Western Canadian City – Victoria

26 05 2008

Today was Victoria, the Western major city in Canada on my trip, and the Capital of BC.  Took the seaplane (a first!) over this morning, taught class online from the hotel lobby from 10 – noon, and presented at the BCANDS conference 1 – 2.  This presentation was centered about our work with the Penticton Indian Band.  From there, I could kick back and enjoy the other speakers and Aboriginal community leaders, including Grand Chief Ed John.  Had a pint in a pub up the corner to watch Detriot go 2 up on Pittsburg, and then returned for the big dinner.  It was capped off with Native songs, and then a local 16 piece band (the Midnight somethings, with 7 female singers).

Snuck out after a bit and took a walk along the Victoria waterfront, snapping tourist photos as I went.  At 10 PM PDT, I scrubbed my neck with the water from the Victoria harbour – the clock is running til I can do the same in Halifax! 

Coast to Coast – Victoria to Halifax and back in one week.

24 05 2008

Next week will be a cool one, but a lot of flying.  I’ll be in Victoria Monday and Tuesday for the BCANDS conference – BC Aboriginal Network on Disability Society.  I’ll be speaking about Neil Squire’s parntership with the Penticton Indian Band, and the services we’ve offered: primarily Employ-Abiltiy and our new Community Navigator program.

I then fly to Halifax, to attend the Liberated Learning meeting, a multimedia accessibilty and speech recognition technology project.  The new software provided through IBM takes pre-recorded media and transcribes the text at ~90% with no voice profile training.  It’s truely remarkable, and I get pretty excited about it’s applications for people with hearing loss, meeting learning styles, and literacy applications.

I take a sea-plane Monday morning, and get back home at Vancouver airport on Friday night.  Time to load up the iPod with tunes and video for a lot of flying.

Personal goal – get my feet wet in both the Pacific and the Atlantic ocean in the smallest time window possilbe.

Happy Anniversary, my concussed wife!

13 05 2008

Second emergency room in 8 days.  This time it was Allison… she took a baseball to the head on her way to third base in our ball game on Monday.  I usually get whacked in when I try to get to third too.

She was pretty confused and is off work right now, but hopefully she starts feeling better soon.  Happy Anniversary, my beautiful wife!

Full Day in Vernon – $675, 50 km, 3 stitches, and 7 periods of playoff hockey

5 05 2008

Today was one of those days that was really hard to believe it was just one day.   One of the few times I’ve stayed in Vernon, but I have to say it’s raised the bar for single day travel adventures.

Chad and Dustin pre-bike ride Cycling for Independence and proper sunscreening

Day started with Independent Living Vernon’s Cycling for Independence fundraiser (see previoius post below).  I rode and survived the 50 km bike trip to Lumby riding with Dustin, and raised $675 dollars though pledges.  My family and friends really stepped up, and a coworker Ashwin had a “donate money and sign the shirt Chad will ride in idea” that also drew a significant chunk of cash.  The only injury was a small cut on my shin that had to be pointed out to me, and funny sunburn on the top of my forearms.  I forgot to sunscreen from my elbow pads to my hands.  It looks pretty ridiculous!

One of many Vernon views

After cleaning up, I returned to a viewpoint (in my car) and took 5 minute hike to a hilltop I noticed on the ride.  I’m starting to “get” Vernon a bit more.  I watched the sunset laying on my chest at Lake Okanagan yesterday.  Had fireflies dancing at my window last night.  Soaked in the scenery of the surrounding mountains and landscape while biking nearly 4 hours today.  And then from this mini peak, I could see 2 lakes, a golf course, and dozens of wineries and farms (but not my parked rent-a-car which held my camera).  After a half hour of just soaking it in, I headed to a pub we also past on the ride to eat dinner and watch the sunset. 

Yeah… I could get used to this.

I hit a Staples to pick up a camera bag and a new headset, and then went back to my hotel to watch game 6 of the Sharks vs. Stars in the NHL playoffs.  I used a traveling “800 tools in one” pocket knife to open the packaging.  Apparently I was paying a bit too much attention to hockey, as a I put my finger on the wrong side of the blade and slit my finger instead of the package.   Diagnose is in… I’ll live.  Within a 2 hours I had 3 stitches and a dozen laughs with other patients and medical staff at the Vernon hospital. 

Back from the hospital and the hockey game is in overtime.  One of the greatest games I’ve ever watched… a 1-1 game that was proof you don’t need a lot of goals for a lot of entertainment.   Each goalie made saves that were so unbelievable that even instant replay didn’t do it justice.   Brendan Morrow scored the overtime winner in a moment of poetic justice, as he should have won the series last game but two of his three goals were called back robbing him of a natural hattrick.  Sheer magical hockey … the home Dallas fans stood  through all 7 periods (literally, they didn’t sit at all) and absolutely went MENTAL when the Stars won the game, and therefore the series.  I’ll link it when I can find it online. 

Today was awesome and full and a bit painful.  Here’s to hoping for an easier Monday.  I’ll sleep well tonight.

33rd McGraw-Hill Ryerson, National Teaching, Learning & Technology Conference

1 05 2008

I’ll be presenting at the 33rd National Teaching, Learning & Technology Conference at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC on May 14, 2008.  I’ll do my best to cover my favorite topics in the 1/2 hour I have: Assistive Technology, Employ-Ability, Liberated Learning, and how we use Wimba to reach and engage people with disabilities.  It’s always a bit special when I can do things at SFU, as that’s where I completed my post-secondary education.

“We are part of an ever-changing world in which education contributes and participates. Rapid change permeates the interrelated elements of the educational ecosystem. These changes provide new opportunities for teaching and learning in innovative ways. How are we responding and adapting to this new horizon; and more importantly, how can we ensure our teaching continues to be even more dynamic, relevant, and sustainable in an ever-evolving global society? Come and join your colleagues at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C. to hear keynote speakers, concurrent session presenters, and workshop facilitators address these topics.” 

Website: http://www.mcgrawhill.ca/events/event_detail.php?event_id=140