fire pits and chilly weather
Monday, October 12 2020
Today when I attempted to install Windows 7 from a thumbdrive onto Powerful's new HP laptop, I got an error saying that the drive image violated something called "trusted boot." This tipped me off to a setting in the BIOS (technically the UEFI) called "trusted boot." With that disabled, I found I could install a non-S version of Windows 10 Professional. This was the first I'd ever seen of trusted boot, and if I'd known it was a thing, I would've saved myself a lot of time. Microsoft seems uniquely cunning in creating computer problems that are impossible to Google solutions for. This began with their DotNet framework (try Googling that) and continues with applications having names like Word and Teams. When the thing that makes an operating system suck is merely the presence of the letter "S," that's another trap for those trying to use search engines. In the end, Googling didn't give me the answers I needed to solve my problems; instead I had to use trial and error.
Yesterday and today, Powerful's online vegan cooking school had him making a Moroccan dish that filled the house with the smell of weird ethnic body odor, and not in a good way. Since the dish contained sweet potatoes, I knew there would be no reason for me to be eating any of it.
This evening I drove with Powerful and the dogs to Woodstock to meet Gretchen for dinner. We met her at the bookstore as she was shutting it down and from there we walked to Sylvia, the newish fancy restaurant in the site of the old Joyous Lake (across Route 212 from Catskill Mountain Pizza). This time we had a reservation, and we were conducted to a picnic table in the large outside expansion Sylvia had made into its rear parking lot. They'd put up tents and numerous stainless steel fire pots, each burning firewood so efficiently that there was almost no smoke. It was a chilly evening, with temperatures in the low 50s, so we'd dressed warmly. The fire pots helped, but there was a persistent breeze blowing that negated much of their effect.
Gretchen didn't much like our waiter, who was chatty in a way that she took to be disrespectful of the conversation we would otherwise be having. I overheard him telling other tables the same material he'd just told us (for example, the fire pots are "too efficient") and it reminded me that I could never be a comedian, since I would hate having to say the same thing over and over again.
Our friends Chris & Kirsti, as well as Eva, had all raved about Sylvia's vegan options, but what we saw on the menu seemed limited. Sylvia was willing to "veganize" their dishes, but this was always by subtraction instead of substitution. (Indeed, on the menu was the sentence "Substitutions politely declined.") This meant that a salad could be "veganized" by removing the cheese component, the most expensive part, with no difference in price. For poor Powerful, this meant that the salad he ordered was more like something you'd give to a rabbit than serve at a restaurant. He ate it without resigned fatalism.
My mushroom & noodle soup was supposed to contain an egg, something I very much did not want, and it was fairly good this way, especially after I added a fair amount of sriracha. The only really outstanding dish was the mushroom & lentil pâté, which was served with toasted bread and various pickled vegetables. There was also a deep-fried chickpea & potato dish that was good if you were craving fried food, which nearly every hungry person is. Despite the few good things, though, we all agreed that there would never be a reason to come back. We would've spent less money and had much better food at the Garden Café. But I don't know what will become of their outdoor dining area unless they get outdoor heaters, and those can only extend the outdoor season by a month or so. After that, we'll be back to getting take-out, at least until the coronavirus pandemic ends, something that's unlikely to happen while "spreading the coronavirus" remains a plank in the platform of the Republican party.
Back at the house, I made a fire in the outdoor fire pit and then Kacey from across the street came over to join us for hot chocolate (I added some single-malt scotch to mine at some point). There was a bit of spitting drizzle at times, but that didn't ruin the fire pit experience.
Kacey told us about her mother, who now lives in the Villages near Orlando, Florida. Some of her stories were about the courses her mother taught over the years, starting with line dancing back in the 1990s when "Achy Breaky Heart" was popular and then moving on to various ærobics things and ending up with ukulele lessons, though her mother could never actually read music. Gretchen and Kacey also told stories about their summer camp experiences (Powerful and I had never gone to summer camp). The one I hadn't heard was that when Gretchen was but a tween, one of her camp counselors would read x-rated erotica instead of ghost stories around the camp fire, and none of the kids every ratted her out.
At some point I noticed Kacey's big-screen teevee was on, since it can clearly be seen from our yard through a south-facing window in her house. This suggested that perhaps Konca had a fibbed a little when he'd told Kacey he couldn't join us because he "had to work."
Ramona at the base of a red oak tree west of the Farm Road this morning.
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