Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Hamilton (2020 Film)

Hamilton Disney+ poster 2020.jpgOn Saturday night, July 4th, Sharon and I watched Hamilton on Disney+. We saw the play on Broadway in 2018. The play was inspired by the 2004 biography by Ron Chernow; I read the book in 2017.

Hamilton was directed and produced by Thomas Kail and produced, written, and composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda also stars as first Treasury Secretary and Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. The film is edited together from three performances of Hamilton at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in June 2016 with the original principal Broadway cast members.

Hamilton was originally planned for theatrical release on October 15, 2021. However, in response to the pandemic, it was moved up and released digitally worldwide on Disney+ on July 3, 2020.

Divided in two acts, the musical depicts the life and career of Alexander Hamilton, an orphaned immigrant from the Caribbean island of Nevis. The first act covers Hamilton's arrival in New York City in 1776, his work as an aide-de-camp to General George Washington during the American Revolution, and how he met and married Eliza Schuyler. The second act covers Hamilton's postwar work as the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States and his death in a duel with Aaron Burr.

I really enjoyed the film.  I highly recommend it.  I rarely see a film and think that I want to watch it again; I am going to watch Hamilton again (Sea Ranch?).

When we saw the performance on Broadway, Jack talked about how the actor playing Thomas Jefferson was very different than the performer in the original cast.  At the time, I said that I was disappointed in the casting of Jefferson.  I found the original cast member (Daveed Diggs) in the film very good.

I was thinking that the film could win several Oscars.  Unfortunately, by rule, filmed versions of theatrical performances are not eligible for the Oscars...

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Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Back to Work from Home

Over the last five weeks, I have been going into the office at least four days a week.  Following the data, including our own internal command center reports, I decided over the long holiday weekend that I was going to start working from home again.

Monday, July 06, 2020

Kayaking at Stumpy Meadows

For Father's Day, Sharon bought me a double inflatable kayak.  In early July, I dragged both of our hard shell kayaks out of the storage shed.  We sold them both in less than 18 hours.  I am going to use the funds to buy one or two inflatable single kayaks to go with the double.

Monday morning, Sharon and I headed up to the Larkins.  From there, we drove to Stumpy Meadows.  The Larkins have two Advanced Element single inflatable kayaks.  The four of us ended up kayaking for two hours from the boat ramp to the old Pilot Creek Bridge at the end of the lake and back.  I enjoyed the kayaking and the Larkins' company.

I am very pleased with the new kayak.  It is so much easier to load, unload and store than the 13' double gunboat that we sold.

The four of us finished the day with a late leisurely lunch on the patio at the Georgetown Hotel and Saloon.  Everyone had a burger.

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Ancil Hoffman Neighborhood Golf Tournament

Sunday sfternoon, Sharon and I played in a small adhoc golf tournament with our neighbors.  Jill organized the group.  We played with Jim and Debi.

I didn't embarrass myself.  I was extremely happy with how I played.  In spite of a four putt on the third hole, I carded a 52 on the front nine.

It took us about two hours and twenty minutes for nine holes.  Playing best ball for the couple on each hole, we ended up tying Jim and Debi with a 49.

We finished the day with a social distancing dinner in Mike and Jill backyard.  We visited until almost eleven.

Saturday, July 04, 2020

2020 Fourth of July

It is an odd time. We probably would have spent the day at Tom's house. Sharon has an extended family in Sacramento; it feels like we haven't seen any of them in a long time.

After grocery shopping, cleaning the house and lounging in the pool, Sharon and I finished the day watching Hamilton.  My notes on Hamilton are here.

Friday, July 03, 2020

Ancil Hoffman with the Gainsleys

At Ancil HoffmanSharon and I played golf at Ancil Hoffman with the Gainsleys. We had a 8:36 am tee time.

I really struggled on the front nine. I was too much in my own head. I was standing over the ball for too long and for the life of me I can't keep my head still.  Although I was getting off the tee pretty well, I repeatedly chunked my fairway shots.  I was shocked at how hard and fast the greens were.

I settled down on the back nine. I bogeyed four of the last five holes.  Surprisingly, I played the whole round with one ball!  I ended up scoring a 116.  The 54 on the back nine is just about where I feel I should be able to score. It took us about four and a half hours to play the round.

The four of us had a late lunch on the patio at Matteos. Both Sharon and I had a burger.

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Succession - Season Two

Sharon and I finished watching season two of Succession. We finished season one in the middle of June.

Season two originally aired from August 11, 2019 to October 13, 2019.  The series has been renewed for a third season.

The show centers on the Roy family, the dysfunctional owners of Waystar Royco, a global media and hospitality empire.  Season two focuses on the family patriarch, Logan Roy (Brian Cox), fighting to maintain control of the company in the face of a hostile takeover bid.

I originally said that I was lukewarm on the show. It has grown on me over the course of twenty episodes. I have ungraded my rating to a strong "B." With the world more than a little in disarray, it will be interesting to see when season three airs...

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Countdown 1945: The Extraordinary Story of the Atomic Bomb and the 116 Days That Changed the World

My book for July was Countdown 1945: The Extraordinary Story of the Atomic Bomb and the 116 Days That Changed the World by Chris Wallace. I saw Chris Wallace talk about the book on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. Although not specifically a presidential biography, It fits into my long term project to read books about all of the presidents.

The book focuses on the timeframe from when Franklin Roosevelt died to when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. The book weaves together four different storylines: Harry Truman becoming president; the pilots who flew the missions to drop the bombs; the scientists building the bombs; and, a Japanese girl living in Hiroshima.

Drinking with Sam Rayburn in his hideaway in the House when he gets the call to hurry back to the White House, Truman is a central character. The story follows Truman as he learns about the bomb and agonizes about using it. There is a section about the Potsdam Conference when he shares with Stalin and Churchill the existence of the bomb.

This is a compeling story. I recommend the book.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

ESPN 30 for 30 Vol IV - Be Water

Running on the treadmill on Sunday afternoon and Tuesday night, I watched the ESPN 30 for 30 Be Water. This is the fifth film in volume IV of ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary series. I will post an episode guide for volume four in the future.

Be Water is an exploration of the life and legacy of Bruce Lee as an acting and martial arts icon. I was fascinated by the fact that he was the son of a Chinese Opera star and appeared in several films as a child actor. By the time he was 18, he had appeared in twenty films.

Concerned that there was a contract out for his life, his parent sent him to the United States in 1959.  He eventually enrolled in the University of Washington in Seattle and started teaching martial arts. 

From 1966 to 1967, Lee played the role of Kato alongside the title character played by Van Williams in the The Green Hornet. The show lasted only one season (26 episodes).  During the 60s, he built relationships with several hollywood actors and sports stars.  The documentary implies that Bruce Lee pitched the idea for the Kung Fu television series.

Frustrated with Hollywood, Lee returned to Hong Kong to star in a series of marital arts films.  The success of these films turned him into a superstar and finally caught Hollywood's attention.  Lee died unexpectedly at age 32 just as his film career was taking off.

Frankly, I didn't know much Bruce Lee.  I enjoyed the film, but feel like it could have been tighter and shorter.  [Note to self], I need to watch Enter the Dragon and at least a couple of the Green Hornet episodes.

Footnote.  There is a amazing sequence in the documentary of Bruce Lee fighting with 7 ft 2 in basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a former student.  This was filmed for Game of Death.

Monday, June 29, 2020

1991 Oscar Nominations

Best Picture:
    Dances with Wolves - winner
   ✔ The Godfather Part III

Lead Actor:
    Jeremy Irons, Reversal of Fortune - winner
    Kevin Costner, Dances with Wolves
    Robert De Niro, Awakenings
    Gérard Depardieu, Cyrano de Bergerac
    Richard Harris, The Field

Supporting Actor:
    Joe Pesci, Goodfellas - winner
    Bruce Davison, Longtime Companion
   ✔ Andy García, The Godfather Part III
    Graham Greene, Dances with Wolves
    Al Pacino, Dick Tracy

Lead Actress:
   Kathy Bates, Misery - winner
   Anjelica Huston, The Grifters
   Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman
   Meryl Streep, Postcards from the Edge
   Joanne Woodward, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge

Supporting Actress:
   Whoopi Goldberg, Ghost - winner
   Annette Bening, The Grifters
   Lorraine Bracco, Goodfellas
   Diane Ladd, Wild at Heart
   Mary McDonnell, Dances with Wolves

Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen:
   Ghost – winner
   Green Card

Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium
   Dances with Wolves – Michael Blake based on his novel - winner
   Awakenings – Steven Zaillian from the book by Oliver Sacks
   Goodfellas – Nicholas Pileggi and Martin Scorsese from Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi
   The Grifters – Donald E. Westlake based on the book by Jim Thompson
   Reversal of Fortune – Nicholas Kazan based on the book by Alan M. Dershowitz

The 2020 Oscar nominations are here.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Sex and the City 2

Saturday night, Sharon and I watched Sex and the City 2. Over the last couple months, Sharon has binge watched all 94 episodes of the television series. A week ago Friday night, we watched the first movie. Sex and the City 2 was released theatrically on May 27, 2010 .
Based on the 1997 book of the same name by Candace Bushnell) about four female friends, it continues the story of Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall), Charlotte York Goldenblatt (Kristin Davis), and Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon).  Chris Noth co-stars as Carrie's husband.  It features cameos from Liza Minnelli, Miley Cyrus, Tim Gunn, Ron White, Omid Djalili, Penélope Cruz, Norm Lewis, Kelli O'Hara, and Ryan Silverman.

It was panned by the critics, but was a commercial success grossing $294 million on a $95 million production budget.  A large part of the film is set in Abu Dhabi, but was actually filmed in Morocco.

Like the first movie, it was mindless entertainment.  I enjoyed it.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Stevens Trail

Sharon and I have been trying to do a hike every month this year [January, February, March, April , May]. Early Saturday morning, we headed to the Stevens Trail. It starts just off of Highway 80 in Colfax.

We head up hiking 3.7 miles in two hours and twenty-five minutes. We hiked to an old mine on the trail before turning back.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Woodcreek plus Matteos

Friday morning, Sharon and Holly played golf at Woodcreek. They bailed after eleven holes and had lunch at the grill.

We finished the day with curbside take-out from Matteos. We split Asiago Polenta Fries. For entrees, Sharon had Grilled Leg of Lamb with Chimichurri, while I had a Thai Steak Salad.  Sharon did not like her meal...

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Saturday Night Live - Season One

Running on the treadmill on Father's Day, I finished watching the first season of Saturday Night Live.  When I started reading the oral history of Saturday Night Live in March,  I decided to start watching the first season.

It is interesting to see how the show starts to take shape and morphs towards the format that we are familiar with today. Although John Belushi is a force of nature, I was particularly impressed with Dan Aykroyd and Gilda Radner.

The list of hosts and musical acts for the first season includes:
  1. Host: George Carlin; Musical Guest: Billy Preston & Janis Ian; October 11, 1975
  2. Host: Paul Simon; Musical Guest: Randy Newman, Phoebe Snow, Art Garfunkel & Jessy Dixon Singers; October 18, 1975
  3. Host: Rob Reiner; Musical Guest: none; October 25, 1975--In lieu of a musical guest, John Belushi performs "With a Little Help from My Friends" while impersonating Joe Cocker.
  4. Host: Candice Bergen; Musical Guest: Esther Phillips; November 8, 1975
  5. Host: Robert Klein; Musical Guest: ABBA & Loudon Wainwright III; November 15, 1975
  6. Host: Lily Tomlin; Musical Guest: Tomlin with Howard Shore & the All Nurse Band; November 22, 1975
  7. Host: Richard Pryor; Musical Guest: Gil Scott-Heron; December 13, 1975--This was the first appearance of John Belushi's Samurai character.
  8. Host: Candice Bergen; Musical Guest: Martha Reeves & The Stylistics; December 20, 1975
  9. Host: Elliott Gould; Musical Guest: Anne Murray; January 10, 1976
  10. Host: Buck Henry; Musical Guest: Bill Withers & Toni Basil; January 17, 1976
  11. Host: Peter Cook & Dudley Moore; Musical Guest: Neil Sedaka; January 24, 1976
  12. Host: Dick Cavett; Musical Guest: Jimmy Cliff; January 31, 1976
  13. Host: Peter Boyle; Musical Guest: Al Jarreau; February 14, 1976
  14. Host: Desi Arnaz; Musical Guest: Desi Arnaz & Desi Arnaz, Jr.; February 21, 1976
  15. Host: Jill Clayburgh; Musical Guest: Leon Redbone & The Idlers; February 28, 1976
  16. Host: Anthony Perkins; Musical Guest: Betty Carter; March 13, 1976
  17. Host: Ron Nessen; Musical Guest: Patti Smith; April 17, 1976
  18. Host: Raquel Welch; Musical Guest: Phoebe Snow & John Sebastian; April 24, 1976
  19. Host: Madeline Kahn; Musical Guest: Carly Simon; May 8, 1976
  20. Host: Dyan Cannon; Musical Guest: Leon and Mary Russell; May 15, 1976
  21. Host: Buck Henry; Musical Guest: Gordon Lightfoot & Garrett Morris; May 22, 1976
  22. Host: Elliott Gould; Musical Guest: Leon Redbone, Harlan Collins & Joyce Everson; May 29, 1976
  23. Host: Louise Lasser; Musical Guest: Preservation Hall Jazz Band; July 24, 1976
  24. Host: Kris Kristofferson; Musical Guest: Rita Coolidge; July 31, 1976
I really enjoyed working my way through the season.  I am going to start season two in the near future.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Sex and the City

Friday night, Sharon and I watched Sex and the City. Over the last couple months, Sharon has binge watched all 94 episodes of the television series. The series aired on HBO from 1998 to 2004. This movie was released in 2008.

Based on the 1997 book of the same name by Candace Bushnell) about four female friends, it continues the story of Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall), Charlotte York Goldenblatt (Kristin Davis), and Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon). Like the television series, the movie deals with the charaters' lives as single women in New York City and includes frank discussions about romance and sexuality.

Despite mixed reviews from critics, calling the film an extended episode of the series, it was a commercial success, grossing over $415 million worldwide from a $65 million budget.

I enjoyed the movie; it was mindless entertainment.  We will watch the sequel this weekend.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Father's Day 2020

Father's Day Present
We have two kayaks: a single and a double.  The problem is that they are a lot of work to transport and take up a huge amount of space.  We have been talking for some time about getting inflatable kayaks like the Larkins have. 

Sharon decided to get me a inflatable double kayak for Father's Day.  I set it up in the garage.  With the community pool open for the first day on Sunday, we carried the kayak across the cul-de-sac and dropped it in the pool. 
My initial impression is very favorable.  We are going to look for a day in the next two weeks to take it out.

After running on the treadmill while watching the finale of season one of Saturday Night Live, I connected with Drew and Shannon and Jack to play Catan online.  We ended up playing two games over the course of almost two and a half hours.  It was a nice way to connect with them on Father's Day.  I have to admit that I was getting a little frustrated with the sensitivity of the trackpad on the device is was using...

Sharon and I finished the day with a nice dinner of swordfish fettuccine and an interesting episode of Succession [Season 2, Episode 5]


Saturday, June 20, 2020

Gainsleys over for Dinner

Saturday evening, we had the Gainsleys over for dinner.  Originally, the four of us were planning to play golf at Ancil Hoffman on Saturday afternoon.  With the temperature forecasted to be over 100 degrees, we punted on that plan and decided just to get together for dinner.

We barbecued steak and asparagus.  Sharon made an interesting wilted salad on the grill. 

Friday, June 19, 2020

Virtual Cocktail Hour

Sharon and I got together with Drew and Shannon for a virtual cocktail hour.  

We have a family vacation planned for Sea Ranch in August.  I am really looking forward to that trip.