Sunday, December 09, 2018

Volvo XC60 T8 - Day 42

We bought the Volvo XC60 T8 on October 28. So far, I am very pleased with the vehicle.

The first tank of gas was November 23 at 1,036 miles. The first thousand miles included a work trip to Marysville and a weekend trip to South Shore Tahoe.

As part of my commute, I have been parking across the street from my work in the morning at a free electric vehicle charger provided by Volta. My commute is just under 30 miles round trip. The SUV is rated at 21 miles all electric. By topping off the battery at the free charger most mornings, my round trip uses very little gas.

Even in the pure mode, the car will turn on the gas engine occasionally. As long as there's juice remaining in the battery, the “pure” mode helps ensure the vehicle stays electric-only and zero-emissions.

I am not crazy about the control that allows you to select the different driving modes, including hybrid, pure, off road, AWD and power. The car always starts in hybrid mode and has to be switched to pure with an odd rocker control.

I am extremely pleased with the Apple Carplay interface to the iPhone. I love being able to get easy access to my podcasts. The Waze interface is fantastic. Being able to listen and then respond to a text messages using Siri is useful.

About my only real complaint at this point is user interface on the technology. There is essentially a touch screen computer in the dashboard. Some of the ways that you interact with the controls seem inconsistent. It will be interesting to see if this gets upgraded and changed over the life of the vehicle. It appears that the technology has the capacity for over-the-air updates.

Saturday, December 08, 2018


Saturday night, Sharon and I watched BlacKkKlansman as an HD rental on the AppleTV. We have shifted into a mode of trying to guess which films and performances will be nominated for Oscars. The American Film Institute selected this film as one of the top 10 films of the 2018. Additionally, it has earned four Golden Globe nominations, including Best Motion Picture – Drama.

BlacKkKlansman is a biographical comedy-drama film directed by Spike Lee. The movie is based on the 2014 memoir Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth. The film stars John David Washington (Denzel's son!) as Stallworth, along with Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, and Topher Grace. Harry Belafonte appears in the film recounting the lynching of Jesse Washington. Alec Baldwin appears briefly at the beginning of the film.

Set in 1970s Colorado Springs, the plot follows the first African-American detective in the city's police department as he sets out to infiltrate and expose the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. It was theatrically released in the United States on August 10, 2018 coinciding with the one-year anniversary of the white supremacist Unite the Right rally.

BlacKkKlansman isn't going to win best picture. Although a little slow in the middle, it is a solid movie. Coincidentally, the chapter of Master of the Senate that I am reading deals with the civil rights movement...

Friday, December 07, 2018

Gainsley's Christmas Party

Gainsley's Christmas PartySharon and I stopped for an early dinner at the Buckhorn Grill in University Village. Sitting at the bar, Sharon had a Steakhouse Burger [Roadhouse Onions, cheddar cheese, & Sweet Fire BBQ sauce] and I had a Buckhorn Burger. I was not impressed with the food; I told Sharon that I rated it a five on a scale of one to ten. We did get a chance to see the end of the Kings versus Cavs game. On a three game winning streak, the Kings won the game by the score of 129 to 110.

From there, we headed to the Gainsley's Christmas Party in Elk Grove. For the second year in a row, we made it to their party! Over the years, it seems like we have often had a conflict. We stayed about an hour and had a nice visit with Laurel and June.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle

Tuesday night, November 23, Jack and I watched Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle as an HD rental on the AppleTV. Sharon, Jack and I had watched the first film in May of 2015. We enjoyed the first film enough to watch the sequel...  Sharon only got through the first 40 minutes before going to bed.

Released in September 2017, the film features Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Edward Holcroft, Hanna Alström and Sophie Cookson reprising their roles from the first film with Julianne Moore, Halle Berry, Pedro Pascal, Elton John, Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges joining the cast. The plot follows the members of Kingsman needing to team up with their American counterpart, Statesman, after the world is held hostage by Poppy Adams and her drug cartel, "The Golden Circle." It is based on the comic book series Kingsman.

The movie jumps the shark in a number of places. I tried to keep reminding myself that it was based on a comic book. I was somewhat shocked to see Elton John in the movie. I enjoyed the film, but don't recommend going out of your way to watch it.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

California Historical Landmark #1048

Sharon and I stopped here briefly on our way to South Lake Tahoe. This is a fairly new historical marker; it appears to have been placed in 2014.

Site of Echo Summit
California State Historical Landmark #1048

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

This landmark is located at located at 21200 Highway 50, South Lake Tahoe, California in El Dorado County. There are 30 other California State Historical Landmarks in El Dorado County. The GPS coordinates for this location are 38° 48' 51.5" N 120° 02' 03.0" W.

California Historical Landmark #1048

In 1968, Echo Summit servied as a high-altitude training center and site of the U.S. Olympic men's track and field trials. Four world records were shattered here on the track carved out of the El Dorado National Forest. The U.S. team selected for the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico City was celebrated worldwide for its athletic dominance and deep commitment to racial equality.

California Historical Landmark #1048

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

2018 Christmas Tree

In 2015 and 2016, we got Christmas trees at Able's on Sunrise. We were extremely happy with the trees that we got there. When that lot disappeared in 2017, we weren't sure what to do. We stopped at a lot at Cal Expo and then at Lamb's in Elk Grove. We bought trees at Lamb's from 2009 to 2014. We ended up buying a flocked tree at Lamb's. Sharon and Jack were very unhappy with the tree; they felt that it was too small.

Last Wednesday night [November 28], Sharon and I stopped at Bambi's Christmas Trees at Douglas and South Harding. Apparently, this lot has been there for years. They had a wide assortment of large trees, they flock trees and they deliver. We headed up buying a tree tagged as 11 to 12 feet. It was delivered tonight. Sharon went home early to meet them. By the time I got home, the tree was in the house and up on a stand. It is definitely the biggest tree that we have ever gotten!

Monday, December 03, 2018

2018 Jesuit High School Lessons & Carols

The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is a service of Christian worship celebrating the birth of Jesus that is traditionally followed at Christmas. The story of the fall of humanity, the promise of the Messiah, and the birth of Jesus is told in nine short Bible readings from Genesis, the prophetic books and the Gospels, interspersed with the singing of Christmas carols, hymns and choir music.
For the third straight year [2016, 2017], Sharon and I went to Lessons & Carols, an evening of prayer and song presented by the Jesuit High School Chamber Singers, the Concert Choir of St. Francis High School and Jesuit Drama at the Chapel of the North American Martyrs. Sharon's brother Tom went with us. Sharon went by herself in 2015 while I was working in the Napa Valley.

Sunday, December 02, 2018


The California International Marathon is run the first Sunday in December. They close Fair Oaks at Palm from about 7:30 am to 11:30 am. Last year, Sharon and I walked to Mass at Our Lady of Assumption. This year, Sharon, Tiber and I walked out to Fair Oaks and watched the race leader go by. We watched the race for about 15 minutes before heading back to the house.

I ran the marathon twice in the 1980s and once in the 2000s. I would love to be able to find the results from the 1980s...

In March, when I was at Spring Training, I talked to the Wallens about the idea of Sharon and I coming up to Seattle for the 49ers versus Seahawks game. I have gone to the game twice with Wallen [2009, 2013]. When Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a knee injury, I punted on the idea. Snipes, Tomasin, David and his girlfriend ended up going to the game! The Seahawks won the game by the score of 43 to 16.

Sharon finished the day going to a Nordstorms sales event with Janie and Terra.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

2018 F@rm Credit West Christmas Party

For the seventh time in the last eight years [2011, 2102, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017], Sharon and I went to the F@rm Credit West Christmas Party. In 2016, Sharon was feeling under the weather and we missed the party.

This year, it was held at the Randy Peter's Event Center in Roseville. We sat with Holly and Van, Chris Petersen, Sylvia and her husband and one of the paralegals at dinner. With Holly retiring at the end of February, this will be the last time that Holly and Van attend. There are fewer and fewer people every year that I knew when I worked for F@arm Credit.