The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

San Francisco photos

First, on the flight from Dallas to San Francisco, this handsome boi slept peacefully on the floor four rows ahead of me:

Bane is a malamute mix, 11 years old, and here in the SFO baggage claim area, very tired.

Monday morning, I walked over to the Ferry Terminal on my way to the Caltrain terminal at 4th and King. This guy posed long enough for me to compose and take a shot:

I don't know his name, or even whether he's male. Sorry.

Later, in Palo Alto, I stumbled upon this historic site:

That's the garage at Dave Packard's house where he and Bill Hewlett created their company in 1939.

I didn't bring my real camera to San Francisco this time because I thought it would rain throughout the trip. Next time, though.

A glimmer of hope on a muddy Thursday

I broke away from my last day of work in 2022 around 2:15 to take Cassie on a 3½-kilometer walk. It's 14°C (!!!) right now so almost every snowflake has melted into a thin layer of mud over the entire city. No problems, so far; I keep old towels by the front door and Cassie expects me to wipe her paws when we come in.

Today I learned that I need to close the gate at the top of my stairs whenever we go outside on a day like this. I learned this while chasing Cassie up the stairs and through the living room while shouting "NO!", which, of course, made her run faster to her happy place; i.e., the living room sofa. Fortunately I keep the sofa covered in a $7 Target blanket because of her. Unfortunately, I had just washed it.

Cassie and I have forgiven each other but not before I carried her downstairs and put her in the bathtub. The floors only took about 15 minutes to clean up and the blanket went back into the washing machine whence it came this morning.

Dogs.

I did catch this in Mother Jones, though, and it took the edge off wiping muddy pawprints from several floors and a staircase. It seems that finally, finally!, more cities understand that parking minimums waste land, gas, and money:

California will become the first state to enact a ban on parking minimums [in January], halting their use in areas with public transport in a move that Gov. Gavin Newsom called a “win-win” for reducing planet-heating emissions from cars, as well as helping alleviate the lack of affordable housing in a state that has lagged in building new dwellings.

Several cities across the country are now rushing doing the same, with Anchorage, Alaska, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Nashville, Tennessee, all recently loosening or scrapping requirements for developers to build new parking lots. “These parking minimums have helped kill cities,” said Gernot Wagner, a climate economist at Columbia Business School who accused political leaders of making downtowns “look like bombs hit them” by filling them with parking lots.

Climate campaigners and public transport advocates have seized upon the previously esoteric issue of parking minimums, posting aerial pictures on social media demonstrating the vast swathes of prime urban land given over to parking lots and pushing city councils to foster denser communities with more opportunities to walk, cycle or catch buses and trains rather than simply drive.

Cities such as Buffalo, New York, and Fayetteville, Arkansas, scaled back parking minimums a few years ago and have reported a surge in activity to transform previously derelict buildings into shops, apartments and restaurant. Developers previously saw as such work as unviable due to the requirement to build plots of car parking, in many cases several times larger than the building itself.

Just look at this aerial view of downtown Kansas City, Mo., after MODOT destroyed it with one road. Or these photos of empty mall parking lots on Black Friday, the day traffic engineers use to set parking minimums.

I hope that I live long enough to see North America correct the planning mistakes of the 1960s and 1970s, and get at least to the point Europe achieved ten years ago.

Actually, I did remember what this feels like

The Arctic air mass has arrived:

We didn't actually get that much snow, though:

On her evening walk last night, Cassie wanted to run around in the snow in circles for a bit, so I let her. But even with her double coat, after 4 minutes she was shivering, so we had to go in. She will not enjoy today at all.

One other thing of note. I got myself one of the coolest and geekiest toys I could ever have imagined:

That shows the location of every CTA train running right now. I might have to get one for London, too. And in a couple of days, it might become a practical toy, when the weather gets warm enough to go outside and ride the CTA again.

Outside the vortex

The world continues to turn outside the Chicago icebox:

Finally, dog biologist (?) Alexandra Horowitz explains how dogs tell time with their noses.

How my weekend is going

Remember the stew I made Wednesday? It turned out one of my best:

And I had a lot of leftovers:

Remember Cassie getting a long walk to the big dog park Thursday? We did the same thing yesterday:

And after dinner, I got this rare (inverted for your convenience) photo of Cassie getting a belly rub:

Today, however, it's rainy and cold, so we will have less walking—but possibly more couch/belly-rub time.

Three photos

Photo number 1: Cassie, from above. (My office is in a loft over the master bedroom, where Cassie has a bed.)

Photo number 2: can anyone give this 1½-meter (5'3") scratching post a good home? I'm keeping it for a friend who went back home to Spain "for 6 weeks" in August 2020. He will come back to Chicago eventually—for a visit.

Photo number 3: a Tweet that made me laugh out loud.

I know that the super-rich in previous eras also had more narcissism than good sense, but watching Musk destroy Twitter in real time makes me wonder if our super-rich are massively stupider than the Gettys and Carnegies, or only significantly stupider.

So much to do...

I'm not quite done with my kitchen, master bedroom, or master bathroom, but I have absolutely no energy left:

The big spikes around 3pm were the concert I performed in this afternoon.

So, I'm going to do a couple of low-stress tasks (swapping out the thermostat, disconnecting the A/V equipment) and then I'm going to sit on the couch with Cassie and try not to doze off before 10.

شاش سگ

I learned a new phrase in Farsi today: zag shusheet! It means "dog piss." And I learned it from the man who will clean and repair the two early-20th-century rugs that my mother left me.

I also learned the Farsi for "chewed edge," but I didn't write that one down.

And how much will it cost to restore the two rugs that my darling Cassie has in so many ways defiled? $2,400.

Fortunately the work will take a couple of months (Eli has a backlog), so I've got some time to dock her allowance. And our new house has multiple floors, so I can isolate her from the two rugs whenever I leave the house.

(Note: the rugs in question are legit antique Persians worth restoring. The rug Cassie destroyed last spring was not.)

This punim is the only thing that saved my zag today:

Where to go in cooler weather

Go hiking!

It’s not “purple mountains majesty” for hiking, Jason King knows, but Illinois, Indiana and southern Wisconsin, are not without charm — they’re free, they’re close, their trails are uncongested and they offer a solace and beauty all their own.

“I love Illinois, I’ve lived here all my life. If you like simplicity, if you like the feel of the wind blowing through the trees … there’s no place better,” King said.

One of King’s favorite solo hikes to “get the world behind me” is about 90 minutes away from Chicago near Gary, Indiana, in the little-used western part of Indiana Dunes National Park. The Paul H. Douglas center is currently closed but the namesake trail (1) winds through Miller Woods and across the Grand Calumet River. It was named after the Illinois senator who helped make the Dunes a national park. It’s a moderately challenging 3.5 miles out and back, partly through sand dunes — which make it a workout.

King identified 19 other trails near Chicago that reporter Zachary Nauth listed in the article. Maybe next weekend? Cassie would probably love all of them.