Archive for May, 2009

Crab & Tomato Melt (Open Faced Sandwich — or Structural Cheese instead of Top Bread)

Saturday, May 30th, 2009
The Final Crabby Melty Yummy Item

At left is one of my favorite styles of sandwich (in the strict “once slice of bread w/stuff on it” definition of sandwich…), the open faced sandwich with cheese as the top structural element in lieu of bread.

This particular melt was built on top of a slice of home made bread with heirloom tomato slices, dungeness crab, and cabernet finished goat cheddar cheese. It was seasoned with black pepper, mayo, italian seasoning, and a touch of fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Done right, it can be picked up and eaten like a regular sandwich.

The key to doing it right is in the construction. Yes, I take my sandwich making very seriously.

Detailed construction techniques after the fold.

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Lizard Saver!

Thursday, May 21st, 2009
Screenshot on 2009-05-20 at 10.33.19 PM.png

Out of the blue, I received a tweet from Steven Blackford:

@bbum Wanted to say thanks the old BackSpace Module LizardView. Still using it after all these years on all my NeXT systems.

Wow. That took me back nearly 20 years! From the moment I started writing Objective-C code on a NeXT in 1989, I have taken a break every couple of years to write a screensaver or five. They have always been fairly simple, always geometric in nature, and generally with a bit of fractally goodness.

At left is a screenshot of LizardView. It was one of the first screensavers I wrote for the NeXT. Fortunately, Steven still had the source for LizardView (I likely still do, too, on one of the optical discs in my garage) and it took me about 10 minutes to port it to Mac OS X Leopard.

Blast from the past.

If you’d like to experience this awzzum zele-bra-shun of k0l0rfull moiré patterns, I dropped on

Funny story; in about 1996 or 97, I found myself at a rather random (and not that terribly good) rave like party in St. Louis, MO. There was a video projector that was running some “rave animations” loop. Lizard was used throughout as 5 or so second interstitial between different animation sequences!

Black Widow: Saturday Afternoon Freakout!

Saturday, May 16th, 2009
Black Widow on Neighbor's Garbage Can

Roger found a black widow hiding under the rim of a neighbor’s trash can.

I took a photo before we knocked it down and squished it.

As much as I hate to kill anything, I’m not at all opposed to discouraging growth of the disturbingly large population of black widows in the San Jose area this year.

Canon T1i

Saturday, May 16th, 2009
Red Stapler
Canon EF-S 18-55m IS – 1/40 f/4.5 – ISO1600

After 4 years, Canon has released an upgraded camera in the Digital Rebel series that has compelled me to replace my Digital Rebel Xt.

The Digital Rebel T1i, which started shipping in North America this month, is quite an extraordinary camera and a huge upgrade over the Xt. Excellent low light performance (high ISO performance), extreme versatility with the ability to shoot entirely automatic through to fully manual, and lots of usability upgrades.

I won’t be positing a detailed review. That has been covered far more effectively than I ever could by the folks at DPReview.

At above-left is the first image I shot with the T1i. Nothing terribly special, but I couldn’t have taken the same with the Xt without a tripod or switching to the relatively special purpose Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens (but that would have yielded a very narrow depth of field). Since someone asked, I added a link to the Amazon product page, too.

Eddie Scorching Scallop Nigiri
Canon 50mm f/1.4 – 1/125 f/1.6 – ISO 500

While there are many features and refinements of the T1i that I’m looking forward to leveraging, the high-ISO / low light performance is the one that yields an immediate benefit to me.

I like shooting photos in restaurants and the like, but I hate using a flash. Beyond making the food look artificial and destroying whatever natural ambiance the restaurant has tried to achieve, the flash is a huge annoyance to everyone — staff, customers, chefs, etc..

The photo at right is another shot that I could have done with the Xt without the flash or disruptive use of a tripod and posing.

Certainly, I will also leverage the upgrade from an 8MP to 15.1MP sensor, too. While the whole megapixel wars thing was overhyped and appears to now largely be over, there are some serious advantages to having a lot more pixels.

On the interactive front, it means that you can zoom into a photo and see some interesting details that wouldn’t be apparent with a lower resolution image. Looking at the full sized version of Eddie searing scallops reveals the slight haze caused by the scallops scorching under the flame.

But the biggest advantage of lots and lots of pixels is that it stretches the value of your lenses. In particular, I can shoot a shot with the Canon 100mm macro lens, crop nearly half the picture, and still end up with an image that is of the same resolution as a full framed image from the Xt. That would have been very handy for pictures like this, this, and this.

While the camera is brilliant, the software is not. At least, not so much when you want to work with an all RAW workflow.

Whenever a new camera is released, there is a lag between the release of the camera and when Apple or Adobe releases updates that include RAW support for the camera. Thus, I can’t currently shoot in RAW and import directly into Aperture (or Lightroom).

As I had shot a bunch of the initial images in RAW, I decided to install and use Canon’s RAW processing software to convert the images to usable form.

I summarized the experience with this tweet:

Canon’s camera software is a gigantic turd in the box containing an awesome camera.

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