giving the Res another chance
Sunday, November 30 2014
Yesterday I had some experimental success with a dual-servomotor tilt & pan arm I'd bought from Adafruit.com, so I'd like to put a high-resolution camera on it and control it with a Raspberry Pi that could also serve as a front end for playing music hosted on Network Attached Storage (NAS). This could provide a way for me to check in on the living room remotely while also being a functional device when I am around. The initial plan was to make a sort of audio component in a rectangular box, because that's how audio components are. But then as I thought about it, it occurred to me that it would make more sense as a sort of sessile robot (a sort of cybernetic hydra). Perhaps it could even respond to vocal instructions. A Raspberry Pi opens up a lot of possibilities that would have been considered science fiction fifteen years ago. Today, though, my main goal was to put together the components of a self-contained fully-functional Raspberry Pi. This included a 120 volt power supply, a tiny NTSC LCD monitor, WiFi, and perhaps Bluetooth functionality. This involved a little light soldering, testing, and the installation of Bluetooth software, and this gave me the first major opportunity since working on the Wall Street house to listen to podcasts by myself. I hadn't much enjoyed Serial, but I gave it another chance, starting shortly after the place where Gretchen and I left off, at the beginning of Episode 7. It involved the input of a lawyer working for the innocence project and brought such a fresh and necessary perspective to the story that, for the first time, I became interested and involved. I ended up listening to all the rest of the released episodes (we are now up to nine) as well as Slate spoiler special (typical of hip liberals nationwide, Slate is obsessed with Serial, comparing it to Shakespeare and bestowing other embarrassingly-undeserved accolades)
Gretchen wanted to meet me after work somewhere for dinner. But because I didn't want to drive all the way to Woodstock, we compromised on a place not very far away for me and on Gretchen's way home: the Reservoir Inn (known by many as "the Res"). It's only 5.2 miles away, which is a huge plus, though in the past it's often been underwhelming at best. The atmosphere is lodgelike without glorifying big game hunting and they make an okay pizza, so, especially back before we became vegan, we'd go there occasionally and have a so-so meal. But who knows? It's been a few years, and it's right there on our way to Woodstock. As with New World Home Cooking, every four or five years we have to go back to see if it has improved since our last disappointing experience.
Save for the bar, the restaurant was mostly empty when we arrived. We took seats at the end of the bar near the teevee set (it was playing a football game that nobody appeared to be watching: the New England Patriots vs. the Greenbay Packers) and our friendly bartender helped us with our drink selection with a series of tastes. I settled on some sort of IPAesque microbrew "cream ale" from the tap (it was good) and, after trying a couple terrible pinot noirs, Gretchen settled on the house merlot, which still left something to be desired. Unfortunately, there was almost nothing vegan on the menu. We were both forced to choose pasta dishes (and my spaghetti with marinara had to be special ordered so as not to contain meatballs). Gretchen's dish was penne with vegetables. She didn't much like it, though I thought the portobellos on it were delicious. She picked a bunch of them out and threw them in my spaghetti, which was otherwise blah. The distinction of the Plaza Diner in New Paltz of serving the Hudson Valley's best spaghetti remains unchallenged. I'd also ordered fries, but they were the kind that Gretchen and I don't much like (the kind with skins and that expensive-restaurant-french-fry aftertaste). Later, I ordered a second beer, this one a new Keegan Ale IPA called Bine Climber. It came in a can (who knew they even had canning equipment?) and it was actually pretty good. Our bartender was excited to sell a Bine Climber; evidently the type of people who frequent the Reservoir Inn are not the kind who drink IPAs out of cans (it is a kind of strange Venn diagram until you get used to it, as the hipsters evidently have). One of the more typical Reservoir Inn patrons, a loud-talking grizzly middle-aged man, sat to my right and proceeded to devour an enormous gravy-covered chunk of beef. At the Thanksgiving thing in the City, we'd hung out with a guy who claimed he only eats in vegan restaurants. Such a luxury is impossible in the Hudson Valley (especially considering that I don't much like the one vegan restaurant in the area). Overall, Gretchen found 2014's iteration of the Reservoir Inn a huge disappointment. I didn't find it quite as horrible as she did and would happily return, something I can't say about New World Home Cooking.
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