Dave Bullock / eecue

photographer, engineering leader, nerd


Dane Reese: Where are you?

I'm trying to get in touch with Dane Reese. He was an inspirational teacher when I was in High School in Santa Fe, New Mexico. If you know or if you are Dane Reese and you're reading this, click on the Email button on the left hand side of this site and let me know how to get ahold of him. Thanks!

UPDATE: I got in touch with Dane. He's doing well and just recently got his PhD in Education (Transitive Learning).


The Black Hole : Los Alamos Laboratory Salvage Yard

The Black Hole

Every teenager dreams of working in a giant warehouse full of discarded nuclear test equipment, well used high-pressure vacuum fittings and an endless assortment of puzzling devices which may or may not have any value in the modern era. Ok, so maybe not every teenager has this dream, I was and still am somewhat of a strange person, but in High School in New Mexico, this particular dream of mine came true.

After tooling around the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Library and the Bradbury Museum for the better part of a day, my father took a break from coding the labs IBM AS/400 systems he was responsible for and took me to The Black Hole, also known as the Los Alamos Sales Company. He introduced me to Ed Grothus (photo below), an eccentric old fellow who had worked for the lab (what the locals call LANL) until being let go after marching in a peace protest in the '60s.

Ed offered me a job, which paid minimum wage, which I believe was about $4.25 in New Mexico. He didn't really tell me what the job would entail, and honestly I didn't care. I had fallen in love with the endless piles of mysterious equipment that filled the former supermarket that had become The Black Hole. As it turned out my job description was quite eclectic and covered everything from taking apart electronic assemblies to recover whatever was valuable inside to helping customers find that centrifuge they were looking for to tearing old lockers out of High Schools.

I worked for Ed for 3 or 4 summers and I really enjoyed my time there. It was an amazing experience and I learned about all types of scientific laboratory equipment, how it worked, and what it was worth second hand. I had been meaning to visit the Black Hole and Ed for almost a decade, and I did just that on my recent vacation to New Mexico. Here are some photos with short captions covering what I saw:

Ed Grothus shows off his Peace Obelisk, one of two identical 3 ton marble obelisks. Ed traveled to China to have the massive monuments hewn from quarried marble and then polished and inscribed. The obelisks will have a message in fifteen languages inscribed in the hematite spheres that the obelisks will rest on. He is still searching for a location to place the monuments, I recommended the Trinity Site.

Ed Grothus and his Peace Obelisks

Except for the rusted sculptures and the "Military Surplus" sign, the front entrance to the Black Hole hasn't changed much in the decade and a half since I worked there. The former supermarket, it's parking lot and the church next door no longer sell groceries or facilitate worship, but instead provide cover to millions of salvaged scientific apparatuses. His frequent customers include LANL employees who are ironically buying back the same equipment the lab sold to salvage for pennies on the dollar over the years.

High Vacuum Equipment

Ultra High vacuum equipment is some of the most high-tech looking hardware in the world. Comprised of thick walled stainless steel and machined with great precision for even greater amounts of money, HVac or UHV fittings are designed to withstand extremely high levels of vacuum. They are used for thin-film and spectroscopy research applications which require insane levels of negative pressure.

Marley High Speed Camera

This large device is a Marley High Speed Camera built in England in 1944. The camera is capable of taking 100,000 photos per second. It was most likely used to photograph nuclear or other explosions.

The Yard

To the left of the parking lot in the photo above you can see the A-frame church. When I worked at the Black Hole, it was filled with especially old, and possibly valuable equipment. The parking lot has been a source of trouble for Ed through the years, after neighbors complained the city of Los Alamos ordered Ed to clean up the lot. He ended up refusing to do so, being arrested, and while he was in jail the city hired a private firm to clean up the Black Hole. Instead of cleaning the parking lot out, they sold most all of Ed's most valuable items and pocketed the profit. As you can clearly see, the yard is still not clean.

More after the jump, and the whole archive can be found in my gallery


Angel Fire, New Mexico

When my lovely wife Penelope and I were staying in Taos, we decided to go rock hounding around the Enchanted Circle scenic byway. We took a 4WD trail up a mountain and took some photos near Angel Fire:

Penelope, Dave and Blue-J

Clouds and Mountains

Dave and Penelope

You can see more in my Angel Fire New Mexico gallery.


Taos in an Earth Ship

Penelope and I stayed in an Earthship in Taos. For years I have dreamt of building an Earthship, and someday I may do just that. We really enjoyed our stay and Taos, like the rest of New Mexico is beautiful:

Sunset and an Earthship

Rio Grande Gorge

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

More photos in my Taos gallery


Santa Fe Proper

Surprisingly enough, I only took a few photos of Santa Fe itself during our vacation there. Here they are:

El Portal and Crane with Clounds

Santa Fe Plaza Monument Topped with Pige

East Palace Avenue and Clouds


Prairie Dogs @ Jackalope

I really, really, really love Prairie Dogs. They have an extremely advanced and extensive form of verbal communication, with hundreds of distinct calls they use to describe different dangers and predators. It saddens me somewhat that the tourist trap known as Jackalope keeps over a dozen dogs in a cement lined pen which is roughly one tenth the size of the area the would inhabit in the wild. Either way about it, they're cute as can be, as evidenced by these photos:

Prairie Dog

Prairie Dog Eating

Prairie Dog Kisses

Prairie Dogs Kissing

Prairie Dog Munching

Prairie Dog

You can see the rest of the Prairie Dog photos I took in my gallery.


NF 289 and St Peter's Dome Road

Yesterday the radiantly beautiful Penelope and I took the road less traveled from Cochiti Pueblo up through Tent Rocks along National Forest road 289, with a slight detour to Saint Peter's Dome, up to Highway 4. The FJ, which we've named Blue-J, performed flawlessly, although this time 4 Wheel Low was required. Here are some photos I took, along with Penelope's first HDR photo:

Blue-J with Pen and Dave

Blue-J in Dome Wilderness

View from Dome Wilderness Lookout

View from Dome Wilderness Lookout

Cochiti Dam and Valley

Penelope's first HDR photo:

Dome Wilderness

You can check out the rest in my photo gallery.


Elk Mountain in New Mexico

Today Penelope and I drove up past Pecos to dig through some mine tailings for interesting rocks. Yeah we're rockhounds, so what? After finding some good specimens we decided to take a 4WD trail up to the top of Elk Mountain. It was a great drive, about 20 miles each way. Once again, the FJ totally kicked ass, this time getting totally covered with mud. I didn't even have to put it in to 4 low for the trail. Here are some photos from the top of Elk Mountain:

Penelope, Dave and Blue-J on Elk Mountai

FJ Cruiser atop Elk Mountain

View from Elk Mountain

FJ Cruiser and Repeater atop Elk Mountai

View from Elk Mountain

You can find the rest in my gallery.


New Mexico in an FJ Cruiser

My lovely wife, Penelope, and I are vacationing in New Mexico. We just got in last night and today was our first road trip. We drove down to the former ghost town of Madrid. We took back roads most of the way, and of course the FJ Cruiser, which we have named "Blue-J", performed beautifully.

I just drove by memory from my High School days in Santa Fe, and Penelope was a bit concerned we would get lost, driving on random poorly maintained dirt roads, but we did just fine. When we got back to Santa Fe, we picked up a road and recreation atlas that has much finer detail than our AAA maps. Tomorrow I think we're going to go to Tesuque and Las Vegas... New Mexico, not Nevada!

Here are some photos from today:

Dave and Penelope with Clouds and Blue-J

New Mexico Sky

Dave and Penelope in Blue-J

New Mexico Sky and Blue-J

You can check out the rest here in my photo gallery.