This week, the Four Seasons Hotel unveiled a gingerbread replica of the Smithsonian Castle. Talk about a sugar rush. To make this three-foot-high confection, Executive Pastry Chef Charles Froke used 100 pounds of gingerbread dough, 50 pounds of icing, 30 pounds of icing for snow, 20 pounds of sugar, and five pounds of chocolate. It will be on display at Seasons restaurant, open during breakfasts and weekend lunches and brunches.
I just drove home through the city, and it’s such a beautiful night out there that I wanted to share. After all this rain, a half moon is now shining brightly against a dark sky and a diagonal swath of white cloud. The air itself is clear, but a ground fog is welling up in front of the White House, on the Mall, and near the Washington Monument.
Near lights, the air looks diffused with haze. In the shadows, it seems more defined. A white mist rises up a foot or two off the earth, topping off in an even white line. In a way, it looks magical, like DC is set for the movies with manmade special effects. In another way, it looks primeval, like the “swamp” DC was built on (or not) is coming back to life, nature taking over.
In the midst of it all, I saw two children running alongside the base of the Washington Monument, their arms and legs flailing and the spotlights throwing their shadows up high against the stone. I imagined they were here to see family and on their first trip to our nation’s capital. How exciting must that be?
Happy Thanksgiving, DC!
The National Mall sure looks different these days, ever since they put in that new subdivision. What, you haven’t seen them? All those little houses run completely by the sun? Yes, it’s time for another Solar Decathlon!
In this event sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy every other year, 20 teams of university students from as close as Virginia Tech and as far away as Germany will compete in 10 contests to create the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered house. While of course the teams use emerging technologies, the focus is on practicality. The home that wins will not be just the most energy efficient; it also must look great and be tricked out with modern conveniences.
In other words, these homes are concrete examples (or wood or metal or aerogel examples) that going green doesn’t have to mean going without.
And that means the houses all look really cool. What kind of fun gadgets might you see?