The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

What a difference a good sleep makes

As you can tell by the dearth of posts lately, I've been a little busy. Apollo After Hours was a raging success but took a lot of effort, particularly while I dealt with some unprecedented (for me, anyway) workplace insanity.

According to my Fitbit, the last time I got more than 7 hours of sleep was the night of Sunday March 26th, more than two weeks ago. The night of After Hours I got 3:43; the weeks of March 27th and April 3rd I got averages of 6:35 and 6:01, respectively. Clearly this is not good.

Last night, though, I finally got enough: 7:32. And I actually feel like I can think today. And I have extra time, and the weather is spring-like, so I might even get some exercise.

I'll have more interesting posts later today and into the week. I just wanted to vent about a positive occurrence for a change.

Stuff to read after After Hours

Now that we're four days from Apollo After Hours, of which I'm the committee chair, and given that I still have work to do at work, the articles I need to catch up on keep piling up:

OK, back to the mines...

Cha-ching

Every night, I throw my excess pocket change into a bag. Sometimes I remember to empty the bag, as I did today. Total haul? Six dollar coins, a half-dollar, 648 quarters, 364 dimes, 220 nickels, and 664 pennies, summing up to $222.54.

And no fee if you apply it to a gift card.

2016 in numbers

Welcome to another of my annual traditions: the stats dump.

In 2016:

  • Traveling was way, way down over previous years. I only visited one foreign country (the UK) and took only 15 flights all year. That amounted to only 42,588 km, not enough to re-qualify for Platinum status for the first time since 2008.
  • The Daily Parker had only 459 posts, down from 2015's 493, and the lowest since 2010. I was really, really busy this year. Posting suffered.
  • Parker got 211 hours of walks, up 62 from 2015. So he did not suffer as much as the blog.
  • Speaking of walks, I got 4,693,427 steps in 2016, beating 2015 by 29,266 steps—or 0.062%. That puts my 2016 daily average at 12,823.5, compared with 2015's 12,786.7. So, really, 37 steps a day. I think I can do better in 2017; we'll see. I still have yet to crack 50,000 steps in a day. Roll on spring.
  • I'm still not reading as much as I used to. I started 23 books in 2016 (up from 2015's 21) but finished 15. If you're keeping count, yes, I dropped some books I started, and still have a book from 2015 to finish. Again, I hope to do better in 2017.

So here we go. Another year. This one could kill us all. Certainly we're all going to be a lot poorer. But maybe I'll read more books, take more steps, and walk Parker more hours.

(See 2015 and 2014 for comparison.)

Rats

I spent an hour and a half this morning dealing with an engine failure light on my car. Since I just got it back from having a repair done yesterday, the warning light ("Engine malfunction! Get to a dealer!") did not make me happy.

It turned out, the repair had completed a job started on a sensor wire previously by...rodents. And apparently, I'm not alone:

NBC 5 Responds found consumers nationwide who say they’ve experienced rodent-damages wires in several carmaker brands. It’s a problem so widespread, carmaker Honda now sells a tape aimed at deterring rodents from nibbling on wires. The tape, which mechanics can wrap over existing wires, is infused with capsaicin, the ingredient in spicy peppers. Honda calls the issue “an age-old” problem, and the tape a good solution for customers who live in areas where rodents like to nest in vehicles.

My car's manufacturer doesn't use soy-based insulation like Toyota does. Instead, they use peanut oil lubricants, which are just as yummy to area vermin.

Since I discovered the damage right after the shop last touched the engine, they fixed the broken wire for free.

Backlog

I didn't spend a lot of time blogging this weekend. Once I have a chance to go through the photos I took in London, I'll post some. (Probably Thursday.)

The problem with being busy

It looks like I'm slowing down Daily Parker posts over the past year. Including this post, I've published 477 items in the past 12 calendar months, for an average of 39.75 per month or 1.3 per day. The long-term average is 40.2 per month or 1.33 per day. This means October 2016 is the first month since July 2011 in which the moving 12-month average dipped below the all-time average. Here's the chart:

I'm not sure why the count has dropped off, or why this month was especially slow, but there are some clues. This was the worst month for posting since November 2010, when I was finishing up my MBA. Other dips seem to have come around periods of being unusually busy. So, maybe I'm just busy.

We'll see what happens in the next few months. I expect the trend to stay around 40/1.33 for a while.