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Sunday 23 August 2015

I am not a food writer, so I don't have the vocabulary to describe dinner the other night at 42 Grams. Let me just reproduce a few items from our meticulously-presented, precisely-timed courses:

  • Carabinero: finger lime, phytoplankton, kelp, and lacto-fermented vegetables
  • Sweet pea custard: bacon, whey, brown butter, herbs & lettuce
  • Summer corn: corn silk, roasted corn broth, polenta
  • Organic Irish salmon: tea smoked with fallen pine, muhroom dashi, spent grain toast, nastrurtium
  • Lamb neck: smoked yogurt, tamarind, fennel
  • Veal sweetbread: foie gras, ash-baked eggplant, golden berry

Plus five more courses. And we brought wine that we'd obtained in Como.

I said, "Even if I could afford it, I couldn't eat like this every day."

My dinner companion said, "Why not?"

She has a point.

Oh, look: they have a last-minute reservation available for 6pm tonight...

Sunday 23 August 2015 09:51:59 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Kitchen Sink#
Wednesday 19 August 2015

With Apollo Chorus auditions set for September 10th and 13th, it's great that Slate just ran an essay explaining the benefits of singing:

Music is awash with neurochemical rewards for working up the courage to sing. That rush, or “singer's high,” comes in part through a surge of endorphins, which at the same time alleviate pain. When the voices of the singers surrounding me hit my ear, I'm bathed in dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain that is associated with feelings of pleasure and alertness. Music lowers cortisol, a chemical that signals levels of stress. Studies have found that people who listened to music before surgery were more relaxed and needed less anesthesia, and afterward they got by with smaller amounts of pain medication. Music also releases serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of euphoria and contentment. “Every week when I go to rehearsal,” a choral friend told me, “I'm dead tired and don't think I'll make it until 9:30. But then something magic happens and I revive ... it happens almost every time.”

Yep, every Monday in the fall and spring I drag myself in at 7pm, and by the time we go for beers at 9:30 I feel better. And, of course, concerts are a lot of fun, especially when we nail them.

Which reminds me, you should subscribe to Apollo. Our first (free!) concert is 3pm on November 8th at Second Presbyterian in Chicago.

Wednesday 19 August 2015 13:29:02 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#
Tuesday 18 August 2015

The point of the Illinois State Fair is food. Despite most people in the state living in urban or suburban areas, most of the state's area is agricultural. So when one goes to the fair, one eats. A lot.

That said, a remarkable proportion of food choices at the fair are fried meats. Even in the "ethnic village" section, where ostensibly they have about 20 different cuisines represented, things aren't quite...ethnic:

At least this year the Romanian kiosk wasn't covered in vampires. But still...not sure what's Romanian about elephant ears and polenta.

Also, we observed a skunk slink under a wall into the Greek kiosk after it closed. I sure hope he left before they opened the next morning.

Tuesday 18 August 2015 17:27:26 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Geography | Kitchen Sink | Travel#

Every year, Beloit College in northern Illinois prepares its "Mindset List," trying to prepare the faculty for the way the new first-years think. This year's class:

...are mostly 18 and were born in 1997.

Since they have been on the planet:

3. They have never licked a postage stamp.

6. Hong Kong has always been under Chinese rule.

17. If you say “around the turn of the century,” they may well ask you, “which one?”

32. The Lion King has always been on Broadway.

47. They had no idea how fortunate they were to enjoy the final four years of Federal budget surpluses.

50. ...and there has always been a Beloit College Mindset List.

This year's list also includes some translations from 2015-era teenager argot into standard English.

Tuesday 18 August 2015 10:22:51 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink | US | World#
Monday 10 August 2015

Problem: my keyboard suddenly wouldn't respond to the left-shift, enter, 3 or F5 keys. No idea why this is. Tested with mskey.exe, tested on another machine...still those four keys aren't working.

Solution: Get a new keyboard. Walk 10 minutes to Staples, find the same make and model, buy it, return to office.

New problem: New keyboard's spacebar is broken.

When I say "rinse and repeat" I mean that when heading back from Staples—this is the Chicago Loop, so one walks everywhere—it started to rain. Which is good, because the dewpoint is about infinity.

Now I'm cranky, damp, hot, and tired (which was a pre-existing condition today), and unproductive.

Waaah.

Monday 10 August 2015 15:59:39 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Kitchen Sink | Weather | Work#
Sunday 9 August 2015

After not going to a Renaissance Faire in so long I don't even remember my last visit, it was fun going three times this summer, each with a different group of people. Yesterday was Steampunk Invasion, which attracted crowds one of the more regular Faire attendees in our group called "epic."

Great costumes though:

I didn't do real costumes myself this season, but I have been informed that next season, there will be a costume, oh yes, there will. This should be interesting...

Sunday 9 August 2015 09:20:17 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink | Photography | Travel#
Thursday 6 August 2015

My friend Sara, who has a Ph.D. in psychology, wrote in her blog today about dreaming's influence on inspiration, and incidentally why psychoanalysis isn't science:

REM (dream) sleep specifically is associated with increased abstract reasoning as well as increasing the strength of normally weak associations in the brain (see here). What that means is, two different things that your waking brain might not even see a connection between could become associated rather easily in a dream. Our brain does this kind of linking (neural networking) naturally, and it's a great way to learn new things - by connecting new knowledge you need to memorize to something you already know. Just as you can connect any actor to Kevin Bacon, you can connect any concept in your brain to another. Some connections are more direct than others.

Of course, Freud and other psychoanalytic theorists would state that these strange juxtapositions are simply your subconscious trying to work out any conflicts you're having in your life. In fact, pretty much everything goes back to this idea of the subconscious, at least for psychoanalysts.

Why do we need ... theory and hypothesis if Freud's and other psychoanalysts' theories can sum much of this up, in a neat, Oedipus-complex-themed package? After all, parsimony is an important aspect of science - the simplest explanation tends to be the best one, in the absence of evidence to support one over the other.

But that's the thing - the various social psychological theories outlined above have just that: evidence. Specifically empirical evidence, which is pretty important for science, something I've also blogged about before. In fact, psychoanalytic theories lack the basic ingredients that make them at all scientific: the ability to test these concepts (we call this 'testability') and, if they are false, demonstrate that (we call this 'falsifiability'). If there really are subconscious forces operating in your brain, trying to give you glimpses of what's really bothering you (latent content) but hiding behind symbolism (manifest content), how would we even begin to test this? After all, they're subconscious. But for social psychological theories, such as priming, we may know what evidence we would observe if priming happened and what we would observe if it isn't happening.

You can read Sara's other thoughts on psychology and horror movies at Deeply Trivial.

Thursday 6 August 2015 12:49:58 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink | Blogs#
Wednesday 5 August 2015

We're working on a software release this week which seems to have absorbed all my free creativity. So I will leave you with this random tweet I discovered today:

Wednesday 5 August 2015 11:09:18 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink | Work#
Tuesday 4 August 2015

Sometimes it takes a while for me to pull things off my phone, like this photo from Pentatonix' show at Allstate Arena last Saturday:

Funny thing about that: when we found our original seats, in the last row way above stage right, our view of the stage was blocked by a temporary platform directly next to us. An usher came by and handed us 10th-row seats directly below us. Nice upgrade.

Tuesday 4 August 2015 14:26:44 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#
Tuesday 28 July 2015

While in Phoenix, I took an unscheduled side-trip to Rúla Búla in Tempe:

The bar features prominently in Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid series, which one of my oldest surviving friends turned me on to about a year ago. In the series, the protagonist frequents the bar, including at one point to buy a shot for Jesus. (Yes, that Jesus, in one of the funniest scenes in the novels.)

Since I was only 18 km away, I just had to make a field trip. I did not, alas, have the fabled fish and chips, so I'll never know if they're better than the Duke's.

Tuesday 28 July 2015 13:59:53 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Baseball | Kitchen Sink | Travel#
Saturday 25 July 2015

Louise Brown, the first test-tube baby, is 38:

On this day in 1978, Louise Joy Brown, the world’s first baby to be conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF) is born at Oldham and District General Hospital in Manchester, England, to parents Lesley and Peter Brown. The healthy baby was delivered shortly before midnight by caesarean section and weighed in at five pounds, 12 ounces.

Before giving birth to Louise, Lesley Brown had suffered years of infertility due to blocked fallopian tubes. In November 1977, she underwent the then-experimental IVF procedure. A mature egg was removed from one of her ovaries and combined in a laboratory dish with her husband’s sperm to form an embryo. The embryo then was implanted into her uterus a few days later. Her IVF doctors, British gynecologist Patrick Steptoe and scientist Robert Edwards, had begun their pioneering collaboration a decade earlier. Once the media learned of the pregnancy, the Browns faced intense public scrutiny. Louise’s birth made headlines around the world and raised various legal and ethical questions.

So far, more than five million babies have been born through IVF.

Saturday 25 July 2015 09:14:06 MDT (UTC-06:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#
Sunday 12 July 2015

Yesterday was almost entirely spent going up to the Bristol Renaissance Faire for its opening weekend. We had a lot of fun, ate more food (and more salt) than was probably healthy, and returned from the frozen North with squeaky cheese curds.

Of course, all that fun, sun, and driving requires about a day to clear out of my system. The symptoms of this clearing include following random Wiki threads, thinking about doing basic activities for unusually long times before doing them, and arranging my day so that I can put off shaving until absolutely necessary. This is why we don't usually go to Ren Faire on Sunday.

Sunday 12 July 2015 12:24:03 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#
Wednesday 8 July 2015

OK, I think the Fitbit "sensitive" sleep setting has to go. Last night, I know I slept for longer than my Fitbit believes I did:

I think it's interpreting very slight arm movements as actual restlessness, whereas it used to ignore most of them. If I'd only gotten four hours of sleep last night, I'd have crashed at my desk already.

I'm setting it back to "normal" sensitivity now. Let's see what it shows tomorrow.

Wednesday 8 July 2015 13:05:15 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink | Software#
Tuesday 7 July 2015

Yesterday I changed my Fitbit sleep monitor setting from "normal" to "sensitive." I got to bed last night at almost exactly the same time I went to bed Sunday night; and I got up this morning within 5 minutes of when I got up yesterday. But my Fitbit says I got 90 minutes less sleep last night. Here's Sunday night:

Here's last night:

This means either it's been overestimating my sleep, or last night it hugely underestimated it. Or, possibly, last night I just tossed and turned a lot more than usual.

I'll keep it on the "sensitive" setting for a week or so and compare it with how I feel in the morning. I definitely wanted to sleep in today, but it's also rainy and cold. More data is required.

Tuesday 7 July 2015 09:54:17 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink | Software#
Sunday 5 July 2015

The weather's perfect, there are holiday parties, and possibly some hiking. So not much blogging this weekend. There was also a small Ribfest nearby, but aside from Rod Tuffcurls & the Bench Presses, kind of disappointing (especially the vendor who ran out of ribs).

More later as circumstances warrant.

Sunday 5 July 2015 09:12:35 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Kitchen Sink | Weather#
Sunday 28 June 2015

The Chicago Pride Parade staging area is at the end of my street, so Parker and I had to at least see it. Money shot:

That's the Stanley Cup, back in Chicago where it belongs.

And just think of the hundreds of couples breaking up this weekend:

"Honey! We can get married now!"

"...um..."

Sunday 28 June 2015 13:42:48 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Kitchen Sink | US#
Thursday 25 June 2015

Last night at the Chicago Theater:

Thursday 25 June 2015 11:12:16 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#
Tuesday 23 June 2015

The unpacking continues, but I still have too many boxes cluttering up the place:

It is, however, a gorgeous day, and my office window is open to this:

My goals are (a) do my work instead of going for a long walk in the perfect weather, and (b) finish unpacking my living room tonight. I may succeed in both. Updates as conditions warrant.

Tuesday 23 June 2015 09:37:28 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Kitchen Sink | Weather#
Monday 22 June 2015

Between unpacking, preparing for a party (which encourages the unpacking), and the regular business of working, I didn't have time to write this weekend. I still don't, but I did want to catch up on a couple of things.

First, a coronal mass ejection over the weekend is producing large aurorae today, which could be visible in Chicago, New York, Dublin, and Seattle—way farther south than usual.

Second, Rhianna Pratchett, Sir Terry's daughter, says the next Discworld novel will be the last:

The author, videogame and comics writer told a fan last week that her late father’s forthcoming novel, The Shepherd’s Crown, featuring teenage witch Tiffany Aching, would be the final Discworld book. And asked by a fan if she would be continuing the series herself, she ruled out the possibility.

“No. I’ll work on adaptations, spin-offs, maybe tie-ins, but the books are sacred to dad,” she wrote on Twitter. “That’s it. Discworld is his legacy. I shall make my own.”

She added: “To reiterate – no I don’t intend on writing more Discworld novels, or giving anyone else permission to do so.”

Good for her. As blogger A.J. O'Connell wrote today, "Forty-one stand-alone novels are an amazing gift to give a fanbase, and I feel like it would be greedy to ask for more."

More later. Back to a deck that's due this afternoon.

Monday 22 June 2015 13:36:55 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink | Astronomy#
Friday 19 June 2015

Unpacking continues apace. By yesterday morning I'd managed to hook up my A/V equipment, which also meant getting part of my living room in order:

Last night I finished my kitchen (except for part of one box), so now I just have to unpack a few more boxes in my office and about 32,768 boxes of books. Plus I still have to hang things on the walls.

Tonight I've cleared my calendar so I can just be done. I may not get all the books up, but I will at least finish everything else.

Friday 19 June 2015 11:39:10 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#
Sunday 14 June 2015

This is my past night in the place I've lived for more than seven years, and it's a disaster area.

I take legal possession of my new place in a little more than three hours, but all my stuff is not magically being transported there. I've spent the better part of today packing, using Cleveland Indians Duck tape to mark which drawers and closets are empty (file under "moving randomness"), so now every time I need something I realize it's in one of these boxes. Bollocks.

Under the heading, "This, By You, Is A Problem?", I've already transferred my Internet connection to the new place, so I can't even stream a movie. Of course, I can update my blog from my phone, so it's still the future.

Transitions are good. Transitions are growth. The process of transition sucks.

Next update from Inner Drive Technology World Headquarters 4.0, sometime tomorrow or Monday.

Saturday 13 June 2015 20:53:23 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#
Thursday 11 June 2015

Today I'm going to get a salad from Whole Foods Market. But last Thursday, at Ristorante Arté al Lago in Lugano, Switzerland, I had this:

That is a venison tortellini in a broth that must have taken them two days to cook. The only pasta I have ever had in my life that topped it was the peacock ravioli I ate at Mistral the night before.

Why did we go hiking so much? So we could fit into the clothes we brought with us, of course.

Thursday 11 June 2015 12:08:34 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink | Travel#
Wednesday 10 June 2015

Last Wednesday we had one of the best dinners of our lives at Mistral, in Bellagio, Italy. I don't have the ability at the moment to describe it, except to say that I will never look at a peacock again without salivating. We had 8 courses each, one set of molecular-gastronomy dishes and the other more traditional, ending with a batch of vanilla gelato made with eggs, milk, cream, sugar, and liquid nitrogen.

Oh, and we had a view:

Someday, I will have better words to describe the food. I think it was better than the other Michelin-starred restaurants I've been to, but I'm not sure. More field investigation is required.

Wednesday 10 June 2015 11:31:06 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink | Travel#
Monday 8 June 2015

Yesterday I bought the Sunday Chicago Tribune for the first time in years. Sadly, I didn't buy it to read. It's just packing material.

Did I mention I hate moving?

Monday 8 June 2015 12:53:49 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#
Tuesday 26 May 2015
Tuesday 26 May 2015 14:02:18 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#
Monday 25 May 2015

With the Inner Drive Technology World Headquarters move only 21 days from now, this was bound to happen:

Also in the next three weeks is a big vacation. So, you know, no stress...

Monday 25 May 2015 08:35:52 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink | Travel#
Friday 15 May 2015

I went to the NPR show's taping last night:

The show will be broadcast tomorrow. It's going to be hi-larious.

Friday 15 May 2015 15:18:11 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Kitchen Sink | Politics#
Thursday 14 May 2015

Fortunately, I have a couple of long flights coming up in two weeks. Unfortunately, not all of this will be relevant then:

Tonight I'm taking a short break to go to the Wait! Wait! Don't tell me taping, which is conveniently located two blocks from my office. And tomorrow I might have some time to think.

Thursday 14 May 2015 16:19:47 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink | US | World | Cool links | Weather#
Tuesday 12 May 2015

Via reader SHL, the Beatles' Abbey Road "You Never Give Me Your Money" sequence vocal tracks only:

Tuesday 12 May 2015 14:39:50 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#
Tuesday 5 May 2015

A couple days ago I sent Peet's Coffee a note:

I see that the Summer House Iced Tea blend is out of stock. Any idea when it will be back? It's the best blend I've found for iced tea.

They responded this morning:

Thank you for your interest in our tea line up, especially the Summer House Iced Tea. At the present moment we do not have specific information regarding the Summer House Iced Tea, but let me tell you why. Peet's has recently joined forces with Mighty Leaf to provide a more diverse and accessible tea experience for our customers. At this time, we are only adding Mighty Leaf Tea to Peet's, however our end goal in this merger is to have two separate brands: Mighty Leaf Tea and Peet's Coffee.

The cohabitation of our brands is still relatively new and we are actively and carefully examining the commonalities between us and the teas offered by both brands. We are not certain exactly which assortment is best for our brands which is why your questions and feedback are so valuable to us.

We will definitely keep our customers informed of further developments, including the status of the Summer House Iced Tea, as it is still a work in progress. The primary mode in which we inform our customers is though our electronic newsletter. If you do not already receive our emails and are interested, please provide your preferred email address and zip code and I will be happy to sign you up for our emailing list.

That's a great response but, unfortunately, not the outcome I wanted. I hope they'll bring the Summer House tea back. In the interim, any suggestions for good iced tea blends? I might go with Tazo Awake.

Tuesday 5 May 2015 11:14:46 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#
Sunday 3 May 2015

As I mentioned yesterday, we finally have a late-spring weekend in Chicago. It got up to 24°C officially at O'Hare yesterday; today's forecast high is 27°C.

Parker got a 3=hour, 12.5 km walk, while I managed 26,000 steps and 21.4 km of my own. And we just got back from another 5,000-step walk before he gets to do his second-favorite activity: a Ride in the Car!

Apollo's final concert of the season is this afternoon, too. I'm kind of sad not to see the chorus again until rehearsals resume mid-September. But there's a lot going on this summer, including moving IDTWHQ. Stay tuned.

Sunday 3 May 2015 09:15:12 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Kitchen Sink | Weather#
Friday 1 May 2015

Apparently cheese grease contaminates the cardboard:

Paper is particularly susceptible to food and beverage contamination, and it "ends up suffering the most from getting mixed with other materials," says [Natural Resources Defense Council Senior Research Specialist Darby] Hoover. The culprits: gooey cheese and oil stains. Even if you remove the crusty cheese and sauce the slices leave behind, grease will have already soaked into the cardboard, ruining it for recycling. In a single-stream system (where bottles, glass, paper, and more all co-mingle) residue from other items in the bin could also contaminate the cardboard. Food and oil can't be separated from paper in the pulping process, so once paper is soiled, it's a done deal.

Well, that's unfortunate. Probably too much to hope they start putting pizza in recyclable polymer boxes.

Friday 1 May 2015 12:55:46 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#
Thursday 30 April 2015

We've got a pair of fun concerts coming up. Friday we're at 4th Presbyterian in Chicago at 7:30pm, and Sunday we're at the Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church at 3pm.

(This is one of the reasons posts have been less frequent and pithy.)

Thursday 30 April 2015 14:47:20 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#

Sir Terry and Neil Gaiman have a joint cameo in Episode 1 of BBC4's radio adaptation of the funniest book ever. I'm trying to sneak a listen to it in my office.

Hurry: it's only free until next Wednesday.

Thursday 30 April 2015 14:36:06 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#
Monday 27 April 2015

To read:

Back to cleaning up after a production bug this weekend.

Monday 27 April 2015 13:45:16 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Aviation | Chicago | Geography | Kitchen Sink | US | World#

Yesterday, owing to having a dog and not passing out from exhaustion after writing a blog entry, I blew out my Fitbit steps so far past my old personal record that I'm not sure I'll surpass it for a very long time.

Yesterday's total was 30,496 steps over 27.7 km. Apparently I drank enough water yesterday that I'm not a raging ball of sore muscles today. And so far today, I'm over 8,000 steps, with another few thousand pretty much guaranteed before dinner.

Monday 27 April 2015 13:26:43 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#
Sunday 26 April 2015

Today's gorgeous weather encouraged me to go outside. A lot. In fact, I hit a new record today: almost 27,000 steps and more than 24 kmso far. I still have to take Parker out at least twice tonight, though he's a little tired from the 5½ km he and I walked earlier today.

Next up on the agenda: lots of water, starting to prepare food. For some reason I'm really hungry...

Sunday 26 April 2015 17:17:45 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#

After seeing Carousel yesterday, I'm going to take advantage of really gorgeous weather today. Parker will also benefit. Updates as the situation warrants.

Sunday 26 April 2015 09:26:38 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Kitchen Sink | Weather#
Thursday 23 April 2015

First, a not-so-smart car:

I'm not sure what amused me more, the disproportionate tow truck or that the Smart Car driver parked in a rush-hour tow zone long enough for Streets & Sanitation to remove him.

Then, for everyone who takes his dog to work, there's this food truck:

I didn't pick anything up for Parker yet. ($2.50 per biscuit? Did I read that right?) But if it comes back, maybe.

Thursday 23 April 2015 13:44:11 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Kitchen Sink | Parker | Business#
Thursday 16 April 2015

I'm still trying to debug the performance of our principal application, which shouldn't be struggling the way it is.

I did, however, take two minutes out of my life to watch this:

Thursday 16 April 2015 16:42:53 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink | Software | Work#
Sunday 12 April 2015

I mean, yes:

Saturday 11 April 2015 21:27:20 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#
Friday 10 April 2015

Sometime Tuesday or Wednesday I hit 2 million steps since October 23rd.

Unfortunately, a combination of weather and talkative sales people on Wednesday prevented me from getting my 10,000 steps that day. Otherwise I've hit that goal 64 times this year, averaging 11,750 steps per day since January 1st—going up to 13,400 steps per day in the last 30. I've also lost 3.7 kg this year, stabilizing right around my target weight three weeks ago.

I realize this is old news, but I'm really jazzed how some simple changes in my life have made such a crucial difference. A fitness tracker costs around $100; most come with some kind of social gaming software (Fitbit lets you challenge your friends), which can give you even more incentive to get off the El a stop early or get up from your desk every half-hour.

Friday 10 April 2015 08:53:22 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#
Thursday 9 April 2015

My to-do list today only has 14 items on it, of which 6 are checked off already. The actual time it will take to accomplish the remaining eight items varies between 20 minutes (laundry, tonight, essentially a fire-and-forget activity) and four hours (Staging release of the Holden Adaptive Platform).

So, once again, I'm going to shove a bunch of articles to my Kindle:

Now to do the next few things on my list...and watch the thunderstorm outside my office window.

Thursday 9 April 2015 11:52:21 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Aviation | Chicago | Geography | Kitchen Sink | Photography | World | San Francisco#
Tuesday 7 April 2015

In the reading queue:

Did I mention that DUKE WON?!

Tuesday 7 April 2015 10:37:41 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Aviation | Duke | Kitchen Sink | Software#
Thursday 2 April 2015

I didn't post this yesterday for obvious reasons.

I've just executed a lease on a new place about 5 km northwest of where I live now. I'm extra-special-happy that I won't have to move a whole damn server rack, but not especially happy that I'm renting the new place because I can't yet sell my current place. At least, not for an amount that would make me extra-special-happy.

The new apartment is twice the size and has probably double the electricity bill of my current place. It also has lots of east and west light, a huge kitchen, and a separate room to house the IDTWHQ.

Parker also got to see the place and he approved, particularly because it's only one flight up instead of three, and he's pushing nine years old. (Fortunately he didn't mark it as his own; that would have been a problem.)

Possession is slated for June 15th. Updates as conditions warrant. And if anyone is interested in a cute 1-bedroom vintage walkup in Lincoln Park, email.

Thursday 2 April 2015 16:28:38 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Geography | Kitchen Sink#
Tuesday 31 March 2015

...sort of. But that's not important right now. I'm just spiking some articles to read later:

OK, time for a vendor phone call...

Tuesday 31 March 2015 15:22:56 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink | US | Religion | Business | Cool links#
Monday 30 March 2015

My catching-up on the Netflix version of Michael Dobbs' House of Cards has taken a brief hiatus as the friend in question has actual work and family obligations. I'm taking advantage of the pause to go back to the original BBC miniseries with Ian Richardson in the role of F.U.

You know what? It'ts better. It has a faster pace, more sharply-drawn characters, it's funnier, and it isn't sanctimonius—it's an actual satire. Francis Urquhart is evil, and doesn't care that we in the audience know it. Francis Underwood wants us to like him. That may be the difference between the UK and the US in a nutshell.

Still, in three hours of the BBC miniseries, I find myself laughing out loud at Urquhart's deviousness and at the lampooning of British political archetypes (that, granted, require some context about British politics post-Thatcher). The Netflix series just seems so...sanctimonious. Melodramatic. Long.

The British understand satire. Americans, not so much. Comparing the two versions of House of Cards side by side has been an education.

Sunday 29 March 2015 20:42:09 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink | London | US | World#
Thursday 26 March 2015

One of my Canadian friends has a friend who made a shrimp cannon. No kidding:

Thursday 26 March 2015 15:29:29 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink | Cool links#
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David Braverman and Parker
David Braverman is the Chief Technology Officer of Holden International in Chicago, and the creator of Weather Now. Parker is the most adorable dog on the planet, 80% of the time.
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