A rare situation

Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Courtney’s new head hole

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Recently, my girlfriend has been thinking about getting a cartilage piercing in her ear. She did some research on the topic – as any good librarian does – and found a place in Waldo, MO called Irezumi. It’s evidently rated very highly among tattoo and piercing enthusiasts.

Last night around 9:30, we were sitting around debating what we should do. Bowling? Nah. Pool? We’ve done that recently. We wanted something new. Courtney started looking around online to see what Irezumi’s hours were, in case she wanted to get the piercing sometime soon. Turns out they were open until 11PM Saturday night. I suggested that she could go get it done now, and before either of us knew it we were heading to get a hole poked in her ear.

I don’t know anything about tattoo parlors or piercing establishments in general, but I have to say I was very impressed with Irezumi. The place is very clean, the staff is friendly, and the entire process was inexpensive and very fast. A++++++ would watch someone get needled again.


Written by Chris

September 21st, 2008 at 12:18 pm

Posted in General,Photography

Current fishtank status: pretty good

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Last night I took quite a lot of pictures of my fishtank and its inhabitants. The entire set is on Flickr, but I have a couple pictures saved locally for those who do not have access to Flickr at work.

A small colony of zoanthids
A small colony of zoanthids

The full-tank shot
The full-tank shot

Written by Chris

September 4th, 2008 at 12:12 pm

A detailed posting about my fish tank

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I managed to post threads about my fish tank on two different forums but forgot about my blog.

A while ago I decided I wanted to start with saltwater reefkeeping again, so when I ordered a small fishtank for my office, I decided to salt it up. Putting it in my office, however, just wouldn’t be very practical. The tank I’m using is only three gallons, and in the dry atmosphere of a heavily air-conditioned office, it’d evaporate like crazy. That’s bad enough with a freshwater tank but it’s really bad with saltwater because salt doesn’t evaporate, so the salinity of the water would fluctuate badly. It wasn’t too bad with my 10g tank back at CSSM because I had a topoff going and there was more water mass to balance things out. Long story short(ish), the tank ended up in my living room instead.

So, with minor alterations, here’s the contents of the thread I posted on Something Awful:

I bought a 3 gal Picotope a couple weeks ago, and decided to make it a nano reef in the general style of Sandeep’s 5.5 gal with in-tank refugium. I didn’t go the full refugium route, but I really liked the idea of partitioning off the hardware with the addition of an overflow.

The bare Picotope, it’s about 11″ x 8″ x 8″.

The piece of plexi I cut for the partition. It’s 3/32″ thick, with slats for overflow and a hole for the return powerhead. It’s about to be painted with Krylon Fusion flat black and set in the tank with GE Silicone I.

The tank is masked off and ready for the equipment area to be painted with Krylon Fusion satin black. I ended up masking off the bowed part of the equipment area so I had a place to look in and make sure things were working okay.

Looking into the equipment area after the painting. The powerhead (MJ400 or 600, I forget) and the HOB Taam Rio Nano skimmer are visible here. Note the plastic screw on the skimmer – that’s not stock. I didn’t like the way it was hanging on the back, so I got some little rubber stick-on feet and fixed them to the skimmer against the glass, then used a securing screw from an old HOB skimmer to get a tight fit. No rattling = good 🙂

The tank on its stand in my living room. The lamp that comes with the Picotope is a 9 watt PC 50/50, which I may be upgrading at some point.

Water + sand + rocks from an older tank added. There are a lot of microbubbles, which will hopefully go down as the skimmer activates.

Already churning away!

For stocking, when the time comes, I’ll probably stick with ricordea and zoas.

Since that thread was posted on August 4th, several things have changed. The microbubbles did subside after I added a piece of live rock from a nearby saltwater fish store, which activated the skimmer as the tank’s cycle got started. Ammonia/nitrite/nitrate testing a couple days ago indicated that the tank is almost done cycling. It’s already pretty freakin’ alive. There’s a small brittle starfish that came in with the piece of rock, an unexpectedly large number of amphipods (which is great, it indicates a healthy tank and makes good food for things), and last night I got a margarita snail and a scarlet reef crab. I’ll be taking more pictures tonight, after I pick up the fourth season of House and ingredients for gazpacho. Busy busy.

Written by Chris

August 19th, 2008 at 9:18 am

Mazda3 Photoshoot

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As promised, I got it washed and took many a’picture!

The new Mazda3
Click for the Flickr set

Written by Chris

August 3rd, 2008 at 8:06 pm

Posted in Car,General,Photography

My Two Mazdas

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I finally did it: a week ago I signed the papers for a new 2008 Mazda3 5-door, and on Tuesday I took delivery after it had been driven in from St. Louis.

Dethkar and the new Mazda3
Click for the Flickr page

That photo’s not very good, I admit this. The new car looks sort of black next to Dethkar, whereas it’s actually a dark blue, but I wanted to get a picture of the two side-by-side while I could. The guy who sold me Dethkar last September is buying it back, possibly as soon as tomorrow. I’m rather amused by the whole circle-of-life thing going on here.

As for the new car, it’s pretty outstanding. I’m still getting accustomed to shifting it, it’s got a much newer transmission with a much shorter throw, and the presence of a fifth gear is making me miss third occasionally. It hasn’t quite hit me yet that I own this beast – right now it still feels like I’m driving around a rental car. I imagine I’ll get used to the idea 🙂

More pictures are definitely forthcoming, most likely this weekend as the weather clears up and becomes sunny again.

Written by Chris

July 31st, 2008 at 8:22 am

Posted in Car,General,Photography

Happy birthday, you crazy old government

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Before I get started with the entertaining stuff, a small tirade on the wonders of federal government bureaucracy. I’ve been waiting on the economic stimulus check in order to round out the down payment / sales tax for my new car purchase. I still maintain the entire idea of the stimulus was and is a terrible idea on the part of the g-men, but at least I’m actually putting it back into the economy like they intended. Anyway, today I got a letter from the IRS dated the 3rd of July. Evidently they couldn’t find the signature on my tax filing, and want me to send in a form with my signature on it, they’ll get to any sort of payment in another 6-8 weeks. This really fries me – not because they can’t find the signature, okay fair enough, but because they sure didn’t sit on their asses for three months before they cashed the check I sent them. It only took about two days for them to rip open the envelope and process the important parts. Nicely done.

Alright, rant over. Yesterday I went with Courtney’s family to watch some 4th of July fireworks. We got a pretty great spot, ~1200 feet from where they were firing them off. I brought my camera and tripod to try my hand at firework photography. I took about 130 before the batteries gave out, and of those I only ended up keeping 23, but that’s the upshot of digital photography. The keepers are all on my Flickr page.

Taken using a 25-second exposure time

Written by Chris

July 5th, 2008 at 1:57 pm

Posted in General,Photography

My herb garden

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My apartment’s porch has a high (5′ 6″) privacy wall, and I think that might be perfect for a windowbox full of herbs. And I’m right!

Click to see all pictures

In addition to a separate pot of fresh catnip (which the cats love), I’ve got basil, rosemary, chives, cilantro, and dill. Delicious cooking soon to come!

Written by Chris

May 11th, 2008 at 8:49 pm

Posted in General,Photography

A good time

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Last Friday my friend Emily came to visit for the weekend. I hadn’t seen her in probably about four years, even though we’ve only ever lived about three hours worth of driving apart. We had a really good time; Friday evening we had Japanese, as Em had never had sushi before. Saturday we went to the Nelson-Atkins art museum*, wandered around the Plaza, helped my friend Tim fix a valve cover gasket on his car, then capped the evening with Greek food and a party at Josh and Lauren’s new apartment. We slept in this morning, had kolaches and coffee at Latte Land for breakfast, and she left around 1. I finished the day by napping until 5, going to the auto parts store for some wire and parts to replace a ground cable that might be causing the starter troubles, then decided to be lazy and not fix the wire so much as watch TV.


Written by Chris

February 24th, 2008 at 10:09 pm

Posted in General,Photography

Holy god that was cold

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Last night there were a pair of occurrences that made me grab my camera and tripod, and don two sweaters and a coat. The first was a total lunar eclipse, and the second a 2-degree wind chill. Through some masterstroke of luck, Kansas City skies were clear for most of the eclipse. I took pictures from about 8:15 PM to 9 PM, taking a break to change camera batteries and restart circulation in my right hand. Fortunately I’d been out that early, because by 9:30 (the supposed peak of the eclipse), the entire sky was overcast in preparation for the snow we’re due for the next couple days.

All of my eclipse photos on Flickr – I haven’t had a lot of time to sort them yet, but I really like this one:


The eclipse is almost complete, and two stars (possibly one is Saturn?) are visible to the lower-left and top of the moon.

edit: Here’s another good one:


I am a little frustrated with my camera (and my brain) because I couldn’t for the life of me find the setting to change the shutter speed. A bit more exposure time would’ve brought out more color in more of the shots. Oh well, c’est la vie.

Written by Chris

February 21st, 2008 at 7:53 am

Posted in General,Photography

Filling the void

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I decided to fill up the blank spot on my dining room wall with some of the better photos I’ve taken over the years:

Dining room wall
Click for big

I like the arrangement, but I swear that my head must be screwed on sideways. I got out a level, made sure it they were all level, then stepped back…and they all looked like they were tilted too far to the right. This happens with every single picture hanging in my apartment. I need a consultant :/

In other news, my clock has revealed itself to be a bit bizarre. I fixed it enough so that it chimes on the hour, which made me realize that the hands aren’t showing anything close to what the gears think is going on. Every hour + 2 minutes, it chimes three hours ahead of what it displays. Huh.

edit: Here’s the Flickr page with the pictures I framed

Written by Chris

February 7th, 2008 at 9:12 pm

Posted in General,Photography