Monday, November 30, 2020

The Queen's Gambit

Saturday night, Sharon and I finished watching The Queen's Gambit miniseries on Netflix. I first heard about the series on one of Bill Simmons' podcast. Shortly afterwards, Morgan recommended it.

The Queen's Gambit is an American coming-of-age period drama miniseries based on Walter Tevis's 1983 novel of the same name. It was released on Netflix on October 23, 2020. In just over a month, it has become Netflix's most-watched scripted miniseries.

Beginning mid-1950s and proceeding into the 1960s, the story is about an orphaned chess prodigy. It follows her rise to becoming the world's greatest chess player while struggling with emotional problems and drug and alcohol dependency. It covers themes of adoption, feminism, chess, drug addiction, and alcoholism. Anya Taylor-Joy stars as Beth Harmon.

The Queen's Gambit is very, very good. Both Sharon and I enjoyed it. I recommend it. Three notes about the miniseries. First, the cars, clothes and sets do a fantastic job of creating the 1950s and 1960s. Second, the chess game sequences are amazing; who thought that you could capture chess as a sport. Third, Taylor-Joy's performance is remarkable.

I got a thrill out of the scenes of Moscow in the last episode. I had a chance to spend two weeks in Moscow with the Nooters in 1995.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Catan for Drew's Birthday

Saturday afternoon, Shannon, Drew, Jack and I played Catan for Drew's birthday. Shannon won both of the games.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Shopping for a Christmas Tree

Taking Tiber with us, we headed to Roseville in the late morning to shop for a Christmas Tree. For the third year in a row [2019, 2018}, we went to Bambi's Christmas Trees at Douglas and South Harding.

The last two years we went to Bambi's on Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, rather than the Friday after Thanksgiving. Going on Friday was a mistake; the place was zoo. I was shocked at the number of people.

We ended up picking out a nice 10' to 11' foot tree. We are getting it flocked and delivered on Wednesday.

Afterwards, we had a lunch with Tiber outside at Eureka! Both of us had a Eureka! American Burger [American Swiss / grilled onion / butter lettuce /tomatoes / pickles / special sauce].

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving 2020

After a virtual Run to Feed the Hungry and Zoomsgiving get together, we finished the day with Morgan, Lee and Daniel for Thanksgiving dinner. We had a very nice turkey dinner that we had picked up from Whole Foods on Wednesday evening.

Although he hadn't taken a nap in the afternoon, Lee was very good during dinner.


Thursday afternoon, we did a Zoom with Sharon's family. The group include Kevin, Leah, Lydia, Amelia, Eric, Ashley, Tom, Tim, Erin, Cromac, Sharon and I. Over the rest of the day, we facetimed with Jack, Drew and Shannon.

2020 Run to Feed the Hungry

For the sixteenth time in the last seventeen years [2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 20142013, 20122011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005 and 2004], Sharon and I ran the Run to Feed the Hungry. We entered in 2007, but I was feeling under the weather and we decided not to run before heading to San Francisco for Thanksgiving. Sharon also missed four years ago when she was feeling under the weather.

With the pandemic raging, this year's event was virtual. Sharon, her brother and I walked a 10k in Arden Park and Sierra Oaks on Thursday morning.

It was disapponting not to be able to run the 10k. I use the race to test myself and measure my fitness. It is a marker that I can compare to previous years.

Using Runkeeper, I generated the map of our walk. Additionally, Runkeeper allowed you to upload your virtual results to the race results.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

At Ancil Hoffman

Sharon and I played golf with Larkin and Gainsley at Ancil Hoffman. It was an odd day. Hitting a few balls on the range before we started, I was hitting the ball as well as I have ever hit a golf ball. The results on the course were mixed.

My chipping continues to be a trainwreck. I carded a 9 and two 10s just due to my horrible chipping around the greens. Additionally, my putting was not good; I averaged 2.55 putts per green?!?

Nevertheless, the results weren't terrible. I ended up carding a 114. I felt like away from the greens that I was striking the ball pretty well.

It was a very nice day. I always enjoy Larkin and Gainsley's company. I feel like it has been forever since we have seen the Larkins.

After golf, Sharon and I headed to Whole Foods in Roseville to pick up a Thanksgiving dinner. We finished the day getting curbside takeout fish taco dinners from Paul Martin's.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

On the Rocks

Saturday night, Sharon and I watched On the Rocks on Apple TV+. This flim is listed as a possible Oscar nominee for Best Original Screenplay.

On the Rocks is a 2020 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Sofia Coppola. The film had its world premiere at the New York Film Festival on September 22, 2020. It was released in a limited theatrical release on October 2, 2020 and followed by digital streaming on October 23, 2020, by Apple TV+.

The movie follows a father and daughter (Bill Murray and Rashida Jones) as they tail her suspicious husband (Marlon Wayans). It is a story about aging, marriage, and the tenuous bond between parents and grown children.

I enjoyed the Bill Murray and Rashida Jones characters in the movie. I would definitely watch more about their backstories. I almost always enjoy Bill Murray.

While I enjoyed the movie, I am not sure that I recommend it. It is a little slow and there are probably better choices. At the end of the day, I don't think that it will get any Oscar nominations.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Morgan and Lee for Dinner

We finished the Bataan Death March Christmas decorating weekend with Morgan and Lee coming for dinner. We got curbside takeout from Rey Aztec. Sharon had ENCHILADAS SUIZAS [Marinated Chicken, Refried Beans, Lime-Cilantro Rice], Morgan had PLATO DE CARNITAS [Refried Beans, Lime-Cilantro Rice, Flour Tortillas], while I had 2 Item Combo [Mexican style soft taco, Grilled chicken, Red Sauce Enchilada, Grilled chicken, Refried Beans, Spanish Rice]. I added one πŸΈπŸ˜πŸ‘Œ House Margarita.

Lee is a joy to be around. He is a happy little guy!

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Decorating the House for Christmas

For the second year in a row, we decorated the house for Christmas on the weekend before Thanksgiving rather the weekend after. Unfortunately, unlike last year, I didn't stage all of the boxes ahead of time. I spent the weekend shuttling boxes back and forth to the storage shed as well as working to decorate the house. As a result, it seemed like we didn't get quite as much done over the weekend as I would have liked. There is still some work to be done both inside and outside, particularly the back decks.

Decorating the weekend before Thanksgiving is going to be the new normal. [Note to self], I need to stage the Fall and Christmas boxes before the weekend.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

2020 Work From Washington DC - Day 1 NOT!

Our original plan was to fly to DC today. We had reservations to stay for ten days at the AKA Whitehouse where we stayed in 2011. I was planning to work from DC on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Monday, November 30. This was part of our larger vision to work from home in a number of different places around the world.

With the corona virus infection numbers exploding over the last couple of weeks, we made a decision on Friday, November 13 to cancel the trip. We are both disappointed. We were looking forward to traveling, seeing Jack and celebrating Thanksgiving with him.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Another Ticket

Another Ticket. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, I got a chance to see a number of baseball games courtesy of IBM. In 1989, I got to see the San Francisco Giants play the New York Mets. The ticket from the game is here. A picture from the game is here.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Volvo XC60 T8 - Day 753

On Thursday, I took the Volvo in for the 20,000 mile servicing. Since I started working from home in March, I have only driven 3,226 miles (17,554 miles on March 12 to 20,780 on November 19). This is roughly 390 miles a month and includes two trips to Sea Ranch.

I continue to very pleased with the vehicle! The distance and miles-per-gallon at the last two fill-ups are shown below. Essentially, I have used three and a half tanks of gas in the last nine months.

August 7, 2020
August 7, 2020 October 25, 2020
October 25, 2020

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

2021 Oscars Nominations Predictions

Best Picture
   ✔ Nomadland
   ✔ Mank
   ✔ The Trial of the Chicago 7
   ✔ One Night in Miami
   ✔ Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
    The Father [February 26, 2021]
   ✔ News of the World
   ✔ Minari
    Soul [December 25 on Disney+]
    Da 5 Bloods [June 12, 2020]

Best Actress
   ✔ Viola Davis, Ma Rainey's, Black Bottom
   ✔ Frances McDormand, Nomadland
    Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman
    Kate Winslet, Ammonite
    Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday [February 26, 2021]
    Amy Adams, Hillbilly Elegy

Best Actor
    Anthony Hopkins, The Father
   ✔ Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
   ✔ Gary Oldman. Mank
    Delroy Lindo, Da 5 Bloods
   ✔ Kingsley Ben-Adir, One Night in Miami
   ✔ Steven Yeun, Minari

Best Supporting Actress
    Olivia Colman, The Father
   ✔ Amanda Seyfried, Mank
    Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy
    Ellen Burstyn, Pieces of a Woman [December 30 => Netflix on January 7]
   ✔ Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari
    Saoirse Ronan, Ammonite [Australia on 14 January 2021]

Best Supporting Actor
   ✔ Leslie Odom, Jr., One Night in Miami
   ✔ Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7
   ✔ Mark Rylance, The Trial of the Chicago 7
   ✔ Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, The Trial of the Chicago 7
   ✔ Charles Dance, Mank
   ✔ Bill Murray, On the Rocks
   ✔ David Strathairn, Nomadland

Best Adapted Screenplay
   ✔ Nomadland
   ✔ One Night in Miami
   ✔ Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
    The Father
   ✔ News of the World
    Hillbilly Elegy [November 11 => November 24 on Netflix]

Best Original Screenplay
   ✔ The Trial of the Chicago 7
   ✔ Mank
   ✔ Minari
    Da 5 Bloods
   ✔ On the Rocks

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Del Mar Store Warehouse

Del Mar Store Warehouse
Circa 1904

Marker 35E-9

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

This marker is located behind the tennis courts at the Del Mar Recreation Center, Sea Ranch, California. The Sea Ranch Archives Committee has identified twenty-six historic sites scattered about The Sea Ranch. They have constructed trail markers with information explaining the significance of each place. They were placed as part of The Sea Ranch 50th anniversary being celebrated from Memorial Day 2014 to Memorial Day 2015. The GPS coordinates for this location are 38° 44' 34.5" N 123° 30' 03.0" W.

Del Mar Store Warehouse Circa 1904

The warehouse in subsequent years appears to have been converted into a combination chicken coop and stalls for larger animals. The store would have been slightly North and much closer to where Highway 1 now runs.

Del Mar Store Warehouse Circa 1904

Monday, November 16, 2020


With the pandemic winding back up, I expect that it is going to be at least five months before we eat in a restaurant. Falling back on curbside takeout, we got dinner from Allora on Friday night. We got curbside takeout from there in September. We got the FRUTTI DI MARE dinner again. It included: 
We got a bottle of Leonaro Bussoletti “05035” Ciliegiolo di Narni IGT 2018 [100% Ciliegiolo. Light bodied, soft red wine with cherry and strawberry notes. Cola berry on the finish]. The food was very good, but I don't recommend the wine.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

The Trial of the Chicago 7

Saturday night, Sharon and I watched the Trial of the Chicago 7 on Netflix. Every year, we try to guess which films are going to be nominated for an Oscar. We work our way through a number of potential Academy Award nominees until the list is actually released. Due to the pandemic, the schedule has slid. The 93rd Academy Awards ceremony will honor the best films released between January 2020 and February 2021. The Oscar nominee announcements are scheduled for March 15. The ceremony is scheduled to take place on April 25, 2021. I am going to publish a working list of movies to see drawn from a couple of different sources in the next week.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a historical legal drama film written and directed by Aaron Sorkin. It features an ensemble cast that includes Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Sacha Baron Cohen, Daniel Flaherty, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Keaton, Frank Langella, John Carroll Lynch, Eddie Redmayne, Noah Robbins, Mark Rylance, Alex Sharp, and Jeremy Strong. Sacha Baron Cohen stars as Abbie Hoffman, founding member of the Youth International Party (Yippies), while Eddie Redmayne is Tom Hayden, a leader and one time President of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).

The film follows the Chicago Seven, a group of anti–Vietnam War protesters charged with conspiracy and crossing state lines with the intention of inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. As the film tells the story of the trial, it flashes back to the events that took place during the Convention. In a number of key flashback scenes, Sorkin interweaves actual footage from 1968; the effect is very powerful.

I think that we forget how tumultuous the 60s were. 1968 was a year of violence, political turbulence and civil unrest, particularly riots in more than 100 cities following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4. Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated on June 5. The Democractic Convention was held in late August.

About a third of the way through the movie, Sharon was vocally negative about the film. As the story started to use more and more flashbacks, she warmed considerably. I give the film a thumbs up. Neither Sharon or I were thrilled with Mark Rylance's performance. I have held a grudge against him ever since he beat out Stallone for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 2016.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

More Adventures with Lee

With Morgan in class, Sharon and I babysat Lee for the day. He is a very happy little guy! More Adventures with LeeMore Adventures with Lee

Wednesday, November 11, 2020


Moving some stuff around in the storage shed, I found an envelope of old tickets.  The envelope got packed in a box when I left Sutter Health.  It looks like the tickets range from the late 1980s to the mid 2000s.  With the shift to electronic tickets, it is a little sad that these kinds of mementos wouldn't exist in the future...

I am going to start scanning them and adding them to the blog. The first ticket is from a 1997 Sharks versus Coyotes NHL game. Sharon had given me the tickets for our first anniversary.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Sheep Pens

Sharon and I came across this spot when we hiked the Monarch Glen Interpretive Trail at Sea Ranch.

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

This marker is located on the Monarch Glen Interpretive Trail, Sea Ranch, California. The Sea Ranch Archives Committee has identified twenty-six historic sites scattered about The Sea Ranch. They have constructed trail markers with information explaining the significance of each place. They were placed as part of The Sea Ranch 50th anniversary being celebrated from Memorial Day 2014 to Memorial Day 2015. The GPS coordinates for this location are 38° 44' 01.7" N 123° 28' 51.3" W.

Monarch Glen Sheep Pens

This pattern of fields, fences, gates, pens, ramps and chutes is the only coherent remainder of the sheep industry that existed on the coastal acres of present Sea Ranch from 1916 to 1964

From pastures north (Unit 28) and south (Unit 24) sheep were herded into the west end of Monarch Glen on a mid-ranch road. Brought into this large holding field they were then selectively directed in smaller batches from one pen to another, into the dodge chute and lifted up onto the marking table. Here they were inspected, dosed, tails cropped and marked with colors.

Ewes were kept under surveillance in the ewe pens, as new lambs were a precious crop. Sheep were then directed back into adjacent pastures or up onto the loading chute to be moved to other destinations.

Monarch Glen Sheep Pens

Monday, November 09, 2020

The Mandolarian - Season One

Saturday night, Sharon and I finished season one of the The Mandolarian. Focusing on Downton Abbey, but it has taken us a while to finish the season.

Season one of The Mandalorian premiered on Disney+ on November 12, 2019. It consists of eight episodes.

Set five years after the events of Return of the Jedi (1983) and the fall of the Empire, The Mandalorian follows a lone bounty hunter. He is hired to retrieve "The Child." The Mandalorian has second thoughts about leaving it with the remnants of the fallen Galactic Empire that hired him and goes on the run to protect the infant.

I really enjoyed this series. The reveal that the child is "baby yoda" is very well done. The subsequent folding of baby yoda into the ongoing storyline is masterful. I am looking forward to watching season two.

Sunday, November 08, 2020

To Napa

With Janie moving to Oklahoma later this month, Sharon and Janie spent Saturday in Napa. They shopped at CAbi, went wine tasing at Cuvaison Winery and had a late lunch at Tarla Mediterranean Grill. Sharon said that it was the best gyro that she had ever had.

Sharon and I tasted at Cuvaison more than ten years ago.

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Downton Abbey - Season Four

At Sea Ranch, Sharon and I finished watching season four of Downton Abbey. We finished season one in August, season two in early September and season three in late September.

The fourth season comprises nine episodes. It originally aired from September 22, 2013 to November 10, 2013 with a December 25, 2013 special Christmas episode.

The show explores the lives of the fictional Crawley family, the hereditary Earls of Grantham, and their domestic servants. The storyline in season four runs from February to August of 1922. Historical events include the Hitler's Brownshirts, the Teapot Dome Scandal and the Prince of Wales relationship with Freda Dudley Ward.

I continue to enjoy and recommend the series. I was shocked to realize that the Freda Dudley Ward was not the woman for which Edward VIII abdicated the throne. He had a fourteen relationship with the married Ward before he fell in love with Wallis Simpson.

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

A Memory Called Empire

My book for October was A Memory called Empire by Arkady Martine. After reading a seventy year old science fiction book in September, I starting casting around for something more current.

The book caught my attention because it won a number of awards. It won the 2020 Hugo Award for Best Novel. The book was also a Locus and Nebula Award nominee for 2019.

It follows Mahit Dzmare, the ambassador from Lsel Station to the Teixcalaanli Empire, as she investigates the death of her predecessor and the instabilities that underpin the Teixcalaanli society. The story looks at language, grammar, and custom and how they are intertwined with the politics of conquest and the broader culture.

I enjoyed the book and recoommend it. The book is a nice balance of cyberpunk, space opera, and political thriller. I enjoy books that play with ideas about the future of technology.

Monday, November 02, 2020

7 Days to Vegas

Friday night at Sea Ranch, Sharon and I watched 7 Days to Vegas on Amazon Prime. Sharon had seen a tweet from Eileen Davidson about the movie.

The ensemble cast includes Vincent Van Patten, Ross McCall, Paul Walter Hauser, Eileen Davidson, James Van Patten, Willie Garson, Lucas Bryant, Don Stark, John O'Hurley, Chad Lowe, Jennifer Tilly, James Kyson, Danny Pardo, Christina Vidal, Aron Eisenberg, and Kara Weinraub. Vincent Van Patten co-wrote the flim along with Steve Alper.

Based on a true story, struggling actor Duke Madson [Vincent Van Patten] creates the biggest underground poker game in Hollywood. Celebrities and eccentric power players bet millions that Duke can't walk from LA to Vegas in seven days.

The film doesn't take itself too seriously. Sharon liked it more than I did. Apparently, Vincent Van Patten actually ran a high stakes poker game and walked to Vegas as part of a bet!

Sunday, November 01, 2020

Jack back to DC

Jack flew into Sacramento late on Tuesday, October 20 while we were at Sea Ranch. He spent a weekend and a half working remoting from our house.

During the weekend of October 24, Emily, Drew and Jack went hiking at Emerald Bay at Lake Tahoe. Jack and Emily spent a day exploring San Francisco.

Saturday morning while I babysat Lee, Sharon took Jack to the airport. Catching a United Flight to Denver, he was back in Washington DC by 7 pm. He caught an Uber from Dulles to his apartment.

I was very nice to have Jack, Drew and Morgan here at the same time.