Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Litigators by John Grisham

Twenty-four... In the last twenty years, I have read 24 of Grisham's books. I am not proud of this. My book for November was The Litigators by John Grisham.

The book's main character is a young lawyer that walks away from the grind of a big law firm in Chicago. As an aside, I don't remember Grisham ever portraying working at a big legal firm in an attractive light. The protagonist ends up literally stumbling into a small rundown two man legal firm and joining the practice.

The majority of the plot revolves around a class action lawsuit against a drug company over the alleged health risks of a cholesterol drug. There is also a product liability subplot.

Over the last few years, I have questioned whether I really wanted to read each of Grisham's new books. I continue to read his books as a light entertaining read between more serious books. Partly due to a hectic work and personal schedule, I had a hard time getting into this book. With about 200 pages left, I got engaged and was entertained.

I read my first Grisham book--The Firm--in 1993. I had driven she-who-will-not-be-named to a class in San Francisco. Waiting for her, I spent the day running in Golden Gate Park, reading The Firm and then buying some software at an Egghead store on Market Street. Driving back to Sacramento, she and I went to Hunter's 40th birthday party!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

California Historical Landmark #463

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.

Ophir
California State Historical Landmark #463

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This landmark is located at southwest corner of Lozanos and Bald Hill Roads, 3 miles west of 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° 53.478 W 121° 07.475.

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

California Historical Landmark #463

Founded in 1849 as 'The Spanish Corral,' Ophir received its Biblical name in 1850 because of its rich placers. The most populous town in Placer County in 1852, polling 500 votes, Ophir was almost totally destroyed by fire in July 1853 but later became the center of quartz mining in the county.

California Historical Landmark #463

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - The Barr Brothers - Beggar in the Morning

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!
Starbucks iTunes pick of the Week - The Barr Brothers - Beggar in the Morning

Code Expiration: February 21, 2012

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Jason Bajada - The Sound Your Life Makes

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!
Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Jason Bajada - The Sound Your Life Makes

Montreal singer-songwriter Jason Bajada looks inward with an artfully written exploration on love and miscommunication.

Code Expiration: February 21, 2012

Monday, November 28, 2011

Jesuit High School Shadow Day

Following up on the open house last month, Jack spent the morning at the Jesuit High School Shadow Day. He went to Algebra II, AP History and AP English classes. Jack was only one of four kids in his class of 35 that did not go to the Christian Brothers Shadow Day two weeks ago. Sharon has him thoroughly brainwashed!

It is impossible for me to believe that Jack will be starting high school in a little more than eight months.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

2011 Christmas Tree

For the third year in a row, we got a Christmas Tree at Lamb's Christmas Trees on West Stockton Boulevard off of Sheldon. After spending most of the day shuttling boxes back and forth to the mini storage and then struggling to put up the outside Christmas lights, we took a break late in the day to pick out a flocked tree.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Dunedin Railway Station, Platform & Gates

On Thursday, September 14 while we were in New Zealand for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, we spent the morning wandering around downtown Dunedin. Tomasin, Julie and I wandered through the Dunedin Railway Station.

Dunedin Railway Station, Platform & Gates
New Zealand Historic Places Trust #59

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This historic place is located at 20B Anzac Avenue, Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand. The GPS coordinates for this location are S 45° 52.517 E 170° 30.534.

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

Dunedin Railway Station
Dunedin Railway Station
Dunedin Railway Station

The Dunedin Railway Station was the last of three stations built in the city between 1873 and 1906 and was the largest and busiest railway station in New Zealand.

The station was designed in Flemish Renaissance style by the Railways Department chief architect George Troup and is constructed from two types of Otago Stone, a dark volcanic stone from Kokonga and a lime stone from the Oamaru District. The columns are of Aberdeen granite. The board area outside the station at the foot of Stuart Street provided a space for vehicles carrying goods and passengers. This area later became known as Anzac Square after the Australian and New Zealand forces which service in the 1914-1918 war.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Cars 2


With Sharon out with Janie, Liz, Laura, Mary, Sandy for a girls night out in Old Sacramento, Drew, Jack and I watched Cars 2.

As we were looking through the AppleTV for something to rent, Jack actually expressed an interest in seeing Cars 2. I was pleasantly surprised by the movie; it is a fun little movie. It is an international racing-and-spy thriller: a cross between a James Bond picture and a Looney Tunes Cartoon.

Drew ended up spending the night. It was very nice to have some more time with him.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

After the Run to Feed the Hungry and the adventure getting out of the parking lot, we headed back to the house. Sharon spent some time making pumpkin flan. Drew stopped by and we got a chance to catch up in a little less hectic environment than last Thursday at the Fillmore. It was very nice to have a chance to sit and visit with him!

We took off for Sharon's brother Tim's house in the early afternoon. They brought a new house off of Elk Grove-Florin this year and hosted Thanksgiving. It was a big group, including: Tom, Becky, Kevin, Jim Dunn, Tim, Kathy, Erin, her boyfriend [Dylan], Eileen, Sharon, Drew, Jack and I. After dinner, we celebrated Jim's birthday. We finished the night watching the 49ers fall to the Ravens by the score of 16 to 6.

2011 Run to Feed the Hungry

For the seventh time in the last eight years [2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005 and 2004], Sharon, Jack and I ran the Run to Feed the Hungry. We entered in 2007, but I was feeling under the weather and we decided not to run before heading to San Francisco for Thanksgiving.

We picked up Janie downtown and she ran with Sharon. For the first time since we started running the race, it rained on Thanksgiving. In fact, it was the first time in the 18-year history of the Thanksgiving Day race that it rained.

Jack and I ran together for the first five plus miles. Our first five splits were 8:47, 8:29, 8:52, 8:53 and 8:34. I knew I was in trouble when Jack picked up the pace through the fifth mile. With about a mile to go, he started to pull away from me. I have run a lot of miles over the last month in an attempt to get my weight back down and I just didn't have anything left in my legs when Jack kicked. I covered the sixth mile in 8:32. Based on the race results, I ran the course in 54:40 for an average pace of 8:48 per mile. Jack finished the race with 53:42 for an average pace of 8:39.

Jack was very proud of the fact that he had finally beaten me for the first time in a 10k race.

It rained off and on during the race. Walking back to the car, we were wet and cold. With Sharon and Janie finishing about 20 minutes behind us, Jack and I found some place out of the rain to wait for them. Sharon had parked in a small lot near the Guy West Bridge. For some reason, it took us almost an hour just to get out of the lot!

At the start of the 18th Annual Run to Feed the Hungry

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

California Historical Landmark #885

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.

Griffith Quarry
California State Historical Landmark #885

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This landmark is located at the southeast corner of Taylor and Rock Springs Roads, Penryn in Placer County, California. There are 20 other California State Historical Landmarks in Placer County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 38° 51.068 W 121° 09.865.

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

California Historical Landmark #885

Established in the fall of 1864 by Mr. Griffith Griffith, a native of Wales, the quarry located near this site supplied high-quality granite for a number of the important buildings in San Francisco and Sacramento, including portions of the state capitol. This was also the site of the state's first successful commercial granite polishing mill, erected in 1874.

California Historical Landmark #885

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - MadPad

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

Code Expiration: February 14, 2012

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Hollie Cook - Milk & Honey

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!
Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Hollie Cook - Milk & Honey

The daughter of a Sex Pistol, Hollie Cook integrates reggae and girl-group pop into an intoxicating track from her self-titled album.

Code Expiration: February 14, 2012

Monday, November 21, 2011

ESPN Films: Roll Tide War Eagle


Running on the treadmill, I watched Roll Tide War Eagle. The documentary is airing as part of a series of seven documentaries that ESPN Films is running this fall.

The film looks at the rivalry between between the University of Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn University Tigers. Since 1893, the Crimson Tide and Tigers have played 75 times. Alabama leads the all-time series, with 40 wins to Auburn's 34, with one tie. Eight of the past 10 Iron Bowls have been decided by 10 or fewer points.

With no pro sports, the film claims that the state of Alabama focuses on one game: the annual meeting between the two universities called the “Iron Bowl.” The series is considered one of the best and most hard-fought rivalries in all of sports. As the rivalry was mainly played in Birmingham, Alabama for many years, the name of the Iron Bowl comes from Birmingham's historic role in the steel industry.

The documentary builds to the events on and off the field in the last two years. On the field, each team has celebrated a national title, Heisman Trophy winner and Iron Bowl win.

Trailing 21–20 with 8:27 remaining in 2009, unbeaten Alabama (#2 AP) marched down the field on a 15-play, 79 yard drive capped by a 3 yard touchdown pass from Greg McElroy to Roy Upchurch. Alabama took the lead 26–21 with 1:27 remaining and held on for the win. Alabama would go on to win both the SEC Championship and the BCS National Championship. Additionally, Alabama Running back Mark Ingram won the Heisman Trophy in 2010.

Led by eventual Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Cam Newton in 2010, unbeaten Auburn (#2 AP) came back from a 24–0 second quarter deficit to win 28–27 over 9–2 Alabama (#9 AP) in Tuscaloosa. It was both the largest comeback in the history of Auburn football and the largest comeback ever allowed in Alabama football history. It was also the largest crowd to ever witness the rivalry game with 101,821 in attendance. Auburn went on to win both the SEC Championship and the BCS National Championship.

Off the field in early 2011, an Alabama fan poisoned the 130 year old trees at Toomer's Corner where Auburn fans have long celebrated big wins. A deadly tornado then hit Tuscaloosa, home to the University of Alabama, in April 2011.

The film includes interviews with Bo Jackson, Charles Barkley, Cam Newton, Mark Ingram, Nick Saban and others. It is a solid documentary about a subject that I really did not know anything about; college football is not one of my passions. I do wonder whether the film portrays the sentiments of the general population or just a few rabid fans.

In addition to Amazon, Roll Tide War Eagle is also available on iTunes.

There is a write-up on the 2011 Iron Bowl game on the grantland.com web site.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dinner with the Larkins


Sharon, Jack and I headed up to Greenwood to the Larkins. After Cindy and Sharon went for short ride, the five of us headed pass Georgetown to the Buckeye for dinner. It was nice to have a chance to catch up with them in a smaller group.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Milo Greene at the Fillmore in San Francisco


With Milo Greene finally winding their way back to the left coast, Sharon and I plus the Wackmans, Gainsleys and Janie took a limo from Elk Grove to the Fillmore Theater in San Francisco. The Tomasins, Bachman with Anna, Hunter with a date, the Renterias, the Borjas, my sister LeeAnn and her husband Dean were also at the show.

It is great to have a chance to see Drew and hear Milo Green play live. This is the first time that I have seen perform live and I really enjoyed the show. I have to be honest that I did not play much attention to The Civil Wars. After the Milo Greene set, I spent most of the rest of the evening visiting. A large group of us ended the night in the upstairs bar in the back of the theater.

We jammed the Borjas and Renterias in the limo with us and dropped them at their hotel. By the time we got home, it was after 1:00 a.m. A great evening!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Aaron

Since November of 2008, Aaron has played baseball occasionally with Jack on the Gunners and Outlaws tournament teams. He played in 12 of the 20 Outlaws games this fall.

It is one of my favorite "it is a small world" stories. Aaron's dad Randy and I have known each other for a long time: picture of Randy, Larkin and I and picture of Randy, Gossage and I.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

California Historical Landmark #309

While we were in Santa Barbara celebrating our anniversary, Sharon and I rode bikes from the Four Seasons Hotel along the beach, through the downtown and then up to the mission. We took a self-guided tour of the mission.

Mission Santa Barbara
California State Historical Landmark #309

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This landmark is located at 2201 Laguna Street, Santa Barbara, California. The plaque is located 1,000 feet west of the mission in Mission Historical Park. There are 16 other California State Historical Landmarks in San Barbara County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 34° 26.293 W 119° 42.782.

A list of California missions is here. The missions that I have visited are highlighted in red.

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


Santa Barbara Mission was founded December 4, 1786. Portions of five units of its extensive waterworks, built by Indian labor and preserved in this park, are a filter house, Spanish gristmill, sections of aqueducts, and two reservoirs, the larger of which, built in 1806, is used today as part of the city water system. The fountain and lavadero are nearby, in front of the mission, and a dam built in 1807 is located in the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, one and one-half miles up Mission Canyon. Only ruins remain of the mission's pottery kiln, guard house, and tanning vats.


Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Michael Bublé - Cold December Night

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!
Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Michael Bublé - Cold December Night

Code Expiration: February 7, 2012

Monday, November 14, 2011

2012 PAL Varsity Comp Basketball Parent Meeting

I went to a short parent meeting for the SEAS varsity basketball team. Last year, the varsity comp team carried fifteen 7th and 8th graders and the school did not field a varsity rec team. It was a disjointed mess trying to get everyone some playing time, while maintaining any continuity.

This year, the coaches are holding tryouts four nights this week. They said that they are planning to have both varsity comp and rec teams with about 9 or 10 boys on each team. Like last year, the coaches said that the team will not be playing in a December tournament. League and tournament play will start in January.

Watching Jack during the tryouts, I was surprised how comfortable he looked with the ball and how smooth his shot looked. He is not a gym rat and does not play that much basketball outside of November through the end of February. Jack is just a much better all around athlete than I ever was. This next year is going to very interesting as he moves on to high school next August. I have tried to keep him pointed towards baseball where I think that he could be successful at higher levels, but he has been playing three sports a year for the last eight years! Jack loves to compete and I suspect that he is going to want to try out for football and basketball his freshman year.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

2011 Outlaws Baesball Tournament #17 Day #2


Seeded sixth after Saturday's game, the Outlaws played Clubhouse Red in the elimination round of the All Star Travel Ball Super Series Veteran's Day Salute at Mather. This team had a number of players that the Outlaws had faced before on the Dirty Dozen and South Bay Warriors.

Jack has had a pretty solid fall; I will post a summary later this week. He was money all fall with runners in scoring position. Before this weekend, Jack was batting over .500 with runners in scoring position. Unfortunately, he was not as successfully this weekend. Jack came to the plate once on Saturday and once on Sunday with runners on second and third and a chance to substantially change the game. Both times he was unable to drive in a run.

At the bat on Sunday, Jack was 0 for 2 and hit by a pitch. In his first at-bat with two outs and runners on second and third, he ran the count to 3 and 2, fouled off a pitch and then grounded out to the shortstop. Jack struck out on a 3 and 2 count on a caught foul tip in his second plate appearance with Jeremy on second. In his third at-bat, he got hit by a pitch on a 1 and 2 count. Jack was out at second on an inning ending double play when Josh hit a grounder to the shortstop.

In the field, Jack played seven innings at third base. He had one assist on a grounder down the third base line that he handled and threw the runner out at first.

The pitching for the Outlaws was not sharp. Breyton had trouble finding the plate and the coaching staff rode Coop about 15 pitches too long. Coop ended up throwing 100 pitches between Saturday and Sunday. The Outlaws lost by the score of 7 to 4. The box score is here.

Clubhouse Red went on to beat TABU and the Chico Aces Blue to win the tournament.

This is the end of the fall baseball season. The Outlaws are talking about playing up in the spring as 14 year olds on 90 foot bases to get the boys ready for high school. They have been playing on 80 foot bases this fall.

Jack tries out for basketball on Monday.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

2011 Outlaws Baseball Tournament #17 Day #1

The Outlaws played their last tournament of the fall in the All Star Travel Ball Super Series Veteran's Day Salute at Mather. They played the Norcal Bears in the first game. This is a new team made up with a number of players that the Outlaws have faced before on the Golden Spikes, Bandits and Showcase teams.

At the plate, Jack was 2 for 3 with a strikeout, an RBI and two runs scored. In his first at-bat, Jack hit a 1 and 0 pitch for a hard grounder up the middle. Josh laid a sacrifice bunt down the third base line moving Jack to second. As he rounded second, he realized that no one was covering third. Jack out raced everyone to third. The first baseman tried to make a throw but threw the ball away and Jack scored the first run of the game. With Breyton on third, Jack hit a 3 and 2 pitch for a fly ball into left center for a double and an RBI in his second plate appearance. He went to third on Bailey's fielders choice and scored on an error on the shortstop on Cooper's grounder. In his third at-bat, Jack struck out on a 3 and 2 pitch to end the game. He said afterwards that he got fooled on a change up.

In the field, Jack played five innings at third base. He handled two grounders to the left side and threw the runner out at first. In the top of the first, Jeremy fielded a grounder at shortstop and threw to Jack to get the runner trying to go from second to third.

Making two errors in the first three innings and walking seven, the Outlaws misadventures continued. Trying to make it close, they lost by the score of 10 to 6 in five innings. The box score is here.

After lunch, the Outlaws played Hard 90 pastime. This is essentially the second team for Hard 90. Niko and Greysen play for the Hard 90 first side. The Outlaws beat up on this team about eighteen months ago.

At the plate, Jack was 1 for 3 with a walk, an RBI and a run scored. In his first at-bat with Cooper on third, Jack hit the first pitch into right center for single and an RBI. He stole second and went to third on Josh's ground out. Jack scored on Breyton's line drive to left. Jack hit a 0 and 1 pitch for a very hard grounder up the middle in his plate appearance. Unfortunately, the shortstop was moving to hold Jeremy at second and the ball went right to him. Jack was threw out at first. If Jeremy is not on second, it would have been a single. Jack walked on eight pitches in his third at-bat. He stole second, but ended the inning there. Jack grounded a 1 and 2 pitch to the third baseman and was thrown out at first.

In the field, Jack played seven innings in centerfield. He had one put-out and one assist. In the first batter of the game, Jack handled a routine fly ball for the out. In the top of the fifth with Hard 90 starting to get a couple of hits, Jack made one of my favorite defensive plays of the year. With one out and a runner on second, he charged a line drive into center and came up throwing. Jack threw a strike to Breyton at first base to get the runner and help kill the inning. It was a great throw!

Behind a nice pitching outing from Cooper, the Outlaws won the game by the score of 6 to 2. The box score is here.

With six of the eight teams in the tournament advancing to the elimination round, the Outlaws ended up seeded sixth and will play Clubhouse Red on Sunday morning.

At the Bat Cave II

At The Bat Cage

Friday, November 11, 2011

Where is the World is Stewart's Island

As I wander the world, I am fascinated by geography and history. I love exploring where I have been from a spatial perspective. On September 16, 2011, I crossed the 19 mile wide Foveaux Strait from the South Island of New Zealand to Stewarts Island and then hiked on the Ryan's Creek Track. The map below gives a perspective of where we were on the globe.


View Larger Map

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

ESPN Films: Unguarded

Running on the treadmill over two nights, I watched Unguarded. The documentary is airing as part of a series of seven documentaries that ESPN Films is running this fall.

This is film is the story of Chris Herren. Herren led his high school basketball team to the Massachusetts State Chanpionship two years in a row. Highly recruited out of high school, he ended up playing one year for Boston College. Struggling with drug and alcohol problems, he left the program and then joined Jerry Tarkanian's Fresno State team. Herren ended up playing three years at Fresno State.

After college, Herren was selected by the Denver Nuggets in the second round (33rd overall) of the 1999 NBA Draft. This was an amazing draft class. It included: Elton Brand; Steve Francis; Baron Davis; Lamar Odom; Wally Szczerbiak; Richard Hamilton; Andre Miller; Shawn Marion; Jason Terry; Corey Maggette; Ron Artest; James Posey; Kenny Thomas; Devean George; Andrei Kirilenko; and Manu Ginóbili. The home movie and local television footage of Chris watching the draft with his family and friends is captivating.

Herren played the 1999-2000 season with the Nuggets. In October of 2000, he was traded to the Boston Celtics. Herren was waived by the Boston Celtics after one season on October 29, 2001. Never conquering his addiction issues, Herren played overseas in a number of countries, including China and Turkey, trying to work his way back into the NBA.

Given his addictions, it is amazing what Chris Herren accomplished in college and in his brief stint in the NBA. It makes you wonder what he might have accomplished if he lived up to his full potential as a basketball player.

After undergoing some treatment programs starting in the mid-2000's, Chris Herren currently spends part of his time as an inspirational speaker. The film switches between him talking to groups about his life and personal struggles with actual footage from his life. It is a fairly powerful way to tell the story. While it can be difficult to watch someone be so self destructive with his life, the filmmakers have done a solid job telling the story.

In addition to Amazon, Unguarded is also available on iTunes.

Bill Simmons did a very good hour plus podcast with Chris Herren talking the film and his life. In some way, I feel like the podcast was even better than the film! The podcast allowed Simmons to explore Herren's life; listening to Herren answer questions provided a much more penetrating view of who he is.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

California Historical Landmark #361

Sharon and I stopped at the Lobero Theatre briefly when we were riding bikes back from the mission to the downtown. Drew's band [Milo Greene] will be opening for The Civil Wars at the Lobero on November 19, 2011.

Old Lobero Theatre
California State Historical Landmark #361

See this location on Yahoo Maps in Flickr
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This landmark is located at 33 East Canon Perdido 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° 25.291 W 119° 41.985.

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

California Historical Landmark #361

José Lobero opened the region's first legitimate theatre on this site on February 22, 1873. For many years the old theatre was the center of social life in Santa Barbara. A new Lobero Theatre, opened in 1924 on the same site, continues to serve the cultural interests of the area.

California Historical Landmark #361
California Historical Landmark #361

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - The Barr Brothers - Beggar in the Morning

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!
Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - The Barr Brothers - Beggar in the Morning

Code Expiration: January 31, 2012

Monday, November 07, 2011

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - ESPN Films 30 for 30 - Winning Time

Beginning in late 2009, ESPN ran a series of 30 documentaries to celebrate its 30th anniversary; they called the series 30 for 30. Each of the films was produced by an all-star filmmaker. I published an episode guide for the series here.

This week's Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week is one of the 30 for 30's: Winning Time: Reggie Miller versus the New York Knicks. I ranked Winning Time second of out of the 30 films! An ESPN online survey of more than 22,000 people ranked the documentary fourth of the 30 films.

My thoughts after seeing Winning Time in March 2010 are here.

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - ESPN Films 30 for 30 [TV]

Code Expiration: January 31, 2012

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

Sunday, November 06, 2011

2011 Outlaws Baseball Tournament #16 Day 2 NOT!

The best laid schemes of mice and men, Go often askew.

The Outlaws' plan for this weekend's tournament was to save the top four pitchers for Sunday. On Saturday, they pitched just their second tier pitchers. Unfortunately, when the rain started on Saturday afternoon, the tournament got turned upside down and the plan backfired. The Outlaws ended up seeded 7th, but only the top six teams advanced to the playoff bracket. Originally, all of the teams were supposed to advance to the playoff bracket.

Although I think that a number of people, including myself, were tweaked by the turn of events, I do think that it was worthwhile to pitch some of the other players. Chris and Chance got an opportunity to pitch in a tournament for the first time since they have been with team.

The absence of Aaron from the line-up also made a huge difference this weekend. With his bat and glove, the Outlaws are a completely different team. Unfortunately, Aaron is not committed to the team in the intermediate term.

The Outlaws will play their last tournament of the year in the All Star Travel Ball Veterans Day Salute next weekend, November 12 and 13, at Mather.

The SEAS Eagles will hold tryouts for the varsity comp basketball team starting Monday, November 14.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

2011 Outlaws Baseball Tournament #16 Day 1

The Outlaws played in the Northern California Travel Ball Veterans Day Classic at Mather. With Sharon and I in Santa Barbara during the last tournament, I have not seen the Outlaws play seen October 4. It seems like forever ago.

The Outlaws played NorCal Valley in the first game. With the brackets on Sunday set so that all of the teams can advance, the coaches pursued a strategy of saving the top four pitchers for Sunday. Jack was scheduled to start the first game, but his arm was tight after he warmed up. This quickly turned into one of the days where nothing went right...

At the plate, Jack was 0 for 2. In his first at-bat, he hit the first pitch for a medium fly ball into right center. The right fielder was able to track the ball down for an out. Jack hit for first pitch for a hard grounder to the right side in his second plate appearance. The first baseman was able to field the ball and beat Jack to the bag for the out.

With his arm tight, they played Jack at first base. He had 7 put-outs and 1 assist and was involved in 1 double play. In the top of the first, Jack made a nice play on a ball hit to the right side. He ranged far to his right to field the ball and then led Jordan [pitcher] covering the bag for the out.

Giving up 9 walks and committing 3 errors, the Outlaws fell to NorCal Valley by the score of 6 to 1. The Outlaws managed only one infield hit! The box score is here.

The Outlaws turned around and played the Bulldogs in the second game. This is a team that they have faced a number of times over the last couple of years: winning some and losing some. They lost to the Bulldogs two weeks ago in the bottom of the seventh in what Rod described as a triple stomach punch.

At the plate, Jack was 0 for 2 with a walk. In his first at-bat, he ran the count to full and drew a walk. Jack promptly got picked off; he strayed too far from the base and the catcher threw behind him and he got tagged out in a run down. Jack hit a 1 and 1 pitch for a hard ground ball up the middle in his second plate appearance. I was sure it was a single when it left the bat. Unfortunately, with the turf wet, the ball slowed down more than I expected. The second baseman did a nice job of getting to the ball and just barely threw Jack out. oy vey... In his third at-bat, Jack hit a 1 and 2 pitch for a hard line drive right at the first baseman who was playing deep for an out.

In the field, Jack played seven innings at first base. He had 9 put-outs. It was an adventure. Cooper [shortstop] and Josh [third base] bounced a number of balls to him that he had to dig out. There was also a throw airmailed about two feet over his head and a throw that bounced five or six feet in front of him that he was not able to dig.

Looking very flat on a cold and wet afternoon, the Outlaws lost to the Bulldogs by the score of 5 to 0. They managed only two hits: one each from the 9th and 10th batters in the line-up. The box score is here.

With the rain coming down harder at the end of the Bulldog game, the last two games of the tournament got rained out and rescheduled for Sunday morning. They then restructured the play-off brackets so that only 6 of the 8 teams advance. There is a good possibility that the Outlaws will be seeded 7th and be eliminated from the tournament. Unfortunately, we might have to go to Mather to find out if we play or not. The coaches are not pleased.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Ryan's Creek Track on Stewart Island

On Friday, September 16, Swedberg and I hiked slightly more than 7 miles on the Ryan's Creek Track on Steward Island. Using data from my Garmin 305, I generated the following views of the hike in Google Earth. 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.









View Larger Map

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Game by Ken Dryden

I finished reading The Game by Ken Dryden. The book was highlighted by Bill Simmons in an article titled "The Sports Book Hall of Fame" on the Grantland.com web site. It is considered by many as the best hockey book ever written and was lauded by Sports Illustrated as one of the Top 10 Sports Books of All Time,

Dryden played goalie for the Montreal Canadians from 1971 to 1979 winning the Stanley Cup six times! Dryden held out one year over a contract dispute and used that year to fulfill the requirements for his law degree. He retired following the 1978-79 season at age 31.

The book is structured as a dairy of his life over the course of the nine days during the last season of his career. While he talks about the games, practices, the locker room and travel, Dryden uses those nine days as a vehicle to explore a wide range of topics including, but not limited to his childhood, his teammates, his coaches, the history of the sport of hockey, the changes to the sport wrought by money and expansion and what hockey means to Canada.

Dryden reflects on his life, his career and the sport of hockey. At times, the book gets very philosophical. Dryden is clearly an unusual athlete; he is very well educated and articulate.

While I may not have liked the book as much as some people, it is a very different sports book. I don't consider myself a hockey fan; I have only seen two San Jose Sharks games in person in my life. Even for the causal hockey fan, the book is worth reading.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

California Historical Landmark #636

Royal Spanish Presidio
California State Historical Landmark #636

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This landmark is located in the El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park, northwest corner of Santa Barbara and Canyon Perdido Streets, Santa Barbara , California. There are 16 other California State Historical Landmarks in San Barbara County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 34° 25.351 W 119° 41.918.

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

California Historical Landmark #636

This presidio was established April 19-21, 1782 by Governor Felipe de Neve, Padre Junípero Serra, and Lieutenant José Francisco Ortega, under orders of King Carlos III to provide the benefits of government for the inhabitants of the Santa Barbara Channel region of California.

California Historical Landmark #636

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - How to Cook Everything

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!
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Code Expiration: January 24, 2012

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Coldplay - Hurts Like Heaven

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!
Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Coldplay - Hurts Like Heaven

Code Expiration: January 24, 2012