After waiting over two hours for our vendor to deliver the orchestra and chorus chairs to Holy Name Cathedral this morning, and our dress rehearsal tonight, plus two performances this coming weekend (the second one at Millar Chapel in Evanston), posting may decline slightly. That said, come to the concerts! We still have seats (pews) available.
I just hope I get enough sleep between now and Sunday...
I don't like getting up before dawn, even if it's 8am as far as my body cares. Except that getting up at 6am Pacific allowed me to get to SFO and through security in less than an hour. That's including showering, checking out of the hotel, catching the BART, and jumping on the airport tram. Cute hotel, too; I'll stay there again if I ever have to fly out of SFO at the ass crack of dawn.
Still an hour to boarding, though. I miss the days when I could get to an airport 45 minutes before departure without breaking a sweat. Though today, maybe I should have slept another half-hour.
Two Brews & Choos Extra Stops coming in the next few days. Plus, I hope, about 18 hours of sleep...
I just got back from a 35-minute walk around downtown San Jose, Calif., including a 1-km stretch of the Guadalupe River trail. My Garmin track gives you hints about how it went, particularly the 300 meters or so along the river under multiple overpasses including the California 87 freeway. And in fairness, it's sunny and 13°C, which doesn't suck for the first day of winter.
That said, this is the place where I joined the trail:
And this is the 87 underpass:
Not shown above, the homeless man launching large rocks onto the bike path, who only stopped when he finally made eye contact with me, which I didn't break until a support column broke it for me. And let me tell you, that eye contact had behind it every single one of my 30+ years of living in New York City and Chicago.
I mean, there are worse places to be homeless than in the Bay Area. But my 30-minute walk through multiple homeless encampments and god-awful car-centric urban infrastructure brought clarity to arguments I've read about California's housing and property-tax policies. For the most progressive state in the union, California has the worst land use. The Bay Area has a huge homeless population only in small part due to the weather. I walked past a 3-bedroom, 163 m² house 25 minutes from downtown San Jose last night, for sale at $1.8 million. A comparable house in my neighborhood would cost about $900k, and it's a 15-minute train ride to the Loop in one of the most walkable places in the world. (The $1.8-million house is just not walkable.)
One more thing. My Clipper Card has $3.05 on it, down from $20 yesterday because it took two trains to get from SFO Airport to San Jose (still much better than renting a car!). But I thought ahead, and set to auto-reload when it goes below $10. Did you know that it takes at least 24 hours to reload a Clipper Card? So I must ask the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, what the hell is the point of the auto-reload feature if it allows the Clipper Card to bottom out, forcing you to reload at a kiosk while waiting for the f****g auto-reload?
The MTC claims "[i]f you set up Auto-Reload for cash value, when your balance falls below $10, Clipper will automatically reload you card when you pay your next fare," but will it happen today? I guess I'll find out when I go to lunch later.
Unrelated: My Garmin watch said I got eight hours of "poor, non-restorative" sleep last night, and "you may feel more tired or irritable today." Nah, I'm fine.
I got about a full hour in the lounge on my way to the Bay Area with no stress or bother on the way in. After dropping Cassie off at my friends' house near Wrigley Field, I got to economy parking at O'Hare in less than 40 minutes. Of course getting from the economy lot to the other side of security took another 30 minutes, but as things go, that's pretty speedy. I got a light lunch and some iced tea. My only complaint is the salesy guy in my area of the lounge who has not stopped talking since well before I sat down. I hope his plane leaves soon, with him on it.
But this is traveling mid-day on a Thursday: no crowds, no fuss, and (I hope) no big delays before takeoff.
Next report from San Jose, Calif., tomorrow morning. Enjoy the last few hours of autumn!
Tomorrow I have a quick trip to the Bay Area to see family. I expect I will not only continue posting normally, but I will also research at least two Brews & Choos Special Stops while there. Exciting stuff.
And because we live in exciting times:
Finally, if you're in Chicago tonight around 6pm, tune into WFMT 98.7 FM. They're putting the Apollo Chorus performance at Holy Name Cathedral in their holiday preview. Cool! (And tickets are still available.)
I guess not all of the stories I read at lunchtime depressed me, but...well, you decide:
One happy(-ish) story, as I didn't have to travel this past weekend: the TSA reported that on Sunday they screened more people (2.9 million) than on any single day in history. And of the 100,000+ flights scheduled between Wednesday and Sunday, carriers cancelled only 201 (0.2%). Amazing.
Butters goes home tomorrow. If she understood the concept of "future," she might look forward to seeing her family again. This morning, however, she did not like getting snowed upon, will not like getting snowed upon after lunch, and will quite happily bogart Cassie's blanket until then, thank you very much:
Yesterday I stopped by two breweries for the Brews & Choos Project; reviews coming later today and early tomorrow.
Yesterday's full day with our houseguest went fine. As one might predict, the dogs have discovered each other's toys, and have stolen them. Cassie started it:
Butters definitely has an "oh, yeah?" look on her face while guarding Cassie's Kong:
She's settled right in, though. They both snuggled with me while I caught up on Loki and digested leftovers last night:
As planned, my urban-hiking friend and I walked just under 21 km for four beers. She timed the entire trip, and I timed each segment, so we know that the total was 3:24:55 over 20.73 km, just about where we expected to be:
(Note that she uses the obsolete Imperial system of measurements and I use the International system, so the lap markers on her track are miles. Ugh.)
Her Garmin course isn't public, but mine are:
We had a really good day. The temperature stayed right around 10°C, so it felt a little cooler when the sun went down, but by that point we'd just arrived at Temperance.
If Metropolitan were staying open, and if Alarmist were anywhere near a train station, I'd rate them both "Would Go Back" in the Brews & Choos List. Alas.
Metropolitan has a beautiful taproom and patio right on the river:
And Alarmist has some delicious beers:
For part of the trip we walked along the Weber Spur Trail, a relatively recent and not-yet-improved former rail line through the Sauganash neighborhood:
Today I felt a bit tired, but in a good way. We did have one extra beer at Sketchbook, but we got 10-ounce pours where available, and we shared the flight pictured above (and the extra 5-ounce pour not shown).
So what's next? Holidays, unfortunately. But we're hoping for a very mild El Niño winter this year, so we might do another beer hike sooner than one might think.
This may be the last warm (enough) weekend of 2023, so once more, I'm planning to go for a long walk. This time we plan to start at Metropolitan Brewing, which will close for good in 5 weeks. We then proceed up the river to Burning Bush, thence 8.5 km northwest to Alarmist, thence 7.5 km northeast to Temperance in Evanston. At that point we'll either head north to Double Clutch (2.4 km), or east to Sketchbook (2.7 km). Both Double Clutch and Sketchbook are along the Metra line that goes right past my house, so that's easy enough.
None of these will get a new Brews & Choos review, though. Even if Metropolitan weren't closing, it's too far from a train station (1.8 km from Belmont); so is Alarmist (2.7 km from Forest Glen). Sketchbook and Burning Bush are both on my Top 10 list, and Temperance and Double Clutch already have "would go back" ratings. But my walking buddy hasn't been to any of them except Sketchbook. So I'm game to go back.
I plan to get a couple of Brews & Choos visits over the next two weekends: next Friday or Saturday in Chicago, and the following week in the Bay Area.
Walk highlights and photos tomorrow or Tuesday. New reviews soon.