Thursday, January 31, 2019

Gene Klotz Jr.

Sharon and I worked with Gene at Farm Credit.
It is with great sadness that the family of Gene Klotz, Jr. announces his passing on January 22, 2019 at the age of 60. Gene will be lovingly remembered by his wife, Laura and his children Michael, Kevin, and Megan. Gene was an avid outdoorsman. Gene loved to deep-sea fish, duck hunt, dive for abalone and crab. Gene enjoyed spending time at his family's ranch in the California foothills and his duck club in the Sutter Buttes. A memorial service in memory of Gene will be held on Saturday, February 2, 2019 at 10:00 am, St. Anthony's Catholic Church, 660 Florin Road, Sacramento. A reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to California Waterfowl Association or a charity of your choice.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers.

Looking for a change of pace after reading the 1,000 page Lyndon Johnson biography, my book for January was Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers. I previously read her first two books: The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet [July 2017] and A Closed and Common Orbit [April 2018]. I really enjoyed both those books for their characters and world building.

Record of a Spaceborn Few, the third in Becky Chambers’ loosely linked science fiction trilogy, explores the Fleet, a massive collection of ships that is home to the Exodans. The Exodus are the distant descendants of Earth-born humans. Following a few key characters, it explores the evolution of society aboard these ships.

While this book continues the author's world building, it is a much more pedestrian slice of life story than the first two books. While I gave the first two books a "B+", I would give this book a "C". It is not a bad book, but I just didn't find the story and the characters compelling. With so many possible good books in the world to read, I don't recommend this one...

Monday, January 28, 2019

Neighborhood Homeowners Association Meeting

Sharon and I went to the neighborhood homeowners association meeting at Rod and Kathy's house. Sharon was elected to the board! I love our neighborhood.

After filing for bankruptcy twice last year, one of our neighbors has lost his house in a foreclosure. Unfortunately, he is still in the house and now has three renters. The bank now has to file an unlawful detainer to get him out. It will be interesting to see how long it will take to get this situation resolved...

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Back from Oakland

Up fairly early, we grabbed a cup of coffee around the corner from the hotel. We decided to stop for a hike on the way home. We ended up going to the Redwood Regional Park in the Oakland Hills. Sharon, Jack and I hiked there once before in May of 2015. When we got there, the parking lot and the surrounding streets were packed, but we got lucky and got a spot in the small lot at the Skyway Gate Staging Area.

We ended up hiking longer than we originally intended. We hiked out on the east side of canyon and then looped back along the stream trail in the bottom of the canyon. We hiked more than six and a half miles in just under two and a half hours. I will post a map in the next couple of weeks.

We stopped for lunch at Gott's in Walnut Creek for burgers. We got there early enough that we beat the crowd that showed up for lunch.

We rolled back up to the house in Carmichael at 1:50 pm.



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Saturday, January 26, 2019

To Oakland

Up at 5:20 am, we were out the door about 6:50 am. We pulled up to Jack London Square in Oakland about 8:35 am. The square was closed for the A's Fanfest so I had to drop Sharon down the block from the Waterfront Hotel. Sharon spent the day in a McGeorge MCLE class.

Garin/Dry Creek Pioneer Regional ParksFrom the there, I headed south to the Garin/Dry Creek Pioneer Regional Parks. My plan for the day was a long hike. After a couple of quick stops, I pulled into the park about 9:30 am. I hiked for almost four hours and covered eleven miles. A map of the hike is here.

I pushed myself hard. The only time I stopped for any length of time was at the top of Tolman Park to take a few pictures.

Finishing up my hike about 1:30 pm, I grabbed a bit to eat and headed back to the Waterfront Hotel. When Sharon signed up for the class, she proposed that we spend the night and have dinner in Berkeley. We got a nice corner room with a view with a 270 degree view of the area.

After getting settled into the room, we wandered over to Scott's Seafood. We did some planning for our next big trip.

We finished the day with dinner at Chez Panisse Cafe in Berkeley. Sharon had eaten there in 1987 or 1988 with Tom, Becky and Paul. We had a very nice dinner. I started with a salad [Butter lettuce, Cara Cara orange, Oro Blanco grapefruit, and avocado salad], while Sharon had soup [Cannard Farm cardoon soup with rosemary and olio di peperoncino]. For entree, I had duck [Sonoma County duck confit with winter squash purée, cauliflower, and toasted hazelnut salsa], while Sharon had rock fish [Pan-fried rockfish with leafy broccoli, fingerling potatoes, and Meyer lemon-olive relish]. We split a dessert [Coffee-caramel custard with crème Chantilly and orange currant cookies].

Friday, January 25, 2019

Bohemian Rhapsody

On Sharon's birthday, Sharon, Janie and I watched Bohemian Rhapsody on the AppleTV. The film has received a number of award nominations. It got five nominations at the 91st Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Rami Malek. The film also won Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Actor – Drama (Malek) at the 76th Golden Globe Awards.

Bohemian Rhapsody is a 2018 biographical film about the British rock band Queen. It follows singer Freddie Mercury's life from his joining the band in 1970 to their Live Aid performance at Wembley Stadium in 1985. The movie stars Rami Malek as Mercury, with Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joe Mazzello, Aidan Gillen, Tom Hollander, Allen Leech, and Mike Myers in supporting roles. I frankly didn't recognize Mike Myers in the film!

The film is a massive box office success. It grossed over $802 million worldwide on a production budget of about $50 million. It became the seventh-highest-grossing film of 2018 worldwide.

I was pleasantly surprised by the film. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Malek's performance is very good. After seeing the film, his Golden Globe for Best Actor - Drama makes more sense. While I don't think the film will win best picture at the Oscars, I think Malek has a chance at best actor. Like Bale's role in Vice, it is a very physically transformational role. I have now seen all eight of the films nominated for best picture.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Celebrating Sharon's Birthday

Taking the afternoon off, Sharon and Janie went for a long bike ride on their new bikes. They rode from our house to Arden Pond to Watt Avenue. Out and back, they covered 13.5 miles.

Afterwards, they picked up take out Chinese food from the Mandarin Restaurant. The three of us watched Bohemian Rhapsody on the AppleTV while we ate dinner.

We finished the dinner with a Nothing Bunt cake and presents. I got her some bike shoes for the Peloton One bike.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

2019 Oscar Nominations

My selections are shown in red. I say selections, rather than predictions, because I refuse to choose Roma for Best Picture.

Best Picture:
   Black Panther
   BlacKkKlansman
   Bohemian Rhapsody
   The Favorite
   Green Book
   Roma
   A Star Is Born
   Vice

Lead Actor:
   Christian Bale, Vice
   Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
   Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
   Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody - actual winner!
   Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

Lead Actress:
   Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
   Glenn Close, The Wife
   Olivia Colman, The Favorite - actual winner!
   Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
   Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Supporting Actor:
   Mahershala Ali, Green Book
   Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
   Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born
   Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
   Sam Rockwell, Vice

Supporting Actress:
   Amy Adams, Vice
   Marina de Tavira, Roma
   Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
   Emma Stone, The Favourite
   Rachel Weisz, The Favorite

Best Adapted Screenplay
   BlacKkKlansman - winner
   The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
   Can You Ever Forgive Me?
   If Beale Street Could Talk
   A Star is Born


The 2018 Oscar nominations are here.

The 2017 Oscar nominations are here.

The 2016 Oscar nominations are here.

The 2015 Oscar nominations are here.

Monday, January 21, 2019

2019 Sea Ranch - Day 4

2019 Sea Ranch - Day 4I wandered out on to the bluffs before 7 am and took pictures of the moon reflecting on the water in one direction and the sun rising in the another.

The four of us went out for an early morning bike ride. Unlike the first three days, it was a clear and beautiful! Sharon turned back early, but Phil, Marlene and I rode to the ninth green of the golf course. We ended up riding about 7.5 miles in 45 minutes.

Afterwards, we had breakfast and then scrambled to pack up the house. Sharon had made a 12:30 pm wine tasting appointment in Sonoma that we were trying to make. We pulled away from the house just after 10 am and dropped the house key in Gualala.

Phil made good time. We rolled up to Donum Estate at 12:35 pm. We did a nice wine tasting with the same person that we had in December. Afterwards, we did an art walk through the property. Donum Estate has more than $130 million invested in large art works!?!

From there, we headed to Bouchaine Vineyards. We sat outside and ate lunch on the back deck. Sharon and I have been coming to Bouchaine for almost nine years. I am looking forward to them opening the new tasting room this year.

We were back in Carmichael about 5:30 pm. It was a nice weekend. [Note to self], I want to find a weekend for Sharon and I to go back this year just the two of us.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

2019 Sea Ranch - Day 3

Sea Ranch is one of my favorite places in the world to run. I went out for a long morning run. Heading north, I ended running all the way to the end of Sea Ranch and into the Gualala River Park. It drizzled on me for about the first twenty minutes, but then actually cleared up. I came across several Sea Ranch historical markers that I have never seen before, including the Gualala Mill and the World War II bombing range. In total, I covered just under 9 miles. I will post a map in the next couple of weeks.

At the Point Arena LighthousePhil got back to the house just as I did. He had gone for a bike ride, but missed the turn on the way back and ended up going longer than he intended.

After a late leisurely breakfast, we headed north on Highway 1. The plan for the day was to visit the Point Arena lighthouse, hike in the area and get a bite to eat at pier in Point Arena.

We made a couple of brief stops in Point Arena and Manchester before heading out the peninsula to lighthouse. Sharon, Jack, Drew, Morgan and I actually visited the lighthouse in summer of 1999. It is the tallest lighthouse on the west coast and California Historical Landmark #1035. We listened to a short presentation in the museum and then climbed to the top. I am not a heights person, but I have to admit it was a cool view.

Talking to the person at the desk, we decided to hike along the bluff in Point Arena-Storentta Public Lands. We hiked about 1.6 miles out and back. There were some expansive views. The rock formations and the colors of the cliffs were very different than Sea Ranch.

We stopped at the Chowder House and Tap Room for a late lunch. We had some chowder and chili. I got a chance to watch part of the Saints versus Rams NFC Conference finals game. I think that the no-call on the pass interference at the end of the game is likely to fundamentally change the way instant replay is used.

From there, we made a stop at the Vue Kitchen in Gualala. On the bluff over the Gualala River, this location has been a number of different names over the years. It wasn't open at all last year. I watched the beginning of the Patriots versus Chiefs AFC Championship game.

We bought some steaks for dinner and headed back to the house. Sharon, Marlene and Phil lounged in the hot tub, while I watched the end of the Patriots versus Chiefs game. I also struggled to get the AppleTV working. I bought the oldest of the AppleTVs that I own and I couldn't get it to use multi-factor authentication. I had hoped that we would watch a movie [First Man?].

We finished the day with a late dinner. We ended visiting around the dining room table until almost midnight. I kicked myself several times over the course of the weekend. In the past, I have brought DVDs or hooked up an AppleTV so we could watches movies at night. It seemed to me that the inability to do this really changed the cadence of the weekend.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

2019 Sea Ranch - Day 2

2019 Sea Ranch - Day 2

When I got up Saturday morning, it was raining off and on. The plan for the day was golf at the Sea Ranch Golf Links. With the weather looking worse on Sunday, we decided earlier in the week to shift our tee time from Sunday at 10:20 am to Saturday morning. We ended up outsmarting ourselves.

While Phil went out for an early bike ride, Sharon and I hiked south along the bluffs for about 30 minutes When Phil got back, we had breakfast and debated the plan for the day. We ended up deciding to go to the golf course and see how things went.

We ended up playing nine holes. After hitting the ball fairly well on the driving range, I struggled. I ended up shooting a very liberally scored winter rules 58. I will eventually post the scorecard. It stopped raining for a couple of holes early, but then started again. It was muddy and wet. The sixth and ninth holes were particularly soggy. Interestingly, I actually putted pretty well. The less said about the outing the better...

After golf, we made a stop at the Gualala Hotel. The bar and restaurant recently reopened after being closed for a number of years. Sharon went there with the girls years ago, but I don't think that I had ever been inside.

Back at the house, we spent the rest of the afternoon in the hot tub. Although a little small, it was a nice hot tub with a only limited view of the ocean. While I can understand the desire for some privacy, I prefer a set up that takes better advantage of the ocean views.

In the late afternoon, I wandered off north along the bluffs by myself. Sharon, Phil and Marlene caught up with me and the four of us explored Shell Beach before heading back to the house.

We finished the day with dinner back at Gualala Hotel. I started with a bowl of hearty chili [local produced grass-fed Covelo ground beef and kidney beans] that was very good. Sharon and I both had a salmon special which was solid. The four of us shared a bottle of Woodenhead Pinot Noir.

Like Friday night, everyone crashed fairly early. This was partly due to the fact that I screwed up some of my planning for the trip. More on that on Sunday's post...

Friday, January 18, 2019

2019 Sea Ranch - Day 1

At Toulouse VineyardsFor the fifth time in six years ['18, '17, '16 and '14], we are spending a weekend in January or February at Sea Ranch with the Sanborns. This also marks the seventh time in nine years [2013 and 2011] that we have spent a long weekend at Sea Ranch in the winter.

The Sanborns rolled up to our house in Carmichael a little after 8:00 am. We loaded up Phil's truck and were on the road just before 8:30 am.

As a change of pace, we decided to go to the coast through the Anderson Valley. This added more than an hour to the trip, but gave us a chance to explore some new wineries. Our first stop was Pennyroyal Farm. We did a wine tasting paired with a small cheese tasting.

We continued up Highway 128 and stopped at Toulouse Vineyards. I enjoyed both of the stops. They were much more causal and relaxed than wine tasting in Napa. Both places were very friendly.

From there, it was about another hour and a half to Gualala. We rolled into town about 3:40 pm and picked up the key.

The four of us are spending three nights at Seascape. We have never stayed at this house before. It is located at the end of Wild Boor Reach. This is probably the closest we have ever stayed to the ocean. As a separate project, I need to make a map of all the houses that we have stayed in Sea Ranch!

After getting the truck unpacked, Sharon and I took a two mile walk along the bluffs. I love the trails along the bluffs.

We finished the night with a late dinner. Marlene made a great lasagna. Somewhat uncharacteristically, everyone crashed very early...

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Neighborhood Book Club

Sharon is part of a neighbor book club that meets about every two months. Thursday night, they met at Michelle's house to discuss Less by Andrew Sean Greer.

The book won a number of awards, including: the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for fiction; a New York Times Notable Book of 2017; a Washington Post Top Ten Book of 2017 and; a San Francisco Chronicle Top Ten Book of 2017. Sharon was not enthusiastic about the book...

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

COO of The Corp

Jack got the job as the COO of "The Corp."

Students of Georgetown, Inc., commonly known as "The Corp" is a 501(c)3 non-profit public charitable organization at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. It is the largest entirely student-run 501(c)3 non-profit corporation in the world, with seven subsidiary companies generating annual revenues in excess of $5 million. Only undergraduate students of Georgetown University work as employees or sit as members of the Corp's Board of Directors, distinguishing business operations at the Corp from other student-run companies such as Harvard Student Agencies, which allows non-students and alumni to serve as board members.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Celebrating My Birthday

Sharon and I finished the day celebrating my birthday at Mas Taco Bar in Arden Town. After a guacamole and chips appetizer, we tried Butternut Squash [braised swiss chard, peptic salsa verde], Baja Fish [blackened salmon, mango salsa, tapatio aioli, cabbage, jalapeno], Banh Mi Shrimp [pickled vegetables, jalapeños, cilantro, Asian bbq sauce, laughing bun] and Fried Oyster [tapatio aioli, cabbage, cilantro, onions] tacos.

Presents included cologne and a subscription to Sirius radio for my new car.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Favourite

Continuing our quest to get a jump on seeing all of the potential Oscar Best Picture nominees, Sharon and I went to see The Favourite at the Roseville Century 14 and XD. I am not sure that I had ever been to this theater before.

The American Film Institute selected the movie as one of the top 10 films of 2018. It received five Golden Globe Award nominations, including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. It won Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical for Olivia Colman.

The story examines the relationship between two cousins vying to be the court favorites of Queen Anne in the early 18th century. It stars Olivia Colman as Anne, Queen of Great Britain, Emma Stone as Abigail Masham, Baroness Masham and Rachel Weisz as Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough.

When Sharon walked out of the Green Book last weekend, we both thought "that was a good movie." Neither of us felt that way walking out of The Favorite. Sharon gave it a 6.5 on a scale of 10, while I gave it a 6. There are strong performances by Colman, Weisz and Stone, but the movie was slow in parts and had a very unsatisfying ending. While I think it will receive a number of Oscar nominations, I don't believe that it will win Best Picture, Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

2019 Kings versus Hornets

2019 Kings versus Hornets

Larkin and I went to the Sacramento Kings versus Charlotte Hornets NBA game. Trailing at half-time by the score of 59 to 57, the Kings made a nice run at the end of the third quarter to lead by six points. They held on in the fourth quarter to win by the score of 104 to 97.

Borden Bogdanovic was the leading scorer for the Kings. He had 22 points on 9 for 17 from the field, 4 for 7 from three and 0 for 0 from the free throw line. De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield each added 21 points.

Kemba Walker was the leader scorer for the Hornets. He had 31 points on 11 for 24 from the field, 3 for 12 from three and 6 for 8 from the free throw line. Tony Parker is on the Hornets this season, but was given the night off.

The Kings are a fun team to watch this year. The Kings now have 4 wins and 2 losses in games that I have seen in person during the 2018-2019 season.

Larkin and I had dinner at Tequila Museo Mayahuel before the game. Sharon and I had dinner there in 2016. I was amazed at how many people were on K Street before and after the game. Putting the arena downtown is one of the best things that has happened in Sacramento!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Master of the Senate by Robert Caro

My book for December was Master of the Senate by Robert Caro. For Christmas in 2017, Drew gave me The Passage of Power, the fourth book in Caro's planned five book biography of Lyndon Johnson. I decided to buy the first book and start at the beginning. I finished the first volume [The Path to Power] in March and the second volume [Means of Ascent] in May. This is the third volume. This book fits into my long term project to read books about all of the presidents.

The book was released on April 23, 2002. It won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography, the 2002 National Book Award for Nonfiction, the 2002 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography, and the 2002 D.B. Hardeman Prize.

In this third volume, Master of the Senate, Caro chronicles Johnson's rapid ascent in United States Congress, including his tenure as Senate majority leader. Like the first two books, Caro does a deep dive into supporting parts of the story to provide context. For example, the first 100 plus pages of the book examine the history of the Senate! Other tangential areas that the author covers deeply include Richard Russel, Leland Olds and the Federal Power Commission, Hells Canyon and the civil rights struggles of the 1950s.

With Johnson's eyes on running for President, the books does a particularly deep dive into his battle to pass a landmark civil rights bill through Congress without it tearing apart his party. Even in the 1950s, the attitude of the southern bloc of the Democratic party towards civil rights was mired in the early 19th century... Although its scope was limited, the ensuing Civil Rights Act of 1957 was the first such legislation since the Reconstruction era.

I appreciated the book. At more than 1,100 pages, it is a load. It don't recommend it as a stand alone book. You need to start with volume one of Caro's biography of Johnson.

A footnote. I have always prided myself on finishing at least one book a month. This marks the second time in more than twenty-five years that I have fallen short of that goal. In the fall of 2016 when I started a new job and was more than a little off my feed, it took me four months to work my way through Hamilton. Due to the length of the book and some craziness at work in November, it took me three months to work my way through Master of the Senate.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Celebrating Tom's Birthday

Eric, Ashley, Tom, Sharon and I went to Il Fornaio for dinner to celebrate Tom's birthday. We had an appetizer and entrees off of the January Friuli Venezia Giulia regional menu. Friuli Venezia Giulia is a northeast Italian region bordering Austria, Slovenia and the Adriatic Sea.

We split Spiedini con Polenta e Funghi [roasted assortment of chicken, beef tenderloin, sausage & applewood-smoked bacon a top soft polenta with sautéed mixed] as an appetizer. Ashley and I both had Risotto Miramare [carnaroli rice with shrimp, calamari, crab, peas & tomatoes]. Sharon had Ravioli d’anitra Agli Asparagus [housemade ravioli filled with roast duck, prosciutto & Piave Vecchio cheese topped with asparagus cream sauce, radicchio & Grana Padano]. Tom had Galla Filetto di Bronzino all Greca [grilled fillet of seabags with black & green olives, capers, tomatoes & Trebbiano wine; served with mashed potatoes & sautéed organic spinach]. Eric had Gamberoni all Buhara [prawns sautéed with paprika, garlic, brandy, capers, marinara & cream; served with spaghetti tossed with sliced garlic, extra-virgin olive oil & Italian peperoncino]

Sharon and Tom had the wine flight. It included: Pinot Grigio, “Il Yamato”, Scarbolo, 2017; Ribolla Galla, Buzzinelli, Collio; Sauvignon Blanc, Vie di Romans, 2015, and, Pinot Nero, Hermann ‘Red Angel’, 2014.

We finished the night with presents and cake at Tom's house.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Jack back to school

Finishing Jack's three week Christmas break, I got up at 3:30 am. I got Jack and Sharon up about 4:00 am. We rolled from the house about 4:30 am. Jack was supposed to take a 6:50 am United flight to Chicago. For reasons I still don't understand, the flight was repeatedly delayed. Eventually, the flight took off, but went to Denver. After a short stop, it continued to Chicago. Jack then caught a 6:00 pm flight to Washington National. He was finally in Washington DC shortly after 9:00 pm.

Catching an Uber, Jack was back in Georgetown to start the second half of his junior year a little before 10 pm eastern time. He was a few things that he is going to have to sort out at the start of this semester.

Typically, we have flown him nonstop to Baltimore or Dulles, but they don't seem to run those flights in early January. In the almost twenty five years that Sharon and I have traveled together, we have one rule: any day that you end up where you were supposed to be is a good day.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Roma

On Year's Eve, Tom, Sharon and I watched Roma on Netflix. The film began a limited theatrical run on November 21, 2018 and started streaming on Netflix on December 14, 2018. The National Board of Review rated Roma as one of the top ten best films of 2018. At the 76th Golden Globe Awards, it earned nominations for Best Foreign Language Film, Best Director, and Best Screenplay; it won Best Director. Roma is on a number of lists as a nominee for best picture at the Oscars.

Roma is a 2018 drama film written, co-produced, co-edited, and directed by Alfonso Cuarón. It stars Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, Marco Graf, Daniela Demesa, Enoc Leaño, and Daniel Valtierra.

Set in 1970 and 1971, the film is a semi-autobiographical take on Cuarón's upbringing in Mexico City.  It follows the life of a live-in housekeeper to a middle-class family. The title refers to the Colonia Roma, a neighborhood in Mexico City.

I have to admit that I struggled more than a little with the film. The cinematography is gorgeous, but the film is in Spanish with English subtitles. Reading a summary of the film afterwards, I realized that I missed a couple of nuances because I was focused on reading the subtitles. Sharon suggested that we might need to go back and watch it again without subtitles... At this point, I give it a luke-warm thumbs up. it will be interesting to see if it actually gets a best picture Oscar nomination.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Green Book

Continuing our quest to get a jump on seeing all of the potential Oscar Best Picture nominees, Sharon and I went to see Green Book at the Palladio 16 in Folsom. The film was chosen by the National Board of Review as the best film of 2018 and as one of the Top 10 by the American Film Institute. The film won several awards at the 76th Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali).

Set in the Deep South in the 1960s, the movie follows a tour between African-American classical and jazz pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) and Italian-American bouncer Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen). Vallelogna served as Shirley's driver and bodyguard.

The screenplay was written in part by Vallelonga's son, Nick Vallelonga. It is a true story based on interviews with his father and Shirley, as well as letters his father wrote to his mother. The film is named after The Negro Motorist Green Book, a mid-20th century guidebook for African-American travelers written by Victor Hugo Green, to help them find motels and restaurants that would accept them.

I thought that the movie was very good. I really enjoyed it. I would guess that the movie as well as Mortensen and Ali will get Oscar nominations. I particularly enjoyed Viggo Mortensen's performance.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Taking down the Christmas decorations

Sharon and I spent all of Saturday taking down and packing up the Christmas decorations. Usually, this takes us all weekend, but we made a big push and got everything packed up and out of the house in one day! There are still about thirty boxes in the garage that I need to move to the storage shed on Sunday.

Although it rained off and on over the course of the day, I was just thankful that it was pouring rain like it was two years ago! While I love the house at Christmas, it feels right to take everything down, turn the page on the holiday season and start into the new year.

Friday, January 04, 2019

Cafe Bernardo

Sharon, Jack and I finished the week with an early dinner at Cafe Bernardo at Pavilions. Jack had a four cheese pizza, I had a butternut squash & white bean soup and a turkey burger and Sharon had a mushroom & Jarlesberg cheese salad and a grilled salmon plate.

2019 Oscars Nominations Predictions

2019 Oscar nomination predictions from Goldderby.com as of January 4, 2019

BEST PICTURE
   A Star is born
   Roma
   Green Book [Golden Globe: Best Picture - Musical or Comedy]
   The Favourite
   BlacKkKlansman
   Black Panther
   If Beale Street Could Talk
   Vice
   First Man {Digital HD - January 8}
   Mary Poppins Returns
   Bohemian Rhapsody [Golden Globe: Best Picture - Drama] {Amazon Video and iTunes on January 22, 2019}


ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
   Bradley Cooper - A Star Is Born
   Christian Bale - Vice [Golden Globe: Actor  - Musical or Comedy]
   Viggo Mortensen - Green Book
   Rami Malek - Bohemian Rhapsody [Golden Globe: Actor - Drama]
   Ethan Hawke - First Reformed {Digital HD - available}
   John David Washington - BlacKkKlansman


ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
   Lady Gaga - A Star Is Born
   Olivia Colman - The Favorite [Golden Globe: Actress  - Musical or Comedy]
   Glenn Close - The Wife {DVD release date - January 29} [Golden Globe: Actress - Drama]
   Melissa McCarthy - Can You Ever Forgive Me? {Digital HD from Amazon Video and iTunes on February 5, 2019.}
   Emily Blunt Mary - Poppins Returns
   Yalitza Aparicio - Roma


ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
   Mahershala Ali - Green Book [Golden Globe: Actor in a Supporting Role]
   Richard E. Grant - Can You Ever Forgive Me?
   Sam Elliott - A Star Is Born
   Timothy Chalamet - Beautiful Boy
   Adam Driver - BlacKkKlansman
   Michael B. Jordan - Black Panther


ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
   Regina King - If Beale Street Could Talk [Golden Globe: Actress in a Supporting Role]
   Amy Adams - Vice
   Emma Stone - The Favorite
   Rachel Weisz - The Favorite
   Claire Foy - First Man
   Nicole Kidman - Boy Erased {Digital HD - January 15}


ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY


The 2018 Oscar nominations are here.

The 2017 Oscar nominations are here.

The 2016 Oscar nominations are here.

The 2015 Oscar nominations are here.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Vice

On Christmas Day, Sharon, Jack, Tom and I went to see Vice at the Century Arden 14 and XD. Although Tom suggested the movie, it is on several lists of possible nominees for the best picture Oscar. The film has already received numerous award nominations, including six at the 76th Golden Globe Awards. It got a Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

Vice is a 2018 American biographical comedy-drama film written and directed by Adam McKay. The film stars Christian Bale as Dick Cheney, Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney, Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld, Sam Rockwell as George W. Bush and Tyler Perry as Colin Powell.

The plot follows the arc of Dick Cheney's life and career. I was fascinated by the portrayal of Cheney's early life; he is shown as a hard drinking kid who funked out of an ivy league college. I wonder how accurate this is.

This is a solid movie. I am sure that Christian Bale will get an Oscar's best actor nomination for his performance. I am not sure how accurate the overall story is to the truth, but I enjoyed the film.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Crazy Rich Asians

Saturday night, December 22, Sharon, Jack and I watched Crazy Rich Asians as a HD rental on the AppleTV. The movie is based the 2013 novel of the same name by Kevin Kwan. At the 76th Golden Globe Awards, the film received two nominations (Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical for Wu).

The film stars Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Nico Santos, Lisa Lu, Awkwafina, Ken Jeong and Michelle Yeoh. It follows an American professor who travels to meet her boyfriend's family and is surprised to discover they are among the richest in Singapore.

While it had some nice moments, the movie was not very good. I kept looking at my watch to see how much longer it had. When I asked Sharon what she thought of the movie, she said "I thought it would be better." I don't recommend it. Interesting, Jack was more positive about the movie than Sharon or I were. Apparently, this is the first of three books and they are going to make a sequel...

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

2019 Kings versus Trailblazers

Kings versus Trailblazers

Sharon, Jack, Jason and I went to the Sacramento Kings versus Portland Trailblazers NBA game. Sharon gave Jack the tickets for this game for Christmas [section 104, row Q, seats 16, 17 and 18].

I had a ticket for my work's balcony seats; I sat in these seats once last year. The seats include a hosted bar and food service. The food service included a series of small plates each quarter. The group from work included Bill and Ed from my teams and Heather and David from Sean's teams.

Trailing by ten points for most of the game, the Kings pulled ahead in the fourth quarter. The Kings then went cold; they were 1 for 17 in the end of the fourth quarter and the overtime. The Kings lost the game in overtime by the score of 113 to 108. It was a very disappointing loss...

Buddy Held was the leading scorer for the Kings with 27 points. Held was 11 for 23 from the field, 5 for 8 from three and had no free throws! The Kings only got to the free throw line 12 times compared to 30 times for the Trailblazers.

Damian Lillard was the leading scorer for the Trailblazers with 25 points. Lillard was 8 for 21 from the field, 1 for 9 from three and 8 for 8 from the free throw line. Jusuf Nurkic had a career night for Portland with 24 points, 23 rebounds, 5 blocks and 5 steals.

The Kings now have 3 wins and 2 losses in games that I have seen in person during the 2018-2019 season.