The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Long weekend

Both of our Messiah performances went well. We had too few rehearsals and too many new members this year to sing the 11 movements from memory that we have done in the past, which meant that all us veterans sang stuff we'd memorized with our scores open. So like many people in the chorus, I felt better about this year than I have since I started. We got a decent review, too.

Also, we passed a milestone yesterday: 1,000 days since my company closed our Chicago office because of the pandemic, on 16 March 2020. Four days later, the state issued the first stay-at-home order. I didn't go back into the office until June 22nd.

Three cheers for the Secretary of State's Office!

Because I moved, I had to change my drivers license in-person at an Illinois Secretary of State Drivers Services Office (our DMV). Let me tell you how hard that was:

  1. I went online yesterday morning and, after a few clicks, got to "Same-Day Appointments."
  2. I found that the facility closest to me (about 5 km away) had appointment times in the late afternoon, so I signed up.
  3. The sign-up process took me to a checklist that helped me figure out what documents I needed to bring. It took me about 15 minutes to assemble those documents in a folder.
  4. Half an hour before my appointment, I drove to the facility, and found a parking space right away.
  5. I went into the Vehicle Services Office next door, and got redirected to the correct building.
  6. There was no line. I went right to the first station, showed him my documents, and was directed to the photo area.
  7. There was no line, so I got my photo taken, and was directed to the to the document verification window.
  8. After waiting 30 seconds in line, the nice lady at the documentation window went over all my documents, verified and scanned them, signed me up for Motor Voter registration, and sent me to the cashier.
  9. There was no line, so I paid my $5, waited for a few seconds while my temporary license printed out, and that was it. Total time: 22 minutes.
  10. Since I was right there anyway, I went next door to Vehicle Services and updated and renewed my car registration. Total time: 6 minutes.

It took me longer to drive to the facility than to update my drivers license, apply for a Real ID, update my auto registration, and renew the same.

I love living in a state where we care about government enough to fund it properly!

More things at the end of their time

I posted this morning about the decline in craft brewing that seems to have started, thanks to market saturation and the pandemic. Two other things have reached the ends of their runs as well, and both have deep Chicago connections.

First, Boeing this week rolled out its last 747 airplane. The 54-year-old design has come a long way, to the point where the 747-8i that left the Everett, Wash., factory on Tuesday has 150% the carrying capacity of the first 747-100 produced in 1968 (333 tonnes vs. 458 tonnes—just over 1 million pounds).

Second, the Lincoln Park Zoo plans to remove what could be the oldest tree in Chicago in the coming weeks. The bur oak, on the Zoo's south lawn by the white-cheeked gibbons, has grown in the spot for between 250 and 300 years, making it about as old as Händel's Messiah. The tree has a 117-cm diameter trunk and stands 13.7 meters tall. (Two other trees—an oak in Norwood Park and another bur oak by the University of Chicago—may be older.)

Time and chance happeneth to them all.

How is it 6:30?

With tomorrow night having the earliest sunset of the year, it got dark at 4:20 pm—two hours ago. One loses time, you see. Especially with a demo tomorrow. So I'll just read these while devops pipelines run:

Finally, John Seabrook takes a few pages to explain how to become a TikTok star. Hint: do it before you turn 22.

Darkest nights of the year

In Chicago, from November 15th to December 31st, the sun sets before 4:30pm. Not much before; for about 11 days, it sets within a few seconds of 4:20pm before getting just a few seconds later.

The only point I'm making is: it's dark already. Cassie has gotten exactly one walk in full daylight a day for the last week, and that will likely continue.

Ah, winter.

Oh, and the Fourth Circuit has once again (metaphorically) called XPOTUS-appointed Federal Circuit Judge Aileen Cannon an idiot.

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.

Foomp

In the last couple of days, I've observed a phenomenon I don't remember seeing in years past, perhaps because the city has a different mix of tree species around my new place. It looks like all the silver maples in Ravenswood dropped their leaves just in the past 72 hours:

All the other trees in the neighborhood took their time over the warm, dry fall we've had, but the silver maples hung on like a 6-year-old holding his breath.

Researching this post, I learned that the city requires property owners to limit Norway and silver maples to 5% of the total population of trees they plant. Maples account for 38% of Chicago's trees (as of 2013), so the city recommends planting London planetrees, Chicago Blues black locusts, and Chicagoland hackberries, among a few others.

It shouldn't have surprised me that Chicago itself has become a specific ecological niche with its own local plant species. I can't wait to see rattus norvegicus chicagoensis lurking in my alley...but I'd bet they're out there.

Above freezing and clear

With only about a week of autumn left officially, we have some great weather today. Cassie is with her pack at day care and I'm inside my downtown office looking at the sun and (relative) warmth outside, but the weather should continue through Friday.

What else is going on?

Finally, I hate to tell you, we will never find any real evidence to support the existence of Noah's Ark.