August 2008 Archives

The Counter (Burgers)

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Yesterday Timber and I went to Santana Row to do some shopping, and while we were there she told me about a burger place she wanted to take me to. I had never heard of it before, but she took me to The Counter, which is a place that allows you to customize your burger just about any way you want. The menu is very well laid out and intuitive. You start by selecting the type of patty (beef, veggie, chicken, turkey), then you select the size of the patty, then you select cheese, toppings, sauce, and bun. With all the various options you can get thousands of combinations for your burger. And on top of all the choice the burger was good. And they had fries, sweet potato fries, and onion strings. So if you are in the mood for a good burger and don't mind your cholestrol going up a bit, give The Counter in Santana Row a try.


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This morning John McCain surprised a lot of people by picking Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. In the coming weeks and months you will no doubt find out a lot more about her. My small contribution is this link. It is a link to a video podcast that I subscribe to called Alaska HDTV. The host goes on different hikes around Alaska and talks about them and shows them. In this specific episode he goes to Juneau (Alaska's Capital) to do a hike to the Mendenhal Glacier, but when the weather turns bad he decides to walk around downtown instead. He goes over to the Governor's mansion and meets up with Sarah Palin and walks to work with her. So enjoy the episode, learn more about Sarah Palin, and send Scott any comments and feedback you might have about his video podcast.

Princess Sucker Punch

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This is a clip from a show called Wipeout on ABC. It is pretty funny at times.


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Want an electric car but you don't want to wait for or pay $100k for a Tesla? If you live in California then you can get the Aptera!

Time to Move to Alaska

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According to this article by the Anchorage Daily News every Alaskan is going to get roughly $3,300 just for living in Alaska this year. Here is the breakdown:
Permanent Fund Divident = $2,100
Resource Rebate = $1,200

The annual dividend payment comes from investment profits of the $36 billion Alaska Permanent Fund, a state oil-wealth savings account.

The resource rebate is new and came about as a result of high energy prices.

So if you want to pay 0 state income tax, 0 sales tax in most areas, and get paid just for living there, you should move to Alaska. :-)
I posted the photos from the Paso Robles weekend here. Every time it takes me more than a week to get the photos up onto the web I wonder why. So, more for myself and for anyone else, here is the method to my photo madness. Let me know if you can think of a more efficient way to do this.
1. Upload the photos to my computer. I use Aperture to manage all my photos.
2. Walk through all the photos ranking them (1 star - 5 stars) and adding captions to the ones I will want to upload later.
3. Walk through the photos that I will upload and make any minor image adjustments (exposure, saturation, etc...).
4. Upload the photos to smugmug, make sure they are sorted by date & time taken.
5. Geotag all applicable photos.
6. Post a link to them here.

"What is this?" you might ask. This, the picture and the tag line "Once upon a time... there was a retard." is from a spoof movie called "Simple Jack" inside the movie "Tropic Thunder". I was lucky enough to watch it on Tuesday with the iTunes group, and before I watched it I saw that disability groups were protesting the movie, and it didn't make any sense to me as to why they were protesting. Now I know that they were protesting "Simple Jack". This is going to get complicated but here goes anyway...

Tropic Thunder is a movie about the making of a war movie where the actors think they are working on a movie that is based on a true story, but it turns out to not be a true story. While they are filming the movie, the director decides he wants to film more "gorilla style" and drops them off into the jungle of Vietnam where they run into a heroin making operation called Red Dragon. So they do some fighting while some of them think it is all part of the movie they are making and some of the actors know it is for real.

To top all that "Tropic Thunder" goes to great lengths as to produce movie trailers for other movies that these actors have done. For instance, Robert Downey Jr's character did a movie about two gay monks, Jack Black's character did several movies about fat people farting, and Ben Stiller's character did "Simple Jack" and several action movies.

Overall this movie is very entertaining and slightly offensive. It has way over the top language, lots of gratuitous violence and explosions, and definitely earns its R rating. My guess is that if you are a male between the ages of 13 and 35 you will probably like this movie. Even if you don't find this movie all that great you will definitely get a few laughs from it.

43 Hours In Paso Robles

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Hotel Cheval ( - This hotel got good reviews and was mentioned in quite a few articles about Paso Robles, so my expectations were high and Hotel Cheval hit the mark.  They matched and even exceeded my expectations as to what a nice hotel could and should be.  It was tough to check out and leave.  Everything about this hotel, location, service, amenities, extras, etc..., is top notch.  From the time we arrived to the time we lingered after checking out it was friendly, relaxing, and cleansing.  If you are going to stay in Paso Robles overnight you simply have to consider Hotel Cheval.

Arroyo Robles Wine Tasting Room ( - This was the only place we did wine tasting while in Paso Robles this trip.  There are lots of tasting rooms downtown, within walking distance from our hotel.  But we spent 2 hours in this tasting room trying 9 different wines mainly because the lady that helped us was so much fun to talk to.  We ended up buying a few wines and then leaving in search of some food to help moderate all the wine we tried.  Good wines, great people!

McLintock's Saloon (  - This place was basically across the street from the Arroyo Robles Wine Tasting Room and the menu looked pretty good so we decided to grab a quick lunch here before heading down the street to the Firestone Walker Brewery.  We got a tri tip sandwich with garlic fries and we got potatoe skins with cheese, sour cream, and bacon.  The service was friendly and prompt and the food was pretty good overall.  The tri tip, while tender was a little on the dry side, and the bbq sauce that came on the side helped moisten it up a bit.  That is generally not my favorite way to have tri tip, but it got the job done.
Firestone Walker Brewery ( - After lunch we raced down the street for the 3 PM tour at the Firestone Walker Brewery.  We got there just as the tour was starting, so we jumped onto the back end and got to walk through the brewery and talk to the tour guide about beer.  Both Timber and I noticed that the vast majority of the people on the tour were young, and I would guess that they were probably not wine drinkers.  I also let Timber in on a little secret about guys which I will share here. At some point in just about every man's life, he want to start his own brewery. But the tour was informative and the guide was very knowledgable.  After the tour we tried some of the Firestone Walker beers in the bar and I can't say that I'm a big fan of any of their beers.  But it is always good to do a tour.

Artisan ( - For dinner on Saturday night we got a ride from Chester, the Belgan Draft Horse employed by Hotel Cheval (one of the many extras) to dinner at Artisan.  It was a 6 block or so ride, but it was very nice and I think Timber enjoyed it almost as much as I did.  We had 7:45 PM reservations, and we got there right at 7:45.  Right after we walked in the door and they confirmed our reservation for dinner we were seated right away.  Once we got seated our waitress immediately came by to ask if we wanted anything to drink and told us the specials of the day.  Throughout dinner we never had to wait on anything except for the time we had trouble deciding what we wanted for dinner.  Here is what we got to eat (we split everything):

Appetizer - Smoked Gouda and Porter Fondue, garlic toast, andouille sausage, broccolini

Salad - Windrose Farm Baby Greens, stone fruit, la quercia prosciutto, burrata, smoked almonds

Main Dish - Potato Crusted Alaskan Halibut, fava bean tortelli, sugar snaps, red stem chard, maine lobster

Dessert - Scharffen Berger Double Chocolate Bundt Cakes, coconut sorbet

Everything we had here was good, the food, the ambiance, the service, everything.

Pasolivo ( - One of the last things we did before leaving town was venture out to the Pasolivo tasting room to try out some unique olive oils.  The tasting room was nice and new and we got to taste all of the olive oils that Pasolivo currently makes.  We also got to try some honey, tapanade, and vinegars.  The really nice lady that helped us with the olive oil tasting even took us to see the olive oil making room.  All of the machinery for making the olive oil came from Italy, and the lady told us about how the process works and about the process they had before the new machinery came.  As we left we bought lots of goodies and plan to go back the next time we are in Paso Robles.

Vivant Fine Cheeses ( - This was our last meal in Paso Robles, and this place was literally right next to our hotel.  Inside they had an impressive variety of cheeses, but we were there for something a little more substantive.  We ended up getting a turkey panini with homemade cole slaw and a small pizza with cheese, peppers, and grilled onions.  I wish I could remember all the cheeses that went into both dishes, but I can't.  But what I do remember is that both were excellent.  I also remember the lady working there was very friendly and helpful.  She even put our chocolates in the fridge while we had lunch there so they wouldn't melt in the heat of the afternoon.

Overall - Overall the 43 hours in Paso Robles were very relaxing and enjoyable.  The people we met there were all very friendly, knowledgable, and welcoming.  The weather was warm, up into the low 90's, but not as hot as we were expecting.  The downtown area is very nice and inviting, and there always seems to be something going on there.  So whether you are into wine or not there will definitely be something for you to do in Paso Robles.

Paso Robles Weekend

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This weekend Timber and I are heading down to Paso Robles, CA for some wine tasting (since I'm starting to get into the demographic where I start switching to wine from beer :-) ) and to generally relax for my birthday weekend. We are also going to bring our road bikes and do one or two rides while we are down there. It gets hot there in August, so we'll make sure to get up early for our rides...

Aurora Part 2

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Aurora (Part 2) from Adaptive Path on Vimeo.
If you watched the first concept video for "Aurora" you may have thought it was pretty cool. I did. It basically shows a future of seamless data integration where you can easily connect to others, share data, and all in all be more like Star Trek. In Aurora Part 2 they show that the future is good for wine and cheese tasting...

Web Surfing In 10 Years?

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Milli Vanilli

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Yesterday Timber made me suffer though some of old crappy music videos from the 80's, and that made me think of Milli Vanilli. So I looked on YouTube and sure enough they had some of their videos. I remember back when they were big everyone thought they were cool, had great songs, and were good dancers. Of course that all turned out to be too good to be true. At any rate I thought I would share this Milli Vanilli video with the throngs of people flocking to my blog (all 2 of you). Enjoy!

Photos Posted!

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I finally got around to posting the photos from last weekend's trip. You can find them here. Also, if you click on the Map This! button you can see where each photo was taken on a map.


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On Monday my brother had a free day since his class didn't start until Tuesday, so I took the day off from work and went up to SF to hang out with him. After I picked him up from his hotel we went to the nearest Bart station and took Bart up to the Embarcadero exit. From there we walked over to the Ferry building and then down the street until we hit Pier 39. Once we got there we had a lunch which consisted of a dungeness crab and a bread bowl of clam chowder. After eating our lunch with tourists staring at us we walked back over to Pier 39 and checked out the aquarium there. It was actually much better than I expected. There was a large area downstairs where you could walk through and have the fish swim right over you. I definitely recommend it if you like aquariums. After that we walked around a little bit before we rented a small three wheeled vehicle which was pretty wimpy. My Vespa had a lot more power and we were trying to use this little 3 wheeled vehicle to go up some pretty large hills as we were driving around SF. It was pretty funny. After having our fill of a wimpy little three wheeled vehicle we turned it back and headed out of SF. Once we got back to the BART station I used the Yelp iPhone App to find El Farolito Taqueria which got pretty good reviews. I have to say I agree with the reviews. The food was good and the service was also good. After dinner I dropped my brother off at his hotel and headed home.

September 2010

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Contact Info:
email: tom.carroll[at]
Y! IM: tomcarroll_95123
AOL IM: parb0y77
Skype: troutm8
Campfire: link


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