Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Don't Worry, Be Happy II
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
I'm heading north tomorrow after work for a backpacking trip in the Trinity Alps Wilderness. It's a bit early in the season to be backpacking at the higher elevations, but we wanted to take advantage of the long weekend. According to the ranger reports, we may encounter steep snow fields, so we're carrying ice axes as a precautionary measure...but the real challenge might be crossing the snow-melt swollen creeks.

I hope to take some nice photos in the mountains. I've been taking a lot of lame pictures this week, including a Fruit Loop happy face. I'm debating whether or not to carry my tripod. My "lightweight" Bogen 3001N with quick-release, ball head is a not-so-light-for-backpacking four pounds. I went to Wal-Mart this evening and bought a small, one pound, table top tripod. Since this is a rated PG blog, I'll just say it's essentially a $14 toy. The plastic head wobbles more than a weeble....and it'll probably fall down! Hopefully I can tape up the packaging and return it. Bad news is I don't have time to buy the used, lightweight, Gitzo tripod I had my eyes on. Worse news is my Bogen tripod is in the trunk of my cousin's car. Hopefully, I'll have a chance to pick it up tomorrow during lunch. This whole tripod situation sucks....but don't worry, be happy!

I had my hearty minced meat stew for lunch and dinner today. I should finish the remaining leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Speaking of food, I had an amazing revelation this past Sunday. I was looking for some sunscreen and came across my daughter's fish tank. The fish hadn't been fed for a week....oops! One of the fish looked like Karen Carpenter....but worry not, they've been fed twice a day since then. Don't worry, be happy!!

The Eighties

96/365 - My 80's Trilogy
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
The photo theme for this week is "The Eighties." Okay, I need to come clean. While many of you think I'm only 26 years old (or 12, if you're my wife), I must admit I'm a little older than 1980's memories don't include potty training.

Three things from the 1980s that are no longer (for me anyway):

1. I had just turned fourteen when I ran my first marathon, the 1980 Honolulu Marathon. My two brothers and I ran four Honolulu Marathons and one Maui Marathon between 1980 and 1983. Haven’t run one since….but will.

2. The Ray Ban aviator sunglasses were popular in the 1980s….probably influenced by Tom Cruise and the movie "Top Gun." I was in my Air Force training in the 80’s and I think I got mine in the base exchange for a really good deal.

3. Comb….self explanatory.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

In My Dreams

Hearty Minced Meat Stew
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
I've hiked or run every day for the last seven days. Today I decided to take a break, rest my legs, and get some chores out of the way. I watered the plants, mowed the lawn, watered the lawn, prepared my backpacking meals, and did the dishes. I learned something today....if I wash the dishes after every meal, I don't have a stack of dishes to wash after three days. Pretty cool!

While I was doing the dishes, I saw this guy outside the window. My little beady eyes became as big as saucers....then I remembered I was having hamburger stew again tonight.
Pizza Guy

As I was eating supper tonight, I remembered a story. As a kid, I used to love to bake cakes, cookies, malasadas, and all kinds of good stuff. When my little sister got older, she started cooking, so I quit....I guess I liked the eating part and not so much the cooking part. Anyway, this one time my sister made meat loaf. Unfortunately, she didn't realize the little "t" in the recipe stands for teaspoon and not tablespoon. She put tablespoons of salt and pepper in the meat loaf instead of teaspoons...essentially three times the recipe. The black pepper left major scars on our tongues and memories and the salt nearly killed the dog. Rather than throw the leftovers away, my mom sliced it up and made a stew out of it....but it was still really spicy!

Anyway, my stew was delish again....just the right amount of salt and just the right amount of pepper.

Hearty Minced Meat Stew

Ridge Sunburst
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
I went hiking after work yesterday on the Pleasanton Ridge. It was a short, but pleasant hike from the staging area on Foothill Road to the Longview trailhead. The weather was very pleasant, as well….the 90 degree weather was downright chilly compared to Sunday’s 100 degrees.

For dinner last night, I had a backpacking meal. Wayne’s Test Kitchen churned out a curry rice dish, made with instant rice, TVP (dehydrated textured vegetable protein), dried onion bits, golden raisins, and various spices. I wanted my fellow backpackers to try it out before we took it on the trail later this week. There was a ton left over, so I ate it for dinner.

I ran out of Honey Nut Cheerios, so I had Fruit Loops for breakfast today. The date on the milk is 6/25 and it did seem to have a bit more flavor than a couple days ago. Fortunately, the sugar and artificial colors in the Fruit Loops masked the slightly off flavor really well. I may need to freeze more of the milk before it matures too much more.

For lunch, I had a bowl of hamburger stew, or perhaps I should call it “hearty minced meat stew”…if that sounds more appetizing. I didn’t have any flour or corn starch to use as a thickening agent, so I mixed pancake mix with water and it worked beautifully. I may make a batch of minced meat stew for the family when they return. I’m glad it came out well, because I need to finish the pot of it before I go backpacking on Thursday night.

It’s a bit early to start thinking about dinner, but I have a sneaking suspicion that stew is on the menu.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Mother Lode

94/365 - College Staple
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
I forgot I’m leaving for my backpacking trip on Thursday night, so I’d best use up my supply of fresh vegetables before they go bad. I threw the pasta sauce I made last night into the freezer….I’ll have pasta some other week. During my lunch break today, I browned the hamburger with garlic and half an onion, and then added water, one of those Mexican chicken bouillon cubes, carrots, and the diced potato. This stew should get me through the week.

While digging through the pantry today, I found the mother lode....a stash of instant ramen! I planned on eating tuna and crackers for lunch, but had ramen instead. That allows me to save the remaining can of tuna for a future meal. I have cheese, elbow macaroni, milk, and canned corn….so perhaps I can make a tuna casserole. The date on the milk is 6/25, so I put three Tupperware containers worth into the freezer (about one liter total). We have three tubs of ice cream taking up valuable real estate in the freezer, so I don’t have space for more milk. Oh well, no use crying over frozen milk…

Good news is I have a lot of protein. I came across some frozen hot dogs and a can of spam….so I should have some awesome meals down the road. Also have flat iron steaks, venison, beef liver, trout, and something that looks like pork or chicken….all safely frozen for future consumption.

Okay, enough about food…’s getting me hungry! On a side note, it’s hotter than a dog again today! I showered last night after midnight because any sooner, I would have sweated to death. Today, I finally gave in and turned on the AC…just don’t tell anyone…

Hotter Than a Dog!

View from Las Trampas
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
I went hiking on Sunday at Las Trampas Regional Wilderness. Las Trampas is one of the many open space areas managed by the East Bay Regional Park District. It was over 100 degrees on the trail today....and I drank almost three liters of water.

On another note, I'm doing pretty well clearing out the fridge, freezer, and pantry so far. As I noted previously, my challenge is to see how long I can survive without going to the grocery store. I was a bit tired after my hike today, so for dinner, I mixed canned tuna with mayo and spread it on crackers. I started cooking some red pasta sauce, using the can of tomatoes from the pantry, half an onion, and garlic. I'll probably have pasta for dinner tomorrow.

I also have some hamburger defrosting. I can't decide whether to mix it with Cream of Mushroom soup and make SOS....or if I should make a hamburger stew with it. I have a few carrots, one potato, and 1.5 onions left, so I'll probably make hamburger stew....that way I'll get more meals out of the hamburger and will make good use of my remaining fresh vegetables.


92/365 - Naughty Butterflies
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
Summer is here and I'm loving the long daylight hours. I've been out hiking five times in the last six days (I jogged one day instead of hiking). Saw some beautiful butterflies at Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve on Saturday. They were a bit preoccupied and allowed us to stick our cameras in their faces.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Steak Again!?

90/365 - Steak Again!?
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
The family left town on Monday for the whole summer and left me with a fridge full of leftovers. My objective is to see how long I can survive without going to the grocery store. I plan on living off leftovers and the contents of the freezer/pantry for as long as possible.

We had steak on Sunday for my son’s birthday (and Father’s Day) and bought a few pounds too much. I’ve been eating steak for lunch and dinner since Monday…and probably have a few more meals before it’s gone. The fridge was also packed with fresh vegetables, lettuce, carrots, celery, and broccoli. Unfortunately, it looks like the veggies will run out before the steak. I hope there’s some Liquid Plumber in the cabinet because there could be some major CC problems (Colon Cloggage).

Here's today's lunch. Notice there’s no rice on the plate…a strange sight for an Asian plate. Well, I’m too lazy to cook rice so I’m clearing the bread out of the pantry. Why cook rice when there’s bread ready for the eating?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I carried my camera on a jog today and came across this railroad switch in the tracks. I immediately thought about the paths we choose to take in our lives. Each and every day, we all make choices that can have a profound impact on the rest of our lives. We all need to consider the consequences of our actions BEFORE WE ACT and make the right decisions. Making poor decisions sets one down the wrong set of tracks. We also need to assess our current situations and what we want our future to be....then see if we're even on the right set of tracks.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Life Lessons

The wife and kids are away for the summer, so I am once again the boss of the house!! It's only been two days and I've already learned a few things.

Lesson #1: Dump the water out of the cups before loading them into the dish washer. This will save you the follow-on step of mopping the floor.

Lesson #2: Perhaps it's time to fix the sprinkler system. We've been using these sprinklers that screw into the hose for the last few years because I was too lazy to fix the broken sprinkler. One of the neighborhood kids (possibly related to me) stepped on it and broke the PVC pipe below the ground. Anyway, I went to Home Depot yesterday and bought another cheap screw-in-the-hose sprinkler.

Lesson #3: If you're going to set your refrigerator temp at the coldest setting, do not fill up a glass container full with water and cap it. Today, I noticed a minor flood in the fridge. Apparently the water froze, expanded, and shattered the glass container. I swear I set the fridge at the middle setting....perhaps one of my roommates changed it.

Okay, that's it....I'm sure there will be more lessons learned in the upcoming days and weeks.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Family Ghost

87/365 - Wayne's Ghost
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
The theme for my photography project this week is "Mid-Day Portraits." Unfortunately, my family left for Guam today to spend the summer with Lola (Grandma) I have no subjects for portraits. I decided to take a picture of the family ghost.

I set-up the camera on rear curtain sync and remained in the frame for a few seconds...then quickly left the scene before the shutter closed (before the flash fired).

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

86/365 - Happy Father's Day
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
Hope all you fathers, dads, papas, and grandpas out there are having a great Father's Day today!

I dragged the kids out into the front yard for a quick photo. Kevin wouldn't smile unless I prompted him to and Kami looked over to see if he was smiling...right as I snapped the photo.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Reaching for the Clouds

The clouds rolled in yesterday afternoon, so I dragged the wife out for a romantic drive, looking for some open space to take some pictures that included the sky. This is a random field in Livermore, CA. We drove around creation looking for a cool vantage point. I intended to photograph the hills north of Livermore, but then I stumbled upon these weeds. I used my super-wide angle lens to exaggerate the height of the stems.

After a few snaps, I suggested we hang out for another hour and a half until the sky got more color....but she thought what I had was good enough. She loves me....but not that much!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Waking Up in a Strange Place

81/365 – Hotel Lamps
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
I woke up in the middle of the night and noticed my wife wasn't in bed. I figured I must have been snoring too loudly and she went downstairs to sleep on the couch. Then I looked at the clock and realized I was in the Marriott Hotel in San Diego, traveling on business.

Here's the lamp on the hotel desk. I didn't adjust the white balance because I felt the warmer light complemented the brown tones in the lamp and wall.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Wind Turbines

Wind Turbines
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
Here are some wind turbines on the Altamont Pass. I'm not a fan of windshield photography, but the sun was setting as we were driving home from an AAU basketball tournament...and I've been wanting to capture these wind turbines for years.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Eagle Pride

Not to be out done, my daughter had her elementary school promotion today.  In this photo, she's receiving her certificate from the principal.  Her teacher is at the podium.

I can't believe she'll be in middle school next year!!

Go Patriots!

Go Patriots!
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
Yesterday was my son's 8th Grade promotion. This is a painting on the inside of the gym, where the ceremony was held.

I can't believe he'll be in high school next year!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Memories From an Earlier Generation

Auntie Pearl passed away in Dec 2009. While helping clean out her apartment, I came across her old camera and boxes of Kodachrome slides. It was pretty cool seeing the world through her eyes.

This is her Topcon Wink S Mirror Camera (circa 1960's).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Nature's Beauty

Plant (To Be Identified)
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
I went hiking with a friend today on the Pleasanton Ridge. We were hiking up a wooded trail and I loved how the sun penetrated the trees and lit up these plants. The narrow beams of light allowed for beautiful lighting on the plant, along with a darker green background. The blurred background is created using a large aperture (small f-stop) and is called bokeh. Bokeh is derived from the Japanese word "boke" which means "blurred background created by a large aperture."

Clouds Rolling In

Clouds Rolling In
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
Since starting my "photo a day" project a few months ago, photography has consumed my free time (just ask my Flickr widow....oops, sore subject)....and my running has been non-existent.

In the spirit of Galen Rowell, I decided to combine the two activities and jogged the ridge yesterday with my camera. Here are some clouds rolling in over the Pleasanton Ridge.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Looking Over the Children

This is a sculpture outside St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Pleasanton, CA. I've been wanting to shoot this for a few months now, but the lighting has always been a challenge. Today, I decided to shoot it at night. I liked the illumination from the artificial lights on the inside of the sculpture and the remaining light in the sky lit the top of the sculpture well.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Fire Station 36 - Danville, CA

71/365 - Fire Station 36
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
My cemetery visits this week were interesting. Many historical and prominent Pleasanton people are buried in the Pleasanton cemetery. Today, however, I needed a change of pace. The next time I see a cemetery, I hope it's from the other side of the grass.

This is the fire station in Danville, off Camino Tassajara Road.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mr. Cazin's Resting Place

The theme for my photography project this week is "Cemeteries." The Pleasanton Memorial Gardens Cemetery is located a few miles south of downtown Pleasanton. Walking around the cemetery over the last few days, I really felt the emotion and love within the fences.

The clouds were beautiful today, so I just had to get a super-wide angle shot that included the sky.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Belated Memorial Day

67/365 - Hyde Walter Frates
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
I was backpacking yesterday with the Boy Scouts and wasn't able to get a good Memorial Day photo. I drove to the Pleasanton Memorial Gardens Cemetery this afternoon and captured this image of a veteran's tombstone. Thank you to all veterans for your service.