The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

They may want to buy more plows

Washington looks quite pretty from the air with all the snow on the ground:

I'm confused. Yes, I see snow, and on the ground at DCA it seems to be about 30-35 cm deep, but in Chicago we'd find this annoying, not paralyzing. I wonder if Virginia still has the same number of snowplows as Chicago (which was true in 2003, the last time the area got "buried" like this). If so, maybe they want to examine some of the climate-change projections calling for more precipitation? Hmm.

Diane and Parker are a few minutes away. Not that I mind airport lounges, but I'll be happy to see them again after their ordeal.

We're Thru: Vanderbilt

Traffic author Tom Vanderbilt writes this week about the history and future of the American Drive-Thru:

But despite the Stakhanovite quotas being met by the Bluetoothed cadres across the land, all is not well with the drive-through. The facilities saw a 4 percent drop in business in 2008 due to the recession. And—more threatening still—a number of communities have recently passed anti-idling ordinances, some of which implicate even the fastest drive-through windows. ...

Meanwhile, people who would actually contribute no emissions at a drive-through window—pedestrians, cyclists, and the like—haven't exactly been having it their way. Any number of carless individuals have broached the drive-through fortress, only to be rebuffed with vague rejoinders about "company policy" (though there are some exceptions).

But not everyone is taking drive-through restrictions lying down. One Portlander—a cycling mom denied service at Burgerville—went viral, forcing a public change of heart from the company. And cyclists aren't the only ones clamoring for access: A Minnesota woman suffering from degenerative arthritis, driving a Pride Mobility Celebrity X scooter, was refused service at a White Castle, whose policy is to serve only licensed motor vehicles. ...

Sojourning as I am for a fortnight in an area with a walking score about half that of home, I still can't quite bring myself to use drive-thrus. Maybe with more socialization...

The drive

I tried to get out ahead of the weather on Tuesday, but it found me. The trip started out at just past 7am with the car in this condition:

By mid-Indiana Parker had had enough:

And on the arrival end, the residents have still not fully accepted their houseguest:

Parker and the cats have had words. Barks, growls, and hisses, actually. We're still trying to get them to stay in the same room together without either freaking out. This means, in practice, one of us coaxing the cats from behind the sofa while the other explains to the dog, with one hand on the choke collar and another firmly pressing down between his shoulder blades, that he is not to bark or growl at the cats. We'll see. After two days they'll ignore each other for half an hour on end, which is encouraging.


Via Strange Maps comes a field outside Minden, Neb., shaped like...well, like Nebraska:

Strange Maps writes:

Is Nebraska Field a coincidence, then? When not being centrally irrigated, each of the mile-by-mile blocks is often divided into smaller fields, mostly rectangular but not really symmetrical. That sort of describes the shape of Nebraska – but still, chances of a field mimicking it so perfectly seem very remote indeed.

Nebraska is rectangular in an oblong sort of way, with straight borders everywhere except in the east, where it is bounded by the Missouri River. An immediately recognisable feature on its western border is the square chunk bitten out by Colorado, allowing that state to be completely rectangular.

The field mimics all these shapes: the straight lines north, west and south, the indentation in the southwest, the slightly slanting eastern border, near what looks like a little, elongated lake. And all in the right proportions too.

So: coincidence or design? It has to be one or the other.

Pretty cool, though.

Vermont, part 1

Few people knew before, you know, this blog entry, that I lived in Vermont for a few months in 1992. (I was young, I needed the work.) Actually, it was the most beautiful place I've lived. That said, I grew up in one big city and went to college in another, so the things that made Vermont beautiful were precisely those things that made it difficult for me to live there: wide open spaces, trees, idyllic rural living, etc.

I moved back to Chicago in short order, but not after taking a few hundred photos. These, for example, I took in Middlebury, where I lived at the time:

The first two are from July 1992; the last one, from September, in southern Vermont, near where my friend Renee lived at the time.

I went back to Middlebury in May 2006. It looked almost exactly the same, except I had a digital camera with me instead of one that took expensive slides. Unfortunately it was rainy and gray in 2006, so these photos from 1992 turned out much better.


More photos from 1992. Taking the Kyle of Lochalsh train from Inverness through the Scottish highlands capped the trip. I took three rolls of film in as many hours. (We didn't have digital cameras back then, so each photo, with processing, cost about 35c—the equivalent of about 70c today—so those three rolls represent about $75 of today's dollars.)

Here are three of those shots, from 24 June 1992:

Note, please, that I have licensed some of my work as stock photos, and I would like to do so again. So even though generally this blog is licensed as a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States work, photographs are not, and have never been, CC-licensed. Only the text is covered by the CC license. Photos are, and always have been, Copyright © David Braverman, all rights reserved, from the point of creation.

My first trip to Europe

Like many Americans, I backpacked through Europe right after graduating from college, in the summer of 1992. I've been scanning all of my slides, gradually, for a couple of years in fact, and I'm now up to that Europe trip. (The trip starts on slide #2362, and I'm just today up to slide #2500.)

Here are two. First, Chichester Cathedral, England:

Then, from Rolle, Switzerland:

I'm glad I took slides—almost all of them on Kodachrome 64. Some of the earliest photos still have perfect color and grain, 27 years later. I hope they all last another century. If not, at least I've got a huge chunk of them scanned. Then there are the 180 rolls of negatives...but that project is a long way off.