Posts from August 2007

Take 5...For Blog Day 2007...I offer 5 Sites that span the Globe

For whatever reason, i did not have the chance to participate in Blog Day 2006 so I could not miss Blog Day 2007 Edition taking place today.


I called my selection Take 5 even though neither Dave Brubeck nor any Jazz Sites are part of the Mix.

Here are Five unscientifically picked Blogs:

- Elisabeth Fourmont left Chicago for Paris or to be precise Belleville. Pay a visit to La Coquette. She likes a bargain and digging for old treasures as highlighted in Ten French Stores That Make Me Happy, a piece she wrote for GlamChic.

-From Buenos Aires, Nicolas Gonsalez Garrido shares his adventures in design on Hello Nico. I discovered his creative work thanks to his Guide Dog Light.

-In London, Dug Falby (who also writes more tech oriented stuff on A Donkey on The Edge) runs a labor of love The Lecture List with his friend Chris. What the site does is as you might have guessed List Lectures (in London and the UK) on many topics, some book related which is how Dug found me via my story on Bit of a Blur by Alex James.

-Even though they probably do not need my endorsement the fine people at PingMag in Tokyo have been providing me with a great window into Japanese culture, tradition and creativity.

-I will round up the selection with A Dash of Bitters from Brooklyn, New York (not Brooklyn, South Africa).  As the name suggests they are big on cocktails and offered The Flying Cucumber, you know one of these sophisticated Martinis as their Labor Day Week-End pick.

They could also have made it on the List: Let's Get Primitive, The Book Blog which I covered in Pitch a  Tent  and Best of Guangzhou, see my Lost in Guangzhou piece. 

I hope you enjoyed this Mix from 'the French Guy from New Jersey'

Is everyone at 'Burning Man' or Down the Shore?

Catching up with some of my connections, I paid a visit to Tony Fletcher I Jamming and realized (I must have been sleeping) that Burning Man 2007 started on Tuesday. Tony is down there as are I bet a number of people on the West Coast who I have not heard from in the past few days.

Many others might be enjoying their last week-end Down the Shore (as we say in New Jersey). Here in the US, Labor Day marks the end of the Summer season.

All this might explain why things have been a little quiet, e-mail wise.

I guess a couple of projects will have to wait a few more days to be completed.

What are your plans for the week-end?

Connected stories: Roots, Rock and Wine...Tony Fletcher's I Jamming

Beet It...They've got the beet...The 'Wild Bunch' from Singapore

Beet_2 Log on their site and it feels like a Body Shop for the Vegetable Juice.

This Wild Bunch surely has gone high end.

Their packaging reminds me of old fashioned soda bottles or French Limonade.

I do not know if their products are shipped beyond Singapore.
It proves that the city/state is not just the host of tech and biotech companies.

I hope their Beet  It is not named after Michael song.

They feature it as 'Juice of the week'

Let us know about similar offerings around the globe.

We got their beat on Springwise.

Other Juicy stories: How Citron Presse led me to the wonderful Photos of Loua

Kid Play...Bellhop or Cook for a Day at Rihga Hotel in Tokyo

If you visited Tokyo this summer, stayed at the  Rihga Royal Hotel and brought the kids along, they could have been in for a special treat.

The hotel offered a different kind of internship. Reserved to kids age 3 to 12 who could try their hand at "five different types of work: housekeeping, doorman, front desk, floor service and kitchen, with 72 different tasks to tackle" according to Springwise where I found out about this program. It might also be a good way for kids to learn about etiquette and help them respect people who serve them when they travel.

This Kid Play was offered in July and August only.

Other Summer workshops: Not the School of Rock, Womad's Summer Camp and Learn French in the Mediterranean City of Montpellier

Previous Tokyo Thursday: Kids, It's August, Time for a trip to the Toy Firework Store

Live from Sardinia: Monica, Not the Singer...A Grape that Swings

Unlike the other Monica, this Monica does not get attention by sporting tatoos, blond wigs and skimpy outfits.
This girl is a good mademoiselle from the South of Italy, the island of Sardinia to be precise.

A lesser known grape, this Monica according to is thought to have its origins in Spain and was first called Morillo. offers details on other Sardinian grapes including Cannonau which I recommend if you are looking for intense flavors.

Santadi_2 The Monica I tasted was the Antigua
'Monica di Sardegna'
(2004) from Cantina Santadi (winery pictured here).

This red wine is earthy and rich, not heavy but with a nice pair of legs. It is actually 85% Monica and 15% Carignane and retails around $11.

Cantina Santadi benefits from the talents of winemaker Giacomo Tachis better known for his work at Sassicaia.

Other Italian tales: Aglianico, Drop the Merlot and Grom Gelato, same as it ever was

Running as City Tourism in New York

Instead of the old Pedal don't pollute of the 70's, this new form of eco-tourism needs only a pair of legs and good running shoes.
Native New Yorker Michael Gazaleh founded City Running Tours a year ago to give visitors a street level  view of the Big Apple.

You go sightseeing while getting a bit of exercise and do not contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer.
Since its start in New York, City Running Tours has now expanded to Chicago, Washington DC and San Diego.
The cost is $60 per person for a 2 and a half hour excursion.

Know of similar endeavors in other places around the globe, share them.

I first read about this service on Springwise.

Related Stories: Run London helps you Map your Jog plus Run, Jazz Run in Half Marathon

Mail, Bills and Overkill, Creating Complex Solutions to Simple Problems?

After reading Going inbox-zero on your paper mail (on Signal vs Noise), I could not help thinking that David was creating a complex solution to a simple problem.

Using a scanner for your personal bills might be an overkill.
After all most of that information can be accessed online.

What about a little Simplicity?

To pay bills on time, I use the calendar on Backpack for a quick view.  I just separate my bills between Personal and Business.
Banks, credit card companies and others give you the option of receiving e-mail reminders before the due date.

Reducing the number of companies you do business with is another option and obviously cutting down on junk mail.

Many services I chose especially for the business (Voip Phone, Blog Service, Web Hosting, 37 Signals to name a few) do not send paper invoices and are on an automatic  monthly plan.
The same goes for Netflix.

Besides that for me a trip to the post office ranks close to a visit to the dentist and I try to keep these to a minimum.

My 41 cents of wisdom

Related stories: Drowning...41 Pounds of Junkmail per year for each average Jill and Jack plus Sending it from the Post Office and How to cut the information overload down to size

Acustic, Wine Unplugged, Theses Old Vines still Sing!

I rarely buy wines based on their label.

The stylized guitar and strings label did catch my eye.


This Acustic Old Vines (2005) from Montsant (Catalonia, Spain) might start a new trend named 'unplugged' in the same way that you find 'naked' (oak free) Chardonnay.

Grown on 40 year old vines, Acustic just strives to be authentic. Made of 55% Samso (Carignane) and 45% Garnacha (Grenache), this wine is aged for 10 month in French oak.

It is rich with a long finish rather than big with heavy tannins so a good pick even on warm days.

Only 650 cases were produced. It retails for around $17.

Recent wine stories: Not Woody, A Chilean Chardonnay and  Wine goes to the Dogs

The 'Imagined Village', Bristish Folk Tales revisited

While taking a look at recent Peter Gabriel news, I was intrigued by the mention of a new site named The Imagined Village.

What this 'Imagined Village' turns out to be is a collaborative effort by a number of Bristish musicians (Paul Weller, Billy Bragg, Sheila Chandra, Martin Carthy to name the best known of the lot) to revisit (reinvent) classic British Folk songs (folk tales) such as John Barleycorn.

ImaginedCombining Jamaican Riddims, Bhangra Beats, Fiddles and much more, the project is guided by musician/ producer Simon Emmerson which I knew mostly via Working Week.

The cover art (left) reminded me of old fashioned tea sets.

Simon says that "Englishness is the final frontier of world music".

Currently only a Four Track EP is available only it seems via RealWorld Online Store.

Visit  the Four Track EP Page for details and to listen to samples.

The full album should be released in the UK on October 1st with an 11 Date British Tour to follow in November.

Recent UK tinged Sound Stories:  Britannia rules on 'Anglophenia'

Lost in Guangzhou, Find your way around with...'Best of Guangzhou'

A visit to Photomatt, home of Matt Mullenweg (of Wordpress fame) put me on the road to China.

I first made a stop at Urban Giraffe (no relation to the local zoo or Toys' r' Us mind you).
Urban Giraffe is where British Expat and software developer John Godley muses about technology and China.

I surely could use some of his technical skills in making this site a better place.

What interested me more is his side project Best of Guangzhou where to quote him: "You will find all the best information about what Guangzhou (otherwise known as Canton), China's 3rd largest city, has to offer."

The site is a work in progress as any new venture is.

I like its practical, no-nonsense approach.

Pay them a visit.

Other Guangzhou stories: Wine, Big in China