Day 867

Saturday, May 30, 2015

A full day of racquetball.  Woke up around 6 and got ready for the day, packing up my gear and doing some stretches.  The Active Sports Spring Doubles Racquetball Tournament started at 8 a.m. sharp.

My head was not in this tournament and Dorian was coming off a cold, so we didn't play our best.  We managed to make the playoffs, but got knocked out by the eventual winners, Ramon and Gary.  Unfortunately, Kevin Kringle suffered a knee injury in the semi-finals when he and Mark came from a 4-11 deficit to tie the game at 11-11 against Tiger and Glenn.  Kevin couldn't play anymore, so Tiger and Glenn advanced but had nothing left in the tank.  Ramon and Gary gave them a donut, 15-0.  They're champions for the next few months.  We ate a great lunch at LeChaval afterward, then had a big racquetball pot luck at Glenn's house from 6-9.  I only stayed until 8:15.  I was so wiped out I needed to go to bed.

Roger and Harry

Ed and Ramon

Scott and George

Tough Plays

Dorian and Xavier

Gary and Ramon

Andrea and Me

Joel and Victor

"Downtown" Robbie Brown, aka the Sheriff

Before the Playoffs

The Champs, Ramon & Gary

Ramon, Glenn, Tiger and Gary

Day 866

Friday, May 29, 2015

With our next doubles tournament tomorrow morning, I decided to rest my body and stayed in bed until 5:45.  I wrote for a couple hours before work, then put in another five hours at Varinsky, continuing work on their latest focus group report. 

After work, I sent emails, paid bills, and organized fills.  Tonight I catch up with Richard and Lisa at their house.

Day 865

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Instead of going into the gym this morning, I woke up at 5:30 determined to finish up the last of my blog entries.  They took a long time to organize and post.  Work from 9-2, then after work I spent a few more hours writing and rereading Seymour Hersh's jarring bin Laden article.  I read the whole thing carefully.  The strange thing about this article is how much of it makes a lot of sense.

Hersh Article

What always troubled me about the "official" narrative of the bin Laden raid was how gutsy it was, how dangerous and risky it all seemed to be, given what had happened so many years ago when Carter tried to rescue the hostages in Iran and failed.  Hersh's narrative solves that problem.  I'm still waiting for evidence disputing Hersh's claims.  I wonder if we'll ever hear any.  I wonder what Obama will say when asked to speak about the Hersh article.  Either the White House version is true, or Hersh's article is true.  It's hard to find middle ground here because the two versions are so different.

There's a larger story here though, one that Edward Snowden voiced when he hightailed it to Hong Kong.  It's the mainstream media and how accommodating they are to the power brokers in D.C.  After Hersh explained the details of his piece on Chris Hayes's all in, NBC Foreign Affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell responds to Hersh's article.  She can't imagine her sources at the CIA and White House intentionally steered her in the wrong direction.  She disputes Hersh's story because the power brokers told her something different.   What Seymour Hersh is saying is that the power brokers' story is full of lies because Obama said details in his speech to the nation about bin Laden's death that weren't cleared by the national security team, prompting the necessity for a new narrative to cover the president's tracks.

Very little new information has come out about this story, as if the power brokers are hoping it conveniently goes away.  I'm keeping my eye on it, as it appears to me that Seymour Hersh is onto something significant here. 

Day 864

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Up at 4:30, racquetball from 5-7, then home for 90 minutes before heading off to V from 9-2.  Came home and continuing sorting through pics.  Also read a chapter from a book that has been on my list for years:

Not only is it beautifully written, it's full of powerful history.  I'm a history junkie right now. 

Up until 10, then to bed.

Day 863

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I hit the gym at 5 and did my first Insanity DVD in over a month.  It felt good, but I must say I was moving like a slug.  Afterward, I practiced for 20 minutes before showering and heading back home.  I took care of a few things before going to work, then came home and wrapped up pics on my blog.  The day flew by.  Things take so much longer than I'd like them to take. 

Day 862

Monday, May 25, 2015

I spent the entire day catching up on my blog, reading Russian history, writing new material, and cooking a big pot of chili.  Our trip is still very much alive in my mind as I go through all 1,800 pictures, deciding which ones to post.  I'm up to Saint Petersburg and hope to have the days complete by the end of the week.

Watched the latest episode of Game of Thrones, so I'm all caught up.  I like where things are going. 

I have an idea for a story that brings together my love of music, Vivaldi in particular, and contemporary aspects of fame, obsession, and living one's life.  I'll kick these ideas around for a while. 

Day 861

Sunday, May 24, 2015

I drove home early from Alice's and spent the entire day putting together blog entries of our trip.  I'm still not finished.  I also spent a few hours reading "Lost Splendor" and catching up on Game of Thrones.  Here's the thing about that series.  When it's good, it's really good, but when it's bad, is so slow and monotonous that I want to scream at the writers to please for the love of God pick up the damn pace.  Some of the many storylines are so slow that they're simply a waste of time for all involved.  Maddening, but I'm still watching, but when it's good, Game of Thrones is really good. 

Day 860

Saturday, May 23, 2015

I woke up early and drove over to Alice's at 9:00.  We had lunch on Geary St. with Alice's aunt and uncle, Elaine, Nathan and Geraline.  It was very good.

After lunch, Alice and I watched a documentary on Catherine the Great.  I started reading a memoir by one of the Russian aristocrates whose mansion we visited in Saint Petersburg, Felix Youssoupoff.  His memoir, Lost Spendor, is fantastic and full of great anecdotes.

Day 859

Friday, May 22, 2015

I played racquetball for the first time in a few weeks this morning.  Getting up was no problem, but hitting the ball properly and moving quickly was a struggle.  Everyone was there and it was great to see the guys and catch up.  We played until 7 a.m.

I worked from 9-2, then came home and continued assembling my blog entries for the days Alice and I were in Europe.  Each entry takes about 90 minutes, a lot longer than I'd like.  I worked on my blog until 8, then went to bed.

Day 858

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Getting my strength back and continuing to catch up on my blog entries from our cruise.  Worked from 9-2, then continued writing and organizing at home.  I have several new writing projects I'll work on this summer, two novels (one old -- Botticelli Girl, about art thieves, and one new -- La Stravaganza, about the power of music).  But first, I need to catch up on everything.

Day 857

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Still gathering my strength back, so I didn't play racquetball this morning.  I worked from 9-3 at Varinsky, working on the latest report, then came home and started putting up pictures on this blog.  It's going to take a long time.  Alice and I took over 1,800 pictures!  I went to bed around 8:30.  Still tired, but thankfully my cold is over.

Day 856

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Another 7-hour work day at Varinsky to get a focus group report out the door.  I sorted through my photographs and started entering our trip into my blog.  I also read a few more articles about Seymour Hersh's amazing piece on the true story of the bin Laden raid.  What a country we live in.  With each passing day, my sensibilities become more and more European (or Canadian...anything but typically American, which has lost so much credibility since 9/11).

I hope history accurately records that our invasion of Iraq in 2003 was purely a decision of choice and desire and far-removed from an act of necessity.  The Bush cabal wanted that war and got it.  Nothing could stop them.  Not the American people.  Not the media.  Nothing.  Now we live with unimaginable consequence, ISIS and beyond, trying to hold onto this mythical narrative of greatness that belies actual events.  Seymour Hersh is my favorite person in the world right now.  I listened to his 25-minute interview on Democracy Now and I believe every word of his narrative (until there's a reason not to).

Spoke with Chris from 8-10, catching up, talking shop, then went to bed around 10:15.

Day 855

Monday, May 18, 2015

Back to work after a few weeks off.  It was nice to get back to my routine.  I left Alice's at 5 a.m. and once home started the long process of unpacking, going through all my mail (i.e. bills), emails, and wrapping my mind around a foreseeable future of nonstop work.  Hmm.  It was a bit daunting realizing all the stuff I had to do, including all the pictures I wanted to post and format, all the blog entries I needed to write, emails to return, food to fill in my fridge, calls to return, reality to return to...where to start?

Then there's the news.  Instead of doing any of the things on my to-do list, I digested a 10,000-word expose by ace reporter Seymour Hersh that detailed how the CIA and Obama White House fabricated the bin Laden raid with all sorts of lies and untruths in order to hide the real story, which he revealed in his article.  We'll see how it all plays out, but right now, my money is with Hersh in uncovering what really happened.  He's amazing in getting at the truth.  What an embarrassment for Obama if it turns out that the entire courier story and CIA's "Zero Dark Thirty" torture methods are completely bogus.  All governments engage in myth making, especially ours.

The Killing of Osama bin Laden

To bed early.  Not yet back to full strength.

Day 854

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Finally, I started to feel better.  Alice did laundry and I began organizing all the papers from our travels.  Still, I was tired and continued to sleep throughout most of the day.  We had dinner early and I fell asleep watching 60 Minutes.  I put myself to bed and slept the night away.

Day 853

Saturday, May 16, 2015

I still wasn't feeling well and neither was Alice.  We continued sleeping the entire day.  I hadn't even unpacked yet.  I was totally out of it and did nothing but sleep.  I had no energy and wasn't hungry, but we had soup in the evening.  I needed to feel better by Monday.

Day 852

Friday, May 15, 2015

Both Alice and I caught a cold heading back home, so we slept most of the day.  We went to Irving Street in the morning for supplies, but other than that we slept and slept and slept. 

Day 851

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Flight Home

We woke up at 6 a.m., had breakfast, took the shuttle to the airport at 7:15, went through security, then boarded our plane 90 minutes later.  Alice had time to check out all the shops inside the airport.  Copenhagen's airport consistently gets rave reviews for its ease, shops and comfort.  It was a nice place to hang out before heading home. 

We flew into Frankfurt at 11:30, then boarded our plane to San Francisco around 1:30.  It was an older plane with no individual monitors, so I read the entire flight.  Alice slept.  We arrived home at 4:30 p.m., exhausted and a little under the weather.  After clearing customs, we took Uber to Alice's and arrived at 6:15.  I took a shower and went straight to bed.  I didn't wake up until 5 a.m. the next morning. 

Day 850 - Copenhagen

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Copenhagen, Denmark

All good things must come to an end, and so ended our wonderful time in cabin 204.

Waiting to disembark
The ship arrived in Copenhagen at 5:30 a.m.  We left the ship around 8:15.

Back in Cophenhagen

We took bus 25 to Norreport Station and the M1 metro line to Bella Center.  Luckily, we were able to check into our room early.

AC Hotel Bella Sky, Copenhagen

Our room
The rooms were very modern and chic.  Both Alice and I were feeling colds coming on, so we took a short nap before heading out to a nearby mall.

Relaxing at Field's Mall.

The views from the AC Hotel Bella Sky.

Our last big meal before heading home.  These portions were huge!

Day 849 - Sea Day

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Day 11 at Sea (Sea Day)

Today was a relaxing, well-deserved sea day after so many days of intense excursions.  We ate, rested, ate some more, read, watched an episode or two of the Love Boat, and hit the Lotus Spa Enclave.  It was the perfect way to end a sensational cruise!

Our awesome mini-suite

I spent a few hours catching up on my daily journal. 

Our final meal aboard the ship ended with Baked Alaska. 

Felix and Dell

Apple pie

Baked Alaska