The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Monday afternoon and the days are shorter

From around now through the middle of October, the days get noticeably shorter, with the sun setting 2 minutes earlier each day around the equinox. Fall is almost here—less than 8 days away, in fact. But that also means cooler weather, lower electricity bills (because of the cooler weather), and lots of rehearsals and performances.

Before any of that happens, though, I'll read these:

Finally, some ace developers at Hyundai secured one model's in-vehicle infotainment system with an encryption key published in a programming example in many online tutorials of how to use that particular kind of encryption.

Pwn the ribs

I tried three rib samplers yesterday, and I'll probably try a couple more tomorrow. Today I had a ton of errands to run and I didn't feel like eating ribs in the rain.

Full report with photos (probably) tomorrow.

Baby's first Ribfest

If Cassie could (a) speak English and (b) understand the concept of "future" she would be quivering with anticipation about going to Ribfest tonight after school. Since she can't anticipate it, I'll do double-duty and drool on her behalf. It helps that the weather today looks perfect: sunny, not too hot, with a strong chance of delicious pork ribs.

Meanwhile, I have a few things to read on my commute that I didn't get to yesterday:

Finally, as I ride on the UP-N commuter line in an hour or so, I can imagine what it will be like when the train gets a battery-powered locomotive in a few years.

Amazing late-summer weather

The South's misfortune is Chicago's benefit this week as a hot-air dome over Texas has sent cool Canadian air into the Midwest, giving us in Chicago a perfect 26°C afternoon at O'Hare—with 9°C dewpoint. (It's 25°C at IDTWHQ.) Add to that a sprint review earlier today, and I might have to spend a lot more time outside today.

So I'll just read all this later:

Finally, the leader of the Westminster city council in London really wants to close down the "American" candy stores opening up all up and down Oxford Street.

Why we only do this every other year

After Tuesday's half-day of rehearsals (which would have been a full day except for a scheduling conflict I couldn't move), and yesterday's all-day rehearsals, my intellectual capabilities and creativity seem a bit diminished this week. We open tonight with Don Giovanni and close Sunday afternoon with La Clemenza di Tito. I'm meant to work on our product roadmap for the next 5-10 sprints (i.e., through years' end) while also delivering at least one more feature for the current sprint that ends Tuesday. But I really need a nap.

Meanwhile, Ravinia and Maestro Conlon have sent us a couple of blog posts and column about the operas. On Don Giovanni:

[O]f the many implications of this extremely complex narrative, there is an overwhelming presence that, at the beginning and the end, orients the listener. And it is accomplished without a word of text, nor preamble, nor explanation. The terrifying power of the key of D minor, in the hands of the transcendent genius of Mozart, tells us that this is a cautionary tale, illustrating the fate of those who transgress without repentance. The composer, so generous in his own clemency, pardons almost every character in his operas, but here has made a stunning and powerful exception. In an era when portrayal of death on the stage was relatively rare and unfashionable, Mozart presents us the protagonist’s damnation in full view.

On La Clemenza di Tito:

In 1789, the French populace rose up against their king and queen and brought about a revolution, eventually executing their monarchs. Thirteen years before that, the American colonies had rebelled against the British Crown and established their own sovereign nation.

None of this was lost on royals across the entire continent of Europe, who reacted with alarm and concern. The subject of “good governance,” even by monarchs who claimed to rule by Divine Right, acquired a new urgency. The French Revolution struck especially close to Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II, for Marie Antoinette, the last French queen, was his sister.

So in 1791, when Leopold was to be crowned in Prague, a celebratory opera was to be commissioned. And because one of the contemporary models of Age of Enlightenment authority was that of the “Enlightened Despot,” the new opera could both flatter the new leader and subtly suggest to him an exemplary model of authority. The chosen opera would portray a Roman emperor—and by extension the newly crowned monarch—as not only a man of justice but also of mercy.

Finally, writer John Schauer makes the argument that seeing these operas in Ravinia's Martin Theater, which holds 850, will give you a better experience than seeing one at Dodger Stadium.

Plan for Sunday: read, write, nap

However, to get to Sunday, I have to finish a messy update to my work project, rehearse for several hours tomorrow, figure out a marketing plan for a product, and walk Cassie for hours.

I also want to read these things:

And tonight I'm going to watch Neil Gaiman's Sandman on Netflix, which has gotten pretty good reviews.

Still ridiculously busy

At least I don't have an opera rehearsal tonight. That means I might, just might, have some time to read these once I finish preparing for a 7am meeting tomorrow:

Finally, the old Morton Salt plant on Chicago's Near North Side opened last night as a new music venue called "The Salt Shed." It even got a new coat of paint.

I did not win the lottery

But someone did after buying a ticket at a Speedway gas station in nearby Des Plaines, Ill.:

Someone in a Chicago suburb beat the odds and won the $1.28 billion Mega Millions jackpot.

According to megamillions.com, there was one jackpot-winning ticket in the draw Friday night, and it was bought at a Speedway gas station and convenience store in Des Plaines.

The jackpot was the nation’s third-largest lottery prize. It grew so large because no one had matched the game’s six selected numbers since April 15. That’s 29 consecutive draws without a jackpot winner.

The $1.28 billion prize is for winners who choose the annuity option, paid annually over 29 years. Most winners opt for the cash option, which for Friday night’s drawing was an estimated $747.2 million.

The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 302.5 million.

Because each ticket costs $2, the break-even jackpot for Mega Millions is $605.2 million. That is, $2 is 1/302,575,350 of $605,150,700; therefore, a single $2 ticket is a reasonable bet for any jackpot larger than that. At $1.3 billion, two tickets give you an optimum risk-reward curve.

So, yes, I bought 3 tickets (thus wasting $2). Yet I did not win. Which is too bad, because I had planned to use the winnings to set up a fund for K-12 math education throughout Illinois, emphasizing those areas of the state with the highest per-capita lottery purchasing.

I sincerely hope that whoever won last night gets good legal and financial advice.