Their forecast was correct: a cold front has pushed into the Chicago area, dropping temperatures rapidly and turning our sunny morning into a cold and grey last day of autumn. At 11:30 it was 11°C outside my door; now, just over 2 hours later, it's 4°C, and getting cooler yet.
This will not stop me from walking another few kilometers, though. It's still above freezing, after all.
Knowing that winter is coming later today motivated me to take Parker on his biggest walk since we went hiking in mid-September: an hour and three quarters, 10 km, 11,000 FitBit steps (which translates to about 60,000 Parker steps).
The 11°C out my door can't last, though. Rockford is down to 1°C; Burlington, Wisc., about an hour northwest of O'Hare, is already below freezing.
With 13,000 steps already behind me today, and being only 7,000 steps away from a 1-day total over 20,000 and a 7-day total over 100,000, I see more walking before day's end...
As reported yesterday, an Arctic high pressure area is moving south into the United States, bringing freezing temperatures with it. The latest surface analysis looks like this:
It's 9°C in Chicago but 3°C in Rockford, just 145 km away.
Conclusion? It's time to take Parker on his long walk of the day. Now.
It looks like the temperature will get up to 11°C this afternoon, and the sun is still visible. Meteorological autumn ends tomorrow, and apparently so does this weather. The forecast calls for an unseasonably warm evening followed by a cold-front passage tomorrow late morning and temperatures falling to 1°C by noon and -6°C overnight.
This is a long way of saying that Parker and I need to go for another walk pretty much ASAP. We walked about 5 km so far today. Let's see if we can squeeze in another 5 before sundown.
Yesterday morning I performed with the Apollo Chorus at the Art Institute's Lion Wreathing in -8°C cold. Now, less than 30 hours later, it's 10°C and sunny. So if you'll excuse me, Parker and I are going to walk about 20,000 steps so I can blow out my FitBit stats for November.
Video of yesterday's performance:
Legal marijuana sales in Colorado and other states has a serious security problem: most banks are afraid to take deposits from legal pot dispensaries because Federal banking law equates that with money laundering for drug dealers. This means that pot dispensaries need to store large amounts of cash, which is a huge security hole. However, a loophole in Colorado law may allow them to have real banking services starting January 1st:
Last week, Colorado's Division of Financial Services chartered the world's first credit union geared specifically for the weed industry. The Fourth Corner Credit Union could open as soon as January 1, the one-year anniversary of recreational legalization.
Why hadn't this already happened? It's because of a hitherto overlooked piece of Colorado law, which allows state-chartered credit union to operate immediately after applying for required federal insurance from the National Credit Union Administration. Normally, the credit union would have to wait until after obtaining that deposit. Fourth Corner will be able to have its doors open while it waits an estimated two years for NCUA to process.
That aside, we need a rational drug policy in the U.S., one that treats marijuana the same way it treats alcohol. An overwhelming majority of Americans support such a policy. Why can't we get it through?
In a revealing post, Pomplamoose's Jack Conte says not much:
Being in an indie band is running a never-ending, rewarding, scary, low-margin small business. In order to plan and execute our Fall tour, we had to prepare for months, slowly gathering risk and debt before selling a single ticket. We had to rent lights. And book hotel rooms. And rent a van. And assemble a crew. And buy road cases for our instruments. And rent a trailer. And….
We built the tour budget ourselves and modeled projected revenue against expenses. Neither of us had experience with financial modeling, so we just did the best we could. With six figures of projected expenses, “the best we could” wasn’t super comforting.
Add it up, and that’s $135,983 in total income for our tour. And we had $147,802 in expenses.
We lost $11,819.
They currently earn $6,371 per song or video through Patreon, the artist-patronage site Conte himself created. So he's not starving. But he and Nataly Dawn work around the clock making music.
I'm glad Conte is so transparent about it. I'm also glad to support him and Nataly on Patreon.
I recently had a conversation about mandatory fun at work, and my interlocutor pointed me to this classic article:
Like a diseased appendix bursting and spreading infectious bacteria throughout the abdomen, fun is insinuating itself everywhere, into even the un-hippest workplaces. Witness the August issue of Inc. magazine, the self-declared "Handbook of the American Entrepreneur." Emblazoned on its cover was "Fun! It's the New Core Value." Beneath that was a photo of Jonathan Bush, the CEO of athenahealth, which helps medical practices interact with insurers. Bush was tearing his shirt apart to reveal a Batman costume underneath, the same costume in which he gave a full presentation to a prospective client after making a deal with one of his employees that if the latter lost 70 pounds, the management team would dress as superheroes for a day.
But that's just the beginning. There are 18 pages of similar stories to instruct and inspire employers to keep their employees happy at all costs, because happy employees make for happy customers. There are rubber chickens, Frisbee tosses, mustache-growing contests, pet psychics, interoffice memos alligator-clipped to toy cars, and ceremonies that honor employees for such accomplishments as having "the most animated hand gestures." Perks include on-campus wallyball courts, indoor soccer fields, air hockey, ping pong, billiards, yoga and aerobics classes, company pools and hot tubs, and Native-American themed nap rooms so that employees can sleep (sleep!) at work. And that's all at just one company--Aquascape, a supplier to pond-builders based in St. Charles, Illinois.
Here's an abbreviated list of the jollity that will ensue at your place of business if you follow [funsultants'] advice: "joy lists," koosh balls, office-chair relay races, marshmallow fights, funny caption contests, job interviews conducted in Groucho glasses or pajamas, wacky Olympics, memos by Frisbee, voicemails in cartoon-character voices, rap songs to convey what's learned at leadership institutes, "breakathons," bunny teeth, and asking job prospects to bring show and tell items such as "a stuffed Tigger doll symbolizing the interviewee's energetic and upbeat attitude" or perhaps a "neon-pink mask and snorkel worn to demonstrate a sense of humor, self-deprecating nature, and sense of adventure."
As I was reading the article, I got an email about my company's ongoing mustache-growing contest.
Here's my fun from last week. Feel the joy:
I'm dealing with two instances of developer laziness (or stupidity).
The proximate cause of my annoyance this morning comes from les espèces d'idiots at Eurostar who included local references to images in a confirmation email template. In non-technical terms, they put the images they want displayed on an email behind their own firewall, so they only show up when you look at the email behind their own firewall. So, some idiot developer, tasked with creating a confirmation email, put images on it that worked for him (because he was inside the firewall) but didn't have the mental faculties to predict that no one else would see them. Somehow this got past Eurostar's QA as well—presumably because they, too, are behind the firewall.
This set up a flaw in Microsoft Outlook that will render the program mostly unusable until I get rid of the email using my phone. Because Outlook is too stupid to realize that, if it can't download an image from a particular local path because the path is not mappable, then it should still try all the other images on that path one at a time, blocking the UI thread as it goes. This means, for each image on the Eurostar email, I see something like this:
See how the URL doesn't begin with "http://" but instead begins with a double backslash ("\\")? Yeah, that's a local path to some server at the company who designed the email. Great work, guys. And great work, Outlook, for forcing users to wait for all the images to download before returning control of the UI. Because why wouldn't we want to stop everything in order to see the Eurostar corporate logo?
This morning I commuted to work in drizzle, wind, and 9°C temperatures. In the five hours since then, the rain has turned to snow, the wind has turned to gale, and the temperature has dropped 10°C.
Welcome to Chicago in November.
The biggest casualty of this in my life may be my FitBit. I've hit my goal of 10,000 steps every day for the last nine, and gotten close (>= 9,000 steps) every day this month except one. Today, I may hit 10,000 steps, but only if I really push myself. In the cold. And snow. And win.
Could happen, though. I'm already past 5,000, and my car is parked more than 2 km from my office. So if the wind isn't blasting ice pellets into my face this evening, I'll walk to rehearsal and possibly hit 10,000 steps on the way.