"...In the end, people either have excuses or experiences; reasons or results; buts or
brilliance. They either have what they wanted or they have a detailed list of all the rational reasons why not."

~ Anonymous
(taken from Matt Erbele's, It Takes Time to Get Good)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

If the boredom doesn't kill me...

...the unbearable heat or my remarkably bad sense of direction will.

I am in Sacramento this week for an scintillating (see title) conference on learning models and teaching strategies for science. Try to not be jealous.

For those of you not familiar with the climate of Sacramento it is similar to the surface of the sun only drier. We walk all of three blocks to the convention center each morning and I end up looking like I have just run a marathon. No, come to think of it, I actually I look better after I have just run a marathon than I do when I get there.

I will spare you the excruciating details of my conference, but I must let go of one small bitch and then I will move on. I promise.

Why, oh, why, must teachers treat all other adults like children? This week I have spent over 32 hours "modeling" learning strategies. Which means they "teach" me to do things like draw a bubble map (don't ask, it is hugely unimportant) and then I get to make the bubble map. I got to use markers and glue sticks and everything!

Word of advice to teacher educators, when you talk to people like they are 15, they tend to act like it.

I did do a little exercise on Sacramento, so let's focus on that.

Tuesday: Run 5 miles - A Solo Tour of Sketchtown, USA

I had checked out a map of the area so I had an idea of where I wanted to go and I got up to run at 4:30 am. I head out and immediately go the wrong way. Not a good start. I got turned around and finally started to recognize the route I picked on the map. After I headed over the Tower Bridge I noticed a distinct change in the environment and a distinct increase in the number and severity of the homeless and crazy people.

Tower bridge. Very cool drawbridge leading across the American River. It leads from pretty downtown Sacramento to the less scenic West Sacramento
Picture stolen from bprlaw.net

Two and a half miles from your hotel is probably not the best time to figure out that running at 4:30 in the morning in a city that you are not familiar with is not the wisest of ideas. After I ran by my third bum if a full heroin nod, I decided running the full 6 miles was not all that important to me and I headed back to the hotel.

Wednesday: Bike 18 miles - The Bum Slalom

This time I decided to go after the daily conference festivities which was SUPER smart since it was only projected to 103 degrees that day. I tried to drive and park where I thought I could get on the American River Parkway, which is a 20+ mile bike path that I had read about. As you know if you have read this blog more than twice, I can't find my own my ass with both hands, and I was on the wrong side of the river. I did, however get a grand tour of the various homeless encampments along the American River.

Ferry (?) whatever, big ass boat thing, on the American River. The Tower Bridge is in the back. No, I was not brave enough to photograph the homeless encampments.

After 3 miles of back and forth and a lovely conversation with a young man possessing, at most, 4 teeth, no shirt, and pupils the size of quarters, I discovered that I was in fact on the wrong side of the river. It was one of those times when you are doing something and your mind is screaming at you "You should not be talking to this freak. This is how you end up on the news, dumbass!"

At the end of the conversation he did say that I was "looking REAL gooood" so it is nice to know that I am at least still attractive to toothless, gacked out of their mind, meth addicts.

Once I was finally on the bike trail I realized just how fucking HOT it was. The trail only rides along the river for a relatively short time before it gets far enough away to lose the cooling benefits of a large body of water.

Little warm, but finally back at Old Town Sacramento.

There were little pockets of shade but they were more of a teasing "Ha! It could be cooler like this, but it is NOT" than actually lowering your core temp and making you more comfortable. I stopped at a public bathroom and waited my turn in line after a homeless guy to take a bird bath in the water fountain to try to cool off. A little less than 8 miles in I bagged at and turned around. When I got back, my car was still there and no one was sleeping in it so I will take that as a "win."

Now, I am from San Jose and we have our fair share of homeless people, but they are our homeless people and I am fairly comfortable with their level of craziness. Crazy people when you are in a strange town are far more scary. I won't be returning to ride alone in West Sacramento any time soon.


Jo Lynn said...

You'd think our state capitol would be a little better than that but, no, it's BAD. That bridge, when you're driving by, looks very pretty. That is, until you find out what lives below it. Am I right?

Thank God you made it out of there alive. ;)

Aka Alice said...

How wrong is it that I'm LMAO at your adventure...My whole effing GOALs in this week in Oakland were to a) not lose my mind to boredom and b) to not end up on the evening news...

We need to plan these education conferences better so that we're at least bored at the same one.

One more thing...also LMAO at the crayon and graphic organizer thing. I've soooooo been to that conference and been tempted to draw inappropriate objects w/the crayons (ok...I've been more than tempted)...

Southbaygirl said...

I'm sorry but I couldn't help but laugh at your post....I didn't realize our state capital had such amazing people living below bridges and along the river.....4 toothed meth addicts-Yeah baby!!!

I hope you are home and in the safe confines of your neighborhood and your San Jose homeless!

Unknown said...

It's really hard to work out when trsvelling for work.

Glad you survived your adventures...

IronWaddler said...

Interesting adventures--glad you are safe. Looking back on this you will laugh.

Generation X (Slomohusky) said...

I knew there were reasons I keep saying no to the Sacramento Marathon?

Lou said...

I've been to that place--get this--for a conference. I think that's all they've got going for them... space for smallish conferences and state government. I was not a fan.

Regina said...

Come visit me in NYC, we give a whole new meaning to the phrase "crazy homeless person". We have some that even have names, ie. Larry the Wildman of the Upper West Side, I kid you not(he's even made the news several times). Buses, that drop off the "lesser insane" (with $10 in their pockets) b/c there is no room in the mental institutions or jails for them. My tax dollars at work!

I think bubble maps should be made of bubble wrap. "Find the capital of Madagascar", "Pop!" (which of course I do not know).

I love the guy who said, "Looking REAL good". Cuz flattery will get you everywhere...lol (In reality, at my age I'd take what I could get).

Missy said...

Even hot and sweaty the homeless still think you're a babe! Always a boost to the ego. Glad you made it out in one piece...literally!

Teachers, yeah, sometimes I have to tell my teacher friends that I'm not in the 5th grade to get them to snap out of it. Ingrained, I guess.

Herself, the GeekGirl said...

"Try to not be jealous." Buwahaha!
Why must other teachers treat others like children? OMG, good question. I'm still fighting the urge to slap hands and correct every adult I see. Seriously. Just ask Baboo. He's very patient, but until I get it all out of my system, I am the worlds worst backseat driver, back seat shopper, et cetera.

Meanwhile, I weep that I cannot share my new adventures on my blog that I have with the severely mentally ill. Damned ethics.

Julia said...

I get lost all the time too... thankfully i've never encountered anything other than empty streets and neighborhoods! I didn't know our state capitol was like that. What is the arnold doing?
Glad you made it home safe and sound, and I had a fun time reading about your misadventures :)

K said...

Man--you should have emailed me-- I could have helped you find the AR Bike trail .. It is a little dicey from downtown but once you hit the tree lined bike trail it is beautiful!

Lindy said...

Hey RBR, it's been awhile since I've commented, but I've definitely been reading.

Sacramento sucks...and I haven't been there since the ripe old age of 13 on a family vacation. And no, it was not our destination, merely passing through!

That being said, I love running in new places, even if it's just once. Breaks up the boredom of the same old route, day in and day out.

Alisa said...

Sac isn't my favorite place in the world BUT it is my hometown (well Fair Oaks is) and I gotta say, you weren't in the best area. Downtown is sketchy.

The American River bike trail though is lovely and goes from downtown to Folsom all along the river. Wish I had known you were going to be there I could have given you pointers. Lake Natomas is a great place for short bikes and OWS.

ShirleyPerly said...

Man, were you brave to head out on your own in an unfamiliar area. Homeless people by themselves are not necessarily bad but those who are also drug addicts can be quite dangerous. Glad you used your survival instincts and got the hell out of there!

Lindsay said...

sounds like an excellent trip! i'm glad you made it out of there alive. i think after that 5 miler i would have hopped on the hotel stationary bike... i'm a wimp though.

i love work conferences. i try to be out of town whenever they are scheduled.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

ZOMG, sister, you have urban blight in California?!1? Who knew?

You say you can't find your own @$$ with both hands but then there were all those homeless dudes who would have been glad to lend you their hands in your Quest To Find Your @$$ (Or Any Other Lost Body Parts) but you never asked them so that was a missed opportunity right there, sister.

Live and learn, I guess.

You never asked my help, either, which frankly kinda hurt me. Whud I ever do to you to deserve such treatment?

Seriously, good job getting the death-defying workouts in! Glad you and yer @$$ made it home safe!

M2Marathon said...

AHAHAHAHA! I have run in that very area of SAC before and been equally afraid...at which I though to myself, "but this is Sacramento surely there can't be anyone that dangerous here...except maybe THAT guy....or THAT one...I probably don't want to follow that path down there under the bridge...even though it's 3:30 on a Tuesday..." Sacramento seems so benign, with it's faux-cute old-timey downtown area...and drug-infested homeless encampments...

Katie said...

"it is nice to know that I am at least still attractive to toothless, gacked out of their mind, meth addicts."

Best laugh of my day - thanks!

RoadBunner said...

I will reference this post when I go up north for CIM :)

I admire your tenacity in getting some workouts in while you were there!