Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gorillas in the Park

In my (slowly moving) efforts to work through my tens of thousands of photos, I have finally finished processing images from my Disney/Universal trip from September of 2010.  Sadly, I'm not working in chronological order, so this is no indication of where I am.  Still, 1600 images whittled to 350 keepers ain't too shabby.

My favourites from the batch are of the Gorillas in Disneys Animal Kingdom. I find primates fascinating, as I'm sure many humans do. How anyone can see apes and think "naw, we're not related" is beyond me.

As is often the case, I suggest checking out the larger versions.

Lick it Clean

Nothing to Do But Think

Think Think Think

Peace and Concern


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pulpy Braaaains

As I mentioned somewhere here, I opted to go with zombies as my final assignment for the latest photography class.  The original plan was zombigami and papercraft dwellings. This hit a small bump when I realized origami zombies required far more work than I had time for.  Also, the detail folding and my stubby fingers were not a good mix.

So I opted for papercraft everything. Lucky for me, I have a friend who, for some odd reason, was willing to help by cutting out the dozens of paper parts for everything. This made my life immeasurably easier.

After cutting and folding and gluing enough for a decent horde, I threw together a scene, some lighting and shot away.  Upon importing everything to my computer, I realized what I thought had looked moody now looked underexposed and murky.  With little time, I opted to see what some post-processing could do.  Some fiddling and staring at shot after shot of paper zombies and paper houses got me thinking of the campy horror films... and Thunderbirds.  Now I envisioned the scratchy, cheap look à la Monster Chiller Horror Theatre, and set to work to age everything. Some adjustments, scratches, and graininess later, I was happy with the results.

Pulp Zombies

Pulp Zombies

Pulp Zombies

Pulp Zombies

Pulp Zombies

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Play Ball!

Because it has to be said: Leafs can still achieve 3rd worst in the league! C'mon! You can do it!

Okay, Jays again.  Their season kicks off in 15 minutes, and they've gone and brought something to this city we haven't had in a while, sports-wise - hope.

The line last night was "If optimism was all it took to win the World Series, you could have the trophy to Toronto right now."

Of course, optimism doesn't actually get anybody out, or score any runs, so it ain't quite enough to cut it.

And as I've said before - the realist in me knows that we probably aren't seeing much October baseball  this season, but I am looking for some surprises and a bit of a fight for 3rd at the very least. A young team with confidence coming out of spring training can mean a strong start. But more importantly, management and coaching and the players have all realized that they still have to play in June, July, August and September.  Depth is a keyword this year. Depth on the roster, depth on the farm, depth to fill holes created by injuries and under-performance.  Talented guys champing at the bit in AAA, and even AA ball, waiting for their shot.

I've got my ticket for Monday's home opener.  I can't wait.

Because I'll be damned, I'm actually legitimately excited about the Jays again.


A post that has nothing to do with high school mascots or condoms, and only a little to do with dead civilizations.

Last week I was grabbing a whack of zombie papercraft for my final photography assignment. Somewhere in all that I accidentally downloaded a trojan. Specifically the SMART HDD malware.  This insidious piece of software creates the glorious illusion of a hard drive failure by throwing up a bunch of real-sounding error messages, wiping out your desktop, blanking out your start menu, hiding entire drives and making them read-only, preventing anti-malware software from running, and restarting your machine.

Oh, and then it throws up a believable Microsoft-like taskbar bubble that warns you of problems, and launches a legit-looking analytics and recovery program.

It had me fooled for a second.

Except a physical scan of 120GB of space isn't that fast.

And the "failed" drive is a solid-state drive, which wouldn't be subject to typical drive failures. Especially not as epic as was being put forth.

And my data drive is a mirrored RAID, so I know I wouldn't lose everything.

And my Windows is set up to display hidden files, so I could still see them, except they were all faded-like.

And the Intel drive monitor was still running and everything was green.

And after it "scans" it informs you that you only have the trial version of this software you've never seen before and you can upgrade to the full one that fixes things.

In short... no way it was actually a drive failure.

So the search began to figure out how to get this piece of crap off my machine. Luckily, I have a Macbook and phone nearby that both give me access to the Interwebs.

Solutions were long and complicated... do this, then this, run a sub-user cmd prompt, get this program... cripes.

So fuck that. I reset, restarted in Safe Mode, disabled the program startup in the registry (it's a series of random letters), and restarted normally. No more annoying "failed drive!" popups. Run a couple anti-malware programs and remove this crap.

Except my desktop and start menu were still blank, and all my files still hidden and read-only.

Hey wait... system restore is still on.  2 days prior image returned... everything looks normal. Files still marked as hidden and read-only. Damn.

Mass attribute change, knowing it might cause a few minor problems, but I could live with that.

But there are still lingering problems. Thunderbird keeps redownloading mail I've already grabbed. Every 5 minutes.  Some games don't work because Securerom got fucked (there's irony in there somewhere).  So now comes the fun task of reinstalling crap that don't work and hoping that things like config files and saved games are kept.

I don't even know how it was delivered. Since all I was grabbing was PDFs and JPEGs.

Stupid fucking trojan.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Fried Chicken

I can't take any credit for this one, but I made some fried chicken over the weekend... and it was AMAZING.

Recipe can be found over at Bon Appétit. I bought this issue because of the giant picture of a fried chicken leg on the cover and the bold claim of the best fried chicken ever.

A few notes:

1.- Make sure you use kosher salt, regular salt will make it too salty according to the comments.
2.- I substituted half the paprika with smoked paprika, because smoked paprika is awesome.
3.- Use cast iron pan with high sides. I imagine most complaints of splattering are from low-side pans. Remember, hot oil splatters, and Archimedes figured out a few thousand years ago that putting stuff in liquid makes the liquid go higher.
4.- I found the chicken took a couple extra minutes to cook through than claimed.
5.- Thermometers can never be overrated. I had a deep fry thermometer in the pan, but took it out because it wasn't getting an accurate reading. That's why I had my Thermapen out as well, which I used to check oil temp and meat temp for doneness.
6.- I used a full bottle (just under a litre/around a quart) of peanut oil in a 12-14" skillet