September 11, 2005

i'm wiped out

this past weekend was way too busy.

friday, me and ronda headed north for one night of camping trip at salt point state park (just off highway 1 about 100 miles north of sf.) anup invited us up on thrursday for two nights of camping but we could only make it for one due to prior commitments. we left town around 4pm and swung by the polish deli to pick up kielbasa and bigos. we hit really crappy traffic on the 101 and we didn't get to the campsite till after 8pm. once there we started a campfire, setup our tent, cooked food, and proceeded to drink through about two and a quarter bottles of vodka for six people. (two of anups friends who we had never met before were also there with their two year old child.) the night ended around midnight when a park ranger came over and told us he had gotten multiple complaints about us making too much noise and that we needed to go to bed. the genius then saw the empty bottles and asked us if we had been drinking and if we all were of legal drinking age. he told us that if we didn't go to bed we'd be arrested. well, getting threatened with arrest by a park ranger was a first for me and this was a great way to end the night.

the next morning we got up, had some breakfast, and wandered down to the coast for a short walk. (needless to say, everyone was a little tired from the night before.) we then headed back to camp and me and ronda left for home at around 2pm. we got back home just in time to unpacked our stuff, shower, and leave for jan's birthday party at the bambuddha lounge. (jan is a co-worker of mine.) there was sixteen of us there and we had a really good time. (about half the people there were sun employees and the other half were friends of jan who all went to together.) after dinner we headed over to olive for a final drink before heading home.

this morning me and ronda got up and headed down to the tomatofest in carmel. (another 120 mile drive.) it was a slightly pricy event but me and ronda had a really good time there. we basically ate interesting tomato inspired sample sized dishes from local resturants until we were so full we were in physical pain, at which point i realized that there was another entire food tent that i had yet to go to. there was lots of sample foods (three large tents worth), bbq (which we didn't waste any space on), all the wine you could sample/drink (4 medium sized tents worth), and even a few beer tents. we ended up staying for about four hours before dragging our tired and sunburnt bodies back home. (if you like tomatoes, wine, and eating then i'd strongly recommend going to this festival. it's a yummy and well organized feast.)

after all this driving, eating, and drinking i'm really wiped out, but before heading to bed i manage to write this drivel and uploaded pics from salt point and the tomatofest. you can see them here and here. now it's finally time to pass out.

lassen pics

i finally got last weeks pictures from lassen volcanic national park online. if you want a little more info about what is actually in the pictures then you can look at the file names by clicking on the file information link (the "i" in a circle icon above the picture.)

September 6, 2005

camping at lassen

me and ronda spent the three day weekend camping at lassen volcanic national park.

lassen is located about 45 miles east of redding, ca. for a detailed map of the park look here.

we drove up on saturday morning to the south west entrance of the park and got a campsite at southwest camp just inside the park. after setting up our tent we went to the "bumpass hell" trail. (pronounced bump-ass, bum-pass, or bumpus depending on who you ask.) the bumpass trail is pretty stinky since it leads to a bunch of steam vents, boiling springs, sulfur pits, and mud pits. we also hiked a little ways past bumpass towards cold boiling lake. after returning to the trailhead we drove the sulphur works to take in more boiling mud and fumes. after returning to our camp site ronda gathered up a bunch of firewood, we had dinner, started up a good fire, enjoyed a six pack, admired the stars, and went to bed.

sunday, after fixing some breakfast and packing up camp, we headed over to lassen peak and hiked to the top. it's a short trail (only about 5 miles) but it goes winding a mountain up the whole way, starting at an elevation of about 8,500 ft and ending at 10,457 ft. once at the top we wandered around the peaks and crater for about an hour and a half. the view was pretty gorgeous and we could even see mt. shasta off in the distance. after snacking some we headed back down the mountain. the climb up took us about 1.5 hours and the goung down only took us an hour. after taking some advil to ease our sore legs we decided to go to butte lake (pronounced butt or bute, depending on who you ask.) since there are no roads going across the park this meant we had to drive along the 89 out the north west entrance of the park and then take the 89 east to the 44 east and to reenter the park from the north east side. while driving the 89 north through the park we saw great views of lassen peak from almost every side. eventually we found the turnoff for butte lake, which was 7 mile long dirt road with a camp ground at the end. we pitched our tent here and headed down to the lake for the sunset. after sunset we fixed some dinner, started up a fire, polished off another six-pack, and went to sleep.

monday morning we fixed up some scrambled eggs and got swarmed by bees, so we ended up eating breakfast in the car. after packing up our camp site we went to hike up the cinder cone trail. it was a pretty short trail (only 4 miles), the first 1.5 miles of the trail was flat but very fine and sandy, so it took some self discipline to stay on the trail and not wander off between the trees where the ground looked more solid. then the last 0.5 miles was a brutal 800 ft climb strait up (as in no switchbacks) the cinder cone. to make the final climb a little extra difficult, the entire cinder cone is basically composed of sand, gravel, and small rocks. so for every two steps up that you take you slide one down. needless to say it was a long and painful walk up, and a short and fun run down. the view from the top was great and we could see butte lake, the fantastic lava beds, the painted dunes, lots of forest, and lassen peak off in the distance.

our drive home went surprisingly well. we were expecting to hit traffic from people returning from camping and burningman, but we never did and we made it back home by 8pm. i'll try to get the pictures from the trip online soon.

September 2, 2005

more photos

well, now that i finally have a means to post digital photos (and i've finally finished posting all my recent vacation photos), i've started to go through the tons of old digital photos that i have lying around and i'm uploading them into new albums as well.

here's some of the other (non-south-east asia vacation) albums i've created:


September 1, 2005

online photo galleries

while figuring out how to get all my photos online i looked at three different photo packages and one online photo hosting service.

i looked at three different online photo gallery packages:

gallery v1
gallery v2

of these three my favorite was coppermine. both gallery and coppermine seem to be under active development, which is good. but the real deciding factor was that in coppermine, when you're viewing an albums and going through pictures one by one, there is a film strip below the pictures that show's you thumbnails for the adjacent pictures in the album. this is a really important feature since people can skip ahead and not have to view every single picture.

i also looked at the online service smugmug. this is a really great online photo site that has great service. some of my friends use it and it's really easy to navigate. the UI is just great. also there are no annoying ads.

course, in the end, i decided to host my pictures on my own site because i'm a control freak. if it turns out that i can't handle the maintainence or my website suddenly become super popular and the bandwidth usage kills my connection, then i'll probably move over to smugmug. i'll just have to wait and see.

photos finally

so i finally got some photo albums software installed on my server and i've posted 1138 photos from my vacation. if you've got lots of free time and your belly button is all out of lint then you can check them out here. (or use the permanent link on the left side of the page.)