Cliff Gardner

Friday, May 30, 2008

RIP My Computer, 2002-2008

My computer died last weekend. It had a good, long life. Since it was a 2002 Dell Inspiron Laptop, it had long outlived any realistic expectation that it keep working, especially since it was probably never designed to be a home entertainment center, which is what I was using it as. However, despite understanding completely why it finally moved to that farm up-state, I'm still really annoyed. Me not having a computer means the following things will be very difficult, if not impossible:

1) Uploading pictures, not to mention retrieving all my old photos that aren't on facebook already.
2) Charging my iPod shuffle in a USB port, not to mention changing the songs on there or getting to the hundreds of dollars in MP3 files in my iTunes library.
3) Typing up...anything. This includes closing out my grant for Camp 50, writing articles for PC newsletters and doing my Description of Service "essay" in a few months. Thankfully, I had already saved all my important documents (my resume, my Camp application/information) on my Flash drive, so not THAT much stuff is lost, but still, it's really annoying.
4) Watching any of the 50+ movies/TV shows that I have.

I will miss having a computer and that's probably going to be the first thing I buy when I get back home.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Almost done!

Almost done with school. This is the first full school year that I've taught in Ukraine and I'm frankly glad that it's over. Not that I don't love my kids (I do) or my school (it's awesome), but I just need a break. So, with that in mind, I'm going on a work-related series of trips all over the country, visiting friends who will be working with me at various Summer camps in the weeks and months ahead. I hope to catch some NBA Finals games at some point, too. I also spent 4 hours a day last weekend at the beach. Good times. I love and miss you all!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Three more good things

1) My Partnership Grant was FULLY FUNDED!!! That means that "Camp 50" WILL HAPPEN next month, yay! Thank you all so much for the support.

2) Barack Obama dominated the Oregon Primary! I didn't arrive at my decision lightly, but his speech on race, along with Bill Richardson's endorsement and his plan to make Community College free swung me to the Barack camp, and I couldn't be happier that my home state came through.

3) The Blazers got the 13th pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, despite not needing a lot of help next year. More good news for basketball in the Rose City!

I love and miss you all!

Friday, May 16, 2008

The's faaaantastic! Or it would be if I could watch games.

The NBA playoffs are in full swing. I've been going to the Internet to get results and calling my friends Ravi and Mike to discuss what's been happening pretty much every day. Last night, the Lakers/Jazz and Cavs/Celtics both had game 5's, and we all decided that it was the best single night of basketball in five years, and we missed it. If I were back home, I would be planning my whole day around when, how and who with I would watch these games. Here I just have to wait until morning. For a huge basketball fan like me, it's really just torture. The only thing that could make it worse is if the Blazers were involved. Thank God I won't have to worry about that until next season. :-) Also, Camp 50 is slowly getting funded, and thanks to all of you who have donated. If you haven't kicked in 10-20 TAX DEDUCTIBLE dollars so Ukrainian kids can go to a Summer camp, please do so. I would really appreciate it. Thanks! I love and miss you all!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Three cool things

Three cool things. First, SOFTBALL! I played in asoftball tournament this weekend and I'm really happy about it. Is it considered un-cool to charge the mound in a charity softball tournament for orphans? :-) I ended up going 9/15 with four RBI's and a bunch of runs ober five games, too, so not bad all around.

Second, I was RECENTLY ELECTED to the Peace Corps Ukraine VolunteerAdvisory Council (VAC), one of only two representatives from my group of 80+ PCV's, so I'm pretty happy. It's like student government, only with some influence over things that actually influence the lives of people, like mail and money. My campaign speech was:

"BLOOD ALONE MOVES THE WHEELS OF HISTORY! Have you ever asked yourselves in an hour of meditation which everyone finds during the day, how long we have been striving for greatness? (Slam!) Not onlythe years we've been at war, the war of WORK. But from the moment as a child when we realized that the world could be conquered. It has been a lifetime struggle (Slam!), a never-ending fight, I say to you(Slam!), and you will understand that it is a privilege to fight!(light applause) We are warriors!! (moderate applause) G31 PCV's, I ask you, (Slam!) once more rise and be worthy of this historical hour!Some people will tell you "TEFL" is a bad word. They'll conjure up images of used car dealers and door-to-door charlatans. This is ourduty to change their perception. I say, salesmen, and women, of the world, unite! (applause) We must never acquiesce, for it is together, together (with the audience) that we prevail! (takes microphone in to his hand) We must never cede control of the motherland for it is (with the audience again) together that we prevail! Also, I really want to be in VAC and I think I would do an awesome job. Thanks, Thomas--"

It's straight out of "The Office," if you don't get the reference, which many people didn't. Hahaha.

Third, MY CAMP! I've e-mailed some of you already about the Summer Camp I'm hosting in June at my school, and I'm really excited aboutit. A summary, which is also found on this website, can be found below( I've heard from several of you that you've tried to donate and the website isn't working. I'm sorry about that. If you would like tomake a tax-deductible donation, feel free to either keep trying the website, or try a faster way: donors can call the Peace Corps Grant office using their 800 number which is 800.424.8580 ext. 2170 or the general line 202.692.2170. If you choose to donate that way, you'll need the project number: 343-121. I appreciate any help you can give us. Hope all is well, love and miss you all,Thomas!

Here's the camp description:

--Camp 50! As a proud Oregonian, I frequently teach lessons about my state. My students know about Lewis and Clark, the Oregon Trail and the PortlandTrailblazers. However, they are woefully unaware about the unique beauty and culture of the other 49 states, and this is a common problem for students of Peace Corps Volunteers, simply because we like to teach about what we know and where we come from. That is where"Camp 50" comes in. The primary objective of the camp is to educate Ukrainian students about the 50 States in an English immersion setting. Camp 50 will offer PCVs the chance to teach about their states in a week-long "day camp" in my town. Camp participants will learn about American diversity—and when the camp is over, the state-by-state lesson plans will be collected and distributed to other teachers (PCV and Ukrainian) so that they can be easily used later. Additionally, teachers and counselors will discuss more serious topics like HIV/AIDS, gender discrimination, racial issues and human trafficking to promote the second objective of the camp (raising awareness of global and local social problems), and play lots of fun "energy" games with students in between lessons. Marginal camp fees pay for lunches for camp participants, teaching materials(American maps, copies, markers) and snacks, and School Number Four will donate their facilities and equipment for the duration of the camp. The Partnership Grant will pay for teacher/counselor housing, meals, travel costs and teaching materials.