Thursday, July 24, 2014

ESPN 30 for 30 Shorts: The High Five

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

30 for 30 Shorts: The High Five

The latest film, from award-winning director Michael Jacobs, tells the story of a celebratory gesture and the tumultuous life of the man who made it happen.


You can find The High Five on the ESPN web site at http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=11195358.

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

In one of those six degree of separation stories, Dusty Baker's son goes to the same high school as Jack. Baker's son played on the freshman basketball and baseball teams last season.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Angel Island Hike

On the 4th of July, Sharon, Jack and I hiked to the top of Mount Livermore on Angel Island. We covered 5.15 miles in two hours and five minutes. Using data from Runkeeper on my iPhone, I generated the following views in Google Earth and the topo map.




The Kings of Confusion


Monday, July 21, 2014

California Historical Landmark #501

On Thursday afternoon, December 26, I visited ten California Historical Markers in Sonoma, including: Mission San Francisco Solano [#3]; General M. G. Vallejo Home [#4]; Bear Flag Monument [#7]; Blue Wing Inn [#17]; Presidio of Sonoma [#316]; Swiss Hotel [#496]; Salvador Vallejo Adobe [#501]; Union Hotel and Union Hall [#627]; Nash Adobe [#667], and; San Francisco Solano Mission Vineyard [#739].

Salvador Vallejo Adobe
California State Historical Landmark #501

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

This landmark is located at 421 1st Street West, Sonoma, California. There are 26 other California State Historical Landmarks in Sonoma County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 38° 17.612 W 122° 27.526.

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

California Historical Landmark #501


This was the home of Captain Salvador Vallejo, brother of General Mariano G. Vallejo, who founded Sonoma. The adobe was built by Indian labor between 1836 and 1846, and was occupied by Captain Vallejo and his family until the Bear Flag Party seized Sonoma on June 4, 1846. Cumberland College, a Presbyterian coeducational boarding school, was located here from 1858 to 1864.

California Historical Landmark #501

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Frame Family Function


As a follow on to Erin wedding last weekend, Sharon planned a day of wine tasting in Sonoma County. The group included Sharon's brother Tim, his wife Kathy, their daughters Eileen and Erin, Erin's new husband Dillon, Sharon's brother Tom and his son Eric.

The first stop was Lynmar Estate. Sharon had stopped there with Janie and Noel in May. This winery has a very nice tasting room, patio and garden.

We tried to find a place for lunch in Graton, but ended up just getting some snacks at a corner market. The second stop was the Gary Farrell Winery. The tasting room is on a hilltop with a great view of the Russian River Valley. We did a terrace tasting.

We finished the day in Healdsburg. After wandering around the downtown trying to find a place to eat, the group ended up at Cafe Lucia. Billed as a Portuguese restaurant, I was prepared to be underwhelm. I was pleasantly surprised. Although pricey, I enjoyed the meal. I had feijoada completa.

It was a long day. Leaving the house at 8:30 am, it was almost 9:00 pm by the time we got home. The traffic on 101 and 37 was bad…

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Marysville Gold Sox Summer College Showcase



Jack has missed three weeks of baseball recovering from a groin pull.
In that time, the Walbeck Elite team played eight games, including batting practice against two very weak teams last weekend. I debated about taking him to the showcase that Walbeck baseball was holding in Marysville on Saturday, but decided that he needed to test his leg and face some live pitching before the tournament in Southern California at the end of the month.

Jack looked very rusty. They hit four grounders to the outfielders and had them make throws to second and third. His throws were marginal at best. Surprisingly, they didn't hit any fly balls to the outfielders.

Jack played center and right field during the stimulated game. He looked solid in the outfield. Jack had to chase a couple of line drives to left center. Additionally, he stayed with and caught a ball that he completely lost in the sky.

At the plate, Jack looked out of sync. For the showcase, they started the count at 1 and 1. In his first at-bat, Jack struck out looking on an outside pitch. He grounded a ball down the third base line in his second plate appearance. Jack reached base on what I would probably have scored as an error on the third baseman. In his third at-bat, he walked and then struck out swinging. If you get walked, you stay at the plate and start the count over. Jack walked again in his fourth plate appearance before striking out swinging again.

After the scrimmage, the participating colleges each introduced themselves and their program.

Walking to the car, Jack said "I hate it when I am off for a couple of weeks." He has talked in the past about how he is an in-season player. Jack does well when he is playing and working out daily. He doesn't do well when he into something from a long layoff.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Murphys & Mercer Caverns


Working in the morning, I met Sharon and Jack for lunch in Murphys. We had lunch at Roquefort. The restaurant bills itself as a grilled cheese bar. Sharon and I had both had a Black & White sandwich: Aged White Cheddar, Oregon Black Cherries, Chives on wheat.

After lunch, the three of us headed to Mercer Caverns. We stopped here once before seven years ago, but didn't take the tour. We took a 2 pm tour that lasted about 50 minutes. The tour of the cave descends 16 stories.

We headed back to Carmichael after the cave tour. Jack now has his driving permit. I let him drive the last 15 minutes home.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

To Sonora

Sharon and Jack traveled down to Sonora on Thursday afternoon. I have been working in Sonora again in June and July and staying at the Hotel at the Black Oak Casino. The three of us had a nice dinner at the Seven Sisters Restaurant in the Casino. Jack and I had the seafood pasta, while Sharon had a surf and turf. She was not overly impressed with the food...

California Historical Landmark #496

On Thursday afternoon, December 26, I visited ten California Historical Markers in Sonoma, including: Mission San Francisco Solano [#3]; General M. G. Vallejo Home [#4]; Bear Flag Monument [#7]; Blue Wing Inn [#17]; Presidio of Sonoma [#316]; Swiss Hotel [#496]; Salvador Vallejo Adobe [#501]; Union Hotel and Union Hall [#627]; Nash Adobe [#667], and; San Francisco Solano Mission Vineyard [#739].

Swiss Hotel
California State Historical Landmark #496

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

This landmark is located at 18 West Spain Street, Sonoma, California. There are 26 other California State Historical Landmarks in Sonoma County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 38° 17.627 W 122° 27.478.

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

California Historical Landmark #496


The Swiss Hotel was constructed about 1850 by Don Salvador Vallejo. This adobe adjoined his first Sonoma dwelling, built in 1836. Occupied by various pioneers, in 1861 it was the house of Dr. Victor J. Faure, vintner of prize-winning wines made from the grapes of the Vallejo family vineyards. Later, it was used as a hotel and restaurant.

California Historical Landmark #496

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Savage Harvest by Carl Hoffman

I finished reading Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art by Carl Hoffman. I brought the book after hearing the author interviewed on the NPR Books Podcast.

The book explores the disappearance of Michael Rockefeller along the coast of New Guinea in 1961. The story switches back and forth between the events leading up to Rockefeller's disappearance based on his and other journals and the author's current day attempts to unravel the truth behind the story.

The backbone of the book is the story of the Asmat people. The Asmat are an ethnic group residing in the Papua province of New Guinea. They inhabit a region on the island's southwestern coast bordering the Arafura Sea covering more than 7,000 square miles of mangrove, tidal swamp, freshwater swamp, and lowland rainforest. They were largely isolated from the outside world until the 1950's.

While the author is more than a little self indulgent in parts, this is a solid story. The book is worth reading just for the descriptions of the terrain; it is giant swamp along the ocean. Overall, I give the book a solid "B" grade.

Note to self, there are a number of items that Michael Rockefeller collected in the New York Metropolitan Museum, including a canoe and several bisj poles. I need to look for these next time we are there.

Monday, July 14, 2014

ESPN 30 for 30 Vol II: Youngstown Boys

I watched Youngstown Boys. This is the fifteenth installment of ESPN's 30 for 30 Vol II. An episode guide for Vol II is here. After an extremely hectic nine months, I have finally caught-up with all of the 30 for 30 Volume II episodes just before the next episode airs next week!

Youngstown Boys' looks at the parallel lives of Maurice Clarrett and Jim Tressel. Clarett and Tressel emerged from opposite sides of the tracks in Youngstown, Ohio, and then joined together for a magical season at Ohio State University in 2002 that produced the first national football championship for the school in over 30 years.

In addition to leading the Buckeyes to a national championship, Clarret is known for unsuccessfully challenging the NFL's draft eligibility rules requiring a player to be three years removed from high school and for his tumultuous life outside of football, including his dismissal from Ohio State, several arrests, and later, imprisonment.

Tressel continued at Ohio State for another eight years. His career also ended in scandal. Five Ohio State football players were suspended for trading championship rings, jerseys, and other football-related awards for tattoos. Eventually, Tressel resigned.

Both of sides of the story reenforce my negative feelings about the NCAA. The student athletes are essentially indentured servants to the universities that are makes billions of dollars off them… Something has to change.

This is a solid documentary. A number of the Volume II 30 for 30s have been two hours long rather than an hour long. I have struggled to find the time to sit and watch them.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

2014 Sugarloaf Fine Arts Camp

From 1997 to 2001, Drew went to Sugarloaf Fine Arts Camp as a camper. Since 2003, he has served as a counselor; this will be his twelfth straight year as a counselor.

Flying from Las Vegas from Max's bachelor party to Sacramento to attend the camp, Jack and I picked Drew up at the airport on Sunday morning. We stopped for a while at the house and then took him to Placerville. We got a chance to hear the new Milo Greene album on the way to Placerville! I enjoyed the opportunity. Jack and I talked on the way home about we are interested in getting a copy and spending some more time listening to it.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Erin's Wedding

Saturday night, Sharon, Jack and I went to Sharon's niece Erin's wedding at the Scribner Bend Winery. Sharon's brother Tom officiated. It was a very nice evening and a great venue. We got there about 5 pm, the ceremony was at 6:15 pm and they kicked us out and closed the place down a little after 11 pm.
DSC_0609

DSC_0611

Erin's Wedding!

IMG_6449-001

Friday, July 11, 2014

ESPN 30 for 30 Vol II Trailer: Slaying the Badger

The nineteenth film--Slaying the Badger--in ESPN's 30 for 30 Volume II will premier Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 8 pm ET.

California Historical Landmark #316

On Thursday afternoon, December 26, I visited ten California Historical Markers in Sonoma, including: Mission San Francisco Solano [#3]; General M. G. Vallejo Home [#4]; Bear Flag Monument [#7]; Blue Wing Inn [#17]; Presidio of Sonoma [#316]; Swiss Hotel [#496]; Salvador Vallejo Adobe [#501]; Union Hotel and Union Hall [#627]; Nash Adobe [#667], and; San Francisco Solano Mission Vineyard [#739].

Presidio of Sonoma
(Sonoma Barracks)
California State Historical Landmark #316

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

This landmark is located in the Sonoma State Historic Park at the northwest corner of East Spain and 1st Street East, Sonoma, California. There are 26 other California State Historical Landmarks in Sonoma County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 38° 17.619 W 122° 27.394.

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

California Historical Landmark #316

Sonoma Barracks was erected in 1836 by General M. G. Vallejo. It became the headquarters of the Bear Flag Party, which in June 1846 proclaimed a 'California Republic' and raised the Bear Flag on Sonoma's Plaza. Twenty-three days later, on July 7, 1846, Commodore John Drake Sloat took possession of California for the United States government. Stevenson's Regiment, Company C, U.S.A., occupied the barracks in April 1847.

California Historical Landmark #316

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Virtually Biking Across America - Day 92


On Day 92, I rode 11.05 miles in western Missouri. Starting in front of the home of Harry Truman, I turned west on West Maple Ave and then south on Main Street. At West 23rd Street, I jumped over to South Noland Road. I rode on South Noland Road until the Blue Parkway. Heading southeast on the Blue Parkway, I ended the ride just before the freeway started [38°57'01.4"N 94°24'46.9"W].

The trip log for Virtually Biking Across America is here.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

2014 Walbeck Elite Game #24


Jack and I went to the Walbeck Elite versus Cats game. This is the third game that the Elite has played against the Cats this summer. The Elite lost the first game by the score of 7 to 0 and won the second game by the score of 9 to 4. Jeremy played in the game for the Cats, but not Breyton.

Still nursing a groin pull, Jack sat on the bench. I am hopeful that Jack will be back on the field on Saturday.  With Sam's dad scoring, I got a chance to visit with Alan and the Renterias.

Behind a strong pitching performance by Lee (0-3. 8 appearances, 17.0 innings, ERA 7.41), the Elite won the game by the score of 4 to 2.

The scorecard is here.

For the summer season, the Elite have a record of 12 wins, 10 losses and 2 ties. The game log is here.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West by Stephen Ambrose

I finished reading Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West by Stephen Ambrose. When I finished reading the book about Thomas Jefferson in April, I was disappointed at how little it talked about the Lewis and Clark expedition. I felt that I really needed to read Undaunted Courage to fill in the gaps.

As the book's title suggests, this is part of my project to read books about all of the presidents. Thomas Jefferson plays an important part in the story. Meriwether Lewis served as Thomas Jefferson's personal secretary for the first two years of his presidency. Jefferson was instrumental in envisioning the trip and getting Lewis trained in a variety of disciplines. Jefferson was hopeful that the expedition would find an all water route to the Pacific Ocean.

While the core of Undaunted Courage is the story of Lewis and Clark's 8,000 mile and 28 month journey across the continent and back, the book is really a biography of Meriwether Lewis. The book reviews his life from beginning to end. Although I had an outline of the journey in my head, there is a lot about Lewis' life about which I was ignorant.

After the return of the explorers, Jefferson urged Lewis to publish his journals quickly. For reasons that one can only speculate about, Lewis let Jefferson down. He did nothing to prepare the journals for publication. The journals were not published until almost a hundred years later.

I really enjoyed the book. The story of the journey is very compelling. While the last section of the book following Lewis after the expedition drags a little, it is important in filling in his life story. I grade the book a strong B+.

As a sidebar, the book makes an interesting point about communications and transportation. Just as in Roman times, nothing moved over land faster than a horse in the early 1800s. Given the distances involved, it created some substantial communications challenges for United States government in the first half of the nineteenth century.

2014 Walbeck Elite Game #23

Still nursing an injury, Jack missed this game.

Seventh-inning rally sparks blowout win for Elite, 9-3

Elite beat Redding 9-3 in seven innings on Tuesday at Marysville - Appeal Democrat Park Home of the Gold Sox after a seven-run explosion in the seventh inning.

Elite scored in the seventh on an RBI single by Cooper Renteria, an RBI single by Sam Starosciak, a two-run double by James Richardson, an RBI single by Matt Clarke, a passed ball, and an RBI single by Alex Dailey.

The game was back-and-forth heading into the seventh, with seven lead changes.

Starosciak reached base three times in the game for Elite. He scored two runs and had one RBI.

It didn't take long for Redding to respond as it scored two runs of its own in the fourth. Redding scored on an RBI double by Mcwilliams and an error.

"Powered by Narrative Science and GameChanger Media. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved."

The scorecard is here.

For the summer season, the Elite have a record of 11 wins, 10 losses and 2 ties. The game log is here.

2014 Walbeck Elite Game #22

Still nursing an injury, Jack missed this game.

Elite and Redding tie

Elite and Redding played to a 6-6 tie on Tuesday at Marysville - Appeal Democrat Park Home of the Gold Sox.

Sam Starosciak racked up three RBIs on four hits for Elite. He doubled in the fourth inning and singled in the second, fifth, and seventh innings.

The top of the first saw Redding take an early lead, 1-0. Taylor singled after a single by Valencia got things started.

"Powered by Narrative Science and GameChanger Media. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved."

The scorecard is here.

For the summer season, the Elite have a record of 10 wins, 10 losses and 2 ties. The game log is here.

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Charlie Brown's All Stars!

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

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Charlie Brown's All Stars!

Code Expiration: September 30, 2014

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - …and then it rained

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

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - …and then it rained

Code Expiration: September 30, 2014

Monday, July 07, 2014

Pony Express Wharf

I stopped briefly at this waymark while out for a morning run along The Embarcadero.

Pony Express Wharf
See this location on Yahoo Maps in Flickr
See this location on Google Maps

This way mark is located at 475 The Embarcadero, San Franscisco, California. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 38° 35.190 W 121° 18.510.

A list of Pony Express Waymarks that I have visited can be found here. You can log your visit to this landmark at waymark.com.

Pony Express Wharf

Nearby was the location of the Broadway Wharf. The wharf extended from Broadway and Davis Streets east to this location. All of the Pony Express mail that was delivered to and from San Francisco used this Wharf. The Pony Express ran from April 3, 1860 to November 20, 1961.

The Pony Express Mail was carried by either the "River Streamers" of the California Steam Navigation Company that operated between here and Sacramento or the Ferry "Oakland" that operated between Oakland and here.


Pony Express Wharf

Sunday, July 06, 2014

California Historical Landmark #529

Sharon, Jack and I hiked on Angel Island on the Fourth of July in 2014.

Angel Island
California State Historical Landmark #529

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

This landmark is located in Hospital Cove, Angel Island State Park, California. There are 13 other landmarks in Marin County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 37° 52.006 W 122° 26.093.

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

California Historical Landmark #529

In 1775, the packet San Carlos, first known Spanish ship to enter San Francisco Bay, anchored in this cove. While here, the commander, Lieut. Juan Manual de Ayala, directed the first survey of the bay. This island, which Ayala named Isla de los Angeles, has been a Mexican rancho, a U.S. military post, a bay defense site, and a quarantine and immigration station.

California Historical Landmark #529

Saturday, July 05, 2014

2014 San Francisco Day 3

Amazingly, we all slept until after 8 am. While Jack watched Argentina play Belgium in the World Cup, Sharon and I wandered over to the Ferry Building and explored the Farmers Market. Leaving her to shop, I took a 5.23 mile run from the hotel. I ran along The Embarcadero past Fisherman's Wharf to Fort Mason and back. I stopped briefly at a Pony Express waymark along my run.

Packing up the room and getting the car, we headed to Scoma's for lunch. Sharon loves the Crab Louis.

We headed home after a leisurely lunch and rolled back into Carmichael a little before 3 pm.

Although it is not the end of the world, I am disappointed that Jack didn't get a chance to attend the Stanford baseball camp…

Friday, July 04, 2014

2014 San Francisco Day 2

Angel Island

The plan for the day was to hike Angel Island. Jack and I walked to get bagels and coffee for breakfast. While Jack spent the morning watching the France versus Germany World Cup game, Sharon and I walked through the Ferry Building and then all the way to Pier 41. We picked up Blue & Gold Ferry tickets for the trip to Angel Island, checked out the Ferry schedule and brought some sandwiches for lunch.

The three of us caught the 11:20 am ferry from the Ferry Building to Angel Island. Grabbing some maps, we decided to hike to the top of island. We took the North Ridge trail to Mt. Livermore and ate lunch at some picnic tables just below the summit. We hiked back down the Sunset trail. Google Earth views and a topo map of the hike are here. There is a California Historical Marker in the picnic area in the bay. With about 20 minutes to spare, we ended up catching the 3:20 pm ferry back to Pier 41. People were already setting up to watch the fireworks.

We walked a few blocks south along Embarcadero. As the crowds thinned out a little, we were able to catch a taxi back to the hotel.

Getting cleaned up, we took a taxi to the Marina district for dinner. We had a nice Italian dinner at A16. After a pasta course, Sharon had chicken, I had a pork chop and Jack had pizza.

After dinner, we walked down to the Marina Green and watched the Fourth of July fireworks over the San Francisco Bay. With a low cloud layer, it was an interesting effect on the highest fireworks.

We had an adventure getting home. We walked back up to Chesnut. After about 10 or 15 minutes, we were able to catch a cab, but it took almost an hour for the cab to wind its way back to our hotel through the traffic! By the time we got back to the room and down for the night it was after 11:30 pm.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

2014 San Francisco Day 1

AT&T Park

Over years, we have talked about going to see the San Francisco Giants play the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park. Jack is a Cardinals fan. Except for one play-off game, it has never worked out. This year, we got everything lined up for a five day trip to the bay area. We planned to go to the Giants game and then Jack was going to a Stanford baseball camp. Unfortunately, Jack pulled his groin and will not be attending the Stanford camp.

Leaving Carmichael a little after 8:00 am, we got to the hotel before 10:00 am. We are spending two nights at the Hotel Vitale. We stayed here for a night in 2007 when we went to a Giants game. The room was actually ready.

After we got unpacked, Sharon spent some time with the concierge looking for a restaurant for Friday night. Eventually, we walked the 1.1 miles from the hotel to the ball park. The game had a 12:45 pm start time.

I brought three club level tickets in section 211. The seats were row E, seats 8, 9 and 10. We got there early and wandered through the club level before getting something to eat and settling into our seats.

Two foul balls!?!Jack ended up getting two fouls balls! The first one was off of Mark Ellis. It bounced off someone to our right and then someone behind us before Jack snatched it out of the air. The second foul ball was off of Buster Posey. It looked it was going to be below us, but went off someone's hand. It ended up in Sharon's lap and Jack grabbed it. Sharon said it hit off her neck. She was checked out by a medic, but seemed fine although a little shaken. Jack thinks that the ball must have hit off a seat back in front of us before it got to Sharon. I tried to convince Jack that getting two fouls balls was extraordinary, but he is convinced that he is going to be able to get them whenever he goes to a game!

The Giants lost the game by the score of 7 to 2. They had three players that I have never heard of starting: Tyler Colvin in left field (apparently he has played for the Cubs and the Rockies); Joe Panik at second base (a 23 year old rookie); and, Adam Duvall at first base (a 25 year old rookie). The Cardinal's shortstop hit a home run in the top of the first to give the Cardinals a 2 to 0 lead. The game never seemed close. Bumgarner was the losing pitcher.

After the game, we walked back to the hotel. Sharon and I had a bite to eat and a drink in the Americano Restaurant at the hotel.

We finished the night at Michael Mina Restaurant. On California Street, it was walking distance from the hotel, Sharon, Jack and I had a five course tasting. The solid was solid, but not spectacular. Both Sharon and I agreed afterwards that we would probably have been happier just ordering off the regular menu.