The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Winter is here

Meteorological winter begins in the Northern Hemisphere today. In Chicago right now we have sunny skies and a normal-for-December 2°C. And any day above freezing between December 1st and March 1st works for me.

Meanwhile:

Finally, on a whim I looked back at my posts from 10 years ago, and I came across this painful memory of debugging an Azure 1.8 deployment. And 15 years ago we got our first snowfall of the season. Ah, memories.

Spring, fall, winter...Chicago?

It's 14°C right now, going down to -3°C tonight. Then it's back up to 8°C on Friday. Because why wouldn't the beginning of winter feel like April?

While you ponder that, read this:

Finally, Whisky Advocate has a good explainer taking the water of life from barrels in Scotland to the glass in your American kitchen.

Still a "good" landing

A pilot crashed his Mooney M20J into power lines in suburban Maryland last night, but everyone got out of the plane alive:

A pilot and a passenger were rescued from a small plane that had crashed into a power line tower and power lines in Maryland after an hours-long ordeal that saw power cut to nearly 100,000 homes and businesses, led to school cancellations and plunged rescuers into a complex effort to safely remove the people aboard.

The first victim, a woman, was pulled from the plane at 12:25 a.m. Residents who’d spent hours watching the incident play out clapped as she was lowered down in a bucket. The second occupant, a man, came down about 11 minutes later.

The Sunday evening crash occurred at a Pepco transmission line near Rothbury Drive and Goshen Road in the Gaithersburg/Montgomery Village area, according to utility and rescue officials. The plane became entangled in high-voltage power lines in the Montgomery Village-Gaithersburg area about 5:40 p.m.

Unfortunately for the pilot, he won't be able to use the plane again, so it's not an "excellent" landing. And once the NTSB gets through with him, he probably won't ever fly again (he's 65).

I can't remember another accident where the airplane hit power lines and the occupants all survived. Weather around the crash time and place shows low instrument conditions: overcast ceiling at 60 meters (200 ft) with visibility around 2 km (1¼ mi) in mist. This suggests visual flight into instrument conditions, but a probable cause finding from the NTSB will likely take a year or so.

Bigger, better (?) O'Hare coming

Despite coming in "later and cost[ing] more than originally expected," construction on a new Terminal 2 and revamped Terminal 1 will start soon:

Under the latest plan, two new remote satellite terminals will be the first to open, in 2027 and 2028, off the existing Terminal 1, where most United Airlines flights are located.

Once that is done, full-scale work will begin on the centerpiece of the project: the demolition and reconstruction of Terminal 2, which will be converted into a combination domestic and international terminal. That will locate customs and related facilities at the center of the airport, and not at the exiting, somewhat remote Terminal 5, as is the case now.

Officials had estimated the project's estimated cost at $8.5 billion—but that's in 2018 dollars, when the plan was unveiled and approved by the City Council under former Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

In August, the city had new estimates, with the original $8.5 billion plan projected to cost $9.8 billion. Along with other previously approved and additional projects, the total for O'Hare's overhaul was slated to cost $12.1 billion.

Fortunately, Federal money—not my city property taxes—will pay for it.

I just hope it takes less time to build than the railway platform by my house.

Fifteen minutes of voting

Even with Chicago's 1,642 judges on the ballot ("Shall NERDLY McSNOOD be retained as a circuit court judge in Cook County?"), I still got in and out of my polling place in about 15 minutes. It helped that the various bar associations only gave "not recommended" marks to two of them, which still left 1,640 little "yes" ovals to fill in.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the world...

Finally, Chicago gets a new brewery taproom on Thursday when Hop Butcher to the World opens in Half Acre's former Lincoln Avenue space, just over 2 km from my house. Cassie and I might find out on Saturday whether they let dogs in, assuming the forecast holds. (And there it is: a post that literally checks all the boxes for Daily Parker categories!)

Fun weather today

So far I've managed to avoid getting soaked running lots of errands, but the cold front descending upon us has stirred things up anyway. Right now, O'Hare reports 48 km/h winds with gusts up to 65 km/h and a peak wind just before noon of 92 km/h from the south—directly across all 6 main runways there. Whee!

I sincerely hope no one tried to land in that.

Aviation perfection

This. Is. Amazing:

Chicago Public Media explains how they made it:

The viral video was shot earlier this summer, with the help of a Minneapolis-based production studio. With a “lean crew” of just three people, Sky Candy Studios paid a visit to the Windy City in late July, the company’s founder Michael Welsh said.

Over the course of a Saturday and a Sunday, Welsh piloted an FPV-style drone with a GoPro attached through the nooks and crannies of Wrigleyville. The “high-precision drone,” which weighs under 250 grams, is meant to cruise through tight spaces and wouldn’t do any damage if it were to bump into something — or someone, Welsh said.

“It’s incredibly small and safe and allows you to do these maneuvers that in the past you weren’t able to do with drones,” said Welsh, who initially started flying drones about 12 years ago when he was in the Army.

The final product includes five different videos that are stitched together “with some creative editing magic,” Welsh said. For each of the five videos, Welsh says they probably did about five takes, with a lot of prep and talking with the people who appear in the shots. Inside Murphy’s Bleachers, for example, they let patrons know a drone was coming through and they should ignore it. At first, Welsh said people can’t help but look at the camera flying by them, but by the third take “they’re kind of bored with it.”

And they did this all with a tiny 250-gram drone? Whoa.

Almost as long as a Mahler symphony

Wow, yesterday went on a bit. From getting on the bus to Peoria to getting off the bus back in Chicago, I spent 18 hours and 20 minutes doing something connected with the Peoria Symphony's performance of Beethoven's 9th yesterday. I think it went quite well, and I expect they'll ask us back the next time they do a huge symphonic choral work.

Right now, Cassie has plotzed completely after two nights in boarding, and I need to figure out what I'm eating this week. So I'll post something more interesting later today.

In the meantime, enjoy this Saturday Night Live bit that will challenge even the most attentive English speakers throughout the former colonies:

Anthony's Song

I'm movin' out. A lovely young couple have offered to buy Inner Drive World Headquarters v5.0, and the rest of the place along with it. I've already gotten through the attorney-review period for IDTWHQ v6.0, so this means I'm now more likely than not to move house next month.

Which means I have even less time to read stuff like this:

Finally, American Airlines plans to get rid of its First Class offerings, replacing them with high-tech Business Class and more premium coach seats. I'd better use my miles soon.

Whither O'Hare parking?

I do love traveling Saturday mid-days, because it's the quietest time at O'Hare. There was no line at the Pre-Check security gate, and I only have a backpack, so it took less than 3 minutes to clear TSA. Wonderful.

Unfortunately, every single economy parking space has a car in it. (I would have taken public transit but I had a meeting run until 12:30, with a 3pm flight. Couldn't risk the 90 minutes or so.)

In any event, my plane is here, it appears to be on time, and the latest weather is VFR the whole way. Next report from North Carolina.