Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Butterfly Barricade Aims to Save Our Pollinators {Edible Monterey Bay}

Here's a blogpost I wrote for Edible Monterey Bay: click to read it there. It went live today, April 22, 2014. ~CMM

April 22, 2014 – Photographer and activist Michelle Magdalena has neonicotinoid insecticides in her crosshairs.

“One of the most magical, beautiful, and ethereal experience of my childhood was when I was six-years-old and living in San Diego. Butterflies were migrating up our road in a swarm. And I was completely engulfed in butterflies,” she recalls. “Butterflies can be a gateway for people to care about the environment.”

Her latest project, Save Our Pollinators, is a natural marriage of her intense opposition to pesticides and GMOs, and the desire to mobilize public opinion in her local community towards influencing legislation. Specifically, the Pacific Grove-based artist is asking: How do we help, sustain, and protect monarchs, bees, and other pollinators?

“When I heard that Monarch butterfly migration was coming to an end. I was devastated. We can make a difference,” Magdalena believes.

A few weeks ago she started an indiegogo campaign to distribute Pollinator Action Kits, created in collaboration with poet and designer Meredith Stricker. They contain native seeds that create habitats for pollinators on California’s central coast; a list of ten easy steps you can do; and a postcard addressed to the Congress sub-committee seeking to pass HR 2692 “Protect America’s Pollinators Act!”

“These kits give people an opportunity to act. Not everyone knows how to act,” Magdalena observes.

Right now she’s focused on the Central Coast and getting seeds of native plants into as many hands as she can.  “It’s important that people take the seeds, plant them, and advance the habitats.”

She has organized a day full of fun and facts, education and inspiration at the Museum of Monterey’s Stanton Center this coming Saturday, April 26th, from 1-4pm. The documentary Monarch Movement, filmed in the Pacific Grove Monarch Sanctuary by Robert Pacelli, will be screened; Meredith Stricker, author of Alphabet Theater and Tenderness Shore will read from her work; and there will be live music by jazz singer Julie Capili and pianist Kumi Uyeda of UC Santa Cruz.

You can find her today, April 22nd, at MPC’s Earthday Rally and MIIS’s Earthday Discussions. She’ll be at the Museum of Monterey (MOM) this weekend, Saturday, April 26th, and at MEarth next weekend, Saturday, May 3rd. Check out her facebook page  for ways you can save the pollinators. Or view her a video of her project here...

Magdalena’s past projects have included seeking to answer questions such as: How does food packaging impact the ocean? What does driving do to a person’s carbon footprint?

In 2011, she traveled to Ishinomaki, a coastal town of 80 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and asked residents, “How do you feel about nuclear energy?” She documented their answers, written on whiteboards in a language she didn’t understand, with dramatic greyscale portraits; it’s the same haunting style as her intimate documentation of her father’s battle with cancer in 2006.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"Beer people" get a new place in downtown SC {Edible Monterey Bay}

Here's a preview I wrote for Edible Monterey Bay's blog: click to read it there. It went live today, April 15, 2014. ~CMM

 By Camilla M. Mann

April 15, 2014 – The long-awaited Lúpulo Craft Beer House finally has an opening date. Beginning April 22nd, downtown Santa Cruz will have a new place for beer lovers to convene.

“The idea has been brewing for about a decade now. We just kept thinking that someone else would do it. But it never happened,” confesses Stuyvie Bearns Esteva, who owns Lúpulo Craft Beer House with his wife Noëlle Marie Antolin. “So we’re doing it. We want to provide a place where beer people love to go.”

Stuyvie has gained a lot of knowledge about beer over the years and wants to share that with the community. “I’m a little beer-obsessed,” he admits. “And I’m drawing inspiration from different places I’ve been. I’m not reinventing the wheel.”
Lúpulo Craft Beer House will have a carefully curated list of beers with a limited tap selection. “We’re focused on showcasing the talent of the brewers and will offer up some boutique brews alongside more affordable, but still small production craft beers.” And he’ll be tapping 5-gallon kegs to ensure that his beers are as fresh as possible. Some of their beers will sell out in a day; he doesn’t foresee anything sticking around longer than a couple of weeks at the most.

The artisan craft brews on tap will come from all over. To start with, the offerings will include Firestone Walker Pivo Pils, out of Paso Robles; XXX Black Double IPA by Midnight Sun Brewing Co., from Anchorage, Alaska; Oatmeal Stout by Alameda’s Faction Brewing; two beers from Fort Bragg’s North Coast Brewing; and Doble Lúpulo, a double IPA, brewed in collaboration with Sante Adairius Rustic Ales in Capitola.

In addition to the tapped beer, they will offer over 100 different bottled beers—many harder to find varieties—that may be purchased to take out or, what he anticipates more often, opened and shared among friends at the long, community tables where customers can learn about and share their passion for craft brewing. And, if you’re wondering, lúpulo means ‘hops’ in Spanish.         

The kitchen, focusing on seasonal, locally-sourced and organic products as much as possible, will offer up plates that are also meant to be shared with tablemates. Because Lúpulo is beer-centric, they aim not to pair beer with food, but to pair food with beer. They’re shaking up the basic bar fare.

Lunch will be based on grilled cheese sandwiches, running the gamut from a plain cheddar, the clásico, to more exotic combinations such as the verde—pesto, queso oaxaca, chèvre, arugula, avocado on sourdough—or  the canela—triple-cream brie, Monterey jack, chunky apple compote on cinnamon bread. You’ll have five sandwiches from which to choose and a trio of salads, two constant and one rotating.

Dinner will have a more Mediterranean and Latin-American flair. “I’m Mexican,” Stuyvie explains, “and Noëlle is French and Spanish. So our tapas with a twist will be a nod to both of those traditions with small, seasonal dishes to accentuate our beers.” Noëlle mentioned albondigas en almendra, pork and beef meatballs in almond-saffron sauce with white wine & saison, and tortilla española, traditional Spanish omelette with potatoes, onion and harissa aioli.

Lúpulo Craft Beer House is located in downtown Santa Cruz at 233 Cathcart Street, a few doors down from Hula’s Island Grill. Hours to start will be Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday 11:30AM-10PM. Friday, Saturday 11:30-10PM. Closed Tuesday.   

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Book Review: Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle

Back in October, R received his first Nick and Tesla book from the publishers, Quirk Books. He was instantly enamored and wrote a book review: click here.

Since then, he has waited - rather impatiently - for the sequels. Just in time for the second week of his Spring break, he received the third installment. He read it in a day. Then he read it again. He did some experiments from it. And, now, he's finally willing to share it with his little brother...though he reads it to D from his bed. D isn't allowed to actually touch the book.

I asked R to write a review. Here's what he had to say...

by "Science Bob" Pflugfelder & Steve Hockensmith

The main characters, Nick and Tesla, are very clever at making gadgets to find the thief. They are also very funny because they are always betting and thinking up good adventures. I like their brother-sister interactions. But, of all the characters, I think I relate to Uncle Newt the best. Like Uncle Newt, I like making creations and a lot of my creations fail. Also, I am also very forgetful like he is.

Nick and Tesla’s friends – Silas and DeMarco –  are interesting because they don’t always understand Nick and Tesla, but they are always willing to help them. That misunderstanding adds humor to their interactions. They are also funny because they do stunts such as riding a bike down the slide and up a mud ramp.

The book taught me how to make fingerprint powder! It's just graphite powder from a pencil, ground with an emery board. I borrowed an emery board from my Nonna (Nonna means grandmother in Italian) and got ton of fingerprints off of things.

I also built a code wheel. See!

It's just like this one from the book...

My favorite quote from the book was, naturally something Uncle Newt said: “I’m not sure they’d believe me,” he said. “I think I lost a lot of my credibility after I called about Bigfoot.” It’s funny because Uncle Newt was calling to say that he found evidence that Bigfoot was fake. But the police misunderstood and thought he was saying that he believed in Bigfoot. It was all a comedy of errors.

My favorite scene was when they were in the Newtmobile during a car chase, pursuing a spy suspect. I liked the action of the high-speed car chase and the suspense of trying to catch the spy. 

I have to say that this was my favorite book of all three. I liked the mystery and I really enjoyed the secret aspect to the book. I didn’t know who was the spy or what would happen next. I especially liked all of the spy gadgets that I got to build. And I loved the way the book ended with the SBSP (space-based solar power) because I’m interested in solar power. I can’t wait for the next book. When is it coming?

*Note: we did receive a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of reviewing it. All opinions are 100% accurate and our own.