The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Lots of walking

My phone, watch, and dog are all recharging right now after Cassie and I walked 9.5 km to the Horner Park DFA and back.

Right now it's officially 30°C with the occasional wind gust at O'Hare, but here in Ravenswood we've got 26°C with a light breeze. So once my watch has fully charged we're going back outside.

And hey, we might see this guy again:

Several people have identified this as a Cooper's Hawk, one of the more common raptors in the Illinois prairies, and I hope a more common visitor to my rabbit-infested neighborhood. Plenty to eat here!

Temperature 26, dewpoint 22

I just got back from walking Cassie for about half an hour, and I'm a bit sticky. The dog days of summer in Chicago tend to have high dewpoints hanging out for weeks on end, making today pretty typical.

Our sprint ends Tuesday and I still have 3 points left on the board, so I may not have time to give these more than a cursory read:

Finally, Andrew Sullivan adapts a column he wrote in August 2001 asking, "why can't Americans take a vacation?" One reason, I believe: all the time and money we spend in and on our cars.

Ravenswood platform opens after 12 years and 3 months

Would you just look at that:

Metra finally opened the inbound Ravenswood platform on the UP-N line after tearing down the previous permanent structure in July 2011.

For the first time since then, we commuters got a solid surface to walk on, shelter from the elements, and (for me, anyway) a 4-minute-shorter walk from Cassie's day care to the Leland Avenue stairwell at the far south end of the station.

They still haven't completely finished, however. The fully-enclosed waiting area with benches and heaters was locked this morning, and the ramp on the north side of Leland still had a plywood barrier. But boy howdy! We won't get rained/snowed/sunned on anymore!

I still want Bruce Rauner to stand on the "temporary" platform for 12 years so he understands what it felt like. Someday, when I'm running Purgatory...

Stuff to read later

I'm still working on the feature I described in my last post. So some articles have stacked up for me to read:

And while I read these articles and write this code, outside my window the dewpoint has hit 25°C, making the 28°C air feel like it's 41°C. And poor Cassie only has sweat glands between her toes. We're going to delay her dinnertime walk a bit.

Calm moment before chaos

I'm having a few people over for a BBQ this evening, several of them under 10 years old, and several of them dogs. I've got about 45 minutes before I have to start cutting vegetables. Tomorrow will be a quiet day, so I'll just queue these stories up for then:

  • Not a group to pass up risible hypocrisy, Alabama Republicans have defied the US Supreme Court's order that they create a second majority-Black district in the state, preferring just to shuffle the state's African Americans into a new minority districts. This leaves African Americans with 27% of the population and 14% of the Congressional representation, and the state Republican majority wishing it could just go all the way back to Jim Crow instead of this piecemeal stuff.
  • Surprising no one who understood that former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) cared less about governing than about enriching his pals (and himself), the Foxconn semiconductor factory that Wisconsin residents subsidized for $3 billion has not, in fact, created 13,000 jobs yet. Probably because it doesn't exist yet, and may never.
  • James Hansen, who first warned in the 1980s that human-caused climate warming had already started and would accelerate if we didn't cut greenhouse gas emissions, thinks "we are damned fools" for needing to experience it to believe it.
  • The Chicago city council plans to pass legislation raising the minimum wage for tipped workers to the general minimum wage of $15.80 per hour, up from $9.48 today. This doesn't address how anyone could possibly live on $32,000 per year in Chicago, let alone $19,000 a year at the lower wage.

OK, time for a quick shower and 15 minutes of doing nothing...

Clean(er) dog

Cassie experienced a traumatic noontime event: a warm bath. One minute she had pats and scritches on the couch, the next minute her human herded her into the guest bathroom and hoisted her into the tub. Then she had utter confusion and her human rubbed her vigorously all over (which felt nice) while dumping pitchers of warm water on her (scary!).

She survived, of course, and promptly got a 30-minute walk to shake it off. She smells so much nicer, and her coat no longer has the greasy feel it had taken on in the last couple of weeks.

We'll see how long it lasts. I'm also washing the blankets I put over the two couches she likes to sleep on, which I hope helps keep the grime off a little longer.

Clearer air on an "inside" day

I had one of those "why am I working inside today?" moments when I got my lunch a few minutes ago. The obvious answer—Cassie needs dog food—doesn't always work when it's 27°C and sunny. It did get me to re-evaluate my dinner plans, however. Cooking pasta just doesn't appeal when my favorite sushi place has an outdoor patio that allows dogs.

Meanwhile, I'm adding a feature that might take the remainder of this sprint as it completely changes how we store and present 3rd-party calculation results to the end user. Previously we just presented the user's most recent calculation on the results page. But our pesky users seem to want to see their previous calculation results as well. Since we were throwing those away when the user made a new calculation, I have some work to do.


  • Via Bruce Schneier, the Gandalf AI app lets you socially-engineer an AI to get its password. Schneier himself hasn't gotten past Level 7, so good luck to you.
  • Tyler Austin Harper sees an uncomfortable connection between the movies Oppenheimer and Barbie, both of which open this weekend.
  • Office furniture brokers have a glut of inventory as post-pandemic return-to-office plans get slower and slower.
  • Today is the anniversary of Massachusetts Commodore Dudley Saltonstall's incompetent attack on the British garrison at present-day Penobscot, Maine, in 1779, that should remind all y'all commando wannabes what happens when amateurs attack a vastly superior professional force. (Also a reminder that Benjamin Franklin's diplomacy really won our War of Independence, not George Washington's soldiering.)
  • In what can't be politely described, so I'll call it a dick move, Universal Studios denuded a stand of trees along Barham Blvd. in Los Angeles to harass the striking writers and actors who had used the trees for shade in the 32°C heat. And the suits continue to wonder why everyone roots for the talent.
  • Of course, the suits broke the business in the first place, so maybe that has more to do with it.

Finally, now that Cassie has had her birthday photo and her sardine dinner, it's time for her bath. Wow, does she need one. And she's going to get one tomorrow morning, traumatizing though it is for her.