The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

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

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.

Tuesday afternoon links

It has started raining in downtown Chicago, so it looks like Cassie and I will get wet on the walk home, as I feared. I still have a few tasks before I leave. I just hope it stays a gentle sprinkle long enough for us to get home from doggy day care.

Just bookmarking these for later, while I'm drying out:

  • Researchers concluded that the problem with online misinformation and epistemic closure comes from people, not technology. Apparently we generally look for information that confirms our existing biases. Who knew.
  • Chicago has more lead pipes than any other North American city--and more regulation, labor issues, and general corruption, too. We might replace all the pipes by 2075; not so much the corruption.
  • Shocking absolutely no one, a study has found that drinking alcohol on an airplane is worse that doing it on the ground.

Finally, former US Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) died today, just as climate change once again contributed to a massive storm flooding neighboring Texas. I mention that because Inhofe, who served in the Senate until he was 88 years old, refused to believe that the planet had gotten warmer, and did his best to keep the US from entering the 21st Century by any reasonable measure. Oh, and he was also an asshole pilot who once nearly hit a bunch of construction workers because he wanted to land on a closed runway. He may be mourned somewhere, but the Daily Parker is glad to see him underground. So, presumably, is the FAA.

Nice day for a long walk

Cassie just got a personal record for longest single walk by distance: 11.07 km in 1:39:51. I had to go back all the way to the week I got her to find the preceding longest distance, which turns out was also (and remains) the longest single duration without stopping: 9.62 km in 1:41:12 on 21 March 2021, two days after her Gotcha Day.

Our very longest single logged walk (2:31), which included a 58-minute, 4 km meander through Lakewood-Balmoral to Puptown, thence the dog beach, then a 5 km amble home, was this past October when Hazel was visiting. That was also the longest single-day walkfest, 3 hours and 7 minutes.

Most recently on June 9th we did 1.5 km before breakfast, 7.23 km around the Skokie Lagoons, then 3.92 km on up to Spiteful, plus another 1.25 km home from Spiteful: total 13.9 km, 2:47 for the day.

Finally, in putting together this post, I discovered that Cassie and I have logged 1,337 hours over 4,734 walks, with an average duration of about 17 minutes per walk. Such a good girl!

Feeling a little better, weather a lot better

A cool front came through last night and I no longer want to take a shower every 45 minutes:

The dewpoint also dropped, from a sticky 26°C yesterday afternoon to a comfortable 13°C right now. Cassie and I will take advantage of this delightful development in about half an hour. I'm hoping we get a good 10-12 km in over two hours or so.

Speaking of weather, the WGN Weather Blog reminded me this morning of the twin derechos that tore through Northern Illinois 10 years ago today. And Facebook reminded me that I got drenched in the first one. Parts of Chicago got 100 mm of rain in as many minutes, while a poor town in Iowa got 207 mm in the storm. That's a lot of rain.

Sticky weather + cooped up with Covid = 2pm shower

Cassie and I have gone on two walks today, the first for 3.2 km and the second for 4.25 km, despite the really uncomfortable 26°C dewpoint. I mean, it's really gross out there. Fortunately because of the way dogs get rid of excess heat, it didn't bother her as much as it bothered me—the air is only 28°C, after all. But we both felt a lot better when we got back to my air-conditioned house. (Fun fact: my thermostat is set for 25°C, but the dewpoint inside is closer to 15°C which makes all the difference.)

Another person who values comfort over just about everything else is Chicago Transit Authority president Dorval Carter, who on Thursday took a "legislative tour" of the transit system he ostensibly runs, prompting Chicago Tribune reporter Alice Yin to arch an eyebrow:

[T]he sight of many Chicago-based politicians partaking in the tour with Carter — who himself has drawn heat for not using CTA buses and trains more — raised the question why do they need a guide to familiarize them with their own city’s public transit agency?

[Chicago mayor Brandon] Johnson’s office did push the effort via a flyer from his intergovernmental affairs office that reads: “Legislative Tour featuring CTA, Chicago Park District, Chicago Aldermanic Black Caucus and Chicago’s Urban Historian Sherman ‘Dilla’ Thomas.” His IGA head, Sydney Holman, also gave remarks, the CTA statement noted.

The description says the four-hour tour began at CTA’s headquarters in the West Loop before stopping at three locations “while experiencing transit as everyday Chicagoans on a quick Green Line ride on Chicago’s West Side.” Barreto’s post, meanwhile, said 10 state representatives, two state senators and seven aldermen joined Wednesday.

The flyer also notes: “Limited paid street parking available and one public lot at 180 N Jefferson $16.50 for 6 hours.”

I have a friend who works at Amtrak's head office because he loves trains. He and his wife took a 7-day vacation earlier this year, starting on the 46-hour Empire Builder train from Chicago to Seattle. Would it kill Patrick to maybe take the Red Line once in a while? Or maybe get a job doing something where he doesn't have to get a tour of the place where his customers spend all their time after having the job for several years?