Monday, May 27, 2024

Luka Doncic…

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Survivor 46

Wednesday night, Sharon and I watched the final episode of season 46 of Survivor.

The show was filmed from June 3 to June 28, 2023. It premiered on February 28, 2024 and concluded on May 22, 2024. It was the fourteenth consecutive season to be filmed in the Mamanuca Islands in Fiji.

Like seasons 41 to 45, the season observed strict safety protocols. Since season 41, Survivor has featured a reduced 26 days of gameplay with 18 contestants starting in three tribes. Survivor 46 and The Amazing Race 36 retained the 90-minute runtime.

Kenzie Petty was crowned the winner, defeating Charlie Davis and Ben Katzman in a 5-3-0 vote..

I wasn't surprised Kenzie and Charlie made it to the end. It was nice to see someone win that we were actually rooting for. It is interesting that five people went home with idols in their pocket; I wonder if this will have any impact on game play in future seasons. 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.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Yentl

Friday night, Sharon and I watched Yentl. Sharon read Barbara Streisand's biography My Name is Barbara and we have been working our way through a number of Streisand's films. We watched A Star is Born in December, The Way We Were in January, Funny Girl and What's Up, Doc? in March.

Yentl is a 1983 romantic musical drama film directed, co-written, co-produced by, and starring American entertainer Barbra Streisand. It is based on Isaac Bashevis Singer's short story "Yentl the Yeshiva Boy".

The film tells the story of an Ashkenazi Jewish woman [Streisand as Yentl] in Poland in 1904 who decides to disguise herself as a man so that she can receive an education in Talmudic law. Mandy Patinkin and Amy Irving co-star. Yentl's relationship with Avigdor [Patinkin], a fellow student, adds a layer of complexity to the story.

The film received the Academy Award for Best Original Song Score and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture—Musical or Comedy and Best Director for Streisand. She was the first woman to win Best Director at the Golden Globes.

Yentl is not without its flaws. Some critics argue that the film's portrayal of Streisand as a man is unconvincing. Additionally, the pacing can feel uneven at times, with the middle section dragging slightly. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the movie and continue to be impressed by Streisand's acting and singing ability.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Ancil Hoffman

Teeing off at 3:24 pm, Debbie, Jim, Sharon and I played nine holes at Ancil Hoffman on Thursday afternoon. After going to the driving range on Wednesday morning, I was happier with how I was striking the ball. I had a fairly honestly scored 55. I actually had three bogeys in a row with a chance for a fourth on the 6th. I used one mulligan on the 9th. I continue to make a mess of the par fives...

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Throwback Thursday - Maxwell Rodeo - May 1979

When we were at Sea Ranch in April, we walked to the bar at the lodge for a cocktail. The couple sitting next to me at the bar asked the bartender to switch the TV from the NBA playoff game to Professional Bull Riding. The woman knew the names and backgrounds of all of the riders. Talking with them, I mentioned that a long time ago I had ridden a bull (actually a steer) at the Maxwell Rodeo. Tomasin, Nooter and I all rode. Sharon turned to me and said “I have never heard this story before!?!”

When we got home, I wondered if anyone had pictures. Reaching out to the Davis Mafia, it turned out that Tomasin does! Although it is hard to be completely sure, I believe that the first picture is me, the second picture is Nooter and the third picture is Tomasin.

a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

California Historical Landmark #939

We stopped briefly at this waymark on Day Eight of our California Road Trip.

Nitt Witt Ridge
California State Historical Landmark #939

See this location on Yahoo Maps in Flickr
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This landmark is located at 881 Hillcrest Drive, Cambria, California. There are 12 other California State Historical Landmarks in San Luis Obispo County. The GPS coordinates for this location are 35° 34' 04.0" N 121° 05' 50.7" W.

You can log your visit to this landmark at waymark.com.

California Historical Marker #939

Nitt Witt Ridge, one of California's remarkable Twentieth Century Folk Art Environments, is the creation of Arthur Harold Beal (der Tinkerpaw or Capt. Nitt Witt), a Cambria Pines pioneer, who sculpted the land using hand tools and indigenous materials, remarkable inventiveness, and self-taught skills. A blend of native materials and contemporary elements, impressive in its sheer mass and meticulous placement, it is a revealing memorial to Art's unique cosmic humor and zest for life.

California Historical Marker #939

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Snipes & Tomasin

Tomasin and I both went to Davis on Tuesday to catch up with Snipes. The three of us walked about 1.25 miles in the neighborhood. Afterwards, we went to the Plainsfield Station for burgers and a couple of beers.

Monday, May 20, 2024

What a strange five-year trip it has been...

I originally published the following summary as part of my weekly CTO status report in December 2021.

October 24, 2021 marked my five-year anniversary with Adventist Health. As I am increasing fond of saying, I am an old dog. In a forty plus year career in Information Technology, I have had the opportunity for a dizzying variety of projects, opportunities, and challenges. The last five years feels unique. A summary of my first five years with Sutter Health can be found here.

In the wake of the Lodi Cerner go-live in September, I got the job as the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) for Adventist Health in late October of 2016.

Karl Nebel was named CIO in early November of 2016.

In early January of 2017, Jennifer, Karl and I were scheduled on a flight to Portland to meet with OHSU. Karl didn’t make the flight. When we landed and I turned my phone back on, it exploded. Matt asked me to grab Jennifer, find somewhere quiet and call him. Karl had passed away that morning.

Much of 2017 was filled with a struggle to clean up a bushel of technical issues in the aftermath of the Lodi Cerner go-live. Unfortunately, there are still some lingering Lodi legacy issues.

Matt Fink was named CIO in May of 2017.

Negotiations with Cerner about the ITWorks engagement started in the second half of 2017.

In fall of the 2017, the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) melted down in a meeting with Matt and me. I walked him out of the building as he shouted obscenities at me.

The enterprise data center had been in Creekside 1 for more than sixteen years. With the plans for the new Roseville building not including a data center, the enterprise technical teams spent most of 2017 meeting with data center colocation vendors and touring possible sites.

The ITWorks deal was announced in January of 2018.

In March of 2018, many user accounts were compromised as part of large-scale phishing attack. The credentials were used to change the paycheck routing codes in Oracle. It is a dangerous electronic world.

The ITWorks arrangement was implemented in April of 2018. This was the fifth outsourcing arrangement that I have been involved with in my career.

In June of 2018, after months of fighting with Microsoft, they finally agreed to a graduated payment schedule. Almost a month after the previous enterprise agreement expired, Adventist Health renewed the Microsoft EA.

At the end of June of 2018, we published an IT Playbook. While other Adventist Health business units had playbooks for years, this was first for IT. I am proud of the work that we did on this playbook.

In August of 2018, the teams started moving over 1,000 physical and virtual servers and about 1.6 petabytes of storage from Creekside 1 to a colocation data center. This project took just over six months.

In November of 2018, we responded to the Camp Fire and the loss of the Feather River Hospital. Sitting in the command center in Creekside 3 with Bill, I called one of my oldest friends whose brother was a retired Cal Fire battalion chief living in Paradise. I told him about the fire and asked where his brother lived in relation to the hospital. My friend said that he lived on the north end of town and was sure that he would be fine. His brother and sister-in-law literally barely escaped with their lives...

In December of 2018, as part of a best of vendor strategy, we moved the email archive from Proofpoint to Microsoft.

In March and April of 2019, there was a mad scramble to complete the technical infrastructure for the Roseville building. This culminated in moving more 1,300 people into the new building in five days in late April.

In June of 2019, as part of a best of vendor strategy, we moved workstation imaging, patching and application packaging from Systematic Altiris to Microsoft System Center.

As we were settling into the new building, the Rideout Cerner project went off the rails. To get it back on track, we purchased, configured, and installed more than 1,000 workstations and hundreds of printers and other peripherals in about seven weeks in late June, July and early August. To support this effort, I spent almost two months living in a cave in Marysville. Like Lodi, we still have some lingering technical issues at Rideout that we haven’t found the resources or capital to address.

Starting to take a breather from the Rideout Project, Adventist Health took the covers off Project Green in late September of 2019. In less than five weeks, we built out the technical infrastructure for a 350-employee office in Kansas City. This included workstations, printers, phones, network infrastructure and call center software.

In November of 2019, we started to have serious about leadership discussions about the need for a reduction in force and an increase in the span of control. These discussions stretched for several months.

In December of 2019, as part of a best of vendor strategy, we started moving the anti-virus from McAfee to Cisco Amp. In total, the multi-part shift from a best of breed to a best of vendor strategy for technical and security products cut more than $2.5 million from IT operating cost budget.

On March 11, 2020, the decision was made to send everyone to work from home. We scrambled to outfit and send 1,300 employees home on Thursday, March 12. The Roseville building has largely remained vacant for more twenty-one (21) months.

At the beginning of April 2020, Adventist Health rolled out the Hospital@Home using an accelerated six-week project plan. This included building command centers in Hanford, St. Helena and Ukiah.

In April of 2020, we did a reduction in force. This included the elimination of several senior IT leadership positions and a major restructuring of the reporting structure of the markets.

Starting in May of 2020, working with Sean’s web Team, we moved everyone to Microsoft Teams. I am frankly not sure how we would have survived the last two years without Microsoft Teams as a collaboration tool.

The enterprise technical teams worked through June and July of 2020 to harden the infrastructure to support more than 4,000 employees working remotely.

In August of 2020, we supported the evacuation and shutdown of St Helena Hospital and clinics followed by the reinstall and repopulation when the mandatory evacuation was lifted.

In September of 2020, the St. Helena Hospital was evacuated again for the Glass Fire. We scrambled to restore network services to the clinics and relocate services.

In October of 2020, we were faced with a ransomware attack at a small hospital. Over the course of just over a week, we rebuilt their entire technical infrastructure from scratch.

In November of 2020, we torn down the 350-person office space that we had built for Project Green in fall of 2019.

In December of 2020, we supported the reopening of St. Helena Hospital.

In the first quarter of 2021, we finally completed a multi-year journey to upgrade our popsicle-stick house of user authentication technology and implement multi-factor authentication for all users.

In April of 2021, Tyler Whetstine was appointed CIO.

In May of 2021, Adventist Health signed a five-year Microsoft Enterprise Agreement renewal. I am frankly not as happy with this renewal as I was with the previous agreement in 2018. I believe that this negotiation foreshadows the kind of struggles that we are going to have managing operating cost increases with cloud vendors.

Dwight Morgan passed away in July of 2021.

In late July of 2021, IT did another reduction in force. I have literally had to perform layoffs for more than thirty years. Emotionally, these hit me hard. With the layoffs and the elimination of open positions, there are now ten fewer managers, directors and administrative directors reporting to me than there was a little more than two years ago.

Starting about the second quarter of 2021, Adventist Health experienced an unusual number of Cerner application bumps and outages. The number of incidents and the length of several outages has put an enormous strain on everyone.

In my experience, the last eighteen months have been unique regarding getting capital for technical infrastructure lifecycle. It has taken voodoo to move capital equipment requests forward, e.g. standing in my front yard swinging a dead chicken over my head.

The PMO and the market and enterprise technical teams have done some amazing work at Mendocino Coast, Tulare and Delano over the last three years. Applying the acquisition wedding cake, we have worked to avoid the Lodi and Rideout mistakes and provide a solid technology and security foundation.

In November of 2021, I traveled to a market for the first time in almost exactly two years.

It is hard to believe that there are lots and lots of employees that I am responsible for that I have not seen in person since March of 2020. While I feel that our IT teams have been effective and productive working remotely over the last twenty-one plus months, I feel like I have lost some of the connections that I had with other Adventist Health leaders. The new building was great for running into people on the stairs and the cafeteria or dropping in to visit with leaders in their offices. Those connections and relationship are important for IT and have been harder to maintain virtually.

I am sure that I have missed a few significant events.

What a strange five-year trip it has been...

Sunday, May 19, 2024

John Calhoun Johnson's Rancho

I stumbled upon this waymark while we were playing golf with the Wongs at the Apple Mountain Golf Resort.

John Calhoun Johnson's Rancho
E Clampus Vitus

See this location on Yahoo Maps in Flickr
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This marker is located near the first tee at the Apple Mountain Golf Resort. The GPS coordinates for this location are 38° 44' 58.9" N 120° 42' 32.4" W.

You can log your visit to this landmark at waymark.com.

JOHN CALHOUN JOHNSON'S RANCHO

JOHN CALHOUN JOHNSON'S RANCHO

JOHNSON, A YOUNG ATTORNEY KNOWN AS COLONEL OR "COCKEYED EMIGRATED FROM OHIO IN THE SPRING OF 1849 BY AUGUST HE FOUND A PERFECT SITE ON 320 ACRES HERE FOR HIS FARM. HIS HOME WAS KNOWN AS THE SIX MILE HOUSE, A WAY STATION. MANY WEARY EMIGRANTS RECORDED HIS RANCHO AS THE FIRST HOUSE THEY SAW SINCE CROSSING THE PLAINS. HE IS KNOWN FOR THE ROUTE HE DISCOVERED FROM CARSON CITY TO PLACERVILLE IN 1852 CALLED "JOHNSON'S CUTOFF", NOW US HIGHWAY 50. IN 1850-1851, JOHNSON SERVED AS ADJUTANT WITH THE STATE MILITIA DURING THE EL DORADO INDIAN WARS, WITH HIS RANCHO AS HEADQUARTERS. JOHNSON ALSO WAS THE FIRST TO CARRY MAIL OVER THE SIERRAS AND FIRST TREASURER OF EL DORADO COUNTY. IN 1855 HE SERVED AS STATE ASSEMBLYMAN. JOHNSON OPERATED A SAWMILL ON THIS SITE. OVER THE YEARS, MANY MINES WERE LOCATED ON HIS RANCHO. IN 1874, HE SOLD HIS RANCHO AND MOVED TO ARIZONA TERRITORY NEAR TOMBSTONE, WHERE HE WAS KILLED BY APACHES, 13 SEPTEMBER 1876.

DEDICATED 10 MAY 2014, THE YEAR OF OUR ORDER 6019.
GROWLERSBURG CHAPTER #86, YERBA BUENA CHAPTER #1,
JAMES MARSHALL OUTPOST 149, CREDO QUIA ABSURDUM.

E CLAMPUS VITUS


JOHN CALHOUN JOHNSON'S RANCHO

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Amazing Race - Season 36

Thursday night, Sharon and I finished watching season thirty-six of the Amazing Race. With a passion for traveling, I have enjoyed watching the Amazing Race over the last few years. We finished season 32 in January of 2021, season 33 in March of 2022, season 34 in December of 2022 and season 35 in December of 2023.

Though this season is the 36th to air, it was the 35th to be filmed. The season was postponed following the decision to air 90-minute episodes as a result of the 2023 Writers Guild of America strike. The episodes were re-edited to include cut footage. The season premiered on CBS on March 13, 2024 and concluded on May 15, 2024.

Filming for this season began on October 25, 2022, outside of the United States for a second time in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The final episode was filmed in Philadelphia in mid-November. Much like the 33rd and 34th seasons, teams traveled by chartered plane. A charter was used to transport teams and production crew between locations to reduce personal interactions associated with COVID-19 infections. This This is the first season to visit Barbados and the Dominican Republic.

Boyfriends Ricky Rotandi and César Aldrete were the winners of this season, while military pilots Juan Villa and Shane Bilek finished in second place. Married couple Rod (former NFL player) and Leticia Gardner finished in third place.

The legs of the race included:
  • Leg 1 (Mexico)
  • Leg 2 (Mexico)
  • Leg 3 (Mexico → Colombia)
  • Leg 4 (Colombia)
  • Leg 5 (Colombia → Chile)
  • Leg 6 (Chile → Argentina)
  • Leg 7 (Argentina → Uruguay)
  • Leg 8 (Uruguay → Barbados)
  • Leg 9 (Barbados → Dominican Republic)
  • Leg 10 (Dominican Republic)
  • Leg 11 (Dominican Republic → United States)

Although the use of a charter makes it somewhat pedestrian, I enjoyed the season. I particularly enjoyed the stop at the Botero Plaza in Medellín, Columbia. The plaza contains 23 sculptures by Colombian artist Fernando Botero. Donum Estates has one of his sculptures. Sharon and I haven't traveled in South America. This definitely needs to be on our travel list at some point.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Apple Mountain


Holly, Van, Sharon and I played Apple Mountain. Sharon and I had never played there before. Teeing off at 1:00 pm, we felt like we had the course to ourselves for most of the day. It is a beautiful, but difficut course. We would like to come back with Jack.

With the help of more than a few mulligans, I ended up with a very liberally scored 115. This included six penalty strokes for lost balls. Although still inconsistent, I had a number of shots that I was very happy with. I think that the work on the range on Thursday helped. There was a series of four or five holes on the back nine where I felt like the ball was two feet about my feet on the hillside on every fairway. It was hard on my right knee.
After golf, the four of us had dinner at the Smith Flat House in Placerville. I started with clam chowder, while Sharon had a caesar salad. For the entree, Sharon and I both had the chef's special swordfish.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Ancil Hoffman

Teeing off at 3:24 pm, Debbie, Jim, Sharon and I played nine holes at Ancil Hoffman on Thursday afternoon. The four of us are trying to play every Thursday afternoon.

Feeling like I am playing worse and worse, I went to the range on Thursday morning. I felt like I had gotten into a better rhythm. Unfortunately, it didn't translate on to the course. I got off to a horrible start; I made an absolute mess on #1. I settled down a little over the rest of the day, but continue to be widely inconsistent. I ended up with a very liberally scored 60.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Jessie Street Substation

Sharon and I toured the Jewish Comtemporary Museum on Day 2 of our Mother's Day Weekend trip to San Francisco. The museum is housed in the Jessie Street Substation.

Jessie Street Substation
National Register of Historic Places #1974000555

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

This church is located at 736 Mission Street, San Francisco, California. The GPS coordinates for this location are 37° 47' 09.5" N 122° 24' 12.4" W.

You can log your visit to this landmark at waymark.com.

Jessie Street Substation
This Classical Revival building was originally constructed in 1881 but was remodeled twice by Willis Polk between 1905 and 1909 after being damaged by the 1906 earthquake and two fires.

It served as an energy utilities substation until 1924.

Jessie Street Substation is also San Francisco Landmark 87.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Casa East Sac Second Tuesday Chef's Dinner

Sharon and I went to the Casa East Sac Second Tuesday Chef's Dinner with Brun and Kim. Sharon and I went to the Second Tuesday Chef's Dinner in March. Sharon and Tom went in April.

For an AMUSE-BOUCHE, we had CLASSIC DEVILED EGG [TSAR NICOULAI CAVIAR, HERBS]. For the first course, Sharon had POTATO VELOUTE [CRÈME FRAICHE, HERBS, AND CHIVE OIL], while I had SALAD LYONNAISE [FRISEE, POACHED EGG, BACON, CROUTONS, HERBS, BACON VINAIGRETTE]. For the second course, Sharon had a BISTRO STEAK [16 OZ. RIBEYE STEAK, HERB BUTTER, ROASTED POTATO, SEASONAL VEGETABLE], while I had STEAMED MUSSELS [WHITE WINE, SAFFRON, DIJON, HERBS, YUKON POTATO]. FOR dessert, we had a BERRY PARFAIT.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Neighborhood Homeowners Association Meeting

Monday night, Sharon and I went to the neighborhood homeowners association meeting at the pool. With a changing of the guard, Sharon, Jim and Mike are off the board. They have been replaced with Brad, Tom and Chuck.

I love our neighborhood.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

2024 Mother's Day Weekend - Day #3

Sleeping late at the Mark Hopkins, Sharon and I packed up the room. We walked to Le Marais Bakery. We bought a number of croissants and a couple of coffees.

From there, we walked to Jack's apartment. We got a chance to eat and hang out with him for about an hour before he had to head off to work. Jack had given Sharon a very nice Owl Mother's Day card and a bouquet of tulips for Mother's Day when we got there on Friday.

We walked back to the Mark Hopkins, grabbed our bags and checked out. It was a fairly easy drive back to Sacramento. With stops at Whole Foods and to pick Tiber up at Best Friends, we were home in Carmichael just after 2:30 pm.

Although I overcooked the steaks, we finished the day with a nice dinner of filet migon, baked potatoes and stir fried vegetables. We watched Maya Rudolph host Saturday Night Live.

Saturday, May 11, 2024

2024 Mother’s Day Weekend - Day #2

Sleeping late, Sharon and I eventually had breakfast in the hotel (Mark's Classic Breakfast and Buttermilk Pancakes). Lounging in the room, we debated how to spend the morning. We had talked about going to the Presidio and hiking, but eventually settled on visiting Jewish Comtemporary Museum.

We walked down through Union Square and across Market to the Museum. Although the second story was closed for a new exhibition installation, there was an interesting exhibition titled RetroBlakesberg: The Music Never Stopped on the first floor. The exhibition brings together more than 200 photographs and related ephemera from the years 1978 to 2008 by Jay Blakesberg.

The museum is housed in an interesting building. The Jessie Street Substation is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Classical Revival building was originally constructed in 1881 but was remodeled twice by Willis Polk between 1905 and 1909 after being damaged by the 1906 earthquake and two fires. It served as an energy utilities substation until 1924.

Afterwards, Sharon and I walked up to the Fairmont Hotel and had a glass of wine at the bar. Neither of us were impressed with the restaurant or the bar...

I got tickets to the San Francisco Giants versus Cincinnati Red Major League Baseball game. We walked from the Mark Hopkins to Jack's apartment. From there, we got an Uber to Oracle Park.

We met Drew and Carmen at the stadium. The last couple of games that we have attended, I have got tickets on the right field wall. I got tickets in section 146, row 3, seat 7 to 11. The game had an odd start time: 4:15 pm. The ballpark was packed. The announced attendance was 37,321; the park holds 40,260.


Matt Chapman hit a grand slam in the bottom of the first inning. Mason Black made the lead stand up by allowing one run in 4 1/3 innings in his home debut giving up a solo homer to Elly De La Cruz in the fourth. The Giants right fielders threw out three runners trying to stretch a single into a double! The Giants beat the Reds by the score of 5 to 1.

After the game, Drew and Carmen gave Jack, Sharon and I a ride back to the Mark Hopkins. The three of us finished the night with some small plates (shrimp tacos, short rib sliders and flatbread) at the Top of the Mark.

Friday, May 10, 2024

2024 Mother’s Day Weekend - Day #1

Sharon and I rolled from Carmichael about 8:15 am. we dropped Tiber at Best Friends. With a quick stop in Dixon, we were in the city about 10:45 am. Sharon drove the whole way!

We picked Jack up at his apartment. The plan for the afternoon was to play Gleneagles Golf Course at McLaren Park. It is a 9 hole course that I found using the Gemini AI. It is a San Francisco City course. There is not a driving range. Sharon and I actually hiked though McLaren Park when we did the SF Crosstown hike.


We rented pull carts and walked the course. I started fairly strong over the first three holes, but started to fall apart when I pushed my shot left of the green on the third hole. It is not an easy course to walk. Additionally, it is not in very good shape. The first couple of greens were sanded, but then some of them weren't. As a result, it was difficult to find the right punting stroke.

I ended up with a liberally scored 60. In addtion to taking some more lessons, one of my goals for the next six weeks is to get to the driving range once a week.
We dropped Jack at this apartment. It was a little bit of a mess trying to get to the hotel. They had the surrounding streets closed for a VIP at the hotel. Driving in circles trying to find the checkpoint, they eventually opened the streets back up. We finally got to the Mark Hopkins. We are spending two night here.

We got settled in the room and got cleaned up for dinner. Jack walked to the Mark Hopkins. The three of us took an Uber to Rich Table for an early dinner. We split a number of plates, including:
  • DRIED PORCINI DOUGHNUTS with RACLETTE
  • SARDINE CHIP with HORSERADISH CRÈME FRAîCHE
  • SLICE OF DOUGLAS FIR LEVAIN with HOUSE CULTURED BUTTER
  • LINGUINE, SPRING PEAS, SMOKED BUTTER, CALABRIAN CHILI
  • SQUID INK BUCATINI, MUSSELS, ROASTED BONE MARROW, CHERRY TOMATO
  • MOREL STUFFED ARTICHOKE, SPRING PEA & BARIGOULE "RAGOUT"
  • 21 DAY DRY AGED RIBEYE, CHILI-LIME "CREAMED CORN", TOMATILLO, NASTURTIUM
The food was good, but Sharon was disappointed in the steak. She said that it had no taste...

After dinner, we took an Uber back to Jack's apartment. We watched the end of the Giants game with Jack and Jason. Eventually, we walked back to the Mark Hopkins and crashed.

Thursday, May 09, 2024

Sea Ranch

Work in Progress

Travels

Wednesday, May 08, 2024

The Worst President--The Story of James Buchanan

My book for May was The Worst President--The Story of James Buchanan by Garry Boulard. It fits into my long term project to read books about all of the presidents.

Buchhanan was a lawyer from Pennsylvania, He had a long political career, including: the Pennsylvania House of Representatives; the U.S. House of Representatives; Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; United States Minister to Russia; United States Senator; Secretary of State under James K. Polk and Zachary Taylor; United States Minister to the United Kingdom, and; 15th President of the United States. As President, Buchanan was an advocate for states' rights, particularly regarding slavery, and minimized the role of the federal government preceding the Civil War.

Significant events during this presidency include the Dred Scott Case and controversy over Kansas constitution. In the 1857 Dred Scoot Case, the United States Supreme Court upheld slavery in United States territories, denied the legality of black citizenship in America, and declared the Missouri Compromise to be unconstitutional. Buchanan had hoped that a broad decision protecting slavery in the territories would lay the issue to rest, quell the slavery debate and allow him to focus on other issues.

Buchanan never married and was the only U.S. president to remain a lifelong bachelor. He was 66 when he become president.

Buchanan is widely considered a failure, presiding over a fractured nation on the brink of civil war. Boulard delves into the reasons why, painting a picture of a president unwilling or unable to confront the country's deepening crisis.

The book doesn't shy away from portraying Buchanan as a flawed leader. His characterization as "timid" and "vacillating" rings true. It underscores how Buchanan's inaction opened the door to the Civil War.

This is a short book. It really doesn't examine Buchanan's Presidency in depth. I probably need to read another more indepth book at some point.

Fort Sumter plays a major role at the end of his presidency. Sharon and I visited Fort Sumter in March of 2015 when we were in Charleston.

Tuesday, May 07, 2024

Palm Royale

Tuesday evening, Sharon and I watched the last episode of Palm Royale on AppleTV+.

Palm Royale is a ten-part period comedy-drama miniseries created by Abe Sylvia. It is based on the 2018 novel Mr. & Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel. The series premiered on March 20, 2024. The cast includes: Kristen Wiig; Ricky Martin; Laura Dern; Allison Janney; Carol Burnett, and; Bruce Dern.

The series is a ride through the opulent world of Palm Beach high society in 1969. Kristen Wiig shines as Maxine Simmons, an outsider with ambition. Desperate to crack the code of this exclusive club, Maxine sets her sights on becoming one of them, no matter the cost.

I enjoyed the first few episodes. Kristen Wiig's performance is very good. About episode seven, the show jumped the shark. The storyline went in so many different directions that it was more and more bizaree. I started asking myself where is this going? How are they ending this? Unfortunately, it got worse. The final episode is a mess and ends aburptly. I don't recommend this series...

Monday, May 06, 2024

The Fall Guy

Monday afternoon, Sharon and I went to see The Fall Guy at the Country Club Cinema. It was a little bit of an odd experience; we were the only people in one of the larger 150 person theaters!

The Fall Guy is an action comedy film directed by David Leitch and written by Drew Pearce. It is loosely based on the 1980s TV series about stunt performers. The film stars Ryan Gosling [La La Land, The Big Short, Barbie] and Emily Blunt. It also features Hannah Waddingham, Teresa Palmer, Stephanie Hsu [Everything Everywhere All At Once], Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Winston Duke.

The plot follows a stuntman (Gosling) working on his ex-girlfriend's (Blunt) directorial debut action film. He finds himself involved in a conspiracy surrounding the film's lead actor (Taylor-Johnson).

I enjoyed the movie. It's a perfect summer blockbuster with dazzling stunts, witty dialogue, and a charming cast. The chemistry between Golsing and Blunt is very good. Sharon noted in our Clan Heringa text thread that "I am now convinced beyond all doubt that Ryan Gosling is The Sexiest Man Alive."

Saturday, May 04, 2024

Tearing apart the Woodshop

After a night with noisy neighbors at the hotel, Sharon and I slept late. Eventually, we got organized and checked out. We headed towards Orinda. With an accident in the Caldecott Tunnel and heavy rain, it was slow going. We stopped and got breakfast at the Starbucks in Orinda.

The objective for the day was to tear apart the woodshop on the bottom floor of house that Drew and Carmen bought. Daniel is taking everything and moving the stuff to their garage in Placerville. In addition to Drew, Daniel and I, two of Drew's friends--Dan and Sharon--showed up to help.

I spent most of the first two hours pulling down ducting. The ducting was part of an air handling system that was designed to draw the sawdust away from the wood working equipment.

During a late lunch break, we celebrated Morgan's birthday. She turns 37 on Sunday.

After lunch, we started moving stuff up from shop to the truck. There is a tram/trolley along the side of the house that we used to drag most of the stuff up. The tram was slow. We carried some of the smaller things up three flights of stairs just to keep us moving.

A number of the machines were pretty heavy. It took all of us to get them up the ramp into the truck. We ended up loading almost a dozen large pieces, including a work table and a air handler. I would guess that it was more than 2,500 pounds of equipment. Thankfully, it had stopped raining by the time that we started loading the truck.

It was after 6:30 pm by the time we got everything loaded in the truck.

Sharon drove us back to Carmichael. We stopped at Mesa Mercado for a late dinner. I had chicken enchiladas.

Friday, May 03, 2024

To Oakland

With a plan to meet Carmen, Drew and Jack near Jack London Square for dinner on Thursday night and then help tear apart the woodshop on Saturday, I made a hotel reservation at The Waterfront Hotel in Oakland. Sharon and I stayed here once before.

Leaving from Sharon's dermatology appointment about 2:50 pm with one stop to change drivers, we were at the hotel by 4:30 pm. We just missed getting stuck in a giant mess on 80. When we rolled by, the traffic was stopped eastbound near Cordelia Junction and we saw a large CHP officers with guns drawn. Apparently, they closed westbound 80 shortly after we passed by.

Getting checked into the hotel, we had a drink and an appetizer at Scott's Seafood. We met Jack, Carmen and Drew for dinner at the Salty Pearl. Drew knows the owner. We started with OYSTERS ON THE HALF SHELL, CRUDO, MARINATED OLIVES, BOQUERONES and ACME PAN AU LEVAIN dr BUTTER. For an entree, I had CLAM CHOWDER and BBQ OYSTERS, while Sharon had a ROCKY BURGER W/ CHIPS.

We walked back to the hotel and crashed. Unfortunately, people rolled into the room next door about 11 pm and were loud until almost 3 am when Sharon finally called the front desk...

Thursday, May 02, 2024

Ancil Hoffman

Thursday afternoon, Debbie, Jim, Sharon and I played nine holes at Ancil Hoffman. We trying to make this somewhat of a weekly tradition.

After playing horribly at Sea Ranch last Saturday, I decided that I needed to shake things up. I didn't use my driver, only five wood and hybrid four iron. I also went back to something that I was doing after my first Golftec lesson: starting my backswing with my hips. I felt better on the driving range than I did at Sea Ranch.

I ended up having more fun, but scoring poorly. Honestly counting every shot, I had a 64. For comparison, three weeks ago, I shot a 54!?!

I have got to get back and take some more Golftec lessons.

Afterwards, the four of us had a couple of cocktails on the patio.