Sunday, October 28, 2007

My twin

A long-lost friend from St. George tells me I look like this guy. And I think I kind of agree.

Did you ever notice how, when people tell you you look like someone, you always think you're supposed to say, "Nuh-uh, no I don't." Why is that? It's not like it's necessarily a compliment, but people always respond like it is, and like they're obliged to humbly disagree.

So that's why, even though it inexplicably feels strange, I am going to agree that this guy, whoever he is (and his blog actually seems kind of funny, and now has a tentative spot in my blogs bookmarks), does look a little like me. What do you think? Comments, please!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fall is here

Finally, fall has arrived in D.C.

It got here overnight. Two days ago, it was in the mid-80s during the day. Next morning, it was rainy and cold and crisp. I thought of hot chocolate for the first time in a long time.

It got here so quickly, the flowers forgot they were supposed to die.

An old Victorian neighborhood is perfect for this time of year.

It's the kind of weather that makes you want to just sit home, bundled up in a blanket. But seriously, Edison — aren't you taking that a little far?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Another one

Today, the big Web site I've been working on, The Green Home Guide, went live today! So check it out!

And now, I'm back to hanging with Jimmie and Steph!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Something to show for it!

The pace at this new job is very different from the pace I'm used to in the newspaper biz. Well, not so much the pace - it's all pretty fast-paced - but the pace of the results. As a reporter, I could write one or two, and sometimes three or four or even five, stories in a day and see them in the paper the next day, a quick, clear, concrete manifestation of the earlier day's work.

Today, almost exactly a month after my first day at work, I got my first concrete sense of accomplishment: We launched Build Green Schools, the first of two Web sites I will oversee and the first of five new Web sites we plan to launch in the next month. The concept is simple: It's a Web site that gives everyday people - students, teachers, parents, school administrators, elected officials, and all sorts of regular citizens - the information and tools to advocate in their own communities for green schools. (Green schools, by the way, are schools built with a focus on clean indoor air, safe building materials, lots of natural daylight and fresh air, low energy and water use, conservation and recycling of building materials, etc. etc. It's about healthy students and teachers and a place that's very conducive to learning as much as it is about protecting the environment.) My role in the site was pulling all the content together, writing a lot of it and editing what was written by people in our LEED for Schools program. I put it all up on the site, dealt with sorting out links and images and things like that, gathering all the news coverage of green schools, and just sort of overseeing the whole process. From now on, my role will be maintaining it - any changes or updates or other work on the site will go through me. Up next, I have less than one week to do the same thing with a site oriented to homeowners, renters, homebuyers, etc., teaching them to make their own homes healthier and greener. I'm sure you'll hear more about that when we launch next week.

As part of the site, we wanted a social networking component so the grassroots advocates who visit the site will have someone where to interact with each other, asking questions, making suggestions, sharing experiences, hashing out ideas and otherwise working together on advocating for green schools. I put that site together here on MySpace: This is the MySpace profile, and this is the MySpace discussion group. Feel free to visit both and join and participate if you're interested!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Meet the Roomba

Early last week, I found myself with some birthday money and a woot deal too good to refuse. My very own robot! Clean your floor - no you required. That's right. I got a Roomba:

Call it laziness. I guess it kind of is. I just HATE vacuuming. And, more importantly, I LOVE the idea of having this geeky little smart gadget. It zips around the room, plotting its most efficient path. And it just cleans its little heart out all the while.

Look out, Roomba! A big pile of dirt:

(Please note: My floor isn't really that dirty. I put that dirt there just to test the Roomba out.)

Roomba senses when it crosses an especially dirty area and it spins and spins over that area to give it extra cleaning. You can set up little artificial walls using infrared, confining the cleaning to one area. And when it's all done, it goes back home:

And, perhaps most shocking of all, even Edison kind of likes Roomba:

Monday, October 8, 2007


I just had a fantastic weekend in Richmond, Va., with Aunt Terri and cousins Hank, Matt and Chris. I love being close enough to zip down and hang out (though, between the traffic and the dog vomit, it wasn't so much a "zip") and this weekend was so much fun!

But as is usually the case for me, I kept forgetting to use my camera - except on Hank. I wonder what percentage of the videos I have taken on my camera involve children. I'm guessing at least 75%. Anyway. These videos all come after the pinnacle of each situation's cuteness, but this is Hank, so you know they're cute anyway!

First, this one, in which we learn that Hank knows what he likes - and he LOVES "Baby Love."

And he also knows what he doesn't like.

And finally, I think this kid's got a future in the car wash business.

You're all wrong!

There was a good guess or two in response to my last post, but you were all wrong (except Leah, who knew what they were because she had read about them before).

They're ProtoBlocs, and they exist for no other reason than to let people know they need to leave you alone without actually having to say "leave me alone." If the green triangle is on top, it's means people are welcome to come to your cubicle and talk to you. If the yellow ball is, it means, "I'm kind of busy, but if you really need something, come on over." And if only the red square is there, it means, "I'm way too busy to talk to you."

I'm not sure anyone really observes them, but I think it's such a funny concept that I just had to share.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

It's a game!

Welcome to my fun contest. You don't win a prize if you win, but, um, you win the right to say that you won my contest, and that's pretty exciting.

This photo is of an object that sits atop the filing cabinet in my cubicle at work. Do you know what it is? Do you have a guess? If so, leave your guess on my comments.

This is a pointless little post. I just like this thing and wanted to share it with all of you.

The triangle, circle and square are all separate items. They are squishy like foam or Nerf. And they serve a specific purpose. Everyone at my office has them. The U.S. Green Building Council supplied us all with them.

So what are they? Show me your smarts! Make a guess! Good luck to you all - I hope you win!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Toilet tidbits

It was bound to happen. Working at this job, it was only a matter of time before little bits of green wisdom started popping up in this blog. Don't worry. It's not going to be a lot of enviropreaching. Just interesting little nuggets I pick up in my daily duties.

For example, today's topic: toilets. I want to introduce you, if you have not yet been so lucky as to be introduced yet, to the Sloan water-free urinal. Are you wincing? Does the idea of a urinal without the cleansing benefits of water make you nervous? I understand. But it's awesome. Here's how it works.

Gravity and the toilet's slick design cause the pee to run down directly to the drain. There is a liquid that seals the holes along the drain, a liquid that is less dense than pee, so the pee sinks below it and the liquid seals it off, trapping the smells and everything else associated with No. 1. It suddenly makes flushing seem like such a waste! Hehe, waste. Anyway, it brings a whole new meaning to "if it's yellow, let it mellow."

And in other green toilet news, I need to share my new understanding of the low-flow toilet. They are more common than the water-free urinal - not to mention usable by both genders - so I'm guessing more of you have had run-ins with them. And I say run-ins because I think you might hate them. I hated them. I wanted to like them - they use less water! - but it seemed like one flush was never enough. But every time I had to resort to a second flush, I hung my head in shame. It seemed to defeat the whole purpose of the low-flow toilet. By flushing twice, am I using more water than I would have by flushing a traditional toilet once?

The answer is no. In fact, these toilets are actually called "dual-flush" toilets. The point is that they use half as much water as a standard toilet. So if you just use it for, you know, liquid relief, one flush is enough. (I guess it's the closest thing the ladies' room will get to a no-flush urinal.) And other, more involved bathroom habits, when mild in intensity, can usually be washed away by one flush. But if you have to two-flush it, go ahead! That's what it's designed for!