Monday, September 24, 2007

Blogger Play

Ever wished you worked at the Fotomat so you could watch events in other people's lives unfold before your eyes (in a good way, not like creeper Robin Williams in One Hour Photo)?

Well now you can:

Blogger Play will show you a never-ending stream of images that were just uploaded to public Blogger blogs. You can click the image to be taken directly to the blog post it was uploaded to, or click “show info” to see an overlay with the post title, a snippet of the body, and some profile information about the blogger who uploaded it. We also wrote a Blogger Play FAQ with more information.

A caveat: we use many techniques, including Google’s SafeSearch technology, to keep the images clean. Nevertheless, on rare occasions an image that you may find vulgar or obscene will slip through our algorithmic filters. Google does not pre-screen the images that appear in Blogger Play, nor is it responsible for their content. To report a terms of service violation, you may fill out this contact form.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Invisible Children

Attended a presentation of the "Invisibile Children: rough cut" documentary made in 2003 by three filmakers who intended to expose the war in Sudan, but stumbled upon a story that even fewer people knew about. Although the situation has improved due in large part to their efforts, there is much more that can be done. Learn more about what you can do at


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Fair Trade in the Himalayas

I was in the gift shop at St. Bart's yesterday, and I found these very cool notecards made by Indian women from Himalayan pressed wildflowers. Not only are they made from tree-free paper, they are fairly traded by Hope for Women.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Want a whole lotta latte...

Seems like I'm always getting messed up at Starbucks and their 87,000 choices - so when I brew at home, here are the details I need to fuel my inner barista...

A drink whose name loosely translated means “expressly for you”, espresso is a small 1.0 to 1.5 oz. shot of pressure brewed Italian coffee. A cup of espresso requires between 6.5 to 7.5 grams of ground coffee. Espresso is used as the coffee base in many of our favorite coffee drinks. Properly brewed, an espresso will feature a layer of rich crema on the surface. Espresso, while apparently a simple drink, is in reality a complex product. It is derived from 1500 chemical substances (800 volatile and 700 soluble), and when prepared correctly involves 13 independent chemical and physical variables. By the way, any decent bean can be used for espresso, just grind it finer than you would for drip.

Made by combining equal parts of steamed milk, milk froth and espresso.

Espresso coffee poured into hot water.

Espresso mixed with plenty of steamed milk.

Mocha Latte
Espresso mixed with hot steamed chocolate milk.

An espresso (single shot or double) stained (or marked) with a large dollop of frothed milk.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Can't We All Just Trade Fairly?

I was in the village this noon to buy a birthday card and my "fairly traded" senses were tingling. I noticed Equal Exchange Organic Chocolate Bars with Ground Hazelnuts on the counter so I couldn't resist. The farmers represented by my cocoa indulgence today were from the Dominican Republic and/or Peru. Even the organic sugar used in the bars comes from fairly traded farmers from Paraguay and Costa Rica.

They have a retail web store where you can buy organic coffee, tea, chocolate, cocoa and cane sugar. In other words, all the stuff you need for basic human survival.


Saturday, September 08, 2007

My Top-Rated Movies (So Far)

Okay, recently someone asked me to come to terms with my favorite movies list. I had like 140 movies rated with 5-stars and they said, "No way - trim it down." So if I had to give out 6-stars, they would go to these:

Bullitt (1968) PG Classics
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) PG Classics
Cool Hand Luke (1967) UR Classics
Jaws (1975) PG Horror
Lawrence of Arabia (1962) PG Classics
Little Big Man (1970) PG-13 Action & Adventure
MASH (1970) R Comedy
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) PG Comedy
My Fair Lady (1964) G Classics
Papillon (1973) PG Action & Adventure
Rear Window (1954) PG Classics
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) PG Classics
The Deer Hunter (1978) R Drama
The French Connection (1971) R Action & Adventure
The Godfather (1972) R Drama
The Sound of Music (1965) UR Classics
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) NR Drama
To Sir, with Love (1966) UR Drama
West Side Story (1961) UR Classics
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) G Children & Family


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Elevate Your Java Experience

Having reached the bottom of my espresso stash, I stopped at a gourmet store near the office that I hoped would carry my favorite brand, namely, illy. However, since it hosts a Starbuck's cafe inside, my choices were limited. The only non-Starbucks coffee on the shelf turned out to be a fair-trade offering from Higher Grounds Trading Company. I tried the Mexican Mut Vitz dark roast tonight and it lives up to the claims; smoky, robust with a dark chocolate finish. Now not only can I refuel from a closer vendor, but I can help preserve the Mayan culture in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico.