chickens, bees, and the Dug Hill Road bus turnaround
Tuesday, May 31 2022
location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY
The documentation of Azure DevOps is unusually terrible, even for Microsoft documentation. And there don't seem to be many people who know anything about it in StackOverflow (and the few who do seem to be dicks). So I'm forced to run experiment after experiment in hopes of figuring things out on my own. Today I was finding that while the deploy stage environment (a virtual computer) had access to Python, the release stage did not. And nothing I did (including adding an explicit reference to the windows-2019 image, which I knew to include Python, at the beginning of the release stage) could make Python available there. I then tried to configure a self-hosted build agent, but soon ran into a nest of permissions issues that some administrator was going to need to solve. But I didn't even have the language to describe what I needed and wasn't sure that if I got the necessary permissions they would even solve my problem. So instead I figured out a way to use Python to do what I needed (transform configuration files) in the build phase and then smuggle them to release stage. After many tests and a few hard-to-fix problems, I mostly had it working.
After work, I hiked up the Farm Road and back while drinking a large 19 ounce hazy double IPA, which came on top of a recreational dose of pseudoephedrine [REDACTED]. I was trying to lay down a little non-sobriety before attending a meeting of the Hurley Town Board in Old Hurley. Before we actually went to that, Gretchen had made us a meal of pasta with pesto and two sides: broccoli and pan-seared tofu.
When it was time to go to the board meeting, Powerful joined us and we drove down in the Bolt. Bolts are not common cars, but there were three of them (including ours) in Hurley Town Hall's small parking lot.
The reason for our attending the Hurley board meeting was to voice our support for having something done about the de facto gun range at the bus turnaround a quarter mile below our house on Dug Hill Road, which has become a serious nuisance in recent years, particularly since the beginning of the covid pandemic. Recently the Hurley Town Board flipped politically from old-money Republicans to progressive Democrats, and Gretchen has been lobbying them to take action about the bus turnaround. She even gave one of the board members a tour of it, showing all the trash, bullet holes, and spent shells.
The Hurley Town Hall features a large room where various events happen, like voting. Today, the board was arranged at tables at one end and chairs were set out for the public. There were maybe two dozen of the latter there, most of them middle-aged and older. There for the topic of the bus turnaround shooting range, in addition to us, were our friend Andrea from up the street, Kaycee the Fauci-hating/hydroxychloroquine-loving vegan, and Tom (the bike-riding brother of the man who had built our house), as well as Tom's wife Trish. But most of the citizens were there for an unrelated matter: they wanted to support relaxing rules governing the raising of chickens and bees in residential areas.
The matter of chickens and bees was the first on the docket, and various citizens got up to talk about how great it is for people to raise their own food. They also dismissed concerns about the crowing of roosters, though one person who'd joined the meeting remotely said that he for one didn't want any relaxation of restrictions against roosters.
After that, two different men complained about water pouring into their properties from uphill. They seemed to want to pin the blame for this water on the Hurley Highway Department, but in one case it wasn't at all clear that the water was actually coming from anywhere but a nearby stream. This part of the meeting was particularly tedious, as it sounded like the kind of thing that any person who knows anything about the behavior of water would be able to fix.
And then it was time for those of us on Dug Hill Road who are sick and tired of endless gunfire to make our voices heard. Tommy spoke first, which was probably for the best, because he's the son of a well-known local political figure and businessman. He spoke of how relentless and loud the noise in, while qualifying that guns themselves aren't the problem (an opinion I've been radicalized against). He also alluded to the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which seemed topical and appropriate. Next, Gretchen got up and said basically the same thing, though stressing the proximity of old people, children, and dogs. She also read a little letter written by one of the children of our newish downhill neighbors.
At that point a youngish wiry man who was there to advance the cause of backyard chickens and evidently liked hearing himself speak went up to the microphone for the third or fourth time to say that, while he was a big second amendment supporter and loved to shoot guns, he thought we definitely had something worth complaining about. He said he may have actually shot there a few times himself, but that he's mostly gone there to salvage spent bullet shells, which apparently he has the means to repack and reuse. He then said that he was concerned about the possibility that gunfire might be included in the Hurley sound ordinance, something he would very much not like to see, since he himself enjoys shooting on his 80+ acres of land. He then sort of stepped away from the microphone, at which point Gretchen went up and said that she thinks it's important for guns to be included in the sound ordinance, since they make a lot of noise and are clearly at least as obnoxious as dogs, which are in the noise ordinance. At that point Gretchen and the wiry man started arguing near the microphone. It was civil, but clearly there was a difference of opinion. The wiry man was concerned about a "slippery slope," and Gretchen said she didn't think "slippery slope" was ever a good argument against anything.
At that point the combination of pseudoephedrine and alcohol in my body overcame every shy inclination in my body, and I marched up to the microphone to make my own point. I said that it was likely that the Supreme Court would soon make it so that New York State had to adopt the laws of the most insanely gun-loving states, including Mississippi. Guns, I said, get all sorts of privileges in our society, but, really, they're weapons of war and extremely disruptive. If, I said, it was possible to suppress them with a sound ordinances or other rules then that's what should happen. The alternative, I said, was sociopaths monotonously shooting away at all hours. I ended this with "We live in a society!" Gretchen, who felt she'd been a bit too apologetic for gun culture, loved what I'd just said.
After the public part of the meeting ended, Gretchen engaged in a little good-natured banter with the wiry guy, who seemed to be going out of his way to seem reasonable. But Gretchen wasn't backing down on the idea that guns be included in the Hurley sound ordinance.
We also chatted a little with our neighbor Kaycee, who is looking perhaps a bit too skinny and muscular these days. She said that earlier today she'd been at Kingston Point playing volleyball. As we were chatting with her, we saw the youngish wiry guy drive off with a group of chicken & bee supporters in a Chevy Bolt. You never know who's going to be driving one of those!
The dogs were arrayed in such a way in the bed that when I wanted to go to sleep, there was no room for me and no available blanket. I could've moved them, I suppose, but it was easier to just go sleep in the greenhouse.
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