gin &tonic and AI image manipulation
Saturday, March 25 2023
We got up relatively late and I kindled a roaring fire in the woodstove while sleet feel outside. Despite the miserable weather, some idiot was somewhere down Dug Hill Road in the state park target practicing with a large gun in violation of the posted signs, so Gretchen drove down there to get the offender's license plate number. But he (and it was almost certainly a he) was gone by the time she got down there. After the usual Saturday morning routine of collaborating on the New York Times Spelling Bee, Gretchen and I decided to take the Meyers-Briggs Personality Test. As I had back in the mid-1990s, I tested as an ENTP, suggesting that even if the tests are pseudoscience, they are identifying seemingly permanent personality characteristics. As for Gretchen, she tested as an ENFJ, which was (as I recall) a rare personality type at Big Fun (the only place I've ever been where this test was widely conducted).
continued kitchen tasks begun yesterday in preparation for lunch while I did a tiny amount of straightening up. At around 1:00pm, Fern (our house sitter while we were in Costa Rica) and her mother Jean arrived, and they brought a number of interesting things such as a bunch of long Asian chilis and plantains. Gretchen had planned a meal similar to the one we'd had the other night with Ray and Nancy, though this time the soup was a purée of broccoli and "cheese." Over lunch, our conversation lurched between various topics for awhile. Someone mentioned something that led me to bring up the woo-woo idea of "manifesting," which caused Fern to mention the book The Secret, where this kooky idea was injected directly into mainstream culture (thanks, Oprah!). Then we talked about the absurd notion religious people have that somehow God is great because he, for example, allows some people to survive a tragedy that kills many others. This led Fern to tell us a parable (called, I later learned, "the Maybe Story") which begins with a farmer who has a horse that runs away, which, his neighbors all agreed, was a tragedy. "Maybe," replied the farmer. But then the horse returned, bringing a herd of other horses, which was, according to his friends, amazing. "Maybe," said the farmer. But then the farmer's son tried to ride the horse only to fall off and broke his leg. What misfortune! "Maybe." But then the army came by trying to conscript young men for the war and the son was exempted because of his injury. And so forth.
In inevitably, our conversation turned to Powerful, the guy who lived for two years in our basement and has failed to thrive since moving to Albany back in July. Gretchen had apparently never even mentioned Powerful yet, so the story ended up being a long one, as it detailed how Gretchen taught Powerful how to drive, conduct himself at a bank, use a credit card, and (unsuccessfully) how to avoid being scammed. The story then continued into Powerful's first attempt to live in Albany, which flamed out with squandered money and health decisions so terrible that he needed a heart transplant after only two months of living on his own. Then the story was about how Gretchen nursed Powerful back to health, letting him live in our living room while she carried away bottles of his urine, since he was too weak to use the bathroom. Now, though, Powerful has gone radio-silent, financially broke and embarrassed by his terrible decisions. Gretchen summed it all up by saying that Powerful just didn't have it in him to succeed, and that he's about where he would've been had we hadn't helped him at all.
After lunch, despite the weather (which now consisted of a light drizzle and temperatures in the 40s), we all (including the Ramona and Neville) went for a walk up the Farm Road. But Fern and her septuagenarian mother are good hikers, and we quickly left the dogs and their arthritis in the dust. Along the way, we talked some about bluestone, about which Jean had apparently done extensive reading. It's apparently great for sidewalks because it doesn't get slippery when wet. I mentioned all the bluestone I'd gotten from the abandoned bluestone mine, and it turned out that Fern had actually stumbled into it while hiking through the woods back in February. She'd even found the abandoned swimming pool, though hadn't noticed the ruins of a hotel hidden in a tangle of vines nearby. Somehow Fern had never stumbled across the abandoned go-cart track, so that was where we went today. We then hiked back homeward atop the plateau to the west of the Farm Road. Near the end there I managed to spontaneously find a way back to the Farm Road that didn't involve too much unpleasant ducking of pine branches (there is no single trail connecting the north end of the Farm Road to a trail running parallel to it several hundred feet to the west).
Back at the house, Gretchen brought out some oat milk chocolate pudding she'd made, which our guests were very excited about. As for me, I stuck with kratom tea.
Our guests stayed until around 5:00pm, after which I went off the laboratory for some much-needed me time. At some point the patch I'd made to my torn left thumbnail, which I'd noticed had begun to delaminate, popped off completely. Fortunately there was very little of the tear remaining in the nail, and what little there was could now be trimmed away.
In other keratin-related news, I've started a making a new hairball from the loose hairs combed off of Oscar the cat. The ball I'd been making for about a year is now 10.9 cm (4.3 inches) in diameter and weighs about 120 grams (4.23 ounces).
This evening Gretchen went out with Sarah the Vegan and Nancy to see a play in Rhinebeck entitled "the Cake," on the subject of wedding cake bakers refusing to bake cakes for gay weddings. Meanwhile, I took advantage of ambiguities in my personal drinking rules and decided I could drink because we'd entertained guests (even if no alcohol was consumed during that entertainment). Drinking gins with tonic, I played around with a graphical artificial intelligence engine called PlaygroundAI. At first I used it to remagine the mantis painting I'd done the other day as construction equipment, and when that had good results, I told it to make the picture we took of ourselves on the Santa Teresa Beach on my birthday into a picture of two Asian people. That result was amazing, but when I then tried to have it make us into African Americans, the results were terrible.
When Gretchen came home, we watched Jeopardy! and something else together, and by then I was so drunk that I was having trouble keeping my eyes locked on things. That's usually the harbinger of a bad hangover. But I still had enough sense to use the water pick on my teeth before going to bed.
PlaygroundAI dutifully makes my mantis into a piece of construction equipment, presumptuously going with yellow instead of John Deere green.
Me and Gretchen as Asians.
Its terrible attempt at making us African American. I'm sure someone somewhere will consider doing this to be as bad as parading around in blackface.
As tin people. Not terrible, but not great.
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