Spontaneous Napa Adventure

This weekend I went on a very last minute trip to Napa with Friend A and Friend B. We decided to go the night before, and somehow we convinced friend B to drive us there. It was a lot of fun!

I think you’re supposed to have wine while you’re in Napa, but we ended up not having any. Maybe next time.

We started the day off at some random winery that Friend A picked out called Artesa. We went inside but didn’t actually have any wine there. Friend A thought the tasting was too expensive.  Correction from Friend A: Through a thorough cost-benefit analysis, Friend A determined that the benefit didn’t outweigh the cost.

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Mission Peak

I hiked Mission Peak with some friends from the local Japanese Meetup. It was pretty windy and cold, but a lot of fun!
Lots of hills.
Lots of cows.
Not very many trees.

Lots of sky.
And a pretty good sunset too.

Rita’s Water Ice

Wow there’s Rita’s in the Bay Area! I got a gelati with mango and vanilla custard. Pretty good, although the mango tastes more artificial than I remember.


I made danmuji, Korean yellow pickled radish, about a month ago. It’s supposed to sit for a month before being used, so this is the initial review!

I used Maangchi’s recipe, substituting oat bran for rice bran, and turmeric for gardenia fruits. Apparently, gardenia fruits are edible. Who knew? Gardenia is used as an ornamental, so maybe you could forage for them. The fruits aren’t supposed to taste like much, however. Much like turmeric, they’re mainly used for their yellow color. The rice bran was supposed to add a “complex flavor”. I’m not sure if the oat bran was a good substitution in this case. But it doesn’t seem to have done any damage!

Initially, there were too few jars, so I let it age in this lovely bowl.
The more official-looking one.

During the resting period, the radish ferments, according to Maangchi. However, I’m not sure if this is correct. The radish is supposed to be stored in the fridge, so it wouldn’t ferment very fast. And you add vinegar directly to the brine. In normal lactic acid fermentation, such as in kimchi, the brine becomes sour over time due to lactic acid buildup. There’s no need to add vinegar. So I believe that the radish is simply being pickled.

That said, perhaps it is supposed to be fermented; while good, the radish that I ate didn’t taste like commercial danmuji. It is crispy and vinegary, of course. There’s a very strong funky radish smell and flavor. J thinks it smells like rotting or maybe rotten meat, but I really just think it smells like radish. Delicious!

The yellow coloring hasn’t fully permeated the radish yet. At this point, it has a halo of yellow, with a completely white interior. Maybe with time…

Even compared to kimchi, this was an easy recipe. You should try it!

How to go low-waste in the bathroom

This includes bathing and skin-care, mostly.


  1. Use less shampoo. For example, focus on shampooing your scalp rather than the length of your hair.
  2. Shampoo less often. If you shampoo every day, try every other day, then every third day. You’ll find that you can go a whole week with no shampoo!.
  3. Buy shampoo that comes in a returnable, refillable, or glass bottle.
  4. Buy your shampoo in bulk (and bring your own container) if you have a extensive bulk store nearby.
  5. Make your own shampoo. This can be as simple as using bar soap or liquid soap on your hair, or you could make really fancy concoctions.
  6. Go low or no ‘poo. There are many alternative haircare routines that generate less (plastic) waste, are cheaper, and are better for you.
  7. Take navy showers. Only have the water on to get yourself wet and to rinse.
  8. Make your own exfoliating scrub. A classic is sugar and/or baking soda in oil. Commercial scrubs often contain plastic microbeads, which aren’t removed in the water treatment process and end up polluting the environment.
  9. Use a washcloth, bath brush, natural loofah (compostable) in place of plastic loofahs (those mesh scrubby things).
  10. Use less soap on your body. Soap up less often. The oils you’re taking off keep your skin moisturized.
  11. Use bar soap for washing your hands and body in place of body wash and liquid soap. Bar soap can be bought loose (no packaging) or in paper, which can be easily recycled.
  12. Use oil as lotion. But if you’re using it on your face, make sure to check comeodogenic ratings first. These tell you how likely an ingredient is to cause acne. The lower the number, the better.
  13. Use a menstrual cup and cloth menstrual pads (or use prescription birth control to get rid of your period).
  14. Use a straight razor of double-edge razor instead of a disposable razor or razor with disposable heads. Here’s help to get you started!
  15. As always, don’t use disposables. Question if you really need that disposable item. If you do, then see if you can find a reusable replacement.

It’s been so long since I de-wastified my shower and skincare routines that it’s hard for me to think of suggestions for this. If you have any questions, like what to replace a particular product with, just ask!

Green Onion Pancakes

We made green onion pancakes!

The finished product, balanced precariously on the edge, artistically framed by a pen and a spoon.
First you roll out the dough.
And then you put stuff inside.
Don’t forget to put the green onions inside like I did on the first one.

New Displays at the VTA Light Rail!

The old screens were pretty good. The times from around the world really gave the station a nice international feel. They didn’t show when the train was going to come, but at 87:59pm you shouldn’t be expecting the train to come anyway.
But the new screens are even better! Wow that high-resolution display looks great!