The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Still not walking enough

I'm having my worst week ever since getting a Fitbit: only 65,000 steps from last Tuesday through yesterday. Christmas, traveling, and yesterday's horrible weather have really hobbled my step count.

So far today I'm at 4,200 steps, and I have some errands to run this afternoon that will help. But wow, five days below 10,000? Scandal. Even Parker is bored.

 

Candlelight service in Winnetka

Combine a full moon, a really good camera, and a beautiful church on Christmas Eve:

(The grain is from shooting a HDR photo at ISO-12800.)

Did I mention the candlelight part?

The final piece of the service is the entire congregation singing "Silent Night" holding candles. Even as an atheist, I found it moving. And the Winnetka Congregational Church, while still a Christian church, doesn't beat people over the head with religion. I'm certain I wasn't the only atheist in the congregation.

Messiah #3 and #4

The Apollo Chorus performed Händel's Messiah yesterday and Saturday both, which explains the radio silence here. This is my second year with the Chorus. Though last year's performances were really good, this year's were better.

Here's the view from the stage to our sold-out crowd yesterday afternoon:

And those who have followed The Daily Parker for a while know that I have had a troubled relationship with bow ties. For this weekend's performances, I might have gotten it right:

Late autumn in Chicago

Sunday morning, after Saturday's snowstorm:

Last night, making mini turkey pot pies for tomorrow:

That's all from scratch. Inside a rosemary-sage crust, from the bottom we've got turkey, pinot noir-reduction gravy, stuffing with organic Italian sausage, and cranberry sauce made with cranberries, orange, honey, and a secret ingredient that makes them amazing.

I think I'm going to gain three kilos this weekend.

Whoops (10 years, plus a few days)

I missed an important anniversary last Friday, probably because I was traveling and got distracted.

The Daily Parker is now ten years (and six days) old. I launched it officially on 13 November 2005, from Inner Drive Technology World Headquarters in Evanston, Ill.

In the 10 years ending last Thursday night, I posted 4,842 entries, averaging 40 per month, or one every 32 hours or so. Not a bad record.

Any odds the blog will be around another 10 years?

New colors

So the masthead is blue now. Any thoughts?

Parker and I managed to go for a one-hour, five-kilometer walk earlier today, as hoped. So my lazy Sunday hasn't been entirely lazy. But just on principle, I think the rest of the day will involve a nap and some time at a local bar with a book.

A year of FitBit

I forgot that I picked up my FitBit a year ago this week. So how am I doing since 24 October 2014?

  • 4.76 million steps (13,000 per day)
  • 4,081 km (11 km per day)
  • 4,557 floors (12 per day)

By FitBit's reckoning, that puts me somewhere around the 90th percentile of FitBit users worldwide. It also means I've walked the entire length of Japan and climbed enough stairs to reach the normal cruising altitude of a commercial jet.

And Parker and I are about to get more steps in just a few minutes.

Milestones

This post has a personal and a technical significance.

Personally: exactly 10,000 days ago, I was graduated from high school, at about this time of day.

Technically: The new blog engine let me pre-post this several days ahead, something the old blog engine thought it could do but never quite succeeded.

That is all.

Divvy is faster than the El, usually

Now that Chicago's bike share has hundreds of stations, its efficiencies are becoming clearer:

But what about convenience? Recently Divvy held its second annual data visualization challenge, and one of the winners, by Shaun Jacobsen at Transitized, compares the speed of Divvy with the speed of the CTA. And Divvy wins by a nose.

Jacobsen’s “Who’s Faster” project starts with a look at the 1,000 top “station pairs"—i.e. the places that people most often go from point A to point B using Divvy. Then, those are compared to the same route on the CTA at noon on a Monday.

And a couple patterns emerge. One is that the bulk of station-to-station trips are faster, centering on five minutes’ savings. It might not sound like much, but it adds up; Jacobsen calculates 32,023 hours saved over 571,634 trips. The other is that the most heavily-used station pairs tend to save more time than less frequently-used ones, as if people are starting to figure out how it works.

Cool stuff.