The dirty gunk around the center of the board is all of the flux that I schlopped on it in order to solder on the tiny surface mount part that you can see in the lower middle. This was my first time using flux. It turns out that I didn't need to use the soldering wick at all. I just schlopped on a bunch of flux and kept tapping the soldering iron to the bridges/shorts until they went away (as I saw demonstrated in a youtube video). I also used a headset with a magnifying lens that I got off amazon which was pretty handy. Oh, and I held it in place with a pair of tweezers that got from Sparkfun. My wife held down the PCB as I worked. I tested the pins with a multimeter and they all are going to the right place so I am pretty excited (and also a little surprised). This makes me _very_ confident in trying to hand solder a Dexter rev3 board with all SMT parts on it (including the ATMega644P).
Yes, I too, can solder tiny surface mount parts! (with my wife's help)