MOAR BOOKS: The Regional Office is Under Attack by Manuel Gonzales

This is an entertaining book, very easy to read, and also somewhat difficult to categorize. There is violence, the narrative jumps back and forth in time, and while details are frequent the macro view is occasionally ignored.

If you want to punish yourself with some of the reader reviews on amazon (never do that! why would you do that?) then you will quickly notice that the complaints are that the book is confusing or that the characters are shallow, or similar things which completely miss the point of the book. The point is that the regional office is under attack, and that drives the story. How it drives the story, and the characters, is well explained, although the tendency to shift back and forth in time during the narrative will only make sense after you get to the end.

Highly recommended.

Read a Book: The Numbers Game - Why Everything You Know About Soccer is Wrong

The Numbers Game aims to use statistics to take a closer took at what is (and isn't) valuable on the soccer/football pitch. It is a very interesting read, although much less accessible than Moneyball in that there are no central characters to drive the narrative. (The authors do a a good job covering some of the personalities in the game but they don't have much punch.) Instead the facts drive the narrative, and while that doesn't make for a very good option on your movie script, it is a very informative and educational book. If you like statistical analysis applied to athletic endeavors then: highly recommended.

Reading Sam Harris: Free Will // Letter to a Christian Nation

We are big fans of Sam Harris in this blogspace. He is a very practical man, and I like practical people. I picked up several of his books and have been making my way through them. The books are quite short, which I appreciate, since typical pattern in an academic book is to make your point once, then make it over and over again so that it fills up enough pages that you and (especially) the publisher can make some money when the book gets published. This is boring and sucks and it's why you can skip the majority of the pages in books like Reclaiming Conversation (an otherwise good book!) without missing much in the way of pithy content.

I started with Free Will, a slim volume that explains why free will is an illusion. You can finish this book in a single read, although breaking it up into smaller chunks will make it easier to process. Harris writes: "Thoughts and intentions emerge from background causes of which we are unaware and over which we exert no conscious control. We do not have the freedom we think we have." (Page 5) He spends about 60 very tidy pages providing proofs for this position, and doing some work explaining the implications. Highly recommended. 

After taking a break to read some fiction I read Letter to a Christian Nation. This book is a direct response to all the hate mail that Harris got after he published The End of Faith. Like Free Will, this is a very compact, economical book. Harris takes only as many pages as he needs to rebut the absurdity and hypocrisy that surrounds modern evangelical Christianity in the United States. He is not a man to waste words on boring topics, and his cool rationality is a soothing balm if you want to purge the memory of some new and impressively stupid religious news. Highly recommended. 

I Thought You Said Your Dog Would Not Bite

Didn't mean to suggest that the sweet pups in the last post is my pups. If I got a dog that would be the first thing I mentioned. I bought that bear as a gift for my accountant because it is his office dog, and that dog is awesome. In related dog-sharing news, this is Bruno the Portuguese water dog meeting a tortoise for the first time. Much excitement. Very reptile.

As an aside: Feel free to name your dog whatever you want, but if you choose a name that ends in "oh" (like Bruno, or Bilbo, or Bo, or Potato) then make sure you choose a negative cue that is different than the word "no", or else the dog will get very, very confused. That dog owner sucks. Don't be that dog owner.

Operation Macballs continues apace. Gotta retrain the brain. Keeps your brain fresh, or so I'm told.

Operation Drop Some Ell Bees is well under way. The Fat Kid is in a pool with some of the other peeps to see who can whip themselves into shape in preparation for the 4th of July. I have been supporting the efforts of my fellow competitors, and by "supporting" I mean "dropping cookies off at the houses of". Same thing. I cannot make them eat delicious treats but I can at least make them available. Here to help, people.

If the title of the post doesn't make sense then enjoy this classic. You're welcome.

Too Close for Missiles, Switching to Guns

Doggie Got a Bear
It's been a busy time over here. We did some things, and did some other things. First things first, this is the inaugural post from the new MacBook Pro. I now drive a Prius (pretty much) and go to yoga and use a mac. I'm a cliche. Car is fine, and yoga is hot girls in yoga pants fine, and the macbook is also fine.

I'm anti-apple bullshit but the macbook pro is wonderfully light, which appeals to me because I have to carry it around places. It looks cool because I put a sweet, sweet SKT T1 sticker on it already.

iOS is OMG totes amazing if you want to integrate your iMessages from your phone or manage music on garageband or dick around with those awesome photos you took of your dinner.  If you have to, you know, actually work then it might be tough adjusting to the fact that the entire MS Office product suite is still years behind the same software on Windows. I remind myself of how nice and light this computer is every time I run into another absent feature or function. Related: The single-button mouse is straight garbage. LOL 'two-finger click'. Why are you telling me to fingerblast my computer? Use a two-button mouse.

Overall the best I can say for the new device is that I don't notice it much, and that apple's management of both hardware and OS seems to make things work with less effort than I would expect on a windows box. Probably most important is that it cost me $0, which is nice. Now that I think about it, not only was it free but I actually get paid to use it. Not bad.


Pups with her bear is a sweet beast. You can tell she likes the bear a lot because she hasn't eaten it yet. Good girl!

Artist website is ready

Artist website is ready and fully functional:

Artist website offers high quality photo, frame and art prints, and also posters, greeting cards, tote bags, iPhone and Galaxy phone cases
Every purchase includes a money-back guarantee. Products delivered to any destination in the world.

Some HDR photos is not uploaded yet, but my best snowflake, macro and still life pictures are here.

Website powered by FineArtAmerica, one of the largest, most-respected giclee printing companies in the world with over 40 years of experience producing museum-quality prints. All prints are produced on state-of-the-art, professional-grade Epson printers. Site have exactly same content, and almost the same functionality as it's mirrors at and, but have some important advantages.

It's fast. In my tests, main page loads twice as fast as same page on profile. Also, website have nice customization abilities, and it's look and feel can be changed dramatically. For this moment, however, i've selected default color scheme, but spent many time on photo and text content.

Website, also as and, offers money-back guarantee for every purchase.

This website will be my main print-on-demand place, though some additional products also available at

If anyone interested, i glad to offer one-month 100% discount. That not means free prints, however: my commission will be zero, but discount does not apply to manufacturer's materials, print process and delivery. Here is it, 6-symbol code: LSVXZY. On final stage of ordering any product, there is special field for discount codes:

Alexey Kljatov artist website: marked field for discount codes

Snowflake draft #2

This is quick update of Snowflake draft series, before i'll continue digging archives from recent winter. This photo was taken January 18, 2013: very first winter when i start to use lens Helios 44 as additional magnifier, and assembled my current snowflake macro setup. I needed this picture of snowflake for side project, and spent three hours to process it from averaged stack of 7 serial JPEG sources.

Snowflake macro photo: Draft_2-1 - pair of very big snow crystals with similar shape and internal structure, sparkling on dark grey textured background
Snowflake photo: Draft_2-1 (3200 x 2400)

This is pair of big stellar dendrite snow crystals, fallen together at my black woolen backdrop. Interesting thing with that couple is that far crystal have almost the same size, shape and structure as near one, and it even sit in wool fibers at same angle! It seems that both snowflakes fall and grow in close proximity to each other, and similar air conditions and changes in temperature and humidity around them caused crystals to grow with similar shape. If you look closely at far crystal, you'll notice some differences in details of arms.

Prints of this double flake available at: Artist website (mirrors at Pixels and FineArtAmerica),
Licenses for commercial use - at,

Snowflake macro photo: Draft_2-1, crystal center details
Crop of snowflake center in full size

And this is version in real colors, without my usual blue color toning. Almost all of my source photos with dark grey woolen background have similar, almost monochromatic grey colors, because in most cases the only light source is diffused light from cloudy winter sky:

Snowflake macro photo: Draft_2-2 - two large snow crystals with similar shape, glittering on dark woolen fabric, real colors version
Snowflake photo: Draft_2-2 (3200 x 2400)

Snowflakes is the crystals of clear transparent ice, and they can take any color, depending of light source and surrounding environment (this gives us a fantastic opportunity to experiment with lighting and backgrounds). Although, when looking from particular angles, snow crystals become white and semi-transparent, or almost opaque (i think, this is because of light scattering: light rays can bounce inside of snow crystal, reflecting from numerous facets). Also, in some cases snowflakes can show us rainbow colors, which produced by prismatic features inside crystals, and even more interesting phenomenon: rainbow colors, created by thin film interference effect (it explained in Wikipedia; this effect also creates rainbow colors in soap bubbles). In relation to the snowflakes, this effect can be seen rarely: it needs interleaved and very thin layers of ice and air inside snow crystal. Here you can see several examples of rainbow snowflakes, that i've encounter during recent winters.

Prints of grey version also available at: Artist website (mirrors at Pixels and FineArtAmerica),
Licenses for commercial use - at,

Here is next pack of draft snowflakes - catch of March 19, 2013:

Snowflake macro photos: two real snow crystals of stellar dendrite type, glittering on dark background - Alexey Kljatov

If you want to see more snowflakes, you can browse through all snowflake pictures.
Here you'll find snowflake photo wallpapers in numerous resolutions and screen proportions, up to Ultra HD 4K.
And here is article about snowflake macro photography.

Derp, plus: SKT T1!

I was so excited to go to that pastry class I forgot I already had a class at another cooking school place where I'm going to learn how to make pasta or some shit. Derpy McDerpface. Why did I agree to do that? I don't even eat pasta. It will be fun and good but not as good as eating pastry. So many pastries. All the treats. *sigh* So it'll be pasta this weekend, but as soon as that's done, ohh we are going to make some fuckin' treats up in here. Get your mind right.

This past weekend was the finals of MSI, which (spoiler alert) was won by my favorite pro game team: SKT T1. The sticker you see at left will adorn my new macbook* as soon as it gets here. 'It' = my macbook, because you know I've been saving that sticker for weeks. I'll write a longer post on how great it is to watch Duke / Blank (or Bengi) / Faker / Bang / Wolf do their thing later on, but all you need to know for now is that Faker is also called The Demon King, and he is very skinny, which means that the tears of his enemies must be very filling but also extremely low in calories.

* Ugh yes I am getting a macbook, because the windows laptop I've been carting around for the past two years is a punishment. This new one should be much easier to carry. Apple is still bullshit, but I didn't pay for it, so whatever.

Just Play the Hits: Faded by Alan Walker (bootleg by Asnozm)

This bootleg is a smash hit by any metric. It is the good shit. Thanks Soundcloud! 


Long time readers know that making treats is one of my favorite things, possibly second only to stuffing treats in my face. So I make them, and then I share them with friends and family ('friends and family' is redundant in my case, but whatever), partly because sharing delicious treats with people you love is pretty much the best, and partly because if I ate them all then that would be Not Healthy. 

(Now would be a good time for you to review Kings of Pastry if you haven't already.)

So when a famous patissier opened a pastry school right down the street I was super pumped and signed up for a class immediately. My regular cooking school is superb but they mostly do meals and breads, with only occasional seasonal forays into what I consider the staple foods (i.e. dessert). Awesome for dates, but maybe not so awesome if you're flying solo. 

I like meals as much as the next person but I'm not much interested in taking a class and eating by myself. I want to focus on the good stuff. Speaking of the good stuff, get a load of this shit right here: macarons; eclairs; tart; tea cake; macarons again (different kind); verrine (no idea); frasier (no idea); Paris brest (I don't think that means what I think it means); st. honore. Classes every weekend! Let's do this. 

I'll let you know how it goes. 

Major blog update with HTTPS support

With recently added HTTPS support for Google Blogger, i've worked hard to make my blog fully compatible with it:

Snowflake photography blog The Keys to December fully supports HTTPS access

At first, i checked all scripts in use, and make sure that they can be loaded over HTTPS, so i don't get mixed content warning from browsers, when protected page contains some unprotected elements. Also, i got this warning because my old code for E-Mail subscription from Feedburner service contains two HTTP references. I took new code (it refers to HTTPS), and problem was solved. With all blog photos and graphics i have no problems, thanks to Flickr, who switched to HTTPS long ago. Although, i checked posts with old Flickr embed codes (taken before Flickr HTTPS support was rolled out), and get new codes for all these images.

But then, i need to change all internal links in all posts and pages from absolute to relative form:
should be

Then, clicking a link on protected page will load protected, and click on standard HTTP page will load standard. This was really hard work, because my blog have almost two hundred posts and static pages, with hundreds of internal links. As side effect, i checked also all outgoing links: updated many of them to HTTPS versions (for sites that supports it), and removed several dead links (or updated them to proper versions, if they can be retrieved).

So, if you will go to any protected page, you'll surf protected version of blog:

...and standard HTTP pages are fully functional, too:

Whiteboard Camouflage


Do you know anyone that is white enough to disappear in front of a white board? I mean besides me.

Where does the white board stop and my arm begin? Impossible to say. It takes a special combination of Irish/German ginger genes, 'winter' weather, sunscreen, and League of Legends viewing on sunny days to get this white. Experts only, is what I'm saying.

Thanks Bennycakes for the photo.

I Went There: San Ramon

Unrelated - Sigil of House Greyjoy, Which is Cool
(One in an occasional series.) 

I went to San Ramon to talk to some people about some things. I didn't know where San Ramon was before I was assigned the meeting. I can now report that it is (supposedly) 30 minutes from the Oakland airport, and (supposedly) 40 minutes from the San Jose airport. As with any driving time in the Bay Area it is highly traffic dependent. Both routes are hell during rush hour, is what I mean. If this report on San Ramon seems boring then you are getting the correct sense of what it's like to visit San Ramon.

After San Ramon I got to visit Rancho Cordova, which was similarly exciting but with a better lunch.

Next week I'm in Monroe, Louisiana for a couple days to talk to some people about some things. I have a strong suspicion that Monroe is to Louisiana as San Ramon is to California, but more humid. I will let you know when I get back.