Butter and Salt

I’ve long wondered why simple bread and butter at Bread in Common tastes so good. I always assumed it was because they used some kind of special gourmet butter, but now I think it has more to do with the way it’s served — a pat of unsalted butter with salt on the side for sprinkling on top. I tried it today with some ordinary supermarket butter and it was sensational.

As I was eating, I remembered William Gibson tweeting about this nine years ago, so I really should have tried it by now.

Diagonally-slice white baguette, toasted, unsalted butter, sprinkled with Maldon sea salt. Taste of *the platonic saltine*!


The Husband Stitch

A modern fairytale by Carmen Maria Machado.
The whole thing is wonderful, but I especially like the instructions for storytellers, such as —

(If you are reading this story out loud, force a listener to reveal a secret, then open the nearest window to the street and scream it as loudly as you are able.)

iTunes Movies with Japanese Subtitles

Finding a movie with Japanese subtitles to watch on the Australian iTunes store can be a pain because most don’t have them and there’s no way to just see a list of those that do, as you can with Netflix.

To keep a track of the ones that do I’ve made a list that I intend to add to as I find more.

San Choy Bow

I tried this recipe from Recipe Tin Eats the other day and it was a total success — a nice bounceback after my dry-as-sawdust bulgogi disaster of the previous day.

The recipe seems quite forgiving. It only calls for 300 grams of pork, but I used 500 grams, increasing the other incredients with some very rough approximation, and it turned out fine.

Definitely adding this one to our general meal rotation.

The Draughtman's Contract on Kanopy

A cause for celebration — Peter Greenaway’s The Draughtsman’s Contract has popped up on Kanopy. It’s one of a handful of eighties and nineties indie films that I’ve long wanted to watch again but have been unable to track down on iTunes or any of the streaming services in Australia. Maybe Atom Egoyan’s The Adjuster, Hal Hartley’s Henry Fool, and Walt Stillman’s Metropolitan will show up someday.

Running Mac OS from a USB drive - a cautionary tale

A few months ago the SSD in my ancient MacBook Air began to falter. The sensor that told my Mac the SSD existed was intermittently failing, so I could use it for a while, then it would freeze as if the system drive had been unplugged.

I wasn’t keen buying a new one until Apple sorted out its keyboard woes, and the prospect of installing a new SSD myself was rather daunting, so my brain came up with what seemed like a brilliant and cheap stop-gap workaround — install the OS onto a USB drive and run the system from that. My thinking (if it can be called that) was that a USB drive is basically a kind of SSD anyway. I knew it would be slower because it would be limited by the speed of the USB bus, but I figured it’d be worth a shot and would keep me going until Apple got its act together.

My idea turned out to be neither brilliant nor cheap. I was able to get it up and running after a lot of futzing about, but I was plagued by spinning beachballs, freezes and random crashes multiple times a day, even when I was running just a text editor. After a month of putting up with that, I ended up ordering a new SSD from Upgradable.com for about $150, which is about three times more than I spent on the USB drive, but the SSD was twice as big and, more importantly, actually works. Installing it was a doddle and took no more about twenty minutes.

I’d thought I’d learnt my lesson from past cheapskate shenanigans, but it seems not. On the bright side, it seems that Apple has a new keyboard ready to be introduced sometime next year, so when this MacBook Air finally gives up the ghost, I hope I’ll feel less trepidation about getting a new one.

Knives Out Trailer

The trailer for Knives Out looks great. Daniel Craig’s American accent threw me at first, but I suspect, like Martin Freeman’s in Fargo, it’ll be slightly jarring for five minutes but seem completely natural after that.

The New Wilderness

Maciej Ceglowski on privacy in the age of surveillance capital  —

This requires us to talk about a different kind of privacy, one that we haven’t needed to give a name to before. For the purposes of this essay, I’ll call it ‘ambient privacy’–the understanding that there is value in having our everyday interactions with one another remain outside the reach of monitoring, and that the small details of our daily lives should pass by unremembered. What we do at home, work, church, school, or in our leisure time does not belong in a permanent record. Not every conversation needs to be a deposition.

The New Wilderness

Kindle Page Turn Buttons

I agree wholeheartedly with Jason Snell’s comment on page-turn buttons in his review of the latest Kindle Oasis —

People will tell you that it’s just fine to find a grip that lets you slide a finger over to the screen, tap, and then slide back every single time you turn the page. Sure, it’s fine. But this is way better.

When my Paperwhite broke, I started using my old Kindle again — it’s so old it has a physical keyboard — and immediately appreciated how much better buttons work to change pages. It sounds trivial, but it really makes a difference. Another benefit is that because the screen is completely inert, you can pick the Kindle up and put it down without worrying about inadvertently causing it to jump to another page, close the book or do anything at all. The buttons plus the inert screen really do make it a superior — and calmer — reading experience, even if I do have to have a lamp on in the evenings. It’s a pity Amazon reserves what was once a standard feature for its priciest offering.

The warm front-lighting on the new Oasis sounds nice, but I find it hard to imagine I’ll feel comfortable parting with AUD$400 for a book reading machine any time in the near future.