Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Jack's First Day of Classes

Today was Jack's first day of classes at Georgetown!

Tom and Eric's Progress on the Way of St. James - Day 15

Tom and Eric spent the morning of their fifteenth day touring the cathedral in Burgos. They said goodbye to some of their Camino friends who are leaving at Burgos and coming back next year to do another stage.

Getting a late start, they are planning a shorter walk today. The weather is staying cool which will be big advantage crossing the dreaded Meseta.

El Cid

Monday, August 29, 2016

Tom and Eric's Progress on the Way of St. James - Day 13

Tom and Eric spent their thirteenth night on the Camino at the albergue in San Juan de Ortega. It was very overcast and misty enough for rain gear. After an evening pilgrim mass, the monastery alburgue served a simple meal, including famed garlic soup.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

2016 Georgetown Move-in Weekend Day 5

Sharon and I set an alarm for 6:20 am. Getting ready and packed, we grabbed a very quick bite for breakfast at the hotel.

We loaded up the car and headed to Georgetown. We were there early enough that we got a fantastic parking spot in an underground parking lot just off of Canal Street.

Sharon and I went to the 9 am Mass. We failed to get Jack to join us. They kept the freshman up very late on Friday night as part of the schedule of events!

After mass, we caught up with Jack briefly. Sharon went up to his room, while I tried to stay out of the sun.

From there, we went to get in line for the Convocation. It was hot. We stood outside in the line for about 30 minutes before they started to let us into the gym. We were lucky enough to draw tickets for Convocation in person, rather than having to watch it at an overflow site.

They started the procession of the students and faculty into the gym about 11:30 am. The program started about noon and lasted until a little after 1:00 pm. A convocation is defined as a meeting of the members of a college or university to observe a particular ceremony, such as the beginning of the school year or the announcing of awards and honors. As part of the program, the freshman put on the robes that they will wear to graduate in four years! While I am sure that other schools have this kind of a kick-off, I haven't heard about another convocation as Jack's peers have been starting college.

After everyone marched out, we caught up with Jack at the McDonough School of Business for a box lunch. We visited for about an hour. We said goodbye to his roommate and his roommate's parents and walked back towards the car with Jack. I ended up getting pretty emotional as we said goodbye.

We left the school about 2:30 pm and dropped the rental car at Dulles about 3:15 pm. We got the shuttle to the airport and checked all of the bags. Sharon and I were both TSA Pre so we breezed through security.

At 4:45 pm, we boarded a 5:20 pm direct United flight home to Sacramento. Unfortunately, we ended up sitting on the runaway for almost an hour due to some weather 100 miles to the east.

It was an easy flight. We were on the ground in Sacramento before 9 pm and home before 10 pm. It was unsettling to come to a house with no Izzy, no Tiber and no Jack. Tiber will be back on Monday...

Tom and Eric's Progress on the Way of St. James - Day 12

Tom and Eric spent their twelfth night on the Camino in Belarado.

Tom's description was "day twelve turns out to be a snappy 23 k for a number of reasons: better packing; day of rest; overcast; light breezes; 10 degree drop in temperature; and getting tougher." Even if have they had to leave the paradise of the parador, He said it was a very nice day. They ended up in a really nice albergue.

Inglesia Santa Maria in Belorado
Note the stork nests on tower

Saturday, August 27, 2016

2016 Georgetown Move-in Weekend Day 4

Sharon and I slept in until about 8 am and had breakfast at the hotel. Sharon had wanted to do a neighborhood tour again, but by the time we caught a cab to the main gates of the campus, it was after 10 am.

We caught up with Jack at the Chaplain's Tea. Jack was in line with Jack Ryan, a classmate from Jesuit High School. Including our Jack, there are three boys on Jack's dorm floor from his high school! We ended up visiting with Jack Ryan's parents for awhile.

We then took Sacred Spaces tour. This included a tour of the Catholic chapel, an Eastern Orthodox space, a Muslim space, a mediation space and a Protestant chapel. In each of the stops, they talked about the religion and the key features of the building.

From there, we went to Jack's dorm room and installed Microsoft Office on his laptop. His aunt Lee Ann bought him a new laptop for graduation. He transferred everything over to it, but we needed to install Office. Jack actually has an Excel class this semester.

We went from there to the car barn for presentation on study aboard programs. The place was a zoo. We weren't able to get into the general overview session, but did attend a sesson on programs in Germany and France. Jack is taking French. We smiled when we saw that one of the German programs is in Frieburg.

Heading back to the campus, we got a late quick bit to eat in the dining commons. They were just closing down for lunch.

Sharon, Jack and I then went to a reception for the McDonough School of Business. After the reception, Jack took off to meet up with his orientation group. From this point forward, we didn't see much of him for the rest of the weekend. There is a great view from the top of the business school.

We ended up talking to Jack's roommate George's parent's (Pete and Linda) for almost an hour and a half. I had hoped to try and get out to see the Nooter's new house, but I could never get a grip on the schedule. By the time, we stopped visiting with George's parents, it was too late to connect with the Nooters.

Although there were some more choices, I was done going to sessions at this point... Sharon and I walked into Georgetown. We stopped at Martin's Tavern for a snack. Continuing towards our hotel, we stopped at ENO. We had stopped here last summer when we were on our college tour.

After getting freshed up in the hotel room, we ended up having a very late dinner at Ris near the hotel. We had the fixed menu; Sharon had trout and I had a pork chop.

With a lot on the schedule for Sunday, we set an alarm for 6:20 am.

Tom and Eric's Progress on the Way of St. James - Day 11

Tom and Eric spent their eleventh night on the Camino at the Parador de Santo Domingo de la Calzada. This was rest day; they stayed two nights in one place for first time. Tom said that it was not only an opportunity to rest all the body parts, but a chance to really explore a town at leisure. He said that he felt so light and airy without a backpack. "Santo Domingo de Calzada is nice old town with a lot of charm and nice little shops. It is not too crowded."

Friday, August 26, 2016

2016 Georgetown Move-in Weekend Day 3

After a slow start, this turned into a pretty long day. We had breakfast at the hotel and then hung out in the room.

Georgetown assigns you a time to show up and move-in. Jack's time was 12 pm. He heard from a couple of other kids that they weren't checking the time. We eventually decided to take off early from the hotel a little after 11 am.

We got to the Georgetown campus and into the queue about 11:30 am. They have it very organized. We were in a long line of cars that snaked around the campus for about 50 minutes. When we finally got to his dorm, a couple of students put all of the stuff in a cart and took it up to the room. Jack is on the fourth floor of New South Hall.

Leaving Jack and Sharon, I drove the rental car out of the campus and back around to another line that lead me to parking under the Leavey Center. I hiked back across campus to the dorm.

We spent about two hours unpacking the luggage and all of the boxes of stuff that Sharon had drop shipped from Bed, Bath and Beyond. The room is laid out with both of the beds along one wall and the desks and closets on the other wall.

About 3 pm, we headed off to get a very late lunch. We tried to get into the Bulldog Tavern, but that turned out to be a mess. After about a 20 minute wait, they put us outside by ourselves in the 95 degree heat and very little shade. We ended up getting up and walking over to the Leavey Center for some sandwiches and burgers.

Afterwards, we walked back to his dorm. We got a chance to meet his roommate George and his parents (Peter and Linda). Sharon and Jack spent some more time arranging his room.

Jack then helped us drag the three empty suitcases back across campus to the car. Unbelievably, it took almost an hour to get out of the parking garage and heading back to the hotel.

Dropping the car back at the hotel, Sharon and I eventually wandered down the block to the Ritz-Carlton. We had a snack in the bar. Using points, we will be staying at this hotel when we come back for the family weekend in October.

We eventually caught a cab back to the campus and met Jack near the main gate. The three of us walked into Georgetown and had dinner at Paolo's Ristorante. Sharon had shrimp scampi, while Jack and I had pork risotto.

After dinner, we walked back to the campus with Jack. We caught a cab back to the hotel.

It was a long fairly emotional day. Sharon and I will be back on the campus both Saturday and Sunday before we head home on Sunday night...

Tom and Eric's Progress on the Way of St. James - Day 10

Tom and Eric spent their tenth night on the Camino at the Parador de Santo Domingo de la Calzada. The parador is renovated from what is considered the first pilgrim hostal/hospital. It was founded almost 1,000 years ago by Santo Domingo. They are planning to stay two nights to rest, rally and regroup.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

2016 Georgetown Move-in Weekend Day 2

Sharon and Jack spent the day in Washington DC getting a few more things that Jack will need for his dorm room. After going to Target, they went to The North Face to get him a winter jacket.

I caught a 7:55 am flight from Sacramento to Dulles. It was an easy flight. With pretty good wireless, I worked the whole way. It took me almost 45 minutes to get off the plane, through the concourse to the terminal and into a cab. I got to the Georgetown Marriott to catch up with Sharon and Jack about 5:20 pm.

Sharon and I walked to the Blue Duck Tavern in the Hyatt for a snack. Heading back to the hotel to grab Jack, we took a cab into Georgetown. We met Ellis for dinner at Bodega. We had a variety of tapas.

We had dinner with Ellis in Old Alexandria when we were in DC in '11. We had his sister for dinner in '13.

After dinner, we walked back to the hotel. Tomorrow is going to be a wild day. We are moving Jack into the dorms...

Tom and Eric's Progress on the Way of St. James - Day 9

Tom and Eric spent their ninth night on the Camino at Nájera. They covered 30 kilometers today. This translates to more than 18 miles! Tom noted that all of the towns are starting to look alike.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

2016 Georgetown Move-in Weekend Day 1

Up early, Sharon and Jack caught a 7:55 am United flight from Sacramento to Dulles. They picked up a rental car and headed into Washington DC. We are going to be spending four nights at the Georgetown Marriott. After getting settled in the hotel, they had late dinner at the Blue Duck Tavern.

Sharon and Jack will be spending Thursday doing some shopping for a few more things, including some winter clothes. We will be moving Jack into the dorms on Friday.

Tom and Eric's Progress on the Way of St. James - Day 8

Tom and Eric spent their eighth night on the Camino at Logroño. They started the day in dark to beat the heat. Tom described it as a good stage; it was not too hot, but warm. Getting into Logroño early, they spent the afternoon resting and organizing.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tom and Eric's Progress on the Way of St. James - Day 7

Tom and Eric finished their first week on the Camino at Los Arcos. Tom described the day as a very California day with weather and terrain like the Central Valley. They have covered a lot of ground over the last two days!

Bodegas Irache

So clear why Spanish felt so at home in California...

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Tom and Eric's Progress on the Way of St. James - Day 6

Tom and Eric spent their sixth day on the Camino. Tom noted that it was getting hotter now that they are out of the mountains; it is a Sacramento kind of heat (dry) around 90. Some highlights from the day included the Church de Santa María de Eunate, the Queens Bridge in Puente La Reina and a section of the Roman Roads. They spent their sixth night at Albergue de Villatuerta.

Church de Santa María de Eunate

Queens Bridge in Puente La Reina

Roman Road

Friday, August 19, 2016

Becky's Ring

If you are familiar with the movie The Way, you will remember when Tom nearly lost his son's ashes twice.

Tom had one of those "Tom" moments when soaping up in the shower after huge water weight loss Becky's ring slipped off his soapy little finger and headed toward the drain. Fortunately, the old man moved fast enough to avoid disaster.

Der Biergarten Midtown

Wandering back from St. Helena, I met Snipes at the Der Biergarten Midtown. We spent most of time catching up on his trip to Alaska with Tomasin, Wallen and Geselbracht. They spent four nights in King Salmon, two nights in Talkeenta, two nights in Denali and two nights in Anchorage. It rained most of the second half of the trip. They had planned to take the bus in Denali all the way to Kantishna, but there was a landslide...

Tom and Eric's Progress on the Way of St. James - Day 3

Tom and Eric spent their third night on the Camino at the Albergue Rio Arga in Zubiri. Covering almost fourteen miles, the weather was much better and the walking a little easier. The second picture is a view from their room.

They have 458.5 miles to go to Santiago.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Tom and Eric's Progress on the Way of St. James - Day 2

Tom and Eric spent their second night on the Camino at the Albergue de Roncesvalles. Covering almost eleven miles, they spent more than 90% of the day hiking in the rain. Tom noted that they never could have done it all in one day from St Jean Pied de Port. He added that the alburgue is run by the church and is a very modern facility built into old building.

An easier day is promised for tomorrow with no rain... They have 472.2 miles to go to Santiago.

While we have heard from them over the first three days, it is going to be interesting to see how often we hear from them over the next seven weeks!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Tom and Eric's Progress on the Way of St. James - Day 1

Tom and Eric started off from St Jean Pied de Port on the Camino de Santiago today. They are spending the first night at Refuge Orisson.

Tom said that the first day was tough as expected. They were quite glad to break up the usual first day by staying in very nice Orisson. It was very foggy up top just like in the movie The Way. And just like in the movie they have already acquired a cast of characters!

A map of Tom and Eric's Progress along the Way of St. James

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tom and Eric's Progress on the Way of St. James - Day 0

Tom and Eric are in Jean Pied de Port spending the night at the Hotel Ramuntcho. They are starting off on a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago tomorrow. They had a pre-Camino dinner and have already met several new friends who seem to be taking same route as them.

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

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Any Given Wednesday

After the years, I have enjoyed Bill Simmons' work. I always looked forward to his columns and his podcasts at ESPN. I read The Book of Basketball. I was impressed with the Grantland web site that he built.

Unfortunately, while I still enjoy his podcasts, I find his HBO series Any Given Wednesday largely unwatchable. I have tried to watch it a couple of times, but got bored and wandered off. I was hoping for a sports version of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. I still have faith in Bill's talent, but they need to completely rethink the format of the show.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Star Trek Beyond

After an early dinner on Saturday night, Sharon and I headed to the UA Theater at Arden to watch Star Trek Beyond. This is the thirteenth film in the Star Trek film franchise and the third installment in the reboot series. I have an unsuccessful project to go back and see all of the other Star Trek films in order like we did with the James Bond films.

Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto reprise their roles as Captain James T. Kirk and Commander Spock. The plot involves a nebula, a bio-weapon and a Federation space craft that has been lost for more than 100 years. The villain is an original one, rather than a known antagonist from past stories in the Star Trek franchise.

This is a watchable movie; I give it a B+. I am not a big fan of time travel plots. Although the plot doesn't explicitly involve time travel, there is still hangover from the first movie in the series reboot that plays a part in the story...

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Mesa Mercado

After spending a couple of hours cleaning the garage, Sharon and I headed over to see if Mesa Mercado was going to be open on Saturday night. We could see a couple of people cooking in the kitchen. We ended up sitting at the bar at River City Brewing and having a snack.

Just before five, we headed back to the Milagro Centre. We were pleasantly surprised to find Mesa Mercado was open. They are doing a soft launch with a limited menu. We split some ceviches. I had chicken enchiladas, while Sharon had carnitas. Although Sharon didn't like the chips, the food was solid. The service and the atmosphere was very good.

Afterwards, we headed to the UA Theaters at Arden to see Star Trek Beyond.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Tuesday, August 09, 2016


We had dinner with the Gainsleys and the Wongs at Paraguay's. Sharon had salmon and I had pappardelle. Sharon noted that she had been to Paraguay's four times since it reopened and hasn't had a bad meal.

We haven't seen the Gainsleys since the Jesuit crab feed. It has been almost two years since we have seen the Wongs. The Wongs' son Aaron will be starting as freshman at Chapman University in the next couple of weeks. Jack spent most of a week at Chapman in 2014.

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - enzo!

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

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Code Expiration: November 1, 2016

Monday, August 08, 2016

ESPN 30 for 30 Vol 3: Fantastic Lies

Staying at the Napa Valley Marriott hotel, I watched Fantastics Lies on Netflix. This is the seventh installment of ESPN's 30 for 30 Volume 3. An episode guide for Vol 3 is here.

On March 13th, 2006, the Duke University lacrosse team had a party. The documentary premiered 10 years to the day the lacrosse players hosted the house party.

A black student at North Carolina Central University who appeared at the party as a stripper accused the white Duke University students of raping her. Eventually, three of the lacrosse players were charged.

The documentary does an excellent job following the story from beginning to end. While I remembered the initial scandal and charges, I frankly didn't realize how the case got resolved. This film is worth watching to see how the cases play out. I was astonished by where the stories of the prosecutor, the accuser and the lead police detective went!

Saturday, August 06, 2016

45 Years

Sharon and I watched 45 Years as a HD rental on the AppleTV. This is part of our effort to watch all of the Oscar nominated films.

The film is based on the short story "In Another Country" by David Constantine. It stars Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay as a married couple who are preparing to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary. The film takes place over six days proceeding the party.

The film was nominated for one Oscar. Charlotte Rampling received a nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

I am not quite sure how to rate this movie. It is an interesting little film with an odd ending. Unless your trying to see all of the Oscar nominated films, I don't recommend it...

I was fascinated by the scenery. It was filmed in Norfolk county in England. The anniversary party takes place in the Assembly Hall in Norwich.

Friday, August 05, 2016

River City Brewing

With Highway 128 closed due to the Cold Fire, I took 29 to 12 to 80 to get home from the St. Helena Hospital. In the Friday afternoon summer traffic, It took 3 hours and 5 minutes to travel 94 minutes... As I keep telling Drew, the world is a parking lot.

Sharon and I finally went to dinner at River City Brewing in the Milagro Centre. Waiting for a table, we were pleasantly surprised to find that part of Mesa Mercado was open. Additionally, it looks like several other restaurants will be opening in the near future.

Sharon had a steak salad, while I had a burger. The food wasn't bad, but the layout and atmosphere of the inside of River City Brewing is odd.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz

In July, I finished reading The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz. This is the fourth novel in the Millennium series. It is the first novel in the series not authored by the series' creator and author of the first three Millennium books, Stieg Larsson. Larson died of a heart attack in 2004. I read the first three books in the series in 2010: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; The Girl Who Played with Fire; and, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornest Nest.

Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomqvist return as the main characters. The plot combines a number of diverse elements, including hacking into the NSA; an autistic savant; industrial espionage and artificial intelligence. Additionally, Salander's childhood is explored to a greater detail than I remember from the first three books.

Although it doesn't have the style and translation idiosyncrasies of the first three books, it is not a bad book. I would grade it a solid B. If you read the first three books, I recommend the book as a continuation of the series.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

ESPN 30 for 30 Shorts: What the Hell Happened to Jai Alai

ESPN Films has released the fifty-sixth film in their 30 for 30 documentary short series.
30 for 30 Shorts: What the Hell Happened to Jai Alai

Back in the day, jai-alai players were celebrities that would ceremoniously march out to salute crowds of 15,000 fans, but after a disastrous 1988 strike the game became nothing more than a cultural afterthought.

You can find What the Hell Happened to Jai Alai on the ESPN web site at

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Unfade

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

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Code Expiration: October 25, 2016