The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

About this blog (v. 4.1.6)

I'm David Braverman, this is my blog, and Parker is my 5-year-old mutt. I last updated this About... page in February, but some things have changed. In the interest of enlightened laziness I'm starting with the most powerful keystroke combination in the universe: Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V.

Twice. Thus, the "point one" in the title.

The Daily Parker is about:

  • Parker, my dog, whom I adopted on 1 September 2006.
  • Politics. I'm a moderate-lefty by international standards, which makes me a radical left-winger in today's United States.
  • Photography. I took tens of thousands of photos as a kid, then drifted away from making art until a few months ago when I got the first digital camera I've ever had that rivals a film camera. That got me reading more, practicing more, and throwing more photos on the blog. In my initial burst of enthusiasm I posted a photo every day. I've pulled back from that a bit—it takes about 30 minutes to prep and post one of those puppies—but I'm still shooting and still learning.
  • The weather. I've operated a weather website for more than ten years. That site deals with raw data and objective observations. Many weather posts also touch politics, given the political implications of addressing climate change, though happily we no longer have to do so under a president beholden to the oil industry.
  • Chicago, the greatest city in North America, and the other ones I visit whenever I can.

I've deprecated the Software category, but only because I don't post much about it here. That said, I write a lot of software. I work for 10th Magnitude, a startup software consultancy in Chicago, I've got about 20 years experience writing the stuff, and I continue to own a micro-sized software company. (I have an online resume, if you're curious.) I see a lot of code, and since I often get called in to projects in crisis, I see a lot of bad code, some of which may appear here.

I strive to write about these and other things with fluency and concision. "Fast, good, cheap: pick two" applies to writing as much as to any other creative process (cf: software). I hope to find an appropriate balance between the three, as streams of consciousness and literacy have always struggled against each other since the first blog twenty years ago.

If you like what you see here, you'll probably also like Andrew Sullivan, James Fallows, Josh Marshall, and Bruce Schneier. Even if you don't like my politics, you probably agree that everyone ought to read Strunk and White, and you probably have an opinion about the Oxford comma—punctuation de rigeur in my opinion.

Another, non-trivial point. Facebook reads the blog's RSS feed, so many people reading this may think I'm just posting notes on Facebook. Facebook's lawyers would like you to believe this, too. Now, I've reconnected with tons of old friends and classmates through Facebook, I play Scrabble on Facebook, and I eagerly read every advertisement that appears next to its relevant content. But Facebook's terms of use assert ownership of everything that appears on their site, regardless of prior claims, which contravenes four centuries of law.

Everything that shows up on my Facebook profile gets published on The Daily Paker first, and I own the copyrights to all of it (unless otherwise disclosed). I publish the blog's text under a Creative Commons attribution-nonderivative-noncommercial license; republication is usually OK for non-commercial purposes, as long as you don't change what I write and you attribute it to me. My photos, however, are published under strict copyright, with no republication license, even if I upload them to other public websites. If you want to republish one of my photos, just let me know and we'll work something out.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and I hope you continue to enjoy The Daily Parker.

Photo of the Day

Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano warms up before yesterday's game at Wrigley Field, Chicago:

Canon 7D at ISO-400, 1/800 at f/5.6, 171mm, exactly here.

In this shot, I corrected the color to 7500K (based on a gray card reading), pushed the contrast, and desaturated. Later today I'll have another shot of Zambrano in which I did almost the opposite.

Go Cubs go!

I like afternoons like this one. Yes, it was a little warm, and yes, a little sticky. But I had seats in aisle 10, row 6 at Wrigley, which failed to suck:

Zambrano pitched, with a few walks here and there but mostly nothing for Cincinnati to hit:

And you know? I always like seeing things like this:

More photos later. Right now, I need about five showers, three for the sunscreen and two for the hot weather.

Et tu, Prospero?

The Economist's Prospero blog piles on the Cubs after attending the Crosstown Classic last week:

Teams like the Cubs give people a safe space in which to lose. Fans get the benefits of commiseration without incurring any real costs. The predictable losers also allow other teams to win. So really the Sox fans should be grateful for the Cubs. Such losers may not be so lovable on scrutiny, but their ineptitude has an extra civic function: they take one for the team. They’re a sacrifice fly.

And on the Fourth of July, yet! Limey bastahd.

He may have a point, though.

It was windy

Last night Chicago got hit by severe storms that included hurricane-force winds:

Violent storms raked large sections of the Chicago area Tuesday evening, knocking power out to nearly a quarter million Chicago area residents and transforming some thoroughfares into darkened obstacle courses, hard to navigate with streetlights out and debris, ranging from large trees to power poles and garbage cans, impeding if not entirely blocking travel. Police in some of the hardest hit areas were forced to light flares to mark fallen trees.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing transformers exploding at the height of the storms while others described some neighborhoods as "war zones" after the onslaught of storms.

... The storms generated gusts as high as 130 km/h at Wheeling and 120 km/h at Peru, Elmhurst and Wheaton.

I was inside, as you can imagine, as the storms ran over my part of the city, with horizontal rain and, well, lots of wind. At one point I watched the groundskeepers at US Cellular Field blown around as they tried to get the tarp over the infield.

Ah, global warming.

The 30-Park Geas, revisited

The 30-park geas can resume now that I'm done with school. Here's my progress so far:

City Team Park First visit Last visit Next visit
Chicago Cubs Wrigley Field 1977 Jul 24 2011 Aug 6
Los Angeles Dodgers Dodger Stadium 1980 Jul 28? 2001 May 12
New York Mets Shea Stadium [4] 1988 Sep 15 [1] 1997 Apr 19 [3]
Houston Astros Enron Field
Minute Maid Park [2]
2001 May 9 [3]
2009 Apr 7 [1]
Milwaukee Brewers Miller Park 2006 Jul 29 [3] 2008 Aug 11
Kansas City Royals Kauffman Stadium 2008 May 28 2008 May 28
San Francisco Giants AT&T Park 2008 May 31 2008 May 31
Chicago White Sox U.S. Cellular Field 2008 Jun 6 2011 Aug 1  
Cleveland Indians Progressive Field 2008 Jul 10 2008 Jul 10
Baltimore Orioles Camden Yards 2008 Jul 26 2008 Jul 26
Philadelphia Phillies Citizens Bank Park 2008 Jul 27 2008 Jul 27
New York Yankees Yankee Stadium 2008 Jul 28 2008 Jul 28
Washington Nationals Nationals Park 2008 Jul 29 2008 Jul 29
Atlanta Braves Turner Field 2008 Aug 13 [1] 2008 Aug 14 [1]
Oakland Athletics Oakland Coliseum 2009 Apr 25 2009 Apr 25
Detroit Tigers Comerica Park 2009 Jun 24 [1] 2009 Jun 24 [1]
Boston Red Sox Fenway Park 2010 Aug 21 2010 Aug 21
Pittsburgh Pirates PNC Park 2011 Jul 9 [1] 2011 Jul 9 [1]  
Los Angeles Angels Angel Stadium 2011 Sep 3 2011 Sep 3  
Miami Marlins New Marlins Ballpark 2012 Apr 19 [1] 2012 Apr 19 [1]  
Tampa Bay Rays Tropicana Field 2012 Apr 20 2012 Apr 20
Still to come
Arizona Diamondbacks Chase Field
Cincinnati Reds Great American Ballpark
Colorado Rockies Coors Field
Minnesota Twins Target Field
New York Mets Citi Field [4]
St. Louis Cardinals Busch Stadium
San Diego Padres Petco Park
Seattle Mariners Safeco Field
Texas Rangers Rangers Ballpark
Toronto Blue Jays Rogers Centre

[1] vs. Cubs
[2] Renamed Minute Maid Park in 2004
[3] I've decided not to count parks that were rebuilt after I started this geas in 2008.
[4] Shea demolished in 2009; Citi Field opened 13 April 2009

Last edited: 20 April 2012. This page replaces the original page started in 2008.

It's not like I care anymore

Still, when you see something like this, it hurts:

When it finally ended, the Brewers wound up with an 18-1 win, sending the Cubs to their sixth straight defeat and leaving them a season-worst 14 games under .500 at 46-60.

The Cubs tied a franchise record with 26 hits allowed. The loss dropped them into fifth place in the National League Central, a half-game behind the Astros.

Acting manager Alan Trammell said before the game that "being professional" is one of the things the Cubs are looking for from their players as they play out the string. But acting professional and looking professional are two different things, and the Cubs haven't resembled a major league team since giving up a major league-record 11 straight hits on Friday in Colorado.

"This is major league baseball," Trammell said afterward. "You expect to be better."

Twenty-six hits? Eighteen runs? Wow. Just, wow.