Monday, October 31, 2011

ESPN Films - The Real Rocky

Running on the treadmill on Saturday, I watched The Real Rocky directed by Jeff Feuerzeig and Mike Tollin. The documentary is airing as part of a series of seven documentaries that ESPN Films is running this fall.

The Real Rocky is the story of Chuck Wepner. A heavyweight boxer in the 1960's and 1970's with a record of 35 wins, 14 losses and 2 draws, he fought Sonny Liston, George Foreman and Muhammad Ali. As his career started to wind down, Wepner also fought Andre the Giant and a real grizzly bear. The Muhammad Ali fight is the focal point of the film.

For the last thirty-five years, Sylvester Stallone has mentioned Wepner as the inspiration for the Rocky movies. There are a number of parts in the Rocky films that seemed pulled directly from Chuck's life. Although Stallone tried to cast Wepner in Rocky II, Chuck never reaped any benefit from the Rocky franchise. Finally in 2003, Wepner sued Stallone; they settled out of court.

Clips from interviews with Wepner appear throughout the film. At age 72, he was lucid and articulate. It appears that he is still working as a liquor salesman.

This is a very solid, watchable documentary that is worth searching out. Unfortunately, the film is not currently available on iTunes or Amazon.

A feature film about Chuck Wepner's life is scheduled to be released in 2012.

Michael Weinreb writes about a visit with Chuck Wepner and his wife on Grantland.com.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

2011 PAL Flag Football SEAS versus St. John Evangelist


The SEAS Eagles played in the first round of the 2011 PAL Flag Football play-offs against SJE. Last year, SEAS lost to SJE in the semi-final game of the 2010 flag football season. Additionally, they lost to SJE in the second round of the 2011 PAL basketball tournament. With SEAS' starting quarterback [Joe] in South Bend to see the Notre Dame versus Navy game and visit his sister, I was very apprehensive about how the game was going to go.

On offense, Jack played wide receiver. He had two touchdown catches in the first half. In the second half, Jack had beaten his man on a go pattern down the sideline twice, but the quarterback overthrew him. One of these was just off Jack's fingertips.

On defense, Jack played cornerback. He intercepted a pitch-out, but the play was called dead before the pitch.

On the strength of Jack's two touchdown catches, an interception by Jake and a touchdown catch by Jacob, SEAS led 18 to 16 at half-time. SJE's strength was their defensive line. They rushed their three best athletes and made it very difficult for Michael at quarterback. The problem got worse in the second half as SEAS quarterback got sacked a number of times. Combined with poor field position, SEAS never got their offensive going in the second half. Joe could have a difference; I think that he could have evaded the rush.

SJE put together one drive in the second half and scored with about three minutes left in the game. SJE ended up winning the game by the score of 24 to 18.

This was a very disjointed flag football season. The team ended up only playing four regular season games (there was one forfeit) in eight weeks. Essentially, they ended up playing every other week. They just didn't play enough...

Jack scored in each of their five games. He had nine touchdowns: seven catches and one rushing.

The Outlaws are playing in tournaments the next two weekends. PAL basketball then starts in earnest with try-outs the week of November 13.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bad Teacher


Sharon and I watched Bad Teacher as an HD rental on the Apple TV.

Starring Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake, it is an odd disjointed film with some major holes in the plot.

Avoid it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

ESPN Films: Charismatic

Running on the treadmill, I watched Charismatic by Steve Michaels [Al Michaels' son?!?]. When the ESPN 30 for 30 series was originally announced in early 2009, this was one of the films listed, but it never appeared. The film is now airing as part of a series of seven documentaries that ESPN Films is running this fall.

I am not a horse racing fan; it is not one of my passions. In fact, I have never been to a thoroughbred race in person. Partly as a result, I was more surprised by the arc of this story than by almost any of the ESPN documentaries I have seen.

The film is the story of the run of Charismatic and its jockey, Chris Antley, at the 1999 Triple Crown. Charismatic was viewed as fat and lazy and was actually entered into claiming races just months prior to the Triple Crown races, while Antley was considered a washed-up jockey with a myriad of problems. Going off at 30 to 1, they became the biggest long shots in 59 years to win the Kentucky Derby and then followed up with another underdog win at the Preakness.

In order to not spoil it for people who don't know the story, I am not going to say anymore. Look for it. This is definitely one of the 30 for 30 and ESPN Films documentaries worth searching out. It is one of the few documentaries in the series that I actually gifted a copy of it to Drew in iTunes after I finished watching it.

In addition to being available from Amazon, Charismatic is also available on iTunes.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

2011 PAL Flag Football Dads versus Sons

With the 2011 PAL Flag Football season sputtering to a finish, the coach set up a Dads versus Sons game. A couple of years ago, we did a similar thing at the end of the basketball season.

With Joe and Michael gone, Jack actually played quarterback for the Sons. He did a very good job, including throwing for a couple of long touchdown passes.

The Dads were a little less organized. We looked like we had never played together... Alan and Coach Ryan both played quarterback.

With it starting to get dark, the Dads claimed a shaky 22 to 21 victory.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

California Historical Landmark #1037

Santa Barbara County Courthouse
California State Historical Landmark #1037

See this location on Yahoo Maps in Flickr
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This landmark is located at 1100 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara, California. There are 16 other California State Historical Landmarks in San Barbara County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 34° 25.448 W 119° 42.155.

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

California Historical Landmark #1037

The Santa Barbara County Courthouse was constructed in 1929 and is a complex of four buildings occupying an entire city block in downtown Santa Barbara. It was designed by master architect William Mooser in the Spanish Colonial/Moorish Revival style. It is an extraordinary example of its style, with an elaborate array of detail emulating a Spanish castle or fortress.

California Historical Landmark #1037
California Historical Landmark #1037
California Historical Landmark #1037

Santa Barbara County Landmarks

California State Historical Landmarks
in Santa Barbara County

NO. 248 GAVIOTA PASS
NO. 305 MISSION SANTA INÉS
NO. 306 BURTON MOUND
NO. 307 CASA DE LA GUERRA
NO. 308 COVARRUBIAS ADOBE
NO. 309 Mission Santa Barbara - [map] - {34.438217,-119.713033}
NO. 340 MISSION LA PURÍSIMA
*NO. 361 Old Lobero Theatre - [map] - {34.42152,-119.69975}
NO. 535 CARPINTERIA AND INDIAN VILLAGE OF MISHOPSHNOW
NO. 559 HASTINGS ADOBE
NO. 582 WELL, HILL 4
*NO. 636 Royal Spanish Presidio - [map] - {34.42252,-119.69863}
NO. 721 CARRILLO ADOBE
NO. 877 CHAPEL OF SAN RAMON
NO. 928 SITE OF ORIGINAL MISSION AND REMAINING RUINS OF BUILDINGS OF MISSION DE LA PURÍSIMA CONCEPCIÓN DE MARÍA SANTISIMA
NO. 1037 Santa Barbara County Courthouse - [map] - {34.424133,-119.702583}

List of California Counties

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edger Meyer & Chris Thile - Attaboy

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!
Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edger Meyer & Chris Thile - Attaboy

Code Expiration: January 17, 2012

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - We Were Promised Jetpacks - Act on Impulse

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!
Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - We Were Promised Jetpacks - Act on Impulse

Code Expiration: January 13, 2012

Monday, October 24, 2011

2011 Outlaws Baseball Tournament #15

While Sharon and I were in Santa Barbara, Jack played with the Outlaws in the All World Halloween Scream Tournament at Bartholomew Sports Park in Elk Grove. This was a big 18 team tournament.

On Saturday, the Outlaws beat Stealth by the score of 5 to 2 in the first game. They then beat the Sonoma Stack by the score of 6 to 2 in the second game.

Seeded fourth out of the 18 teams after Saturday's pool play, they played the fifth seeded Northern California Thunder in the first elimination game. In a game that Jack pitched the first four innings, the Outlaws won by the score of 4 to 3.

In a game that Rod described as a triple stomach punch, the Outlaws lost to the first seeded Bulldogs in the second elimination game. Leading 4 to 3 in the bottom of the seventh with two outs, the Outlaws center fielder lost the ball in the sun and allowed the tying runs to score. The next batter drilled one into the gap to win the game for the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs went on to beat the Dirty Dozen by the score of 3 to 2 in the championship game.

As best as I can puzzle out talking to Jack, he was 5 for 12 with a sacrifice fly, two triples and 5 RBIs. For the first time in probably 15 months, he was the starting pitcher for a game. With Breyton out with a bee sting and Josh nursing a sore back, Jack started Sunday morning's elimination game. He threw 69 pitches over four innings and gave up 3 runs. One of the coaches said that it was the best they had ever seen his fast ball.

Jack has gotten a lot bigger and stronger over the last two years. I expect that he pitched well enough that he will start another game or two in the last two tournaments of the year in November. If he can pitch, it probably will help his chances of playing in high school. One of his second cousins who plays at Jesuit told Jack to tell them that he was a pitcher when he goes out for baseball.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

2011 Santa Barbara Day 4


Sharon and I both went for a run in the morning. Retracing the first part of our bike ride on Saturday, I ran from the Four Seasons Hotel to the tip of the Stearns Wharf. This was a round trip of just 7 miles. After getting cleaned up, we had a very leisurely breakfast on the patio of the hotel overlooking the ocean. We packed up the room, checked out of the room and were on the road just before noon.

At dinner on Saturday, Sharon starting talking to the waitress about wines. The waitress suggested the Foxen Winery. This winery is located in the Southern tip of the Santa Maria Valley Appellation north of where we explored on Friday.

After a quick stop and walk through of the Firestone Winery, we headed to the Foxen Winery. We tasted at their new tasting room, not the older "shack." They recommended the Riverbench Vineyard and Winery as a possible stop. We stopped there. Riverbench has an interesting tasting room in an older house. The stretch from 101 to Santa Maria along Vaca Station and Foxen Canyon Roads was very interesting. The scenery is very different. Sharon is talking about trying to come back in the spring with Janie.

Back on the road, we made a quick stop in Santa Maria for gas. I talked briefly to Drew backstage at the Lincoln Theater in Washington D.C. After some fits and starts, their tour opening for The Civil Wars is gearing back up.

We made a quick stop at the Enos Estate Winery just outside of Paso Robles. This was my least favorite stop of the weekend; the wine was not very good or interesting. Sharon was interested in stopping here because she worked on the loan in the last year.

Heading across Highways 46 and 41, up Highway 33 to Avenal and Highway 193, we finally connected with I-5. We stopped and got hamburgers for dinner at Harris Ranch. It was just after 9:30 p.m. when we rolled into Elk Grove. It was a very nice long weekend. It was the longest stretch that we have had a chance to take off just the two of us in a long time.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

2011 Santa Barbara Day 3

The plan for the day was to go for a bike ride. After breakfast at hotel, we picked up a pair of bikes at the hotel spa about 9 a.m.. We had discussed bringing our own bikes, but I had dismissed the idea. When I saw the hotel bikes, I regretted it; they were heavy, single speed cruiser bikes.

We rode 3 miles from the Four Seasons to the Stearns Wharf. From there, we turned and rode up State Street. Our first stop was the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. The courthouse is situated on an entire block within the downtown core of the city, a site of 4 2/3's acres. The general design and layout of the courthouse follows a modified Spanish castle plan. We did a walking tour including visiting the tower and the Mural Room. Unfortunately, it was foggy and there was not much of a view of the city from the tower. Completed in 1929, the building is a California Historical Landmark.


From there, we decided to head to the Santa Barbara Mission. It was only a little over a mile away, but it was a steady uphill climb. On single speed cruisers, it was a lot of work. At the mission, we did a self guided tour. The area that you are allowed to tour is fairly small, but well maintained. The cemetery and its giant fig tree were interesting. The church is long and narrow.


It was downhill from the mission back towards the beach. I made quick stops at the Presidio and the Lobero Theater. We had a leisurely lunch at the Wine Bistro on State Street.

After lunch, we rode north from Stearns Wharf to the yacht club before turning around and heading back to the hotel. Sharon stopped along the way and took a picture of the Santa Barbara Ukulete Club for Morgan. In total, we covered more than 13 miles. It seemed like a longer ride. Returning the bikes, we stopped at the room and then walked into Montecito. We wandered by the restaurant where we had reservations for dinner and Sharon stopped in a few shops. In total, we walked another 2 miles!

For years, Sharon has been haranguing about getting a massage. I finally relented. After a quick drink at the hotel bar overlooking the ocean, we went to the spa and got a couples massage.

We finished the day with a late dinner at Lucky's in Montecito. When we wandered in a little before 8 p.m. and the place was packed. We had a very good dinner; Sharon had braised short ribs, while I had abalone. We shared a bottle of Sea Smoke Pinot Noir. This was a much nicer dinner than the first night at Tydes.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sharon Leaving the Tydes Restaurant


2011 Santa Barbara Day 2

In the morning, Sharon and I worked out in the exercise room. I ran 3.22 miles in 33 minutes. The Madonna Inn has a very interesting pool and waterfall set into the hillside. We talked about coming back for spring break next year as part of a trip to Hearst Castle and Big Sur. While Sharon got cleaned up, I got coffee and oatmeal from Starbucks.

The plan for the day was to go wine tasting in the Santa Rita Hills area between Buellton and Lompoc. It was about an hour drive from San Luis Obispo. This area has a lot of Pinot Noir vineyards. Our first stop was Foley Vineyard and Winery.

Leaving there we stopped at Babcock. One of the guidebooks said that there was a great view of the hills. Unfortunately, the view is from the parking lot rather than the tasting room! We decided to pass on this winery and continue up the road.

In Lompoc, there is an area called the Wine Ghetto. It is a loose collection of wineries with production facilities and thirteen tasting rooms in an industrial district. One of the people that Sharon works with suggested that we go to the Robert Loring Wine Company.

Afterwards we headed back to Buellton and had a late lunch at Avant Tapas & Wine. Set overlooking the winery production facilities, the most interesting thing about this restaurant was a series of machines that allowed you to pick from a number of wines to taste. You could also pick how much of the wine that you wanted. Sharon and I shared a salad and a pizza for lunch.


The only odd thing about the day was that I ended up doing three different work conference calls while we were driving. It was about an hour drive from Buellton to San Luis Obispo. We are spending the next two nights at Four Seasons Hotel in Santa Barbara.

After getting checked into the room, we explored the hotel and had a drink at the Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club across the street. There was a pod of 12 to 15 dolphins swimming and feeding in the surf about 40 yards from the restaurant. It was a pretty amazing sight. I was frankly surprised at how big several of the dolphins looked.

Getting cleaned up for dinner we finished the night with a nice dinner at the Tydes Restaurant. Sharon had a Kobi Beef Brisket, while I had lamb belly.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

2011 Santa Barbara Day 1

Sharon and I have tried to make it tradition to get away for a weekend in October to celebrate our anniversary. After missing last year for the first time since 2000, we took off for Santa Barbara late Thursday afternoon. Jack is on a class field trip and then will be spending the weekend with his Uncle Tim and the Renteria's.

The plan was to spend Thursday night at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. Although I have been in the men's room years ago on the way to a rugby tournament, neither of us had ever stayed there before. With two short stops, we made it from Elk Grove to San Luis Obispo in about 4 1/2 hours. Rather than staying on Highway 46 into Paso Robles, the GPS lead us down 41 south to a one lane road and then we popped out on to Highway 101 at Santa Margarita.

We are staying in the Yosemite Falls Room. The room's wall are composed primarily of large pieces of granite. Both Sharon and I were pleasantly surprised by the room.

We had dinner in the Gold Rush Steakhouse. It is a very odd dining room... She had a steak, while I had some thick lamb chops.

Madonna Inn Yosemite Falls Room

A panorama of the Yosemite Falls Room at the Madonna Inn!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

ESPN Films: The Dotted Line

Running on the treadmill, I watched The Dotted Line. In the documentary, director Morgan Spurlock spends a year following agents in the NFL and MLB to explore client recruiting, marketing, and contract negotiation. The film is airing as part of a series of seven documentaries that ESPN Films is running this fall.

The film opens and closes with Eugene Lee. The opening segments trail Lee as he recruits several new clients. Both of these potential clients are third tier college players that few people are likely to know. The film closes with Lee preparing two clients, Jacquian Williams and Robert Hughes, for the NFL draft and then follows the course of the draft. The draft footage is compelling, has real tension and is the high point of the film.

In between, the film looks at Peter Greenberg. Most of Greenberg's 65 clients come from Latin countries, particularly Venezuela. The film also briefly explores recent NCAA agent scandals and the complex issues that can arise when college athletes turn pro.

While the closing segments of the film caught and held my interest, the middle of the film was fairly pedestrian. Compared to the other ESPN and 30 for 30 films that I have seen in the last two years, I would rank in the bottom third. I don't recommend that you go out of your way to look for it.

The Dotted Line is available on iTunes.

Additionally, there is an essay by the director on Grantland.com.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

California Historical Landmark #935

California Chicory Works
California State Historical Landmark #935

See this location on Yahoo Maps in Flickr
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This landmark is located at 1672 W Bowman Road, 2.2 miles west of I-5, French Camp, California. There are 24 other California State Historical Landmarks in San Joaquin County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 37° 51.800 W 121° 19.100.

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

Now known as The River Mill, the California Chicory Works has been extensively remodeled for conferences, day-long seminars, luncheons, dinners and special events.

California Historical Landmark #935

The partnership of C. A. Bachmann and Charles H. W. Brandt, formed in 1885, was the largest chicory supplier in America while operating at this site during the 1890s. Chicory roots are roasted, ground, and used as a mixture with or substitute for coffee. Using its own ship, The Dora, and the finest German equipment to process the chicory, the company shipped its product to market until about 1911.

California Historical Landmark #935

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - M83 - Wait

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!
Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - M83 - Wait

Code Expiration: January 13, 2012

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fernhill Track

Tuesday afternoon in Queenstown, Swedberg and I hiked six miles on the Fernhill Track above Queenstown. Using data from my Garmin 305, I generated the following views of the hike in Google Earth and an elevation graph from Garmin Training Center software. I also included a couple of pictures that I took along the way. I embedded the KMZ file in Google Maps at the bottom of the posting.

Starting from the top of the Skyline Gondola at 2,600 feet, we dropped down to 1,800 feet to pick up the Fernhill Track. From there, we climbed up to the snow line at just over 3,000 feet before dropping back to Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. The mountain range on the far side of the lake in the pictures is called the Incredibles.

click on the photo for a larger copy!







View Larger Map

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Shopping High Schools

Sharon, Jack and I spent the afternoon at the Jesuit High School Open House. We started by wandering through the gym with tables set-up for classes, sports and clubs.

In one of those small world stories, the varsity baseball player manning the baseball table was my first cousin's grandson that we met recently at the family reunion. Jack's great grand father is Louis' great great grand father.

From there, we took a tour of the campus. We finished the formal tracks with a film and speeches by the study body president and the principal. After grabbing a bite to eat, we wandered down to the baseball field and then walked through a couple of class rooms and the library.

It is hard to believe that we are shopping high schools! It seems like just yesterday that we were shopping kindergardens.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Milford Sound Panorama

I have over 900 pictures from the trip to New Zealand for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. I have not even started to sort through them and organize them. Hopefully, by early November, I will have an album of 50 or 60 of the best pictures uploaded.

One of the tools that I had intended to use was an iPhone app that takes panoramic photos. In the end, I only used it once. I took this panorama on Milford Sound. As I said before, pictures don't do Milford Sound justice. At the time I took this photo, we were cruising along side a sheer rock wall that reached straight up taller than the height of two Empire State Buildings!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

ESPN Films: Renee

Running on the treadmill, I watched Renee. This is an odd story. It looks at the life of Renee Richards, a transsexual who played in the 1977 U.S. Open. Although billed as the story of her struggle to enter the U.S. Open, the film is really a biography of her life. The film is airing as part of a series of seven documentaries that ESPN Films is running this fall.

I generally remember the story from the media coverage when it happened. What surprised me was the back story. Richard Raskind was 41 when he underwent sex reassignment surgery. The story of his life--who he was and what he had accomplished--was interesting. The director did a solid job telling the story.

Sans commercials, the film is roughly 80 minutes long. Unlike Catching Hell which seemed way too long, Renee used the length effectively.

In addition to being available from Amazon, Renee is also available on iTunes.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

California Historical Landmark 780-4

While Jack worked at a Special Olympics softball tournament, I ended up following the railroad tracks to Auburn. I had originally intended just to look for the transcontinental railroad historical marker in Roseville, but ended up leapfrogging from Roseville to Rocklin to Newcastle to Auburn. Along the way, I also stopped at California Historic Markers for the Griffin Quarry, the town of Ophir and the City of Auburn.

First Transcontinental Railroad - Auburn
California State Historical Landmark #780-4

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

This landmark is located at 639 Lincoln Way, Auburn in Placer County, California. There are 20 other California State Historical Landmarks in Placer County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 38° 54.108 W 121° 03.947.

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

California Historical Landmark #780-4

After an 11-month delay due to political opposition and lack of money, Central Pacific tracks reached Auburn May 13, 1865, and regular service began. Government loans became available when the railroad completed its first 40 miles, four miles east of here. With the new funds, Central Pacific augmented its forces with the first Chinese laborers, and work began again in earnest.

California Historical Landmark #780-4
California Historical Landmark #780-4

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - The Monster at the End of the Book

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!
Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - The Monster at the End of the Book [app]

Code Expiration: December 9, 2011

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Asa - The Way I Feel

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Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Asa - The Way I Feel

Code Expiration: January 6, 2012

Jury Duty

For the second time in slightly more than three years, I got a jury summons for the Superior Court of California in Sacramento. Unlike last time, my group did not have to report to the court house this week.

Monday, October 10, 2011

2011 Fall Dinner Party Menu

2011 Fall Menu

October 8, 2011

Mediterranean Olives-Citrus
Marinade Salted Breadsticks-Fig Jam
~~~
Mojitos


Honey Roasted Pear Salad
with Thyme-Verjus Dressing
~~~
King Estate
Pinot Gris


Roasted Beet Soup
with Crème Fraiche
~~~
2009 Meiomi Pinot Noir


Kiwi Sorbet
~~~
Champagne Floater


Osso Bucco, Mushroom Risotto
Steamed Green Beans
~~~
2006 Opus One

“Just An” Intermission

Birthday Celebration


Maple-Gingerbread Layer Cake
with Salted Maple Caramel Sauce
~~~
2010 Eos tears of dew Moscato


Sunday, October 09, 2011

2011 PAL Flag Football SEAS versus Presentation


The SEAS Eagles played their fourth game of the 2011 PAL Flag Football season. They played Presentation. This is another team that they did not face last year.

On offense, Jack scored two touchdowns: one touchdown of a short pass from Michael and a second running touchdown on a broken reverse. This is the first time that I have seen them try to run a reverse to Jack. He said that they also ran it once in the first game that I missed. Handing off to Jacob at halfback and starting to the left, Jacob handed the ball to Jack. Jack started back across the field, but the defense had penetrated deep into the backfield. Jack stopped, reversed direction and sprinted to the flag for touchdown.

Jack also had another touchdown catch called back due to a holding penalty on the offense line. Continuing the trend from Friday night, there were a large number of penalties called. On all three of the long runs, two by SEAS and one by Presentation, the officials called players for illegal blocks. The coaches and parents for both teams were getting very frustrated.

Jack had one other pass thrown to him. Joe threw him a long pass in the end zone. I was surprised when Jack did not make the catch. Jack said afterwards that defender hit him in the face with his arm just as the ball was getting there...

On defense, Jack played linebacker. With SEAS leading in the fourth quarter, Jack sat out on defense and Presentation scored its only touchdown. Defense continues to be SEAS biggest strength. With Jack, Jacob, Joe, Malcolm, Jake and Michael playing the linebackers, cornerbacks and safeties, they have a lot of team speed.

SEAS won by the score of 26 to 6. Their record is now 4 wins and 0 losses.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

2011 Fall Dinner Party

Sharon and I have made it a tradition to host a fall dinner party [20102009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003]. The group included the Gainsley's, Sanborn's, Larkin's, Deborah and Janie this year. We were able to work the schedule this year to get the Larkin's back; they have not made it since 2008.




Sharon made a great dinner of Ossobuco. This is one of my favorites dishes. I will post the full menu in the next couple of days.

After the entree, we watched a couple of Justin Timberlake videos in the bonus room. We celebrated Janie's birthday with presents and cake.

We ended the evening in the backyard. It was after 11:30 p.m. by the time the party started to break up.

Friday, October 07, 2011

2011 PAL Flag Football SEAS versus St. Mary's

Jack, Jacob and Joe covering a kick-off

The SEAS Eagles played the St. Mary's Mustangs in the third game of the 2011 PAL flag football season. Although they have played St. Mary's a number of times in basketball over the last several years, they did not play St. Mary's in football last year.

On offense, Jack played wide receiver. He caught two passes. Joe threw a long pass that Jack caught right in front of the goal line. Jack lost track of where he was, stopped and had his flag pulled; he thought that he was on the end line of the goal line. On third and goal, Joe then threw a fade in the right corner of the end zone that Jack went up and pulled down for a touchdown. Joe threw three other passes in Jack's general direction: one at his feet on a extra point conversion; another deep down the field which Joe was essentially throwing away; and a third on a second extra point conversion that went through Jack's hand [Joe was called for being past the line of scrimmage].

On defense, the Jack played linebacker. He had one interception. Jack went up high and pulled the ball down one handed. I continue to worry about his right wrist after last weekend's misadventures.

Although the Eagles looked strong on defense, they looked out of sync on offense. Joe had a long run for the first score and Jack caught a pass for the second score. Their only other points came on a long interception return for a touchdown by Malcolm. Part of the problem was the number of penalties that were called. I would guess that more than fifteen penalties were called. This really slowed down and disrupted the game.

SEAS won the game by the score of 18 to 6. Their record is now 3 and 0. They play again on Sunday.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

a ukulele virtuoso named Morgan Heringer

From the October 6, 2011 Arts Section of the New York Times!

Staying Undefined at the Antifolk Festival, and That's Fine
The music at this year’s festival is all over the map and it’s sometimes hard to tell what aesthetic binds the acts together, other than a desire to find something new to say in a song. The festival includes acts like the New Jersey duo, Crazy and the Brains, which fuses punk rock and classical xylophone, a ukulele virtuoso named Morgan Heringer and Debe Dalton, a banjo-playing folksinger who has been a fixture on the Lower East Side for decades.
'via Blog this'

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

ESPN Films: Catching Hell

When the ESPN 30 for 30 series was originally announced in early 2009, one of the films listed was Catching Hell by Alex Gibney. This was billed as the Steve Bartman story. In the 8th inning of Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship series, Cubs fan Steve Bartman reached for a foul pop fly and tipped the ball away from Cubs left fielder Moises Alou. His action caused anger and rage from fellow Cubs fans.

The film never ran during the orginal 30 for 30 run. Bill Simmons indicated on a podcast that the director wanted more time. After appearing at the Tribeca Film Festival in the spring, the film has finally aired as part of a series of seven documentaries that ESPN Films is running this fall.

Watching the film over a couple of nights, I was surprised by three things. First, the film spends a lot of time looking at the Bill Buckner story. With the Red Sox leading the Mets 3 games to 2 in the 1986 World Series, Bill Buckner allowed a ground ball to roll through his legs and the winning run to score. The Mets went on to win game 7 and 1986 World Series. The film spends more than 15 minutes at the beginning and then almost 10 minutes at the end exploring the Buckner story. I didn't expect this part of the film. Conceptually, the idea was to tie the two stories together given that both Buckner and Bartman were unfairly made scapegoats. The film superficially looks the idea of scapegoats, including the origin of the term.

Second, I was very surprised that the film was two hours long. I don't think that the length completely works. I feel that Gibney tried to pull too many different pieces together. For example, there is some footage in the later half of the film with a pastor talking about a sermon that she had given about Bartman that seems out of place. I think that it would have been better served to have made two 45 minute film documentaries: one of the Bill Buckner story and one on Steve Bartman. Reading about Buckner's career after seeing the film, I think that they could have made an interesting film focusing on Buckner.

Third, the footage and story telling replaying the events after Bartman tips the ball away are extremely good. The footage looking at the reaction of the crowd and the efforts of the security guards to get Steve Bartman safely out of his seat and eventually out of the stadium is compelling. The power of this segment makes the documentary worth seeing in spite of whatever warts it might have.

Bill Simmons has a podcast with Alex Gibney.

In addition to being available from Amazon, the film is available from iTunes.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

California Historical Landmark 780-3

While Jack worked at a Special Olympics softball tournament, I ended up following the railroad tracks to Auburn. I had originally intended just to look for the transcontinental railroad historical marker in Roseville, but ended up leapfrogging from Roseville to Rocklin to Newcastle to Auburn. Along the way, I also stopped at California Historic Markers for the Griffin Quarry, the town of Ophir and the City of Auburn.

First Transcontinental Railroad - Newcastle
California State Historical Landmark #780-3

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

This landmark is located at southwest corner of Main and Page Streets, Newcastle in Placer County, California. There are 20 other California State Historical Landmarks in Placer County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 38° 52.534 W 121° 08.040.

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

California Historical Landmark 780-3

Regular freight and passenger trains began operating over the first 31 miles of Central Pacific's line to Newcastle on June 10, 1864, when political opposition and lack of money stopped further construction during that mild winter. Construction was resumed in April 1865. At this point, stagecoaches transferred passengers from the Dutch Flat Wagon Road.

California Historical Landmark 780-3

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Feist - Bittersweet Melodies

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!
Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Feist - Bittersweet Melodies

Code Expiration: December 30, 2011

Monday, October 03, 2011

Davis Ranch

Much to Jack's chagrin, we headed to Davis Ranch after his baseball game on Sunday. We made our annual pilgrimage to buy fall decorations. Sharon skipped the giant corn and orka stalks this year. Combined with a few less pumpkins, the car did not seem as full as past years.

At Davis Ranch
At Davis Ranch

Sunday, October 02, 2011

2011 Outlaws Baseball Tournament #14 Day 2

After icing his arm overnight, Jack wanted to try and play on Sunday morning. He did not look good in warm-ups. I am frankly surprised at how much his right arm is bothering him; this was not what I was most concerned about after his bike crash. It seemed o.k. until he dove on it twice on Saturday morning.

The Outlaws played Club All Star Blue in a consolation game of the All Star Travel Ball Super Series Qualifier. This is not a team that the Outlaws have played before.

Essentially swinging the bat with one arm, Jack was 1 for 3 with 2 RBIs and a run scored. In his first at-bat, Jack grounded a 1 and 1 pitch to the right side of the infield to score to score Josh from third. They had moved Jack down in the line-up to sixth behind Josh. With a 0 and 1 count, Jack laid a perfect bunt single down the third base line to score Trevor from third. Trevor was a courtesy runner for Josh who was catching. Jack said later that he made a decision to bunt after the pitch was well on its way. Jack went to second on a passed ball and then scored on J.J.s line drive to right. In his third at-bat, he grounded a 1 and 1 pitch to the first baseman for an out.

In the field, Jack played two innings in left field, two innings in center field and one inning at first base. He had two put-outs at first base. Jack made a nice stretching backhand stop on a throw from Josh at third base for an out. The other team protested that the throw had pulled him off the bag, but the home plate umpire upheld the call. Jeremy also made a nice stop deep in the hole at shortstop and threw to Jack for an out.

Jack also ran for Jordan in the bottom of the fifth. He stole second, but ended the inning there when Trevor grounded back to the pitcher to end the game.

The Outlaws fell behind by the score of 4 to 0 after 1 1/2 innings, but scored in the bottom of the second, third and fourth to win by the score of 9 to 5. The box score is here.

The Outlaws now have 7 wins, 3 losses and 1 tie for the fall season. I have not built a game log yet. I really wish Jack had been 100% this weekend. I think that he would have killed the pitching that the Outlaws saw if he had been healthy...

Saturday, October 01, 2011

2011 Outlaws Baseball Tournament #14 Day 1

Friday afternoon, we had a large pile of bark delivered and dumped in the street. When Jack got home from school and his mother was not looking, he decided to ride his bike down the driveway and up the pile of bark. He crashed and banged up this hand on one side and his forearm on the other. After icing everything on friday night, I was not sure that he was going to be able to play baseball on Saturday...

The Outlaws played Saturday in the first day of the All Star Travel Ball Super Series Qualifier. They played the Bulldogs in the first game. This is a team that they have faced several times over the last two years. Jack warmed up with the team and seemed ready to go.

At the plate, Jack was 1 for 3 with an RBI, a run scored, a walk and reached on an error. In his first at-bat with runners on second and third, Jack lined a 1 and 1 pitch up the middle to score Cooper and move Jeremy to third.

In the bottom of the first, a ball was hit sharply down the third base line. Jack made a nice diving stop, but twisted and banged the arm that he hurt crashing his bike. He got up very slowly in obvious pain. They ended up moving him to right field. The Outlaws were playing with only nine players so they couldn't take him out of the game.

With two quick strikes, Jack fouled off two pitches, took a ball and then grounded out to the second baseman in his second plate appearance. He was essentially swinging with one arm. In his third plate appearance, Jack grounded a 2 and 2 pitch up the middle. The shortstop got to the ball, but the first baseman did not hold on to the one hop throw. Jack was safe on the error. With Cooper on third, Jack ran halfway to second and stopped. He ended up in a rundown. Cooper scored the tying run before Jack was tagged out for the third out of the inning. Jack walked on five pitches in his fourth plate appearance and went to second defensive indifference, but ended the inning there.

Jack played a third of an inning at third and the rest of the game in right field. Other than the grounder in the top of the first, Jack did not handle the ball.

Going ahead 3 to 0 in the top of the first, the Outlaws fell behind 4 to 3, but ended up tying the game by the score of 4 to 4. The box score is here.

The Outlaws played the Chico Aces in the second game. This is a team that they beat in May.

With Aaron showing up for the second game, Jack sat out the second game. He entered as a courtesy runner for Jordan in the top of the fifth inning.

Giving up 7 runs in the bottom of the second inning on three walks and two errors, the Outlaws fell behind by the score of 8 to 1. They rallied back in the fifth and sixth innings, but ended up losing by the score of 9 to 8. The box score is here.

The Outlaws ended up seeded 7 out of the 11 teams in the tournament. They will play All Star Club Blue Sunday morning at 8 a.m. in a consolation game.

With a small roster, the Outlaws have very little room for error; they can't afford to have any of their key players hurt. I am convinced that with Jack at full speed they would have won both of the games on Saturday and it would have been a much different tournament.