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Friday, December 31, 2004

Final post of the year

Remember, all: nothing changes, on New Year's day.

Breaking news

CNN thinks we should know: Tsunamis shatter celebrity holidays.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

à l'envers rouge

Nikon D100, 105mm macro, polarizer

Wednesday, December 29, 2004


Possibly 100,000 dead. has set up a way to donate to the Red Cross using your Amazon account - one click is all it takes.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004


Nikon D100, 105mm macro, polarizer

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Collateral Hamage

Sony P7

Behold the remnants of the Ham Grenade. The other half was blown, with great velocity, into my belly (and a bit hit Mrs Cleek, too). Only a bottle of Clicquot and a generous padding of potato gratin saved us from delicious salty doom.

Friday, December 24, 2004

The King William's College quiz

I got three right, out of 180.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Merry all that

Sony P7

Someone I know is going to have a very Yo La Tengo Christmas. How lucky for them.

Here's to hoping you have the Christmas/Early Winter Festival that you desire!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


Male fish bear eggs in Potomac

    Nine male smallmouth bass taken from the Potomac near Sharpsburg, about 60 miles upstream from Washington, were found to have developed eggs inside their sex organs, said Vicki S. Blazer, a scientist overseeing the research for the U.S. Geological Survey.

Note that it says "upstream".

    The Potomac River is the main source of drinking water for the Washington metropolitan area and many upstream communities. It provides about 75 percent of the water supply to the 3.6 million residents of Washington and its Maryland and Virginia suburbs.


Saturday, December 18, 2004

It's Not Too Late...

... to buy some one-of-a-kind hand-made jewelry for that special someone.

Friday, December 17, 2004


Nikon D100, 50mm

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Getcha Homo Superus Skulls!

    "Now, I know what your thinking: 'I purchased a Homo superus skull before and it radiated no residual energy field!' I ask you, did you purchase an 'AUTHENTIC' Steinitz Homo superus skull from Steinitz Skulls, OR was it a cheap, fabricated imitation sold by some johnny come lately hominid skull dealer?"

Get 'em before they run out of residual Thought-Energy, only at

Missing the point

On CNET's quick guide to satellite radio, they list the pros and cons of XM and Sirius. Here's one of the "downsides" for XM:

    Sometimes not enough DJ chatter

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Exotic Guitars

Uh... wow.... check out the Exotic Guitars. The Eden and Skeletar are my favorites, though I don't know if they'd be much fun to play - they look a bit fragile.

via BoingBoing.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


Nikon D100, 50mm reversed on 105mm macro

Monday, December 13, 2004

Log, log, shit.

My Happening Blog describes a Catalan Christmas.


Motorola v550 (cell phone)

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Light tent

Sony P7

This is the light tent I used for all the plane pictures. It's a 2x2x2 cube made of 1" PVC pipe pieces, with 3 yards of white tafetta safety-pinned around the sides. This fabric does a great job of diffusing the light without losing too much intensity - exactly what light tent material needs. To find it, I went to JoAnne's Fabrics (with Mrs Cleek, of course) and held various fabrics up to their overhead lights; this tafetta was the whitest and diffused their huge halogen lights the most - and it was cheap. There's enough fabric there to cover the top and all four sides, though for the planes i left the top open and just turned out the overhead lights.

The two lights are cheap-o hardward store clip-on lights, with 100 watt GE Reveal bulbs, though I've used normal bulbs in there without any problem; color correction is easy enough in Photoshop that the light source really isn't an issue. One lamp is clipped to a microphone stand and the other to a guitar stand.

Inside the tent there's a plastic storage bin (Rubbermaid, i think) propped up on two pieces of packing foam. The bin is translucent and not very glossy. For the Zero, I put the plane directly on this storage bin. Notice that there are no shadows - it looks like the plane is floating. This is because the storage bin is translucent and light is coming up through it, eliminating any shadows.

All the other planes were bigger, and wouldn't fit on the plastic bin, so they're on spreads of printer paper. You can see the edges of the pieces in some pictures - I need to get bigger paper. And because the paper isn't translucent, you can see shadows under the planes - I need to get bigger plastic bins.

This is the same setup I use here, too. Most of those are directly on the plastic, some are on velvet, some are hung from wires in front of colored paper, etc.. Most are shot from directly overhead.

Total cost of the light box and lights? Maybe $40.

Saturday, December 11, 2004


Nikon D100, 105mm macro

And that concludes our series of model airplane pictures. Hope you've enjoyed the show. Refreshments are available in the lobby.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Thou Shalt

Go read the wandering hillbilly's annotated Ten Commandments.


Nikon D100, 105mm macro

Here's the pilot.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

In Defense Of My Adopted Home

Atrios has a spot about a school in Cary, NC that's teaching from a booklet that apparently whitewashes southern slavery. I haven't seen the booklet, but he has some excerpts - and they aren't pretty. The school claims to be teaching the "southern perspective" of slavery. Doesn't look good. And to someone who's never been here, I can imagine the picture it paints. But I think it's an inaccurate one.

I'm an upstate NY transplant to NC (I live like 3 miles from Cary right now - a "town" with over 100K people, and named "the hottest town in the East" by Money Magazine, Jan 04. it's no small town). And, honestly, I have neither seen nor heard of any actual racism in the 8 years i've been down here - honestly, not any. There's certainly no institutionaliszed racism, and I can't say I've even see any personal racism here. Sure I'm a yuppie who hangs out mostly with urban liberal yuppies, hipsters and academics, so maybe I haven't been exposed to the entire range of opinions NC has to offer. But, compared to my former home of upstate NY, there are more nationalities, more skin colors and more cultures here - and nobody seems to have a problem with it. From my perspective, it's a balmy little melting pot.

To be fair, there was a Neo-Nazi rally in Raleigh this past summer. But, all the Nazis were from out of town, and the protesters outnumbered the Nazis by probably 100 to 1.

Just my perspective.


    " many of my colleagues, we all grow tired, in the sense of, not tired of our work, but tired of what we're called upon to do."

    -- Anthony Principi, former Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Yes indeed. Those sound like the words of someone who is deeply unhappy with his situation.

Pierce Film Cover To Vent

Like everyone else in my office, probably 80% of my lunches are those little microwavable frozen dinners. I stick with Stoeffer's and Zatarain's; other people are devoted to Budget Gourmet or Healthy Choice or Lean Cuisine or whatever. One guy I work with eats nothing but Bird's Eye frozen vegetables in sauce, every single day.

After years of eating these things, they've become routine - so much that Mrs Cleek and I just call them "frozens" - "Don't forget to buy some more frozens!", "Had another stupid frozen for lunch", "So sick of frozens", "Which horrible frozen should I have today?" etc.. They're so routine and boring to me that it's hard to believe everyone doesn't feel this way. Well, Defective yeti finds that this lack of enthusiasm for the frozen lunch in it's black plastic tray isn't universal.

The Owl

Nikon D100, 105mm macro

That's an HE-219. There may be only one left in the world.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


Nikon D100, 105mm macro

This is my all-time favorite fighter. Gotta love that twin fuselage.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

I Created Vote Rigging Software

Well, not me. but this guy did.

Be sure to read point #9.

SlashDot has more.

Could anything have been more predictable ?


Believe it or not, I didn't remember today was the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, until at least a half-hour after I'd posted that Japanese Zero picture, below.

Zeke the Zero

Nikon D100, 105mm macro

Friday, December 03, 2004

Pulling The Meat

Belle Waring shares a recipe for Pulled Pork (ie. Carolina BBQ). Sounds good. I'm positively Pavlovian just thinking about it - and now I have no choice but to go get some for lunch.

Since I'm smack in the middle of NC, I have access to all the BBQ I can handle; I'll never have to make any of it myself. But, all you N.E. Blue Staters are faced with the sad choice of either hopping on I-95 for a 12 hour drive to the Carolinas, or getting out the smoker and applewood and cooking pork butts for 15 hours. A dilemma. Well not exactly, because there's always PJ's in Saratoga Springs, NY, which serves "Saratoga Style" BQQ - Carolina style pulled pork BBQ on a western-NY style Kimmelwick/Kummelweck roll (a crusty roll with caraway seeds and coarse salt on top) - a truly excellent variation.

But, as good as PJ's creation is, the true use for a Kimmelwick roll is in the western NY classic : Beef On Wick, which puts all other roast beef sandwiches to shame. Really. After a good Beef on Wick, any other hot roast beef sandwich might as well be Arby's - good for filling up, but not something you'd spend 5 minutes writing a lame blog entry about.

And, speaking of western NY... As soon as the warm weather returns, I'm going to order a few dozen Zweigles white hots, and introduce my Carolina friends to the best hot dog ever created.

Thursday, December 02, 2004


Salon has an article on TV chefs that don't bite, namely, Food Network's Alton Brown and Christopher Kimball (who I've never seen).

Along the way, the writer makes a point that I thought was excellent: most cooking shows are fantasies. They aren't about teaching us how to make a veal liver souffle, they're about making us think we can. They make it look so easy (by skipping steps, using ingredients we'll never find, glossing over subtle techniques, etc), that you convince yourself, "Sure, I could do that, if I wanted to." It's the same as those carpentry shows or The Joy of Painting; sure, I could make that bookcase, and I could paint that picture! I saw how easy that was, no problem at all. Get me, I'm smart!

Well, I really can't build that bookcase, paint that picture or cook that souffle - even if I had the equipment. And it's not because I'm retarded, but rather that I don't have the techniques down to know what to do to correct things that don't go exactly the way the instructions say, and I don't have enough experience to even know when things need correction; and I'll never put in the time to learn. But I watch these shows and see that it looks so easy (it only took 10 minutes!), and then I pat myself on the back for being so clever.

All images Copyright 2004-2005, cleek.