for nearly four
Saturday, December 3 2005
Gretchen took our friend and neighbor Andrea on a tour of the distant reaches of the Stick Trail system today and showed her the place where the grisly still life of dead coyotes had been erected. As with everyone else, she was suitably appalled. We've yet to talk to anyone with the opinion that the coyote murderer was a hero. Andrea had never been on the Stick Trail before, and as with everyone else its sheer scale blew her mind. It's one thing to see sticks on either side of the trail for some distance. It's another to notice the sticks continuing for miles.
Andrea's visit gave Gretchen the idea to have a little dinner party tonight. So she spent the late afternoon in the kitchen making lasagna while I was salvaging transistors in an effort to improvise a ULN2003 replacement before my order of them arrives in the mail.
I was able to get this system working, but it was plagued by serious back-and-forth switching near the switchover point. I have no idea why the hysteresis would be one way for one form of digital-to-high voltage circuit and different for another, considering that in both cases the high voltage is derived from a static digital signal: the state of a 74LS74 flip flop.
We ended up having three guests for dinner: the youngish Ms. Tillson as well as Tony (the manufacturer of small-batch sauces) and Andrea, the woman with whom Gretchen had walked on the Stick Trail earlier. Both of the latter are about sixty years old and single and Gretchen had the idea that they should, you know, hook up. It's something she'd freely discussed with both of them, so it wasn't like she was springing this on them.
Her plans went well, as it turned out Tony and Andrea have even more interests in common than Gretchen had known about. They're both into photography and have recently started using digital equipment, a subject about which they could both totally nerd-out, so to speak. As confirmation that things were going well, Tony broke his "three hour rule" for parties, staying for nearly four.
Amusingly, the things that Ms. Tillson brought as her contribution to tonight's festivities were both products that had been manufactured in small batches by Tony. She'd picked them up at the store because they're healthy and regional, unaware that she'd be hanging out with the guy who'd made them. It's a small world up here, at least among the people who don't buy spray cheese.
As for Tony himself, he brought over an apple cobbler he'd made and a bottle of wine made by one of his buddies. The rest of the wine (and there was a lot) was supplied by Andrea.
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