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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary - Largest and Oldest in the World

Folks say that God designed Australia with a sense of humor. They certainly have some beautiful and different animals. The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is a spectacular place to see these strange creatures.

We wanted to get out of downtown Brisbane for a bit - the boat had already gone upstream to the sanctuary - so we got on a public bus and were there in about a half hour. It was a pretty day - and we were delighted that the "Trexler's like" park was pretty empty of crowds. We had the place to ourselves and were able to mingle with the animals - go inside the pens - and we even got to hold a Koala. Check out Lulu shearing the sheep.

Yes - you can hold a Koala - but if you want a picture of the event - it is $20.

I thought a little video would tell the story best. I do not know which is nicer here - the animals - the land - the history - the weather - or the people. We have really felt welcome "Down Under."

The platypus impressed me the most.

Lulu Delivers the Keynote Speech at the IASL Convention in Brisbane - Australia

Dr. Nancy Everhart from CSU-SIS Learning Centre on Vimeo.

The main reason we came to Hawaii - Australia - New Zealand is for Lulu to speak at a convention. Here is a video of her speech yesterday (Wednesday - Sept 29th). It is funny typing that date because that day did not happen yet back in the USA!

I am prejudiced - but Lulu brought the house down with her talk. On Friday - we go to New Zealand. We got a 4x4 SUV and have 5 days to explore the South Island. We have not booked any hotels - etc - just flying by the seat of our pants.

Then we have that monster 20 hour flight home to Florida via Los Angeles and Atlanta.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

This is Australia Calling - welcome to Brisbane (Pronounced Brizbin)

Sorry for the delay in Reporting - the Aussie's are a bit tight with their wifi.

We had a great flight from Honolulu to Sydney on Hawaiian Airlines. After that a crowded shuttle on Jetstar to Brisbane. The whole trip took about 12 hours. This is the first time we crossed the equator - and because we threw in the International Date Line - we arrived here almost two days later - never saw Sunday.

Trying to evaluate Australia after walking around downtown Brisbane for one day - is like trying to figure out the USA after one day in Tamaqua. But it is fun picking out the different things. Obviously they drive on the left side of the road - their electrical plugs look funny and everything works on 220 volts. Thankfully all Apple products can work 110 or 220 volts.

Brisbane along with Melbourne and Sydney make up the top three cities - and Brisbane only has 1.4 million folks. So even downtown here does not seem busy or crowded. Since our hotel and convention center is along the river near several colleges - it is a young crowd here. You expect high prices downtown and by convention centers - and that did not disappoint us.

Our hotel wanted $30 a day for the internet - so I was on a search for some free wifi. Most of the signals I found were passworded until I got to the Queensland State Library. Also our hotel is connected to the convention center where they want $5 an hour for wifi. Luckily - Lulu got a password for it - and now I have a good source of free wifi to upload my page and pictures. I type slowly.

The Australian dollar is worth 96 US cents. They are proud of that because their dollaris raising to almost match ours. They do love everything about the USA - so much of their news and TV is American.

The AFL - Australian Football League - is more like rugby - soccer - and NFL combined. Their do pick up the ball - hold it - throw it - kick it. They do not wear pads - just little tight shorts. I imagine women like watching it better because of the tight uniforms. Funny - they just had their "superbowl" last weekend. The roosters and dragons played to a tie. So guest what - they are having the "superbowl" again this weekend! It sold out 80,000 just like that. They did have plenty of tickets open to the public - not just season tickets.

Brisbane is on a big meandering river - reminds me a bit of New Orleans. At one time - the river was very important for transportation. Today - it is an excellent backdrop for recreation with river walks - bike paths - foot bridges - and parks.

I plan to get out from Brisbane on a train to see some countryside. Lulu is very busy with the convention - so she will not see much of anything but this city. Her free time will be in New Zealand next week.

Lulu gave a big workshop on Monday. She delivers the keynote speech on Wednedays. then has one more seminar on Thursday. The convention is mainly school library professors from all over the world. Marcia Mardis - Lulu's "partner in crime" at FSU is here and they have teamed up to offer some interesting programs.

Weather - it is their first week of spring - but temperatures have been in the 70s - maybe even 80. It was sunny yesterday - but today is overcast. Flowers are in bloom here. I am in shorts and sneakers.

On Friday - we will fly directly from here to New Zealand. There we have 5 days - an SUV - and no reservations. We plan to just start in Christchurch - drive in a circle and end up back at Christchurch. It will be colder there because New Zealand is farther south - the last stop before Antarctica. It will be my first attempt at driving on the left side.

With the exception of the Jetstar flights to New Zealand - we are flying mostly Delta - and also using Hawaiian Airlines. In order for Lulu to be re-imbursed - she must use an American airline. Hawaiian Airlines also offers FF miles through Delta. After these flights we will be "gold medallion" flyers. It reminds me of Amway a bit - basically - they give you more free upgrades and let you on the plane first :-) Also - Hawaiian Air was the only US carrier to fly from Hawaii to Australia.

Our friend - Ben Houser - spend three months in New Zealand every year. They like to go fishing there. Unfortunately - he is not there now. He did give us tips on what to see.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Donald Trump Knocked Down Our Outrigger Hotel

We stayed at outrigger hotel on this spot in 1991. Trump put this beach walk mall in it's place.

Kailua is Proud of Darren Tanaka (Calvin Coconut) and Their Fantastic School Library

Just five years ago - this library was a mess - being passed on from substitute teacher to substitute teacher. Then the science teacher worked on his master's degree in library science and he took over. His library professor - Vi Harada - helped mold him into a school media library leader. Now - his library has been selected the best in Hawaii and one of the top in the entire USA.

The Kailua Elementary School Library is a hub of activity in the community. Readers and non-readers alike love to spend time there. The library has its own mascot - Calvin Coconut. He is the character from a series of children's books written by Graham Salisbury. Mr. Tanaka gave me a copy of "Trouble Magnet" and proudly reminded me to read Page 72. Darren and the school library is mentioned there.

Hawaii's NBC and CBS covered the event and did a great story featuring Lulu and Darren. On the 11 o'clock news - I had the pleasure of watching myself eat on the statewide news.

Leilani is Miss Hawaii International

Senators and Legislators came to presents honors to Mr. Tanaka. Even Miss Hawaii showed up in full regalia.

The whole purpose of Lulu's Vision Tour is to bring attention to what an elite school library and librarian look like. While Lulu was singing "Check it out" on the stage - I panned the crowd. This is a proud American community - proud for the right reasons. Their school library is one of the best in the nation.

Click on Calvin in the title to see the news show.

Darren expressed that the award was a team award and he wanted to give credit to the following:

Ms. Lanelle Hibbs, principal of Kailua El - for continual support of our library program and school libraries in general.

Mr. Greg Kent - technology coordinator of Kailua El - for partnering with me on long-term grand vision ideas as well as the immediate day-to-day needs. He designed and built the new library computer lab and runs much of the video studio in the back of the library. We partner on video productions and broadcast, on designing and purchasing computer and audio-visual tools, on lesson planning for our Enrichment Program, and coaching our FIRST Lego League Robotics team (Greg is the head coach). Greg also attended the summer workshop where we learned about aquaponics and decided to quickly move forward to implement the project at our school. Greg is a model himself for collaboration as he regularly partners with other tech coordinators from neighboring schools.

Ms. Cindy Mahuka - curriculum coordinator of Kailua El - for partnering with me on lesson planning strategies to increase student engagement, rigor and relevance, and ensuring that lesson and units are standards-based and as inquiry driven as possible. She is also one of the co-teachers for Enrichment and a co-coach for FIRST Lego League.

Mrs. Nozomi Fong - librarian at Aikahi Elementary School. Nozomi, my classmate at UH Manoa LIS program, was the librarian immediately preceeding me at Kailua El. She took family leave for the 2005-2006 school year that resulted in my hiring. I was only supposed to work there for a year, but as events unfolded, I was fortunate to be able to stay at Kailua El. Nozomi (the following is all second-hand information from whoever would share with me) started the library revival at Kailua Elementary her first year there. She began the foundations of a solid library program and initiated a lot of clean-up. She initiated the process for getting air conditioners installed. It's unfortunate that I didn't give her more credit when I had the chance. When I walked in, there really was a mess. There really was no AC, and there really was a HUGE mess and a need for the place to be loved. I did my share of pushing for AC installation and cleaning up and involving as many people as I could in the process.

Mrs. Page Chang - art teacher at Kailua Elementary. She and the students regularly produce art to display in the library space. I just provide the space.

Mrs. Kelly Kimura - counselor at Kailua Elementary. She is in charge of many schoolwide events and we partner with Greg, Cindy, and a host of others to plan, coordinate, and execute these events.

Mrs. Karisse Sakahara - Parent Community Network Center. She manages the information distribution to our entire school community, manages the school website along with Greg Kent, and is involved with the Parent Teacher Student Association. She is the face and the first point of contact to the school and she plugs people in to different opportunities.

So many more... my parent volunteers, retired librarians, LIS classmates and colleagues, community supporters.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kailua Beach Hawaii - one of My Favorites

Kailua Beach

Visiting Kailua Elementarry School

The second stop of the Library Vision Tour was in Kailua Hawaii. Darren Tanaka - school librarian - greets Lulu at 8 AM. The day culminated at 7 PM when 300 people gathered for the award ceremony.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Royal Hawaiian Band at Ala Moana Mall in Honolulu

Wednesday was highlighted by having lunch with Vi and Wayne Harada at The Pineapple House Restaurant at Ala Moana. Vi is the dean that used to hire Lulu to teach summer courses for the University of Hawaii. The rest of the day was spent shopping - swimming - walking along the shore - and just having a good time.

Thursday is the big day of the award presentation for the best school library in Hawaii. The school is along the Windward Side of Oahu.

Lulu at Lulu's and the Hula in Waikiki

Please click pictures to enlarge.

We left Tallahassee at 5AM - and by 2:30PM we were enjoying the atmosphere that is only Waikiki - 5000 miles away. Throw in there a 10 hour flight (with support hose on) a 5 hour stop in Atlanta - and take away a 6 hour time zone jet lag - and you can imagine how happy we were to get here.

We were lucky enough to have seats in the big exit row - we call it the poor man's first class - because we had about 8 feet of empty space in front of our seats. It was really nice for getting up and walking around - plus it was close to the bathroom and kitchen - every grayhead loves that.

While watching the GPS - we flew by MAUI and were able to look down into Haleakala - that famous gigantic volcano. We skirted by MOLOKAI where we once rode mules down to the Leper Colony. They refer it to as Hansen's Disease - and it has been cured - but about 50 patients still choose to live there. One time as late at the 1960's - they were barred from leaving.

We landed right on time - got our rental car - and drove to downtown Waikiki - our favorite section of Honolulu. It is a bit hokie here - but we love the festival and Polynesian atmosphere. Our room is on the 15th floor and our car is on the 5th floor. It is a quite a task climbing the really steep and tight ramps with the car.

We unpacked - showered - then walked up and down Waikiki Beach. We wandered to our favorite Denny's on the second floor overlooking the beach - only to find that they changed it to Lulu's of Waikiki. It is a chain of four restaurants. After supper - we found a hula show on the sand - and finally found a stand selling Pineapple Dole whip - our island favorite. They have other flavors now but we stuck to ours. On our first trip here - our family toured the Dole plantation and canning factory. The cannery is gone - but this memory lives on. Aloha!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tuesday Morning We Fly to Hawaii - Australia - New Zealand - First Time to Cross Equator

Early tomorrow morning - Lulu and I will be taking a big journey. Our main destination is Australia - but we will see a lot more on the way over and back.

Like every other traveler that flies from Tallahassee - first we go to Atlanta. Then we go straight to Honollulu. This is a 10 hour flight. Lulu used to teach summer classes at the University of Hawaii and this is a homecoming of sorts for her. She will be visiting the top school library in Hawaii for AASL - and the people there know how to throw a celebration. We will spend 5 days in Waikiki - three of those days will be occupied by Lulu's library visits.

Next we fly 10 more hours to Brisbane Australia. While Lulu is the keynote speaker at the IASL Convention (International Association of School Librarians) - I will be spending most of my time touring in and out of Brisbane.

Finally - we will fly to New Zealand for 5 days of free touring. Lulu and I will take a rented car around the south island. We plan to spend our time touring the sites and just walking into hotels and restaurants. They drive on the left side of the road over there - so this will be a new adventure for me. It is springtime down under - like our March.

This trip home is a long one - with a 17 hour flight! I just came back from the pharmacy where they fitted us up with support hose for the long periods of sitting. We also bought sweat pants for the long flights

Some of you may re-call that I was an Earth Science teacher. I also have a degree in Geography. That being said - it has taken me until my 62nd year to finally cross the equator. I first remember hearing about the equator when my third grade teacher talked about "an imaginary LION running around the center of the earth." I envisioned that lion walking on water as it circled the globe.

You may follow along on my web page - - or on facebook at "harry everhart"

Wish us luck and make comments from time to time.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I Watched Them Make Louisville Sluggers

Right on Main Street in downtown Louisville sits the factory where they still make 1,800,000 wooden baseball bats a year. The factory is in the same building where they have been making bats for over 100 years.

The main customers for wooden bats are major and minor league ballplayers since colleges and little leagues have long since switched to using aluminum bats.

Most of the bats are made of ash wood that is grown in Northern Pennsylvania. With a large "core sampler" type drill - they removed billets from the logs. The billets are sent to Louisville. At the factory they have computer-programmed lathes that in 30 seconds can mill the billets into bats. Finally the bats are sanded - branded with signatures - and lacquered. There are hundreds of different models - weights - lengths - shapes - signatures.

A major league player orders from 100 to 150 bats a year.

Ever since I was a young ball player - I remember seeing movies of them making the bats. The tour - which cost $9 - takes you right onto the floor to experience the action. You can see the wood chips flying and smell the different finishes. Every now and then a worker will push a cart by full of bats in various stages of development.

At the end of the tour - there is a museum - and they give you a free sample bat about 18 inches long. They reminded you not to take it on a plane in your carry-on bag - it is considered a weapon.

In the museum - they had a bat that Babe Ruth used to hit 20 of his 60 homers in 1927. The Babe had notched that bat around the logo. They also had the original bill of sale next to it with the name George Herman Ruth on it.

Since all the UPS planes come to Louisville every night - it allows shipping out replacements fast. The Louisville Airport is close to downtown and landing planes glide right over Main Street and the Louisville Slugger factory.

FSU 34 BYU 10

We left Louisville Friday at noon - drove all the way home by midnight - so that we could go to a party at the new FSU President's Home. It was a nice pre-game pep rally with lots of nice food and people. The party was worth the trouble because someone had a spare pair of tickets for the game - and he offered them to us if we promised not to sell them. All FSU game tickets have a $50 price to we took them.

The seats were up high - but they were in the shade and there was a nice breeze up there.

The stadium was only 3/4 full - so we were able to move over a bit - there were lots of empty seats around us.

FSU took a 13 - 0 lead - but the Cougars scored twice right before half to make it close. In the third quarter FSU pulled away and the locals enjoyed the 34-10 victory. With 5 minutes left - the stadium stayed pretty full.

I was surprised at how easily FSU won the game. After getting clobbered at Oklahoma - who knew what the future held. The Noles will have to win without us the next two weeks.

1988 Seminole Rap

This was followed by a 31-0 pounding on opening day by the University of Miami. The Noles went on to win the next 10 games including the Sugar Bowl against Auburn. We live in Tallahassee that season and went to that Sugar Bowl.

Deion Sander went to very few classes in his senior year. He made sure his report card would not come out before the Sugar Bowl. Since then - the NCAA passed the "Deion Sander's Rule" saying you have to go to classes your senior year.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Staying at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville - Site of the Kentucky Library Association Convention

Lulu is representing FSU at the Kentucky Library Association Convention - encouraging librarians to work toward advanced degrees at one of the top library science schools in the country. Today - practicing librarians can earn an accredited degree over the Internet from Lulu's FSU program.

Today and tomorrow - Lulu will be answering questions about the program at the FSU boot on the convention floor.

The Galt House is right down on the Ohio River - at the point where I-64 and I-65 crisscross. The water is about one mile wide here - in my mind this morning through the mist I saw Mike Fink's Keel Boat plying the river.

Before one thinks we are wasting a lot of money on a fancy apartment - FSU had already booked the hotel room. It was like at McDonald's - they asked at the desk for an extra $10 they would supersize it! After staying in a "expedia two star" last night in Huntsville for $40 - the $10 seemed like a good idea. We were not disappointed. This place rivals our London flat. This place reminds me of the time that the Naples Holiday Inn in Italy booked us into a conference room and we slept next to a table that sat 20 people.

I brought my electric bike along in the back of the van - and it gave me the confidence to visit the University of Louisville about 4 miles away. I "pedaled" out there for lunch and hardly broke a sweat. I saw the stadium where during a driving tropical storm - the Cardinals beat FSU in overtime on a Thursday night during the "beginning of the end" of FSU's fall from grace.

Lulu will spend two days on the exhibit floor - then we will pile into the van and beeline it home to Tallahassee. We want to be back in time for the Mormon visit to Tallahassee when FSU hosts BYU. then we have a couple nights rest before we fly to Hawaii.

I biked to the University of Louisville - inland about 3 miles - and had lunch on campus.

The more things change - the more they stay the same. Read this story about the riot of the "Know Nothing" Party. Then they hated Germans immigrants and Catholics. They called themselves nativists.

The Crossroads - I-64 (east/west) and I-65 (north/south) - taken from our Galt House Hotel balcony.

Our living room is about 40 feet long with a window wall facing north and the river.

Master bedroom 1

Kitchen - do they want me to cook?

Master bedroom 2

Tug boat pushing a row of barges downstream.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Start of the Vision Tour

Paul Bear Bryant Museum on Campus in Tuscaloosa

I love to tease my "Penn State Buddies" back home in Pennsylvania. Just when they were ready to tease me about FSU getting hammered by Oklahoma - they get beaten badly by Alabama.

Tuesday we visited the Bear Bryant museum on the UA campus. Right now Alabama is riding the crest of a wave that the Seminole rode during the 1990's. Everybody is wearing crimson and all the cars have flags on. I remember the feeling.

Vanity license plates

I found the signature of one of my students in the guest book - Kevin Szczecina.
His dad Jim taught with me and was president of the Penn State Club long ago.

Bear Bryant doll.

One of Bear's big victories over the Nittany Lions.

Some of Bear's bowl trophies including the Sugar Bowl victory over PSU. That was the one where PSU had the ball first down on the four yard line - and Joe Paterno called the same running play four times in a row - without success. We call that "hunkie logic" in Pennsylvania.

We Spent Tuesday Night in Huntsville Alabama

A giant Saturn 5 rocket like this one took astronauts to the moon - three at a time. It is the equivalent of a Washington Monument in size - filled with liquid hydrogen and oxygen. They were built in Huntsville and floated down canals and rivers to Cape Canaveral in Florida.

They launched the moon rockets from Cape Canaveral - but those giants were built in Huntsville Alabama at the Redstone Arsenal by the German scientists that we captured during World War II. Huntsville is still a booming town - we saw very few empty store fronts there. We had lunch at the Berlin Cafe and enjoyed a full menu of German dishes.

From there - we drove north to Louisville. Lulu will be at the Kentucky Library Association convention here at the Galt House along the Ohio River. It was about 250 miles from Huntsville to this city across the river from Indiana.

The Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. Note reflection of giant Saturn 5 rocket. 22 years ago - I interviewed Werner Von Braun's secretary here.

The Redstone Arsenal was always in the news when I was a kid. This is where Werner Von Braun and the "kraut heads" built our rockets that went to the moon. We still build lots of weapons here.

Harry was too cheap to pay the $20 admission to go inside and see the exhibits. He was only going to be there for an hour - and was already there ......... 22 years ago when he visited Space Camp. Here he is eyeballing a German V2 Rocket - the kind that destroyed London.

The highways of Northern Alabama are lined by cotton fields - note some of the balls not popped yet.

Lulu loved the simple elegance of cotton growing. The fluffy balls had plenty of seeds in them - also the stems were stickery.

Slaves spent hours and hours in these fields - probably hated them - they were so hot - but for a few minutes - Lulu and I loved the simplicity of it all. No cloth like cotton.

Lulu Teaching Her Class on the Road in Alabama

On Tuesday night we were between Tuscaloosa and Huntsville. Being in the central time zone - Lulu's class began one hour sooner than usual. While on the road on her library tour she meets her obligations as a professor at FSU. That includes teaching her normal classes online.

About a half hour before class - we pulled off the road and started looking for a free wifi signal on the computer. Next to a Hardee's Festaurant - a free signal popped up. For the next couple of hours - Lulu taught her class - computer on lap - and iphone in hand. She taught a class of about 20 people spread out all over the country. Until they read this web page - they assumed she was back on Florida speaking from her office.

Thursday night's class will be taught from our hotel in Louisville. Next week's class will be taught from Honolulu - and the following week - her mobile office will be in Australia - then finally New Zealand. It is truly incredible what technology has brought us. The medium is truly the message.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Vision Tours Has Legs of Its Own - First Stop in the Bag

Bear Bryant book collection in library at his namesake high school

Lulu being interviewed about the award

Some of the students invited for the main event

Lulu - Shelly Dorrill and Shannon Bogert - librarians - Raquel Payne - principal

Student speaker interviewed by Birmingham TV after her speech

If all the stops on the Vision Tour are this good - school librarians will have some fantastic examples of what excellence looks like.

About 100 folks showed up for the event crowning the Paul Bryant High School Library as best in the state. Besides the principal - superintendent - public librarians - and school board - a lot of the local citizen were proud to have their school being picked number one for something beside football. Something special is happening here - in a school that has 70% of its students qualifying for government lunches. Shelly Dorrill and Shannon Bogert - the school librarians make all the difference. Raquel Payne - school principal - seems to agree and supports the library program 100%.

Lulu presented the librarians with a certificate - the bronze plaque is being cast as we speak.