truths in the service of lies
Monday, December 15 2003
Not knowing when Gretchen would return from New York City today, my biggest priority this morning was to shovel out the driveway. The snow that had fallen had been particularly wet and heavy, and though there were only six or eight inches of it, shoveling it was hard work. I was out there in a howling arctic wind, dressed only in a sweatshirt, warmed only by the exertions of my muscles. Sally and Eleanor wanted to be out there with me, but the act of standing around watching me shovel snow wasn't enough exercise to keep them warm, so they retreated back inside.
In the space where the refrigerator goes I'd found evidence of water damage in the surrounding shelving, probably a result of overflow from the refrigerator's evaporation tray. The refrigerator is one of those frost-free models, one with a built-in freezer dehumidifier, and the tray collects water removed from the freezer's atmosphere. This tray is cleverly attached to the top of the refrigerator's motor, which tends to get hot and vibrate when it runs, both of which encourage the water in the tray to evaporate. But I have a feeling that in very humid conditions, particularly when the freezer door manages to stay ajar, the tray overflows before the water can evaporate. When this happens it leaks into the wall and causes trouble. So I left out a bunch of tiles on the floor beneath the refrigerator so I could build a secondary evaporation pond, one that sends its overflow (should it occur) out into the kitchen instead of into the wall.
In the course of finishing the wall details around the edge of the kitchen and the center island, I had to deal with the fact that the floor surface had been raised over a half inch. Since most of the moldings continued from places where the floor had not been raised, I found it easiest to just rip the moldings length-wise in places where they ran over the new floor. Mind you, I've never had a tool that was particularly good at ripping lumber. Generally I've had to do it with a skilsaw, which is rather dangerous when used for this purpose. Today I decided to rip the molding using my wetsaw, which is similar in geometry to the sort of table saws used to rip flooring. First I drained it of water and cleaned out all the pulverized tile dust. (The
wet tile dust formed a sort of high-density clay that eroded slowly under a stream of hot water, simulating desert erosion processes in extreme fast-forward.) I found that a 7.25 inch skilsaw blade fit in place of the wetsaw's 7 inch diamond blade, and nothing bad happened when I ran it unloaded. Feeding it lumber, its four amps proved weak for this application (particularly when the wood was oak), but it still worked fairly safely and much more precisely than a skilsaw.
Gretchen called me as she was leaving New York Cit; at the time I was in the middle of cleaning up all the mess from the tiling project. And I was only just finishing this cleaning process when she arrived some two hours later.
One of her clients is leaving the wintery northeast until March, and she gave Gretchen a bunch of food from her refrigerator. One of these things was a huge package of smoked salmon. Normally Gretchen doesn't allow any sort of meat in our house, but knowing how much I love lox and bagels, she decided to make this an exception, so long as I ate it off of disposable paper plates. In addition to the salmon, she went out and got me a bag of genuine New York everything bagels, a red onion, and several varieties of cream cheese.
The moment I ripped open that bag of salmon, Sally's nose was in the air, trying to make sense of the wonderfully unusual fragrance in the room. I had to give her some, anything else would have been both cruel and unusual.
This evening Gretchen and I watched the Tarantino movie Jackie Brown on DVD. It was excellent. It was one of the few movies I've ever seen where the plot climax actually happens after you're convinced it just happened. As with any Tarantino movie, the dialogue was delicious, the sort that kept me chuckling continuously with its cleverness. Samuel L. Jackson never missed an opportunity to refer to a person as a "nigga," and when that term wasn't appropriate, he used "mutha fucka" instead. The intrigue between the characters was mostly developed in the dialogue, and in this movie I was particularly struck by how deftly truths were used in the service of lies. It was sort of like the mirror-image of religion, where lies are used in the service of truth.
Meanwhile, I've had my radio station ("WGUS") playing a completely random mix of the thousands of songs in a directory known as k:\media. Recently I reverted back to WinAmp 2.X after a year or two of using WinAmp 3.X. WinAmp 2 is much less buggy than its successor, and nowhere is this more apparent than in its random number generator. The tunes played randomly by WinAmp 2 truely are random. Either that, or the random number algorithm logs its own behavior and deliberately avoids replaying any given song until all other songs in the list have been played. (Such an algorithmic kludge is the only good solution I can imagine to the oft-experienced failure of media player randomness.)
Sally poses with the new kitchen floor. Note the Stephen Huneck rug.
Dog toys I put in one place while cleaning up today. Note the wooden windchime.
Gretchen can think of no higher use for a windchime than as a dog toy.
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