Interview with *LAME*Biondo

SG related

Mope: Your nick is an Italian name for Clint Eastwood’s character, “The Man With No Name”, aka Blondie. That’s your one and only nick? No aliases we didn’t know about?

Biondo: Well, in the beginning I wanted to choose a different name, it was a quote from Leone’s “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, when Tuco and Blondie, captured by Union soldiers, are carried to a prison camp. Here Tuco recognizes Angel Eyes, now disguised as a Union Sergeant stationed at the camp, and exclaims “Hey, Blondie, isn’t that Angel Eyes?”. This (the whole quote) should have been my nick, only in Italian language: “Ehi, Biondo, ma quello non è Sentenza?”.The name was silly and too long, so no chance to use it in SG. I had to short it to “Ehi, Biondo!” at first, and to “Biondo” when I realized that other players where confused about how to call me. As you can see my hero was in fact Tuco (the Ugly, Eli Wallach), not Blondie (the Good, Clint Eastwood) 🙂

So here are my other aliases:

  • Ehi, Biondo!
  • Hey, Biondo! (“English, please”)
  • hey (minimal style)
  • Biondo&Son Hair Salon (this was a joke by TheDoctor, he renamed me this way in a game played during my birthday)
  • Left-hand-Biondo (in a week when I couldn’t use my right arm)
  • Biondo-2.0 (after I left my admin role, I considered myself a new release of Biondo :))
  • BDAY*LAME*Biondo (just for clan’s birthday, as you know)
  • Test (used to test BallerBude features)
  • ExxonValdez (when I felt i was completely shipwrecking in the game)

and more, used in past times, without any meaning: aoro, o_0, notme, morricone, olla (sometimes you have to play in disguise, you know).

SAPE: Why pink?

Biondo: Hehe, no sexual reference 🙂 When I started to play, BallerBude wasn’t born yet, and my beloved server of the time was a French one, named “You click, you die!”, written all in pink letters. That’s all.

Mope: You play SG for a very long time. Can you remember when you started? Have you ever played any online shooters before or after? Can you compare weak/strong sides of SG according to other FPS games?

Biondo: When I started? You mean, letting apart when I was playing cowboys vs. indians in my childhood ;-)? Looking at my first post in SG Forum I should have been playing SG since Autumn 2009, more than 2 years then. This is a long time, though I know of players that are playing since year 2001, when it was just a mod of Quake3 called Western Quake.
I can’t really say I’m a fan of FPS games. Well, besides from SG, of course. I found a demo version of Quake3 in a CD when I bought my first PC (1997), and for a couple of weeks it occupied my evenings. It was single player mode 🙂 but it was exciting. Years later I played Unreal Tournament (single player, maybe 1 week) and found it boring. Apart from those FPS, only SG. I liked more old console games (emulated in PC), from Bubble-Bobble to the visionary series of Metal Slug.

But, through the games that my son plays, I keep updated with new FPS games. Games by Valve seem to be great games, that make a fun use of game physics and challenge the 3D abstraction ability of the player. Particularly in Portal/Portal2, though not pure FPS games. Game physics is something where SG lacks, I think. For instance, there are really limited ways to move objects (think of moving crates to climb a wall, for instance) or to throw them (apart from knives, molotov cocktails, dyna sticks).
Another limit of SG is its bad graphics. The good is that it’s not greedy of resources, so you can play it also in dated PCs.
Good is also it’s slow pace, that leaves time for elaborating tactics, if not a strategy. Most of other FPS I’ve seen are a ceaseless slaughter where only fast reactions seem to rule.
Also its small players’ base gives us the opportunity to know each others.
Moreover, for me it was crucial the fact that it runs in Linux (you know, it’s not so easy to find good games that run in Linux).

Mope: You are well known for tweaking and adjusting, and improving your SG-environment. I remember your experiments with SG (the cartoony style look, the low-gravity server). Any new ideas, discoveries out from the magician sleeve? Still playing with picmip 9?

Biondo: I’m not by nature one of those “config sadists”, spending hours tweaking their files. I think I started to play with my q3config, more to be able to answer the questions I got, than to help myself. But it’s also true that I’m curious to see how far I can push the customization of the game machine. When I’m able to change the appearance/behaviour of a software at the limit where you can hardly recognize him, I’m happy 🙂

Yes, I’m still playing with picmip 9, I can’t stand SG graphics. About low-gravity server, it was just a try to entertain the clan, but the idea was not mine, you know … Do you remember “Team [BACON]‘s Secret Moon Base”? About 2 years ago there was a server so named with a gravity value of 100 (default is 900). Just a jump and you were able to fly. It was fun, every now and then, to shoot other players from the sky or take them down from below.

Mope: Your obsessive struggle for justice have brought you the heavy burden of an admin. That’s must be a hard role for your personality. How do you manage to be a good sheriff? Any recent convicts?

Biondo: Hehe, “Obsessive struggle for justice” is an exaggeration maybe! But that’s OK, it’s part of my genome I suppose. I can hardly tolerate offensive players and don’t tolerate at all cheaters that with their behaviour represent a deadly threat to the very survival of our beloved game. As an admin, now my “work” in Baller is quite relaxed. You know there’s a well working anti-cheat system and there’s the auto-banning of offensive players (though sometimes it’s circumvented). Before these TheDoctor’s improvements, administration was hard. I mean, continuous presence to warn or ban players, a lot of demos to review to catch cheaters, lot of discussions among admins to decide if a demo was a proof of wallhack or if it wasn’t. But all this was part of the game, was a game in the game, hard work but with a payoff of satisfaction and gratitude. Thanks to TheDoctor, I’ve learned a lot of things in that magic period.

I always tried to be impartial in my judgement, and when in doubt I preferred to leave a cheater around than to strike an innocent. I think at being an admin as a service to the community, not as a show of strength.
About recent convicts: none, as far as I know. In BallerBude, anti-cheat works, and as I play only in Baller… The only rare event that can happen is to ban an insistently offensive player for a limited period of time. But also in other servers the situation is really quiet compared to that of 1-2 years ago, because they have some defensive systems too and the cooperation among servers has grown a lot.

Mope: Your current rank on BB is “Supreme Commander of BB” Any ideas of what will be your next rank? In my country retired army commanders continue their career as politicians. Maybe Prime-Minister rank? Or President? Or maybe you turn into some divine creature, a Spirit of Smokin’ Guns?

Biondo: Haha, fun question. I hadn’t noticed the name of the rank before your question. “Supreme Commander of BB”, sure a joke by TheDoctor. I don’t have any idea about next rank, I can see it’s image, but not his name. Next rank will be the last one in BallerBude 🙁 After it, as I wouldn’t like to undertake a political career I think I’ll try to follow the “divine” way.

Mope: Your favourite tactics are switching Colts and Sawed-off? Never camping? Always fierce attack?
I guess you get so much concentrated in the game sometimes, that you often need a brake to refill your accumulators. What helps you to concentrate so deep? Do you play in the darkness? Headphones always on? BTW, what kind of headphones? What’s your monitor size?

Biondo: Many questions in a row.
My favourite weapons are Colts, S&W Schofield and Sawed-Off, exactly in this order, but switching weapons requires an extra of concentration and quick fingers on the keyboard. So I usually aim at akimbo Colts and switch to Sawed-Off only when I find an abandoned one or when the map suggests its use (small, crowded map), particularly when close to the end of the game.

Lately I camp too, sometimes. I consider it part of the game, it’s legal and sometimes smart. But usually it doesn’t pay so much, when your opponents always know where you are hiding, or when you are far away from the center of the battle. And also, it’s boring! A mix of camping and running, a mix of hiding and break into is a better strategy, I think, at least for us with not so good ping and not so good monitors.

I’m not always concentrated, sometimes I play just for relaxing or to greet the friends, but when I’m concentrated I literally start to sweat, can hardly read chat messages and feel like riding the big wave. Of course, when the score reaches 30, a cigarette is a must 😉

I don’t play in the darkness though. I use headphones at middle-high volume (don’t want to damage my ears, but sound is really important in the game). I bought some Sony headphones (MDR-V300), made to listen to classic music (so without microphone), of much better quality than PC headphones. My monitor is a CRT (one of those cumbersome monitors with cathode ray tube) at the resolution of 1400×1050, but I play SG in windowed mode at a resolution of 1280×1024. I’m not happy with my monitor, it’s not crisp as an LCD monitor and sometimes I can hardly see a distant player. Also for this reason I play with picmip 9.

Mope: Wow, CRT! I’m completely with you, there’s still no comparison between the quality of those two technologies. Too sad, CRTs have gone extinct.That’s really hard to find a nice CRT these days, they’re barely produced, IMO. How have you managed do lay your hands on yours, special delivery?

Biondo: I bought it around 4 years ago, and it was not easy to find one. Probably in a big store I wouldn’t had been able to find it, but for my hardware I always had turn to a small shop, that I frequent from years, conducted by a young Korean man that always solved my problems and in whom I trust completely.

Mope: How much time do you spend on gaming? How do you manage to deal with all your everyday tasks and still remain online with a gun in your hand? What do you think of gaming as a phenomenon?

Biondo: Looking at statistics I play an average time of 1½ hour/day. I can afford playing so frequently because my work leaves me enough free time and because at night I stay at home and don’t watch TV.

Not sure what you exactly mean with “gaming as a phenomenon”, but I think you’re talking about the recent diffusion of online games all over the world, among different ages and social conditions. The love for playing (also in adult stages) is part of our human nature, and so it is his the need for social interactions. Then, as it was predictable, with the advent of fast Internet connections, online communities exploded, and online multiplayer computer games are only a form under which online communities take shape.
Online multiplayer computer games are typically complex systems that allow a multitude of ways for the players to interact with the game, as well as with each other. They are not only an amusement, they allow for social interactions through chats, specific jargon, roles, rituals, rules, and routines that form the basis for the social reality of multiplayer communities. A clan as ours is a typical example about this.
This was a “wow” discovery for me. Until I was playing in single player mode, I could have never supposed that behind online gaming was hidden a complex texture of human interactions, social structures and languages. What’s also interesting in online gaming is what Jane McGonigal, maybe in a simplistic way, suggests in “Gaming can make a better world”: in this virtual communities we are often more helpful, tolerant and curious than we are in real life. Not for all of us this is true, some players behave really worse of how they do in real life; it’s a general rule of anonymity.
I hope I’ve answered enough to your question.

The *LAME* clan

Mope: You’re the main blog contributor, without your creativity it couldn’t get there.
Any ideas of improving the clan life?

Biondo: Thank you for the praises.
I’m happy with how the clan has developed. As every community, it has its weak points, it’s not always easy to make different personalities, sensibilities and ideas cooperate together for a common cause. But we managed to share a common basis of rules and ideas that make our clan stand out in SG clans landscape. Think of our ethic rules, think of our weekly deathmatches, think of our openness to all SG players through our informative/helpful site (sometimes I feel like we are stealing SG Forum of its role).

Moreover we are multi-ethnic, multi-sex, multi-age, with members from different cultures, equipped with different skills, and different English language knowledge. Not a simple mixture to hold together, but until now we managed to do it.

I’d like to see more posts/pages/comments in this site by those usually short of words, but I understand that the language barrier can be very high for some of us.
Also, it’s not bad when –in a natural way– each member develops his own specific role inside the community. Some of us like more contributing to the blog, some like more playing, some like more just sitting on the fence looking at events, and jumping into only when they are ready. It’s OK. We haven’t to be monolithic.

Mope: Making weekly DM more appealing? Do you like the idea of trying TDMs or Bank-Robbery games besides the usual DM?

Biondo: I’m not sure that TDM or BR could improve clan life, but it’s possible. A clan can be seen as a unity in an inclusive way (for the connection among its members) or in an exclusive way (for the contrast with other clans). In this last case TDM and BR against other clans, could improve our unity, but generally I like more the inclusive way of living.

I’m a DM man, but when I played TDM I enjoyed it too. I suppose that BR should be the top of the fun: it’s the most complex gameplay, it requires individual and collective strategy, it’s a slow game. On the other side: it’s a very competitive world, there’s the risk of team killing (I’m used to DM’s fast reactions and hardly see the red cross), which usually ends in insults or kicks, it requires training and experience, it requires dates concerted with clan mates, and if you get killed at the beginning of a round the game gets really boring.

I would also like to play single-weapon clan deathmatches in Terra Nova. I agree with ZaPaTa when he says that Winchester 1866 has a great sound. What do you think of a Winchester-only hunting in Lake map?

Mope: Good idea, I think Special BB is pretty popular for that weapon-restrictive feature. We can expand this to other features, like only-walking-no-running (zombie-like style game :))

Biondo: Great idea, too, Mope. Zombie-style deathmatch, hehe.

Personal

Mope: Tell me about your town, the region, some interesting geographical/historical facts?

Biondo: I live in Padua (Padova) a middle size town in the North East of Italy.

It’s a town of ancient origins, known by the Romans, but inhabited since before by the people known as Eneti (or Veneti), whose origins are supposed to have been in Paphlagonia (a region of the actual Turkey).

It hosts an ancient university, almost 800 years old and famous, among other things, for having had Galileo Galilei among its lecturers.

The city has a dense network of arcaded streets, particularly in its Medieval zone, opening into large communal Piazze (squares), and many bridges crossing the various branches of the river.
I have the luck to work in the centre of the town, and walking along old Piazze, full of market stalls, is always nice and fun. Here, in the shade of the Salone (also called “Palazzo della Ragione”, the grand Medieval town hall, reputed to have the largest roof unsupported by columns in Europe), among the talk of the people and the shouting of vendors, survives the true “ancient” life of the town. Not far away from here is Prato della Valle, another market site, the largest square in Italy, and one of the largest in Europe (built at the end ot the 18th century). It’s a monumental space of extraordinary visual impact, with a green island at the center, surrounded by a small canal bordered by two rings of statues. In its neighborhood, the magnificent basilica of Santa Giustina, the basilica of Saint Anthony (Il Santo, destination of religious pilgrimage from the whole country), and the oldest Botanic Garden in the world (1545).

Padua has also a place in the history of art. The presence of the university attracted many distinguished artists, such as Giotto (ZaPaTa knows the Cappella degli Scrovegni), Filippo Lippi and Donatello; and for native art there was the school of Francesco Squarcione, whence issued Mantegna. It is also the birth place of architect Andrea Palladio.

The climate is temperate (but in these days is really cold, all day around or under zero) and humid, with foggy winters and sweaty summers.

From Padua you can reach Venice in 30 minutes, by car. Or go to the mountains in 1-2 hours.
My region, Veneto, is considered one of the richest and productive areas of Italy. In these last years it has also become sadly famous for some xenophobic and separatist forces in certain areas of politics and among the population.

I haven’t taken many photos of my town, anyhow here is a 30 seconds’ short about Padua:

Mope: Working as a librarian/webdesigner. How have you got into this strange hybrid? How did you discovered your profession? What was your childhood dream of future profession?

Biondo: OMG, it could be a looong and boring answer. Enough saying that in my life I tried many different jobs and university careers, finally about 15 years ago I got this job as a librarian. But before this, I also had an experience as librarian in an independent cultural organisation, where books where only part of my occupation.
Nowadays librarians’ work is more and more based on online resources and applications, particularly in academic libraries. In the same period I got the job, at home I was starting playing with Linux. And Linux is a powerful teacher for those who wants to learn. I started to understand how to manage a webserver and a blog, how to write HTML and CSS, to use Perl and JavaScript, to create computer graphics. So I gradually shifted from a role of traditional librarian to a role of webdeveloper/webdesigner. My everyday work is a mixture of domains: libraries, technology, webdevelopment, graphic design.

This was not my childhood dream. I wanted to become a veterinary or a naturalist.

Mope: Hey, becoming naturalist was my dream too! Especially after reading all the books by Gerald Durrell.

Biondo: I was a fan of Konrad Lorenz instead (but when I was 16).

Mope: Do you want to share some of your recent works with us? You know, we are true admirers of your talent.

Biondo: Thank you! Here is my recent work, hehe. I’m sorry having to disappoint you, but I don’t want to mix my private life with my public one, at least I don’t want to leave traces that could lead to identify me. Anyway, I couldn’t have shared much here: most part of my graphic work is not online. You know, if privacy had been my main concern, I wouldn’t have accepted your interview, but still I think it’s a good practice to use some precautions online, to avoid that today technologies (and much more future technologies) could cross too many personal data.

Mope: Books must be your life, if you work among them. Tell what are your personal favorite book characters? Now and from the past?

Biondo: I have to disappoint you again 🙂 First, I don’t work among books, as I explained above, and second, I’m not a big reader. My current readings are 90% technical books and journals. In my childhood i loved Rudyard Kipling and Jack London. In my adolescence, and after, I loved to read South American authors: Jorge Luis Borges, J. Rodolfo Wilcock, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Julio Cortazar, Manuel Scorza, Isabel Allende. And Russian writers: Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Anton Chekhov, … But one of my favourite books is Hermann Melville’s Moby Dick, probably because you can read it as book about books (a “meta book”), where all literary genres have space, from scientific papers to sacred texts. I think I’ve read it 3 times.

Besides literature, I’ve read many books about ecology, animals and plants. About art, psychoanalysis, American natives. And I also have a not so small library of cookbooks and about history of food and cooking.
The last I bought is an interesting book about Jesse James. True!

Mope: Movies. Do you prefer them in your chair, at home or at the wide-screen? I’d like to know if you have any additional favourite movie genres besides westerns? Favourite film-directors?

Biondo: I’m really lazy, and more I get old the more lazy I get. I like movies, but nowadays I have few opportunities to watch them. I don’t watch TV and rarely go to cinema. Sometimes, while on holiday, I watch a movie at the PC. All genres are OK, as long as the movie is good. I’m not so up to date with recent directors, but talking about classics I love Altman, Allen, Landis, Kurosawa, Kieślowski, Scott, Kubrick, Hitchcock, Spielberg, Polanski, Truffaut, Herzog, Gilliam, and obviously Leone.

Mope: You told in our Personal Interests page that art is one of your interests. Can we expand this matter? Favorite artists? Genres? Movements?

Biondo: I started drawing when I was a young boy, and never stopped since then (today I use a PC, not a pencil, OK). When I was around 25, I finally understood the colour (thanks to a book by Johannes Itten, I suppose) and started experimenting with different techniques. I never went beyond the mere dilettantism.
I worked on posters and flyers promoting the activities of environmental and cultural associations in my town, and also made ceramics for a couple of years.

Sculpture and architecture never really attracted me, as drawing and painting did. For a long time, Wassily Kandinsky had been my favourite painter. I had read all I could by him and about him, I tried to emulate his style in my paintings (that most of the times, were coloured china inks, or Ecolines, mixed with soft pastels, on paper). Besides him all the artistic avant-garde of the 20th century have given strong emotions to me. And Henri Matisse, with his harmonic palettes, is still able to move me. To be simplistic: Kandinsky is composition, Matisse is colour. Picasso, of course (a giant). And then, going back, the Impressionists, and blah blah blah till Mantegna.

Including in art also graphic design, I have mention Adolphe Mouron Cassandre, Paul Rand, Charlie Harper, Saul Bass, among others. I adore the graphics from the 50’s and 60’s years of the last century (though for this blog sometimes I had to dredge up the American style of late 19th century). And I spend a lot of time at the PC “discovering” young designers/illustrators. I see a great vitality around, real art that Internet is exposing to our thirsty eyes.

Mope: Leisure time? How do you spend your free time? Besides SG, of course?

Biondo: I’m always short of free time when I can tear myself away from the computer 😉 The family has its needs, the house has its needs too. Moreover, I told you that I’m lazy. During the weekend I like to cook, I go out to choose the ingredients, I look for a good recipe, and prepare it. When I’m on holidays I like to walk in the nature, to take photographs or doing little works in the house.

SAPE: You said when you were young, you wanted to “go back” to the nature. You fought for it. Tell me some information about it!

Biondo: Ouch, tough question. Nature has always been important for me, since I was child. And when I was young, you know, I was a little bit idealist and rebel, I decided to leave the studies and start a new life in the country, growing vegetables together with a friend of mine. It was a hard fight with my parents, but in the end they didn’t find anything better than leave me follow my way. It was an exciting experience, don’t want to be rhetoric, but I felt as if I was alive for the first time in my life. After a short time things went awry. My pardner abandoned me for a long trip to Japan, and I was called to military service (actually I spent 2 years under a civil service). I never went back to the countryside, but started again a new urban life.
I don’t regret my choices, I’ve always followed a path with an heart.

SAPE: Animals. I know you have two cats. Could you tell me some story?

Biondo: At this point it should be clear that I love animals, and I always loved them. During my childhood I had the opportunity to own dogs, cats, rabbits, turtles, chickens, ducks, crows, parrots, fishes, scorpions and whatever (not all at the same time!). I wanted to study veterinary or natural sciences. I still have a nice collection of beetles in the wardrobe, and shells, bones, nests, the saw of a saw-fish, the skull of a badger, the horns of a deer, and the list could grow… 🙂

Today I’ve only two cats. And the more recent story is that one of them broke its knee on Christmas Day. Nobody knows how it happened, because we weren’t at home. The vet operated it, implanting two nails in its knees, and now I have a lame cat that meows all around the house day and night because he wants to go outside in the courtyard. Not the best nights of my life!

SAPE: You like to go to the mountains. Do you often go to the forest to collect mushroom? What is your favourite?

Biondo: I go to the mountains at least two times in a year to spend there some holidays. But I experience the nature more with my five senses, than with my muscles. I mean, I don’t like to follow difficult paths just to reach the top of a peak, I like to walk in woods and pastures. And if I have something to look for it’s much fun. So I take photos, or I collect wild fruits, or mushrooms. But I’m not a mushrooms addict, they are a secondary purpose. My favourite mushroom is indeed the mixture of every possible forest mushroom I can find, more than a single quality. I think that the mix exalts the taste!

Mope: Do you like to travel? Maybe other countries? Where did you like to travel? What things do you remember from abroad/another regions?

Biondo: I don’t travel gladly, mainly because I can’t use the aeroplane, and lately I don’t like to travel by car. So train is the only choice.
I don’t like to leave, but in the end I always enjoy the trips. I’ve visited various big towns of Europe, so the travels inevitably become “cultural” (and culinary) travels. But I never reached Eastern and Scandinavian Europe 🙁
Every time I program a new travel the question is always the same “Should I visit Paris again, or should I visit another town?” Paris, toujours Paris!

Mope: The true cowboy knows everything about alcohol. Would you like to share your favorite drink with the crowd? I guess it will be some sort of Italian wine?

Biondo: You guessed it! Not necessarily Italian wine, just good wine. Red or white. Wine of good quality, preferably organic. Lately I drink often Chardonnay or Müller-Thurgau, but it’s just a case, the winery is almost more important than the grape varieties. But also water is OK, good fresh water spilled from the tap.

SAPE: Cooking. I know this is one of your hobbies. What is your favourite? Some recipe?

Biondo: Tough question, too. I would like to avoid it, since there are too many good recipes in the world to be able to choose. If I had to recommend something, more than a recipe I’d recommend good cooking practices like choosing your ingredients with care, possibly seasonal ingredients, organic ingredients, avoiding processed food for fresh and preferably local ingredients. I would recommend to cook them with the right kitchen utensils, without overheating or overcooking them, keeping the recipe the more simple you can. About this “food philosophy” I want to recommend to you the books of Jamie Oliver, and since I’m Italian, particularly his “Jamie’s Italy”.
Apart from Italian recipes, whenever I can, I like to taste recipes of world, and I particularly love Middle Eastern food (a tip: a wonderful book by Claudia Roden, it is famous so you can find a translation in your language).

Below is 30 seconds’ short with some photos of my most successful recipes. The opening photo is a corner of my kitchen. As you can see I’m using dated appliances, I’m so proud of them, more than 60 years old and still excellent!

Anyhow, here are two simple tips and one simple recipe about pasta.

1– Cooking pasta without fire (almost)

The method is applicable to any type of pasta, long or short, with egg or without.
Bring the water to the boil in the usual way (yes, some fire is needed), salt and pour the pasta. Wait for the water to boil again, then put the lid on the pot and at this point turn off the fire.
Turn on the timer for the cooking time written on the packaging (or at most 1 minute longer) and when it rings drain the pasta. Et voila! The pasta is perfectly cooked, not raw nor overcooked, and you spared on gas consumption.

2– Cooking pasta without water (almost)

This is almost the opposite of the previous preparation.
If you like pasta with a lot of starch (and you don’t mind consuming gas) cook it in a large frying pan with very few water, preferably in the same sauce that you have prepared to season it (tomato sauce or whatelse) and calculate a cooking time about twice the time written in the package. If necessary, add a little of water during cooking. From time to time stir the pasta until cooked. You’ll get a really tasty pasta, consistent, but slippery, and well blended with sauce.
To be done when you’re in the mood to waste time.

Mope: I’m so embarrassed, never heard about this technique! It becomes clear, that cooking pasta is more complex than some people might think.

3– Spaghetti “garlic, oil, chilli” (Spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino)

Don’t know if this recipe is well known outside Italy, but in my country it’s very popular. It’s just as simple as it’s tasty. It’s definitely the easier recipe of Italian cuisine, but at the same time it has to be prepared with care for best results. It’s perfect as a late night hunger stopper because it’s quick. This is the way I prepare it.

Ingredients (for 4 servings)

360g spaghetti
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely sliced (when possible choose the “pink” one, that with light pink veins on the skin)
1 small chilli (or more), finely sliced
100ml extra virgin olive oil
grated parmesan (optional)
salt
water

Preparation

Slice the garlic in thin slices, so thin that they look almost transparent (you’ll need a sharp knife). In a large frying pan put the oil together with the sliced garlic and turn on the fire. The flame should be at its lower level, as we don’t want to burn the garlic. You should start seeing really tiny bubbles arising around garlic slices.
Put the water over the fire and bring it to the boil. When the water starts boiling, turn off the fire under the garlic and add the finely sliced chilli to the oil. At this point, the garlic should look dryed and almost toasted. Put your spaghetti into boiling water and add salt.
2 minutes before draining spaghetti (drain them“al dente”, not too cooked), turn on the fire under the garlic.
Drain spaghetti, keeping some of its cooking water. Pour them, with some of their water, into the pan and stir the pasta and ingredients together. If you like add grated parmesan (I do it). Keep stirring until the sauce thickens and coats the pasta.
Serve hot.

10 Responses to “Interview with *LAME*Biondo”

  1. Biondo says:

    Thanks to all 🙂

    @Zapa: I’m glad you took the time to “explore” Padua. But as I said, I’ve only few photos of my town. You know, when you travel you take a lot of photos, while your town is every day in front of your eyes, you memorize it in your brain and don’t immortalize it in photos.
    I particularly love “Prato della Valle” (do you remember? the biggest square in Italy). There, you can see the sky –not so easy in a town– and it’s an ever changing show! Fog, sun, sunrise, sunset, clouds, stars … every day, every single hour of the day a different scenery. Plus the market. And in the background, the immense mass of the basilica of Santa Giustina, with its oriental influences, like a pirates’ ship incumbency.

    Sad enough, Padua is not all roses. It’s a provincial town. Lot of history and mean inhabitants, more interested in money than in art, history and nature.

    I’d like to have been a man from the times of Humanism: many interests in all fields of human knowledge. Something that is every day more difficult to attain. Thanks for appreciation.

    I don’t know Belgium, just crossed it while travelling to Germany or Holland, but my *superficial* impression was similar to yours: a little bit grey. I’m sure that it’s not all grey. Anyway, when one is young generally he hates the place where he lives. You have to learn to love it, also when it seems an impossible mission. Have to find the “genius loci”. You have to dig “the town under the town”, and find all its layers. Only when you’ll find them you’ll love it, and you’ll be able to be useful to your local community.

    A special reason for playing SG? Its theme, yes, its slow pace, my love for Leone and Morricone, but most of all its community. A small community, where we know each others and we can interact.

    This theme: Just to make my work easier I based the theme of this blog on an existing one, the Retromania theme by Jay Hafling (http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/retromania). 90% of the images had been changed to fit a Western theme. Originally I designed it for BalleBude, but since Baller’s blog had never seen the light, I recycled it, with minor modifications and improvements, for the clan.

    Ecoline: great invention! When I was young I couldn’t afford to fill a 100×70 piece of paper just with china inks. Too expensive. And Ecoline also have a more vibrant colour. Nice matter to handle.

    Good luck with your vegetables! I’m sure you’ll love them 🙂

    • ZaPaTa says:

      Yep, I’m constantly looking to make produce work in a ‘cheap’ way. I can’t stand the idea one has to buy expensive material to ‘do art’…I like the fact ecoline is cheap, and cheaper than inks. Some reason why I work with acrylics. Cheapest colors for sale I believe.

  2. GREYMAN says:

    GG!!! Nice work Guys! Thank you!
    Very well done! 😀

  3. ZaPaTa says:

    Red it, very interesting stories. I took the liberty of walking around in Padua with google streetview. Then I looked to the photo’s you took, Biondo and I already recognized a lot of the places. I love that view on the canal and the basilica. Must be very exciting for a person loving history to live there; my impression was right too, you’re a man with many many interests, that spice up you’re interests. (one of the things i love about Italian cooking; simple but fair and fresh ingredients; Making with simple things exciting stuff). In comparison the ‘normal’ Belgian man looks Booooring and our towns grey. I always feels a little bit alienated here, it’s good to know there are so many other colorful people out there.
    Extra question; is there a special reason for playing SG, concerning it’s theme…A love for Western, Far west? Where did you picked up this theme?

    FYI, I do a lot of ecolines too, (but I don’t like pastels) and soon, in spring I start growing my vegetables :D.
    Anyway, time for my ‘moka’…

  4. ZaPaTa says:

    Thanks guys, loving the series!!! Great you all picked up the line of interview with such an enthusiasm (sorry I start to sound whole father-ish 😀 ) Will read it soon, promise! Very intriguing.

    Anyone ever thought about it: Biondo might be two persons!? …Kidding

  5. JesseJames says:

    Indeed very nice interview how did you do that with 2 interviewers?

    Very interesting also, and what is more italian than pasta? :p
    Btw very nice city is Padua, lovely houses.
    Good Job guys!

    • Biondo says:

      2 interviewers? When SAPE told me we wanted interview me, I already had 1/2 promised it to Mope. So I told him, they could do it together.

      Thank you, Jesse!

  6. Slowly John says:

    thank you both for this really really nice interview and for the recipe!

  7. Biondo says:

    Thanks to you Mope! And thanks Sape! It has been a difficult birth, but in the end here is the baby.

  8. Mope says:

    Yooohooo! It’s finally completed! Thanks, Biondo! Thanx, Sape! I admit, I’ve learned lot of new facts about your life, Biondo, it’s very important and intriguing as well!

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