The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

How far from the park to downtown?

I love this chart from Twitter user Jay Cuda:

If you don't want to click through to Twitter, here's Jay's chart:

The chart doesn't tell the whole story, does it? For example, both Chicago teams, both New York teams, Boston, DC, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Oakland are all about the same distance from downtown, but easily accessible by train. (Chicago's are both on the same El line, in fact.) Atlanta's and LA's parks, by contrast, are approximately the same distance but completely inaccessible by any form of public transit. (Atlanta's new park even appears deliberately located to prevent those people from getting there.)

I speak from personal experience, as long-time Daily Parker readers know: I've been to every one of them, except the new Atlanta park, which I refuse to visit because of its anti-democratic location.

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.

Black Hammer Brewing, San Francisco

Welcome to an extra stop on the Brews and Choos project.

Brewery: Black Hammer Brewing, 544 Bryant St., San Francisco
Train line: Caltrain, San Francisco terminal
Time from Chicago: about 4½ hours by air
Distance from station: 600 m

I spent most of Monday in Palo Alto, Calif., one of the few places in California that has an actual commuter rail station. Caltrain's northern terminus, at 4th and King, is only three blocks from an actual brewery, so naturally I stopped in.

My $20 flight started with the Jaded River ESB (5%), a West Coast interpretation of English bitter ale that tasted good to me but had a stronger hop concentration than any Real Ale I've had over there. Next I tried their flagship Western IPA, the Kaleido APA (6%), which had a big flavor for something billed as an APA, with lots of hops and just the right amount of malt. I'm sure you can pick out the Cuddle Puddle NEIPA (6.1%), with all that hazy, Citra goodness, that actually tasted a lot lighter than I expected. I finished with the Vesuvio DIPA (8.1%), a huge beer that sneaks up on you before you get a small explosion of grapefruit, orange, and what I can only describe as Humboldt County mother nature.

Special mention goes out to this guy:

Growler—and what a name for a brewery dog—kept flirting with me before deciding that I didn't have any treats on me, even though my coat pocket smelled just like the bacon nibbles I carry for Cassie. So after someone put him on the barstool across from me, he stared. And stared. And willed me to bring him a treat. Because he knew that the bartender had a whole box of them, and at some point, I would crack and bring him one.

He was absolutely right.

Beer garden? Sidewalk, covered
Dogs OK? Clearly
Televisions? Two, avoidable
Serves food? BYO
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes

Beautiful day in San Francisco

Unfortunately, though, I'm already at the airport, staring out at blue skies and sunny...airplanes. I'm looking forward to getting home, though, and to picking up Cassie tomorrow morning after her bath. (She was already overdue, but after 4 days with her pack, she'll need it even more.)

I've got a couple of Brews & Choos from yesterday as well as a few photos from the weekend coming later this week. Stay tuned.

The big hole the road sunk into is not a sinkhole!

One Daily Parker reader sent me this clarification that the big hole in CA-92 preventing people in Half Moon Bay, Calif., from reaching Silicon Valley is not, technically, a sink hole:

The first thing to know about that sinkhole that opened on Highway 92 on Thursday: It’s not a sinkhole:

Geologists make a distinction between sinkholes, which require a particular blend of soils — limestone, salts, gypsum and other components — and caverns that appear with water due to engineering failures, aging infrastructure or simply not building enough capacity to handle the kind of runoff experienced in San Mateo County this month. They also note it’s a distinction without a difference for anyone stuck in traffic.

“Even scientists can’t always agree whether we want to call them sinkholes,” said Randy Orndorf, a research geologist for the USGS in Reston, Va., who is known as the sinkhole expert within the service. “I think about 20 years ago when I started doing research, we tried to say these are infrastructure failures and people still wanted to call them sinkholes.”

For the most part, sinkholes are limited to regions of karst terrain, which underpin about 25 percent of the United States land mass. Sinkholes are most common in these areas, where the underlying soil simply dissolves in water. Sinkholes are most common in Florida, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Texas, Tennessee and Pennsylvania, according to the USGS. No one knows how many sinkholes develop in a given year because most likely occur in remote areas.

(The photo caption really summarizes things well: "Geologists say this isn't a sinkhole, but they acknowledge it doesn't really matter what you call it.")

Thanks for filling us in, USGS. (Actually, I love this kind of journalism. What can you say about rain in California? Let's dig into the issue! [Sorry.])

And every time I think about sinking, I sink of this:

Changing planes in Dallas

Staring out a window at the Terminal A parking garage at DFW Airport, I pause to check my email. Top of the pile I see this lovely report from MSNBC:

Californians should brace for flooding and possible landslides as “heavy to excessive rainfall” is expected over the weekend and into next week, forecasters warned early Saturday. 

With recovery efforts continuing in parts of the state which was battered by storms earlier this week, the National Weather Service said in a bulletin that a couple of Pacific storm systems were forecast to impact the West this weekend “bringing heavy lower elevation rain, significant mountain snow, and strong winds.”

The first system would approach the coast Saturday and move inland, the bulletin said, adding that there were “multiple slight risks of excessive rainfall,” that could lead to localized instances of “urban and small stream flooding as well as mudslides.”

What does NWS say about downtown San Francisco?

Tonight
Showers and possibly a thunderstorm before 1am, then rain likely, mainly between 1am and 4am. Some of the storms could produce heavy rain. Low around 9. West wind 14 to 16 km/h, with gusts as high as 32 km/h. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New rainfall amounts between 5 and 7.5 mm possible.
Sunday
Rain, mainly after 10am. High near 12. Southwest wind 11 to 18 km/h. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between 2.5 and 5 mm possible.
Sunday Night
Rain. Low around 8. East southeast wind 19 to 29 km/h decreasing to 5 to 15 km/h after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 40 km/h. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New precipitation amounts between 1 and 2 cm possible.
M.L.King Day
Rain, mainly before 10am. High near 12. Breezy, with a west northwest wind 26 to 35 km/h, with gusts as high as 47 km/h. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between 1 and 2.5 mm possible.
Monday Night
A 20 percent chance of rain before 10pm. Mostly clear, with a low around 7.
Tuesday
Sunny, with a high near 12.

Lovely. Perhaps I'll get my morning coffee before it starts to rain again tomorrow?

From the gray to the grayer

I can't remember ever taking an umbrella to California, but I'm packing one today. So instead of the sunny and cold weather I've usually experienced in San Francisco, the forecast calls for wet and cold weather every day I'm there, with the sun coming out right after I leave.

Here in Chicago, we've had just 20% of possible sun this month, which WGN points out has completely obscured that we have 15 minutes more daylight than we had at the solstice. On the other hand, so far we've had the 4th-warmest January in history, with significantly above-normal temperatures predicted through the end of the month.

At least I'll see the sun on my flight today...

Waiting for an upload

I got a lot done today, mostly a bunch of smaller tasks I put off for a while. I also put off reading all of this, which I will do now while my rice cooks:

Finally, I've mentioned heading to San Francisco this coming weekend, has gotten some rain. By "some" I mean over 350 mm of rain in the past 15 days, making it the rainiest two weeks since 1866. The weekend forecast does not look encouraging: rain likely, highs around 12, lows around 9, and yet more rain likely. I have never taken an umbrella to California before. First time for everything, I guess.

And now my rice is done.

Noma no more

The best restaurant in the world will close at the end of 2024 because its chef believes modern haute cuisine has become unsustainable:

Since opening two decades ago, Noma — the Copenhagen restaurant currently serving grilled reindeer heart on a bed of fresh pine, and saffron ice cream in a beeswax bowl — has transformed fine dining. A new global class of gastro tourists schedules first-class flights and entire vacations around the privilege of paying at least $500 per person for its multicourse tasting menu.

Noma has repeatedly topped lists of the world’s best restaurants, and its creator, René Redzepi, has been hailed as his era’s most brilliant and influential chef.

This move is likely to send shock waves through the culinary world. To put it in soccer terms: Imagine that Manchester United decided to close Old Trafford stadium to fans, though the team would continue to play.

The decision comes as Noma and many other elite restaurants are facing scrutiny of their treatment of the workers, many of them paid poorly or not at all, who produce and serve these exquisite dishes. The style of fine dining that Noma helped create and promote around the globe — wildly innovative, labor-intensive and vastly expensive — may be undergoing a sustainability crisis.

As the human cost of the industry comes under scrutiny, Mr. Redzepi’s headaches have multiplied, with media reporting and online activism critical of Noma’s treatment of foreign workers and reliance on unpaid interns. In October, Noma began paying its interns, adding at least $50,000 to its monthly labor costs.

In the past two years, Mr. Redzepi and his staff also scaled their last remaining mountaintop, receiving a third Michelin star, and for a record-breaking fifth time, Noma topped the influential World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, making it ineligible for future wins.

I'll be in San Francisco next weekend, home to 29 Michelin-starred restaurants. Should I go to one of them (assuming I can get a reservation)?