Gift ideas

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

If you live anywhere in the South SF Bay area, I have a couple Christmas splurge ideas for you. Treat yourself and call it a gift to the one I love most – me!!
1. Mel Cotton’s Sporting Goods in San Jose on San Carlos St. is having a really good sale – the Jet Boil cooking system for $89 – usually $99. I got one and can’t wait to try it out.

It’s a self contained lightweight system that includes a 16-oz insulated container with a small attached burner featuring a quick-start ignitor and stand. All you add is a $2.50 can of gas. It claims to boil 8 oz in a tad over 2 minutes. The neat thing is the mug-looking container glows when your water is hot. Perfect for those Half Dome trips when you are camping  in Little Yosemite Valley and  you want to bring along “just -add-water freeze dried” meals. Everything stores in the mug and into your pack. This sure beats schlepping a burner, gas, pots, bowl, etc. A raft of other products are 20&% off (like all backpacks). Mel’s also has a 20% off any one non-sale item coupon in most local newspapers. They are a huge sporting goods store from the old school. A great inventory and they’ve been around since before dirt.
2.  Today I went up to Keebler and Shuchat Photography on California St. in Palo Alto to take advantage of a massive sale. I could not resist getting the new ruggedized Casio EX-G1 point and shoot camera.

It’s shock resistant to 7 feet, sealed for use up to 10 feet underwater, is dustproof  and operates down to   14 degrees F. It has all the usual feathers like video, 12 Mega pixels, bright screen, etc. The zoom is only 3x since there is no way to have a movable lens and still be sealed. If you do anything in the snow or water (rafting), rough (hiking) that might damage a consumer camera, you may think about getting one. I can now take this camera and not worry about a case. Just dangle it  around my neck, stuff it in a pocket and head up the cables. The sale runs thru Sunday night and they pay the sales tax! I walked out the door for $149. This is a $269 list camera and the best I’ve seen on the Internet is $225 – plus shipping. Nice. Casio was also showing a new mode, the EX-H20G,  in the $300 range that has a built in GPS that geotags pictures that you take. It also has a unique Casio gyro system (called hybrid GPS) so it can actually track you when you are deep inside buildings or in a parking garage. Funny to see GPS units adding cameras and now cameras are adding GPS! This could be handy when hiking at Yosemite – you just take you photo and it plants a push pin at the longitude/latitude.  Gee, only enough ducats for one camera buy for me today.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breaths away.”

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch –


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