When I left for New York last Saturday morning, my car still lay under a snowdrift. A few days of unseasonably warm weather later, and voilà:
I'm really, really tired, but I just had to post this:
Did I mention how much I love my new camera?
In fairness, my old camera could have done that, too. It's a 200mm lens on a 1.6x digital image chip, ISO-100, f/5.6 at 1/500. My old camera wouldn't have had the detail the new one has, but really, the trick to the shot was the tripod I've had since 1983. (Seriously.)
The moon is actually pretty bright. Its albedo—the amount of light its surface reflects—is about 9%, or about half of an average surface on Earth. So in full sunlight it should read about 50% of the light that it would read at noon here, and, would't you know, it does. In noon sun in the park I would expect about the same exposure. So in reality, the moon is a much duller grey than this photo shows.
OK, I'm off to sleep now. Tomorrow I'll reveal what became of my car while I was in Connecticut.
When I left Chicago on Saturday morning, we had half a meter of snow on the ground. I hear most of it is gone:
Thursday's 13°C high temperature at O'Hare, a reading 11°C above normal and more typical of late April than February, fell just 2°C shy of a 130-year old record of 16°C. But, at Midway Airport, the home of an uninterrupted 82 year observational record which began in 1928, Thursday's 14°C temperature was a record-breaker. The reading replaced a 1981 record high of 13°C at the South Side site.
That wasn't the only new Chicago temperature record established in Thursday's unseasonably mild air. The morning low of 8°C easily beat a previous record-high minimum of 6°C set 121-years earlier in 1890. The unseasonable warmth finished a 10-day, 53 cm melt-off of one of the area's heaviest February snowcovers in three decades.
I wonder if I'll be able to move my car?
And in unrelated news, Republican Wisconsin governor Scott Walker wants to destroy worker's rights in the state, causing the entire Democratic caucus to pull a Texas and flee the state. It's always fun when hubris meets farce, isn't it?
Quick update: A Kindle can disappear from just centimeters from your left elbow, and hotel security didn't see nothin'. And whoever took it now has a nonfunctional brick, albeit one with several decent books on it including the complete works of Shakespeare. Maybe he'll read?
No, I'm not swimming in Long Island Sound; I'm up to here [gesture] analyzing a broken software application for a financial firm outside Norwalk. I'm also fighting to get a good night's sleep in a room with clear sightlines to the Connecticut Turnpike and the Metro North Railroad.
Within the next day or two I'm going to explain why this particular client makes me (and the rest of my team) incredibly happy to work there. One of my teammates already compared it to Nirvana Corp. Now, however, I need to chug this coffee, hibernate the laptop I'm not allowed to use at the client site, and find the rest of my team.
Apparently, Chicago has had above-freezing temperatures for more than 24 hours. Anyone want to lay odds on whether I can drive my car when I get home?
I can't decide, if I were to move back to New York (and if I had unlimited funds), whether I'd live in the Village or on the Upper West. I have a hunch the latter would win:
Right now, however, I'm in Stamford, Conn., in a hotel room overlooking I-95, because our client wants us to start work tomorrow at 8am. I used to spend a lot of time in Stamford, so I walked around a bit after checking in. It hasn't changed much. And my favorite Stamford bar is still there—which is where I believe I'll have dinner tonight:
And, super bonus time, Tigín has trivia on Tuesdays, so even though I can't be with my team in Chicago, I can fly the Brown Chicken Brown Cow flag in Connecticut.
The low-light performance of my new camera astounds me. I took an hour-long hike around Midtown Manhattan right around sunset. Cranking the camera up to ISO-6400 allowed me to do this:
That's f/3.5 at 1/30, using available light. Sorry about the nerd moment but: day-um.
Another one, in Washington Square:
ISO-3200, f/5.6 at 1/30. Again: day-um.
To celebrate, I had a greasy slice of New York pizza from a corner pizzeria for dinner.
Sometimes you get a happy combination of flight plan, weather, and seating on an airplane. Today, on departure from O'Hare:
A few moments later:
On approach to LaGuardia:
I had planned a quick getaway to New York this weekend, one involving a single carry-on, dropping Parker off this morning and picking him up tomorrow afternoon, and putting my new camera through a live-fire exercise in Manhattan.
Then, Thursday evening, I found out I'll spend the next two weeks in southwestern Connecticut. So now I have a checked bag and Parker has almost a week of boarding ahead of him. The client wants us onsite Monday at 8am through 2pm Friday, which few clients ever ask for. This reflects the short duration of the project and the client's level of security (they're a financial firm), the latter characteristic meaning I'll have no email, mobile phone, or (gasp!) Facebook access during the business day. The silver lining from that is we won't be allowed to work on the project after business hours.
So it looks like I'll get to spend more time in my third-favorite city in the world. I'll also get to see a couple more friends, assuming I can get off the client site early enough to have dinner in the city some day this coming week.
Now if the plane taking me to New York weren't delayed for an hour getting out of New Orleans this morning, I might get there sooner...
 Chicago and London have the top two spots; New York and San Francisco are tied for third.