Posts from August 2009

Climate Camp, Boot Camp for the Environment, London, August 26-September 2

While kids are heading home from Summer camp and getting ready to go back to school, some of the Green crowd in the UK is about to join Climate Camp, a boot camp for the environment taking place (taking over) in London from August 26 to September 2.

I was intrigued by the effort but not sure what to make of it so I read Q & A: Climate Camp by James Randerson (Guardian, August 25) for some guidance.

On What is Climate Camp? he offers the following answer:

Climate Camp is a movement that organises temporary camps for environmental protesters. Its website describes it as "a place for anyone who wants to take action on climate change; for anyone who's fed up with empty government rhetoric and corporate spin; for anyone who's worried that the small steps they're taking aren't enough". At the camps it is possible to learn more about sustainable living and the legal rights of protesters. Camps often culminate in a day of mass action at a climate change target.

They blend technology (Twitter and text messaging) with activism and announce that after meeting at various locations around London chosen for their symbolism, they will 'swoop' to the center of the city around midday on Wednesday.

Climate camp

So not a day to be driving around that part of London or taking a cab.

The Tube would be wise.

Activists on the map for Green Day # 91

Previously: Will $20 Gallon of Gas Change our Lives for the Better?

August 24 and I Have not Taken a Vacation Yet, What's Wrong with Me?

It is August 24 and I have not taken a summer vacation yet, what's wrong with me?

I did not take any other break in 2009 and no real break in 2008 either I have to confess.

I looked with envy at those sporting a tan and moving at a nonchalant pace on Sunday while doing my errands.

OK, the tan might be fake but the pace was not.

It is especially ironic for me to acknowledge my constant buzzing (activity) when I offered No Vacation Nation as a Topic for a Panel at South by Southwest 2010.

So why have I not taken a vacation yet.

First in my current occupations (concierge/ waiter), there is no paid vacation to speak of.

Second, I did not stash money in the vacation savings plan to make up for the lack of paid vacation money.

Third, I could have made different spending choices to give me the wiggle room necessary.

Fourth, recognizing my shortcomings, it is not too late to start now and make it happen in the future.

What can be called a vacation first?

I would say no less than a week, two is better, first 7 days to unwind and second part to really rest.

What not to do?

Like myself wait until both your body and your brain ache for a break.

We can always work more, longer but we cannot make up for time spent with loved ones as the people at Take Back Your Time remind us (illustration below copyright Amber Venaas).


Oh, by the way, unusual as it might sound for me, I took baby steps in my struggle with free time.

I am going away to Vermont this coming week end.

I might learn to move at a cow's pace.

An out of balance Monday Work Etiquette # 104

Comcast Lately, High Speed Internet Service, Dial Up Experience

For the past few days, I have grown ever more frustrated with the slow load or no load issues affecting my Comcast internet experience.

Best song as soundtrack to it might be The Doors 'Crawling King Snake'...

Is it a problem with my Comcast box, wires to my house, servers or other issues, I do not know.

I guess I will have to give them a call on Monday and find out what it's all about.

If this is a system wide issue, wouldn't it be nice if they let their customers know.

After all they are a communications company....

Or I am wrong all along and this is a Microsoft related issue...

Fooding d'Amour Site now Live, Bit More than a Month before September New York Event

Mentions of Le Fooding d'Amour make you brim with anticipation for this September 25-26 Event in New York, the Fooding d'Amour website is live.


It allows you to find out more about the Who's Who of Chefs, DJ's and Mixologists who are behind the secret sauce that will make this event memorable.

Low Budget Dining in Shibuya, Standing Sushi or Standing Bar (via Metropolis)

Wanting or needing to find budget friendly options when eating out is not limited to Brooklyn residents.

We might just want to grab a quick bite while exploring the town.

Bryan Harrell did all the legwork for us in Cheap Shibuya (Metropolis, for spots that fit the consumed to thrifty mood in this Tokyo neighborhood.

I was intrigued by The Spice Garden (Indian fare) where you purchase tickets for your meal through a vending machine. They seem to get kudos from many people and have 3 other locations around Tokyo (in Shinjuku,Ikebukuro and Roppongi) as I discovered thanks to Shinjuku Spice by Paul McInally (Japan-I, November 2008).


I borrowed his picture of the Shinjuku location as an illustration.

Getting back to Cheap Shibuya, Bryan Harrell recommends Standing Sushi Uogashi Nihon-Ichi for its mellow tone, friendly service and low prices even though they use too much mayo to his taste.

It is part of a chain according to Trendhunter which states you can complete your lunch there in 5 minutes.

Also in the standing realm is Fujiya Honten Standing Bar in the Izakaya tradition serving dishes like (hum) grilled salmon jaw ('shake-kama')...

Sounds like in order to keep your tab under control, you will have to be adventurous in your choice of dishes

Isn't the spirit of discovery half the fun?

A foodie Tokyo Thursdays # 101

Last Week (Tokyo Thursdays # 100): Buriki, Japanese Tin Toys, American Classic Cars, NY Exbibit

Getting in Touch with my Inner Tibetan at Rubin Museum of Art, New York

What can one do on a hot summer day to stay cool besides jumping in the pool or going to the shore? One alternative is a visit to the museum in my case today I will get in touch with my inner Tibetan at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York this afternoon


It currently offers a number of exhibits including In the land of the gods focused mostly on Nepalese art pieces as the one pictured above.

Julie Farias sans Meat Cleaver at Fooding d'Amour, New York, Sept 25-26

Julie Farias, chef of General Greene (Brooklyn, NY) strikes quite a pose in the portrait (below) by Jeanne Verdoux (copyright Jeanne Verdoux) for Le Fooding d'Amour.


Will Julie display her meat cleaver skills at Le Fooding d'Amour bringing the best of the Paris and New York food scene and more for a must be at event taking place on September 25-26 at P.S.1 in New York.

Related: Oh L'amour, Le Fooding d'Amour, Fleshing Out the Fun in Food, New York, Sept 25-26

Will $20 Gallon of Gas Change our Lives for the Better?

Rather than being monks of doom and preaching the end of oil as we know it, writers such as Christopher Steiner decided to look at the positive changes a price hike could bring to our lives.

His book, $20 Per Gallon: How the inevitable rise in the price of gasoline will change our lives for the better (Grand Central, Hachette) caught my eye thanks to the aptly titled review The brighter side of expensive oil by Ed Crooks (FT, August 17).


Here is a snapshot of what the book covers as outlined by Fictionwise on the title's E-Book listing:

"Imagine an everyday world in which the price of gasoline (and oil) continues to go up, and up, and up. Think about the immediate impact that would have on our lives. Of course, everybody already knows how about gasoline has affected our driving habits. People can't wait to junk their gas-guzzling SUVs for a new Prius. But there are more, not-so-obvious changes on the horizon that Chris Steiner tracks brilliantly in this provocative work. Consider the following societal changes: people who own homes in far-off suburbs will soon realize that there's no longer any market for their houses (reason: nobody wants to live too far away because it's too expensive to commute to work). Telecommuting will begin to expand rapidly. Trains will become the mode of national transportation (as it used to be) as the price of flying becomes prohibitive. Families will begin to migrate southward as the price of heating northern homes in the winter is too pricey. Cheap everyday items that are comprised of plastic will go away because of the rising price to produce them (plastic is derived from oil). And this is just the beginning of a huge and overwhelming domino effect that our way of life will undergo in the years to come. Steiner, an engineer by training before turning to journalism, sees how this simple but constant rise in oil and gas prices will totally re-structure our lifestyle. But what may be surprising to readers is that all of these changes may not be negative--but actually will usher in some new and very promising aspects of our society. Steiner will probe how the liberation of technology and innovation, triggered by climbing gas prices, will change our lives. The book may start as an alarmist's exercise.... but don't be misled. The future will be exhilarating."

If not always right, at least a thought provoking tome.

Money in the tank for Green Day # 90

Last week on Green Day: Clean Up of the National Organic Program is on the Way

Get Up and Vote for our 'No Vacation Nation' Panel at South By Southwest Interactive 2010

We pondered if we should offer a topic of discussion for South by Southwest Interactive 2010 until the theme of No Vacation Nation hit us on the head like a brick.


What's it all about:

Frank Zappa said 'You are what you is', if work is all that defines you and you are like a dog on a leash and going on vacation means taking an extended week end have you lost your sanity. In 'No Vacation Nation', we ask is Vagabonding, being a Nomad, the right medicine?

Now all we need to make it happen is enough votes.

So head straight to No Vacation Nation, Is Vagabonding the Right Medicine page on the Panel Picker and give us the thumbs up.

You will need to register first before being able to vote.
Don't worry it's quick and easy, name, e-mail, a couple questions.

Before you vote here are some of the questions we will ask when it happens thanks to your votes:


1. Do anything you wanna do
2. Sorting out the chaff from what really matters
3. Easier said than done
4. Learning how to swim
5. What really matters
6. Whose life is it after all

Thanks all

Daniel Boulud's Recipes for Restaurant Failure: Wishy Washiness, Corporate Sauce

In Restaurateurs and Entrepreneurs on the Leonard Lopate Show (WNYC, August 17) featuring "chef/owner Daniel Boulud, who just opened DBGB Kitchen and Bar, Sosie Hublitz, the owner of Watty & Meg in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (whose details I picked as an illustration) and Pamela Parseghian, the executive food editor of Nation’s Restaurant News" a few things that stood out in what Daniel Boulud offered as recipes for failure in our challenging economic times.

They were in no specific order compromising the quality of your offerings, serving a corporate sauce and being wishy washy, not having a clear identity.

Is value scritly related to price or is it what you get for your money?


What would you add to the list?