July 2008 Archives


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After we made it to Reno Timber, Mom, and myself went out to the National Wild Horse and Burro Center at Palomino Valley to check out the wild horses. They were rounded up and brought there so that they can be adopted by people. I wondered why people would go out and round up wild horses, but the reason is because their population went up and if people don't do something (interject ourselves into nature) there will not be enough food and the horses will starve and die. That naturally begs another question. So what, that's nature right? So digging a little deeper I found out that it is basically the ranchers that use BLM land that want the horses taken off because they compete with the cattle for resources (food & water). So if there is a population explosion of wild horses and then they starve and die that also causes the cattle that belong to the ranchers to starve and die. Now I get it. And I'm not saying that is a good thing or bad thing. Ranchers after all provide most of the beef we consume. After the horses we stopped to look at some model homes on our way back into Reno. From the story we got, developer was trying to offload the last few houses they had built and the bank was going to take back the rest of the land. This housing development was only about 1/3 done when the bottom fell out. And the drop in asking price really reflected that. On Sunday we met up with my cousin Tim and his girlfriend Michelle at Claim Jumper before heading out of town. And of course we had to stop at Cabela's for some outdoor goodness before we went back home.

Incline Village

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On Friday Timber and I took the day off of work and picked up my brother from SFO and then headed up to Incline Village, right on the shore of Lake Tahoe, to meet up with my parents who were spending the week up there. On Saturday we checked out the beach, which was really nice because it was sunny and warm. After we had our fun at the beach we headed into Reno, which was a short drive away.

Last week, Friday to be exactly, Coldplay came to San Jose. I went to the concert with Timber. We had pretty decent seats in the lower section toward the back. We were never blocked and had a good view of the stage, but we never got a really good close up view. We got there just as the first band was finishing up, so I can't say much about them. The second band, I think they were named Shearwater, was not my cup of tea. I just was not that interested in the kind of music they were playing. They were like a male twist of Coldplay and Enya but without any of the good melodies. Kind of harsh and I'm sure they have fans out there somewhere, but I'm certainly not one of them. After they finished it must have been 45 minutes or so before Coldplay started their part. Their mix of songs heavily favored the newest album "Viva la Vida" but they generally played most of their good songs. They even mixed it up a bit by moving around the stadium. Near the end of the concert they came out into the crowd, not far from where our seats were, and played a song where the drummer sang. They had lots of energy throughout the show and the lead singer frequently talked to the crowd and generally seemed to have fun at what he called a really big "sing-a-long". Overall I thought it was a pretty good show.

The Dark Knight

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I watched the latest Batman movie, "The Dark Knight" last night and I think it is the best Batman movie I have seen yet.  It seemed darker and move violent, but it also seemed to do more character development and spend a lot of time on the not so cool parts about being Batman and having him protect Gotham City.  So if you are sitting on the fence, go watch it.

Farmer's Market @ Work

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Today at work there was a small Farmer's Market in the courtyard at lunch time.  I checked it out and bought some blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, pluots, and some peaches.  The farmers were nice and the fruit was good.  I've already eaten some of the blueberries and strawberries.  I'm not sure who came up with the idea to do this, but they get kudos from me.  Hopefully this will be the first of many Farmer's Markets at work over the summer and fall.

iPhone Apps

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With the release of iPhone and iPod Touch 2.0 software comes the much coveted Apps.  Over the weekend I got to download and play around with some of them.  Most of the ones I downloaded were free, and I think the biggest thing stopping people from paying for more apps is that there is no way to "try before you buy".  So it is a crap shoot if you actually plunk down money for an iPhone app.  But anyway, here are some of my favorites:

Facebook -> OK, it is debatable as to whether or not Facebook itself is actually useful, but if you use Facebook you should probably get this app for your iPhone.  It is free and it is slightly more streamlined than the Facebook iPhone specific web page.

Google -> No debate about how useful Google is.  Again it is slightly more streamlined than the Google iPhone specific page but it is very similar to it.

Yelp -> I really like the Yelp app because it incorporated location based viewing of restaurants and other businesses.  This will be very useful when traveling or just trying to decide on a place for lunch.  I highly recommend this app, and it is free.

NYTIMES -> Basically a streamlined view of the New York Times.  The difference between getting this app and surfing to their page via Safari is that with the app you don't have to zoom in and out.  So if you read the NY Times regularly you should get this app.  And it is free.

PhoneSaber -> This is a goofy app that shows a light saber from Star Wars and when you swing the iPhone around it makes the same sounds.  Goofy but luckily it is free.

Urbanspoon -> I've been thinking about writing an app like this for a long time.  It is basically a randomizer that can help you decide what to have for lunch.  And it uses your location to isolate the randomness to the area close by.  Free and it should be good for some entertainment and good variety in lunches.

SmugShot -> This one is only useful if you have a SmugMug account, which I have, and recommend everyone else do the same (especially if MSFT buys out Yahoo! and thus Flickr).  This is cool because you can open the app, log in, and take pictures with your iPhone and upload them directly to the album of your choice in SmugMug.  The photos are automatically geocoded with your location, and SmugMug plays well with Google Maps so you can quickly and easily see where you took your photos on the map.  You may find that useful for a whole multitude of reasons.  I like it and plan to use it extensively.

OmniFocus -> I paid $20 for this app, and to me it is by far the most useful one thus far.  It is basically a todo list, but if you have the right infrastructure it can be your one todo list to rule them all.  I will dedicate a post to this app shortly.

Beach Weekend

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Over the weekend Timber and I had a list of things we wanted to do in the Watsonville and Santa Cruz areas.  So on Saturday we went to Santa Cruz to check out the Vespa shop there.  Overall it was a nice shop and one of the new Vespas caught our eye.  It was the Vespa LXV (150 cc), but I don't think we will buy another scooter anytime soon. Timber looked at jackets and gloves, but we didn't buy anything. After that we headed to the Freedom Meat Locker, which is a butcher shop and deli in Freedom, CA (right next to Watsonville) and got some food. For our late lunch we got a tri tip sandwich and a jalpeno sausage sandwich. Both were pretty good. And to go, we got two rib-eye steaks (aged 21 days) and some different sausages. Afterward we drove by fields and fields of strawberries on our way to Palm beach, which is a beach that allows dogs (on leash only). Once we got there with Wookie we set up the beach blanket and spent some time enjoying the nice weather and flying kites. There was plenty of wind, and we got to spend some time doing tricks with the snapshot 1.2. Overall it was a fun way to spend a day.
On Friday the 3G iPhone came out.  There were long lines to get them (just like when the original iPhone came out) and they sold 1 M 3G iPhones in the first 3 days.  That's not bad.  I didn't rush out to get the new iPhone, but I did upgrade the software on my, now old, iPhone to version 2.0.  And I had problems just like most of the people that upgraded first thing on Friday.  Here's what happened to me:

1.  I hooked my iPhone up to iTunes on Friday morning around 7 AM PST.
2.  I clicked on the button to check for new software.
3.  It said that there was a new version (2.0) and asked if I wanted to download it.
4.  I started the download, which was roughly 250 Mb.
5.  After downloading the software it asked if I wanted to install it, I clicked on yes.
6.  It then backed up my current iPhone configuration and went through the install.
7.  Then it tried to connect to the iTunes store to enable the iPhone, and that it where it hung.

My best guess is that it was either a bug (I don't find them, they find me) or everyone else and their mother were trying to upgrade their iPhone software at the same time.  I tried multiple times before I gave up and just brought my macbook to work so I could try from there.  But while my iPhone was in its zombie state it was no more useful than a paper weight.  I could do nothing except for make an emergency call (only 911, I tested other phone numbers).  By noon I was able to connect to the iTunes store again and finish the setup.  But I wonder what happened?  Was it a glitch or was Apple overloaded with people trying to upgrade their phones all at the same time?  I found some apps, most of which were free, but I haven't seen anything yet that is ground breaking or a game changer.  Stay tuned, because I will say a little more about apps in the future.

Thanks iTunes, Kind Of

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Last week, Tuesday to be exact, I got a call from Timber at 5:20 PM asking if I wanted to meet up with her at the HP Pavilion to watch the American Idol concert.  As you may have guessed, it was the top 10 finishers from the FOX TV show, American Idol giving a concert.  The tickets started as 2 out of 40 that were allocated to her group (iTunes), they then found their way to her friend Diane who thought of us and gave Timber the tickets.  So thanks iTunes and thanks Diane for thinking of us.  I agreed and met them at the HP Pavilion at 7 PM and we got in and seated (really good seats by the way) just before the show got seated.  I don't think I have ever seen so many tenny bopper girls in one place in all my life.  This concert was definitely not for my demographic.  The order of the show was to start with finalist #10 and then work their way down to the person that won American Idol.  I can definitely say that all the people in the top 10 can sing, but the concert was more like a job interview of them showing off their vocal range and power than it was a real concert.  I hope that makes sense.  But overall the concert wasn't bad, but it wasn't up to what I consider the gold standard of concerts, Kenny Chesney.  Near the end of the concert, when the runner up, David Archuleta come on stage the entire arena erupted into pandamonium and I though my ears were going to explode.  The teeny bopper girls really love that guy.  At any rate, if you're a teeny bopper girl or want to relive the entire season of American Idol in about 3 hours you should go to their concert.  My favorite singer out of the bunch was the Aussie guy, Michael Johns.  I think he would be great as a lead singer of a band.  He could probably replace Eddy Vetter of Pearl Jam and most people wouldn't notice.  At any rate here is the set list as provided by the San Jose Mercury News:

Set list:


1, "I Believe to My Soul" (Donny Hathaway)

2, "Caught Up" (Usher)

3. "So High" (John Legend)

Ramiele Malubay:

4, "I Want You Back" (The Jackson Five)

5, "Love Will Lead You Back" (Taylor Dayne)

6, "If I Never See Your Face Again" (Maroon 5 featuring Rihanna)

Michael Johns:

7, "We Will Rock You"/"We Are the Champions" medley (Queen)

8, "It's All Wrong But It's All Right" (Dolly Parton)

9, "Dream On" (Aerosmith)

Kristy Lee Cook:

10, "Squeezin' the Love Outta You" (Carolyn Dawn Johnson)

11, "God Bless the USA" (Lee Greenwood)

12, "Cowgirls" (Kerry Harvick)

Carly Smithson:

13, "Bring Me to Life" (Evanescence)

14, "Crazy on You" (Heart)

15, "I Drove All Night" (Cyndi Lauper)

Brooke White:

16, "Let It Be" (The Beatles)

17, "1234" (Feist)

18, "Yellow" (Coldplay)

Group medley:

"Pride (In the Name of Love)" (U2)


Jason Castro:

"Over the Rainbow" (Israel Kamakawiwo'ole version)

"Crazy" (Gnarls Barkley)

"Daydream" (The Lovin' Spoonful)

Syesha Mercado:

"Umbrella" (Rihanna)

"If I Ain't Got You" (Alicia Keys)

"Listen" (Beyonce)

David Archuleta:

"Angels" (Robbie Williams)

"Apologize" (OneRepublic)

"Stand by Me"/"Beautiful Girls" (Ben E. King/Sean Kingston)

"When You Say You Love Me" (Josh Groban)

David Cook:

"Hello" (Lionel Richie) "The Time of My Life" (2008 "American Idol" Songwriter's Competition winner; first single for David Cook)

"I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" (Aerosmith)

"My Hero" (Foo Fighters)

"Billie Jean" (Chris Cornell version of Michael Jackson song)

Group encore:

"Don't Stop the Music" (Rihanna)

Over the 4th of July weekend my work site in South San Jose shut everything down so that maintenance could be done to the power system.  Well things went badly and they ended up keeping the entire site, which I'd guess about 2000 people or so work at, down through Wednesday morning.  Doh!  I wonder how much productivity was lost?  I was able to work and do most things that I needed to, but I'm guessing quite a few people were dead in the water.

White Meat Salmon

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(Picture: white meat salmon cooked two ways, 1) in a teryaki marinade and 2) with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper)

A short while back when Timber and I went to Santa Barbara we ran across white meat king/chinook salmon in the fish market. Since it is pretty rare (I had only seen it once before) we decided to get it. We cooked it the other day and it was pretty good. It tastes very similar to regular king salmon and seemed to be a little more fatty, but it is hard to draw generalizations from just one filet. But I did a little research into white meat king salmon and here is what I found:

1. Only 5 % of the king salmon population has white meat instead of reddish/pinkish meat because they have an inability to process the pigments in their food (shrimp, krill, and crab).
2. They are known as "ivory kings".
3. The majority if "ivory kings" are found in southeast Alaska and British Columbia.

I also learned that the price of "ivory kings" is going up because some people say that it tastes better than regular king salmon. From what I had I think it is comparable and not worth the extra cost if you only factor in the taste. I think the real reason the price is higher than normal king salmon is that it is a novelty and people want to try something new. I certainly did, and was willing to pay the price for it. So if you run across white meat king salmon in a fish market I say go ahead and try it and then decide for yourself if you think it is better than regular king salmon. For me, I'll stick with the regular (king, silver, and sockeye) salmon. Farmed salmon need not apply...

Santa Barbara Weekend

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Over the weekend Timber and I went to Santa Barbara to visit Jackie. We tried to rent a car that we would be interested in buying but the car rental companies suck. All the ones that I called could only give me a vague idea of the actual cars they had at their locations and there was no way that I could reserve a specific car. I basically have to select the type (compact, standard, SUV, etc...) and the location, and then I have to go there to pick up a car, at which time I roll the dice to see what actual car I get. So Timber and I got stuck with a Kia Spectra which wasn't super bad, but I can safely say that we won't buy one of them. We went down to SB on Friday night and stayed at Jackie's place. First thing on Saturday morning we got up early and headed to the boat harbor for the fisherman's market. The only problem was that there was only one fisherman there selling anything. He was selling Vermillion Rockfish and Rock Crab. He told us that the season for shrimp and other fish was over and that there are more fisherman there selling stuff in the winter. After our time at the boat harbor we had breakfast and decided to go visit Timber's Alma Mater, UCSB. The campus was pretty nice and I got a guided tour. After we had seen enough of campus we walked over to Isla Vista, which is pretty well known for being a place for students to party. After Isla Vista we ate an early dinner and checked out downtown Santa Barbara. After that we were pretty much done for the day. On Sunday we got up late and went back downtown where we did some shopping and ate lunch at the Palace Cafe. The food was good, but I wasn't feeling very good that day so I didn't eat more than a few bites. After doing a little bit more shopping it was pretty much time for us to head home. On our way out of town we stopped back at the Santa Barbara Fisherman's Market next to the boat harbor and picked up some white meat king salmon that we saw the day before. I've heard of it before but only seen once. I made sure we got some this second time we saw it. After that we headed home satisfied from a nice weekend in Santa Barbara.

September 2010

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Contact Info:
email: tom.carroll[at]gmail.com
Y! IM: tomcarroll_95123
AOL IM: parb0y77
Skype: troutm8
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Adventure Race
Desolation Wilderness
Eastern Sierras
Half Dome
Hetch Hetchy
John Muir Wilderness
Lost Coast
Mount Shasta[2][3]
Mount Whintey
Prairie Creek Redwoods SP
Skyline to the Sea Trail
White Mountain Peak[1][2]
Clouds Rest