Dave is at home in Gainesville, resting.
His term ended at 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, 2006.
Get this blog as an XML feed

Friday, June 30, 2006

June 30, Vermont and New Hampshire:
Woo Hoo! I've now accomplished one of my life goals -- to visit all 50 states.

For years, I've been missing only two U.S. states, Vermont and New Hampshire, and today I had the chance to rectify that.

This afternoon, the sun came out for the first time since I arrived in northwest Massachusetts on Wednesday. So, after most of a day of sessions at the Media Giraffe conference at the University of Massachusetts /Amherst, I waylayed another conference-goer, Robb Montgomery from Chicago, and jumped in the car at 3 p.m. to drive the 35 miles or so up to Brattleboro, Vt.

I didn't know until we got there that I could knock off New Hampshire, too, simply by crossing the Connecticut River from downtown Brattleboro (Google map).

The drive up I-91 is perhaps the most pristine stretch of interstate highway I've ever been on. No billboards. No claptrap apartment buildings. No Wal-Marts. Virtually no houses visible from the road. It's as if they laid four lanes of concrete through an untouched forest. The only glitch was a construction site at a short bridge that backed up the northbound traffic for miles. It took 1:15 to get to Brattleboro and 35 minutes to get back.

My only regret is that I didn't get a picture of a "Moose Crossing" sign to add to the blog. I left my camera behind in the hotel room. (I snagged the picture above from a web site. Photo by Jason Ilyes.)

Upon our return, we visited a tiny Thai restaurant on an alley in downtown Amherst. Thai Corner it is called, and it is a family run sort of place right down to the pictures of the grandkids on the wall. The food was spectacular, and we had an entire meal -- soup, salad, chicken satay, rice and green curry, all washed down with Thai beer, for $20 each.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

June 28: Amherst, Mass.
Just when I think my airline luck has run out, along comes a good day.

Today's flight from Tampa to Hartford, Conn., was not just uneventful, it was non-stop and on time. I even got upgraded to first class.

At the airport, I met Steve Fox and Adrian Holovaty of the Washington Post and we drove the hour up to the University of Massachusetts/Amherst for the Media Giraffe Conference. It's a gathering of diverse groups involved in Internet publishing. There are about 220 people here including mainstream media types, pure-play Internet types, bloggers with ties to big media, bloggers with no ties at all (including neckties), and academics. It should be an interesting few days because there is no dominant faction, at least in numbers. I'm speaking on a panel at dinner on Thursday. Topic: "Can (media) ownership make a difference?"
June 26: Albuquerque, NM.
It's another day in airline hell.

I arrive at 6:30 a.m. for my 8:30 a.m. flight from Albuquerque to Atlanta. At check-in, I get the word that the flight is delayed three hours and will take off at 11:30. That means I'll miss my connection to Gainesville. The clincher is that all the later flights are full.

The only way to get home on Monday is to fly to Tampa, rent a car and drive two hours north to Gainesville. The flight to Tampa is on time. Avis has a car ready for me. So far so good. Then, half way back to Gainesville on I-75, traffic is stopped dead by an accident some miles farther north. Fortunately, I am able to get off the interstate and make my way around the wreck, but I finally arrive home at 10:30 p.m.

It was, shall we say, a long day.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

June 21: Albuquerque, N.M.
I flew to New Mexico today to promote what we hope will be a new SPJ chapter here.

The flights, for once, were uneventful. Avis even had the rental car ready when I got to Albuquerque International, but I sure am getting tired of airplanes. I just got home Monday night from San Francisco, then had to wing it West again on Wednesday morning.

But I always love New Mexico. I lived here for 13 years before moving to the University of Florida. This evening I was able to indulge my constant craving for New Mexican food -- carne adovada enchiladas topped with green chile at Garduno's.

Tomorrow, I will meet with journalists here about affiliating with SPJ, eat more green chile, and then drive up to Southwestern Colorado for a few days of R&R near Durango.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

June 16: Berkeley, Calif.
Nights like this one are the reason I so love SPJ and its members.

Peter Sussman, a legendary SPJ-er, Wells Key holder and one of the authors of the SPJ Code of Ethics, held a mixer at his home this evening. The national executive committee and members of SPJ's outstanding Northern California Chapter got together on a beautiful evening for food, wine and fellowship.

It was a blast.

Peter and his wife Pat were extremely gracious hosts in their wonderful, century-old arts and crafts style house.

We also celebrated the 17th wedding anniversary of Terry Harper, our executive director, and his wife Lee Ann.

We made our way over and back (mostly) via Bart, the Bay Area Rapid Transit system. The pictures were taken on the platform as we waited for the train back from Berkeley. At top, downtown San Francisco is in the distance.
June 15: San Francisco
Flew in from Gainesville for the summer meeting of the SPJ executive committee. The flights, for a change, were uneventful -- except that my pals at Delta failed to put my suitcase on the same plane they put me on.

But they were gracious about it. They said it would be in on the next flight from Atlanta.

Of course, that wasn't too awfully helpful since I needed to get down to Menlo Park for an SPJ meet-n-greet event at 6, and to spend the night, thanks to the graciousness of Christie Tatum, SPJ president-elect, and her mother-in-law.

I ask Delta to deliver the bag to the house in Menlo Park.

"No problem," says the agent. "It will probably be there around 2 a.m."

"2 a.m.?" say I. "Why so late?"

"The service we have delivers to all the hotels before they deliver to residences."

"Hmmm," think I. "Just how is that logical?"

My guess is that they figure that folks who are staying at a private residence don't need their luggage, at least not as badly as the folks staying at hotels do. If that private residence happens to be your house, that's all well and good. When it's somebody else's mother-in-law's place, the logic doesn't hold water. Having some idiot knocking on the door at 2 a.m. asking for you probably isn't going to endear you to the hostess, but the way you smell after flying 3,000 miles may not endear you to her either -- let alone anyone else at the meet-n-greet.

But I decide it's no use arguing. Since I am moving to a hotel in San Francisco tomorrow, I just tell them to deliver the bag to the hotel. Then I call the hotel to make sure they'll accept it, since the bag will be arriving before the guest.

Thankfully, it all worked out. When I got to the hotel at noon today (Friday), the bag was here, and I could change clothes -- finally. I'm sure everyone around me appreciates it as much as I do, maybe more.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

June 3: NOT in Prague
Some trips apparently just were not meant to be.

This is the second time in 2006 that I've been scheduled to be in the Czech Republic and Poland to speak to journalists about how and why to form professional associations such as SPJ. And it's the second time the trip has been cancelled.

This time, I had to call it off. My wife Jeanne, also a journalist, has severe carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists. She had surgery on her right hand last week. The left hand will be done later in the summer.

To leave a one-handed loved one behind while I went galavanting around Europe just didn't seem fair, let alone appropriate.