Sunday, March 29, 2009

SB Day 3—Le plus ca change le plus ca le meme chose

Today was my downtown SB day! 

By my count I walked or ran up and down State Street at least three times and it was interesting. 

I got up just before 8:00, kitted up, and headed out for a run from my hotel down towards downtown. I had mapped out the run last night and I thought I would have 7-8 but that is not the way that it turned out. 

Pass 1: 

Ran down State Street to downtown and then cut over to Anacapa, a less crowded side street. Headed under the freeway to get to the water front and then over to the Sunday Art Market area in Chase Palm Park. The artists were only setting up and so there was not much to see. No matter, I was busy anyway and continued onto and out to the end of Sterns Wharf before turning around and making the long slog up State Street and back to the hotel. SB is in a long sloping plain down to the water, a number of tsunamis that have rolled up into the city. The upshot for me was a lot of climbing. It was in the sun and with a tail wind which made things more enjoyable. I gelled at 7 and was sucking Gatorade as well and feeling a bit tired but otherwise my legs were strong. This was a good run but it felt good to stop and stretch. 

I got lucky. It was overcast and cool when I started but the sun came out during my run. This trip is all about the sun. 

Pass 2: 

Back to the hotel, quick shower, and then a short stack of blueberry pancakes, an egg, and some tea at Max's Restaurant. So good. Decided to head out down to downtown to walk around before I was to meet I and K for lunch. But first, I had to go see the Moreton Bay Fig Tree just near the SB Rail Station. This tree is the biggest in North America apparently and my picture simply cannot do it justice. 

I strolled down to the bottom of State Street and through the art displays on Cabrillo. Didn't see anything that caught my eye. Mostly the same artists that were around when M and I lived here. Pali is still there and doing some interesting performance art, photography, and (of course) the glass paintings. Nothing caught my eye as much as his "Maori Hunters" did and I get to see that every day in my living room. Took a slow walk up and down State Street to see what, if any, changes there had been. Obviously some restaurants have changed, there is more Indian food, but most of the same businesses were there. I say most because there were also quite a few empty store fronts as well. 

There were so many different languages being spoken, testament to the kind of international destination SB really is—German, French, Russia, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Spanish. Hearing all these languages was refreshing. 

But, you know, I was really bored by the time I finished this second pass and it was time to go meet I and K for lunch. 

Pass 3:

Waiting outside the Natural Cafe I struck up a conversation with a fellow who was waiting with two Salukis. One was four months old and he and his wife had just picked him up the day before. The other was four years old. Beautiful dogs and magnets for attention too because they are so unusual. People were stopping to pet them. The puppy was loving it as puppies do but the older dog exhibited that Saluki "standoffishness". 

His wife and son turned up. The son was barely taller than the older dog and he was carrying a rather large cookie. You can guess what began to happen. :-)

Pretty soon I saw I and K coming down the street and went up to meet them. 

Now, so far, I've been thinking that not much has changed but it really has. I and K had a surprise as it were. 

As we sat down I noticed that they had matching rings and, yes, it turns out, I and K have been married for about a year (thanks for telling me. :-P ). But wait! There's More! They have a dog, more later. Both of these I would not have expected but I have to say that the knowledge of it makes me happy. We caught up over a nice lunch (Turkey Burger and Salad for me) and then we walked up to a Peet's Coffee for more chatting time. 

Another walk up State Street! 

Saw this really, really deep junk-jewelry store.

(Yep, this is not some camera trick. The store really is as deep as a city block.)

The clouds came back in and sitting outside in the court yard became a bit uncomfortable so we walked down to their car and then drove to their apartment so I could meet Ilka the dog and see their apartment. 

I&K's neighbors were having an orange fight when we drove up. They were picking oranges from a rather large tree in the yard, splitting them, and then throwing them at each other, chasing each other down and then squeezing the juice out. There were orange rinds everywhere. It looked like fun but I could not help but thinking "What a waste of perfectly good oranges!"

Ilka is a young, very wiggly, Golden Retriever who gives hugs on command. She is also very hard to photograph because she does not sit still. Here is my best shot!

I had just interviewed for a tenure-track position and we talked about that for a bit. Fingers crossed. Fingers crossed!

Then it was time for pictures and for I&K to do some errands (tomorrow is a school day) . . . 

. . .  and time for me to attend to some other errands as well. There is a chocolate shop that has chocolates from around the world that I wanted to visit (it was closed by the time I got there). 

Tomorrow will be busy too as I will be meeting people up on campus. I'll get up early to go out and run Moore Mesa, a very short 3 miler I think. 

Saturday, March 28, 2009

SB Day 2: Seeing Things I Haven't Seen In A While

What a day!

I slept in this morning, at least I think I did and headed out the door for my first run since 3/15—having the flu sucks and I simply have not been able to run since then. I wasn't sure of what I would do or how long I would go so I looked a a map and noticed that Stevens Park was a little to the North-East of my hotel and thought that running up there would be great. In nine years of living here I had never been here so. Off I went along the sidewalks on State Street and then up towards the mountains on San Roque Road—there were no sidewalks. Just over a mile in I noticed a side trail going down from the road and thought, why not, and was pleasantly surprised to find that I was running down into the park on some pretty nice trails. I was all alone but could hear people hiking along so I knew I had stumbled onto the right track. 

It felt so very good to be out running, feeling the unevenness of the trail, dodging rocks and a few roots. I noticed a really interesting clicking noise coming from some kind of crickety things up in the trees. The trail went from being a widish fire road to single track that was pretty hilly, some of it as steep as those trails we run out on Tiger. Couple of stream crossings too. 

I decided to run out three miles and then turn around after asking for directions from someone on the trail. She told me that this track, especially when it hits the Jesusitas trail takes you up to Inspiration Point. 

Nice, slow, and Just great!

Decided to go out to locate a trail map and thought th

After running I came back to the run and then decided to see if I couldn't get a trail map. Headed off to the Santa Barbara Running Company where they did not have anything but sent me over to Hazard's Cycles next door for a mountain bike map. The guy there made some suggestions for trails and I then bought a couple of gels from the running store. Tomorrow is the UCSB Tri so running up near campus is probably out. Drove up the long way along the Mesa and through Hope Ranch and thought about lunch, I was pretty hungry even though I had some snacks after my run and ended up eating a burger and slaw at Woody's (eh! but I was getting desperately hungry).

Got back to my room about 1:30 and ate some fresh strawberries and hung out by the pool for a bit (got cruised by a French woman, it was interesting) until Mitch got in.

He and I headed out to do things he wouldn't necessarily do as a tourist here. We took a walking tour of the UCSB campus and Isla Vista. So much change on campus, new buildings, etc.. I showed him the place I wrote my dissertation and M's office window (see the slideshow below).

Then we went for a walk/hike out at the Monarch Reserve where I showed him some of the trails we used to ride on and had a wonderful walk. No Monarchs though, they must have just left from the year.

Dinner at La Super-Rica and coffee and then Mitch left to drive home. It was great to catch up and to show him the places important to me. 

Tomorrow I'll run again, not sure where. I'd like some more trails but can't go up to UCSB because of the tri BUT I am sure I can think of something. Moore Mesa maybe. OR, maybe I'll do a road run down to Cabrillo Blvd and the SB Waterfront. Then, lunch with I and then I don't know. Beach time maybe.

In the meantime, here are some pictures from my day. 

I cannot believe it is Saturday!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Gettin to the Sun

Day One of my SB trip started at 5:00 AM when my alarm went off and my DW hit me. I had been having the most marvelous running dream in which, by some astute observation and quick footwork I was actually winning a race. It was all downhill to the finish and, inexplicably, my neighbor was behind me egging me on, and then, WHAM, and I just stopped running and then . . .

Well, at least the dog was happy to go for a walk that early in the morning. :-P

My day was going to be rather long—SEA-PDX-LAX-SBA starting at 9:00 and ending about about 3:20. Shuttle Express had a bit of a surprise for me. They were showcasing their Seattle-to-Portland shared Limo-Vans and I got to stretch out in leather seated comfort looking everyone once in a while at the television that was going. One other passenger, a rather grumpy businessman. A nice way to start the trip actually.

Got to SEATAC in plenty of time, time enough to stand in a rather long, but rapidly moving check-in line followed by a rather long, but rapidly moving TSA line. 

There were lots of kids and families going off on vacation and people seemed in jovial moods overall. I did notice lots of sweatpants-flip-flops combos that did not make, shall we say, for the most attractive traveling ensembles. 

Plenty of time after all this to head over to the C Concourse for a leisurely breakfast at Dish D'Lish and an even more leisurely jaunt over to N for my flight. 

Not much to say about the flight down to Portland. It was overcast the whole way and I only caught a glimpse of the top-third of Mt. Rainier as we went past. Portland was overcast too and I couldn't see much. 

About an hour of waiting in the terminal, a rather drab little place the reminded me very much of a bustling bus terminal. Difficult to find a place to sit down amidst all the kids racing around, high-spirited teenagers, and uncomfortably seated adults taping away at their keyboards, iPhones, and Blackberries. So many places to be going. 

As I was standing and stretching a bit I heard an uncharacteristically harsh and high-pitched engine noise. Two F-15's went strolling past—dark and sharply menacing. 

You can just see one through the window here. 

I slept for most of the PDX-LAX flight, then read a little of "A Ball, a Dog, and a Monkey: 1957 -- The Space Race Begins" (fascinating), and shared my candy-bar with the little kid sitting next to me. 

Descending over the central coast was pretty interesting. The sun felt wonderful and I had a clear view of the Channel Islands (Anacapa Island, scene of some wonderful kayak caving, touring, and surfing, was particularly apparent). 

Amazing how dry everything looked and to know that I was just going to land, turn around, and come right back the same way. 

Landing in SB was kind of eventful. We came in really hot. It seemed much faster than normal, the pilot hit the breaks hard, and then I was in SB. Sunny, 70's, light onshore flow. Ahh!

Quickly picked up my rental car, a Hyundai Elantra (blue) and off to the hotel. I drove Hollister to State Street checking carefully to see what changes had happened. Not much seems to have. Sure some the businesses have changed but the overall ambience has not. The Taco Hell is still at the corner of Fairview and Hollister, etc..

Turns out that a friend of mine, GW, was transiting through SB on his way up from a conference in San Diego to home up in Marin County. We met as Adventure Programs Staff while we were both in grad school. We also worked on a Politics on the Net research project for BB just before we graduated. CW is an Ultrarunner (something that I simply failed to understand back in my pre-running days) and is the brains behind He had been out at UCSB's West Campus rebuilding a kiln all day (UCSB's Art Department is apparently getting out of the pottery business and has kilns free for the taking) and picked me up a little after 5. We headed out for a quick meal at La Super-Rica, Julia Child's favorite restaurant and a little hole-in-the-wall taquería. Yum!

Then off to Santa Barbara Roasting Company for a coffee and a chat before GW had to head up to the coast. Tomorrow he is crewing the Lake Sonoma 50 and has to be up early. Wonderful to see him. Now, what do we have to do to get him to visit SEA?

After he dropped me off I decided to go chase the sunset. Drove the freeway up and then ended up out at Devereaux Point just as the last rays of the sun (and the surfers) were disappearing. 


In the morning I'll head out my first run since Sunday, March 15, 2009. I feel good and am rarin to go! Afternoon plans include a visit from MB who is driving up from LA to spend the afternoon. 

Can't wait!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Hawai'ian Hotel

Funny video that raises a serious point about which SOME PEOPLE have little sense of humor.

'Saturday Night Live' tourism skit stirs Hawaii

There is always a flip-side to paradise isn't there.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Political schience"

Folks, I have been dying to get this off my chest.  

I am offering a team class at The Learning Factory (what we call a "Coordinated Studies"). The topic is basically thinking and writing about political controversy and the class itself combines an Intro American Politics class with an "Intro to Analyzing Your Way Out of a Paper Bag with Good Grammar, Excellent Spelling, and Clear and Cogent Argument" class. The two classes are blended. 


This afternoon I received the following email from a student. The email was unsigned and the address gave no clue as to the identity of the sender. The student wrote the following:
Hi, i have a quistion. I  need this class this quarter, but i do not nedd english for high school or my degree, is there a way i can take it with out english? it's just that i don't need it at all, but i really need this class to graduate..

I have several ideas about how best to respond, most of them snarky. Your best advice, snarky or otherwise, would be most appreciated. 

Monday, March 2, 2009


Some days you just need a donut.

  • Today I had an international student tell me she was leaving TLF because of problems assimilating. We are going to talk tomorrow but I really hate to lose her as she is among the sharpest in my class
  • We've now reached the time when the neighborhood teenagers are experimenting with alcohol. How do I know this? They've been leaving their empties all over the neighborhood. PBR (blech) and some alcolpop called Johnny Bootlegger "Sing Sing Sour Grape". Honestly, I am embarrassed to have either of these in my recycle bin. Come on kids!
  • It was 58 degrees today with the sun peaking out through the clouds. In other words, really pretty. And today was my rest day. Err!
  • I ate breakfast at 8:30, ate my lunch at 11:00, and a snack at 1:30. Still wasn't enough and the low fuel alarms went off while I was walking the dog 
  • One of the office staff fell down the stairs and broke her leg (badly apparently). That makes two people in the division office
  • The results of the Department Chair elections came out and I am happy to see that "won". Mostly because the single voter in my department turned out before breakfast to vote for me. Remind me to kick myself the next time I have silly admin stuff to do
  • My students are stressed, so am I. Actually so is everyone I know. I guess I should tell my students about the free massages they could get during finals week
  • I've been getting all these strange emails about an impeachment proceeding to be held at this weekend's Northwest Regional PTK conference. WTF?
  • The thought of reading discussion board posts and blog entries is making me nauseous
Is that enough reason?