Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").
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Tuesday, November 25 2014
This morning, Gretchen and I loaded up the dogs, this time into the Subaru (our Honda Civic Hybrid is now plateless and keyless in our yard, and it's not even technically ours any more) and returned to Goshen to pick up our 2010 Toyota Prius, a move that would make us officially Hondaless for the first time since moving Upstate.
Yesterday Gretchen had withdrawn $10,600 from the bank, and $10,000 had been given to her in a banded stack of one hundred hundred dollar bills. The band allowed the teller to hand it over without bothering to count it. Surprisingly, it had been right there in the drawer, ready to hand over (keep that in mind if you're ever robbing a bank!). Of course, nothing is easy in this day of drug kingpins and terrorist sleeper cells, so Gretchen had to first go through some sort of interview process wherein she divulged such information as where she works and what she does. Even so, she'd left the Woodstock branch of our credit union without their having photocopied her driver's license (which is also a requirement), so they'd actually sent someone over to the bookstore later to obtain that.
At Frank's house in Goshen, it took Frank awhile to count the money, but never had to start over and, at the end, he declared it was all there. We signed all the paperwork, attached the plates from the Honda Civic, loaded up the dogs (who had been running around in Frank's yard and had even made a dash into his low-ceilinged rug-heavy house at one point), and drove back north towards New Paltz. I was driving the Subaru and Gretchen, always in the lead, driving in the Prius. Mind you, the Prius was not yet street legal at this point. I'd slapped plates on it, but they didn't match the title, and in any case it had a New Jersey inspection sticker on it for some reason. Anyone who knows the rules could look at the car and immediately see that it wasn't legal, though they would have to look at it carefully. The chance of that happening on I-84 or the Thruway was low; the goal there was to avoid being pulled over. So, as I followed Gretchen, I was a little nervous to find I occasionally had to drive 80 miles per hour to keep up. And there were an awful lot of cops on the road, something we'd also noticed on our last drive to Goshen and back. But we got to New Paltz alright, arriving at our destination without incident. That destination was the Plaza Diner, which (despite expectations) serves the best spaghetti & marinara in the Hudson Valley. Most of the others were there for big disgusting plates of eggy slime, including an obsese woman who devoured her meal in the passenger seat of an American-flag-festooned car parked outside. It looked as if it would have been too big of a production to try to get her into the restaurant.
As we finished our delicious plates of spaghetti, Maresa (of Mark & Maresa; they might be getting back together) arrived and sat with us for a spell. She works as a baker in New Paltz and Gretchen had ordered some Thanksgiving cookies from her. While they went off to do cookie stuff in New Paltz, I transferred the dogs into the Prius and drove it directly to Kingston to make it street legal. I realized somewhere along the way that I didn't even have a screwdriver in the car with which to extract and reattach the plates, so I had to make a stop at Herzog's, where I bought a very nice Phillips. Everything went great at the Uptown DMV, but because the paperwork didn't adequately prove the sub-market price we'd paid for the car, I had to pay taxes on its full market value. But the laconic fat tattooed aging hipster guy working my case assembled the forms I needed to provide the necessary documentation and claw that back money from New York State.
Back at the house, I removed a blank rectangular plastic plug from the Prius dashboard and installed a loop of steel wire into it (I did this by bending the wire to the correct shape, heating it with a butane flame, and plunging the hot metal through the plastic. This loop would serve as an attachment for a Sansa Clip Zip MP3 player, allowing us to listen to music files and podcasts in the car. It has a bare-bones stereo, but the auxiliary jack makes it a lot easier to add an MP3 player than it was to do so to the Subaru (which also sports a Sansa Clip Zip, clipped imperfectly onto the fold-out cup holder).
In other things, I had a few scares with my Makerbot Thingomatic today as I tried to reassemble it after experimenting with different Arduino Megas as controller boards. I kept having trouble getting the various axes to work, though it was initially because various cables had come off. In my haste to debug it, though, I accidentally misattached a stepper motor, which seemed to throw a motor driver into an unusable state that persisted through a power cycle. To get it working again, I had to disconnect it for a moment and reconnect it, but that wasn't intuitive, and neither were the controls in ReplicatorG for exercising the extruder (which I also feared I'd somehow destroyed). In the end, I managed to get it all working again, but at several junctures I feared that I would have to replace one or more stepper motor drivers. This sent me onto the web to look for replacements, whereupon I realized that there are none, at least not for the Thingomatic. Only two and a half years old, it's already a piece of vintage equipment.
Throughout the day, temperatures fell from yesterday's balmy highs. By this evening, a few flakes of snow were falling. Though I could have waited some more days, I decided to turn on the boiler for the season, something Gretchen had been lobbying for for a couple weeks. After flipping the red switch and hitting the reset button (I don't usually have to do that second thing), it started right up.
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