March 06, 2007

Alex Turns 19

Hard to believe that the happiest day of my life, so far, was 19 years ago.

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July 14, 2006

A Busy Month

It's been a whirlwind since the semester ended. Driving it all was Alex's graduation from High Tech High. We used that as the excuse for doing a major cleanup of the house. Goodwill and the Salvation Army are much better stocked now, and our house has lost several hundred pounds. All that work culminated in a graduation party for Alex's friends and their parents.


And the beat goes on. We're leaving today for Peru. Soon we'll be gasping for oxygen as we marvel at Machu Picchu. Watch for pictures here, soon.

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June 18, 2006

Father's Day

We've spent the last two days gathering stuff from the garage, boxing it and getting it out in front for the Salvation Army to pick up in the morning. Finally we can walk through the laundry room without climbing over boxes.

Some of what we're giving away are things that Alex outgrew years ago. He's busy finishing his video senior project, so there wasn't much in the way of Father's Day festivities, but one thing I did seemed to resonate with the theme of the day. I carefully washed a set of Alex's Duplos and sealed them away in their original container, like a time capsule. We'll unseal the box in a decade or two and watch our first grandchild play. Fatherhood, Phase 2.

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February 20, 2006

Our Son Has Been Abducted by a Robot

We haven't seen him for three days now, as he's sleeping on a friend's floor and spending all day as a member of Team 1538, the High Tech High Robotics Team. Last Saturday was the first outing of HTH's robot as well as a dozen others from local schools. It made the local paper, and was lavishly photographed. Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey secretly visited the team last week and taped a segment for a future show. The kids are learning engineering, blogging about the experience, and generally throwing themselves into it full bore. Alex's role, and his senior project, is to create a video documentary about the team.

It's all part of the FIRST robotics competition, the next stage of which is a huge event in Las Vegas in which robots will be competing and cooperating with each other in a basketball-like game. We went last year and it was incredibly fun. The founder of FIRST, Dean Kamen, is the inventor of the Segway and was a student at WPI in the 70s when I worked there. He was a standout even then. After taking a couple of years of coursework, he stopped going to classes and instead began hiring some of the faculty as consultants as he began his own business.

Anyway, the HTH robot gets packed in a box and shipped to Las Vegas tomorrow, and until then it's the full time obsession of these dozen kids. We look forward to getting Alex back again for awhile tomorrow night.

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July 12, 2005

Could they see me from orbit?


I climbed the Great Wall of China today. Hot damn!

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April 16, 2005

April (and Alex) in Paris

Our nest is temporarily empty: on Thursday Alex left with 21 of his classmates on a week long trip to Paris. It's going to be a great adventure for him. He's been to Sweden (twice), Denmark and Lithuania, but never France and never without us. If all goes well, he'll come back a little wiser about art, French history, and maybe snails. His access to computers is limited, and it takes time to figure out the phone system, so I was tickled to hear from him this morning at the end of his second full day:

Hey, we're in Paris, and it's going well. I'll be brief; as the
keyboqrds are just weird and I have limited time on the computer.
I've been unqble to get q phone cqrd, qnd neither hqs qnyone else, so
I ,q y not be qble to cqll:

if you send ,e qn emqil; Ill get it, eventuqlly:

i'n keeping q journql; qnd tqking lots of pictures:

okqy; ill check ,y ,qil qgqin to,orroz;

bye1 i love you guys


What's with the bizarre spelling? My touch-typing QWERTY boy is having his first experience with the AZERTY keyboard. He'll adjust quickly, I'm sure. You can use this picture as a secret decoding ring.

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April 03, 2005

Leaving Las Vegas

We're back after three days in Sin City watching the regional matches of the FIRST Robotics Competition. Why were we there? Because Alex is on the team from High Tech High, and he's been spending late nights and weekends getting the bot off the ground. We stayed way way way off the strip... 20 miles away in fact, at a place that June immediately recognized as being similar to the island the Prisoner woke up in: MonteLago Village Resort. When it's completed, it's going to look like a Disney version of a seaside village in Italy. For now, it was pretty but eerie, and it made us glad to have seen the real Italy. For the short drive, though, we got ourselves a large suite for half the price of a single room on the strip. The kids from High Tech High, on the other hand, were stacked four to a room in a Best Western.



The competition was held in the arena at UNLV. Words can't really capture the experience of watching six 120-pound wheeled machines lurching around a basketball court, lifting up tetrahedrons and dropping them on top of larger tetrahedrons, while simultaneously trying to block the opposing team from doing the same thing.

The design of the game was ingenious, requiring strategy, cooperation among teams, and of course, an able robot. The competition went on for a full day of practice runs and two days of matches, all accompanied by a very loud soundtrack aimed at 17 year olds... pretty good music I thought. High Tech High ended up just under the middle of the 38 team pack and made it through the quarter finals.

Things like this make me optimistic about the next generation.

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November 25, 2004

San Diego Thanksgiving Day Run

Our holiday had a different start this year, with the three of us plus Alex's friend Michael heading down to Balboa Park at the dawn's early light to participate in the San Diego Thanksgiving Day Run. We walked, not ran, but it was still good exercise for the likes of us. We stayed in the back of the pack with the dogs and strollers and sauntered to the finish one hour, three minutes later, though for some reason we don't show up on the final tally.

Since the course ended up by Petco Park rather than looping back, it was in fact a 10K event. Those pre-burned calories allowed us to go back for seconds when we dined with the Kellys in the afternoon. Next year, maybe we'll run a bit.

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August 22, 2004

Looking Up

Last night the Kellys and Dodges joined three busloads of SDSU alums for a star party at the Mt. Laguna Observatory. Not a bad event, though we missed most of it by edging away from the reggae music and going out on our own to hang around one of the telescopes. There's nothing like staring into the moon's craters to put a litte awe into your evening. The night sky was a whole lot darker than what we see from the city, and the Milky Way was plainly visible.

We also saw two satellites go over. I noted the times and when we got home I consulted the very cool Heavens Above site to see what they were. Turns out that we were seeing Cosmos 2082 Rocket and Okean O Rocket, two Russian launch vehicles. Here's how Cosmos 2082 looked to us, and here's how we looked to it. Some great math, science and geography lessons could be designed around this site!

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August 09, 2004

Alex Now Wiser

This morning the A-Boy had all four wisdom teeth removed. They knocked him out for less than an hour, and then summoned us in to see him lying down, out cold. Once they got him upright, he was quite a sight: eyes rolling back, blood-smeared teeth, groggy. We brought him home for a full day of TV watching, laptop surfing, and an ongoing parade of apple sauce, soup, mac & cheese, ice cream. Nothing makes you feel more like a parent than packing gauze into the bloody sockets of your son's mouth (my job), or jumping up to get him something mushy to eat every few hours (June's job).

He's had an intense few weeks. Friday we brought him back from three weeks at the CTY program at Loyola Marymount. He's a "nevermore" now, too old to return next year. He took a course in cognitive psychology and worked his way through a chunk of Anderson's text.

On Saturday he had his first behind the wheel driving lesson. June and I were conducting a pretty lame yard sale and watched him be driven off by his instructor at the start of the sale and drive up and park himself as we were closing it down. Another milestone.

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July 18, 2004

Vacation Post-Mortem

And what terrific sweep though my home turf it was! No time to write it up in detail, but here's the itinerary:

Three days in New York City: the St. Patrick's Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central, the Guggenheim, Times Square, the UN, and Empire State Building. Then we rented a car and drove up the back way into Connecticut, stopping at the birthplace of Charles Ives in Danbury and staying a couple of days in Waterbury, the land of my birth. Saw the 4th of July fireworks at Lake Quassapaug (Quassy), the amusement park where I broke my arm in first grade. Wandered through the Immaculate Conception Church where I was an altar boy, sang in the choir, and sold newspapers on Sunday mornings; St. Mary's School, my alma mater; the Timexpo Museum built in the Scovill building across the street from where my apartment house once stood; and the Mattatuck Museum, which does a great job of summarizing Waterbury's three and a half centuries. The high point of the Waterbury segment was sneaking past the barricade of barking nuns and wandering through the ruins of Holyland USA, a handmade replica of Bethlehem that I played in during the 60s and which is now dissolving back into the jungle floor.



Then up through the green hills and 300 year old towns of Northwestern Connecticut and two nights in a B&B in the Berkshires where neither the beds nor the breakfasts could be recommended. Visited the Norman Rockwell Museum and Hancock Shaker Village. Onward to Worcester and a tour around my undergraduate haunts at WPI.

Then Boston. Went to Concord, the site of the shot heard round the world, and to Kimball Farm, a roadside ice cream stand that my friend Joe Doran turned me onto years ago. Then the Salem Witch Museum and lobster in Gloucester. We settled into our hotel in Cambridge and the next morning we walked to Harvard, wandered through MIT, and dined in Quincy Market. I had to fly to Missouri for an advisory board meeting for a day, while June and Alex went to the JFK Library, the MIT Library, and a performance of the Blue Man Group. When I got back, we all went to the Museum of Science, which I think is the best one of its type I've ever seen.

Finally, time to head back toward JFK. We drove down to New London, toured the first nuclear sub Nautilus, and took the ferry across to Long Island.

All in all it was a great vacation. We stayed on Pacific Time for the whole 2 weeks, sleeping late and staying up late. Though we saw a lot, we paced ourselves and made up the itinerary one day at a time. It was just long enough.

And of course, there are pictures.
New York City - July 1-3
Connecticut - July 4-5
Holyland USA, Waterbury CT - July 5
Massachusetts and back - July 6-15

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April 05, 2004

Closing a Family Century

I've been remiss in blogging these last few weeks. Too much travel. Too much on my plate. Yadda yadda yadda. But I'm back.

This is a picture of Ellen Theresa St. John and Richard Scadden on their wedding day in 1904. Over the 28 years of their marriage they had 12 kids including my mother and last month the last of them died. My Aunt Winifred was 92 years old and was always the most memorable of my aunts. My grandmother once told my mother that Winnie would be the last to go because she was so mean. She did have a sharp tongue that she used to keep the rest of the family in line, and a strong set of opinions to go with it. But she was also the most interesting of the bunch and even late in life when she was housebound she managed to keep an entourage of neighbors who came over regularly and enjoyed her company.

Aunt Win's passing impacts me because she named me as executor of her estate... which was a surprise to me since we hadn't spoken in two or three years. Our last conversation ended with her biting my head off because we weren't raising Alex as a Catholic (or as anything but a good human for that matter). She hung up on me and I never called back. I thought for sure that I was out of the will as her final handler but she never got around to changing it. Now I've got the long distance job of settling her bills, selling her house, and distributing what's left to Alex and seven of his cousins. That meant spending spring break in Florida racing against time to clean up the house, get unsaleable stuff off to charities, gather up the pictures and photo albums, and find a realtor all in three days.

Somehow I managed to get it all done. And so the span of Ellen and Richard and their twelve kids has come to a close an even hundred years after their wedding. My cousins and I are on our own to make our own mistakes and live our own stories.

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March 03, 2004

Sixteen Years Ago Tonight

I had been up most of the night in Fresno, unable to sleep since June told me that her water broke while she was at a restaurant with friends. I was supposed to be giving a workshop for CSU faculty, but that never happened. The next plane out was at 6am so I spent the night tossing and turning and imagining what my son would look like. Dark, curly hair, I pictured, and later he'd be tall. I thought about renting a car and driving to San Diego but it wouldn't have gotten me there much sooner and it surely would have gotten me there in no shape to be helpful.

June tossed and turned that night in the hospital all alone. I arrived just before 9 in the morning and we spent the rest of the day waiting for Alex to arrive. And by dinner time, without complications, he was here.

It seems as though it couldn't be 16 years ago already, and simultaneously it seems as though he's always been part of my life. The little guy I held and crooned "Good Morning Starshine" to that night is almost 6 feet tall. The big present tonight was prepaid driving lessons, and just another two birthdays from now he'll be watching the mail for college acceptance letters.

It's been so fast and deep and so beyond what I imagined. Happy Birthday Alex! Thanks for being such a great kid.

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January 31, 2004

Global Gluttony

Worked on getting things in order for taxes most of the day. Then we all went to the Food Festival at St. Bridget's in Pacific Beach with JoAnn and Michael. They had food there from twenty or so countries, so we grazed for dinner. Several tables had a bit of ethnic booze as well, so my tapas and baklava and ravioli and Nigerian goat rice and pirogi were washed down with some Scottish scotch, Swedish glog, and Trinidadian rum punch. Then the circle dancing began.

We continued the home Russian film festival with Stachka, a silent Eisenstein film from 1925. Cruel piglike capitalist factory owners drive workers to strike. Chaos, intrique and pain follow.

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January 30, 2004

Another Blogger in the Family

June has been secretly blogging since December and only a few days ago revealed the URL of Kicking My Feet Up. She's becoming quite the foodie, you'll see. We're eating well these days and hardly ever dining out. June's extracting herself from her former job was a good move for the whole family.

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January 12, 2004

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Dodge!

Today is June's birthday, and it's one of those odometer-tripping ones that require special attention. Alex and I responded to the challenge yesterday by baking a Burnt Almond Cake, one of June's favorites that we can't seem to buy ready made anywhere any more. None of the recipes online matched our recollection of it, so we combined Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Golden Cake with the custard cream from this recipe and the almond frosting from this one. The end result was unbelievably good... especially considering that I don't remember ever making a cake before. To cap it off, we gave her a gift certificate at Great News, a cooking place and The Recipe Manager software. She was very pleased, even if the American Heart Association wasn't.

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January 06, 2004

Gringos con Chiles Poblanos

Alex returns to school tomorrow, after two weeks of us mostly staying inside computing, reading, eating and resting. In a rushed attempt to break out of this routine before time ran out, we went on a disorganized geocaching foray in search of Lake Murray Loot. It was already late afternoon when we started, and I didn't take time to study the site before going there. So we spent half an hour hoofing around the lake in the chilly gloom, watching the latitude and longitude change ever so slowly in the the desired direction. At last we decided that by the time we'd get there we'd be blistered and frozen (in a SoCal way) and we turned around empty handed. Another time.

June had a recipe picked out involving pork shoulder, garlic, oregano, potatoes, zucchini, corn... and chile poblano. That last thing showed us our limitations in spite of the hundreds of hours of Food Channel viewing we had under our belts. You've seen it there, no doubt... the business of putting the chiles under the broiler and burning the bejesus out of them, and then scraping the blackened skin off. It goes so smoothly on TV. For us, it was like watching the Three Stooges attempt brain surgery. We peeled and squeezed and plucked until a layer only one molecule thick of actual chile flesh was left. That, however, turned out to be enough. Two hours later the spicy dish warmed us as we watched first Lord of the Rings DVD.

And now Winter Break is over.

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December 06, 2003

Aftermath

I spoke too soon about how unscathed we all were. June's finger swelled up and it pains her to move it. Alex and I have neck pains (but nothing serious... he's been checked out by his doctor). My car wouldn't start Friday morning because there's a short somewhere now that has drained the battery dry. For the first time in the 14 years we've lived here, I actually walked to campus to get to a meeting. Thirty-five minutes of brisk stepping with 20 pounds of computing power on my shoulder. And a cold.

I appreciate the kind notes I got from lots of people. I appreciate a bit less the note from the dittohead who noticed my Dean bumpersticker and decided that I'm a communist. This is the state of American civility we've arrived at after electing someone whose mantra was "I'm a uniter, not a divider."

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December 03, 2003

A Day of Extremes

Every year around this time I get hit by a cold that knocks me flat. Sometimes it waits until five minutes after my last class or committee meeting; other times I'm down for the count for the last week of the semester, usually messing me up for the department Christmas party and the first part of whatever vacation trip we take.

My 2003 cold began with aches and a throat tickle on Monday and I dragged myself through ten hours of teaching on Monday and Tuesday with no one noticing. But this morning, I was a mess: overslept, achey, slow moving, and coughing up vile stuff from deep in my lungs. I drove Alex to school (while listening to a public radio show about the increase in drunk driving arrests over the last few years), came home and went straight to bed. Stayed there all day until 5 when it was time to go back to watch Alex performing as a priest in a short play about the inquisition of Galileo.

The play was held outdoors at HighTechHigh, a questionable choice of venue because the temperature was somewhere in the 50s and the school is located directly under the flight path for planes leaving Lindbergh Field. Each of the six short plays was interrupted every two or three minutes by the roar of jets heading away from Paradise. Even when sky was clear, you could only hear half of the lines because, amazingly enough for a HighTECHHigh, there was no sound system.

I would have been cold anyway, having become a complete weatherwimp just like native San Diegans, but the chest congestion and aches made it hell on ice. Finally, after two hours of this, Alex took the stage. He was terrific! He projected his voice pretty well, and, more than just reciting his lines, he got up there and acted! He argued against Galileo's heretical support of the Copernican view of the solar system and Galileo pushed right back. It was all the more gratifying since this was the quiet boy who always stayed in the back of the crowd and never wanted to be in the spotlight. My paternal pride warmed me up and I forgot my aches.

We stopped at Jack-in-the-Box on the way home. I was looking forward to hopping back into bed as we drove past SDSU when suddenly there was the sound of screeching brakes and...

BAM!


A car had rammed us from behind. June screamed. Metal and glass crunched. My head hit the padding over the visor. Alex hit the back of my seat.

And then more tires squealing as the car behind us backed up, jumped up on the sidewalk, drove past us on the right with the sound of more crunching metal as he passed by me on the passenger side. When he got back off the sidewalk he seemed to pause and we all started calling out the license plate so that collectively we could remember it. A half second later, having chosen not to stop, he raced onto the entrance ramp for I-8 and headed east.

We surveyed each other to see who was hurt, and other than a bent finger for June, we all seemed OK. I called 911 and by the time I got through we had forgotten the first three digits of the out of state plates.

Meanwhile, evening classes were letting out of SDSU and the traffic kept rushing up behind us menacingly, with no one expecting us to be parked in the rightmost lane. Alex and I got out to see the damage and there seemed to be very little of it. Paint flaking off, a whole lot of red paint or pulverized plastic on the back from the other car. College Avenue was littered with pieces of metal, plastic and parts of headlights. Pieces of debris were being further crunched and sent hopping like dangerous popcorn as the traffic speeded past. Back 50 feet from where we stopped, we saw the whole front bumper of the other car lying on the sidewalk, having fallen off when he backed up.

Police came. They figured the other guy would be easy to spot racing down the freeway with no front bumper or headlights. They commended June for resisting the urge to slam on the brakes when we were hit. Had she done that, the impact would have been much worse and this would be a very sad story. As it is, just as when we watched the wildfires licking the hills behind our house, I realize again that nothing really matters but the people around you. We're OK. We're lucky.

And now that the distraction is over, I feel this damn cold again.

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July 18, 2003

Comic-Con

So here I've been for two decades in the city that thousands make a pilgrimage to each summer, and I've been oblivious. It's like living in the suburbs of Mecca and never doing the haj. Today, at long last, we all went to Comic-Con and trolled through the vendor area.

And saw: stacks of comics from the 50s, miniature orcs and knights, strolling Klingons, medieval trollops... you name it. Cartoonists have groupies here, all lined up to get a signature or to watch him draw. June noticed how dark most of the present day comics are, so different from the brightly colored worlds of Archie and Superman.

I had two brushes with celebrity here. First, I followed a line of people waiting for an autograph and found a familiar face at the end of the line surrounded by security people. Immediately I recognized him as the guy who blocked the aisle and smiled apologetically as he settled into his seat in first class as I headed for steerage on the plane coming back from DC. I didn't know who he was but he clearly had star quality. I completely forgot about him until I saw him there signing autographs and looked up at the sign: Crispin Glover. Don't know what his connection with comics is, but there he was.

Then, sitting quietly at a table with a tip jar, with no lines of fans in sight, sat one of the heroes of my yoot: Forrest J. Ackerman. In 1958 he began to publish Famous Monsters of Filmland, a monthly magazine filled with stills from all the vampire, godzilla, werewolf and flying saucer movies that I loved as a kid. I bought every issue (long gone, unfortunately) probably well into high school. Forrie's career went back further than that, all the way to the pulp magazine origins of sci-fi (a term he coined). What an interesting, idiosyncratic, obsessed life!

Had we planned this better, I would have gotten to see two more of my favorite bloggers and writers: Wil Wheaton and Neil Gaiman, both there today but somewhere out of view. Maybe next year.

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May 02, 2003

Pumpkin Dodge, 1996 - 2003

This afternoon, the sweetest cat I've ever known left a very sad family behind.


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March 28, 2003

Reason #32085 for Having Kids

Jackie Chan movies. If I didn't have a 15 year old in the house, I wouldn't have watched a Jackie Chan movie if I were shipwrecked thirty years and it was the only DVD on the island. I don't know where Alex got to see his first Chan movie without me, but he's got me hooked and now our Tivo is set to grab them all. We're watching Accidental Spy right now, my 7th or 8th JC film. What a likeable, modest, funny, highly skilled guy!

Jackie Chan, I mean. Alex, too, in time.

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January 10, 2003

Hawai'i Day Six

This was the best day of the trip. After checking out of the hotel, we had lunch at Zippy's, an old-fashioned kind of place as common here as IHOPs. Then on to the 'Iolani Palace, the only royal residence on American soil. How it got to be on American soil is a sad story. The palace was almost torn down to build a parking lot for the Capitol building that replaced it after statehood. Luckily, people rallied around to restore the palace and begin to retrieve the furniture that was auctioned off. What a loss that would have been! The workmanship of the place was amazing.


Then we went to the Honolulu Academy of Arts and looked over their collection of Asian statues, armor and paintings. Alex was fading again by this point so we cut it short and drove up into Diamond Head's crater. Didn't look much like a volcano; just a flat plain with military contraptions perched along the rim. We continued to drive around the eastern end of the island and on to Hawai'i Kai. More beautiful shoreline, islands and mountains with suburbia beginning to encroach. We finished off the day with another dinner at Keo's: green curried fish, shrimp in peanut sauce, grilled chicken and sticky rice. Yum! A great way to finish our visit to Hawai'i. We'll be back.

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January 09, 2003

Hawai'i Day Five

Finally, a day in which we all felt well enough to tour. We drove up H2 toward the North Shore, stopping every time something seemed vaguely interesting. First stop was the Dole Plantation, the epitome of tourist trappitude. Pineapple pot holders, pineapple shirts, pineapple softserve cones, pineapple quilts, a maze of pineapple plants arranged like a giant crop circle.... you get the picture. And here, as in many places in Waikiki, there are vendors where you pay to pick an oyster out of a pile and then watch as they open it up to see if you got a pearl while ringing a bell and calling out "A - Lo - HA!". The original natives of this island must be spinning in their tombs.


We then stopped at the Waimea Falls Park, a Disneyized version of a verdant valley, and then lunched at Giovanni's, a place that's famous for its shrimp. It's just a white truck parked on the side of the road and they only serve shrimp in one of three ways, but it was very good. Small world: we bumped into one of the 25 people who were in my session at the conference yesterday.


We dropped in at the Polynesian Cultural Center, but the $40 per person minimum entry fee was a deal killer since we really didn't feel like $120 worth of Polynesian culture. Spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the view of the coast, as well as a botanical garden. Then back to Honolulu to kick back and then dinner. With our aesthetic sense and any trace of frugality already beatenout of us, we picked up another 2 muumuus and a shirt on the way back to the hotel. We ended the day watching Japanese soap operas on TV. Wish we got that channel at home!

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January 08, 2003

Hawai'i Day Four

Not an eventful day. Alex, poor kid, was ill all night with a fever and cough. June stayed with him while I went to the conference. I did my part of a panel discussion about best practices in education and got lots of nice strokes from some of the participants. One said that WebQuests were serving as a rationale for schools around her in Connecticut getting themselves wired. Another said that it was being widely adopted for teacher education in Singapore. Still another said that she'd been doing something similar in Manitoba until she happened on my site and has since been teaching teachers the WebQuest way with great success. The best question from the group asked about maintaining the quality of the links on the site and continuing to scale it up. I said a few things about the forthcoming WebQuest Portal that are specifically there to address that problem. It verified to me that I'm working on the right stuff.


June and I walked down to the beach and then went to Keo's, a Thai restaurant highly recommended by Diane Lapp and Doug Fisher who I bumped into at the converence. Had a green papaya salad, deep fried whole red snapper in green chile sauce and opaka opaka. Yum!

Tonight Alex gets Nyquilled into oblivion in hopes that rest will put him in good stead for more tourism tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

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January 07, 2003

Hawai'i Day Three

I woke up at 7AM to watch Steve Jobs keynote at MacWorld. Couldn't get the QuickTime stream, but I joined a chat room where others were able to see it so I got each bit of news 10 seconds later. It was more eventful than I'd been expecting. The Keynote software looks terrific and I ordered it immediately. They've also added the Ken Burns-type feature into iMovie that I've been lusting after. That will serve me well in my EDTEC 470 class this semester. The new 17 inch PowerBook looks great, too. I think Apple is ahead of most in realizing that there's a growing number of people like me who never use a desktop anymore.

By the time we were all up, it was clear that Alex and I weren't feeling that well. After a late start we headed toward the north shore, but (we HAVE to get a better map) we missed an exit and ended up having lunch near the western shore of Oahu. By this time I realized that I'd left the camera battery charging back at the hotel, I was feeling achy and grumpy, and we decided to postpone the circuminsular expedition until Thursday.

Instead, we took a more modest tour of The Contemporary Museum, a very nice spot overlooking Honolulu, then headed back and crashed. It was dinner time before I felt well enough to venture out again, and J & I explored Waikiki while Alex stayed in. Tomorrow I'm at the conference for my panel presentation. A good night's sleep will remedy things, I hope.

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January 06, 2003

Hawai'i, Day Two

Got a lot packed into one day. One of the virtues of going west is that you wake up earlier in the morning, so even sleepaphilic Alex was up for breakfast at 8. First stop, thanks to a missed exit, was the National Cemetary of the Pacific, a vast and pretty set of fields with tombstones set flat into the ground.


Then on to the Bishop Museum, where a demonstration of various forms of Hawaiian songs, chants and dances was just starting when we arrived. The museum covers the natural and social history of the islands, and includes a planetarium that we might go back to later in the week.


Then on to the USS Arizona Memorial which was a moving and well designed experience. You see a film about Pearl Harbor, then get onto a boat to enter the memorial itself which is anchored over the wreck of the Arizona. It was (ironic? bemusing?) to see Japanese tourists having their pictures taken with the rusting shell of the ship in the background. Next stop, Hilo Hattie's, a megastore for all things Hawaiian. We got caught up in the moment and bought a muumuu for June's Mom, 5 shirts for the rest of us, and salted macademias. Finally, dinner in Chinatown with pretty good seafood and dirty water glasses.

More to see tomorrow.

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January 05, 2003

Hawai'i, Day One

Thank God for the extra leg room on American Airlines. We were all bushed for the flight, having spent all the previous day making the house presentable for the catsitter and finishing up a lot of old business. Six hours sitting in one place is a long time. We got to the hotel and crashed, and only ventured out later for dinner and a stroll down through the Waikiki shopping area. So many Japanese tourists! I guess their economy hasn't tanked completely. Looking forward to a fresh start in the morning.

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December 30, 2002

Eating Your Own Dog Food (Now with Pineapple!)

WebQuests are the greatest lesson format ever conceived, right? They will eliminate all ignorance in the world within our lifetime, raising up a generation of creative, thoughtful, clear-headed superhumans to take our place. OK, now that we all agree on that, it's time to bring this worldsaving formula into the home as well. To lead the way, I just inflicted HawaiiQuest on my family. Will it turn them into enthusiastic Hawaiianologists who will throw themselves into next week's trip with encyclopedic knowledge of Oahu? Or will they vote me off the island? Tune in next week.

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