Pirate Rubber Duckie's 8th Host

Monday, 28 Nov 2005 | Pirate Rubber Duckie

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Bainbridge Island, WA

Host B e t h
Location Bainbridge Island, WA
Arrival Date November 26, 2005
Previous Location Leland, NC
Distance for This Leg 2,458 Miles
Total Distance 12,799 Miles

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Taffy's 76 Week Photo

Sunday, 27 Nov 2005 | Pets

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Taffy investigates the neighborhood.

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China Fun

Saturday, 26 Nov 2005 | Family, Food

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Toni, Erin and I drove down to San Diego today for an early dinner at one of our favorite Chinese fast food restaurants, China Fun. I discovered this great restaurant when I used to work for Qualcomm. They have really yummy Chinese food prepared fast.

Toni and I started with Veggie Egg Rolls dipped in sweet and sour sauce and Asian hot mustard. They are crunchy and oh so good.

Our long time favorite dish is the House Special Chicken. It's pieces of breaded and fried chicken coated with a unique spicy sauce that is so good. The flavor reminds me of the Korean hot chili paste. I'm thinking they use it or something like it in the sauce.

Another dish we always get is the Chicken Lo Mein. It is also very tasty. A lot of places call this dish Chicken Chow Mein, but China Fun's Chow Mein is made with light rice noodles and a lighter translucent sauce. I like to put a little Sriracha hot chili sauce on the Lo Mein to kick it up a notch. Actually, I like to put Sriracha on lots of things lately. My friend Kat turned me on to mixing Sriracha and Ketchup as a condiment to french fries and other foods.

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Veggie Egg Rolls

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House Special Chicken

china_fun_chicken_lo_mein.jpgChicken Lo Mein

China Fun
11134 Rancho Carmel Drive Suite 100
San Diego, CA 92128
(858) 485-8848

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The Silver Spoon

Tuesday, 22 Nov 2005 | Cooking

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I picked up my copy of The Silver Spoon while shopping for presents today at Costco. The Italian version was written in 1950 and is now available for the first time in English. The Silver Spoon is touted to be Italy's best-selling cookbook for over fifty years and the bible of authentic Italian cooking. It's also a very popular wedding gift for Italian brides. It's an encycopedic volume containing over 2,000 recipes.

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A Buck Sixty Two

Tuesday, 22 Nov 2005 | Food

I picked up a Polish Sausage and a soft drink at Costco for lunch today. It's a Hebrew National Polish Sausage that extends past the end of the bun and an endless soft drink for a total of $1.62 with tax. That's quite a bargain that most Costco shoppers, myself included, can't pass up. Right now, that's cheaper than a gallon of gasoline. I paid $2.47 per gallon at the Costco gas center just before coming in the store.

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A Day Out with Thomas

Monday, 21 Nov 2005 | Family

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My dad invited us to go see the real life sized Thomas the Tank Engine on Saturday. He was appearing at the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris. I had heard of the museum, but this was the first time I had been there.

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Erin used to watch Thomas videos all the time when she was a little girl, but didn't remember anything about the plot anymore. My dad has been intrigued by trains since he was a little boy growing up in Riverside. He used to bug his dad until he got to go outside to see trains when they came by his house.

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There were many children there to see Thomas and Sir Topham Hatt. We all had a good time and I had fun taking pictures. We rode on an old passenger car pulled by Thomas the Tank Engine. Tickets for the ride were sold out except for standby tickets. My dad had preordered our tickets and our ride time was 4:30 pm just before the museum closed at 5:00 pm.

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Taffy's 75 Week Photo

Sunday, 20 Nov 2005 | Pets

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Taffy gives me her adoring look at the top of the stairs.

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Make Your Own Kind of Music

Friday, 18 Nov 2005 | Music

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I just received my Mama Cass Elliot CD today and have got Make Your Own Kind of Music on song repeat on my iTunes at work. I heard the song recently on Lost and was reminded how much I like it. It has a an upbeat, optomistic sound to it that is addictive. It also helps me to feel good about doing my own thing. I have often lamented being different and not your typical person, but now I think that it is not only alright, it's a good thing. It's interesting how music can make such a difference in your life. I know it has in mine. :D

Nobody can tell ya
There's only one song worth singing
They may try and sell ya
Cause it hangs them up
To see someone like you

But you gotta make your own kind of music
Sing your own special song
Make your own kind of music
Even if nobody else sings along

You're gonna be nowhere
The loneliest kind of lonely
It may be rough going
Just to do your thing's the hardest thing to do

But you've gotta make your own kind of music
Sing your own special song
Make your own kind of music
Even if nobody else sings along

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Wienermobile

Thursday, 17 Nov 2005 | Toys

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You can get your very own Hot Wheels Wienermobile from the Kraft Foods Wienermobilia Store at the introductory price of $3.99 including free shipping and handling. It's such a cute replica of the famous American food industry icon.

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Grape Nuts and Raisins

Thursday, 17 Nov 2005 | Daily

I started buying healthier foods to have in my office so I'm less tempted to buy bad stuff out of the vending machines when I get hungry. I know it's better to eat smaller amounts throughout the day and it helps me to eat sensibly when I go out for lunch since I'm not starving.

I have stocked up on Grape Nuts, raisins, Strawberry Yoplait, bananas and milk. I really like the crunchiness and taste of Grape Nuts, but I like my cereal a little sweet, so I buy raisins and add them myself. It's still nutritious, but I get the natural sweetness I love. I also like to add Grape Nuts to my yogurt for an added crunch sometimes.

Speaking of breakfast cereals, what is up with all the different kinds of cereal nowadays? There are tons of variations on almost every cereal now. It's a little overwhelming picking out a cereal. Some grocery stores have practically an entire aisle dedicated to cereals.

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Taffy's 74 Week Photo

Saturday, 12 Nov 2005 | Pets

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Taffy reluctantly wearing the reindeer antlers Toni bought for her today.

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A Good Vibe

Wednesday, 9 Nov 2005 | Humor, Observations, Transportation

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I saw a Pontiac Vibe on the road today during lunch. It's a sporty mini SUV vehicle that actually doesn't look half bad. I was thinking it would be cool to own one just so I could tell people that "I'm getting a good Vibe". People would say things like "Hey, Mike really has a good Vibe." And if I were to gift a friend with my vehicle, they could tell people "Mike is giving me a good Vibe." LOL

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Control the Focus

Wednesday, 9 Nov 2005 | Photography

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I made it a point to focus manually during my photo shooting session two days ago. I used to own a Nikon F3-HP with all manual focus lenses. I like to use wide apertures for shallow depth of field sometimes. There's just something about the look of isolated focus that's appealing to me.

My Nikon 180mm f/2.8 D lens has a nice rubberized focusing ring that has a feel much akin to a manual focus lens. I find that a lot of newer autofocus lenses have wimpy little focusing rings that aren't as smooth and silky as I like.

I like how I can precisely focus on a subject without recomposing when I use manual focus. I usually place the center focus indicator on the subject to autofocus and then recompose the shot. There's a feeling of satisfaction I get when I control the focus. That's not to say I don't value autofocus. I do very much. For fast moving subjects, it allows me to track objects with speed and precision. But when I have the luxury of time to photograph a still subject, I rather enjoy manually focusing.

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Hard Drive Naming Convention

Tuesday, 1 Nov 2005 | Apple, Computers

My new hard drive will be arriving today from B&H Photo. This will be my second LaCie external hard drive. I really like the build quality of their drives. I'm adding this drive to make room for my growing collection of digital photographs. I have taken around 17,000 photos with my Nikon D100 so far and I'm still going strong.

I adopted a hard drive naming convention a few years ago. I like to name my hard drives after cities that I live near or enjoy visiting. My iMac currently has an internal drive named Murrieta and an external drive named Temecula. The drive on my Powerbook is named Monterey. I'm going to name the new hard drive Carmel. We live in Murrieta which is right next to Temecula. I used to live near Monterey at Fort Ord and we love to visit Monterey and Carmel whenever we get the chance.

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Nikon Unveils D200

Tuesday, 1 Nov 2005 | Nikon, Photography

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Today, Nikon unveiled their much anticipated D200 digital SLR camera. From the specifications, it appears to be quite a nice camera. It incorporates the ruggedness and a lot of the features from Nikon's flagship D2X in a smaller package.

The Nikon D200 boasts a 10.2 megapixel resolution with 5 frame per second high speed continous shooting. The shutter speed range is from 30 seconds to 1/8000 second and ISO ranges from 100 to 1600 with a 1/250 second maximum flash sync. It has a magnesium alloy body and an eleven point autofocus system. It even has a mirror up function which I welcome. One thing the D200 has that even the D2X doesn't is the new AI aperture ring connector which supports A / M modes and metering with AI manual focus lenses (essentially anything made since 1977).

The digital camera site, dpreview.com, has a nice D200 Preview. The D200 is expected to ship in late December, 2005 at an estimated selling price of $1,699.

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