Ramona attends a reading
Sunday, September 22 2019
Gretchen had a late start to her morning and so didn't manage to walk the dogs. This meant that Neville didn't get to go to the bookstore with her, at least not initially. I took them on a looping walk that went to the end of the Farm Road and came back just east of the wetland to its east, though the dogs found something else to do for most of that walk. They caught up to me while I was working on my stone wall, which is now about sixty feet long. The wall is tall but thin, not usually more than about two feet wide at the base. This means the wall has to be stacked carefully, using lots of little wedge rocks to keep stones from rocking when loaded by rock stacked on top of them. I've been working more carefully than I had initially, so some of the work I've been doing has consisted of shoring up the wall's earlier, shoddier parts. This involves installing additional wedges, and the building of buttresses and stone towers up up to poorly-supported overhangs. I'm not, however, confident that it all will survive frost heave. But the parts that collapse will tend to be the parts most requiring rebuilding anyway. Thus the wall can be tested and improved in a process not unlike Darwinian evolution.
It was unseasonably hot today, with temperatures in the upper 80s, and it didn't take much stone work before I was drenched in sweat.
This afternoon, I loaded the dogs into the Subaru and drove to Woodstock so I could be there in time for a 3:00pm poetry reading. I'd told my boss Alex that I'd be attending his wife's reading, and I try to be a man of my word. Gretchen's poetry connection to Celia (Alex's wife) is the reason Gretchen became a prison educator, and it's also how I got my current job.
The readings (and there were two) were upstairs, and I took Ramona the Dog up there with me. The first reading was by a novelist/film writer named Cary something, and he looked a bit like a gnome and had a marvelously resonant Upper Received Pronunciation. He read from a novel about a man writing film scripts in Hollywood, and it had a great passage about how odd (and seemingly unwelcome) it is to be a pedestrian in Los Angeles. When Cary finished, the resulting applause roused Ramona from where she'd been on the floor, over near some woman I didn't know.
Celia's new collection of poetry was about the sad and desperate lives of the poor people she'd grown up with in western North Carolina, many of whose lives end in car accidents. Her poetry was full of poetic nuance and attention to the sounds of words, but it was also highly accessible and I very much enjoyed all of it.
Meanwhile down on the main floor of the bookstore, Neville was charming a former NYC cop who loved dogs and had witnessed a lot of pit bull abuse. Later, though, it turned out that she was shopping for books published by the wingnut Breitbart publishing house.
All the commotion of me coming down the stairs with Ramona momentarily confused Neville, and he headed out the door and walked a good hundred feet down the sidewalk before I caught up with him, at which point he was happy to return to the store. Gretchen can normally leave the front door of the store open even when Neville is working there.
On my drive back to Hurley with Ramona, I made the customary stop at the Tibetan Center thrift store, but nothing had showed up that I wanted to buy since I'd last been there on Friday.
My boss Alex became familiar with my skills due to a freelance relationship he and I had cultivated, most recently with a keywording app that runs as a plug-in inside Lightroom. To get that working, I'd had to master Lightroom's quirky API and learn Lua, a vaguely Pascalesque programming language. These days, most of my work with Alex concerns our day jobs in our shared workplace, but occasionally he needs tech support for something related to his Lightroom-resident keywording app. Unfortunately, the sandy foundation that app was built upon has significantly shifted since I developed it. I'd built it for Lightroom 5.0, but the current version of Lightroom is "CC," which would be 7.0 if the numbers had continued. Web technology has also advanced significantly beyond the tech I'd used on the plugin's web component (which was written in an already-outdated form of AJAX back in 2014 when I originally wrote it). This evening it was my unfortunate fate to be debugging a file permissions issue in the copying of files to a staging directory prior to FTPing them to a server. I soon realized that I couldn't even figure out where in the directory structure the plugin had been installed. Since the bug had been found on a Macintosh, I was debugging on my Hackintosh. But none of the files I was searching for could be found. Complicating matters was the way the MacOS hides some things and doesn't hide others. For example, the Library directory, where lots of things might be, is hidden. And it also seems to be off-limits to search. Additionally, lots of directory names contain spaces, meaning they then have to be quoted when referring to them from the console (which, I'd decided, was the only way I was going to get a clear view into the file system).
But everything about MacOS just seemed hostile to me. I'd do a Google search to find out something that should be obvious about Lightroom (like where it fucking stores plugins), but when I'd go to scroll the page with the mouse wheel, the page would scroll in the opposite direction from the way I expected. Why? Because at some point Apple decided the scroll wheel should work backwards from how it works in every other operating system. This almost seems like an attempt to lock people into using MacOS, since if you're familiar with how this works on a Mac, you will feel like you're all thumbs on any other OS. But it works the other way too, making MacOS feel actively hostile.
In the end, I discovered why I couldn't find any of the known parts of the Lightroom plugin I'd written anywhere in the Macintosh file system. This was because, it turned out, the plugin was technically a "package." Packages behave like directories in that they can contain files and directories. But they're apparently not searchable, and to open them to peer at their contents, you can't just double-click on them. All of these "features" seem to be an effort to keep idiotic user from screwing things up on their computers, but it makes things unnecessarily difficult for people who actually do know what they're doing. A file system really should work consistently across all of its parts. There shouldn't be directories that require special operations to access or search because the whole point of designing a hierarchical anything is that a limited set of operations can be easily applied to any of its members or sub-members, thus limiting what needs to be learned in order to interact with it.
This evening when Gretchen came home, she made a delicious vegetable stew with tortellini. I cut up some poblano peppers to give it some mild peppery heat, and we ate it while watching the woman in the middle make a very stupid wager in final Jeopardy. (Basic Jeopardy wagering: if you've amassed a lot less than two other contestants, wager zero in final and hope the question will be extremely hard two others cancel each other out by getting it wrong.) Later Gretchen started watching The Handmaid's Tale, though I didn't join her. I don't need the stress of that horror show in my brain when I go to bed every night.
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