The Dayton Diaries

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RAD's Adventures in Dayton, OHIO

Email Richard:

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Posted 14:52 by Rich
Headed into town for some shopping. Bought a Swiss Tool on special near Pike St Market. Then caught the bus up to Broadway and picked yet another Cowboy Junkies CD and had a coffee at Seattle's Best Coffee. Then i walked down to REI's flagship store, which features a climbing wall and mountain bike track. Picked up some socks and gloves for biking in the winter. Then I headed down to Seattle Center. I was going to do the Space Needle but the price and queues put me off. I tried to find the statue of Chief Seattle but no-one seemed to know where on earth it was. Eventually got there. Bused home, packed and started the journey home to Wellington.

It took 24 hours to get back to Wellington. I was met by Ma and Pa. My bags continued on to Christchurch and have yet to turn up. So the trip is finished and so is this story.


Thursday, July 24, 2003

Posted 18:22 by Rich
Had nearly the perfect day. We headed southeast to Mt Rainier National Park. It was very pleasant drive on the Mather Parkway and up to Sunrise - a visitor center at 6,400 feet on the slopes of the volcano. Didn't stay there long as we had a long day ahead. The views there are amazing - it reminded me of Switzerland - combinations of snow-covered mountain tops, trees, meadows and roads. Back down the road and around the mountain to Paradise, less parking, more cars and paved trails. We had our picnic and I headed up for a view of some falls. Saw a deer on the way down. It was time to head home so we started out. Further down the mountain we stopped to look at a waterfall. I was nearly killed by a deer leaping across the trail in front of me.

We drove back through the crazy traffic of Seattle and headed for Woodland Zoo. We saw David Wilcox and Suzanne Vega in concert in a park - a large version of the free concerts in the Wellington botanic gardens, but bigger names and even bigger ticket prices. I saw a bald eagle fly overhead while I lay on our blanket looking skyward.

Spent most of the morning hanging at home with Brynnen and Ezra. Then I caught the bus down to the Pike Street market. Looked around this locale of tourism central and headed for some late lunch at a turkish place. I sat overlooking the waterfront and facing the mountains. I then crossed the street to the very first Starbucks. It was crowded and there was nowhere to sit so went a few doors down for a milkshake.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Posted 15:05 by Rich
I had my first full day sightseeing in Seattle today. Started with a walk down through the International District to Elliott Bay Books. Fantastic place. I managed to escape with buying only one book. Then headed through the pioneer to have lunch in a random café near the waterfront. I went on n Argosy Cruise through the locks to Union Lake. Past the floating house that features in Sleepless in Seattle.

After the cruise I walked to Seattle Center and the Experience Music Center, founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. It is over rated. It is not a history of rock and roll since it ignores the British contribution. It also ignores rockabilly ans country and modern house and trance. I'm not really sure what's going on. There are some neat interactive displays though. Afterwards I caught the monorail into the downtown area and headed back home for dinner. It was a combined community meal but we choose to eat at home. After dinner I went out to see Legally Blonde 2 - bad movie but one can't fail to like Elle Woods, the main character. walked around the downtown area past the market and the very first Starbucks. Will head back there in daylight hours. There seem to be lots of homeless people in Seattle asking for money. Many more than I've seen elsewhere.

Sunday we went to Quaker worship and then in the afternoon headed up to Volunteer park for a walk around. Great views of the area from the water tower there. Also walked on Broadway which has lots of cafés, bookshops and clothes shops. That evening I met up with laura (who I met in Philadelphia) and went for the drink down by Lake Washington near Madison Park.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

Posted 10:51 by Rich
I made it to Seattle this afternoon.

Last night after cleaning and packing all day I checked into the hotel for my final night in Dayton. Natalia and I went out for a beer and meal. After that we said goodbye in the lobby. It was a bit sad for both of us - knowing that we were the last fellows we'd see for some time.

Got to the airport ok this morning but nearlt got in trouble for having my Swiss army knife in my carry-on luggage. But I remebered in time and and was able to put into my checked bags. But when I got to Chicago I realised that I'd lost my debit card!! I called the bank immediately and cancelled it. They will send a replacement to NZ. Luckily I have a travellers cheque and some cash and another credit card.

The view coming in to land in Seattle was amazing - this is a really beautiful place! Lots of snow on the mountains and water everywhere. The sun is shining too.

My friend Jonathan was here to meet me and I met his son Ezra (8 months old). They have a nice house in a co-housing unit with lots of others. Out the window is the headquarters of

Friday, July 18, 2003

Posted 05:49 by Rich
The farewells continue. Had lunch with Anne and Juilet at Hooters.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Posted 04:52 by Rich
Into my last week here at the Kettering Foundation. Dropped Catalina at the airport this morning. Mpho also gone. Working hard packing and writing papers while I have a chance.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Posted 02:45 by Rich
Had my final weekend in Dayton. Friday night I went to the Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson Airforce Base with Catalina and Natalia for a blimp meet. This was part of the Inventing Flight celebration here in Dayton. It was supposed to the largest gathering of blimps in the world since World War Two. I counted three and I'm sure I didn't miss any. We tired of this rather quickly so we drove to Cincinnati to see Whale Rider. It was more powerful the second time around. it made me think that the same man cannot see the same movie twice - because he changes between viewings.

Saturday night we had a farewell/welcome party. Three new fellows have arrived (from Nigeria, Romania and South Africa) and we four are leaving. A few drinks and some music and shared food. My downstairs neighbour called the cops. He was too shy to come up and tell us to quiet down. He was also too shy to come to the door when the cop arrived. It was 9pm.

Friday, July 11, 2003

Posted 11:44 by Rich
Workshop Week

Went straight ito workshop week when I got back from Boston. It was great to meet Marianne from Wellington, NZ. She brought me some goodies - yeah!! The next batch of Fellows arrived too and I know Gheorghe from Romania from three years ago in Washington. My workshop was on reporting out from deliberative forums.

Independence Day Weekend

happy fouth of july
On the 3rd of July 100,000 people visited downtown Dayton and saw the fireworks from the bridge. It was very impressive. They managed to do star and stripes fireworks.

My First 4th of July Experience. Spent a lot of time in bed but managed to get out to a catered dinner at Maxine's place by the lake in Jamestown. Had a little cruise on the small lake just before a thunderstorm drove everyone inside and washed out the fireworks.


Catalina and I visited Pittsburgh. We rented a car and left early Saturday morning. It was about a 5 hour drive and we headed straight for the Warhol museum. This is the largest museum in the world devoted to a single artist. We started with lunch in the café and then headed to the top floor to start our tour. I bought a book on the religious art of Warhol.

We drove around and were generally impressed by the architecture and liveliness of the streets. We went to Station Square and had a drink at a bar overlooking the rivers. We decided on a sightseeing cruise on a steamer. It was dusk and the lighting on the river was great. Afterwards we headed up one the inclines on the steep hill behind station square. The view was great. There are no hills in Ohio so it was a change to have a view.

PittsburghFinding the hotel was a nightmare and we went around in circles. We had never seen so many roadsigns on one post. Next day we tried to find somewhere for brunch but got on the wrong road again and started heading in the wrong direction. Eventually we ended up in a small town at a country café. Very American. Our mission for the day was to visit two Frank Lloyd Wright designed houses, Falling Water and Kentuck Knob.

With inadequate maps and time running out we eventually joined the queue at the gates of Falling Water and were soon on the tour. The house is very impressive and blends well into the landscape - as Wright intended. The house is great to visit but I wanted to know more and if we'd had the time the intensive tour would have better - especially for Catalina who was desperate to take photos inside (which we, on the standard tour were not permitted to do). We took loads of photos on Catalina's digital camera. Then we left quickly for the next house.

Kentuck Knob was 7 miles away so whipped up there. A much less visited site it is quite different being on top of a hill. This house was one of the hundreds of commissions Wright had after the success of Falling Water. The drive home to Dayton was long. We found a wonderful little diner in the hills of the panhandle of West and sat in the warm country air eating our grub. The drive was pretty but slow until we hit the freeway and then it was the heaviest rain I've ever seen making driving slow.

Posted 11:40 by Rich

Boston To Princeton

Saturday (21 June)
Flew to Boston. I arrived later than expected since I had to go via New York due to a lost connection. I caught the boat from Boston airport into the city. A pleasant way to get in but not a fast or cheap as the train or bus. I walked through the city to the Boston Common to start a full day sightseeing. I walked the Freedom Trail though central Boston. The trail has navigate around the Big Dig the biggest roadworks project ever in the USA. The trail was a fine walk, following a red line on the road and sidewalk from Boston Common to Beacon Hill. After the walk I met up Prof Richard Pierard. He was a visiting scholar at Otago and old drinking buddy. He is also quite a comedian and I was lucky to be able to stay with him and Charlene, his wife for two nights.

Sunday (22 June)
The Pierard's took me to church and then we drove over that part of Massachusetts. I realized that I had not seen the sea since I landed in LA back in January.We visited Rockport and Salem Salem is famous of the witch trials in 1692. The hysteria only lasted a few months but the legacy lasts hundreds of years and they are milking it for all it is worth.

Monday (23 June)
Dick drove me to Princeton on his way to Philadelphia. It was pleasant drive through the countryside. Missed a turn off and ended up in gridlock on Manhattan Island near the George Washington Bridge. Eventually made it to Princeton. It's a pretty little commuter and university town. People commute from there to New York and Philadelphia. I had a look around Princeton and got a feed. That night saw the Kiwi film Whale Rider before getting a taxi to the hotel.

Tuesday (24 June)
Next morning I toured Princeton University. For a school with a large reputation it is quite small. The place is continually under construction as they bring the buildings up to date with new technology required in universities these days. The art gallery there is very good - some masters and modern with new exhibitions all the time and it s free. outside they have some Henry Moore and Picasso sculptures. I got the train to New York City. The train is a pleasant ride, which disappear underground for the last 20 mins or so. Then you are the bottom on Penn station. Then you just pop up into one of the busiest cities in the world - New York.

Posted 11:40 by Rich

New York

Tuesday (24 June) cont..
Emergin into the streets of New York was quite strange. I had to just stand back and watch for a bit - just to get my bearings and catch my breath. I walked around a bit, saw Union Station the Chrysler Building and made it over to my hotel. The Carlton Arms Hotel was very basic but fun. I had the choice of three rooms, all decorated differently. I went for a pink and red room decorated with gods of Asia. Thankfully the lighting was subdued. That night I decided to go to the Empire State Building at dusk, a strategy that had worked in Vegas and Chicago. The line was incredibely long, making a lie of those movies (like Sleepless in Seattle) where they just pop up to meet someone at five mins notice. Three lines and two elevators (lifts) later i was on the top of New York (now the the World Trade Center towers were destroyed. I got an audio tour guide. Not something I ususally do but it drowbed out the noice of the crwod up there and gave some good info otherwise lost. The view is good but obscured by smog. Got a cheap dinner nearby and went to bed.

Wednesday (25 June)
Next morning I walked out and down through the green market and through the campus of New York University to Greenwich Village, trying to look bohmeian I found a cafe for breakfst and read my book. I then headed to a book store to try to find a copy of "Radical Walking tours of New York. No luck there so carried on to downtown (that's south manhattan). Saw Ground Zero. I remember the day clearly when I was woken by radio alarm to news that the towers has collapsed. I lept out of bed and turned on BBC on TV (had cable then). But is wan't until i saw the immense site and photos that show TWO towers more than twice the size of any thing nearby that it struck me what had happened. now the site is surrounded by a fence as the replcement buildings and memorials are being built. This hole in the ground is a majorr attraction and there is a list of the names of the 'heroes' of 911, although I wasn't sure what they did to be heores and whather they had died or survived. it was quite moving. Local and tourists were writing messages on onme plywood fence nearby like: "God Bless America" and such like. I moved on and found a large cchain bookstore that had the walking tour book. I then grabbed this and did the Wall Street tour. Like so much else in the USA these days the NYSE is closed until further notice. I started to get annoyed by having so many attractions shut down. Another one closed is the Statue of Liberty, which i saw from the Staten Island Ferry. Quite a few tourists (myself included) went there anbd tfund the outward bound ferry was not returing and another one would take us back. We all ran over to the next dock to board the return ferry. It is possible to go the island where the Statue is, but you cannot go inside any more. . bonhoefferI got the subway for the first time up to my new accomodations (in USA they add an 's' to this word). This was Hephzibah House, a guest house for church workers and missionaries and a mission base for their evangelism work. I had a large room to myself and even though it lacked aircon it was very pleasant. Went to see a new documentary on the life and trials of lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer entitled simply Bonhoeffer. It was the standard footage of the Nazis, but interesting for me was the fact he worked in New York and was transformed by the his experience of the Black churches of Harlem. It was good preparation for going to UTS and Riverside Chuch the next day. Grabbed a pizza

Thursday (26 June)
After some brekkie I did the self-guided radical walking tour of Central Park. I'd love to do the real thing with the guide because apparently he gets heckled by other other tour guides! Central Park is amazing but also not quite I expected. I expected no traffic andd more paths, but is amazing to have this park in the middle of such a city. I headed for the Guhggenheim museum. This was closed and it said it was closed in my guide book, so I'm not sure why I went. But the outside itself is a masterpiece of Frank Lloyd Wright. Had an early lunch in the cafe (the art stops at the cafe door) and wrote some postcards. Back into the park and acroos to the St Johns Cathedral, the unfinished Gothic monster. Had a brief look there and corrsed the street into Columbia University. Then went to Union Theological Seminary (where Margaret Mayman, now at St Andrew's, Wellington did her PhD). Bought a book from the bookstore and had a little look around.

Caught the bus to the United Nations Headquarters and visited with Initiatives of Change before my tour of the UN. Most people on the tour were from the USA. As we headed toward the General Assembly hall we passed a corridor with several items on display. The first was the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). This was explained as inspiring international law, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child (19XX). I commented to the guide that the USA hasn't signed this. She said "Yes, the only one." In fact it is the USA and Somalia who haven't signed this Convention. Further down the corridor we saw a pictorrial representation of the world's military expenditure agist the money needed to solve the world's major problems, such as adequate housing, food and health, which is, or course a mere fraction of the military expenditure. I thought that guide ccould have mentioend that nearly half this military budget is spent by the USA. Finally, we came to a display of landmines and efforts by the UN to eradicate this scourge. Once again I felt that the tour guide could have pointed out the USA is still using landmines and has not signed the landmines treaty. And of course the guide didn't mention that the USA does always pay its way in the UN either. This is serious since the UN is mainly an operational body, and many Americans think it irrelevant due to the power of the USA to ignore it when it wishes to invade another country.

Got the bus to Chelsea to meet up with Erin. We went to Trailer Park - a 'white trash' themed diner for some drinks and food. Then it was back for the tour of her apartment - very small and very cheap and still incredibly expensive.

Started the day posting some heavy stuff back to the Foundation. Caught the bus down to the Rockfeller Centre, New York Public Library, St Patrick's Catherdral, Museum of the Moving Image Also checked out Revolution Books in 19th street.

Friday night I went out with Derek (colleague from the Foundation), his partner and two of her friends. Dined in Chinatown at a Caught the subway to Brooklyn. Went to neighborhood bar there, which remineded me a little of the Matterhodn in Wellington. I then stayed at his place in Brooklyn.

Posted 11:40 by Rich

Boston Again

Saturday(22 June)
I got up eary and headed back on the subway to Chinatown to get a bus to Boston. The Chinatown buses are a phenomen. My ride on Lucky Star Bus was only $10, and yes the driver spoke English and didn't crash. Much better deal than $60 for the train. Got to Boston about 1:30pm and headed straight for Harvard Sqaure. I arrived two intues before a Harvard University campus tour so neglected my hunger and took the tour. It was quite good. Then looked around for a cafe, forgetting that USA doesn't have them and found a bagel joint instead. Since I had posted some books home I was feeling a bit light in that department so pickled up two books at the Coop. Saw some comic book shops Got the subway to the hostel and was planning to see a movie but went to the pub instead and had a meal and beer.

Sunday (29 June)
I got an unfeasilbly early flight back to Dayton via Pittsburgh and returned to a week long workshop.

Saturday, June 21, 2003

Posted 01:25 by Rich
Not much been going on here of late. With less than one month to go the Fellows have had their heads down working. Did make it up to Columbus the other day with Anne and Catalina. The weather was awful so we drove around a lot. Did make to the orginal Max and Ermas and to the The Book Loft in German Village.

Tried to watch the rugby test between England and New Zealand, but being from a country with one time zone we arrived three hours early and couldn't hack the wait, especially since we lost.

I was national TV last night as an member of audience on "A Public Voice". I was sitting right behind a vocal panellist so was on for a time.

Saturday, June 07, 2003

Posted 08:05 by Rich
Friday and I'm updating the website:

posterLast Wednesday went to karaoke downtown at Elbos. The Karaoke was run by Nancy - a Dayton legend. the crowd - not day dwellers - gathered around 11pm about when I was to leave. Thursday night went drinking with some young pastors. it was the farewell for Eric L. a young Presbyterian minister heading to NewYork. We played bocce - an Italiain versoion of pentanque. Friday stayed home and watched "Black Hawk Down" and read. Saturday went to a book discussion group in the back of a church hall. I arrived early and couldn't see my friend, just some of the poor and homeless they supply with breakfast so turned around and went to the market district. This has two markets - the 2nd Street market and Webster Street Market. not great markets except for the English food stall, which had Hobnobs - Yummy!! Made it back to the discussion and had some pancakes with maple syrup. They were discussing Walter Wink's The Powers That Be: Theology for a New Millennium. I had read it years ago so could hold my own. That night went to boring keg party in the Cannery Aprtment building. On Wednesday went down to Oxford to Miami University to watch some colleagues play softball. Nice town. Highlight of the week was the return of Catalina from Medellin, Colombia on Thursday.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Posted 00:57 by Rich
memorial day
Celebrated Memorial day in grand style yesterday. Natalia and I drove South a little ways to Franklin for their parade. It was totally small town America. They had old cars, old soldiers, young marching girls with a band from the high school and, of course, fire trucks.

The speeches and songs were patriotic and their was a 21 gun salute. There was the National Anthem, God Bless America, America the Beautiful and the Pledge of Allegience. Franklin was one of the only towns to officially, as a town support the troops in Iraq. In the afternoon went to a BBQ at a Baptist pastor's house and drank beer and ate. Everyone has a BBQ on Memorial Day whioch signals the start of summer time - pools open and such like.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Posted 06:51 by Rich
Had lunch today at a Mexican restaurant with a good group from Spain, Germany, South Africa, Colombia, USA and of course NZ. The Europeans were scholars in Project RENEUUS.

Posted 06:40 by Rich
Matrix Reloaded sux. But you still have to see it to make sense of the series and the final installment in November. See it on DVD or video.

Went to Philidelphia for the weekend. Landed there Friday and had the worst taxi ride since I was India 10 years ago. The driver diddn't know the address or the suburb. He barely knew English. He insisted that I use his cell phone to call ahead and ask for directions. What a moron I was for assuming that a cab driver would know where to go, or have a map to use when supplied with an address. I would leapt out of the car at that point but wewere already appraocching the freeway and it was raining. I did call but got an answer machine. The ddriver coul not understand why i could not get directions. Fortunarlt I know that the seimary i was going to was on the junction of City Ave, a street he knew. Finally got to Eastern Seminary for a meeting with Ron Sider. friday night wne tout with a guy from the conference. he was meeting friends at the Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant. nice crowd. Saturday afternoon skipped the conference for a trip to downtown Philly. The main sites were being shut down as we arrived so walked the old city and saw the historic sites from the street. Had a quick dinner at Buddakan. Fantastic food and service. My two new friends and I sat directly underneath the large statue of Buddha. We had to hurry back as my colleague at the Kettering Foundation Hal Saunders was presenting on sustained dialogue.

Friday, May 16, 2003

Posted 02:04 by Rich
Had a haircut after work. The barber hoovered my head after the cut. At first I thought it was a hairdryer but it sucked and didn't blow. Saw "The Matrix" last night on video in preparation for seeing The Matrix Reloaded this afternoon after work.

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Posted 03:31 by Rich
In the office on a Saturday to catch up on some work and study. As I drove up the drive I passed two deer in the garden and they are still visible from my office window. Will have a homely weekend as away last weekend and next weekend.

Saturday, May 10, 2003

Posted 01:59 by Rich
Took a two-day trip down to Charleston, West Virginia to see the filming of a deliberative forum on the question of "Americans' Role in the World" at the University of Charleston. This was filmed for Public TV to be broadcast in the state. The participants were a cross section from the community, including hawish hawks with military ties, and more dovish types. Following the forum we four Fellows were interviewed and will be appearing on telly in WV.

Took a different route home, passing by the most southern point of Ohio and through Chillicothe, the first capital of the state.

Monday, May 05, 2003

Posted 13:44 by Rich
park Flew to Washington D.C. directly, even though the ticket said via Chicago. That saved a few hours, which I spent profitably having dinner at Union Station and drinking at the hotels Irish pub, the Dubliner.union station Union Station was hosting a display "A Day in the Life of Africa", a photo exhibition based on the project funded by Pfizer. We stayed at the Phoenix Park Hotel not far from the Capitol, which glowed at the end of street at night.

Wednesday was the main event. We boarded the bus early and headed to the National Press Club for the filming of Public Voice for PBS. Fortunately they had coffee and donuts on hand and in good supply. The format was this: 12 panelists sitting in square, with the studio audience behind them (that was me and many many others) a journalist used a video of a NIF forum on Terrorism to guide the discussion, with the 'experts' responding to what they heard from the ordinary folks on the video. The panel were journalists, politicians and other commentators, including Kettering President, David Matthews.

Went to the Inter-american Foundation to give a lunch-time talk entitled "New Zealand: Much less than a Beautiful Country". I'll never work for the tourism board. It was an informal address about the community sector and history and some of the real issues faced bu our society, such as poverty , racial tension and the changing nature of our society.

nat geoWent to visit Katherine Linton at the Initiatives of Change and caught up on matters international and Kiwi. She suggested I visit the National Geographic center for the exhibition on Ed Hillary and the 50 year anniversary of the first ascent of the Mt Everest. It was great to see the story of Everest but also Hillary's humanitarian commitment to the people of the Himalayas and conservation.

Had dinner with Catalina and her mother once again this time in Georgetown at a great little French Bistro. They are famous for their onion soup, which was, in fact very very good. it seems every restaurant in the USA is world famous for something, whether it be soup, prime rib, wings or some other way of cooking meat.

pcusaStarted the day with a trip to The Interfaith Allicance, an ecumenical group working to oppose the influcnce of the rleigious right. most imressive is their fund-raising that puts anything in NZ to shame. Lunched at Jordans owned by basketballer Michael Jordon. Couldn't visit the FBI since 911 has meant that many tours in the city have been canceled. Bummer.

On the way to my afternoon date I stoped off in the Art gallery to see what they had on offer. Then it was to the Presbyterian Church office to visit the people who lobby office-holders in the Capitol on justice and policy issues. They no longer get invited to the parties and meetings they once were, given their more Democrat leanings. Saw a documentary on johnny Cash while resting in the hotel. After dinner at the brewry across the road Catalina and I headed to Dupont Circle to find a bar or night club. I bought a Johnny Cash CD in Dupont Circle, featurinf the Ballad od hayes, a native American and one of the soldiers immortalized in the Iwo Jima memorial. It's a powerful song and one can never look at the statue the same way again.

Picked up my rental car from Union Station and headed through town across the Potomac into Virginia. Stopped in tiny Culpeper to try to find some music CDs for the car. All I found were some country CDs on the counter of the music shop among the guitar picks and spare strings. The only other option was evil Wal-Mart, not a good option for music. So I carried on with the radio to Charlottesville, VA. Found the University of Virginia and eventually a carpark. The university was founded by Thomas Jefferson and friends. An architect, Jefferson also designed many of the buildings in the park-like campus. I was there to visit the Center on Religion and Democracy. The meeting was as useful as the tip to the bookstore was expensive. Also picked up some CDs of the Cowboy junkies and Morcheeba.

driveWent downtown to the old main street, now a lovely pedestrian mall with interesting stalls and shops. Went t the visitors center for directions out the Shenandoah National Park - I took the scenic route home. This is a real scenic route back to D.C. much monger, much slower (35mph) and much more beautiful. The route is known as the Skyline Drive. It is much better in the fall (Autumn when the colors are amazing. I thought spring would be good but spring hadn't reached the highest passes and ridges, which left he grey trees rather bare.

Eventually the road descended through the more green trees. I headed north to Harper's Ferry to try to see the town before the sun went down. Harper's Ferry was where John Brown raided and helped ignote the Civil War. Dined there at the Anvil restaurant, named after John Brown, called an anvil.

Kiwi ex-pat Katherine picked us early from the hotel and took us south into Virginia to Mount Vernon the farm of George Washington, first presdient of the USA. Frank Lloyd Wright's Pope-Leighey House set in the beautiful; grounds of Woodlawn, Virginia. We were dropped off at the Arlington National Cemetery where we saw the graves of JFK and family. Saw the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier. Then it was backt o the hotel. We had dinner at the Capitol Then is on the metro to downtown to the Polly Ester Disco. Three levels all with diferent types of music from 1970 onwards. A bit like Barney's but bigger.

nazi book burnersStarted the day slightly hung over. The perfect way to approach the Gospel Brunch at the Corcoran Art Gallery. Arrived a little early so checked out the exhibitions. This gospel brunch was rather low key. The singers were half a dozen African Americans who were unaccompanied, and almost silent even though i was in the front row. Not good value at all despite this being a "not-to-be-missed" event in the Rough Guide. Left before the end and headed across the mall, part the Washington monument and a March of Dimes event to theHolocaust Museum for an exhibition on the Nazi Book burning in 1933 and the American response. Thankfully the exhibition showed that this book-burning sentiment has existed in the USA and is even is alive and well, in the case of Harry Potter Book burnings and the red scare of the 1950s.

Wandered down the Mall past the Smithsonian, seeing a Mexican band on the way, playing to the crowd in the afternoon sun. Also on the mall was a major display for federal employees as part of
Public Service Recognition Week. There were two parts to this event. One tent was full of Government departments, such as the treasury, insurance and so on. The other tent was full of the military, including the NSA, marines, the Army, mapping and intelligence. I picked some red and blue 3-D glasses that went with a map that appears in 3D when the glasses appear. Even better they told me that you view 3-D images on the web in the form of "Anaglyphs" - here is an example of one - Korean War Memorial, Washington DC.

cathedralAfter this headed to the National Cathedral where I bumped into Catalina and her mother. We ignored evensong and had a brief look around. Unlike English cathedrals they had a elevator to ge to the top where one has a great view of the city. There ain't much of a skyline in D.C. and from that distance from the mall even the monuments don't stand out. The bookshop was interesting since they sound lots of new age stuff, even book on the dalai lama and many Catholic and Orthodox stuff, which is out of place in a strictly Christian shop, but being the national cathedral and main tourist destination they'll sell whatever brings in the cash. one feature of the cathedral is the Darth Vader gargoyle

Following the Cathedral we got a taxi to Adam's Morgan, a funky district in D.C. that has loads of restaurants and bars. They also my fav café, Tryst, which is full of old sofas and opens onto the street. After reading the paper there over tea and cheesecake we strolled around to find a restaurant finding a brazilian place nearby. Then it was the train back to the hotel.

book coverHeaded to the University of Maryland for the taping of Catalina's interview with the Pew Center and J-Lab Then headed downtown for an sandwich at COSI and across the road into the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Museum for an exhibition Light Screens: The Leaded Glass of Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright designed everything in the building, including furniture and windows, one way to get large fees I suppose

NBm logoI headed for the Building Museum for another exhibition, Big And Green, on environemenatlly-friendly big buildings. One cool idea is that large buildings should be like trees, providing habitat, making oxygen, imporving the surroundngs and so on.. Back to the hotel and into a cab for the Reagan Airport and back to Dayton by 1am.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Posted 01:48 by Rich
Friday night went to regular Kettering haunt El Mason with Dr Matthews (Kettering President) and a group. Very pleasant. evening. have a nice daySaturday I worked on my theology essay and other work. Later we went to Yellow Springs in the afternoon. After wandering the town centre we went to Amy's for dinner. I was rapt to meet someone who'd been to NZ and someone else who knew NZ from the piano and not just Lord of the Rings. Catalina and i then headed to downtown dayton for some night life. We ended up at Have a nice Day Cafe. Sure have a nice day but going to their night club won't guarentee a nice night out. The only good thing was peeny drinks for ladies
Fairmont Presbyterian on Sunday I did some shopping and headed out to Miamisburg and climbed the Mound at mound park. later i went to Bend it Like Beckham, which has only just made it here and is relegated to the arthouse, foreign film circuit. It is n't doing very well. New Zealand does very well - especially Wellington, despite our arthouse cinemas showing mainstream films as well (thanks Tim ;-) for that analysis). Now preparing for a week in D.C.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Posted 07:48 by Rich
anzac day in wellingtonANZAC Day (April 25) was not forgotten here, although I had to work another NZ holiday. I made ANZAC biscuits for everyone at KF and was clear with everyone here that they are not cookies! I described the day as a time when "New Zealanders (who are in New Zealand and not Dayton) get the day off work to remember war and peace, soldiers and especially our defeat at Gallipoli in Turkey in World War One." I also provided these links:

For more information about ANZAC Day see:
In the news:,2106,2427654a10,00.html
The recipe for ANZAC biscuits:

camelOn the 23rd had my first visit to the Dayton Art Institute for an event hosted by the Dayton Council on World Affairs. There was wine and cheese followed by two leactures on the history and art and cculture of the Silk Road. Very interesting stuff. Also interesting is that the USA is playing an increasinf role on the silk road iraq and afganhistin are both on the silk Road. The Black Death also arrived in Europe via these trade Routes - which extended by land and sea as far as Rome, China and India.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Posted 08:35 by Rich
Found this great dictionary online: NZ English to US English. That doesn't, however, help me understand them.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Posted 04:29 by Rich
cincinnati hspace=I worked for the First Good Friday ever. People here asked what plans I had for Easter, just like they do in New Zealand, even though it was treated just like a normal weekend. Friday night I had after work drinks at the Thirsty Dog with co-worker Anne. Sat I went to Cincinnati for the afternoon with Catalina and her mother, who had last visited in the 1970s. Things have changed a lot since then. We headed for Sawyer Point for Earth Day celebrations. There is another earth day too - see EARTH DAY IS NOT APRIL 22. For sports fans things have changed since I last visited in 2001, since there is a new baseball stadium there now. Sunday was rather mundane. Attended Epiphany Lutheran Church and went to work to catch up on things.

NeonLast night went to the Neon to see Blood Simple? as part of their Coen brothers retrosepctive. It was great.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Posted 00:56 by Rich
american gothicJust back from a trip to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Cedar Rapids, like many small cities has tried to make a claim to fame. It's motto is the the "City of Five Seasons" - the fifth being "a time to enjoy". It is the only city in the world with their City Offices on an island (in the middle of the Cedar River). They like Dayton and Kitty Hawk also have a Wright Brothers connection. The visitor guide states "The global regonition of the 100th anniversay of powered flight presents an outstanding opportunity to shine a spotlight on Cedar Rapids. We are proud to have had the Wright brothers linving in Cedar Rapids at the time they received from a toy, their inspiration to fly." They are quite serious! Their real claim to fame is that Grant Wood is from Cedar Rapids. He painted the "second most regnoised painting in the world" - American Gothic. This is held in Chiacgo but other of this works are on display in the Museum of Art. Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins) is also from Cedar Rapids. So now we have both visited each others home city. But Cedar Rapids is also the kind of place where if you shot a cannon down the main street and hit anyone, you'd be doing them a favour. The taxis there reflect the size and poverty of the town. The cars were really old, probably 20 or 30 years old. Cos the town is small there aren't the big fares to make any good money.

god bless americaWe visited the Art Museum, which remided me of the Dowse in Lower Hutt. After leaving we noticed several trees in the park opposite with yellow ribbons tied to them - just like in the old song 'Tie a Yellow Ribbon Around the Old Oak Tree'. Apparebtly this yellow ribbon campaign is about lost held prisoner or missing in action, which started during the Iran hostage crisis. it has been revived with the war in Iraq. Check out Operation Just Cause.

Catalina and I were in Cedar Rapids for a Public Policy Institute, learnng how to moderate National Issues Forums. The programme was great and we learnt a lot. The people in Iowa and really nice and friendly. They were also a good left wing group. One guy with a sense of humor, said "i don't hw the government will pay for x if we don't get a tax cut."

Catalina and I had a great dinner at Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano. The food was superb and service among the best I've experienced in the USA.Saturday we completed the workshop and visited the Cedar Rapids libary to check our email before heading to the airport.

gospel brunchWhile Catalina went directly back to Dayton, I stayed on in Chicago for two nights to meet up with Tina, a friend of mine. That night I was really tired so we just went around the corner to TGI Fridays and had some beers and snacks.

On Sunday we started with the Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues. With 8 locations and a hotel they have the largest collection of folk art in the world. The food was extensive and I was surpised they made us all custom omlettes. The show wasn't that long but it was quite a spectacle. Then we headed on the train out to the Chicago Cubs play the Pittsburgh Pirates game at the historic Wrigley Field baseball ground. cubsThe Cubs won 4-3, in a slow game that didn't feature any home runs. Slower than cricket? Maybe. The game also made me reflect on how many baseball metapshors Ameicans use ("out of left field"), while we use Cricket ones ("hit for six"). I was interested that they not only sang the National Anthem before the game but also "God Bless America".

That night went to see Oscar winner The Pianist, the latest in the Holocuast survival genre. While these films remind us off what should NEVER be forgotten, I felt that this one didn't really add anything new to what had gone before. We followed the movie with pizza from Giordanos. While standing on the street corner outside the restaurant. A middle-aged guy came striding across the street and started talking to us. He had been harassed by a kid on the other side. As he left our company he remarked, "I went to Vietnam, but I'm afraid of the big city."
home and studio
Monday I shopped the magnificant mile. For a while it looked like I would return with books, even though I sought clothes. I bought Fareed Zakaria's The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad. Also picked up some pants at Eddie Bauer and CDs at Virgin. Then I met up with Tina and we headed West to the suburb of Oak Park, to see the former home and studio of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Oak Park contains many of t=his famous work including the Unity Temple. Dropped into a wonderful gift shop The Paper Source. Then was back to downtown on the L (that's 'L' for elevated train) and off to O'Hare for the flight back to Dayton. Witing for me there were 3 women, Natalia, Catalina and her mother, Maria Victoria (just arrived from Colombia), a much more attractive welcome party than the guys from Southern Hills Transportation.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Posted 12:18 by Rich
welcome to las vegas

Research Trip #2

Destination: Las Vegas
Trippers: Me and Catalina
Profound Trip Saying: "This place looks different in the day time"
Preparation: Watching Vegas Vacation
Gambling Losses: $3.25
Vegas Extras: Photos and Movies!


We left Dayton at the end of the working day (16:30) and were taken to the airport by Southern Hills Transportation. A quick trip to Chicago for our connection, which we nearly missed due to leaving Dayton late. Then on to Las Vegas. We picked up our rental car from Dollar Rental, a white Sebring convertible and tried to follow our instructions from the internet to get out of town and head for the desert of Arizona. After a few false starts we finally headed in the right direction and left the dazzling lights of Las Vegas behind for the eeriness of the desert. First stop was the security check point at the Hoover Dam. Security was increased after 9-11 and with the war going on it is tightened still. We were waved down and told that we were the 10th car in their "random" checks - didn't sound too random to me. We had to remove our bags and open them and show them under the bonnet, which isn't easy on a rented car in the dark.hoover dam Catalina charmed one of the cops by speaking Spanish and we were on our way.

The Hoover Dam is impressive, even at night. We didn't stop and headed southeast into the desert. We found a Motel 6 in Kingman and bedded down for the night. It was great to get some miles behind us on our 24 hours venture to the Grand Canyon.


Up too early given the late arrival, but made good time and went to a diner on Route 66 (the classic route from Chicago to Southern California). The diner, DZ's was a classic American diner with all the trimmings, which is to say that is it is classic remake of the classic american diner, which is the new classical representation. Headed along the interstate to the South Rim of the grand canyon. The canyon is very impressive but there is no one way to fully capture the immensity of the experience. To do that one would need to walk in, raft the river, fly over it and stand on the rim. Still, a few views from the side made a good impression. It was a shame there was so much cloud cover as the uniform light rendered the canyon shadow-less for much of our time there. it was too cold to have the roof off the car but we did it anyway.

On the way back from the canyon we saw the film at the Imax. It was a strange film. It was a mix of history, new age spiritualism, and typical Imax self indulgence. Route 66 musicIf only Saddam had been to the grand canyon and been inspired by the awesome spectacle - there might have been peace. We stopped on in Williams and had a malt at The Route 66 Place .Because of the bad radio reception in the desert I was keen to buy a CD and picked up "The Songs of Route 66: Music from the All-American Highway".
route 66We decided to avoid the interstate in favor of Route 66, this being the longest original stretch of "the mother of all roads" left. it was more fun being on a road like that. We stopped and took photos and tried to find the road to the western rim of the Grand Canyon to see the sun set, but time and lack of knowledge were both against us so we enjoyed the sunset from the car as we drove toward Kingman. Stopped at the Hoover Dam on the way back an defied the signs that said no pedestrians after dark and took several photos of the dam at night.

Before dropping the car back at the airport we decided to drive the strip with the top down, even though the temperatures were really too cold for that. So we filled the car with gas, took the roof off, put extra clothing on, turned up the heat and drove toward Las Vegas Boulevard. It was great fun driving a sports car through there with all the lights and people, we were amazed at the lights and sights and traffic. What a crazy place. Car handed back and with our 24 mission complete we checked into the Sahara and rested.



Buffet for breakfast at the Sahara. The buffet was $6 for all you eat, and by the time you complete the 15 walk through the hotel, casino and Nascar café one can eat a lot. I quickly worked out (but nonetheless was constantly surprised it was universally true) that you can't go between any point in Vegas without passing a slot machine. We raced off to the convention for the first of many session that day. Lunched at the Hilton buffet and headed back for more convention.

It is impossible to walk the strip without having cards and papers thrust into your hand. These are call girls cards and are hilarious. I treated them like trading cards, and soon had enough to start my own distribution point. They are handed out by poor latin americans. The girls will "Come to your room in 20 mins" but since prostitution is illegal within city limits they will only strip and dance. Yeah Right!!. After wandering the strip we dined atshowgirlsThe Venetian then walked to the Rio to see the show Showgirls. This topless revue traces the history of showgirls over 100 years, providing a good excuse for glamorous costumes and a range of dancing and music. Cab back to base.


Up mid morning and took the bus to downtown Las Vegas. We stayed pretty much on Fremont Street. Failing to find anywhere else we had brunch at yet another casino buffet, which was cheap and average food like them all. Then we saw some entertainment and shopped a little for souvenirs before getting the bus back to the strip for a short walk back to the 54

Snacked at the Rivera and then wandered back to the Sahara for a much needed nap. We caught the trolley, which after taking a very non-direct route, dropped us at the to New York. we had a drink there and then wandered over the road, through the Excalibur. We met a guy offering to put our faces onto better bodies and sell us the resulting photos. He was pure fool. He asked me "So, where in England are you from?" When I said I was from NZ he replied, "Same accent though". Then he said that NZers were sensible to leave Australia and set up a new country. What an idiot. Catalina didn't like how her face looked on a playboy model so we left it there. Then it underground to the Luxor for dinner. This is one amazing place. A black pyramid with all kinds of Egyptian stuff inside with a sphinx guarding the entrance. I wanted to ride the elevator, which goes on an angle - like a cable car, but one needs a hotel key to pass security. The queue for the Ra nightclub was too long so we headed for the queue at Studio 54 instead. We have found the music in American nite clubs to be bad. We can't dance to rap. i wonder if the music isn't a trade-off between black and white music meaning it becomes unappealing to both ethnic groups. A late night combined with the shift to daylight savings meant a 4am finish.


Lunched at the Paris and then off to the final sessions of the convention. We picked bundles of literature and jumped into a taxi and headed out to the Liberace Liberace museum. On the way the cab driver told us that the night before he had two passengers who had eaten at Planet Hollywood. They were served by the owner, who comes to town occasionally to check on his restaurants and takes part in the running of things when here, including serving guests. The owner? Arnold Schwarzenegger. My guide book was incorrect and we got to the Museum as they were closing. This wasn't a bad thing as it happened as there ain't much to see and they let us whip through for free, since we'd come a long way across town. Catalina said that Liberace was Las Vegas personified - quite right. Then it was back to the hotel to drop off our gear, including far too many publications from the convention. The NAB convention (to which ours was related has 130,000 people). Las Vegas has 35 million visitors a year (around 96,000 a day!).

parisAfter the museum we headed back to the hotel and dropped off our stuff. We then bused to the fountains at the Bellagio. Had the most expensive ice-cream ever inside and didn't see the Andy Warhol exhibition. I enjoyed the walk through their pools and gardens, partly cos we weren't meant to be in that part of the resort. As it was nearly dusk we went up the Eiffel Tower at Paris, Las Vegas. The tower is half the size of the one in Paris, and they boast it is a true replica, even down to the paint hue and rivets, shame the staff bastardize the French language so badly. Still it was fab view. Again we went at dusk to see the sunset and the light of the strip below come to life. After descending the tower we saw some live music in the Paris bar. Catalina wanted a tower cocktail, which is served in a plastic tower. Then after we'd started that she decided she preferred the ceramic balloon vessel and so we bought one of those as well. They we too large to finish and we even carried them into the restaurant in the Aladdin for dinner. We then bought some fridge magnets of Vegas. I wondered how many people visit Vegas and don't think up their own theme casino. Here are some I thought of:
  1. Lord of the Rings - With a nightclub called Helms Deep
  2. The Monster Truck Casino
  3. Taj Mahal - with live elephants
  4. Mt Fuji - with Godzilla standing guard
We raced along the strip to see the pirate battle at Treasure Island. But the guide book was once again unreliable and we missed the last show. Bugger. Got a taxi back to the Sahara and packed for our departure the next morning.


Back to Dayton today. Wake up call at 4am for taxi to airport. Had a window seat on the way back, so i got some photos of Las Vegas out of the window. Otherwise it was a boring uneventful flights but great scenery out window, including many mountains and snow along the way. Surely they could put slot machines on the back of airplane seats!

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Posted 07:30 by Rich
cardGot my new cards today - which have so little information on them they'll work until I change my name or email address. They were free from vistaprint. Had a great lunch at Armando's Italian Market.

Posted 03:38 by Rich
I leave today for Las Vegas for the Broadcast Education Association convention. Before that starts I'll be heading for the Grand Canyon in a convertible. beaMum sent her diary over, very interesting in that she headed up her entry for 8 November 1990 "President bush to send more troops to Middle East". As I write the invasion of Iraq continues.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Posted 02:22 by Rich
Another busy weekend. Saturday went to the mall and bought some clothes at Lazarus. The afternoon was movies at the arthouse Neon cinema to see El Crimen del Padre Amaro. Dancing plans were cancelled cos Melissa was so slow at packing. Catalina and I went there to watch her and boyfirend Alfredo pack.

Sunday had brunch in Lebanon, just south of Dayton. Then we went to Jungle Jim's International Food Market . I spent too much money but picked such delicacies as Minties, Vegemite, Organic manuka honey, english marmalde, Arnott's mint slices, Bundaberg Ginger beer, Hob nobs and some other great stuff. Wne t bowling. Won two out of three games and manged to break 100 twice - I'm crap at bowling!.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Posted 08:57 by Rich
People at home have been asking me what I'm doing for Easter. Well I'll be working!! I have to work Good Friday and Easter Monday. I don't get ANZAC Day either. Bugger!

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Posted 09:25 by Rich
Oh. Also went to the movies last night. Saw About Schmidt which is the story of a 60-something guy retiring from an insurance company (sound familiar Dad?). It is quite moving and deep I enjoyed it (Mum, you'd enjoy it too, given that it is partly about child sponsorship - just ignore the fact Schmidt's wife dies early on).

Posted 06:35 by Rich
terror systemNot the most exciting weekend. I had to finish an essay for my Otago University paper. Saturday night went out to Thai Nine, a new restaurant in Dayton's Oregon District. On Sunday headed out of town to Waynesville (one of the antique capitals of the midwest) and then further down the road to the Cesar Creek Gorge park and sat on the beach on the lake and visited the pioneer village.

Sadly the war goes on. I feel safe here though. The state of Ohio currently has an orange alert on it homeland security webpage. We are probably more of a military target than a terrorist one, with the Wright Patterson Airforce base in Dayton.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Posted 08:58 by Rich
manly tipsNow catching up on stuff after being away. Here are some websites (geeks, that is) encountered on recent travels:

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Posted 08:38 by Rich
Back in Dayton after Chicago. Yesterday I visited the University of Chicago. The main interest here was the Martin E. Marty Center and their project on Religion and Democracy. Also checked out the library, the bookstores and Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie house. Then was the long trip home to Dayton, leaving Chicago with much unseen and undone but with the will to return soon...

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Posted 15:46 by Rich
wheatonSt Patrick's Day today. Had a late breakfast a french bakery that was more american than french, but probably still suffers loss of business given the anti-French backlash over the Iraq situation. Kiwis shouldn't feel smug about that given similarly irrational tragetting of New Zealand business with french names during the nuclear testing era. Headed west this morning to Wheaton College to check out the "evangelical Harvard" and in particluar the Billy Graham Center, which includes a history of American evangelisation and a history of his life. The tour ends with "the rapture" in a cloud room. Then it was on to the offices of Christianity Today for a quick visit with the editor. Back into town I had dinner at Uno's. They serve Chicago style stuffed pizza. It was very crowded and not the most pleasant experience - even though it was a fine meal. Bought a novel from a virgin
megastore and then back to the hotel for a quiet night.

Monday, March 17, 2003

Posted 09:51 by Rich
ChicagoNow in the Chicago, the "windy city". Got here on Thursday night and was whisked away from the fun to DuPage County and the Double Tree hotel. After a nice dinner in the hotel Catalina and I headed out to the North Beach bar. This is a meat market complete with indoor volleyball, 10-pin bowling and dance floor. it was bad music, bad breast jobs and bad beer - but fun all the same. They shut down at 1:30am - just as were warming up. Americans don't know how to party.

The next day we four Fellows headed to Bontemps School, a poor black school south of the city. This was an exposure visit since we would be working over the weekend on educational inequality. Catalina and I were drooped downtown after that and we started some sight-seeing. First stop was lunch. Then it was to the public library to check our email, which never happened due to long queues. Next stop was the Chicago Architecture Foundation for some gifts and postcards. It was a beautiful shop. Next stop was the Arts Institute. We didn't have time to justify the $10 entry fee so checked out the shop and headed up Michigan Ave to the Magnificant Mile. Catalina bought a digital camera from the Sony Store, while I fell in love with a home theater system. Next stop was the Hancock Tower Observatory from which we saw the sunset. It is not a high as the Sears Tower but some think the view's better. We dined at the Riva Restaurant on Navy Pier. The menu included "Tasmanian Lamb" which was described as being from New Zealand. Priceless!! A short ride on the free trolley and stroll to to see the Katherine davis Jazz Show. After yet another trip with a crazy cab driver, it was a long train trip West to the 'burbs. There were no taxis, so we tired the first company suggested by the hotel. They didn't have any cars "in the area" so we we stranded "effed and left in the cold" as I put it to them. The next company only had an answer machine. So called the hotel back for further advice, just as they answered the longest freight train in history went past so i had to put them on hold to the sound of the train for 5 mins. They called us a cab, which arrived on the other side of the tracks just as the second longest train ever came in the other direction! Finally we got back.

RussianSaturday we spent all day at the College Dupage with dinner at Maggiano's Little Italy. Exhausted after lots of late night it was early to bed.

Sunday it was back to the College for more issue work and a working lunch. Then we were taken back to the airport. The other left for Dayton while i got a shuttle into downtown for further research and FUN. After settling into the hotel I went in search of Chicago style pizza and couldn't fin any. I did find the remnants of the massive peace protest that happened here today. I ended up dining at the Russian Tea Time, having an extremely red vege casserole. After dinner I went to see folk veteran and peace activist Joan Baez in concert (supported by Lucy Kaplansky). Baez was the best dressed guitar-slinger I've seen for a long time, with a purple dress, green jacket and pearls. She sang lots of anti-war songs and included the Finnish national anthem in both english and arabic!!

Friday, March 14, 2003

Posted 03:10 by Rich
Spring is on its way. I know this because I received in the mail yesterday (addressed to the previous occupant) two swinsuit catalogues from Victoria's Secret and Newport News. Oh, and the snow is nearly gone too.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Posted 07:24 by Rich
Now back in Dayton. The highlight of the last day in Austin was hearing Richard Florida on the creative class. Recently in New Zealand I can imagine the inevtaible article in The Listener, Kim Hill or Linda Clark interview, dinner at the Beehive and visits to people of creativity (he met Peter Jackson) - and elitist types who know what is best for New Zealand. But he can't be too bad since he offended Winston Peters.

Florida like many other I've spoken to are SHIT SCARED of what is happening to America. It is closing down of America to outsiders and the confmrity beinff imposed on thought and action. am i seeing the evluvtion of a totalitatirn society. many believe so with constitutional rights being eroded in the name of freedom and democracy - just like Orwell said would happen. Florida reported however that many around ddon't mind if America self-destrustsc since other places will prosper from the flight of creative people from the USA. Yet a totalitarian America is a great danger to the world.

Another friend made at SXSW told me that the world hates Americans since they could stop the war if they really wanted to, but while they disagree with Bush they don't care enough to stop the war, maybe cos it will cost them too much personally. This is why they hate americans - not because they are free (as was a common accustaion after 9-11) but because they don't use the freedoms they have for the good of humanity.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Posted 07:38 by Rich
SXSW web awardsNow on a lunch break on my last day in Austin. Tragically I have to leave before the real fun starts. When i checked out of the hotel I saw a envelope for Hon Judith Tizard on the counter. I guess she here to promote NZ music. I'm sorry to be miss her NZ themed party here. The night before last after the conference sessions were the web awards - I went for the free drinks and food (which ran out very early on). Didn't stay for the awards but snuck off to the world premiere of "Jon E. Edwards is in Love" - a very cosy cinema on Congress was the venue and afterwards the directors and producer and star answered questions and invited us to their afterparty. I headed to the Fray Cafe at the Metro on 6th St. (previously named Pecan St, I cannot believe that they would rename it back to a numeral). The Fray is basically a place to share stories - some crafted, other off the cuff; some alcohol encouraged, other stone cold sober. I didn't like it that much and convinced new friend Kelly to leave and head for Jonny Edwards party at Sullivans. It was a causal drink by the time we got there and then her chaparone turned up and took her home.

6th st.Last night was fun too. I went to dinner to cycling hero Lance Armstrong's fav restaurant on 6th St. with Kelly and friends and to a comedy show at the Vortex by Heather Gold on the SXSW agenda. it was fun. Then we headed to Deville bar and sat under the trees and lights in the open air listening to an "sassy" Aussie gal Sophie sing her heart out. Several encores. It was a magical night. Then off in serach of the other parties going on. Ended up a bar with lots of SXSW folks. the adam's apple martini finished me for the night so turned down the chance of ufther fun with soulman Edwards and entourage.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Posted 11:43 by Rich
Currently at the SXSW trade fair sitting at the "Listening Post" - where I can listen to any of the CDs of the bands playing the music fest. Now listening to The Legendary Shack Shakers. God only knows what genre they are or claim to be. Saw a movie this morning - The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. Finmally a film about a CIA coup in Central America that has a happy ending - it was very moving to see the people in Venezula reclam democracy from the military and corporate elites. Great to see the mainly American audience boo Colon Powell and the White House flunkeys.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Posted 06:07 by Rich
Saturday the SXSW Interactive programme started properly at 2pm so spent the morning getting some breakfast, being online and having a look around downtown Austin.

Following the openeing day's activities there were three opening night parties. The first at Milkshake Media was the best, but foolishly left there to go to the official party where they didn't even have real beer - terrible. I was interviewd on video by an official festical media guy - not sure where that'll end up. nearly got busted by security for putting a bumper stivcker "FREE THE MOUSE" (mickey that is) on a car sculpture inside the agency. Then got a lift to the thirs party with sleazy siliva-soaking Stallman, which was the launch party of startup Went to the Continental Club after that and heard The Dammnations perform. Bought their new CD and had my photo taken with the girls in the band. Then it was off to another party around the corner. On the way back to the hotel went for a feed at a local joint at 3am. Met some interesting and fun people, however, being geeks they have a tendency to introduce themselves by domain name. I met these people:

Sunday back to the convention late and heard an intersting presrntation on Creative Commons. Skipped a session to shop at Waterloo Records. Met soulman Jon Edwards whose film screens tonight.

Sunday, March 09, 2003

Posted 07:47 by Rich
Completed my research at Baylor and headed back to Austin through bad traffic and naviagted back to the airport. Driving on the right hand side is fine - poor signage and not knowing the palce is the onyl dangerous thing. Settled into my hotel right on the river and a short walk to the convention center and to downtown. Austin is alive - there are many places where can stand and see more lnight live the whole of Southwest Ohio put together. I registered for the SXSW Interactive and rushed out for a bite before the first event - a speech by Richard Stallman. It was great stuff - arguing for free software - read more form his site.

Headed out for some live music at Antone's - "home of the blues". The show was LOW with Haley Bonar. Drank some local brew - Lone Star and Bock. Ended up tired bak at the hotel around 1am. I'm glad to be here (eat your heart out Chris N.)

Saturday, March 08, 2003

Posted 06:23 by Rich
LBJ libraryResarch Trip #1: Texas
Mission: Visit the J. M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies atBaylor University in Waco and attend SXSW Interactive in Austin.

Left Dayton on Wednesday night and flew to Austin via Dallas. The most exercise I've had for quite a while was walking gate to gate in Dallas/Fort Worth airport. Got to Austin and had to wait for ages in the cold for the hotel to pick me up. Next morning picked my rental car and headed for Waco.

On the way I stopped off at the LBJ Presidential Library at the University of Austin to see what these instituaions are like. Kettering had a visit recently from it director Dr Betty Sue Flowers, but she was unable to see me. On the drive to Waco saw, among other things Billboards for Christ!!

Harrington HouseMade it Baylor, Waco in time for lunch with staffer Chuck McDaniel at the faculty club. I spent the afternoon reading, hunting down good resources and walking around the campus. The school mascot is a bear - which is in a bear pit on campus - no feeding allowed! I stayed in the staff club building, which is a really old house with lots of character. Unfortunately they gave me the wrong key and had to wait until a campus police officer brought me the right key for the room. For dinner I went to Taco Cabana, having failed to find a place where you pay after you eat. Then I went to a funky cafe Common Ground near campus which has a great atmosphere, electic decore but bad coffee. My cafe au lait was a "shot" of coffee from a pumpe themos with some stemed milk from an espresso machine in a foam cup. Even so the local students were lined up out the door and onto the sidewalk. I met a pretty young girl from Baylor. A true believer she had a True Love Waits ring on her wedding ring finger. The silver ring had a cross cut out of it. She said that her wedding ring will replace it one day. She was on a soccer scholarship and will play the New Zealand womens soccer team soon. I was interested to leanr that ALL students do both old and new testament studies and must do chapel. Waco is famous for the Branch Davidians who were killed by the feds 10 years ago.

Rooty TootyStarted Today with breakfat (soekling intentioanl) at the IHOP (International House of Pancakes). I couldn't resist having the Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity breakfast. Back to the Centre for some more reading and, of course, using the computer. Back to Austin tonight.

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