Hi peeps! We're back today with my amazing and inspirational high school teacher, Peter Magee. Interviewing him will be the slightly chubby, very white trashy and brash, Kelly Couric.
Yes, it is a little odd. I'm quite capable of conducting MY own interviews on My own blog with MY own high school teacher. But, whatever, Kelly got the gig, and I think we should all just be professional about this. So, I'm kicking back with a cup of hot Red Rose tea and a plate of Peek Freen biscuits, waiting to see how this pans out. Kelly's your basic reality-TV, screw-top-wine kind of gal. And she's interviewing my well-read, cultured English teacher. Should be interesting...
Thank you for that intro. Not. Anyway, Little Ms. Organized, what took you so long to get this post rolling today?
I was at a school assembly. Child #4 got an award for Student of the Month.
Aw, congrats to Child #4. You should buy her a pony or something. Okay. (claps) Let's get this show on the road. I have other things to do today, places to go, yada, yada, yada. I'm a busy Hollywood wannabe. Besides, people are at work and only have so much time to surf the blogosphere. So, Hi Peter Magee!
Hi Kelly. Thanks for interviewing me. Although from our phone conversation, I actually thought the interview was with Katie Couric.
Katie. Kelly. They sound pretty alike. Your bad. Although I totally understand how you'd get them mixed up.
(opens and closes mouth in surprise) Here. I brought you some flowers.
Flowers? Oh, how sweet. Let's give them to Barrie. FYI for the next time, I'm partial to those little bottles of alcohol you get on airplanes. Gin, vodka, rum ... I'm not picky. So, Peter, where'd you grow up?
London, Ontario. I went to the University of Western Ontario there too.
Is that near Buckingham Palace?
Uh, no. London, Ontario, Canada. It's about 120 miles southwest of Toronto. Halfway between Toronto and Detroit, if you will.
Toronto? Detroit? North America, right? Moving along. How many years were you a teacher?
Whoa, duuude! I haven't done anything consistently for 32 years. Well, except breathe. Ever teach anyone famous?
I attempted to teach public speaking to Alan Thicke.
(squeals) Alan Thicke? The hot dad from Growing Pains? Can you hook us up? He could really jump-start my career.
I'd like to answer a few questions from the list Barrie sent me. (rattles paper in the air) How about this one? Yes, I had a couple of favourite teachers. The late Miss Louise Wyatt was my grade 13 English teacher. She was David Suzuki's favourite teacher too. In case you don't know, David Suzuki is a well-known Canadian science broadcaster and environmentalist. My other favourite teacher was James Reaney, a famous Canadian poet and playwright who has won the prestigious literary Governor General's Award. I'm still in touch with James. I visit him in palliative care.
That's sad, but neat.
(looking at printed sheet of questions) The books I most enjoyed teaching were: Hamlet, A Streetcar Named Desire and Endgame.
You read entire books? I'm more of a magazine skimmer. Cosmo's pretty good. You ever teach from that?
(shakes head and continues with list of questions) I'll read any Canadian novel, and I also like autobiographies. I'd like to do a blog on Ostomies and their trials and tribulations.
Hey, I could do your blog interviews!
Oh, uh, maybe.
So, who would you rather have in your English class? Me or Barrie?
Kelly! I'm right here! And I have the power of the delete key. Peter, one last question: What's your favourite cookie?
Cookies made by David with Duncan Heinz cake mixes. Recipes available on request.
Thank you, thank you, Peter Magee. Great job with the interview. Against all odds, I might add. And especially thank you for all that you did for me in high school English. We're looking forward to the book review you wrote for this blog. :)
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Hi peeps! We're back today with my amazing and inspirational high school teacher, Peter Magee. Interviewing him will be the slightly chubby, very white trashy and brash, Kelly Couric.
You know how it is.
You go to high school.
You get some mediocre teachers. Maybe even a couple of lousy teachers.
But you also get a really great teacher.
Years go by.
Something wonderful happens in your life and you know it's related to this really great teacher.
And then your best friend from high school (Hi DM!) tracks down this really great teacher for you. First, she tries the internet. No go. Then she phones your high school. No go. Then she phones the Ontario Teachers Federation. (That's the teachers' union.) Where some clerk totally bends the rules and gives her the really great teacher's current phone number. Which she dials. There's an exchange of emails.
And, voila, I'm in touch with my really great high school English teacher. I might even wangle a visit with him when I'm back home this summer. But I'm skipping ahead.
THANK YOU MISTER PETER MAGEE!
Thank you for teaching me to think outside the box. Thank you for encouraging me to take risks with writing. Thank you for making me read stuff I would never have read otherwise. And written essays I would never have written otherwise. The same goes for poetry and short stories. Thank you for giving me the courage to believe in myself. I would not be a writer today if it weren't for you.
Tomorrow: an interview with Peter (Do you see how I honoured your wishes and dropped the Mister?!) conducted by the incorrigible KELLY Couric. Which is what Peter specifically requested. No, no, don't worry about my feelings; I'm fine with it. I can be the bigger person. Yeah, it's MY blog. And, yeah, you were MY teacher. But, hey, it's cool if you want Kelly to do the interview. I won't even interrupt....too much. :)
For those of you just tuning in, KELLY Couric is Katie Couric's less famous twin. She's like Katie, only less perfect. KELLY's a little chubby, a little white trash and a little brash. She has interviewed on the blog before.
I'll also post a more up-to-date pic of Mr. Magee tomorrow. See. I do read all your emails.
Monday, May 26, 2008
It's summer. It's dark. It's late. The tide is high. You're on a San Diego beach with that someone special. A wave rolls in. It leaves. The sand is covered with thousands of squirming silvery fish.
It's time for....GRUNION HUNTING!
Grunion are slender fish, 5-6 inches long with a blue-green back and silver sides and belly. Grunion is an anglicized version of the Spanish word for grunter. Apparently, these fish squeak while spawning.
Anyway, grunion have pretty predictable sex lives. As in, scientists can figure out a year in advance when these fish will show up to spawn on Southern California shores. Between March and September, they (the grunions, not the scientists!) exit the water twice a month to deposit their eggs in the moist sand.
And while these fish are stranded and waiting for the the next wave to sweep them back out to sea, enter you, a Fearless Grunion Hunter. You can scoop up the fish with your bare hands and tote them home for a fry. Clean and scale the fish, then dredge (how's that for a cooking term?!) them in a mixture of flour + corn meal, then pop them into hot oil for deep-frying. A warning: grunion are bony.
All that said, I don't think I'll be munching on any grunion. I suspect I'm more of a GRUNION GREETER. (more on this below)
These San Diego beaches definitely have grunion runs: Del Mar, La Jolla, Mission Beach and the Coronado Strand.
If you're over 16 years old, you need a fishing license. You can't use any equipment, only your bare hands. And no digging holes. That's cheating. There's no limit to the amount of fish you can grab, but it's unlawful to waste fish.
Here's a list of times and dates for 2008 grunion runs. These times are for Cabrillo Beach at the LA Harbor; San Diego beaches are 5 minutes earlier.
Here are a few hints: Bring a flashlight and some sort of bag to carry your catch. Wear a warm jacket. The best runs are usually on the 2nd and 3rd nights. The 2nd hour of each night is usually better. The grunions' peak spawning season is April and May. And there's no grunion hunting during these months.
You can write for a current schedule: GRUNION, California Department of Fish and Game, Marine Region, 4665 Lampson Ave. Suite C, Los Alamitos, CA 90720
In looking up info for this post, I noticed Scripps Aquarium is organizing a run (not that you have to go as part of an organized group) for June 4 at 9:30 PM - 11:30 PM.
I think I'd make an excellent GRUNION GREETER. These are people who are in charge of watching a small stretch of beach, then reporting on the habits of the grunion. Grunion greeters encourage "catch and release" or plain old observation.
Ya gotta love SoCal! So many fun things to do!
Happy Memorial Day to all!
My Town Monday comes to us via Travis Erwin. Thanks, Travis! Click on his site to read his post about Amarillo, TX. AND to find links to the other participants.
(Info from: http://sandiego.about.com/od/outdoorrecreation/a/grunions.htm
Friday, May 23, 2008
Last night, Bruce Hale, amazing author of the popular Chet Gecko middle-grade mysteries and other books, conducted a teleseminar on putting more suspense in your novel. I really, really wanted to get in on this phone call class.
But, 5:00 pm in my house, especially 5:00 pm the night of the high school swim team banquet, is chaotic and insane.
So, I wait until almost the very last minute to see if I can possibly pull this off.
It's 4:45 pm. I take a deep breath. Yup. I'm going in.
I hop online. I sign up for the class with PayPal. I check my email inbox for instructions. For 5 minutes solid, I hit the refresh key nonstop. Nada. Nothing. Yikes. I waited too long to sign up. I don't know the special phone number. I'm gonna miss the whole thing. Wah.
But wait. I write mysteries. I know about clues and following leads. Surely I can crack The Case of the Missing Teleseminar Phone Number.
I check Bruce's website. Voila. A phone number. Wow. That was quick. I am an excellent detective. I should probably contact the San Diego Police Department and offer my services. After Bruce Hale's talk on suspense, that is.
I dial. A real live person picks up.
"This is Bruce."
Me: (kind of screeching) Bruce Hale? You're Bruce Hale?
Me: (definitely screeching) Chet Gecko's Bruce Hale?
Me: (babbling) I almost made it to your signing when you were last in San Diego. But then this thing came up with one of my kids. And I couldn't make it. And, hey, I have a middle-grade mystery coming out with Delacorte Press in December.
Bruce: That's great.
Me: (more babbling) And now I'm trying to get into your teleseminar about suspense and how to make your book unputdownable. And I thought maybe this was the secret phone number. But obviously it isn't because you just picked up. And, anyhow, how secret a number is it if I can fine it online in, like, three seconds?
Bruce: I'm checking my email now. And there you are. Let me tell you the number and the code for the class.
I hang up and call the real secret number. The class was really really good. We learned a variety of strategies for upping the suspense in our novels.
And I'd tell you all about them. But where's the suspense in that? (Oh, come on. Surely you saw that coming. :) )
I will tell you that Bruce is very informative, very humorous, very entertaining. And he's laid back and easygoing. Because look at how cool he was when a screeching babbling female called him out of the blue thinking she'd nailed some secret phone number.
I think I'll email Bruce and let him know how much I appreciated the class.
On second thought, I might as well phone him.
Guess what? Next week, there'll be a mystery guest on this blog. Someone from the dark recesses of my past...
How do you like that for a little suspense?
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Today's post is a downer. Sorry, but that's the way life goes sometimes. Blogging is not all fun and games.
I'm sad to report that our feisty female veiled chameleon died. Yes, that same female who hogged the crickets and hissed at the male when he tried to eat.
We don't know what happened. She stopped eating and drinking. Then, this weekend, she stopped breathing.
In response, the male has been munching up a storm, totally hanging out on the rim of the tupperware container where we dump the crickets. This morning, he even scarfed down two wax worms (a first for him).
I prefer to believe this cricket-and-wax-worm orgy is his form of a chameleon wake. Not that he was pleased to see her go. Or, worse yet, that he somehow plotted her demise. No, no, no.
The female's passing was commemorated by a short ceremony at the bottom of our garden. Child #4 officiated and spoke kindly of the female chameleon, noting her ability to look in different directions at the same time and change to various shades of green.
Labels: veiled chameleons
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Dr. Laura Hershey, Bee Lady Extraordinaire, was once stung TWO HUNDRED FORTY times! She blames this incident on herself, not the bees. Apparently, she was moving wooden frames, bee condos if you will, and tried to carry more than she could handle. The result: she dropped a frame or two full of bees. Ouch. Dr. Hershey was under the weather for two days (achy and forgetful) following this incident.
THE WINNER IS: Larramie who guessed 227 bee stings!
Angela was very close at 206. I think that's close enough to call her a runner-up. I know, I know. I never mentioned anything in the "rules" about a runner-up. But....it is my blog and I am decluttering. ;)
So, Larramie email me @ email@example.com with your snail-mail address and let me know which book is your preference: the ARC (Advance Reader's Copy) of Julia Gillian by Alison McGhee or The Year My Sister Got Lucky by Aimee Friedman. The first ARC is a middle-grade novel; the second is young adult.
Patricia Wood, author of Lottery, is offering a tribute to the infamous and mysterious Miss Snark, a literary agent who blogged anonymously (although many of us have our guesses).
Miss Snark was known for her, uh, snarkiness and humor, love of George Clooney and gin and red stilletos, and her no-nonsense advice to writers. Her dog, Killer Yapp, had quite the rep as well. Quite frankly, the blogging world hasn't been the same since Miss Snark stopped posting. Click here for Patricia Wood's tribute to Miss Snark and links to other tributes too.
Miss Snark, we miss you!
And I'd like to announce a very fun contest with very fun prizes put on by the wonderful and talented Nancy Viau.
My elementary school science teacher taught me about coat hanger science.
Move over, Ramona Quimby…
Samantha Hansen is ready to ROCK!
Look for Nancy Viau’s middle-grade novel, Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head, this September. Get your signed ARC at BEA or ALA this summer! http://www.nancyviau.com
Okay, Nancy, I am officially entered!!! And I will only tell you what "coat hanger science" is if I win!
To see all the prizes (I'm not sure yet which one I'll win!) and exactly how to enter, check out fellow 2k8 classmate Nancy Viau, author of the upcoming middle-grade Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head here on her livejournal blog.
Monday, May 19, 2008
National Historic Landmark House of Hospitality (with the Visitors Center inside)
How Balboa Park describes itself: "the nation's largest urban cultural park."
Just minutes from downtown San Diego, Balboa Park is made up of about 1200 acres. It's home to fifteen museums, the world-famous San Diego Zoo, the Old Gobe Theatre, a junior theatre, a puppet theatre, the Spreckels Organ Pavilion outdoor stage, eight amazing gardens, the Spanish Village Art Center(35 art studios and over 50 artists working on site), picnic areas, canyon hiking trails, three leash-free dog parks, a golf course, restaurants. And more.
Admittance to Balboa Park is free. So is parking. El Prado is the main road through the park. It's pedestrian only. Admission to the various museums and the zoo can kind of add up. So, you might want to check out the seven-day Passport and the Zoo/Passport Combo. There's also Free Tuesdays where a different museum is free each Tuesday. Although, um, forget about this in the summer; Free Tuesdays are way crowded. You might want to contact the Balboa Park Visitors' Center:
(619) 239-0512, 1549 El Prado, Balboa Park, San Diego, California, 92101.
What else can I tell you? Wear comfortable shoes. LOTS of walking. Basically, Balboa Park is pretty much on every visitors' to-do list. It's an experience, a urban cultural park.
Child #4 and I were at Balboa Park this weekend for the Brownie bridging ceremony. This is when Brownies from all over the county come to walk across the bridge, which symbolizes their advancement from one level of Brownies to the next. My little Brownie has been promoted from a brown to a green vest. Congrats to Child #4. And congrats to me for FINALLY getting all those badges sewn on.
They close the bridge to traffic for an hour to let HORDES of brownies, their leaders, their families hoof it across the bridge.
What was on the other side of the bridge, you ask? Live music, arts & crafts, face painting AND SAN DIEGO GAS & ELECTRIC! What was SDG&E doing at the other side of a Brownie bridge, you ask? They had a booth where you could trade in your light bulbs for their energy-efficient cousins. How very Californian.
And here's a particularly special troop.
(From: http://www.balboapark.org, http://www.sandiego.gov/park-and-recreation/parks/balboa)
My Town Monday comes to us via Travis Erwin. Thanks, Travis! Click on his site to read his post about, uh, deep-fried calf personal parts. AND to find links to the other participants.
AND I STARTED THIS BLOG ONE YEAR + ONE DAY AGO!
Friday, May 16, 2008
I'm reposting the contest info. It's at the bottom of the post below which is quite possibly one of the loooongest posts I've ever written! But that's because yesterday's was such an interesting adventure.
So, between now and Monday at midnight my time (Pacific), guess what's the most number of stings Dr. Laura Hershey, Bee Lady Extraordinaire has sustained in a single episode. Post your number in the comments section. The closest person wins an ARC (Advance Reader's Copy) of Julia Gillian by Alison McGhee or The Year My Sister Got Lucky by Aimee Friedman. The first ARC is a middle-grade novel; the second is young adult.
AND AND AND I'll toss in one of the delicious I So Don't Do Mysteries Hershey Crunch bars!
I'll check the comments section of this post and the one below. No worries
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Dr. Laura Hershey, Bee Lady, Chiropractor, Sculptor and Avid Surfer, showed up at 6:00 AM to deal with our bees.
She is a DELIGHTFUL personality. And, as a non-morning person, I can't say that about many people at 6:00 AM. Maybe not even any.
But Laura is one of those people (and we've all stumbled across them at various points in our life) that you're just so glad you had the chance to meet. She's truly an individual, very comfortable with what she's doing and where she's at. She's kind and patient and full of interesting tidbits of bee information.
So, Laura arrives. She's got thick dark-framed glasses and polka-dot rubber boot ("wellies" for those of you out there who use the term). She's dressed in her beekeeper's outfit, including long, thick gloves and a hat with netting.
Her equipment: an empty cardboard box that was originally used for holding clay. And two old sheets. One is a faded floral print; the other is a children's sheet with a fun animal motif. I distinctly remember a bunch of surfing pigs and several passive grazing sheep.
Laura observes our bees and informs me that we have a friendly colony of European honey bees.
I feel a little parental proudness about the friendly part. Like the Summy family would even consider hosting mean, African bees in their garden!
Before calling me outside, this is what Laura does: She places a sheet on the ground in the garden. Next, she sets the open and empty card box on the ground next to the cable box. She removes the cable box lid, reaches in and picks up a ball of bees and wax, then shakes said ball over the open card board box. A TON of bees land in the box, including the queen. Laura folds over the flaps on the card box, but doesn't seal it. This means bees can still fly in and out.
I join the scene to see many bees perched on one of the flaps, their little bee bottoms up in the air, their little wings flapping furiously. There is a very definite smell of caramel. Laura explains that the caramel smell tells the bees not yet in the box that a nice new home has been found and invites them to come on in.
After a while, Laura doublewraps the card board box in both sheets and places it in the hatchback of her car. She's transporting our bees to Boulevard, CA (about 65 miles southeast of San Diego, very close to the Mexican border) where she has a friend who keeps bees.
Laura tells me that, by next fall, our bees will have produced some very delicious sage honey. I'm going to call her in October to see if we can drive down to Boulevard to buy some of that honey. And visit our bees. No, no, of course, we won't bring Child #3.
Apparently, there will be some bee activity around the cable box for about a week. There were bees who, for whatever reason, didn't buy into the caramel smell and didn't join their colony in the card board box. And there were bees who were already out foraging and will return to an empty hive. Without a queen, these bees will not start a new colony, but will provide snacks for sparrows and crows.
And here's a SHOCKING AND SCARY NUMBER: Laura estimates there were FOUR THOUSAND bees in our colony!!!! (one exclamation mark per thousand)
I did get some pictures. With Laura's cell phone. My camera's battery had died.
This is Dr. Laura Hershey, (well, her hand, boot and leg!) the bee lady, with the card board box of bees.
Another shot of Laura by the garden.
Laura doublesheets the card board box.
If you live in San Diego county and are ever in need of the bee lady, here's her contact info. Also, I didn't ask, but I bet she'd be willing to do a class visit. Okay, here's the info:
Dr. Laura Hershey, 4783 Pescadero Avenue, San Diego, CA 92107
Now, how about a contest for those of you persistent souls who made it through this loooong post?
Between now and Monday at midnight my time (Pacific), guess what's the most number of stings Laura has sustained in a single episode. Post your number in the comments section. The closest person wins an ARC (Advance Reader's Copy) of Julia Gillian by Alison McGhee or The Year My Sister Got Lucky by Aimee Friedman. The first ARC is a middle-grade novel; the second is young adult.
AND AND AND I'll toss in one of the famous I So Don't Do Mysteries Hershey Crunch bars!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Yesterday, at the bottom of our driveway was a HUGE HUGE HUGE swarm of BEES. Like a CLOUD of bees. (Sorry, I didn't get a picture of this.)
The bees' home: the cable box.
We scooted Child #3 inside the house.
You might remember that Child # has a major allergy to honey bees. As in Epi-Pen allergy.
I called Cox Cable.
We will be getting a visit from.....The Bee Lady!
The dark clumps on the front and side of the "box" are clumps of bees.
If you look closely, you can see a bunch of bees on the left side of the "box." I took these photos after the bees had calmed down and stopped swarming the end of our driveway.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
When Chris Collins and Winston Coggans take off on a post-graduation cross-country bike trek, Chris's hopes are high. He's looking forward to seeing the country, dodging a dull summer at a minimum wage job, and having one final adventure with his oldest friend. The journey from Hurricane, West Virginia to the coast of Washington state delivers all those things . . . and more.
So much more that when Chris returns home without Win at the end of the summer, he's certain their 10 year friendship is all but over. But when an FBI agent begins asking questions-and raising suspicions about Chris-he learns that saying goodbye to a friend like Win is never as simple as riding away. Shift offers an adventure story and a missing persons tale spinning around a single question: What happens when you outgrow your best friend?
It's book launch time again on the Class of 2k8 blog. This week belongs to Jennifer Bradbury, debut Young Adult author of Shift. Her publisher has already bought the second book!
Without giving too much away, let me just say that Jen is interesting, Very interesting.
Like she and her husband took a two-month long honeymoon to bicycle from Charleston, South Carolina to LA, California. I won't tell you how many tires they changed! Like she's been on a certain game show hosted by a certain Alex Trebek! Like while she was in India on a Fulbright Teaching Exchange, she wrote Shift. Uh, yeah, India!
Read an excerpt from Shift on Jen's author page on the Class of 2k8's website.
Check out interviews with Jen on the Class of 2k8's blog.
It's a fun week over there on the 2k8 blog. Come see us. :)
Sunday, May 11, 2008
It's that time again: My Town Monday. Only this week, we're talking about books to do with our hometown.
I'm writing about Carolyn Wheat, a San Diego mystery author.
I first met Carolyn at a San Diego Sisters in Crime meeting. I ended up taking a mystery writing class she taught. It was pretty informal. We all sat around someone's living room while Carolyn talked. You had to pay attention because she was a rambler and, hidden in her ramblings, were nuggets about clues and red herrings and dialogue and characterization and plot. The class also involved her dissecting our manuscripts. Definitely not for the thin-skinned because Carolyn didn't candycoat. I learned a lot. Both from listening to her critique others' WIPs (works in progress) and from her comments about my own stuff.
Carolyn writes a smart mystery. Lots of twists and turns, everything nicely tied up at the end, interesting well-developed characters. She's the kind of writer who always delivers so when you read something of hers, you can kick back and enjoy. No worries that there'll be a gaping hole in the plot.
Carolyn practiced law in New York City for twenty something years. Her series of five mysteries showcases Cass Jameson, an attorney in New York City. It's a good series. Also, Carolyn has edited a few anthologies, and she's written many mystery short stories.
Personally, I have a weakness for short stories. Especially dark short stories. Which means Tales Out of School is right up my alley. This is a collection of 19 crime stories written by Carolyn Wheat, most of them dark and depressing. Tales Out of School was nominated for a 2001 Anthony.
Funnily enough, Carolyn didn't realize short stories would be a forte. She wrote the first one only because a bunch of other mystery authors were getting into an anthology, and she didn't want to be left out.
We have several really good mystery authors here in San Diego. Carolyn just happens to be one of my favorites.
My Town Monday comes to us via Travis Erwin. Thanks, Travis! Click on his site to read his post about The Bone Pickers by Alan Dewlen and find links to the other participants. And thank you Josephine Damian who came up with pairing My Town Monday posts with book reviews.
Friday, May 9, 2008
As promised, here are a few photos from April's high school talk.
Here's a staged photo of me showing the Random House Fall Catalogue to a couple of male freshmen. Who were probably wishing I'd included several cute and adoring high school girls in the photo!
Chatting about Sherry in said catalogue
These were a very popular item: Hershey Crunch bars with an extraordinarily beautiful sleeve. The front is the cover of I So Don't Do Mysteries; the back is info like the pub date (Dec. 9, 2008) and the blog's url. Thank you LP for supplying the most beautifully decorated chocolate bars in the whole world!
Way in the background are delightful Class of 2k8 bookmarks. I gave them all away.
In financial news, I spent $55 last night on the way home from a local swim meet. On gas and milk.
That's it. Gas and a jug of milk. Granted, the gas needle was on empty and the light flashed on. And I did buy an entire gallon of milk. But, still, $55 seems somewhat excessive.
I may have to turn to tequila. For my van, that is. Here's an article on a home ethanol refinery that, for roughly $10K, will produce 35 gallons of gasoline a week.
Oh, by the way, congratulations to Child #2 for getting a personal best in the 200 yard free!