Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Blogging the URSA conference

So I am in Cedar City for the rest of the work week to attend and present at the Utah Rural Schools Association conference. I am doing two presentations (and presenting each of them twice). The first in an Introduction to the Middle East Outreach Program and the second is called Sunni vs. Shia- Deconstructing Islam for the classroom.

As I wasn't presenting today I wasn't in a hurry to get down here. I did manage to make the last session and find out which rooms that I am presenting in later. I was utterly shocked to see presenters in blue jeans. I mean I understand that everyone is teachers here....but why the lack of dress code for presenters? At least I know that I will be putting forth a good face for the MEC, even if I may seem to be overdressed.

It seems that alot of people were worried about my ability to get down here. There is a fantastically large wildfire down here, and according to the national news it is a third of the size of Rhode Island....I don't know if that is worse for Utah or just a reflection on the inferiority complex that Rhode Island must have. Because the fire has been hopping I-15, they have been threatening to close the road down. When I drove by I saw no fires, but I saw alot of the aftermath of them. I took some photos from the road, and I will try to get them online sometime soon. The fires didn't burn everything in sight, the fact that it didn't made the damage seem worse. There were many trees that were only half burned...the leaves went from black to brown to a small hint of green.

Cedar City is most known for the Shakespearian festival that it has every year....and of course this has made the ENTIRE city a walking Shakespeare theme park. I find it really annoying. The hotel restaurant is called "the Bard's Food and Drink Establishment" and every menu item has some cutsy reference to a Shakespeare character. No matter how good an alcoholic beverage might have sounded, I just couldn't bring myself to order "grog". My waiter was obnoxiously attentive to me....he asked me four times how my dinner salad was. While an attentive waiter can be nice, it was obvious that he was not interested in my salad but "ye old Debbie's breast'es" that were, unfortunately for him, NOT on the menu. It wasn't like I was parading them or anything....but I do think that he deliberately stuffed me into that booth to make them pop out a bit more and make the sight more to his advantage.

Although some things in this trashy theme world make it all worthwhile...I noticed as I was passing their conference rooms that their Canterbury room was spelled "Canterberry"....god love those that try to sound well-read.

Well off to practice! More tomorrow.

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