The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Darkest nights of the year

In Chicago, from November 15th to December 31st, the sun sets before 4:30pm. Not much before; for about 11 days, it sets within a few seconds of 4:20pm before getting just a few seconds later.

The only point I'm making is: it's dark already. Cassie has gotten exactly one light in full daylight a day for the last week, and that will likely continue.

Ah, winter.

Oh, and the Fourth Circuit has once again (metaphorically) called XPOTUS-appointed Federal Circuit Judge Aileen Cannon an idiot.

Winter is here

Meteorological winter begins in the Northern Hemisphere today. In Chicago right now we have sunny skies and a normal-for-December 2°C. And any day above freezing between December 1st and March 1st works for me.

Meanwhile:

Finally, on a whim I looked back at my posts from 10 years ago, and I came across this painful memory of debugging an Azure 1.8 deployment. And 15 years ago we got our first snowfall of the season. Ah, memories.

Spring, fall, winter...Chicago?

It's 14°C right now, going down to -3°C tonight. Then it's back up to 8°C on Friday. Because why wouldn't the beginning of winter feel like April?

While you ponder that, read this:

Finally, Whisky Advocate has a good explainer taking the water of life from barrels in Scotland to the glass in your American kitchen.

Still a "good" landing

A pilot crashed his Mooney M20J into power lines in suburban Maryland last night, but everyone got out of the plane alive:

A pilot and a passenger were rescued from a small plane that had crashed into a power line tower and power lines in Maryland after an hours-long ordeal that saw power cut to nearly 100,000 homes and businesses, led to school cancellations and plunged rescuers into a complex effort to safely remove the people aboard.

The first victim, a woman, was pulled from the plane at 12:25 a.m. Residents who’d spent hours watching the incident play out clapped as she was lowered down in a bucket. The second occupant, a man, came down about 11 minutes later.

The Sunday evening crash occurred at a Pepco transmission line near Rothbury Drive and Goshen Road in the Gaithersburg/Montgomery Village area, according to utility and rescue officials. The plane became entangled in high-voltage power lines in the Montgomery Village-Gaithersburg area about 5:40 p.m.

Unfortunately for the pilot, he won't be able to use the plane again, so it's not an "excellent" landing. And once the NTSB gets through with him, he probably won't ever fly again (he's 65).

I can't remember another accident where the airplane hit power lines and the occupants all survived. Weather around the crash time and place shows low instrument conditions: overcast ceiling at 60 meters (200 ft) with visibility around 2 km (1¼ mi) in mist. This suggests visual flight into instrument conditions, but a probable cause finding from the NTSB will likely take a year or so.

Foomp

In the last couple of days, I've observed a phenomenon I don't remember seeing in years past, perhaps because the city has a different mix of tree species around my new place. It looks like all the silver maples in Ravenswood dropped their leaves just in the past 72 hours:

All the other trees in the neighborhood took their time over the warm, dry fall we've had, but the silver maples hung on like a 6-year-old holding his breath.

Researching this post, I learned that the city requires property owners to limit Norway and silver maples to 5% of the total population of trees they plant. Maples account for 38% of Chicago's trees (as of 2013), so the city recommends planting London planetrees, Chicago Blues black locusts, and Chicagoland hackberries, among a few others.

It shouldn't have surprised me that Chicago itself has become a specific ecological niche with its own local plant species. I can't wait to see rattus norvegicus chicagoensis lurking in my alley...but I'd bet they're out there.

How my weekend is going

Remember the stew I made Wednesday? It turned out one of my best:

And I had a lot of leftovers:

Remember Cassie getting a long walk to the big dog park Thursday? We did the same thing yesterday:

And after dinner, I got this rare (inverted for your convenience) photo of Cassie getting a belly rub:

Today, however, it's rainy and cold, so we will have less walking—but possibly more couch/belly-rub time.

Above freezing and clear

With only about a week of autumn left officially, we have some great weather today. Cassie is with her pack at day care and I'm inside my downtown office looking at the sun and (relative) warmth outside, but the weather should continue through Friday.

What else is going on?

Finally, I hate to tell you, we will never find any real evidence to support the existence of Noah's Ark.

Warm lake + cold air + high winds = ...?

No matter where you find yourself today, at least you're not in Western New York:

The lake-effect snowstorm keeps pounding the Southtowns, with major highways and some roads closed.

A travel ban has been reinstituted for the City of Buffalo from William Street downtown to the Town of Cheektowaga line and everything south, according to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Thursday the Thruway from Rochester to the Pennsylvania border was closed to commercial traffic, although tractor trailers could be seen on the Thruway in Hamburg this morning. The governor also announced a state of emergency Thursday for the area.

The storm that dumped nearly 2 feet of snow in Hamburg and other parts of the Southtowns overnight will shift slightly north Friday morning, as the lake-effect storm continues to pound Western New York and the Buffalo metro area.

Parts of the Buffalo, N.Y., region have already gotten over 1,200 mm of snow, with another 600 mm expected over the next day or so. And yet, Niagara Falls, just 60 km northwest of the city—but crucially, downwind of Ontario, not Lake Erie—got just 25 mm of snow over the last 48 hours.

What fun.

Poor, neglected dog

Between my actual full-time job and the full-time job I've got this week preparing for King Roger, Cassie hasn't gotten nearly the time outdoors that she wants. The snow, rain, and 2°C we have today didn't help. (She doesn't mind the weather as much as I do.)

Words cannot describe how less disappointed I am that I will have to miss the XPOTUS announcing his third attempt to grift the American People, coming as it does just a few hours after US Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) announced his bid for Senate Minority Leader. Sad dog, sad turtle, sad party.

Now to walk the dog, pack the bag, and head to the Sitzprobe. But man, my sitz already feels probed.