Thursday, February 28, 2008


DD, Roving Reporter

This weekend, TW and I are flying out to Denver, where I'll be attending and blogging the League for Innovation in the Community College conference. It's my first 'roving reporter' gig, which I think means I have to buy a brown fedora and a tan trenchcoat. (Any regular correspondents or commenters who plan to be there and want to arrange a meetup, shoot me an email!) I'll be posting my reports on my IHE site, so readers who usually read me on my original site will have a chance to check that out.

We're both excited about the trip. Neither of us has ever been to Denver, and it will be our longest spell away from the kids since TB was born.

The preparations are worthy of a military mission.

The grandparents will watch the kids: first my Mom, then her parents. Since TB has school and CCD next week, and TG has preschool, we have to write down every little detail of each routine with almost Taylorist precision. Bedtimes, foods, rituals, clothes, tv rules, and the like have to be explained with great care, since TB and TG are remarkably adept at exploiting any ambiguity in their own favor. We'll also need to adjust our daily schedule to allow for plenty of phone time.

I've even updated our will, and drafted a letter authorizing the grandparents to make medical decisions for TB and TG during our trip. It's kinda morbid, but one never knows.

And that's before trying to deal with the rules about flying, and luggage, and getting to the airport at least a week before the flight in order to allow time for the body cavity searches, and the confiscation of any suspicious contact lens fluid or signs of independent thought. I shudder to think what the screeners will do to my poor, innocent laptop, or how long we'll have to sit on the runway so our lateness won't affect their 'on time' statistics.

But it'll be good. TW and I have been badly short of alone time, and I'm looking forward to finding out what's going on at cc's in other states and regions.

Where can a guy find a fedora these days?

Wowee! Have a great time and a safe trip!
Name-check of Speedy Fred? Nice.

Flight delays, more common now than ever, do have one advantage. Imprisonment in a terminal or in a plane is an excellent time to do heavy reading. Most of the non-fluffy books I've read in the last few years were read during air travel and its myriad delays.

Should you be unsure of how to handle yourself at the conference, I suggest you simply ask "What would Stephen Colbert do?", and you'll be fine.

And a question to start your investigations: will the thin air of Denver cut down on extended speechifying by out-of-towners? Will the long-winded of the sea-level cities embrace brevity rather than pass out at the podium? Or will the prolix perhaps turn purple? Hmmmm...
Fedoras got EXTREMELY cool recently - I've been able to buy black fedoras very cheap in places like H&M for the past 2-3 years.

I don't know about brown though...
Oh, have an excellent trip! And yanno, with the new Indiana Jones movie coming out this May, a brown fedora ought'nt be too hard to find!

(I'm flashing back on an earlier post where you said you had at least a little bit of Kermit the Frog in you, and thinking of him doing the roving reporter schtick. Very amusing imagery in my head over here, thanks for that!)
Get into the hills, but don't try to go west on i-70 on a weekend day, especially not Sunday. Go up to Boulder and on through to Nederland. Eldora has great X-Country skiing and snow-shoeing if you're so inclined. Bring water.
Are you new to altitude? Drink water on the flight and water when you arrive.

Denver is not that high, but high enough that the increased effects of alcohol can be noted. In particular, the dehydration at altitude increases the hangover potential from the welcome reception. I remember one conference where there were many groans of "now you tell us" during the opening session ... the morning after the reception.
leave the kids' insurance cards with the grandparents...

and have a great time!
Definitely drink a lot of water, and use hand lotion if it's not to wussy for you. Denver is very dry in winter.

Have a pint at the Wynkoop! It's a great brewpub, and it's even owned by the Mayor. Food's good too.
You can get a fedora here:

Or for the hat that will allow others to find you in a crowd, go here:

Have fun!
Ivory, that is not a fedora. A fedora

would be insulted to be in the same room with one of those things. The alternative for travel would be an old Effanem crusher, a wool felt fedora that can be rolled up and be little the worse for it.

PS - One of our older (60ish) adjuncts wears one of the classy ones, along with a suit and tie, every day in class.
Definitely consider "Dozen's" for brunch. I'm a "regular" customer, but at a low frequency (the <1/yr that I pass through Denver on the way to a conference, at a time that brunch makes sense).
Downtown Denver has a long pedestrian mall with free bus service up and down its length. The Tattered Cover in lower downtown (LoDo) is a wonderful used-and-new bookstore.
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