Saturday, September 8, 2007

It is indeed odd how an experience such as travel changes you. Now that I have reached the ripe old age where I am receiving such AARP offers as membership and insurance, my travels are still as central to my life as anything. Indeed I have learned to work, in order to feed my passion for more. I work, I tend my garden, I review my photos, and secretly plan my next foray abroad. I remain in contact with new friends and old, in countries where I might be able to catch a glimpse of the sun, especially when it is foggy and cold here.

My first trip abroad, after having been married but a year, was to teach in Guatemala. The school buying our flight there, two years later, a savy travelrs we first stealthily obtained work with a school on the plantation of a major banana exporter and rode there banana boat back to the states. Landing in our first international post in the dead of night, we left it at sunset with the jungle and birds and harbor, with people waving to us o the dock as the ship steamed out the harbor.

Now, I being of stanch and proudly naïve stock, had assured both myself and my wife at the time, that all would be well. After all the schools Encyclopedia Britannica (the leading source of all things knowledgeable at the time, this being 1980) said the country was quite beautiful, populated with cheery Mayan peasants, and sunny all the time. I had neglected to check the date of the source it being found in my elementary school library in Portland, Oregon, which being as things are, was woefully out of date. The parts about the sun, the cheeriness of the peasants, and the natural beauty were still correct, the part about the bloody, violent, US supported civil war hadn’t quite made it to the edition that I had gained access to.

So, all things being apocalyptic, as we made plans to move there, Mt. St. Helens blew up, and soon rained ash upon our beleaguered burg. Packing vials of the ash, and clippings from the newspaper related to nature in its primitive fury, we boarded our flight south, which at the time seamed endless. Only to find that such occurrences were common, indeed a volcano that was a mere 20km off the end of the runway at La Aurora, could be seen jetting fountains of lava into the sky from the city, and could be climbed when it was “resting”, and it routinely buried villages in meters of ash .

Arriving, with trunks and luggage (filled at the time with things that proved to be useless), I instinctly knew that one must arrive with trunks, though with post 9/11 one has learned to travel with a backpack and a laptop) at 1am, we were greeted not only by the American School’s vice-principal and whisked past the military guards (where they here for the teachers?) and to our apartment house. I remember flying for hours in the darkness, only to turn and see suddenly the lights of the city below. When the plane landed people clapped. When planes land now, people don’t clap, they just want to get off the plane and get something to eat.

At risk of sounding like, the late and my very much beloved Mrs. H. B. who I did house repairs for when I lived in Portland, and who had been an ambassador to the League of Nations and had in “her day” traveled widely and tastefully – never first class but always comfortable – she traveled everywhere - including throughout then Nazi Germany (with diplomatic immunity) with a very large hat and a pair of Pekinese dogs - travel now is not fun. Thought there are many airports that have managed to remain civilized while giving you the once over, my home port is not amongst them, it being plagued by masses of people that once populated bus depots in the past, and now are choosing to fly. But I digress…

There I was in Central America, in the middle of a civil war, and travelers were greeted in the middle of the night (after having been well fed, and attended to I might add) with a marimba band! Here, if one can even call anything related to customer service, service, the treatment is often cold if not rude. And there is rarely marimba music, though some airports have ingenious underground tubes of light and sound that pass as entertainment, in a Disneyland people-mover sense of the word.

Now I must admit, on my last trip abroad as a Fulbright scholar to Nepal, I was asked to bring books, which if you know about professional college tomes, tend to be both ridiculously expensive and heavy. The woman at the United check in counter in Sacramento, a check-in counter known to be surly if not mean, was going to charge me $350.00 for the 7 lb overage I had accrued. Luckily I had a small back pack in the top of my one bag, and she suggested I fish out book after book, as she watch the gage change until I was at the limit. I tried to convince her that both I and my books had planned to fly on the same planes but she would have none of it! Rules being rules are to be strictly enforced, especially by employees of bloated bureaucracies and transnational corporations whose budgets are bigger than that of the impoverished country that I was going to visit. On my return, via Royal Nepal Airlines to Hong Kong, the check in clerk noticed that my bag was 2 kilos over… he looked at the gage, and then at me, and asked, “how did you like Nepal?”

I smiled, and said, “I hope to return soon”.

He replied as he heaved the bag over to the belt with the bagged tag attached, and returned with a smile.

“We look forward to your next visit, sir”.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Doctoral candidates get to work at Sacramento State

Sept. 7, 2007

Doctoral candidates get to work at Sacramento State

Seventeen professionals from local school districts and colleges have started down the road to their doctoral degree in education at Sacramento State.

The three-year program, which will eventually be offered at seven CSU campuses, is for working professionals, designed to enhance their leadership qualities and is built around their schedules. Classes will be offered on Fridays and Saturdays.

Previously, a doctorate could only be earned at a California State University through a partnership with a University of California. But special legislation now allows a state university to offer the education doctorate independently.

The decision to focus on education was made because analysis revealed not enough administrators at the K-12 and community college level had access to affordable doctoral programs, says Ed Lee, chair of Sacramento State’s Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.
The convenience of having the program offered nearby is a big attraction to the new doctoral candidates.

“I don’t think I would have pursued this program if it wasn’t on campus,” says Adrienne Thompson, who currently works as a compliance coordinator for research administration on campus.

Milton Rosa, a teacher at Encina High School in the San Juan Unified School District, hopes to use his doctorate to help create new curricula and programs for students, “especially the ones who are newcomers to the United States.”

Another student, Marrio Walker, assistant principal at Monterey Trail High School in the Elk Grove Unified School District, points out what an impact the University already has on local education. “Sacramento State has a reputation of supplying a lot of the teachers to my district,” he says.

The students were welcomed at a Sept. 6 reception at Sacramento State’s Alumni Center and began their course work Sept. 14.

When the program grows to full strength in three years, there could be about 60 doctoral candidates going after their degree at Sacramento State, Lee says.

For Thompson, who also teaches part time in ethnic studies, the program will help her realize her goal of becoming a full-time teacher. “Once I started teaching, I just had a passion for it,” she says.

For more information on the doctoral program, contact the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Department at (916) 278-4639 or For media assistance, call Sacramento State’s Public Affairs Office at (916) 278-2970.

Sacramento State is making a difference in California’s Capital Region and beyond. We offer a life-changing opportunity for our 28,000 students, preparing them to be leaders in their professions and communities. Our professors are known for their dedication to great teaching. And our location in the capital of the nation’s most populous state allows students to pursue unique internships and research.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Talk Like a Pirate Day is September 19

We here at Ubnotorious we feel the need for a new cause, you know, something that we can all get behind... H´bout "International Talk Like a Pirate Day is September 19"

You don’t need a peg leg and a parrot to talk like a pirate. Everyone can shiver their timbers on International Talk Like a Pirate Day coming Wednesday, September 19. This celebration of pirate slang was created by two friends playing racquetball (one grumbled “aaargh,” the rest was history). Now you too have an excuse to act crazy and cool. Pirates are huge, and what better way to inspire laughs at the office or steal the spotlight out on the town?



Monday, September 3, 2007

Some 30 Years ago...

Thanks Bruce!


Back in September of 1977, some of us had just graduated from OSU and
were spending our last weeks of Corvallis living in Big House, and
enjoying each other's company. In addition to you all cc'd here, Mary
Carr (don't have her e-mail) and Tim Van Den Bos lived in Big House,
too, as I recall. (And the mystery guy, Shane.)

One of you (Dan? Kathy?) knew how to make real, drip coffee in the
morning, and that became a standard of life for me (and perhaps others
of you) since. Olga's was our place of choice to walk after dinner for
ice cream.

One morning, Dan wondered aloud (when the kitchen window was open) "how
can the neighbor's live in such squalor?" I had my grandparents old
sofa up in my large bedroom, then it ended up on the porch where the
neighborhood cats began to sleep (and pee?) on it, then a friend's
daughter inherited it at the end of the summer. In the kitchen, we had
a large wooden spool from a roll of cable for our table. Sandy
(Lineweaver) became part of our household on weekends. Jon and
Steve probably spent a night or two in the Orgy Room upstairs
-- remember that? What a great and growing time it was!

Well, I'm lucky enough to see Dick regularly, and have seen the Geisha
Girls and Dan either at Dick's or my 50th birthday parties. Jon still
calls every few months, and Steve always remembers to call on my
birthday (which is exactly one week before his). David I had a ton of
fun at our 30th Lakeridge High School reunion in 03, but since he
escaped to S. California, the best place to find him is on his web site:

Dan has a web site, too:

My partner Peg and I are doing splendidly, and I've been in the same
little warm, comfy house in Eugene for 20 years (12 of those with Peg).
Still doing ecological field work as much as possible (still,
occasionally, with Dick), and still, generally, pretty goofy.

It was a great time back then, and hopefully, it has remained so for all
of you!

Happy 30-Year Big House Memories!

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