Wednesday, June 4 2014
This morning I loaded up the dogs and drove to Advance Auto Parts in Uptown Kingston, which is a bit further away with the Wynkoop bridge across the Esopus closed. (The bridge is a beautiful steel truss bridge and it's hopefully being replaced with something of similar appearance.) The goal at Advance Auto Parts was to buy a container of coolant to recharge the Honda Civic Hybrid's AC system, but somehow not everything marked with the phrase "R-134a" is coolant, and I managed to buy cannister of air conditioning system oil (whatever that is) instead. This necessitated a second trip to Advance Auto Parts, though this time I brought the charging hose. It turns out that recharging an automotive AC system can easily be done in five minutes in a parking lot, and I drove home as an island of icy air. All this was necessary so that Gretchen would have proper climate control for her drive down to the City, where she'd be appearing on a vegan/animal rights television show.
Left on my own, I consumed a range of alcoholic beverages and eventually smoked illegal drugs.
At some point I wandered down to the greenhouse, looked into the basement, and saw that the massive hole in the bedrock floor was almost completely dry. So I fetched some ear protection, fired up the jackhammer, and bashed away at the rock for about 20 minutes or so, managing to bust loose about four gallons of rock. That's pretty slow going, especially given the firepower of a 70 pound jackhammer. But the rock I'm encountering here is hard bluestone lacking any apparent large fracture planes. Even if I do find a crack to exploit, it never goes far before turning at a sharp angle or disappearing entirely.
This evening I watched a large amount of television, including Shipping Wars, though the character Roy (aka "the Silver Jesus") appears to have died. There's a new show on A&E called Halt and Catch Fire that purports to dramatize the PC-compatible computer revolution in the early 1980s. Though I had Gretchen program the DVR to record it, I was skeptical that I would be able to watch it. I grew up in that world, reading Byte magazine and making custom modifications to my VIC-20 and Commodore 128, and I feared that the dramatization would be conspicuously wrong to a person with my level of expertise. (For a similar reason, my mother has difficulty watching movies involving actors on horseback, since their amateur riding style makes it difficult for her to take them seriously as experienced horse-riding protagonists.) Sure enough, Halt and Catch Fire is full of annoying errors, starting with the failure to give the actors the embarrassing hairdon'ts that were all the rage in the early 80s. Later, there is a scene where a major protagonist uses a small soldering iron to melt his way through an aluminum can, something anyone who knows anything about electronics will tell you is absurd. The acting (or perhaps just the script) was also detectably inferior to most television drama I will sit still enough to watch, signaling that Halt and Catch Fire is not part of the Golden Age of Television canon. Nevertheless, there were parts of it that were fun for me to watch, including any scene involving early 80s circuit boards, even if those scenes just had to be punctuated with tiny explosions from accidental short circuits.
I also watched the Neil deGrasse Tyson Cosmos episode where he discusses global warming and the existential dangers of rising levels of carbon dioxide. I realized while watching it that Tyson isn't content to counter antiscientific views about origins; he wants to counter them about everything. This made me wonder if perhaps his next episode will focus on the value of vaccination.
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