The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Happy birthday, car

I can scarcely believe I've had this guy for 10 years:

The car is named João, because he's from Brazil, and he seemed kind of like a Joe: He's a little rough around the edges, he's fun to hang out with, and he's super-reliable—except for the occasional hangover.

The photo is from the day after I got him. He's scarcely aged. (See, for example, this shot from last February. You can kind of see the dings, but he's still got a good profile.)

Larry and Andrew and Gertie

This came to me from one of the creators, Deena Rubinson, someone I've known since the mid-1990s. It's billed as "the saddest comedy ever," which may be true. It's also well-acted, well-written, and well-edited—which is a lot harder to do than people think. I'm looking forward to episode 4...

No responsibilities for 23 hours

I love weekends like this past one. I went to New York ($150 round-trip, including taxes), saw a couple of friends, and did something fun I would never have done without being taken along by people who refused to tell me what it was all about (more on that later).

I also managed to get from Grand Central Terminal in New York to the Whole Foods in Lincoln Park, Chicago, in just over four hours, in part because American Airlines and I like each other so much.

Details later.

Exurban Wisconsin

A couple of us have come to Brown Deer, Wis., to work with a vendor on an upcoming software release. (Brown Deer is about 160 km north of Chicago.) The vendor has been über-cooperative, the trip up (for me, anyway) took less than two hours, and we're getting everything done we weren't able to do from our respective offices in other states.

Two of the guys are from Texas, one is from Delhi, and I'm from the Greatest City in North America. So the only thing we're having any difficulty negotiating is food.

At lunch today we scouted Google Maps rigorously for anything other than Applebee's, and found the only place better within a 20-minute drive: Olive Garden. Between discussing the project and other stuff about work, we decided that Brown Deer is a food desert. So tonight, after scanning Yelp and getting other recommendations, we're heading into downtown Milwaukee for some real food.

Unfortunately, that means tomorrow night we'll have Applebee's. But at least we'll make the effort.

The year in numbers

In 2011, I:

  • took 8,198 photos, including 4,352 in Chicago, 881 in Japan, 588 in Portugal, and 337 in the U.K. (and only 71 of Parker). This is almost as many as I took in 2009 and 2010 combined (9,140), and more than I took in the first 8 years I owned a camera (1983-1991, 7,671).
  • flew 115,845 km but drove less than 4,500 km
  • visited 5 countries (the UK, Spain, Portugal, Canada, Japan) and 8 states (California, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Indiana, North Carolina, Texas, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin) in 35 trips. Sadly, this meant Parker boarded for more than 100 days
  • spent more than 186 hours walking Parker, which partially made up for all those days being boarded
  • wrote 539 blog entries, with the most consistency in the blog's 6-year history (averaging 1.48 per day with a standard deviation of only 0.11)
  • got 2.3 million hits (object views) on the Daily Parker, and 1.7 million on Weather Now, including 47,956 and 181,285 page views, respectively. According to Google Analytics, the blog had 28,613 unique visitors, and Weather Now had 26,539.
  • read only 34 books, but as these included the first four of the "Song of Ice and Fire" series, it should count as 46
  • started and ended the year in the same place (Duke of Perth, Chicago)
  • went to only 8 movies, 3 plays, 3 concerts, and 3 baseball games, which is terribly sad

Oh, and I also got a master's degree. (Almost forgot.)

Last blog entry of 2011

It's 2012 everywhere from Cairo to points east, and I've got a lot to do between now and tomorrow, so I will postpone whatever end-of-year summaries, year-in-review posts, photos of Parker, and looks forward to next year until tomorrow. Suffice to say, I didn't accomplish everything I'd hoped to do today, this month, or this year, but I'm satisfied. Mostly. And I think 2012 will improve upon 2011, which improved upon 2010, and so on back to 1999, which, for a variety of reasons, hasn't been topped.

So how to make 2012 better than 1999, without moving back to New York, being 13 years younger, and having the confidence and drive that can only come from unbridled hubris riding on a crashing ignorance of one's profession? I'm sure it won't be that difficult. Perhaps more nuanced, though.

Thanks for reading this year. Expect another few hundred posts next year, with more photos, stuff about Parker, rants about the election, and possibly a note here and there about the weather. And expect 2012 to rock, generally.

Make it stop...make it stop...

At my office today, or rather directly above it, workers are installing carpet. The office is in an 1880s-era loft, with very little separating the banging above from my desk below. Add to that a slightly loosened support holding up the HVAC tubing that squeaks every time someone walks past the door (or, for example, pounds on the floor above with sledgehammers), and I'm thinking of jumping out the window.

A moment's reflection suggests tossing someone else out the window, of course, and since the someone in question has a large hammer, I will demur.

I sense a long lunch coming on...

Home again

After almost exactly 5 days (actually 5 days and 20 minutes), I'm unpacking, laundering, rehydrating, and figuring out where I put the gifts I didn't get a chance to hand out before leaving.

Regular updates resume presently.

Oh, and: