Monday, February 28, 2005

Down in the Block

On the Kings Comcast SportsNet West pre-game show on Sunday, Jim Kozimor noted that the first caller on the 76ers post game radio show Saturday night harangued Chris Weber for shooting outside shots and said that Chris needed to play more down in the block. Kevin the Rat repeated the story during the Rise Guys Show Monday morning.

I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say Weber needed to play more in the paint on the radio in Sacramento over the last six years. If I did, I would be living on the beach in the South Pacific.

Mars Images

Glacial, volcanic and fluvial activity on Mars

Early Color Photos

Color photos taken by the French Army during World War I.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Another Busy Day

After working in the yard for a while in the morning, Jack and I drove up to Placerville to have lunch with Morgan at Z-Pie.

After finishing decorating our cake in a castle motif, we took off early in the afternoon for the Cub Scout Blue and Gold Dinner. This event is held annually as a rite of passage for the cub scouts who are moving up to boy scouts.

Father-Son Cake Bake & Auction

Cub Scout Father-Son Cake Bake and Auction

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Busy Day

Jack and I had a busy day, including paying bills, working in the yard, his basketball game, trips to Home Depot, Wells Fargo, Sports Authority for some ski pants and Safeway, watching the Kings versus 76ers game and making a cake for a cub scout dinner on Sunday.

After getting Jack to bed, I watched Spiderman 2.

Kings versus 76ers

I said previously that I did not understand the Weber trade. Running on the treadmill and watching the Kings versus 76ers game with Jack, I got some hint about why Petrie was willing to make the Weber trade. Offensively, Weber was 7 for 20 from the field for a 35% field goal percentage. On the dismal pre-All Star road trip, Weber took 63 shots and about made 31% of them. Philadelphia fans better get used to watching Weber miss lots of shots. Defensively, Kenny Thomas (one of the players that the Kings got for Weber) went around Weber repeatedly. A number of forwards have had career nights against Weber and the Kings in the last month, including players on the Clippers and Hawks. Thomas ended up with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Fifth Basketball Game 2005

Jack played in his fifth little dribbler basketball game of the season. I got enlisted to help referee the game.

Friday, February 25, 2005

El Retiro San Inigo 2005

Eight of the last nine years, Sharon has spent a weekend this time of year at El Retiro San Inigo, the Jesuit Retreat House of Los Altos. She attends a silent retreat for members of the legal profession; this session is titled "In the Footsteps of Thomas More." Last year, Sharon went by herself. This year, Liz went down with her. Andrea Turner is also going and bringing someone with her.

With Sharon gone for a couple of nights, I am tackling a couple of projects. Tonight, I am working to transfer a journal I wrote during a trip to Moscow and Germany ten years ago out of an Apple Newton Messagepad to a ten year old IBM Thinkpad 760CD using X-Port, on to a diskette, on to my home PC and into the blog. April will mark the ten year anniversary of the trip and I am planning to publish the journal entries and pictures from the trip.

Burj Al Arab, Dubai

Andre Agassi and Roger Federer play tennis on the world’s highest tennis court, the helipad of Burj Al Arab, the world’s most luxurious hotel.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

To Microsoft

Up very early, I headed to the Microsoft Campus in Mountain View. A large group from Sutter Health, including Yvonne Risch, Lew Gasper, Brian Morrison Nelson Ramos and I, spent the day talking with Microsoft about our desktop strategy. At the end of the day, I struggled through traffic back to the valley...

Shotgun Golf with Bill Murray

Shotgun Golf with Bill Murray by Hunter S. Thompson from Page 2 posted February 15, 2005.

This was Hunter S. Thompson's last article before he died.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Cub Scout Go See It 4G

One of the requirements for the Tiger Cub Badge is to go see a television station, radio station or newspaper office. The den leader set up a visit to Country Radio Station KNCI. Sports 1140 is also in the same building so we also got to see the studio that the Rise Guys and Grant and Mike use. We had a great tour and got a chance to see how everything works.

In the KNCI Studio

In the KNCI Studio

Jack in Grant Napear's Chair

Jack sitting in Grant Napear's Chair!

In the recording Studio

In the recording Studio

Sunday, February 20, 2005

More Pets

Jack and I went to Mass at Good Shepherd in the morning.

We spent the afternoon getting more pets... We added two more finches to the three finches that we have in the flight cage. The two new finches are Orange Cheeked Waxbills. We also got two more goldfish to add to the tank that Sharon bought herself for her birthday.

Sharon and I also started a major spring cleaning project for the house. We started with the closet under the staircase.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

At the DiGiorgio's

Sharon and Jack headed to the DiGriorgio's in the late afternoon. They picked some flowers along F Street and then made flower arrangements. I got there in time for a great dinner that Brun had made!

Fourth Basketball Game

I spent the lion's share of the day helping with Jack's basketball league. I got to the gym about 7:10 a.m. to help set-up the goal standards and the chairs. Over the course of the day, I was responsible for making sure that all of the games started and ended on time. After the last game, I put everything away and cleaned-up. It was 4:30 p.m. by the time I pulled away from the gym.

I ended up watched eight basketball games. Jack and Sharon showed up in the middle of the day and Jack played in his fourth little dribbler basketball game of the season.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Sac Valley Annual Meeting

For the second year in a row, Sharon and I went to the Sacramento Valley Farm Credit Annual Meeting held at the Hilton. At dinner, we sat with Jim and Susie Connelly and Roger Lown and his wife.

Fashion and Customes in Art

Sharon spent part of the afternoon serving as the Art Docent for Jack's first grade class. The lesson looked at how different the clothes that people wore several hundred years ago are from the clothes we wear today and the types of costumes worn by artists' models and during times of celebration.

The class learned about three artists and their paintings: Jan Vermeer and The Milkmaid [shown below]; Mary Cassatt and Woman with Dog, and; Pablo Picasso and The Artists' Son.

Sharon also talked to the class about Mardi Gras. For their art project, the class decorated masks for Mardi Gras.

Tomasin's Birthday

Today is John Tomasin's 50th Birthday! I called and wished him happy birthday this morning. He was standing in the parking lot at Kirkwood Ski Resort with David, Chris and Mike getting ready for a day of skiing.

Rugby complex at Mather - Rugby fans plan complex at Mather

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Broker

Over the last twelve years, I have read eighteen novels by John Grisham. While I enjoyed his latest book, The Broker, it was not as good as The Last Juror, but definitely a lot better than The Summons or The King of Torts.

Grisham acknowledges in the Author's Note that he knows very "little about spies, electronic surveillance, satellite phones, smartphones, bugs, wires, mikes and the people who use them." As an espionage novel, there are some parts of the books that do not feel very true to me.

I also wish that Grishma would vary from wrapping everything up in a neat bow with a happy ending in his books more often. A more complex ending with a twist would be nice; something like the ending in The Partner.

Most of the book is set in Bologna, Italy. Sharon and I have actually been briefly to Bologna; we almost got stranded there.

King's Potpourri

With the Sacramento Kings not represented in the All-Star for the first time in ten years, the players commit themselves to taking it out on their opponents, particularly Phoenix (three players in the All-Star Game) and Seattle (two players in the All-Star Game). They proceed to lose 6 of the next 7 games demonstrating that the coaches were probably justified in leaving the Kings players off the All-Star roster.

On the dismal pre-All Star game road trip, the Kings won 1 and lost 2. Weber was a combined 20 for 63 over the three games (31.7%), including 7 for 23 at Boston, 7 for 21 at Chicago and 6 for 20 at New Jersey. During this stretch, I have come to realize that sitting in front of the television and screaming "Stop Shooting" does not have any impact...

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Life on Mars?

NASA Researchers Claim Evidence of Present Life on Mars:
A pair of NASA scientists told a group of space officials at a private meeting here Sunday that they have found strong evidence that life may exist today on Mars, hidden away in caves and sustained by pockets of water... They have submitted their findings to the journal Nature for publication in May, and their paper currently is being peer reviewed.
The article is also available on MSNBC at

5 out of 6

Watching the Sacramento Kings lose five out of the last six games, I am amazed at their ability to score lots of points and frustrated with their absolute inability to guard anyone.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Using Technology

When we came back Saturday afternoon for Sharon to work on a loan closing, it turned out she was still missing some information from the title company. Some additional PDFs were e-mailed to her on Monday, but several more were promised from the title company on Tuesday that she needed to complete the package. With Sharon traveling starting Monday night and a deadline looming to close the loan, we were facing some problems.

She used a cool combination of technology to deal with the situation.

More thaan a year and a half ago, we brought her a Sierra Wireless Aircard 750 that uses the AT&T wireless network. With this cellular card, she can essentially pick up her e-mail and browse the internet at better than dial-up speeds sitting almost anywhere in the world. Taking a break from working with one client, she picked up her e-mail on Tuesday morning using the cellular card and PDFs of the documents that she needed had been e-mailed to her.

Monday night before she left, I installed some software that allowed her to print from her applications directly to a Fedex Kinkos office. She opened the PDFs in Acrobat and sent a print job over the internet to the nearest Kinkos. A couple of hours later she showed up at the Kinkos and the documents were ready. She collated them into her loan package that she had taken with her and then gave then gave everything to Kinkos to have sent out via Fedex.

very cool!

Apollo 11 - 17 Panoramas

For the first time, the Moon in interactive 360 degree fullscreen Quicktime VR.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Valentine's Day Lunch

Sharon and I met for a nice Valentine's Day Lunch at Cafe Vinoteca and exchanged gifts.

After dinner, Sharon headed back to the Monterey Peninsula. She is going to spend a couple of days on the road working for Tower.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Slow Sunday

While Sharon took food to her parents, Jack and I went to Mass at Good Shepherd.

Op Center: Call To Treason

There are some many good books that I do not know why I keep reading the Clancy branded Op-Center, Net Force and Power Play books. Call to Treason is the eleventh Op-Center book written in the last ten years; it is not very good and there is little about the book to recommend. Continuing to read these books, I almost feel like I am watching a slow motion train wreck that I just can not tear my eyes away from.

An updated version of my reading list can be found at:

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Back to the Valley

Sharon and Hood went for an early morning 3.0 mile run on the beach. She liked mine so much that I got Sharon her own Garmin Forerunner 201 GPS for her birthday. After breakfast, we packed up and hurried towards home. Sharon needed to get back to work on a loan closing.

Friday, February 11, 2005

2005 AT&T PRO-AM

We have been very lucky over the last couple of years with weather at Pebble Beach. We were not so lucky this year. It drizzled off and on all morning while Sharon and I went out for runs and then during breakfast. I was hoping that it would clear off in the afternoon.

We headed to Pebble Beach, walked around for a while and then caught a bus to the Poppy Hills Golf Course. We tend to gravitate towards the course where the bigger name celebrities and players are. We ended up camping on the eighth green and watching the groups hit up and putt out. From a player perspective, we got to see both Vijay Singh and Phil Michelson play. The celebrities we saw play included Donald Trump, Rush Limbaugh, Bill Belichick, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Sinise, Andy Garcia, George Lopez, Kevin Costner, Carson Daly and Kenny G.

Donald Trump spent his time between the eighth green and the ninth tee on a cell phone. When he got off the phone, he announced so the world could hear that he had been talking to Tom Brady, the Patriot's quarterback. The whole scene was very weird; it was like Trump was trying to impress the crowd...

Rush Limbaugh got lost in the trees along the eighth fairway and ended up picking up his ball and not finishing the hole.

Kevin Costner starting signing autographs on his way to the ninth tee which sent Sharon scrambling for something for him to sign. Unfortunately, she ended up missing out. We did not get as lucky as last year when Jack got a ball from Phil Michelson.

Unfortunately, it never really stopped drizzling so it ended up being a cold and wet day.

At the end of the day, we headed towards Mark and Jeanie Hood's house in Pacific Grove. We spent the evening having a few drinks, getting take-out Mexican food from Peppers Mexicali Cafe and visting, while the kids had a great time playing.

At the Hoods

Thursday, February 10, 2005

To Monterey

For the last couple of years, we have gone to the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am on Friday and then stayed with some friends on the Monterey Peninsula. This year we decided to drive down on Thursday night and stay in a hotel rather than drive over Friday morning. I got a room at the Hyatt Regency in Monterey. We took off after work. With a quick stop for a bit to eat, we were in the room by 10:00 p.m.

Tenth Floral Arrangement

Sharon is continuing to enjoy floral school. She made this arrangement at class on Thursday and we took to Monterey to give to the Hood's.

Rice for President?!?

To stop Hillary, draft Condi

Dell prices out of whack

From the Inforworld's Notes from the Field By Robert X. Cringely

SELLING THE DELL WAY: for a memory upgrade for a Dell OptiPlex when he discovered something curious: was charging different prices for identical products. Depending on the link he followed, the 256MB SIMM cost either $88 (Small Business), $99 (Home & Home Office), or $110 (Medium & Large Business). A Dell spokesmaven says that’s just the way they do things...

Ninth Floral Arrangement Side 1

Ninth Floral Arrangement Side 2

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Baby NameVoyager

Here is a link to a cool java application that allows you to look at how babies names have been used over the last hundred plus years!

The Baby Name Wizard's NameVoyager

After dinner, Sharon, Jack and I had fun looking at how the usage of names for people we know has ebbed and flowed. From a peak in the 1950's and 1960's, Mark has fallen in popularity as a boy's name!

click on the image for a larger version!

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Ten Years

Ten Years... Today marks ten years since Sharon and I had our first date. Originally, we planned to go to dinner at Mace's where we had our first date, but Mace's was not open. We ended up going out to brunch at Chevy's.

This is milestone has a couple of layers of significance. From the first date to the date of separation for my first marriage, it was about two weeks short of ten years. So, I now have been with Sharon longer than I was with Alison.

Jack and I finished the day watching the Superbowl in high definition on Fox. The quality of Fox's high definition coverage is just not as good as the HD programming on ESPN and ABC.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Girls Night Out

Sharon, Liz Deuso and Mary Franklin went to see Million Dollar Baby. Afterwards, they went to dinner at Tahoe Joe's in Folsom.

Sharon liked the movie, but dinner turned into a little bit of a fiasco. After a long wait for a table, the server screwed up their orders and the food was not particularly good. We went Tahoe Joe's a couple of years ago for Mother's Day and I remember being very underwhelmed by the service and the food.

Friday, February 04, 2005

2005 Kings versus Knicks

With Wallen planning to be in town and the Kings playing at home tonight, I started several weeks ago to work on seeing how many tickets I could get. I ended up getting a block of ten tickets to one of the suites.

We saw the Kings play the Knicks and had a great time. The group included: Tomasin, Bachman, Chabrier, Snipes, Connor, Wallen, Larkin, David Tomasin, Cole (a friend of David's) and myself.

The game had a great finish. The Kings scored seven points in the last 48 seconds to win 116 to 115.

One of my favorite vignettes from the evening occurred with about two or three minutes to go in the basketball game. With the Kings down by double digits, a lot of people started to get up and leave the game. One of the main aisles from the lower level runs right by the suite. As people are getting up and leaving, Ricky is screaming at them as only he can after a couple shots of tequila: "Where are you going, the game is not over!" And it wasn't!

After the game, we ended up at The Blue Gecko shooting pool.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

TAG Meeting

I spent the day at the TAG meeting. The meeting was held at the Historic Del Monte Building in downtown Sunnyvale. The agenda include a long presentation on voice activated transcription and an EHR update.

Sharon and Liz went cross country skiing at Royal Gorge.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Seventh Floral Arrangement

After Sharon got home from the night session of floral school, I took off for the bay area. I have an early morning in the south bay and did not feel like fighting the fog and traffic. An hour and 40 minute drive late at night could easily be a four hour struggle during the morning commute. I got to the Residence Inn by Marriott after 11:00 p.m.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Wallen, Nooter, Tomasin

John Wallen flew into town and spent the night; he is heading to Tahoe on Wednesday for a couple of days at a conference. Sharon made a great lamb chop dinner for the three of us!

I had a chance to Rob Nooter on the phone for the first time in at least thirteen months. It was great to talk to him. Rob, Barb and their kids have spent the last year in Tanzania. When I asked him how everyone was adapting to the change, Rob noted it was a little weird, but things are going as well as can be expected considering they were sweating in 90 degree heat at the Dar Salaam Yacht Club a week ago and shoveling snow over the weekend in Virginia.

I also talked to Tomasin for the first time in a while. We are coordinating the details for Friday.