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DAILY SCHOOL JOURNAL DAY 149- SAN DIEGO STORY-TELLIN’

by admin on April 27th, 2004

The trip to San Diego was epic. I tried to make the most of it despite it’s obvious flaws, and setbacks.

I kept a running journal at times, as well as took some pretty decent notes, so I wouldn’t forget anything.

Sit back, and enjoy the long ride that was the 2004 CCEA conference.

We left Friday at about noon. Our flight left out of Sacramento International Airport at 3:45. We got to the Airport fine. I had to drive out of my way about 20 minutes to let my principal drop his car off at home, not too big of a deal. I tend to be more of the hurry up and wait type traveler though, so I don’t particularly like to wait for anyone to do anything. My philosophy has always been, have yourself ready to go when everyone else is; nobody should have to wait for anyone, it sucks. 90% of trips are planned well enough in advance to have time to make sure all is properly taken care of, to ensure an on time departure.

You don’t need to make your driver go to the bank on his way out of town… you had plenty of time the weeks before. This is all I’m saying.

We got to the airport, with about an hour to kill. We cleared security, and waited in the lounge for our flight. One of the ladies managed to sneak a Swiss Army knife past security somehow, and it became a running joke the remainder of our time in airports.

Despite one good jolt in our decent into San Diego, the flight was really smooth.

We landed in San Diego about 5:00; we needed to be in our hotel for dinner at a time we thought was between 6 and 7. We waited about 20 minutes for everyone to get his or her baggage.

On a side note; I hate checking my bag. I prefer to pack enough to allow me to take it aboard as a carry on. It solves a lot of trouble. A) There is no waiting for baggage claim B) There is no lost, broken, or tampered with luggage.

A co-worker of mine packed a suitcase the size of a small car, so she HAD to check it, so being as she checked her bag, everyone else did, I did as well.

I gave her enormous amounts of grief for her bag all weekend long.

iYou know the conference is only two days long right?i

iI don’t think that’s going to fit in the overhead compartment. You may need a larger airplane to carry that, like a 747 or somethingi

iAre you sure you’re not brining your kids along?i

iI thought I saw your van riding on its real axle on the way down, that suitcase explains iti

iWe’re going to have to wait extra long for our bags after yours gets on the conveyer belt and slows it down.i

She wasn’t happy about it, but I really didn’t care

We waited about another 30 minutes for the shuttle to take us to our hotel. The man was loading up our suitcases and I kept on harping about the eenormous suitcase.

iSir you’d might want to wear a weight belt for that one, so you don’t dislocate your back. If you could please put it on the bottom too, so it doesn’t crush our puny overnight bags with its massive girth, that’d be great.i

We got to the hotel, which was located right on San Diego bay. It was painted all pink and blue colors, it reminded me of what I envision South Beach in Miami to look like.

As we were getting out of the shuttle I kept on with the big suitcase jokes.

iWe might need three bell boys to take that up to your room.i

iYou’re not going to tip the driver? after he had to wrestle with your huge suitcase. He’s going to have to file workman’s comp. when he gets done.i

I was just getting a lot of dirty looks and a few “shut UP!” comments

We waited in line to check in to the hotel. We had 6 people going to the conference; 3 males, and 3 females. We were sharing 2 rooms, Males in one room, and females in the other. There was originally supposed to be a roll away bed for me in our room. When we got checked in the un-helpful winch behind the counter informed us that it was a ifire hazardi and we weren’t getting one.

iWell what am I supposed to do for sleeping?i

iI guess you’ll just have to get cozy.i She said

iNO.i I am not about to sleep in a full sized bed with another man next to me. If one of them touched my leg in the middle of the night even accidently, I’d scream.

Seriously.

It’s not a homophobic thing as much as it is a sleeping comfortably thing. If it were a close friend of mine, not a co-worker, and a king sized bed; I could share and make it through. Sleeping with a co-worker in a small bed was NOT going to happen.

While the others were checking in I went and checked in at the conference reservation table. It was now 6:30. Dinner started at 6. We had to scamper to get registered and then go wait for an elevator to get to our rooms, so we could drop our stuff off before going to what was left of dinner.

There were 3 elevators, only one worked. It was like this all weekend. While we waited for the elevator I kept up annoying the lady with the massive suitcase.

iGreat, the elevator’s busted, and now we’ll have to wait for this one again after she and her suitcase take the first one.i

I can be a real bastard when I want to.

We dropped our stuff off in our room, and there wasn’t even a couch for me to sleep on. I’d have to figure out SOMETHING and avoid getting cozy.

We arrived at dinner about 40 minutes late. Everyone was done with his or her salads when we showed up. There weren’t any seats together so our group had to be split up; unfortunately the lady with the large suitcase was at my table.

iGood thing we didn’t have to bring our luggage in here, someone would’ve had to sit on the floori

Dinner was decent. We had salad to start, followed by a steak thing, vegetables, and some shrimp in a sauce. It was pretty tasty, for a meal served to 500 people.

During dinner the people putting on the conference welcomed us, and did a few raffles, for prizes. The lady with the huge suitcase won a basket full of wine, crackers, and other crap.

iWhere am I going to put this?i She said

iHELLO! MASSIVE SUITCASE!! Did you forget?i

iIt’s full.i

iYOU ARE SH*TTING ME!!i

iNo. It’s full.i

iOf what? Body parts?i

I finished dinner, and went to explore my surroundings. I went with a co-worker of mine, who I do enjoy hanging out with. He and I went looking for beer, and cigars.

We didn’t find any convenience stores near us at all. We had to go back to the hotel.

The conference was having a Monte Carlo night for us from 9-12 that night. They had had one before, when the conference was in So-Cal, it was mildly fun, but it got a little boring after about 45 minutes.

I wanted to have a drink, now that I was on my weekend to relax in San Diego. I went to the bar they had in the igamei room; 4.50 for a domestic bottle of beer. I wanted to have about 5 beers that evening; at that price I would have spent my conference per diem in about 3 hours. They also had a British pub in the hotel. I decided it would probably be a little more reasonable in ther.

Not even close.

I paid 5.45 for a small Bodington’s draught ale. I couldn’t drink there either. It was looking like I would have to starve myself in order to have a few coctails.

Then I found a miracle.

The hotel gift/necessity shop was going out of business, and everything was 50% off, even beer. They had six packs of MGD, BUD, and things like that for 3.49 a six-pack.

Unbelievable.

The other teacher and I bought 2 six packs to start with, and invited all the other people from our group (except suitcase, she doesn’t drink, but after lugging that thing around all morning, how could you not want to) to join us by the pool.

I was shocked, that the 4 of us who were around the pool all smoked. Three of us smoked cigarettes, and one a huge cigar. It was funny to see a group of teachers out there doing the things our kids do on a daily basis. I coined the phrase Continuation Teachers Gone Wild.

For the record, everyone there is a recreational drinker and smoker. Nobody here smokes while at work.

Periodically I went into the casino room, and tried to win some chips. The chips were pretty much useless. You could buy tickets, and win a few prizes if your number was drawn. One of the prizes was a weekend in the renegade biker hangout of Laughlin, Nevada. I think I would have rather bled out my eyes than gone there. One of the prizes however, was a sleeping bag. I was meant for this prize, or so I thought. I had no bed; no couch, no covers, a sleeping bag and me were meant for each other.

I tried to win as many tickets as I could. Sadly, I wasn’t very productive at the blackjack table. I even tried to cheat. I tried pulling chips back when I lost, throwing cards around, everything. For dealers playing with fake money they were very serious.

I tried to tell them.

iThis isn’t Vegas, you aren’t a real dealer. There are no tips for you in this. This event is for FUN, me losing my fake money is NO FUN.i

I started out with 500$ of fake money, I finished with about 700$ in fake money. Pathetic.

I kept going out to the pool and sucking down more cheap beer; then returning to try and win more fake money. It was a very sad existence there for a while.

Finally the night started to wrap up, it was nearing midnight, and the tables were shutting down. Our group successfully polished off about 4 3.49 six packs, and were getting close to calling it a night. Our principal was a little shocked to see his faculty tying it off like this. We kept telling him it was his fault; he’d driven us to a weekend of binge drinking.

Finally he turned in. He’d seen enough.

I went in to check my tickets and wait for my new sleeping bag.

I didn’t win it.

I was pissed.

I now needed plan B.

I went back by the pool to wrap up the evening with my remaining 3 co-workers. I noticed there were chase lounges by the pool. They all had decent mats on them so I decided to borrow one of them. The other teacher from my room went upstairs, and out on our balcony, and I handed him the mats from below.

I now had a place to sleep.

I went back to the room, called housekeeping and they brought me some blankets. I decided to sleep outside on the balcony, it was a wonderful 73 degrees out.

I fell asleep outside, with a cool ocean breeze blowing in off the bay, listening to my walk-man, and singing along to my songs.
(I found out in the morning everyone heard me singing.)

So ended night one in San Diego

DAY 2

I awoke fairly early in the morning to the sound of walkie-talkies being used below me, in the pool area.

I had a small hangover and was positive I was being hunted in regards to the sleeping pad I had borrowed the night before. I kind of lay there and listened to the walkie-talkie garble for awhile, until I pretty much decided they were more concerned with the amount of chlorine in the pool, not where the mat on the one empty chase lounge had gone.

About 7:00 I woke up, and decided I needed to start preparing myself for the day in San Diego. The sun was coming up, a slight breeze was again blowing in from the bay, and it was very obviously going to be a beautiful day.

The conference works like this. Saturday you spend the entire day going to different sessions. These sessions are geared around providing you information about different topics, usually relevant to continuation schools. It might be something about drug abuse, creating materials that work for these types of kids. Teachers a lot of time put on the presentations, and describe success strategies they’ve had.

In the 4 years I have attended this conference I have had about a 40% success rate in finding sessions that are good, and a worth wasting an hour of my time.

I had about an hour before session 2 begun. I decided to go get some coffee, and enjoy the morning. There was a place called CafE Moto right by our hotel, I bought a cup of scalding hot coffee from them, and spent the next hour walking along the bay switching the cup from hand to hand so I wouldn’t burn the crap out of myself.

I didn’t get to enjoy the coffee for about an hour and a half.

The walk along the bay in San Diego is awesome. They had old pirate ships there, aircraft carriers, and a lot of small cruise ships you could go on and have dinner, or just take a tour in.

The walk had been lined with an art exhibit called urban trees. They had taken a number of local artists, had them design these trees out of various art supplies, usually metal, ceramics, and mosaics. They were really neat, and I had fun looking at them.

9:00 approached and I decided to go get inside, and find my first session.

For my first session I chose one titled iI WON’T READ AND YOU CAN’T MAKE MEi

There wasn’t really anything else that looked appropriate for my subjects, so I went with the title that I thought was funniest. I walked in and sat down. I got a really bad vibe about the people in the room. I decided to go to the one next door on poetry. I figured I might find some valuable information on sound poetry in that session.

I stood in the hallway for 5 minutes waiting for the door to be opened, I began to think, maybe the poetry session wasn’t even going to happen, so I went BACK and grabbed a seat right in the middle of I WON’T READ AND YOU CAN’T MAKE ME.

I decided to keep a running diary of the whole ordeal, in honor of one of my favorite sports writers.

9:00 we’re sitting in here introducing ourselves and going over what classes we teach. A lady teaches Yoga to continuation kids. Yoga?

9:01 OH NO. I just realized I made a horrible HORRIBLE mistake. Again, this is Horrible.

This is where I need to tell you that 4 years ago, I had mistakenly sat in on a session by this author of books for continuation school kids dealing with topics such as being gay, having babies, being abused, pregnancy from a males’ perspective (the author is a lady) It was horribly liberal, and the lady was basically trying to sell her books to us. I had a good friend with me last time, which made it only slightly bearable.

It was then I realized I sat in this ladies session AGAIN.

9:03 I’m totally lame. Damn me for not paying attention.

9:04 I won’t read and you can’t make me. I won’t pay attention and you can’t make me. I won’t make THIS mistake ever again, and you can’t make me.

9:20 it’s sunny and 73 degrees outside and I’m stuck in a cramped room listening to a leftist author talking about an uncircumcised penis.

( She was reading from some book about this kid who wanted to make money by showing other kids this kid’s pecker)

9:21 She just asked the question- iWhat do you do when you finish a book you like?i

I said put it back on the shelf. Everyone else said things like READ MORE, TELL FRIENDS ABOUT IT, GLOW, FEEL BETTER. I guess I was wrong.

9:30 It’s HOT in here. I’m cramped. My ears are sweating and I have no place to spit my phlegm. Sh*T!

9:37 I just noticed, I think I am at a librarians convention.

9:38 The worst part is I LEFT, gave myself an opportunity to get out then I came BACK in. What the hell was wrong with me?

9:39 I just noticed something in the nose of the lady in front of me. I’m not sure if it’s a booger or a hair.

9:39 maybe dry skin?

9:40 Still unknown. I’m leaning towards booger. I Have ruled out hair.

9:43 That booger is KILLING me.

9:44 God! She just scratched the OTHER side of her nose. DAMMIT!!

I feel like my ears are leaking fluid. Damn the 3.49 sixer.

Some lady just told us she teaches a class called recreational reading. I think she’s stealing someone’s money.

The lady writes books like Jimmy is a gay uncircumcised pirate expecting a baby.

9:36 (yes it’s backwards) I just looked at the guy next to me, his watch said 9:36. I’m about 12 minutes slow on my internal clock. SH*T!!!

There’s a lady in front of me who looks like a cross between Sandy Duncan and Lady Elaine from Mister Rogers.

9:39 I should’ve sat in the back.

9:40 I swear that booger just winked at me.

The phrase Pippy Long Nostrils is really funny to me. I just made that up, after looking at this lady in front of me next to the booger lady.

9:45-10:00 n They spent this time bashing on all of their conservative co-workers who didn’t want books about gay pirates in their library, and how we can change their evil minds.

I don’t have any problems personally with gay folk, or books about gay folk. I just think when people get so angry about other people not liking it, it’s funny.

Our speaker said

iI think the gay rights movement is the black civil rights movement of this generation.i

I so wanted to add, except with less pregnancies. I didn’t.

My session ended and I was out of there SO fast you wouldn’t believe it.

The second Session started. This one was on history; I figured it at least had the potential to be informative.

Again, I was wrong.

I didn’t keep the running journal, but I took some notes down.

-I’m sitting right next to the pool. This can’t be good for my concentration.

It wasn’t I was like an ADD kid all class long, just staring out the window, drooling on myself.

We had to fill in these blanks on this page the guy gave us. I filled them in wrong.

One example was

You must ______ kids.
The right answer was teach. I put in beat.

-The guy is telling us about his philosophy of appropriate language in the continuation classroom. He doesn’t allow the eF’ word. Or the eG.D.’ word. I’m taking that to be F*ck, and G*d Dammit. He says they are unprofessional, which I totally agree with. He allows Sh*t and B*tch though… I guess Sh*t is a professional term then?

-I’m staring out the window like I need medication. (note it wasn’t like there were babes by the pool or anything, it’s just a very nice day… and I’m indoors.)

-He did this little thing where he talked about how moving around the classroom a lot kept people on task, and focused on him. I drew the whole time he did that, and stared out the window. Focus that dude!

-I wrote so much in my free notepad, that I think the guy was really uncomfortable by it. He kept looking at me like I was a reporter for the enquirer, and I was going to publish a story on how crappy he was at lecturing.

-Random arm twitch… kind of funny, and disturbing. Why do I get these?

-While staring out the window I saw this lady using a hands free phone… she looks totally insane.

-They keep wheeling room service by this window; it’s making me hungry. Like I didn’t have enough trouble being focused.

–There’s this group of androgynous surfer kids by the pool. One is pretty obviously male, and he’s giving another one a back rub. I have no idea if it’s a boy or girl he’s giving a back rub to… it’s disturbing me.

Finally that session ended. I joined up with another teacher from our school, and he and I went and walked around before lunch. The only reason we had to go back for lunch is because a teacher from our school was getting an award. We kept cursing her for getting that award, because we were enjoying the weather so much. We walked passed the aircraft carrier Midway, which was very impressive. It wasn’t open yet for tours, or we would have gone aboard.

Finally lunchtime neared and we decided to go ahead and return to watch our co-worker receive her award. We go there, and of course our other co-workers didn’t save us a seat, so we had to sit by ourselves.

iIf I’d have known those bastards weren’t going to save us seats, I’d have stayed out and gotten lunch somewhere else.i My friend said.

We got a seat somewhere near the front, and tried to make time pass as quickly as possible, so we could return to site seeing in downtown San Diego.

Lunch was some sort of chicken dinner with noodles, and vegetables. It was not very good.

Finally lunch itself ended, then they brought up all 12 candidates for teacher of the year. Our teacher didn’t win the state award, just our district teacher of the year.
The losers didn’t even make her an award, they forgot.

Every other district winner got a trophy, except her.

When they announced the state teacher of the year winner, they shot off these confetti cannons.

Nobody was expecting it.

I almost crapped myself it was so loud, and shocking.

Some people screamed, some fell out of their seats, war vets ducked for cover. It was really frightening. In retrospect, it was pretty funny. The confetti they shot out was everywhere, and it wrapped itself around you, it took forever to get off.

After the lunch time hi-jinks were over, we decided to go see some of San Diego.
We walked about 10 miles all over San Diego. It was nice, but there was nothing overly cool down there that you couldn’t find in other big cities. We found a huge convention center, which we had to walk up millions of steps to get across. There were a few malls, some restaurants, etc. We went to this little tourist place called Seaport village.

Seaport village is right on the wharf, and it’s kind of like the San Diego version of Pier 39 in San Francisco. Everything is way over priced, and basically crap. They had this ethnic band playing ethnic rock in the middle of the village gazebo. The funniest part was when they played ilow-rideri as they did there was this 80 year old black lady pushing her walker around the gazebo, dancing all over the place with this huge toothless smile.

Totally funny.

While we were walking in the famous gaslamp district of San Diego I saw one of the oddest bums I’d seen. He was this black guy with a guitar. He wasn’t playing the guitar.
He was screaming something that sounded like this.

Most of it was not comprehensible.

iYeeeeah Musglifigg he’s wet. Figgleriggle tooghteeth They wet. Weffeerleel WET! Do you reeflggle muddle WET! Deesleteedle yeknow THEY WET!i

I didn’t get it.

He followed us down the street saying it for about 5 minutes.

After shopping around for about 4 hours, I finally got my kids some gifts, and we returned to the hotel.

Dinner for Saturday night was not provided so you had to go out on your own. I had been watching the Kings game 3, but as it got uglier, I got hungrier. When the game was out of reach I decided to go to dinner with our principal, and suitcase. We went across the street to this little seafood place. I ate way too much.

I ate shrimp cocktails, clam chowder, fish, crab, bread, everything. I left there feeling pretty close to popping.

I didn’t make any suitcase comments during dinner. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I was constantly eating.

The main FUN at the CCEA conferences is usually on Saturday night. The different districts have hospitality rooms available in the suites, on the upper floors. Typically these rooms provide all the free alcohol, and snacks you could possibly want. They’re usually very crowded, and it’s the spot a lot of people go to in order to socialize, and wind down from the days sessions.

This year had promised to be the best in a long time; I was pumped.

All three rooms never had more than 15 people in them at one time. It was very sad. The snacks, and the booze was there, but the people letting off steam, and acting like their students was gone for some reason. It was basically groups of people sitting around discussing work.

I sat out on the balcony of the 9th floor and watched the sun go down, with my co-workers, and drank free beer. The balcony I was on was tilted. I swear. I thought it was going to break. The railing felt shaky, like if you pressed too hard on it, it’d just fall off.

I was petrified all night.

This lady kept sitting on the railing leaning out to look up, every time she did that I felt like vomiting. Finally she stopped, so I would stop cursing at her.

iI love heights man, sorry.i She said

iYou’re a fu*ckin’ nut. Do you fully realize how painful it is to watch someone dangle over 200-foot drop off, when you hate heights?i

iLike THIS?i

Then she’d hang over farther. It was mortifying.

I had to deal with that for several hours. Finally I moved to another balcony, and tried hard to not look.

The parties on the 7th and 8th floor died by about 10 O’ Clock. The elevator situation didn’t make the partying any easier. 1 elevator worked, and it was constantly busy. You could consume an entire beer in the time it would take you to finally get an elevator. That’s not chugging it either. You couldn’t use the stairs because they led you outside. There was no access to the halls from the staircase. Our best option was to stay and drink at the room with the best beer selection, which was floor 8.

Eventually that ran out of beer.

We finally decided to retreat back to the pool area. It was only our school hanging out together anyway, so we could do that just as easy by the pool as we could in Room 847. We retired to the pool, and someone returned with a 3.49 sixer. We sat there as a staff sort of hashing out different stories, and events for about 2 hours.

People started to turn in about 11:00.

When they booked our flights for this trip, someone not on the trip booked them at 8AM, knowing we’d all want to stay up late on Saturday, and probably site see some on Sunday prior to leaving. We were all very displeased with this, and cursed that individual all night long.

Our Principal was the first to leave the poolside for the room. We saw him in the room about 45 minutes later wandering around in his skivvies. He had no idea we could see him. It was pretty funny. We nicknamed him Risky Business. For the rest of his life it’ll be his nickname, and he’ll never know why.

I stayed up the latest in my group. I don’t know why really. I wandered back up to 847, and drank there for awhile, proceeded to get in to some drunken sports arguments with people, then at some time about 1:30AM, I wandered back to my room, and took my spot out on the veranda, and in my chase-lounge pad bed I fell asleep.

At 5:00 am I was awoken to start getting ready to leave. We again cursed the individual who booked us on the early flight. I don’t recall too much of the getting ready to leave part, I just know I somehow got downstairs, and had my stuff with me. Finally suitcase came down.

iBig F*ckin’ suitcase.i I told her.

iI’m surprised you got any sleep, you must have had to wake up at 2AM to start packing and dragging that thing to the lobby.i

I got the evil morning glares…

Hey if you can’t be happy in the morning, make someone more miserable than yourself, that’s my motto.

We left for the airport on the FIRST shuttle of the morning. The only other people going to the airport that early worked there.

We got in line for security, and started cracking jokes about the knife that our teacher of the year had managed to bring aboard on her way down. It was good, good times.

iHey look at that picture, there’s a knife on it… apparently that only applies to non-teachers of the year.i

iI’m sure your knife is fine, it also doubles as a toothpick, and spoon.i

iHey, don’t you want to check her for anything?i We say as we make pretend knifing gestures. It was fun, and one of the only things that made the early morning not completely miserable.

I ate a Cinnabon as well, which was delicious at 6AM.

Here’s bad karma for you. While sitting there waiting for our flight the lady comes on the intercom.

iWe’re overbooked on this flight. If anyone is interested in receiving a 100$ travel voucher in addition to the price of their ticket, please go to the desk. We’ll put you on the 10AM flighti

HELL YEAH!

I always have wanted a travel voucher, I always miss out on them too. I turned to my principal and was like ilet’s go get them, that’s awesome, the’yll give us food vouchers too, plus it’s only 2 hours to wait.i (I had to ask him since he was riding with me)

iNahi he says, iWe’re already here we should just get back.i

WHAT?! Screwed out of vouchers again. I am destined to live my life without receiving free flights to anywhere. I was so mad.

DAMN YOU RISKY BUSINESS!

Our flight left, and we returned to the Sacramento International Airport. Again we all checked our bags, and had to wait for our luggage.

iConveyer belt just slowed down, your suitcase must have made it out of the plane.i

We got our luggage finally, and went to get a shuttle to our parking lot.

iHey people so you know you might have to wait for another shuttle, her suitcase tends to fill them up a little quicker than normal.i

I didn’t stop the whole weekend. When we finally all got out and headed back to our cars I shouted across the lot.

iDon’t forget to let the illegal aliens out of your suitcase, they can’t breath.i

She glared at me and went home.

CCEA conference is in Sacramento next year. I’ll probably be there. Save a spot on the Veranda for me.

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2 Comments
  1. Eduardo permalink

    Truly epic.

  2. Esperanza permalink

    Watch out, now! The Sports Guy has some competition.

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