Remember how it snowed six days ago? Today it didn't:
Unrelated, I'm monitoring some frustrating slowness with the Daily Parker. I'm not sure what's going on. Doubling the VM memory didn't seem to help. I've been thinking of writing my own blog engine again (as I have for about 15 years), so maybe this will give me the push I need.
A person who reads The Daily Parker regularly asked me if I read any fiction, since many of my posts highlight news and opinion (non-fiction) articles I've read in the past day or two. And my annual statistics round-up have only mentioned the number of books I've read, not their names and authors.
So for the reader's benefit, and my own in posterity, here are some of the books I've read recently, in no particular order:
- James Fell, Sh!t Went Down (#2)
- James S.A. Corey, The Expanse series, books 6–9 and Memory's Legion
- Peter Kramer, Death of the Great Man
- Hugh Howey, the Silo series
- S.E. Hinton, The Outsiders
- Nicholas Bloom, The Great American Transit Disaster
- Gail Carson Levine, Ella Enchanted
- John Scalzi, Starter Villain
- And I just last night finished Iain Banks first Culture novel, Consider Phlebas.
I'll post the complete 2023 list in my statistics roundup on January 1st or 2nd.
Former college football coach Tommy Tuberville, now a United States Senator grâce a the wisdom and good sense of the fine people of Alabama, continues to degrade the United States military by preventing the US Senate from confirming 301 (and counting) general and flag officers from formally taking the jobs they're already doing. Earlier this month, the commanders of the Naval Air Forces and Naval Sea Systems Command retired, passing their responsibilities—but, crucially, not their policy-setting powers—to their putative successors. US Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ), a retired US Navy Captain and 4-time Space Shuttle astronaut, stopped just short of calling Tuberville an idiot on today's NPR Morning Edition.
In other news:
- One of the last sane Republican office holders, US Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT), announced he won't seek re-election in 2024.
- One of the least-sane Republican office holders, US Representative Lauren Boebert (R-CO), got thrown out of a performance of the Beetlejuice musical in Denver for, among other things, being a Karen when told to stop all the other things she was doing to disrupt the show.
- Contra David Ignatius' column in the Post yesterday advocating for President Biden to step aside in 2024, Josh Marshall has a simple message for my party: "Biden’s age is a real challenge. But the whole question is locked up. It’s locked in. So everyone who wants to beat Trump needs to absorb that, stop whining and buck up."
- ProPublica takes us through the chronology of the Navy's failed $100 billion Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program, that tried to support three entirely different mission profiles and, consequently, does none of them well. (This is why we're building a bunch more Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and reintroducing frigates after a 35-year construction hiatus.)
- After a 13-year construction hiatus, the Hudson River tunnel connecting New Jersey Transit to Penn Station will resume in 2025, with a projected opening in 2035. (NB: A British-French consortium dug the 50-kilometer Chunnel in six years for the 2023 equivalent of £14 billion. If it finishes by 2035, the 3-kilometer Gateway Tunnel will have taken 25 years and cost over $16 billion.)
- Transport for London (TfL) announced that most of London inside the M-25 is now an ultra-low-emissions zone (ULEZ) with motorist fees of £12.50 ($15.61) per day for cars that don't meet the current emissions standards. The government has also pledged £163 million ($204 million) to scrap old cars that don't qualify for the ULEZ.
- A NIMBY group in Minneapolis has temporarily halted implementation of the city's environmentally-necessary zoning changes that would allow more housing density by—get this—using Minnesota's 1970s-era environmental laws.
- By the way, cars aren't just giving us asthma and killing more people than any other cause in the United States and Canada, they're also bankrupting us.
- Here's what you need to know about the latest Covid booster. I'm getting mine Tuesday.
Finally, John Scalzi's blog turned 25 today, making the Hugo-winning author a relative new arrival to the blogging scene, at least when compared with The Daily Parker.
Every time I perform a major work like a Mozart opera, I'm tired and uncreative for about two days afterward. I often forget this. So yesterday and today are more for recharging than creating, which is fortunate as the story I'm working on at my day job just requires changing a label to a text box and adding a Save button. (I should have all that done in a couple of hours.)
I expect regular posting will resume tomorrow.
I forgot at the time that my post yesterday afternoon was the 9,000th since The Daily Parker began in May 1998.
I generally care more about the "modern era" since I began posting in a true blog format in November 2005. This is the 8,806th post since then.
At the current rate, you should see the 10,000th post in early August 2025 (all-time) or at the end of December 2025 (modern era), depending on how you count.
The Daily Parker began as a joke-of-the-day engine at the newly-established braverman.org on 13 May 1998. This will be my 8,907th post since 1998 and my 8,710th since 13 November 2005. And according to a quick SQL Server query I just ran, The Daily Parker contains 15,043,497 bytes of text and HTML.
A large portion of posts just curate the news and opinions that I've read during the day. But sometimes I actually employ thought and creativity, as in these favorites from the past 25 years:
- Old Man Moskowitz, sent in by an old friend in New York, 26 May 1998.
- My all-time-favorite Jewish joke, 23 June 1998. (And my second-favorite, 31 January 2003.)
- My all-time-favorite engineering joke, 11 February 2000.
- An essay on conspiracies and coincidence, 22 January 2006.
- Rant about Microsoft certification exams, 29 June 2006.
- Feeling sad about the end of Kodachrome, 31 December 2010.
- My friends and I debate the merits (such as they were) of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R), 26 March 2011.
- An examination of the Astrolabe lawsuit against the Time Zone Database, 22 October 2011, and Astrolabe's response on 14 October 2011.
- A rant about Tea Party Republicans, 14 August 2012.
- Three articles in the New York Times inspire two lengthy explanations and a rant, 18 December 2012.
- The Y2K problem and other date disasters in programming, 29 April 2018.
- The Music Theory A-Z challenge, starting on 1 April 2019.
- The entire series on logical fallacies, July-August 2019.
- My obituary for Parker, 18 November 2020.
- Star Trek: Discovery's 3rd season irked me, 3 December 2020.
- Neon CRM also irked me, 10 February 2021. (Hmm...I wrote longer blog posts in the months when I didn't have a dog.)
- Cassie comes home from PAWS, 16 March 2021.
- My struggles to play SimCity 4, 25 years after I bought it, 8 May 2021.
- Lots of posts tagged "Photography," but particularly around the time I finished scanning all my slides (from 1983 to 2001).
Also interesting is how I can chart key events in my life just by looking at how often I posted:
Right now, I'm predicting the 10,000th post on 5 August 2025. Keep reading and find out.
We've now got two full years between us and 2020, and it does look like 2022 got mostly back to normal.
- The Daily Parker got 487 posts in 2022, 51 fewer than in 2021 and 25 below median. As usual, I posted the most in January (46) and fewest in November (37), creating a very tight statistical distribution with a standard deviation of 3.45. In other words: posting was pretty consistent month to month, but down overall from previous years.
- I flew 10 segments and 16,138 flight miles in 2022, low for the 21st century but about average for my lifetime.
- Once again, I visited only one other country (the UK, of course), but 8 other states: North Carolina, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Wisconsin, California, Texas, and Michigan. In 2023, I plan to visit a bunch of new countries, but we'll see. Altogether I spent 107 hours traveling.
- I walked Cassie for a little more than 369 hours, somewhat fewer than in 2021 (422) but still an average of over an hour a day. It's about half as much as she wanted.
- I got 4,537,290 steps for 3,693 km of walking, a little below 2021 but about average overall. I only hit my step goal 327 times, though, due to no longer getting worked up about missing it in bad weather. I still averaged 12,393 a day, which doesn't suck.
- I drove 5,925 km on 144 L of gasoline, for an average of 2.4 L/100 km (96.4 MPG). The last four months of the year I used only 4 L of gas over 1,179 km, meaning I'm heading into 2023 with a nearly-full tank I last filled on August 21st. I do love living in the city!
- I worked 1,894 hours for my real job, including 1,260 from home and 580 in the office. The remainder went to conferences and work events. Plus, I spent 103 hours commuting, all of it by public transit (see above re: gasoline use).
- My commitment to the Apollo Chorus went up by a third this year, with 318 hours overall split between rehearsing and performing (220 hours) and my responsibilities as president (98 hours). Last year I spent 57 hours on rehearsals and performances and 71 hours on board stuff, but the first half of 2021 we were still virtual. In the last full year before the pandemic, 2019, I spent 200 hours overall (27 for the Board, 144 on rehearsals and performances, 29 for the fundraiser), so we really did do more this year than in years past.
- Finally, reading stayed the same, with 27 books started (cf. 28 in 2021) and 24 finished (cf. 23 in 2021)—both numbers exactly at median for me. But I watched a whopping (for me) 56 movies and 50 TV show seasons or miniseries. Yeek.
So, yeah, except for the permanent, post-pandemic shift to working from home 2/3 of the time, 2022 really did get back to normal in most ways. I'll take it. Here's to continued normal in 2023!
I realize posting has slipped a little in the past couple of weeks. It should resume its normal frequency tomorrow, as I actually have five consecutive weeks of a routine schedule coming up.
That routine includes rehearsals on Mondays, though, so nothing new today.
The Tech Forum goes on. Tomorrow, though, I don't need my work laptop, and so will bring my personal one, enabling me to post a little more.
I've also thought about finally writing my own blog engine. Or, at least, forking an existing one (maybe even this one?) and going to town on it. During some downtime today I purged a lot of crap from my Microsoft Azure subscriptions, but I still have old applications (like this blog) running in old workloads.
Tonight: the Fun Dinner. Oh, boy.
After the whipsaw between 2019 and 2020, I'm happy 2021 came out within a standard deviation of the mean on most measures:
- In 2020, I flew the fewest air miles ever. In 2021, my 11,868 miles and five segments came in 3rd lowest, ahead of only 2020 and 1999.
- I only visited one other country (the UK) and two other states (Wisconsin and California) during 2021. What a change from 2014.
- In 2020, I posted a record 609 times on The Daily Parker; 2021's 537 posts came in about average for the modern era.
- Cassie got almost 422 hours of walks in 2021, a number I don't think I ever achieved with Parker. And given I only had her for 291 days of 2021, that's an average of 1:27 of walks per day. According to my Garmin, she and I covered over 684 km just on walks that I recorded with my watch. A young, high-energy dog plus working from home most of the time will do that, I suppose.
- Speaking of walks, in 2021 I got 4,926,000 steps and walked 3,900 km—about the straight-line distance from New York to Seattle. Those numbers came within 2% of 2020 and 4% of 2019. I also hit new personal records for distance and steps when I walked over 51 km on September 3rd. And I hit my step goal 355 times (cf. 359 times in 2020), though not all in a row.
- I drove 4,242 km in 2021, almost exactly the same amount as in 2020 (4,265 km), but I used a bit more fuel (116 L to 79 L).
- I spent 1365 hours working from home and 521 in the office in 2021, about the same (1327 and 560) as in 2020. I expect about the same in 2022.
- Personal software development took up another 184 hours, almost all on the really cool thing I'm going to soft-launch tomorrow.
- The Apollo Chorus took up 222 hours of my time, including 100 in rehearsals and performances and about the same amount on my duties as president. In 2020, that was 57 and 71 hours respectively, mainly because we didn't have any in-person performances.
- Finally, I started only 28 books in 2021 and finished 23, after dropping a couple that dogged me for a while. That's more than in my worst-ever year, 2017 (18 and 13), but down a bit from the last two years. That said, my average numbers for the past 10 years are 28.2 and 23.3, making 2021...average. I also watched 51 movies and 48 TV shows, which just means I need to get out more.
So, will 2022 return to normal (-ish)? Or will some of the trends that started in March 2020 continue even after the pandemic has long become something we scare children with?