Archive for livermore

power to the coffee people

Tommie’s cafe at the wonderful public library in Livermore makes yummy sandwiches and pours high-quality McLaughlin coffee. It became a wonderful example of how an outspoken sustainable (aka “annoying”) customer can encourage a business to become more green:  Every time I went there for a cup of coffee I would purposefully leave my travel mug in the car and ask for a reusable cup. Every time I would end up walking back to my car to get my own mug—with a big, emotionally manipulative “sigh”.  Usually the baristas would only charge me for a small coffee to make up for my “inconvenience”. Until today when they were all smiles pointing at a new sign that was  advertising Tommie’s “House” mugs. A few weeks earlier I had a chat with the owner about offering at least one sustainable coffee with the result that “Sumatra Organic” has entered the six-coffee line-up. One more problem: the open ceramic mugs are not welcome inside the library. Tommie …?

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new home for a baby chicken

“Do you want a baby chicken?” asks the Mexican boy that lives across the street from me. I am not surprised by the question as my frontyard chickens are well-known in the neighborhood. He originally had two chicks but since the cat ate one  he is not allowed to keep the other. “Yes! Yes!” I answer emphatically as I had promised my French friend Olivia (who recently lost her Bantam hen) to find her a new chicken. I give the thirsty “poussin” (which is French for “chick”) some fresh water and Olivia gives it a new name: pous-pous.

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the lion sleeps today

Earth Day in Livermore gave local businesses and non-profit organizations an opportunity to gain healthy and earth-friendly exposure within the community. A poster child of green was Rising Sun Energy who were offering free exchanges for halogen floor lamps (which produce mostly heat and waste electricity) with fluorescent versions. But the green spirit seemed lost on some: The Lion’s Club, for example, was fund-raising with unhealthy snacks, paper plates, and plastic cutlery still double-bagged in disposable plastic bags. Do you want 500 plastic bottles of Walmart’s Great Value Purified Drinking Water with that … (-;

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doubly green recycle monsters

Because I had volunteered to take care of the recycling bins in my building at my LLNL job, bottles and cans had been accumulating at an alarming rate behind my house. With Earth Day around and my sister in town it was time for a trip to the Refund and Recycle Center on 2680 Old First Street in Livermore. The process is fast, the staff is efficient, and the reward is doubly green: green feelings & green bucks. We made plenty of the first and twenty of the latter.

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angels of the dirt

Weeks of anticipation are over and the big day has come: this morning I find the first two eggs in the chicken coop. They are small and have two wonderful shades of brown.  I expect them to get larger as my three hens get used to “make me breakfast” … (-;

Which of all birds is more humble and more hard working than a chicken? They lay an egg every day, make everyone smile, and demand nothing but water and food scraps in return. They – literally – “poop it forward”. No bird is more deserving to be called an “angel” than the humble hen who cannot even fly properly. The proof is in the angel food cake.

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dropping the “slow bomb”

Earthlings, I am an avatar who has infiltrated one of the most guarded governments labs where they build nuclear chikkin’ weapons. I have secretly developed an absolutely lethal force that combines chickens with lasers. Today I will drop this “slow bomb” onto the American heartland. The core of beautiful downtown Livermore will become “green zero”. You will completely recover through this. My technology is so advanced it will slow bomb you back to the roots that you have lost. It will slow you down until you are Frencher than the French. You will drink a lot of wine and eat a lot of cheese and have two-hour lunches and three-hour dinners with all your friends all the time. Are you loving it? Demand me to cluster slow bomb you and I will deliver the mother of all slow bombs. Resistance will turn your own children against you—in particular your last born. Watch me Tuesday March 30th at 7 pm PST as I ignite this “slow bomb” of “green love” (slides, reloaded). Activation sequence initiated: “all your kale are belong to us” … (-:

Disclaimer: Please note that phrases such as “slow bomb” or “laser chicken” are meant in a cute, harmless, and non-violent manner. They are funny, catchy, thought-provoking word plays on opposites and express the conceptual similarity to “slow food”.

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Barrel Tasting weekend in Livermore

My friends sometimes ask me: “Why are you so obsessively happy in Livermore?”  and the Barrel Tasting weekend was an adequate way to answer their question. It was a wonderful sunny spring weekend in Livermore and we visited many boutique wineries in the vicinity. An old proverb says “Always make friends with someone who pours wine by the barrel.” and another goes “An empty barrel makes the most friends.” or something like that … We made plenty of friends including Larry and his wife, the owners of Cuda Ridge, and Dane, the owner of Page Mill, while helping them to empty their barrels. One question remained: “Can one bad worm spoil the whole barrel?”

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downtown expansion

Great news! The downtownfarm is expanding into the core of downtown Livermore. This evening I went into contract on another downtown property – an amazing 1894 Queen Anne Victorian. That means that there will be opportunities for like-minded folks to join this urban farm adventure and move into either location.

Dan my Realtor is busy preparing all the paperwork right now. He—a long-term Livermore downtown resident—shares my excitement to create an advocating example of green living.

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BART to Livermore EIR hearing 1/3

At the first of three environmental impact report (EIR) public hearing organized by BART a lot of people seemed afraid that a downtown station would change Livermore to the worse and increase crime. One teenage girl – clearly indoctrinated by mom – broke out in tears as she envisioned BART bringing muggers and rapists to Livermore.

Yet, a pure highway alignment along I-580 is something that i – and all urban planners and city officials i talked to – strongly dislike because it would mean to repeat the mistakes of (auto-centric) planning in the past. A BART station in downtown Livermore presents a unique opportunity to create a wonderful walkable community around downtown setting a textbook example for sustainable transit oriented planning in America. I already love what the City has done during the redevelopment efforts of the past few years that have converted downtown from a four-lane freeway to a welcoming and cute destination. But it is still a downtown on life-support. There is no sustainable traffic throughout the day to support the kind of business you expect to find in a healthy downtown: produce stalls, a delicatessen, a small grocery store, a bakery, a cheese store, or a butcher. Try to buy a carton of eggs or a loaf of bread in downtown. Impossible. Fortunately i got my three minutes of rallying support for a downtown Livermore station and my comments were picked up by reporters of the contra costa times, the independent news, and the pleasanton weekly.

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BART to Livermore workshop 1/3

The city of Livermore is holding three workshops to gather public input on the possible alignments and station combination for the BART extension. The first one was well attended and it seemed as if the audience’s opinion more or less converged on having two stations: One in downtown Livermore to serve the residents, to vitalize local businesses, and to spark sustainable transit-oriented development but with strict parking regulations to keep car commuter traffic out of downtown. The other one as far east as possible with ample amounts of parking to serve commuters from Mountain House, Tracy and beyond and ease congestion on I-580.

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