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Friday, August 15, 2003

 
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i really had an interesting (and very long) day yesterday. i spoke to stephen gance from psu for an hour and a half as we discussed the state of online courses there. i could be absolutely sympathetic about what he was going through but i felt i was less than helpful (or else i would have solved these same problems at csusm, right?). i know he just wants someone to be the webct person, but it's hard for me to be "just" a tech person; tech problems are so rarely about the technology. they're about personality conflicts and resource hoarding and unrealistic expectations and the fear of change. i made a good analogy about how difficult it is to address pedagogy when faculty & students aren't even sure they trust the software or the process; it's like maslow's heirarchy of needs, where you can't be expected to reach self-actualization until your basic needs for food & shelter are met. having said that, every time i talk about the tulip program, i realize how much i love that model, how proud i am of the changes we made. i suspect it won't last long there, though, as the good changes we made required more work on our part. and in general, i made really good progress on issues that still plague other campuses, like aggregating course data.

then i went to finnegan's to pick up burning man gifts: i decided the only decent contribution i could offer my first time would be language, so i wanted to focus on poetry beads & magnets and dog tags. (i was thinking on the road the other day how language is always the filter for experience.) but i forgot how much i love toys and what a perfect opportunity burning man presents for play, so i spent more than i was expecting on bubbles and bells and ribbon twirlers and pinwheels and candy necklaces and yoyos and origami star strips and a color-changing ball. oh, and a battery-operated mister. :)

then sven & i went to multnomah falls (after i supplied him with corn! i'm so glad to have someone to give some to!), though first we stopped at crown point to see vista house. it was unfortunately closed, though it was obviously nouveau-ly gorgeous in stained glass and ornament, and had one of the cows from last year's cow parade hanging out in the foyer. there were a tremendous amount of wild sweetpeas growing along the edge of the road and sven discovered they had pea pods on them! (i suppose this sounds obvious to you, but i never knew it.) they were tasty and cute. but at this point it was almost 3 p.m. and i needed to eat more than sweetpea pods, so we ate lunch on the patio of the very-20s grand-lodge style multnomah falls lodge, which in my case was appetizing and large, though in sven's case seemed overpriced and meager. multnomah falls are spectacular even from the bottom and the bridge (you could see the shadow of the water writhe behind it like a snake), but we weren't content with that, nooooooo! we were compelled to climb for a mile to get to the very top, though in my case that meant stopping every 10 feet to catch my breath (what's up with that? i must be old now. :). we also spent some time in the larger river area scrambling over rocks and pools. people kept asking me to take their pictures, and by the time we finally left, it was dark. but let me say, there's nothing better than a day at multnomah falls except a day at multnomah falls followed by sampling "sven's amazing butterscotch sauce" freshly and liberally poured over vanilla bean ice cream. yowza.

so i finally had to decide to limit my social engagements so i could do prep for burning man; i don't actually see having much time for anything until mid-september. mid-september?! where the heck did the summer go? wasn't it less than a month ago that i was spending days doing nothing and liking it? if i immediately have to go find a job when i return from burning man, i'll feel as if i missed my chance to decompress, though the good thing is i've met a few good people and my heart must finally be recovering from csusm, as it doesn't hurt as oppressively as it did.

in other news, sandy got me a copy of edward gorey's dracula: a toy theatre as a belated birthday gift. ee! thanks, sandy! and i feel compelled to mention my gratitude to ken, though he would say it was unnecessary, as he sponsored my ticket to burning man. i don't really know what to say other than to shake my head in disbelief and say thanks, ken! :D brian called me this morning but caller id identified him as someone from "ibm global services," so i thought, feh. that person can leave a message if it's so important. :)

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