d2h.net: flotsam, jetsam, & lagan

thoughts, observations, diary, rants, stuff the virtual cat dragged in…

recipe: vampire ears tortilla with cherry tomato chutney

tortilla1 ingredients:

  • 300g potatoes
  • 140g dried tomatoes in olive oil (aka vampire ears)
  • 40g pitted black olives
  • 5 large eggs
  • clove of garlic
  • 2 + 1 tablespoons olive oil

chutney ingredients:

  • 200g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sage
  • 2 pinches basil
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • salt
  • pepper

start with making the chutney: wash the cherry tomatoes and quarter them. heat the olive oil in a small pan and add the quartered tomatoes, then add the rest of the ingredients. cook over medium heat for 30min then reduce to the lowest setting to keep it warm.

for the tortilla peel the potatoes and cut them into 5mm wide slices and dry them using kitchen tissues. slice the olives. chop the clove of garlic. next heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan at a medium heat. add the vampire ears aka dried tomatoes along with the garlic and olives. cook for about 5min. next add the potatoes, stir well to get all potato slices covered with oil. cover the pan and cook at low heat for 20min.

after 20min slightly scramble the eggs in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, add the potatoes and mix with the eggs.

turn the heat of the large pan up to medium, add a tablespoon of olive oil and then add the egg–potato mixture back to the pan. cook — without cover — for 20min. preheat plates in the oven at 60°C.

at the end of the 20min turn the tortilla over and heat at medium heat for a further 5min. then cut into quarters, place two quarters each on one of the preheated plates, add half of the tomato chutney on top.


  1. the tortilla part of the recipe is inspired by the spanish tortilla recipe by delia smith. 

panorama picture experiment

panorama from hochstuckli
last saturday mrs d and i did a snow shoe hike from alpthal stei up to hochstuckli and then across to biberegg. the views were fantastic, the snow was good :-) prompted by mrs d, i tried my hand at taking a set of pictures to assemble as a panorama later.1 here’s the result (you can use the mouse to drag the picture around):


i stitched it together using hugin — i’m quite pleased with it :-) let’s see how it turns out as a 120cm wide print.

  1. luckily i had my D700 set to RAW+JPG — i had forgotten to set the correct white balance. using ufraw i could correct that at home, first time really that i made use of those RAW files… 

some more pseudo HDR experiments

during sunday’s #twallfahrt i managed to take a couple of 5-step bracketed pictures, two of which i think produced some interesting results. the first one is the view from etzel pass towards einsiedeln:

at first i thought that it looks a bit weird, then i realized (and on my way home looked at the clouds with “different eyes”) that it does look like that.

the second one is a classical, an in-door shot in the church of the monastery of einsiedeln1:

i kind of like both, but the second one is more the classical one and i like it best. what do you think?

  1. we did have special dispens from @abtmartin to take pictures, to film, and — gasp — to twitter inside the church from 14:40–15:00 :-)  

world’s first twitter wallfahrt!

9:10 — ms d and i arrive at einsiedeln railway station, all kitted out in our walking gear, ready to go. walking past the train we spot our fellow pilgrims. yep, pilgrims: we are on our way to the starting point of the world’s first twitter pilgrimage, the #twallfahrt1 from pfäffikon to einsiedeln. in the train we meet @decolores1, @konzertharfe, @sempreincorsaa also ready to go on the #twallfahrt. just before the train is about to depart at 9:13 we are joined at the last second by @abtmartin — good thing, too, as he is supposed to lead us on our pilgrimage :-)

i’m looking forward to the first twitter pilgrimage which is at the same time my first pilgrimage on foot (last year’s pilgrimage was by bus, which somehow gives it a different twist, i think). @abtmartin is apparently still in the “geheimprojekt” stage of the #twallfahrt, as he is not really forthcoming with any information about what’s planned.

we get to pfäffikon on time, cross through the station tunnel and see the #twilgrims gathered — a bit short of the maximum number of 8000 mentioned on @pixelfreund‘s blog (about 7969 short, in fact) bit still a sizable group. as various #twilgrims let us know via twitter, that they are still on their way, it’s a bit past 10:00 that we start on our way from pfäffikon up to etzel pass (where we’ll have a lunch break) and then on to einsiedeln to the benedictine monastery there.

the weather, fortunately, is cool, a bit humid, but not too bad, and the hike up “1000 steps” to etzel pass is easy to walk. the clouds are just fantastic (as a subscribed member of the cloud appreciation society i find blue sky days boring) — just past the autobahn we stop for our first #twallfahrt station: @abtmartin tells us a bit about the area (and the history of the monastery of einsiedeln), but the main focus is on two short canons (both in twitter length) that we even manage to render in a half decent way (no trees falling down, no birds falling from the sky). up and up it goes with the next stations at restaurant luegeten and at the fork in the road where the road from schindeleggi-feusisberg joins. around noon we are (as planned) on the etzel pass where a #twallfahrt group pictures are taken, we have a our lunch break, the sf drs tv team does the interviews with @abtmartin and we relax in the sun.

at 13:00 the #twallfahrt re-commences and via teufelsbrück and galgenenhügel we get closer and closer to our destination: the monastery of einsiedeln (interrupted by a short break to give the sf drs tv team a better take on us walking down to einsiedeln). the last station on our pilgrimage is at the gangulf chapel where we meet up with those #twitterati that couldn’t make it for the whole #twallfahrt, practice our twitter-length canons once more and then fight our way through the chilbi crowds to the klosterplatz — where we are greeted by a flag bearer and a cross bearer who lead the way, with the bells of the monastery ringing for our #twallfahrt, through the main entrance into the monastery church!

as we are a bit behind schedule, we #enjoy an even more twitterish worship service than planned — the highlight certainly being the twitterific organ piece (which @boumi manage to capture)!

an apero in the southern court yard concludes this unique #twallfahrt pilgrimage!

all in all: a very interesting and stimulating experience, meeting very different folks and with a couple of good spiritual impulses.

would i participate again? yes, i guess, i would :-)

if you are interested, here are some further links:

  1. from the german wallfahrt and twitter == twallfahrt 

mucking around with pseudo HDRs

it’s taken a long time, but i finally managed to upload the pictures of our lake district vacation (back in may, yes…) to our photo website, the 50mm-traveller. for most of the pictures i used the exposure bracketing mode of my D700 (i.e., one picture taken at normal exposure, one a full stop below and the third a full stop above) together with the high-speed setting (5 pictures per second).

while sorting and enhancing the pictures in digikam i noticed that the latest version of digikam offered a blend bracketed images option and decided to give it a go. the experience was mixed: the plugin seems to be a bit on the unstable side of things, so saving to a PNG at the end of the process resulted in an ever increasing number of dialog box thrown at me, telling me that the work product could not be save because it already existed — it took a bit for me to realize that that was just a forcefully repeated lie: the picture had been saved, the plugin was just getting a bit confused, it seemed. otherwise the bracketed image blending tool worked rather well: it offered to align the photos i had taken, which was good, as i very very rarely carry a tripod with me and am just shooting from the hand. what was a bit of a “ok, now what” moment, was the final dialog: it offered a bunch of sliders and it’s not really obvious what each of them does. so i mucked around a bit, trying this and that.

here are two images that i quite like:

dsc_6255_6254_hdr-01 and

dsc_6285_6283_hdr-01 this next one looks nice in low resolution, but if you go to the full size version, you’ll notice that the alignment process didn’t really work out — and no surprise there: i was shooting that from a boat on the river thames in london, so quite a bit of movement there:

dsc_6787_6789_hdr-02 all in all, not too bad i think. stuff i want to try out: use the 5 bracket stop setting to get a wider range (-2 .. +2), perhaps invest in a power grip to boost the speed to 8 pics/sec.

swiss conservatives: annex regions surrounding switzerland!

Screen Shot 2012-01-02 at 17.43.54
yesterday’s tagesanzeiger report on a parliamentary motion of the swiss conservatives right-wing, nationalist party SVP to prepare the annexation of all regions surrounding switzerland — no, today’s not the first of april.

Map of the ‘enlarged’ switzerland according to the SVP motion (© tagesanzeiger/le temps)


as the tagesanzeiger rightly observes that would add about 10 million germans to the population (plus almost another million german speaking citizens of alsace, vorarlberg, & bolzano) — just a couple of months ago the SVP, never afraid of playing the lowest available instruments of fear, uncertainty, and doubt, staged a campaign claiming that the ETH was being overtaken by german professors (skillfully representing sliced statistics to “prove” their point).

according to the tagesanzeiger, the german embassy in bern when asked for comment, was just laughing out loud. probably the best reaction to any of the SVP motions…

…except, perhaps there’s more behind this, as der schweizer narr writes: right-wing politicians in switzerland and elsewhere in europe are voicing their opininon that the EU is doomed to fail and that we are currently seeing the beginning of the end of the EU — the SVP motion could be interpreted to play the separatist tune and try and solicit resonance from similarly minded circles in those surrounding regions.

is there method to the madness?

how my grandfather created an island…

my grandfather was a sea-faring man.1

my grandfather was a sea-faring man, and, what is more, he helped create an island… an island that is still visible today.

he was employed by the North German Lloyd aka Norddeutscher Lloyd as an officer, his last ship was the steamship goslar. shortly before the outbreak of world war II the goslar was on its way back to germany and had just passed the panama canal when adolf the terrible declared war on poland. to avoid being captured by the british marine (who was patrolling the atlantic) and also avoid US ports (and the US coast guard) the crew of the goslar had disguised the ship as at first a russian merchant ship and later apparently even sailed under american flag and where slowly making their way along the north-east south american coast until they reached suriname, then a dutch colony, where they anchored during the night of september 5, 1939, and applied for asylum.

at first things seemed to have been fairly relaxed, with the officers of the goslar even being invited by the citizens of paramaribo, that, however, changed on may 10, 1940, when germany invaded holland. the captain of the goslar had the ship moved into the middle of the river suriname and instructed the crew to scuttle the ship in the middle of the river — there are different reports regarding the reasons, and unfortantely, my grandfather has long since died otherwise i could have asked him. one version of the story is that the goslar was sunk to prevent it from falling into allied hands, another version, reported in the june 27, 1943, edition of the st petersburg times, is that the goslar was sunk in the hopes of blocking the harbour and bringing the bauxite export to a standstill (or at least slowing it down). there is even an implied link to an attempted coup to overthrow the government of the dutch colony, as reported in the december 1, 1941 edition of the pittsburgh press according to which the goslar was scuttled as part of the attempted coup. perhaps all stories are just different sides of the same coin.

the crew of the goslar along with my grandfather was then interned in suriname as prisoners of war. apparently there were a couple attempts of escaping from the internment camp, but none of them successful.

the goslar was never raised. according to the report in the st peterburg times it actually helped improve the harbour and bits and pieces of it were re-cycled by the US troops then stationed in suriname. if you look at google maps, you can still see the goslar today!

(larger view)

so, in a way, my grandfather (and the crew of the goslar) created an iron island…

  1. now that is a rather enticing beginning to a blog entry :-D — but he really was. 

in the lake district again…

after a long day on the train — starting with the 8:43 ICE International train from cologne to brussels, then the Eurostar to london st pancras, followed by the virgin pendolino from london euston (yep, a short walk from there) to oxenholme lake district, and, the last train for today, the First Penine 185 class service to windermere — we have finally arrived at the riverside hotel in ambleside.

the riverside is a small hotel run by david and brenda milne a bit outside ambleside, right next to the river rothay on the quiet under loughrigg lane leading from ambleside to rydal. our first impression: a lovely, well-lead hotel in a quiet spot of ambleside. nice. also, we like our room right at the top of the house with a window towards the rothay river. unusual for a UK hotel: the shower really does work and is not just a trickling-when-i’m-grown-up-i’ll-be-a-real-shower which we’ve encountered so often elsewhere in the british isles. all very promising :-)

dinner was at zeffirellis, a restaurant recommended by our friends p & w (as well as our host david) — a vegetarian italian restaurant with an interesting menu. the food is good, as are the drinks (red wine for mrs d, a theakston for me) and the waiters are really friendly.

so far, so good :-) let’s see how this all turns out…

good night.

switzerland — behind the scenes…

Screen Shot 2012-01-02 at 17.54.59
ever wondered what happens behind the scenes of touristic switzerland? ever wanted to know how the swiss manage to present one of the most beautiful places on earth in such impeccable order? ever interested in the music that drives the swiss?1

wonder no more: here’s a rare behind the scenes look at switzerland:

now you know the true story… ;-)

  1. well, some of them… 

d2h.net now mobile friendly

thanks to the excellent wordpress mobile pack wordpress plugin i’m pleased to announce that d2h.net is now mobile enabled: if you visit it on your android or iDon’t, err, iPhone you’ll get a mobile browser-friendly version of our web site. also, http://m.d2h.net/ will take you to the mobile version directly as well.

oh, and you might have noticed, i’ve re-organized the site structure slightly, the blog is now directly at the root of the site.

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