Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve 2014

Dropping Jack at the Foys, Sharon and I had a late dinner at Scott's Seafood on the River. Sharon had Macadamia Nut Crusted Barramundi [Asian Seabass], while I had Jerk Seasoned Pacific Swordfish and Coconut Prawns. We spent the evening talking about some goals for 2015.

After dinner, we headed back to the Foys to celebrate New Year's Eve. By the time we got home and to bed, it was after 1:30 am... While I count New Year's Eve as my least favorite holiday, we had a nice evening.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Mark's Year


Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Epic Eric

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Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Stars - From the Night

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Monday, December 29, 2014

ESPN Films: Two Points, One Title

I watched ESPN Films Two Points, One Title. The film explores Tom Osborne's controversial decision to go for a 2-point conversion in the 1984 Orange Bowl.

To set the stage, the documentary looks briefly at the seasons Miami and Nebraska had in 1983. Miami lost its first game of the season and then went undefeated the rest of the way. Nebraska steamrolled teams all year and was a heavy favorite to win the Orange Bowl. It also briefly examines who Tom Osborne is: his upbringing and background.

The film then recounts the game. The Hurricanes won 31-30 when Turner Gill's two-point conversion pass to Jeff Smith was tipped away.

A number of people believe that this win launched the "U" into what it was to become. The rise of the "U" is chronicled in one of the 30 for 30 Volume One documentaries. Without this win, Miami may not have been to recruit some of the stars that fueled the teams success in the 80s and 90s.

I have a feeling that this film was pitched as a 30 for 30 short, but grew into something big enough that they figured they would premeire it on ESPN.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Holiday Get Together

Just like exactly a year ago, we got together with the Larkins and the Gainsleys for dinner. We met at the Folsom Hotel and then wandered down the street to the Sutter Street Steakhouse for dinner.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Skiing at Boreal

Jack & Bridget - pic 2
Jack and BridgetSharon, Jack and I spent the day skiing at Boreal with the Foys. Leaving Carmichael about 7:25 am, we pulled into the parking lot at Boreal about 8:45 am. It has been more than thirty years since I skied this resort.

The seven of us spent the morning skiing together. It has been February and March of 2008 since Sharon last skied. As a result, she struggled a little to keep up.

We stopped for lunch about 11:30 am. The lodge was packed. There seemed to be a lot of people who had set up camp for the day.

After lunch, the group split up and I took a long run with Sharon along Sunset Boulevard. From there, Sharon took a break to get some water and I tried to track down everyone. After almost an hour of searching, I finally found the Foys and Jack skiing on the Lost Dutch chairlift to the far right of the resort. I skiied with them for the rest of the afternoon. I quit about 4:00 pm and met Sharon in the bar, while the rest of the group took two more runs.

Loading up the cars, we were on the road a little after 4:30 pm. The traffic was pretty heavy; it took us an hour and 45 minutes to get back to Roseville.

After trying to get into Chicago Fire in Roseville [an hour wait], the two families ended up having dinner at Roundtable near Douglas and Sierra College.

Friday, December 26, 2014

2014 Kings versus Suns

Kings versus Suns

Jack and I went to the Sacramento Kings versus Phoenix Suns NBA basketball game. Jack is a Suns fan; we saw both of the Suns versus Kings games last season [4/17/2014, 11/19/2013]. Playing without DeMarcus Cousin who was out with a stomach illness, the Kings kept the game close for three quarters, but fell short in the fourth quarter and lost by the score of 115 to 106.

The Suns attack was very balanced. Five players scored 16 to 20 points, including Goran Dragic [16], Isaiah Thomas [17], Markieff Morris [17], Eric Bledsoe [18], and Marcus Morris [20].

The Kings were led by Darren Collison. He had nineteen points on 5 for 12 from the field, 4 for 7 from three and 5 for 6 from the free throw line.

Jack was excited to see Zoran Tragic, Goran's little brother, play at the end of the game. This is the second game that Jack and I have seen this season. Cousins has not played in either game.

Bobby and Yuli were in section 202. We talked to them and the Laskins at halftime.

The Kings have 0 wins and 2 losses in games that I have seen in the 2014-2015 NBA season.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Day 2014

Santa didn't make it back up the chimney...After a late night, the three of us had a very nice Christmas morning opening presents around the tree. We had a lazy breakfast of French Toast. Jack and I took Tiber for a long walk after breakfast.

In the early afternoon, we went out for a movie on Christmas Day for the sixth year in a row. The there of us went to see Unbroken. Sharon had tried to read the book years ago, but couldn't get through it. We enjoyed the movie, but Sharon and I thought that the film focused too much on the prison camp torture scenes. It could have spent more time on the rest of Zamperini's life.

After not being able to get into Buca de Beppo last Christmas, I made a reservation in early December. We ordered way too much food.

With Sharon feeling under the weather, we finished the night watching the first episode of Sherlock. The series stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Doctor John Watson.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve 2014

Christmas 2014Sharon, Jack and I headed to Good Shepherd for the Christmas Eve 4:00 pm Mass. After attending Mass at St. Ignatius the last two years, it was nice to be back at Good Shepherd. The church did not seem as crowded as it did three years ago. We got there at 3:30 pm and were still able to get some seats. It was nice to see a number of families that we have known for years (Banacki, Ralph, Smith, Marchant...). We ran into Alan on the way out...

From there we headed to Tim's house for Christmas Eve. After hosting Christmas Eve the last three years, it was a refreshing change to go to someone else's house for dinner. The group totalled fifteen, including Tom and Becky, Tim and Kathy, Leah's parents, Kevin and Leah, Eileen and Will, Jim Dunn, Eric, Jack and Sharon and I. Tim and Kathy made a great dinner of cornish game hens, rice and asparagus.

It seems like there were more presents than previous years. As a result, the evening ran later. By the time, we got home, I wrapped a few presents for Christmas morning and Jack walked the dog, it was almost 1:00 am.

With Kevin and Leah expecting a baby in June, next Thankgiving and Christmas are going to be very, very different!

Monday, December 22, 2014

New Licensed Driver!

new licensed driver!

Jack passed his driver's test today! In one of those odd twists, he had to deal with an emergency vehicle with lights and a siren coming towards him during the driving test… He did the right thing by pulling over, but doesn't think that the girl in front of him who was also taking a driver test pulled over.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Global Winter Wonderland

upload

Sharon, Jack and I went to the Global Winter Wonderland at Cal Expo with Pat, Christy, Megan and Bridget. I enjoyed the landscapes from around the world. I was surprised by the size of the crowd and fascinated by the cultural diversity of the mass of people.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Wackman Christmas Party

Untitled
Dropping Jack at the Foys, Sharon and I went to the Alan Wackman's Christmas Party. Alan's youngest has played baseball with Jack starting in 2008 on the Gunners and the Outlaws and then against Jack on Christian Brothers and Cats. We went to this Christmas party in 2011, but it was canceled at the last minute in 2013.

We had a nice time catching up with the Borjas. Their son is at Elk Grove High School and has played baseball with Aaron Wong.

Friday, December 19, 2014

ESPN FiveThirtyEight Signals: The Cowboys and the Indian

FiveThirtyEight and ESPN Films have released the second film in their Signals digital short series.

FiveThirtyEight Signals: The Cowboys and the Indian

A. Salam Qureishi grew up in India and knew nothing about football — or America. And yet in the early 1960s, Qureishi, a computer programmer and statistician, helped the Dallas Cowboys overhaul their scouting system, replacing hunches with hard numbers.

The result: five Super Bowl appearances and two titles. FiveThirtyEight and ESPN Films present “The Cowboys and the Indian,” directed by Mark Polish.


You can find The Man vs. The Machine on the ESPN web site at http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=12037311.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Playlist Premiere: This is Milo Greene - Andrew Heringer

Playlist Premiere: This is Milo Greene - Andrew Heringer

It’s a common misconception that Milo Greene is a person. And, well, he probably is a person, but the Milo Greene that hit big with last year’s eponymous debut is actually a four-piece, and none of its members are named Milo. In anticipation of their forthcoming sophomore album Control, we’re taking a minute to get to know each member of the band, complete with a few questions and a curated playlist. We’ve caught up with members Marlana Sheetz and Graham Fink, and now we’re getting to know Andrew Heringer. Listen to his curated playlist above, and read more about his involvement with the band below.

Paste: What kinds of music influenced you growing up?

My parents music collection had a big influence early on. They were into all kinds of music, but I remember really gravitating to songwriters like Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, CSN&Y and James Taylor. We had a stereo with a cassette recorder that I’d use to make myself mix tapes from the radio. I’d keep my hand against the record button waiting for the first sign of recognizable song (inevitably every song started a few seconds late). I’d take my Walkman and those mixtapes around with me everywhere listening to Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Aerosmith, Counting Crows, etc.

Paste: What are you listening to lately? Is anyone in particular inspiring you?

I keep finding myself coming back to the most recent War On Drugs and Ryan Adams albums. I’ve also been enjoying the new Damien Rice album. A few of us Milos got the opportunity to sing on a couple tracks of that record. Damien was a huge influence to me in my early songwriting days, so it was really special to be able to contribute in a small way to his album.

Paste: Can you tell me about how you first got into music—did you always know you wanted to be a musician?

I started playing violin through the music program at my school. I think my family saw I really enjoyed playing, so when I showed interest in playing guitar they were quick to encourage that and got me one. The different performance experiences with both those instruments had a lot to do with my musical influences. I went through phases with folk, rock, blues, jazz and classical. I was the kid locked away in my room practicing or listening to music all the time. I feel lucky to have been aware of what I was passionate about from an early age.

Paste: What do you do in your spare time?

I try to spend time as much time as I can outdoors. I really enjoy hiking and biking around the Hollywood Hills when I’m in LA. I grew up in the foothills of Sierra Nevadas mountains so I find myself gravitating towards that landscape. I miss being closer to Lake Tahoe. I would spend everyday of the winter snow skiing if I could.

Paste: Can you tell me a little bit about your personal part in songwriting and performing in Milo Greene?

The unique thing about Milo Greene is that anyone of us could take control of any part of the process – writing, singing, lyrics, playing the instruments, engineering or mixing. There is never a moment where inspiration or abilities are lacking. With this kind of collective, its important to stay openminded, adaptable and selfless enough to hear whats best for the music and momentum of the group at the present moment.

A lot of people have commented on the genre difference from our first record to our latest. Each of us come into to this collaboration with our own evolving inspirations. I think because of the nature of having four songwriters in one band – Milo Greene may have a tendency to morph and change, to the point where every album could have a different style and sound as we try to find that middle ground amongst ourselves

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

California Historical Landmark #269

Back working in Sonora in June, July, August, September, October, November and December of 2014, I started exploring the California Historial Landmarks in Calaveras County. Sites that I visited included: Valley Springs [#251], San Andreas [#252], I.O.O.F. Hall [#256], Fourth Crossing #258, Congregational Church [#261], Stone Corral [#263], Chili Gulch [#265], Jenny Lind [#266]; Mokelumne Hill [#269]; Pioneer Cemetery [#271], Douglas Flat [#272]; Carson Hill [#274], Robinson's Ferry [#276], Angels Camp [#287], Altaville [#288], Vallecito Bell Monument [#370]; Old Mining Camp of Brownsville [#465], Red Brick Grammar School [#499], Angels Hotel [#734] and Birthplace of Archie Stevenot [#769].

Mokelumne Hill
California State Historical Landmark #269

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

This landmark is located at southwest corner of Main and Center Streets, Mokelumne Hill , California in Calaveras County. There are 40 other California State Historical Landmarks in Calaveras County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 38° 18.113 W 120° 42.344.

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

California Historical Landmark #269


Mokelumne is an Indian word, first applied to the nearby river. Earliest settlement was at Happy Valley by French trappers. Gold was discovered by discharged members of Stevenson's Regiment in 1848. Mokelumne Hill was the center of the richest placer mining section of Calaveras County and one of the principal mining towns of California. Corral Flat produced over thirty millions in gold. Sixteen feet square constituted a claim. The so-called 'French War' for possession of gold mines occurred in 1851. 'Calaveras Chronicle' was established in 1850. Fights between grizzly bears and bulls amused early residents. The town was destroyed by fires in 1854, 1864, and 1874. County seat of Calaveras County from 1853 to 1866.

California Historical Landmark #269

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Bonza Word Puzzle

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Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Mary J. Blige - Doubt

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Monday, December 15, 2014

A Million Steps by Kurt Koontz

I finished reading A Million Steps by Kurt Koontz. As I have mentioned before, Sharon and I are interested doing the Way of St. James pilgrimage. A Million Steps is one of the many books available chronicling personal journeys hiking the Way of St. James. Following Liz's journey, reading her emails and having dinner with her after she got back only deepened by desire to take this pilgrimage.

I enjoyed the book, but the author's approach to the pilgrimage was very different than mine would be. Koontz got up very early in the morning; he would travel by headlamp in the dark. Koontz maintained a breakneck pace. I don't think he paused for more than two or three days over the entire trip.

I am more interested in seeing the country. We will probably spent a couple of days in each of the major cities and take some side trips along the way.

There were a couple of interesting technical observations. First, Koontz shopped places to stay when he reached his destination each night. He would tour the albergues (pilgrim hostels) before picking one of them. Second, Koontz broke up the trip by staying in a hotel every few days; this sounds like a great idea!

The book got more and more philosophical as it went along. I appreciated his musing and found some personal insights. I do need to find a book that focuses more on the practical and technical aspects of the pilgrimage.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

ESPN Films 30 for 30 Vol II: The 'U' Part II

With Sharon out to Dinner with Janie for their annual Christmas dinner, I watched The 'U' Part 2. This is the twentieth-sixth installment of ESPN's 30 for 30 Vol II. An episode guide for Vol II is here.

Five years ago, I watched the 'U' as part of the original 30 for 30 series. Part Two picks up where the original film ended. In the late 1990's, the University of Miami football program received a number of sanctions from the NCAA, including the loss of 31 scholarships and bowl game ban.

Under Butch Davis, the program was rebuilt. In the 2002 Rose Bowl, the Hurricanes took a 34–0 halftime lead and cruised to a 37–14 win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers to capture their fifth national championship and put the finishing touches on a perfect 12–0 season. There is an interesting FiveThirtyEight post that this was the most talented college football team in history.

In 2003, the #1 ranked and unbeaten Hurricanes faced Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. On a controversial pass interference call in overtime, Ohio State upset Miami by the score of 31 to 24. The Ohio State team featured Maurice Clarrett and was coached Jim Tressel! They are the topic for another 30 for 30 Volume 2 film.

In a macabre incident of history repeating itself, the program gets into trouble again in the late 2000's due to the involvement of Nevin Shapiro. Shapiro is a former University of Miami football booster who is currently imprisoned for orchestrating a $930 million Ponzi scheme. According to interviews, he engaged in rampant violations of NCAA rules over eight years as a booster for University of Miami athletes. Shapiro allegedly provided cash, goods, prostitutes, assorted favors and on one occasion, an abortion to University of Miami football players.

The story flips once more when the NCAA came under fire for methods that they used to investigate the University of Miami football program. Apparently, the NCAA made payments to Shapiro's attorney to subpoena people for dispositions in an ongoing bankruptcy case as a way to ask questions under oath.

In spite of all the turmoil highlighted in the two films, the football program has had amazing record. The accomplishments included:
  • From 2000 to 2002, the U won 34 consecutive games.
  • From 1979 to 2008, the U had more NFL first-round draft picks than any other school [49].
  • From 1979 to 2008, the U had more players drafted to the NFL than any other school [180].
  • From 1983 to 2002, the U won more national championships than any other school [5].
While I didn't find it as compeling as Part One, this is an interesting documentary. All of these films make me very jaded about college football. It is a big business whose rules needed to be badly overhauled.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

California Historical Landmark #263

Back working in Sonora in June, July, August, September, October, November and December of 2014, I started exploring the California Historial Landmarks in Calaveras County. Sites that I visited included: Valley Springs [#251], San Andreas [#252], I.O.O.F. Hall [#256], Fourth Crossing #258, Congregational Church [#261], Stone Corral [#263], Chili Gulch [#265], Jenny Lind [#266]; Mokelumne Hill [#269]; Pioneer Cemetery [#271], Douglas Flat [#272]; Carson Hill [#274], Robinson's Ferry [#276], Angels Camp [#287], Altaville [#288], Vallecito Bell Monument [#370]; Old Mining Camp of Brownsville [#465], Red Brick Grammar School [#499], Angels Hotel [#734] and Birthplace of Archie Stevenot [#769].

Stone Corral
California State Historical Landmark #263

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

This landmark is located at Stone Corral Ranch, on State Highway 26, 9.5 miles southwest of Valley Springs, California in Calaveras County. There are 40 other California State Historical Landmarks in Calaveras County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 38° 05'57.0" W 120° 55'35.7".

California Historical Landmark #263


Stone Corral, consisting of a hotel, barns, and the large corrals for which it was named, was one of the stopping places on the road from the mines to Stockton.

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - VVVVVV

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Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - JD McPherson - Twinkle

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Monday, December 08, 2014

Virtually Biking Across America - Day 107

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 5.38.46 PM

On Day 107, I rode 23.7 miles across Southern Illinois. I started at the corner of West St. Louis Street and Highway 50 in Lebanon. About two miles east of Lebanon, I exited onto Old Highway 50 and rode east into Carlyle. I stopped at the intersection of Old Highway 50, Highway 50 and Highway 127.

The trip log for Virtually Biking Across America is here.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Neighborhood Christmas Party

After spending most of the day working on the Christmas decorations and dragging containers back to the storage shed, Sharon and I went to a Christmas Party thrown by Mike and Jill. They had a nice group from the neighborhood, including Tom and Judy, John and Sara, Dan and Deborah, Rod and Kathy, Marianne and Scott, JJ and her boy friend, Audi, plus two other couples (Tim's parents and the new owners). In less than three years at Deterding Ranch, we have gotten to know the community better than we did in almost 12 years at Lakeside.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

2014 Farm Credit West Christmas Party

For the fourth straight year [2013, 2011, 2102], Sharon and I went to the Farm Credit West Christmas Party. This year, it was held at the Delta King in Old Sacramento. We took a copy of the Milo Greene album as a white elephant gift. I ended up with Dilbert calendar...

We were very surprised by the traffic and crowds in Old Sacramento. It took us a while to navigate to a parking spot.

We finished the night with Holly, Van and the Dohertys at the Back Door Lounge.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Amazon Artists to Watch in 2015 - Milo Greene

Amazon has highlighted Milo Greene as one of their Artists to Watch in 2015!

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Virtually Biking Across America - Day 106

Day 106

On Day 106, I rode 10.6 miles across Southern Illinois. I started the ride at the junction of the Lincoln Highway and Highway 159 [North Illinois Avenue] in Fairview Heights. I rode east on Highway 50 into Lebanon. I finished the ride at the corner of West St. Louis Street and Highway 50.

The trip log for Virtually Biking Across America is here.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

ESPN 30 for 30 Shorts: Robbed

Grantland and ESPN Films have released the twenty-seventh film in their 30 for 30 documentary short series.

30 for 30 Shorts: Robbed

The latest film, from Emmy Award–winning director Eric Drath, brings us to the intersection of boxing injustice and urban chaos in the 1970s..


You can find Robbed on the ESPN web site at http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=11935642.

More about the film at: http://espn.go.com/30for30/film?page=robbed.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

California Historical Landmark #266

Back working in Sonora in June, July, August, September, October, November and December of 2014, I started exploring the California Historial Landmarks in Calaveras County. Sites that I visited included: Valley Springs [#251], San Andreas [#252], I.O.O.F. Hall [#256], Fourth Crossing #258, Congregational Church [#261], Stone Corral [#263], Chili Gulch [#265], Jenny Lind [#266]; Mokelumne Hill [#269]; Pioneer Cemetery [#271], Douglas Flat [#272]; Carson Hill [#274], Robinson's Ferry [#276], Angels Camp [#287], Altaville [#288], Vallecito Bell Monument [#370]; Old Mining Camp of Brownsville [#465], Red Brick Grammar School [#499], Angels Hotel [#734] and Birthplace of Archie Stevenot [#769].

Jenny Lind
California State Historical Landmark #266

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

This landmark is located on Milton Road, County Road J1-4, 8 miles southwest of Valley Springs, California in Calaveras County. There are 40 other California State Historical Landmarks in Calaveras County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 38° 05.696 W 120° 52.234.

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

Jenny Lind, located on the north bank of the Calaveras River, was a placer mining town as early as 1849. Most of the placer mining was done along the hillsides above the river, and later the river was mined with dredgers. In 1864, the population was said to be 400, with half of the population of Chinese and Mexican immigrants. Located on the main road from Stockton, it was also an important freighting center for the area.

The town was originally names Dry Diggins, but was renamed in the early 1850s to Jenny Lind, partly for the pioneer Dr. John Y. Lind and partly for the famous Swedish singer Jenny Lind (though the singer never visited the town, or California).

Dredging was the main from of gold mining from the early 1900s until the onset of World War II, when mining operations declined. Jenny Lind is now an unincorporated town, though a few buildings from the past and a cemetery remain as a reminder of its early history.

California Historical Landmark #266

Settled in the 1840s as a flourishing gold mining, cattle ranching, and farming community. Dedicated on the 100th Anniversary of Joaquin Parlor No. 5, Stockton, Native Daughter's of the Golden West.

California Historical Landmark #266

California Historical Landmark #266

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Idina Menzel - Silent Night

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Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - She & Him - Stay Awhile

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Monday, December 01, 2014

2014 Christmas Tree Lane

Christmas Tree LaneFor the third straight year [2013, 2012], Sharon and I went to the Loyola Guild’s 58th Annual Christmas Tree Lane Gala Dinner at the Red Lion Woodlake. The event included a shopping boutique, a dinner and a fashion show. The fashion show was really more of a variety show.

After being at the Hyatt in 2012, this is the second year at the Woodlake. I really don't like the Woodlake as a venue for this event. The parking is horrible and the space is too small for the number of people attending.

We sat with the DeAndas, Mike's mother and her date, the Flores and some friends of the DeAndas that we sat with at the auction. It was a very nice table and a very social event. The Renterias were working at the event helping the boys, including Coop, selling raffle tickets.