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https, finally

I finally bit the bullet and used lets encrypt to get certificates for several of the domains hosted by this server.

It was relatively straightforward in the end — though the program didn’t know how to completely automate the setup I had, the instructions were pretty good and the program was pretty clear in what it was doing.

I consulted a post on the nginx blog for guidance as well.

Say hello to https://arcanius.silverfir.net!

Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Upgrade

I’ve just finished upgrading the server behind this site to the latest Ubuntu LTS release, 20.04 “Focal Fossa”.

I think I’ve ironed out all the issues, but if you see anything weird, give me a shout in the comments or via other means.

2017 London Triathlon

I realized that I only ever posted this on Facebook, but I wanted to share this here since I have my other Triathlon results here as well.

This was my first Olympic-length triathlon. I did a bit of Swimming training, cycled to work regularly throughout the previous year, and ran mostly during Ultimate frisbee games.

Total Time: 02:56:38. I was quite happy to finish in under 3 hours!

SectionDistancePace TimePlace
(of 1373)
Total Time
Swim1.5 km02:21 min/100m00:35:20104800:35:20
T100:04:2541600:39:45
Bike40 km29.22 km/h01:22:0954702:01:54
T200:02:5126202:04:44
Run10 km05:11 min/km00:51:5574602:56:38
An image I snapped of the details results screen.

Upgrades

I’ve been poking around the server hosting this site for the last few days and just took the time to upgrade to the latest LTS release of Ubuntu (18.04). Things went smoothly, I think — the only manual intervention required was moving php-fpm from 7.0 to 7.2, which involved only a straightforward copy of the old config files.

Just before the upgrade, I moved to a model of a separate php-fpm instance for each of the sites hosted on this server. Each one is running as it’s own user, so in theory the security guarantees should be much stronger (at most, a single site might be compromised — there should be no way to damage a second site if a first site has a vulnerability).

As always, if you notice anything amiss, please let me know.

Advantage rent-a-car Honolulu

Longest line for a car ever. Already waited an hour. Shoulda used Budget or Avis. :-/

Live and learn I guess. Writing down here so I remember.

Pasta Al Vino Bianco

This is a variation of recipe I’ve been cooking occasionally for a while, but last week I made it again with a few variations that really just made it spectacular, so I needed to write it up. You will notice that a lot of these numbers are not as precise as I might like, that’s because I was really just winging this recipe, substituing ingredients I didn’t have on-the-fly. Regardless, it was a big hit.

The original recipe I followed is quite good, and I still recommend it, but it’s a bit more work than the new recipe I discovered due to not having all the original ingredients around, and I was forced to improvise. The new one, I think, was even better than the original!

Ingredients

  • Olive Oil
  • 150g (or more) Pancetta
  • 2 Red Chilis (chopped) (I used chilis from this plant)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • Cheap Bottle of Dry White Wine
  • Fresh Pasta (I used Waitrose Fusilli, but it should work with other pasta types)
  • Double Cream (single cream would probably work just as well)
  • Bag of Spinach
  • Parmesan Cheese

Method

  1. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to large sauce pan or wok, and let it get hot over medium-high heat, then add the pancetta and let it cook til crisp. Remove pancetta with a slotted spoon into a bowl, leaving the oils behind.
  2. Press garlic to the hot oils and add chopped chilis. Saute for a couple of minutes until garlic begins to brown.
  3. Add about a third of the bottle of wine to the oil/spice mixture and let it reduce down for 5-10 minutes minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to medium, then add the fresh pasta to the pan followed by the next third of the bottle of wine. The goal is to get the pasta to “al dente” in about 8 minutes. Stir to ensure that all pasta gets cooked similarly, and add a bit more wine if its going to dry out too early. It will depend on exactly how much pasta you have, but don’t be afraid to keep it wet until it’s about time. If needed, you can add water as well.
  5. Add about 100ml of the cream and stir to cover all the pasta. Next, add alllll of the spinach. It will seem that you have a ridiculous amount of spinach compared to everything else, but trust that it will wilt and reduce significantly from the volume you add. Dump in the last of the wine or water to give some liquid and then cover over medium heat for just a couple of minutes until the spinach reduces down.
  6. Add about half the parmesan to the pan and stir it in, then dump in the pancetta and stir it all together before serving with the balance of the parmesan for presentation or for people to add on their own.

Variations

This recipe itself is a grand variation on the original, and I suspect that the basics here can be used in any combination with the original that you fancy. In particular:

  • you can use arugula instead of spinach
  • you can add toasted pine nuts, that can’t hurt
  • you can use dry pasta, perhaps pre-cooking it for a few minutes in water first
  • you can use red pepper instead of the chilis
  • you can use bacon cooked til crispy instead of pancetta

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

This banana bread recipe has quickly become my favorite baking project, and in fact a full double loaf powered me through my recent run of the London Triathlon (Olympic length!). I haven’t done the extra chocolate topping at the end, and I’ve been doubling it pretty much every time, turning the recipe into:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 100g soft butter
  • 150g plain flour
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g dark chocolate chips

Prep is simple: Preheat a convection oven to 160 C, mash the banana, mix in the rest of the ingredients, grease a 2lb loaf pan, add the chocolate chips and put into the oven for 45-50 minutes.