Friday, June 29, 2007

Macros of Spiders

Taking macro photos is a lot more difficult than I expected. I thought I'd try taking some insect photos by looking at some spider webs in a shrub outside our front door. I took this photo of a tiny spider -- about a quarter inch long body. At first glance, I thought the spider was hanging there quietly waiting for something to stumble into the web. But when I looked at it magnified, the spider was busy cleaning itself (or maybe waving at me). The spider was moving its legs a lot. The Flickr comments criticized the focus. Actually, the focus was good, but the depth of field was poor so not much of the subject is in clear focus.

When I came home a couple days ago, a new spider had made a web just outside the door. The orientation of the web was such that I could easily position the camera on our deck perpendicular to the web. The spider was a little bigger and a lot more sedate too. I grabbed my stuff and gave it another try. The web was about a foot in diameter and connected to some flexible branches that were moving in the breeze. I took about 40 photos with various settings to be sure I'd get some with a good focus. I used a small LED flashlight at an angle to give a shimmer to the strands of the spider web so they stand out a bit more from the background. The shot below is the best close up of the bunch. Click on the image to go to a larger view. It's no spider like this one at the Eclectic Studio Cafe, but I think it's an improvement over the first attempt. I also took this shot from further away to give a better sense of the web itself. Look closely and you can see the concentric circles of the web. Now I need focusing rails, a shutter release, etc. Shsssssh. Don't tell Dianne.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Must Be Number 26

Earlier this week, Time magazine posted their list of 25 sites you can't live without. Check out the list here. I pulled a few sites from their list that are on my often visited list. Let me know what you think.


I've had a bad headache all day today. I thought it might be sinus/allergy related until I heard Gary Burbank's explanation for my pain. I was listening to the BBC (Broadbank Burbcasting Corporation) today while doing some mindless printing and filing this afternoon.

Quite simply according to Gary today, I am suffering from "Paris fatigue." Pretty much any physical ailment you've had in the last couple months can be ascribed to Paris fatigue. It seems every news program, newspaper, and magazine has something to say about....well, nothing really.

Or maybe it's iPhone hype overload?

I need some Excedrin.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Couple Blog Enhancements

If you're a returning visitor, you probably noticed I've added a button at the bottom of each post that lets you bookmark the post -- on the off chance you find something interesting. You're able to pick your own favorite bookmark tool like, digg, etc. Incidentally, I'm big on using If you're a user and want to network links, leave a comment or link to cincisquirtle.

It took me a bit of playing around in the Blogger template before I got this to work. Most info on template mods described adding buttons to posts on the old version of Blogger and not the new version. After poking around a bit more on Google, I found an easy way to do it using the free tool available on It was really easy with that code. Another helpful site for Blogger folks is the Beta Blogger 4 Dummies site. Good articles there.

Also, a keen reader's eye may have noticed the RSS feed icon in the badge area on the sidebar. I've added a Feedburner feed for the blog. That button lets you easily add the Earl World feed to your RSS reader (personally I like Bloglines). Feedburner has a very clear help section for bloggers that includes details for folks using certain tools like Blogger. With their clear directions, it was very easy to set up.

Just below the RSS subscription link, you'll notice I added a link that lets you set up an email subscription to the blog. That was another feature available through Feedburner. I know some folks, like my dad, are big into email. If you'd like to get an email containing posts rather than surfing here to read (although I can't imagine missing out on the sidebar action), that's the option for you. No new content, no email for you.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Findlay Market

Findlay MarketOn Sunday, Dianne and I ventured downtown to go to Findlay Market. It's the oldest, continuously operating market in Ohio. They have a mix of permanent, year around shops and seasonal stands selling produce. You can read more about the market on their web page. It's funny we've lived here for over 10 years, but had never been to the market. I've always heard a lot about it, but we just don't go exploring downtown.

The worst part about going to Findlay Market is getting in and out of the area. The market is in a bad neighborhood. We were ordering lunch at the Bella Luna restaurant's satellite store at the market when a woman came in to order. She had been sitting alone at a table outside (see the picture) and left her purse there while she came in to get some food. The person waiting on us told the woman she probably don't want to leave her purse unattended in this neighborhood. I thought that was good advice.

It was a dreary day and rained a bit when we were there. Nevertheless, it was fun to walk around. We picked up a couple things and had a good grilled panini at Bella Luna. It's not somewhere I'd go every weekend, but on a nice day it's an ok spot to have lunch, hang out, and pick up some local produce. The photo below was just some of the produce at one of the stands.
Findlay Market

Sunday, June 24, 2007

AFI's Top 100 Films

Last week the American Film Institute released their revised list of the top 100 films of all time. We caught part of the show, but missed the end. I went to their website to look at the list. Here are their top 10 and my two cents.
1. Citizen Kane -- very good movie, but probably not my own #1
2. The Godfather -- I've only seen bits and pieces
3. Casablanca -- own the DVD. Several Bogart pics in the top 100 including the Maltese Falcon and the African Queen (also have on DVD).
4. Raging Bull -- surprised this is so high
5. Singin' in the Rain -- I really don't care for musicals. Who breaks out into spontaneous singing and dancing during the day?
6. Gone With the Wind -- never seen the whole movie, just scenes.
7. Lawrence of Arabia -- own the DVD. Great cinematography!
8. Schindler's List -- powerful
9. Vertigo -- very good Hitchcock movie. He had several in the top 100 including Psycho, Rear Window, and North by Northwest. I'd swap Rear Window and Vertigo in the ranking.
10. The Wizard of Oz -- there's no place like home!

Go to their website to see the rest of the list. They also have a good flash piece that lets you review the list in groups of ten and get some basic information on films you choose. Click here to check it out. What do you think of the list?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Summer Flowers

Last week I got a new macro lens for my camera. While we were at the Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, I tried playing around with the new lens by taking some photos of the summer flowers there. Here are a few of my favorites from the initial round of experimentation. The shot of the bee in flight was just sheer luck. I was trying to get it on the flower and missed. You can look at all the flower shots in a Flickr set here. Click on the image to see a larger view.
Flower 3

Bee in Flight

Flower 28

Friday, June 22, 2007

Carpet Alarm

As much as I'd probably hate it every day of the work week, I might need one of these. I know Dianne would probably like it better than hearing the snooze alarm go off umpteen times in the morning. Check out the carpet alarm here.

Shameless Soliciting

I have to disagree with Dianne's analysis of the conclusion of my last post. I was just saying thanks to those who leave comments.

Now this note below, created using one of the large number of tools on the Custom Sign Generator site, would be a shameless solicitation of comments.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Earl World Hits 400

I never would have predicted it when I started a blog on January 2, 2005. My last post was my 400th post to Earl World. Today I did a quick browse through some of the old entries.

Initially I thought a blog would be a good way to share digital photos of our travels with family and friends (this Hawaii entry is an example) or just photos I snapped around the area. I do like including photos in the blog entries when possible. For awhile I was making short posts like this one that I didn't even remember until looking back today. That entry actually is related to this recent post.

I sometimes share silly happenings like this one that probably don't mean much to the average reader just passing through. However, that post and this related follow-up still make me chuckle. I hadn't been having many sleep jerks until a few days ago when I had a dream that a firecracker exploded right in front of my face and I jumped. Although I purposely don't post a lot of personal info, I do like the journal aspect of the blog.

With Statcounter I have a little idea about the volume of blog traffic and what folks are looking at. Sometimes what I think are the silliest little posts like this one (what a bad photo!) and this post about a viral video ended up generating literally hundreds of hit over many months!

Of course there are a lot of flying posts with the requisite picture of Tony (Dianne loves that so much). There are also posts about flying related travel and even aviation brushes with greatness. That was a great trip!

There is an occasional post about a brush with a celebrity, some posts about local restaurants,
sporting events, and even the occasional rant like this post and this post.

Probably the best part of blogging are the comments. I'm not blogging for fame, but it's nice to get comments now and then. Thanks to all who have left comments -- many folks on a very regular basis! I know it takes extra time, but it's very much appreciated.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Go to Mars...Sort Of

Don't have any plans for the next couple years? Do you speak Russian? Maybe you could make just over $6 per hour, 24 hours a day for the next few years. The European Space Agency is looking for a few guinea, applicants to help them out. Read about it here.

This sounds like a Big Brother or Real World experiment on steroids! If you got stuck with a couple weirdos, it could be a LONG couple years!

Quick Chill - Chemistry in Action

Ever go to the fridge and discover there isn't any cold soda in there? Or have you ever just bought room temperature soda cans at the grocery store and wish you had a cold one to drink?

You could just put it in the freezer for a few minutes to cool it more quickly. It's faster, but not the best by cooling through mostly convection.

A better, and more geeky way, is to leverage some chemistry and use freezing point depression. Check out this video for a demo.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park

Pyramid Hill Sculpture 7Dianne and I went to the Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park on Saturday morning. It's a private park between Hamilton, OH and Ross, OH that has many outdoor sculptures scattered throughout the grounds. Most of the works are quite large! You can read more about the park at their website. There is an admission charge ($5/adult), but I thought it was well worth it. They also have annual memberships and the cost of your day visit can be applied to an annual membership purchase. It's a nice way to try out the park before joining.

It's a huge place with lots of hiking trails, ponds, benches, picnic tables, and mowed green space -- I can't imagine keeping all that grass mowed. There is also a small amphitheater for outdoor concerts. You can rent a golf cart, dubbed an Art Cart, by the hour. We rented one and it was actually pretty handy to be able to jump on and off to look at the sculptures and take pictures. It's a little easier than a car and Dianne enjoyed driving the cart. The place is pretty hilly and it was a hot day, so the cart was nice. There are plenty of small parking areas where you can stop with a car or cart, walk around to the sculptures, and then move on.

Pyramid Hill Sculpture 33We had most of the place to ourselves. There was a fishing derby going on when we got there. Most folks were localized at one of the ponds for the fishing derby. I liked the kinetic sculptures and also this large group of carved, etched stones that kind of had a Stonehenge like feel to it. The photo here shows just a couple of the stones in the group.

It's a bit of a hike out there, but I thought it was worth the trip. The park attendant mentioned you're welcome to bring a picnic, like some wine and cheese if desired, since it's a private park. That would be a nice outing.

Check out the set of photographs I took at the park to see more of the sculptures. By the way, I took a photo of this work for Carla.

Monday, June 18, 2007

CRG on Sports Rock

Thanks to Miss Print for the ‘heads up’ on the Sadistic Sadie & Pale Rider appearance on WLWT’s Sports Rock with George Vogel and Ken Broo. Normally it’s not on my watch list. First, I’m not a fan of these local sports talk shows (well…I’m not much of a sports fan period). After all, how many times can you discuss what to do to fix the Reds or talk about the image of the Bengal team given all their player run ins with the law? Second, I’m not a Ken Broo fan. Sorry, that’s just me.

It was a short segment, but good that WLWT had them on. I can’t believe they didn’t have video from Saturday’s event – only old video. Nice effort on WLWT’s part! They need to evaluate their photo/reporting priorities. Kentucky Speedway or CRG? Hmmm….that’s an easy one. They’re both ovals, but the derby is much more exciting to watch. One question George or Ken asked Sadie was how much do you get paid. When I’m talking to folks about the Cincinnati Rollergirls, I get that question too. They’re surprised to hear it’s all volunteer and pleasantly surprised to hear about the local charity benefit provided by the Rollergirl events.

Supposedly the WLWT site has podcasts of Sports Rock, but I couldn't see anything recent on the site or through iTunes. All their archives were old.

Talking with Sadie briefly after Saturday’s match I knew she injured her shoulder. It was bad to see her on Sports Rock with her arm in a sling. I thought George mentioned a separated shoulder. Yikes! Hope she gets on the mend quickly. I’m also curious how Sk8 Crime is doing. She went down hard late in the third period and was holding her knee. Hopefully that was nothing too serious.

I enjoy all the action, but I certainly don’t want to see any injuries.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Minnesota 121, Cincinnati 140

JammingLast night Dianne and I went to see the Cincinnati Rollergirls take on the Minnesota Garda Belts at the Cincinnati Gardens. As expected, it was a hard hitting battle. But unlike my cousin Brenda's (who lives in Minnesota) prediction on my pre-bout post, The Cincinnati Rollergirls kept the lead from start to finish and defeated the Garda Belts. Check out my photo set from the match here.

The Cincinnati Rollergirls' All-Stars team really did an excellent job as a team. The jammers did get a workout, as the Minnesota blockers made it tough to get through the pack. Sadistic Sadie, shown above with Desicration (Minnesota in green), did a tremendous job jamming. Another big jamming contributor for Cincinnati was EMolition. EMolition and PanterrorizeShe is shown here wearing the jammer star with Panterrorize blocking. Just like last month for the Corsets, she had some great jams. There was one jam in the third period, when the score was fairly close, where EMolition scored a lot of points to help seal the victory. I caught this photo as she passed the Cincinnati bench during that jam after easily slipping through the pack. All the jammers, including Sk8 Crime, Roseanne Scarr, and Gummi Lov were working hard and contributed as well and added depth to the Cincinnati team.

Shoulder to ShoulderIt was a tough bout and there was a lot of hard blocking going on. This shot shows Sadie going shoulder to shoulder with the Garda Belt jammer around the turn. I caught this photo just before Panterrorize gave a block to the Minnesota jammer. One reflection of how difficult it was in the pack is this photo of the penalty boards the end of the match. The refs were using this to track minor/major penalties. In general, it's those folks in the pack that were blocking hard that had the most stickers. Just like the last Cincinnati match, I'd say Panterroize, Juwana Hurt, Arche Enemy, and Sk8r-Kinney all stood out. But just like with the jammers, all the pivots and blockers were contributing to make it hard for Minnesota to get through the pack. There were quite a few tumbles to the concrete during the bout. Several folks went down hard including Sk8 Crime, Sadistic Sadie, Ji Spot, and a couple other Garda Belt skaters. Hope there were no serious injuries.

Me with Sadistic SadieOne again, the whole Cincinnati Rollergirl organization made the bout a fun event. Many of those not skating against the Belts were circulating in the crowd, involved with the demo, passing out surveys, or otherwise helping with the event. The half-time prize contest involving the skaters and random people from the crowd was a nice idea. The Minnesota group even brought their team mascot, Tom the Leprechaun who added a little flair. Like last time, the skaters stayed after the event to meet the fans (me pictured here with Sadie) and they also had an after part at the Gardens. At this match, Dianne and I had the honor of sitting trackside on the VIP couch. It was exciting sitting in the "suicide seats" area and it was nice to meet and talk with some more of the group!

Finally, I think the biggest improvement at last night's event was the sound. The announcers were very clear and understandable. Being able to hear easily added a lot to the event.

The Rollergirls must be proud to have won their first match against an out-of-town team -- and to have done it while skating in the Gardens makes it all that much more impressive! Pretty cool! Looking forward to the next match on July 21st.

Friday, June 15, 2007


I don't tie a lot of knots, so I'm always struggling to remember how to tie a knot for some specific purpose. I ran across these two sites on knots that I thought would be useful.

The Mother Earth News site has this page with what I would describe as traditional diagrams showing how to tie the 10 most common knots.

The Animated Knots by Grog site uses a series of images that makes a progressive animation of rope movement to illustrate how to tie each knot. An example is the bowline. I like how you can look at each frame individually and also look at the mirror image or inverted animation. The site also has animations for many different knots as well as general information on rope care and purchase.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Don "Mr. Wizard" Herbert

Before Beakman and before Bill Nye the science guy, there was Mr. Wizard. Don Herbert, a.k.a. Mr. Wizard, died yesterday after a long fight with multiple myeloma. The LA Times has a nice obituary article for Don Herbert.

I remember watching Mr. Wizard's show when I was a kid. The Mr. Wizard Studios web site has a nice bio/timeline page. I clearly remember watching his first-run shows from 1970. I always thought he was Canadian because of that set of shows. I didn't realize he was also from Minnesota. Those shows and the short spots he did for Saturday morning cartoon interludes in 1972 were always interesting. Who knows, maybe that started my interest in science.

Anyone else remember watching Mr. Wizard or are there more Beakman and Nye folks that are blog readers?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Reactee

Dianne will confirm the last thing I need is another T-shirt. However, I was intrigued when I saw the Reactee on the Swiss Miss site. It's an interactive T-shirt -- well, about as interactive as a T-shirt can get.

You create a shirt with some short saying or slogan. You also put a unique keyword on the shirt. Using the keyword, anyone can text the keyword to the number on the shirt and the service will send back a text message that you specify (and you can change).

I know what you're probably thinking...why do you need text messaging when people could just come up and talk to you about the slogan on your shirt? Well, the geek factor itself makes it cool for a single shirt. However, you can order and wear shirts that others have created. You might not know what the text message response will be.

I'll have to think about a Reactee slogan. Any suggestions?

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Electromagnetic Spectrum

I've mentioned some of the comics at the xkcd site before. Many of them are science related. I found the recent comic below about the electromagnetic spectrum hilarious! It covers everything from the stadium wave to the sinister Google projects. I love the absorption spectra. Click here to see a larger version of the comic on the xkcd site. I might keep this link handy for my first year chemistry students.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Saints vs. Cinners This Saturday

I'm sure most folks reading this realize the Cincinnati Rollergirls (i.e. the Cinners) will be hosting the Garda Belts of the Minnesota Rollergirls from St. Paul (the Saints) this Saturday at the Cincinnati Gardens. The Roller Derby Diva has several posts about the match and the Cincinnati team. There is also info about the bout on the Cincinnati Rollergirls site.

I took a look around the web for some info on the Minnesota Rollergirls. Not being a MySpace user, I hadn't realized that Sadistic Sadie and Blu had practiced with the Minnesota Rollergirls last March. Read Sadie's blog entry about the trip. That should have given them a good look at the competition. From the little bits I've read, the Garda Belts may be a tough team!

There is a nice video about the Minnesota Rollergirls that you can watch here on the Cool Hunting site. The co-captains of the Garda Belts are in the video.

The Minnesota Rollergirl site is quite good. Here is the Garda Belt page. I wanted to look at the team. Apparently they have a leprechaun as a mascot. It fits well with their green uniforms. They have some great skater names and from the bios it looks like there are some tough skaters. The co-captain of the Garda Belts, Desi Cration, got a league award as the hardest hitter in 2007. I liked Demora Liza's description of the position she plays: "the one that just knocked you on your ass." The best names on the roster are Citizen Pain (her first word was Roseblood), Hanna Belle Lector, and Amyville Whore. Very creative!

Read an article (with some pictures) about the Minnesota Rollergirls here.

This'll be the first out of town team hosted by the Cincinnati Rollergirls in the Gardens. I'm sure there'll be some hard hitting jams. Be there to catch the action and cheer them on.

Rock, Paper, Scissors on Steroids

Most everyone has probably used the rock, paper, scissors game to decide something. On the off chance you're not familiar with the game, you can go to the World Rock Paper Scissors society web page to see the internationally recognized hand signals and learn more about the ins and outs of the game.

If that's too simple, I found out there are more advanced versions of the game thanks to the Unlikely Moose blog. The site has several variants that involve added hand signals. The chart for the seven signal version of rock, paper, scissors is shown to the right and the large version can be found here along with an explanation of the arrows. If that's still not enough, here is the chart for the 101 hand signal version. When you need a chart like that to learn the signals for an RPS game and decide who wins a match, things are out of hand (pun intended).

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Miscellaneous Items

I decided to post a few miscellaneous items I've seen while surfing around and catching up on some blog reading. I know these will be old news to some readers, but I'm going to post them anyway.

For the cooks in the crowd, this knife cabinet shown on the right is an interesting twist to the traditional butcher block. Check out the guy at the bottom of the case. Read more and order here from the Wireless Catalog site.

For the chemist and/or woodworker readers, this wooden periodic table that's a conference table is amazing. You'll notice that different groups of elements are represented in different types of wood. In a hollowed out space below each square in the table, there is a sample of that element. On the main page you can click on the tile for any element to display more information on the element. Go here to read why the table was made and go here to read about the construction. What a geeky project, but how cool is that!?!

Having worked in the osteoporosis area for many years, anything bone related always catches my eye. I'll admit this is very pricey, but this spine lamp on the Mark Beam Studio site is really striking.

I'm fascinated with the persistence of vision effects that you can get with LEDs. A previous post about these LED car rims is a great, although expensive example. If that's too expensive, check out this retro style LED fan that displays a series of images to create an animation.

Finally, what blogger hasn't had trouble coming up with something to write about or no time to type up something? Even with a subject, it's nice to include a picture or a movie to spruce up a post. But finding things on the web to link to does take some time. Well, problem supposedly solved by the folks at NEC. The PaPeRo are cute little robots that automate the creation of a multimedia blog. You just talk to them about your day and they analyze your words and searches for content. Sounds too futuristic. Read more about it here at the Far East Gizmos site. Anybody using these?

Friday, June 08, 2007

DAAPWorks 2007

The College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) at the University of Cincinnati has an end-of-year show where graduating students display their capstone projects. The show is called DAAPWorks. On Friday evening, Dianne (an alumnus) and I went down to UC to see the show.

Di at DAAPWorksI have zero art talent and no eye for design, but it's fun to look at the projects. Personally I like looking at the digital design, industrial design, and industrial transportation areas the most. Some of the architecture projects are interesting, but many don't have any problem statements or explanation at all -- just a model and some drawings. It's striking how some of the projects just jump out at you as having had a lot of thought and work behind them. We saw some very good work. There were quite a few of the interactive digital design works that were well done. The photo here shows Dianne checking out the interactive projects. There are a couple more pics of Dianne at the exhibits here and here.

We did see part of Sk8 Crime's project called off the chest -- unfortunately the video part of her work wasn't playing when we were there. Fine artist by day and Cincinnati Rollergirl by night (or vice versa).

Dianne Kissing the BearOn the way back home, we stopped briefly at the collection of large signs sitting across the street from Essex Studios and the American Sign Museum. Unfortunately I didn't see any church signs. I took a few snapshots of the signs. You can see the collection of photos here on Flickr. Although the sun was setting and the light wasn't the best, I got some cute shots of Dianne with the signs like this one where she is kissing the bear.

Twitter Haiku

As you know from an earlier post, I like Twitter. I'm still not sure exactly why. Whether you like Twitter or not, I think you'll find the TwitterKu blog creative. All the posts on the TwitterKu blog are haiku made from phrases pulled from the Twitter stream. Pretty funny! I like this one.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Quick Trip to Minnesota

DadSadly, I made a quick trip to Minnesota last week for my Uncle Russell's funeral. I stayed with my dad for a few days and got back home on Tuesday evening. I took this photo of my dad on Monday afternoon while we were sitting outside waiting for my cousin and his wife to stop by. With all the activity associated with an unexpected death, the trip is still a bit of a blur.

Diane and MeThe service held on Saturday was done very well with pastor John Longley, a long time friend of Russell, officiating. There were quite a few people at the service, many that I didn't know. However, I did have a chance to visit with several people (relatives, old neighbors, parents of folks I went to school with, my 4th grade teacher, etc.) that I hadn't seen in years. After the service, Diane and Dave stopped by to visit for awhile. My dad took this photo of Diane and me.