Stir fried Cucumber

I wanted scampi. Big scampi, lightly battered, in a chinese sweet chilli sauce. We don’t have those things…

  • cucumber cut into 5cm sticks
  • cashew nuts
  • fried tofu
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • chilis (fresh or dried)
  • chili-bean paste (toubanjan, the ubiquitous lee kum kee!)
  • sake (or rice wine)
  • cornstarch
  • soya sauce

Toast cashew nuts in a pan / wok until they start to colour. Set aside. Stir fry ginger, garlic, and chilis in oil. Add tofu, cucumbers, cashews, and bean paste. Deglaze with sake, then add a splash of water. Cook for 30s to a minute – the tofu needs to get hot, then thicken with cornstarch. Soya sauce (shoyu, of course!) before serving.

Takes… meh, ten minutes including preparation time.

Millet Salad

Never been a huge fan of couscous, far too dry unless you slather it in olive oil… which isn’t great either. Millet (Hirse in german) is somehow better.

Cook a small amount of millet in twice as much water (by volume) for five minutes, and then let it sit with top on the pan for another five minutes. Meanwhile cook thinly sliced button mushrooms in a pan. when the are soft take them of the heat, cut them through, and stir into millet. Leave the top off the pan now, so it can cool.

In a large bowl, mix:

  • chopped tomatoes
  • black olives
  • capers
  • minced garlic
  • cooked green beans, cut into small (several millimetre length)

Let it all sit for a while, and prepare the following:

  • cucumber, chopped small
  • lettuce, shredded
  • bunch of fresh cilantro (parsley would be fine, some sort of tabbouleh!)

When the millet has cooled down, but is still warm… add it to the large bowl, along with the other ingredients, and dress it all with rape seed oil and lemon juice.

If i’d had a fresh green chilli…

7 a day (another)


  • salad (lettuce, alfalfa, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumber, salad radishes, edamame)
  • miso soup (white radish, taro, napa cabbage)
  • half an apple


  • grilled aubergine with grated ginger
  • silken tofu
  • stir-fried pak-choi
  • genmai (brown rice)


  • salad (lamb’s lettuce, alfalfa, sunflower seeds, salad radishes, broccoli, grated carrot, red onion)
  • rest of yesterdays lentil stew

Sometime during the afternoon i had a banana and handful of nuts.

7 a day (again)


  • salad (lettuce, cucumber, alfalfa, sunflower seeds, broccoli)
  • pineapple


  • yasai itame / japanese stir fly (cabbage, leek, carrot, onion, mushroom, grilled tofu, ginger, garlic)
  • pickled diakon (white raddish)
  • 2 dried figs
  • grapefruit


  • lentil stew (onions, garlic, chillis, savory, brown lentils, tomatoes)
  • salad (lamb’s lettuce, pear, walnuts, lemon juice, hemp oil)
  • bottle of red wine

Easter was a little “off the rails” but not horribly so… some pasta was involved, a falafel in durum, some rice. Nothing horrendous.


It’s not really my thing voting. As best as i can recall the first (and last…) time i voted was in an EU election. It would have been around the time that i became eligible. Since then, nothing. Which isn’t entirely surprising – a few years latter i fled that sceptic isle and have never returned.

The recent rise is idiots such as UKIP, and subsequent push for an ‘in-out’ referendum on Europe have made me wonder if voting might become necessary. After all, the last thing that i need is to be forced to move back (maybe the Scottish would take me in?)

Well, it turns out that i’m no longer eligible to vote in UK elections. In order to register to vote you must have a lived at a UK address in the last 15 years. Nope, haven’t done that. And therefore no voting. Seems a little odd as a citizen, who would be effected by the outcome of any referendum, not to be able to vote. Still, i’m the last last person who would pretend that democracy is perfect… or that the UK is particularly democratic!

In theory it’ll only be a another five years until i can apply for citizenship here in Germany. In practice, i’m not sure how that will work out. Oh, and i can vote in EU elections as a resident of Germany, but somehow the machinery here seems to have neglected to register me… maybe they know?


This really rings true for me:

It is Mr Rottenberg’s view that the current vogue for the “pursuit of happiness” may perversely push certain people towards depression. Happiness, he argues, is the result of achieving a goal, rather than a goal itself. He cites recent evidence suggesting that depression or low mood can be triggered by setting unobtainable goals. Rather than becoming depressed because of underachievement, he suggests that perhaps depression is an overcommitment to goals that cannot be reached.

To the point that i don’t really want to discuss the details.

I’m leery of reading books with titles like “The Depths: The Evolutionary Origins of the Depression Epidemic”, but perhaps Mr. Rottenberg will bring some clarity to episodes that i don’t really feel equipped to comprehend in any detail…

Encrypt the Internet?!

Over at Wired they’re blistering their lips again:

The Heartbleed bug crushed our faith in the secure web, but a world without the encryption software that Heartbleed exploited would be even worse. In fact, it’s time for the web to take a good hard look at a new idea: encryption everywhere.

Followed by an article (i’m almost reluctant to link to it…) that goes on:

Most major websites use either the SSL or TLS protocol to protect your password or credit card information as it travels between your browser and their servers. Whenever you see that a site is using HTTPS, as opposed to HTTP, you know that SSL/TLS is being used. But only a few sites — like Facebook and Gmail — actually use HTTPS to protect all of their traffic as opposed to just passwords and payment details.

Which is such unmitigated bollocks that it’s hard to know where to start. Do they really not understand this? The likes of Facebook and Google make their money from flogging the relationships between the personal data that they collect on their cannon fodder. For Google this business amount to something like 97% of revenue, all the fluff about making knowledge available to humanity is just that: fluff. The real goal is monetising mass data collection by selling it to advertisers. Consumer cannon fodder, pure and simple. Facebook? Don’t know the numbers, but presumably equivalent or worse. The silicon valley business model is pure poison for privacy.

If they were interested in privacy they’d be serious about encryption of data at rest, they’d set themselves up to be cryptographically unable to access your data. Until they do that they are willing victims to any government that orders them to “bend and brace”. That they are not even making an effort to fight for this level of protection for their “product” tells you everything that you need to know.

This post was bought to you by The Swans track Raping a Slave (irony overdose as i link to a google property that you probably don’t even ad block…)

BitTorrent Sync

Since the cloud has been seeded with poison (see what i did there…) i’ve been deleting accounts and try to move away from centralised services. One of the things that has been done away with is Dropbox. That turned out to be rather prescient… not that things aren’t already legally pretty stupid for any US hosted service.

Mostly if there is data that people want to share it turns up in my mailbox unencrypted (and therefore backed-up by the NSA / GCHQ…), if it’s too large for that then it’ll be on Dropbox. Privacy is still way to difficult. There is literally only one person who routinely manages to send me things encrypted, be it mail, data, whatever. It’s obviously still too difficult. Even GPGMail is too much for some OS X users… some of this is the usual magical thinking stemming from, “if i’ve done nothing wrong, i’ve got nothing to hide”, while some is genuine fear about not wanting to standout by daring to communicate privately. Cowed much, citizen consumer?

People still routinely look at me like i’m insane for asking if they have the means to communicate with me privately. Even those who are communicating obviously personal / private information. Until it’s the default… losing / lost battle.


BitTorrent Sync is interesting. It’s an application / service that you run locally that allows others to securely share a directory on your machine with others. Setup is as simple as pointing the application at a directory, generating a secret key for that directory, and then sharing that key. Obviously there are the usual problems of sharing the key securely, but there is PGP (haha, see above), OTR (thanks Google for all your good work on fucking that up…), or sending a printed QR Code by regular mail… we’re so screwed! When the other parties run the application, giving it the shared secret key, they get a sync’ed copy of the directory. Changes you make to the directory (new files, changes to files, etc) will be propagated to all those with the secret. The synchronisation happens without any of the data being stored on centralised servers, which are only involved to facilitate the connectivity between the two peers – in the bittorrent sense, it’s a tracker.

The client on OS X is pretty polished, although the terms used are probably still a little jargon-ish. There is no official UI client for Linux, but there are implementations out there. As the code isn’t open, there are all the usual potentials for conspiracy, but that could be overcome by allowing additional implementations of the protocol.

My sense is that this isn’t the magic bullet for safe / secure file sharing. At least not yet, and certainly not until the channels that are needed to share the keys are secured… there are also completely open alternatives out there, but expect the experience to even poorer in terms of client support, and UI polish.

That turned into a long rant to say, “meh, it works, but not yet.”

Maugham – Collected Short Stories Volume I

51edWkqid+LThe story ‘Rain‘ seems to be well known / famous… but it had never crossed my horizons until now. What a way to start a collection of short stories!

Simply saying that these pieces are “good” doesn’t begin to cover the range of styles, emotions and weights that they touch. And while the overall sense of ‘white man’s burden’ is obviously pervasive, it’s explored from such varied angles that it doesn’t really get repetitive.

It’ll be interesting to see if i feel the same about them at the end of the next volume.