The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

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.

Wassail!

New Scientist explains Saccharomyces cerevisiae, better known as brewer's yeast:

While we take yeast's brewing abilities for granted, they are in fact rather surprising. Most organisms that generate energy from sugars to use oxygen to break the molecules down into water and carbon dioxide. The energy this releases is stored in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the molecule that cells use for fuel. In this process, known as aerobic respiration, each glucose molecule yields about 36 molecules of ATP.
S. cerevisiae, however, spurns oxygen. Instead, it converts sugars into ethanol, generating a meagre two molecules of ATP per glucose molecule.

Hoist a glass and enjoy!

Elected to high office

I forgot to mention: this afternoon, I got elected Sergeant-at-Arms of the Rotary Club of Evanston, "Rotary's Home Club."

This means, starting in July, I'm responsible for fund-raising at each meeting (which we accomplish by asking silly questions and then "fining" members $1 each when their table gets the answer wrong) and, in theory at least, removing people from the room if it becomes necessary.

The vision thing

I got contact lenses on Monday. I honestly have no idea why I didn't get them earlier. My vision isn't much clearer than when I had glasses, but, well, I no longer have glasses. It's weird.

Also weird is sticking my finger in my eye twice a day. I don't know how long it will take to get used to that.

That is all.