Tuesday, June 30, 2020

ESPN 30 for 30 Vol IV - Be Water

Running on the treadmill on Sunday afternoon and Tuesday night, I watched the ESPN 30 for 30 Be Water. This is the fifth film in volume IV of ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary series. I will post an episode guide for volume four in the future.

Be Water is an exploration of the life and legacy of Bruce Lee as an acting and martial arts icon. I was fascinated by the fact that he was the son of a Chinese Opera star and appeared in several films as a child actor. By the time he was 18, he had appeared in twenty films.

Concerned that there was a contract out for his life, his parent sent him to the United States in 1959.  He eventually enrolled in the University of Washington in Seattle and started teaching martial arts. 

From 1966 to 1967, Lee played the role of Kato alongside the title character played by Van Williams in the The Green Hornet. The show lasted only one season (26 episodes).  During the 60s, he built relationships with several hollywood actors and sports stars.  The documentary implies that Bruce Lee pitched the idea for the Kung Fu television series.

Frustrated with Hollywood, Lee returned to Hong Kong to star in a series of marital arts films.  The success of these films turned him into a superstar and finally caught Hollywood's attention.  Lee died unexpectedly at age 32 just as his film career was taking off.

Frankly, I didn't know much Bruce Lee.  I enjoyed the film, but feel like it could have been tighter and shorter.  [Note to self], I need to watch Enter the Dragon and at least a couple of the Green Hornet episodes.

Footnote.  There is a amazing sequence in the documentary of Bruce Lee fighting with 7 ft 2 in basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a former student.  This was filmed for Game of Death.

Monday, June 29, 2020

1991 Oscar Nominations

Best Picture:
   ✔ Dances with Wolves - winner
   ✔ The Godfather Part III

Lead Actor:
    Jeremy Irons, Reversal of Fortune - winner
   ✔ Kevin Costner, Dances with Wolves
    Robert De Niro, Awakenings
    Gérard Depardieu, Cyrano de Bergerac
    Richard Harris, The Field

Supporting Actor:
    Joe Pesci, Goodfellas - winner
    Bruce Davison, Longtime Companion
   ✔ Andy García, The Godfather Part III
   ✔ Graham Greene, Dances with Wolves
    Al Pacino, Dick Tracy

Lead Actress:
   Kathy Bates, Misery - winner
   Anjelica Huston, The Grifters
   Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman
   Meryl Streep, Postcards from the Edge
   Joanne Woodward, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge

Supporting Actress:
   Whoopi Goldberg, Ghost - winner
   Annette Bening, The Grifters
   Lorraine Bracco, Goodfellas
   Diane Ladd, Wild at Heart
   ✔ Mary McDonnell, Dances with Wolves

Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen:
   Ghost – winner
   Green Card

Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium
   ✔ Dances with Wolves – Michael Blake based on his novel - winner
   Awakenings – Steven Zaillian from the book by Oliver Sacks
   Goodfellas – Nicholas Pileggi and Martin Scorsese from Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi
   The Grifters – Donald E. Westlake based on the book by Jim Thompson
   Reversal of Fortune – Nicholas Kazan based on the book by Alan M. Dershowitz

The 2020 Oscar nominations are here.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Sex and the City 2

Saturday night, Sharon and I watched Sex and the City 2. Over the last couple months, Sharon has binge watched all 94 episodes of the television series. A week ago Friday night, we watched the first movie. Sex and the City 2 was released theatrically on May 27, 2010 .
Based on the 1997 book of the same name by Candace Bushnell) about four female friends, it continues the story of Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall), Charlotte York Goldenblatt (Kristin Davis), and Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon).  Chris Noth co-stars as Carrie's husband.  It features cameos from Liza Minnelli, Miley Cyrus, Tim Gunn, Ron White, Omid Djalili, Penélope Cruz, Norm Lewis, Kelli O'Hara, and Ryan Silverman.

It was panned by the critics, but was a commercial success grossing $294 million on a $95 million production budget.  A large part of the film is set in Abu Dhabi, but was actually filmed in Morocco.

Like the first movie, it was mindless entertainment.  I enjoyed it.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Stevens Trail

Sharon and I have been trying to do a hike every month this year [January, February, March, April , May]. Early Saturday morning, we headed to the Stevens Trail. It starts just off of Highway 80 in Colfax.

We head up hiking 3.7 miles in two hours and twenty-five minutes. We hiked to an old mine on the trail before turning back.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Woodcreek plus Matteos

Friday morning, Sharon and Holly played golf at Woodcreek. They bailed after eleven holes and had lunch at the grill.

We finished the day with curbside take-out from Matteos. We split Asiago Polenta Fries. For entrees, Sharon had Grilled Leg of Lamb with Chimichurri, while I had a Thai Steak Salad.  Sharon did not like her meal...

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Saturday Night Live - Season One

Running on the treadmill on Father's Day, I finished watching the first season of Saturday Night Live.  When I started reading the oral history of Saturday Night Live in March,  I decided to start watching the first season.

It is interesting to see how the show starts to take shape and morphs towards the format that we are familiar with today. Although John Belushi is a force of nature, I was particularly impressed with Dan Aykroyd and Gilda Radner.

The list of hosts and musical acts for the first season includes:
  1. Host: George Carlin; Musical Guest: Billy Preston & Janis Ian; October 11, 1975
  2. Host: Paul Simon; Musical Guest: Randy Newman, Phoebe Snow, Art Garfunkel & Jessy Dixon Singers; October 18, 1975
  3. Host: Rob Reiner; Musical Guest: none; October 25, 1975--In lieu of a musical guest, John Belushi performs "With a Little Help from My Friends" while impersonating Joe Cocker.
  4. Host: Candice Bergen; Musical Guest: Esther Phillips; November 8, 1975
  5. Host: Robert Klein; Musical Guest: ABBA & Loudon Wainwright III; November 15, 1975
  6. Host: Lily Tomlin; Musical Guest: Tomlin with Howard Shore & the All Nurse Band; November 22, 1975
  7. Host: Richard Pryor; Musical Guest: Gil Scott-Heron; December 13, 1975--This was the first appearance of John Belushi's Samurai character.
  8. Host: Candice Bergen; Musical Guest: Martha Reeves & The Stylistics; December 20, 1975
  9. Host: Elliott Gould; Musical Guest: Anne Murray; January 10, 1976
  10. Host: Buck Henry; Musical Guest: Bill Withers & Toni Basil; January 17, 1976
  11. Host: Peter Cook & Dudley Moore; Musical Guest: Neil Sedaka; January 24, 1976
  12. Host: Dick Cavett; Musical Guest: Jimmy Cliff; January 31, 1976
  13. Host: Peter Boyle; Musical Guest: Al Jarreau; February 14, 1976
  14. Host: Desi Arnaz; Musical Guest: Desi Arnaz & Desi Arnaz, Jr.; February 21, 1976
  15. Host: Jill Clayburgh; Musical Guest: Leon Redbone & The Idlers; February 28, 1976
  16. Host: Anthony Perkins; Musical Guest: Betty Carter; March 13, 1976
  17. Host: Ron Nessen; Musical Guest: Patti Smith; April 17, 1976
  18. Host: Raquel Welch; Musical Guest: Phoebe Snow & John Sebastian; April 24, 1976
  19. Host: Madeline Kahn; Musical Guest: Carly Simon; May 8, 1976
  20. Host: Dyan Cannon; Musical Guest: Leon and Mary Russell; May 15, 1976
  21. Host: Buck Henry; Musical Guest: Gordon Lightfoot & Garrett Morris; May 22, 1976
  22. Host: Elliott Gould; Musical Guest: Leon Redbone, Harlan Collins & Joyce Everson; May 29, 1976
  23. Host: Louise Lasser; Musical Guest: Preservation Hall Jazz Band; July 24, 1976
  24. Host: Kris Kristofferson; Musical Guest: Rita Coolidge; July 31, 1976
I really enjoyed working my way through the season.  I am going to start season two in the near future.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Sex and the City

Friday night, Sharon and I watched Sex and the City. Over the last couple months, Sharon has binge watched all 94 episodes of the television series. The series aired on HBO from 1998 to 2004. This movie was released in 2008.

Based on the 1997 book of the same name by Candace Bushnell) about four female friends, it continues the story of Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall), Charlotte York Goldenblatt (Kristin Davis), and Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon). Like the television series, the movie deals with the charaters' lives as single women in New York City and includes frank discussions about romance and sexuality.

Despite mixed reviews from critics, calling the film an extended episode of the series, it was a commercial success, grossing over $415 million worldwide from a $65 million budget.

I enjoyed the movie; it was mindless entertainment.  We will watch the sequel this weekend.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Father's Day 2020

Father's Day Present
We have two kayaks: a single and a double.  The problem is that they are a lot of work to transport and take up a huge amount of space.  We have been talking for some time about getting inflatable kayaks like the Larkins have. 

Sharon decided to get me a inflatable double kayak for Father's Day.  I set it up in the garage.  With the community pool open for the first day on Sunday, we carried the kayak across the cul-de-sac and dropped it in the pool. 
My initial impression is very favorable.  We are going to look for a day in the next two weeks to take it out.

After running on the treadmill while watching the finale of season one of Saturday Night Live, I connected with Drew and Shannon and Jack to play Catan online.  We ended up playing two games over the course of almost two and a half hours.  It was a nice way to connect with them on Father's Day.  I have to admit that I was getting a little frustrated with the sensitivity of the trackpad on the device is was using...

Sharon and I finished the day with a nice dinner of swordfish fettuccine and an interesting episode of Succession [Season 2, Episode 5]


Saturday, June 20, 2020

Gainsleys over for Dinner

Saturday evening, we had the Gainsleys over for dinner.  Originally, the four of us were planning to play golf at Ancil Hoffman on Saturday afternoon.  With the temperature forecasted to be over 100 degrees, we punted on that plan and decided just to get together for dinner.

We barbecued steak and asparagus.  Sharon made an interesting wilted salad on the grill. 

Friday, June 19, 2020

Virtual Cocktail Hour

Sharon and I got together with Drew and Shannon for a virtual cocktail hour.  

We have a family vacation planned for Sea Ranch in August.  I am really looking forward to that trip.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Volvo XC60 T8 - Day 599

From March 13 to June 1, I worked from home for 11 plus weeks.  I only drove the Volvo 481 miles during this period (17,554 miles on March 12 to 18,035 miles on June 1).

I am now averaging 891 miles a month in the last 19 2/3 months.  This is down from an average of 1,054 miles a month in March.

I only got 51 miles per gallon on the last tank of gas.  This included an arduous trip to Santa Clara and back for a Cisco meeting.

May 9
May 9, 2020

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Succession - Season One

Sharon and I finished watching season one of Succession. Season one premiered on June 3, 2018 on HBO.

The series centers on the Roy family, the dysfunctional owners of Waystar Royco, a global media and hospitality empire.  The family is fighting for control of the company amidst uncertainty about the health of the family's patriarch, Logan Roy (Brian Cox).

The show has a large ensemble cast.  Kieran Culkin as Roman, Sarah Snook as Siobhan, and Jeremy Strong as Kendall are Logan's children employed by the company.  Other main characters include: Matthew Macfadyen as Tom Wambsgans; Siobhan's husband and Waystar executive; Nicholas Braun as Greg Hirsch, Logan's grandnephew also employed by the company; Alan Ruck as Connor, Logan's eldest child, and; Hiam Abbass as Marcia Roy, Logan's wife.

I am lukewarm on the show.  Sharon likes it more than I do.  I rate it a "B-."

Monday, June 15, 2020

Camino Winds by John Grisham

My book for June was Camino Winds by John Grisham. Somewhat unbelievably, this is the 34rd book by John Grisham that I have read in the last twenty-nine years. I am not sure that this is something that I should be proud of... 

The book is a sequel to Grisham's 2017 novel Camino Island.  The book is set on the same Florida island with many of the same characters.  Like the first book, the plot revolves around a book store owner.

Several of Grisham's recent books are not really a legal stories.  This is a murder mystery.  The plot includes a hurricane, a murder, nursing home fraud and contract killers.

As I have said about a number of the Grishman books over the years, it is not a bad book. It was a nice light change of pace. I will continue to read Grisham novels as filler between more ambitious books. They serve as a nice mindless break.

It does seem to me that the style of Grisham's writing in recent books is different.  I wonder whether large parts of these books are being written by ghost writers or if it is an artifact of Grisham taking the writing less seriously and turning out the books faster.

Sunday, June 14, 2020


Sunday night after dinner, Sharon and I played an online game of Catan against Jack and Drew and Shannon.  We had a three-way Facetime call going during the call.

Drew and Shannon won.  I think that Drew said that it was the first time that he had beaten Jack.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Janie over for Dinner

Saturday night, we had Janie over for dinner.  Sharon made a couple of new recipes, including: honey glazed pepper chicken; potatoes; mushrooms, and; corn on the cob.  We cooked everything on the Weber.  I essentially barbecued a whole chicken split in half.  

We will probably use the corn recipe again.  It included soaking the corn in salt water brine, cooking the ears on the barbecue until the husks were scorched, wrapping the corn in towels and putting them in a cooler for 30 minutes.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Virtual Cocktail Hour

Earlier in the week, I suggested to Nooter that we try to get together on Friday night to catch up. He proposed including Snipes, Wallen and Tomasin. I scheduled a Zoom call for 545 pm and invited the group. I was pleasantly surprised when everyone eventually joined.

I love these guys.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Sotheby's Institute of Art

Jack has been accepted into the Sotheby's Institute of Art MA in Art Business program.
The MA in Art Business was the first program of its kind and our innovative curriculum continues to set the industry standard. Balancing academic rigor with real-world applications in a dynamic environment, the program provides an alternative to traditional academic models of study and stays in sync with the rapidly-evolving global art market. Core competencies in the art business world, from finance to marketing, are gained through courses that use the business-related tenets of economics to generate a modern, consistent, formal framework for strategic decision-making. In addition to learning with our faculty of thought leaders, scholars, and industry experts, students are given opportunities to engage professionals in the New York and international arts and cultural community and to learn directly from practitioners who are leaders in their field. Courses in art law, valuation, sales, strategy, marketing, and finance lay the foundation upon which students build a specialized program that suits their needs.

The Master’s degree is awarded for 30 taught credits across semesters one and two, as well as the completion of a 6-credit thesis or capstone project in the third semester.

In the first semester, Navigating the Art World brings students from all MAs together for faculty lectures and expert panel discussions to investigate the inextricable connections between art and business in today’s economy. In addition to a full course load, students participate in two in-person or virtual field study trips in semesters one and two. In semester two, students undertake an internship or choose a Careers in the Art World option to gain practical skills and take one elective to broaden their expertise.

The MA in Art Business culminates in a capstone project which can take the form of a traditional, long-form academic thesis, or a more flexible Master’s Project (often a business plan or curatorial project). Students entering in Fall 2020 can choose to submit their work in the summer and thereby complete their studies within one year. Alternatively, they can extend their studies an additional semester and either transfer to the Institute’s campus in London or return to New York and pursue core courses in either Contemporary Art or Fine and Decorative Art and Design. Students entering in Spring 2021 must complete their project in Spring 2022.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live as Told by Its Stars, Writers, and Guests

My book for April and May was Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live as Told by Its Stars, Writers, and Guests by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales. I bought this book and an oral history of ESPN almost ten years ago after hearing Bill Simmons talk about the books on his podcast.

Live From New York is an oral history of Saturday Night Live. Essentially, the story is told by piecing together interviews with a large number of people. Small transition sections written by the authors tie the story together and move it along.

When I started reading the book, I began watching the first season of Saturday Night Live. Running on the treadmill, over the last two months, I have watched 20 of the 24 episodes from the first season.

Although I am not sure if it was the first time I saw SNL, I have a very strong memory of watching a skit with Nooter.  It was Steve Martin and Bill Murray pointing and asking “What the hell is that…?”.  This skit ran in October of 1979, more than forty years ago.

At almost 750 pages, the book is a load.  I am always disappointed in myself when I don't finish a book a month, but given the events of the last two months, it is probably to be expected.  I was planning to make a major dent in the book while I was traveling in March and April.

I give the book a lukewarm thumbs up.  Although it gets a little repetitive, the history of the first five years of the show is fascinating. The fact that Belushi and Aykroyd owned a seedy bar in Manhattan to host after show parties is amazing!

Monday, June 08, 2020

ESPN 30 for 30 Vol IV - Lance - Part 2

Sunday night May 31, Sharon, Jack and I watched part two of the ESPN 30 for 30 Lance. My notes from part 1 are here. This is the fourth film in volume IV of ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary series. An episode guide for volume IV is here.

I will admit that Sharon, Jack and I were huge Lance Armstrong fans and passionate followers of the Tour de France during his seven year championship run.  I have continued to follow Lance on Instagram and in Facebook.

There are a lot of people who have had a strong negative reaction to this documentary. They point to Lance as a cheater and a pit bull that viciously attacked anyone that suggested he was cheating. There have been suggestions that Lance used this documentary to justify his actions and redeem himself.

I have a different perspective. I don't have outrageous anger at sports figures like Lance and Barry Bonds. They were under enormous pressure to stay healthy, show up everyday and perform. The amount of money at stake was insane. Given the number of people around them that were using performance enhancing drugs, I can sympathize with why they did it. In Lance's case, he wouldn't have been able to compete without the drugs.

My perspective is that this is an interesting story.  I enjoyed the documentary.  Lance is a compelling tragic figure.  Using so much interview footage of Lance makes it a different story, but not a bad story.  Over the years, I have come to the place where I view any biography I read or documentary I watch with a critical skeptical eye.

Sunday, June 07, 2020

Sunday Bike Ride

When we rode bikes with Drew and Shannon on Memorial Day, Sharon and I talked about doing a larger loop. Sunday morning, we rode northeast mostly through neighborhoods until we got to Bannister Park. From there, we picked up the bike trail and crossed the river at the Sunrise bike bridge. Heading west on the American River Bike Trail, we stopped for lunch near the El Manto River Access. Continuing west, we followed the bike trail to William Pond Park and wound our way home.

In total, we covered 14.4 miles in an hour and forty-one minutes.

Saturday, June 06, 2020

Lynmar Estate Virtual Tasting

Our next door neighbor (Jill) organized a virtual wine tasting from Lynmar Estate. Sharon took the neighbor book club there for lunch last fall. Sharon and I have been there a couple of times [Frame Family Function-2014, On the way back from Sea Ranch-2016].

Afterwards, Sharon, Tiber and I wandered across the cul-de-sac and spent some time visiting with Mike and Jill.

Friday, June 05, 2020

ESPN 30 for 30 Vol IV - Lance - Part 1

On Saturday night, May 30, Sharon, Jack and I watched part 1 of the ESPN 30 for 30 Lance. This is the fourth film in volume IV of ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary series. 

Although I have fallen behind in recent years, I have really enjoyed Volumes 1, 2 and 3 of ESPN's 30 for 30. The first 30 for 30 ran more than ten years ago in October of 2009.  An episode guide for Volume 1 is here; my ranking of those films is here. An episode guide for Volume 2 is here. In fall of 2011, ESPN ran a series of ESPN Films that continued the spirit of 30 for 30. A list of those film is here. An episode guide for Volume 3 is here. I will post an episode guide for volume four in the future.

In the early 2000s, Sharon, Jack and I passionately followed Lance and the Tour de France.  Sharon and I read both of his books in 2004: It's Not About the Bike, My Journey Back to Life and Every Second Counts.  Over the years, I have continued to watch parts of the Tour de France running on the treadmill; I love the scenery.

I will post some thoughts on the documentary and Lance with my post about part 2.

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Shelter In Place - Day 81

Working from home over the last twelve weeks, I let my hair and beard grow. I shaved the beard off on Monday night before going back in the office on Tuesday. I am getting a haircut tomorrow. I will post some after pictures next week.

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Jack to DC

Up at 4:30 am, Sharon and I took Jack to the airport at 5:15 am on Tuesday morning. He caught a 7:10 am United flight to Denver. Jack said the plane was about half full and he had an exit row to himself.

In Denver, Jack caught a 11:50 am United flight to Reagan. He was on the ground in DC a little after 5 pm. Jack caught an Uber into Georgetown.

He is cleaning out the apartment where he lived for the last year and settling into a house north of the Georgetown Campus for the next two months. Given the disruptions of the last three months, there are some open questions about his plans for the rest of the year...

Jack has been here for just over two months.  With Drew and Shannon here for a couple of weeks in May and Jack leaving, the house feels very empty.

Monday, June 01, 2020

May 2020 Monthly Challenge in the Activity App

I achieved the monthly challenge in the Apple Activity App for May of 263.3 miles. This equals 8.5 miles a day.

In May, I ran 118 miles, cycled 145 miles on the Peloton bike, hiked 5.7 miles and played golf three times. It is the third straight month that I have covered more miles on the bike than I have ran. Last week was also the most steps that I have had since late December.

I currently have a streak of 81 days in a row of achieving my Move goal. My longest streak is 155 days!
May 2020149,912 steps