The Cubs will start the season in Philadelphia this afternoon, so at the moment they have a perfect record. That will likely change within the next 36 hours, so we're not to jazzed about it in Chicago.
When they open at Wrigley Field on Friday, it may be cold and drizzly according to the National Weather Service forecast this morning, but at least they'll finally have good beer:
After 25 years, Goose Island finally has a home field advantage at Wrigley Field.
Chicago’s longest-tenured beer maker will be abundant at Clark and Addison this season for the first time, with both 312 Urban Wheat Ale and the newly released 312 Urban Pale Ale to be sold by vendors throughout the stadium, according to the Cubs.
Goose’s Green Line (a pale ale available only in Chicago and on draft), Matilda (a Belgian-style pale ale) and Sofie (a saison) will also be available at Wrigley in 2014.
The reintroduction of Goose Island and departure of Old Style will come about because InBev now owns Goose Island. InBev also owns Budweiser. So Goose Island isn't by any stretch a craft brewer anymore, but they still make better beers than MillerCoors.
Still, it pains me to quote the end of the Tribune article: "U.S. Cellular Field will again be dominated by MillerCoors products (Miller Lite, Coors Light, Blue Moon and Redd’s Apple Ale), but will again feature a solid and varied lineup of craft beers that includes Bell’s Oberon, Revolution Anti-Hero, Rogue Dead Guy Ale, Lagunitas Daytime and Sierra Nevada Pale."
And there's Wrigley Field for you: Loser team, loser beers, sells out every home game. There is no god.
The O'Hare CTA station closed after Monday's train crash, and just re-opened.
Because of some new tasks related to my job, I haven't been able to post the last couple of days. Today it's 10°C and sunny, and getting warmer, so I have to go outside and play.
There is a chance that today will be the warmest since November 17th. If that happens, I will post again today. If not, I'll just enjoy the weather quietly, to myself.
Gail Gygax, widow of Dungeons and Dragons creator Gary Gygax, is trying to get a statue to her late husband in Lake Geneva, Wis.:
Since 2009, Gail has been trying to make a Gary Gygax memorial happen in Lake Geneva.
And it should.
Or, at least, some form of a memorial to Gygax, whose influence on contemporary culture is vast and underrated, should happen. As David Ewalt, an editor at Forbes magazine and author of the 2013 history "Of Dice and Men," said, Dungeons & Dragons took the raw materials of Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" and revitalized the fantasy genre; it influenced the first generation of video game developers, introducing the now-familiar concept of game characters who could grow, improve, "level up"; Gygax's Gen Con, a role-playing game convention founded in 1968, helped popularize geek conventions (and continues to, decades later).
But most important, Ewalt said, "What Gary did was help give birth to a creative class: filmmakers, writers, TV showrunners. A generation now making art — from the 'Game of Thrones' guys to whomever — learned how to tell a story, and the power of narrative, from first being D&D players in the 1970s and '80s.
I hope they build the statue, and I'll leave a d20 in tribute. I actually played a game with Gygax as DM back in, oh, 1980, right in The Dragon in Lake Geneva. I wish I'd been old enough to appreciate the honor without going all fanboy on him. He seemed amused. And he signed my second-edition Players Handbook, which I still have somewhere.
I miss D&D...
I got home with no difficulty and bypassed the dead El train at O'Hare through the simple expedient of taking a taxi.
I'm catching up on work right now, so further comments will issue later. It also turns out, apparently, that a virus had made a beachhead in my nose, so I will have to fight that off before my wit and verve returns.
In totally unrelated news, today is the 30th anniversary of the fictional Breakfast Club.
I'm now at Heathrow where I've got a really great perch overlooking the approach end of runway 9L. A JAL 777 has just floated down to the runway and a BA 747 is taxiing past the window. It's a little piece of aviation heaven in Terminal 5 as I wait for the 787 to Toronto.
As I mentioned earlier, however, my trip home tomorrow morning may end a little differently than usual because of this:
Fortunately, no one was hurt. Unfortunately, the El still missed its flight. Never try to carry too much baggage up the stairs; use the elevator instead.
Boarding starts in a few minutes. Time to boogie. But I'll wait for this BA 777 to land. They're really amazingly graceful when they touch down.
Just checking the local news in Chicago a moment ago I see a weather forecast of -2°C and blowing snow for Tuesday, rain for the rest of the week, and a crash at the O'Hare subway station:
Thirty people were injured after a CTA Blue Line train derailed and hit a platform at O'Hare International Airport about 2:55 a.m. Monday.
The injuries are not life threatening, according to early reports from the scene to Chicago Police Department headquarters, Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Ron Gaines said.
It's not clear how fast the train was moving but it jumped a bumper at the end of the line and moved up an escalator, according to Chicago Fire Department Spokesman Larry Langford.
The CTA posted to its Twitter page that trains were stopped at O'Hare but running between the Logan Square and Rosemont stops.
Yeah, I'm in a hurry to get back.
It's 11pm on Sunday and everything is closed, so I'm taking a break from my break. My body still seems to think it's on Chicago time, which will help me rejoin American civilization on Tuesday, though at the moment it means my body thinks it's 6pm and wonders what it will do for the next three and a half hours or so.
I have accomplished what I set out to do this weekend. I visited the British Museum, the Southampton Arms, and another pub a friend recommended, The Phoenix. I've also finished Clean Coder, read Snow Crash cover to cover, and have gotten mostly through High Fidelity. The last book in the list connects Chicago and London—specifically, Camden and Gospel Oak, two neighborhoods I spent time in this weekend—more completely than any other book I can think of.
Tomorrow evening (morning? it's hard to tell) I'm flying out on a 787, about which I will certainly have something to write. I'm quite jazzed about it.
Now, back to Nick Hornby...
I debated this question with someone at a dinner a couple weeks ago. She suggested higher megapixel numbers told you more about the ego of the camera buyer than about the quality of the images.
I said it depends on how you're using the photos, but generally, more data yields more useful photos.
Here's an illustration, using a vaguely-recognizable landmark that I happened to pass earlier this weekend, and just happened to have photographed with three different cameras. All three photos are from approximately the same location at approximately the same time of day. Obviously there are some differences, but the illustration should work regardless.
Let's take a look at three images stored as 600x900 JPEGs and displayed at 500x750, the standard size for this blog. First, let's see one from a Kodak DC4800 in February 2001, 13 years ago. The original size was 1440x2160 at 3MP:
Now skip forward to August 2009, using a Canon 20D shooting a 2336x3648 JPEG at 8 MP:
Finally, two days ago, using a Canon 7D shooting raw at 3456x5184 (18 MP):
The photos look pretty comparable at this resolution, don't they? So let's zoom in on a 150x150 pixel view of each:
So each one has successively more data than the previous, which becomes obvious when you zoom in.
Another difference: I shot the one from this weekend using the raw format, which preserves all of the information the camera had available at the time of the photo. JPEG images are lossy; they always leave some information out. And because raw images are easier to manipulate using software, I was able to make the third photo a little bit better than I could make the other two.
So are more megapixels more useful? Not if you're just putting up blog posts, but for serious photography, absolutely.
The equinox, when the sun appears directly over the equator so that night and day is approximately equal all over the planet, happened Thursday. Today comes the consequence to the earth continuing in its orbit as the south pole appears to point farther away from the sun, as it's done since the last solstice.
In just about two hours, at 17:09 UTC, the sun sets on the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, and doesn't rise again until around 01:18 UTC on September 20th.
Good luck to the over-winter crew at Amundsen-Scott. Enjoy the long night.