how little surprise
Saturday, January 12 2019
After Saturday morning coffee, I braved the cold in the laboratory and checked my Asecular.com email (which I often ignore for days at a time, given all the other forms of electronic communication I now use). There it was, an email telling me my results from 23AndMe were in. I went to check them to see if there were any surprises. The surprise, if any, was how little surprise the results had. I was, I learned 55.0% "French and German," and 20.8% British & Irish. That's consistent with an Austrian grandmother (Catherine Deschler), a German grandfather (John Mueller), a French-Canadian grandfather (Clarence DeMar), and a British grandmother (Margaret Ilsley). That's as far back as my non-vague geneologicial knowledge goes. The only real surprise was that I am apparently 1.2% Italian. Other than that, all my ancestry is vaguely European: 18.7 "broadly northwestern European," 2.0% "broadly European," and 2.3% "broadly southern European." There was 0.0% non-European, dashing my vague hope that Clarence DeMar's poor French Canadian family interbred with Native Americans and/or fugitive slaves. Unlike everyone else, I do not have a Cherokee grandmother, though I might have an Italian great-great-great-great grandparent. The most fun thing in the results is that I have more Neanderthal genes than 81% of 23AndMe customers, including one that Gretchen also has that (counterintuitively) results in less back hair.
After processing some of that @3AndMe information, I went out with my backpack and brought home two more loads of firewood from the last place I'd been salvaging firewood (near the base of the escarpment just west of the Stick Trail about 300 feet south of the Chamomile.
I spent the rest of the afternoon on the kitchen chandelier project. I cut out 18 1.25 inch pieces of 3/4 inch pipe to fit together all the soldered joints. There would be six bulbs in a line, but screw-together joints between the sections would allow some flexibility in how those bulbs would be arranged (and facilitate wiring). I assembled and soldered five separate pieces and then cleaned them up using an abrasive wheel, a file, and a material similar to steel wool. All this forceful work with my hands resulted in blisters: a big one on the middle phalanx of my right index finger and two smaller ones on the plam of my left hand near near the middle finger.
It being Saturday, it was date night, and for whatever reason Gretchen agreed to an identical meal to what we'd done last Saturday: exessive pizza at Catskill Mountain Pizza. This time, Gretchen dialed-in her toppings better, avoiding those that tasted like bad breath. My only change to my pizza was marinaded portobello mushrooms instead of the usual (which are just chopped up and put on the pizza, without any pre-cooking or other preparation whatsoever). There were no good IPAs on tap, so I went with a boozy Belgian ale named "Mad Elf," with an alcohol content of 11%. It was delicious, and reminded me of the mead my mother used to make.
The main reason Gretchen was okay with Catskill Mountain Pizza for a second week in a row was the event she intended to drag me to. A local musician named Robert Burke Warren would be performing a night of David Bowie covers at the Colony Café, and Gretchen wanted to go, mostly because her newish friend Lisa Ph. would be going. It turned out the Colony was sold out tonight, at least for people getting a table. But Gretchen bought us tickets anyway, and got us pretty good tables too up in the balcony because, well, that's how Gretchen rolls. Gretchen disappeared for a long period, supposedly to get coffee at the Garden Café, but all she did was jibber jabber with various people about an inmate she is trying to get clemency for. I was miserable during this period, mostly because I didn't know how long it would last and dumb fucks kept asking if the seats we'd covered with jackets were available.
The scene tonight was your typical Woodstock collection of grey-hairs, though there were a few energetic young women dancing in the balcony directly over Robert and his band. Gretchen had lowered my expectations of what I would see, but it was actually surprisingly good, especially considering how stripped-down RBW had made most of the songs. The thing about David Bowie is that I have a slight bias against his music just from having been so heavily exposed to his 1980s radio-friendly stuff (such as "Let's Dance," which RBW didn't bother covering). But in hearing tonight's curation, I realized that I actually am more of a Bowie fan than I'd suspected. In addition to a second Mad Elf (the Colony had it too!), I drank a $9 Jack Daniels on the Rocks, and by the end I was enthusiastically drumming on the balcony railing in front of me. At around that time one of the younger women directly over RBW's head spilled a beer on him.
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