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INDEX: March 2010 . html (Nov. 2009 - Mar. 2010)

Mar. 28, 2010

Hiking Loma Alta

Papai photo - fire road up to Loma Alta, 3/28/2010, canon EOS 7D We did this same hike last September, route maps here from then.
At the right -- the Smith Ridge fire road leading up to Loma Alta.
Papai photo - Loma Alta fire road & cow, 3/28/2010, canon EOS 7D At the left -- a solitary cow on the ridge.

Update: added Two Man Team Trial photos from Feb. 20, with Jay Kinney.

Photos from Loma Alta:

Poppies hiking, Papai photo, 3/28/10 Poppies hiking, Papai photo, 3/28/10 Loma Alta view to Lucas Valley, Papai photo, 3/28/10
Cindy taking a break at the top, Papai photo, 3/28/10 Hydration break at the top, Papai photo, 3/28/10

Mar. 27, 2010

Domaine Carneros

Domaine Carneros, Papai photo, June 2005

Domaine Carneros is owned by the famous Champagne winery Taittinger. In fact, on last Sunday's AMAZING RACE, Taittinger was featured as they raced around Reims. We are going to Carneros this afternoon...
"Domaine Carneros in the heart of Carneros, is the California expression of the tradition and excellence of its founder, Champagne Taittinger. Established in 1987, Domaine Carneros is considered a regional landmark."
After Domaine we visited next door (across the street) Cuvaison. A Swiss-owned winery with wonderful reds. We are going to their "Cinco de Uno" event on May 1 along with David & Heather, and Linda.

Carneros Vineyards at Cuvaison, K.Papai photo, 3/27/10
- view from Cuvaison Carneros tasting room.

Mar. 18, 2010

Windows 7

I have been running Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit for one full week now (on a new PC - Quadcore), and WOW!
WINDOWS 7 Graphic Maximum PC
Review on Maxiumum PC.
The motherboard is an MSI P55-GD65 -- Intel (R) P55 chipset, i5-750 CPU.

Feb. 20, 2010

2 Man Team Time Trial

My first official race wearing the Divine Electric Norcal colors. I wanted to do a few more races last year but my recovery from multiple fractures in late April slowed me way down. Jay Kinney (my original racing coach) was my teammate for this 2 Man Team Time Trial around San Pablo reservoir above the Berkeley Hills, just north of Orinda. The final climb to the finish line is up "Papa Bear" hill. They make it HARD at the end! The race director was an old Oacis colleague, Dylan McReynolds. Jay did 80% of the pulling -- I am far from being in shape this early in the season; plus, I was suffering from a bad cold (update 4/3/10 - still just 90% better from that protracted cold). Still a FUN TIME!
A few photos afterwards:

racer Jay Kinney, Papai photo, 2/20/10 myself with Jay's bike, Papai photo, 2/20/10 our bikes, Papai photo, 2/20/10
San Pablo resvr, Papai photo, 2/20/10
San Pablo Reservoir

Feb. 6, 2010

Judging Pinot Noir

Wine Grapes at Unti/Dry Creek Vly, Papai photo, Oct. 2009 FIVE Pinot Noir wines will be blindly judged by ten people Saturday afternoon. We will warm up the event with a 6th, pre-competition "test bottle" to acclimate judges' palates, then reveal that wine; that helps to ensure the first randomly chosen wine, bottle 'A', will be more fairly judged and not hitting virgin palates.

Index of previous wine judgings:

Pinot Noir - Mar. 2009
Zinfandel - May 2009
Pinot Noir - Aug. 2009
Zinfandel - Oct. 2009 (incl. score sheet)
Wines junded - the five pinot noir bottles, 2/6/2010
The Wines Judged
- and their order, from left to right.
Total Scores, from the 10 judges:
1. 203.6 - David Bruce, Santa Maria Vly, $40
2. 190.2 - Londer, Anderson Vly, Paraboll, $54
3. 187.9 - C. Donatiello, Maddie's Vineyard, Russian River Vly, $62
4. 184.5 - Roessler Cellars, Oregon Willamette Vly, Laurelwood, $34
5. 184.3 - Walter Hansel, Russian River Vly, Cahill Lane, $35
It was really close except for #1, the very tasty David Bruce Santa Maria. These were all 2007 vintage except for the '06 Londer.
Info links: The Pinot File, (3MB PDF file) from C. Donatiello Winery (publ. May 2009). C. Donatiello is closely associated with the wine making at the small Anthill Farms Winery.
Roessler Cellars (Sonoma, CA) makes many fine pinot noirs from diverse regions such as the Willamette Valley, Anderson Valley, & of course the Russian River.

Feb. 2, 2010

Golden Gate Sunrise

ALMOST Sunrise - Golden Gate Bridge, Papai photo, 2/2/10
One of the very first photos
(image #0011!) with my new Canon EOS 7D camera.
Details: ISO 1600, hand held at 1/13, f/2.8, -1.3 EC, 16-35 lens at 19mm. Shot Raw and processed with ACR 5.6 in PS CS4 (ACR = Adobe Camera Raw software). I reduced its size to 1000 pixels wide for Web display, then added the generic border frame I currently like. This was the morning at 6:40 a.m., 35 minutes before sunrise (with the sun coming from the left of course). I drove halfway up the Marin Headlands, pulled over and snapped a few photos, this was the first shot. A guy in a truck was parked next to me, smoking a cig (his window was open) and staring out at this awesome view. The cig smoke spoiled the karma a little.
How could I improve this photo? There are many ways.
They all start with using a tripod. That way the camera would be rock steady and I could then lower the ISO to around 400--instantly the new exposure is now 1/25 at f/4 and would result in a very sharp, not so noisy photo. (I deliberately underexposed this photo by using a too-fast shutter speed because it was sort of dark outside and the camera's auto exposure wants to make it lighter.)
Improve one more step beyond this? Albeit a marginally slight improvement -- use mirror lock-up (MLU) and a remote shutter release, with a 2-second timer. Been there done that, but had no tripod with me this morning, my mistake. One can always argue that my location is imperfect; maybe less of a dark, blocky foreground at the left and remove the two distracting trees at the bottom? This means move higher up the Headlands -- but then the city and the approaching eastern (bright) sunrise comes more into play into the composition.

Jan. 15, 2010

Sunrise & NFL PLayoffs

There was a beautiful sunrise this morning over SF Bay -- here are a few photos. A big set of storms is set to arrive in 1.5 days that are projected to endure through late next week. Enjoy this for now!

Sunrise - Bay Bridge, Papai photo, 1/15/10 Sunrise - Bay Bridge, Papai photo, 1/15/10 Sunrise - Bay Bridge, Papai photo, 1/15/10
Sunrise - Friday on the Embarcadero
Canon PowerShot SD800 IS
The NFL Divisional round of the playoffs are this weekend, four games; with the highlights being the Colts game Saturday evening and the Cowboys-Vikings game on Sunday. Here's hoping the Colts resting for the past several weeks will do them well tomorrow over the Ravens! (It worked! Colts killed the Ravens and Jets and will play the Saints in the Super Bowl in Miami on Feb. 7)

Click to American Red Cross donations for earthquake & disaster relief.
2009 NFL ALL PRO Team  (anncd Jan. 14, 2010)
QB - Peyton Manning, Colts (5th time)
RB - Chris Johnson, Titans (1st)
RB - Adrian Peterson, Vikings (2nd)
FB - Leonard Weaver, Eagles (1st)
WR - Andre Johnson, Texans (2nd)
WR - Wes Welker, Patriots (1st)
TE - Dallas Clark, Colts (1st)
T - Ryan Clady, Broncos (1st)
T - Joe Thomas, Browns (1st)
G - Steve Hutchinson, Vikings (5th)
G - Jahri Evans, Saints (1st)
C - Nick Mangold, Jets (1st)

DE - Jared Allen, Vikings (3rd time)     Special Teams
DE - Dwight Freeney, Colts (3rd)         P - Shane Lechler, Raiders (5th time)
DT - Jay Ratliff, Cowboys (1st)          K - Nate Kaeding, Chargers (1st)
DT - Kevin Williams, Vikings (5th)       Returns - Josh Cribbs, Browns (1st)
ILB - Patrick Willis, 49ers (2nd)
ILB - Ray Lewis, Ravens (7th)
OLB - Elvis Dumervil, Broncos (1st)
OLB - DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys (3rd)
CB - Charles Woodson, Packers (1st)
CB - Darrelle Revis, Jets (1st)
S - Darren Sharper, Saints (1st)
S - Adrian Wilson, Cardinals (1st)

Jan. 3, 2010

Top Ten Movies of 2009

KJP's Top Fifteen or Sixteen Movies of 2009 (release date):
1. Funny People
2. Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino's alternate WWII)
3. District 9 (from S. Africa)
4. Watchmen
5. Up In the Air
6. Star Trek (fresh out of the SF Starfleet Academy)
7. The Hurt Locker
8. Paranormal Activity (chills down my spine! demons!
8. Public Enemies (Depp as Dillinger)
9. Sin Nombre (foreign language film)
10. The Blind Side (Michael Oher bio.)
10. The Hangover (starring Mike Tyson!)
10. Adventureland
10. State of Play
14. (500) Days of Summer (her name is "Summer")
15. Extract (from Mike Judge)
16. Up (animated film from Pixar)

In addition to these ten I have to say that there are two films I've not yet seen that would likely crack this top ten, such as "A Serious Man", "Coco Before Chanel", and "Avatar".

Jan. 1, 2010

Top Ten TV of the Decade

(20100101 is a weird number to type)

My Top Ten TV shows of the decade: 2000 - 2009
1. The WireHBO's The Wire
2. The Sopranos
3. The Shield
4. Battlestar Galactica
5. Breaking Bad
6. Six Feet Under
7. Arrested Development
8. Mad Men
9. Dexter
10. The Office (NBC)
In addition to these ten I have to mention the dramatic battle every year in July for the Tour de France, broadcasted live, all three weeks! The NFL Playoffs as well, are as highly dramatic as anything on scripted TV.
Honorable Mention: Weeds, Californication, West Wing, Entourage, 30 Rock, Rome, The Tudors, Extras, Sex and the City, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Nip/Tuck, Flight Of the Conchords, True Blood, Damages, Survivor, and The Amazing Race (I am listening to Pink Floyd 'Atom Heart Mother' as I type this -- nice start to the new year!). Purposely missing from this list are Sons of Anarchy and Deadwood. I tried, but they failed me.
Almost on this list is Dennis Leary's often brilliant Rescue Me; however, I've not seen even half the episodes. Nearly made it are Prison Break which had 1.5 good seasons and Heroes with two good seasons -- still holding out though on Heroes. I cannot leave ABC's LOST off either. I still try! It's in its last season starting in a month.
New GOOD stuff: V (ABC) and Better Off Ted and Flash Forward. All three ABC, wow.
New Year's Day Photos
NFL Hockey at Fenway outdoors on TV, Papai photo, 1/1/10 Marin RR Tracks, Papai photo, 1/1/10
Above: NHL outdoors at Fenway Park, RR Tracks in Marin

EOS on the RR Tracks, Papai photo, 1/1/10

>> RON PAUL 2012 <<

Dec. 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Gloria Ferrer bubbles, Papai photo, 12/31/09
Ending 2009 off right
with a sparkling wine picnic at Gloria Ferrer while a scrumptious pork roast is slow cooking at home...
[Last year at Ferrer]

Dec. 25, 2009

2009 - Hike #33, Eldridge - Tam - Lagunitas

map of our hike of 12/25/09 (Trail map 33)
A little over ten miles of a hiking loop--the route described: start at the (paved) picnic lot next to Lake Lagunitas. There's a $7 entry fee charged by the MMWD at the Sky Oak Station off of the Fairfax-Bolinas road. Hike under the lake and take the Lakeview fire road up and out to Eldridge Grade. Turn right of course at the junction (otherwise you'll end up far down at Phoenix Lake).
Papai photo - Mt. Tamalpais in the background, 12/25/09 Mt. Tam's East Peak is the goal (but shooting into the sun).
Take Eldridge all the way to the top, then walk up to the parking lot at the East Peak visitor center and check out the awesome views. Walk back down, just past the Eldridge gate and turn right on the Middle Peak fire road. Hike all the way back down view Lakeview trail, to International trail, Northside trail, and plunge don the Rock Spring - Lagunitas fire road. Finish up on the (lower) Berry trail, skirt Bon Tempe Lake and back to the picnic area.
We rested for 15 minutes at the top, so including that, this whole hike was just 10 minutes short of four hours. Weather was pretty cool starting out at 10:30 a.m., but very sunny with decent visibility that improved with the day.

Papai photo - trail signs, 12/25/09 These trail signs are really old!
Papai photo - Eldridge Grade Redwoods, 12/25/09 Hiking Eldridge Grade through a small Redwood grove...

Xmas Chugging on Mt. Tam summit, 12/25/09

Dec. 24, 2009

2009 - Hike #32, Mt. Barnabe

map of our hike of 12/24/09 (Trail map 32)
Steep climb to the top of Mt. Barnabe... $8 state park entrance fee. Picnic area parking. Starting out at 10 a.m. it was cold in the shade; not much sun until we started the steep climb up to the top of Barnabe when it Papai photo - Samuel P. Taylor picnic area, 12/24/09 was a nice blue sky day with decent visibility (a slight haze in the air). The state park was pretty quiet for a Xmas Eve day. (We hiked to Mt. Barnabe summit via a different loop back in 2008.)

Papai photo - Samuel P. Taylor, Cindy at salmon crossing over Papermill Creek, 12/24/09 Salmon crossing underneath on Papermill Creek. We didn't see any fish today, darn it.
Papai photo - Mt. Barnabe summit hike, 12/24/09 At the right - summit of Mt. Barnabe with the lookout tower (windows all boarded up) and antennae.
After our hike we drove out to Olema and tasted the Pey-Marin wines at the Olema Inn (photo). We're thinking about joining their wine club--love their pinots!
Papai photo - Olema Inn, Pey Marin wine tasting, 12/24/09

Hiking Hydration Break
Papai photo - Chugging on Mt. Barnabe summit, 12/24/09

Dec. 5, 2009

Sonoma County Wineries

Iron Horse double magnum pouring, Papai photo, 12/5/09
Iron Horse double magnum
- a 1993 Alexander Valley cabernet sauvignon (3L bottle size equals four normal bottles of wine).
Visting four tasting rooms today: Iron Horse (sparkling), Marimar-Torres Estate (pinot noir), Lynmar (pinot noir), and Matanzas Creek (reds/merlot)...

Afterwards we had a great dinner at Napoli in San Rafael. I love their semi-thin crust pizza.

Nov. 29, 2009

2009 - Hike #31, Big Rock Ridge Towers

map of our hike of 11/29/09 (Trail map 31)
Hike up to the 2nd highest point (1895') in Marin, the Big Rock Ridge summit from the valley floor at Lucas Valley Estates neighborhood -- start at the gates off of Rubicon Ct., and unnamed trail to the top -- I call it 'Creekside' Trail, steep all the way to its end at its junction with the Big Rock Ridge fire road. Take a left on Big Rock Ridge (head west) and climb to the dual radio towers. Reverse your tracks then head down the Luiz fire road, through the neighborhood along Creekside Dr. and Bridgegate Dr. back to the trailhead on Rubicon off of Idleberry Rd.
Big Rock summit radio towers, Ken Papai photo, 11/29/09 The towers loom large at the Big Rock summit.
Big Rock summit towers, Ken Papai photo, 11/29/09 At the right: another view of the towers at the top. Towers for microwave and mobile phone communications. Today there were a couple trucks up there doing maintenance work -- one guy from Nevada.
Someone (Bill & Kenny) writes about (with photos) their mtn bike adventure to the top via Queenstone trailhead. I've done this MTB ride a few times to the towers and it is the most difficult and intense mtn biking in the county, bar none.
Big Rock Ridge fire road at Luiz, Ken Papai photo, 11/29/09 Maintenance truck approaching just above the junction of the two fire roads, Big Rock Ridge (going up) and Luiz going down.
Big Rock summit, Ken Papai photo, 11/29/09 At the right: 25 mins. later, approaching the summit along the fire road. This hike gives you a nice accomplishment! (and muscle soreness the next couple days)

12/7/09 - Snow on Big Rock Ridge
Big Rock Ridge - SNOWING! 12/7/09 Marin IJ photo
Photo by the Marin IJ

Nov. 21, 2009

2009 - Hike #30, Olema Valley - Fault Zone

map of our hike of 11/21/09 (Trail map 30)
(Pt. Reyes National Seashore map snippet)
So, here you go: park at mile marker 20.53 on Hwy 1 (6 miles south of the town of Olema) at the Randall Trailhead. Take the Randall Spur trail 0.4 miles across the Olema Creek to the Olema Valley Trail and take a right (north). Mellow climb on Olema and you then take a left on the Bolema Trail, more climbing, to the Ridge Trail, another left and then 2.5 miles on the Ridge reaching a max elevation of 1360'. Take Teixeira down from Ridge, left on Olema Valley, ford the Pine Gulch Creek; and finally another 2 miles then the Randall Spur back to where you started -- about a 9.6 mile loop.
This hike is notable beacuase it parallels the San Andreas fault rift zone (Olema Valley). Another good page from -- "In many places like the Carrizo Plain (San Luis Obispo County) and the Olema Trough (Marin County), the fault is easy to see as a series of scarps and pressure ridges."

Hiking Photos - Mushrooms on the Ridge Trail (Amanita muscaria/regalis in middle?)
Mushroom photo, Ken Papai, 11/21/09 Mushroom photo, Ken Papai, 11/21/09 Mushroom photo, Ken Papai, 11/21/09
(New) Bridge over Olema creek photo, Ken Papai, 11/21/09 Bolema Trail photo, Ken Papai, 11/21/09 Ridge Trail photo, Ken Papai, 11/21/09
Signs of life:
Signs & Day Pack photo, Ken Papai, 11/21/09 Chugging hydrating photo, Ken Papai, 11/21/09

We did a nearby hike back in May this year - Five Brooks Trailhead.
Not many views on offer on this hike -- most of the time you are surrounded by trees. A lot of the woods along the Ridge trail were clearcut over 50 years ago, most of the fir trees are the same age with a few old, huge Douglas Firs here and there. You can see that effect in a couple photos above.

Nov. 14, 2009

2009 - Hike #29, Inverness Ridge - Pt. Reyes

map of our hike of 11/14/09 (Trail map 29)
This was a longish (8.0 miles) and very cool hike. We started out in the dirt lot that is the Bayview Trailhead off of Limantour Rd. We took the Inverness Ridge fire road and trail to the FAA antenna at the peak of Pt. Reyes Hill (1336'). From there we descended through the new Bishop Pine forest on the tunnel-like Bucklin trail. These trees are barely 13-years old, having only started life after the horrible Mt. Vision fire from Oct. 1995. Pt. Reyes from Bucklin Trail, Ken Papai photo, 11/14/09 At the right: View of Drakes Bay (Pacific Ocean) and Drakes Estero and the Pt. Reyes peninsula from the top of Bucklin trail, at the FAA beacon site.
Self image - Cheers! Hydrating. 11/14/09
CHEERS to you!

Nov. 11, 2009

2009 - Mountain Biking Steeps

Mountain Bike route map on Mt. Tam, 11/11/09
Route map
on this morning's mountain bike (MTB) ride from home, up Mt. Tam and back:
Route: up Sterling Way/Professional Ctr Pkwy hill; out of San Rafael via Los Ranchitos and Lincoln, across Wolfe Grade, then over to Kentfield; climb up Goodhill Rd., take a left on Crown Rd., up Crown and through the gate to start the ultrasteep and challenging Indian Fire Rd. Bear right on Indian past Blithedale Ridge F.R. (at Knob Hill) to its ending junction with Eldridge Grade. Take a left and climb the rocky Eldridge. Continue on up past the trailhead for the Wheeler trail at the switchback; the turnaround point is a little short of Inspiration Pt. -- then it's nearly a five-mile descent down to Phoenix Lake and out, back home through surface streets of Ross and San Anselmo. I took quite a few photos with my handy little Canon point & shoot.

Indian Fire Road:
Mountain Biking on Indian fire road, Papai photo, 11/11/09 Mountain Biking on Indian fire road, Papai photo, 11/11/09 Mountain Biking on Indian fire road, Papai photo, 11/11/09

Nov. 1, 2009

2009 - Hike #28, Phoenix Lake - Eldridge Grade - Tucker Trail

map of our hike of 11/1/09 (Trail map 28)
This was a very nice and scenic early Sunday morning hike starting off of Crown Road. Thanks to Daily Saving Time ending we could get an early start (this Sunday was a 25-hour day); take the Allen trail Allen Trail photo, Ken Papai, 11/1/09 (photo at right) down from Crown Rd. deep down towards the southern tip of Phoenix Lake -- the Bill Williams creek (photo at left) is a primary water source for the lake at this end.
Bill Williams creek photo, Ken Papai, 11/1/09 Bill Williams creek and Runner photo, Ken Papai, 11/1/09 a runner on the trail. Lots of runners this morning -- definitely a favorite area for the local groups.
Papai self - hydrating w/NRG, hiking photo: 11/1/09

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