I'm finally at Heathrow about 10 minutes from boarding. Whew. I've got loads of photos to go through, and hours of sleep to catch up on. I am ready to be home.
Tonight I'm going to spend as much time as possible on the couch with Cassie. I've got a lot of pats for her.
I just got from the curb to the lounge in 18 minutes. No kidding: my bag check line was empty, and so was the TSA Pre-Check queue. I should point out, no other queues were empty; in fact, it looked like the general security queue is long enough to gestate an elephant.
So, at least for the first hour of my vacation, things completely fail to suck.
Boarding pass from Chicago to Heathrow in app? Check.
Boarding pass from Heathrow to Prague in app? Check.
Packed? Uh...sure, once this laundry is done...
I'm serious: I couldn't have planned it better. Remember how I said I booked the early (4:50pm) flight because I wanted to fly on one of British Airways' brand-new 787-10 airplanes, and they swapped it out for one of they're old-ass 777s? Well, I woke up this morning to an email saying that the old-ass 777 won't actually make the trip after all, so they shoved me onto the next available flight on American.
After a not-so-quick call to American Airlines (them, because they issued the original ticket, and long, because British Airways screwed up the rebooking), they got me on the 9:15pm flight on a relatively-new Airbus 380. More to the point, instead of getting in at 6:30 am BST (12:30 am Chicago time), I'm now arriving at the much more humane hour of 11 am BST (5 am Chicago time).
That also puts me much closer to the bag-check time for my flight to Prague, and I'll still have enough time to get out of Heathrow for a bit. I hope.
If not, I have airline status with both American and BA, so the worst case is I cool my heels in the first-class lounge in Heathrow Terminal 3. Not ideal, but not like sitting in genpop with my luggage for 10 hours.
Updates as the situation warrants.
For 10 hours today I had banging and pounding right above my head. Once the roofers left, I took advantage of the light winds and decent light to take some aerial photos.
Here's the roof on Thursday, before they ripped it off this morning:
Here's 20 minutes ago:
Fortunately I won't be home tomorrow during the day, else I'd probably start yelling at them.
And hey, since I had the drone up, here's a Chicago skyline photo, free of charge:
I spent all day updating my real job's software to .NET 7, and to predominantly asynchronous operation throughout. Now I have four stubbornly failing unit tests that lead me to suspect I got something wrong in the async timing somewhere. It's four out of 507, so most of today's work went fine.
Meanwhile, the following stories have backed up:
Finally, a very rich person is very annoyed after his or her private jet got stuck in the mud at Aspen's airport. It seems the guy sent to pull it out of the mud maybe needed another lesson on how planes work, because he managed to snap the nose gear right off the $3.5 million airplane. Oopsi. (There's video!)
Once again, I have too much to read:
Finally, it was 20 years ago tonight that Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley had city workers vandalize Meigs Field so that he could sell the land to his pals. The Tribune has a photo history.
After having the 4th-mildest winter in 70 years, the weather hasn't really changed. Abnormally-warm February temperatures have hung around to become abnormally-cool March temperatures. I'm ready for real spring, thank you.
- ProPublica reports on the bafflement inside the New York City Council about how to stop paying multi-million-dollar settlements when the NYPD violates people's civil rights—a problem we have in Chicago, for identical reasons—but haven't figured out that police oversight might help. (One Daily Parker reader suggested taking the money out of the police pension fund.)
- A bill moving through Florida's legislature would address suburban sprawl by redefining it. (Want to bet a real-estate developer lobbied for this one?)
- A ransomware attack a few weeks ago has affected up to 130 organizations, according to researchers and online boasts from the attackers.
- United Airlines wants to start air-taxi service between the Loop and O'Hare by 2025, using electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) airplanes.
Finally, I laughed out loud at the YouGov survey that found 46% of American men who have never flown an airplane think they could land an air transport with only some help from Air Traffic Control. I laughed because I do know how to fly a plane, and I don't think I could land a 787 well enough to use the plane again under any circumstances without a few dozen simulator hours. In fact, I would probably spend several crucial minutes trying to figure out how to change the radio to 121.5 and the transponder to 7700. But hey, the United States put Dunning and Kruger on the map, so this seems about right to me.
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.
An Illinois hobby group seems to have lost one of its hobbies recently:
The Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade, a hobbyist group that launches hydrogen-filled, radio-equipped pico balloons and tracks them as they fly across the world, has declared one of its balloons “missing in action.”
The balloon stopped transmitting signals when it had been set to fly near the area in Canada where a military fighter jet shot down an unidentified object last week.
If the time-and-date fit is more than a coincidence, the balloon never stood a chance: The hobbyists use large, plastic party balloons that cost as little as $13 for their scientific fun; the military reportedly took the UFO out with heat-seeking missiles.
The balloon, identified by the hobbyist club as K9YO, had already circumnavigated the globe six times.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command did not immediately respond to calls and emails requesting asking about the downed object.
Poor little balloon. But hey, it's good to know that a $3m missile can take out a $13 balloon.