The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

You want to hear this next Saturday

The Apollo Chorus of Chicago and the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra will celebrate Anton Bruckner's 200th birth anniversary next weekend. We perform Saturday at the Glenview Community Church and Sunday at the Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church. Here's a sample, from our rehearsal last Monday:

Note that we're only doing this and two other a cappella motets on Saturday. Our Sunday performance will have Mozart's "Linz" symphony instead. Both performances will feature Bruckner's Te Deum and Psalm 150, two works you absolutely need to hear.

(I'm not in the video because I was filming the close-ups and pans.)

Statistics: 2023

Last year continued the trend of getting back to normal after 2020, and with one nice exception came a lot closer to long-term bog standard normal than 2022.

  • I posted 500 times on The Daily Parker, 13 more than in 2022 and only 6 below the long-term median. January, May, and August had the most posts (45) and February, as usual, the least (37). The mean of 41.67 was actually slightly higher than the long-term mean (41.23), with a standard deviation of 2.54, which may be the lowest (i.e., most consistent posting schedule) since I started the blog in 1998.
  • Flights went up slightly, to 12 segments and 20,541 flight miles (up from 10 and 16,138), the most of either since 2018:
  • I visited 5 countries (the UK, Czechia, Austria, Slovakia, and Germany) and 5 US states (California, Wisconsin, Arizona, Indiana, and Michigan). Total time traveling: 156 hours (up from 107).
  • Cassie had more fun last year than 2022 as my team went from 2 to 3 days in-office (meaning more time at day camp). She got 372 hours of walks (up from 369) and at least that many hours of couch time.
  • Total steps for 2023: 4,619,407 steps and 3,948 km (average: 12,655 per day), up from 4.54m steps and 3,693 km in 2022. I hit my step goal 341 times (327 in 2022), which wasn't bad at all. I also did my longest walk ever on September 1st, 44.45 km.
  • Driving? I did several trips to Michigan in the summer, but still only drove 5,009 km (down from 5,925) on 87 L of gasoline (down from 144), averaging 1.7 L/100 km (136 MPG). That's the best fuel economy I've ever gotten with any car for a full year. I last filled up July 30th, and could conceivably go through January on what I've got left in the tank, but it's always best to keep your tank full in super-cold weather.
  • Total time at work: 1,905 hours at my real job (up from 1,894) and 73 hours on consulting and side projects, including 640 hours in the office (up from 580), but not including the 91 hours I spent commuting (down from 103). How did I add 60 hours in the office while cutting 12 hours off my commute, I hear you ask? Simple: I live closer to the Metra than I used to, and the 6-10 minutes a day adds up.
  • The Apollo Chorus consumed 247 hours in 2023, with 166 hours rehearsing and performing (cf. 220 hours just on the music in 2022). We had fewer performances and an easier fall season, which made a huge difference.
  • As for media consumption, I'll leave that to its own post tomorrow.

In all, not a bad year. I hope the trends continue for 2024, though I do expect a few more blog posts this autumn...

Post-concert fun and enjoyment

Our performances at Holy Name Cathedral and Alice Millar Chapel went really well (despite the grumblings of one critic). But part of the fun of serving as president of the chorus meant I got to go back to Holy Name this morning to sign off on 128 chairs and 4 dollies getting into a truck:

They say Mass at noon every day. The window the rental company gave me was "ESTIMATED to arrive one hour before or after 10:53 AM." They actually showed up at 11:37. Fortunately, I had 4 of the 13 stacks you see above positioned by the door before he arrived, and I got the other 9 trundled across the chancel just in time (11:59). (Only four dollies, only four stacks pre-positioned.)

That said, it really is a beautiful building:

Tomorrow I hope will be a more normal workday. Tonight I hope to get 9 hours of sleep.

Messiah week

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...

Flying out tomorrow

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.)

Productive day, rehearsal tonight, many articles unread

I closed a 3-point story and if the build that's running right now passes, another bug and a 1-point story. So I'm pretty comfortable with my progress through this sprint. But I haven't had time to read any of these, though I may try to sneak them in before rehearsal:

  • The XPOTUS has started using specific terminology to describe his political opponents that we last heard from a head of government in 1945. (Guess which one.) Says Tomasky: "[Republicans] are telling us in broad daylight that they want to rape the Constitution. And now Trump has told us explicitly that he will use Nazi rhetoric to stoke the hatred and fear that will make this rape seem, to some, a necessary cleansing."
  • Writing for the Guardian, Margaret Sullivan implores the mainstream print media to explain the previous bullet point, which she calls "doing their fucking job."
  • The average age of repeat home buyers is 58, meaning "boomers are buying up all the houses." My Millennial friends will rejoice, no doubt.
  • Bruce Schneier lists 10 ways AI will change democracy, not all of them bad.
  • The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution says not to worry, the Gulf Stream won't shut down. It might slow down, though.
  • The Times interviewed Joseph Emerson, the pilot who freaked out while coming off a 'shrooms trip in the cockpit of an Alaska Airlines plane, and who now faces 83 counts of attempted murder in Oregon.
  • Author John Scalzi got to see a band he and I both listened to in college, Depeche Mode, in what will probably be their last tour.
  • The Times also has "an extremely detailed map of New York City neighborhoods," along with an explainer. Total Daily Parker bait.

Finally, a firefighter died today after sustaining injuries putting out a fire at Lincoln Station, the bar that my chorus goes went to after rehearsals. Given the description of the fall that fatally injured him—he fell through the roof of the 4-story building all the way into the basement—it sounds like the fire destroyed not only the restaurant but many of the apartments above. So far, the bar has not put out a statement, but we in the chorus are saddened by the fire and by Firefighter Drew Price's death. We hope that the bar can rebuild quickly.

Today's complaints from the field

With a concert on Sunday and other things going on in my life before then, I don't know how much I'll post this week. Tomorrow I get to walk Cassie to day care and hop on a train to my downtown office in the snow, which sounds really bad until you look at the data and see that October 31st is actually the average date of Chicago's first snowfall. The weather forecast promises it won't stick.

Speaking of sticking around:

  • David French believes President Biden has threaded the needle well with his response to the war in Gaza, even though his poll numbers have declined.
  • US Sen. Kristen Sinema (I-AZ) may have done more to enable the lunatic fringe of the party she claims to oppose than any other Democratic senator (before she became "independent"), save perhaps Joe Manchin (D-WV).
  • Author Anne Lamott, who recently turned 70, offers a plea to let yourself age gracefully.
  • Bruce Schneier points out a hack long known to Scandinavians: you can avoid EU alcohol tax by taking a ferry from Helsinki or Stockholm to the Finnish archipelago Åland.

Finally, John Kelly interviewed some expert sources to find out what language tics really irk them. For example, to someone who rows, saying "a crew team" is like saying "an ATM machine." Don't do it.

Quick photo dump

I've had a few things on my plate this week, including a wonderful event with the Choeur de la Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris at Old St Patrick's Church in Chicago. We had a big dinner, they sang for us, we sang for them, and then some of us hosted some of them in our homes. Tonight I'm hearing their real performance at Alice Millar Chapel in Evanston.

Sunday night I saw comedian Liz Miele at the Den Theater. I'm totally crushing on her and highly recommend you catch her on this tour:

And naturally I have a few photos of Cassie that got imported into Lightroom this morning:

Real post later today, probably around the time the cold front hits.

Monday, Monday (ba dah, ba dah dah ba)

I woke up this morning feeling like I'm fighting a cold, which usually means I'm fighting a cold. One negative Covid test later, I'm still debating whether to go to rehearsal tonight. Perhaps after a nap. And wearing an N-95.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the world:

  • Kenyan runner Kelvin Kiptum ran the world's fastest marathon yesterday in Chicago, finishing the race in 2:00:35, 36 seconds faster than Eliud Kipchoge's 2:01:09 set last year in Berlin.
  • David Ignatius reflects on the massive intelligence failure that allowed Hamas to attack Israel over the weekend.
  • Matt Ford completely debunks the XPOTUS's argument that being president granted him total immunity from prosecution. Along those lines, David Graham says that anyone who represents the XPOTUS in court has a fool for a client.
  • David French finds "moral outrage" in the insult "OK Boomer."
  • Chicago spent $3.5 million hosting NASCAR over the summer, offset only a bit by the $620,000 in fees the organization paid to the city for the privilege. And we're stuck doing it next year, too.

Finally, pilot and journalist Jim Fallows annotates a 17-minute video of the Air Traffic Control conversations with FedEx 1376, which made a gear-up landing at Chattanooga, Tenn., last week. (No one was injured, but the Boeing 757 will probably be written off.)