Saturday, June 27 2020
It was raining this morning, so we had our Saturday morning coffee in the living room in front of a blazing fire of cardboard and other paper-based trash. The panagram on the New York Times Spelling Bee was "cottonmouth." Powerful got up late so he didn't really join us for all that.
Later I spent far more time than I should've had to trying to migrate the Windows 10 operating system on my Hyundai Onnyx II ultranotebook from its internal 32 GB hard drive to a 128 GB drive I recently bought. In the past I've been able to use commercial applications like Minitool Partition Wizard, AOMEI
Partition Assistant, or EaseUS Partition Master, some or all of which allowed free partition migration, only charging for features I never needed. But in the course of trying all the recent versions of these programs, I found that all of them now demand payment in order to enable such migration. So then I tried getting a cracked version of these programs on Bittorrent. But the only software I was able to find were pure trojan horses, that is, they didn't contain any of the software they claimed to contain, installing only malware or spyware. At least when the Trojans brought the Greek's beautiful giant horse into their city, they got a glorious wooden statue (along with an invading army).
But as with any technological hurdle, there was a way to overcome it, and that way led to a better solution than relying passively on the good will of commercial disk application vendors. It turns out that there is an open-source Linux application called Clonezilla that can be incorporated in live bootable media (a distribution called Clonezilla Live). It was easy for me to make a bootable thumbdrive using a Clonezilla Live .iso file and an application called Rufus. A computer booted with this could presents a menu allowing any drives to be cloned to any other drives (without any worry that, at the last second, a screen will come up saying the feature you are attempting to use is not provided for free). After this experience, I now have a Clonzezilla thumbdrive that I will use for all partition migrations I ever do from now on. It looks like it even works for OSX (Macintosh) computers.
I was feeling a little dysphoric from a combination of pseudoephedrine and booze last night, so I took a nice bath in the upstairs bathroom. Gretchen has ordered a new tub to replace our seventeen-and-a-half year-old jacuzzi tub, whose jacuzzi features we never used (and which haven't worked for years, probably due to mice damage). Originally she'd planned to have our upstairs bathroom redone much like our kitchen, but since the only thing that is changing is the tub, it's looking like a job I can do by myself. It will mostly involve tiling changes, though there will also be a plumbing change. When I'd installed the tub originally, I'd used the shower mechanism control system to also fill the tub. But there have been a lot of problems resulting from doing it that way. For starters, it's not possible to control both the temperature and the flow rate at the same time, since the showers only have one control knob that only operates in one angular dimension. Furthermore, the shower heads always get a little overflow no matter how open the spigot is to the rub, meaning irritating water drops drip from at least one shower head for the duration of a bath. (I've had to use a bread bag and piece of vinyl hose to divert this water so it doesn't fall on me.)
At 5:00pm this evening, we had a zoom call with Gretchen's family (an occasional thing we've been doing throughout the coronavirus pandemic). This time, though, the call was organized around a game of trivia that Gretchen's brother and nephew put together in PowerPoint. This proved surprisingly fun even if the questions ranged wildly between having blinding-obvious answers (Mahatma Gandhi as the leader of the Indian independence movement, Homer writing the Odyssey, or nitrogen comprising most of the atmosphere) to requiring oddly-specific knowledge of Minecraft or Manga. We were divided into four or five teams based on location, with our team using the absurd named "Steve" (the others had more conventional team names). As we played, Gretchen's brother did a great job as the master of ceremonies, humorously playing up the struggle as our various teams got questions right and wrong. In the end, the team comprised of Gretchen's parents won by a point (partly because they were the only ones who knew that the headquarters of the B'hai faith is in Haifa, Isræl). Our team tied with two or three others for second place, and there was only one team that did worse than that.
After trivia, we caught up on how we're doing in our respective locations. Fayetteville, Arkansas (where Gretchen's brother's family lives) is now a hot spot and the coronavirus is blowing up across the South even as it dwindles away in the Northeast. Gretchen's brother seemed confident that a vaccine will be developed by Novemeber and ready for deployment by 2021, though only 49% of Americans are willing to take it. I said that my faith in the CDC and other government agencies is so frayed that I myself won't be in any hurry to get the vaccine when it becomes available. We all agreed that the election seems to be going great for Biden, though none of us are taking things for granted like we did in 2016.
After we got out of that call, I noticed that the rain had stopped, so I said we should probably walk the dogs (by then it was after 6:00pm). Gretchen expressed interest in coming along, but when Powerful learned we'd wouldn't just be walking on the Stick Trail, he said he wouldn't be coming (I was picking slugs off the lettuce and flinging them into the driveway while all this was being decided).
Gretchen and I walked up the Chamomile Headwaters Trail to the Funky Pond summit, where we took the remnants of the old Funky Pond Trail past the Funky Pond itself and then soutwestward across the forested plateau. The trail here seemed to have been created by Tommy, our mountainbiking neighbor, and it meandered indirectly past at least two old ad hoc bluestone mines down to a trail I knew about just east of the wetlands east of the Farm Road. Gretchen hadn't been aware that this part of the trail was so close to the Farm Road, so I showed her how to bushwhack the couple hundred feet that separated them. Gretchen says that she started walking on this trail this spring due to the fact that Georges and his family are hunkering down for the pandemic at their farm house at the end of the Farm Road. With them always there, she feels funny walking past their house to go to her usual trails west of the abandoned go-cart track.
Here's a map with an approximation of our walk today:
Back at house, Powerful was frying up some mushrooms and onions. He was making some sort of bean-and-tomato-rich chili-like gumbo to be eaten with rice and chunks of faux steak. It smelled delicious. Gretchen had sworn off dinner, claiming she is getting fat, so just Powerful and I ate the dinner he made, sitting at the dining room table due to the dampness on the east deck. I'd just used Google Goggles to identify a common weed in our yard: mugwort. Initially Goggles had tried to tell me it was Canabis sativa, but I knew better.
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