last of the cabin grouting
Thursday, June 2 2022
location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY
Yesterday while checking on the cabin on a Chromebook from the bathtub, I saw that it had lost its internet connection. This surely meant that the watchdog would be resetting it. But it never managed to coax a connection out of it all evening long, possibly because of heavy rain. By this morning, though, it was back on line and reporting data from the solar system and temperature probes normally. In the past when it hotspot went out, that was it, I had to drive there to fix it. It greatly increases its utility that it can now reset itself, and it's a real wonder the Moxee hotspot wasn't designed to do so. (As I've postulated in the past, its inability to recover from a lost internet connection might be a "feature" that Cricket insisted on before making it the only WiFi hotspot they provide, since this does lower the amount of data it consumes and ensures that unattended use can only go on for so long.)
For the past few days, my four-year-old work-issued laptop (an HP Envy with a Ryzen 2500U CPU) has been running so hot that its fan (which rarely comes on in normal use) has been running like a jet engine. I checked the temperature of the CPU and saw it was running up in the high 80s (celsius), which is very hot for a computer that isn't doing anything but background tasks. Maybe there was some obstruction of the ventillation system and I needed to open it up. But first I checked the Task Manager to see if anything was using a lot of CPU. There was a process called AntiMalware Service that seemed to be causing problems, so I did what some web page recommended and downloaded the Microsoft Safety Scanner, which I thought was some sort of malware scanning system but which turned out to be a stupid file-by-file virus scanner that was likely to alert me about the presence of key generators and Bittorrenting software on my computer (since Microsoft's agenda doesn't actually align with mine with respect to the computers I use).
It turns out that it's impossible to simply stop the AntiMalware Service in the Task Manager, but one can add a key to the registry to kill it. After I did that this evening, the CPU cooled down to a more normal 42 degrees celsius and the fan quickly shut off. This was yet another experience of "the cure" (anti-malware software) being worse than "the disease" (malware itself). One doesn't really have trouble with malware if one follows a few basic rules, but if one can't follow such rules and instead blindly relies on anti-malware software, then you're likely to at some point see your computer give itself over entirely to the cause of fighting malware. I say that having seen this in action in earlier phases of computer history. (In the early 2000s it was common for computer housecall clients to have increasingly-bloated suites of Norton Antivirus installed on their poor Pentium-4-based machines, and it was common for there to be little CPU capacity leftover after all Norton's tasks started up.)
In the remote workplace, I continued my struggle with building a Azure DevOps build pipeline that used Python to transform configuration files. My work today was mostly thwarted by a download step I'd added to the release phase. When present, this made a default behavior that I'd been counting on no longer happen. There might be documentation of this somewhere, but when I tried to Google it, it didn't turn up in any search. Given how few people respond to my StackOverflow questions about these things, I feel like all my efforts in this field is making me into one of the very few experts on it, and that's not just the Dunning-Kruger talking.
At noon, I drove the Forester to the abandoned bluestone mine, where I found an old overgrown forest road that was driveable and led up to the top of the mine face, the cliff that keeps calving rock falls. I didn't venture near the precipice but found a number of great bluestone pieces.
I snuck out of work early after loading the bluestone, several long coiled pieces of PEX a friend gave to me over a decade ago, and the dogs into the Chevy Bolt. Gretchen had another engagement for this weekend, so the dogs and I drove up to the cabin on our own, getting a jump on the weekend by a day.
Traffic is rarely very heavy on the route to Albany, and whenever it is, it's almost always due to bad driving. Lately I've noticed truckers driving side-by-side in both lanes at whatever speed they go, which is slower than the cars want to go. This effectively creates a rolling block that gradually accumulated a line of impatient cars trying to break through. But it's impossible so long as two trucks drive this way, and they can easily do it for then miles or more. I don't know if they do this to be sadistic or if there is some practical rationale.
On the way to the cabin I stopped at the Tile Shop near Albany to pick up that second ten pounds of expensive grout that neither Gretchen nor I like, but that we are stuck with given that we'd half-grouted the wall tiles of the cabin's upstairs bathroom with that particular grout. After I got the grout, I drove around back to let the dogs out so they could piss, but of course they made a beeline for the dumpster used by Capital Buffet, which was mobbed with hundreds of flies. Thankfully, I couldn't see what was attracting them, because someone had put a bunch of cardboard into the dumpster (evidently they're not big on recycling at Capital Buffet).
My next stop was at the Home Depot in Amsterdam, where I bought a number of things I had on a list I was carrying, including a sledge hammer, sanding discs, lubricating oil, yet another speed square, and a few other things. I couldn't find a small container of lubricating oil, so I ended up buying a whole fucking quart of motor oil. This is mostly for the two long-neglected conventional bicycles that I recently brought to the cabin.
Next door to Home Depot is a Hannaford, so I went there next to get some groceries for my long weekend at the cabin. Among the things I got there was a pizza crust, kimchi, a tub of guacamole (something Gretchen would never buy), stand & stuff taco shells, a tub of Earth Balance faux butter (why would anyone ever get real butter when this exists?), and a four pack of Dragon's Milk barrel-aged stout, which is 11% alcohol (perhaps the most alcohol-rich thing a grocery store can sell in New York State, since they can't sell wine). The last stop I made in Amsterdam was at Burger King, where I got the usual Impossible Whopper & two large orders of fries that I get when I'm traveling with the dogs.
I was listening to WEXT as I drove east to west throught he north side of Gloversville. They played a long I hadn't heard in decaded: "I'm Not Going to Let It Bother Me Tonight" by the Atlanta Rhythm Section. It was played endlessly on the radio in the late 1970s but then fell out of favor and was forgotten. There's a lot of nostalgia potential in a song that old that was once so popular but then fell our of favor. Amusingly, the song has the line (repeated several times) "Tomorrow I might go as far as suicide," which, in our trigger-obessed society of 2022, would immediately kill any potential for a song written today. [Even the Wikipedia entry uses the euphemism "the most desperate measures" instead of "suicide."]
Once I got to the cabin, I immediately began charging the car (so as to take advantage of the fully-charged cabin battery) and then had my dinner, starting with the fries and then eating the Whopper. Once I was done with the fries, I divided the second order of fries in half and gave each half to the respective dogs.
And then I mixed up the grout I'd just bought and grouted the rest of the second floor bathroom. This went so quickly that a dose of diphenhydramine I'd taken before mixing the grout hadn't kicked in by the time I was cleaning up after all the mess that grouting produces.
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