Wednesday, December 31, 2003

New Year's Eve 2003

We stopped by Brun and Kim's for a Christmas gift exchange and a drink.

Afterwards we left Jack with Sharon's dad for the evening and went to Dinner at Piatti's with Matt and Sherry Bell. Last year, Sharon and I had gone to Piatti's for dinner on New Year's Eve and had a nice time. We decided to do the same thing again this year and invite the Bell's to join us! We had a wonderful evening.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

It finally stopped snowing early Tuesday morning. We got up fairly early with the idea of getting Jack into a ski lesson at Tahoe Donner or Boreal. Unfortunately, with the first break in the weather in almost 36 hours, everyone was trying to get to the ski resorts. There was a lot of traffic. It took us almost an hour and twenty minutes to drive from Tahoe City to the Tahoe Donner Ski Resort in Truckee.

The traffic trying to get into Squaw was amazing. There was a line of stopped traffic stretching from the entrance to Squaw going all the way back on to the freeway.

By the time we got to Tahoe Donner, the Snowflakes ski school was full and all of the private lessons were booked. We decided to start for home and ended up having lunch at TGI Friday's in Sacramento.

Monday, December 29, 2003

It started snowing Sunday night and essentially did not stop until early Tuesday morning. Monday morning we had a leisurely breakfast at the Cafe Echo. The Cafe Echo was less than 100 yard walk from the hotel. By the time we finished breakfast, it was snowing hard.

Our original plan was to put Jack into a ski lesson, but we decided against this given the weather. After talking to the front desk, we decided to go to a small ski hill and snow play area nearby called Granlibakken. This is located about 2 1/2 miles from downtown Tahoe City.

We sledded for a couple of hours. About halfway through we stopped and went into the warming hut for hot chocolate and beer!

After sledding, we drove around checking out some places to have dinner. At this point, it was snowing very hard. We went a couple miles north on 89 pass before turning around and heading back into town.

We ended up having dinner at Jake's in Tahoe City.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Sunday morning, we drove to Truckee and had lunch in old town at the Squeeze In. After lunch, we walked around the old town.

Sharon had made reservations for the three of us to go dog sledding with Cold Stream Adventures at 2:00 p.m. We checked in at their office in Truckee and then drove about 15 miles north on Highway 89 towards Quincy to Cottonwood Canyon. We had an hour and a half dog sled ride. Jack had a great time and loved the dogs!

The dogs were Alaskan Huskies, but they were not quite what we expected. "The Alaskan husky is a continuous experiment in breeding and really nothing more than a successful mixed breed mutt." Although the fur was thick, it was not as long we thought it would be. Nevertheless, the dogs could run!

After the dog sledding, we drove into Tahoe City and checked into a Travelodge. When we started looking for a place to stay, the condos wanted a week minimum, but we only wanted to stay two nights so we settled for staying at the Travelodge. This turned out to mixed blessing; the room was only so so, but there were a lots of things close by. This later advantage turned out to be a good thing over the next two days!

We walked to dinner at the Blue Agave for Mexican Food. As we walked back from dinner, it was snowing pretty hard.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Sharon, Jack and I went to up to Placerville and picked up Morgan and Drew for lunch. We had a nice lunch at Powell Brother's Steamer Company in old town Placerville. We did a Christmas gift exchange and delivered some presents for Morgan and Drew that my sister and brother-in-law had sent.

Saturday night, Sharon, Jack and I watched A Christmas Story that I had TIVOed.

Friday, December 26, 2003

One of my goals for this Christmas was to buy everything on-line and avoid going to the mall. I accomplished this objective; every present that I gave this year for Christmas was purchased from a web site! The on-line stores I used this year included: [a wide variety of stuff, including books, CDs, and consumer electronics]; Brookstone; Fontanini Gifts; Gaiam; Hockey Giant; Neiman Marcus; Sports Giant; Sur La Table, and; Victoria Secret.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Christmas Day 2003

We had a great Christmas morning. Jack is at the perfect age for the holiday. Jack got a number of presents including books, basketballs, basketball hoops and a hockey game from Santa.

I am going to post a larger photo album from Christmas in the next week.

After a late breakfast, the three of us plus Tim went to watch the Kings play the Mavericks at Arco Arena. Unfortunately, after leading by 16 points at halftime, the Kings lost by a score of 111 to 103. The team encouraged everyone to dress in white and distributed inflatable noise makers shaped like large candy canes. At half-time, they dumped "snow" from the rafters. Visually, the overall effect of everyone in white with the candy cane noise makers was cool.

Jack fell asleep on the way home from the game and Sharon and I had a quiet dinner. She made a couple of great minature beef wellingtons.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Christmas Eve 2003

Sharon, Jack and I spent Christmas Eve at Sharon's parents house with her brother Tim's family [Tim, Kathy, Erin and Eileen], Jim Dunn and her parents [Jack and Rosemary]. Sharon's brother Tom and his family went to Phoenix to be with his in-laws. We had a nice dinner and exchanged gifts.

Christmas Card 2003

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

2003 Christmas Letter

Dear Family and Friends,

2003 has been a busy year for us!

In January, we visited Pat Funk and her family in the Philippines. We spent a week in and around Manila and a week on the island of Boracay. Sharon and Pat went on to spend a few days in Bangkok, Thailand sightseeing and shopping.

Mark returned from vacation to a reorganization which expanded his responsibilities. His role at Sutter Health now includes the enterprise help desk, corporate desktop, automation, the data center and the back office applications.

Sharon spent February through May focusing on building her legal practice and training for a marathon. Jack got his first taste of team sports playing T-ball in the Spring. He has talked for months about wanting to play baseball again.

In May, Morgan turned sixteen and got her driver’s license. Drew graduated from Union Mine High School.

In June, Sharon ran the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon raising money for stroke awareness and research. Mark celebrated his fifth year with Sutter Health.

During the summer, we took our sixteenth annual trip to Lake Almanor with the Tomasins, Wallens, Bachmans and Hunters. Later, we visited the Wallens with side trips to Safeco Field in Seattle and Port Townsend. Jack finished up at Cottage Kids where he was been for almost five years and started Kindergarten at St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton.

The fall saw Drew starting college at the University of California at Irvine as a theater major. We celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary with a trip to Las Vegas and Sharon finished up the first successful year of running her own law practice.

We finished the year with Sharon taking a temporary assignment as in-house counsel for T0wer Rec0rds!

We hope that this note finds you safe and well
Wishing you a happy new year,
Mark and Sharon Heringer

Monday, December 22, 2003

Sharon started a temporary assignment as in-house counsel for T0wer Rec0rds.

All of my work with Dell on Sunday left me at the same point; the machine will reboot itself while it is starting up. At 6:00 a.m., I called the Dell support line to continue trying to troubleshoot the problems. It is starting to look like the motherboard has a problem. This time I got someone in Nashville instead of India! It was a much better experience. The quality of the telephone connection was much better than Sunday and it was much easier to communicate with technician on the other end! We spent another hour running diagnostics. He finally decided to have Airborne bring me a box so that we can ship the PC to their depot. When we bought the computer, Sharon purchased a three year rapid response depot maintenance service [thank goodness!].

The differences between the experiences on Sunday with the technician in India compared to the technician in Nashville were like night and day. Every minute was a struggle on Sunday, while the experience on Monday was much cleaner and easier. While companies may be saving money moving the help desk to India, it is difficult for me to believe that they are maintaining any customer satisfaction.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Dell's India Help Desk

Sharon has a laptop for her legal practice that started having problems about a week ago. I tried a couple of different strategies to fix the problems myself, but finally ended up calling Dell Support Sunday morning.

Dell has outsourced their customer help desk to India. If you have not spent two and a half hours on the phone talking to someone in India trying to debug a computer problem, you have not really lived. There were two issues. First, English is not English. The difference in idioms and the pronunciation of words and letters is a much more of a problem than you would expect. Second, the telephone connection was only good at best. It was not a very clear connection which adds to language issues. After spending over an hour and fifteen minutes with one technician, I got dropped. I had to call back in and get connected with another technician in India. Although their system provides some details about my first call, I had to spend some time retracing the same steps. These factors were a very large distraction. I have spent my working career on all sides of these types of transactions. I am not sure how anyone without that kind of perspective could keep from going berserk during the process. At the end of the two and a half hours of calls, they actually had me typing machine language code into debug to reformat the boot sector of the hard disk. Realizing what they were trying to do, I was scared to death that I was going to misunderstand one of the letters or numbers that they were reading off to me. After we did this, they had me start the windows XP installation process from scratch.

Sunday everning, I took Drew and Morgan to the Nutcracker. Due to some bad scheduling, we needed up with Nutcracker tickets for both Saturday and Sunday night. Sharon, Jack and I went on Saturday night, while Drew, Morgan and I went Sunday night.

Sharon took Jack to a Christmas party put on by one of the kids in his class. It was all kindergarten boys. They made ornaments, sang a couple of songs and had an appearance from Santa.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Pavilions 2003

Sharon, Jack and I went to the Pavilions Shopping Center on Fair Oaks for the afternoon. Santa makes an appearance and they have complimentary carriage rides. After taking a carriage ride and wandering through a few shops, we went to Piatti's for early dinner. We did the same thing one Saturday afternoon last year and decided to make it an annual event.

After dinner, we took Jack to the Nutcracker. The production has all new sets that were made in St. Petersburg and a live orchesta. It has probably been nine or ten years since I last took Drew and Morgan to see The Nutcracker.

I have started a related web site at which allows me to post directly from my camera phone to the web.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Google Search: miserable failure


This is odd. If you do a Google Search for "miserable failure," the first item in the list is the biography of George W. Bush on the official White House web site.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

I spent the day in San Francisco at a Kronos Project meeting at CPMC in the morning and the West Bay CIO meeting in the afternoon. I have a hands free handset for my cell phone and I have gotten into the habit of making a series of business and personal calls on these trips. On the way down to San Francisco, I had a long talk with John Wallen. It included relating a long six degrees of separation story which I have been involved in that makes me realize how small the world really is. On the way back, I had a long rant with Sharon.

Sharon went out for drinks with Janie Diagle and Jeana Hultquist to Morton's Steakhouse in downtown Sacramento. The three of them had a great time together at Sea Ranch and have even made up a nickname for themselves!

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

I registered Jack for the Rookie Division of Elk Grove Cal Ripken Baseball. His coach from last year's T-ball team is organizing a team and asked Jack to sign up. Jack had a great time playing T-ball last year. He has been talking about wanting to play baseball again for the last six months.

My fantasy football team was seeded third in the league playoffs and won the first round of the playoffs by a score of 203 to 100. Over the next two weeks, the team will be playing for the league championship. The team that I will be playing against had 12 wins and 1 loss in the regular season and is anchored by Priest Holmes [the #1 fantasy player] and Torry Holt. I do not give myself very good odds for winning.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Sharon worked for an hour and fifteen minutes as the Art Docent for the afternoon kindergarten class. The lesson plan was titled "Religion." The lesson talked briefly about Paolo Veronese, Sandro Boticelli and Giorgione. It highlighted a painting by each Artist: The Finding of Moses by Veronese; Adoration of the Magi by Boticelli [shown below] and Adoration of the Shepherds by Giorgione. As part of the lesson, the kids made a framed nativity scene.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

I have enjoyed Christmas in our house very much over the last four years. Sharon has done a better job every year decorating the inside for the season.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Drew, Jack and I went to see Morgan perform in a Jazz Band competition at Consumes River College. Morgan plays the piano in the Jazz Band for Union Mine High School.

Sharon and I had a drink at Gallagher's Irish Pub and went out to dinner at the Broiler's Steakhouse. Originally, we had gotten a babysitter and planned to go to dinner and then the Gainsley's Christmas Open House. Unfortunately, I got the night wrong; their open house was Friday night. We ended up having a leisurely dinner and going out to Arden Faire Mall to finish up some Christmas Shopping.

Friday, December 12, 2003


The Business System Team held a white elephant gift exchange at lunch. Donna has been organizing this as a team building event since 1998; this was the sixth gift exchange. This year's group included almost 60 people.

Drew finished up his finals this afternoon and flew back from Irvine. I picked him up at the airport at about 11:00 p.m.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Nativity Scene

As part of Jack's homework for the week, we built a Nativity Scene Diorama. I found an interesting web site [] that has cut-outs of a wide variety of things, including a Nativity scene. We enlarged the cut-outs to fit into the shoebox and printed them on photo paper.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Sharon's Dad, Jack, turned 86 today; he was born on this day in 1917.

Jack's school had a Christmas Social tonight. They had a selection of small gifts that the kids could buy as presents for people. Jack picked out presents for Andrew, Mom, Dad and Morgan. They then helped the kids get the presents wrapped and ready to put under the tree.

Santa was also there posing for pictures with the kids.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Print Article: Ex-wife sues Clancy over books he doesn't write

I just finished reading Tom Clancy's Power Plays: Zero Hour. Starting in early 1995, Tom Clancy lent his name to three other series of books: Op Center, Net Force and Power Plays. Of the three, the Power Plays series has always been the weakest. This book hits rock bottom. After 300 pages of wandering, it sputters to an ending in about 30 pages.

I have wondered for some time why Clancy continued to allow the these series to be published when it was clear that they are damaging his "franchise." I came across the following article that suggests at least one possible answer: Ex-wife sues Clancy over books he doesn't write. The article suggests that while Clancy may be trying to kill off some of these series his ex-wife is motivated to keep them going.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Drew has started a web site which can be found at:

The sites focuses on his music and includes a static link to his solo album at:

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Joe Larkin and I went to the Kings versus the Indiana Pacers game. Lew Gasper, John Muncaster and Rudy Jugoz and his wife were in one of the vendor suites. The Kings beat the Pacer by a score of 91 to 88. This was the best game that I have seen this year.

I spent part of the day working on building a Christmas card using Print Shop. The card consists of a collage of four pictures from the year.

Believe or not, I also hung some additional Christmas lights in the front and back yards. Over the last couple years, I have wanted to put lights up over the entry way which is two stories tall. After a number of aborted atttempts, I finally got these lights up.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

We took a trip out to the rental in the afternoon. There is some dry rot in the back that we are having fixed and we wanted to check on the work.

After dinner, we finished putting up Christmas decorations inside and cleaning up the house. Last year, we had a big open house on December 7, more than 70 people in total. The open house was an event that we spent months getting ready for. On the eve of the anniversary of the event last year, we both wondered where we found all the energy to pull it off.

Friday, December 05, 2003

2003 Xmas Lunch

Mike Kaplan planned a team holiday lunch for the business system team this afternoon at Joe's Crab Shack on Front Street in Old Sacramento. This team includes about 65 people working on implementing and supporting Lawson, Kronos and a couple of smaller applications. This is a fairly new building in Old Sacramento; I did not believe there was a building there when I originally got the directions. It is just south of the Rio City Cafe between the railroad tracks and the river. It is a chain and is actually owned by the same company that owns the Rainforest Cafes [Laundry's Restaurants, Inc.].

Sharon and her brother Tim saw the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Kings in overtime. The Timberwolves won by a score of 112 to 109.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Decorating the Christmas Tree

We worked on decorating the Christmas tree.

I called and talked to John Wallen to catch up. I had called him about two weeks ago on his cell phone on my way to work. It turned out that he and Jill were on vacation in Hawaii. With the time change, it was 5:30 a.m. in Hawaii. I had rousted him out a deep sleep while he was on vacation!

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Christmas Tree 2003

We had an early dinner at Buca de Beppo. While we went there a number of times after it opened, this is the first time that we have been there in more than three years.

For the last two years, we have bought a flocked Christmas tree at Able's Christmas Trees on Folsom near the intersection with Jackson Highway. We were very happy with the selection of trees at this lot. The owners had indicated that they had been at the same location for twenty plus years. We were disappointed when the lot did not appear this year.

Sharon and Jack went into the tree lot at Cal Expo before dinner and was very happy with the selection of trees. The tented area of pre-flocked trees was larger than the entire lot we went to last year. She bought a tree that we picked up after dinner. While Sharon was purchasing the tree, she mentioned the disappearance of the lot where we had gone the year before. The person helping her knew of the lot and said that they [the Cal Expo lot] had driven them out of business. They said that Able's still had a small lot in Carmichael.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

I spent most of the day at the SOMA meeting in Modesto. SOMA is the steering committee for Sutter Health's outpatient electronic medical record project.

After running out to an 8 win and 3 loss record, my fantasy football team has lost both of the last two weeks. The team lost by a score of 90 to 95 in week twelve and by a score 90 to 106 in week thirteen. The team's record is now 8 wins and 5 losses.

My team still has a shot at winning the league. The play-offs start this weekend and my team is seeded third. The second and third seeds play for two weeks [weeks fourteen and fifteen of the season]. The winner plays the winner of the first and fourth seeds for the league championship in weeks sixteen and seventeen. The best team in the league has 12 wins and 1 loss and is anchored by Priest Holmes and Torry Holt.

Monday, December 01, 2003

I spent most of the day attending demonstrations of enterprise project management systems. A large group had presentations from Lawson and PMOffice by SystemCorp. Last Tuesday, we had a presentation from Niku.

This week Jack is "Star of the Week" for his kindergarten class. Star of the Week includes a number of activities such a poster. We made a large 28 inch by 22 inch poster over the weekend titled "Where in the World is Jack Heringer?" The poster had a world map as a background and included pictures of Jack in different places, including: Victoria, Canada; Seattle, Washington; Arco Arena; Cancun, Mexico and the Philippines! I also added another picture to the ones that I originally posted from the Cancun Trip.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Sharon went shopping for food for her parents in the afternoon. After dropping off the food, she went to the Kings versus New Jersey Nets basketball game. After leading by 32 at halftime, the Kings held on to win 105 to 93.

One of the my goals for this year is to do all of my Christmas shopping on-line. I am going to make an effort to see if I can avoid going to the malls completely! I started by ordering some presents on-line for Sharon and Jack today. Sharon's parents have an old tabletop hockey game that Jack loves. I ordered him one for Christmas.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

I spent most of the day putting up the outside Christmas lights. We bought a set of icicle lights for the roof-line three years ago when we moved into the house. I started having problems with the lights last year. For example, a short section would go out. This year I had even more problems. Short sections of five of the light strings were out. While I was struggling to get the lights working, one of the neighbors stopped for a second and told me her husband refused to put up icicle lights anymore due to problems with section of the lights going out! Eventually, I ended up getting two strands working and replacing three more completely.

After dinner, Sharon and I watched Bruce Almighty.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Drew's 19th Birthday!

While Sharon went out to brave the malls, Drew, Jack and I went to breakfast at IHOP. After breakfast, we made several trips to storage to get all of the Christmas decorations and started getting the outside Christmas lights put up. Drew headed up to Placerville to visit some friends from high school.

Jack and I went to the Kings versus Rockets basketball game. The Kings won 103 to 74. Jack has gotten a little spoiled in the last two weeks; this is the third game that he has attended.

Traditionally, She has had a girl's night out on the Wednesday night before Thankgiving. This shifted over to the Friday night after Thanksgiving several years ago. Sharon, Janie Daigle and Laura Melish went out for dinner and drinks at Centro Cocina Mexicana.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Thanksgiving 2003

Sharon and I hosted Thanksgiving at our house this year. The group included her brother Tom's family (Tom, Becky, Kevin and Eric), her brother Tim's family (Tim, Kathy, Erin and Eileen), her parents (Rosemary and Jack), a friend of the family (Jim Dunn), Sharon, Drew, Jack and I.

The kids had a great time playing basketball, video games on the big screen and football.

Sharon had gotten a Branigan Turkey. The dinner was great!

After dinner, we brought out a pumpkin pie with candles on it and everyone sang Drew happy birthday. Drew's birthday is Friday, November 28.

As they were leaving to get Jack and Rosemary home, Kevin kept telling his mom Becky that he did not want to leave and that this was the best Thanksgiving ever!

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

I like monkeys.

Jack and I went to pick Drew up at the airport; he flew back from Irvine for Thanksgiving. I was dumbfounded by the number of college kids getting off the planes. Three Southwest flights arrived fairly close to each other: one from Los Angeles, another from San Diego and Drew's flight from Orange County. It seemed like the flights were full of kids from Southern California schools and they were all wearing school sweatshirts or t-shirts.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Sharon and her brother Tim went to watch the Sacramento Kings play the Memphis Grizzlies tonight. The Kings won 109 to 89.

Drew and I exchanged IMs in the afternoon; he was on his way with a group to see The Producers at the Pantages Theater at Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles. Jason Alexander and Martin Short are cast in the leading roles.

I spent a big chunk of Monday in a new internal group called the Technical Architecture Council (TAC). To meet tighter seimic standards, Sutter Health is building a number of new hospitals over the next few years. The CIO has put together a group that will be focused on the “hospital of the future.” The group is working to answer a number of questions. How will we leverage our information technology with the work flow of these new hospitals? What kind of technologies will need to be supported in hospitals that are coming on-line in four to eight years? What is the impact of these technologies on the physical design of the hospital?

Monday, November 24, 2003

I got the following e-mail from Brun about Velta's Name's Day.

It started me wondering what exactly is a Name's Day?

Here are a couple of references I uncovered as I tried to figure out what this was all about: Czech Name Day; Celebration of Namedays in Greece; Celebrating Your Patron Saint's Day, and;
From:    Joe DiGiorgio

Sent: Monday, November 24, 2003 1:49 PM
Subject: Velta's Names Day
Today is Velta's Name's Day !!
It's an European tradition where everyone has a names day

that people celebrate... whereas a birthday is something
only close family and friends know when it happens,
everyone knows when your name's day is [they publish
country specific calendars... it's the same date every year].
Instead of party and gifts like a birthday the host

[named person] has open house for well wishers to come
by and say hi. Gifts are not considered standard although
our Czech receptionist says flowers or chocolate is OK :-)

Sunday, November 23, 2003

As part of her role as a wedding coordinator, Sharon became an eucharistic minister for the church. A couple of times a month she will serve as eucharistic minister for communion during Mass. Today was one of those days. Jack went to kinderchurch, while Sharon and I attended Mass.

Sunday afternoon, Sharon, Jack and I went to the Kings game. We watched the Kings beat the Chicago Bulls by a score of 110 to 99. The Kings set a franchise record with 12 3-pointers in the first half.

One of our neighbors across the street put up his Christmas lights today! Only 32 shopping days until Christmas...

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Most of the morning and afternoon were spent shopping for the moulding for the upstairs hallway and then getting the project started. There a number of pieces that need to be cut to fit and painted. Conceptually, Sharon has a design for the upstairs hallway that creates two large spaces to display photos.

We are hosting Thanksgiving for Sharon's family and talked about cooking the turkey in the Weber this year. We did a test run on Saturday using a rotisserie in our Weber barbecue, but were not happy with the results; the turkey was too dry in some parts and underdone in others. We are going to punt and just cook the turkey in the oven.

After getting Jack to bed, Sharon and I watched Charlie's Angel: Full Throttle. This is an odd movie which can best be described as a cross between a music video and The Matrix with elements of the movie Three Kings stirred in.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Nooter and I have talked over the years about how the passage of time can feel like falling faster and faster down a dark tunnel. The last three weeks have definitely been one of those periods. I feel like I have spent all of the last three weeks sitting in meetings all day long every day or traveling to meetings. Combined with a trip to Rochester, Minnesota and Sharon being gone last weekend, it has been a blur.

I spent this morning in the TMC (Technical Management Council) meeting; this includes all of the Regional CIOs and the Directors. For lunch, the CIOs and Directors worked the serving line for a Thanksgiving lunch for the Mather staff. We served lunch to over 400 people. The afternoon was spent in a IBM database presentation.

Sharon made a court appearance in Auburn for a conservatorship that she has been working on.

Sharon worked for an hour and fifteen minutes as the Art Docent for the afternoon kindergarten class. The lesson plan was titled "Animals in Art." The lesson talked briefly about John James Audubon, Marc Chagall and Edward Hicks. It highlighted a painting by each Artist: Peaceable Kingdom by Hicks [shown below]; I and My Village by Chagall and Wild Turkey by Audubon. As part of the lesson, the kids choose a picture of an animal and cover the animal print with three different colors of construction paper.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Rudy Jugoz, Leesa Williams and I went to CPMC in San Francisco for a late meeting to work on a strategy for incorporating them into the enterprise change management processes.

My fantasy football team won week eleven by a score of 89 to 83. The team's record now stands at 8 wins and 3 losses. One team in the league has a record of 10 wins and one loss, while one other team has a record of 8 wins and 3 losses. The fourth best team has 6 wins and 5 losses. The top four teams make the playoffs which start in week thirteen.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

I spent the morning driving down to Redwood City to look at the old Excite@Home data center. This is one of the possible sites that we are looking at for a hot site, EICU location and office space.

On the drive from Redwood City to downtown San Francisco, I talked with Rob Nooter for about 30 minutes. Although he is having some challenges, Rob is working on starting up a dairy project in Tanzania. He and Barb are flying over to scout out houses. If everything goes according to plan, they will be moving their family to Tanzania after the first of the year.

I spent the afternoon in the West Bay CIO meeting.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

As part of my parent hours, I spent just over an hour tonight cutting out paper Thanksgiving quilts that Jack's class had colored!

Sunday, November 16, 2003

With Sharon at Sea Ranch until Monday, I spent a large chunk of the day working to finish painting the upstairs hall two more colors. We are trying to get it done before we have Sharon's family for Thankgiving. Next weekend, I am going to finish up the project by cutting and painting the moulding.

I bought Jack a Peja jersey on Friday night. He refuses to take it off and has wore it constantly for two days. If possible, he is even more manic about the jersey after watching the Kings game this afternoon; Stojakovic scored 33 points and was 4 for 6 from 3 point range in the King's victory.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Jack went to Kellen's birthday party at Tricks Gymnastics. Kellen is one of the boys from Jack's old day care. We have been to this place once before for a kids birthday party; they have quite a machne and have one birthday party after another tightly scheduled.

After getting Jack to bed, I watched The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers. While I thought that the first installment was pretty good, I was disappointed in how some of the second book was adapted for the movie. This film is a good example of how difficult it is to adapt a book to a movie; there are a large number of key plot points from the book that are ignored or substantially modified.

Friday, November 14, 2003

2003 Kings versus Raptors

Friday morning, Sharon, Janie Diagle and Jeana Hultquist took for a long weekend at a house they rented at Sea Ranch.

Sutter Health IT had its annual "all hands on deck" meeting. This includes all of the IT staff from Support Services as well as each affiliate. In total, there were probably close to 600 people at the meeting. In addition to a number of team building activities and guest speakers, John (the CIO) spent some time reviewing what we have accomplished and the awards that IT has received. More on some of that another time. It is interesting to look back over the last five years; it has been the most professionally rewarding period for me in twenty five years of working for a living.

Jack and I went to the Kings game. Although they have not been playing that well, the Kings beat up on the Toronto Raptors by a score of 94 to 64.

Larkin used our season tickets with Gene and I got another set of seats for Jack and I. They were great seats, about eight rows off the court and just down from center court in Section 115, row D, seat 7 and 8. Jack had a great time.

Our regular season tickets are in the second row of the upper deck just about center court. I have always liked those seat because I can see the whole floor and watch as teams work to run plays. I was struck by the speed of the game sitting down low on Friday night; you get a much better perspective on just how quick the players are.

I also gained a new level of respective for Gerald Wallace. In the second half, several players were jumping for a rebound and soaring above everyone I saw Gerald Wallace. From my angle, his head was above the rim.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

On the way back from Rochester on Wednesday, I finished reading The Return of the King. I had never read any of Tolkien's books before this year. Since January, I have read The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King.

Although my taste runs towards harder science fiction, I enjoyed the books. The level of detail of the world created in the four books is impressive. Next year, I may try to read the Harry Porter novels.

My fantasy football team lost week ten by a score of 90 to 64. The team's record now stands at 7 wins and 3 losses. The play-offs for fantasy leagues start in week thirteen. At this point, the team would be seated second or third in the play-offs.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

The morning was spent with IBM finishing up the briefing. A large part of IBM's presentation centered around using ISeries processors as a platform for running Linux, Windows and AIX in partitions. As I told the group, this does not fit very well into my world view. Sutter Health uses ISeries machines to host one purchased application, not as a key component of our infrastructure. Nevertheless, it is something that we need to evaluate and test as part of our technology planning process.

After two "nice" days (highs were in the high 40's and low 50's), it was snowing sideways when we left the briefing center and started for the airport. The flight from Rochester left about an hour late, but we had a long lay-over in St. Paul. We got back into Sacramento right on schedule about 7:20 p.m.

Sharon and Jack picked me up at the airport. I was great coming down the escalator and seeing them waiting there for me.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

We spent all day in a briefing on ISeries directions and had a tour of the IBM plant in Rochester.

We had dinner at Michael's in downtown Rochester (Voted "Best Business Luncheon" and "Best Steaks" by Where Locals Eat).

Monday, November 10, 2003

To Rochester

Yvonne Risch, Rudy Joguz and I spent all day winding our way to Rochester, Minnesota for an IBM briefing on ISeries directions.

The group had dinner at Victoria's Fine Italian Cuisine in downtown Rochester.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

The Kings are the oldest team in the NBA with an average age of 29.472 years. I think that maybe their age is starting to show based on the results of the four game road trip (1 win and 3 losses). The good news is that I am not an Oakland Raiders fan; the average age of their team appears to be 59.472.

Sharon is serving as her nephew's sponsor for his Confirmation into the Catholic Church. We went to church with Sharon's brother's family at Saint Ignatius Loyola Parish and she participated in the initial step of Kevin's Confirmation.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

We spent most of the day working on the project to paint the upstairs hallway. The project includes a couple of different color paints and some moulding to create two large areas to display photos.

Sharon and I had started talking on Friday night about cooking up a couple of lobsters for dinner on Saturday night. After Sharon got back from working out in the morning, we decided to see if we could throw an impromptu dinner party. We invited two other couples and cooked up a couple of pots of lobsters for dinner!

Drew called during dinner from Disneyland; he was in line for the Matterhorn ride. A big group of the people he has met at college got season passes and have already gone to Disneyland a couple of times on weekend.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Rudy Jugoz organized a small "golf tournament" for selected IT staff with the Sutter Health CEO at Whitney Oaks. I played in a foursome with Rudy, Dave Hamilton and Lew Gasper. Van Johnson, the CEO, played in the second group with Debbie Sleigh, Todd Peterson and Julie Cooper. The third foursome was John Muncaster, Mike Marchant, Ed Brooks and Allen King.

I was in trouble from the moment I stepped on the driving range. I have never felt so uncomfortable on the driving range. I probably should have walked back and got a second bucket of balls to hit, but I did not. I got off to a terrible start; I shot a 26 over the first three holes and a 64 on the front nine. I started to settle down about the seventh hole and actually had a 55 on the back nine.

The fourteen was the closet to the pin on the back nine. I teed off first for the group and hit a great 7 iron to within about 18 feet of the pin. Dave got up right behind me and hit a shot within about 6 feet of the pin.

I ended up with a 119 and "won" high gross. Lew won low gross with an 89, while Dave won closet to the pin on the back nine and low score using Callway.

Afterwards I met Sharon and Jack at the rental in Citrus Heights. The rental has some dry rot and Sharon had done a walk through with a contractor to look at what needs to be done. It is the same contractor that we used to fix up the East View property before we sold it in 2000.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

I spent almost all day at Sutter Health's conference center at Glen Cove in Vallejo for the TAG meeting. TAG is a regular meeting of all the IT Directors from the different affiliates within Sutter Health. I realized part of the reason that I feel like the pace has increased at work. While sitting in the meeting, I was trying to schedule a couple of other meetings to do some hardware planning for 2004 and the first dates I could find were in the middle of December. My calendar is almost completely full for the next month!

We had parent/teacher conference with Jack's teacher on Thursday evening. Jack is doing well academically. Jack is in the morning kindergarten class and there is 13 boys and 6 girls. The teacher is having some problems with the boys, including Jack, in this class. After going to the morning kindergarten from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., almost of the kids go to extended day together. They spent from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. or later together in a more unstructured environment. While they have some structure work in extension, the boys spent a lot of time playing basketball and football. They are very physical with each other and this get carried back into the classroom.

My fantasy football team won week nine by a score of 89 to 72. The team's record now stands at 7 wins and 2 losses. There is one team in the league with a record of 8 wins and 1 loss; I play that team this weekend. One other team has 6 wins and 3 losses.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

For her law practice, Sharon travels back and forth between a couple of different sites in Northern California. She wanted to be able to sit down with her PC at any site and send and receive e-mail and browse the internet. After looking at a number of different options we got her a Sierra Wireless Aircard 750 using the AT&T Wireless Network.

Although not as fast as a 802.11b wireless connection, it is faster than a 56kb dial-up connection. Additionally, we have found connectivity to be very good. We have used it up and down the west coast. Sharon used it to do an hour of legal research from a bed and breakfast in Port Townsend, Washington, while I used it to exchange instant messages with our CFO from the Las Vegas airport.

Since I bought the card for Sharon, our Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and one of the other directors has also gotten the same card. Our CIO got a similar product from Sprint about a year ago. I carry a Sprint cell phone, while Sharon has an AT&T cell phone. Based on this experience, AT&T's network has better coverage, particularly when you get off the beaten path.

I spend the bulk of Wednesday going to CPMC and back for the kick-off of their Kronos project. Donna Gainsley, Denis Axtel and I went down for the meeting. I sat in the back of Donna's car and using the Aircard had a solid connect to the internet all the way from Natomas to downtown San Francisco. I exchanged instant messages with Drew at UCI and Lew at 345 California Street, worked on answering some e-mail and browsed the net for almost one hour and 45 minutes without ever having the connection drop!

I spent 30 minutes this morning tracing pilgrim hats on construction paper as part of my parents hours for Jack's school.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

The pace at work has increased; in addition to a huge number of projects, there are several organization change balls in the air.

I spent most of Tuesday in SOMA, the steering committee for out-patient electronic medical record (EMR). Sutter Health started its EMR projects more than five years ago and now has several foundations that depend entirely on an electronic medical record rather than paper records. Without the availability of the EMR system, these foundations can not function. This creates some real urgency around the technology support and infrastructure issues.

More recently several other major healthcare organizations have started the same type of project using software from the same vendor, including Kaiser and UC Davis Medical Center.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Sharon and Janie Daigle went to a pur$e party in Davis.

Jack and I went to the Baskin Robbins in Placerville; Morgan started working there last weekend. Jack and I sat and had some ice cream and then got a chance to visit with Morgan for a while. It was a cold cloudy day and there were few other customers!

Saturday, November 01, 2003

We spent some time wandering around Home Depot getting supplies for the next project; we are going to paint the upstairs hallways and create some areas to hang pictures.

Sharon got some new pictures for the dining room walls; they are very large. The afternoon project was getting them hung in the right place.

Saturday night, we watched Rocky. I had actually never seen the movie.

Friday, October 31, 2003

Halloween 2003

Every year since 1996, we have gone to Sharon's parents on Halloween night. In the past years, the group of kids going out to trick and treat in the neighborhood where Sharon grew up has included Drew, Morgan, Eric, Erin, Kevin, Eileen and Jack. Every year, the group has gotten smaller as the older kids got involved in their own activities. This year, it was down to just Jack! We did run into Brun, Kim, Sara and Velta and went to a couple of houses with them.

This Jack was Rollie Pollie Ollie. Last year in 2002, Jack was Billy, a character from the same cartoon. In 2001, Jack was a lion.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Jack and Sharon worked on carving a pumpkin for Halloween.

After winning five weeks in a row, my fantasy football team, Sacto Rare White Tigers, lost week eight by a score of 101 to 80. My record now stands at 6 wins and 2 losses.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

2003 Kings versus Cavaliers

Larkin and I went to the King's home and season opener on Wednesday night. The Kings beat the Cleveland Cavaliers by a score of 106 to 92. The game was LeBron James' pro debut and it was a media circus. James ended up with 25 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals. Frankly, it was hard to believe that he was an 18 year old kid playing in his first pro game.

Wednesday morning, I was up a little after 4:00 a.m. for a 120 mile three hour drive to Mills-Peninsula Hospital in Millbrae. We had a post implementation meeting for their Lawson HR/Payroll implementation followed by a data center consolidation meeting.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

With a healthy Chris Webber, Sports Illustrated predicts Sacramento will beat New Jersey for its first NBA championship!?!

In a survey of twelve ESPN analysts, six picked the Lakers to win it all. while the other six picked the Spurs. Only one of the EPSN analysts [Chad Ford, ESPN Insider] even picked the Kings to make it to the Western Conference Finals. The survey does not predict any individual awards [Most Valuable Player, Coach of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Sixth Man, Defensive Player, Most Improved or Exec of the Year] for the Kings.

ESPN the Magazine rates the Kings as the fifth best team in the Western Conference, behind the Spurs, Lakers, Mavericks and Timberwolves. Their overview of the team says "the Kings, top to bottom, are no longer the NBA's most talented team" and that any long-shot hope hangs on the health of CWebb."

USAToday's preview of the Basketball season shows the Kings as the fifth best team and predicts that the Spurs will beat the pistons in the NBA Finals.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Sharon has volunteered as the Art Docent for the afternoon Kindergarten class. She spent an hour and a half this afternoon teaching a lesson plan titled "Artists paint People." The lesson talked briefly about Thomas Sully, Edward Manet and Pierre Auguste Renoir. It highlighted a painting by each Artist: The Torn Hat by Sully [shown below]; A Girl with a Watering Can by Renoir and The Fifer by Manet. The lesson uses mirrors to have the kids look at themselves and then draw their portrait.

Afterwards, She spent two plus hours volunteering to work in the extended day program. She had some interesting insights about Jack's ability to run with much bigger kids. Jack is used to having to try and run with bigger kids: Drew and Morgan; Kevin, Erin, Eric and Eileen his cousins; the almanor crowd and Pat's son Ryan. Outside of daycare, he is almost always the youngest wherever we are, except for your kids Brun!

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Sharon, Jack and I went to the Western Railroad Museum on Highway 12 between Rio Vista and Suisun. The museum operates trains over a 21 section of track in Solano County. As a special event, pumpkin batch trains are operated Saturdays, October 11th, 18th and 25th and Sundays, October 12th, 19th and 26th. The trains take visitors to the Gum Grove station where the pumpkin patch is located in a wooded glen.

Jack had a good time on the hay fort, the hay ride and the wheat maze. Jack is standing on the top of the hay fort in the picture shown below:

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Sharon spent the afternoon serving as a coordinator for her third wedding at Good Shepherd. She enjoyed this wedding the most of any that she has done so far. She is more experienced and comfortable in the role and the wedding party had its act together.

Jack, Sharon and I went to dinner at the Gainsley's. Donna Gainsley and I have worked together on the Lawson implementations at Sutter over the last five plus years. Mike Kaplan and his wife and Rudy Jugoz were also there for dinner. Donna and Kevin have a nice piece of property in Sheldon.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Sharon worked a wedding rehearsal as a wedding coordinator for the church. It turns out that we can count up to eight hours of her time as a wedding coordinator towards our 30 parent hours for the school.

I spent most of the day in a Technical Management Council (TMC) meeting; the group includes the Regional CIOs and the SHSS IT Directors.

The Kings cut their roster from 18 to 14 after the October 22 pre-season game against the Dallas Mavericks by releasing forwards Mark Strickland and Phil Ricci, guard Brandin Knight and swingman Roberto Bergersen. With Chris Webber and Lawrence Funderburke expected to be placed on the injured list, the Kings appear to have an active roster of 12.

It appears that free agents Jabari Smith and Rodney Buford have made the team. The resulting roster looks like:

10Mike BibbyPG6-1190May 13, 1978
32Rodney BufordGF6-5189Nov. 2, 1977
13Doug ChristieSG6-6205May 9, 1970
21Vlade DivacC7-1260Feb. 3, 1968
51Lawrence FunderburkePF6-9230Dec. 15, 1970
24Bobby JacksonG6-1185Mar. 13, 1973
34Tony MassenburgFC6-9250Jul. 13, 1967
52Brad MillerC7-0261Apr. 12, 1976
8Anthony PeelerSG6-4208Nov. 25, 1969
55Jabari SmithPF6-11240Feb. 12, 1977
25Darius SongailaF6-9248Feb. 14, 1978
16Peja StojakovicSF6-10229Jun. 9, 1977
3Gerald WallaceSF6-7215Jul. 23, 1982
4Chris WebberPF6-10245Mar. 1, 1973

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Up at 2:00 a.m. to help run incident command for a problem encountered during the coordinated downtime. A small problem turned into a three hour marathon due to some confusion on hardware maintenance contracts. First thing in the morning, Yvonne and I met with the CIO to talk about the organization structure. We are working to create a purer engineering group headed by a CTO and a larger operations team. It was a long 14 plus hour day...

Sharon worked in Auburn most of the day for Margaret Heiser. On her way back, She stopped and had dinner with Holly (Wong) Chang. Holly and Sharon job shared the Assistant General Counsel position for a number of years at the AgAmerica/Western Farm Credit Banks.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Sharon and her brother Tim went to the Kings preseason game tonight and saw them beat the Dallas Mavericks. The Kings won by a score of 121 to 99.

I spent most of the traveling to, attending and traveling back from the West Bay CIO meeting. The meeting was held at the Sutter Health office in downtown San Francisco.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

The web cam and weather station on my home page are back on-line. The desktop computer at home died with a nasty registry error just before we went to Las Vegas. After several late nights in a row, I am just in the process of getting everything back up and running.

My fantasy football team won for the fifth week in a row by a score of 95 to 87. The team's record for the season is 6 wins and 1 loss.

Monday, October 20, 2003

I spent a couple of hours this morning working the registration desk for the Knights of Columbus golf tournament. The tournament was a fund raiser for Jack's school.

Sharon went with Jack's kindergarten class to the Crocker Art Museum Art Ark.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Morgan got a job working at Baskin Robbins!

Last weekend while we were in Las Vegas, Jack stayed with Sharon's brother Tim and his wife Kathy. This weekend, we kept their girls, Erin and Eileen. Friday was Tim and Kathy's 16th wedding anniversary. We did the same thing last year; they kept Jack the weekend of our anniversary and we took their girls the following weekend for their anniversary.

I took Jack and his cousins to church in the morning, while Sharon took them to the movie Good Boy! in the afternoon. Neither Sharon or the kids gave the movie a very good rating...

Saturday, October 18, 2003

After a long weekend in Las Vegas last weekend, we stayed close to home. Both Sharon and I brought colds back with us from Vegas.

I participated in a live draft for a NBA fantasy basketball team on Saturday morning. I am not very satisfied with the team that I drafted. The last couple times I have participated in live drafts I have drafted in the sixth or seventh spot. I prefer to be either higher (one through three) or lower (nine and ten).

Saturday night, we left the kids with a babysitter, had a bite to eat and went to see Intolerable Cruelty.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Although most of the discussion has been about Weber returning in December, he seems to be making good progress rehabbing his knee. In the radio interview I heard that was done during the two hour tour of his rehab, Weber initially said "a couple more weeks" and then immediately back away from the statement.

Peter Vecsey reported in the New York Post that Weber will be suspended five games for lying to the Grand Jury penalty, but the suspension won't be executed until his surgically repaired knee is fully rehabilitated in early to mid-December.

The Kings signed Gerald Wallace through the 2004-05 season when they exercised a $1.65 million option Thursday, two weeks before the deadline.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Jack's school requires 30 parent hours over the course of the school year. Sharon has done some yard duty at recess already and I am going to work at the golf tournament fund raiser next week. One of the things that we volunteered for was prep work for class projects. I spent 45 minutes tonight stapling black construction paper on 37 toilet paper rolls. Apparently, the class is going to use them on Friday to make bats.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

The Kings have until Oct. 31 to pick up the $1.65 million option on Gerald Wallace's contract for the 2004-2005 season. Wallace showed encouraging improvement during early practices, then made 8 of 28 shots (0.285) in the first three exhibition games and looked lost on defense.

Wallace played better tonight in a lost to Houston; he went 6 for 9 with 15 rebounds.

My fantasy football team won week six by a score of 70 to 55. The team's record improved to 5 wins and 1 loss with four straight wins. This weekend I play the team that I have lost to back in week two.

Monday, October 13, 2003

2003 Las Vegas Day Four

After getting up and packing, Pat Funk picked us up at the hotel and the three of us went to breakfast. Pat dropped us at the airport and we caught a late morning flight back to Sacramento.

Some random thoughts on Las Vegas. I would not stay at New York New York again. The room was nice, but the hotel and casino seem cramped and uninspired compared to many of the other hotels. I would probably choose to stay at the Venetian or the Paris. The Mandalay Bay is nice, but too far to the end of the strip. Sharon liked the Bellagio. As an aside, we also visited the city of Bellagio on Lake Como during our Italian trip in the fall of 1996.

I was dumbfounded by the number of people. There were people everywhere, including lots of families with small children. Las Vegas appears to have become a major family destination resort.

We will probably go back again. We did not get around to doing several things that we had on our list including the Napoleon and Red Square Bars and hiking at Red Rocks.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

2003 Las Vegas Day Three

Sunday morning, we had a light breakfast in "Times Square." Afterwards, we walked past the Excalibur and the Luxor to the Mandalay Bay Hotel to pick up our show tickets. In January of 1996, we stayed one night at the Luxor and one night at the Mirage. We took the tram back to the Excalibur and walked through the casino on our way back to New York New York. The Excalibur would be last on my list of places to stay; in my opinion, the atmosphere is cheesy.

We then took a cab to the Venetian. The Guggenheim Hermitage Museum is within the elaborate structure of Las Vegas's Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino. We toured an exhibit titled American Pop Icons. The exhibit featured 28 paintings and sculptures from eight of the precursors and participants in the Pop art movement of the 1950's and 1960's—Jim Dine, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Andy Warhol, and Tom Wesselmann. Except for maybe one of the Warhol's, I would not pay a nickel for any of the items.

The Venetian includes gondolas, canals and "St. Mark's Square."

Sharon and I visited Venice, Italy in October of 1996. Although I like the Venetian, it is impossible to duplicate the character of a city like Venice.

Sharon had seen a Food Network show on the Cheesecake Factory. We headed over to Caesar's to find the Cheesecake Factory for a late lunch. After lunch we returned to Bellagio where Sharon did some shopping while I checked the NFL scores...

Sunday Night, we went to see Momma Mia! at the Mandalay Bay. We took a taxi back to Venetian for a late dinner at Postrio. After dinner, we actually walked all the way back to New York New York from the Venetian, stopping at the Mirage to watch the volcano and the Bellagio to watch the fountain show.

Las Vegas Day 4

Saturday, October 11, 2003

2003 Las Vegas Day Two

In spite of a late night, we were up early. Before about 9:00 a.m., you could fire a cannon off in the casinos and not hit anyone. We walked over the to the Monte Carlo for breakfast.

Afterwards, we walked north up the strip and wandered through the Aladdin into the connected shopping mall called Desert Passage. Several of the hotels and casinos have very elaborate shopping malls connected to them.

After the Aladdin, we went into the Paris Hotel. The Paris Hotel has a two-thirds replica of the original Arc de Triomphe and a half size replica of the Eiffel Tower.

Those people who know me well know that I am not a heights person. Nevertheless, we went up to the top of the replica. Sharon and I are talking about a trip to France and Holland in 2004 and I thought that going to the top of the replica would be a good warm up for the real thing. Sharon took this picture from the top looking south down the strip.

We headed back to New York New York for lunch. Sharon wanted a pastrami sandwich. We had lunch in a section of the hotel called Times Square. Sharon and I stayed on Times Square in 1998; this section of the hotel bears no resemble to the real Times Square.

While Sharon took a nap, I ran on the hotel treadmill and watched the mayhem of the Yankees and Red Sox in Game 3.

We had an early dinner at Drais in the Barbary Coast. The Barbary Coast is a small, older hotel in the middle of the strip. We had walked by it earlier in the day and were even more skeptical we went got out of the cab and walked into the Casino. We were pleasantly surprised. Drai's was named one of the top 5 Las Vegas Restaurants in the 2001 Zagat Survey. I rarely recommend restaurants, but this is a place I would recommend (warning: it is pricey).

We went to Zumanity at New York New York. Zumanity is billed as another side of Cirque du Soleil.

Las Vegas Day Three

Friday, October 10, 2003

2003 Las Vegas Day One

Sharon and I have tried to make a tradition of taking a trip for our anniversary. In 1997, we spent a week in Grand Caymen scuba diving. After taking two years off after Jack was born, we started up again in 2000. We spent the anniversary weekend in Napa in 2000, Mammoth Lakes in 2001 and Cambria and Hearst Castle in 2002. This year we went to Las Vegas. Although Sharon and Jack spent a couple of days visiting Pat in Las Vegas in July, Sharon and I have not been to Las Vegas together since January 1996.

We stayed at the New York New York Hotel. Afer we decided on Las Vegas in late August, we had a difficult time finding a room. New York New York was definitely not our first choice.

After getting to the hotel in the early afternoon, we had a light lunch at Il Fornaio.

After lunch, We wandered around the hotel and then headed over to the Bellagio. From the there, we headed to Caesar's Palace .

We met Pat Funk and Bernard for drinks at the Shadow Bar in Caesar's and then the four of us went to dinner at 808.

After dinner, Sharon and I took a cab to a late show at the MGM Grand called La Femme.

Las Vegas Day Two

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Drew has gotten a part in a student directed play called Forbidden Broadway. The play runs October 24, 25 and 26. He described it as a show poking fun at other shows; there is a web site for a Broadway production of this play at

My fantasy football team won week five by a score of 88 to 70. The team's record improved to 4 wins and 1 loss.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

I highly recommend the Newsweek article on Kobe. It can be found at:

The article is pretty long and paints an interesting picture of his childhood and social development.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

I talked to Tomasin for a while last night. Tomasin, Hunter and Geselbracht are taking off on Wednesday for a Rugby World Cup Tour to Australia and New Zealand with the California Bald Eagles.

Tomasin, Bachman and I went to the 1991 Rugby World Cup in Scotland, Wales and England with the Tennessee Long Rifles.

I spent most of the day in Modesto for the SOMA Committee Meeting. This is the steering committee for Sutter Health's outpatient electronic medical record project.

Larkin and I went to the first King's pre-season game; the Kings beat the Clippers 101 to 82. Bibby and Stojakovic looked very good. Both of them scored 19 points in limited minutes. Peja was 6 of 10 from the field, while Mike was 7 of 9. Unfortunately, Gerald Wallace who is tagged to replace Jim Jackson and Hedo Turkoglu and back up Peja at small forward did not look good. Although he had 8 rebounds, Wallace was 2 of 10 from the field.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Talked to Rob

I talked to Rob Nooter on the phone for about 20 minutes this morning. Rob, Barb and their kids are moving to Tanzania in East Africa for at least 2 years. Rob will be working on a dairy project that is intended to improve production at the farm level, improve the quality and efficiency of the processing sector and promote increased consumer demand for milk and dairy products. They will be living in Dar Es Salaam, one of the capital cities on the coast of the Indian Ocean.

I visited Rob and Barb in Moscow in April of 1995. My working goal is to visit them in Africa in April of 2005.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Jack had a play day with Noah; one of his best friends from the old daycare center.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

2003 Fall Dinner Party

Busy day... Sharon and Jack took our cat, Peja, to the blessing of the animals on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi in the morning. We have an odd cat that enjoys water and liked having the parish priest sprinkle water on him.

In the afternoon, we took Jack to a birthday party for one of the boys in his new class.

We had the Larkin's and Bell's for dinner on Saturday night. Sharon made a wonderful dinner of Osso Buco and risotto.

For desert, she made another baked alaska as a cake for Matt's birthday.

Friday, October 03, 2003

2003 Kings Tickets Draw

We had a conference call to divide up the King's season tickets. It is a very odd group. Joe Larkin and I spit a quarter share in two King's season tickets; this works out to ten games. The other three shares are held by Sharon and her brother Tim, Sharon's ex-husband and a former boss of both Sharon and her ex-husband. Needless to say, interactions within the group are more than a little strained. I am not sure, but I think that this is the seventh year that Larkin and I have participated with the group.

It looks like Weber may not be on the court for the Kings until December. He has not yet been cleared to run on the knee.

Powered by big games from Randy Moss and Peyton Manning, my fantasy football team won 130 to 74. The team's record is now three wins and one loss.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

A recent study ranked Sacramento traffic as the 9th worst in nation.

One of the major reasons that we sold the house in Shingle Springs and moved to Elk Grove was traffic. By late 1999, I was reaching the point where I was spending up to twenty hours a week commuting to Sacramento. Additionally, Sharon's family lives in Sacramento and we would often find ourselves going down to Sacramento on at least one of the weekend days.

While our commute improved dramatically with the move to Elk Grove, it has gradually deteriorated over the last three plus years. In spite of a national economic downturn, housing starts in Sacramento have continued at an amazing pace. Some of the projections I have seen suggest the entire region will be gridlocked by 2015.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Drew and his girlfriend Kaylen had both auditioned for the major 2003-2004 theater productions at UCI. While both of them got callbacks for second auditions, neither of them got cast. Drew seems to be taking it in stride; he indicated last week that very few freshmen were likely to be cast.

I spent most of the day in San Francisco at CPMC. We met with the CIO, Applications Director and Technical Services Director about a strategy for including them in a enterprise change control process.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

2003 Management Symposium

I spent the day at the Sutter Health Management Symposium at the Sacramento Convention Center.

One of the breakouts sessions that I attended was called Key Technology-Driven Trends: How Disruptive Technology will change healthcare in the next 10 years. Presented by HealthTech, the session outlined coming medical technologies (not IT technologies). If we can figure out who is going to pay for them, there are some major medical techologies in the pipeline that look like they could provide people with longer healthier lives.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Long and Winding Road

June marked the five-year anniversary of my starting at Sutter Health. It has been an interesting journey. I have started this note on several occasions over the last three months, but have always got sidetracked. I promised myself I would finish it and get it sent out.

Shortly after I started, a number of people asked me what it was like working for Sutter Health. I described the situation with the following analogy.

Imagine that you were given the keys to the car. When you were taken to the car, you found that someone had taken the car and ran it off the road into the middle of a cornfield. The hood of the car was still warm so apparently the previous owner had not been gone long. The car looked good, but there were two flat tires. The gas gauge was just above empty. When the previous owners had left the car, they had left the lights on so now the battery was run down, but not dead. The corn is tall enough that you cannot see the road. There are a number of people milling around the car and there is some disagreement amongst the group about which way to go to get back to the road. Working to get people back into the car, you fail with some people (Nafees Coleman and Karl Danielson). Oh, and by the way, the car is supposed to be somewhere far from there in a very short time; there was a go-live scheduled in less than a month at SMCS, essentially two very large hospitals.

Eventually, we got the car back on the road and had the first major Lawson implementation at SMCS and SHSS in November of 1998. (Finance and procurement for VNA had actually been implemented in May of 1998.) This implementation was followed by the long dark winter of 1998 and 1999. While the team struggled to resolve post-implementation issues from the SMCS go-live, we worked successfully to get a number of Y2K implementations started. Everyone involved in the project demonstrated a remarkable amount of perseverance during 1999.

Through 2000, 2001 and 2002, the team picked up speed. At this point, there are so many cars with different drivers spread across Northern California that I could not keep track of them even if I tried. The Lawson implementations have grown to include 82 separate companies within Sutter Health using different parts of the finance, procurement, workflow, payroll, benefits and human resources applications. One of the most telling statistics is that now more than 30,000 Sutter Health employees receive their paycheck off Lawson.

I believe strongly in the importance of the individual functional teams. Each of your teams and your team lead are the foundation for everything we have done. I am extremely proud of your accomplishments of the last five years and the particularly satisfied with the growth of the managers and team leads.

Your success and the growth of the management team have given me an opportunity to do some other things within Sutter Health. I got an chance to participate in what John Hummel has termed “a once in a lifetime experience of moving a major data center.” As part of this, I have gotten the opportunity to work with and get to know Rudy Jugoz and return to some of my data center, operations and systems roots. It has also given some of you a chance to work on other applications, such as Kronos and Authoria.

This year, I have had a chance to start to get to know Mark Dynes, Kelli Hunt and Laurie Lock and work with them in areas of automation, desktop and help desk.

All of these accomplishments and opportunities are the result of your hard work.
An interesting article entitled The Coming Job Boom in the on-line version of the magazine Business 2.0. Unfortunately, most of the article requires a subscription.

The articles highlights that, although job growth in the United States is expected to slow to 3% over the next two decades, there is going to be a huge exodus from the work force as the baby boomers retire. [This means you Larkin!] It suggests that these demographic forces are about to put a squeeze on the labor supply and create a much tighter labor market.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Camera phones are outselling digital cameras

We laid pretty low this weekend; the next three weekends are going to be very busy. Saturday morning, the three of us went to the American River Bike Trail. Jack rode his bike, while Sharon and I ran.

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Norma Udell organized a barbecue for former Western Farm Credit Bank employees last night at a park in Fair Oaks. Most of the group were the IT employees that worked together during a period from 1987 to 1998, but some non-IT people also attended.

In addition to the usual suspects like Joe Larkin and Sherry Bell, the group included, but was not limited to Anita and Jeff Boone with their two boys, Manuel Codero, Chris Doherty, Charles Guenther, Robert and Jennifer Goolis, Dave and Irene Hackett, Tom Harper, Ray Jerd, Don Jones, Mary Kessler and her youngest, Kelvin Kishaba, Lynn Lamothe, Cinda Lewis, Bill Markley, Dan Mattos and his wife, Dave Newlin, Karl Okamoto, Patti Rabe, Terry and Dan Richardson, Carlos Tillmanshofer with his wife and kids, Helga White and Steve Wike. I am sure that I have missed more than a few.

I spent a lot of the time talking to George Beitzel. Although I have tried to figure it out, I am not sure when I last saw George. Beitzel originally hired me at the banks in October of 1980 and is responsible for giving me the opportunity to be the Vice President of MIS for the banks in early 1987. Beitzel had a big influence on my professional development during the 1980's.

While the 1980's were a pretty stable period personally and professionally when I got a chance to get some mentoring, the 1990's were a decade of trial by fire, including an ugly divorce, the Texas boss from hell, the Alltel outsourcing, continuous child custody battles, a second marriage, the merger with the AgAmerica Bank, the Perot outsourcing, starting a new family and the job switch.

Friday, September 26, 2003

UCI Drama holds auditions for all for the major productions for the 2003-04 academic year in the week before school starts. This year's shows are Sweeney Todd, Romeo & Juliet, War to End War, Pedro Gynt, Medea, Lady's Not for Burning, and Portrait of a Lady.

Drew had his initial audition last night and got a call back for Sweeney Todd which he did tonight.

They asked him if he would be willing to cut this hair if he got a part!

Today was also the first day of classes for the fall quarter.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Sharon and Janie had a "pur$e party" at our house last night. Think tubberware (something your neighbor tries to sell you at a party in her living room), but with pur$es, wallets and jewelry.

Jack and I had gone out for dinner and to run some errands as they were setting up. It was a little surreal to come back to a house full of people (more than 40) with several hundred pur$es spread around the downstairs. Really, several hundred pur$es.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Kings forward Lawrence Funderburke, who is in the final year of a five-year contract, is expected to be out six months after undergoing surgery Monday on his left Achilles tendon. He is entering his seventh season in Sacramento -- the longest tenure of any current King. This opens up a spot on the roster, but it appears that the Kings are having trouble getting free agents to show up at camp to try out for their team. Training camp opens in ten days on October 3.

With an extremely pitiful performance, my fantasy football team won week three by a score of 56 to 49. My team now has 2 wins and 1 loss.

Monday, September 22, 2003

2003 InformationWeek 500

For 15 years, InformationWeek has tracked the technology practices of the nation's largest and most innovative companies. InformationWeek publishes an annual ranking of the top 500 users of technology. Sutter Health ranked 205th in the 2002 InformationWeek 500 survey. We have jumped to 53rd in the 2003 InformationWeek 500 rankings.

The survey includes a section in the industry breakdown titled "Health Care & Medical: Tech Innovation Keeps The Doctor In." The article includes a number of quotes from Sutter's CIO and notes that "Sutter, which runs 33 hospitals in Northern California, spends about $100 million annually on IT and has about 680 IT projects in progress at one time."

It is very rewarding to be involved as a senior member of the management team building the IT organization within Sutter Health.