Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Food from Italy!

Was awesome! mmmm.... here's some of the highlights.

The 5 kg jar of nutella...

Pizza... in all shapes and sizes.

But they were all yummy...
seafood pizza.

Potato Chip pizza.

French fries and sausage...

Kevin is in love...

I don't know what this is all about... but frozen sushi at the convenience store

This is for Stefan!  Honey!

Beer actually kinda sucked over there... at least they had Duff Beer...
all except for the Pink IPA by Almond '22 that I found on the last day.

Ah... the tripe sandwich in Florence.  

The thought of a morning cup of espresso and a pastry got me out of bed every morning quite easily.  This muffin had custard risotto.  My favorite pastry in Italy.

??? Head Cheese?

I think we had Bruschetta every night.  The tomatoes are so much better in Europe.

And pretty much anything with Anchovies was a good call.

My go-to meal in Italy, "Linguinie Al Vongole"

Wild Boar in cocoa sauce with pine nuts & almonds.  Best meat dish of the trip

Friday, December 24, 2010

Tim & Laina (Dec 19, 2010)

Happy Holidays!!!  For the last few weeks Kimbo & I have been in Italy.  Mainly drinking wine at enotecas, and eating amazing pasta and pizza on the side.  But the main event was the celebration of Tim & Laina's marriage outside of Poppi, Italy.  And I also had the pleasure of Procuitto-ing Tim & Laina's rental car.  My hands smelled like bacon for a few days afterward... which was awesome.  I'll post some of the better pics later.

Tim's dad drinking some Gentleman's Juice Box.  

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Shed Building!

So our new home doesn't have a garage or a shed.  :(

But as a compromise, and so that we can actually use our second bedroom, we hired Diego Soto to put in a shed on our long driveway.


For those of you in the bay area... if you need any renovations, or shed, or garages installed... I can refer you to Diego.  He da man!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Panos from Round Top...

To see these bigger click on the pics... and for the other photos, check out my gallery

Thursday, December 2, 2010

That time of the year again...

to shred the GNAR...

my 3rd one of the day...

Toro cut this one off a bit too early...

My neck is still a bit sore from this one.

Red Dog Gully

Fun double...

Under KT

Thanx to toro for the fine companionship and taking pics...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Skeggs Pt Mtn Biking (Nov 13, 2010)

Went Mtn Biking at Skeggs Pt (El Corte De Madera) on Sat.  Like O'Doyle, that place rules!  Funk, Metres, Murphy, B-ral & Toro showed up for a 4 hour ride.  I think everyone pretty much bonked.  Good trails: Resolution (fun single track), leaf trails, Virginia Mill Trail (lots of little jumps), Methusela, Blue Blossom, Steam Donkey...

Maps and info:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

California Newts!

This is a pic from our Tilden Park night mtn bike ride.  

I noticed these guys while riding up South park drive in Tilden Park with Seth a few days before this pic... which is closed during their fall migration. http://www.ebparks.org/news/111708b

Note: Don't eat em!  ...as they're toxic... and they're newts... unless you are a garter snake... 

More info here:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Moonset through the GG bridge (Nov 10, 2010)

I knew it wasn't gonna go through the middle of the bridge, but it was close enough for a cool sight.  Toro and I did some night riding at Tilden on Wed night then went down the hill to Indian Rock to catch this sight.  Funk & Sol were there with some Little Sumpin Wild waiting for us.

And this is why you get a DSLR... compare between mine (shot with a SD 890 with CHDK) and Toro's above


Alas... not a double...

From the calpine look out.  You can see my time-lapse set up on the post to the right of the rainbow.  And maybe the others yelling at me, "it's YOUR turn!"

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lookout! Calpine (Nov 5-7, 2010)

Spent the weekend up at the Calpine Lookout with Smitty, D, Marian & Kimbo.  Since the weather was a bit iffy... and we're a bunch of gamers, we played a whole lot of Dominion and Settler's of Catan.  I think we got Smitty & D hooked.

The views were nice, and the stars were out... but the Taurids were quite weak this year.  Also the sunrise and sunsets weren't too memorable.  The best sunset of the weekend was while we were packing outside Smitty & D's place (first timelapse)... then looking north from the lookout on Sat, and another one looking south (cool clouds), at the top of Haskell Peak, and sunset on Sat, storms forming on Sun, rainbow,

Here's some articles on the place.

And some beta:

  • The place says it sleeps 4... but there are only 2 tiny beds.  So bring a pad.  If the weather is nice, you can sleep on the "catwalk."
  • Reservation is 6 months in advance...
  • Sierra Hot Springs is near by.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Scary Halloween...

On my way up Mt. Diablo with Jeff, Khalid, Moses & Omar on Halloween.  Beautiful Day.

Sunsets from the E. Bay...

Go right through the GG Bridge in the winter from Berkeley.  You just have to move along with the sun's ever changing azimuth angle.  This sunset was from the Berkeley Pier yesterday, as in the day the Giants won the WS!

Here's a page I made a few years back dedicated to this beautiful sight.

And a map, some guy made.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sierra Club Work Party (Oct 16-17, 2010)

We gave back a little this weekend... Kimbo and I cruised up to Clair Tappan on Friday night, worked on stocking wood at Peter Grubb Hut on Sat & Sun.  Learned how to use the chainsaw, met some great folks, and stayed at the Hutchinson Lodge... we also got to check out Clair Tappan, which was at max capacity due to the Scottish Fiddler's from SF.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tutorial: How to take a Time-Lapse on your Canon

This is for the folks that have asked me how I make my Time-Lapse vids.

I'll dedicate this one to the one and only Messy, since his time-lapse (of the dragonfly... or is it a mayfly... below) was what really inspired me to try it.

Anyway, I almost got a Nikon because the canon doesn't have this mode... or so I thought.  Then I found CHDK.  It's a hack for your Canon to add a few more features to your camera, including the "ultra-intravalometer" a script that allows you to make these cool time-lapse.

So here's the steps:
  1. If you have a canon camera, make sure there is a CHDK is supported for your model.  Go to http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK and look for your model under "Supported Models" on the right hand column.
  2. Make sure you have a SD card that is 4 Gb or smaller.  
  3. Download CardTricks
  4. Open the application and select the CARD's LETTER by clicking on the picture of a SD card. 
  5. Click the Format as FAT button, read and accepted the notice.
  6. Click the Make Bootable button, read and accepted the notice.
  7. click the Download CHDK button and pick your camera model ZIP file.
  8. Click the CHDK Card button and point to the ZIP file you downloaded.
  9. Then go to: http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/UBASIC/Scripts:_Ultra_Intervalometer, and open your notepad, and make a bas file (EDIT: See comment below... much better script)
  10. Open explorer, and put the bas file into the folder "scripts" under "CHDK"
  11. Protect the card (by moving the tab on the side).  Place the card in your camera. 
  12. Press the printer button to load your script (you'll have to play around here... but I usually have it set to take a pic every 1-5 seconds or so... depends what you are taking a pic of... set it to take infinite pics)
  13. Lower the resolution (you won't need the highest resolution for these vids anyway, but it also quickens the processing time on your camera... I put it on M2, which is 4 MP and 2272 x 1704... and FULL HD = 1920×1080) 
  14. Turn flash off
  15. Turn display off (if you can)
  16. Put it on Manual Focus (I set it on Infinity)
  17. Adjust the exposure (often on sunsets, I'll put it at -1 or so)
  18. Use a tripod, and UR good to go.  
Once you have the pics, most folks use QuickTime Pro to merge the footage.  Just put the images in one folder, "open Image Sequence", export at 30 fps, high res, etc, and you are good to go.  

Also, check out http://forum.timescapes.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1871 if you really get into it. 

Here are some cool tools as well:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What did I do last weekend?

I went canyoneering...

"WTF is that?"... you might ask.

Well, it's hard to explain, so here's a vid from our trip last weekend.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Kirby Party

Had another amazing weekend!  This time not requiring much driving.  Lou-Doo and I went out to Kirby Cove on Thursday for a chill night battling the raccoons.  On friday, we caught the flood tide to Angel Island, hiked around for a while, then caught the ebb tide back, just in time to party for the rest of the weekend.  Alia, Kevin, & Grahm all celebrated their b-day's and the SF weather gods granted them some great weather.

Angel Island Kayaking from Kirby Cove

Fog rolling in through the GG Bridge, as seen from Angel Island...

Caught some nice sunsets as well....

Monday, September 13, 2010

HAMMER time! Shasta Circumnavigation. (Aug 31 - Sept 3)

...far better than climbing [Mt. Shasta] is going around its warm fertile base, enjoying its bounties like a bee circling around a bank of flowers... As you sweep around so grand a centre the mountain itself seems to turn... One glacier after another comes into view, and the outlines of the mountain are ever changing. 

   - John Muir

Not sure if I agree with John Muir on that quote.  But he didn't have plastic telemark boots nor Black Diamond skis to shred the Shasta corn.  Louie and I completed a "Hike Around Mountain Moving Effortlessly Round" on Mt. Shasta.  Although there is no trail around Mt. Shasta, there is a bit of info on the Seltzers and Sanger book, as well as the "Backpacking California" book.  Unfortunately I couldn't find the book... fortunately we had a map, a good attitude, and gatorade bottle full of whiskey.  I'm guesstimating that the route was approximately 25+ miles X-country with 5 miles or so trail/pavement, and I'd give it a minimum of 3 full days (8+ hours) of hiking to complete.

Here's some quick info:
  • Going around Shastina is all scree... hiking boots and gaiters recommended... also hiking poles... also keeping your backpack ultralight helps.
  • Although there are no trails, finding a campsite was quite easy, provided you are just a group of 2, or aren't too picky (despite what we had read).  There are also a few semi-established camps, so to lower your impact we suggest camping at those sites if you can find them.  
  • There are bears, mountain lions, etc... but we didn't see any.  These bears aren't used to people like they are in the Sierras and usually run away from you, rather than towards you.  
  • Water isn't an issue except for the first day going around Shastina.  We did melt some water on the morning of day 2, until we got to a small stream.  If you start out earlier, I don't think this will be a problem.
  • Mud Creek Canyon is daunting... and there is no easy way through it (I recommend going high, where it's more sand-duney... and jumping)... here is a view of Mud Creek Canyon after we crossed the creek and got to the top of the other side.  I'd say that from the rim to the creek is at least 1500 feet.  All scree, kicking down huge bouders the whole time.  Go up high until you get to the black streaky slope... that area looked nice and sandy.  
  • Since you will be off trail, you will not see many folks.  We didn't see anyone else from the time we left Horse Camp, until we got to Panther meadow.  
  • The numerous waterfalls you can encounter on the trip...

  • Seeing the various glaciers on Shasta (Here is a view of the Whitney Glacier... the longest glacier in the lower 48).  

  • Finding this bear claw mark... 

  • The sunsets... 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Trinity Alps (Aug 27 - 29, 2010)

Kimbo and I went up to the Trinity Alps with Mingus last weekend.  We hiked in 6 or 7 miles, then hiked in 3 more in the morning to Morris Meadow for a 20 mile round trip on the Stewart Fork trail.  I finally got some good water droplet photos at Morris Meadow... it seems like you need to have a really bright background, no wind, and some good luck with your  focus on your camera.  What an amazing hike!  

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Video time...

Since I haven't posted from the last two weekends, so I'm gonna post this vid as I feel it DESERVEs many, many more views.  From April of this year...  Bernard is an amazing photographer, check out his blog at
www.snowyphotos.com he's busy at camp, so hasn't been updating it recently.

So... we've been busy closing on a house!  Weehaw!  So I haven't been able to take trips the last two weekends.  Also congrats to J-dub and Lauren, who got married this past weekend...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A humble stumble... RAMROD: The Whites...

The Group Pic at Form Factor.
Going into the 30 mile hike we thought... "we got this, let's shoot for 10 hours, I can do 3 miles per hour no problemo.".. Funk compromised with, "I'll be happy with 12."

8 hours into the hike, and having only covered 10 miles or so... we came to a very tough decision to turn around.

Here we are leaving the car at 4:20 am...
Starting the hike... it's 4:20 now.  Woke up at 3:30.  the night before, Funk suggested getting up at 3:45, cuz he'll be ready to go at 4.

And the summit. This building is part of the White Mountain Research Station... we felt OK here, and had no doubt that we'd make it across even though I had to double back to pick up my Spot beacon that had fallen off and lost a good hour or more.

Then we encountered the ridge, scree, and things started slowing down drastically... and had to turn around at noon.
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And even though we didn't make it, in many respects it was far from a wasted trip. It was quite a learning experience for me. Learning our limits, what we should have done, what we could do next time, etc. Also, we did summit the 3rd highest peak in California... my 8th 14er, putting me over the half way mark in climbing all 15. Previously, I have summited Shasta, Whitney, Thunderbolt, Starlight, Polemonium, North Palisade, and Sill. And the wildlife was super up yonder. Big horn sheep, marmots, red tail hawks, great horned owls, and a bunch of tiny rodents.
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After our 16 hour ordeal (4:20 am to 8:20 pm)... we drove through Bishop to grab some food and to soak at some hot springs. This was our second soak the morning after.
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... and after brunch at Whoa Nellie Delli... we stopped at Rainbow Pools on the way out... which may have cost us 50$ each.