The Daily Parker began as a joke-of-the-day engine at the newly-established braverman.org on 13 May 1998. This will be my 8,907th post since 1998 and my 8,710th since 13 November 2005. And according to a quick SQL Server query I just ran, The Daily Parker contains 15,043,497 bytes of text and HTML.
A large portion of posts just curate the news and opinions that I've read during the day. But sometimes I actually employ thought and creativity, as in these favorites from the past 25 years:
- Old Man Moskowitz, sent in by an old friend in New York, 26 May 1998.
- My all-time-favorite Jewish joke, 23 June 1998. (And my second-favorite, 31 January 2003.)
- My all-time-favorite engineering joke, 11 February 2000.
- An essay on conspiracies and coincidence, 22 January 2006.
- Rant about Microsoft certification exams, 29 June 2006.
- Feeling sad about the end of Kodachrome, 31 December 2010.
- My friends and I debate the merits (such as they were) of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R), 26 March 2011.
- An examination of the Astrolabe lawsuit against the Time Zone Database, 22 October 2011, and Astrolabe's response on 14 October 2011.
- A rant about Tea Party Republicans, 14 August 2012.
- Three articles in the New York Times inspire two lengthy explanations and a rant, 18 December 2012.
- The Y2K problem and other date disasters in programming, 29 April 2018.
- The Music Theory A-Z challenge, starting on 1 April 2019.
- The entire series on logical fallacies, July-August 2019.
- My obituary for Parker, 18 November 2020.
- Star Trek: Discovery's 3rd season irked me, 3 December 2020.
- Neon CRM also irked me, 10 February 2021. (Hmm...I wrote longer blog posts in the months when I didn't have a dog.)
- Cassie comes home from PAWS, 16 March 2021.
- My struggles to play SimCity 4, 25 years after I bought it, 8 May 2021.
- Lots of posts tagged "Photography," but particularly around the time I finished scanning all my slides (from 1983 to 2001).
Also interesting is how I can chart key events in my life just by looking at how often I posted:
Right now, I'm predicting the 10,000th post on 5 August 2025. Keep reading and find out.
Even with Chicago's 1,642 judges on the ballot ("Shall NERDLY McSNOOD be retained as a circuit court judge in Cook County?"), I still got in and out of my polling place in about 15 minutes. It helped that the various bar associations only gave "not recommended" marks to two of them, which still left 1,640 little "yes" ovals to fill in.
Meanwhile, in the rest of the world...
Finally, Chicago gets a new brewery taproom on Thursday when Hop Butcher to the World opens in Half Acre's former Lincoln Avenue space, just over 2 km from my house. Cassie and I might find out on Saturday whether they let dogs in, assuming the forecast holds. (And there it is: a post that literally checks all the boxes for Daily Parker categories!)
Despite the forecast of 200+ mm of snow overnight, we got about 50 over here. O'Hare reported 100 mm of snow on the ground at 6am, which again didn't even come close to the dire warnings we got Friday night.
Still, the sidewalks by my house have snow, slush, and salt all over them, which Cassie discovered (mostly to her delight) first thing this morning. Within 10 minutes, she'd gotten ice and salt lodged into one of her pads and had to hop the last 20 meters to the door.
I have a solution for that: dog boots. Parker's old boots just fit Cassie, though she expressed a bit of skepticism mixed with heartbreaking trust as I got them over her paws:
And just like Parker the first time he wore those same boots, Cassie figured out pretty quickly that they had benefits. We just did a 2-kilometer rectangle around the neighborhood with her bouncing through the snow and not getting salt in her pads.
Bonus photo from yesterday morning:
After the whipsaw between 2019 and 2020, I'm happy 2021 came out within a standard deviation of the mean on most measures:
- In 2020, I flew the fewest air miles ever. In 2021, my 11,868 miles and five segments came in 3rd lowest, ahead of only 2020 and 1999.
- I only visited one other country (the UK) and two other states (Wisconsin and California) during 2021. What a change from 2014.
- In 2020, I posted a record 609 times on The Daily Parker; 2021's 537 posts came in about average for the modern era.
- Cassie got almost 422 hours of walks in 2021, a number I don't think I ever achieved with Parker. And given I only had her for 291 days of 2021, that's an average of 1:27 of walks per day. According to my Garmin, she and I covered over 684 km just on walks that I recorded with my watch. A young, high-energy dog plus working from home most of the time will do that, I suppose.
- Speaking of walks, in 2021 I got 4,926,000 steps and walked 3,900 km—about the straight-line distance from New York to Seattle. Those numbers came within 2% of 2020 and 4% of 2019. I also hit new personal records for distance and steps when I walked over 51 km on September 3rd. And I hit my step goal 355 times (cf. 359 times in 2020), though not all in a row.
- I drove 4,242 km in 2021, almost exactly the same amount as in 2020 (4,265 km), but I used a bit more fuel (116 L to 79 L).
- I spent 1365 hours working from home and 521 in the office in 2021, about the same (1327 and 560) as in 2020. I expect about the same in 2022.
- Personal software development took up another 184 hours, almost all on the really cool thing I'm going to soft-launch tomorrow.
- The Apollo Chorus took up 222 hours of my time, including 100 in rehearsals and performances and about the same amount on my duties as president. In 2020, that was 57 and 71 hours respectively, mainly because we didn't have any in-person performances.
- Finally, I started only 28 books in 2021 and finished 23, after dropping a couple that dogged me for a while. That's more than in my worst-ever year, 2017 (18 and 13), but down a bit from the last two years. That said, my average numbers for the past 10 years are 28.2 and 23.3, making 2021...average. I also watched 51 movies and 48 TV shows, which just means I need to get out more.
So, will 2022 return to normal (-ish)? Or will some of the trends that started in March 2020 continue even after the pandemic has long become something we scare children with?
It's hard to believe Parker has been gone a whole year. I miss you, buddy.
Someone—I won't say who—gained 3 kilos since she arrived at my house in March. That's a 12% increase. Will she notice when I cut her kibble by 10% until she's back down to 23½ kilos?
And no, I didn't forget that today would have been Parker's 15th Gotcha Day. I do miss him.
Parker would have turned 15 today. I'm of course very glad to have Cassie, but I do miss my bête noir quite a bit.
Microsoft has started sending little reminders of things that happened "on this day," no doubt taking cues from Google Timeline and Facebook Memories. But I did enjoy getting a reminder that I took this photo 14 years ago this morning:
Parker at Bardwell Park, Evanston, Ill., 18 February 2007.
It'll be 3 months tomorrow. I do miss him.
What a bizarre year. Just looking at last year's numbers, it almost doesn't make sense to compare, but what the hell:
- Last year I flew the fewest air-miles in 20 years; this year, I flew the fewest since the first time I got on a commercial airplane, which was during the Nixon Administration. In January I flew to Raleigh-Durham and back, and didn't even go to the airport for the rest of the year. That's 1,292 air miles, fewer than the very first flight I took (Chicago to Los Angeles, 1,745 air miles). I did, however, make an overnight trip to Wisconsin in November, easily breaking the record for my longest travel drought but making it shorter than never.
- This is my 609th post on the Daily Parker in 2020—an average of more than 50 per month. This new record blows away the one I set just last year by 10.5%. (Imagine how much I'd have written had anything newsworthy actually happened in 2020.)
- The pandemic let me spend Parker's last eight months with him nearly every day. Despite his age and discomfort, we managed to go for almost 241 hours of walks (274 annualized), a whopping 29% (46% annualized) more than in 2019.
- Including today, I got 4,848,171 steps, averaging 13,246 per day. This is 5.7% fewer than last year. I missed 10,000 steps on seven occasions—five this month. Without a daily commute or a dog, not to mention the cold weather, I have struggled since Thanksgiving to get motivated enough to get longer walks in. That said, I hit a new record of 312 consecutive days over 10,000 steps, a record I don't anticipate ever breaking. I also got 56,562 steps on September 4th—another record I don't expect to break soon.
- I once again read more than the year before, with 39 books started and 37 completed. (I'm still working on The Power Broker, which I started 18 months ago...) On the other hand, I watched 59 movies and 79 TV series, compared with 56 and 38 respectively in 2019. Of course, almost all of that was streaming on my home computer while programming on my work computer, but it's a lot.
I can't even predict what will happen in 2021. I expect fewer steps, more books, and actually to start traveling again. Here's hoping for a speedy vaccination.
I just wanted to shout out to two dogs I've been able to hang out with this week.
On Wednesday I watched my neighbors' dog Sophie for the day. She really didn't care that I don't allow dogs on the couch:
And yesterday, I hung out with this pretty girl:
I'm not ready to adopt another dog yet. But I'm glad my friends occasionally need dogsitting services.