exoplanet probe data
Saturday, January 15 2011
Mark, my favorite conspiracy researcher, had come up for the weekend with his family and were staying with Ray and Nancy down in Old Hurley. He called me and invited me over for burritos. Unless Gretchen is cooking for me, burritos is pretty much all I eat these days. In fact, when Mark called I had just begun to sautée myself some onions and mushrooms for a burrito of my own making.
Meanwhile Gretchen had been gone for the day and returned to the delightful news that she would now be getting more alone time. On the way to Ray and Nancy's, I stopped at the Stewarts for a sixer of Mountain Brew Ice and the healthiest corn chips they sold (which were, sadly, fried and not baked). This was out of respect for Ray's austere new diet.
Part of the reason Mark likes to hang out with me is that we can go out to Ray's studio, where the clock is stuck at 4:20 whenever Mark is around. It's harder and harder to find 4:20 buddies in our generation (and apparently 4:20 and bypass surgery do not go well together).
There were seven of us at dinner tonight, and Ray was burrito artist. He and I had independently discovered the large whole wheat tortillas sold by Adams, the single discovery that has made my recent switch from snerches (deluxe sandwiches) to burritos feasible. Ray didn't seem to know about Toffuti-brand sour cream, so the two vegan burritos he made (his and mine) were cream-free. Everyone else got both sour cream and grated cheese on theirs. Since Ray was making every burrito with individual ingredients, he could even leave out the cooked carrots from mine.
As we were sitting around the table, occasionally we'd be nuzzled by the various dogs present. I reached down to scratch one on the head at one point and found that it wasn't actually a dog but instead a five year old human, Mark and Lynne's daughter V., who still exhibits selective mutism around people as unfamiliar as me.
For me, the clock had been stuck at 4:20 long enough for me to actually enjoy parts of the überfemme computer-generated movie The Berryfest Princess (the kind of programming one watches when little girls are controlling it). I found myself imaging that it was a video obtained from a space probe sent to a distant exoplanet, one where humanoids look like fashionable little girls tragically beset with incurable cankleitis. The imagery was gorgeous, with deeply-saturated colors, glistening highlights, flawless ray tracing, and only slightly-inconsistent physical laws. For Ray (not the ones being traced), watching it was like watching someone else play a videogame.
Later, at my request, we watched the second half of that two-hour episode of the Bachelor that we'd started watching a few days before. It seems Nancy had switched to Hoarders half-way through because she'd assumed we hadn't been enjoying it. More puzzling than the switch was the fact that the other day we'd been watching both shows in real time even though Ray and Nancy have a DVR. I'm guessing that they haven't yet taught themselves to think the way a DVR allows you to think about television. The sum total of all such habits is what makes the difference between someone who is young and native to a technology (as I was to tape recorders, radios, and telephones) and someone who is a reluctant immigrant (your parents).
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