Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Senator William Upham

We walked by this historical marker on our way to the Vermont State Capitol Building during day three of our F@ll 2017 New England trip.

Senator William Upham
Vermont Roadside Historical Marker

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This marker is located at 145 Main Street, Montpelier, Vermont. The GPS coordinates for this location are 44° 15' 44.8" N 72° 34' 20.8" W.

Senator William Upham

Senator William Upham

Slavery is a crime against humanity and a sore evil in the body politic.

William Upham resided here during the first half of the nineteenth century. He was an ardent abolitionist, voting against the Fugitive Slave Act and slavery in new states and territories. A member of the Whig Party, Upham represented Vermont as a U.S. Senator from 1843 to 1853. He supported the Canadian rebellions of 1837 and 1838 and vehemently opposed the Mexican-American War, 1846-1848. Senator William Seward eulogized him, saying, His national policy was the increase of industry, the cultivation of peace, and the patronage of improvement. Upham was interred at Green Mount Cemetery in Montpelier.

Senator William Upham

Senator William Upham

Monday, November 27, 2017

Lady Bird

Starting our quest to see all of the 2017 Oscar nominated films, Sunday afternoon, Sharon, Jack and I went to see Lady Bird at the UA Greenback. Over the last couple of years, we have tried to guess which films will be nominated. Lady Bird is on a number of lists as a possible Best Picture nominee.

Lady Bird is a 2017 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Greta Gerwig. It stars Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalfe. Ronan was in last year's Oscar nominated Brooklyn.

Set in Sacramento, California, it is a coming-of-age story about a high-school senior and her turbulent relationship with her mother. The senior goes to a fictional all-girls Catholic high school whose uniforms mirror St. Francis.

The movie was largely filmed in Sacramento. Gerwig went to St. Francis high school and participated in Jesuit's Black Box. There are a lot of recognizable landmarks in the film.

Sharon has now seen the move three times: once with Mary Maloney; a second time with Liz and Laura, and; a third time with Jack and I. She described it as her this year's La La Land.

Obviously, Sharon likes the film a lot. I enjoyed it. I think that it does have a chance to be nominated for Best Picture. I think that Metcalfe could also be nominated for Supporting Actress.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Jack back to school

Jack and SharonAfter spending the morning putting up some Christmas decorations in the house that required a ladder, Sharon, Jack and I went to see Lady Bird at the UA Greenback. This was the third time that Sharon has seen the movie! After getting some takeout Chinese food for dinner, we took Jack to the airport to wind his way back to school.

Jack convinced us to fly him home on a red-eye rather than on an early flight on Sunday. He caught a 9:10 pm American flight from Sacramento to Phoenix. After a 50 minutes layover, Jack boarded a 12:55 am flight from Phoenix to Reagan. He was on the ground in DC at 7:00 am. Jack caught an Uber at 7:20 am and was back on campus by 7:37 am.

It was great to have him home for a few days. In just a little over three weeks, Jack will be home for Christmas.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Decorating the house for Christmas

We have talked off and on about decorating the house for Christmas before Thanksgiving, but we never have... Friday afternoon, Sharon took down the fall decorations. Given our Fall New England Trip, we didn't make it to Davis Ranch this year and, as result, had very few pumpkins. I took the fall boxes back to the storage shed and started dragging the Christmas boxes back. We literally have at least five carloads of Christmas boxes.

We spent all day Saturday decorating the house. It took me all day to take down the fall lights and put up the Christmas lights. Although Sharon says otherwise, I don't remember it taking me so long to get everything put up outside!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Django Unchained

Friday night, Sharon took off to have dinner with Liz and Laura at Taro's at Arden Fair. Jack dropped her off. After dinner, they went to the UA Arden to see Lady Bird. This was Sharon's second viewing of Lady Bird; she saw it with Mary Maloney at the Tower. Laura brought Sharon home.

With Sharon out for the evening, I decided to watch Django Unchained. I have seen trailers for the movie for years, but had never taken the time to sit down and watch it.

Django Unchained is a 2012 American revisionist Western film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. It has a great cast, including Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, and Samuel L. Jackson. Set in the Old West and Antebellum South, it is a highly stylized tribute to Spaghetti Westerns.

The American Film Institute named the film as one of their Top Ten Movies of the Year in December 2012. The film won two Oscars including Tarantino for Best Original Screenplay and Waltz for Best Supporting Actor.

I enjoyed the movie. Christoph Waltz is tremendous. At two hours and 45 minutes, it is very long!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

Lydia and KevinAfter running the Run to Feed the Hungry, Sharon made spiced pumpkin souffl├ęs with bourbon and molasses sauce rather than pumpkin pies. She made these souffl├ęs for the 2009 fall dinner party. We took off for Sharon's brother Tim's house about 2:30 pm.

At seventeen, it was a big group this year, including: Tom, Eric, Ashley, Jim Dunn, Tim, Kathy, Eileen, Erin, Cromac, Kevin, Leah, Lydia, Leah parent's Terri and Steve, Sharon, Jack and I. Tim and Kathy served a great Turducken that they got from the Nugget.

Kids TableAdults Table

2017 Run to Feed the Hungry

2017 Run to Feed the Hungry
For the thirteenth time in the last fourteen years [2016, 2015, 20142013, 20122011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005 and 2004], 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. Sharon also missed last year when she was feeling under the weather.

For the sixth year in a row, we parked on University Avenue. For the second year, I parked closer to the H Street bridge rather than the Guy West Bridge. Although Sharon said that she missed walking through the campus, it is a little shorter walk to and from the car.

I have come to view this run as a referendum on my fitness. In that regard, last year was a disaster. Feeling under the weather much of last fall, I ended up running a 1:03:57 for an average pace of 10:18. I was frankly embarrassed.

This year went much better. My official chip time for the 10k was 59:10 with a 9:32 pace. I was 29:13 at the 5k with a pace of 9:25. Thinking I was going to take a more leisurely approach this year, I started further back from the starting line. As a result, it took me almost 50 seconds just to cross the starting line. My Runkeeper splits by mile were: 1 - 10:07; 2 - 9:09; 3 - 9:17; 4 - 9:33; 5 - 9:41; 6 - 9:30, and; last quarter mile - 9:37. Once I got going, I felt strong. I backed off a little in the fourth and fifth miles, but was able to speed up again in the last mile and a half.

I was very happy with the results. My time was not only faster than 2016, but also faster than 2015.

Jack walked the 5k with Emma and Jason. His chip time was 1:08:18 for an average pace of 21:59. Sharon ran the 10k, but cut the corner at McKinley Park.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

2017 Kings versus Lakers

2017 Kings versus Lakers
Sharon, Jack and I went to the Sacramento Kings versus Los Angeles Lakers NBA Basketball game. I parked in the Wells Fargo building. We had seats 17, 18 and 19 in row D of section 101. The Kings took the lead late in the first quarter. Leading by as much as 20 points in the fourth quarter, the Kings won the game by the score of 113 to 102.

Coming off the bench, Willie Cauley-Stein was the leading scorer for the Kings. He had 26 points on 10 for 14 from the field, 0 for 1 from three and 6 for 8 from the free throw line.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was the Lakers' leading scorer. He had 20 points on 7 for 12 from the field, 4 for 6 from three and 2 for 2 from the free throw line.

I focused on either Fox or Lonzo Ball for most of the game. Fox started. He missed five of his first seven shots, including two airballs. In 23 minutes, Fox ended up with 13 points on 5 for 11 from the field, 2 for 2 from three and 1 for 2 from the free throw line. In 37 minutes, Ball had 11 points on 4 for 8 from the field, 3 for 5 from three and 0 for 2 from the free throw line. He added 7 rebounds and 11 assists. Ball has a very ugly shooting motion.

I was very impressed with Bogdan Bogdanovic. He looks like an NBA player.

Snipes had texted me on Tuesday night saying that Keith had bailed on him for a class reunion and wondering if Larkin was interested in going. Larkin ended up going with Snipes. We connected with them briefly before the game and then again at half-time. [Note to self], Snipes and I need to get together and catch up!

It was a very enjoyable game and evening. Including preseason, the Kings now have 3 wins and 0 losses in games that I have see in person during the 2017-2018 season.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Jack is back!

Jack is home for Thanksgiving!
Carter and Jack
Up about 4:15 am, he caught an Uber from Georgetown to Reagan. Jack took a 6:00 am Southwest flight to Love Field in Dallas. From there, he boarded a 9:40 am Southwest flight to Sacramento. Jack was on the ground at 11:30 am in Sacramento. I picked him up and after a stop at In-N-Out Burger dropped him at home.

We are looking forward to having him home for a few days!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen

My second book for November is Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen. At Danny's Wedding in September and in San Jose in early November, Tomasin and I were talking about books and he mentioned Carl Hiaasen. Digging around on the web, Skinny Dip appeared to be one of Hiaasen's most popular novels.

Skinny Dip is a caper novel first published in 2004. Apparently, a caper story is a subgenera of crime fiction. The typical caper story involves one or more crimes perpetrated by the main characters in full view of the reader.

Set in South Florida, the story is about a woman, Joey Perrone, who takes revenge on her cheating husband after he has tried to murder her. It is also one of Hiaasen’s more topical novels, since the plot also revolves around the ongoing restoration of the Everglades to a natural habitat.

While I enjoyed the book, I am not going to grade it. I will read at least one more of Hiaasen's novels as a break from more ambitious books. I am just not sure how strongly I would recommend the book to someone else.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Cibo 7

After spending the day tearing the treadmill apart, replacing the running deck and then putting it back together, Sharon and I went to dinner at Cibo 7. We used a very generous gift card that the Larkins gave us during the Sea Ranch Anniversary trip last year.

We split a Charcuterie & Cheese Board as a starter. I had Corn & Calabrian Chile Risotto [blackened prawns, portabella mushroom, caper sauce], while Sharon had Veal Saltimbocca [prosciutto, sage, Pt. Reyes coma, polenta, blooms dale spinach].

We wandered through a Barnes & Nobles after dinner. With the shift to Amazon and e-readers, it was a nostalgic experience...

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Captain John Lonergan

I stumbled across this marker while exploring Burlington during the second day of our F@ll 2017 trip through New England.

Captain John Lonergan
Vermont Roadside Historical Marker

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This marker is located at 115 St Paul Street, Burlington, Vermont. The GPS coordinates for this location are 44° 28' 35.5" N 73° 12' 50.2" W.

Captain John Lonergan

Captain John Lonergan
Hero of Gettysburg

In this park on July 22, 1863, Vermonts only ethnic Civil War unit was welcomed home from the battle of Gettysburg. Lonergan commanded Co. A, 13th VT Regiment the Irish Company and he received the Medal of Honor for gallantry in the battle.

The five VT regiments on 9-months duty formed the 2nd VT Brigade on October 27, 1862. In late June of 1863, the brigade marched from Union Mills, VA, to Gettysburg in six days.

On July 2, 1863, the Irish Company helped recapture four cannons and took 83 rebel prisoners. The next day Lonergans men led the way when two VT regiments flanked Picketts forces assaulting Cemetery Ridge, causing heavy rebel losses.

The Irish battle cry:
Faugh a ballaghClear the way!

Captain John Lonergan

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Mass of Remembrance for Rebecca Frame

Sharon and I went with her brother Tom to St. Ignatius for a Mass of Remembrance for Rebecca Frame. Becky passed away two years ago today.

Afterwards, Sharon, Tom and I went to dinner with the Rositanis (Larry, Robin and Christian) at Mana Japanese Restaurant Alta.  Mikuni's it is was not...

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Unbelievable By Kathy Tur

My book for November is Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History by Katy Tur. I saw Kathy Tur interviewed about the book on the 11th Hour with Brian Williams.

On somewhat of a fluke, Tur was assigned to cover Trump's initial press conference announcing that he was running for president. Although she was a London based correspondent for NBC, Tur just happened to be in New York and in the news room when they were looking for someone to send. The assignment stuck and she followed Trump through the course of the entire campaign.

The book is a blend of her life, the trials and tribulations of being a reporter following a presidential candidate and a look at the Trump campaign. The chapters alternate between the campaign and election night.

In respect to Trump, the book crystallized two things that I was talking to the Nooters' about last week. First, Trump is very thin-skinned. Second, he plays fast and loose with the truth. I have spent my life in leadership roles in large companies. Regardless of what you think of Trump's politics and policies, I don't believe that you can be an effective leader with these characteristics...

I was raised in a large corporate farming family in rural Northern California. I self identify as a conservative Republican. I enjoyed the book.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

2017 Washington DC - Day 3

Wallen, Nooter and I at The Wharf in Washington DC

Wallen had a 8:00 am flight from National. Up at 5:00 am, he had some trouble getting the Uber App to use his credit cards. After some running amok, Nooter ended up calling for an Uber using his account. Although I heard them walking around upstairs, I never woke up enough to get out of bed. I felt bad for Wallen. He spent all weekend getting over a cold.

I didn't roll out of bed until after 8:30 am. Although I had originally been thinking about going into Georgetown to have breakfast with Jack, there just wasn't enough time. Nooter made omelets for breakfast and he, Barb and I worked on solving the world's problems.

Nooter offered to take me to the airport. We rolled from their house about 11:50 am. He was thinking that I was taking off too early, but by the time we stopped for gas and fought our way through the traffic, it was 1:10 pm when we got to the airport.

I breezed through TSA Pre security and got to the gate about 1:25 pm. The plane started boarding about 1:45 pm. Holding an A29 boarding pass, I was able to score another exit row aisle. The flight pulled away from the gate about 2:15 pm. It was an uneventful flight. With the Wifi not working, I read most of the flight; I finished Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen about 30 minutes before we landed. I was back in Sacramento just before 5:00 pm and home in Carmichael by 5:50 pm.

Although it was a quick trip [I was on the ground on the East Coast almost exactly 48 hours], I really enjoyed having a chance to catch up with Nooter and Barb. They did a really nice job with the remodel of their house. Hopefully, Sharon and I can get together with them for dinner next time we are in Washington DC!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

2017 Washington DC - Day 2

Jack and IAfter a late night, it was a slow morning. Nooter eventually went out and got some bagels, cream cheese and lox for breakfast.

We got organized and headed to the Wharf DC. This is a newly developed area along the Potomac River south of Mall. We wandered around. Stopping at The Fish Market, Nooter, Barb and I shared a dozen oysters. We bought some crabs for dinner.

From there, we head to The Sovereign in Georgetown. This is a Belgium inspired bar and restaurant that Sharon and I found when we were there for the Family Weekend last year. Jack joined us for a couple of hours.

In the late afternoon, we headed back to the Nooters. With everything starting later on the East Coast, Wallen and I ended up watching Georgia (1) get beat by Auburn (10) by the score of 40 to 17.

While Rob was fixing dinner, the four of us watched the Alabama (2) versus Mississippi State (16) football game. Tomasin, David and Julie were in Starkville with Mikey for the game! It was a close game with Alabama winning by the score of 31 to 24.

We ate the crabs as hors d'oeuvres. Nooter made a shrimp creole for dinner.

It was another late night. Barb and I watched most of Saturday Night Live before I crashed after 12:30 am.

Friday, November 10, 2017

2017 Washington DC - Day 1

Although I have been to Washington three times so far in 2017 [Easter, Move in Weekend, Family Weekend], I haven't had a chance to visit with the Nooters since last fall. I decided in early October to use some airline miles and schedule a quick trip back primarily to see the Nooters with the added bonus of spending a little time with Jack.

Up at 4:00 am, I caught a 6:30 am Southwest flight direct from Sacramento to Baltimore. Boarding with A35, I was able to score a great aisle seat!

I worked on the wifi for most of the trip, including finishing up my weekly status report. iMessaging with Nooter and Jack, we set up the plans for the day. We landed about 25 minutes ahead of schedule at 2:00 pm. Nooter and Wallen picked up me at door 9.

We headed towards the Nooter's house. After a tour of the house, Wallen, Nooter, Barb and I spent the afternoon catching up. There are a number of things going on in with Nooter's job.

Jack took an Uber from Georgetown to the Nooter's house. He got to the Nooter's about 5:40 pm. Jack, Wes, Barb, Wallen, Nooter and I eventually had a very late dinner at the restaurant where Austin works: Crave

After dinner, Jack caught a Uber from the Nooters' back to Georgetown about 11:30 pm. Nooter and I ended up talking until after 1:00 am. Although I had originally planned to spend a night at a Courtyard Marriott in Rosslyn, I ended up staying at the Nooters.


Thursday, November 09, 2017

2017 Kings versus the 76ers

2017 Kings versus 76ersLarkin and I went to the Sacramento Kings versus Philadelphia 76ers NBA Basketball game at the Golden One Center. It was a close game for four quarters. Falling behind in the last couple of minutes, the Kings rallied to win by score of 109 to 108.

Robert Covington was the high scorer for the 76ers. He had 24 points on 7 for 16 from the field, 6 for 12 from three and 4 for 5 from the free throw line.

Zack Randolph was the Kings leading scorer. He had 20 points on 7 for 14 from the field, 2 for 2 from three and 4 for 6 from the free throw line.

I spent most of the evening focusing on either Fox, Simmons or Embiid rather than following the ball. Although he hit the game winning shot, Fox had a horrible shooting night. In 30 minutes, he had 11 points on 4 for 13 from the field. Fox missed a number of lay-ups and floaters. Simmons got in foul trouble in the first half, but still ended up with 18 points (6 for 8) and 6 assists in 27 minutes.

Embiid looks out of sorts. Although he had 22 points (7 for 20) and 15 rebounds, he just didn't look like the dominant, mobile player I saw against Cousins last season. At one point, he tripped over his own feet.

At half-time, I ran into Sharon's nephew Kevin. He was at the game with his brother Eric; they are 76ers fans?!?.

Including preseason, the Kings have 2 wins and 0 losses in games that I have seen in the 2017-2018 season.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Mary Maloney

Mary Maloney is spending a few days with us. Sharon made a nice salmon dinner for the three of us.

Mary and Sharon are planning to spend Thursday in Napa with stops at Donum Estates and the Oxbow Market. Mary, Sharon and Janie are then planning to spend the weekend in San Francisco.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

2017 Silicon Valley Sevens - Day 2

Avaya Stadium
UntitledUp fairly early due to the time change (fall back), Tomasin, David and I eventually wandered to a Denny's for breakfast. I think that it was the same Denny's that we ate at with my sister and her husband three years ago... After breakfast, we headed back to the room and watched some of the Eagles versus Broncos NFL game.

We took off for the stadium about 10:45 am. After a number of consolation bracket and collegiate games, the USA played Fiji (@ 12:26 pm). They won by the score of 24 to 5 with Stephen Tomasin scoring a try.

I hung around for a couple more of the matches before heading home. I rolled back into Carmichael a little before 4:00 pm.

The USA team ended up playing Australia in the finals. Leading 12 to 0, the USA team ended up losing by the score of 15 to 12. Stephen Tomasin scored another try in the game.

I always enjoy Tomasin's company. My shock for the weekend was realizing at dinner on Saturday that David is 31 years old. It doesn't seem possible. Tomasin, Nooter, Swedberg and I spent the Columbus Day weekend in October of 1986 in New Orleans. Julie and a three month old David made an appearance.

I also told Tomasin that Stephen's participation in rugby is really a legacy of his life. Tomasin continued to competitive rugby much, much longer than the rest of us. He played on a Santa Rosa division two national championship team for two years in his late 30s. David, Mikey and Stephen all had a chance to watch Tomasin play when they were teenagers. Watching him play shaped their lives.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

2017 Silicon Valley Sevens - Day 1

TomasinsWith Sharon in Sedona, I took off in the late morning for San Jose. The plan for the day with to caught up with Tomasin and David at the Silicon Valley Sevens International Rugby Tournament. Tomasin's nephew Stephen plays for the USA team.

I got there in time to see the USA beat Tonga by the score of 29 to 7 (@12:50 pm). Stephen Tomasin scored four trys in the game!

It was a long day with lots of international and collegiate games. The USA beat New Zealand by the score of 24 to 12 (@4:28 pm) and then the USA beat Chile 29 to 7 (@8:00 pm) in the last day of the game. Stephen Tomasin scored another try in the game against Chile.

There was a busload of Tomasins at the game, including John, David, John's sister Kathy, John's mom Pat, John's brother Jim, Jim's wife, Stephen's brother Nick and a couple of Jim's wife's kids. We ran into Brain Lowe and Paul Cutter. Tomasin and I played rugby with them on the UCD team almost forty years ago!

Afterwards, Tomasin, David and I had a late barbecue dinner at Henry's World Famous Hi-Life. I had some pork spareribs and frankly wasn't that impressed with the food...

Fighting the crowds leaving the Sharks game, we crashed at the Courtyard San Jose Airport.

Silicon Valley Sevens

Friday, November 03, 2017


SedonaAfter spending a couple of days teaching training classes in Yuma and Phoenix, Sharon and Holly are off to Sedona for the weekend.

They are staying at the Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock in the Village of Oak Creek. This is the view from Sharon's hotel room!

I had a chance to spend the afternoon in Sedona during one of the spring training trips. Sharon and I need to spend a long weekend there!

Thursday, November 02, 2017

First Unitarian Universalist Society Meeting House

I stumbled across this marker while exploring the Church Street Marketplace during the second day of our F@ll 2017 trip through New England.

First Unitarian Universalist Society Meeting House
Vermont Roadside Historical Marker

See this location on Yahoo Maps in Flickr
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This marker is located at 152 Pearl Street, Burlington, Vermont. The GPS coordinates for this location are 44° 28' 50.0" N 73° 12' 45.3" W.

First Unitarian Universalist Society Meeting House

Designed by noted architect Peter Banner of Boston, the Federal-style Meeting House was built in 1816 for the First Congregational Society (Unitarian) and is the oldest surviving place of worship in Burlington. Banners design features a projecting square tower with octagonal belfry in front of the two-story brick nave. It was renovated in 1845 to reflect the Greek Revival style, retaining the towers original design aesthetic. Its location and design have made the Meeting House one of the most recognized and significant historic landmarks in Burlington. In 1982, following a merger of the Unitarians and Universalists, the congregation voted to become the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington.

First Unitarian Universalist Society Meeting House

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Origin by Dan Brown

My second book for October was Origin by Dan Brown. I finished the book on the flight home at the end of our fall New England trip. This is the fifth installment of the Robert Langdon series, following Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol, and Inferno.

Origin is set in Spain. The action takes place in a number of places that we visited during our 2010 trip to that country, including Le Pedrera, Sagrada Familia, the Palacio Real de Madrid (Royal Palace) and Cathedral de Almudena. I really enjoy books that intersect with our love of exploring the world.

A large part of the beginning of the book is set in the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. While we have been to the Guggenheim Museums in New York, Venice and Las Vegas, we haven't made it to the one in Bilbao. Based on the descriptions in the book, this is definitely on my list as a stop either before or after the Camino...

One of the things that has always intrigued me about Dan Brown's books is that there is an element of science fiction. In this case, artificial intelligence and quantum computers play a major role in the plot. Like the Ancillary Mercy book I recently finished, it raises some interesting questions about artificial intelligence.

I really enjoyed this book. It is a fast moving, easy read. Angels and Demons has always been my favorite Dan Brown book with The Da Vince Code coming in second. It would actually rate this book better the Da Vince Code. I give it a "B+".

As a footnote, I kept picturing Robert Langdon as Tom Hanks as I read the book...