Blog: August 2014

Most of these posts were originally posted somewhere else and link to the originals. While this blog is not set up for comments, the original locations generally are, and I welcome comments there. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Pennsic bits

I never got around to writing up a big Pennsic entry, so here are some highlights in bullet form:

  • Seeing my friend Yaakov and family again was very nice -- been a while. Had the beginnings of a thoughtful theological discussion; need to figure out venue for continuing intermittently over time.

  • Missed some other distant friends, again. :-(

  • Camp meals got more complicated; we now have (different) people who are gluten-free, vegetarian, nut-allergic, and lactose-intolerant. All the cooks did a great job of stepping up to the challenge.

  • Tisha b'Av fell during Pennsic. Thank you Yaakov for chanting Eicha (Lamentations) for me. I have complicated feelings about Tisha b'Av but this helped me engage with it.

  • Our choir concert was ok. I saw some good performances, and the local commedia troupe (I Genesii) really shined this year.

  • T-Mobile completely failed me this year. Last year they had cell coverage (not great bandwidth, but enough to check in with cat-sitters and the like). This year at the opening weekend there was some signal. During Pennsic itself -- nothing, not even basic phone service. (I found this out when calling Dani after I arrived.) I contacted them afterward and they shrugged, saying their coverage isn't good in that zip code. Sigh. (Fortunately, I had borrowed a Verizon hotspot from work "just in case", after determining that nobody else needed it for actual work that week. Verizon delivered 4G signal just fine.)

  • The KickStarter that I (and, it turned out, one other camp-mate) supported, for a solar charger for USB devices, didn't make its planned July ship date. In fact, it's now the end of August and they still haven't made it. Next Pennsic, I guess!

  • Our camp has some loud people and likes to have loud gatherings sometimes. Further, some of the loud people are late-night folks while different ones are early birds. We set up the house right next to the common area to provide shade, but this does not play well with the noise problem. But my camp-mates are good sports; after last Pennsic one person suggested a coping mechanism, and I was greeted with it when I arrived:

bright green super soaker inscribed 'use in case of excessive noise'

Easy cat-sitting

I took care of friends' cats while they were at Gencon. One of the cats is diabetic, so he requires twice-daily insulin. They warned me that I might need to fetch him from under furniture but they hoped he wouldn't be too uncooperative.

No worries. Every visit went something like this: "Oh! A person! Happy day! Purr purr purr! Oh, please pet me and let me rub on you and I will purr some more! Oh, you're holding a sharp thing? Well, if that's the price so be it -- and let me purr some more!"

This was actually not the easiest cat I've cat-sat for; that would be Spud (now, sadly, departed), who was the mellowest cat I've ever medicated. He didn't even seem to notice, so long as he was eating at the time.

Two dimensions out of three

It's funny to see (well, hear) my phone's navigator app react to parking garages. "Do X... oh ok you're going north so do Y... oh you're going west so do Z... oh you're going south do A... oh you're going east do X which I'll pretend I haven't said before..." -- iterate until you reach the exit. It doesn't respond to elevation, only latitude/longitude.

I can think of three possible reasons for this, and I wonder which it is (or if it's something else I haven't thought of):

  1. The GPS in the phone doesn't detect altitude.

  2. The map data (Google's, in this case) doesn't record elevation. It does you no good to know that the GPS is at a certain elevation if the app can't tell that that's 200 feet above the road, after all.

  3. The GPS and map data are available, but the app isn't programmed to take it into account. How often does this really come up, after all?

car driving off cliff, speech bubble 'recalculating'

Good info in the comments.