Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Spoiler Alert - Sooley by John Grisham

My book for May was Sooley by John Grisham. Somewhat unbelievably, this is the 36rd book by John Grisham that I have read in the last thirty-one years. I am not sure that this is something that I should be proud of...

The book tells the story of Samuel Sooleymon, a South Sudanese teen who comes to the United States to play college ball. It mixes a feel good story of a small school's success in the NCAA basketball tournament with the horrors of the Sudan Civil War.

It was clear towards the end of that something bad was going to happen. Nevertheless, I didn't expect Grisham to go Len Bias on us and abruptly kill off the main character.

Over the years, Grisham has written a number of sports books, including Bleachers, Playing for Pizza and Calico Joe. I enjoyed most of the book, but have mixed feelings about the plot twist. I continue to read Grisham book's as a break from more serious volumes...

Monday, May 16, 2022

To Marysville

After only traveling for work once in the last twenty six months [796 days], I have several short trips planned in the next two weeks. I spent the first half of the day traveling to Rideout in Marysville and back.

Almost three years ago, I spent almost two months working out of a cave in Marysville.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Dry Creek Ranch Golf Course

After some initial confusion, Donna, Kevin, Sharon and I ended up playing Dry Creek Ranch Golf Course on Sunday morning. I was pleasantly surprised by the condition of the course; the fairways and greens were in good shape.

It has probably been thirty-five years since I played the course with Nooter. I have a couple of strong memories from the round, including Nooter getting mad at a foursome in front of us and him eagling a par four from about 170 yards.

I probably should not have played. Over the last two plus years, I have started to do some light upper body weight work. Increasingly the frequency this year, I lifted on Monday night. I woke up early Tuesday morning and could hardly move. I was able to get everything loose on Sunday morning, but I should probably have begged off. I am just too stubborn.

I had a horrible start. I finally got going a little bit in the middle of the round, including a very nice par on the thirteen. Unfortunately, I started struggling again on the last few holes. I ended up with a very liberally scored 120. Given that this is the eleven time that I have played golf this year, you would think that I should be better!?!
The four of us finished the day with dinner at Scott's Seafood on the River. Sharon and I split a cup of Spicy Crab Bisque and a Wedge Salad [artisan iceberg / bacon / tomatoes / red onion / radish / blue cheese dressing / shafts blue crumble]. I had a couple of oysters. For entrees, I had Ahi Two Ways [sesame seared / poke with avocado / edamame / fresno chilis / jasmine rice / wasabi mayo / ponzu], while Sharon had Macadamia Nut Crusted Atlantic Halibut [brown butter / citrus wild rice pilaf / steamed vegetables] again.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Sacramento Southern Railroad

Sharon and I met Lee, Morgan and Daniel in Old Sacramento to ride the Sacramento Southern Railroad. We took a 50 minute ride out to the old stop for the Land Park Plunge.

We got first class tickets in the French Quarter car. This restored car was inspired by the New Orleans French Quarter. It has wrought iron balconies and a “Sunset pink” painted ceiling studded with stars. Complete with its own serving bar, the French Quarter has large windows and a variety of seating combinations including four small dining table booths for seating of four guests, settees and lounge-style chairs. We got one of the dining table booths for the five of us.

We did this once with Jack almost twenty years ago. I am pretty sure that we didn't ride in a first class car. We did run into Randy and Aaron that day...

After much debate, Jack, Sharon and I finished the night watching Revenge of the Sith.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Thursday, May 12, 2022

2010 Oscar Nominations

Best Picture
   ✔ The Hurt Locker - winner
   ✔ Avatar
    The Blind Side
    District 9
    An Education
    Inglourious Basterds
    Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire
    A Serious Man
    Up
    Up in the Air

Best Actor

    Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart as Otis "Bad" Blake - winner
    George Clooney – Up in the Air as Ryan Bingham
    Colin Firth – A Single Man as George Falconer
   ✔ Morgan Freeman – Invictus as Nelson Mandela
   ✔ Jeremy Renner – The Hurt Locker as Sergeant First Class William James

Best Actress
    Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side as Leigh Anne Tuohy - winner
    Helen Mirren – The Last Station as Sophia Tolstaya
    Carey Mulligan – An Education as Jenny Mellor
    Gabourey Sidibe – Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire as Claireece "Precious" Jones
    Meryl Streep – Julie & Julia as Julia Child

Best Supporting Actor
    Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds as Col. Hans Landa - winner
   ✔ Matt Damon – Invictus as Francois Pienaar
    Woody Harrelson – The Messenger as Cpt. Tony Stone
    Christopher Plummer – The Last Station as Leo Tolstoy
    Stanley Tucci – The Lovely Bones as George Harvey

Best Supporting Actress
    Mo'Nique – Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire as Mary Lee Johnston - winner
    Penélope Cruz – Nine as Carla Albanese
    Vera Farmiga – Up in the Air as Alex Goran
    Maggie Gyllenhaal – Crazy Heart as Jean Craddock
    Anna Kendrick – Up in the Air as Natalie Keener

Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
   ✔ The Hurt Locker – Mark Boal - winner
    Inglourious Basterds – Quentin Tarantino
    The Messenger – Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman
    A Serious Man – Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
    Up – Screenplay by Bob Peterson and Pete Docter; Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson and Tom McCarthy

Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium
    Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire – Geoffrey Fletcher - winner
    District 9 – Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell based on the short film Alive in Joburg by Neill Blomkamp
    An Education – Nick Hornby based on the memoir by Lynn Barber
    In the Loop – based on the character Malcolm Tucker, who originally appeared in the BBC TV show The Thick of It
    Up in the Air – Sheldon Turner and Jason Reitman based on the novel by Walter Kirn


The 2022 Oscar nominations are here.

The 2021 Oscar nominations are here.

The 2020 Oscar nominations are here.

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.

The 2014 Oscar nominations are here.

The 2013 Oscar nominations are here.

The 2010 Oscar nominations are here.

The 1988 Oscar nominations are here.

The 1975 Oscar nominations are here.

The 1973 Oscar nominations are here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

California Historical Landmark #453

While we were in San Francisco in December, I did a walkabout and found eight different California Historical Markers, including: #88 Niantic Hotel; #90 Fort Gunnybags; #462 Site of First Jewish Religious Services in San Francisco; #408 Site of the the first Meeting of Freemasons held in California; #453 Lucas, Turner & Co. Bank; #192 EL DORADO, PARKER HOUSE, AND DENNISON'S EXCHANGE; #500 EASTERN TERMINUS OF CLAY STREET HILL RAILROAD; and, #119 PORTSMOUTH PLAZA.

Site of the Bank of
Lucas, Turner & Co.
(Sherman's Bank)

California State Historical Landmark #453

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

This landmark is located at 498 Jackson Street, San Francisco, California. There are 48 other California State Historical Landmarks in San Francisco County. The GPS coordinates for this location are 37° 47' 45.7" N 122° 24' 12.3" W.

California Historical Landmark #453
William Tecumseh Sherman established the branch bank of Lucas, Turner & Co. in San Francisco in 1853. He settled the firm in their own building on the northeast corner of Jackson and Montgomery Streets in the springof 1854. Sherman successfully carried the bank through the financial crisis of 1855, and remained until they discontinued business in 1857.

California Historical Landmark #453

Monday, May 09, 2022

A Life of Picasso IV: The Minotaur Years: 1933-1943

My book for April was A Life of Picasso IV: The Minotaur Years: 1933-1943 by John Richardson. This is the fourth volume of a four volume set. I read the first volume [The Prodigy] in 2009, the second volume [The Cubist Rebel] in 2011 and the third volume [The Triumphant Years] in 2013.

I continue to be fascinated by the breadth and variety of Picasso's work. Signficant in this volume is the creation of Guernica. We saw this piece when we were in Spain in 2010. I didn't realize that the painting was originally created for the Spanish pavilion at the 1937 Paris International Exposition.

Two things shocked me in this book. First, Picasso remained in Paris while the Germans occupied the city during World War II. He continued to paint, but didn't exhibit. Second, Picasso wrote poetry as an alternative outlet. Between 1935 and 1959 he wrote over 300 poems.

As I noted when I read volume three, Picasso was very successful while he was alive. There were major exhibitions of his work in England and the United States during this period.

Richardson passed away at the age of 95 in 2019. The fourth volume stops at 1943. Picasso lived another thirty years; he died at the age of 91 in 1973.

I finished reading the book while we were at the Wallens. This volume was shorter and more accessible than volumes two and three. I am going to have to find a book that covers the last third of Picasso's life.

Sunday, May 08, 2022

Mother's Day 2022

Sunday morning, Sharon and I made a run to the dump (one of her favorite things!?!). We stopped at Lowe's for some plants on the way home. Drew called Sharon to wish her happy Mother's Day as we were heading home from Lowe's.

Jack rolled back from the bay area in the middle of the day. Sharon's brother Tom wandered over about 3 pm. Rather than a relaxing afternoon, Jack and I spent some time dealing with some drama with Tiber.

Like two years ago, I made veal piccata for dinner with angel hair pasta and green beans. I don't feel like it turned out as well as before. I get stressed when I try to make a more ambitious meal... After all of the drama with Tiber and the anxiety pulling together the dinner, we had a nice relaxing dinner. I always enjoy Tom's company.
For presents, I got Sharon a Honeybee Statement Necklace from Julie Vos. Jack got her a succulent garden and a card.

[Note to self], I should have taken a picture of Sharon and Jack!

Friday, May 06, 2022

Celebrating Morgan's Birthday

Sharon and I took Morgan and Daniel to Allora to celebrate Morgan's birthday. We celebrated my birthday there in January.

I had the five course tasting menu including:
  • OYSTERS* HOUSE HOT SAUCE, LEMON, MIGNONETTE
  • DUCK EGG + MORELS WHEY POLENTA, BRAISED GREENS, GREMOLATA, RICOTTA SALATA
  • TAJARIN DUCK EGG PASTA, DUCK CONFIT, PORCINI CREAM, TARTUFATA, PECORINO ROMANO
  • HALIBUT MARCONA ALMOND-PEA HUMMUS, ASPARAGUS, FAVA BEANS, PIOPINNO MUSHROOMS
  • BOMBOLONI LEMON CURD, VANILLA GELATO
We had a very nice evening. Adding to the celebration, Morgan got some good new about her internship on the way to dinner.

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Barry - Season One

Sharon, Jack and I watched season one of Barry.

Barry is a dark comedy crime drama television series created by Alec Berg and Bill Hader. Season one premiered on HBO on March 25, 2018. HBO renewed the series for a third season, while a fourth season has been written.

Hader stars as a hitman (Barry Berkman) from Cleveland who travels to Los Angeles to kill someone but finds himself joining an acting class taught by Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler). He meets aspiring actress Sally Reed (Sarah Goldberg) and begins to question his path in life.

Barry has received 30 Primetime Emmy Award nominations. Hader won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and Winkler won Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for their performances in the first season.

The series is extremely violent with a high body count. I did like the show and recommend it. We will eventually get around to watching the second season.

Monday, May 02, 2022

2022 Todos Santos - Day #5

A long day of travel misadventures...

We pulled away from the Wallen's house in Todos Santos at 9:15 am. Although again longer than I expected (an hour and twenty-five minutes?), it was an easy uneventful drive to the airport. We dropped the rental car at Hertz and caught a shuttle to the international terminal.

At this point, the fun started. The terminal was a sea of people. We got into a line specifically to check in for our Southwest flight. It took more than 45 minutes to work our way through a fairly short line. When we got to the front of line, they issued paper handwritten boarding passes and hand written luggage tags for Phoenix. I had paid for Business Select. The Southwest app showed that we should have had A5 and A6.

We worked our way through a fairly short security line and headed to the gate hand written on the paper boarding pass. It was bedlam. There was no Southwest representative anywhere. Wandering around, I found one person with a Southwest uniform who pointed me back to the gate that was written on the boarding pass.

Our Southwest flight ended being about an hour and a half late. Eventually with someone yelling and pointing, they lined everyone up in the order of the number hand written on the paper boarding pass. Of course, they then moved the whole line to a different gate and loaded us on to buses to get to the plane. I don't remember anyone ever looking at the boarding pass.

It turned out that the computers for most of the airport were down. Just as we were boarding the bus, we started to see some of the digital signage start to come back up.

In spite of all the bedlam, we somehow ended up in the nice exit row!

Landing in Phoenix, we went through passport control and grabbed our luggage. Due to the fact that they hadn't checked the bag through to Sacramento in Mexico, we had to leave security and go down to the ticketing desk. We ended up with a rude agent that initially refused to check our bags. Another agent came over the top and pointed out that we were on the ill-fated Cabo flight.

Racing back through security, we got to the gate just as they were starting to load the Bs. I frankly didn't think that we would make the connection. Again, I had paid for Business Select and was supposed to have boarding passes A9 and A10...

We did end up with row to ourselves. Sharon took the window, while I had the aisle.

We were back in Sacramento just before 7 pm. Unforunately, our luggage didn't make the flight. Sharon and a large number of other people from the flight got in a line to talk to Southwest baggage services. Our luggage was scheduled to show up on a Phoenix flight at 12:30 am. We will have to go back on Tuesday and get the bags.

By the time, we got home it was after 8:30 pm. We had been on the move for more than twelve hours.

Sharon says that she is done with Southwest.

In the more 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.

Sunday, May 01, 2022

2022 Todos Santos - Day #4

Up early, Wallen and I left house before 7 am. We picked up Scott and his son Matt. The plan for the morning was hiking the Sugar Port Trail. With about a 500 foot elevation gain, the hike has some amazing views of the area. We ended up hiking 4.7 miles in just over two hours. A map and a couple of photos are here.

After getting cleaned up, we took a large group to lunch at the Oysteria. The group included Scott, Gail, Matt, John, Jill, Elle, Sharon and I. For appetizers, I had clam chowder, while Sharon had a tostado. We both had the catch of the day as the entree.

We spent the afternoon playing bocce ball at Scott and Gail's house. Continuing their run from the previous night, Sharon and Elle beat Jill and Gail before losing to Scott and Matt. Scott and Matt then beat Wallen and I.

Afterwards, Elle, Jill, Wallen, Sharon and I took lawn chairs down to the beach and watched the sunset. Unforunately, there are no whales migrating this time of year.

The five of us finished the day with a late dinner at RomAntic Pizzeria Italiana. The night ended on an odd note...