Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Influence at Work

I spent all day last Thursday in a seminar put on by Influence at Work entitled Leading Healthcare using the Science of Influence. The instructor was Dr. Gregory Neidert. The class focused on six principles: reciprocity; liking; consensus; authority; consistency and scarcity. Emphasizing that every influence situation has at least one of these principles waiting to be used, the class was designed to help identify which ones are available and how they might be used. One way to think about it is as a toolkit designed to provide selection of tools for specific circumstances.

We were also provided with a text book titled Influence: Science and Practice that I may eventually read.

It was a long 9 hour day, but interesting and I think I will be able to put some of the information into practice.

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Thievery Corporation - Hare Krisna

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

Sacramento Kings Media Day

Monday, September 29, 2008

Lexus RX400h Day 93

I took the Lexus RX400h in for the 5,000 mile warranty service today. In the first three months, I have driven 5,500 miles. I am on a pace to drive 21,500 miles in the first year. I continue to average 25.1 miles per gallon compared to an EPA rating of 24 on the highway and 26 in the city. My calculations show that I have saved roughly $480 in gas over driving the Explorer.

I am very pleased with the hybrid, except for three things. First, I find the lack of range indicator odd; I found the gauge showing how many miles to empty in the Explorer convenient. Second, the Lexus has two gauges that give you the current miles per gallon for the tank. I realized three or four tanks ago that the indicator was reading consistently high. For example, on the last tank the indicator said that I was getting 26.8 mpg, but when I filled it up it worked out to 25.5 mpg. I can understand if indicator was high one time and low the next, but it is consistently 1.0 to 1.5 higher than the actual miles per gallon. This is a minor annoyance. Third, I would really prefer to sit a higher! I like to see over traffic in the commute.

Saturday Night Live: Couric and Palin Opening

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Davis Ranch

We made our annual trek to Davis Ranch so Sharon could load up on material for fall decorations. Jack enjoyed their corn maze. This is a moderately difficult maze; it probably took us 15 to 20 minutes to find our way through. We came home with a car full of pumpkins and stalks of okra and sorghum; no corn stalks this year.

Pumpkins at Davis Ranch


Pumpkins at Davis Ranch, originally uploaded by heringermr.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Steak and Oyster Feed

Sharon and I went with the Sanborn's to the Elk Grove Rotary's 3nd Annual Rockin' Beef & Reef Bash. The event included a silent auction, dinner, a live auction and a live band.

At Lent Ranch


At Lent Ranch, originally uploaded by heringermr.

2008 Flag Football Game #4

Jack played in his fourth flag football game of the 2008 season. The Gators played against the Rebels. As the teams were lining up before the game, it was clear that the other team had two of the biggest players that I have seen so far this season. I thought that this might create some problems; my fears were short lived.

After playing quarterback on offense the last two weeks, Jack played running back. On the first play of the game, he took a hand off from quarterback and started for the sideline. Jack faked outside and then cut inside the outside defender. He went the length of the field out running the two bigger players to score the first touchdown. I had not even set down my coffee and my book...

On the first play of third offensive series, the quarterback threw Jack a pass in the left flat. He started up the field. Several times, Jack came to almost a couple stop and changed direction causing the defenders to run into each other. He went the length of the field to score a touchdown.

He also completed one halfback option pass and caught one other pass in the first half. At the end of the first half, the score was 24 to 0.

On defense, Jack intercepted one pass and made a number of great "tackles." He has intercepted five passes in four games and at least one in every game.

The Gators won the game by a score of 24 to 0. Their record for the 2008 flag football season is 4 wins and no losses.

Friday, September 26, 2008

First McCain Obama Presidential Debate

After getting home from the Gunners batting practice, we watched the first McCain Obama Presidential Debate. I am not sure that I am qualified to judge who won or lost, but I am fascinated by the way the candidates performed when their opponent was speaking. McCain was making such a odd assortment of grimances and other facial expressions. Obama was also guilty of this, but to a lessor degree. Given the extensive use of split screens, it seems to me that the candidates would be better coached in this aspect of the debate. It would be interesting to go back and look at footage of Reagan to see how he "behaved" when he was not speaking during his presidential debates.

Interestingly, I made the same comments about Bush four years ago.

Gunner Batting Practice

Gunner Batting Practice, originally uploaded by heringermr.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

September 2008 Cub Scout Pack Meeting

After football practice, Jack and I went to the September meeting of his Cub Scout Pack. Jack is now a second year Webelo. He got belt loops in archery, BB gun shooting, geology and swimming and a patch for attending the resident camp at Boulder Creek in July.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Thai Cuisine plus Economic Musing

With Sharon back from working a couple of days in the city and me on the road part of the day, neither of us were mood to cook so we ended up going to Chantara Thai Cuisine for dinner. Located in a strip mall close to the house, it has been almost a year since we first went there. The food was good.

The odd thing was that the place was completely empty; it was a little spooky. We got there a little before 6:00 p.m. After a few minutes, I bet Sharon and Jack that no one would show up while we were there. Someone picked up some take-out food after about half an hour and then finally a couple came in and sat down just was we were ready to get our check. Even if it is a Wednesday night, it is hard for me to understand how you can keep a restaurant open with this little traffic. I wonder what impact the economic uncertainty and the drop in home values has on this type of business. Are fewer people eating out, particularly on weekend nights?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

California Historical Landmark #607

Adams and Company Building
California State Historical Landmark #607

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

This landmark is located at 1014 2nd Street, Sacramento, California. There are 57 other California State Historical Landmarks in Sacramento County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 38° 34.961 W 121° 30.264.

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


Erected in the fall of 1853, this building was occupied during 1853-1855 by Adams and Co.'s express and banking house. The Alta Telegraph Co., California State Telegraph Co., Pacific Express Co., California Stage Co., Sacramento City Bank, and Wells Fargo & Co. also had offices here in the 1850s. During May-October 1861, Wells Fargo & Co. were agents here of the western portion of the Central Overland Pony Express until it was discontinued on October 26, 1861 on completion of the transcontinental telegraph.

The Adams and Company Building was proclaimed to be the first granite facade building in Sacramento. The building facade stands substantially unaltered to this day with the interior remodeled for modern use.

With the collapse of the banking house, the building become the office of James Birch's California Combination Stage Company, which operated north to Oregon, south to Los Angeles, and east to New Orleans.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Raphael Saadiq - 100 Yard Dash

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

Sunday, September 21, 2008

2008 Gunners Baseball Tournament #2 Day 2

Up early, Jack and I headed back to the Manteca Big League Dreams Sports Park. The Gunners played the Lamorinda Baseball Diablos in the first game. Both the Gunners and the Diablos were undefeated on Saturday.

Falling behind 1 to 2 after the bottom of the first inning, the Gunners rallied to win by a score of 11 to 5 in five innings. Jack played one inning in left field, but did not bat.

As a result of this win, the Gunners were seated first in the championship game and the Diablos were seated second. We had to play them again in the afternoon.

Talking to one of the parents on the other team, I realized that this is the first game this traveling team has lost since they started playing together in August. Additionally, they have been playing up a division; they have been playing in the U11 division rather than in the U10 division.

In the tournament championship game, the Diablos started a big left hander. Except for two bloob singles over the head of the second baseman, the Gunners never hit anything out of the infield. They lost 12 to 2 in four innings.

Jack started in left field and played three innings in the outfield and one inning as the DH. He got up once. Jack hit a grounder down the third base line and was thrown out at first. He was on deck when the last out was made.

For the weekend, Jack was 0 for 2 with one walk and one strike out. For the two tournaments that he has played, Jack is 1 for 8 with three walks and two strike outs. He played 11 of the 19 innings this weekend and has played 23 of the 37 innings to date in left field, right field and as DH. Unless he can get his bat going, Jack is going to be stuck at the end of the bench. He is not overmatched at the plate. I think that he just needs a few more at bats and a couple of bounces of the ball.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

2008 Gunners Baseball Tournament #2 Day 1

Jack in right field of Yankee Stadium

After the football game, Sharon, Jack and I took off for Big League Dreams Sport Park in Manteca to play in a tournament with the Gunners Baseball Team. This is a very unusual sports park. It includes a number of scaled-down replica stadiums, including Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, Tiger Stadium, the Polo Grounds, Anaheim Stadium and Wrigley Field. The park is laid out with three stadiums built around a stadium club with a restaurant, bar and big screen televisions. You can see the fields from inside the Stadium Club.

The Gunners played the Visalia Lightning in Yankee Stadium in the first game. Falling behind by a score of 2 to 3 at the bottom of the first inning, the Gunners went on to win by a score of 10 to 4 in five innings.

Jack was 0 for 1 with one walk and one strike out swinging. He stole second and then got picked off second when he tried to stretch his lead. He played five innings in right field and did not handle a ball.

The Gunners played the SB Diamondbacks in Yankee Stadium in the nightcap. The kids played under the lights. The Gunners rolled to a 9 to 0 win in five innings. Jack played one inning in right field, but did not get to bat.

By time we packed up and drove home, it was a long day with one football game and two baseball games!

2008 Flag Football Game #3



Jack played in his third flag football game of the 2008 season. Matthew, the son of the head coach for the Gunners Baseball Tournament team, was on the other team.

This is probably the best flag football game that Jack has played in the last two years. Jack played quarterback on offense during the first half. He completed 8 of 11 of his passes for one touchdown and one two point conversion. Jack also caught a pass for a two point conversion. Playing quarterback, he pitched the ball back to the running back and then ran a short pattern towards the sideline. The running back passed it back to him and Jack ran down the sideline for the conversion. He drove the team on three long drives. Towards the end of the first half, Jack scambled away from the rusher and tried to force one pass into traffic that was intercepted.

On defense in the second half, Jack had two interceptions. He has had at least one interception in each of the first three games. The first interception set up a touchdown by the offense team early in the second half.

Jack's team ended up winning by a score of 36 to 12. Their record for the season is now 3 wins and 0 losses.

Warming up for flag football

Warming up for flag football, originally uploaded by heringermr.

Friday, September 19, 2008


The Larkins are back from almost two weeks in Peru, including Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca.

Gunner Batting Practice

Gunner Batting Practice, originally uploaded by heringermr.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


While we were at Almanor this summer, Drew and Morgan wrote a song together one of the afternoons. Here is Drew's arrangement of the song. According to Drew, Morgan's arrangement is "strange and jazzy." I am looking forward to hearing her version!

Depending on which browser you are running and which plugins you have, the embedded control may not show up. In that case, you can find the song here!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

2008 Best Places to work in IT

For the 6th Year in a row, Sutter Health Information Systems has been rated as one of the top 100 places to work for IT professionals.

Out of the top 100, Sutter Health ranked 19th!

This is down one spot from 18th in 2007.

This is up from 42th in 2006.

This is down from 12th in 2005.

This is up from 34th in 2004.

This is up from 64th in 2003.

The honor is part of the weekly newspaper Computerworld's 15th annual Best Places to Work in IT survey, which ranks the top 100 work environments for technology professionals using the categories of benefits, diversity, career development, training and retention.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

California Historical Landmark #608

Site of the Orleans Hotel
California State Historical Landmark #608

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

This landmark is located at 1018 2nd Street, Sacramento, California. There are 57 other California State Historical Landmarks in Sacramento County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 38° 34.952 W 121° 30.264.

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


This hotel, erected in 1852, served as a depot for stage companies and others.

Beginning almost as soon as the Gold Rush itself, stagecoach owners began to offer passenger services for people to travel among California towns. James Birch started the first stagecoach line from Sacramento in 1849. It carried passengers to stops along the American River, including Sutter’s Mill. The fare was $32, payable in cash or gold dust. Other lines began to offer stage services from Sacramento to such growing towns as Placerville, Marysville, and Shasta City. In 1853, Birch and several other stage owners joined together to form the California Stage Company, which had its headquarters at the Orleans Hotel.

Since May 2007, developer Lloyd Harvego has been building a $12 million building on the site that will be a re-creation of the former Orleans Hotel. The building is almost done. About half the cost of the reconstruction of the Orleans is being subsidized by the city. The building will have ground-floor retail and three stories of apartments.

The city since the 1960s has been maintaining and developing the Old Sacramento historic district. In 2003, the city of Sacramento went looking for replacement buildings to fill four vacant lots. Any projects have to be historically accurate to what was built on the site, and construction has to be handled delicately because many of the neighboring buildings are more than 150 years old.

Monday, September 15, 2008

2008 Management Symposium

I spent the day at our Management Symposium. The two day annual event includes about 1,000 managers each day from across the system.

The keynote speaker this year was Quint Studer. Some parts of organization, including IS, have been doing some work with the Studer Group over the last two years. Studer's presentation emphasized a number of concepts that we have been training on including rounding, written thank you notes, peer interviewing, follow-up phone calls, keywords at key times and accountability for goals.

I went to one of the break-outs entitled "How Mills Peninsula Hospital System embraced the EHR and the Hospital of the Future." After lunch I worked for a couple of hours as greeter for our booth showcasing the electronic medical record.

The meeting closed with movitation speaker Alan Hobson. He is a Mt. Everest Climber and Cancer Survivor. Hobson is a very engaging speaker, but I do not think that I will buy any of his books.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tina Fey as Sarah Palin on SNL

2008 Gunners Baseball Tournament #1 Day 2

This was a long, satisfying, but more than a little frustrating day. The Gunners played in the second day of a baseball tournament at Wackford Park. After the first day of play, all of the teams were seeded into a single elimination tournament. The Gunners started the day as the #2 seed.

The first game was against the Solano Blast, one of the teams that the Gunners had beat yesterday. Leading 6 to 3, the Gunners scored 13 runs in the bottom of the third. Jack did not start, but came in as a substitute. With the bases loaded, he drove the first pitch into right center. By the time the ball stopped bouncing around the infield, the bases were empty. Jack came up a second time in the same inning and was intentionally walked. The other coach was loading the bases in order to get a force play for the third out. The Gunners won the game by a score of 19 to 3 after three innings.

The second game was against the Central Coast Whitecaps. This was probably one of the best little league baseball games I have seen; it was a very close game. Jack played designated hitter in this game. In his first at-bat, he came to the plate with two outs and runners on second and third in the second inning. Jack popped a 2 ball 1 strike pitch very high on the left side of the infield and it was caught by the shortstop. Coming to bat again in the four inning with two outs and runners on second and third, he hit a ball hard, but right at the shortstop who caught it. Leading off the sixth inning, Jack fell behind 0 and 2, took one ball and then fouled off a pitch that the catcher caught for an out.

With two outs in the bottom of the sixth and the score tied 5 to 5, the Gunners had runners on first and third. The runner at first broke for second. When the other team tried to get him, the runner at third came home. The Gunners won the game by a score of 6 to 5.

The Gunners played the CenCal 10's in the championship game of the tournament. This game quickly turned into a rout. Jack came in as a substitute in the fourth inning. He hit a 1 ball 2 strike pitch very hard, but right at the shortstop. Sitting behind home plate, I was sure it was a hit, but the shortstop stretched and speared it. Jack stayed in the game and played right field in the bottom of the fourth.

The Gunners beat the CenCal 10's by a score of 18 to 1 to win the tournament championship. Each boy got a hat, a game ball and a pin.

For the second day, Jack was 1 for 5 with two RBI's and one run scored. I am not counting the intentional walk in the first game. For both days, Jack was 1 for 6 with two walks, two RBI's and three runs scored. Two of Jack's out were hard hit balls right at someone, while two more were pop-ups.

Although he appeared in 8 of the 13 innings that the team played on Sunday, due to the fact that he was the DH in the second game, Jack only played 1 inning in the field. He was more than a little frustrated about his lack of time in the field on Sunday. I think that Jack could help the team with his glove in the infield, but he is going to have to be more effective at the plate to get this chance.

2008 Gunners Baseball Tournament #1 Day 2 Pic 1

At 2008 Gunners Baseball Tournament #1 Day 2

Saturday, September 13, 2008

2008 Fall Baseball end of Season Party

Jack and I finished a long day (football and baseball tournament play) going to the end of season party for the undefeated Yankees fall baseball team. The coach had the party at his house and barbecued some burgers. The boys had a great time playing in the pool. I had a nice time visiting with the Cunninghams; I have enjoyed having them on the fall ball team.

2008 Gunners Baseball Tournament #1 Day 1

After Jack's football game, we headed back to the baseball fields to join up with the Gunners team.

The Gunners won the first game against the Solano Blast by a score of 14 to 0 in 3 innings. There are a number of rules for tournament play outlining that if one team gets ahead by a certain number of runs than the game is called at the bottom of the inning.

The Gunners played their second game against Team Miken. Jack played in his first tournament game. At the plate, he lifted the first pitch of his first at-bat high into short right where the second baseman caught it for an out. In his second plate appearance, Jack walked on five pitches, swinging at the third pitch. He came around to score. Jack walked on four pitches in his third at-bat. With men on first and third and one out, the coach told him to deliberately get into a run-down so that runner at third could go home. Drawing the throw, the other team did not execute and Jack was safe at second and the runner scored. The next batter struck out on a wild pitch. Scrambling for the ball, the catcher threw to first to try and force the runner and Jack scored all the way from second.

In field, Jack played three innings in left field and did not handle the ball.

The Gunners won second game by a score of 19 to 5. The game was called with two outs in the bottom of the third innings due to the score.

2008 Flag Football Game #2

2008 Flag Football Game #2

Both the flag football team and the Gunner Baseball Tournament team were playing at the same park in Elk Grove. After warming up with his baseball team and watching 1 1/2 innings from the bench, Jack changed into his football jersey and headed over to the football fields. Jack played in his second flag football game of the 2008 season.

In the first half, Jack played on defense. He had an interception which set up his team's first and only score. Jack had a number of nice "tackles."

Jack played quarterback in the second half. Quarterback is not Jack's best position. He is better suited to wide receiver; Jack does an excellent job adjusting his route to the ball once it is thrown and rarely drops anything that he gets his hands on. At quarterback, he tends to throw the ball into traffic and get frustrated when the other kids don't catch the ball.

At quarterback today, Jack was 4 for 10. The team had one nice drive almost the length of the field in the second half, but could not get the ball into the end zone.

The Gators won the game by a score of 6 to 2. Their record for the 2008 season is now 2 wins and 0 losses.

2008 Flag Football Game #2 Video 1

2008 Flag Football Game #2 Pic 1


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Exclusive Interview with Gov. Sarah Palin

Charles Gibson talks with the Alaskan governor about foreign policy.

2008 Back to School Night

Dropping Jack at football practice, I headed to the 10th annual Back to School Night at his school. The general session included a welcome by the priest and the principal, short speeches by the chairs of the school board and the parent association, a quick overview of the new math books and the revised extended day program and an introduction of all the staff and teachers.

Afterwards, I headed to his classroom to meet his teacher for this year. She talked about the behavior and homework policies and the field trips planned for the year.

2008 Employee BBQ and Baggo Tournament

Our division held an employee appreciation barbecue in the parking lot at lunch. The festivities included a Baggo tournament. 80 teams entered the tournament! The divisional CFO and I lost in the fourth round. Trailing by a score of 16 to 13, one of players on the other team tossed 4 straight bags in the hole.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

California Historical Landmark #558

Folsom Terminal
California's First Passenger Railroad

California State Historical Landmark #558

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

This landmark is located in Leidesdorff Plaza on the northwest corner of intersection of Reading and Sutter Streets, Folsom, California. There are 57 other California State Historical Landmarks in Sacramento County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 38° 40.549 W 121° 10.812.

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

Completion of the 22-mile Sacramento Valley Railroad line from Sacramento to Folsom was celebrated here February 22, 1856 by enthusiastic residents of both cities. The new line, commenced February 12,1855, was built by noted pioneer engineer Theodore Dehone Judah.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Havana Nocturne

I finished reading Havana Nocturne. Sharon and I saw the author on the Jon Stewart show several months ago. Although Stewart's author interviews are often a train wreck, I was impressed enough with the discussion of this book that I ordered it.

The book focuses on mob's development from 1946 to 1959 of Havana, Cuba into a mecca of hotels, casinos and nightclubs. Cuban political, economic and social events during this period provide an important backdrop for the story. Although Frank Sinatra, John F. Kennedy and Ernst Hemingway make cameo appearances in the book, the central characters are the leading Mafia figures of the day. The lives of almost two dozen gangsters including Meyer Lansky, Charles "Lucky" Luciano and Santo Trafficante are covered in varying levels of detail.

From my perspective, the most compelling individual story was Fidel Castro. His story was much more interesting to me than the life stories of the Mafia bosses. Castro played a key role in overthrowing the Batista government and running the Mafia out of Cuba. I am going to add Castro to the list of people I would like to read more about; the list currently includes JFK and J. Edgar Hoover.

The book is a good, but not great read. I was just not that interested in the back stories of all the mobsters...

Monday, September 08, 2008

2008 Fall Baseball Season Statistics

For the 2008 Fall Baseball season, Jack was 13 for 25 at the plate for a batting average of .520. He drew 8 walks and was hit by a pitch just once. Jack's on-base percentage was .647 (22 for 34).

He struck out 8 times, but not once in the last four games. Interestingly, two of his best plate appearances when he was behind in the count came in the last two games. Walking to the Gunner's practice on Sunday, he turned to me and said "that was a pretty good at-bat yesterday." He fell behind 1 and 2, fouled off a half dozen pitches and eventually drew a walk.

Jack has been practicing with the Gunner's tournament team over the last month and will probably play in three or four tournaments over the rest of the year. I expect that he is going to get a rude awakening when he has to face more competitive pitching.

In 12 games, Jack played 21 1/3 innings in center, 11 innings at third, 10 2/3 innings at shortstop, 10 1/3 innings at first and 1 1/3 inning in left field. This is in stark contrast to the spring season when he played 77 innings at shortstop.

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Johnny Flynn - The Box

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

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Running on the treadmill this weekend, I watched The Good, The Bad and the Ugly as a rental on the AppleTv. Released in 1966, this is the third of Italian spaghetti western films directed by Sergio Leone. It stars Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach in the title roles. The 2002 DVD release includes 18 minutes of footage that was cut from the original North American Release. Including these scenes, the running time is just short of three hours.

I have always been fond of soundtrack to this movie. I included the title song in the soundtrack of my life. Watching all three of the Sergio Leone westerns starring Clint Eastwood (A Fistful of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) in the last couple months, I realized that my memories are strongest for A Fistful of Dollars. The version of The Good, The Bad and the Ugly that I saw must have been cut down to show in a two hour block on network television.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

2008 Fall Baseball Game 12


After we finished up the first football game, we headed over to Rau Park for Jack's last baseball game of the 2008 fall baseball season. We got there in the second inning. The Yankee's played the Crushers.

Jack walked twice. He walked and came around to score in his first plate appearance. In his second at-bat, Jack fell behind 1 and 2 in the count. He fouled off four pitches and eventually walked.

In the field, Jack played third, second, left and center. With the temperature over 100 degrees, you could see Jack wilting in the outfield in the last two innings. Between the football pictures, practice and game, it had already been a long day.

The Yankees won the game by a score of 13 to 6. Their record for the 2008 fall baseball season was 14 wins and 0 losses. The coach told the kids afterwards that he had played baseball at a number of levels for a long time, but had never had an undefeated season.

After the last fall baseball game

2008 Flag Football Game #1

Jack jumping for an interception

The morning started early. Jack and I left the house before 8 am to get to the flag football picture day. After the pictures, the coaches had a 45 minute practice organizing the kids into two offense teams and running them through the plays.

By the time the pictures and the practice was over, we had about 30 minutes before we were scheduled to be back to warm-up for their first game.

Jack played in his first flag football game of the 2008 season. Their team is named the gators. They have ten kids on the team and can put 5 kids on the field at a time. The offensive set includes two wide recievers, a center, a running back and the quarterback. Only nine of the kids showed up for today's game. The game goes very, very fast. They play four 10 minutes quarters with a running clock.

Jack played wide receiver in one of the two offensive groups and played a variety of positions on defensive. On offensive, he caught three passes; two of the passes were for conversions after a touchdown. Jack caught all of the passes thrown to him. On defensive, he had one interception and made a number of "tackles."

Unlike last year, the team has several kids who can catch the ball. The coaches did a great job of spreading the ball around. All four of the nonquarterback players in Jack's offensive squad caught the ball and either scored a touchdown or a conversion. Jack's offensive group scored all of the team's points. I think that two of the three receivers in the other offensive group caught passes.

The Gators beat the Green Monkeys by a score of 28 to 0. Their record for the season is 1 win and 0 losses.

Jack catching a pass for a conversion

2008 flag football picture day

2008 flag football picture day, originally uploaded by heringermr.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Lexus RX400h Day 68

I use the web site www.mymilemarker.com to track all of my fuel purchases. This site allows me to use twitter to log my mileage, gallons purchased and cost per gallon with a SMS message every time I fill up.

The 2008 Lexus RX400h hybrid is rated at 24 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg in the city. Over the last two months plus I have driven 4,016 miles and averaged 25.1 miles per gallon. The mileage per tank has generally ranged from a low of 24.5 to a high of 26.8 miles per gallon. I had one tank below 24.5 mpg (20.3 mpg); this was on the way up to Chester with the bikes on roof rack. In two months, I calculate that I have saved more than $360 in fuel costs than if I was driving the Explorer.

I continue to be very pleased with the vehicle. In particular, the bluetooth and iPod integration work extremely well. Although the feel of the electric motors to brake the car takes some getting use to (Sharon complained about it the one day she drove it), I am happy with the way it drives. The one omission that I find odd is the lack of a range indicator; I am used to have an indicator that tells you how much farther you can go on the current tank of gas.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

California Historical Landmark #551

I stopped at this waymark when I took Larkin out for dinner to celebrate his birthday.

California's First Grange Hall
California State Historical Landmark #521

See this location on Yahoo Maps in Flickr
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This landmark is located 0.2 miles north of Pilot Hill on State Highway 49 in El Dorado County. There are 29 other California State Historical Landmarks in El Dorado County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 38° 50.599 W 121° 00.891.

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

Pilot Hill Grange No. 1, with 29 charter members-Master, F. D. Brown - Secretary A. J. Bayley-was organized August 10, 1870. The Grange hall, dedicated at this site on November 23, 1889, was built by Alcandor A. Bayley.

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Jessie Baylin - Was I On Your Mind

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

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Larkins on Duval Street

When the Larkins were traveling recently, Joe sent out a link before the trip to a web cam in front of Sloppy Joe's on Duval Street in Key West, Florida. He said that they would be standing in front of the web cam at specific date and time. This is a streaming web cam so that you can see people moving around and hear people talking.

Sure enough, I was able to watch them moving around on the street and hear Larkin yelling Heringer. I got a couple of screen captures.

click on the picture for a larger copy!

Western Movies

I have started to watch old western movies while I run on the treadmill. To date, I have seen:

08/31/2008 - Once Upon a Time in the West
07/14/2008 - Unforgiven
07/03/2008 - The Magnificent Seven
06/28/2008 - For A Few Dollars More
05/24/2008 - A Fistful of Dollars

Monday, September 01, 2008

Once Upon a Time in the West

Running on the treadmill over the last two days, I watched Once Upon a Time in the West. I had mentioned to Phil that I was watching the old Clint Eastwood westerns A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More and he lent me this movie to watch.

Once Upon a Time in the West is a 1968 spaghetti Western film directed by Sergio Leone. The film stars Henry Fonda unusually cast as the villain Frank, Charles Bronson as his nemesis "Harmonica", Jason Robards as the generally benign bandit Cheyenne and Claudia Cardinale as a newly-widowed homesteader with a past as a prostitute, Jill.