Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The coal ash spill in Kingston TN

Heaps of coal ash sludge
Originally uploaded by buckyreed
I was visiting my parents last week for Christmas in Knoxville, TN when I first heard about the coal ash spill at the Kingston Fossil Plant. My dad and I drove 35 miles from his home in Knoxville to the site of the devastation in Kingston. My dad knows all of the backroads around Harriman and Kingston so we were able to get close to the spill despite the police roadblocks. The roads were filled with large trucks carrying gravel to the site and hauling away god knows what! I was completely horrified as we drove through several nice neighborhoods that were directly across the river from the plant. Large waves of ash filled water washed up behind these homes destroying boat docks and spreading the toxic sludge. According to the New York Times the plant produced 45000 pounds of arsenic, 49000 pounds of lead, and 713 ounds of mercury in 2007 alone. Now decades worth of this arsenic and lead have been dumped into the Clinch and Emory rivers polluting the drinking water for over a half a million residents downstream.

United Mountain Defense has published a copy of the initial TVA water test results and the results are awful.

Kingston Fossil Plant
Originally uploaded by buckyreed

Saturday, August 30, 2008

When Beagles Fly

When Beagles Fly
Originally uploaded by buckyreed
Holly took Rufus and Apple to the Dirty Dog Pet Wash and Boutique to get a bath and have their nails done. Rufus HATES getting his nails trimmed and is such an absolute freak about it that I try to take him to a different groomer every time. The owner of the Dirty Dog apparently specializes in high maintenance hounds and had a very effective trick up her sleeve: the floating harness! Rufus dog-paddled in mid-air and chuffed while the trimming was going on, but seemed rather calm when he was allowed to just float unmolested. Holly theorizes that the compression of the harness has a calming effect, but I prefer to think that he was overcome with dreams of ear-powered flight. I can't wait for his next visit.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Rufus and his den

Rufus and his den
Originally uploaded by buckyreed
Rufus and Apple are still really freaked out by the construction in the condo. Rufus has decided that the closet is now his lair and has spent the better part of the weekend in here with his herd of cows. He has dragged most of his toys into this closet and is extremely reluctant to leave. I had to bribe him with back scratches and ground beef to get him out.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The great flood of 2008

living room and closet
Originally uploaded by buckyreed
This past Monday morning I woke up at 6:00 to get ready for work. I turned on the shower and waited for the water to heat up, and waited, and waited, and waited, and quickly realized that Holly and I were in for an interesting morning. We ran downstairs and stepped off of the last step into our new indoor swimming pool! Our water heater had burst and flooded the entire first floor of the condo. She ran outside to shut off the water and I grabbed the shop vac. 40+ gallons later I had cleaned up most of the water and we managed to get everything off of the floors and out onto the patio.

The ServePro repair guys were sent by the insurance company to mitigate the water damage and promptly started ripping out ALL of the Pergo flooring, removing the baseboards, and cutting drywall off of the walls. They used a really cool moisture sensor to determine what got wet and where they needed to hack apart our home. It took them three half-assed days to finish cutting out all of the walls and set up their drying equipment to dry the walls. They managed to let one of their dehumidifiers drain back onto the floor on the first day. They had to remove our downstairs toilet and the washing machine, but they didn't bother to shut off the water supplies to both of these when they did this. We of course only discovered this when we turned the water main back on and re-flooded the bathroom on Thursday. The plumber was laughing his ass off at their attention to detail.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Rufus's Herd of Cows

Rufus's Herd
Originally uploaded by buckyreed
Holly's sister Katie originally gave me the cow that Rufus has adored so much over the last year or so. The cow has been bathed several times, but is still suprisingly grungy. Katie mentioned that the Petco in La Mesa had several more of the same cows for sale so we stopped by and cleaned them out yesterday. I was shocked at how white and aroma-free they were! Today I presented Rufus with two additional cows and watched his little doggie brain implode as I squeaked them and teased him with them. He chuffed and bayed with delight, but soon decided that the well-seasoned beef was still the best.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Apple's Altruistic Birthday Present To Me

For my birthday a few weeks back Apple and Rufus managed to buy me a present. I'm not quite sure how they got to the store or used the computer to purchase online, but it was certainly clear by the drool and general messiness that they wrapped it themselves. When I unwrapped the remote controlled car Apple feigned disinterest, but she had obviously picked it out for herself! As soon as I tried it out Rufus started baying and Apple freaked. She chased it, but would scramble away in terror when I backed it up into her feet. Rufus grew bored after a while and took the opportunity to steal Apple's rawhide while she was busy chasing the car. It took a while for Apple to get the courage to actually pick it up in her mouth, but now the car is happily covered in drool, hair, and teeth marks.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Gray Whale Encounter

I've seen gray whales from the shore in Oregon and have seen them several times on whale watching cruises in the San Diego Bay, but this Saturday I saw one up close while sailing with Holly's family. We were sailing out towards the ocean and passed a navy sub being towed out of the submarine base. We watched the sub get hauled out to the ocean and then head down south towards Mexico. We were excited because it was cruising on the surface and we were hoping to see it dive. We made it out to the open ocean and were starting to turn back when I saw a large gray hump surface and disappear. I started gibbering excitedly about a whale, but no one else saw it. It was heading south towards Mexico, so perhaps like the sailors on the sub it was hoping for some lovin' south of the border. We turned back around and criss-crossed over the path it seemed to have been taking, but we over shot where it was. Holly and I saw a blow spout and we headed towards that. After a few minutes it surfaced again about fifteen feet away from us! It showed us its barnacled and scarred back and then showed us its tail before it disappeared for good.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Granny's Sewing Machine

Granny's Sewing Machine
Originally uploaded by buckyreed
Mom and dad brought granny's sewing machine and mom's rocking chair down with them from McMinnville. The sewing machine is a Davis treadle sewing machine that my great-grandmother bought second-hand in the 1930's for $25. The Davis company went out of business in 1924, so this machine has to be close to a hundred years old. When I was a kid I used to love this machine because it was so funky looking and because granny was so protective of it! She took excellent care of it and would only let me pump the treadle when she was present. I'm sure it still works because I remember her sewing things with it. This sewing machine is a reminder of my visits with granny in Kentucky, of my childhood, and of my family's past all rolled up into one beautiful thing.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Chew Toy?

Chew Toy?
Originally uploaded by buckyreed
We had an unexpected visitor come into our lives while mom and dad were visiting last week. This little guy was hanging out across from the doggies' food bowls and was trying to hide behind a piece of rawhide. Fortunately the dogs were passed out upstairs; Otherwise there would have been a bloody mess. As it was there was plenty of excitement! Mom freaked out when she saw the lizard on the floor not ten feet from the hide-a-bed where she was sleeping, I hesitated as I debated on how to best pick it up without touching it, and then Holly came downstairs to save the day. She walks up bold as brass, says "Oh, a lizard. I'll just take him outside", and scoops him up with her hands while mom and I are wigging out. Apple comes running downstairs to see what's happening and gets so interested in where the lizard had been that she is almost licking the floor. Rufus, my boy that he is, could have cared less.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Spring Training with the Ecks

Holly surfing at the game
Originally uploaded by buckyreed
I went with Holly and her family to a spring training game in Tucson this weekend. We saw the Oakland A's play against the Chicago White Sox. I'm not a baseball fan at all, but it was fun seeing pros play in a tiny park while eating good mexican food! Holly could have cared less about the game and spent most of her time soaking up rays while surfing on her iPhone. I focused mainly on sampling as many unhealthy food as possible while fending off dehydration with Nimbus Red Ale.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sailing with Rick and Ken

Three layers of clouds
Originally uploaded by buckyreed
I helped Rick and Ken move the boat further back in the slip this past Saturday while the weather was nice. It rained like hell all day Friday, but was beautiful for several hours on Saturday before getting ugly again. We used that window to go out into the ocean for a quick sail. The rainstorm was blowing in from the north, but clouds seemed confused about what kind they were and the wind didn't know if it wanted to blow or not. By the time we got back the temperature had dropped and the storm was clearly on its way.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Picking on Einstein
Originally uploaded by buckyreed

Volvo Parking Only
Originally uploaded by buckyreed
I went to Legoland this past Saturday with Holly, Katie, and Ken. We had a blast riding the rides, eating lots of bad food, and basically acting like dorks. We asked Katie to drive her Volvo so we could take advantage of the front row parking reserved for anyone in a Volvo. If you ever built Lego models as a kid then this place is heaven. There are thousands of excruciatingly detailed replicas of Vegas, DC, New York, and even Albert Einstein's nose!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Giant Joystick

Giant Joystick
Originally uploaded by buckyreed

Life-sized Asteroids
Originally uploaded by buckyreed
An exhibit by Mary Flanagan called [giantJoystick] just opened in the art gallery in the Calit2 building at UCSD. She has it hooked up to a game console with a bunch of old 8-bit Atari games that project onto the wall of the gallery. The joystick is so big that it takes two people to play: One to move the stick and one to hit the fire button. I played on my lunch break last week for almost an hour and still couldn't get enough of it. Unfortunately the students have discovered it too, so now there is contention for the big stick.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

I watched Cat On A Hot Tin Roof this weekend and fell totally in love with Liz Taylor. I wholeheartedly agree with Burl Ives when he says, "There is life in that woman!" However, my love affair with the woman in the movie just wasn't meant to be. Here is the proof:

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Bisteeya: Moroccan Pastry

Originally uploaded by buckyreed
2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 can condensed chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1/2 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1 large clove garlic, minced
4 whole chicken breasts, chunked (or tofu)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
5 eggs, lightly beaten
16 filo pastry sheets
1/2 cup melted butter

Combine sugar and ground cinnamon. Set this aside.

In large heavy pan, combine chicken broth, water, cinnamon stick, ginger, turmeric, onion, parsley and garlic; add chicken. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Cover; simmer 10 minutes or until done. Remove chicken from broth. Reduce broth to 1 1/2 cups; add lemon juice. Remove cinnamon stick. Gradually pour eggs into broth, stirring gently until eggs are set; chill.

In buttered 12" round baking pan arrange 4 filo sheets and brush each with butter. Top with 4 more filo sheets allowing 1/2 of each sheet to extend beyond the edge of the pan in a star. Brush each sheet with butter. Arrange chicken over filo sheets and spoon broth/egg mixture over chicken. Sprinkle with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Cover with 4 more filo sheets and brush each with butter. Fold extended sheets over top and brush again with butter. Arrange remaining 4 sheets over top and brush each with butter. Tuck in ends; brush with butter.

Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes and turn upside down on a large buttered baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes more or until done. Turn upside down on a serving platter then dust with additional sugar and cinnamon.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Going outside is not worth the humiliation

It has been raining like crazy again and I've started using the doggie rain jackets on Rufus and Apple. Rufus looks miserable here, but he really perks up once he gets outside. He hates the rain more than the confining raincoat. Apple on the other hand tries to scrape it off with every tree and bush she passes. It has gotten to the point where I actually put the elastic band under her tail to hold the jacket in place. Most ignomious!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Phil's Rack

Phil's Rack
Originally uploaded by buckyreed
Phil's BBQ is one of only a handful of decent BBQ places in San Diego. For years he ran a small place in Hillcrest that was always packed. Recently he opened up a new larger location and it is just as crowded as the old one. The meat is smoked well and the sauce is pretty good, but it still doesn't hold a candle to what you can get back in Tennessee. There must be something fundamentally at odds between good BBQ and health code enforcement. There was another good place up in Encinitas that was run by a guy from Alabama but it was shut down recently for.... are you ready? Health code violations.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Apple and Rufus

Apple and Rufus
Originally uploaded by buckyreed
This picture of Apple and Rufus was taken right before they were let out on the boardwalk at Mission Beach. They terrorized the seagulls, joggers, and homeless people for several hours before they were forced to go home again. This is my favorite picture of these two!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Roger the Shrubber plays hockey?

Originally uploaded by buckyreed
Roger the Shrubber lives in San Diego and apparently plays hockey with the Knights Who Say Ni.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Originally uploaded by buckyreed
I was proud to be metro until I saw this!

Dad at the McMinnville air museum

McMinnville air museum
Originally uploaded by buckyreed
Dad and I went to the McMinnville air museum over the Christmas holidays. We wandered around the museum for hours and had a blast. The museum was built around the Spruce Goose and is in turn surrounded by a large vineyard. I did wine tastings at the museum, but the only thing worth buying was the non-alcoholic pinot noir grape juice. Dad got really excited when he saw this plane because it was one of the ones he worked on when he was in the National Air Guard. Seeing this aircraft reminded him of people and stories that I had never heard before.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Rufus and his cow

Originally uploaded by buckyreed
Rufus is still in love with the cow. It has been washed several times, but is still rather nasty to touch. He carries it with him almost everywhere he goes and yes he does in fact sleep with it. If you squeak it or mess with it in any way he gets upset. He will chuff and bark until you hand it back to him.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Holiday Door Decorating Contest

We went all out for the door decorating contest at work this year. I put two 19" monitors up behind the glass door that looped a video of a fire in the fireplace and three Christmas videos looping in the giant Samsung plasma. "The Grinch" was the general favorite, but I rather preferred the "Heat Miser, Cold Miser" song. This maddened the people whose offices were nearby. Jazz spent hours making the fireplace out of keyboard boxes and pilfered rocks from the landscaping outside. The stockings are the ones I used for Rufus last year and still had some yummy doggie treats inside. Sadly, we had to take it down last week but the memories of the best Christmas ever will linger in my heart for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A resolution for a new year?

OK, so it has been a long time since I've updated anything . I'm sorry. I have excuses, but they are lame and I'm just going to have to chalk it up to laziness on my part. So here it is! My first blog entry in 15 months.