Fourteen years ago today, Parker came home with me:
Here's the old guy waiting to get jabbed at today's vet visit:
Of course, if he keeps pooping in the house—ten minutes after our morning walk he got the bathroom, bedroom, and hallway in three separate deposits—I might kick him out.
Today is former president Bill Clinton's 74th birthday. Last night, he spoke at the Democratic National Convention, where the party formally nominated former vice president Joe Biden to be president.
In other news:
And finally, in about half an hour, Parker will get a much-needed bath. He has no idea this will happen. I'll let him sleep another 10 minutes before the horror begins...
It is hot in Chicago: 34°C that feels like 38°C because of the 22°C dewpoint. Last night the temperature didn't even go below 77°C. I helped a friend move a couple of things into storage this morning and I'm now soaked through. Parker hates it especially because he has two fur coats. (He deposited a significant amount of one of them around the house this week, though.)
I plan to spend the rest of the day inside with my air conditioning.
You know where else it's way too hot? East Antarctica. And that could cause problems for everyone on earth.
As an old dog just a week past his 14th birthday, Parker has his ups and downs. Today was a bit of a down.
A little before 3 am he pooped on the floor, which is annoying but not the worst thing he regularly does, but then he couldn't stand up. He woke me up when he belly-flopped into the pile. He seemed very sad about this, but he did get a walk more or less immediately plus some very gentle pats on the head after I cleaned up.
He's not in pain, and he's a dog so dignity in these matters isn't quite what it would be for a human. But he has been declining noticeably since last fall.
I hope he stays healthy through the summer so we can celebrate his Gotcha Day in September. Beyond that...I just don't know.
My bête noir turned 14 (fourteen!) today. I could not decide which photo of him to use so here are three:
For comparison, here's what he looked like on his Gotcha Day almost 14 years ago:
We had calm winds in my neighborhood this morning, so after walking Parker I grabbed my Mini and did an altitude test. I discovered that I had to replace 3 damaged propeller blades (more on that later), but after fixing the aircraft, I popped it up to 90 m and had a look around:
In the climb to that altitude I discovered that the tallest building in the area is only 70 m tall, and trees tend to be around 25 m tall. These are very useful data points when flying a tiny UAV that doesn't have obstacle-avoidance features.
Update: Here's the raw footage from the test:
I mentioned yesterday I got a new toy. Finally, after years of thinking about it (and also watching prices come down), I bought a small drone. The Mavic Mini weighs 249 grams (which has legal significance), flies for half an hour, and takes decent video.
For my first test flights, I put the propeller guards on and did some slow flying around my house. Parker could not have cared less. Encounter number one:
Encounter number two:
So I not only have the best dog on the planet, but I may also have the chillest dog on the planet.
...as I took the last squares of toilet paper from the roll this morning. I had to dig into the Strategic TP Reserve just to meet ends.
Before I round up the depression and sadness from around the world this morning, I would like to point out that yesterday's high temperature of 27°C at O'Hare was the warmest we've seen since the 30°C we had on October 1st, 189 days earlier. I opened all my windows, and Parker got his pace up just a little bit. Today's forecast calls for perfect spring warmth (21°C) and thunderstorms during what we used to call "rush hour." (I will probably have all my windows open when the rain starts and have to close them very quickly.)
So what else has the world thrown at us this morning? In addition to the usual drumbeat of deaths and Republican malfeasance, this:
Well, now that I'm thoroughly pumped from reading the papers, I'm going to document an API while watching Schitt's Creek.
Of all the things in the New York Times today, the fact that a census found 2,373 squirrels in Central Park made my day. Parker's too, no doubt, though he has trouble comprehending numbers larger than 2.
As I've done several years running, I'm taking a look at my statistics for the past year:
- I flew the fewest air miles since 1999 (14,462 against 1999's 11,326), and took only 9 trips out of town (up 1 from 2018). As in 2018, I took 11 flights, but because I took two road trips I wound up visiting 9 states (Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Colorado) and 2 foreign countries (UK and Ontario, Canada) to 2018's 8 and 1, respectively.
- I posted 551 times on The Daily Parker, up 33 from last year and a new all-time annual record! (The previous record was 541 in 2009.)
- Parker got 187 hours of walks, up 54 hours and 40% from last year.
- I got 5,135,518 Fitbit steps and walked 4,630 km, down 2½% from last year. But I went 207 days in a row, from April 15th to November 7th, hitting my 10,000-a-day step goal, which I did 352 times overall. Also during the year I passed 25,000,000 lifetime steps and 20,000 lifetime kilometers.
- Reading jumped a lot. I started 36 books in 2019 and finished 33, up 50% from 2018, and my best showing since 2010 (when I spent several days on airplanes and read 51 books). With at least three trips to Europe planned for 2020, both my flying and my reading should improve.
Let's see what 2020 brings. I'm especially bummed that my Fitbit numbers declined, even though Parker got 40% more walk time. (But he walks 40% more slowly than last year, so...)