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Wednesday 28 May 2014

I appreciate my friends getting 5th-row seats at AT&T park tonight. And yet, the Cubs still lost.

So, voilà:

To clarify: I was legitimately surprised that my friends got such awesome seats. I was not surprised that, having won yesterday, the Cubs lost tonight.

Wednesday 28 May 2014 00:19:34 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | Baseball | Cubs | San Francisco#

I enjoy a healthy dose of randomness when traveling, because it means sometimes you get a hotel room with this view:

It's hard to see, but I'm looking directly at AT&T Park, where the Cubs are playing in about two hours. Since they won last night, I fully expect they've used up their allotted runs for the rest of May, but it will still be fun to see a baseball game.

Tuesday 27 May 2014 17:28:56 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | Baseball | Cubs | San Francisco#
Monday 26 May 2014

Another gratuitous ocean photo:

Monday 26 May 2014 09:14:12 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | San Francisco#

One of the best parts about visiting my folks:

Monday 26 May 2014 07:37:24 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | San Francisco#
Sunday 25 May 2014

When I go anywhere for only a couple of days, I try not to shift my body clock. It prevents jet lag, mostly.

This weekend I'm at my folks' house outside San Francisco, which has a two-hour time difference from Chicago. That is why I woke up at 5am and walked to the local Peet's Coffee, as I usually do.

This trip I may allow my clock to drift westward, though. I'm going to Tuesday night's Cubs game at AT&T Park at 7:05pm—9:05pm Central time—and would like to see the whole game. The Cubs might even win. I mean, they have a 1-in-3 shot, right?

I do like getting to the Peet's this early, though. First, the just-before-dawn walk is quiet and even a little spooky down the local bike trail, but today I got a tremendous view of the crescent Moon and Venus, which are passing just 2° from each other this morning. I'm never up this early at home unless I'm still up, which hasn't happened in years anyway.

Second, the Peet's is quiet right now. In two hours it'll be packed with families and locals (the fishermen who stay here for hours at a time most mornings are more colorful than any of the characters at the Alibi Room). Time to write for a bit, and wait for the rest of my family to wake up.

Sunday 25 May 2014 05:57:25 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | Cubs | San Francisco | Travel | Astronomy#
Thursday 15 May 2014

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.

Thursday 15 May 2014 09:50:24 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | San Francisco | Weather#
Saturday 28 December 2013

Another shot from Christmas afternoon, as promised:

Saturday 28 December 2013 07:37:25 PST (UTC-08:00)  |  | San Francisco#
Thursday 26 December 2013

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.

Thursday 26 December 2013 07:59:32 PST (UTC-08:00)  |  | Chicago | Kitchen Sink | US | San Francisco#
Wednesday 25 December 2013

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.

Wednesday 25 December 2013 14:57:58 PST (UTC-08:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink | San Francisco#
Thursday 19 September 2013

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.

Thursday 19 September 2013 17:12:41 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Kitchen Sink | London | San Francisco#
Saturday 20 July 2013

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.

Saturday 20 July 2013 09:11:55 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | San Francisco | Travel | Weather#
Friday 12 July 2013

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.

Friday 12 July 2013 14:08:34 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Aviation | Chicago | London | San Francisco#
Sunday 7 July 2013

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.

Sunday 7 July 2013 09:35:13 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Aviation | San Francisco#
Wednesday 3 July 2013

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.

Wednesday 3 July 2013 10:48:32 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | Aviation | San Francisco | Travel#

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...

Tuesday 2 July 2013 17:14:26 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | US | San Francisco | Travel#
Monday 1 July 2013

It turns out, I'm working a lot more than I anticipated this week, in addition to being on, you know, vacation, so not much blogging for the next day or two.

Meanwhile, this is what I got to see on our descent to SFO two days ago:

The quality could be better, but that's because I snapped it with my tablet about 15 seconds before the flight attendants told me to turn it off. But it shows pretty well why I always sit in the window seat.

Monday 1 July 2013 10:33:57 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | Aviation | San Francisco | Travel#
Saturday 4 May 2013

I just listened to a This American Life segment by Andrew Forsthoefel, a 23-year-old from southeastern Pennsylvania who walked across the U.S. for a year. Fascinating.

He wound up, after walking 6,000 km, in Half Moon Bay, Calif., about 800 m from my family's house. I have to say, if I were to walk across the U.S., I'd want to wind up in Half Moon Bay, too.

What a start to this kid's life. I'm looking forward to hearing more from him.

Saturday 4 May 2013 10:52:26 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Geography | Kitchen Sink | San Francisco#
Wednesday 17 April 2013

Yesterday American's scheduling and ticketing systems went offline around 11:00 CDT. By noon CDT, the Dallas Morning News had this:

“American’s reservation and booking tool, Sabre, is offline,” American spokeswoman Andrea Huguely said at midday. “We’re working to resolve the issue as quickly as we can. We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience.” (American subsequently absolved Sabre of any blame. ”We apologize to Sabre & customers for confusion.”)

She confirmed that the problem is causing some delays of American flights.

Shortly after, American grounded all of its flights for about three hours before getting its networks talking to each other around 3pm CDT.

I found out about this crash while stepping off the BART at SFO. My dad texted, "Are you affected by the AA ground halt?" Talk about a WTF? moment.

I was affected, but I'm happy to report that (a) I got to SFO shortly before American resolved the problem, and (b) American's gate agents had their crap together and got everyone out as quickly as possible. I was only 30 minutes late arriving at O'Hare.

American hasn't explained what happened yet; the Dallas Morning News has a theory...

Wednesday 17 April 2013 14:22:04 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Aviation | Chicago | San Francisco#
Tuesday 16 April 2013

I had a few hours of free time yesterday, so I went up to the Gloria Ferrer winery in Sonoma. I don't know how people can live like this:

Tuesday 16 April 2013 06:48:47 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | Geography | San Francisco | Travel#
Monday 15 April 2013

I think I had a better time than the people freezing to death at Wrigley:

Monday 15 April 2013 07:57:17 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | Cubs | San Francisco | Travel#
Thursday 9 August 2012

It just never gets old:

Thursday 9 August 2012 15:34:39 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | San Francisco#
Sunday 27 May 2012

The bridge opened for foot traffic on 27 May 1937:

Naturally, the city is having a party.

Sunday 27 May 2012 09:10:49 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | San Francisco#
Friday 25 May 2012

The last time I flew home from San Francisco, we landed in Rockford after missing the approach at O'Hare because of wind shear.

Yesterday, we didn't divert to a different airport, but neither did we take the most direct path:

We almost flew into Canada, according to the captain. As it is we were only about 20 minutes late.

Friday 25 May 2012 17:33:56 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Aviation | Chicago | San Francisco | Travel#
Thursday 24 May 2012

I'm once again in an airport, on my way home. While you're waiting eagerly for my next blog post, check these out:

Share and enjoy.

Oh, and there's a Lufthansa Airbus 380 parked here today. I really must see one of those monsters up close someday.

Thursday 24 May 2012 13:31:44 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | Aviation | Kitchen Sink | San Francisco | Travel#
Tuesday 22 May 2012

The fog will roll in after noon, but at 7am there wasn't a cloud:

This is my fourth-favorite city in the world.

Tuesday 22 May 2012 08:56:27 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | San Francisco#
Monday 21 May 2012

This evening's eclipse, through clouds:

Also visible in the shadows:

An hour later, it's a lot brighter out.

Sunday 20 May 2012 19:29:33 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | San Francisco | Astronomy#
Friday 18 May 2012

But only if you're near the Pacific:

The midwest might not have the best view but the annular solar eclipse will at least be partially visible from here. The southwest will have the best vantage point when the sun appears as a "ring of fire" when the moon passes between it and the earth on Sunday. The moon will cover about 95% of the sun's diameter during this event. The eclipse will follow a path 8500 miles long for about 3 and a half hours. The "ring of fire" spectacle will last up to 5 minutes depending on the vantage point. Six national parks in the west, including Redwoods National Park in California and Zion National Park in Utah, are enticing visitors by offering some of the best views since the eclipse track will drift right over the parks.

The eclipse starts in San Francisco at 17:16 PDT, reaches its maximum at 18:33, and ends at 19:40. Here's a map from the University of Manitoba:

Remember, don't look at the eclipse directly. It's an annular eclipse, so it will be dangerously bright if you look straight at it.

Update: NASA has an information page about this event.

Friday 18 May 2012 08:42:07 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | San Francisco | Astronomy#
Thursday 3 May 2012

My baby sister got tickets for last night's Giants game at AT&T Park. I had the distinct feeling of being at a Cubs game, first because of the Giants' defense (including a walk-a-thon in the 4th), and second because they managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory after tying it up in the bottom of the 9th. (The goat of the game? Former Cub Ryan Theriot.)

We did have great (if chilly) weather and great seats:

Back to Chicago this afternoon...and lots of work to do before then...

Thursday 3 May 2012 08:07:31 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | Baseball | San Francisco#
Wednesday 2 May 2012

Tomorrow I have to take a cab to work. But this morning, once again, I got to see this:

Here, by the way, is the view from my desk at the client's office:

Yeah, I could get used to this.

Wednesday 2 May 2012 08:45:33 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | San Francisco#
Tuesday 1 May 2012

In Chicago, I usually take the 156 bus or the El to work in the morning. Today, I took this:

That's how I got to see this on my commute:

Of course, now that I have arrived at the client's office, I should probably do some work.

Tuesday 1 May 2012 08:58:06 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | San Francisco | Travel#

The bad news is I've been in meetings with clients all day. The good news is their office has a view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Updates as warranted. And as I have time for.

Monday 30 April 2012 17:25:04 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink | San Francisco#
Thursday 16 February 2012

If you're driving in San Francisco, don't block the MUNI:

By early next year the city's entire fleet of 819 buses will be equipped with forward-facing cameras that take pictures of cars traveling or parked in the bus and transit-only lanes. A city employee then reviews the video to determine whether or not a violation has occurred — there are, of course, legitimate reasons a car might have to occupy a bus lane for a moment — and if so the fines range from $60 for moving vehicles to more than $100 for parked cars.

City officials consider the pilot program a success. "Schedule adherence" has improved, according to that update, as has general safety, since access to proper bus-stop curbs is impeded less often. In addition, the number of citations issued has risen over the past three years — from 1,311 in 2009 to 2,102 in 2010 and 3,052 last year, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

At the root of the problem is a disconnect between the automobile and transit worldviews, transit planner Jarrett Walker explains in his excellent new book, Human Transit. (More on this in the coming days.) While an empty bus lane is actually a functional bus lane, an empty car lane is a wasted car lane, so drivers are quick to capitalize on what they view as a transportation inefficiency.

That's pretty cool. In principle, I approve of automated parking enforcement, such as Chicago's street sweeper cameras, even though I've had to pay fines as a result. Fair enforcement is all right with me. (But don't get me started on how Chicago puts up street-sweeping signs the day before...)

Thursday 16 February 2012 15:06:17 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Politics | San Francisco | Cool links#
Sunday 12 February 2012

There are a few examples of public transportation in the world that double as fun things for tourists over and above their practical uses for commuters. The Chicago El's Loop section, for example, or New York's Roosevelt Island Tramway.

In San Francisco, tourists mob the cable cars, pushing regular commuters aside, and removing them from this category. Same, to some extent, with the Muni F-line streetcars. but near the convergence of the F and California St. Cable Car is the Ferry Terminal Building, which, despite its transformation in the last 20 years into an urban market, actually has ferries. I took one of them yesterday.

I had to get from the city to Sausalito. The Sausalito Ferry is, it turns out, the best way to do that. The $4.85* fare not only gets you to Sausalito, but it also gives you this view:

The whole trip is like that. In fairness to the city, it wasn't as gloomy as it appears in the photo; I just caught it at a particularly dramatic moment.

Upon disembarking in Sausalito, however, this sign greeted me:

I have no idea what that means, especially since without cholesterol, animals die. But, hey, it's California, and no one from the Sausalito Police came to steal my cholesterol.

----

* It's $4.85 if you have a Clipper Card. Otherwise it's $9. If you regularly travel to a particular city, I recommend getting a transit card.

Sunday 12 February 2012 08:27:50 PST (UTC-08:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink | San Francisco#
Saturday 11 February 2012

I'm back in San Francisco for a couple of days, narrowly escaping Chicago's lake-effect nightmare yesterday. I enjoyed walking around without a coat last night, until the rain started. (Did you know it rains here in February? Yes? You're ahead of me, then.) A friend and I wanted to check out a bar over by Civic Center, Smuggler's Cove, which I might Yelp later today. I must say, waiting outside in the rain for 35 minutes to go into a bar has lost its appeal for me over the years. Fortunately, the bodega right on the corner had umbrellas. This, by the way, is why I love San Francisco and New York: you can get what you need with a minimum of fuss.

Today will see me ferrying across the bay for lunch in Sausalito, then heading down to the Ps. Apparently there are ribs in the future for me. I might skip food at lunch, just in case.

Saturday 11 February 2012 09:31:57 PST (UTC-08:00)  |  | San Francisco#
Friday 10 February 2012

I remember traveling in the 1970s and 1980s, when no one could reliably answer this question until the plane actually left the runway. But today I'm at O'Hare while snow is falling, and it looks like my flight will in fact take off on time despite the snow and the lengthening list of delayed flights on the arrivals board.

How do I know?

First stop is the American Airlines website. Their flight status tool says my plane departs on time from gate K5. And the page has a link to "arriving flight information," which tells me that the plane I'm on will land in 10 minutes.

Oh, really? Yes, really, as Flight Aware's real-time tracker shows me. At this moment, the airplane taking me to San Francisco is heading straight for the O'Hare VOR about 70 km away. (It's over Joliet—no, wait, now it's over Naperville!)

The airline has done it right. By providing real-time information, they're putting me at ease. Even if the incoming plane were circling over Springfield, that would still help me by letting me plan how long I can sit here working before I have to schlepp to the gate.

Update: In the time it took to write this entry, my plane has arrived, and I can see it taxiing towards me right now. I am not making this up. That's not my plane, by the way. That's a plane being de-iced, to show you why I might be a little on edge about my actual departure time today.

Friday 10 February 2012 15:39:32 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Aviation | Chicago | San Francisco | Cool links#
Sunday 25 December 2011

Codey might want to play tug, but Roger couldn't care less:

Saturday 24 December 2011 19:13:44 PST (UTC-08:00)  |  | Photography | San Francisco#

Codey waits for me to put down the black flashy thing and start playing tug again:

Canon 7D at ISO-6400, 50mm, f/1.8 at 1/250, just a few minutes ago.

Saturday 24 December 2011 17:41:35 PST (UTC-08:00)  |  | Photography | San Francisco#
Saturday 24 December 2011

Every time I visit San Francisco, I stop here:

Today I only left with 400 g, which unfortunately I'll have to leave with my family. Well, unfortunately for me; knowing them, it won't last two weeks in the house. That's an acceptable outcome.

Friday 23 December 2011 20:42:31 PST (UTC-08:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink | San Francisco#
Thursday 22 December 2011

You'll never guess where I am:

It's not so bad, really. Despite warnings of the busiest travel day of the year at O'Hare, it's quiet and relaxed at the moment. From curb to the other side of security took 14 minutes, which isn't a record for me but obviously didn't bother me either.

After a short flight, I'll have curry at Kennedy's tonight with some classmates, then Christmas with the family.

Thursday 22 December 2011 15:29:11 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | San Francisco | Travel#
Friday 16 September 2011

ParkerI'm David Braverman, this is my blog, and Parker is my 5-year-old mutt. I last updated this About... page in February, but some things have changed. In the interest of enlightened laziness I'm starting with the most powerful keystroke combination in the universe: Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V.

Twice. Thus, the "point one" in the title.

The Daily Parker is about:

  • Parker, my dog, whom I adopted on 1 September 2006.
  • Politics. I'm a moderate-lefty by international standards, which makes me a radical left-winger in today's United States.
  • Photography. I took tens of thousands of photos as a kid, then drifted away from making art until a few months ago when I got the first digital camera I've ever had that rivals a film camera. That got me reading more, practicing more, and throwing more photos on the blog. In my initial burst of enthusiasm I posted a photo every day. I've pulled back from that a bit—it takes about 30 minutes to prep and post one of those puppies—but I'm still shooting and still learning.
  • The weather. I've operated a weather website for more than ten years. That site deals with raw data and objective observations. Many weather posts also touch politics, given the political implications of addressing climate change, though happily we no longer have to do so under a president beholden to the oil industry.
  • Chicago, the greatest city in North America, and the other ones I visit whenever I can.

I've deprecated the Software category, but only because I don't post much about it here. That said, I write a lot of software. I work for 10th Magnitude, a startup software consultancy in Chicago, I've got about 20 years experience writing the stuff, and I continue to own a micro-sized software company. (I have an online resume, if you're curious.) I see a lot of code, and since I often get called in to projects in crisis, I see a lot of bad code, some of which may appear here.

I strive to write about these and other things with fluency and concision. "Fast, good, cheap: pick two" applies to writing as much as to any other creative process (cf: software). I hope to find an appropriate balance between the three, as streams of consciousness and literacy have always struggled against each other since the first blog twenty years ago.

If you like what you see here, you'll probably also like Andrew Sullivan, James Fallows, Josh Marshall, and Bruce Schneier. Even if you don't like my politics, you probably agree that everyone ought to read Strunk and White, and you probably have an opinion about the Oxford comma—punctuation de rigeur in my opinion.

Another, non-trivial point. Facebook reads the blog's RSS feed, so many people reading this may think I'm just posting notes on Facebook. Facebook's lawyers would like you to believe this, too. Now, I've reconnected with tons of old friends and classmates through Facebook, I play Scrabble on Facebook, and I eagerly read every advertisement that appears next to its relevant content. But Facebook's terms of use assert ownership of everything that appears on their site, regardless of prior claims, which contravenes four centuries of law.

Everything that shows up on my Facebook profile gets published on The Daily Paker first, and I own the copyrights to all of it (unless otherwise disclosed). I publish the blog's text under a Creative Commons attribution-nonderivative-noncommercial license; republication is usually OK for non-commercial purposes, as long as you don't change what I write and you attribute it to me. My photos, however, are published under strict copyright, with no republication license, even if I upload them to other public websites. If you want to republish one of my photos, just let me know and we'll work something out.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and I hope you continue to enjoy The Daily Parker.

Friday 16 September 2011 18:36:32 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Aviation | Baseball | Biking | Chicago | Cubs | Duke | Geography | Jokes | Kitchen Sink | Parker | Daily | Photography | Politics | US | World | Raleigh | Religion | San Francisco | Software | Blogs | Business | Cool links | Security | Weather | Astronomy | Work#
Tuesday 6 September 2011

I have to leave all this behind today. Fun (but quick) weekend, though:

Canon 7D at ISO-800, 1/2000 at f/6.3, 250mm, here.

Tuesday 6 September 2011 07:50:11 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | Photography | San Francisco#
Monday 5 September 2011

My sister and brother in law photo-bomb from the air:

They're on their way to dinner with the family while I suffer once more in this harsh environment:

Monday 5 September 2011 16:47:47 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | Photography | San Francisco#
Saturday 3 September 2011

I'm traveling today and tomorrow, so I may not have time to post much until Monday. Tonight I'll be at Angel Stadium watching a game that may not matter, except for being 18th in the 30-park Geas.

Saturday 3 September 2011 12:28:39 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Baseball | San Francisco#
Thursday 9 June 2011

Surf fishing in Half Moon Bay, Calif., on Sunday:

ISO-400, 1/2000 at f/5.6, 123mm. Approximately here.

Thursday 9 June 2011 09:23:19 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Photography | San Francisco#
Monday 6 June 2011

Yesterday, just north of San Francisco:

Monday 6 June 2011 07:58:42 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | Photography | San Francisco#
Sunday 5 June 2011

This morning, San Francisco:

Keaney St. at Bush, ISO-400, 1/1600 at f/5, 131mm

Sunday 5 June 2011 15:10:09 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | Photography | San Francisco#
Monday 10 January 2011

Parker got to come home from boarding today even though he's going right back there tonight, a canine prisoner furlough for good behavior. Immediately upon returning home he sat in the kitchen and whined as I parceled out his food for his next prison sentence. Poor dude.

The Duke Dividend, a result of not having 20 hours of schoolwork every week, has started to pay off in books. I'm halfway through Ender's Game, after blasting through The Hunger Games trilogy in three days and re-reading Howl again—a new copy I picked up Saturday at City Lights, which I thought appropriate.

Monday 10 January 2011 10:47:02 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Aviation | Parker | San Francisco#
Saturday 8 January 2011

When I visit Half Moon Bay, Calif. (which I do about three times a year), I get up several hours before the family because (a) I stay on Chicago time and (b) they sleep later than I do anyway. I usually then walk down California Route 1 for about 1.5 km from the house to the Peet's Coffee so I can work without disturbing anyone.

Since my last visit the city has built a bike trail along the highway, making the trip immeasurably safer and less muddy:

Get the punchline to this civic joke, plus more photos, at The Daily Parker.

Saturday 8 January 2011 08:19:07 PST (UTC-08:00)  |  | US | San Francisco#
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David Braverman and Parker
David Braverman is a software developer 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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