BLT Updates

Life updates about Brian and Lisa Thompson

Lisa and I decided that we wanted to have a good camera to take a lot of baby Chase photos. Our little compact Lumix DMC-ZS3 just won’t cut it, but still really good camera to have. Also, I discovered that I had about $450 dollars worth of Boeing Pride points that I could convert to Best Buy gift cards. With that bit or money I make the knee jerk decision that we could afford a nice camera.

We figured that if we got a nice DLSR camera that we would get really good photos, but wouldn’t likely lug it around too often to get many of the in-the-moment photos. So I shopped around the latest removable lens / mirrorless cameras. After a few weeks of internet searching and store browsing we (or more accurately put, I) decided to get the Sony NEX-6 camera.


Fortunately, for us Best Buy was having a sale on cameras and lenses. They had a Sony NEX-6 kit that comes with camera and the normal lens, 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 E-mount Lens (SELP1650), and also a 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 lens (SEL55210). Of course this was a good chunk of money more expensive, but with the gift cards I was feeling good about this.

with the SELP1650 lens

with the SEL55210 lens

I also splurged picked up a few accessories. I bought a nice little camera bag (Manfrotto Stile Solo II) that fits the camera, extra lens, the charger and wires great. The bag doesn’t have enough room for the light shade, but I’m okay with that.

I grabbed two rocketfish UV lens caps at Best Buy. They are ~$10 each and from the reviews I’ve read they don’t do too much, but are a great way to protect the real lens. Finally, Fry’s was having a great sale on Class-10 32GB SDHC memory cards and picked one up.

With all that I’m now set to be a premier pro-am photographer, though I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve been done a bit or reading on how to use the camera, but mostly I’ve been reading on what all the sensor readings mean and how to take good photos. I know have a ton of photos of our candlesticks, Lisa’s last day flowers, and much to Lisa’s disapproval, her on the couch doing shutterfly stuff.

Well lets hope I learn quickly as baby Chase is due in less than 2 weeks!

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October sure seemed to go by fast.  After having a really gloomy September, October really came out in full force on the weekends getting into the mid-80s.  We enjoyed 2 super sunny beach weekends; it was just locals and no tourists…peaceful. We also had fun going up to the Palisades to celebrate Lisa’s grandfather’s birthday with the whole family.

Trouble came the third weekend with our friend Chris LaPlaca visiting from Chicago and Alex.  The first morning we filled up on a gourmet waffle breakfast using the waffle mix my mom gave us from San Antonio.  After breakfast we headed out for a little pub peddle starting up in Playa del Ray at The Shack and working our way back with stops at OB’s and Simmzy’s.

Pub peddle stop at OB's

Our Mammoth ski passes came in the mail which is making me excited for another ski season.  I bought some more ski tuning gear and will be in the garage shortly getting our skis ready for the first turns of the year.  Neil has been sending me videos of some big time skiing at Silverton and I’m getting pumped.  We almost couldn’t tell if it was us on the video or not, but we are thinking the big cliff drops and aerobatics might not be us

We also went to Denver for Halloween weekend were there was snow on the ground (just  fueling the ski season anticipation) and had a great time staying with Gina, James, and Riley.  Riley let me into his pirate gang. I got play swords and wear his pirate hat all weekend (starting every morning with a “do you want to play swords” while we were still in bed).

We got to see Mark at the Vine Street pub and had a good time over a few beers.  Discussions ensued about looking into a Colorado ski trip  this season…we will see.  Saturday’s plans were to go to the Zoo, but there were way too many people so instead Lisa did some boot shopping at the Cherry Creek Mall and we watched a bit of football at the Cherry Cricket. On Sunday the Gilmore’s hosted a Halloween party for the kids which was pretty fun.  We were happy to see Haley and hear that she is getting better everyday.  It was fun for Lisa to see all of Gina’s high school friends that live in Denver.

Well we are into November now, but I’ll save all the current happenings until the November update.

We hope everyone is doing well


Brian and Lisa

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My monthly blog streak is now 2!  September was another fast month.  We began with a fun Labor day weekend.  Our friend Gilbert was back in town for a night which meant trouble at Fat Face Fenners.

Another exciting event this month was the Labor Day Sales for mens suits.  After having one suit for the last few years I finally got another one along with two new sports coats, some shirts and ties, and a belt.  This was good timing as I had a brief encounter with the VP of Boeing and looked pretty snazzy in my new outfit.

The following weekend, we made a road trip to Tuscon for a quick get away.  Lisa hadn’t been back to see her alma mater since she graduated.  We had a great first evening with my cousin Jeff, Michelle, and baby Cliff.  Saturday we walked around campus, saw Lisa’s sorority house, and laughed repeatedly as Lisa jumped in excitement each time she saw an old bar that she used to visit!  We had some lunch and drinks in the downtown area.  The Dintleman’s made a brief appearance, but it was a little too hot for Cliff’s taste.  We made a stop at the bookstore to get some new shirts.  Then back to the hotel to change and had a few beers at the hotel bar, which used to be called the Regal Beagle (“it hasn’t been called that for a really long time”…said the bartender).  This really made Lisa feel old!!!!  I guess it has been 10 years since she graduated college.  By this time most of our crew was together, Josie, Abalos, Susan, Amelia, Lisa, and I.  Our psuedo-tailgate was at Champions and then we went to the Stanford vs UofA football game.  Jeff and his friend Bill met us at the game.  Such a good time with a Stanford win!  Finally the night got pretty loud at Dirt Bags and the Trident bar.  We had a lot of fun in Tuscon and had a great time seeing everyone.

The next weekend we went to a big rock concert called the KROQ Epicenter.  I don’t think Lisa cared for the music much, but I had a great time.  An unexpected surprise was hearing the old singer from House of Pain sing “Jump Around” with his old DJ present.

For the last week, Lisa had Thurdsay off so I decided to skip out of work early and we had a nice walk along the beach and steaks for dinner.

Looking at our calendar the rest of the year looks to be busy with trip for Lisa to Phoenix, a visit to Denver, I’m in DC for work for a week, a visit to Rollie and Jeni’s new home and the Stanford vs Oregon game, Thanksgiving in Farmington….and work somewhere in between.


Hello family and friends!  I created this blog a long time ago with the intentions of sending out monthly updates about Lisa and I.  This will be the first one.  Hopefully I get better at this.

We had a really busy August.  Lisa has a new gym, Equinox, and spends a couple hours a day there.  She is a workout machine.  She has also discovered these protein pancakes…a little weird for me, but she loves them

Read the rest of this entry »

Update 3:

Here are the Ten Lakes Topo Maps from Google Earth and Official Maps (cut up) for our hike!

Couple of last minute thoughts:

  • Don’t forget to bring some clothes and a towel to sleep in at Mammoth.
  • When we park in Yosemite we cannot leave any smelly things in the car.  There will/should be a bear locker nearby, but it is an honor code system so don’t plan to put anything valuable there.
  • The trip to Ten Lakes may be a direct route (same as coming back).  The outgoing plan that I had may have followed a county line instead of a trail.  Lisa will confirm the trail when she gets the permit.
  • The backup plan is to go to Young Lakes via Dog Lake if we cannot get a trail permit.
  • Getting there:  Exit Yosemite Valley on highway 120. Take a left at the gas station following highway 120 for 19.5 miles to the Yosemite Creek / Ten Lakes trailhead, which is clearly marked. There is paved parking on the right side and dirt parking on the left. The trailhead is about 20 yards from the road. Although I have seen two different topographic maps with very different mileage estimates, the trailhead sign notes the distance for Grant Lakes at 5.8 miles and Ten Lakes at 6.3 miles.
  • Bring cash to give to Amelia for dinner, permits, yosemite entrance fee, and bear bins (if needed).

Update 2:

We will soon have our own better pictures

Okay everyone.  I’m still waiting for an email from the Forest Service about trail conditions, but baring any really bad reports we will be going to Ten Lakes via the path marked on 2011 yosemite backpacking options (google earth).  From the map I’ve placed on Google earth it looks like its about 9.2 miles going there and 6.3 miles back.  We will start at the Tioga Road start and where our trail intersects with the White Wolf path we will take a bit or a detour to go up along the ridge for some great views of the Grand Canyon of the Tuolomne before we drop down into the Ten Lakes area.  I’m not gonna lie, but I think this will be a somewhat challenging hike getting there.  On the way we will head straight back to our cars for a long drive home (probably after we stop by the gas station to eat.

To Ten Lakes

From Ten Lakes

Ten Lakes Topographic Map

The Plan

  • Travel Plans

  • Car 1 (Lisa, Amelia, Suzanne):
    • Leaving Weds or EARLY Thursday.
      Will be getting backpacking permits at 11am on Thursday in Yosemite and bear canisters
  • Car 2 (Brian, Tom, Paul) :
    • Leaving Thursday (8/11) around 2-4 (TBD)

We will be sleeping at Lisa’s grandparents house the first night.  Bring a set of clothes to sleep into and keep your next days clothes handyWe will change into some clean clothes on the way home at the gas station and get home late Sunday night (8/14)

  • Backpacking-Supply-List

    • Make sure you go through the checklist
    • It is probably going to be buggy. Bring bug spray!  Also, I went and got a mosquito netting for my head and we have a couple of mosquito nets that might fit us (we have never used them).
  • Sleeping Arrangements

    • Lisa and Brian (Tent 1)
    • Amelia and Suzanne (Tent 2)
    • Tom and Paul (Tent 3)
  • Food

Day 1

    • Breakfast:  at Mammoth (TBD)
    • Lunch on trail: You are on your own
    • Dinner:  Lisa and Amelia are picking up dehydrated food and smore stuff.  Let us know if you are picky.  Bill to come.
      • Fish?  if we catch some.  I’ll have lemon pepper and aluminum foil

Day 2

    • Breakfast:  You are on your own
    • Lunch on trail: You are on your own
    • Dinner:  Lisa and Amelia are picking up dehydrated food and smore stuff.  Let us know if you are picky.  Bill to come.
      • Fish?  if we catch some.  I’ll have lemon pepper and aluminum foil.

Day 3

    • Breakfast:  You are on your own
    • Lunch:  At the gas station
    • Dinner:  Somewhere in bishop or at home

Update 1:

After looking at things a bit more, I’m thinking that the Ten Lakes hike would be nice.  I’ve uploaded a new Google Earth file (2011 Yosemite backpacking options (google earth)) that shows the planned hike.  It is somewhat of a loop and should be fun to see different things hiking each way.  Next step is to call the Forest Service to see if the trails aren’t still snow packed

Backpacking Ideas (7/17/2011)

Gearing to go on our annual group backpacking trip this will be the third year doing this.  I think this year we will do a hike out of Yosemite hopefully to an area that isn’t too crowded.  So far here are my ideas with a few links to some reviews and maps



Tuolumne Meadows

Tioga Road

Notes and Maps

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