May 2005 Archives

Toronto and Niagara Falls

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Leg Two of our North American tour has been productive as well. We have been in Toronto for the past few days, where we have done interviews with children television producers at 9story and Marble Media, as well as the educational broadcaster TV Ontario.

Aside from the interviews Thursday and Friday, we've had a chance to explore the city a bit. Toronto is a cool city with all the things I like: a diverse population, funky stores, tasty restaurants, and decent public transportation. Unfortunately, it is still really cold -- and it's already May! It was just over freezing when we woke up a couple of days ago. Such brutal cold weather means automatic disqualification from the list of "Cities that Stuart Would Enjoy Living In".

Today, though, the weather wasn't too bad. So, since it was a free day, we took advantage of it by renting a car and driving an hour west to Niagara Falls. I had been there before, back in 1998 when I attended a computer science conference in nearbly Niagara-On-The-Lake. To be honest, when I originally visited the Falls, I was very unimpressed. This time was a little better; perhaps I was just in a better mood, or perhaps my expectations were lower. But still, Niagara Falls, in my opinion, are "just ok". Sure they are tall, and very wide, but I still think that the simple waterfalls found out in the Thai jungle are much more beautiful. Maybe when I get back to Thailand I can post some pictures side by side and you can judge for yourself.

It was still a fun day-trip. We stopped at a couple of wineries on the way back and visited quaint little Niagara-On-The-Lake. When I was here seven years ago, I figured that I would probably never come back. So much for that idea! Other than a little rain on the drive home and an outrageously priced TGI Fridays at the Falls, it was a great trip and a good end to this leg of the trip.

Tomorrow, Vancouver!

Ivy League and Provincetown

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It's time to wrap up Leg 1 of our whirlwind North American tour. Other than the jet lag, the first few days have been pretty good. As far as the work side of things go, we have learned a lot from the two interviews that we have done so far.

The interviews that we did in Australia last month, and most of the ones that we will do in North America on this trip, have been with children's television producers, as well as with the foundations that fund the productions. The first two interviews on this trip, however, have focused on the academic side: issues such as the influence of television on children and how to determine if a children's program is "educational". (For example, compare the Flinstones to Sesame Street.)

We talked with three of the most knowledgeable and famous university professors in this field: Dr. Alvin Poussaint at Harvard and Dr. Dorothy Singer and Dr. Jerome Singer at Yale. All three of them (as well as one of Dr. Poissant's collegues) gave us a lot of information about Children and Media that we will share with the rest of the Thai research team when we return.

We had a day off in between the interviews, so we drove the rental car from Boston out to Provincetown at the end of Cape Cod. It was a wonderful, slow drive through the historic countryside. The traffic on the winding two-lane back roads went slow enough that we were able to read the dates on all of the buildings that we passed: a church from 1734, a house from 1823, a store from 1774, on and on and on for mile after mile.

Provincetown was fun too. I often use the word "quaint", but I think that if you actually look "quaint" up in the dictionary, there will be a picture of Provincetown. The narrow main street was more of a walking path than an actual road, and it was filled with art galleries, independent clothing boutiques, shops selling pottery and household goods, and all kinds of restaurants. For a small town that is so dependent on tourism, it was nice to see that there were not any tourist shops selling tacky knick-knacks. Well, now that I think about it, there must have been at least a few, but the high quality of all the other businesses made the few t-shirt shops bearable.

So, that's all for the United States for a while. In fact, I'm actually writing this from Toronto. We'll be here for a few days and then go on to Vancouver before we return to New York. So far, so good...

Boston: Brrr....


We arrived in New York around 7 AM this morning after a relatively nice 17 hour non-stop flight on Thai Airways from Bangkok. Non-stop is definitely the way to go. If we had done the regular flight to the West Coast through Narita and then the cross-country flight to NY, it would have been closer to 25 hours in the air.

So, as I said it was a relatively nice flight: the plane was brand new, the service was good, and the food was actually quite tasty. The only problem with the food was that there wasn't enough of it. They only served 2 meals and a small snack. Definitely not enough for a 17 hour trip.

As soon as we arrived at the airport, we rented a car and drove four hours to Boston, where we are staying with my friend Luke. I want to get out and tour the city a bit, but so far I haven't had much success in getting out of bed. Defeating my arch nemesis Jet Lag is just one of those things where practice does not make perfect.

Not to mention it's cold here! Even more reason to not leave the house.

Making North America Travel Plans


After spending last week sick in bed I have a mountain of work to do this week. Luckily, my health is back to normal, and two days into the week I am making good progress through the work pile.

What am I working on? In addition to writing three final exams, teaching class, grading papers, and helping students prepare for final exams which start next week, I am also coordinating the schedule for Research Trip #2 for Piyawat and myself. This time, we are heading to North America. We haven't solidified our travel plans, but it looks like we'll spend a few days in New England, then go to Toronto. Perhaps we will also have stops in Montreal and Vancouver, if we can convince people in those cities to talk with us.

Whew. Putting together a multi-city itenerary of face-to-face interviews is a huge headache. But it looks like we are going to be talking to some very interesting people. Hopefully, it will be as good as the Australia trip. (Which, I know, I still haven't written much about.)

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

April 2005 is the previous archive.

June 2005 is the next archive.

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