Thursday, November 23, 2006

We celebrate Thanksgiving in the mountains

CAMP CONNELL, Calif. -- Our normal Thanksgiving in recent years has been in Mexico, usually on a beach, and with margaritas and surfing.

This year, with Sabbatical in the boatyard in Alameda getting its three-year, out-of-the-water haulout (and being in Northern California) we accepted a great invitation from Sanders and Pat Lamont to have T-Day at their 'cabin' at 5,000 feet elevation, not too far from Angels Camp, the site of Mark Twain's story, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, published in 1867.

Admiral Fox has been practicing her violin since last night with 9-year-old Delaney, (Sanders and Pat's granddaughter) while Sanders and his son-in-law Brian have been strumming on their guitars.

Pat has several instruments ready to play, but hasn't joined in the musica too much yet - too much cooking going on in the kitchen with her daughter Ruth.

And downstairs, sick as a dog, is Brian and Ruth's son Connor, 6-years-old and not having a very good time.

The Lamont's dog, who we often get to dog-sit in Sacramento, is laying low, her place under the table reserved for the Thanksgiving dinner later today when she has high hopes there will be some careless children dropping food. Or careless adults, I suppose.

Our son Dylan (who lives in Berkeley) was supposed to come up today, bringing along Don Tiffin (the builder of Sabbatical) who arrived this morning in San Francisco after a long flight from Australia to stay with us and help with our boat haulout. But Dylan is as sick - maybe sicker - than Connor and so later today, after we stuff ourselves with turkey, we will roll back down from 5,000 feet to sea level again and have a second dinner with Don and drop off a plate of food at Dylan's house.

Here's two morning shots from today:

Bear takes a break before Thanksgiving
Bear at rest under the table

Pat's Thanksgiving breakfast
Pat gets ready to dig in to her breakfast

Sunday, November 12, 2006

November brings on the season of slow Sundays

Sunday scene
Originally uploaded by Brite light photos.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - I don't know if it was walking home from the farmer's market a mile away from our house, dropping by the public library to gather another half-dozen novels to attempt to read, or the idea of having beef stew tonight that made me realize we have fallen into the easy rhythm of fall.

The scene I found to illustrate this doesn't really give much of an indication of what life is really like for the Admiral and I.

We have a dog right now, not a cat, the Admiral doesn't own a dress that looks anything like the painting, and while my hair is slicked back, it goes into a longish ponytail, not a starched collar.

Our home scene includes a hot tub in the backyard (to which I will adjourn as soon as this blog is written) and a new Nordic Track recumbent exercise bike that has been challenging my calves for several days.

Despite the langorous days of fall and long evenings, in only six weeks or so, we will be in Mexico getting ready to challenge the surf off Puerto Vallarta and need to get into shape.

For tonight though, all thoughts of such activities have to be banned while we get ready for another week of school.

And, after all, there is that beef stew to consider.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A movie for the ages (and laughs) Galaxy Quest

MILKY WAY GALAXY - There are heroic movies, like "High Noon," with Gary Cooper, and then there are other heroic movies, silly movies like Galaxy Quest that even with their parody make a point.

In Galaxy Quest, the producers manage to make great sport of Star Trek but ironically also created a cult classic in which the space ship captain (played by Tim Allen) has his signature remark: "Never give up, Never surrender."

It might not be as good as Captain Jean Luc Picard who always said, "Make it so," but it works for some reason in this film.

The movie came out in 1999 and received reasonably good reviews but is probably doomed to the back film vaults of sci-fi films with movies like Spaceballs by Mel Brooks.

So what in the name of Jehovah sparks an entire blog about Galaxy Quest?

Simple. Struggling in my new job as Faculty Senate Chair, I keep reaching for different leadership images and just a few days ago, found myself quoting Captain Picard to a group of faculty.

At least it has helped me break loose of my habit of quoting lines from Casablanca, my favorite film of all time. "Of all the gins joints, in all the towns in the world, she walks into mine."

When the cold fall and winter weather closes in even more - and the on-demand movie list runs low - consider finding a copy of Galaxy Quest. Between Sigourney Weaver (as Lt. Tawny Madison) and Alan Rickman's Mr. Spock spoof, it's worth it.

And, of course remember: Never give up. Never surrender.

Tim Allen fights the Pig monster
The pig monster

Crew of the Protector
Crew of the Protector spacecraft