The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Starting my day

I took a personal day yesterday to get my teeth cleaned (still no cavities, ever!) and to fork over a ton of cash to Parker's vet (five shots, three routine tests, heartworm pills, one biopsy, $843.49). That and other distractions made it a full personal day.

So as I start another work day with the half-day of stuff I planned to do yesterday right in front of me, I'm queuing up some articles again:

OK, my day is officially begun. To the mines!

Parker Day x 10

Today is the 10th anniversary of Parker and me adopting each other.

I can scarcely believe he's lived with me for that long. I mean, this was just yesterday:

And this afternoon, when he was a total brat and refused to sit still, so we went through about 45 frames just to get this one:

That's actually the only one completely in focus without any extraneous dog movements. This was second-best, though at this resolution you can't see that he's not sitting still:

I tell him this often: he's my favorite dog ever. (I think he knows.) But ten years, dog. Ten years. That's more than two lifetimes for most of your species. And I'm glad you've spent it with me.

Kaboom

Last night some friends and I drove out to the middle of nowhere and popped off fireworks. It's a longer story than that, but it was tons of fun. I'll have photos when I get around to it.

Note: Parker did not join us.

Also, tomorrow I'll have some news. Check back.

Parker is 10

As promised, here is Parker on his 10th birthday, yesterday:

Parker is 10

I don't think he's aware that it's his birthday, nor does he really have the concept of any number larger than two, but to me it's a big deal.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I'll walk there tomorrow

Yes, I'm a little obsessed with finding out how far I can walk in one day, but you won't have to read about it much longer. Tomorrow's forecast looks perfect: sunny skies, 24°C, and some good breezes to keep the air clear and me cool.

And even as I'm contemplating walking 30 km or so, I have to stop and just be awed by British marathoner Sara Hall's Fitbit data from her 2 hour 30 minute running of this year's London Marathon. Her average pace (3'35" per kilometer) is roughly three times faster than I'll go tomorrow. And given that she only took 28,914 steps to cover a marathon, her stride was a full 144 cm—just a few shorter than I am tall.

Also, don't worry about Parker. He's not coming on a five-hour walk with me. He'll be at doggy day camp.

Ribfest 2016: Day One

Last year, as in five of the six years before, I only went to Ribfest once, owing to the 11 km round trip distance. This year I only live 1.8 km away, so dammit, I'm going all three days.

Here's the report from this evening. I went with a friend so we could split samplers, and try more of them.

  • Mrs. Murphy's Irish Bistro. Like last year, excellent sauce. Unlike last year, they kind of gooped it on mediocre bones. So they only get 3 stars for 2016.
  • Mr. B's BBQ. You'd think that, because they're right on Lincoln Avenue where Ribfest is happening, they'd have a better product. Nope. The sauce was meh, the ribs were gristly, and we were totally unimpressed. 2 stars.
  • The Piggery. These were my favorite today: nice charred molasses sauce on tug-off-the-bone meat. 4 stars.
  • Rub's Backcountry Smokehouse. They only use wood, which gives the meat a nice, smoky flavor. But their sauces were only good, not great. We tried both the default sweet sauce and the hot Texas sauce, which was better. 3 stars.
  • Q BBQ. Good, solid entry this year. Tasty meat, tasty sauce. 3 stars.
  • The Smoke Daddy. The meat was good but the sauce we just didn't understand: a bean-based (?) savory sauce, probably their Mustard Q, that we weren't really into. So 3 stars.

So that's 6 of the 15. There are a couple of vendors I have no real interest in trying again, and I will definitely go back to Q's offering. And it's only an 18-minute walk away. So I'm hoping for good weather tomorrow and Sunday, and very light lunches.

(Note: this entry has been corrected.)

New personal record on Fitbit

After yesterday's epic walk (from which Parker recovered in just a couple of hours) I realized it wouldn't be that difficult to get another 10,000 steps. So I did:

That's a new PR. It was also 27.08 km—another PR.

So the top 5 (as I mentioned back in March) are now:

2016 Jun 8 32,315
2015 Apr 26 30,496
2016 Mar 8 29,775
2015 Jun 15 28,455
2015 May 2 26,054

I'm not moving as quickly today as I did yesterday, but I'm pretty happy about blowing past my previous PR.

Now I have plans for some day in the next week or so literally to walk as far as I can along the U.P. North line and then take the train home. Highland Park is about 28 km from my house, and it has a childhood favorite place to eat: Walker Bros. Pancake House (which, if you think about it, is a great place to end a 28-kilometer walk). And if I don't make it all the way there, I can simply take a train home.

Parker will not accompany me on that walk.

Bit of a hike

The weather today is the kind that we only get about 15 or 20 days of the year in Chicago. It's 19°C and totally sunny with a light breeze from the east. And I'm actually able to take advantage of it today.

That's why Parker and I just got back from a 2½ hour, 14.5 km walk.

Yes. We walked that far. He's now out cold, and I'm having a spot of lunch. And shortly a shower.

The total damage was 14.51 km in 2:24:57 (not including two stops at Starbucks along the way), for a pace of 9' 59" per kilometer—just a shade faster than 16 minutes per mile.

My Fitbit tells me I kept my heart rate between 115 and 125 the whole way, burned 1,289 calories, and took 17,429 steps. The last two kilometers were actually faster than the first two, because Parker always needs to get things out of his system in the first few minutes of a walk, and that takes time.

I don't think I'll make him walk any farther today, except to the front lawn.

We also got our first walk on The 606, Chicago's answer to the New York Highline: