Friday, January 23, 2015

Celebrating Sharon's Birthday

Happy Birthday
Celebrating Sharon's Birthday
Sharon and Janie spent the morning touring and tasting at the Kuleto Estate Winery. Working in Santa Rosa in the morning, I met them for a late lunch at Bouchon Bistro in Yountville.

We finished the day at home with pizza, presents and cupcakes. We got Sharon some colorful holders for her Withings Pulse and a wireless DirecTv receiver.

This is the first time since 2010 that we have not celebrated Sharon's birthday at Ruth Chris!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Kicking off the Celebration of Sharon's Birthday

Celebrating Sharon's Birthday
Sharon and Janie met me in Napa. The three of us had dinner at Ad Hoc in Yountville to kick off the celebration of Sharon's birthday. We had a very nice family style dinner, including: Beet & Lentil Salad (romaine spears, watercress, beets green lentils, pickled red onions leeks, roasted shallot vinaigrette); Blowtorch Prime Rib {potato aligot, honey glazed carrots wilted spinach, horseradish jus}; Shrimp Scampi {pappardelle pasta, garlic, butter}; Cabot Clothbound Cheddar {dijon mustard, cornichons}, and; Peanut Butter Profiteroles {peanut butter ice cream, chocolate sauce}.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Jesuit Christian Service Immersion

Sharon, Jack and I went to a meeting for Jack's Jesuit Christian Service Immersion program. This summer, Jack will be traveling to Kansas City for a week with a group of twelve other Jesuit students plus faculty leaders Joe Potulny and Paul LeBoeuf.

The group will be partnering with the community at Jerusalem Farm to assist struggling neighbors in Kansas City. The boys will be living simply and giving of their time and energy to help others primarily with home maintenance and repair. The Jerusalem Farm community is led by an alumnus of Jesuit High School.

Jerusalem Farm is a Catholic Intentional community located in Kansas City, Missouri, built on the four cornerstones of Prayer, Community, Service and Simplicity.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

California Historical Landmark #370

Back working in Sonora in June, July, August, September, October, November and December of 2014, I started exploring the California Historial Landmarks in Calaveras County. Sites that I visited included: Valley Springs [#251], San Andreas [#252], I.O.O.F. Hall [#256], Fourth Crossing #258, Congregational Church [#261], Stone Corral [#263], Chili Gulch [#265], Jenny Lind [#266]; Mokelumne Hill [#269]; Pioneer Cemetery [#271], Douglas Flat [#272]; Carson Hill [#274], Robinson's Ferry [#276], Angels Camp [#287], Altaville [#288], Vallecito Bell Monument [#370]; Old Mining Camp of Brownsville [#465], Red Brick Grammar School [#499], Angels Hotel [#734] and Birthplace of Archie Stevenot [#769].

Vallecito Bell Monument
California State Historical Landmark #370

See this location on Yahoo Maps in Flickr
See this location on Google Maps

This landmark is located at the intersection of Church Street and Cemetery Lane, Vallecito, California in Calaveras County. There are 40 other California State Historical Landmarks in Calaveras County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 38° 05' 10.7" W 120° 28' 27.2".

California Historical Landmark #370

Named 'Little Valley' by Mexicans, Vallecito was one of California's important early-day mining towns. Gold was discovered here by the Murphy brothers in 1849, and it was originally called 'Murphy's old diggings.' This bell, cast at Troy, New York in 1853, was brought around the horn. It was purchased from the ship with funds contributed by early-day residents and brought to Vallecito to be erected in a large oak tree in 1854. It was used to call the people together until February 16, 1939, when a severe wind blew the old tree down.

California Historical Landmark #370

California Historical Landmark #370

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - The Decemberists - Make You Better

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - The Decemberists - Make You Better

Code Expiration: April 14, 2015

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Belle and Sebastian - The Everlasting Muse

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Belle and Sebastian - The Everlasting Muse

Code Expiration: April 14, 2015

Monday, January 19, 2015

ESPN Films 30 for 30 Vol 2: When the Garden was Eden

Running on the treadmill last weekend, I watched When the Garden was Eden. This is the twenty-second installment of ESPN's 30 for 30 volume II. An episode guide for Vol II is here. I have gotten way behind watching the 30 for 30s that were released late last year. I have some work to get caught up!

This documentary looks at the New York Knicks of the early late 60s and early 70s. The Knicks won the NBA Finals in 1970. This finals included Willis Reed coming out for the beginning of Game 7 after getting a cortisone injection for a torn abjucture muscle. They then lost in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Bullets (Wes Unseld) in 1971 and in the NBA Finals to the Lakers (Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Gail Goodrich and Pat Riley) in 1972. In 1973, They beat the Lakers to win the NBA finals for the second time.

The team had an amazing roster. It included: Bill Bradley, Dave DeBusschere, Walt Frazier, Phil Jackson, Jerry Lucas, Earl Monroe and Willis Reed. I was very surprised to see at Harry Bibby, Mike Bibby's Dad, played on the 72 and 73 Knicks!

I enjoyed this 30 for 30 more than I expected! It is definitely worth looking for...

1972-173 New York Knicks Roster

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Continuing to knock out the Oscar nominated films, Sharon and I went to see Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). The film stars Michael Keaton with Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone, and Naomi Watts. Keaton plays a faded Hollywood actor famous for his superhero role struggling to mount a Broadway adaptation of a Raymond Carver story.

Birdman tied with The Grand Budapest Hotel for most Oscar nominations with nine, including Best Picture, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Original Screenplay, Cinematography and Best Actor for Michael Keaton. Emma Stone and Edward Norton were nominated in Best Supporting Acting categories. Alejandro González Iñárritu was nominated for Best Director.

Both Sharon and I enjoyed the film. I liked the way that much of the film was shot with handheld cameras and close-ups. I am fascinated to see it described as a dark comedy. I think Birdman is going to be a strong candidate for the best picture Oscar as well as several of the acting categories.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Boyhood

Continuing to knock out the Oscar nominated films, Sharon, Jack and I watched Boyhood as an HD rental on the AppleTV.

The film was directed by Richard Linklater and starred Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke. It was shot intermittently over a 12-year period from May 2002 to October 2013 and shows the growth of a young boy and his older sister to adulthood.

Boyhood received six Oscar nominations, including: Best Picture; Supporting Actor for Hawke; Supporting Actress for Arquette; Directing for Linklater; Film Editing; and, Original Screenplay.

Sharon noted that the story seemed very much like everyday life. I enjoyed the film. It is an amazing accomplishment to keep the cast together and moving forward over a twelve year period. While Boyhood may be a legitimate candidate for best picture and director, I don't see Arquette and Hawke winning for supporting actor and actress.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Grand Budapest Hotel

With the Oscars nominations announced on Thursday, Sharon and I are starting to work our way through the key films. We watched the Grand Budapest Hotel as an HD rental on the AppleTV.

Set in the 1930s, the film follows the adventures of M. Gustave, the Grand Budapest Hotel's concierge. Starring Ralph Fiennes as the concierge, he teams up with one of his employees to prove his innocence after he is framed for murder.

The film has a large ensemble cast, including: Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Edward Norton, F. Murray Abraham, Jude Law, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray and Owen Wilson.

Sharon didn't like the movie. After it was over, she said "that was not good." We usually talk about movies on a scale of 1 to 10. Sharon gave it a 4. I liked the film more than she did. I found it entertaining. Additionally, I enjoyed the movie visually and technically.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Celebrating My Birthday


Sharon, Jack and I celebrated my birthday at home with a burrito dinner. We finished the night with cupcakes and presents (including a set of bluetooth headphones) at home.

Here is how I have celebrated my last eleven birthdays!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Milo Greene Spring 2015 Tour!

Milo Greene is going back out on tour to promote the release of their second album--Control. It will be released on January 27.


Feb 10 - SoHo - Santa Barbara, CA
Feb 11 - The Independent - San Francisco, CA
Feb 13 - Doug Fir - Portland, OR
Feb 14 - Electric Owl - Vancouver, Canada
Feb 15 - Columbia City Theater - Seattle, WA
Feb 19 - El Rey Theatre - Los Angeles, CA
Feb 26 - The State Room- Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 27 - Bluebird Theater - Denver, CO
Feb 28 - The Record Bar - Kansas City, MO
Mar 01 - Duck Room @ Blueberry Hill - St Louis, MO
Mar 03 - The Waiting Room - Omaha, NE
Mar 04 - Fine Line Music Cafe - Minneapolis, MN
Mar 05 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago, IL
Mar 06 - Old National Centre - Indianapolis, IN
Mar 07 - Magic Stick - Detroit, MI
Mar 08 - Horseshoe Tavern - Toronto, Canada
Mar 10 - La Sala Rossa - Montreal, Canada
Mar 11 - The Sinclair - Boston, MA
Mar 12 - Bowery Ballroom - New York, NY
Mar 13 - Music Hall of Williamsburg
Mar 14 - Johnny Brenda's - Philadelphia, PA
Mar 15 - Rock & Roll Hotel - Washington, DC

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

California Historical Landmark #272

Back working in Sonora in June, July, August, September, October, November and December of 2014, I started exploring the California Historial Landmarks in Calaveras County. Sites that I visited included: Valley Springs [#251], San Andreas [#252], I.O.O.F. Hall [#256], Fourth Crossing #258, Congregational Church [#261], Stone Corral [#263], Chili Gulch [#265], Jenny Lind [#266]; Mokelumne Hill [#269]; Pioneer Cemetery [#271], Douglas Flat [#272]; Carson Hill [#274], Robinson's Ferry [#276], Angels Camp [#287], Altaville [#288], Vallecito Bell Monument [#370]; Old Mining Camp of Brownsville [#465], Red Brick Grammar School [#499], Angels Hotel [#734] and Birthplace of Archie Stevenot [#769].

Douglas Flat
California State Historical Landmark #272

See this location on Yahoo Maps in Flickr
See this location on Google Maps

This landmark is located On State Highway 4, Douglas Flat, California in Calaveras County. There are 40 other California State Historical Landmarks in Calaveras County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 38° 07' 01.0" W 120° 27' 15.2".

California Historical Landmark #272

Douglas Flat was a roaring mining camp of the early 1850s. In 1857 the Harper and Lone Star Claims produced $130,000 worth of gold. The so-called Central Hill Channel, an ancient river deposit from which vast quantities of gold have been taken, is located here.

California Historical Landmark #272

The Douglas Flat Schoolhouse is the oldest surviving schoolhouse in Calaveras County. Built in either 1854 or 1856, depending on which history you read, the old school building stands today much in the same condition as it did back in the Gold Rush. The schoolhouse has served the neighboring community in a number of ways: church, Sunday school, kindergarten classroom, and school office. And it still functions as a meeting place for community activities. The rear portion of the building was added at some later date, and the building may have been moved to this spot from a location closer to Coyote Creek.

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - ComicBook!

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - ComicBook!

Code Expiration: April 7, 2015

Starbucks Pick of the Week - Shakey Graves - Dearly Departed (feat. Esme Patterson)

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!

Starbucks Pick of the Week - Shakey Graves - Dearly Departed (feat. Esme Patterson)

Code Expiration: April 7, 2015

Monday, January 12, 2015

Virtually Biking Across America - Day 109


On Day 109, I rode 23.1 miles across Southern Illinois. I started at the intersection of the intersection of Highway 50 and Highway 51 in Sandoval. Riding east along Highway 50, the bike broke down near the intersection of Highway 50 and Beard Road. Hopefully, I will be able to get it repaired and back on-line in January.

The trip log for Virtually Biking Across America is here.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

ESPN Films: Nixon's National Champs

I watched Nixon's National Champs. The 30 minute documentary looks at the controversy that enveloped President Nixon and the 1969 college football season.

On December 6, 1969, the Texas Longhorns and the Arkansas Razorbacks met in what many consider the game of the century. It was the hundred year anniversary or college football. Both teams were undefeated. President Richard Nixon was on hand to present his own national championship plaque to the winners. The film examines the president’s decision to name Texas the national champion, overlooking an 11-0 Penn State squad.

It appears that this film and Two Points, One Title were motivated by this year's first college football playoff.


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Celebrating Tom's Birthday

We had Tom, Becky, Eric, Kevin and Leah over for dinner to celebrate Tom's birthday. Sharon made a fabulous dinner of braised beef, squash and potatoes. She had made the same main course for dinner for Janie and I during 2014 Academy Awards.

After dinner, we did presents. We got Tom a Withings Pulse. Sharon had gotten Tom one for Christmas, but Becky made it hers. We finished the night with German Chocolate Cake.

Friday, January 09, 2015

2015 Kings versus Nuggets

Kings versus Nuggets with Kurt Snipes

Friday night, Snipes and I went to the Sacramento Kings versus Denver Nuggets NBA basketball game. Leading 57 to 54 at halftime, the Kings were outscored 36-15 in the third period and lost the game by the score of 118 to 108.

The Kings were led by DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins had 32 points on 12 for 25 from the field and 8 of 9 from the free throw line. He added 13 rebounds.

The Nuggets had six players score in double figures. Ty Lawson and Arron Afflalo both had 22 points for the Nuggets. Lawson had 22 points on 7 for 13 from the field, 1 for 3 from three point range and 7 for 10 from the free throw line. He added 3 rebounds, 8 assists and 1 block.

Snipes and I met a Chevys before the game, wandered up to Skyline Lounge after the game and then finished the night back at Chevys. Frankly, I spent more of the night catching up with Snipes than playing close attention to the game.

I continue to be perplexed by the firing of coach Michael Malone. Bill Simmons joked on his podcast this week that Ty Corbin is the worst coach in the NBA.

The Kings have 0 wins and 3 losses in games that I have seen in the 2014-2015 NBA season.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

The Peripheral by William Gibson

I finished reading The Peripheral by William Gibson. I read the book as an electronic book in the Kindle app on my iPad. Over the years, I have read all of the science fiction that Gibson has written.

The story bounces between two different futures. The first future is not far off from our present day. This near term future is dominated by versions of Walmart and the meth trade. The more distance future paints an environmental post-apocalyptic sparely populated world built and maintained by nanotechnology.

The characters use a vague technology (a server in China) which even they don't seem to understand to move back and forth between the two timelines. As a rule, I am not fond of time travel stories, but this story doesn't really seem like a time travel story. At its heart, it is a murder mystery.

While there is lots of different technology on display, the story line revolves around telepresence. The characters use telepresence to control "bodies" (peripherals) in the other timeline. I couldn't stop thinking how much bandwidth and network speed would it take to do what they were describing! There is one small reference throwaway reference to this, but in general it doesn't seem to be an issue.

I enjoyed the book a lot. It was an engaging story and I love science fiction that plays with technology in interesting ways. I grade the book an "A-". I can't give a time travel story an "A"...

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

ESPN 30 for 30 Shorts: Student/Athlete

Grantland and ESPN Films have released the twenty-eighth film in their 30 for 30 documentary short series.

30 for 30 Shorts: Student/Athlete

The latest film, from actor Ken Jeong, tells the story of how a 5-foot-5 premed student played a crucial role in Notre Dame’s undefeated football season.


You can find Student/Athlete on the ESPN web site at http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=11935642.

More about the film at: http://espn.go.com/30for30/film?page=student/athlete.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

California Historical Landmark #465

Back working in Sonora in June, July, August, September, October, November and December of 2014, I started exploring the California Historial Landmarks in Calaveras County. Sites that I visited included: Valley Springs [#251], San Andreas [#252], I.O.O.F. Hall [#256], Fourth Crossing #258, Congregational Church [#261], Stone Corral [#263], Chili Gulch [#265], Jenny Lind [#266]; Mokelumne Hill [#269]; Pioneer Cemetery [#271], Douglas Flat [#272]; Carson Hill [#274], Robinson's Ferry [#276], Angels Camp [#287], Altaville [#288], Vallecito Bell Monument [#370]; Old Mining Camp of Brownsville [#465], Red Brick Grammar School [#499], Angels Hotel [#734] and Birthplace of Archie Stevenot [#769].

Old Mining Camp of Brownsville
California State Historical Landmark #465

See this location on Yahoo Maps in Flickr
See this location on Google Maps

This landmark is located on Pennsylvania Gulch Road, 0.9 miles southwest of Murphys, California in Calaveras County. There are 40 other California State Historical Landmarks in Calaveras County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 38° 7'43" W 120° 26' 31".

You can log your visit to this landmark at waymark.com.

California Historical Landmark #465

A thriving mining camp on rich Pennsylvania Gulch in the 1850s and 1860s, the camp was named for Alfred Brown, former owner of Table Mountain Ranch. Laws of the Brownsville mining district provided that each miner could own one wet and one dry claim, not to exceed 150 square feet each.

California Historical Landmark #465

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Jillian Michaels - Beginner Shred

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Jillian Michaels - Beginner Shred

Code Expiration: March 31, 2015

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - The Hot Sardines - Wake Up In Paris

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - The Hot Sardines - Wake Up In Paris

Code Expiration: March 31, 2015

Monday, January 05, 2015

1,583 miles running and 886 miles cycling

On our trip to Florida in Summer of 2004, I started to play with the idea of running the American River 50 in April of 2007. I committed myself and started to train.

In 2005, I ran slightly less than 1,630 miles.

In 2006, I ran slightly less than 1,680 miles.

In 2007, I ran 1,721 miles. This included successfully completing the American River 50.

In 2008, I ran more than 1,925 miles!

In 2009, I ran 1,832 miles.

In 2010, I ran 1,700 miles. This included two full weeks off during the trip to Spain in the summer.

In 2011, I ran 1,763 miles. This seems impossible in a year that I took almost nine weeks of vacation!

In 2012, my goal was to start cross-training. I ran and hiked 1,441 miles. This included two full weeks off during the trip to Italy in the summer. Additionally, I cycled 1,133 miles. Most of this cycling was done on a stationary bike. I covered 1,016 miles virtually biking across America.

In 2013, I ran 1,521 miles and cycled 1,092 miles. My goal for 2013 was to best both the running and the cycling totals. I accomplished the running goal. Additionally, I was going to try and lift at least 48 times (4 times a month) at Arden Hills. I failed in this goal.

In 2014, I ran 1,583 miles and cycled 886 miles. I averaged 30.4 miles running and 17.0 miles cycling every week! My goal was to restart a sit-up, push-up and light routine that I have done in the past. I failed in this goal.

In 2015, I am not going to establish mileage goals for 2014. As I have said before, my aerobic work-outs are hard wired. My goal is going to be to work out with weighs 52 times this year.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Virtually Biking Across America - Day 108

Day 108

On Day 108, I rode 14.1 miles across Southern Illinois. I started at the intersection of Old Highway 50, Highway 50 and Highway 127 in Carlyle. I rode due east on Highway 50 to the intersection of Highway 50 and Highway 51 in Sandoval.

The trip log for Virtually Biking Across America is here.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Taking Down the Christmas Decorations

We spent the day taking down and packing up the Christmas decorations. Sharon does a very nice job of decorating the house.

[Note to self], next year, we are going to put the Christmas decorations up the weekend before Thanksgiving, rather than the weekend after. We enjoy the decorations, but the season goes by too fast.

Additionally, we are going to host a large Christmas party next year. We have not had a full scale Christmas party since December of 2002.