Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Morning run in Kona

Using Runkeeper on my iPhone, I created this map of my Sunday morning run on day 8 of our trip to the Big Island. Tomasin said that I went right by him in the downtown as I was heading back to the condo.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Kilauea Iki Trail Hike

Using RunKeeper on my iPhone, I created a map of our hike on the Kilauea Iki Trail in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park during day 4 of the trip to the Big Island. This is probably one of the most unique hikes that I have ever done. I highly recommend it!

Monday, February 26, 2018

2018 - Big Island - Hawaii - Day 9

2018 - Big Island - Hawaii - Day 9It was a fairly lazy morning. After a couple of late nights, we slept in, started to pack up and cleaned up the condo. We spent a little time visiting with John and Jill.

We picked up the Geselbrachts about 11:45 am at the Royal Kona. They are flying to Maui to meet the Tomasins. The Geselbrachts, Tomasins and Hunters are all on Maui until next weekend.

At 1:30 pm, Sharon and I boarded a 2:15 pm United flight to San Francisco. I had upgraded us to the exit row on Sunday. Although obviously not as nice as the first class seats on the way out, it was very comfortable. We were on the ground in San Francisco about 9:15 pm.

We had a snack and a drink at the Union Street Gastropub near the gate. We boarded the United Flight to Sacramento about 10:30 pm. The plane was an Airbus A319. It was probably the most uncomfortable seat I have had in years...

It was a very odd mixture of passengers. It seems like there were a lot of people off international flights coming through customs and continuing to Sacramento.

Unfortunately, there were no pilots. Although the departure was supposed to be 11 pm, it don't think that we pulled away from the gate until after 11:30 pm. We were on the ground in Sacramento about 12:15 am on Tuesday. By the time we got home, it was about 1:15 am.

It was a great time. There are definitely a couple of things on my bucket list that I want to go back and do on the big island, including hiking to see the lava flowing across the ground and seeing the Kilauea Crater at night. Although Sharon and I have lots to places we want to see in the world, given that the Wallens own a condo on the island, I think that it is more likely than not that we will be back!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

2018 - Big Island - Hawaii - Day 8

2018 - Big Island - Hawaii - Day 8I got up and went for a run. I ended up running to the old airport north of town. When I stopped to stretch, I noticed a runner heading down the beach back towards town and decided to follow her. This turned into a little bit of an adventure. I ran into a dead end and had to back track through a private gated community. I only got back out to the street when an older couple opened the gate.

Getting cleaned up, Sharon and I headed to breakfast. A huge table of Wallens plus a separate table for the Tomasins and Geselbrachts were having brunch at Bongo Ben's Island Cafe. The Hunter group was waiting for a table. Continuing down the street, we ran into the Chabriers.

Sharon and I ended up walking to the Fish Hopper. We both had the FRESH HAWAIIAN CATCH BENEDICTS [Fresh Catch-Ono, English Muffin Topped with Poached Eggs ffinished with Hollandaise Sauce & Spanish Paprika].

After brunch, we explored Kona. This was the only time in the week that we spent at the condo that we explored the area. The guidebook said that you needed half a day; this is probably about right.

We visited four sites, including:
Wandering back to the condo, we ran into Bobby and Yuli. The Hunter group [Bobby, Yuli, Robbie, Danny and Sammy] is staying at the same condos.

After a nap, we headed to Huggos on the Rocks. In spite of the crowd, the Wallens worked to organize a lot of the wedding party at tables. We eventually ended up at a nice table with the Tomasins and Geselbrachts. Chabrier got frustrated with the dance to get tables and chairs and took off. LT Smooth (the same band that played the wedding) was playing.

We eventually had a late dinner with the Tomasins and Geselbrachts at Huggos next door. I had the Island Fresh Catch [Monchong] with Kabocha Pumpkin Risotto. Sharon had a lobster flatbread.

When a group of the Davis Mafia was in Chicago in late 2014, I noted that there is starting to be a shift in the group dynamics. This chasm is continuing to grow...

Saturday, February 24, 2018

2018 - Big Island - Hawaii - Day 7

2018 - Big Island - Hawaii - Day 7

After a light breakfast with Sharon at the condo, I took off with the Wallens to pick up some wine and champagne for the wedding. We drove up into the Holuakoa Village near where Sharon and I had dinner on Wednesday to the house of an artist that they have met on the island. Sharon and I need to visit her gallery! We then headed to the wedding venue and loaded everything upstairs. Originally, the band was supposed to meet us at the same time, but they called and said that they wouldn't show up until noon.

I headed up sitting and visiting with Tomasin and the Wallens while they had breakfast. When Jill left, Wallen, Tomasin and I spent some time solving world peace. Eventually, I wandered back to the condo.

Sharon and I met the Tomasins and the Geselbrachts at Huggo's on the Rocks for lunch. Sharon and I both had the Furikake Crusted Fresh Catch [Hebi] as a sandwich.

After lunch, Sharon and I headed back to the condo to get cleaned up for the wedding. With the weather threatening, Sharon and I picked up Julie and Barb at the Royal Kona and drove to the Daylight Mind. There had been a running debate all day long about whether to set up the ceremony and the dinner inside or outside. Wallen made the call to set up outside. Although it spit a little just before the ceremony, the evening turned up to be dry!

It was a very nice ceremony, dinner, evening and venue. Sharon and I sat at table with a group of the Davis mafia, including Hunters, Chabriers, Geselbrachts and Tomasins. The band was LT Smooth. We had a great time dancing and enjoying the music.

A group finished the night with a nightcap at Don's Mai Tai Bar at the Royal Kona.

Friday, February 23, 2018

2018 - Big Island - Hawaii - Day 6

2018 - Big Island - Hawaii - Day 6

We had tee times at the Mauna Kea Golf Resort about an hour north of the condo. We left the condo about 7:45 am for a 9:36 am tee time. We checked in, got our cart and some rental clubs and hit a few balls on the driving range.

Although there was a third person booked to play with us, he cancelled. We ended up teeing off about 9:25 am. I played the resort tees. Over the last month, I have been working with a golf instructor at G0lfTec. He has been completely remaking my grip and swing. I had some apprehension about trying to play with so many things in flux. I was very happy with how I hit the ball.

We played 9 holes. I ended up shooting a liberal winter rules 54. I was very happy with the score. I was striking the ball more consistently than I have in the past. My problem was putting. I had 25 putts; I three-putted almost every green. I did have a par on a long par 5. I also parred the ninth hole. I hit a seven iron about 153 yards to within 10 feet of the flag on the front of a nasty two tiered green. It may be the best golf shot that I have ever hit. My scorecard is here.

2018 - Big Island - Hawaii - Day 6

We finished playing nine holes in just over two hours. We had the course completely to ourselves; there was no one in front of us or behind us! It is a beautiful course. We had a great time.

From there, we headed to the Lava Lava Beach Club for lunch. I had a FISH-TACULAR AHI BURGER [Ground Ahi Patty, Sriracha Aioli, Leaf Lettuce, Tomato, Onion], while Sharon had FOB SANDWICH [Fresh Off Da Boat Fish-Ono, Asian Pickle, Arugula, Avocado, Tomato, Wasabi Aioli]

2018 - Big Island - Hawaii - Day 6

We got back to the condo about 2:30 pm. I took off to catch up with the wedding party at the Royal Kona pool. I spent some time visiting with the Wallens, Tomasins and Geselbrachts.

Getting cleaned up, Sharon and I walked across the street to Rehearsal Party at the Habaneros Grill. Initially, this looked like it might be a train wreck. There were a about 100 people, but only 70 seats. Jill took charge and got things moving in the right direction. There was a nice taco bar. I ended up sitting outside the banquet area with Jim Wallen.

A large group finished the day with a nightcap at Don the Beachcomber at the Royal Kona. The wedding is Saturday at 3:30 pm.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

2018 - Big Island - Hawaii - Day 5

Up early, we had a very light breakfast [toast] at the condo. The plan for the day was kayaking and snorkeling in Keylakekua Bay. Leaving the condo before 7 am, we drove to the Kona Boys main store on Highway 11. Checking in, we found out that we were the only people on the morning tour!

After getting our snorkeling gear, we drove down to the bay to meet the guide at the pier. The guide [Joe] had everything laid out. We were in the water and kayaking quickly. It is about a mile across the bay to the Captain Cook Monument. We came upon a group of dolphins on the way.

2018 - Big Island - Hawaii - Day 52018 - Big Island - Hawaii - Day 5
2018 - Big Island - Hawaii - Day 5Once we got to the monument, we pulled the kayaks out of the water. Only a couple of tour companies have permits to land there. Once we got everything organized, Sharon and I spent about an hour in the water snorkeling the reef. There was a lot of sea life. Just as we were getting out, someone in the water said that there was a turtle. We put our stuff back on and dropped back in the water. We ended up following the turtle along the reef for quite a distance.

We had an early box lunch provided by the tour company.  I was amazed at how many boats started to show up at the reef. There was a large catamaran, several zodiacs and a couple of other boats dropping people off.

We started back across the bay. I noticed that there were a number of boats clustered off to one side. We ended up heading over there. There were a lot of dolphins, including a couple that were jumping out of the water.

On the way back to the condo, we stopped and bought a few more groceries. Shortly after we got back to the condo, we bumped into Jill. We wandered down to her condo. I ended up spending part of the afternoon visiting with Wallen.

Getting cleaned up, we walked to the Kona Canoe Club. The Wallens were hosting a welcome reception for everyone attending the wedding.

Eventually leaving the gathering, Sharon and I got a little sideways trying to figure out where to get some late dinner. We ended up having some fish and chips at a place that shall not be named...

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

2018 - Big Island - Hawaii - Day 4

Sharon was up early and got us going. This was probably a good thing. The plan for the day was to tour Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park. This was about a two hour and fifteen drive from the condos.

After breakfast at the condo and a quick stop at Longs, we were on the road by 7:45 am. Changing drivers at the halfway point, we were in the park by 9:30 am.

After stopping at the visitor's center, we decided to hike the Kilauea Iki Trail; one of our guidebooks described it as the one trail that you should hike in Hawaii. Looping through the rainforest and down into the crater, it was spectacular. Coming up out of the crater, we walked through the Thurston Lava Tube.

2018 - Big Island - Hawaii - Day 4 - Hiking the Kilauea Iki Trail

A map of the hike is here.

After the hike, we went into Volcano and had lunch at the Kilauea Lodge and Restaurant. Sharon had a Salad Nicoise [Seared Catch-of-the-Day, Island greens, sliced boiled eggs, green beans, fingerling potatoes, tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and anchovies] and I had Lodge Club Triple decker [toasted sandwich with turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado and mayonnaise].

Heading back into the park, we stopped at the steam vents. From there we continued to the Jagger Museum. In a surprise, we could actually see lava fountains from the museum outlook.

Our final stop in the park was the Volcano House. We stopped and had a drink before heading back to the condo. It has a great view of the crater.

We need to come back and do two things. First, the view of the crater is supposed to be spectacular at night. Second, it is a long hike (12 miles?), but it would be interesting to see flowing lava.

After we got back to Kona, we finished the night with dinner at the Holuakoa Gardens and Café. We split pumpkin soup and creamy bleu cheese salad [Lehualani romaine, red onion, heirloom cherry tomatoes, house made croutons and shaved parmesan. For entrees, I had pan roasted mahi [creamy parmesan risotto, sweet peppers, Tuscan kale, Meyer lemon butter sauce] and Sharon had big island pork bolognese [Ali'i mushrooms, caramelized onions, Tuscan kale, hand cut pappardelle, shaved parmesan]. The food was good. Unfortunately, there were two loud groups nearby...

Although we keep talking about exploring the area around the condo, we crashed. The Wallens rolled up at the end of the day. He said that he knocked on the door, but I never heard him. Their condo is two doors down from the one that we are renting. The rest of the Davis Mafia is rolling into town over the next two days.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

2018 - Big Island - Hawaii - Day 3

2018 - Big Island - Hawaii - Day 3Sleeping later, we had breakfast in the condo and made some sandwiches for lunch. The plan for the day was to explore the Hamakua Coast. Hamakua was a large problem loan when I was with Farm Credit in the 80s and 90s. Every time, I hear the word it invokes a number of memories from working at the banks.

Our first stop was the Kapola State Recreation Area State. Although there were some longer hikes in the park, we hiked the 0.7 mile nature trail. This stop didn't meet my expectations... I don't recommend it.

From there, we went to Akaka Falls State Park. We walked the 0.7 mile trail through the park. There was a great view of the falls. It was definitely worth the trip. We ended up having lunch at picnic table in the parking lot.

Leaving the falls, Sharon made a quick stop to get a coconut to drink. She and Jack had one when we drove to the hotel on Kaui. She wanted to get one and send a picture to Jack.

The next stop was the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. We toured the garden down to Onomea Bay. As we got to the ocean, it started to rain. Running back to the car, it rained harder and harder. We ended up spending over an hour in the Garden.

With the rain getting heavier, we headed into Hilo for some gas. We made a decision to go back to the other side of the island via the Saddle Road. In one of those interesting coincidences, as Waze was leading us across Hilo to the road, we passed the Hawaii Farm Credit Office in Hilo. Sharon has done business with the staff for almost 30 years. We stopped and she spent some time visiting with Linus. Although it was probably more Sharon's idea, I really enjoyed the drive back via the Saddle Road between the two volcano peaks.

Back on the Koholo Coast, we had a drink at happy hour in the Tommy Bahama restaurant near the Mauna Lani Resort. We watched Lindsey Vonn get the bronze medal in the Olympic Downhill.

We finished the day with dinner at the Canoehouse. The restaurant was right on the beach and we had a gorgeous view of the sunset. We split appetizers of Hilo sweet corn bisque [with homestyle bacon, garlic cruotons, espallete pepper] and roast beets [hawaiian salt & garden herb roasted beet, fresh picked peashoots 18 big Island chevre, li hing mum dressing]. For our entrees, Sharon had seared furikake crusted ono [served rare, local fern shoot salad, enhanced with pickled ginger dressing 21/40 tamari shallot and peppercorn reduction, ogo and tobiko] and I had a special with snapper and pasta. Although not as good as the food at Merriman's, the meal was good. The view was spectacular!

It was a 45 minute drive back to our Condo in Kona. We have talked over the last two nights about exploring Kona, but ended up crashing.

Monday, February 19, 2018

2018 - Big Island - Hawaii - Day 2

2018 - Big Island - Hawaii - Day 2 - Waipi'o Valley

With the time change, Sharon and I were both up very early. We had breakfast in the condo and then got an early start. Driving through the area in Kona just north of the condo, we were very impressed. We need to explore the area around the condo!

We drove north up the Kiholo Coast. I was amazed at the starkness of the scenery; it is lava fields for miles and miles. This is the dry side of the island.

We frankly didn't plan the morning out very well. We made stops at a lookout over looking the coast, the Lava Lava Beach club and the Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site. The last is billed as one of the most historic sites in all of Hawaii. We did a walking tour of the site.

From there, we headed up to Waimea. This village is at 2,600 feet. The terrain couldn't be more different than the Kiholo coast. We had an early lunch at Village Burger. We both had a Hawaii Big Island Beef Burger. It was excellent.

After lunch, we stopped for a quick beer at Big Island Brewhaus.

The plan for the afternoon was horseback riding in the Waipi'o Valley. We drove to the valley outlook and then back to the ranch. Signing in, we will be with a group of Japanese tourists. They loaded us into a four wheel drive van and took us down into the valley. The road into the valley is wild. It is a one lane 25% grade dropping 1,000 feet in less than a mile.

We spent a couple of hours touring the valley on horseback. I ended up at the front with the lead guide for most of the ride. He spent the trip describing all of the foliage. There is a bewildering array of plants and trees with lots of non-native species. I enjoyed the ride more than I thought I would. I am perplexed by the accents of both the van driver and the person leading the horseback ride. Sharon said that it is a Hawaiian accent.

We had an early dinner at Merriman's in Waimea. We split a couple of dirt farm salads: LETTUCE FROM HIRABARA FARMS [Fennel, Cucumber, Radish, Sweet Onion, Waimea Tomato, Fresh Squeezed Lime & Extra Virgin Olive Oil] and VINE RIPENED TOMATOES FROM HAWAII ISLAND [Baby Fennel, Arugula, Point Reyes Blue Cheese, Crispy Capers, Basil-Lemon Vinaigrette]. For entrees, Sharon had AHI - WOK CHARRED, MERRIMAN’S ORIGINAL [Won Bok Cabbage Slaw, Wasabi Soy Sauce] and I had KONA KAMPACHI, MACADAMIA NUT CRUSTED [HL Farms Broccolini, Roasted Hamakua Mushrooms and Miso-Sake Reduction]. We had a bottle of Morgan winery, “Metallico” Un-Oaked Chardonnay 79, Monterey County, CA '14

2018 - Big Island - Hawaii - Day 2 - Waipi'o Valley

We headed back to the condo from Waimea on Highway 190. I am very curious to see what this road looks like in the light! This road stays up high rather than dropping down to the water. Back at the condo, we crashed about 10 pm...

Sunday, February 18, 2018

2018 - Hawaii - Big Island - Day 1

2018 - Big Island - Hawaii - Day 1

Up at 3:00 am, we took off to the airport a little before 4:00 am. Last summer, I made a decision to upgrade the outbound leg of this trip to first class. We caught a 5:40 am flight from Sacramento to San Francisco.

We were on the ground in San Francisco in less than an hour. Unfortunately, we had a four hour plus layover! Sharon got a couple of United Club passes. We had a light breakfast and hung out for a while in United Club. With four hours to kill, we wandered from Terminal 3 into the International Terminal and back. We settled in a different United Club until it was time to board.

We took a 11:15 am flight from San Francisco to Kona. Although we were twelfth in line for take-off, we landed roughly on time about 3:00 pm. It is roughly a five and a half hour flight. Standing at baggage claim, I glanced over and I saw our bags off to the side. Apparently our bags had come on an earlier flight. In an odd twist, both Sharon and I ended up getting a text message during dinner (three hours later) from United telling us that our bags had arrived on an earlier flight.

We caught a shuttle to the rental car. After some discussion, we ended up swapping the convertible for a small SUV. It is a Nissan Rogue like we had on the Fall trip.

On the way into town, we stopped at Safeway and bought a few staples. We are spending eight nights at the Kona Pacific Condos. The Wallens own a condo across the hall. They won't be here until late Wednesday night.

When we got to the condo, it was still being cleaned. We relaxed on the deck. As they finished up cleaning the condo, the weather moved in. It was pouring rain with thunder and lightning. I

Eventually, we had dinner at the bar at Jackie Rey's Ohana Grill. We split Mac Nut Ahi Tartare [on homemade wonton chips, creamy wasabi drizzle], Kalua Pork Spring Rolls [sweet chili dipping sauce] and Wild Mushroom Bowl [wild mushroom, yaks-soba noodles, garlic, crispy tofu, ginger, vegetables, kabayski sauce, lomi tomatoes relish]. It continued to storm during dinner; the street outside looked like a river.

With the early morning and time change, we crashed early. I am frankly not sure what time we fell asleep...

Friday, February 16, 2018

You're Exactly Where You're Supposed to Be

"You're Exactly Where You're Supposed to Be" listening to The Guest and the Host's new album


The Guest and The Host is the moniker of Andrew Heringer, formerly of Milo Greene. The new EP, You’re Exactly Where You’re Supposed to Be, is a nod to the sound of his former bands self titled first album.

As a member of Milo Greene, Heringer recorded two albums and spent years on the road playing venues, festivals and Late Night Shows all across North America and Europe. He even found himself recording at Rick Rubin’s studio contributing backing vocals for Damien Rice’s most recently album.

At the end of 2015 Andrew Heringer left Milo Greene – a band that he had spent the previous 5 years completely wrapped up in building. Taken from lectures by Qigong master and spiritual teacher George Falcon, the moniker "The Guest and the Host" represents the separation between awareness and the content of awareness. The moniker itself is a comment on how to approach the next chapter; There is the artist and there is the art. Separate but unified.

“This EP really came together after I moved into a cabin in the Hollywood Hills in the summer of 2016. I turned the entire house into a recording studio that I call Mirror Wall. I’ve always been a fan of ’70s-style folk-rock and moving up here to Beach Canyon provided the inspiration to finish up a all this music. They say there’s an energy vortex up here in the Canyons and I’m starting to believe it. Music just naturally flows out up here – what you really have to focus on is getting out of your own way.”

This atmospheric sonic creation will teleport you straight to the lawns of Woodstock. Have a listen for yourself and feel the raw emotion poured into every sound.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Cattle Ranching Era

Wandering off by myself, I came across this historical marker when we were finishing up the hike on Saturday at Sea Ranch.
Cattle Ranching Era
Beginning 1845

Marker 36A-18

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

This site is located near Sea Ranch Trail Marker #22B and the Knipp-Stengel Barn. The Sea Ranch Archives Committee has identified twenty-six historic sites scattered about The Sea Ranch. They have constructed trail markers with information explaining the significance of each place. They were placed as part of The Sea Ranch 50th anniversary being celebrated from Memorial Day 2014 to Memorial Day 2015. The GPS coordinates for this location are 38° 42' 55.9" N 123° 27' 19.2" W.

Cattle Ranching Era Beginning 1845

For almost 100 years the area viewed from this spot was the major location of cattle ranching activity. This was the site of cattle raising, butchering and distribution to local lumber mills and settlements.

Cattle Ranching Era Beginning 1845

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Ash Wednesday plus Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day 2018
For the first time since 1945 (73 years!), Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day fell on the same date. With a number of major events looming, we decided to forgo a night out and meet for Ash Wednesday Mass at St Rose. I would love to figure out who the priest was; he had a very odd accent.

I got a Lounge Jogger and a Mesh Racerback Tank from Victoria Secret for Sharon. She gave me a Hawaiian shirt and some briefs.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

To Burbank and back

I caught an 8:40 am Southwest flight from Sacramento to Burbank. Boarding with A29, I got a very nice exit row. Only half full, the plane took off early and landed more than 10 minutes early in Burbank.

Picking up a Hertz rental car, I drove to the Simi Valley Hospital for a lunch meeting. Afterwards, I headed to the Glendale Medical Center for a couple more meetings. The traffic was light.

Heading back to Burbank, I caught a 5:50 pm Southwest flight back to Sacramento. Boarding with A39, I loaded from the back of the plane and got another less desirable exit row. I was back in Sacramento about 6:50 pm and home having dinner with Sharon by 7:30 pm.

It was an easy day trip. It is kind of amazing that you can cover that much ground in just over 12 hours...

Monday, February 12, 2018

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Phantom Thread

Sunday afternoon, Sharon and I went to see Phantom Thread at the Century Arden 14 and XD. We have now seen all nine of the films nominated for Best Picture.

Phantom Thread is a 2017 American drama film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. It is set in London's couture world in the 1950s. It stars Daniel Day-Lewis as a couturier living with his sister, played by Lesley Manville. He falls in love with a young waitress, played by Vicky Krieps. The couple's relationship vacillates between affection and distance as they struggle to live with each other's differences.

At the 90th Academy Awards, the film earned six nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor for Day-Lewis, and Supporting Actress for Manville. It also received two Golden Globe nominations: Best Actor – Drama (Day-Lewis) and Best Original Score.

On Sunday morning, Sharon said that she didn't have a lot of hope for the film. She was right. Although the first half was mildly interesting, the second half of the film jumps the shark. It is our least favorite film of this year's best picture nominees. At dinner at Seasons 52 afterwards, Sharon that it didn't deserve a best picture nomination. I agree. I don't recommend the movie...

Saturday, February 10, 2018

A Couples of Movies

Monday night, Sharon and Liz went to see Call Me by Your Name. This was the second time that Sharon has seen the film. It is becoming one of her top favorites of the nine Oscar nominated films.

On Saturday night, after going to dinner at Taro's, Sharon and Liz went to see 50 Shades Freed at the UA Arden. Sharon said that there were only about 10 people in a giant theater.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Owls of the Sierra Foothills

Seminar: Friday, February 9 - 6:30-8:00pm at Effie Yeaw Nature Center: Throughout history, owls have held a special place in the traditions and lore of many cultures. Perhaps it is the mystery of these rarely-seen night creatures, or the large, all-knowing eyes, or the cute way they turn their heads around almost 360 degrees. This presentation will explore the ecology, adaptations, identification, vocalizations, distribution, and behavior of these fascinating denizens of the Sierra foothills. Concepts will be liberally illustrated with photos of the owls, distribution maps, and recordings of vocalizations.
Sharon and I walked to a Owls of the Sierra Foothills seminar at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center in Ancil Hoffman Park.

They showed photos and played the calls of a number of owls, including Great-horned Owl, Western Screech-owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Spotted Owl, Barn Owl, and Northern Pygmy-owl. They brought the Saw-whet from the nature center.

Over the last year, we have been hearing Great-horned Owls in our neighborhood.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Artemis by Andy Weir

My book for February is Artemis by Andy Weir. This is Weir's second book; his first book was The Martian. His first book was made in a film that received an Oscar nomination for best picture in 2016.

Artemis is a 2017 science fiction novel. The novel takes place in the late 2080s. It is set in Artemis, the first and only city on the moon. It follows the life of porter and smuggler Jasmine "Jazz" Bashara as she gets caught up in a conspiracy for control of the city.

While Weir's first book was a tight action story, Artemis is much more of a world building story. I heard the author interviewed in a podcast and he talked about telling other stories in the same universe.

I have mixed feelings about the book. About a third of the way through, I got frustrated with where the story was going. At that point, the story switch directions and I was more engaged. Nevertheless, I would only give the book a "B-". I found the main character's voice, and consequently the writing style, a little off. Additionally, certain plot points seemed more than a little outlandish...

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

The Post

Sunday morning before the Super Bowl, Sharon and I went to see The Post at the Palladio Luxe in Folsom. We have now seen eight of the nine films nominated for Best Picture.

The film was chosen by the National Board of Review as the best film of 2017 and was named as one of the top 10 films of the year by Time and the American Film Institute. At the 90th Academy Awards, The Post was nominated for Best Picture and Best Actress for Streep. It also received six nominations at the 75th Golden Globe Awards: Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Actress – Drama for Streep, Best Actor – Drama for Hanks, Best Screenplay and Best Original Score.

The Post is a 2017 American political thriller film directed and produced by Steven Spielberg. It stars Meryl Streep as Katharine Graham and Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee, with Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, Bruce Greenwood, Carrie Coon, and Matthew Rhys in supporting roles. Set in the early 1970s, The Post depicts the true story of The Washington Post journalists and their attempts to publish the classified Pentagon Papers which outlined the 30-year involvement of the United States government in the Vietnam War.

As the movie was ending, Sharon said "that was better than I expected." The Post exceeded both of our expectations. I enjoyed the film and recommend it. Years ago, Sharon read Kathryn Graham's autobiography [Personal History]. I am curious if Meryl Streep's performance is an accurate portrayal of Graham. [Note to self], I need to read Graham's autobiography.

Monday, February 05, 2018

2018 Kings versus Bulls

2018 Kings versus Bulls
I went to the Sacramento Kings versus Chicago Bulls NBA Basketball game with a group from work. The group included Wendell, Jennifer, Carl, Sean and Sean's wife Shari. My company has six balcony seats in a unique location; they are on the flying bridge under the Sierra Nevada Bar and over the main entrance. The seats are new for the 2017-2018 season.

It was a very nice evening. The seats included a hosted bar and food service. The food service included a series of small plates each quarter.

It was very ugly first quarter. The Kings scored just nine points and fell behind 28 to 9. They were down by seven with 10 minutes left in the game before rallying to complete Sacramento's first season sweep of the Bulls since 2006-07. The Kings won the game by the score of 104 to 98.

Bogdan Bogdanovic was the King's leading scorer. He had 15 points on 3 for 9 from the field, 3 for 7 from three and 6 for 6 from the free throw line. The Kings had six players in double figures.

Zack LaVine was the Bull's leading scorer. He had 27 points on 9 for 18 from the field, 4 for 8 from three and 5 for 5 from the free throw line.

I wandered down and talked to Snipes during halftime.

While I can remember seeing the Bulls play the Kings in the 1990s, I don't believe that I have seen the Bulls play the Kings in the last fifteen years.

The Kings now have 5 wins and 1 loss in games that I have see in person during the 2017-2018 season.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Super Bowl LII

After a lap around Ancil Hoffman Park with Sharon and Tiber and another lap by myself, we got cleaned up and headed to Folsom. We saw The Post at the Palladino Luxe.

We decided not to host a Super Bowl party and turned down an invitation from Tom. It was a very entertaining game. The Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots by the score of 41 to 33. The combined 1,151 yards of offense were the most in any modern NFL game.

Sharon made some great rubbed ribs for dinner.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Greek Fundraising Dinner

Sharon and I went to a Greek Fundraising dinner for the Eric Frame for California Senate campaign.

Friday, February 02, 2018

Frank Family Wine Dinner

Sharon took Eber to meet me at work. From there, we headed to the Sanborns. The four of us visited on the back deck watching the sunset and then headed to the Catta Verdure Country Club for a Frank Family wine dinner. We sat with the Sanborns' friends Dave and Beth Hobbit. It was late by the time we wandered home...

Sharon and I attended a Frank Family Wine Dinner at Matteos in September of 2016.

We visited the winery in October of 2015.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

GolfTec Lesson

Last Thursday, Sharon and I went to GolfTec for a swing evaluation and lesson. We both went back for a second lesson. I am continuing the process of rebuilding my golf swing from scratch. While I feel like I have made a little progress, I have some bad habits that are going to be tough to wring out. Watching the slow motion video, it is easy to see what I am doing wrong.

Sharon and I are hoping to play on the big island when we are there for Becky's wedding later this month.