The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Calmest pigeon in Chicago

Parker and I saw this dude hopping in the brush next to a parking lot. By "saw," I mean Parker got close enough to give him a good sniff (but not close enough to chomp on him), which elicited not more from the bird than a disdainful look and continued pecking at the ground. I think he's a fledgling, though I'm puzzled by his coloring and by the tag on his right leg. Any ideas?

Labels for idiots

I was about to open a bag of peanuts, but I hesitated. Apparently (assuming the warning message on the bag is credible), the "product was manufactured in a facility where peanuts...are used..."

Well, blow me down, Popeye. Forget those nuts. I'll just have to stay hungry.

Nariv Kennedy Lives!

I meant to mention one other great thing about San Francisco: Kennedy's Irish Pub and Curry House, at 1040 Columbus Ave., right where the Powell-Mason cable car line ends. It had everything I could ever dream of in a place to park myself for hours: dozens of microbrews, a great bartender (Max McLean), outdoor seating (the back patio overlooks the cable car terminus; the front, busy Columbus Ave. in North Beach), and tasty dal makhani.

I went there Thursday and Friday afternoons, sat in the sun, drank some beer, ate some curry, and fought off some of the most aggressive pigeons I've ever encountered. (Max told me pigeons are a protected species in San Francisco. This is probably not true, but I still hesitated before swatting one off my book. Imagine the scene below with a pigeon perched on the cover, pecking at my naan: that's what I discovered upon returning from the washroom.)

If they only had WiFi, and if Parker had been with me, I might never have come home.

Heading home

Ah, family. I'm glad I got a chance to unwind with the Ps after my conference. But I do miss my dog.

Tomorrow: or, rather, tonight after 7pm CDT: check out Weather Now for, well, something appropriate to the season.

Things forgotten

I realized last night that I forgot to bring some important things to VSLive:

  1. Business cards. I have about six with me. I have about 200 in my office. Hello, Kinko's?
  2. A USB cable, required to connect my phone and my camera to my laptop. There's a CompUSA about 100 m from here, fortunately.

It's always something.

Also, a propos of nothing, I got the best pitch from a panhandler today that I've ever heard: "Buddy, can you spare $1,000? I have a payment plan..."

How green is my apartment?

At least one of my friends (ND-D) would be proud of me: as of tonight, all 21 of the lightbulbs in my apartment are compact fluoroescent, and in some cases of lesser luminosity than the ones they replaced. All told, if every light bulb in the place is blazing away, I'm still using less electricity than if only my kitchen and bathroom lights were on before replacing the bulbs.

Plus, unless I live here 20 years, it's unlikely any of them will ever need replacing.

It's a little thing, but if everyone did it, we'd use a lot less energy.

The Oscars

Wow, do I have a lot of movies to see.

Update, 11:08 pm CT: Wow, Scorsese finally won!

Last update, 11:14 pm CT: Scorsese won again! It never rains...

One more update, 11:18 pm CT: MSNBC just sent a news alert out about the Best Actress Oscar™. I'm wondering: who is checking email from a place they can't see the actual Oscars broadcast? Anyone? Bueller?

About this Blog

I'm David Braverman, this is my blog, and Parker is my 8-month-old mutt.

Here are the main topics on the Daily Parker:

  • Parker, my dog, whom I adopted on September 1st.
  • Biking. I ride my bikes a lot. Last year I prepared for two Century rides but, alas, my gallbladder decided to explode a week before the first one. I might not have a lot to say until later in the spring, but I have big plans in 2007.
  • Jokes. All right, I admit: when I'm strapped for ideas, sometimes I just post a dumb joke.
  • Politics. I'm a moderate-leftie by International standards, which makes me a radical left-winger in today's United States. Less than 701 days remain in the worst presidential administration in history, so I have plenty to write about.
  • Software. I own a small software company in Evanston, Illinois, and I have some experience writing software. I see a lot of code, and since I often get called in to projects in crisis, I see a lot of bad code. Posts in this blog about software will likely be cross-posted from the blog I'm about to start, Inner Drive Software.
  • The weather. I've operated a weather website for more than seven years. That site deals with raw data and objective observations. Many weather posts also touch politics, given the political implications of addressing climate change under a President who's beholden to the oil industry.

This is public writing, too, so I hope to continue a standard of literacy (i.e., spelling, grammar, and diction) and fluidity of prose that makes you want to keep reading.

So thanks for reading, and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog.

The economics of gift cards

Anne forwarded a Times article (reg.req.) about how gift cards are bad for everyone except the retailers:

The financial-services research firm TowerGroup estimates that of the $80 billion spent on gift cards in 2006, roughly $8 billion will never be redeemed—a bigger impact on consumers," [financial-services research firm TowerGroup] notes, "than the combined total of both debit- and credit-card fraud." A survey by Marketing Workshop Inc. found that only 30 percent of recipients use a gift card within a month of receiving it, while Consumer Reports estimates that 19 percent of the people who received a gift card in 2005 never used it.

So I should start selling gift cards: $20 redeemable in puppy-petting time. I'd make a mint, and Parker would get lots of belly-rubs.

Before there was Parker...

...there was Eliza:

I got my first camera in June 1983. Now, more than 23 years later, I'm scanning all the old slides and negatives. It's a little trippy. I keep finding things like this photo of the pet gerbil I had back then.

I've also found a whole bunch of documentary shots around Northbrook, Ill., where I grew up. I'll re-shoot some of these at some point and post some then-and-now views. Here's a preview: the LP stacks at the Northbrook Public Library. They were still about two years from their first CD player.