Posts from February 2008

Celebrating Leap Year Day? Are you popping the question?

Are any of you doing something special on Friday, February 29 for Leap Year Day?
Have you noticed greeting cards dedicated to this special occasion/
Are songs, poems and short films written about it.
It would have slipped by me if I had not been put on hold during one of these customer service call trying to find what the ATT Wireless Bug was about.

While waiting I browsed and started reading Leap Year Day is Special by Joanne Kaufman (NY Times).

She says that "according to folklore, leap year day is the choice moment for women who have no interest in waiting for the guy to pop the question".

There is even a Leap Year Day site for those born on Leap Year Day and a list of famous leapers.

Will 2008 be my 'lucky year'?
Conservationists named 2008, the Year of the Frog and use Leap Day to promote their cause.

Fado singer Ramana Vieira is Performing for Leap Year Day---Feb.29th in Santa Cruz.

Any other events you know of?

Have fun on Friday.

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

Do You Refer People for Jobs? In Person, On Sites like Blue Chip Expert?

Referring people for a job opening is easy if you are confident that they will deliver.
More often than not things will not be so clear cut.
It might be that you are not sure how strong the hiring company is.
The person and the business might not be the best match or you are not 100% sure of their reliability.
How do you decide when you find yourself in this gray area?

An invitation from a contact to join Blue Chip Expert which Paul Kaihla of the now defunct Business 2.0 called A MySpace for job seekers
Is social networking the future of hiring?
The service describes 3 roles for members:

  • Professional seeking work
  • hiring manager (In–house recruiter)
  • Networker - not going to hire or work but knows both professionals and hiring managers

You can join Blue Chip Expert only by invitation if I got it right.
To sweeten the pot, you get a cut of the referral fee that they charge to hiring companies, details on their frequently asked questions.

The same questions that come up when referring a person for a job arise when co-signing a loan or  suggesting someone as a tenant.

How do you approach these questions?

Have you been burned and decided not to advocate for anyone?

Thinking about referrals on Monday  Work Etiquette # 26

Previously: Falling Asleep on the Job? Ways to Fight Boredom

Related: Go to a Job interview, Get paid, a Notch Up idea

Should I dump ATT Wireless? They do not know how to make phone upgrade online painless, Sprint does!

When your cell phone stops working and you are an ATT Wireless customer trying to upgrade to a new phone, it seems you are out of luck.
I have tried to do so yesterday and today and all I get is a 'bolean' message.
Wondering if I was missing a step out of shear stupidity, I decided to visit the competition.
At Sprint, they let me browse for phones and gave me options next to each offer, buy with new plan or upgrade/ replace existing line, clear and simple.
The next step/page asked me to sign in if I was an existing customer and on the left column suggested 2 things so your old phone does not go to waste, after receiving your new toy, activate the old one with a new number or return or donate it and get a 'good citizen' credit.

Should I dump ATT Wireless.

I could use an up to date phone with a good camera and mobile blogging potential for my trip to South By Southwest and my panel.

Any suggestions or offers?

Related: At ATT Wireless...Customer Service does not do E-Mail? What about follow up?

Smoke, Spice and Catalan, Vilosell 2005, a Tomas Cusine Wine

Tomas Cusine, the man who put Castell del Remei on the wine map decided to strike on his own with a new venture in the Catalan village of El Vilosell in the province of Lleida.
Located at relatively high altitude in the Costers del Segre appellation, the vineyards sit on chalk and clay soils depending on the parcels.
They benefit from the relatively arid climate and the wide contrast in temperature between days and nights.
All this leads to low yields.


The Vilosell 2005 is 49% Ull de Llebre (Tempranillo), 28.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Garnatxa and 10.5% Merlot according to El Celler Catala.
What you note most is its smoky flavor and spicy tones, pairs well with rich food.
A great buy at around $12.
A new favorite.

More Iberian Wines: My Castle for a Wine: Castillo Labastida, Rioja Reserva 2001

Retire Retirement? Another 30 Years of Work at 50 plus?

I am not sure, I can square my life or rather the next 30 years of it with the idea of a 'new career'...
Working until I am 81 plus does not sound that exciting to me at least if I was to frame it in the traditional definition of work.
I do not see myself retiring anytime soon.

What got me thinking of this was Older workers take a new career path, Morice Mendoza's review (in FT) of Retire Retirement a book by Tamara Erickson (to be published on March 15).
He says that in her essay "Tamara Erickson predicts that many people will have their new career between the ages of 55 and 85".
I agree that many of us will be active but her take sounds more like an echo of the standard '9 to 5' schedule.
A more fluid view of things in my opinion would be alternating periods of work with travel and personal endeavors as Tim Ferriss suggested in The 4 Hour Work Week and describes as Mini Retirements.

It could even be a blending of work and leisure at times.
For example, I plan a trip to Europe in September and will some days have only personal time, others visit places for pleasure and later that same day write about it.

Thoughtful on Friday morning

Fits right there with the themes of my Just Over 50 and Not Dead Yet panel at South by Southwest Interactive on March 8.

What's your take.

Related: Now's the time to act on what matters...Discover what makes you tick!

2 Weeks to Go before 'Just Over 50 and Not Dead Yet' Panel in Austin...What's the Deal!

Way back then in 2007, I asked you to vote for what was then an idea, a panel discussion at South by Southwest Interactive in March 2008 on being Just Over 50 and Active Online.

Thanks to your support this idea will be a reality, 16 days from now.

So here is what it will be about:

Just Over 50 and Not Dead Yet

Panel Discussion at South by Southwest Interactive (Austin, Texas) on March 8, 2008 from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm

Rhea Becker   Writer,   The Boomer Chronicles
David Markus   CPO,   TeeBeeDee
Janet Greenlee   SVP Sr Partner GM,   Fleishman-Hillard
Ted Cohen   Managing Partner,   Tag Strategic
and yours truly, Serge Lescouarnec

There is life before and after 18 to 35.
More U2, New Order or Talking Heads than Tony Bennett.
Rewire rather than retire.
Life is short, let's enjoy it! Don't just consume food, cook some mean dishes.
Rekindle passion. Travel. Read. Slow down. Take a nap.
Who and what is online for people in their late 40's and early 50's and why are some sites targeting baby boomers failing to deliver?
What difference does it make to be over 50 and have a presence on the web?
How does it change the way you work, consume, live?
What do early boomers spend their time and money on? Travel, restaurants and food, financial products? How do companies and marketers reach out to them?
Are they successful? Are they using the right approach?
How can writers, musicians and movie makers tap that audience?

Old is a state of mind. (you're as old as you think you are -- up to a point...)

Visit our Just Over 50 and Not Dead Yet companion blog for details and updates

Japanese Cookies Put a Human Face with Ningyo-yaki

They don't talk to you but Ningyo-yaki (or doll shaped cookies) have a human quality to them when they display faces as some do.

Japan Airlines Guide to Local Souvenirs of Tokyo describes Ningyoyaki as "baked confectionery with a thin skin surrounding a rich bean jam. Ningyoyaki are formed in the shape of dolls and they all have different faces, so seeing various faces is a pleasure as you sample its soft texture. Ningyoyaki shops are particularly poplular in the shitamachi areas."

The cakes got their name from the place where they originated, the Nihonbashi-ningyocho area of Chuo City, according to Tokyo Tourism Info who reminds us that "while many ningyo-yaki are in a traditional shape of shichifukujin (seven gods of good luck) or the Asakusa Kaminarimon gate and giant chochin (lantern), the ones in a shape of characters from kids' TV shows are also gaining popularity".


Characters such as Sazae San ( father pictured above), Doraemon and Astroboy are amongst them offered Mari Kanazawa of Watashi to Tokyo.

You could compare them to customized waffles or pancakes.

My inspiration for this piece came from Ningyo-yaki: Tokyo’s Tasty Dolls on PingMag.
The picture of Sazae San's father (cookie rendition) is theirs.

A tasty Tokyo Thursdays #28

Previously: 10 Romantic Hotspots in Tokyo and Japan...Add ice to the mix 

On Bean Paste and Japanese Cookies: Beans to the Rescue...What is a Summer Sweet in Japan?

On a Budget, $2 Buys You Pasta Bangkok

$2 will not get you a white table cloth dinner in a posh restaurant.
If you are just looking for a simple plate of pasta marinara and happen to be in Bangkok, a stop at Jo- Joe Pasta will deliver just that.
I put my hands on this piece of Italian fare thanks to Great pasta, $2 a plate by Thomas Fuller (Globespotters)...

Have you tried the place?
Know of any other great buys in faraway locales, share with us.

Bon Appetit!

Related: Meatballs for Seth

BabyPlays...A 'Netflix' for Toys?

My kids thinks it is a weird idea but why not?
Texas has brought us many things over the years.
A mom from Houston came up with the concept of BabyPlays, a 'Netflix' for toys.
The process is pretty similar.
You choose amongst the toys they offer and build a list, they ship what is available to you.
Let the children play for 30 days or more.
Return the toys using their box and shipping label from any UPS store et voila.
Soon after receiving these items a new selection will be on its way.
Rental Plans go from Silver (4 toys per month) at $36.99 to Platinum (10 toys per month) at $64.99.
All plans require that you sign up for 3 months minimum.
The ages served by BabyPlays are Birth to 5 years.
All toys are checked for lead.

A way for grandparents, aunts and uncles to treat the small ones without a trip to the mall.

Read about it on Springwise.

Also from Texas: A 'Mommy Mixer'...Networking for Moms and their Prospective Sitters

A walk in the Italian Alps for 'Alto Adige' Wine Tasting, February 26

I will not be mountain climbing on February 26. In a way the mountain, the Italian Alps (South Tyrol) will be coming to us for a tasting of the wines of Alto Adige at the Puck Building in New York.
I will have the chance to taste according to the program "more than 200 wines from 29 top producers made from over 20 different grape varieties, with a special focus on Pinot Bianco, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Nero, and Lagrein" grouped by varietal tables.

Amongst the winemakers present will be Wolfgang Klotz (Cantina Tramin), Heike Platter (Laimburg Winery) and Christof Tiefenbrunner (Tiefenbrunner).

I expect to have a lot to share since I have to pledge ignorance of most of the wines from the area.