The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

It only took three years

When I got home from our Messiah performance yesterday, my car ended up here:

If you don't have International System conversion factors ready to hand, just know that one statute mile is 1,609.344 meters. So right before I got to my garage last night, my car hit 10,000 miles exactly. And how about that average fuel economy? For the luddites, 2.2 L/100 km is about 105 MPG.

If you recall, I bought the car just shy of 3 years ago. So in three years, I've driven about 10,000 miles and filled up the car 12 times with about 350 liters (93 gallons) of fuel for just over $240. That works out to an operating cost of 2.9¢ per kilometer (4.6¢ per mile). Not bad.

Oh, and I also got this shortly after walking in (and walking out and walking back in and feeding her):

Not a bad way to end Messiah week.

Messiah weekend

Pity Cassie, who had to stay home alone yesterday for about 8 hours and will have to do the same today. She trusts that I will eventually come home, though, meaning she just crossed her paws and waited for me.

While she slept in various positions on the couch, I sang Händel's Messiah for the first time in nearly two years. It's great to be back on stage. And here we go again...

Regular blog posts resume tomorrow.

Tragedy and farce

We're all set to perform Handel's Messiah tomorrow and Sunday, which got noticed by both the local news service and local TV station. Otherwise, the week just keeps getting odder:

And to cap all that off, the National Weather Service has announced a Hazardous Weather Outlook for tonight that includes...tornados? I hope the weather gets better before our performance.

Cassie is bored

The temperature bottomed out last night just under -10°C, colder than any night since I adopted Cassie. (We last got that cold on February 20th.) Even now the temperature has just gone above -6°C. Though she has two fur coats on all the time, I still think keeping her outside longer than about 20 minutes would cause her some discomfort.

Add that it's Messiah week and I barely have enough free time to give her a full hour of walks today.

Meanwhile, life goes on, even if I can only get the gist of it:

Finally, journalist Allison Robicelli missed a connection at O'Hare this past weekend, and spent the wee hours exploring the empty terminals. The last time I stared down a 12-hour stay at an airport, I hopped into the Tube and spent 8 of those hours exploring the city instead, but I'm not a professional journalist.

Productive day so far

Having a day off with no real responsibilities gives me the space to take care of some niggling projects I've put off for a while. First, I finished updating a document for the Apollo Chorus that lists every sit and stand cue and every score marking for our Messiah performances. That took about 8 hours altogether.

I also updated my main NuGet packages to .NET 6. As a nice bonus, because of a quirk in how .NET assemblies get versioned, today's release is version 4.2.8000. (I kept the previous release active just in case someone needs it for an existing .NET 5 project.)

Oh, and I've got a pot of stew going that should finish in about an hour. I made a lot of it. I hope it freezes all right. Good thing I have tons of Mason jars. It looked like this at 3½ hours:

The busy season

I've spent today alternately upgrading my code base for my real job to .NET 6.0, and preparing for the Apollo Chorus performances of Händel's Messiah on December 11th and 12th.

Cassie, for her part, enjoys when I work from home, even if we haven't spent a lot of time outside today because (a) I've had a lot to do and (b) it rained from 11am to just about now.

So, as I wait for the .NET 6 update to build and deploy on our dev/test CI/CD instance (I think I set the new environments on our app services correctly), I have a few things to read:

OK, the build has...well, crap. I didn't set the environment correctly after all.

Update: Fixed the build bit. And the rain stopped. But the test platform is the wrong version. FFS.

Update: Well, I have to pick something up from a store before 6, so I'll come back to this task later.

Update: Even though I've had 4 tiny commits of minor things that broke with the .NET 6 upgrade, this hasn't gone poorly. Kudos to Microsoft for providing a straightforward upgrade path.

Where did Monday go?

I'm troubled not only that it's already November but also that it's already 5pm. I've been heads-down coding all day and I've got a dress rehearsal tonight. I did, at least, flag these for later:

OK, 30 minutes more coding, then off to the Kehrein Center for our final rehearsal before Sunday's performance.

Busy day

Tonight the Apollo Chorus of Chicago has its first in-person rehearsal since 12 March 2020, almost exactly 18 months ago. We're in a new rehearsal space with lots of new people and new challenges (like mandatory mask-wearing while singing). Poor Cassie won't see me for several more hours.

Tomorrow I expect a little more breathing room. Today, though...yikes.

Fun times with non-profit contracts

Local restaurant review show "Check Please," which was to begin its 20th season on the local public-television station WTTW, will instead end its run after the station proposed contract terms that the producers couldn't accept:

I'd like to say our upcoming 20th milestone season will be our best one ever!  However, WTTW/11 and I want to go in different directions and pursue other opportunities, so it's just not to be.

Crain's has more:

The show's last contract ended in the spring of 2020, just as the pandemic forced restaurants to close. Manilow said they started new discussions about a month ago and in the last week, WTTW presented him with a new contract and he said it was so different, it didn't make sense for him to continue the relationship.

"We talked about some different ideas they had. They were so drastically different that I'm not going to get into the details," Manilow said. "There wasn't much room for negotiation. We tried but it didn't work out. If they had done what we've done the last 19 years, we'd be in production now. That's just a fact and that's their prerogative. From a fundamental standpoint, every other renewal was kind of pro forma and they'd renew."

My guess, informed by years of dealing with non-profit arts organizations, is that WTTW misunderstood how pricing and microeconomics work.

Arts organizations have a tough time making money, because (let's face it) most people don't value them highly. So there's a large supply of arts organizations and small demand. If you graph supply and demand, where they meet is the equilibrium price (where curve D1 and S meet):

If you charge more than P1, you will sell less, and probably make less money. In order to sell more (move from Q1 to Q2), demand has to move first (D1 to D2).

Unfortunately, many arts organizations try to balance their budgets by increasing prices, believing demand to be constant. Someone whips out Excel and plugs in some numbers, and voilà! Instant revenue!

But that doesn't work, and it's easy to see why.

We sell tickets to Händel's Messiah for $35 to $70, depending on the section. We have a good idea how many we sell every year in each section, so we have some confidence in our budgeting. But imagine we found out that, say, a deadly disease would require us to have an empty seat between each person in the audience, meaning we could only sell half the number of seats.

So we plug everything into Excel and figure that we can sell half as many seats for twice as much money. Cool!

Except no one wants to pay $140 for a seat at our performance. They might pay $75, but at that price would many other people would shift from the orchestra level to the balcony, so we'd wind up with even less money.

I imagine that WTTW looked at their budget and figured that they needed to pay "Check, Please!" a lot less in order to keep their books in balance. And the producers of "Check, Please!" said no, we're not adjusting our prices to help you balance your books; we can take our product elsewhere.

We'll see. It's sad when this sort of thing happens, and I wish more arts organizations would recognize that they need people with business skills in management. I expect "Check, Please!" will do just fine online.