sick of chicken of the woods, 2020
Sunday, September 20 2020
Today there was a lot of shooting down at the bus turnaround, and it began in the late morning while I was still out walking the dogs (Gretchen is back to not walking in hopes the gash in her knee will heal). I didn't do anything at all about the shooting; I don't want to feel like I have to take action every fucking time. Perhaps someone else in our neighborhood got sick of it and took action, either going down there to complain or calling one of the local authorities (who sometimes do something and sometimes don't).
For the first time ever today, I managed to flash a sketch to an Arduino using Arduino-cli from a Raspberry Pi Zero W. I'd been unable to successfully flash an Arduino using the Pi's built-in GPIO-based serial port (/dev/serial0), but using the USB connection, I was able to flash via /dev/ttyUSB0. Now that I understand that process, it should be relatively easy to incorporate remotely-upgradeable Arduino-based subsystems into the headless Raspberry-Pi devices I like to build. I will have to remember to alter the Arduinos to run on 3.3 volts instead of the five volts if I hope to make them communicate with the Raspberry Pi over I2C (my preferred protocol), since Raspberry Pis suffer when attached to five volt logic.
This afternoon, I did several long-procrastinated chores related to compost and nitrogenous waste. My laboratory urinal has gotten a lot more use since I resumed working remotely with the pandemic, over the past couple weeks its ability to drain has slowly trickled to a stop (due to whatever builds up in the narrow pipes; I picture the problem being urea crystals, which can probably grow continuously in flushless system like this). The solution was to use my "urinal pressurizer" attached to a small compressor to force Liquid PlumrTM through the system. But before I could do that, I had to first bury the urine-soaked pine needles in the piss-collection bucket near the northeast corner of the house. While doing that, I also cleaned out one of the kitchen compost bins and spread the resulting compost on the west end of the garden. The flushing of the urinal went much better than it usually does, and it was all done in about ten minutes. I didn't even have an overflow situation in the laboratory to mop up. As always, I dumped the toxic mix of urea and Liquid Plumr on the road, where it could quickly dry up before poisoning the local ecosystem.
As always, the fumes coming up out of the urinal were noxious; I suspected they contained a certain amount of chlorine gas. Strangely, though, Oscar the Cat was completely unconcerned, and was underfoot the whole time as usual. The last time I'd had to unclog the laboratory urinal had been back in June of 2018.
After getting home from her bookstore shift, Gretchen made an improvised meal of roasted potatoes and other vegetables with a kale-tempeh crumble. To this she also served, as a side for those who would eat them, the leftover breaded-and-fried mushrooms I'd made last night. But there's just something about chicken of the woods that makes me definitely not want them after I've eaten a certain amount in a season. Their flavor starts to fill me with dread, and I do what I can to avoid them. While watching the hilarious fifth episode of the second season of Barry with Gretchen, I had one finger of yesterday's fried mushroom on my plate, and the idea of eating it so revolted me that I gave it to Neville, who immediately gobbled it up.
This evening we had another chat with Gretchen's family over Zoom, with me sipping scotch while chatting from the laboratory and Gretchen and Powerful chatting from in front of her computer in the first floor office. Topics of discussion included the horrifying death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg and the spike of coronavirus cases in Washington County, Arkansas, where Gretchen's brother's family lives. Gretchen's brother is an administrator at the University of Akansas, and he says that there are over 1000 active infections on campus, where students have returned (though Gretchen's brother hasn't been in his office since March, except on weekends). As for our niece and nephew, they're still doing all their classes remotely, though a few of their classmates are actually going to the classroom every day, which is now an option.
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