The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

March here, July in San Francisco?

Last night the temperature here got down to 5°C, which feels more like early March than mid-May. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, yesterday got up to 33°C, which to them feels like the pit of hell. In fact, even in the hottest part of the year (early October), San Francisco rarely gets that warm. The Tribune explains:

The North American jet stream pattern, a key driver of the country’s weather, has taken on the same incredibly “wavy”—or, as meteorologists say —“meridional”—configuration which has so often dominated the winter and spring. This sort of pattern leads to temperature extremes across the content.

Pools of unseasonably warm air are in place on each coast while unseasonably cool air is sandwiched between and dominates Chicago and Midwestern weather.

It’s within this slow-moving pool of chilly, unstable (i.e. cloud and precip-generating) air that Chicago resides—a situation likely to continue into Saturday. This is to keep extensive cloudiness and the potential for sporadic showers going over that period of time.

In other words, the forecast for this weekend is continued March with a possibility of April by Monday.

Boxing day links for you

Check these out:

More later, including, I expect, more photos of the ocean. Why? Because ocean.

Update: Speaking of the ocean, via George Takei's Facebook feed comes this gem. Just read the product reviews.

Don't they know it's Christmas?

Not when they're 13 months old. And not when the weather looks like this.

And not when someone needs a nap:

Yes, these are the privations and suffering that my 13-month-old nephew must endure:

A little earlier, he was chasing what my sister calls "California snow:"

For those who care, it's a very un-Christmaslike 21°C here. I can see the appeal.

Favorite pubs in the world

The question just came up in an email exchange with a friend's friend's sister: what are my favorite pubs in the world?

After a couple minutes' thought, I got here:

1. Duke of Perth, Chicago. Obviously; it has been my remote office off and on for over 20 years.

2. Southampton Arms, London. If I ever live in the UK, this may switch places with the Duke. It's just hard to say a place is my favorite when it's 6,000 kilometers away and I only go there twice a year.

3. Tommy Nevin's, Evanston, Ill., my former remote office.

4. Nag's Head, Hoboken, N.J. Another that used to be my remote office—but in the days before Wi-Fi and ubiquitous laptops. I still visit if I have time while I'm in New York.

5. Guthrie's Tavern, Chicago. Since the Duke of Perth is halfway between my house and Guthrie's, I don't get there as often as I used to. But it's worth the trip.

Some honorable mentions:

  • Bucktown Pub, Chicago. I'm starting to warm to the place, especially after many trivia nights there. Unfortunately, I don't live in Bucktown.
  • Peddler's Daughter, Nashua, N.H. (A former temporary remote office.)
  • The Bridge, Amberley, England. A real, live English country pub.
  • Kennedy's, San Francisco. By day, on its patio, it's wonderful. At night, it gets a little too loud and crowded, and there are too many TVs. Still, I almost always stop in when I'm out there.
  • Tigin, Stamford, Conn. My then-girlfriend lived right around the corner.

And some that are no more, and missed: Abbey Tavern, New York, where I hung out weekly from 1997 to 2000; closed in 2006. And The King's Head, Earls Court, London—which was really great before the new owners turned it into a trendy gastro-pub.

I'm always looking for suggestions.

Cooling off, maybe

Chicago has experienced its first big heat wave of the year, with temperatures above 32°C every day this week. Yesterday, 46 of the lower 48 states reported temperatures in that range, with only North Dakota and Minnesota spared.

A friend who lives in San Francisco posted this with the caption, "Summer hits the Bay Area:"

It cooled down last night, so it's now just about 26°C...here. Only I'm going to New York in a few hours, where today will not only get to 35°C, but will have violent thunderstorms and buckets of rain. Good weekend to visit.

Two "oh, dear" aviation stories just now

First, a Boeing 787 caught fire at Heathrow this afternoon; fortunately, no one was aboard:

Video footage showed the plane surrounded by foam used to quell the flames. The airport said in a statement that it was an on-board internal fire, but didn’t offer more details. It said the plane was empty, parked in a remote area and there were no reported injuries. All flights in and out were temporarily suspended Friday afternoon -- a standard procedure if fire crews are called out.

Ethiopian Airlines said smoke was detected coming from the aircraft after it had been parked at Heathrow for more than eight hours.

You can bet that Chicago-based Boeing will watch this story very, very carefully. Their shares dropped 7% on the news, for one thing.

In other unfortunate aviation news, the San Francisco Police have confirmed that one of the two victims of the Asiana 214 crash got run over by a fire truck, but they don't know yet whether she was alive when this happened:

Medical examiners will not release autopsy results for “at least two or three weeks,” San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault told NBC Bay Area on Sunday. Coroner’s officials are working to determine how 16-year-old Ye Mengtuan died.

Police officials confirmed that the girl was hit by the truck in the chaos that followed the deadly crash, which also killed her classmate and travel companion, identified by the airline as 16-year-old Wang Linjia.

The girl was blanketed in white foam emergency crews sprayed to douse the flames billowing out of the Boeing 777, police said. She was discovered in the tire track of the fire truck, police spokesman Albie Esparza told NBC News.

Not a good week for aviation.

Fatal accident at SFO

Yesterday, an Asiana 777 crashed on approach to San Francisco airport:

Two people were killed and 49 seriously hurt when Flight 214 crashed at 11:27 a.m. But the rest of the 307 passengers and crew members escaped either unscathed or with lesser injuries, Doug Yakel, an SFO spokesman, said at an evening news conference.

The plane came to rest on the side of Runway 28L, one of four runways at SFO, said Lynn Lunsford, a spokeswoman with the Federal Aviation Administration. The jetliner appeared to hit short of the runway and then slowly turn as it careened across the ground - losing its tail and leaving a trail of debris.

(Photo: AP/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Initial reports suggest the plane had a higher-than-normal angle of attack on an otherwise normal approach, and its tail struck the seawall at the end of 28L—the runway my Alaska 737 landed on last Saturday. It also seems from the reports that the pilots attempted a go-around immediately before the tail strike, which would explain the higher angle of attack and the reports of the plane "bouncing up" and "putting on the gas" from passengers.

I'll be following this story closely. This is the first-ever fatal accident for the Boeing 777, and the first fatal heavy airplane accident since 12 November 2001.

Jaw-dropping delay at SFO security this morning

From getting out of my cab at San Francisco Airport this morning until I finally got through the security line took seven whole minutes, including checking a bag.

Yes. Seven minutes.

I don't understand why more people aren't signing up for the TSA PreCheck program. If you're in the program, you can zip through airport security without removing your shoes, emptying your bag, or waiting behind people who have never seen a magnetometer before.

Eligible travelers

...include U.S. citizens of frequent flier programs who have been invited by a participating airline. Additionally, U.S. citizens who are members of a CBP Trusted Traveler program, including Global Entry, SENTRI, and NEXUS and Canadian citizens who are members of NEXUS that are issued a Known Traveler Number qualify to participate. Passengers 12 and younger are allowed through TSA Pre✓™ lanes with eligible passengers.

TSA Pre✓™ is currently available for eligible passengers traveling on Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America.

Seriously. Seven minutes from the curb to the gate area.

Of course, with the BART strike (possibly ending later today), it took me over an hour to get here, but that's beside the point.

Not going to a Cubs game tonight

Since I planned to visit San Francisco anyway, I got a ticket to tonight's CubsA's game at O.Co Stadium. O.Co is just across the Bay, and it only takes about 30 minutes by BART, so...um...oh, crap:

Almost 2,400 striking BART workers from the Amalgamated Transit Union and Service Employees International Union went on strike at midnight Sunday after negotiations collapsed hours earlier.

Union officials say the major sticking points continue to be pay raises, health care and pension contributions.

BART representatives said the agency had doubled its salary offer - to an 8 percent raise over four years - but that the unions had reduced their proposal for a 23.2 percent raise by one-half percent. They said it was the unions' turn to make a proposal and criticized them for leaving the last-gasp bargaining.

Union negotiators say that BARTs increased salary offer is a ruse rather than a generous offer. Three percent of that increase is contingent on the transit agency achieving ambitious goals including ridership, revenue, sales taxes and reductions in the number of employees taking time off under the federal Family Medical Leave Act.

Driving up from Half Moon Bay didn't take any time at all until I got to 6th St. The next hour of my life seemed longer than usual.

So, no game, and tomorrow I'll have to figure out how to get to SFO. I think Caltrain will get me close...