Monday, 19 September 2011

Wilde's passion

This year New Zealand hosts the Rugby World Cup Tournament and hopes to cash and keep it for four years instead of Australia (Seen how the gets are going, I really have slim faith it will not happen).

I follow faithfully Rugby since two years, since my lovely lady brought me in Rome at the Flaminio stadium to watch the Six Nations Tournament match Italy - England.

Since then I'm totally nuts over this absurd game in which you see things  that, outside the game contest, would be immediately sanctioned as aggravated assault and first degree murder try.

To a non informed spectator, the dinamics of this game appear simply crazy. The ball zips on the field, passed behind instead of in front of the palyers. Each two meters, the ball carrier gets stopped by a mob of ten and more that simply smash him to pulp. When they are finished they leave him on the field and go seek the next victim.

The action is caothic and frenetic, but the referee stops it often for reasons he alone understands.Nobody protests, nobody as much as flinches, everybody carries on obediently.

Sometimes, for misterious reasons, 8 players form a tortoise war formation and go ruin their vertebrae against a similar formation of 8 opposing players. The ball rolls placidly on the field till someone collects it and the lynching can start all over.

Oscar Wilde told us that Rugby is a beastly game played by gentlemen and soccer is a gentleman's game played by beasts. it is honestly hard to contradict Lord Wilde after seeing those bulldozers that commit acts against pubblic moral but dare not raise their eyes when they get caught by the referee and as soon they stand up from the bloody pulp soup that the melee is, pat their opponents backs and rendez vous them to the next scrum.

To add surrealism to this sport, the supporters are well on par. They are crazy, coloured, noisy and as spotless as the players.

If they suffer a try or a penalty due to a foul, they do not curse the referee's mother, but instead scream at their defense line. Those are the supporters that, when they feel that the other's team supporter are not doing a good job, support the opposite team instead (You think this is nuts? Didn't read much of what I wrote till now, did you?) and bring their children to the games and teach them that the opponent has to be fought on the field and respected always and everywhere.

At the end of a game there is someone that wins and somene that loses and that even if you score a draw, because inside yourself you know if you gave it all or held back something.

So you have post game interviews that every soccer player should watch over and over again, with coaches that curse their team ( that just won) and players that blame themselves for errors that ( seeing the absurdity above here) would be absolutley human.

New Zealand is far away and as such games are at impossible hours. That said I never got up that happy at 5 in the morn a Sunday as when I have a Rugby match to watch.

Yes... Sunday... 5 in the morning... You still do no get that this game is nuts, do you? :D

Sunday, 18 September 2011

To War!

One of the most used clichés that the '80 cinema has left to us is the gear up sequence in "First blood II"

Rambo is ready to start his mission, during a details sequence, we see him tie his shoes, test his weapons and bind his undying headband to his brow.

Around him, people are getting ready, but he is completely focused on his preparation.

From now on, we will find this sequence everywere ( even Arnold did not miss his chance) and as such it is now an accepted writing cliché.
Why does that sequence convey that precise sensation? Because it is, no more, no less, the knight's gearing up before going to kill the dragon.

I'm talking about this because I had a curios experience on the train.

Once a month I have to work on saturday or Sunday and as such I have to take the train to reach the office.

I just had sat down that a girl sits down as well, right in front of me. The train starts to move and after a couple of seconds, my travel companion opens her bag and gets a trousse. Then she starts her make up.

The scene went on for about ten minutes. Nobody commented, neither did I. I just sat there and watched her unable to tear my eyes off. Conquered by the aura of calmness and sureness that that girl gave away.

She noticed my stare, but did not stop nor aknowledge it. She just went on as if nothing could touch her and as if she was simply unreacheable.

Suddenly I understood the reason behind the gearing up. We have rituals.

When we dress up, make up, comb our hairs, we are in fact donning an armour, we are readying up to kill the dragon.

Result is not already written, obviously, but point is that those little gestures prepare ourselves and our minds to the challenge.

The make up the girl was putting on her face is the same as the tie I bind around my neck or Rambo's headband before the mission. Through the gesture, we get ready to the action.

When I arrived to the office i thought back to the fact that my only ritual when i work on saturday morning is having a rich breakfast at the Reanrdy pastry shop. I really do not if it can make me win the dragon, but for sure it gives enough calories to stand up to almost everything :D

Tuesday, 24 May 2011


Because you need just one visit to put my world back on track.

Because you are the last person I hear at night and the first I hear in the morning and you do not care if I spend my time yawning in the microphone.

Because you take care of my health even if it is you that is sick and you spend your time trying to be healthy so that I do not worry

Because you teach me new things just walking with me.

Because even a cappuccino becomes sexy in your hands.

I miss you a lot love.

See you in two weeks :)

Friday, 8 April 2011

Suddenly, a penguin...

First time I met him it was a simple and pure disaster.

Half of things did not work, hardware support was a nightmare, buying a card was hellish.

Each time you connected a peripheral to the PC it was a gamble, maybe it would work on your PC, but it will fail on the same PC of your neighbour.

A graphic or sound card required you almost to write yourself your own drivers and you could forget about three quarter of the software outside there, but Hey! We got Tux racer, so it was allright wasn't it?

Nonetheless that little, battered OS had talent, it had potential, it had style and it was hungry.

It was hungry and was fueled by our anger of having to defrag disks almost daily, Word that crashed with misterious error messages, Blue screens of death by tons and virus and spywares that reinvented Darwinism inside your HD.

We started with Red hat, Debian, real men installed Slackware, masochists (later) Gentoo. Then came the average Joe distros, Mandrake, PC Linux and the ambiguous Lindows.

Finally Ubuntu, the Linux distro that freed the penguin and that actually powers my mom's PC (and believe me, it rocks)

I installed, used and crashed more distros I could name. I inspected each part, always learning a little more each time. Linux taught me that there is nothing such as an unsolvable problem, just solutions that need to be found.

And even if now everyone uses it and nobody even bothers, deep inside me, I know that Linux is the way it is because we had the curiosity and the will to make it that way. Because we looked for each others and together we tackled the problems and because I did not gave up at the first error message and pigheadedly I kept on trying.

Happy birthday Linux

Thursday, 10 March 2011


First time I tried it I did not even like.

I found it bad, an unclear taste, hard to chew and difficult to swallow.

Since then I evolved in a full fledged fanboy of this recipe that mixes perfectly raw and boiled ingredients in tasty morsels.

I always saw Sushi like a special treat, like Pizza. Something you eat on accasions and that becomes quickly a social moment with friends and family.

I suddenly realized that in know how to bake Pizza and I actually do it for friends and family. So, why not Sushi?

Photo Monsieur tout le monde

Google is your friend

Few clicks are enough to learn the basics (I suggest you check the how-to videos on Youtube) after that you are ready to start. You will need:

- Rice
- Sushi vinegar
- Nori seaweed
- Toppings


Believe it or not, Japanese rice is actually originary from Italy, so you can use italian rice. choose Arborio or Roma rice ( depends if you like larger or smaller grains).

Rinse the rice in a bowl, throw the water and repeat till the rice becomes translucent.

To cook it follow this simple rule: 1 cup rice+ 1 cup water+ 1/2 cup water. If you use two cups of rice, then two and a half cups of water are needed and so on.

I have a cooker, but if you use a pot, bring it to boil, then lower the fire to minimum and leave it simmer 20 minutes. After that put a lid on it and leave it for 20 minutes more. DO NOT PEEK!

Sushi vinegar

Vinegar has to be sweetened a little; You can find sweetened vinegars, in that case no problem.

In case you could not find it add to one teaspoon of sugar each 4 tablespoons of vinegar and use 4 tablespoons of vinegar each 3 cups of rice ( you do the math).

Pour the vinegar on the rice after its twenty minutes rest , cover the bowl and put it aside to cool off.

Nori seaweed

It is usually sold in ten sheets pack. you use to give a little extra bit of taste. Useful, but not necessary.


Except for meat, everything goes.

I saw vegetarian sushi, some with fruits. Here in Belgium some put some fresh cheese in it to give a creamy note ( before you start screaming, many japanese use mayo that for)

You can start using Salmon ( raw or smoked), shrimps, Surimi, tuna.

Some possibilities:

- Salmon+ cream cheese+ fresh dill
- Shrimps+ cream cheese
- Shrimps+ Surimi
- Salmone+ cucumber
- Tuna+ Cucumber+ cream cheese+ fresh dill

Just be creative and have fun.

Some plain soja sauce will pair nicely, but try put some olive oil in the Soja sauce and you'll have a nice surprise

Enjoy your meal :)

Photo Monsieur tout le monde

Saturday, 5 March 2011

It's been a long time...

Almost one year?

To quote Billy Crystal in "When Harry met Sally" what's the statute of limitations on apologies?

In this last year I did not write a lot for a series of reasons, many of them quite personal and as such, if you excuse me, I will not talk about them here.

I reassure you, I did not work extensively on my house, so you did not miss much.

Going on through my life I think I can now understand when I can push and when I have to sit back and rest.

Last year was a "sit back and rest" year, but now it is over.

House sleeps from too much, I am not what I used to be last year, but she is there. Unaware of it. It has to stop.

This Blog was like my house, fixed in time, running on a routine that does not work anymore with me.

But this blog is the window from which you can see my project evolve and as such. it is time it evolves with it.

Here are the relevant changes to it.

- Graphic theme is lighter. I took off whatever was unnecessary and messy and now it looks more clean and readeable

- I always loved to have some music playing under my posts, but it seems that not everyone agreed whit that choice. So I compromised. Cd of the month is still at its place, but now starts only if you click on the Play button.

-I will not have always new things going on in the house that are worth a full post but I will not leave you without info on this project. Right this page you will find the Twitter and the Tumblr updates of yours truly. Feel free to follow them here or to subscribe to the feeds.

- If you own a smartphone, be aware that the "mobile" version is up and running, as such if you enter the Blog adress you'll be authomatically redirected to it.

Those are the main changes, but more will follow. A new Logo is worked on and I will rearrange the Tag system making it easy to find the post you are looking for

Works start again this Weekend. Stay with me.

I have so much to show you. :)

Friday, 14 May 2010

In cervogia veritas

I already told you about my craving for handmade pottery wich compells me to search on the net for new artist whose work I can acquire.

A while ago I told you about Brandon Phillips' Support your local pottery site and of his wonderful tankard.

Brandon's purchase has paid off indeed and I still use it gladly, loving the heaviness in my hand and the smoothness under my finger, without discounting the well adjusted handle.

What I once said stays true, but...


Why yes, there is a but.

The tankard narrows in the middle and this, nonetheless it gives it that elegant hourglass shape, is a real problem when you pour some beer in it.

The frothy lady always "jumps" over the "bottleneck" and transforms itself in pure foam.

This technical issue has forced me to use that wonderful tankard only for Cider and low body density beers such as blond and white beers.

It was important to find a complementary piece that could fill in for the rest of the beers this lovely country has to offer.

Thanks Heaven there is no shortage of gifted potters on the net, making the search queite easy and the choice absolutely hellish.

So, after much scouting I met Sofia's Dad.

It's clay Jim!

Jim Gottuso is an Italian-american potter located in Kentuky were he lives and works with his family.

You can follow his day by day work his lovely Daughter Sofia ( codenamed The bug") his dogs and his legendary car on his blog "Sofia's Dad pots".

You'll find a hard working, steady artist with a coherent project that delivers high, ethereal shaped vessels with sunny and intricated decorative patterns.

Jim works with thrown porcelain and this alone already gives an idea of his technical level, since, for who does not know it, this white earth is the hardest to work at all.

If you compare it to the heavy, soft, fat mass of stoneware - which requires strenght indeed- porcelain is as easier to manipulate, but only for a few seconds.

This clay, rich in vitrous component that gives it its smooth, glassy almost transparent body, is quick to drying and hardening and seeing the regular tall forms of Jim's pots is a sure proof of the high degree of control this artist shows working with such a nervous earth body.

This potter does not stop to the form though, a long, patient work of decoration (mostly done with a brush) gives his pieces an astounding richness and a striking visual impact.

Such intricated are the patterns that you cannot help but be suprised each time you take the pot in the hand. Suddenly noticing a detail that you did miss the last time.

Nunc est bibendum

When Jim announced on his Blog he would start creating Beer mugs ( his cousin might have pushed him in this) I put myself in stand by and patiently waited for his kiln to deliver.

As soon said kiln opened, I was from the other side of his mail account placing the order.

Jim was leaving for an expo in Chicago in those days, but nonetheless he was so kind to send me some photos so that I could choose and took one of the mugs out from his catalogue so I could have it.

And here is the little one.

Beer I poured inside run flawlessly and the foam stays firm and does not overflow. Naturally the test has been enlarged, as every friday night with sausages, cheese and radish :)

Thank you Jim, your mug is already my favourite.

If you ever drop by bring your mug. I'll fill it up ;)