The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

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:

Overheard at Peet's

I'm at the Peet's Coffee in Half Moon Bay, Calif., while the rest of the family slowly starts their days. In the past hour I've heard the following:

  • "All meditation techniques are awesome."—60-something woman
  • "What I really need is someone who's good at syndicating real-estate investments."—the same woman three minutes later
  • "If you eat something that only eats vegetarians, that's still vegetarian."—man of unknown vintage wearing dark sunglasses and a pony tail, trying to work out why the Jewish clerk didn't have (a) Christmas dinner or (b) crab meat yesterday

I think the clerk had more difficulty working out how crab meat got involved than how someone living outside San Francisco in the 21st Century failed to grasp the relevance of Christmas to non-Christians. Apparently the latter happens all the time.

Then there's this Captcha I just encountered, which did its job so well it prevented a non-automated system (me) from proceeding:

(This may have been the vendor's attempt at Hanukkah humor.)

Praise cheeses

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.

Link roundup

I'm still banging away at software today—why is this damn socket exception thrown under small loads?—so I only have a minute to post some stuff I found interesting:

  • Chicago and the State of Illinois are planning the largest urban park in the world in the mostly-abandoned Lake Calumet and South Works areas of the south side.
  • It looks like the far-right has hijacked Hungary's government, in the way that right-wing governments do, which should remind everyone who lives in a democracy how fragile the form of government can be.
  • The Atlantic's Ta-Nahesi Coates has one of the best definitions of bigotry I've encountered: "The bigot is never to blame. Always is he besieged--by gays and their radical agenda, by women and their miniskirts, by fleet-footed blacks. It is an ideology of 'not my fault.' "
  • I have tentatively decided that Facebook's Timeline feature is cool, while at the same time recognizing how it once again makes it harder for average users to control the privacy of their data on the site.

More updates as events warrant.

Good and not-so-good British films

In the past day I've seen two movies, both adaptations from really good novels: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Incendiary.

The former, adapted from John le Carré's 1974 novel, brought me right into the Cold War and had me transfixed by Gary Oldman's performance. After next weekend—when I think I'll have a couple of hours of free time—I'm queuing up the 1979 version with Alec Guinness.

The latter, adapted from Chris Cleve's 2005 novel, disappointed me. Except for Michelle Williams' superb acting, it missed the point of Cleve's novel so completely I wonder if director Sharon Maguire read the novel or the Cliff's Notes. Perhaps the novel's dark and disturbed ending didn't test well? It wasn't a happy novel; it wasn't supposed to be. Maguire made an entertaining Bridget Jones' Diary, so why'd she miss so badly here?

Quick roundup of stuff I found interesting

I'm juggling a couple of clients today, so I can't write entire entries on any of these:

OK, back to the mines...