November 23, 2003

A Thousand Words

Ed Stephan has an interactive graph of the ongoing American loss in Iraq. I hadn't seen the numbers in this form, before, and it surprises me to see how constant the slope was until last month. The new trend is even sadder.

November 22, 2003

Saskatoon

This must be a wonderful place in the summer. A pretty skyline along a river under a big blue sky, interesting architecture, lots of open space. The river was partly frozen with mist rising out of the liquid part. Even at this time of year I could see its charms.

I did two workshops and a keynote for SACE, the Saskatchewan Association for Computing Education. Very receptive audience.



On Friday I was toured around by Daryl Koroluk, the tech coordinator for the city schools. The high point was a visit to the Wanuskewin Heritage Park, a museum and interpretive center place at the edge of a cliff where Cree and other tribes used to get buffalo herds to jump off and leave this mortal coil and enter their hungry stomachs. The picture above depicts the creation myth that the first buffalo emerged from the rocks.

Ended the day with the best Indian meal I've had in years at the Taj Mahal: samosas, pakoras, stuffed parantha, nawabi badami murgha, gosht palak, and some outstanding ice cream spiced with cardamon and rose water. The family that runs it comes from Punjab via Kenya and they're all there working. If I lived in Saskatoon I'd be eating there at least once a week.

More pictures here.

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November 19, 2003

Back in Wisconsin

I'm in the Wisconsin Dells, today, doing a second keynote for an Invitational Institute for educational leaders in the state. Great audience. I continue to be impressed by midwestern personality, though I can't fully put it into words.

I had a chance to drive around the Dells a bit. Most of it is closed for the winter, so I got to savor the spooky quiet of deserted amusement rides and empty attractions. I explored a bit further from all that and got a look at some duck-filled lakes, too.

More pictures here!

Tonight I'm off to Saskatoon where there's snow in the forecast and a temperature down near zero. My Californian wardrobe isn't ready for this!

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November 16, 2003

Flashback

Yesterday was the annual technology festival put on by San Diego CUE, an organization I helped get started.

Since this was the 20th such event, there was a lot of reminiscing about the ancient beginnings of educational computing, and Yvonne Andres, the telecommunications pioneer and long-reigning Queen of Global School Net stepped forward with a page of pictures from the 80s and early 90s.

They're all great, but I'm especially bowled over by this picture of my now-almost-6-feet-tall son Alex. Thanks, Yvonne!

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Visual Thrills

Is the layout of my blog too vanilla for your taste? Hmmm... then why not trY tHiS.

November 14, 2003

Romania Mania

I'm going to Romania! Yesterday I received and accepted an invitation to speak at a meeting of the Think, Construct and Communicate working group, an EU project with participants from Romania, Spain, Finland, Poland and Italy. Over the next two years, the group will create a set of training materials and an online course for getting teachers up to speed on WebQuests.

The meeting is in February, probably not the best time of year to visit the Balkans, but what a venue! The hosting institution is Valahia University in Targoviste, a medieval town north of Bucharest where Vlad the Impaler ruled. They get some Dracula-themed tourism there. Something to look forward to in the new year!

November 10, 2003

How to Attract More Readers to Your Blog

Step 1: Have a natural disaster in your back yard.
Step 2: There is no Step 2.

November 08, 2003

Blog Cuisine

There's something appealing about cooking from a recipe that comes from someone you read online. Even though there are exactly six trajillion recipes available on the web (here, for example), I love it when I see a dish in someone's blog and cook it for myself. Knowing a little about the source humanizes it somehow, making it seem more high-touch than cooking from a soul-less web page.

Today's example comes from ze frank's blog, the October 22 recipe for chili, to be specific. Two kinds of beans, two bottles of ale, habanero sauce, carrots, red bell pepper... it sounded promising and ended up tasting great even though my family decided early in the cooking that it looked like a science experiment. There's lots left over and it's supposed to be better the next day.

It's a kick to know that I've replicated one small aspect of the amazing creativity of the guy who came up with How to Dance Properly, and Your Mama and Letter Project and ouch and Draw Toy vs. Byokal and Chinese Dragon and oranges and the Pre-Date Confidence Builder and lots more. Someday I have to learn Flash and how to dance like that.

November 02, 2003

Return to Normal

The wind changed Wednesday, bringing fog and dark clouds and humidity. By Friday things were feeling more like usual, except that Winter has arrived all at once. It actually rained a little on Friday and today, something that hasn't happened since last May. Now we have fluffy cumulus clouds coming in from the ocean punctuating a bright blue sky.

On Halloween night we continued a longstanding tradition of going to our friends' house in Chula Vista. Their neighborhood has far more kids than ours, and it's fun to watch all the kids toddle up for their sugar fix. Alex and his buds didn't dress up; instead they played Magic the Gathering out in the driveway as the parents greeted the trick or treaters and chatted.

I don't know anyone who got much done this past week, even with days off from classes and work. The tension, cabin fever, and raw lungs sapped our energies. School resumes tomorrow after a nine-day weekend, and my university classes will be back in full swing, too. I've got to figure out today what to drop and how to reschedule. Suddenly the end of the semester doesn't seem so far away!