Saturday, December 29, 2007

Two turntables, Steve and Kate.


Kate and I had a blast last night. Finally some time to play, and we spun records until the wee hours. And then goofed off all day today (including making this video from still photos.) It's been a long time.

Not sure how well this Blogger video works, we'll see.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Running on fumes this week.

Here are Kate and my Mom Greta, who I brought up from northern Arkansas early this week. They're having a great time, and love each other so much. Kate's such a good daughter-in-law (and spouse).

I managed to get a video up on YouTube in prep for our grant proposal. It's a nice one--an aerial sequence on which we spent a lot of time in 2005--showing remeandering of a channelized north Missouri river over about 30 years.

I've been working day and night on the proposal, and I think we got all but one tentacle of the big octopus pinned down today--lots of good cooperation and thinking at LRRD today.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Pre-Christmas Carbondale Saturday fun.

Aside from work on my grant proposal, we hiked around the big Cedar Lake dam structures south of Carbondale with Kate's sister's family and the amazing Karen Renzaglia, lichen and fern expert. We had a blast and here are photos (and dumb Forest Service fences and signs).

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Writing, researching and Dr. Mumba

Our work is visually boring this week--grant writing. Calls and emails to collaborators, questions of formating and style, of goals and objectives and budgets and timelines and personalities that we have to put down in brutally logical prose.

A delightful and very smart man, Frackson Mumba, an SIUC professor in Education, met with us for over two hours today to help, and helped immensely. We thank you, Dr. Mumba.

Wish us luck, this is exciting. And I'm amazed and the fascinating people we have here in southern Illinois.

And here's a link that is visually interesting, showing some impossible things like those we hope to do, especially over the next few weeks.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Our first national ad; hard work on a grant proposal.

Our first big journal ad, in GSA Today, is out. It's a publication of the Geological Society of America, for you biological types. And with some very nice placement among all the year's star reviewers. Here's GSA's PDF version.

Can't talk about the details of our grant proposal, but it's big and exciting. We're working with a few profs at SIUC, along with UC-Berkeley, University of Illinois, and a couple of others.

I couldn't be prouder of the people at LRRD. We're working very well together.

And on Friday we discovered a huge opportunity for some work with a Minnesota college on our Em4, the 4-meter long version of the Emriver we're developing.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Nice snow in Carbondale, dog needs a home.

Kate and I had fun at Hangar 9 last night listening to these crazy people.

I was reminded of Elvis Costello, Patti Smith, Earl Scruggs, Chris Whitley. And with none of the positive stuff, just a driving chunka chunka bluegrassy beat, happy danceable songs about crystal meth addiction. We had a blast, really.

And it snowed like crazy last night while we partied, and today was beautiful. I spent it all working, except for taking these photos. We're adopting out the little guy you see here because, being a terrier, he keeps challenging JaJa (the 110 pound dog above) for pack order.

Last week his terrier politics resulted in two near-death experiences and his little rescued behind needs to find a new home.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Crazy good week, thanks LRRD peeps.

Crazy busy, mostly because of a grant proposal due in January. A big one. Here Cara's laying it down in our lab for Harvey Henson, an SIUC collaborator.

Our recent video work (here's a frame) is going to be important. There's nothing else like it anywhere as far as we know.

Last, a screwdriver, switches, and soldering iron migrating upstream on Jesse's bench.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Much rain, much work.

My home-based gauge has caught over 3 inches in the last three days. I don't think it ever quit yesterday.

Cara, Dayna and I have been cranking on some grant/research opportunities. Very exciting, but involving a lot of what you can see Cara doing here, not really fun.

Let that be a lesson to you aspiring environmental scientists. That's her new craigslist desk, by the way.

We're getting Emriver inquiries from our marketing, and Jesse and Barrett packed up a couple today in anticipation.

Hard to believe that out place was still empty less than three months ago. Here's Jesse as we were finishing the cleanup in mid-September (Jesse here on 9/14).

Saturday, December 8, 2007

A fun sarcastic Carbondale Saturday.

A gray, drizzly day in Carbondale. Here's Kate with with Elaine, manager of the Long Branch.

Which we're now calling the "Wrong Branch" because we had fun being viscous, mean jokers today.

We had so much fun I forgot to take pictures.

We needed a few kitchen things and stuff for work, I swear, it's all on sale, so we shopped and had a great time making fun of the stores and the junk in them.

Our best overheard line, at Kohl's, was "I could shop anywhere." Spoken proudly as in "Give me $5 in the most rundown strip mall in southeastern Oklahoma and I'll have a good time spending it."

And we mocked the woman in Carbondale's Kaleidescope (which we highly recommend) roaming the store with her cell phone loudly describing items for some remote gift buyer. "OK, IT'S THIS BLUE CERAMIC THING AND..."

And if you want to see maximum Chinese product-American consumer interaction, it's hard to beat Hobby Lobby.

Where we bought the white and green lights we hung in the windows of 514 East Main while listening to very loud pagan funk music. Fun.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Everybody's safe, don't worry.

But a bomb in our humble office today would've done big damage to river science.

These SIUC faculty met with us today to talk about collaborative work.

That's Nicholas Pinter (Geology) at left, and (clockwise), Matt Whiles (Zoology), our Cara Bergschneider and Dayna Conner; then Jim Garvey (Fisheries), and the striped Karl Williard (Forestry).

An admirable group, both as scientists and people, and I'm honored they want to work with us. I can't go into detail on what we're working on--secret for now.

Cara did a fantastic job of researching grant opportunities and running the meeting.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Hard work and pretty summer fish.

We've been cranking at LRRD this week. On getting the Emriver word out there (the website's buzzing) and also on research collaboration with SIUC scientists.

I'm Mr. Stomach Flu through all this, so all you're getting is this underwater view of some shiners in the Ozarks in June. Wish I could go there with my snorkel and watch them every day.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

River gravel mining video with audio narration.

We've made around fifty video clips using the Emriver model and our 2D flume. None have audio.

I spent a few hours this Sunday adding narration to this one, a first for all the clips we've done.

What do you think? Anonymous comments are welcome--they're enabled on this blog.

Better quality video here, but a 34mb download, at

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Gift shopping in Carbondale and pro-Bush hooligans.

Kate and I went to the alternative gift fair at SIUC today and bought gifts for our loved ones. We bought beautiful things from the people who made them.

Aside from our other artist friends, we found Karen Linduska, who does some of the most beautiful art I've ever seen--she starts with pure white cotton and paints, dyes and sews in a very complex process. Her website's not up yet, but it will be

And Bill Davis, another local who uses layering and color photocopies (no computer) and transparencies to make very complex pieces. The four-framed image reminds me of mathematical chaos, which rules a lot of the river processes I study.

On the drive home my bumper sticker provoked a couple of drunken undergrads to harass us with yelling, bird flipping and finally pulling in front of us and braking. "We love Bush," they yelled. Not enough to enlist, apparently.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Rosgen Tax, ice cube relays, and operations.

I'm working on the geomorphology of routing a bike trail across Hinkson Creek in Columbia, Missouri. I have a lot of fond old colleagues in the Missouri Dept. of Conservation's fisheries research unit there.

Prototyping is going great, you can see some drawings here (with relays) and Cara and Jesse having fun with a prototype river model system.

Cara, and Dayna are grinding through a lot of thankless tasks: Bookkeeping, marketing and grant research, mailing lists. Microsoft gets in the way every chance it gets, but I'm slowly implementing Ubuntu Linux.

I'm seeing some Microsoft-Rosgen Classification similarities. "What, you want to buy a computer (restore a stream) without Windows Vista (Rosgen classification)?" All the awful abuses of a monopoly are appearing, at least in the big money river restoration scene.

You can't buy a PC without paying a "Windows tax." I'll coin a new term: the "Rosgen Tax." If you can't get restoration work without using this for-profit, sole source pseudo-scientific training, you have to pay the tax, right? Last I checked it's around $15,000 per person (tuition only) for all the courses.

And a lot of mitigation money--that's public money--is being horribly misdirected by Rosgen-trained consultants.

My current work in Columbia reminds me of the years I spent in grad school there, learning forest hydrology, engineering, stream ecology, and teaching surveying. Did I waste all that time and money when I could've just gone to a few Rosgen classes?

Today I had a long talk with a colleague who knows the stream restoration scene as well as anyone, and he said "Soon we'll be getting paid to restore the Rosgen restorations, don't worry." He's way more Zen than I.

All very good things at LRRD today, and I'm tired and stressed out, but not a bit about the wonderful people I work with.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The British Emriver invasion, blog honors.

A fluvial geomorph prof I admire has strong interest in getting an Emriver model over the ocean to the UK. Very exciting.

Speaking of Europe, there's this workshop in France next summer. Years ago a British river scientist reminded me that the UK had not one square meter of ecologically pristine riparian ecosystem. I guess it's the same for much of Europe.

I'm surprised and honored to be listed on the sidebar at Elizabeth Suddith's blog.

Hers is the first serious river restoration blog in the history of the internets, and I hope she keeps on. It's a lot of work, especially in her case I think, because there seems to be very little ego there.

Today I put together an ad for the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. Look for it in January. That's Kimi Artita, who worked with me on the video last year and had some great ideas on dye injection for visualization.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Prototyping extraordinaire.

Some very good prototyping happened, and we gathered to see the results at the end of the day.

So much precedes taking a complicated design to the living, squirming, tactile (and in this case) fun stage, but that happened today. And this one worked!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fun design work, more restoration Kool-Aid.

We did some great, fun design work today. Parts from Ebay are great for this; you get the weird industrial thing for 25% of its new price, and can re-Ebay it if it doesn't do the job.

On restoringrivers today, news of another sad case of the Rosgenization of our work. This one way too close to home; on a drainage network I've done a lot of pro bono work to help.

I called a friend with Prairie Rivers there. I don't know all the details (please prove me wrong), but from my experience , this one goes like others I've seen:

Deep pockets entity does bad thing or has accident > judgment, fine, mitigation money (needs to be a lot)> Rosgen-trained consultant appears > (insert a lot of politics, and pseudoscience here, aquatic ecosystem sometimes completely ignored)> J-hooks, Vortex Wiers (tm)--always "riffles" of some kind. Even if the stream had none before. These riffles are the method's dirty secret, heavy handed energy dissipaters to keep the meandering stream from meandering any more.

The Salt Fork situation up in Champaign is a good example** of why we're focusing less on consulting and more on education. It's hard to stand up to this hijacking of science and our profession of stream restoration.

**Update. I'm getting mixed news about this project--it may've not been built yet (11/29/2007)--more later.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A workday.

Cara doing research and an Emriver mailing going out this week, Barrett with prototype electronics, and the place after dark as I left on a rainy night.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

River restoration work--some good links.

Some interesting student papers, mostly, I think, from Matt Kondolf's students at UC-Berkeley. As I've mentioned before, I highly recommend Elizabeth Suddith's site for restoration news, especially if you've not drunk the classification cookbook Kool-aid.

Here's a link to some very interesting papers by her and colleagues at Duke and elsewhere--the page and links and citations are about as rich as you could get for recent river restoration research. An unsurprising quote from the abstract:

According to project managers, ecological degradation typically motivated restoration projects, but post-project appearance and positive public opinion were the most commonly used metrics of success. Less than half of all projects set measurable objectives for their projects, but nearly two-thirds of all interviewees felt that their projects had been "completely successful."

When I mention Kool-aid, I like to poke around the internets a bit and see what those folks are doing--there's always something fun, with lots of photos (appearance is important, see above).

Today I stumbled on a real gem--a Master's project (I think) from the University of Oklahoma's CE department. OK, this guy has not apparently drunk the Kool-aid, but we'll change the subject a bit. He did a study of tire revetments as bank protection tools. And not for the 1960's-era Corps of Engineers, but in 1999! And he was able to find 48 existing installations in Oklahoma! Study here. A couple of figures below. I'm speechless.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Cool way to save your 2-tracks.

Per my previous post we purged possessions today, and as I began to brutally discard all my old 2-track tapes, Kate said "don't do that." I thought about it and then got out the hot glue gun.

Here are 40 of my old cassette tapes--mixes from other people, and lots of mixdowns from my work in Missouri and Champaign in the 1990's. I was going to send them to the landfill but instead hot-glued them together side-to-side like bricks, and backed them with some matte board.

These rescued tapes will hang somewhere after more framing and backing. And they're saved from oblivion; if I ever really want to remix or hear"Right wing monkeys to the moon," I can bust the hot glue on this thing and recover the tape.

A magic day. Our house and family history.

Kate and I had a magic day.

We had a rare couple of days off together, and began to rearrange and clean some parts of the house. That grew into serious karmic purging of stuff.

And doing things we super-busy people rarely do, like looking at family photos.

Kate started off with "let's just do this one shelf," Ha! We ended up going through tons of things and fixing a lot of clutter and junk accumulation.

Kate found a whetstone, and that turned into a knife sharpening, and lessons on that from me. I bled a bit after my demonstration.

And I ran across a Gough family history written by a great aunt.

There has been a lot of trouble and disconnection in my immediate family, but my wonderful great aunt Sister Fides (Catholics on my Dad's side--the family reverted to Baptists when my Grandad died, very young, in 1939) did a genealogy/history in the early 1980's. Here's an excerpt, from a shooting in Memphis in the early 1940's.

Click on the image for a readable version.

It all turned out well! The eight year old shooter went on to be a WWII bomber navigator war hero, and the little girl lived a full life with no apparent effects from the bullet in her head (still going strong in Tupelo, Mississipi in 1983, forty years later, as Ruth Crook).

And I found my first cell phone, from around 1996. When Kate and I met ten years ago we both carried these big grey Motorolas.

And here's a photo of my brother Greg and me from 1963, in Hope, Arkansas.

And a photo of my Dad, from about 1960.

Friday, November 23, 2007


For Thanksgiving, one of my favorite photos from the last few months.

A friend carrying one of my cameras into the sky over the Big Muddy River (thanks, John).

I'm thankful for many things.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

We are surrounded by drug dealers.

Today was huge--Mediacom connected us to the internets.

A cable had to be run through an alley behind us, and Barrett and Jesse went up into the attic to help.

We were so excited that nobody took a photo. So I started drawing a map as a joke and then noticed some geographical ironies.

We're surrounded by bad stuff, like abandoned/condemned buildings on two sides. When we moved in, a little concrete pad east of us was a hangout for all-day-drinking street people. Dayna's done a great job working with the City of Carbondale on that. The map shows we have alcoholics in the vacant lot and crack in the back.

The Carbondale PD stopped by last week to ask if we saw any signs of drug dealing.

Yesterday I noticed what I suspect were drugs being moved from a car in our lot in a black roller case to the doctor's office next door. Not long ago Dayna noticed another drug rep using Ziplocs. All in broad daylight.

We're just trying to get our work done. Do we dial 911 when we see a Lexus we know is full of drugs?

Dashed line shows route of the internet cable.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The inevitable employee problems arise.

Every business owner's nightmare. You hear yelling and screaming and run to find one employee has another in a headlock. And then, wanting to keep their awful jobs, they're both all smiley and saying "we were just playing! See! We like each other!"

I'm kidding.

For the website we took some photos of Dayna in her office habitat today, and this occurred, and it says a lot about her and Cara. They are getting along pretty well.

We may get hooked up to the internets tomorrow. And Cara's doing great work interviewing Emriver owners and finding that there a a bunch of potential ones out there.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Waiting. For a flood of information.

The NY Times ran a very long article on the Three Gorges Dam today. Lots of people there have been moved, or are waiting to be flooded.

Peter Hessler's fantastic nonfiction book "Rivertown" is set in a village destined to be flooded.

We're not waiting for a flood, just broadband. Today Comcast people (I think that's it, Dayna and Cara are doing the talking) admitted they'd been assessing the *wrong building* for two weeks and that ours could have a cable broadband connection in a couple of days.

If it works, this'll be the third modem and system I've set up and paid for since we moved in. Hours and hours of wasted time for all of us, thousands of dollars wasted for my little startup. That's broadband in mayor Brad Cole's pro business Carbondale.

Photo shows the proto doing some soldering to connect a (Chinese made) power supply to an actuator to do some secret river model things. Otherwise he and Barrett ably made head scales for Emriver models.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

We can't visit our own awesome website.

Briefly, we have been without internet access for nearly two weeks and on Friday were told it would be Dec 5 (three weeks from now) when we would, wait, *might* have it. Next week we're raising hell on this. It's pitiful. We're on our third provider. We're a high-tech business three blocks from City Hall, but might as well be in Afghanistan. I won't get started now.

Google "Verizon liars complaints DSL" and you'll see what I mean.

I've overcome my fear of CSS and HTML and updated our website. Please visit and click on the nice bluegill and see our "who we are" page and let me know what you think. I used these great photos of Kate in front of our building and of Cara in the shop.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Our amazing coolness, illustrated.

We took pictures of the place today for website updates.

This one shows what cool people (Jesse and Cara) work at LRRD and how resourceful we are:

1) Speakers from my stepdad's (RIP) 1970's vintage stereo; 2) plant from Jesse's mom 3) great chair Dayna scored from Goodwill; 3) Yeah there are two threes, file cabinet from Southern Recycling; 4) circa 1982 stereo reciever from garage sale; 5) stolen by somebody; 6) Luxo lamp from Ebay; 7) Wonderful 1960's metal cabinets left by Peter Gregory, thanks.