Archive for December, 2008

Merry Christmas to All, And to All A New Website

I’m on an extended Southern Tour to convalesce after my Holiday Madness ™, but I hope you’re enjoying a restful holiday season.  I just wanted to post about my SWEET Christmas gift that’s for you too: the GF gave me a website!  Us a website!  There will be a Virescent website! 

Check it out now, if you like, at  Don’t make it a habit yet, though- we’re working to set up a new organization and content to take advantage of all my space, so we’ll roll it out in a few weeks with the appropriate fanfare.  Be warned.

There were other sweet Christmas gifts, also, including a bunch of books and a totally snazzy and sustainable pair of sneakers-recycled rubber and bamboo feetie goodness- from, which has a big selection of more or less earth-friendly shoes (check the fine print, enlightened consumers!).

Anyway, I’m going to head back to my late-night Christmas cookies and new books, so keep up the good work on your end.  Thank you for a wonderful year, and I’ll be in and out with my full list of things I’m grateful for this month, then back for good in the New Year.

We Will Make Decisions Based On Facts

Governance is in a sorry state when you have to make that promise, but Obama spelled it out when he introduced his environment team– Chu, Jackson, and Sutley, just as leaked earlier.  At that link, you can watch the announcement and rea a text of the speech, which goes on to promise that, not only will the administration employ facts, they will also take actions based on those facts.

Wow, why does acknowledgment of that basic, logical decision-making process make me so excited about these new people?  How did we the people let things get so bad in our government that reliance on facts to decide actions is just now a plan?

Anyway, hurrah I guess, but there are questions about Lisa Jackson’s record at the New Jersey EPA (it appears she was good on greenhouse gases and not so good on cleaning up Superfund sites?), so that should keep us on the edge of our seats.  Hopefully this new focus on facts and action in the administration will inspire each of these people to greener heights.

To round out the people working on energy and environment issues, Obama needs to pick an Interior Sectretary to replace Dirk Kempthorne- remember him!?– and word is he’s got Ken Salazar lined up for that.

Review: Restaurant Eve is a Classy Mouth Party

In conclusion, it was a tasty, exciting, and relaxing experience.  It is worth every penny of somebody else’s money.

See, I began with my conclusion because I wanted people actually interested in food to understand that this is not that kind of review.  I will not be waxing eloquent about the freshness of the shallots or the balance of the sauces.  This is partly because I can’t remember the names of the sauces, or if shallots were involved in any dish, but really mostly because I do not have a developed palate.  Also because we got seven courses, chef’s choice, and we got the wine pairing with each of the seven courses, so my memory of the last two or three is a bit dim.

What I will say is that the service was attentive but not annoying, languid so that we could properly enjoy each course and pairing, and I ate sweetbreads (brains!?) and monkfish cheeks.  Monkfish cheeks!  Beats the heck out of my boxed organic macaroni.  The wines were paired thoughtfully, and each selection brought out something new in the food.  None of the combinations of fancy bits we were given seemed too bizarre- though I never even knew monkfish cheeks were a thing one might reasonably eat, so I don’t have the best concept of what’s reasonable.

Also, everything tasted good!  Like, eating each bite was lovely and interesting, and the portions weren’t huge or ludicrously tiny, so you could enjoy all seven courses without bloating, and not tire of each one before you finished.  And brains are chewy.

As to the local, sustainable aspects, you’ve read the news articles.  They do it.  They also had real towels in the restrooms for drying your hands, so no paper waste.  Otherwise they’re not overt about it.

I’d definitely go back to the tasting room, if somebody else was paying.  You’ll enjoy it even if you’re not really into fancy food.  If you go, make sure you go with people you like, since the tastings can last four hours.  I’d like to hit the less-expensive Bistro for dinner and the lunch menu is downright reasonable.

Food Over Farming

A link for you: NYT’s op-ed guy Kristof’s article suggesting changing the name, and the emphasis, of the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Food.  Briefly, his arguement is, agriculture is not about small farmers but a subsidizing a farm lobby today, and because the food products produced by that farm lobby aren’t real food.


Watch Your Headlines, HuffPo

When I saw this story, the headline linking to it on the Huffington Post read: “Individual Activist cuts 2% of Great Britain’s Emissions”. Awesome, right!? What did this person do- buy all local, walk everywhere-? How inspiring, I must learn their secrets and share them with my readers! Dum de dum de doo.

Except when I went back later to read the full article, the headline had changed to “Activist Sabotages British Power Station, Reducing Country’s Carbon output by 2%” (you can check it as long as it’s still up on the Green page).

Ah. Well, that’s a bit different. For future reference, “activism” and “sabotage by breaking into a guarded compound and tampering with incredibly dangerous electrical equipment while managing to not be turned into a grilled cheese by some miraculous luck” are different birdies.

New Names for the Environment

The most recent wave of appointments for the new Administration are the Energy and Environment positions.  Steven Chu will likely be Energy Secretary.  He’s got a Nobel Prize for his work in Physics.  Lisa Jackson will be the EPA head- she’s got two chemical engineering degrees and has worked at the EPA under Clinton.  Nancy Sutley will lead the White House Council for Energy Quality, and the new Energy Czar position will be filled by Carol Browner, former head of the EPA under Clinton.  You can read more about their positions and credentials here and here.

I need to get going this morning, so instead of waxing lyrical about how much I love honest, practicable science and the men and women who pursue it, I’ll just say that every single one of these picks is going to be worlds better than the ascientific clowns they’ve got in there today.  Good riddance!  Out, out, Stephen Johnson!

LEDs All Over

This year, the Capitol Christmas Tree and all 56 trees representing states and territories in the White House display are lit entirely with LED lights for the first time.

I’ve got my LEDs up, too, and I’ve solved the blue problem by getting a string of multicolored twinkly lights:  instant efficient holiday cheer.  You can see that the blues are still pretty powerful, though.

colorful LEDs

More pictures (and the Restaurant Eve review!) to follow!

Oh, the monthly goal:  I am grateful for my gym membership in this season of delicious foods.

Progress: Volunteerism and Giving

I did ok this month.  I did start volunteering, a little- I showed up in person, for sure, but I haven’t done anything big.  Working on it, getting better, and the GF is my volunteering buddy- we’re interested in volunteering at the same place, so we can push each other to actually show up.  Also, I gave, and planned how to give more (sustainable christmas lists!).  Baby steps.

This month is volunteerism still, of course, and Counting My Blessings.  Yes, one whole month out of life (not really, I’ve got exams) to reflect on how fortunate I am, hopefully posting one thing per day.  Ish.  For instance (to take care of Dec 1-3:  I have a job I like that allows me economic freedom.  I can afford classes for an exciting different job.  My commute to two of those classes is during rush hour- on the part of the beltway no one uses so it’s super-unbelieveably-fast!  Even though those two classes in particular make me want to poke out my eyeballs with a straight edge.  No matter, I’m the girl doing 70 on 495, and it’s 5:15 pm.

How is this sustainable?  I’m betting exercising my gratitudes will make me strong enough to tackle a new year of giving back and helping out and activism and difficult choices and such.  We’ll see.

First day of lucky-me:  The boss is taking us to Restaurant Eve tomorrow!  Salivate drool drool.

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