Alone we are not (lonely, maybe)

December 28th, 2009

Source: the Big Picture

I found the image above while going through “The decade in news photographs” photo series on The Big Picture. I quote:

astronomers pointed Hubble at a tiny, relatively empty part of our sky (only a few stars from the Milky Way visible), and created an exposure nearly 12 days long over a four-month period. The result is this amazing image, looking back through time at thousands of galaxies that range from 1 to 13 billion light-years away from Earth. Some 10,000 galaxies were observed in this tiny patch of sky (a tenth the size of the full moon) – each galaxy a home to billions of stars

“Mind-boggling” doesn’t quite begin to describe it. To me it seems obvious that there HAS to be someone in the gazillion planets above. Of course, we may never meet them.

On a different note, I was happy not to see the iPhone pictured as representative of the decade, at least until I saw that Paris Hilton was there.

Canard à l'orange, Web 2.0 way

October 17th, 2009

Roast Dinners:
How To Make Duck In Orange Sauce

I had a kilo of duck breast to cook and I found this recipe via Google. Easy to follow instructions and good result!

I’m not particularly fond of video tutorials, but I must admit that for cooking they really hit a sweet spot. It makes a world of difference to see what “until the sauce is reduced” really means in practice!

I’m going to try  Butter Chicken next.

Urban etiquette in Helsinki

October 6th, 2009

The Finnish TV channel “Nelonen” (number 4) is showing some funny-while-educational videos during commercial breaks, with the theme of “Urban Etiquette”. The videos show some no-no situations, like letting your dog’s poo unattended, and suggest the proper behavior.

I’m especially pleased to see that they are chastising the annoying habit of standing in front of the subway doors without letting people out first (first video from the left, second row from the top in the link above). I couldn’t quite figure out why finns, normally well behaved, become like some sort of frothing beasts when put in front of a tram or subway door. Apparently it has something to do with the fear of keeping the conductor and all the people inside waiting. Go figure!

Urban Etiquette Videos

The best pizza in Lucca

September 26th, 2009

Following up on topic of pizza, here is where I think you can find the best pizza in Lucca, my hometown: the Pizzeria “La Bella ‘Mbriana” is a small and not particularly fancy place, but it has definitely the best pizza in Lucca and among the best pizzas I’ve had in general.

View Larger Map

The service is quite minimalistic and fast-food like: you get a number for your order, wait to be called, and when you are done are expected to clean up after yourself. But the cutbacks stop here: the kitchen is equipped with a brick oven and the ingredients are top-notch.

I make it a point to take my foreign guests there, and so far they haven’t been disappointed. So if you happen to be around go there, and let me know how you liked it!

The best pizza in Helsinki

September 6th, 2009

Courtesy of Flickr user canchi

As an Italian, one of the questions I’m most frequently asked is “where to get a good pizza in Helsinki”. Well, the answer is in the picture above: go get yourself a Dr. Oetker Casa di Mama frozen pizza, and you will have a better pizza than in any restaurant around town. Honest.

If you really, really insist on going out for pizza, then the closest to Italian standards I have found is in “La Vista” in Kamppi, although the quality seems to vary from one time to the next. And you’ll still be better off with Dr. Oetker.

Another option is to make it yourself, but that’s the subject for another post…

(photo credit of Flickr user canchi)

It's out. And it rocks.

August 27th, 2009

Find out more in the Maemo website!

The Night of the Arts

August 24th, 2009

I took the video above in Helsinki last Friday, during the Night of the Arts (Taiteiden yö). This is part of the Helsinki “festival weeks”, where a number of free events are arranged by Helsinki’s notable institutions. Quoting from the website:

On this year’s Night of the Arts, the French street theatre company Plasticiens Volants will transform Helsinki’s city centre sky into an enormous ocean aquarium. Giant floating sea creatures will swim from Esplanadi to the Senate Square, telling their aquatic tale along the way.

I normally don’t talk about Nokia here because of the conflict of interest, but this time I must say that I was really impressed by the video and audio quality of my phone’s camera. I think the video above speaks for itself.

Check some photos as well (these taken with the Canon D20)

Summer holidays 2009

August 20th, 2009

Yet another summer holiday is over and has left behind the usual trail of photos. This year’s highlights have been a tour of Tuscany with finnish guests Anu and Petri, U2′s gig in Milan and a trip to the Isle of Elba for my good friend Valeria’s wedding. Enjoy! And if you are friend or family, don’t forget to login to Flickr.

Radical Skating

March 7th, 2009

Went to try “retkiluistelu” or “tour skating”, a variant of ice skating made for long trips on rough terrain. It uses (among other things) longer than normal skates and ice pikes to test the ice for thickness. The style is somewhat different than traditional skating in that you have to kick slightly forward to avoid getting stuck in the bumps and cracks of the ice.

It was fun, although as the photo shows my style needs some improvement. There are some nice photos on Flickr if you want to get a better idea.

Old-Skool Snowboarding

January 26th, 2009

My cousin Massimo sent me a link to this video, showing him and his friends building and riding their own snowboards in 1986 (!). Back then snowboarding was little more than a curiosity in Italy, and if you wanted to try it out you had to be inventive – as they certainly were! Massimo is the one with the red sweater and displaying an almost flawless descent at 8:27