Posts from January 2008

Pimp my Truck...Decotora...The Japanese Art Truck Scene

Wow! was my first reaction upon seeing the first shot from Decotora, Tatsuki Masaru's book on the Japanese Art Truck Scene via Photo Op on PingMag.

Seeing one of these show up at your rest stop or sliding past your car on the highway might jolt you at first with their festival of light and sides turned into a giant canvas.


There is an unreal, dreamlike quality to this Art on wheels.

Tatsuki Masaru
started the project in 1998 and followed some of these truck owners so he could best capture moments not just random pictures but also the people behind the driving machines and their life.

To describe Decotora in a nutshell: "Chromed up, with individual artworks on their panels and lit up like Christmas trees, these Japanese trucks and their proud owners (with sharp eyes for detail), form part of a distinct sub-culture in Japanese society."

Published by Japanese house Little More it is available in the US though Photo-eye and via Librairie Junku in France.

The cover which I use as an illustration is more atmospheric, could be the opening scene of a movie.

The end of the ride for Tokyo Thursdays #25

Lost in Ginza...No More...With Hand Held Guide (Tokyo Ubiquitous Project) 

Fair Trade for 'Cauliflower', an Endangered Specy in the UK?

We often think of Fair Trade as a label that applies only to developing countries.
I guess we could be wrong.

Emily Dugan (The Independent) writes that Low prices force farmers to give up on cauliflowers.
If her facts are accurate farmers in the UK get paid only half the price that it costs them to grow these vegetables which are one of my favorite staples. I love a nice Cauliflower Gratin (Gratin de Chou-Fleur in French).

Chocolate & Zucchini just offered a Gratin de Chou-Fleur recipe.

So will we soon be able to get some of our homegrown food only under a Fair Price

I heard recently that one of my other fav foods with pate and the like, Cornichons, were in danger of becoming a 'made in India' product.

Have you heard of any other food items that cost farmers rather than make money for them?

Related: Eating Kangaroo reduces your Carbon Footprint

1 Speaker Spot left on our 'Just Over 50 & Not Dead Yet' South by Southwest Panel...Yours if around 50...In Book Biz, Work/Life or Non Profits

Reading this right now, in your late 40's or early 50's with an Online Presence and a foot or two in the Book Business, Work/Life or Non-Profits, we still have 1 Seat Available on our Just Over 50 and Not Dead Yet panel.

It will address the fact that the Online World is not Populated only by 20 Somethings.

We would prefer a woman, someone with roots in Latin America or Asia would be great.

It takes place at South by Southwest Interactive in Austin on Saturday, March 8.

You have to pay for your own travel and lodging.

The upside, great exposure, a wealth of contacts, warm weather, great parties and a Gold Pass that gives you Free Access to the Interactive and Film Conferences.

Hurry! One Seat Left. This Offer expires on Thursday, January 31st at 1pm.

Contact us By E-Mail ASAP.

Thank You!

Ready for 'Stress Down Day' (February 1st)? If not, visit 'The Idler'

As February 1st approaches, I noticed a renewed interest in Stress Down Day as people read my story on last year's edition.
I thought it would be lame to serve a warmed up version of 2007 and in the spirit of that day did not want to work up a sweat over it either.

I was saved from both when I found out about The Idler which celebrates down shifting since 1993.
Its Editor, Tom  Hodgkinson also penned The Freedom Manifesto (cover is my illustration) which describes itself as follows:

"The Freedom Manifesto draws on French existentialists, British punks, beat poets, hippies and yippies, medieval thinkers, and anarchists to provide a new, simple, joyful blueprint for modern living. From growing your own vegetables to canceling your credit cards to reading Jean-Paul Sartre, here are excellent suggestions for nourishing mind, body, and spirit"


Going back to Stress Down Day (2008), if you would like your life to be the subject of a song, the up and coming British band Ben's Brother offers to write it if you win the contest.

More down to earth happenings on February 1st in London include Free Massage courtesy of Neals      Yard Remedies in Covent Garden.

I think the UK is still the only place where this 'sane' idea has bloomed.

Let me know if I am wrong.

Last year 'sane' post: Wear your slippers to work for 'Stressed Down Day'

Pere Jacques, Pere Jacques...a Goose Island brew

After writing my previous piece on Thai Food, I thought this calls for beer.
What happened next is that someone brought my attention to the Goose Island Brewery in Chicago.


Would their Nut Brown Ale be a good pairing.

John Hall (brewery founder) talk of Duck and Wild Boar with the Pere Jacques, their Belgian style offering  which he describes as a fruity  and malty ale sold me on it.

Too bad that their brews are available only in 15 states (in the US) and the UK.

New Jersey is not included but New York does.

I will look for it on my next visit to the big apple.

More beer buzz: Gluten Free Beer

Spicy Valentine: From Yam Mamuang to Bouquet of Happiness at 'Blue Elephant' (London)

If your better half or love interest does not mind mixing the sweet and the spicy and you happen to be in London for Valentine's Day, try Thai food at the Blue Elephant.
They offer a 3 course Spice up your Valentine menu.


Starters, I would go for the Foie Gras Spring Roll (foie gras and vegetables stuffing served with red sweet and sour sauce) or the much spicier Yam Mamuang Ped Rom Kwan (smoked duck breast with Thai green mango salad melded with chilli paste, dried shrimp, roasted coconut and crushed peanut).

Main Dish:  In the health department, Nok Himmapan  (ostrich, deep fried taro, onion and cashew nuts) or if you want to burn, baby burn, Poo Nim Pirot (Crispy soft shell crab flavored with fiery chilli and Krachai root)...

They also have Vegetarian fare.

Feel free to share your own Valentine's Day restaurant picks.

Last year's Valentine: A Portrait without the Pose

Eating Kangaroo reduces your Carbon Footprint...Skippy Anyone?

To be honest when I first read The Independent  headline Skippy for supper: Kangaroo meat is healthy, plentiful and leaves a tiny carbon footprint I wondered if it was dry British humor or if this was for real.

Upon reading Rob Sharp's article, I found out that it actually was based on a Greenpeace Australia study brought to light in Should we be eating Skippy to solve climate change? (October 07) on their blog Making Waves.

As far as I can understand it is related to land clearing and switching from beef to other meats such as kangaroo which I guess don't need all that grass to graze on.

Cows and sheep farming also create a lot of gas, methane that is.

On the health and nutrition end, Rob Sharp's piece tells us that kangaroo meat is "low in cholesterol and fat, and bursting with protein, iron, zinc and conjugated linoleic acid, which reduces blood pressure".

2 other beef alternatives mentioned are ostrich and venison.

A down under Green Day #14.

Previous: Before the Flood: Floating Homes? The Dutch Way

Related Bit: Detox on The Menu: Vegetarian Food, Alcohol Free Drinks in London

Malma Malbec (2005) from Patagonia (not the store)

Part of Bodega NQN Classic line, this Malma Malbec (2005) comes from Patagonia (not the outdoor store, in Argentina) or more precisely San Patricio Del Chanar in Neuquen province.

The vineyard was planted in 2001.
Grapes are harvested by hand. The surroundings are desert like and windswept.
This red wine offers a nice deep robe, cherry and berry flavors, soft tannins yet character.
Great buy at around $13.

Check Bonega NQN Blog if you understand Spanish.

If you make it to the area, the winery's chef offers succulent dishes in Bodega NQN Restaurant and Wine Bar.

Looking forward to a trip down there, if and when it happens.

More about Argentina: Tango and Wine, 'Tamari' Reserva Malbec 2005

Thoroughly Modern Turkey, Istanbul Modern on 'Love & Politics' and 'American Fork'

It is good when our misconceptions are challenged as to where things happen, where modernity lives.
The Istanbul Modern does just that.

They are showcasing their own Independent Movie Festival headlined by American Fork until January 31st and this is how I discovered the museum thanks to Forget Sundance: Indie Films Come to Istanbul by Susanne Fowler.
I was more intrigued by Love & Politics (in a minor key), a Video Exhibit of the work of 4 artists with roots in painting, Alessandro Pessoli, Hiraki Sawa, Boyd Webb and Saskia Olde Wolbers. It runs until March 23rd.
As far as I know, in an effort to make art accessible to everyone, admission is free.

The birth of this relative newcomer (2004) on the Istanbul cultural scene is detailed on Dexigner.

More about Istanbul: Want Change: Sheep Intestine (Kokorec)....Fast Food Turkish Style

Learning to 'Bounce': The Gospel of Success according to Barry Moltz

Success can be intoxicating and failures crushing. Resilience is key.

Rather than going from feeling like a Master of the Universe to I am a Loser Baby, with his second book, Bounce, Barry Moltz wants to help us stay grounded and look at these different phases in a sane way.

Let me introduce The Gospel of Success according to Barry by quoting him:

"Both success and failure are simply outcomes in the lifecycle of business where repetition is inevitable and overall process matters far more than any single event or outcome. Barry shows that with true business confidence, we can face our fears, let go of shame and failures, use all our choices, be better risk-takers, and define our own brand of success."

Mind you, Bounce is not all about Barry. To illustrate the topic he showcases real people with a wide range of experiences and life stories.
To name two, Linda Regulbuto who after 20 years in the business world now deals with community relations at The Bushnell, a Connecticut Performing Arts Center and comes up with innovative ways to raise funds.
A good example of resilience is Andria Lieu, a refugee from Vietnam who through sheer strength, talent and passion became a fashion designer in Chicago.

Bounce is published by Wiley and should be in bookstores on January 28.


Bouncing balls for Monday Work Etiquette #22

Previously: Anger Management...Taming the Beast