Friday, March 18, 2011

Trading Post map

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sunday, July 12, 2009

100 Baseball things to do before you die

Inspired by 1001 places to see before you die, I thought I'd come up with 100 baseball things to do before you die. So in no particular order, as my family and I brainstorm, here's our baseball bucket list:

1-30. Visit all 30 major league parks (either present or former)
31. Watch a game from atop the Green Monster.
32. Watch a game from the Wrigley bleachers.
33. See an all star game
34. See a World Series game
35. Visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown
36. See the monuments at Yankee Stadium
37. Eat a Dodger Dog
38. Eat a Fenway Frank
39. Watch the sausage race in Milwaukee
40. Watch the presidents race in DC
41. Watch a home run derby in person
42. Visit the All Star Game Fanfest
43. Go to spring training in Florida
44. Go to spring training in Arizona
45. Go to a fantasy camp
46. Have your picture taken with Freddy at Yankee Stadium
47. Have your picture taken with John Adams in Cleveland (and maybe beat the drum)
48. Sing "Take me out to the ballgame" at Wrigley Field
49. Listen to a Hall of Fame announcer call a baseball game on the radio while watching the game in person
50. Catch a foul ball or home run ball or BP ball
51. Visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City
52. Go to opening day
53. Sit in one of the "mile high" seats at Coors Field
54. Throw out the first pitch
55. Run the bases after a game
56. Start the wave or the "clap"
57. Watch a Cubs game from one of the rooftop venues across the street
58. Slide down the Coke bottle in San Francisco
59. See a no hitter
60. See a double-header
61. Sit in a major league dugout
62. Tour a major league clubhouse
63. Have picture taken with a World Series trophy
64. Visit the Louisville Slugger factory
65. Visit the "Field of Dreams" in Iowa

Please add your suggestions in the comments.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Big Papi, agility champion!

We've been working on running through poles, but not weaving yet. I found the tunnel at ToysRUs. He really likes "training." I'll have to shoot video of him whining, running and jumping when he sees me getting the equipment ready to go outside.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Papi fetches the paper

You may not be able to see this on the video, but in the street was a stick. He went to pick up the stick twice before I finally convinced him to fetch the paper. There are ads and an extra section in Thursday's Blade, so he normally has a tough time fetching it in one try.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Big Papi's video debut

I'm trying out a flip video camera from work. Very cool, and only $129. You can shoot up to 60 minutes of video on the internal memory. It has a built-in USB connector, and there's even software pre-loaded on the camera that installs automatically when you connect it to the computer.

Papi loves to fetch my paper in the morning, and to go to the mailbox with me when I get home from work. He will sometimes "talk" in a much louder voice than he did in this short video.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

See the Golden Gate Bridge from a helicopter

I wish I could say I shot this video, but I didn't. I found it on YouTube. It was produced by Sandra Cannon for October 2005.

I bought the bridge for $1000

I met a real nice guy on the bridge. He sold it to me for only $1000.

But seriously, this is a cancelled $1000 bond that was originally issued on July 1, 1933. They sell them as souvenirs in the gift shop next to the bridge. They're really interesting looking and there are signatures on the bottom from the president and secretary of the board of directors.

Video of the parrots

Me on the bridge

There's a civil war era fort under the bridge!
I walked as far as the first tower. It was windy and noisy from all the traffic. The view of the city skyline was obscured by haze. It's a LOOOONG way down!

The Golden Gate Bridge

This large cable is actually made up of hundreds (maybe thousands?) of thin cables, no bigger than the thickness of a pencil

2 or 3 hundred elephant seals! I can't remember how many

The park rangers really do count the number of elephant seals and post it for all to see. This is the prime season for babies to be born. If I remember my statistics correctly, the babies weigh about 70 pounds at birth, and by the time they head back out to sea when they're about 3 months old they weigh 300-350 pounds!

A crew from one of the San Francisco TV stations was just leaving when we arrived. I caught the story on the news the next morning and we must have just missed a couple of bull elephant seals fighting. They weren't very active when we were there.

I love this picture of the lighthouse

Here's what it looks like going back up!

The steps have numbers painted on them about every 50 or so, either to torture you mentally, or to help you pace yourself.

Thar be whales!

We feel very fortunate to have caught a glimpse of several gray whales on their southern migration. But let me tell you, it's no fun to look at them through a camera viewfinder. And by the time I reacted, found the whale in the viewfinder, squeezed the shutter and waited for the camera to do its thing, I had many wasted shots. And as the angle of the sun changed it became increasingly difficult to see anything through the viewfinder.

Only 302 steps to the lighthouse!

Notice the yellow warning sign! They're not kidding! It's way more fun on the way down.

Point Reyes National Seashore

We drove CA-1 from Muir Woods to Point Reyes. What spectacular scenery! What a scary road! Well, not really. But there weren't many places where the road was straight! After we got to the Point Reyes visitor center it was still about a 35 minute drive to the parking lot, a .4 mile hike up a fairly steep incline where I took this picture. This is very similar to the view from the Point Reyes webcam I posted earlier (scroll down).

Another photo from Muir Woods

Wow that's a big tree!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Jim behind bars

Hummingbird on Alcatraz island

Alcatraz was incredible! The audio tour is fantastic! After touring the prison, Susan and I began walking the trails on the island. I heard a very faint bird song, and when I looked around I saw this tiny little hummingbird sitting on the barbed wire. My first few photos of him (her?) were backlit, so I only got a silhouette against the blue sky. He flew away, but soon returned to about the exact same spot. I was able to sneak around to the other side of him where the lighting was MUCH better and take a few more photos before he left for good. I'm guessing it's an Anna's hummingbird. A website I consulted said it's the only hummingbird to be found in California in the winter.

The wild parrots of Telegraph Hill

I first learned about these colorful birds while watching a fascinating documentary on PBS. I consider myself very lucky, because when I got to Coit Tower, several of the birds were eating berries in one of the trees. I got to within 5-10 feet of them to take these photos. A few minutes later another tourist startled them and they flew off.
Also see this website for more info:

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Me in Muir Woods

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Flying over Alcatraz

Special thanks to my son for staying up VERY late Wednesday night (Thursday morning) to capture this shot of our jet "flying" over the Bay Bridge and Alcatraz in Google Earth.
San Francisco is at the top of the photo. Alcatraz is above and to the right of our plane. The little colored dots are icons representing pictures that can be viewed of those locations in Google Earth.

GPS data in Google Maps

As I explained in an earlier post, here's the data from the handheld GPS receiver. The GPS could not get a signal in the Muir Woods because of the thick canopy of the trees. I forgot to take the GPS with me on some of my sightseeing in downtown San Francisco, so you won't get to see the many streets I explored either on foot, cable car, or bus. But I did include our trip to Alcatraz. You can zoom in or out on the map below using the controls on the left side.

Point Reyes/Alcatraz at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:Share GPS tracks

Point Reyes lighthouse video

I just discovered this today! It's a short video on the Point Reyes lighthouse from the Discovery Channel.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Sorry I haven't blogged, but...

...the Internet was ridiculously slow, and while I worked on a post on Friday morning and started to upload a photo, POOF! the Internet puked. I decided I would much rather ENJOY my vacation than to be a slave to the computer. So I hope that over the next few days (weeks?) I'll be able to bore you with several stories, anecdotes, photos and maybe even a video or two.

BTW, SFO was incredible! I wouldn't want to live there (nor could I afford to!), but it's a fantastic city and surrounding area to visit.

And MAN did my feet hurt!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Our (Jim's) itinerary

Wednesday: Leave DTW at 4:20 PM, arrive SFO 9:40 PM after a 2.5 hour layover in Chicago (MDW).
Thursday: Muir Woods and Point Reyes National Seashore
Friday: Tour AT&T park, Coit Tower, North Beach, Beach Blanket Babylon
Saturday: Chinatown, Embarcadero, Fisherman's Wharf
Sunday: Alcatraz tour, ???
Monday: Leave SFO 7:25 AM, arrive DTW 6:35 PM after a THREE HOUR layover in Chicago!

Track our flights on a real-time map at Enter the airline and flight number on the left side of the page where it says Quick Track (FREE!)
Wednesday: Southwest 1343 Southwest 2987
Monday: Southwest 953 Southwest 1465

If you have Google Earth it's even cooler! Just click the "Track in Google Earth" button on the map page.

Remind me to tell you all about our hotel reservation "problem" when I get back. Just keep your fingers crossed and say a little prayer that we really do have a room when we get there late Wednesday night like the lady from Jensen said we would.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I LOVE this photo!

It's a picture of the Point Reyes lighthouse by Kathi Kaiser, posted on Panoramio and selected for viewing in Google Earth. I hope I can take one very similar to this when we're there on Thursday. It's about 300 steps to the bottom.

I need a pack mule!

Here's a list of all the tech stuff we'll be taking with us:

1 laptop
1 Palm handheld computer
1 handheld GPS receiver
1 car GPS receiver
1 digital camera
1 digital camcorder
Spare rechargeable batteries
Cables and accessories for the above

I'll be using the Palm to run a free program called Metro. It has a list of popular tourist attractions and how to navigate between them on the buses, cable cars, streetcars, and subways in San Francisco. I've used the program before in Chicago, New York and Boston and it really works!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Point Reyes National Seashore web cam

KQED: Lonely Island, Hidden Alcatraz

Check out this fantastic website about Alcatraz:

Alcatraz Island multimedia

Some great photos on the National Park Service website. Click the hyperlink above to see them for yourself. The virtual tours are especially cool!

Golden Gate Bridge web cam

Also from KPIX TV

San Francisco weather forecast

I don't know if this photo will automatically update each day, but I hope this forecast from KPIX is correct:

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

PhotoMapper Rocks!

I'm interested in "geocoding" my digital photos. I learned that there is software that compares the time encoded on a picture with the time in a track log on a GPS receiver, and then the software places the picture where it was taken in Google Earth and/or Google Maps.

So while reading the GpsPasSion blog I learned about FREE PhotoMapper software that does just that. Quite easily I might add.

The first picture is a screenshot of the software. On the left side is a list of digital pictures, on the right is the GPS tracklog.

The second picture is of Google Earth with the geocoded photos located almost exactly where they were taken. I haven't figured out why some are in the wrong location. But as easy as this was, and for FREE, I'm not complaining!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Guess where else I'll be going?

View Larger Map

Happy 100th Birthday Muir Woods!

January 9, 2008 is the 100th birthday of Muir Woods, another National Park we'll be visiting. Check out this web page for more info:

A few years ago I visited the Big Basin Redwoods State Park and I was in awe of the gigantic redwoods. But Muir Woods is only 12 miles north of San Francisco, and from there we can continue on to the Point Reyes National Seashore.

Here's another interesting site to visit to learn more about how we can all help to preserve our nation's remaining redwood forests:

And here's another Google Map to check out:

View Larger Map

Point Reyes National Seashore

I can't wait to go to the Point Reyes National Seashore! This is an excellent location to watch migrating gray whales, and elephant seals. We'll be driving right along the San Andreas Fault to get there!
Play around with this embedded Google Map.

View Larger Map

Earthquake mashup

Although I can't get the embed code, here's a link to a map of the San Francisco area with a mashup of USGS earthquake data from the past week. If you zoom out far enough on this map you'll see color-coded circles that represent the strength of the seismic activity. Pray that we won't have any while we're there!,-122.603302&spn=0.446705,0.885773&z=10&om=1

Getting ready for SFO!

While we're in San Francisco, I'm going to attempt to show you EXACTLY where we were by using a Garmin GPS unit, some cool FREE software, and an AWESOME free website.

The software is called EasyGPS and it allows you to download the data from the GPS unit and save it as a GPX file.

The website, GPS Visualizer, takes your uploaded GPX file and creates a "mash up" in Google Maps to display a map of exactly where you were. GPS Visualizer now has a partner website called Every Trail that saves the mash up and generates the necessary HTML code that enables you to embed your Google Map on your blog. Like this one:

Sample1 at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:Share GPS tracks

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Friday, August 11, 2006

Another Vegas webcam!

KLAS-TV Stratosphere web cam???

We'll see if this link is working again!

Red Rock Canyon web cam link

For some reason the link I keep revising keeps going down.
So instead of posting the picture on this blog, I'll just provide a hyperlink to the original site:

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Photo of the Grand Canyon Skywalk

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

MGM Lion Cubs

Bellagio Fountains

Tuesday, July 18

Our last day in Vegas :(

We checked out about 10 AM. There was a problem with our bill-- they didn't apply our $15 food credit. But it worked out beautifully! When I returned about 2 PM, they had deducted our ENTIRE food bill! Including the god-awful brazilian steakhouse!! WOO-HOO!!!

We walked around the very upscale Fashion Square Mall. Neiman Marcus had a purse marked down from $1200 to only $491!!!! What a deal! I had to drag Susan away. NOT!

Had lunch at the Bally's buffet. We liked it better than the Flamingo and it was about the same price. After lunch we returned to TI to pick up our luggage and the rental car and drove to New York, New York casino. It's really cool inside, but they didn't have any full pay video poker machines. We crossed the street to the MGM Grand where I videotaped a couple of really cute and playful lion cubs (I'll post the video ASAP). We lost about $30 playing their video poker machines (which weren't full pay, but we were tired of walking). Then we went to Excalibur and got lost trying to get out of there! I didn't like it there at all! We checked out the Tropicana and got some free decks of cards for joining their players club, but didn't spend a quarter there.

We also went to the M&M store and the Coca Cola store for some souvenirs, then retrieved the rental car and went back to our favorite casino, Caesar's Palace. Within 10 minutes we had won about $40 playing video poker, so we cashed out and had a huge slice of pizza and a diet coke with our winnings. Then we proceeded to win a few more dollars playing video poker before we called it a vacation and returned to the airport, WHERE WE CONTINUE TO SIT AND WAIT FOR OUR FLIGHT TO LEAVE!

I hope we can return to Vegas some day. There is SO MUCH to see! We didn't get to all of the casinos, and a couple of the other attractions in the area. We didn't get downtown either. We have a zillion (or so it seems) players' club cards from the casinos we visited, so I'm sure we'll be getting offers in the mail or via email to lure us (and our money) back again. I had a blast despite the heat. By the way, while we at Grand Canyon the relative humidity was 9% and the dew point was 25!!!

I'm sure I'll be posting more pictures and videos so please check back. I hope you enjoyed reading our blog as much as I enjoyed writing it.