Thursday, January 23, 2020

Celebrating Sharon's Birthday

With Shannon spending the night on her way to Reno, Sharon, Shannon and I had dinner at Cannon East. This is currently Sharon's favorite restaurant in Sacramento. We split half a dozen oysters, a pear salad, chicken drumsticks, brussel sprouts and bintje potatoes.

We finished the celebration at home with strawberry eclairs for dessert. I got Sharon Airpods Pro and Victoria Secret pajamas for her birthday.


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Parasite

Friday night at Sea Ranch, Sharon and I watched Parasite on the AppleTV. This is part of our continuing effort to see all of the Oscar nominated films. At the 92nd Academy Awards, the film earned six nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Parasite is a 2019 South Korean dark comedy thriller film directed by Bong Joon-ho. He also wrote the film's story and co-wrote the screenplay with Han Jin-won. The film stars Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-Hyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, and Park So-dam. It follows the members of a poor household scheming to become employees of a much wealthier family by posing as unrelated, highly qualified individuals.

As Rod said when we were at the Kings Season Ticket Member Party, the plot takes a hard right turn about 2/3s of the way through film. The ending jumps the shark more than a little. Nevertheless, in spite of the subtitles, I enjoyed the film and recommend it. I will be surprised if it wins Best Picture...

Monday, January 20, 2020

2020 Sea Ranch - Day 4

We were up and moving fairly early. I actually set an alarm for 7 am. Sharon and I went out for an early morning run/walk North along the bluffs. We covered 3.25 miles in 51:27. We turned around just short of one of my favorite spots without realizing it.

2020 Sea Ranch - Day 4Back at the house, we had smoke salmon omelets for breakfast. Afterwards, we started getting cleaned up and packed up. We were in the car and moving by 10:30 am. We dropped the key and got gas in Gualala.

We had decided to go home via the Anderson Valley. Looking at Waze, we took Mountain View Road from Manchester to Boonville. It cuts 20 miles off the trip, but it is a very winding road. I don't recommend this route.

We stopped for a wine tasting at Domaine Anderson. Looking for one other stop, the woman in the tasting room suggested a sister winery called Roederer Estate. She suggested that it had one of the best views in the valley (it didn't...).

Sharon and I had a late lunch at the Mosswood Market in Boonville. Sharon had a tuna sandwich, while I had a turkey panini.

Heading back to Carmichael, we took 101 to 116 in Petaluma to 12 to 80 to 50 to Watt. Surprisingly without a stop, the jump took three and a half hours.

It was a very, very nice weekend...

One random note. We could see a number of commercial fishing boats during the day and at night. On Friday night, there were several boats with bright lights working the Sea Ranch coast. I don't remember ever seeing this many boats. I am going to have to try and figure out if there was a difference in the season this year.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

2020 Sea Ranch - Day 3

Moving a little earlier than Saturday morning, both Sharon and I went out for short runs. I ran 2.6 miles north of the house along the bluffs. Looking for a historical marker, I took a side trip along the Del Mar Meadow Trail.

2020 Sea Ranch - Day 3After a smoked salmon omelet for breakfast, we took off for the Sea Ranch Golf Links. We played the front nine. Unlike last year, the weather was nice. I ended up shooting a very liberally scored winter rules 52; my scorecard is here. The par five sixth hole has always been a swamp. After solid first shots, both Sharon and I struggled with our second shots out of the muck. I hit a seven iron into the middle of the green on the par three eighth hole for a nice par. Although I putted pretty well, my chipping was awful...

It took us almost exactly two hours to play nine holes. Although the course was wide open, we ended up coming up on a foursome walking (the men's club?) on the seventh and eighth hole.

After golf, we headed to the Seafood Shack for lunch. This is a new restaurant. We both had an albacore tuna sandwich.

After another quick stop at the Surf Market, we headed back to the Graham View house. After hitting the hot tub and taking a short nap, we watched the San Francisco 49ers play the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game. Leading 27 to 0 at halftime, the 49ers won the game by the score of 37 to 20. Seven years ago, I watched the 49ers beat the Falcons in the NFC Championship game at Sea Ranch.

We had an odd encounter at halftime. Taking the opportunity to go for a short walk along the bluffs, an older couple stopped us just as we were leaving. They had bought the house next store and thought we might be the owners. We ended up walking and talking with them for about 15 minutes. They were cattle ranchers from Colorado who had driven in the night before.

We barbecued steaks and cooked a baked potato for dinner. Sharon and I finished the night watching The Two Popes on Netflix. The film is nominated for three Oscars, including: Best Actor for Jonathan Pryce, Best Supporting Actor for Anthony Hopkins and Best Adapted Screen play.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

2019 Sea Ranch - Day 2

A very active day. Sleeping late and moving slow, Sharon and I had oatmeal for breakfast. Afterwards, I went for a 5.5 mile run south along the bluffs. I felt good and kept a fairly strong pace trying to catch several other runners. I ended up running for exactly an hour with a pace of 10:53. I will post a map of my run in the next couple of weeks. As I have said repeatedly over the years, this is probably my favorite place in the world to run.

2019 Sea Ranch - Day 2

After I got back to the house, we got organized for a hike. Crossing Highway 1 near the Del Mar Center, we picked up the Saloon Trail near the dog park. We followed the upper part of the Azalea Loop Trail to the Chapel Trail. We sat and had lunch on a bench at the Sea Ranch Chapel. We took the lower part of the Azalea Loop Trail back. In total, we covered 5.7 miles in two hours and thirty-nine minutes. We passed two historical markers that I had never seen before. I will post a map of the hike and pictures of the historical markers in the next couple of weeks.

Back at the house, we went to town to check out a restaurant for Sunday lunch and to buy a few things at the Surf Market. We spend the rest of the afternoon hanging out in the jacuzzi and taking a nap. It turned out to be a very nice day. The views of the coast from the house are spectacular!

Sharon and I had dinner at the Vue Kitchen in Gualala. After a drink at the bar and some running amok with the hostess, we had a very nice dinner. We both had the fish special; it was a locally caught Sea Bass wrapped in prosciutto.

We finished the night watching episode nine of season three of the Crown. We both crashed hard.

Friday, January 17, 2020

2020 Sea Ranch - Day 1

2019 Sea Ranch - Day 1

For the eighth time in ten years ['19, '18, '17, '16'14, '13 and '11], we are spending a long weekend at Sea Ranch in the winter. For the first time in 22 years, Sharon and I are going to Sea Ranch alone, just the two of us!

We pulled away from the house about 8:40 am heading to Sonoma. We had debated going through the Anderson Valley like last year, but decided instead to stop in Sonoma at Three Sticks for a wine tasting. Maggie who we met at Donum is now the hospitality manager at Three Sticks. The tasting room is located in the historic Vallejo-CasteƱada Adobe in downtown Sonoma.

From there, we headed to Bodega Bay. We stopped at Tides Restaurant to buy some smoked salmon and crabs. We ended up stopping just north of Bodega Bay and eating our lunch in the car.

We pulled into Gualala about 2:45 pm. The traffic was very light all day. After buying a couple of things at the market, we stopped and got the keys.

We were into the house just after 3:00 pm. We are spending three nights at Graham View.

After unloading the car, Sharon and I went for a four mile walk south from the house along the bluffs. As I said to Sharon while we are hiking, I don't know if there is anywhere in the world that you get ten miles of trails along the bluffs like you do at Sea Ranch.

We barbecued some pork chops for dinner. Sharon had made some sweet potato mash at home. We finished the night watching Parasite on the AppleTV. Parasite is one of the ten 2019 movies nominated for best picture Oscar. My short write-up on the movie is here.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

My book for January was The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal. The book won several major science fiction awards, including: 2018 Nebula Award for Best Novel; 2019 Locus Award for Best Novel, and; 2019 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

Rather than science fiction looking into the future, this is an alternate history in the past. Set in the early 1950's, a meteorite strikes Chesapeake Bay and wipes out the Eastern Seaboard. In the aftermath, the heroine of the story calculates that the resulting climate change will make the planet uninhabitable. This threat accelerates efforts to colonize space.

Looking at the list of Hugo and Nebula award winners in the last couple of months, I read the synopsis of this book several times and was frankly not interested. Casting around for something to read at the last minute on the flight to Burbank, I downloaded the first chapter for free. I found the first chapter compelling and was hooked. Unfortunately, except for the beginning and the end, much of the rest of the book fell flat.

The plot uses the sexual and racial prejudices of 1950's. While there is no doubt that these biases were real, the way that they were worked in the story felt odd to me. Additionally, I cringed at the descriptions of sex between the heroine and her husband. I will admit that I am generally not a fan of alternate histories. I don't recommend this book.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Celebrating My Birthday (2020 Kings versus Mavs)

Sharon, Janie, Larkin, the Sanborns and I started the evening with dinner at Echo & Rig (Sea Bass). We had a nice dinner celebrating my birthday. Sharon got me a jacket and a watch band for my birthday, while Janie gave me a bottle of wine and a cigar.

The group went to the Sacramento Kings versus Dallas Mavericks NBA game. Trailing by 15 points at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Kings pulled within 3 points in the last minute. The Kings lost the game by the score of 127 to 124.

2020 Kings versus GrizzliesLuka Doncic was the leading scorer for the Mavs. He had 25 points, 15 rebounds and a career-high 17 assists for his NBA-leading 12th triple-double. Doncic was 8 for 18 from the field, 0 for 5 from three and 9 for 10 from the free throw line.

When Doncic was in the game, I watched him rather than following the ball. He is listed at 6'7" and 230 pounds; he looks very big. On defense, Doncic was guarding Harrison Barnes (6'8"- 225 pounds), while Fox (6'3" - 185 pounds) was guarding him much of the night on the offense end. I still don't understand why the Kings passed on drafting him...

De'Aaron Fox was the leading scorer for the Kings. He was 11 for 17 from the field, 2 for 4 from three and 3 for 9 from the free throw line. Fox added 12 assists. In the last three games I have seen in person, Fox has gone 12 for 29 from the free throw line. If he makes 90%, they probably win two of those three games.

The Kings are not very fun to watch at this point. Although the attendance was listed at 17,029, there were lots of empty seats all over the arena.

The Kings have one win and four losses in games that I have seen in the 2019-2020 NBA season. It is going to be hard for them to reach the over on season wins (+38).

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The Irishman

New Year's eve, Sharon, Tom and I watched the Irishman on Netflix. It received 10 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor for Pacino and Pesci, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

The Irishman (also titled onscreen as I Heard You Paint Houses) is an American epic crime film directed and produced by Martin Scorsese. It is based on the 2004 book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt. It stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci with Ray Romano and Harvey Keitel in supporting roles.

The film follows Frank Sheehan (De Niro), a truck driver who becomes a hitman involved with mobster Russell Bufalino (Pesci) and his crime family. Sheehan ends up working for the powerful Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino).

Scenes were filmed with a custom three-camera rig to help facilitate the extensive de-aging digital effects that made De Niro, Pacino, and Pesci appear younger in many of the film's flashbacks. With a production budget of $159 million and a runtime of 209 minutes, it is among the most expensive and longest films of Scorsese's career.

I enjoyed the Irishman more than Sharon. I am fascinated by the fact that it is based on a nonfiction book. At more than 3 1/2 hours, it is very long. We watched about half the movie, stopped and had a leisurely dinner, and then finished the movie. In spite of the length, it never really seemed like it lagged. Unlike Roma last New Year's eve, Tom was even able to stay awake through the whole movie... Although The Irishman currently has the same odds as Once upon a Time in Hollywood to win the Oscar for best picture, I don't think that it will win.

Monday, January 13, 2020

2020 Oscar Nominations


Best Picture:
   ✔ Ford v Ferrari
   ✔ The Irishman
   Jojo Rabbit
   Joker
   Little Women
   ✔ Marriage Story
   ✔ 1917
   ✔ Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
   ✔ Parasite


Lead Actor:
   Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
   ✔ Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
   ✔ Adam Driver, Marriage Story
   Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
   ✔ Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes


Lead Actress:
   Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
   ✔ Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
   Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
   Charlize Theron, Bombshell
   ✔ Renee Zellweger, Judy


Supporting Actor:
   ✔ Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
   ✔ Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
   ✔ Al Pacino, The Irishman
   ✔ Joe Pesci, The Irishman
   ✔ Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood


Supporting Actress:
   Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
   ✔ Laura Dern, Marriage Story
   Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit
   Florence Pugh, Little Women
   Margot Robbie, Bombshell


Best Adapted Screenplay
   Greta Gerwig, Little Women
   ✔ Anthony McCarten, The Two Popes
   Todd Phillips, Scott Silver, Joker
   Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit
   ✔ Steven Zaillian, The Irishman


Original screenplay
   Rian Johnson, Knives Out
   ✔ Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
   ✔ Sam Mendes, Krysty Wilson-Cairns, 1917
   ✔ Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
   ✔ Bong Joon Ho, Han Jin Won, Parasite



The 2019 Oscar nominations are here.

The 2018 Oscar nominations are here.

The 2017 Oscar nominations are here.

The 2016 Oscar nominations are here.

The 2015 Oscar nominations are here.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

1917

Sharon and I watched 1917 at the Country Club Cinema. At the 77th Golden Globe Awards the film won for Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Director. When the Oscars nominations are announced on Monday, I expect that it will be nominated for Best Picture.

1917 is an epic war film directed, co-written and produced by Sam Mendes. The film stars George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott [the priest in season two of Fleabag], Richard Madden, Claire Duburcq, Colin Firth, and Benedict Cumberbatch. Filming took place from April to June 2019 in England and Scotland with cinematographer Roger Deakins using long takes to have the entire film look like one continuous shot.

The film is based in part on a story told to Mendes by his paternal grandfather Alfred Mendes. It chronicles two young British soldiers during World War I who were given a mission to deliver a message. It warns of an ambush during a skirmish soon after the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line during Operation Alberich.

I recommend the film. It is definitely a movie that should be seen in the theater with a large screen and a dolby sound system! The cinematography is amazing; much of the film really feels like one continuous shot. Sharon was pleasantly surprised by the film and ranks it as one of the three best films that we have seen this awards season.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Kings Season Ticket Member Party

Larkin took Rod Renteria and I to the Kings Season Ticket Member Party at Golden ! Center.

Kings Season Ticket Member Party
At Kings Season Ticket Member Party
At Kings Season Ticket Member Party

Afterwards, Rod dragged down to the Pre-Flight Lounge.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Christmas Ornament 2019

2019 marked the 25th Christmas that Sharon and I have celebrated together. I have bought Sharon an ornament for the tree every year since that first Christmas.

This year, I bought one ornament in the gift shop at Stonehenge and two ornaments in Harrods.

Christmas Ornament 2019

Christmas Ornament 2019

Christmas Ornament 2019

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Volvo XC60 T8 - Day 437

From October 14, 2109 to December 24, 2019, I drove 1,853 miles on one tank of gas (16.8 gallons). I averaged 110 miles per gallon. This is the farthest that I have gone on a tank since I bought the car.

December 24, 2019

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Jack back to school

Finishing Jack's almost three week Christmas break, I got up at 5 am. Jack and Sharon got up about 5:30 am. We rolled from the house about 6:25 am.

Jack caught a United flight nonstop from Sacramento to Dulles. Taking off a few minutes ahead of the scheduled 8:25 am departure, he was on the ground in Washington DC a little after 4 pm.

Catching an Uber at 4:49 pm, Jack was back in Georgetown by 5:21 pm (32 minutes!?!). He is starting the second half of his senior year!

It is almost impossible for me to believe that Jack is going to graduate college in May! As Sharon noted a couple of times over the last three weeks, this may be the last Christmas that he is home for an extended period.

2012 was a year of extraordinary changes. While maybe not quite as extraordinary, 2020 is shaping up to be a wild ride.

Monday, January 06, 2020

Mikuni

Sharon, Jack and I finished the day with dinner at Mikuni. [Note to self], don't order the aerojet roll anymore...

Sunday, January 05, 2020

Taking down the Christmas decorations

Sharon and I spent about two-thirds of Saturday taking down and packing up the Christmas decorations inside. Sunday, I spent the day tearing apart the Christmas Tree and stuffing it into the green can, taking down the outside decorations and then hauling everything to the storage shed. It took me five trips to get almost everything to the shed. In total, I counted about 45 storage bins and assorted boxes.

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.

Saturday, January 04, 2020

2020 Kings versus Pelicans


Larkin and I went to the Sacramento Kings versus New Orleans Pelicans NBA game. We bought the tickets with the hope of seeing Zion Williamson play. It looks like he is finally coming to take the court on Monday... Larkin and I were sitting in Section 101, Row DD, Seats 1 and 2.

Trailing for most of the game, Bjelica converted a four point play to tie the game with 4.2 seconds left. Coming out of the ensuring timeout, Ball inbounded to Redick who drove left and banked it in. The Kings lost the game by the score of 117 to 115.

Lonzo Ball was the high scorer for the Pelicans. He has 24 points on 9 for 19 from the field, 4 for 12 from three point range and 2 for 2 from the free throw line. Ball added 6 rebounds and 10 assists.

Harold Barnes was the high scorer for the Kings. He had 30 points on 9 for 12 from the field, 2 for 2 from three and 10 for 12 from the free throw line.

Kings aren't as much to watch as they were last year. They seem like misfit toys; they don't seem to play together very feel. Given how much time Fox, Bagley and Bogdanovich have missed this season, it is probably not surprising.

The Kings now have one win and three losses in games that I have seen this season. While I thought that they would struggle with a tough Western Conference schedule, I didn't expect them to be this bad.

Friday, January 03, 2020

Little Women

Friday afternoon, Sharon and Tom went to see Little Women. Sharon said that it was solid, but it was Lady Bird or Call Me by Your Name...

2020 Kings versus Grizzlies

(photo credit @ Larkin)

Thursday night, Jack and Jason went to the Sacramento Kings versus Memphis Grizzlies NBA basketball game. They bought a couple of tickets in section 211.

Trailing by 20 points in the first half, the Kings rallied to win the game by the score of 128 to 123. The win ended an eight game losing streak.

Ja Morant was the high scorer for the Grizzlies. He scored 23 points on 8 for 13 from the field, 2 for 3 from three and 5 for 6 from the free throw line.

De'Aaron Fox was the high scorer for the Kings. He scored 27 points on 9 for 18 from the field, 1 for 4 from three and 8 for 8 from the free throw line. Fox also had 5 steals and 9 assists. Held added 26 points.

My game log for the 2019-2020 season is here.

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Marriage Story

Sunday night, December 22, Sharon, Jack and I watched Marriage Story on Netflix. We are continuing our annual quest to see all of the films that will be nominated in the major Oscar categories. From now until January 13 when the actual Oscars are announced, we will be guessing ones might be nominated.

Marriage Story was chosen by the American Film Institute and the National Board of Review as one of the ten best films of the year. At the 77th Golden Globe Awards, the film received a leading six nominations, including Best Motion Picture – Drama.

Marriage Story is a 2019 American dramedy film written, directed and produced by Noah Baumbach. The film stars Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern, Alan Alda and Ray Liotta. The film follows a married couple going through a coast-to-coast divorce.

As I have told a number of people, God willing, I am going to write a book about 1991 when I retire. I lived through the first year of a contentious separation and divorce. There are pieces of the film that are very true to my personal experience.

This is a very good movie; I recommend it. I expect that both Driver and Johansson will get Oscar acting nominations and the film will be nominated for best picture.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Ordinary People

Sharon and Jack finished the day watching Ordinary People on Amazon Prime Video. Sharon ranks the movie in her personal top ten.

Released in September of 1980, Ordinary People marked the directorial debut of actor Robert Redford. The film stars Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch, and Timothy Hutton. The screenplay by Alvin Sargent was based upon the 1976 novel Ordinary People by Judith Guest.

The film received six Academy Awards nominations. It won four Oscars, including: the Academy Award for Best Picture; Best Director for Redford; Adapted Screenplay for Sargent; and Supporting Actor for Hutton. In addition, it won five Golden Globe Awards, including: Best Motion Picture – Drama; Best Director (Redford); Best Actress in a Drama (Tyler Moore); Best Supporting Actor (Hutton); and Best Screenplay (Sargent).

The story concerns the disintegration of an upper-middle class family in Lake Forest, Illinois, following the accidental death of one of their two sons and the attempted suicide of the other.

Sharon, Morgan and I watched the movie together fifteen years ago...