Thursday, December 31, 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Best breakfast ever...


Bacon, Wholewheat Toast, Poached Eggs, Aloo Dam and Dal Bola. Get in my belly!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Papparazi


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

A380



SQ637, Tokyo to Singapore, is an Airbus A380. We departed at 11:30am and this was the first time for me to fly on the double-decker. I have to agree with the marketing spiel, it was very quiet and very comfortable. Milly particularly liked the choice of dinner items offered on the inflight menu, and then happily watched all of Mary Poppins before having a nap. So we had a great flight down to Singapore, where we transited (in about 30 minutes) to SQ516, Singapore to Calcutta, landing around 8:30pm, midnight in Tokyo (yes, that is a three and a HALF hour time difference). Staying in the Hyatt for several nights, after which it is back to Singapore and then on to Bali for Christmas and the New Year. Posting therefore will be light, probably mostly photos, but wishing anyone that stops by here for a read, a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Best Motorcycle for Winter - Triumph Speed Triple Edition


Mine!

Rapha

From Twitter:

"Heard others wonder if Rapha actually sold anything or if it was a sophisticated social marketing campaign not unlike Andre has a Posse and Obey Giant."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Drank from every one of them


Dinner (and drinking!) last night at 'Ristorante Amoroso'.

Truly excellent, probably the best dinner all year, which is saying something, given I am lucky enough to eat (with clients) at some of the best restaurants (starred or otherwise) in Tokyo and Hong Kong.

Well off the beaten track, but worth the journey.

Kazillions

"“They’re charting new areas,” said Brennan. “It’s great that we’ve got someone like Larry Ellison out there dumping kazillions of dollars into this technology.”

Mike Drummond, design chief for the BMW-Oracle trimaran, said he can’t conceal the 190-foot wing that this month replaced a sail on his boat. The carbon-fiber foil is bigger than the wing of an Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger jet. A wing is more efficient than a conventional sail, holding its shape better while generating increased lift and diminished drag.

“It’s not a game about who comes up with the fanciest toys -- you’ve still got to win a boat race,” Kramers said. “You can shoot yourself in the foot quite easily. You can make it too light and have something break on you, or you come up with something so complex you don’t know how to sail it. So there’s a certain amount of restraint involved, too.” "

America’s Cup Spending Spree Buys Speedier Boats for Everyone - Bloomberg

(autumn)

(autumn) from Samuel Cockedey on Vimeo.

Fund Brochures



My favourite is 'Balanced' via TheReformedBroker

Flame away, I'm thinking Monaco

Bonus tax: Innocents punished? - BBC - Peston's Picks

from the comments..

"The fact that Tullets are merely a slightly different parasite to the investment bank makes no difference. Do they produce anything? Do they build anything? or are they merely providing a service for banks who make so much excess profit they can't be bothered to find their own buyers and sellers of securities and would rather pay someone else to do it?"

"They're all part of the same bubble. Just like everything else in the UK - a few have spoiled it for the vast majority."

"Normally I have a lot of time for Robert Peston, but this article is so bitterly disappointing."

but the best one imho..

"Being constantly attacked and victimized for something that has absolutely nothing to do with me. And please, you don't understand finance if you trot out the old "it's all interconnected so they're all to blame" chestnut as it simply isn't true. To be then told that the burden of paying for it is mine as well? Straw - camel - back. I'm sure you get the picture. Most people in this country are net receivers from the government. Who do you think pays for your childcare? Your retirement? Your NHS? You are not paying for the bailout and now neither am I.

Flame away because I simply don't care anymore. By the way, for relocation, I'm thinking Monaco."

The world's best bars

“Basil's Bar in Mustique, is my favourite in the world. I love it because it’s so laid-back. The staff have been there for ever and always remember you. The drinks are tropical and, if you’re lucky, you get to see the ‘green flash’ when the sun sets and meets the horizon of the sea.”

Amy Sacco - A nightlife queen, Sacco is the owner of cool club Bungalow 8, which has premises in New York, London and Amsterdam, Basil’s Bar, Mustique.

“My favourite hangout is the GoldBar, in New York. I am there a fair bit, as I’m about to open Proud NY. I find it shocking how much cooler New York is than London right now — and how much more beautiful the bars and clientele are. Lenny Kravitz used to go there a lot, and John Mayer has been seen there recently. It’s an amazing place, with real gold-plated skulls on the walls, a gold-plated ceiling and a bronze floor.”

Alex Proud - The gallery and club owner’s latest ventures are Proud Chelsea and the bar-restaurant Proud Cabaret, GoldBar, 389 Broome Street, New York.

“Le Monal, in the French ski resort of Ste Foy Tarentaise, is the hub of the whole village — it’s where you’ll find skiers and locals alike having drinks and lots of fun at the end of their day. I own a ski lodge in the village and always nip down to Le Monal if I ever need a handyman to fix anything back at my pad. One visit and the word goes out that you need your electricity looked at. Within seconds, the right sparky is found, and everyone drinks to that. The beer is wonderful, and it has the best rosé in the area. It is, without exception, the best bar for miles and miles around.”

Rupert Clevely - Clevely is the founder of Geronimo Inns, which owns many clubby London boozers, including the Prince Albert, the Lord Palmerston and the Elgin, Le Monal, Chef-Lieu, Ste Foy Tarentaise.

“La Esquina, in New York, is a real example of how to create somewhere so special, you feel a million dollars discovering it. It’s a real Aladdin’s cave, with amazing food, great service and terrific ambience. The drinks menu is extremely innovative. I had the first margarita I have had in five years there, and I can safely say it was one of the best I have ever tasted.”

Nick House - House is the man behind the celeb-magnet nightclubs Mahiki and Kanaloa, La Esquina, 114 Kenmare Street, New York.

“The Hotel Nacional de Cuba has to be one of the best seaside watering holes in the world. In the middle of Vedado, in the centre of downtown Havana, it overlooks the Straits of Florida and is just yards from the sea. There are six bars in total for you to choose from, each oozing Cuban culture. Have a mojito and a cigar on one of their terraces while enjoying views of the harbour. If you want to experience the real Havana, this is the place to go. Winston Churchill and Frank Sinatra are rumoured to have haunted this hotel in their time — and if it was good enough for them, it is most certainly good enough for me.”

Ben Elliot - Elliot is co-founder of Quintessentially, the upmarket, members-only concierge service, Hotel Nacional de Cuba, Calle 21/Calle O, Havana.

“My favourite bar? Simple, it’s the Roger Room, in LA. It’s a fantastic speakeasy-style cocktail bar where the drinks are absolutely amazing and it’s all a bit sleazy — in a good way.”

Nick Jones - Jones is the founder of the Soho House group, which runs some of the coolest members’ clubs on the planet, including Shoreditch House, Roger Room, 370 North La Cienega Boulevard, Los Angeles.

“I love the Balearics and have a few favourite places out there. On Formentera, there is a great beachside restaurant called Juan y Andrea. They do incredible sangria and it’s an ideal spot to people-watch. Blue Marlin is on Cala Jondal bay, in Ibiza, and is for the cool crowd. It has a beach restaurant and a great bar, serving amazing cocktails. There’s also Amnesia, which is in San Rafael. It’s one of the best nightclubs. It can be quite expensive, but you’ll have the best time.”

Tom Aikens - A Michelin-starred chef, Aikens manages to fit in a fair few parties between lengthy stints in the kitchens of his two London restaurants, Juan y Andrea, Playa de Illetas, Formentera, Blue Marlin, Cala Jondal, Ibiza, Amnesia, San Antonio Road, San Rafael, Ibiza.

“I would have to namecheck the Lexington Queen, in Tokyo, mainly because it was free to get in and it gave free booze to models and pop stars. It was my office for many years while I was on tour with Blur. I do hope it’s still there.”

Alex James - James is the bassist in Blur, a farmer, a food writer and a cheesemaker, Lexington Queen, 3-13-14 Roppongi, Tokyo; 00 81 3 3401 1661

“I’ve spent so much of this year travelling for work, but most recently I have been to Hong Kong and China. There’s an amazing hotel in Beijing called the Opposite House. It’s got a number of restaurants and bars, but I’d recommend you go for a drink in the club in the basement, called Punk. I’d also recommend going to 798, in the art district. Actually it doesn’t matter where you go in the art district. Just hang out in any of the little coffee shops and soak up the atmosphere — it’s extraordinary, all steaming streets and a bit TriBeCa, with a real mix of contemporary and Asian art wherever you look."

“In Hong Kong, there are two ways to go. The obvious one is Sevva. Bypass the restaurant and go to the huge terrace bar — it’s all decking, fabulous furniture and great music. Standing there in the hot night air when the city is all lit up, and the harbour is a hub of activity, it’s an amazing place to be. The alternative is Alan Lo’s Pawn. It’s in a beautiful old colonial building in Wan Chai. It’s much grittier and more urban in design than Sevva, and is just a great place for drinking, catching up with friends and having little things to eat.”

Tara Bernerd - Bernerd is the chairman and head of design of Target Living, Punk at the Opposite House, the Village, Building 1, 11 Sanlitun Road, Beijing, 798, Dashanzi Art District, 4 Jiuxianqiao Road, Beijing. Sevva, Prince’s Building, 25th Floor, 10 Chater Road, Hong Kong, Pawn, 62 Johnston Road, Hong Kong.

“On every trip to Bali, I have to go to Métis, in Seminyak. It is not just a pilgrimage, it is a pleasure, as I know I’m going to get the best food, drink and service in Bali. Its two owners, Said and Dudu, run a very well-trained team, if in a slightly old-fashioned way. The cuisine is French, with very rich dishes, which, while slightly incongruous in the hot climate of Bali, seem to work. The wine list is amazing considering the difficulties they are having with importing, and Said will always recommend something special. I like to get there early, as it gives me time to hang out at the bar, where I generally have margaritas, sometimes frozen, if it’s a hot evening. It overlooks a rice paddy and you can lounge on the open veranda and listen to the sound of the frogs chirping. It’s magical.”

John Stephen - Stephen is co-founder of the London nightclub Chinawhite, Métis, JL Petitenget 6, Kerobokan Kelod, Bali.

“My current fave bar is Behind the Green Door, in Beirut. It’s a small, totally non-commercial venue with a capacity of only about 100 people. The vibe is amusing and intellectual; it’s chic in design and location, but frequented only by those in the thick of the ‘underground’ scene in Beirut. They have DJs when they feel like it, and, oddly, I keep bumping into mates from London there — last time, I hung out with my old friend Damon Albarn.”

Mourad Mazouz - Mazouz is the owner of the London restaurants and hangouts Momo and Sketch, Behind the Green Door, Nahr Street (opposite the Lebanese Electricity Authority), Beirut

“It has to be My House, on Hollywood Boulevard, LA. Why? First, location. This club is within walking distance of the Kodak theatre and Grauman’s Chinese theatre, where all the premieres are. It’s a magnet for cool Hollywood types and has a real industry feel about it. It is a beautiful, richly appointed house, with a sunken living room, a kitchen that bakes you cookies at 1am, a hot tub, which is very dangerous — it seems like such a great idea to get in after a bottle or two of Belvedere — and an outdoor grass-patio area with tables. It’s also totally unpretentious, but very private.”

Dudley Spencer - Spencer runs the London League, a nightlife PR and party-organisation agency, My House, 7080 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles.

“Bar Abaco in Palma, Mallorca, is the first bar I ever came across with which I felt completely in tune. It has rooms to wander and great people-watching opportunities, while sipping my own gin cocktails. Set behind a pair of giant wooden doors in La Lonja, in the old town, the former palace is a huge hit on all the senses, with opera music, flowers and fruit by the truckload — with prices to match. I hear it’s still great, even though it’s been discovered by other tourists. But hey — that’s life.”

Martin Miller - The co-author of the Miller’s Antiques Price Guides is also a hotelier and gin distiller, Bar Abaco, Carrer Sant Joan 1, Palma, Mallorca.

“I would have to say Goldeneye, in Jamaica. It’s the former property of Ian Fleming, who wrote the Bond novels, and is now owned by Chris Blackwell [the founder of Island Records]. It’s a lovely little hotel and I’ve stayed there a lot. There’s always a party going on in the bar, and of course the music is amazing. Chris made me sample his fantastic local rum — it’s very coconutty and simply delicious.”

Barbara Hulanicki - Hulanicki was the founder of the much-adored 1960s fashion label Biba. She now works as an interior designer, Goldeneye, Oracabessa, St Mary, Jamaica.

“Boadas is legendary. As Barcelona’s oldest cocktail bar, this family-owned establishment is an institution, and it attracts an eclectic mix of people. The bartenders are renowned for their unique way of making the classic gin martini (drop-pouring rather than stirring or shaking), but for me they simply make the best Beefeater negronis in the world.”

Nick Strangeway - Strangeway is one of the UK’s leading mixologists and has won numerous awards, as well as being responsible for the cocktail lists at fine establishments such as Cecconi’s and Hawksmoor, Boadas Cocktail Bar, Carrer dels Tallers 1, Barcelona.

“When I drank and was in a band, my favourite place was in Paris. It was a bar called Lily Tigress. They made the best margaritas I had ever tasted. After a few of those, I would be dancing on the tables alongside some beautiful trannies. One night, while I was having such a great time, someone stole my passport and purse. I couldn’t get home. My husband [Danny Goffey, from Supergrass] went back a couple of years ago and tried to find Lily Tigress, but sadly it had closed down. Friends tell me the nearest equivalent now is Le Sancerre — a bit of a Montmartre institution, but with the same no-frills vibe and plenty of trannies, bohos and interesting types drinking the night away.”

Pearl Lowe - In the 1990s, Lowe was lead singer of the Britpop band Powder and a member of the Primrose Hill set, with Kate Moss and Sadie Frost. She is now a fashion designer and has brought out a range of dresses for Peacocks, Le Sancerre, 35 Rue des Abbesses, Paris.

The world's best bars - Timesonline

I've been to the HK and Ibiza ones, and we'll try Metis this Christmas.. the rest I'll put on the list.. BUT.. LEXINGTON QUEEN?? Give me a break.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Present Idea


Stuck for ideas this season?

How about a Laptop Steering Wheel Desk available from Amazon.com?

Customer images here, Customer reviews here.

Simply brilliant. via MR

Happy New Year

Cool

"The L.H.C. is not merely the world’s largest particle accelerator but the largest machine ever built. At the center of just one of the four main experimental stations installed around its circumference, and not even the biggest of the four, is a magnet that generates a magnetic field 100,000 times as strong as Earth’s. And because the super-conducting, super-colliding guts of the collider must be cooled by 120 tons of liquid helium, inside the machine it’s one degree colder than outer space, thus making the L.H.C. the coldest place in the universe.

Stephen Hawking arrived to deliver a lecture called “Spontaneous Creation of the Universe” to a standing-room-only audience. For 25 of his 30 minutes I simply had no clue at all what he was saying, none, and it wasn’t because of his electronic voice synthesizer. I realized that the physicists with whom I’d been speaking all week had been radically dumbing down their explanations so that I, a functional fifth-grader, might achieve some tiny glimmer of understanding.

Down in the caverns, the experience becomes a full-bore cinematic pastiche. I was reduced to monosyllabic Keanu Reevesian awe, repeatedly saying “Whoa” as I encountered the sci-fi vistas—Ernst Blofeld’s volcano fortress crossed with a Star Wars rebel hangar crossed with Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and Zion from The Matrix Reloaded."

The Genesis 2.0 Project - Vanity Fair

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Midway Car Rental

Almost Coastal

Having ridden a couple of times to Kamakura on the coast via Route 1 from Gotanda and not particularly enjoyed the route, I was excited to see Tom's ride from last week - Kitakamakura Enoshima Loop.

Enoshima, always wanted to try that and Tom'll know a good out of the traffic route.

With Garmin Connect far easier to use these days and the ride sitting there staring me in the face, I thought, 'I'll download that, ride out to where we it crosses the river and start the navigation function on my Garmin 705 and simply follow it" Easy-peasy.

Dominic in a less than sensible moment had agreed to come along too. Off we went, leaving TAC at 7am, arrived in good time at the 'route crossing' point at which time I dived into the Garmin menu and started the navigation.

This worked very well for about 3 minutes until the incensed beeping started. "U-turn as soon as you can". We did. Much to the excitement of a tuned-up Subaru driver. Found our left turn, now a right turn facing the opposite way, but all good as it counted down the metres and indicated where to go.

A short, sharp climb. Of course, it's Tom's route, remember. Then it dawned on me. I knew where I was. This was where Adam had introduced me to some mountain bike trails behind the golf course, near the top of the climb, back when I wouldn't be seen dead in lycra shorts. Those were the days.

Anyway, I digress. We progressed at this point rather well indeed, many lefts and rights, and all very straightforward to follow. Of course, absolutely no idea whatsoever where we were, but we had GPS so who cared. If I'm honest, a couple of wrong turns, soon corrected, but all in all, pretty good.

Or so I thought.

We cycled past Tokaichiba station and then it went kind of awry. The Garmin wanted a left turn and common sense said straight on. Dominic suggested topping the water bottles off and then decide.

That done, we, well me really, decided to follow the Garmin. It had done an excellent job to this point so give it the benefit of the doubt.

This is Tom's route..


This is NOT Tom's route..


With the Garmin spending more time re-calculating (note to the manufacturer, this should be replaced with "thinking") and then getting stuck and in need of a re-boot, then telling us to turn right, and me ignoring that every time, well we ended down on Route 16 with a dilemma.

We both needed to be back in central Tokyo by 1pm, which meant we had an hour to play with. Continue for 30 mins then U-turn and head home? Na. Go now. We headed along Route 16 until Route 1, then hammered it.

Quick tea break at Starbucks in Gotanda (Positivo approved), then home.

I didn't achieve my goal.

I didn't see the sea.

I did get out on the bike and had a great ride in broody, overcast conditions.


Lessons.

  • What looks like a turn to the Garmin, can in fact, be a slight bearing only off to the left or right.
  • The unit needs more RAM.
  • The unit needs a faster processor.
  • Wouldn't hurt to look at a map once in a while.
  • Better still a map printed off with Tom's route on it.
  • Choosing to field test this functionality in the suburbia that is Greater Tokyo wasn't the brightest idea.


Garmin Connect - Almost coastal

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Happy in Paraguay



'makers of the world's finest styrofoam nuns for over 68 thousand years'

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wall of Knowledge


This is a concept by French architectural students for the Stockholm library.

via TLNB

I like books.

Alistair in Wonderland believes in Santa Claus

"Given the pre- text of the need for aggressive tightening in fiscal policy the announced policy measures were aggressively neutral.

One thing this Chancellor (and his predecessor before him) has is consistency - he consistently gets his sums wrong. Government borrowing has been higher than forecast every year except one since 2001. Maybe his colleague Mr Balls will give him a remedial arithmetic course for Christmas. After such a track record of consistently being too optimistic on the outlook for the public finances, expecting the public to believe the latest set of numbers is a bit like expecting the public to believe in Santa.

This is perhaps the best demonstration of how the Chancellor is putting political points scoring ahead of the more important job of fixing the public finances. The scheme will generate just GBP550mn. Far more time was devoted to this than the GBP3bn (almost 6 times bigger) increase in the borrowing estimate for 2009-10.

..the big picture is there is a massive hole in the public finances and that was not plugged by the PBR proposals.

Put another way, over the next 4 years, the government’s (overly optimistic) forecasts for the public finances show that borrowing will rise by over 40% of GDP. That is the issue and it was neglected in favour of attacking bankers.

The government can find all the efficiency savings in the world, but it is never going to find GBP140bn to GBP150bn. Substantial spending cuts and tax hikes are what is needed.

What usually happens at Christmas is that several of the children’s new toys break. One thing you are guaranteed with this Chancellor is that when one of his forecasts break down, as they invariably do, he will immediately replace it with another - unfortunately, equally dodgy.

It was a missed opportunity to take steps to prevent a downgrade in the UK’s credit rating."

BNP Paribas’ UK economist Alan Clarke's critique of Wednesday’s pre-budget report via FTAlphaville.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gimme Friction Baby

If you actually want to get something done today, I would suggest not clicking the picture and playing "Gimme Friction Baby"

That means you Macca.

Animater vs. Animation

Animater vs. Animation via jp

Bonus Tax

from Alphaville comments:
"If we are going to tax the direct and indirect beneficiaries of goverment aid post bubble should we not consider taxing UK houseowners for making making reckless borrowing decisons and speculating on the price of housing only to recieve aid when prices fell. Should we do the same for estate agents who pushed inflated property onto people who could not afford it and subsequently benefited from an increased in housing transactions due to zero interest rates? I can see the argument for taking back some of the profits that banks made as a result of the government reflating asset prices and saving the baking system however it is unfair and to punish only banks. Others need to recognize their roles in this mess and take responsibility for the dire fiscal situation that the UK finds itself in." via

"This is just a politically motivated tax and a good diversion." via

"The whole economic mess wasn't just a function of bankers misbehaving. The UK would be in better shape had this government not run deficits and created a ridiculously bloated public sector." via

"Apart from the awesome weather I can see no real reason to remain in this failing nation." via


"So, the details need analyzing. But on the face of it this looks entirely reasonable.' Krugman


"How to get around the bonus tax. Fire your banker and then hire them the next day. Severence pay and a signing on fee. Not deemed a bonus." on Twitter

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Mileage fanatics

"Enthusiasts have been turning coins into miles. They discovered that a free shipping offer on presidential and Native American $1 coins, sold at face value by the U.S. Mint, amounted to printing free frequent-flier miles. Mileage lovers ordered more than $1 million in coins until the Mint started identifying them and cutting them off.

Coin buyers charged the purchases, sold in boxes of 250 coins, to a credit card that offers frequent-flier mile awards, then took the shipments straight to the bank. They then used the coins they deposited to pay their credit-card bills. Their only cost: the car trip to make the deposit.

A FlyerTalk member used the coin program to help earn a free two-week trip to Tahiti that he took with his wife at the end of October. He worked hotel, airline and credit-card programs carefully to pull together the rewards he wanted.

Another states he earned enough miles to put him over two million total at AMR Corp.'s American Airlines, giving him lifetime platinum-elite status -- early availability of upgrades for life and other perks on American and its partners around the world. He also pumped miles into his account at UAL Corp.'s United Airlines and points into his Starwood Preferred Guest program account.

Hyatt Hotels Corp. currently offers its Gold Passport program members a free night for every two nights at one of the chain's properties. Charles Witt, a facilities planner in Washington, D.C., stopped by a suburban Hyatt Place hotel on his way home from work several times, swiped his credit card to buy a $50 room and went home, never opening the door to the hotel room.

For every $100 he spent, he got a free night at any Hyatt. He booked three free nights at the Grand Hyatt in Tokyo over New Year's -- rooms that would have cost him $600 a night.

"Once you start on this road, it's very hard to get off," says Mr. Witt."

Miles for Nothing: How the Government Helped Frequent Fliers Make a Mint - WSJ

Love these stories.. We do quite well with the Delta/NWA Citicard here in Japan..

Something weird and pancake science



Dirty bathwater

"Moody’s AAA sovereign monitor was published today, and whilst the UK’s AAA status remains ‘resilient’ the situation is far from rosy. The report states:

‘The UK economy entered the crisis in a vulnerable position, owing to the (overly) large size of its banking sector and the high level of household indebtedness. Both continue to weigh on economic performance. Net bank lending to the UK business sector has continued to contract through Q3 2009, and repairs to household balance sheets (i.e. the rising savings ratio) may weigh on demand for some time to come.

The depth of the crisis has been mirrored by the ongoing deterioration of public finances (with gross debt/GDP having risen from 44% at the end of 2007 to an estimated 69% at the end of 2009). It also raises considerable challenges going forward, as the downward adjustment of potential output during the crisis will result in a recurrent shortfall in tax revenues, which, if not compensated by a parallel adjustment in expenditure, would leave the government with a permanent deficit.’


First into recession because of Brown’s profligacy, Britain’s recovery is stunted by continued spending and the government’s inability to address the credit freeze. Moody’s assert that Britain’s AAA status will be endangered unless fiscal retrenchment is implemented soon."

How long until the plug is pulled? - Spectator

The current deficit is almost three times as large as a proportion of GDP than when the IMF was called in the 1970s. History shows that steep debt, slow growth and high spending are nation killers. We choose to risk the credit and security of future generations rather than make hard choices. Then again, when was the last time anyone voted for a candidate or party that said it would raise taxes and cut entitlements and prolific spending.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Been there, done that, looking for the t-shirt

Dilbert.com

Dilbert.com

Portraits of Power


"This past September, when nearly all the world’s leaders were in New York for a meeting of the United Nations, Platon, a staff photographer for this magazine, set up a tiny studio off the floor of the General Assembly, and tried to hustle as many of them in front of his lens as possible. For months, members of the magazine’s staff had been writing letters to various governments and embassies, but the project was a five-day-long improvisation, with Platon doing his best to lure the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chávez, and Muammar Qaddafi to his camera." Read more

An interactive portfolio of portraits by Platon of world leaders, with commentary by the photographer.



Monday, December 07, 2009

KungFu Contract

""I don't want to beat him, but arguments are inevitable and I can't help myself," his wife told the newspaper. She added that in the week before they signed the deal, she had beaten him up three times.

She said that she always feels regret when she sees her husband with a black eye."

Chinese husband allows wife to attack him once a week - Telegraph

Illusion of Stimulus

"There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that government intervention can achieve in terms of 'fixing' the economy. The choice was in either abandoning the unsound policy and the unsound investments it produced, or careen toward a complete destruction of the currency system.

Once again, I stand amazed at how people can look at this, and look at Japan, and look at the housing bubble/bust sequence, and still believe that monetary pumping and deficit spending are viable tools of economic policy when a bust occurs. It really boggles the mind, reminding me of Einstein's definition of insanity, 'doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result'."
Japan May Ban Manufacturers From Hiring Temporary Employees - Mish

Sunday, December 06, 2009

12 days of Christmas - Sock Puppet version

PowerTapped on Starbucks Circuit

Having recently sold my Swobo fixie, a pair of Zipp 808s and a couple of other items, the Cervelo has been subject to some TLC. Shiny new white cables (for the most part), white Prologo carbon saddle and a nice pair of Reynolds DV46CUL's with PowerTap SL+. (Ebay is a wonderful thing with USD/JPY in the 80s)


Left Ebisu at the usual 7am with David, Dominic and Michael. Up the Tama, across the river onto Route 20, half hour tea break at Starbucks, along Tank Road, Kawasaki side of the Tama, up Route 1 and home by 11am. Just sub-100km in three and half hours of riding. Beautiful clear, sunny, crisp riding weather. Perfect.

This was shockingly the first ride since September (the main excuses being weather, traveling or injury). I had no problems aerobically, but I could definitely notice some 'bike' stamina is missing. A work in progress starting with a weight programme that I kicked off last Wednesday.

Ride stats, including power(!) and map at Garmin Connect below..

Garmin Connect - Activity Details for Starbucks Circuit

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Hollywood vs. New York



Can you name ALL the movies?

Cheap star

"A HOLE-IN-THE-WALL canteen in Hong Kong that offers dishes for less than $1.50 has become the world's cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant.

Tim Ho Wan, which means Add Good Luck, can seat only 20 people in its steamy dining room where battered bamboo baskets of dim sum sell for as little as $1.42.

Michelin guide director Jean-Luc Naret said it was the ''most affordable starred restaurant in the world''.

Tim Ho Wan is headed by Mak Pui Gor, the former dim sum chef at Hong Kong's Four Seasons Hotel, where he worked at its three-starred restaurant Lung King Heen.

His most expensive dish, a plate of noodles, costs the equivalent of about $5.40, and he sells about 750 of his signature crispy pork buns each day.

At lunchtimes, diners can expect queues of up to an hour on the street outside the canteen.

''Since the news broke, we've been really very busy,'' said a waitress. ''We really are very cheap, but I don't think we are planning to raise our prices.''

Michelin star for cheap-eat canteen - The Age

Off to HK tomorrow for the rest of the week.. don't think I'll be patient enough to queue for an hour though.

Tim Ho Wan 2-8 Kwong Wah St., Mong Kok. 2332-2896

Gold - courtesy of BTIG

"If we added up all the gold ever mined on the planet, its total value would equal no more than $5 trillion at today's prices. Yet, look at how this compares to the debt and bailouts and other monetary mischief of current governments…



Let's make this chart very clear. Of the $5 trillion in gold ever mined…

  • The US government has thrown over twice as much at the economy in the past 12 months.
  • The US debt is more than double this amount so far this year.
  • Total global government bailouts are almost four times larger (and this is a conservative figure; one estimate puts it at $24 trillion).

I intended to include annual gold production as one of the comparisons, but the chart isn't big enough and neither is your monitor: 2008's global gold production equaled about $73 billion, and to make that figure discernable on the chart would require the Global Bailouts bar to hit the ceiling above your head. That's how small the gold market is." via DH