Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Millard Fillmore: Biography Of A President

My book for January was Millard Fillmore: Biography Of A President by Robert J. Rayback. It fits into my long term project to read books about all of the presidents.

The author notes that he really started to research and write a book about the Whig Party, but ended up writing a book about Millard Fillmore. Formed in opposition to President Andrew Jackson and his Democratic Party, The Whig Party was a significant political party in the United States roughly between 1834 and 1854. William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachery Taylor and Millard Fillmore were Whig Presidents.

Born in poverty in New York, Fillmore rose through hard work and education to become a successful lawyer and politician. He joined the Whig Party, known for its moderate stance on slavery, and held various state and federal offices, including a New York Congressman. In 1848, he was elected Vice President under Zachary Taylor. As vice president, Fillmore was largely ignored by Taylor; even in dispensing patronage in New York.

Thrust into the presidency upon Taylor's sudden death in 1850, Fillmore faced a deeply divided nation over the issue of slavery. He signed the Compromise of 1850, a series of laws attempting to appease both pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions, but it ultimately created only a temporary ceasefire. As President, Fillmore sent Commodore Perry to Japan, opening the door for trade and modernization.

Fillmore's presidency is often overshadowed by the events leading to the Civil War. He is praised for his efforts to maintain national unity while criticized for his enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act, which alienated anti-slavery Northerners. Fillmore was the last president not affiliated with either the Democratic or Republican parties. Fillmore ran for President in 1856 under the short lived American Party and finished third behind Buchanan (Democrat) and Frémont's (Republican).

After his presidency, Fillmore was Buffalo, New York's first citizen. Fillmore remained involved in civic interests in retirement, including as chancellor of the University of Buffalo. [Note to self], if we ever get to Buffalo, I need to look for his statue and his grave.

Although historians generally rank him as a below-average president, the author generally paints Fillmore in a positive light. His legacy remains debated, with some seeing him as a pragmatist and others as a defender of a flawed system. I am fascinated by the period from 1837 to 1861. The period is marked by debates about the banking system, tariffs and slavery for the new territories. In some ways, it remains me of the political rancor of today...

Tuesday, January 30, 2024


As a retirement gift, Adventist Health gave me a REI gift certificate. I put it towards a refresh of my ski equipment. I have been skiing on poles I bought in 1977, boots I got in 1982 and skis and bindings that Sharon gave me for Christmas in 1998.

I spent the day at Northstar with Larkin skiing on the new equipment. The weather was warm; the temperature got up to 50 degrees by mid-day. As a result, the snow conditions were not the best. Additionally, the coverage was a little sparse at the bottom of a couple of runs that we explored after lunch.

I like the new equipment. In spite of the snow conditions, I felt like I got stronger and more comfortable over the course of the day. I wore a brace on my right knee; it held up pretty well.

I always enjoy Larkin's company. I need to ski a couple more times this year!

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Back from Moore's birthday party

Tomasin and Wallen were up and moving just after 7 am. They both had early morning flights and rolled from the Residence Inn a little after 8 am.

I had a quick bite to eat and then worked out in the fitness room. I walked and ran four miles in just over an hour.

Getting cleaned up and packing up the room, I caught an Uber about 11:30 am to the airport.

After wandering around the airport looking for somethig to eat, I settled on having a tuna salad sandwich near my gate. Both Saturday and Sunday, I had more than 19,000 steps! I spent the early afternoon watching the Kansas City Chiefs play the Baltimore Ravens on my iPad.

I caught a 3:30 pm Southwest flight back to Sacramento. Boarding with A36, I was able to get a very nice exit row aisle seat on MAX 8. One of my ongoing rants is why people pass up these comfortable exit row seats. It was a completely full plane. All of the people that boarded ahead of me were crowded towards the front of the plane.

I was able to watch the first half of the San Francisco 49ers versus Detroit Loins game on my iPad on the plane. Landing about 4:20 pm, I was home during halftime of the game.

Sharon anbd I finished the day watching the second half of the 49ers game at Jim and Debi's house. Trailing 24 to 7 at halftime, the 49ers rallied to beat the Loins by the score of 34 to 31.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Moore’s Surprise Birthday Party

Up at 3 am, I rolled from the house about 3:45 am. My rule of thumb is that I can leave the house an hour and forty-five minutes before a flight if I am not checking luggage. It appears that my 5:30 am flight was the first flight leaving Sacramento from Terminal B in the morning! I probably could have cut ten or fifteen minutes from the time that I need to leave the house for a flight this early without luggage.

I caught a 5:30 am Southwest flight to Phoenix. It was less than half full. Boarding with A23, I got a nice exit row aisle seat on a 737 MAX-8. No one else sat in the row!?!

The flight was on the ground in Phoenix just before 8:30 am. With lots of time to kill, my plan for the morning was to hike the Sky Harbor Fitness Trail. I ended up hiking more than six miles in two hours and fifteen minutes. On my first lap, I scouted all of the concourses for somewhere to have breakfast. I ended up having a breakfast burrito and a mimosa at Cowboy Ciao restaurant near gate B22.

After my walkabout, I caught an Uber to the Residence Inn Phoenix Peoria. The hotel is near the Seattle Mariner's spring training venue. I had reserved a two bedroom suite with a sofa bed for Tomasin, Wallen and I. The room wasn't ready so I camped in the lobby reading my book.

I got into the room about 2:30 pm. Wallen and Tomasin rolled up about 3:30 pm. After hanging in the room for a bit, we took off for Moore's surprise birthday party at the Peace Lutheran Church. There were probably 40 to 50 people at the party. Moore showed up about 4:30 pm. We spent about two hours at the church, including having a buffet dinner of Chinese food.

From there, we headed to the Heros Pub and Grub. I would guess that about half of the group at the party ended up at the pub. Over the course of the evening, the group dwindled. At the end of the night, it was just Moore, Patty, Moore's brother Philip, Tomasin, Wallen and I. It was nice to spend some time with Moore in the smaller group. We finally gave up just before midnight and headed back to the hotel.

Friday, January 26, 2024

Adventures with Lee and Clem

In the afternoon, Sharon and I went to Placerville to spend some time with Clem, Lee, Morgan and Daniel.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

2024 Oscar Nominations

Best Picture
    ✔ American Fiction
    Anatomy of a Fall
    ✔ Barbie
    ✔ The Holdovers
    ✔ Killers of the Flower Moon
    ✔ Maestro
    ✔ Oppenheimer
    ✔ Past Lives
    ✔ Poor Things
    The Zone of Interest

Best Actress
    ✔ Annette Bening - Nyad
    ✔ Lily Gladstone - Killers of the Flower Moon
    Sandra Huller - Anatomy of a Fall
    ✔ Carey Mulligan - Maestro
    ✔ Emma Stone - Poor Things

Best Actor
    ✔ Bradley Cooper - Maestro
    Colman Domingo - Rustin
    ✔ Paul Giamatti- The Holdovers
    ✔ Cillian Murphy - Oppenheimer
    ✔ Jeffrey Wright - American Fiction

Best Supporting Actress
    ✔ Emily Blunt - Oppenheimer
    Danielle Brooks - The Color Purple
    ✔ America Ferrera - Barbie
    ✔ Jodie Foster - Nyad
    ✔ Da'Vine Joy Randolph - The Holdovers

Best Supporting Actor
    ✔ Sterling K. Brown - American Fiction
    ✔ Robert De Niro - Killers of the Flower Moon
    ✔ Robert Downey Jr. - Oppenheimer
    ✔ Ryan Gosling - Barbie
    ✔ Mark Ruffalo - Poor Things

Best Director
    Justine Triet - Anatomy of a Fall
    ✔ Martin Scorsese - Killers of the Flower Moon
    ✔ Christopher Nolan - Oppenheimer
    ✔ Yorgos Lanthimos - Poor Things
    Jonathan Glazer - The Zone of Interest

Best Adapted Screenplay
    ✔ American Fiction
    ✔ Barbie
    ✔ Oppenheimer
    ✔ Poor Things
    The Zone of Interest

Best Original Screenplay
    Anatomy of a Fall
    ✔ The Holdovers
    ✔ Maestro
    ✔ May December
    ✔ Past Lives
More Oscar Nominations

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Celebrating Sharon's Birthday

We started the day with a hike exploring the old Sunset Whitney Golf course and the Johnson Springview Park. We hiked the Sunset Whitney Recreation Area last January. In total, we covered 4.1 miles in just over an hour and a half.

We finished the day with dinner at Mulvaney's B&L. We split Winter Beets with Hummus [Radicchio Rosa & Spinach ~ Cumin ~ Hazelnuts]. For small plates, I had B&L Ramen in Miso Broth with Homemade Alkaline Noodles [Pasture 42 Soft Boiled Egg ~ Turmeric Pickles ~ Soy Braised Spring Onion], while Sharon had Dungeness Crab Linguine [Bell Pepper Confetti ~ Meyer Lemon ~ Tomato Sofrito]. We split a large plate of Bledsoe Farms Double Cut Pork Chop with Polenta [Tuscan Salsa Verde ~ Full Belly Farms Broccolini].

For presents, I got Sharon a Bluevua Reverse Osmosis System Countertop Water Filter. She had used one at Drew and Carmen's house when we housesat in November. I also got her a pair of 10 pound dumbbells.

The day ended on an odd note.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Joseph Brun DiGiorgio

Brun's dad passed away in December.

Dr. Joseph Brun DiGiorgio, age 91, passed away peacefully on December 17, 2023, in Sacramento, CA. He was born on August 4, 1932, in San Francisco, CA. Joseph was a beloved father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin, neighbor, partner, and teacher. He is survived by his children: Joseph Brun DiGiorgio Jr., Ann DiGiorgio Khan, Edward Valdis DiGiorgio, James Irwin Bourbeau, Kathleen DiGiorgio Wright, Carol DiGiorgio Kensiski, James Salvatore DiGiorgio, and Heather Frances Bourbeau. He was also survived by his sister, Carmela Catherine (CeCe) DiGiorgio Brooks, and eleven grandchildren. Joseph was preceded in death by his mother, Helen Brun DiGiorgio, father, Salvatore Armond DiGiorgio, sister, Paula DiGiorgio Brooks, his first wife Velta Erdmanis DiGiorgio, and his second wife Carol Bourbeau DiGiorgio. Joseph had an impressive educational background, having attended Wenatchee High School and Johns Hopkins University. He met his first wife Velta when giving tours of campus to new students. They both received their PhDs in Chemistry while studying together at JHU. He was initiated into Tau Beta Pi in 1954, and would later join and serve as an officer in Phi Kappa Phi.

Joseph was a great nephew of Joseph DiGiorgio, founder of the family named international fruit company of the 20th Century. He worked in the company orchards near Wenatchee, WA with his high school friends, and with his father at the fruit exchange auctions at Camden Yards in Baltimore. Joseph developed an early interest in science, including engineering rapid exothermic reactions while in High School. While at JHU he converted his family's dog kennel into his own private chemistry lab where he entertained family and neighborhood children with his experiments.

Dr. DiGiorgio's scientific career spanned several notable positions, including working at the National Research Council Canada in Ottawa from 1961 to 1964. He then became a Chemistry Professor at California State University, Sacramento, where he dedicated himself to his passion for teaching for the next 50 years. He was proud of his involvement in the design of the labs and obtaining grant funding for instruments for students' use at the new Sequoia Hall science building at CSUS. His expertise led him to become an owner of AAI and then NTT Labs, where he developed national standard methods and crafted handmade apparatus for transformer oil dissolved gas analysis, serving electric utility clients worldwide.

Outside of his professional life, Joseph enjoyed engaging in scientific education by serving as a science fair judge and building gadgets to demonstrate scientific principles at his children's and grandchildren's neighborhood schools. He joined both his wives in attending his children's and grandchildren's sporting and special events, continuing with this on his own well past his 90th birthday. He served as President of the River Park Little League. He was also an avid coin and stamp collector and would solve crossword and sudoku puzzles using an ink pen. He had a love of classical music and opera, especially that of Luisa Tetrazzini, who was a family friend and godmother to his mother.

A memorial service will be held on February 2, 2024, at 10:00 am at W.F. Gormley & Sons Funeral Chapel, located at 2015 Capitol Ave. Sacramento, CA. Burial with his wife Carol following at St. Mary's Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests tribute donations be made to the charity of your choice and/or the Building for God Community Foundation. The vision for this foundation was planted by his sister Paula in the heart of her oldest son, Michael O. Brooks. Its mission is to provide seed funding and business expertise for local charities in the Baltimore area, so they can grow sustainably, without relying on government grants, thereby ensuring their missions truly Perseverando.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

2023 Jesuit Booster Crab Feed

Saturday night, Sharon, Tom and I went to the Jesuit Crab Feed. We have gone five times before [2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2007], but haven't gone since Jack graduated from Jesuit.
They had the San Francisco 49er versus Green Bay Packers NFL divisional playoff game playing on four huge screens in the corners of the gym. Trailing 21 to 14 at the end of the third quarter, the 49ers scored with 1:07 left in the game to win by the score of 24 to 21. The Niners entered Saturday's game with a record of 0-30 under coach Kyle Shanahan in games (including playoffs) that they trailed by seven or more points entering the fourth quarter.

Friday, January 19, 2024

Oura Ring Anniversary Data

For Christmas in 2022, Sharon gave me an OURA ring. It is a smart ring used to track sleep and physical activity.

Over the last six months of 2023, my strengths continue to be training volume and the timing of my sleep cycle. My kryptonite has switched from recovery index to restfulness. I have done a better job with my recovery index; one of my retirement goals was to improve this metric.

My data for the first six months of 2023 is here. I am averaging almost 30 minutes less sleep a night in the second half of last year. I averaged 7 hours and 6 minutes a night in the first half of the year, compared to 6 hours and 37 minutes in the second half of 2023. I attribute most of this decline to a change in their algorithm in June.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Throwback Thursday - Shingle Springs - May 1987

Drew got a cache of pictures from his mom, including this one. When Sharon and I housesat for Drew and Carmen's honeymoon in November, I scooped them up and started scanning them.

Throwback Thursday - Shingle Springs - May 1987

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Survivor: Season 45

Wednesday night, December 20, Sharon and I watched the final episode of season 45 of Survivor.

The show was filmed from April 17 through May 12, 2023. It premiered on September 27, 2023 and concluded on December 20, 2023. It was the thirteenth consecutive season to be filmed in the Mamanuca Islands in Fiji. As a result of the ongoing 2023 Writers Guild of America strike, this season, along with The Amazing Race 35 aired 90-minute long episodes to fill the timeslots left vacant by scripted shows.

Dee Valladares defeated Austin Li Coon and Jake O'Kane in a 5–3–0 vote.

I have said after the last two seasons that I was surprised by the people that are making it to the end; I wasn't surprised that Dee and Austin made it. As I have said repeatedly, I would really love to see the show filmed in other locations. Additionally, I think that the use of the sanctuary has gotten very repetitive.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

1,375 miles

In 2023, in spite of two major trips and a year-end surgery, I ended up running, hiking and walking 1,375 miles plus covering 1,448 miles on the Peloton bike. Both results are up from 2022. The Hadrian's Wall hike helped boost the mileage. Recognizing that I can't carry the kind of speed and distance running that I did fifteen years ago, I continue to morph my daily running routine. After missing a year, I ran the Run to Feed the Hungry. I did 254 Peloton strength classes last year. This includes upper body and core; it is an average of almost five (4.9) times a week. I am very happy with how I have been able to incorporate strength workouts into my daily routine. I played golf eighteen times last year. My goal for 2024 is to add more stretching and mobility workouts, including yoga.

In 2022, I ended up running, hiking and walking 1,318 miles plus covering 1,418 miles on the Peloton bike. Both results are down from 2020 and 2021. I have finally started to incorporate strength training into regular routine; I did 212 Peloton strength classes last year. This includes upper body and core and is an average of more than four (4.1) days a week. I played golf seventeen times last year. I did 21 Peloton Yoga classes. I wrote a separate post on how my body feels [Not 28 Anymore]. With two major trips planned for 2023, it is going to be very difficult to maintain the running and biking mileage.

I finished 2021 more dinged up than any year in recent memory. My heel has brothered me since the Run to Feed the Hungry, I twisted my knee playing golf and then aggravated my hip trying to work myself back in shape after twisting my knee. Nevertheless, last year, I ended running, hiking and walking 1,358 miles plus covering 1,628 miles on the bike. Both of the results are up slightly from 2020. Building on the rhythm, I did 141 Peloton strength classes; this is up substantially from 2020. Incredibly, I played golf nineteen times. My main two goals for 2022 are even more Peloton strength classes combined with some yoga classes.

In 2020, my training routine changed radically in March when we started working from home. I ended up running, hiking and walking 1,339 miles; this is 25.7 miles a week. The difference was I almost doubled my miles on the Peloton bike. I covered 1,606 miles on the bike. The most miles I ever did on the old bike was 1,092 in 2013. Additionally, I did sixty-one Peleton weight classes; I am finally getting into a rhythm that includes a regular strength workout. My goal for 2021 is to double down on the strength classes and add a few more yoga classes. I only did six yoga classes in 2020. One side note, we played golf twelve times last year. This probably more golf than I have played in any year since the early 1980s when Nooter and Wallen were still living in Sacramento.

In 2019, I ran, hiked and walked 1,285 miles. This is fewest miles that I have logged in more than fifteen years. It is a little deceiving; I added 871 miles on the Peloton Bike. This is the most miles I have done on a bike since 2014. I have been trying to focus on a broader range of activities. To this end, I topped the move goal (900 calories) on my apple watch for 155 straight days in the last half to the year. I also did 761 push-ups and weights as part of the Peloton bike work-out 30 times. I am still struggling to incorporate a strength work-out into my regular routine... My goal for 2020 is to run and cycle more miles and do more push-ups and weight work-outs than 2019!

In 2018, I ran 1,605 miles and cycled 91 miles. My goal for the year was to average 30 miles a week. I ended up averaging 30.8 miles per week. It was the most miles that I have run in a year since 2011. In addition to the mileage goal, I focused on my weekly steps total. My goal was 140,000 steps a week. Essentially, I was running 30 plus miles a week and walking 30 plus miles a week. Finally, I finished the year with a string of more than 70 days meeting the move goal on my Apple watch (900 active calories). Combined all of this kept my weight in a nice range for last half of the year. I am switching my goals for 2019. With the purchase of the Peloton bike as a present for our anniversary, I am going to try to do more 1,000 miles on the bike in 2019. I have also started to do push-ups again; my goal is 3,000 push-ups in 2019.

In 2017, I ran 1,510 miles and cycled 131 miles. My physical challenge for the year was running 200 miles in July! My 2017 Run To Feed The Hungry time was the best since 2014. Unlike 2016, I finished the year feeling strong.

In 2016, I ran 1,340 miles and cycled 474 miles. This is the fewest miles that I have run in a year in at least the last eleven years. I struggled the last couple months of 2016. Between the new job, a couple of minor medical procedures, getting sick, settling Jack in Georgetown and a change in my routine from the last two and a half years, I lost a couple notches in my level of fitness. This was highlighted by embarrassing times during the Run to Feed the Hungry. Like the American River 50 in 2007, I looking for a physical challenge in 2017. I am toying with the idea of a 100 to 120 mile hike along a section of the Pacific Coast Trail in Northern California [Boreal Ridge on Highway 80 to Chester on Highway 36].

In 2015, I ran 1,604 miles and cycled 401 miles. My goal was to work out with weighs 52 times this year; I have failed over the last three years at my strength training goal.

In 2014, I ran 1,583 miles and cycled 886 miles. I averaged 30.4 miles running and 17.0 miles cycling every week! My goal was to restart a sit-up, push-up and light routine that I have done in the past. I failed in this goal.

In 2013, I ran 1,521 miles and cycled 1,092 miles. My goal for 2013 was to best both the running and the cycling totals. I accomplished the running goal. Additionally, I was going to try and lift at least 48 times (4 times a month) at Arden Hills. I failed in this goal.

In 2012, my goal was to start cross-training. I ran and hiked 1,441 miles. This included two full weeks off during the trip to Italy in the summer. Additionally, I cycled 1,133 miles. Most of this cycling was done on a stationary bike. I covered 1,016 miles virtually biking across America.

In 2011, I ran 1,763 miles. This seems impossible in a year that I took almost nine weeks of vacation!

In 2010, I ran 1,700 miles. This included two full weeks off during the trip to Spain in the summer.

In 2009, I ran 1,832 miles.

In 2008, I ran more than 1,925 miles!

In 2007, I ran 1,721 miles. This included successfully completing the American River 50.

In 2006, I ran slightly less than 1,680 miles.

In 2005, I ran slightly less than 1,630 miles.

On our trip to Florida in Summer of 2004, I started to play with the idea of running the American River 50 in April of 2007. I committed myself and started to train.

Monday, January 15, 2024

Celebrating My Birthday

It has been an odd ten days. Work started on January 4 to replace the french doors and windows on the back of the house. Workers were here every day last week, including working on the inside on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. It has kept us chained to the house.

Two different teams were supposed to show up today. When they hadn't arrived by late morning, we started making some calls. They both ended up getting rescheduled: one to Tuesday and one to Wednesday...

Drew facetimed from Mexico to wish me happy birthday in the morning. Jack called just as we were pulling up to the restaurant for dinner.

Sharon and I celebrated my birthday at the new Mikuni Sushi at Pavilions on Fair Oaks Boulevard. The restaurant opened last week. We split pan fried gyoza, a wakame salad, a Marlyn Monroll, a James Dean and a Spicy Dream 1 Mix.

We finished the day with presents and cake at home. We watched the first episode of season three of Party Down.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

California Historical Landmark #650

I tracked down this waymark while we were in San Francisco before Christmas to pick up Jack.

Site of What Cheer House
California State Historical Landmark #650

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

This landmark was located at southwest corner of Sacramento and Leidesdorff Streets, San Francisco, California. There are 48 other California State Historical Landmarks in San Francisco County. The GPS coordinates for this location are 37° 47' 37.9" N 122° 24' 07.9" W.

California Historical Landmark #650

This is the site of the famous What Cheer House, a unqiue hotel opened in 1852 by R. B. Woodward and destroyed by the fire of 1906. The What Cheer House catered to men only, permitted no liquor on the premises, and housed San Francisco's first free library and first museum.

California Historical Landmark #650

Saturday, January 13, 2024

American Fiction

Saturday afternoon, Sharon and I watched American Fiction at Country Club. This is part of our annual trek to see all of the potential Oscar nominated films. The GoldDerby site has the film in the running for best picture, best actor and best adapted screenplay.

American Fiction is a comedy-drama film written and directed by Cord Jefferson. It is based on the 2001 novel Erasure by Percival Everett. It stars Jeffrey Wright (No Time to Die), Tracee Ellis Ross, Issa Rae, Sterling K. Brown, John Ortiz, Erika Alexander, Leslie Uggams, Adam Brody, and Keith David.

The film follows a frustrated novelist-professor who writes an outlandishly stereotypical "black" book as satire. To his annoyance, the book is published, has high sales and receives praise.

It was named one of the top 10 films of 2023 by the American Film Institute. It received two nominations at the 81st Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy and Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

Although it is not as good as The Holdovers, I enjoyed the movie. I liked it more than Sharon did. Nevertheless, given the competition, I don't believe that it will win any Oscars...

Friday, January 12, 2024

The Gilded Age - Season Two

Wednesday night, January 10, Sharon and I finished watching season two of The Glided Aged on Max on the AppleTV. We finished watching season one in April of 2022.

The Gilded Age is a historical drama series created and written by Julian Fellowes. It is set in the United States during the boom years of the 1880s in New York City. In American history, the Gilded Age was an era extending roughly from 1870 to 1900.

The second season premiered on October 29, 2023. It includes eight episodes. In December 2023, the series was renewed for a third season.

The season follows the historical competition between the Academy of Music and Metropolitan Opera House. In the opulent, extravagant world of New York's Gilded Age, opera wasn't just a form of entertainment; it was a battleground for social supremacy. Two grand opera houses locked horns in a fierce competition that mirrored the clash between old money and new. The opera wars offer a glimpse into the Glided Age's social dynamics, artistic ambitions, and insatiable hunger for cultural dominance.

We almost quit watching the season after the second episode; the episode was bad. We kept going and the season improved. Like Yellowstone, I found Glided Age a little too soap operaish and overwrought for my tastes. I give it a luke warm recommendation based on the costumes, the sets and historical glimpse at the Glided Age.

A couple of other observations. Sharon predicted three key plot points in the last two episodes as they developed. I feel like one of the flaws of the show is that the actors that play the household staffs are not as good as the actors who played similar roles in Downton Abbey. Julian Fellowes is the creator, writer and executive producer of both Downton Abbey and the HBO series The Gilded Age.

Old Spaghetti Factory

Wednesday night when we took Tom a birthday cake, he mentioned that he was going to dinner with his boys at the Old Spaghetti Factory on Watt Ave. Sharon latched on to the idea. We finished the week with dinner there.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Parks and Recreation - Season Four

Sharon and I finished watching season four of Parks and Recreation in September before we took off for the Middle East. We finished watching season one in August of 2023 and season two and season three in September of 2023.

Season four has twenty-two episodes. It aired from September 22, 2011 to May 10, 2012. The finale, "Win, Lose, or Draw," was originally intended to be the series finale, but the show was renewed for another three seasons.

The fourth season received three Primetime Emmy Award nominations; Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for Amy Poehler, and Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series for the episodes "The Debate" (also for Poehler) and "Win, Lose, or Draw" for Michael Schur.

The season features an overarching story arc. Beginning in the first episode and culminating in the finale, Leslie runs for the city council of Pawnee. April and Andy get married.

I continue to enjoy the show. I do feel that season four included a number of episodes that jumped the shark; several episodes included behaviors that were completely unrealistc. We have three more seasons and 57 more episodes to watch!?!

Monday, January 08, 2024

The Crown - Season Six

Tuesday night December 26, Sharon and I finished watching season six of The Crown on Netflix. We finished watching season one in April of 2018, season two in May of 2018, season three in February of 2020, season four in December of 2020 and season five in January of 2023.

The sixth and final season of The Crown was released by Netflix in two volumes. The first volume of four episodes was released on 16 November 2023, and the second, consisting of six episodes, was released on 14 December.

The sixth season spans the period from 1997 to 2005. Events depicted include: the death of Diana, Princess of Wales; the premiership of Tony Blair; the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II; the deaths of Princess Margaret and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother; the early relationship of Prince William and Kate Middleton, and; the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles.

I said after season five that, with Elizabeth and Philip's deaths and Harry and Megan's subplot in the past couple of years, it will be interesting to see how they wrap up the last season. They took an interesting course; they just ignored the last seventeen years of Queen Elizabeth's reign. I read somewhere that they didn't want to get wrapped up in the swirl around the more recent events. While I think that season six is good, I am disappointed in this approach. They could have done an interesting season seven with the material since 2005.

Season six ends up being about 50% about Diana, her relationship with Dodi Fayed, her death and the aftermath. They did a good job with these episodes.

While I am a little disappointed in how and where they ended the series, I enjoyed all six seasons and recommend the show.

Sunday, January 07, 2024

2024 Kings versus Pelicans

Drew, Nick, Larkin and I met for lunch at the Yard house [Poke Salad]. Afterwards, we went to the Sacramento Kings versus New Orleans Pelicans NBA basketball game.

It was an ugly, ugly game. The Kings fell behind by 25 points at halftime. Early in the fourth quarter, the Kings fell behind by 50 points (112 to 62). In 39 years of attending Kings games, I don’t think I have ever been at a game where the Kings fell behind by 50 points. The Kings lost the game by the score of 133 to 100.

Domantas Sabonis and Kevin Huerter were the high scorers for the Kings. Sabonis had 17 points on 8 for 12 from the field, 1 for 2 from three and 0 for 1 from the free throw line. He added 10 rebounds. Huerter had 17 points on 6 for 10 from the field, 2 for 6 from three and 3 for 4 from the free throw line.

De'Aaron Fox had 3 points on 1 for 10 from the field and 1 for 4 from three. He is averaging 28.3 points a game this season. As a team, the Kings were 15 for 45 from three (33%).

C.J. McCollum was the high scorer for the Pelicans. He had 30 points on 11 for 16 from the field, 7 for 10 from three and 1 for 2 from the free throw line. As a team, the Pelicans were 19 for 35 from three (54%).

At halftime, Larkin and I connected with Drew and Nick in the Sierra Nevada Draught House.

The Kings have two wins and two losses in games that I have seen in person during the 2023-2024 season.

Saturday, January 06, 2024

The Way We Were

Saturday night, January 6, Sharon and I watched The Way We Were. Sharon is in the middle of reading Barbara Streisand's biography My Name is Barbara. We watched A Star is Born last Saturday night.

The Way We Were is a 1973 romantic drama film directed by Sydney Pollack. It stars Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford.

Arthur Laurents adapted the screenplay from his own 1972 novel of the same name. The book was based on his college days at Cornell University and his experiences with the House Un-American Activities Committee.

At the 1974 Oscars, the film was nominated for Best Actress [Barbra Streisand], Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Original Dramatic Score and Best Song. It won Oscars for Best Song and Best Original Dramatic Score.

Sharon enjoyed the movie more than I did. She mentioned that Streisand noted in her biography that a couple of scenes were deleted towards the end of the movie that changes the tone slightly. The scenes show Streisand distancing herself from Redford to save him from the House Un-American Activities Committee. I continue to be impressed by Streisand's acting. I suspect we will watch more of Streisand's movies.

Friday, January 05, 2024

2024 Kings versus Raptors

As a retirement gift, Adven/tist Health gave me the use of their Golden 1 Center loft for a night!

Jack and Jason took the train over from San Francisco to come to the game. I picked them up about 9:30 am on Friday morning. Before the game, Jack, Sharon and I had a late lunch at Cafe Bernardo.

Jason, Jack, Sharon and I met Drew and Carmen and David and Tomasin outside the arena about 5:50 pm. We orginally talked about bringing Daniel and Lee, but Morgan thought that I would be too much with the new baby. We went early in order to hang out and enjoy the loft. I got a chance to go to the loft when I was working for Adven/tist Health.

We saw the Sacramento Kings play the Toronto Raptors in a NBA basketball game. With the Kings leading by 20 points at the end of the first half, the Raptors cut the lead to three points with just over a minute to play. The Kings held on to win the game by the score of 135 to 130.

Domantas Sabonis and De'Aaron Fox were the high scorers for the Kings. Sabonis has 24 points on 11 for 16 from the field and 2 for 3 from the free throw line. He added 15 rebounds and 11 assists. It was his third triple double in the last four games. Fox had 24 points on 10 for 20 from the field, 1 for 3 from three and 3 for 3 from the free throw line.

Scottie Barnes and Immanuel Quickley were the high scorers for the Raptors. Barnes had 20 points on 8 for 15 from the field and 4 for 8 from three. Quickley had 20 points on 6 for 17 from the field, 4 for 12 from three and 4 for 4 from the free throw line.

The Kings have two wins and one loss in games that I have seen in person during the 2023-2024 season.

The loft included some food (pizza, chicken, fries, popcorn...) and a waitress for bar service. It was a wonderful evening. It is a very intimate experience. Sharon noted that you don't feel like you are in a crowd at a game.

Thursday, January 04, 2024

Taking down the Christmas Decorations

Wednesday morning, I ferried most of the Christmas boxes from the storage shed to the garage. We spent most of Thursday taking down the decorations and packing them up. We were done with the inside by the end of the day.

Saturday, I will take down the lights on the outside. Once I am done with the lights, I will start moving all of the boxes back to the storage shed.

I really enjoy the house at Christmas!

Wednesday, January 03, 2024

Christmas Ornament 2023

2023 marked the 29th 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 brought her one ornament in Sterling to commemorate our trip to Scotland and another one in Madaba as part of our trip to the Middle East.

Tuesday, January 02, 2024

May December

New Year's Eve, Sharon and I watched May December on Netflix. Tom was supposed to join us for dinner and the movie, but cancelled at the last minute. It fits into our annual trek to see all of the potential Oscar nominated films. The GoldDerby site has the film in the running for best supporting actress and best supporting actor.

May December is a drama film directed by Todd Haynes from a screenplay by Samy Burch, based on a story by Burch and Alex Mechanik. it is loosely based on the Mary Kay Letourneau scandal.

It stars Natalie Portman as an actress who travels to Savannah, Georgia, to meet and study the life of the controversial woman (Julianne Moore). Portman is set to play Moore in a film. Moore's character is infamous for her 23-year-long relationship with her husband (Charles Melton) which began when he was 13 years old.

The movie received critical acclaim and various accolades, including nominations for four Golden Globe Awards and was named one of the top 10 films of 2023 by the American Film Institute. The Gold Globe Awards nominations include: Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy; Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical for Natalie Portman; Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture for Charles Melton, and; Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture for Julianne Moore.

As part of our journey to see all of the Oscar nominated films, we see a number of odd films. I would put May December into this bucket. The tone of the movie and the performances didn't resonate with me. In particular, I am perplexed by the accolates that Charles Melton's performance has received. I am frankly surprised that the movie received so many Golden Globe nominations. I don't recommend it.