Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday

Yeah, so the spooling-up of the blog has been on the ineffective side of the Gettin'-it-Done O'meter.  No excuses.  As the tower chief said to Maverick, "The pattern is full".

I would be severely deficient if I didn't at least get a couple of pics up today in honor of 2.  As it is her birthday, you are Daughter of the Day, Kiddo!!

We did do a nice BBQ at her place in Iowa City last night.  We test-drove a pretty decent bottle of Bordeaux in our Summer-long effort to acclimate ourselves to the Bordeaux vintages before our arrival there in September.  I'm betting that a Russian hacker could be employed to get us all a link to her new Fitbit to keep the fam apprised of her post-surgery rehab progress.

One of the topics of discussion over wine was the prospect of an extended family reunion in 2016.  Tahoe Phil and I had talked a little about the idea earlier this year, but we both thought this might be a job for the cousins to orchestrate.  In the chat last night, Kansas City was the leading candidate for the destination.  The Midwest folks could drive to KC, and it makes the travel time a lot easier on the East coast contingent.  2 and RevKev maybe the prime movers to get something on the calendar.  Go for it!

All for now.  I just wanted 2 to have a bit of the spotlight.  Hope its a great day!

BCOT

Monday, May 11, 2015

Monday

I actually started a post last night (Sunday) on my iPad, but ended up brushing a key that deleted the draft from the Blogpress app.  Bummer.

So the weekend up in Minnesota was not all that remarkable.  But there were no incidents with travel, the wine and food were good, and the business side of the trip was time well-spent.  My Thursday and Friday were mostly business, so we had only the evenings to hang out and chill with 1.01 and 1.02.  These shots were taken Saturday morning at the little park by the coffee shop before I headed South.


The book-on-tape for the trip was another case of lots of words thrown together with little to show for it.  It was one of the new Jason Bourne novels written by a guy named Eric Van Lustbader.  I never have heard of the guy, but he has written a lot of stuff.  Picking up on Jason Bourne seems to have been a profitable experience for him.  But really, how many new corners can you create for Jason Bourne to extricate himself?  I skipped one whole segment of the storyline when he rotated events between the Mideast/Asia story thread and the Washington piece.  Didn't miss a thing.  And I won't be reading any more of his Bourne efforts.


In the Good News Department, it looks like I have a lead on my Yard Boy for the Summer.  My pal Ron had told me that he thought he had a kid in his neighborhood who would be good for the role, but that was a couple weeks back, and I figured he had too much on his plate to make the contact.  I was probably right, but the mountain moved to Mohammed at Dunn's yesterday when the kid's mom happened into the coffee shop.  Long story short, we exchanged phone numbers and the Dad gave me a call today.  On-sight conference will happen on Maplecrest later this week.  I hope it can work.


I've got a couple of 16" x 20" color prints of the ND campus under a framing contract at the local Michael's.  The prints were the bonus if I threw in an extra $25 bucks on my annual subscription to the alumni magazine.  (Actually, one print was the bonus; I paid an additional subscription price to get the second print.)  The price of framing?  Keep in mind, there was a published 60% discount advertised...plus an additional 10% for the day I was there.  Yeah, well, the base price musta been off the charts.  My average price per frame exceeded $250.  Hello.  And I don't even have a place specifically in mind to hang the finished product! 


I started eating almonds a couple of years ago, initially as an addition to oatmeal.  I've always thought that they were a little pricey, but the California drought has recently added 20% to the price of the standard package.  I've read some stories about how much water the almond trees take to maintain, and the competing political/social/business interests for the limited water supply.  How the planners have computed out the ability to sustain unlimited development in the California, Nevada and Arizona deserts makes me wonder who's in charge of the spigot.  My oatmeal will be a little more bland going forward.


OK.  Not a great effort here.  But a start.  Hope its a good week in your neighborhood.


BCOT

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tuesday

Seriously.  I can't remember my 30th birthday.  1979.  Chicago.  It was a snowy, cold, bad Winter in the Windy City.  Beyond that, nuttin' honey.

So we honor here 3.1 as Son-in-Law of the Day as the Birthday Boy.  Here he is last weekend, working his magic at the rooftop kitchen at the EVSC.  The meal was a big hit.

The golf outing yesterday was actually a lot of fun.  Decent weather.  A good foursome with friends.  At a course I could walk to.  And the 19th hole was fun as well.  My pal Roy hadn't played a full 18 since Scottsdale in January 2014.  Even my back survived (with the help of drug therapy).

All of that said, I don't plan to play in any more charity golf outings until this one next year.  There are similar outings almost every Monday at one or more of the local courses.  Chambers of Commerce, Junior Achievement, Big Brothers, this foundation, that civic group.  The list is almost endless.  I learned decades ago that a check to the organization was my limit.  5-6 hour death marches on the course just didn't cut it for me.  Worse, you always had some enthusiasts that actually wanted to "win" the outing.  Each putt became the U.S. Open.  Yeah.  Not so much for the LtPC.

Speaking of golf, the PGA tournament this week is "match play" at a course in San Francisco.  This is mostly a man-o-mano event where there is player-against-player competition.  Its the only time outside of Ryder or President's Cup events where this format is used.  They've changed the format slightly by having round-robin contests in four-man pods the first two days rather than start eliminating players the first day.  The biggest problem with a match play tournament is that you end up with only two guys playing that last match, and that generally makes for lots of open air time on the telecast.  We'll see.

An interesting factoid on this tournament is that it has moved locations from a course in the foothills outside Tucson to this SF track.  A lot of players just didn't like the Tucson course and would find reasons not to play that week.  (Doubly so if they had not had much success in the match play format.)  I'm curious if the loss of the tournament will eventually impact the Ritz Carlton resort that was part of the build-out for this planned living development.  Probably not.  If someone wants to get away, this could be the place.  Its probably got a target market in the Midwest for folks who want to get away from the cold.  (Although they are high enough to get some snow there.)

In other news, the first decent evening here produced the opportunity to try to fire-up the patio heaters again...actually, kinda of for the first time this year.  Not only were we unsuccessful on Good Friday for FFF, but they had also failed to light Sunday night when some friends stopped over after I got back from NYC.  Even my pal Ron couldn't get a flame going.  But tonight, I followed the instructions on the pole...and with no one around to appreciate the results...both heaters lit on the first try!  The MCSC will be ready for the next gathering of the tribe.

I feel bad for the Cardinals and Adam Wainwright.  He's out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon.  The Cards will still compete, but Waino is a team leader...and he did win 20 games last year.  What a bummer to be done for the year and it isn't even May.  We really need to get back to StL for a weekend.

For the record, my attempt to get to Lake Tahoe will be that first week of August...get there Thursday afternoon...and leave Sunday.   Barrett Jackson auction on Friday afternoon in Reno.  No airline tickets yet...

Hope it is a good Hump Day in your neighborhood.


BCOT

Blogger is messin' with me.   I started on my desktop, then edited here on the laptop.  No clue other than this edition of IE must be dated.



Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday

The updated Home Page pic was taken just last night from the rooftop East Village Social Club, New York. A fine place for food, vino and conversation. I know the owners. Great hosts.

These three-day visits to NYC are the best. Just the right amount of time for us to catch up on life in the big city, see a few sights, and collect some artifacts for the basement wall. This time was a hit in all respects...the cool weather not withstanding.

Let's make 3 and 4 DAUGHTERS OF THE DAY for efforting to make the LtPC's visit successful.




This shot is from a year ago, I know, but I'm told enough is enough with the picture-taking.

I have no big take-always to report from this trip. But some memories worth reporting:

1. 4 and I did a mini-bar crawl on Friday early-evening as we used the couple of hours that we had after naps (yes, there were naps!) to leisurely wind our way to the Italian place (Primi) where we had dinner reservations. WWW?
2. Shopping with 3.1 for the Saturday evening BBQ at the EVSC was a hoot. We hit the market for the veggies, the butcher shop for the meats, and the hardware store for the BBQ utensils that will have a nice future on 13th street. That butcher shop was a find.
3. The Guggenheim NY...decidedly meh.
4. Another superb deli lunch with 4 on Friday. Classic hole in the wall place seating maybe 30 at a time.
5. Joe Jr.'s for brunch on Saturday was another experience I recommend for all visitors. I don't think it seats 25. Kills breakfast.
6. The cost of our standard wine currency (J Lohr '12) ran $16.99 at the Astor Place shop and I think $13.99 at Trader joe's. I bought a couple of medium-priced Bordeaux's at Trader Joe's for the BBQ. Not bad.
7. We got chased from Washington Square Park on Saturday afternoon by a percussion group of about 10 members from NYU, I think, banging drums and other bangees that was beyond annoying.
8. Lots of crosswording done by 3 and myself over the weekend. She may be addicted to the app that she now has on her phone for the daily puzzle. I find that after these trips where I have challenged myself with the harder puzzles for that I need a break for a few days.
9. I'm glad The Winniferous doesn't live in NYC. I continue to be surprised by the large number of dog owners in the city. There's just not enough grass for a dog to do his/her business.
10. I'm a little worried about my next trip with the airlines...probably Tahoe in early August. This one went too smoothly. It's a math thing.

I brought along last week's Sports Illustrated for reading material on this trip. It was the one with Jordan Spieth on the cover for his Master's win. Spieth absolutely dominated the tournament. They coulda included a couple of sidebar articles as well. Instead, the editors elected to include an equally long article in the issue on how Tiger came to the tournament and didn't embarrass himself. That was the gist of the article that SI thought deserved national publication...Tiger wasn't bad. Gee. No wonder he thinks he deserves everything. But his time has passed. The young guns have the stage. Go watch Lindsey ski, Tiger.

The SI magazine was actually devoted mostly to the up-coming NFL draft. There was page after page of articles and player-capsules for every position on the field. And it got pretty gritty, giving the strengths and weaknesses of each named player, along with vital statistics like height, weight, speed and even wing-span. If this info were put out on social media, someone would call it shaming or bullying. Funny how context matters.

The explosion of data-mining in sports is impressive. While we have had wide-spread access to computers for four-five decades now, the massaging of big, relevant data is just now making its way to the head of the class. The front office GM's are sorting through situational performance to the point of, "Let's run a simulation" before signing or trading prospects or veterans. Not that it's a bad idea. Over time, the Bell curve matters.

So landing soon. Look for more regular entries here beginning this week. That's my plan. Make it a good one in your neighborhood.

BCOT
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thursday

Here I am, back on the airways, in a two-fold sense, literally. On a plane. And on the blog.

The last couple of weeks of tax season were poorly managed by yours truly, leaving me with lots to do in a short period of time. I agreed to do a couple of new returns for individual clients referred to me by other long-time clients, and in retrospect, I should have just said "no". My lot was further exacerbated by me allowing even further rope to my perennial procrastinators. It just didn't work out that well. Changes will be made for next year.

I'm sure that I have commented here in prior years about the computing power available to me on my desktop machine today compared to the system we used in my days at Arthur Anderson in the late 1970's. It continues to amaze me what we can do with the new technology. We have instant answers to alternative tax strategies, and virtually perfect calculations for the tax liabilities that apply. The errors are almost always operator related.

That said, if I were a younger man, I would now be cross-training over to a new career path given the Obamacare enforcement responsibilities of today's tax preparing professionals. It's one thing to act as an IRS forms-processor as I have done for most of four decades. It's entirely something else to become the answer-man and the collection overseer for the cluster that is the new medical services law of the land.

Moving on to better topics...

In our office pool for the NCAA tourney, 3 was the only entrant to pick the Dookies as the winner. But I don't think she will be the jackpot winner as her other picks were a bit spotty. There were two or three other sheets that had all four of the final four teams selected (including the LtPC), so the wins selected in the earlier rounds will have to be tabulated. I've out-sourced that analysis to a staff person at the office. We'll have the final results next week. The winner gets $100 this year.

I missed recognizing Margaret and Phil's wedding anniversary last week. I think it was the 13th, but I need verification from the family historian (The Commish) as I think I gave the date erroneously to the newspaper for the obituary's...and I have those at my desk for reference. In any respect, it was sometime this month. And I think it would have been their 79th or 80th. Given that Aunt Martha would have been 78 this year, I'm going with 79. They were good Catholics.

A story that I think I will process here on the blog starting in the near future is one that I outlined about 15 years ago, finding those notes hiding in plain sight in my living room just a couple of weeks ago. It's a golf story that describes a fictional round with my pal Roy and three others, me being the fifth wheel. So you will have a couple of introductory entries to describe the players, the game that the foursome is playing, and some other information to lay the groundwork for the reader.

My original thought had been to present a bound version of the story to each of they guys as a Christmas present. And maybe even "tweak" a version for each individual that would make him the hero of their version. At this point, that part of the idea won't get done. But I think I want to get a book done similar to the Sicily book that 2 and I did for that trip. And the exercise is more about me getting something done now rather than have those notes go to waste. We'll see. Since ideas here on the blog have been so pitiful, a little story might just be the ticket to breathe some life into 4KDays.

All for now. Landing soon for the visit to The Big Apple. Glad to be back.

BCOT.



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, April 13, 2015

Monday



Happy 79th Anniversary to Phil and Margaret.

BCOT

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Thursday - I think

The blog is still taking a back seat to the IRS.  Communications are down.  Look for an entry after April 15th.

BCOT