The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Sprint 80

At my day job, we just ended our 80th sprint on the project, with a lot of small but useful features that will make our side of the app easier to maintain. I like productive days like this. I even voted! And now I will rest on my laurels for a bit and read these stories:

Finally, the European Space Agency wants to establish a standard time zone for the moon. Since one day on the moon is 29.4 days here, I don't quite know what that will look like.

Dreary Monday afternoon

The rain has stopped, and might even abate long enough for me to collect Cassie from day camp without getting soaked on my way home. I've completed a couple of cool sub-features for our sprint review tomorrow, so I have a few minutes to read the day's stories:

Finally, Friends of the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse hope to tap into National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act funds to turn their organization's namesake into a museum. That would be cool.

Why doesn't the AP want me to give them money?

I spent way more time than I should have this morning trying to set up an API key for the Associated Press data tools. Their online form to sign up created a general customer-service ticket, which promptly got closed with an instruction to...go to the online sign-up form. They also had a phone number, which turned out to have nothing to do with sales. And I've now sent two emails a week apart to their "digital sales" office, with crickets in response.

The New York Times had an online setup that took about five minutes, and I'm already getting stuff using Postman. Nice.

Meanwhile:

Finally, I've got a note on my calendar to check out the Karen's Diner pop-up in Wrigleyville next month. Because who doesn't want to be abused by servers?

Really gross afternoon

We've had rain since about 9am while the temperature has held onto 1°C with two hands and a carabiner, so neither Cassie nor I will get our quota of walks this afternoon. But that does give me extra time to digest all this:

  • James Fallows eulogizes his old boss, President Jimmy Carter.
  • After listening to yesterday's oral arguments, the Washington Post team covering Gonzalez v Google doesn't think the Supreme Court will overturn Section 230.
  • A history teacher wants to help Bloomington, Ill., move past its anti-urbanist land use policies.

Oh, and I had some work to do as well.

Another beautiful day in February

Yesterday, Cassie and I walked about 11 km and ended the day sitting outside at Spiteful Brewery. In February. Today the weather looks about the same (right now it's 12°C at Inner Drive Technology World Headquarters), but between work and rehearsal tonight I can't just sit on my porch reading. Dang.

The forecast predicts it'll stay below freezing from Thursday night until Saturday lunchtime, but hey, it's still February. One March-like day during this stretch of April weather doesn't bother me.

Good day for a walk

Here we have a typical mid-March temperature profile for Chicago:

Of course, that's not from mid-March, that's today. It got up to 9.1°C at Inner Drive Technology World Headquarters, without a cloud in the sky, and it looks likely to do the same tomorrow. Cassie got a 5 km walk earlier today and I plan to do 7 km tomorrow.

Consequently I won't spend a lot of time banging away at my keyboard this afternoon. Probably not much tomorrow, either.

Chicago gets plowed

Just in time for spring, the City of Chicago has just announced the winning names for seven of our beloved snowplows:

  • Da Plow
  • Holy Plow!
  • Jean Baptiste Point du Shovel
  • Mrs O'Leary's Plow
  • Salter Payton
  • Sears Plower
  • Sleet Home Chicago

From the Chicago Tribune:

Nearly 7,000 potential names were submitted in 17,000 suggestions from Chicago residents. Initially, the city planned to name six snowplows — one for each snow district — in its fleet of almost 300 baby-blue “Snow Fighting Trucks.” (During a major snowfall in Chicago, a pool of up to 675 motor-truck drivers can be dispatched.) Another was added due to a close vote.

Each of the snowplows will be trackable in real-time on the city’s plow tracker — and the name will be added to the vehicles too.

Since we've gotten less than half of our normal snowfall this year, we haven't seen the plows much. The Climate Prediction Center mid-term forecast doesn't look good for snow, either:

Not that anyone's complaining!

Next year, though, I'll watch out for Da Plow.

Update: Mount Washington, N.H., had some weather last night, too. The weather station there may have recorded the lowest wind chill temperature in US history shortly before 11pm. With sustained 167 km/h winds gusting to 189 km/h and an ambient air temperature of -43°C, the weather station had a wind chill of -76.6°C (-106°F)—colder than the surface of Mars. At this writing the station has a much more moderate wind chill of -61.4°C (-78.6°F). Bundle up.

Long but productive day

I finished a couple of big stories for my day job today that let us throw away a whole bunch of code from early 2020. I also spent 40 minutes writing a bug report for the third time because not everyone diligently reads attachments. (That sentence went through several drafts, just so you know.)

While waiting for several builds to complete today, I happened upon these stories:

Finally, a school district food service director ordered more than 11,000 cases of chicken wings worth $1.5m over the last three years, which the State's Attorney says never got to the kids.

And now, since the temperature has risen from this morning's -17°C all the way up to...uh...-11.4°C, I will now walk the adorable creature who keeps nosing me in the arm as I type this.

So much warmer!

It got practically tropical this afternoon, at least compared with yesterday:

Cassie and I took advantage of the no-longer-deadly temperatures right at the top point of that curve to take a 40-minute, 4.3 km walk. Tomorrow should stay as warm, at least until the next cold front comes in and pushes temperatures down to -18°C for a few hours Thursday night.

I'm heading off to pub quiz in a few minutes, so I'll read these stories tomorrow morning:

OK, off to empty the dog, refill the dog, and scoot over to Sketchbook Skokie for a shellacking. (Our sports person can't make it tonight.)