NSA, Cats and Gatsby

NSA

Just recently something we already knew went public. That the NSA requested to some important social media and telecommunication companies information about their users: calls, data and consumption patterns. C’mon everybody, are we really that surprised and outraged by these news? Don’t you remember that it was George W. Bush who signed this Act in order to “protect the American citizens against the violent hands of terrorism”?

It isn’t only the government’s fault the fact that our information is monitored by the NSA, ourselves give a lot of private info every day through social media. Our web surfing patterns can be tracked because we are pretty obvious about it.

This has led us to become just cattle for the authorities, a bunch of consumers whom are easily convinced to whatever is more convenient for the economy and national security (of a few).

The story keeps developing, and now, the lad who filtered this information, Edward Snowden, is on his way to a country that might give him good old fashioned political asylum.

Cats

Cats in the internet, cats everywhere, cats in my facebook newsfeed, grumpy cats, happy cats, clumsy cats, cute cats,cats as emoticons in the mainstream online chats, cats as memes, cats that need to be adopted, cats, cats, cats. Well, we are not that different from the ancient Egyptian civilization after all, are we?

No, I’m not talking about the musical

How did this happen? And, most importantly, why our government is only focused on combating terrorism and national security, but they aren’t doing a thing to stop this madness?… just saying

Gatsby

Cover art, by Francis Cugat, for the book The Great Gatsby

Can´t wait to finally watch this film. Yes, I know, it´s been on theaters for a while already, but I´m one of those guys who just waits until the very end to watch this kind of movies.

The book is fantastic, if you ever get the chance to get a copy in English of this classic, devour it slowly. The author brings you back to a time when society was lurking around the world in search of the meaning of life, incapable of imagining it without the things they thought as “normal”, eccentric, idealistic. The story is easy to read, and might make you anxious in times, but its beautiful characters and secrets will totally charm you.

I loved this book from the very first page:

“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one…just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Ps. Let’s create some conversation here. It isn’t a coincidence that after The Guardian brought us the exclusive of Mr.  Snowden and the NSA, many went into the bookstores to get their copy of “1984”. Do you reckon we are moving towards that kind of society, or are we already living in it without being aware? 

Ps2. I’m a dog person.

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Organic Chicken is Good Chicken

I might not believe in vegetarianism, (hey! I just don’t, so bugger off) but I do believe in the benefits of consuming organic products. But instead of me ranting about these benefits, let me just wikipedia you:

“Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved…” —International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements[4]
At work we were given a whole organic chicken from Valle Organico , this company is producing and distributing their organic products in Mexico, so, let’s cook with what was given from this great place and see how it goes.  I learnt this recipe in New Zealand. Roasted chicken with kumaras and potatos, with roasted yellow paprika and fresh cherry tomatoes salad.

Ingredients for the roasted chicken:

nom nom nom

nom nom nom

  • 1 whole organic chicken
  • 1 good size golden kumara cut in big pieces (sweet potato)
  • 2 medium size potatoes cut in big pieces
  • 1 white onion cut in quarters
  • 1/2 a lime
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Fresh basil
  • 4 good size spring onions
  • Spice mix made of: pepper, salt, garlic powder, smoked paprika, herbs de provence, grounded nutmeg.
  • Extra virgin olive oil

First, get the chicken out of the package, rinse it with water until it is clean. Make sure that your chicken looks and smells right, regardless of the fact that is organic or not. Remember the lime, garlic and basil? Well, put them inside the chicken with a quarter of an onion, trust me, it will give your meat an awesome citrus scent and taste.

Well, look at you...

Well, look at you…

Now, put that organic carcass on a chopping board and rub it gently with one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Done? Good on you, now grab that spice mix and rub it all over the chicken, don’t be shy, the chicken had a good life, so rub it good, cover the skin with those great flavours. Put aside.

Oh wait, preheat the oven to 180°C, nice. Now, place the chicken in the centre of a tray, and arrange the potatoes, kumaras and spring onions and white onions around the chicken. Sprinkle some salt on the veggies, and some olive oil, cover the tray with tin foil and put it in the oven for 60 minutes. After 60 minutes you will notice that it smells freaking awesome, right? Now take the tin foil off and let it properly roast for 30 to 40 minutes.

For the fresh salad:??????????

  • 1 yellow paprika cut in bin pieces
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 of rustically sliced red onion
  • 1 avocado
  • Fresh basil
  • salt and pepper
  • Olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  • 10 white button mushrooms

Put the mushrooms, the paprika and the onion in a small baking tray, marinate with olive oil, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar, put in the oven for 45 minutes (right beside the chicken). Cut the cherry tomatoes in halves and the avocado in big squares and put them in a salad bowl. When the veggies are nicely roast, get them out of the oven and let them rest for 20 minutes, let them cool down and then mix with the rest of the salad ingredients.

Plate a good portion of the chicken, with the roasted veggies, and put some of that amazing salad on the side. What up?

??????????

I cooked it yesterday and let me tell you something, it does taste different, organic chicken is a great alternative to the other non organic products we consume in a daily basis.

Ps. As a Mexican we usually relate the usage of the oven in the kitchen mostly for baking or when you are preparing a massive feast. Don’t be afraid of using your oven for cooking every day, it reduces the amount of oil that we regularly use for preparing our meals.

Ps2. If you want more information of where you can get this amazing chicken, just visit: http://valleorganico.mx/ they have a lot of fabulous recipes for you.