house warming on California Quarry
Saturday, February 8 2014
Recently I got a Honeywell-TN924W weather station cheap on Ebay with the intention of seeing whether or not the range problem with a Meade TE923W was with the station or with the transmitters in the sensors. I've determined that the range on the 433 MHz technology used by Meade (and evidently licensed by Honeywell) is not nearly as good as the 915 MHz technology used by Ambient Weather, but there was still a big reception improvement with the cheap Honeywell station, suggesting the reception board in the Meade TE923W happened to be at least somewhat flawed. The reason I want to use a the Meade/Honeywell devices instead of Ambient Weather is that the former support multiple temperature sensors, and I want be able to remotely monitor temperatures down in the greenhouse. But if the sensor range had been as poor as the initial Meade TE923W proved to be, that ability wouldn't have counted for much. The problem with the Honeywell-TN924W was horrible interface design. I want to hang it on a wall and monitor multiple sensors, but (believe it or not), the button allowing the user to switch between sensors is on the back of the device (along with a number of other buttons). Today I solved that problem as best I could. I layed out three holes equally-spaced holes along a straight line on the front of the case using a straight edge, a razor blade, and a drafting divider. I then installed three small Radio Shack normally-off momentary push buttons, and wired them to the places within the device that were shorted by the pushing of three of those button on the back (including the up & down arrow buttons and the channel button). I also added a switch to disable the internal speaker, which is supposed to give voice to a transmitted weather alert system but which mostly just makes me want to throw the damn thing across the room. These improvements made the Honeywell-TN924W into a viable presenter of the sensor data, though the range is still not as good as I would like (I can't get reliable readings from a temperature sensor in the greenhouse unless I put the Honeywell-TN924W in the dining room).
This evening I met Gretchen at the bookstore in Woodstock as she was shutting the place down. We'd be going to a housewarming party of Gretchen's long-time masseuse Cornelia, who is currently dating the former-husband of the woman who owns the Woodstock bookstore, that is, Gretchen's boss. (Woodstock is small enough that characters get reused for different purposes as needed just like on The Simpsons). It was still early at closing time, so we wanted to get a drink before going to the party. For some reason Joshua's (our favorite nearby watering hole) was closed, so I suggested we go to Catskill Mountain Pizza instead. Ever since they added that new back room area with its bar, it's been at least as good as the Landau, which was the only other option we could think of. What am I saying, it's actually better than the Landau because the beer selection is so much better at Catskill Mountain Pizza. The Dirt Wolf IPA I had there this evening was almost perfect (and much more complicated and citrusy than my go-to IPA of late, Sierra Nevada Torpedo). We also got an order of beer-batter fries; I'd forgotten yet again about the incompatibility of ketchup and IPA. Over this, we talked about our mutual underemployment. Gretchen also fretted about the bookstore's viability. In the age of Amazon, it's a little like a coach whip retailer. Gretchen would like to work more hours, but there aren't enough hours available. I suggested she try to get hired at other local bookstores (such as Oblong Books in Rhinebeck).
The party was up on California Quarry Road (just above the house of a guy who was a regular computer housecall client back when I did that). It was a big house with huge glass windows with a commanding view to the south. The Askhokan Reservoir was blocked by the dark ridge of Ohayo Mountain, but beyond that, one could see the sparkly lights of the Rondout Valley and Mohonk Mountain House. Gretchen only knew three people at the party: Cornelia, her boyfriend, and the woman who'd been their real estate agent. I only knew Cornelia, and not all that well. It was surprising that out of the 20 or 25 people present, there weren't more people who were familiar. They were mostly in the grey-haired 45-70 demographic and looked like typical Woodstock people: a little bit hipper than their age and accustomed to both granola and yoga mats. It was a good thing we'd snacked at the pizza place because all the food seemed to be trapped beneath a thick layer of cheese. Someone had brought ginger-spiced green beans and those were great.
After we'd explored the place, Gretchen and I played a rousing "game" of ping pong. Our only goal was to maximize the vollies. I wasn't anywhere near as bad as I expected to be at it; I can't even remember the last time I held a ping pong paddle (Google suggests it was 1998). Eventually Gretchen played with three other complete strangers, bring her usual infectious Gretchen energy to it (even if her game wasn't that great).
We were still hungry after the party, and, lacking other good options, we returned to Catskill Mountain Pizza. I ordered a medium pie with red onions, jalapeños, and soy cheese, and Gretchen ordered a small portion of linguine with red sauce. A mistake was made in the kitchen and I got red peppers instead of red onions, but our awesome bartender/waitress made it up to us by getting us a thing of sautéed red onions and then not charging us for the pasta (Gretchen dislikes red peppers and had to pluck them off her slices). Because we were both somewhat drunk from party wine (Gretchen more so than me), we only had water with our pizza. Meanwhile on the flatscreen behind the bar, that new Russian skater girl skated and axled while folding herself into a variety of bone-defying pretzel-like formations just prior to winning a gold medal. Gretchen, who had been watching more closely than I had, thought the Italian figure skater had been robbed.
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
previous | next