drive to Yorktown Heights
Wednesday, February 19 2020
I was at work this morning with Ramona when I finally figured that I had been looking at the wrong tab of Outlook (its web-based manifestation, which I am still getting used to for work emails). When I checked the correct tab, I was horrified to learn that last night Alex had sent a note saying we'd meeting in Yorktown Heights today with tax professionals from local municipalities and that the time of departure would be 8:50am, only ten minutes away. Then I saw my colleague Rich come in wearing a nice shirt and jacket, and I realized I was also underdressed. So I told him to Teams me (Teams being our collaboration software) the address and I'd meet him there. Then I loaded Ramona into the car and drove directly home. There always seems to be a flag man standing in your way whenever you're in a hurry, and today was no different. (It looked like there was some sort of utility-replacing jihad underway on Dug Hill Road.)
Suited up in respectable clothes and wearing actual dress shoes (instead of my usual Keen's sandals) , I made good time driving down the Thruway. Somewhere along the way, I realized I needed to urinate, and there was no time to be pulling over. So I grabbed a plastic bottle and pissed into that as best I could despite its narrow mouth. I thought I was doing well until I looked down at my trousers, which were now soaking in an embarrassing location. I managed to dab off some of that with a napkin and then hoped the rest would evaporate. The evaporation of damp patches usually happens quickly from trousers due only to body heat, but I was wearing insulated trousers, which acted to both soak up additional urine and insulate against my body. The drive took almost an hour and a half, and towards the end there (as I passed signs for Donald J. Trump State Park on the Taconic Parkway), I started to fear that I was going to walk in late to a meeting with a big wet spot on my crotch. The key to getting rid of that spot was by jerking my pants up and down rapidly as I drove, which drove just enough air through the dampness to dry most of it way.
When I walked into the Yorktown Heights Town Hall, I didn't immediately know what to do, but when I looked in through the tax payment window, I saw my co-worker Rich back there. He quickly directed one of the ladies nearby, and one of them showed me where to go. It turned out Rich was there for tax business somewhat unrelated to what Alex and I were there to do.
Happily, Alex had not yet begun his presentation in the big(ish) meeting hall, where 15 people had gathered to see what our new software upgrade would look like. Rich had been really good at calming my anxiety about how Alex (who can be quick to anger) was taking my fuckup. But now that I was there pretty much on-time, it seemed all was forgiven. Alex ended up doing a great demonstration of all his mock-ups of the application we've been building, and I helped by advancing through his slides and (mostly) keeping his laptop from going into sleep mode. I also took careful notes, which I had to do in a Slack message to myself on my phone, since I hadn't brought a notepad. (I might've used a text editor, but with Slack you can count on a partially-typed message surviving just about any sort of software or hardware malfunction.) The tax professionals were largely middle-aged and mostly (but not completely) white. They were more cheerful and funnier than I expected, and they seemed to take Alex's presentation very well.
Afterwards, there was a little standing around and chit-chatting. Someone had even provided refreshments, so I helped myself to a bagel and some coffee. "Don't eat too much," Alex advised, saying we would be going out for sushi for lunch. Then he had second thoughts, wondering if I actually eat sushi. Perhaps he didn't know that there is usually a whole section on most sushi menus full of vegan options.
After extricating Rich from the tax processing office (where he'd been bedeviled by a small bug in Eeyore John's latest software release), we convoyed over to the Sushi place, Hirame Sushi. Lunch topics included vegan food Gretchen doesn't like (she doesn't like seaweed, so we don't often find ourselves at sushi places), the miracle of open source software (which Rich referred to under the umbrella term "Github": he's not too experienced with recent innovations in computer technology) and Alex's face-blindness (he wondered if a guy in the corner at the sushi place might've been at his presentation).
After lunch, Alex and Rich had to go back to the Yorktown Heights tax office to do other things, but I was free to head back north. It wasn't yet 2:00pm, but by the time I got back near home, it was after 3:00, so I went directly home. The dogs were so happy to see me that I took them for a walk down the Farm Road.
Back in the laboratory, I finally figured out why my Raspberry Pi master was failing to send data to the Arduino slave it was trying to control. It turned out that I was using the Wire.onRequest handler instead of the one for Wire.onReceive. I now had the information I needed to answer my still-unanswered question on StackOverflow.com. Perhaps I should go through answering all the other unanswered Raspberry-Pi-I2C questions there. (There aren't many patterns of ignorance on that platform; though this appears to be one.)
Because Gretchen (but not Neville) had worked a long day at the bookstore today, I decided to prepare dinner tonight. I cooked up a big bag of organic mezzi paccheri noodles and a pan full of mushrooms, onions, cube-cut tofu, and a whole big box of organic spinach (which cooked down to almost nothing). This was intended as Italian food, and with red sauce it was even better than I'd expected, perhaps because of all the black pepper and lightly-cooked garlic I'd used.
This evening, after I'd taken a bath, Nancy came over with Jack the Dog to watch the Democratic debate, the one where Mike Bloomberg was beaten remorselessly. Gretchen said she'd seen a lot of debates, but never one so delightfully bruising. Nobody has it coming more than Mike Bloomberg. Well, almost nobody. Nobody was drinking except me; I managed to drink two beers before the 100 milligrams of diphenhydramine sent me to bed prematurely.
Alex delivering his presentation.
A close-up of that seal.
The side of the tax payment window you never normally see. Not a good angle for Alex.
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