Monday, April 28, 2008

Another Bike

I actually have four bikes. This is my 1961 Schwinn American, which is like a carnival ride. I spent a lot of time restoring this one. I love my bikes.

Getting Away

Another beautiful and relaxing weekend in St. Pete.

I got sunburned.

Virtual Chef

My friend Julie lives in Istanbul, where she's created an interactive art space. They do all kinds of cool collaborative projects there, one of which is called Virtual Chef. Someone in another country gives Julie a recipe, and she wanders all over town trying to find the ingredients.

Then at an appointed time Julie talks on Skype (a free Internet phone service) with the person, who gives directions for making the dish to Julie and the thirty or forty guests she has over for dinner. The person whose recipe it is usually makes the dish at the same time (wherever they are).

In Julie's art space there are surveillance cameras set up so the cooking process can be streamed live and on TVs set up throughout the space -- so the guests can participate in the cooking, watch in person, or watch on a monitor.

Afterwards, Julie edits the footage from the art space together into a film that she posts online.

I told Julie I wanted to be a part of Virtual Chef, so she asked me to cook something for a "Happy Birthday!"-themed event on Friday. I took the day off work, and at the appointed time we contacted each other on Skype.

Because I couldn't cook and talk on the computer/phone and take photos all at once, I asked Rayne to come over. Here's a few photos from the event. (We made my broccoli and leek pie and a chocolate torte.)

Making dough for the crust.

Cutting vegetables to saute.

Mixing everything together (I added sauted cubes of tofu this time).

Oops, we made too much filling.

But the pie is still delicious.

And we're composting a lot of scraps.

The torte was delicious also.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Local Food Documentary

A friend of mine is a documentary filmmaker here in town, and is making a film about students at a local high school who won a state culinary competition and are now going to California to compete in the national competition with Florida dishes that use local food. It's pretty exciting, and there's a fundraiser for his film coming up (see below).

Locally Grown Films & Fundraiser: Monday, April 28
Hippodrome State Theater (25 SE 2nd Place)
Showings at 7:00 PM & 9:00 PM

Join us to celebrate Earth Day in our own way on Monday, April 28 at the Hippodrome Cinema as we highlight two local films, Gimme Green and Green Monster: It Came from the River.

Directed by Gainesville's own Eric Flagg and Isaac Brown, the award-winning Gimme Green is a humorous look at America's obsession with the residential lawn and the effects it has on our environment, our wallets, and our outlook on life. The second film, Green Monster, was created by St. Johns River Keeper and PRC Digital Media; it documents an unprecedented algae bloom and answers community questions about it.

Sponsored by INDIGO, Satellite Magazine, Video Rodeo, and the Hippodrome Cinema, entrance is a $3-$5 sliding scale. Proceeds will benefit a new documentary, called Seeds, by Eric Flagg on the Eastside High School Culinary Arts program as it competes with other schools around the country using locally-sourced food. A trailer of the new documentary will also be featured with the movie showings.

Times: 7PM (1st Showing), 9PM (2nd Showing). Both times will include both movies and a Q&A with the directors afterwards.

Free Store

My neighbor's friend Krissy recently started a free store. It's pretty cool -- once a week she sits in the campus' Plaza of the Americas (in front of the liberal arts library) and collects and gives away stuff. Next week she's going to have a booth at the downtown farmer's market. I can't wait! I hope I find something good, like a velour jacket or really ugly sunglasses.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Casualties Mount

Well, I did my part to save water, and this is the thanks I get. Here are some of the plants I've killed or severely injured in the past month or two.

Swedish Ivy at work (almost impossible to kill; I worked hard for this one):

Here's an African violet I just retrieved from the ICU (my mother's greenhouse). It's already looking half-dead. How do I do it? It's just a natural talent, I tell you.

Here's a sad lineup outside my back door. There's waxy begonia, two Florida violets, and some other dead or semi-dead stuff.

Firebush and blue-eyed grass.

Gotta get the herbs in on this action. Here are some dirt and sticks formerly known as Mexican cilantro and mint.

Winter annuals. Well, let's face it, their time had come anyway.

Stupid ferns. Why do you always need to get "watered"? Why can't you just take care of yourself? Why must I always do everything???

Et tu, scarlet salvia?

Crispy blue phlox, like French fries.

I watered yesterday for the first time in a couple of weeks. I wonder how many of them will come back? I've been nurturing most of them for years. You'd think they'd be a little more forgiving, but nooooo. Jeesh.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What's Your Footprint?

In honor of Earth Day, check out this quiz found in the Orlando Sentinel. It helps you calculate your carbon footprint in terms of fuel emissions. Mine is 15,286 lbs. per year. The average is over 45,000!!

I took another quiz on my carbon footprint from the Nature Conservancy. By this reckoning, I contribute far more CO2 to the atmosphere -- 22 tons per year! That's still below the national average (27 tons), but a smidgeon above the worldwide average, which is 5.5 tons per year. Ouch.

Finally, the New York Times has a great feature about ways to reduce one's footprint. And the Dallas Morning News has "46 Simple Ways to Help the Environment."

I'll post photos of dead plants soon.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Reader, I Killed Them

I don't know what's wrong with me lately, but I've been killing plants left and right. I've been severely neglecting my garden. I'll take photos soon to share my shame.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Garden Festival

This weekend I went to the Kanapaha Spring Garden Festival. But I forgot to take any photos (of the festival)! It was crazy -- about half the county was there, and there were plants everywhere. I'm not allowed to buy any plants, though, until I take care of the ones I have already (and have been neglecting).

It was an overcast, cool day, and I spent it with people who mean a lot to me. There were Sally and Max, who is pretty much edible.

And Amanda and tiny, brand-new Audrey.

The rest of Amanda's family was there, too, but I didn't get a picture of them!

Biking the Rail Trail

The Hawthorne Trail, a sixteen-mile rail trail, extends from Hawthorne to Gainesville. It's a state park created after the state bought the right-of-way from the railroad and paved it.

I love the trail, and go through phases where I spend a lot of time biking it. In the past week -- now that it's still light when I leave work -- I've been on it three times.

It's beautiful. There are many different ecosystems (although I'm sure I'll get the names wrong), like prairie-type areas.



Swampy creeks with a billion mosquitoes.

This time of year, the longleaf pine smells fragrant, everything's blooming, and wildlife is on the move.

On one ride, we nearly ran over two different moccasins who were warming themselves on the late-afternoon-warmed pavement. We gently chased them off so they would be safe. They were recalcitrant, but eventually complied.

Bike home, tired, hot, sweaty, and satisfied.