Thursday, May 28, 2015

Goose & Gander

Spending the night with me in Napa, Sharon and I had a nice dinner at the Goose & Gander in St. Helena. We split a Radish Salad, Hudson Valley Torchon of Foie Gras, Wild King Salmon and Grilled California Sturgeon "Au Poivre."

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu

I finished reading The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu and translated by Ken Liu. Orginally published in Chinese in 2008, the book was translated into English and then published in late 2014. It is nominated for both the 2015 Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novel.

Apparently, Cixin Lui is the most prolific and popular science fiction writer in the People's Republic of China. Liu is an eight-time winner of the Galaxy Award (the Chinese Hugo) and a winner of the Nebula Award. Prior to becoming a writer, he worked as an engineer in a power plant in Yangquan, Shanxi.

The beginning of the story is set in the Chinese Cultural Revolution that started in 1966. It follows the impact of the Cultural Revolution on scientists and other intellectuals. The book gradually shifts to become the story of an engineer trying to decipher a mystery and then morphs again in a story of first contact with an advanced alien race.

I enjoyed the book. The backdrop of the Chinese Cultural Revolution and Chinese Society gave the book a very different feel than most of the science fiction that I have read. This is the first book of a trilogy. I have pre-order the second volume of the trilogy; the translated version will be published in August.

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Lord Huron - Fool For Love

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

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Lord Huron - Fool For Love

Code Expiration: August 18, 2015

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Lonely Planet - An Innocent Abroad

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

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Lonely Planet - An Innocent Abroad

Code Expiration: August 18, 2015

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Kingsman: The Secret Service


After hiking in the East Bay at the Redwood Regional Park on Saturday, Sharon, Jack and I watched Kingsman: The Sercet Service.

The film is a 2015 British spy action comedy film based on the comic book The Secret Service, created by Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar. It stars Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Caine.

When Sharon and I were banging out the Oscar nominated films in January and February, I must have seen the trailer for the movie a dozen times.

Sharon described the film as bizarrely amusing...

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Redwood Regional Park Hike

Redwood Regional Park

Sharon, Jack and I headed to the East Bay for the day. The plan was to hike in the Redwood Regional Park. After a stop for sandwiches in Lafayette, we got to the Skyline Gate Staging Area about 11:30 am. We ended up hiking almost 7.5 miles. We took the West Ridge Trail to the French Creek Trail. We followed the French Creek Trail for three miles. We then took the Chown Trail back up to the West Ridge Trail. We followed the West Ridge Trail past Redwood Bowl and made a quick stop outside the Chabot Space and Science Center before continuing to the car. We were back at the car about 3:15 pm.

There are a number of nice stands of second growth redwoods along the trail. Nevertheless, both Sharon and I were disappointed with the view; we were expecting to get some views of the bay and San Francisco, but never did.

I was also amazed at the number of dogs. As Jack pointed out, on the French Creek Trail, we would see the dogs come around the corner on the trail before we saw the people.

The traffic on the way back to Carmichael was heavy. We didn't get home until about 6:15 pm.

A Google Map and a view in Google Earth of the hike are here.

Friday, May 22, 2015

California Historical Marker #245

Location of the Famous Mussel Slough Tragedy
California State Historical Landmark #245

See this location on Yahoo Maps in Flickr
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This landmark is located at 5833 14th Ave, between Everett and Elder Avenues, 1.5 miles southeast of Hardwick, California. There are 2 other California State Historical Landmarks in Kings County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 38° 58.703 W 122° 50.604.

You can log your site to this site at waymarking.com!

California Historical Landmark #245

Here on May 11, 1880, during a dispute over land titles between settlers and railroad, a fight broke out in which seven men-two deputy U.S. marshals and five ranchers lost their lives. The legal struggle over titles was finally settled by a compromise.

California Historical Landmark #245

Kings County Landmarks


California State Historical Landmarks
in Kings County

NO. 206 EL ADOBE DE LOS ROBLES RANCHO
*NO. 245 Location of the Famous Mussel Slough Tragedy - [map] - {36.388794,-119.708817}
NO. 270 KINGSTON

List of California Counties

Thursday, May 21, 2015

ESPN 30 for 30 Shorts: The Anti-Mascot

Grant land and ESPN Films have released the thirty-third film in their 30 for 30 documentary short series.

30 for 30 Shorts: The Anti-Mascot

The latest film, directed by Colin Hanks, tells the story of how a bad team and an even worse idea were an ugly combination in San Francisco.


You can find The Anti-Mascot on the ESPN web site at http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=12876146.

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

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Judge Fred J. Cassibry Square

I wandered by this waymark while we were in New Orleans.

Judge Fred J. Cassibry Square
Louisiana Historical Marker

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This historic place is located at 701 St. Louis Street, New Orleans, in the Parish of Orleans, Louisiana. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 29° 57.378 W 090° 03.974.

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

Judge Fred J. Cassibry Square

Fred J. Cassibry (1918-1996), U.S. Navy WWII veteran, served on the New Orleans City Council, Orleans Civil District Court, U.S. District Court, E.D. La., and the Louisiana Economic Development and Gaming Corporation. Throughout his 40 years of public life, Judge Cassibry personified the definition of a dedicated public official. He never forgot he was a servant of the people. Square dedicated by 1999 La. Acts 708.

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Rules!

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

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Rules!

Code Expiration: August 11, 2015

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - NYTimes Crossword

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

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - NYTimes Crossword

Code Expiration: August 11, 2015

Monday, May 18, 2015

So What Exactly Doomed Bill Simmons at ESPN?

So What Exactly Doomed Bill Simmons at ESPN? | Vanity Fair

ESPN president John Skipper found himself literally backed into a corner at the Minskoff Theater on Tuesday morning by reporters asking about his abrupt decision last week to set the network’s star columnist and commentator, Bill Simmons, adrift once his current contract expires this fall.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Mad Men - Season Seven

Sharon and I watched the final episode of Mad Men. The seventh and final season of the television drama series Mad Men consists of 14 episodes split into two, seven-episode parts. The first part of season 7 begins in January 1969, several weeks after the Thanksgiving 1968 ending of season 6 and ends in July 1969. The second part of season 7 takes place between April and November 1970.

One of the things that I enjoyed about the first couple of seasons was how it tied the events of the 60's into the arc of the show. Unfortunately, the show somewhat moved away from this in the last couple of seasons.

The show ends with the groundbreaking 1971 "Hilltop" television advertisement for Coca-Cola, created by McCann Erickson. I didn't realize until this week that McCann Erickson was a real ad agency.

Sharon enjoyed the last season and the final episode a lot more than I did. While the quality of the production and the acting remained very good, I felt that the series lost its sense of direction in the last season plus.

After we finished watching the final episode, Sharon watched the pilot. Set in early 1960, it is astonishing how much cigarette smoking there is in the first episode.

All of my Mad Men posts can be found here, including:

[Mad Men - Season Five]
[Mad Men - Season Four]
[Mad Men - Season Three]
[Mad Men - Season Two]
[Mad Men - Season One]

Saturday, May 16, 2015

St. Francis versus Franklin

Sharon, Jack and I went to the St. Francis versus Franklin Sac Joaquin section D-1 girls soccer championship game at Cosumnes Oaks High School. Bridget plays forward for St. Francis.

St. Francis lost the game by the score of 3 to 0. Kristie said that they had split during the regular season, wining 1 to 0 and losing 3 to 1. Although Jack disagreed with me, St. Francis looked outmuscled. They spent most of the game on their heels playing defense.

I was fascinated by the fact that two of the Franklin players were playing with bubble wrapped arms. One of the Franklin forwards played with her forearm, wrist and hand wrapped in bubble wrap. Eventually drawing a yellow card, she seemed to be effectively using it as a club on the St. Francis players. I am curious about the rules regarding playing with a cast or a brace.

DSC_0194

DSC_0199

DSC_0201

After the game, Sharon and I had dinner at the Leto Cafe in Carmichael. The food was only so so. Sharon liked the live music.

Friday, May 15, 2015

ESPN FiveThirtyEight Signals: By The Numb3rs

FiveThirtyEight and ESPN Films have released the four film in their Signals digital short series.

FiveThirtyEight Signals: By The Numb3rs

Personal trainers have been a part of professional sports for decades. Personal data analysts are newer.

As a trained mathematician, Justin Zormelo provided Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder with personalized analytics during Durant’s MVP season. And in his most recent undertaking, Zormelo is training a 17-year-old, 7-foot-1-inch Sudan native named Thon Maker.


You can find By The Numb3rs on the ESPN web site at http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id= 12377719 .

Thursday, May 14, 2015

ESPN 30 for 30 Volume 3 Episode Guide

I have really enjoyed Volumes 1 and 2 of ESPN 30 for 30. An episode guide for Volume 1 is here; my ranking of those films is here. An episode guide for Volume 2 is here. In fall of 2011, ESPN ran a series of ESPN Films that continued the spirit of 30 for 30. A list of those film is here.

ESPN has announced plans to make more 30 for 30 episodes. Films for 30 for 30 Volume 3 include:

1. The rivalry between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield

2. Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll

3. The Buffalo Bills’ four consecutive Super Bowl losses in the ’90s

4. Golf pro John Daly

5. Cleveland Sports fan by Kris Belman
It was only a matter of time. ESPN is dedicating an episode to Cleveland sports. Akron native Kris Belman, who did the LBJ documentary More Than a Game, will direct 30 for 30 on the Cleveland sports fan. ESPN Cleveland says this version of the outstanding documentary series will focus on the unique experience of being a Cleveland sports fan. Next year marks 50 years without a championship in Cleveland.
6. Joe Delany
ESPN's 30 for 30 to feature former Northwestern State two-sport All American Joe Delaney

5/14/2015 - ESPN announces plans to make 30 more ’30 for 30′ episodes

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

California Historical Landmark #134

I stopped here on my way home from last year's Petersen Shootout.

Donner Monument
California State Historical Landmark #134

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This site is located in the Donner Memorial State Park, Old Highway 40 at I-80 and Truckee exit, Truckee, California. There are 20 other California State Historical Landmarks in Nevada County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 39° 19.431 W 120° 13.877.

You can log your site to this site at waymarking.com!

California Historical Landmark #134

Commemorates the ill-fated Donner party of California-bound emigrants, who wintered here in 1846-1847, many died of exposure and starvation.

California Historical Landmark #134

Near this spot stood the Breen Cabin of the party of emigrants who started for California from Springfield, Illinois, in April, 1846, under the leadership of Captain George Donner. Delays occurred and when the party reached this locality, on October 29, the Truckee Pass Emigrant Road was concealed by snow. The height of the shaft of the monument indicates the depth of the snow, which was twenty-two feet. After futile efforts to cross the summit the party was compelled to encamp for the winter. The Graves cabin was situated about three-quarters of a mile to the eastward, the Murphy cabin about two hundred yards southwest of the monument, and the donner tents were at the head of Alder Creek. Ninety people were in the party and forty-two perished, most of them from starvation and exposure.

In commemoration of the pioneers who crossed the plains to settle in California

Monument erected under the auspices of the native sons and the native daughters of the Golden West.


California Historical Landmark #134

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Nevada Historical Marker #72

I stopped here on my way home from last year's Petersen Shootout.

Nevada State Children's Home
Nevada Historical Marker #72

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This marker is located at 673 South Stewart Street, Carson City, Nevada. There are 25 other historical markers in Carson City County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 38° 57.930 W 119° 50.390.

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

Nevada Historical Marker #72


The Nevada Orphan's Asylum, a privately funded institution, was opened in Virginia City in May, 1867, by Sister Frederica McGrath and two other nuns of the Sisters of Charity. By 1870, most of its functions were taken over by the Nevada Orphans' Home at Carson City, authorized in 1869 by the Legislature and constructed on this site. The first child was admitted October 28, 1870.

In 1903, the first building gave way to a larger one, constructed of sandstone from the state prison quarry east of Carson City. This edifice, a Carson City landmark, served until 1963 as Nevada's home for dependent and neglected children. In the 1940's, its name was changed to the Nevada State Children's Home. During the 1950's, the name "Sunny Acres" was also used.

The stone building was in turn replaced in 1963, in accordance with the modern concept of family- sized groups housed in cottages.


Nevada Historical Marker #72

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - AirPano Travel Book

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

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - AirPano Travel Book

Code Expiration: August 4, 2015

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - SimCity BuildIt

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

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - SimCity BuildIt

Code Expiration: August 4, 2015

Monday, May 11, 2015

Inside the Shocking, Abrupt Divorce of Bill Simmons and ESPN

Inside the Shocking, Abrupt Divorce of Bill Simmons and ESPN | Vanity Fair

The co-author of the definitive history of ESPN, Those Guys Have All the Fun, reports on how the network and its biggest star met their bitter end.

The network’s president John Skipper made it official on Friday when he told Richard Sandomir of The New York Times, “I’ve decided that I’m not going to renew his contract. We’ve been talking to Bill, and it was clear that we weren’t going to get to the terms, so we were better off focusing on transition.
I have been following Bill Simmons since his early days on the Page 2 section of the ESPN web site. Two years ago, Sports Illustrated ranked Simmons as the most powerful figure in the sports media.

Simmons has gone dark since ESPN made this announcement. He has remained silent on his social media sites. It will be interesting to see when and where he is heard from again.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Back from Reno

We packed up and were out of the hotel by 8:30 am and on the road back to the valley by 8:45 am. After stopping at the house, Jack and I took Bridget back to Elk Grove. Although I was a little under the weather, it was a nice quick trip to Reno [less than 24 hours!]. I really enjoyed getting a chance to see Drew.

For Mother's Day, Sharon wanted me to take her shopping. We had a drink and hors d'oeuvres at Seasons 52. Afterwards, she shopped at Black and White. This didn't work out quite the way she envisioned. I need to have a better plan for next year.

I cooked lamb chops on the rotisserie with mashed potatoes and green beans for Mother's Day dinner.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Milo Green and Foster the People in Reno


Sharon, Janie, Jack, Bridget and I took off just a little after noon for Reno. Milo Greene was opening for Foster the People at the Grand Sierra. After getting checked in, we linked up with the Gainsleys. I had gotten two rooms, including a large mini-suite for the girls. We hung out in the mini-suite. Eventually, we made contact with Drew, Nicky and Kyle.

At some point, we switched to the Gainsleys' room and then wandered down to the venue. Drew let us into the theater. We got a chance to watch Milo Greene set up and do their sound check. Foster the People wanted the room cleared when they did their sound check.

We took a group of seven to dinner at Charlie Palmers [short ribs]. After dinner, we dashed back, got our tickets and went into the theater. I really enjoyed the Milo Greene set. They played for about 45 minutes.

We got a chance to spend a lot of time with Drew and Nicky after Milo Greene played. We stood with them while Foster the People were playing. I had two observations about Foster the People. First, they were really loud. I was surprised by how much louder they were than Milo Greene. Maybe I am just getting old, but I am not sure what the point of how loud they were is. Second, they had an enormous light show accompanying their songs. I would hate to be the road crew that has to tear that down and set it up every day.

Struggling with a cold and feeling a little under the weather, I ended up back in the room and crashing before 11:30 pm. I was really nice to have a chance to see Drew and Nicky!


Friday, May 08, 2015

2015 St. Francis Jr. Prom

Jack and Bridget went to the 2015 St. Francis Prom. After pictures at our house, Kristi took them out to Rancho Murieta to join up with their group. In an odd twist, we were told that parents weren't invited to the house hosting the group. The prom was held at the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex.


Thursday, May 07, 2015

Cerner SmartHospital and SmartRoom

I spent the day in presentations for the SHNV Cerner SmartHospital and SmartRoom implementations. After an overview of the SmartHospital project phases, prerequisites and timeline goals, Cerner presented an overview of CareAware Connect, AlertLink and TemperatureLink, Sotera reviewed Visi Mobile, and CenTrak highlighted the RTLS technology. Cerner finished the day reviewing the components of the SmartRoom project, including MyStation and Roomlink,