The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog


The stew turned out fine, except I used just a touch too much chipotle powder:

I also made a lot. Including what I ate, I made about 4½ liters, including the one jar (front row, second from right) of just stew broth:

So, two notes to self:

  • Upping the herbs and spices worked fine, except for the chipotle powder. Keep that under a teaspoon next time.
  • Use less liquid. Remember that mushrooms are mostly water.

Still, it tasted great, and I get to have it six. More. Times.

Productive day so far

Having a day off with no real responsibilities gives me the space to take care of some niggling projects I've put off for a while. First, I finished updating a document for the Apollo Chorus that lists every sit and stand cue and every score marking for our Messiah performances. That took about 8 hours altogether.

I also updated my main NuGet packages to .NET 6. As a nice bonus, because of a quirk in how .NET assemblies get versioned, today's release is version 4.2.8000. (I kept the previous release active just in case someone needs it for an existing .NET 5 project.)

Oh, and I've got a pot of stew going that should finish in about an hour. I made a lot of it. I hope it freezes all right. Good thing I have tons of Mason jars. It looked like this at 3½ hours:

Short-term license agreements

Today is the 50th anniversary of DB Cooper jumping out of a hijacked airplane into the wilds of Washington State. It's also the day I will try to get a Covid-19 booster shot, since I have nothing scheduled for tomorrow that I'd have to cancel if I wind up sleeping all day while my immune system tries to beat the crap out of some spike proteins in my arm.

Meanwhile, for reasons passing understanding (at least if you have a good grasp of economics), President Biden's approval ratings have declined even though last week had fewer new unemployment claims than any week in my lifetime. (He's still more popular than the last guy, though.)

In other news:

Any moment now, my third DevOps build in the last hour will complete. I've had to run all three builds with full tests because I don't always write perfect code the first time. But this is exactly why I have a DevOps build pipeline with lots of tests.

New brewery opening Saturday

I had planned for Saturday to cap off the Union Pacific North Line segment of the Brews & Choos project with a trip up to Kenosha. I'll still visit the now-infamous city this weekend, but it turns out, I'll have one more spot to visit before completing the first entire Metra line:

Elements of Cultivate by Forbidden Root, which opens Saturday, will seem familiar to anyone who set foot in Band of Bohemia during the six-year run for the Michelin-starred restaurant and brewery that carved out one of the most unique niches in American dining before declaring bankruptcy last year.

But Forbidden Root’s second Chicago location aims to create a unique niche of its own after owner Robert Finkel acquired the airy Ravenswood location and everything inside earlier this year at auction.

The makeover for Cultivate by Forbidden Root (4710 N. Ravenswood Ave.) also includes an adjacent taproom and private event space expected to open in December with another 16 draft lines, half of which will be guest taps. Snacks will be served there, but no full meals.

Since the new brewery is directly adjacent to the Ravenswood Metra stop just over a kilometer from my house, I expect to stop in early next week.

Koval Distillery, Chicago

Welcome to stop #63 on the Brews and Choos project.

Distillery: Koval, 4241 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago
Train line: UP North, Ravenswood (also CTA Brown Line, Irving Park)
Time from Chicago: 13 minutes (Zone B)
Distance from station: 1.2 km (Metra), 500 m (CTA)

Koval is the granddaddy of Chicago distilleries. Conventional wisdom is that Koval's owners, Drs. Robert and Sonat Birnecker, taught all the other Chicago distillers how to make spirits. Conventional wisdom is also that everyone else does it better. I think that misunderstands the Birneckers' palate somewhat, as their Austrian style of distilling produces different flavor profiles than the techniques Americans prefer.

Personally, I find their spirits a bit harsh. But in their brand-new tasting room, their bartenders make excellent cocktails. I had one of the best Old Fashioneds in Chicago on Friday, on their beautiful marble bar in their very European-style tasting room.

I mean, just look at that. It could be in Vienna or Berlin, that tasting room. And in the summer, they have tons of outdoor, dog-friendly seating. I'd recommend the place as a first-date spot on its own, or as the place to go after dinner at Rojo Gusano next door on a second date.

Outdoor seating? Yes
Dogs OK? Outside
Televisions? No
Serves food? Charcuterie, nuts, dessert
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes

Let's talk turkey

Washington Post columnist David Von Drehle has some theories about cooking an entire bird for Thanksgiving:

The time is here again when millions of Americans anguish over a nearly impossible culinary task, in hopes of producing (by any objective measure) an insipid result.

I speak of roasting an entire turkey. This yearly project dates back many centuries, to an individual named Satan, who specializes in devising infernal tortures. Roasting a turkey involves placing an irregular form — meaty lobes, bony protrusions, fatty deposits, empty cavities — into a heated box with the mad dream of bringing all the parts to perfection simultaneously. Success is rarely attained outside the confines of a Norman Rockwell painting.

There is no “best” way to roast a turkey, any more than there is a “best” way to clean the gutters or check the smoke alarm batteries. Thanksgiving turkey is just another annual ordeal. No matter what preparation or temperature you choose, after a few hours all paths end at the same ho-hum. By the time you carve and serve it, it’s lukewarm to boot — just the way bacteria like it.

Now excuse me, I'm off to eat some turkey.

Twisted Hippo, Chicago

Welcome to stop #62 on the Brews and Choos project.

Brewery: Twisted Hippo, 2925 W. Montrose Ave., Chicago
Train line: CTA Brown Line, Francisco
Time from Chicago: 38 minutes
Distance from station: 700 m

I will say this: Twisted Hippo has awesome beer names, and I respect the way they portray Africa's deadliest animal as kind of cute. And inebriated.

I was less impressed by their brewpub than I had hoped, though. It seemed more like a suburban pizza joint than a brewery, despite the large brewing vessels and aforementioned beers.

I mean, that's just loud, visually at least. They kept the music to a comfortable level, else I'd have gotten totally overstimulated.

They use Toast for ordering, so you don't actually interact with a human being before choosing food and beer unless you sit at the bar. I tried the Midnight Revere Milk Stout (5.3%), a solid example of the style, with chocolate and coffee galore and a smooth-as-silk finish. It paired well with my pulled pork "sando."

I finished with the C-HOP 137 IPA (7.2%), which had more hops than a rabbit warren, and underwhelming malt notes. I like hops, and I like IPAs, but this one was too much for me.

They don't have a patio (sorry, doggies) but they do have an enormous back room with pinball machines and live music from time to time.

Also, I should note that East Albany Park and Ravenswood Gardens, the two neighborhoods north and east of the brewpub, are freakin' gorgeous. They were developed in the late 1910s and early 1920s as suburban retreats from the hustle and bustle of the city, so they're chock full of cute "affordable" bungalows that would have set you back about $1,600 when built and go for about $700,000 today. (There's also that godawful modernist piece of crap at 2907 W. Wilson that you have to see to believe.)

Beer garden? No
Dogs OK? No
Televisions? Yes, but they only advertise beers
Serves food? Full pub menu
Would hang out with a book? Maybe
Would hang out with friends? Maybe
Would go back? Maybe

Nice fall you've got there

While running errands this morning I had the same thought I've had for the past three or so weeks: the trees look great this autumn. Whatever combination of heat, precipitation, and the gradual cooling we've had since the beginning of October, the trees refuse to give up their leaves yet, giving us cathedrals of yellow, orange, and red over our streets.

And then I come home to a bunch of news stories that also remind me everything changes:

  • Like most sentient humans, Adam Serwer feels no surprise (but plenty of disgust) that a Wisconsin jury acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse: "This is the legal regime that a powerful minority of gun-rights advocates have built—one in which Americans are encouraged to settle their differences with lethal force, preferably leaving as few witnesses capable of testimony as possible."
  • Charles Blow worries about the follow-on effectsi.e., vigilantism. Says Blow, "Right-wing gun culture is not unlike the wellness industry, in that it requires the cultivation of a sustained insecurity in its audience, in order to facilitate the endless purchase of its products."
  • Dan Friedman finds Rittenhouse's acquittal terrifying: "[M]ost reasonable people would agree that armed vigilantes facing off with armed protesters, or rioters—while police hide blocks away in armored vehicles—is, by and large, bad. But in Kenosha, and much the country, it is legal. And it is becoming normal. ... [T]he biggest failure was that the events of the trial, and the public perception of it, will not deter the kind of conduct that led to it. It seems sure to cause more right-wing vigilantism, more armed confrontations, and more political violence in the streets."

Outside of Kenosha:

Finally, Israel's government has loosened the certification process for Kashrut inspectors, to the outrage (do they express any other emotion?) of the Haredim. One possible factor? "The head of the Chief Rabbinate’s kashrut division was indicted on bribery charges in 2020 after being videotaped allegedly accepting envelopes of cash from food importers." Oy gevalt!

The busy season

I've spent today alternately upgrading my code base for my real job to .NET 6.0, and preparing for the Apollo Chorus performances of Händel's Messiah on December 11th and 12th.

Cassie, for her part, enjoys when I work from home, even if we haven't spent a lot of time outside today because (a) I've had a lot to do and (b) it rained from 11am to just about now.

So, as I wait for the .NET 6 update to build and deploy on our dev/test CI/CD instance (I think I set the new environments on our app services correctly), I have a few things to read:

OK, the build has...well, crap. I didn't set the environment correctly after all.

Update: Fixed the build bit. And the rain stopped. But the test platform is the wrong version. FFS.

Update: Well, I have to pick something up from a store before 6, so I'll come back to this task later.

Update: Even though I've had 4 tiny commits of minor things that broke with the .NET 6 upgrade, this hasn't gone poorly. Kudos to Microsoft for providing a straightforward upgrade path.