Music: Christmas Gifts Beck & The Tree Ring

Since I flew home on Christmas Day to start a run of night shifts I haven't had much time to enjoy my gifts (aside from my shoes) but over the last few days I have managed to listen to the two albums I got from my sisters in law.  Above we have my gift from Jean; Beck's latest album "Morning Phase" which was released at the beginning of the year.  This was a highly anticipated album for me so I of course had already listened to it many times but hearing it for the first time on 180g vinyl was outstanding.  It makes me want to ask Santa for a better hi-fi system next year!

When I opened my gift from Kate (below) I was very excited as this was the third album from, "The Tree Ring," that collectively Anne and myself have received from her and we have both grown very fond of this band!  The elation dissipated almost as quickly as Kate to me the news that this was the band's last album!  She explained that their lives/careers were taking them to different places.  They played their last show together Sept 17th and as I listened to this album I couldn't help but be filled with melancholy, because upon first listen it seems to be that this could very well be the best of their three albums some more listens will be needed to affirm that statement but it is fitting and saddening that they have gone out on a high, hence the melancholy.

To close I'll share one of my favorite music videos of theirs in case you have never heard any of their music and if you like it maybe buy an album for yourself!


Current Events: George Stinney 70 Years 6 Months and 2 Days Late

Back on December 17th a historical event was brought into the collective consciousness of myself and many other's.  It was the story of George Stinney, a 5ft 2in, 92 pound, 14 year old African-American boy from South Carolina who was convicted in a two-hour trial of murdering two pre-teen white girls with no physical evidence.  Only the fact that the girls had spoken with Stinney and his sister shortly before their murder, and the testimony of three police officers that Stinney had confessed were used by the all-white jury to convict him.  His white lawyer called no witnesses, performed no cross-examinations.  He was executed (in a botched execution) by electric chair.

The reason that I was made aware of this is, on December 17th Judge Carmen Mullen vacated the conviction against Stinney stating, "Given the particularized circumstances of Stinney's case, I find by a preponderance of the evidence standard, that a violation of the Defendant's procedural due process rights tainted his prosecution."  The news manifested itself for me while I was watching my favorite news commentary show The Young Turks on YouTube when their COO Steve Oh broke in to tell the hosts Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian about the news.  The news hit Ana pretty hard as you can see in the video below, its the entire two hour show but you can find the spot at the 1:20 to 1:23 portion of the show:

The next day in his solo portion of the show host Cenk Uygur also struggled to make his way through his commentary on the story:

I'm sharing this because in light of many current events today, that maybe some less educated people will feel the weight of history added to the fact that African Americans have a long history of being mistreated by the justice system.


Random: Christmas Presents And Being Old

When you're young you want the latest and greatest of everything.  When you're old you just want a new version of the same old thing that you know works.

Luckily for me Sketchers still makes the same style shoes that Anne bought for I think our first or second Christmas together.

For those curious these are the Sketchers: Men's City Walk Midnight in Black

And they make a very close style to the ones she bought me on our honeymoon.

For those curious the new ones are the Sketchers: Men's Diameter Vassell in White

Thanks to Anne's Parents for the new shoes to Ted and doing all the legwork that went along with it to make it happen.  They just don't have these on the shelves everywhere you know!

The Cali’ Experience: Pics Snapped While Flying Home

Still awake... after waking up at 0600 yesterday morning to fly home to work a Night Shift to make sure that the people in the Fresno/Bakersfield area have safe reliable power. That's roughly 23 hours by my calculations and I still have three hours left of my shift so to keep me awake on a quiet night I am going to share some photos I took on my Christmas day flights.

Mount Rainier on approach to Seattle/Tacoma Airport.

Lake Washington and Mercer Island on approach to Seattle/Tacoma Airport.

The plane with the "ANA" on the tail is the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner I've seen in the wild.

Mount Rainier on departure from Seattle/Tacoma Airport.

Table Mountain - Tesla 500kV line and some flooded farm fields on approach to the Sacramento International Airport.

More images of the flooding, unfortunately, as I feared all the rain we had in the past weeks appears to be flowing downhill and not into the groundwater and reservoirs where we need it to go,


Funny: The gunfighter - (voice by Nick Offerman)

System Ops: Flying Home On Christmas Morning

I had to leave my Wife and Daughter behind with her family in Chicago early Christmas morning to spend the bulk of the day flingy back to California and work a Night Shift to make sure that the people in the Fresno/Bakersfield area have safe reliable power.  There is a reward in that but these are the hard times.


Car-ifornia: My New 2014 Chevy Volt

I know... I know... I just got The Saab seven months ago!  But the stars aligned this last month to allow perhaps even necessitate that we jump on the opportunity to purchase a brand new alternative fuel vehicle (like the Volt).

About three weeks ago PG&E announced (in a bid to encourage it's employees to switch to "greener" modes of transportation) that they teamed up with Ford and General Motors to offer PG&E employees very good deals on existing dealer stock of certain plug-in hybrid and electric-only vehicles purchased before 2015-01-05. Adding the PG&E incentive to the $7500 federal tax rebate and $1500 Califronia rebate... If there was ever a time to buy a new car the time was now.  Luckily we have the luxury of being in a financial position to make such a call.

I'm sure the reason that both Ford and GM have offered these at such good deals for this window of time is so that they can make their end of the year federally mandated fleet average efficiency numbers.  If Ford wants to keep making GT350s and Chevy still wants to keep making Z06s and all those wonderful pickups that people need to get their groceries in. They both have to sell a large number of efficient cars to offset the inefficiency of those vehicles. Hence the great deal on the car.


Music: Symphonie Cinétique

This film presents the wonderful journey that media artist Joachim Sauter (ART+COM) and composer Ólafur Arnalds ventured on together at MADE, that culminated with the creation and performance of this interdisciplinary Gesamtkunstwerk.

The dialogue and exchange between these two craftsmen, each coming from a distinctly different discipline, resulted in a majestic clash of light, motion and sound.

Please dive in, let go and enjoy this wonderful moment - Joachim's graceful kinetic pieces breathing and moving in harmony with the touching music composed by Olafur.


Music: 34 Year Anniversary of John Lennon's Murder

Photo found HERE

Is it possible to miss someone who died when you were two years old? John had a vision for our future and this is not it.  Would he have been able to push us towards a better place than we are now had he not been taken from us early?  It's hard to say; he was when it is all said and done, just a man.  One that I somehow miss, even though he was murdered when I was only two.  RIP John Lennon


Car-ifornia: Sunday Car Porn

First we have a 20 minute documentary by XCAR Films on Singer Vehicle Design. Where Rob Dickinson, the founder of the company talks about how he developed his passion of the Porsche 911. It then goes on to show how Singer rebuild, modify, tune, and customize the Porsche 911s owned by its customers. Each customer presents a tired 911 to Singer and together they work collaboratively over 8 or 9 months to restore, tune, modify and customize the customer’s car.

Second is a video by The Hoonigans with Chris Harris explaining many of the details of Ken Block's Gymkhana 7 weapon of mass destruction the Hoonicorn; a 1956 Ford Mustang (in roof and A/B pillars alone) with an 845HP V8 and AWD drivetrain.

A good way to spend a half hour if you are a car enthusiast.