The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Welcome to Summer

Summer officially begins today. We tied for 3rd-warmest spring in history, the second top-3 finish this century and the 3rd in my lifetime. And it turns out that we tied for the most sun in May as well. The CPC predicts June will start cool, but with the lake 2°C above normal already we could be in for a very warm summer.

Cassie and I started the season with a 5.6-kilometer walk through Lincoln Square and North Center (and a little bit of Lakeview), so we're both feeling pretty relaxed. And now we're off to run errands before the rain starts. So, a pleasant first few hours of summer.

What news?

Oh, so many things:

Finally, after it took the Ogilvie Transportation Center Starbucks over 30 minutes to make my iced tea this morning (and I ordered it from 15 minutes away on my inbound train), it turns out the Starbucks staffing algorithm might be to blame. This is why I only get that one drink from Starbucks: it's really hard to screw up and usually takes them half a minute. Fortunately, I got my morning coffee at the cute local bagel shop on my walk to Cassie's day camp (and they gave Cassie a dog treat to boot), so I wasn't feeling homicidal.

Hoping not to get rained on this afternoon

A whole knot of miserable weather is sneaking across the Mississippi River right now, on its way to Chicago. It looks like, maybe, just maybe, it'll get here after 6pm. So if I take the 4:32 instead of the 5:32, maybe I'll beat it home and not have a wet dog next to me on the couch later.

To that end I'm punting most of these stories until this evening:

Finally, if you have an extra $500 lying around and want to buy a nice steak with it, Crain's has options ranging from 170 grams of Chateau Uenae rib-eye steak (and a glass of water) at RPM on down to a happy hour of rib-eye steak frites for eight at El Che. The txuleton at Asador Bastian for $83 seems like a good deal to me, even without three other people or a bottle of wine to bring the bill up to $500. But the Wagyu? Maybe if I get a bonus next year. A guy can dream.

Mentally exhausting day, high body battery?

My Garmin watch thinks I've had a relaxing day, with an average stress level of 21 (out of 100). My four-week average is 32, so this counts as a low-stress day in the Garmin universe.

At least, today was nothing like 13 March 2020, when the world ended. Hard to believe that was four years ago. So when I go to the polls on November 5th, and I ask myself, "Am I better off than 4 years ago?", I have a pretty easy answer.

I spent most of today either in meetings or having an interesting (i.e., not boring) production deployment, so I'm going to take the next 45 minutes or so to read everything I haven't had time to read yet:

All righty then. I'll wrap up here in a few minutes and head home, where I plan to pat Cassie a lot and read a book.

Nine degrees in 80 minutes

We really felt the cold front that bulldozed through Chicago yesterday:

I was driving home from rehearsal at the mid-point of the curve, and really felt the difference over just 15 minutes. Right before the temperature crashed we got the first of three sets of thunderstorms, too. The other two woke me up overnight.

The Illinois State Climatologist summarized our weirdly weak winter in a post today: "Overall, the preliminary statewide average winter temperature was 1.6°C, 2.8°C above the 1991–2020 normal and, if confirmed, would be the 3rd warmest winter on record in Illinois."

Even today's 6.1°C at O'Hare puts us just over the normal March 5th high temperature of 5.9°C. The forecast for the coming week calls for more of the same, seasonably cool temperatures that still exceed normal highs.

Again, weird.

Winter ending with bizarre weather

The cold front we expected passed over my house around 8:15 last night. I wouldn't call it subtle, either:

Even that doesn't get to the truly unsubtle aspects of this frontal passage. The radar image might, though:

Not shown: the 60 km/h winds, lashing rain, brilliant lightning show, 5-10 mm hailstones, tornadoes to the northwest and southeast, and a mildly alarmed dog getting pats on the couch.

And it keeps getting better this morning. Right now I'm in a Loop high rise gently swaying in the 45 km/h winds, with the temperature continuing to drop outside:

June to January in 12 hours! Whee!

And what's the forecast for spring's first weekend? Sunny and 17°C. In fact, the weather for this week could best be summed up thus: June on Monday and Tuesday; January today; early March tomorrow followed by late March on the first day of spring; then late May/early June through the weekend with a chance of April by Tuesday.

Lunch today will be from the Chipotle across the street. Lunch yesterday involved a 30-minute break outside. Welcome to Chicago in the last days of an El Niño winter.

(Or maybe this is happening because today is Tom Skilling's last day at WGN?)

Three seasons in one day

It's official: with two days left, this is the warmest winter in Chicago history, with the average temperature since December 1st fully 3.5°C (6.3°F) above normal. We've had only 10 days this winter when the temperature stayed below freezing, 8 of them in one week in February. This should remain the case when spring officially begins on Friday, even though today's near-record 23°C (so far) is forecast to fall to -6°C by 6am. And that's not even to discuss the raging thunderstorms and possible tornadoes we might get as an energetic cold front slices through tonight. By "energetic," I mean that the NWS predicts a drop by as much as 16°C (30°F) in one hour around 10pm.

Not to worry: it'll be 17°C by Sunday. (The normal high temperatures are 4.7°C for February 27th and 5.4°C for March 3rd; the records are 23.9°C and 26.7°C, respectively.)

Meanwhile, I don't have time to read all of these before I pack up my laptop tonight:

And now, back to getting ready for the Sprint 103 release. That's a lot of sprints.

Ukrainian engineering

With the news this morning that Ukraine has disabled yet another Russian ship, incapacitating fully one-third of the Russian Black Sea fleet, it has become apparent that Ukraine is better at making Russian submarines than the Murmansk shipyards. Russia could, of course, stop their own massive military losses—so far they've lost 90% of their army as well—simply by pulling back to the pre-2014 border, but we all know they won't do that.

In other news of small-minded people continuing to do wastefully stupid things:

Finally, a reader who knows my perennial frustration at ever-lengthening copyright durations sent me a story from last March about who benefits from composer Maurice Ravel's estate. Ravel died in 1937, so his music will remain under copyright protection until 1 January 2034, providing royalties to his brother’s wife’s masseuse’s husband’s second wife’s daughter. Please think of her the next time you hear "Bolero."

Skipped right to April

I had a dentist appointment this morning, which allowed me to take some extra time walking Cassie and her houseguest to doggy day care, and then another half-hour to walk from my dentist's office (just 200 m from one train station) to the next station to get back. It helps that this morning had sun and warmth more like April than February:

Alas, a cold front will make its way across the area later today, brining some showers and possibly a "light" thunderstorm. I did enjoy the morning, though. And if I can time the dogs' return from day care properly, I should get another good walk in later today.

Waiting for the build before walking two dogs

Another sprint has ended. My hope for a boring release has hit two snags: first, it looks like one of the test artifacts in the production environment that our build pipeline depends on has disappeared (easily fixed); and second, my doctor's treatment for this icky bronchitis I've had the past two weeks works great at the (temporary) expense of normal cognition. (Probably the cough syrup.)

Plus, Cassie and I have a houseguest:

But like my head, the rest of the world keeps spinning:

And now, my production test pipeline has concluded successfully, so I will indeed have a boring release.