The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

The artist and her work

Cassie has spent the last two weeks creating found art out of one of my area rugs. Yesterday the "found" part got too much for me and I let the rug go. Pity, too; I won it at a silent auction for $300 only in 2016, and neither Parker nor Cassie tried to destroy it until this spring.

Here's Cassie's final expression of the piece. Note not only the center section, which Cassie exfiltrated from the house a small bit at a time, but also the left edge, where she expressed a more compelling feeling of the interplay between organic lines and straight edges:

On the road

Cassie and I are at a lovely ranch in Kentucky where tomorrow she'll meet goats and tonight I've met a 1990s-era Internet connection. Well, I didn't come here to surf the Web, so I'll just deal.

Meanwhile, I'm sitting outside listening to frogs. Lots of frogs. And a hound somewhere down the road.

Gotcha!

A year ago today, Cassie and I adopted each other, which was obvious even on the drive home from PAWS:

Right now she's sulking on the couch because she didn't get breakfast this morning. That's because in about 15 minutes she's going to the vet to get her teeth cleaned. Pobre perrita.

The short lives of Cassie's toys

Yesterday evening, Cassie and I went to the store to buy dog food, and I got her a toy I thought seemed durable enough even for her:

Not so much, as you can see in this photo from 55 minutes later:

Yes, that pile of white fluff by her belly came out of the stuffed rabbit.

So I have a question for the hive mind: what should I do with all of the toy corpses? Cassie still plays with them, sometimes. I mean, I know the gray one with orange highlights in the center is a duck, but no one else does. And the red Kong to its left turned out to be destructable, regardless of its labeling:

Of course, it doesn't take a lot to make this dog happy:

Will she really miss the half-eaten rubber ball?

Office helper

Someone might need to have a word with HR. Yesterday, my office helper accomplished this:

After speaking to her about this performance gap, we got this today:

Clearly we have some work to do here.

Quick links

The temperature at Inner Drive Technology World Headquarters bottomed out at -16.5°C around 8am today, colder than any time since February 15th. It's up to -8.6°C now, with a forecast for continued wild gyrations over the next week (2°C tomorrow, -17°C on Monday, 3°C on Wednesday). Pity Cassie, who hasn't gotten nearly enough walks because of the cold, and won't next week as her day care shut down for the weekend due to sick staff.

Speaking of sick staff, New Republic asks a pointed question about the Chicago Public Schools: why should their teachers be responsible for making life normal again?

The Washinigton Post asks, what will people do with the millions of dogs they adopted when they (the people, not the dogs) go back to work?

The lawyers for Cyber Ninjas ask, who's going to pay their fees after the grift-based organization shut down abruptly?

And North Michigan Avenue asks, will any more pieces of the Hancock Center fall off the building?

And I ask, will Cassie ever let me sleep past 7am?

The busy season

I've spent today alternately upgrading my code base for my real job to .NET 6.0, and preparing for the Apollo Chorus performances of Händel's Messiah on December 11th and 12th.

Cassie, for her part, enjoys when I work from home, even if we haven't spent a lot of time outside today because (a) I've had a lot to do and (b) it rained from 11am to just about now.

So, as I wait for the .NET 6 update to build and deploy on our dev/test CI/CD instance (I think I set the new environments on our app services correctly), I have a few things to read:

OK, the build has...well, crap. I didn't set the environment correctly after all.

Update: Fixed the build bit. And the rain stopped. But the test platform is the wrong version. FFS.

Update: Well, I have to pick something up from a store before 6, so I'll come back to this task later.

Update: Even though I've had 4 tiny commits of minor things that broke with the .NET 6 upgrade, this hasn't gone poorly. Kudos to Microsoft for providing a straightforward upgrade path.

Hampshire and Gospel Oak

 Lunch yesterday, at the Iron Duke in Hampshire:

The place is so named because it's on the Duke of Wellington's estate. The current Duke lives just a few kilometers away in a somewhat modest house (at least according to Queen Victoria) whose driveway is 5 km long.

Walking to and from lunch looked like this:

I ended the day at the Southampton Arms as I typically do at least once when visiting the UK. Shortly after arriving and opening a packet of crisps, Marty here came over to investigate:

His attitude toward me shifted a bit when I wouldn't give him any:

I'm flying home this afternoon to my own dog and my own bed, two things I really miss.

On the road again

I'm leaving the country today, for the first time in almost exactly two years, and I couldn't be happier. I miss my Ancestral Homeland. And the list of Covid-related travel requirements, while annoying, make sense to me. In fact, because I return Sunday, I timed my (£39 FFS!) UK 2-day test to double as my US 3-day test.

Before I take off, and consign poor Cassie to 103 hours of desperate loneliness (albeit with her entire daycare pack), I want to comment on two news stories.

First, the Chicago Anti-Cruelty Society has temporarily waived adoption fees because adoptions have declined 33% in the past three months. "The rescue organization is housing and caring for more than 420 animals and has 140 animals in foster care," Block Club Chicago reports. I foresaw this at the beginning of the pandemic: people feeling lonely and isolated adopting pets that they wouldn't want when the pandemic started to wane. It really pisses me off, but after all, we live in a selfish, consumerist society that views dogs and cats as disposable.

Second, the New York Times reported Monday on how President Biden's infrastructure bill will help Chicago's West Side—but thanks to conservatives in the party scything away hunks of it, it won't help enough:

[T]he protracted negotiations over both spending packages have forced Democrats to cut several initiatives partly or entirely: tuition-free community college, a clean energy standard to combat climate change, billions of dollars for affordable housing assistance and measures to lower the price of prescription drugs.

Places like the West Side may still receive record amounts of federal assistance. But the tug of war leading up to Friday’s passage of the infrastructure bill — and still looming as Congress awaits a vote on the $1.85 trillion social-safety-net package — has delayed the party from what may be an even bigger challenge: selling the investments to voters.

Another issue being closely watched by Chicago community groups, an initiative to replace lead service lines that can cause toxic drinking water, will receive $15 billion in the infrastructure bill and could get another $10 billion in the social-safety-net package, according to environmental groups that have negotiated with lawmakers. That is well short of the $60 billion sought by industry experts and the $45 billion Mr. Biden originally proposed.

I get that legislation takes time, and when your party has a majority of exactly one—and that one is the Vice President—you won't get everything you want. But if Republicans would remember that they represent Americans and not just other Republicans, maybe we could have done better.

All right. Off to the longest doggie day care Cassie has ever experienced...