Rants and Raves

Article: Can a Sommelier Be Sober?

This link was in my backlog – I found it interesting.

I think being a sober sommelier challenges the traditional stereotype of what a sommelier should be,” says France-based sober somm Laura Vidal. “It’s important for us to show that you don’t have to drink to appreciate wine, and that there are many different ways to enjoy it.”

Wine Enthusiast

The others mentioned in the article have different approaches- some don’t drink at all – one just tastes – etc. Interesting perspectives

Article: “Enshittification’ is coming for absolutely everything”

Ali pasted a link to a Financial Times editorial recently and I finally got around to reading it- Cory Doctorow on Enshittification. It’s a good read and I recommend that you check it out.

Link to the FT editorial.

There are four constraints that prevent enshittification: competition, regulation, self-help and
labour. To reverse enshittification and guard against its re-emergence, we must restore and
strengthen each of these.

I Think I Broke A Rule Last Year

Probably because it’s January, I’m thinking about goals again. I had a good one a few years ago that I added and maintainted for a while. I could have sworn I wrote a post about it, but I can’t find it. But the goal was more raves, fewer rants.

I was reminiscing about that this morning and I think I’ve done a decent job of keeping up with that goal. But I remembered that in early 2023 I broke that rule (slightly) and it was weighing on me a little.

I wrote a less-than-stellar review of a restaurant on Yelp about a year ago. I went back and re-read the review and -fortunately- it’s fair, but it’s not great. But I think it’s weighing on me a little because in the post-pandemic times we’re in it’s not cool to write negative reviews of restaurants. I could have just skipped a negative review altogether.

Yes, Yelp is problematic for many reasons (look up their lawsuits and allegations of review-gaming) – but positive reviews there (and more often on Google – via Maps / Zagat) are still helpful. Yes I feel a little guilty obviously but the point is I’ll try to get back of the goal to only rave.

An Interesting Look At Nespresso Pods

I have a love/hate relationship with Nespresso machines. One on hand they’re small, neat, precise and easy. On the other- they seem expensive (the coffee cost per gram), wasteful and not as good as the traditional way that I consume espresso.

I’ve also been fascinated with the story about Nestle losing the case that was brought forth by independent pod makers so they were forced to accept 3rd-party pods. And I’ve used those quite a bit- especially traveling. I’ve been in Air BnBs or Hotels where there was a Nespresso machine, but only 1 or 2 pods available. But I was able to stock up at nearby grocery stores on these trips and have enough espresso for my stay.

During these trips where I was having third party coffee, I noticed the time for a shot wasn’t the same and the quality was hit or miss. I just saw this James Hoffman video where he does a breakdown on the pods and machines themselves. I found it quite interesting- especially his praise for the Nespresso pods and the tech behind the grinds. It’s interesting.

EOY Book Notes

Looking back at my list of the books I read this year I have a few standouts. I likely have some recency bias but I really enjoyed Hernan Diaz’s two books- In The Distance and Trust. Both are incredibly well-written. Of the two I think I’d recommend Trust more, as some of my friends may not enjoy the story in the earlier book. But they’re both great.

I’d also recommend any of the Ray Celestin books in the City Blues Quartet; Outlive (although I think I’d lower my previous score- but it did have a lot to think about (maybe I’ll revisit that in a later post); and Quentin Tarantino’s Cinema Speculation.

You can see more of what I read last year under the links to my Goodreads Profile – and I think I have a widget on my About page.