plastic forks in the garden of the Garden
Saturday, June 6 2020
The panagram for this morning's Spelling Bee turned out to be "mudflap," which reminded me immediately of that Spinal Tap song "Big Bottoms," when I figured it out, which I did hours after Saturday morning coffee was over. Towards the end of that, I was testing my light cube controller board with single LEDs just to confirm it was working before going through all the trouble of creating a volume filled with 512 LEDs. It was good that I did, because the LED I tried suggested that the control electronics were not working. LEDs at some three-dimensional coordinates were on and others were off, but none appeared to be blinking, which would be what one would expect if an animation were running. Perhaps the STC i2c5a60s2 microcontroller had never received its firmware. If so, the complexity of flashing that seemed like more effort than I wanted to pursue. The STC i2c5a60s2 microcontroller is an offshoot of the venerable 8051 processor and unrelated to any of the processors in the Arduino ecosystem. To reglash the STC i2c5a60s2, I'd have to become familiar with and use a different tool set, and life is too short to stray so far from my core competencies.
Another fun little electronic project I've been tinkering with has been to convert an old computer speaker into a bluetooth speaker using a cheap little board from China that includes both a bluetooth decoder and an amplifier. After considerable frustration, I re-read the listing in eBay and learned that the board required a supply voltage of 12 instead of 5. Raising the supply voltage was all I had to do.
A sudden storm was brief enough not to affect Gretchen and Powerful's plans for this afternoon, though enough rain fell to fill the empty rain barrel at the northwest corner of the house. (Due to an unusually dry spring, yesterday I was forced to deploy a hose attached to the household plumbing, probably the earliest such deployment in a season since I set up the two rain barrels years ago.)
Gretchen and Powerful's plan was to meet up with Charles, one of Powerful's friends from prison who is now out and living in Brooklyn. Charles would be driving up from the City with his girlfriend Tasha and meeting Gretchen and Powerful at one of the rail trails, where they could so some socially-distanced socializing. After a couple hours, Gretchen called saying that Charles wanted to meet the dogs and wondered if I could drive them out to the West Hurley Park. But I was also fine with them coming to hang out with us on our east deck, and so that was what happened. I'd just set up the telescope spybot to watch the new hummingbird feeder, but we'd yet to get an actual hummingbird. Gretchen assembled various non-alcoholic drinks (since nobody buy me drank) and pastries that she and Powerful had baked. Ramona sat next to Charles, who kept petting and talking to her; he genuinely likes dogs. Topics of conversation included all the skanky internet women reaching out to Powerful, most of whom quickly ask for a sum of $50, either to rent a hotel room or pay for their kids' videogame expenses. We also talked about life here in the country, which was most unfamiliar to Powerful's friends.
At some point there was concern about whether or not Charles and Tasha would have enough time to drive back to Brooklyn before "the curfew" started at 8:00pm. Powerful has his own curfew, which is dictated by the terms of his parole, and Charles once had one too, but this curfew applied to everyone in New York City and was designed to separate people peacefully protesting the murder of George Floyd from looters and shit-stirrers. Eventually Charles and Tasha managed to reserve a room at a nearby hotel, meaning they wouldn't be subject to the curfew, meaning we could do what Gretchen really wanted to do: take Charles and Tasha to the Garden Café to expose them to the latest in vegan burger technology. Neither had much experience with explicitly vegan food, and Charles was reluctant enough to be worrying about "honoring" burgers that didn't contain genuine dead animals.
So we convoyed over to Woodstock, parking in the lot at the end of Old Forge Road as a semi-tame deer casually strolled through. The deer showed more concern once we brought out the dogs, but they were on leashes and couldn't give chase.
The original plan had been to take our food from the Garden to some place nearby with a picnic table. But we were allowed to use one of the tables in the Garden's large outdoor dining area instead, which made the experience similar to dining there in the Before Times, though with plastic forks and lots of cardboard to-go boxes. Whether he was sincere or not, Charles claimed that he liked his Beyond Burger. And Tasha got the cauliflower cream soup Gretchen had ordered for me after I found my burger and salad sufficient.
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