descending from Skytop
Saturday, January 1 2011
location: Room 234, Skytop Inn, Ulster Township, Ulster County, New York
I forgot to mention that the Chinese food last night made both Gretchen and me ill last night. She blamed the grease, but I blamed the salt. We also think that the thing on the menu where it said "No MSG" was possibly a lie. I didn't really recover gastrointestinally until I made the sort of use of our motel restroom that I normally reserve for my brownhouse. Thankfully, though, the early morning hours were relatively quiet. The people whose phone conversations I'd been able to overhear had left very early (though I'd heard every mechanical note of the cheesy electronic melody played by their alarm system).
Gretchen and I had disagreed about how hot to keep the room last night. By the time we'd gone to bed, it had felt like a sauna and I was pleading with her to turn the damn window heater off. She thought I was crazy or perhaps sick, saying it was cold in our room and that the heat felt good. It's possible she was right; neither of the dogs were seen panting, something they would normally do in an environment where I'm feeling so overheated.
Skytop features a self-serve continental breakfast. Other than metallic orange juice and surprisingly-drinkable (if dilute) coffee, there was nothing a vegan would consume unless trapped for 17 days in a Chilean mine collapse.
The day stated out sunny and warm enough to stand around outside in a sweater holding a styrofoam cup of dilute coffee. The view from Skytop is fairly spectacular, though the nearby Esopus valley isn't anywhere near as pretty as it is further south nearer us. Here it's occupied by a massive cloverleaf highway interchange and even the snow-covered fields were a mess of muddy tracks left by knuckleheads driving a variety of vehicles.
I spent my New Years Day doing two completely unrelated things. One of these was splitting up much of what remains to be split of the elm and pine recently salvaged from in front of our house. Some of these pieces were incredibly difficult to split, requiring three different wedges and even an axe (so as to sever connective ribbons of wood). I banged away so hard at those wedges that I developed a number of muscle pains I've never experienced before. One of these in my right shoulder was so close to the surface that it actually felt like an injury in my skin.
The completely different thing I did was research the state of the art in free open source operating systems (this was part of my endless pursuit of a stand-alone MP3 player suitable to plug into a living room stereo). The most interesting of these, which I'd never heard of before, was MenuetOS. I downloaded a copy, which fits on a single floppy disk, and booted it up. Amazingly, the designer managed to cram an entire GUI-based OS, complete with a set of simple applications, into that tiny space. If it had included an MP3 player, it would have been perfect. (The problem with MP3 as a format is that it cannot legally be decoded without paying someone a licensing fee; I don't know how they get around this in Linux and other free OSes.)
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