The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

President Biden withdraws

The New York Times reports that President Biden has withdrawn from the 2024 election:

After three weeks of often angry refusals to step aside, Mr. Biden finally yielded to a torrent of devastating polls, urgent pleas from Democratic lawmakers and clear signs that donors were no longer willing to pay for him to continue.

Mr. Biden said he will not resign the presidency, and intends to finish out his term even as he leaves it to others to try and defeat Mr. Trump. Over the next several months, the president faces the ongoing war in Ukraine and the increasingly desperate efforts to reach a negotiated deal to end the fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

No sitting American president has dropped out of a race so late in the election cycle. The Democratic National Convention, where Mr. Biden was to have been formally nominated by 3,939 delegates, is scheduled to begin Aug. 19 in Chicago. That leaves less than a month for Democrats to decide who should replace Mr. Biden on the ticket and just under four months for that person to mount a campaign against Mr. Trump.

And now the race is between a demented 78-year-old who has a proven track record of chaos and corruption against a brilliant 59-year-old who has a proven track record of accomplishment and fighting for our rights.

The XPOTUS's campaign must be shitting bricks right now.

Here's the President's statement:

Playing around with Lightroom

I use Adobe Lightroom to catalog and retouch my photos. Like any complex piece of software, it has a lot of features I haven't learned how to use yet. So I decided to play around this morning. Here's a new edit of Cassie's Gotcha Day photo from March:

Here's the photo as previously published:

Other than the aspect ratio change, the changes are subtle, but I think the top photo is better. And Cassie is just as adorable in both.

Is/Was Brewing, Chicago (preliminary report)

Welcome to stop #113 on the Brews and Choos project.

Brewery: Is/Was Brewing, 5121 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago
Train line: Union Pacific North, Ravenswood (Also CTA Brown Line, Damen)
Time from Chicago: 16 minutes (Zone 2)
Distance from station: 600 m (1.6 km from CTA)

If this façade seems familiar, it's because this storefront has a long history of making adult beverages. Until September 2022, Urban Brew Labs lived here; before they moved in, Koval Spirits called it home. And last week, Is/Was opened their long-awaited taproom after buying much of Urban Brew Labs' equipment and furniture at auction. I popped in for a couple of minutes last Sunday.

They opened a week ago Thursday, quietly, hoping to build some buzz around the neighborhood while they finished getting everything together. Currently, their quasi-outdoor space contains a bunch of boxes and bottles of beer, and they haven't gotten their custom-made, 4-meter communal table, which will go roughly in the center of the area shown above. They plan a Grand Opening in August, which Cassie and I will attend, but until then they're only open Thursday and Friday evenings, and weekends.

Most of their beers are Saisons, a style I don't particularly like. But I did try their Table Beer, a 3.2% delight I expect to have if I take Cassie over there on a weeknight. They plan to add some more bourgeoise beers, including an English pale and possibly (they grimaced when they told me this) an IPA. You know, for the people who don't appreciate Saisons.

But I do appreciate that the newest taproom in Chicago is only 350 meters from my front door, and they welcome dogs and people who just want to drink a 3.2% beer while hanging out. I can't wait to see everything come together for them.

Beer garden? Not yet
Dogs OK? Yes
Televisions? None
Serves food? No; BYOF encouraged
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes

Some random person in Nebraska

Network security company CrowdStrike pushed a minor update to its Falcon Sensor product around 11pm Chicago time yesterday that managed to take down almost every virtual machine in Microsoft's Azure cloud:

Cascading technology errors stranded airline passengers around the world, halted hospital surgeries and crippled office workers’ computers on Friday in one of the most disruptive computer outages in years, highlighting how much of the world relies on potentially error-prone software from a handful of companies.

Technology experts said the meltdowns appeared to stem mostly from an error in a software update from CrowdStrike, whose technology is commonly used by businesses to defend against cyberattacks.

That defect affected computers that use Microsoft’s Windows, which powers hundreds of millions of personal computers and many back-end systems for airlines, digital payment, emergency services call centers and much more.

[B]ecause CrowdStrike’s digital protections are considered essential, its technology is given priority access on many computer systems. If something goes wrong with CrowdStrike software, that privileged access can grind computers to a halt.

CrowdStrike admitted that their software caused the problem:

  • Symptoms include hosts experiencing a bugcheck\blue screen error related to the Falcon Sensor.
  • Windows hosts which have not been impacted do not require any action as the problematic channel file has been reverted.
  • Windows hosts which are brought online after 0527 UTC will also not be impacted
  • Hosts running Windows 7/2008 R2 are not impacted
  • This issue is not impacting Mac- or Linux-based hosts
  • Channel file "C-00000291*.sys" with timestamp of 0527 UTC or later is the reverted (good) version.
  • Channel file "C-00000291*.sys" with timestamp of 0409 UTC is the problematic version.

Don't worry, you probably don't have CrowdStrike software on your PC at home; but you probably do log into your Windows PC through Microsoft Active Directory, which runs on virtual machines in the Azure cloud that depend on Falcon Sensor.

This time, the random person in Nebraska turned out to be a multimillion-dollar corporation in Austin, Texas. Though, I suspect, several random people in Texas are now looking for new jobs.

End of Thursday link roundup

Lots of stories in the last day:

Finally, comic genius and Chicago native Bob Newhart has died at age 94. He was a national treasure.

Wait, a tornado hit where, exactly?

Monday's derecho spawned so many tornados in Northern Illinois that the National Weather Service hasn't yet confirmed the paths they all took. But one of those paths got my attention:

That's, uh...that tornado ended at the front door of the Ogilvie Transportation Center, where I get off my morning commuter train, which is 300 meters from my office. It went straight down Madison Street from Racine to Canal. That does not usually happen.

And yesterday, this one little punk rainstorm dumped almost 10 mm of rain on the North Side in 15 minutes:

Notice the blue dot (i.e., where Cassie and I were caught). I put a video up on social media if you want to see how much fun she and I had at Spiteful last night. Fortunately we got to Spiteful a good minute before it started pouring. Unfortunately I underestimated how much water would descend on us, so we went inside for a bit before returning to the patio with a rag.

Now the NWS predicts "isolated showers" this afternoon as well. I really have had enough of this New Orleans-level heat and moisture. Tomorrow should be cooler and drier, though.

Breezy night in Chicago

A full-on derecho ploughed through the Chicago area last night, bringing spectacular rainfall and at least 10 tornados—one of which hit the Near North Side:

While few injuries were reported related to the storm, a woman in Northwest Indiana died after a tree fell on her Cedar Lake home. Laura Nagel, 44, was pronounced dead and identified by her family after storms ripped through the area Monday night, the Lake County, Indiana, Coroner’s Office said.

At least 10 tornadoes were reported in the Chicago area Monday night — including two at O’Hare and Midway airports and at least two others in the far western suburbs as severe thunderstorms returned to the Chicago area, knocking out electricity for hundreds of thousands of residents.

“We are seeing power flashes on both the O’Hare and Midway Airport webcams due to likely tornadoes and/or destructive wind gusts near those areas,” the National Weather Service tweeted shortly before 10 p.m. “Continue to take these warnings seriously!!”

Tornado sirens started going off in my neighborhood around 7:30pm and came back several times before the derecho passed around 10:30pm. I took Cassie out at 9:30, and she did not want to linger. I can't blame her; here's the radar picture:

I could totally understand why Cassie, who walks past firecrackers without flinching, did not want to stay outside any longer than it took to do her business. Possibly because the sirens were wailing.

Fortunately, there doesn't seem to be much damage in my neighborhood. Not as much flooding as I expected, either, given that my rain gauge measured 20 mm in half an hour. (Fun fact: 20 mm of rain is 1 tonne of water every 50 square meters. Clouds may look light and fluffy but they mass in the millions of tonnes.)

Today we're back to muggy and sticky, with really high dewpoints, despite the lower temperatures. Thursday, however, looks lovely: 24°C with a 14°C dewpoint and sunny skies.

18th St Brewery, Gary, Ind.

Welcome to stop #112 on the Brews and Choos project.

Brewery: 18th Street Brewry, 5725 Miller Ave, Gary, Ind.
Train line: South Shore Line, Miller
Time from Chicago: 57 minutes
Distance from station: 200 m

It turns out, 18th Street Brewery's Miller Taproom doesn't have a production facility, so it wouldn't qualify after the July 2023 update to the Brews & Choos Criteria. But it was on the list from the beginning, so it stayed. And Saturday's visit might have been the only time I've ever been in Gary voluntarily.

The thing is, their beer is really good. We only tried three, mainly because of the heat and that we'd already tried 12 beers throughout the day (but, nota bene, only about 500 mL—one EU pint—in total volume for each of us). I got myself a Candy Crushable APA (5%), which was light, malty, with a great hop profile, and great flavor. We also tried the King Reaper DDHIPA (8%), which was much lighter than expected with a lot of fruity notes, and the Patio Pills (5%), just the right beer for a 37°C heat index.

I might not go back to the Miller Taproom, but unfortunately the main 18th Street Brewery is 2.4 km through Hammond, Ind., from the South Shore Line. (There is a proposed South Shore Line extension from Hammond down to Munster that could not only bring the main 18th Street Brewery facility into the Brews & Choos Family, but also make 3 Floyds accessible, depending on where they site the stations.)

Would we make a special trip to Miller? Probably not. But Miller has some vacation homes by the beach less than 2 km from the brewery, and I hear the Miller Pizza Co. has some good pies. Not to mention, a brand-new, double-tracked South Shore Line that gets there in just under an hour.

Beer garden? Yes
Dogs OK? Outside only
Televisions? None
Serves food? Some pub grub, BYOF allowed
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes