the right kind of blinkenlights
Friday, June 5 2020
I experienced a bit of malaise today after it was reported that the unemployment rate for May was unexpectedly low at 13.3 percent instead of the 20% most economists had predicted. This constituted good news for the Trump administration, just like every sunrise is good news for a rooster. And, objectively speaking, good news for the Trump administration is bad news for the world. Predictably, Trump siezed on the news to crow that the "best economy" the world "has ever known" was coming back. His free-styling evening brought in the image of George Floyd, the black man murdered by a white cop who kneeled for nearly nine minutes on his neck (and about whom much of the protest has been), saying Floyd was looking down from heaven, delighted to see the economy rebounding so quickly from the pandemic depression. The assumption was that, in heaven at least, George Floyd had gone full-on MAGA.
The worst thing about fascim, I read somewhere, is its æsthetics.
I don't much appreciate the zoo of LEDs (mostly indicating power status) on modern electronics. I'm particularly offended by the white LED on my work-issued HP Envy, whose rude flashing indicates that the laptop is sleeping. When one is traveling with that laptop, it's likely that I will be trying to sleep at the same time, and yet that white LED is strong enough to see through my closed eyelids. None of this is to say that I have a blanket dislike of LEDs. As a means of displaying information, particularly low-resolution data with high visibility across a room, nothing is better. I also like novelty manifestations of blinkenlights, such as infinity mirrors and light cubes. Recently I took delivery of a cheap eight by eight light cube kit from China, which was exciting even though I didn't exactly look forward to all the soldering and jigging required to make a cube containing 512 LEDs. Today I put together the control board, which is built around an STC i2c5a60s2 microcontroller, eight SN74HC573AN latches, and an ULN2803 Darlington array.
Later Powerful and I gave Gretchen some much-needed alone time by going for what we jokingly termed a "male-bonding" shopping run to Uptown. While Powerful did some initial shopping in Hannaford, I got some supplies in Herzog's, which was mostly related to bird feeding, because I want to set up my telescope-equipped spybot to watch the feathered descendants of dinosaurs. I got some cracked corn, a conventional bird feeder, and one designed to dispense sugar water to hummingbirds. (We'd had a hummingbird feeder since the Red House Party of 2004, but after years of use, it eventually fell apart.)
Powerful had already gotten most of the groceries we needed when I next saw him; all that was left to do was to get some Asian rice vermicelli, sambal oelek, cereal, bread, and sandwich-compatible faux cheese. Powerful was able to pay for all of it himself using, for the first time, his SNAP-benefits debit card.
This evening, Powerful and Gretchen made spring rolls using that rice vermicelli. They also made a big wok of "korean barbecue" (from the Herbivorous Butcher) stewed with vegetables and what not.
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