From this morning’s Post, a delightfully breathless story about how cold it was this weekend:
Many Washingtonians exulted in a sunny Saturday, but their delight came on a day that could also be described as the coldest since March.
But about eight hours earlier, the mercury had dipped to 35 degrees. It had not fallen so low since March 25, when it was 34. The 35-degree reading was seven degrees below normal and eight degrees above the record for the date, 27 degrees, which was set in 1930.
While I do enjoy a good chilly New England fall day as much as anyone, I also enjoy that reasonably temperate (aka bikeable) weather like this lasts until the middle of November, and I’m especially stoked for spring, which from what I’ve heard is actually a Real Season here, not some godforsaken mud/snow/rain event that happens sometime between April and June.
There are more concrete benefits, too. The combination of temperate weather and our row house apartment which has all of two dozen feet of walls exposed to the outside air also means that we haven’t had the heat or AC on for a couple of months and are basically paying nothing in utilities. Win all around.
The downside, of course, of the mercury never dipping below freezing for fully half of the year, is that there will be very little real, snowy winter weather. You can’t have everything weather-wise, I suppose, so I’ll just have to wait until the holidays to get a dose of Maine winter.
This is mostly for my darling sister, but these are so delicious that everyone should try them. The recipe is from An Invitation to Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey, which is full of delicious, delicious Delhi-area food that can be made with stuff readily available in the supermarket (for the most part). My favorite part of the book is the section on Dals, where there are a million variations on spiced legumes. The basic pattern is always the same though, and the recipes fall into three parts: cook the dal with some seasonings until its tender, then add the delicate stuff, and finally “give a tarka” of whole spices (or onions or ginger or anything, really) toasted briefly in hot oil.
This recipe (for brown lentils like you buy at the supermarket) has you first cook the lentils with cinnamon, bay leaf, garlic, ginger, and turmeric, then add lemon for a little bit, and finally add the tarka of whole cumin seeds. See the full recipe after the jump.
Yesterday I bought a PlanetBike rear blinky-light. I bought it on a whim—a sort of “huh the sun sure is setting early” whim—and didn’t really do any research beforehand, so I don’t have much of a basis for comparing this particular blinky with other assuredly excellent blinkies.
But. This thing is really friggin bright, and I completely love it. More on the blinky, and Bikestation DC…
As recently alluded to, I recently moved from my Little Ancestral Village in the Provinces to The Big City.
Short version: It has taken some getting used to, but maybe not quite as much as I expected, and I am really loving it. (Long version after the break)
Not exactly breaking news, but I finished my bike. It’s now immortalized in the Great Shrine of the Fixed-Gear Bicycle, FGG (number 10,280). This thing makes getting around the city much, much more fun.
(Link: photo from flickr)
Qualia Coffee in Petworth. Qualia. Coffee. It all depends on whether or not their coffee is good enough to justify the trek, I guess. But they are a micro-roastery (yes I know that’s not a real word), so that’s encouraging, as is the excerpt from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Qualia on their website.
(Found via their ad on Prince of Petworth)
So I’m moving to DC soon, and in preparation I’ve been scoping out DC-oriented blogs. There are certainly plenty out there: the Washington Post of course, and DCist, as well as more Columbia Heights-specific things like Prince of Petworth and New Columbia Heights. But my favorite so far is ReadysetDC, which has a art/design/fashion slant and a DAILY BIKE FEATURE. Its appeal to me is self-explanatory.
Slate has a great and somewhat snarky review of east-coast Chinatown busses and their competitors, with and eye to towards the predilections of hipsters, or maybe just the young and not-yet-wealthy. Money quote: “If you can still appreciate the charm of cracking open a $2 beer, you will find much to appreciate about budget bus lines.”
Okay okay, I know it’s been a while, but first I was writing my thesis, and then being plied with alcohol and mixed emotions as a future alumnus of a wealthy institution of higher education, and finally reverting to my natural, hermit-y state, as per the instructions of not one but two trashy magazines’ horoscopes. Phew.
Anyway, yesterday I went for a truly lovely walk at the Bangor City Forest, which included the absolutely, can’t-believe-I-never-realized-how-fucking-awesome-it-is bog boardwalk. There I met many old plant-y friends, free from the fear of being sucked into the peat and preserved for curious scientists multiple millennia down the road. There was sheep laurel (Kalmia angustifolia), there was labrador tea (Rhododendron groenlandicum), and of course, there was Sphagnum moss in abundance. Pitcher plants in full flower (Serracenia purpurea) were a special treat. I even made some new friends: the cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), and who can forget cotton-grass (Eriophorum sp, actually a sedge).
You can find some photos here, and the full list of the plants that can be found in the bog here.
(Link: photo from flickr)