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May 31, 2004

The Perspective of Disappearance

There are three branches of perspective; the first deals with the reasons of the (apparent) diminution of objects as they recede from the eye, and is known as Diminishing Perspective. The second contains the way in which colours vary as they recede from the eye. The third and last is concerned with the explanation of how the objects [in a picture] ought to be less finished in proportion as they are remote (and the names are as follows):
Linear Perspective.

The Perspective of Colour.

The Perspective of Disappearance.

[From Leonardo's Notebooks]

Posted by tplambeck at 10:16 PM

May 28, 2004

Two by Owen

"callipiter" = caterpiller

"finsony" = symphony

Posted by tplambeck at 10:20 PM

May 27, 2004

Scarecrow Sprinkler

A motion-detector-activated water sprinkler.


Here's an illustration of a slightly different model turning to fire on a deer.

From the archives: The pepper spray gun.

Posted by tplambeck at 09:49 AM

May 24, 2004

Mystery Object

What is this object?


1. An electric fly catcher.

2. A hockey puck cleaner.

3. A shoe shiner.

4. A "water clock."

5. A change counter.

6. It can't possibly be any of the above choices.

Posted by tplambeck at 03:01 PM

It's my Wal-Mart

Some quotations drawn from "It's My Wal-Mart: 2004 Annual report:"

From a section with title Raising the Standard of Living:

Pamela Jordan grew up in the south Los Angeles neighborhood of Baldwin Hills, where oil rigs once pumped until developers discovered the area in the 1950s. Today, she lives with her 16 year-old grandson only eight minutes away from this mostly African-American community, and continues to stay in the neighborhood...

Clouds may be gathering over Pamela but she's soon to be rewarded for her gutsy decision "to continue to stay in the neighborhood" despite being only "8 minutes away" from the "African-American community:"

That's why she was delighted in 2003 when Wal-Mart made the decision to place one of its stores in an abandoned three-story Macy's property in the Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw Plaza shopping center on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

It's just like on TV!

"I walk in there and I know the staff. They are friendly and smiling. They say `Hey, how you doing, welcome to Wal-Mart!' They really do that, just like in the commercials..."
Posted by tplambeck at 01:54 PM

May 22, 2004



Posted by tplambeck at 11:50 PM

May 18, 2004

Indian Rock

24 hours in Oakhurst (photos by Jim Hsu).

Posted by tplambeck at 01:45 PM

US Bank Phishing

A fraudulent email in my Inbox:
Dear U.S. Bank valued member,

Due to concerns, for the safety and integrity of the Internet Banking community we have issued this warning message.

It has come to our attention that your account information needs to be updated due to inactive accounts, frauds and spoof reports. If you could please take 5-10 minutes out of your online experience and renew your records you will not run into any future problems with the online service. However, failure to update your records will result in account deletation.

Once you have updated your account records your online banking account will not be interrupted and will continue as normal. Please follow the link below and renew your account information.

U.S. Bank Internet Banking
I liked the threat of "account deletation." It's perhaps the only misstep in the body of the email text.

The email concludes with the seemingly legitimate URL


But clicking on it takes you instead to this bogus page (image), with actual URL


which is an attractively composed work of online forgery that even includes a simulacrum of a browser SSL lock icon:

I thought the "id-centers.com" domain sounded pretty good too. I checked it out via WHOIS and had the following registration information returned to me:

Stephanie Sutton (92CWJ)
3505 Mildred Drive
Louisville, KY 40216
United States
Phone: (502) 290-9532

Posted by tplambeck at 09:28 AM

May 17, 2004

Kitty Cat

I left the house to go running about 11:30 this morning.

On my way back I heard lots of sirens and a helicopter flew over.

Gloria came home with news about a mountain lion having been spotted not far from where I was running.

From the online version of the San Francisco Chronicle:

1:48 p.m. -- Palo Alto Police Detective Kara Apple confirmed this afternoon that police shot and killed a mountain lion in a residential neighborhood because of the danger it posed to the public.

Apple said the lion was spotted in the area of Walnut Drive and Walter Hays Way and leaped into the backyard of a residence where a dog began "freaking out'' and spooked the lion into the front yard and up a tree -- right next to one of the Palo Alto police officers who responded to the sighting.

After a conference with the Department of Fish and Game and local animal control officers, Apple said the OK was given to shoot the animal.

No other injuries were reported and the lion is being taken away from the scene. Details on where it is being taken, its weight and other information will be made available in a news release Apple plans to send out this afternoon.

I wasn't surprised they killed it, but it still seemed a bit extreme. Couldn't they have tranquilizer-darted it or something?

Palo Alto Online news story

Posted by tplambeck at 02:25 PM

May 16, 2004

The Seven Deadly Chess Sins

From a highly amusing book by Jonathan Rowson.

I wanted to add a succinct description of each sin, but found it difficult to distill from the book.

Anyway, here they are:

Posted by tplambeck at 11:09 PM

California Quail

Despite their abundance at the Yosemite house, I've had trouble photographing the California Quail.

Using the Google search engine I was able to find many photos of them attractively posed on fenceposts or peeking out of the undergrowth. But whenever I tried to capture one myself, they always scurried away as I fumbled with the camera or a lens.

But this morning, armed with my new Canon EOS 10D and a telephoto lens that looks a bit like a bazooka, I took this one as we returned from the Indian Rock acorn grinding holes:


Still not that great, but OK I guess.

Posted by tplambeck at 10:45 PM

May 11, 2004

Return to Sender

Names on some of this morning's spam email:
January Hawkins
Retract U. Brouhaha
Shirley Slaughter
Kohinoor V. Equuleus
Holtzen Bridgeforth
Kent Camacho
Milton Estrada
Nellie Gee
Lunsford X.
Someone out there has improved upon the theory of operation of my personal name generator.

Posted by tplambeck at 08:53 AM

May 10, 2004

Pearl Running

At El Camino Park, near the Stanford Shopping Center.



Posted by tplambeck at 03:48 PM

May 08, 2004

May 07, 2004

The Miracle of the Running Shoes

Jim took photos of Matt, Stephanie, Sue, Gloria, Penn, Cole, Owen, Pearl, and me after a violin trio.

After that, we went swimming.


About ten days ago, getting ready to leave the swimming pool, I put my running shoes on top of the car momentarily. I promptly forgot the shoes were there, about 3.5 seconds after thinking to myself, "don't forget the shoes are there."

Since they were old shoes, I couldn't bother driving back to go look for them—I imagined a headline in the newspaper:


Five days later again returning from the swimming pool, now with Gloria, Cole and Owen, I explained what had happened to the shoes and asked Cole and Owen to look for them as we drove home. Gloria immediately said something that suggested that this was a hopeless activity. But just as I finished saying "Well, you never know, stranger things have happened..." I saw the shoes, patiently poised on the curb, obviously set there by some passer by.

We stopped the car and Owen and Penn (who happened to be visiting, and travelling in the car behind us) retrieved them.

Posted by tplambeck at 04:02 PM

May 05, 2004

Three searches

Three words I sought information on via Google, and what Google thinks of them:

rendering plant
Posted by tplambeck at 11:08 PM

May 04, 2004


Photos from the Palo Alto Little League Opening Day ceremony. Just after everyone had taken their places on the field, it started to rain.

Posted by tplambeck at 11:24 PM

47,270 games of chess

Statistics on my play at the Internet Chess Club over the last seven years:
          rating   win  loss  draw total    best
Wild        1586    49    68     1   118    1684  (10-Feb-99)         
Bughouse    1597     8    11     0    19       0                      
Crazyhouse  1628     0     1     0     1       0                      
Bullet      1741 14841 10874  1172 26887    2002  ( 5-Jun-98)         
Blitz       1585   498   412    35   945    1950  (26-Jul-97)         
5-minute    1156     0     1     0     1       0                      
1-minute    1603  9180  9114  1006 19300    1777  (29-Jul-02)         
I mostly play sixty second games—the "Bullet" and "1-minute" categories. Each player has one minute to make all his moves. So each game takes about two minutes to play. To play 47,270 games would require two complete months, twenty-four hours a day.


Posted by tplambeck at 02:23 PM

May 01, 2004

Palo Alto May Fete

Photos taken at the parade assembly point, in downtown Palo Alto. At the finish, near Addison school, the mermaid pointed to the 70-200 telephoto lens around my neck and said, "Hey, National Enquirer Guy, you could take a picture of someone's eyeball with that!"

Posted by tplambeck at 11:25 PM

Mad Hatter's Tea Cups


Posted by tplambeck at 01:25 AM

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