive, no matter how physically attractive they happened to be.
In the mid-afternoon, I checked the traffic conditions and it looked like congestion was building on the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge, so I sent a Slack message to Alex telling him I would be working the rest of the day from home and left.
Back home, there was enough a late-September chill in the house to make one not want to hang out there. Gretchen and the dogs sat in a chaise lounge in the driveway, where the sun made conditions ideal. I took my work-issued laptop down to the greenhouse upstairs (where conditions were also ideal) and did a couple hours of work down there. At some point Ramona joined me, taking rare advantage of the dog bed that's down there.
While I was down there, I did something I'd been procrastinating for over a year: swapping out the shit can (now more than half full of shit) with an empty shit can. I was surprised the damn thing wasn't harder to move, but perhaps all the shitting I do at work (and, to tell the truth, in the house) has significantly reduced the rate of shitcumulation. SInce I hadn't opened the hatch to the shit can in over a year, there it wasn't surprising to see there'd been some unusual activity down in the brownhouse basement since last I'd looked. Some mammalian had somehow found its way in there and then tried to chew his way out through the shit can hatch, which made mostly of blue styrofoam. This resulted in a hole about the size of a my hand, though the crritter had only made it to the wood layer on the outside of the hatch. Either he'd then found some other way to escape or he'd died down there (though there was no evidence of that).
I never really thought I had much interest in my personal geneology. If I had, neither of my parents had ever done much to satisfy it. For example, they'd told me little or nothing about their grandparents; the only one I knew anything about was my father's maternal grandmother, who was supposedly paralyzed by a fall from an apple tree somewhere in Austria and then emigrated to the United States, where she never learned to speak any English. And my father was actively hostile to the genealogical outreach of others in his family, particularly one of his long-lost half-brothers who contacted him at some point in the 1980s. But my attitude on all of this changed after getting back my 23andMe.com results and seeing a list of over a thousand people connected to me by fragments of DNA. It was hard not to wonder about these people and what circumstances connected them to me. This really wasn't all that different from my interest in stem mammals, the origins of placental mammals, and all the evolution-related Wikipedia pages that suck me in and keep me reading.
Tonight I went on a hunt through a great many 23andMe connections looking for someone from my mother's lineage, since nearly all the ones I'd seen so far had been Muellers (my father's father's family), few of whom had ventured far from their home turf of Appleton, Wisconsin. As I did this, I found myself wanting some sort of search engine. But then it turned out that there was a link where I could download all the information about all my known DNA relatives in a spreadsheet, something I could easily search (or, if I wanted to, import into my own database). Using this, I was able to find a couple people who had Ilsleys (my maternal Grandmother's last name) and DeMars (my mother's last name) in their families. Strangely, I only found one other person in the whole 1200-person database from my X2 mitochondrial haplogroup.
Later this evening I made the mistake of returning to my LoRa project. I was cheered by initial success after carefully reading the notes for that video I discovered the other day and learning that there's this whole other way to install Arduino libraries. This somehow bypassed all my library version problems, and the sketch was able to compile. But at some point I realized the Arduino IDE had lost its connection to the Leonardo Arduino I was using. That was odd; maybe I was experiencing the downside of using cheap Chinese knock-offs (something I do without shame). But when a second Leonardo suffered the same fate, I realized there was something oddly Arduino-killing about the sketch. Had it somehow corrupted the bootloader? But when I tried to reinstall the bootloader, the USBTiny bootloader installer couldn't even talk to either Leonardo. Had they been bricked? You can imagine the frustration this was giving me, and I had no patience at all when suddenly Celeste the Cat wanted to jump up onto my computer desk, the place where I was doing my Arduino tinkering. (Cats are almost autistic in their inability to read a room.)
At some point, I realized that a yellow LED on the Leonardo board did a weird slow-pulse thing whenever I did a quick double-click on the reset button. And when this was happening, the board momentarily showed up again in the list of ports on the Arduino IDE. Better still, it was possible to send a new sketch to the Leonardo while the LED was pulsing. The LoRa sketch didn't seem to work at all on the Leonardo, so I then tried reflashing the board with a sketch that I knew would work. Amazingly, this restored the Leonardo back to full functionality. Something about the LoRa sketch was killing the Leonardo and even rendering it almost-unreachable. I wasted a good two hours of my life on this problem, but at least by the time I went to bed, the Leonardos were working and I knew not to install that stupid LoRa script on them.
On my early drive home this afternoon, I passed a gaggle of geese that had just crossed Middle Road from west to east. Normally I only see the muscovy ducks in or near the road.
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