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Archive for November, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s my favorite time of year…crisp, cool air, tons of yummy food and so much to be thankful for! Last night we finally got to enjoy Friends Thanksgiving. This is the 6th year our wonderful friends have gathered to celebrate together, just another perk of living in Reno again. Seema was so kind to offer to make the turkey this year, and although I didn’t try it, I can tell you with confidence that it was fabulous! Everyone raved about it and there wasn’t an ounce left at the end of the night.

Today we’re packing up the pugs and heading to El Dorado Hills for Thanksgiving with the Gibsons. I’m sure I’ll have lots to post about when we return, more pictures of fantastic food, good family time and fun with pugs. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Have I told you lately how much I love my graduate program? Friday’s class was another reminder! We were lucky enough to have four of the scientists that were on the ship Kaisei that sailed to the center of the North Pacific Garbage Patch last August. You can visit the Project Kaisei website to learn all about their mission and expedition.

But, I’d like to tell you a little about it just from what we learned in the brief two hours we spent with the scientists. First of all, the North Pacific Garbage Patch is located in the middle of the Pacific, about halfway between us and Japan, north of Hawaii. It’s where wind and currents carry all the trash that gets dumped into the ocean or all the litter that runs off the land into the oceans. Most of the debris is plastic that breaks up into tiny confettilike pieces and then is ingested by fish, birds, marine mammals etc. It’s highly toxic and not only is it killing many species, it finds it way back to our dinner plates in highly concentrated forms! The estimated size of this garbage patch is twice the size of Texas (although the scientists hate this comparison because it’s probably actually much larger than that…but my goodness, that’s a lot of trash!!!).

One of the scientists said that 2 million water  bottles are produced every five minutes and only 5% of all plastic is recycled. That’s insane! The rest of it is ending up in landfills or the ocean. What can we do? Stop using as much plastic, bring reuseable bags to the market, use bar soap and shampoo instead of buying plastic bottles, recycle everything you can and reduce your use of everything else. Also, push for stricter waste management laws, taxes on plastic bags maybe?? It’s up to us to make a change!

USA Today, CNN and NY Times did stories on Kaisei’s trip among many other publications (click here for the list). The crew members also blogged from sea which can be found here. This is a fascinating and terrifying reality check as to how our consumer behaviors are impacting the environment and this deserves much more media attention. Read up on it and share with your friends. Hopefully with collective action we can make a positive change!

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Meet My Class

With only three weeks left in the semester, I think it’s time that I introduce you to my fellow journalism graduate students.

Last Friday, we had a little get together at our director’s house. A handful of professors joined us along with this year’s class graduating in just a few weeks. Sort of a “send-off” for those leaving and a “get acquainted with these people you’ll be seeing a lot more of for the next year” for those of us just starting. We planned to have this party before the semester started but scheduling conflicts caused it to be postponed. It was well worth the wait! Such fun to see people outside of class and meet some faculty we’ve yet to encounter.

So, on with the show…my class. We have two news reporters, one for the Reno Gazette Journal and the other owns his own paper in Missouri – how exciting is that?? There are two students who just graduated from UNR, so have yet to really decide where they’re going in their careers. We have one girl from Brazil with the most fantastic accent. Two girls have worked for a few years in Tahoe, then there’s me! That’s it, just 8 of us. A quaint little group. 

This semester we’ve been learning about the internet and the structure of networks and our second class is in environmental reporting. Most of us aren’t looking to be traditional reporters so it’s somewhat of a challenge but very educational. Next semester we get to learn about social and interactive media and we have a class where we get to make an online game! Sounds like fun to me! Fingers crossed that I make it through finals then I can really look forward to next year!!

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tahoe fall

Lake Tahoe – it goes without saying that this is definitely deserving of the top spot on the “best things about Reno” list…and worthy of a post all to itself! Yesterday afternoon, Jimmy and I packed the pugs in the car and headed to Incline Village to visit our friend Todd who lives just blocks away from a fabulous little beach where dogs can play freely in the beautiful fall weather.

Marlie bravely tested the water (after a couple trips to the Sparks Marina, I think she’s becoming a fan!) and Jett tried his hardest to keep up with the big dogs on the beach. He’s not nearly as fast but he puts in a good effort!

marliejett

Once the sun set, it cooled down really quickly, so we headed back to Todd’s for dinner and a little World Series watching. It was a great way to end the weekend with full bellies and tired pugs! Jimmy even admitted to liking sweet potatoes so over all, Tahoe was a success!!

sunset

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