Posts from December 2008

Why Can't I Download Music from Rhapsody to Zune MP3 Player?

I have been using Rhapsody for a couple of years now, do enjoy it even with the lack of Frank Zappa and King Crimson tunes.

I just realized this Christmas though that upgrading to Rhapsody to Go did not amount to much.
The only MP3 Players supported by the To Go service are Sandisk Sansa ones.

This Christmas 2008, I bought my 16 year old a 8GB Zune Player upon his request (he likes the interface, sorry I Pod Lovers).
Why should I have now to fork out more money to be able to download music to this player?

Imagine a situation where each different brand of refrigerator was only able to store certain types of foods or if a TV could play only certain channels or programs or a car could get gas only at certain gas stations.

We would think that it is plain crazy?

That's what happens with music.

Stop making sense!

Smell it! Nice and Florence Walking Food Tours, Menu for Hope 5

Know a better way to get acquainted with local flavors and la couleur locale than taking in the local food scene on foot.

Two prizes on the European List of Menu for Hope 5 do just that.

First is Monday at the Market for Two (in Florence, Italy) offered by Judy Witts of Over a Tuscan Stove.

Judy describes it as follows:

"The Diva of all this Tuscan, will take you on a guided walking tour and tasting at the foodie mecca, the Central Market in Florence, and lunch at the Trattoria Sergio Gozzi, listed in Slow Food's guide to the Osteria's of Italy.
During lunch the Diva will also help you with planning your meals here!
Can be held on other days as well (market closed on Sunday)"

This is good for two people with a 250€ value and is valid for one year, Prize Code EU12

Second, A Taste of Nice (France, that is) courtesy of Rosa Jackson at Les Petits Farcis.

Here is what it is all about in Rosa's words:

"On a fascinating three-hour tour, you will learn about the history of Nice and its food and taste such unexpected delicacies as pissaladière (caramelized onion tart), socca (chick pea pancake), fougasse (Provençal flatbread) and tourte de blettes (a sweet pie with a surprise ingredient). You will also sample a selection of Provençal olive oils, taste vinegars flavored with passion fruit or piment d'Espelette, discover the secrets of French cheese and visit an artisanal pork butcher.

Depending on the day and your wishes, the market tour may take place at the famous Cours Saleya market or at the Libération market just north of the train station, which is popular with locals for its many small farmers, its selection of Mediterranean fish and its covered market selling some of the best cheese and charcuterie in town."

Wants to make your mouth water in advance, check The Petit Farcis Market Tour as pictured by Leigh Wolf (on Flickr, November 2008).

Cheese market

I borrowed her snapshot of the Cheese Stand above as an illustration.

This Taste of Nice street tour is good for 2 people, has a value of 160€ and is Prize Code EU23

Cannot wait to take a shot at winning either (or both) of these wunderbar prizes, head for the Donation Page...

Make Last Week of 2008 an Orgy of Giving, Menu for Hope V extended to December 31st

A Punk Christmas with Poly Styrene and Goldblade

Owen Adams asks Is it possible to be a punk at Christmas? (The Guardian, December 23rd, 2008) and then goes to declare that "Anyone of punk ilk is declaring City of Christmas Ghosts the best festive song since Fairytale of New York, another song of impish sentimentalism."

Does the video below convinces you?

It marries Poly Styrene (X Ray Specs) with Goldblade.

Related: Cook and Groove with Neneh Cherry

Make Last Week of 2008 an Orgy of Giving, Menu for Hope V extended to December 31st

With the wobbly economy, Menu for Hope 5 has taken a little more time to pick up steam.

What is Menu for Hope if you wondered?
It brings bloggers the world over who use their combined power to raise funds for the UN World Food Programme.

In the past couple of days many people have contributed to Menu for Hope V and brought us as of this minute to $40,645.00

Not bad yet $50,000 less than last year tally so Pim decided to extend the deadline to December 31st.

Let's make this last week of 2008 an orgy of giving rather than getting.

As Alder of Vinography reminds us that there are still A Ton of Prizes including The Wine Prizes that have only one or two raffle tickets purchased for them so far, meaning your $10 donation to the hungry children of Lesotho could easily get you something awesome.

A great example is Prize WB05 offered by Corked:

Custom Wine Source has teamed up with Brutocao Cellars to donate a case of custom labeled Zinfandel (a $700.00 value). The prize includes our Full Custom Design service, one case of Brutocao Cellars Zinfandel (subject to availability, may be exchanged for a case of equal or lesser value Brutocao wine), and ground shipping to eligible states in the US.

Domaine de Bob 200 x 200

I bet you already see your name on that bottle (that case) so without further ado head straight to the Donation Page, do not stop at the bank or get sent to jail before you have a chance to contribute.

Thanks in advance!

Previously on Menu for Hope: Epicurean Delights worth Trip to Australia, Menu for Hope 5 Down Under

Joyeux Noel, Happy Hanukkah and Kwanzaa 2008

No, I did not loose my inspiration lately.
The period before Christmas has just been very hectic, working long and late hours and there was very little time left for writing.
To be honest I kinda feel like a souffle that came down to earth, my apology for spotty blogging.

I want to wish everyone a Joyeux Noel, Happy Hanukah or Happy Kwanzaa.

If you are not celebrating any of these holidays, enjoy the day off.

I wish I had the energy to bake wonderful pastries as our friend Bea of La Tartine Goumande did in Joyeux Noel.

Shoangai noel

Jing of Shanghai Daily Photo offers this silent night shot (above) of Dan shui road.

Penelope Trunk throws a little cold water on the holiday cheer with My annual rant about Christmas at work where she object to religious holidays being celebrated on the job.

I am not sure that religious considerations are first and foremost on most people's mind on December 25th. Shopping and gift giving and getting lead the pack I think.

In any case happy holiday, happy slow day.

Do not drink (or eat) too much and drive safely.

Related: Bumper Mistletoe Crop = Lots of Christmas Kissing suggests The Guardian

From Coworking to Cohousing as a Sustainable Way of Life

Is Cohousing a way to reduce our wasteful ways and also to recover a sense of community?

If the plan offered by Alex Marshall a journalist and senior fellow at the Regional Plan Association named Brooklyn Cohousing works it might enable some of us to make progress in that direction.

They are not going back to the communes of hippies days.

Each of the 30 or so families will have their own living space while being able to share communal spaces such as a kitchen and dining area.

They plan (I quote) "to share resources & interests (for example share child care, cook together some weekly community meals, share tools, garden together etc) while each having our own fully equipped apartments, a balance between privacy and community."

There will be efforts as well to be energy efficient. The details are still being worked out it seems from what Alex Marshall shared in his Living Together interview on the Brian Lehrer Show (December 23, 2008). This New York venture should open in 2010.

Other practitioners in the US such as Cambridge Cohousing (Massachussets) show they did not leave their sense of humor at the door with CoHo Comics.

Some go back to the farm like Cobb Hill Cohousing in Hartland (Vermont).

Ideas for 2009 on Green Day # 58

Last week: With this Lunch Kit, Your Kid Schoolmates will be Green with Envy

Related: Opening a Restaurant: Build a Community Around it First: Elements In Washington DC

Forced to Take a Holiday Break (as in Silicon Valley) How do you take it?

It is not just Chrysler closing offices and factories this holiday season.

As Chris Nuttall and Richard Waters report in Financial Times (December 22), a Christmas shut-down in Silicon Valley will take place from December 22 to January 5th.

Did you go from complaining about the lack of leisure and the always on work culture to being upset at being forced to have idle time?

Are you taking it in stride and using these 12 days to plan a trip to visit family and (or) friends, at home or abroad?

Imagine 12 days without corporate e-mail and text messages?

Will you feel lonely and deprived?

Time on your hands for Monday Work Etiquette # 69

Previously: We're only in it for the money...Sanity at Work

Epicurean Delights worth Trip to Australia, Menu for Hope 5 Down Under

What is Menu for Hope if you wondered?
It brings bloggers the world over who use their combined power to raise funds for the UN World Food Programme.

After stops in Paris and on the West Coast, I continue my Menu for Hope 5 exploration.

After seeing the embarrassment of riches listed as Menu for Hope 5 prizes by Ed Charles on Tomato, my own offering might pale in comparison.

These Epicurean delights by themselves might justify a trip to Australia.

Let me note first A tasting menu with matched wines for 2 people worth $460 at the Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld (Prize Code AP04).


The hotel (pictured above) is described as "a unique rural destination set among native gardens and fruit orchards with stunning views of the Southern Grampians Ranges. Accommodation, an award winning restaurant and wine cellar, bistro, public bar, meeting and conference facilities and the historic Mt Sturgeon Estate and homestead are all available for guests to explore and enjoy".

Want Room and Board, the 1 nights accommodation and a 3 course meal for 2 at the Provenance Restaurant in Beechworth (Prize Code AP11) is just for you.

A quick look at their site seems to indicate that they have a fondness for artichokes (see below).

Makes me wish I could fly there and gives you an idea of how global an effort Menu for Hope is.

If these prizes wet your appetite for food and travel down under visit the Donation Page and open your wallet and your heart...

Merci beaucoup

Previously about Menu for Hope 5: 2 Artisan Grab Bags, Latest Prize for Menu for Hope 5 on West Coast

Onion Johnnies from Brittany, an Endangered Specy in the UK?

Where was I all these years, utterly ignorant of the Onion Johnnies?

Shouldn't I have known about them since they hail from Brittany (where I was born)...

Elizabeth Day in Only 15 of Brittany's Onion Johnnies survive (Guardian, December 21, 2008) seems to conclude that they are about to join the list of Endangered Species in the UK.

Onion johnnies

They were honored by Ian MacDougall in his book Onion Johnnies (cover above, 2002), a portrait of the working life of 9 of them in Scotland.

According to Meg on Too Many Chefs (March 2004), the tradition can be traced this way: 

"In England, the typical image of a Frenchman is a mustachio-ed gentlemen (well, actually, peasant) on a bicycle with strings of onions hanging from the handlebars and a striped shirt and beret. Why a bicycle, you might ask? Why the onions?

In fact, it is all down to one farmer from Brittany named Henri Ollivier, who in 1828 decided to stow his bike and his surplus onions in a boat and cross the channel to sell his onions in England. He was so successful that other farmers from his hometown of Roscoff followed. For the next 150 years the tradition continued, with thousands of Bretons flooding into England in the winter months, selling Roscoff pink onions door to door.

And thus a stereotype was born. The number of "Johnnies" (or Petitjeans in their own language) has dwindled in the last twenty years, but apparently there are still a few of them around. As recently as October of 2002, the 65 year old André Quemener was still making the crossing to sell onions in Scotland."

At least my day was not wasted, I learned something.

Brittany Related: 'Histoire de Chocolat' The story of Brest in Chocolate Instalments

Are New Yorkers Dining Down? Nicholas Lander offers Digs that Fit the Bill

Nicholas Lander noticed the blackboard at Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop stating "In this economy New Yorkers are dining down".

In Feeling Frugal (FT, December 20, 2008) he then suggests a few affordable restaurants in New York City.

His first stop was at Porchetta (All things Pigs, All The Time) opened in the past few months by Sara Jenkins with a little help from Mario Batali.

Serious Eats offered At Porchetta, the Namesake Dish Is Just About the Whole Deal,an illustrated review by Ed Levine (September 30, 2008).

If a good cup of java and a little sugar kick is needed, he suggests a stop at Abraco.

Of all his picks, the one I am most tempted to try is Aburiya Kinnosuke (45th Street, near 3rd Avenue) where despite the initial surly treatment, he says he enjoyed 'some of the most authentic Japanese food outside Japan"...

No compromises here though...

Related: Small Prices, Big Flavors at Kuma Inn, Thai meets Filipino in New York