Friday, September 28, 2001

Hello, everyone! Sorry it's been a few days since I've last written here. Thank you to everyone who comments; it makes me feel all loved and in touch. (HI BECKY! You rock! I l wrote you a letter! :) Tonight I am covering Bike Night. Literally, more than 1,000 Harley Davidson riders are in York, having a big ol' rally and parade. It's actually quite interesting. I am wearing my leather jacket so I fit in. Grrr... Biker Angie is a new incarnation for me. Usually the leather jacket is part of a Chachi Angie or Theater Angie With The Cool, Trench-Coating Wearing Boyfriend ensemble. It's actually a good photo type assignment because the people are very interesting-looking. Not to be lookist. La la. Anyway, I have to leave in a minute for a special "Blessing of the Bikes" ceremony ( I am so not kidding.)

I just have one question: Who is being Larry in the comments? You're funny!! I love you!!!

Monday, September 24, 2001

RAHHHH!!! Victory Dance around the computer!! Woo hoo! I haven't been this happy since I learned to parallel park. Or since I got my CD-ROM to work in my interactive multimedia class. I am so happy!!!!!!

Okay, I got comments to work, which is very, very exciting. I invite all of you to comment on my page! One thing, though. Please, please be respectful to one another. Yay! I can't wait. Someone, anyone, come let me know you were here! I am going to enable my comments to work Up On My Soapbox, too.

Sunday, September 23, 2001

Following Shauna's suggestion that we all try to laugh more, I have to share this quote from Scott's weblog, even though a lot of you have probably read this on his site and enjoyed it for yourself firsthand. Oh, the men I have loved.... :)

"[M]y dad... seems to think I'm going to be drafted and sent to Afganistan. Because we all know that when America is in trouble the first troops they send into any hot zone are their crack platoon of scrawny, pale, eyeglass-wearing, Star Wars loving, software engineers. I suppose as long as our enemy agrees to resolve the conflict through some sort of Shoot 'Em Up type video game we'd kick their butts."

Hahahahahahaha. That kills me. I have been thinking about this since NPR commentator Juan Williams first used the phrase "reinstate the draft" last week. I have been so happy that Stephen has flat feet, and is therefore undraftable since he couldn't wear the standard issue shoes. Which by the way, is the same reason my dad wasn't drafted into Vietnam. Paging Dr. Freud!

Of course, there is a scared little part of me that knows that if this war should go on a long time and a lot of people die that the government will end up drafting even the guys with flat feet, but let's not think about that now, shall we not? For now, Steve is standing outside a magic shop in Boston demonstrating monkey puppets. We were talking yesterday about how hot it was for the first day of autumn. I said I was very warm wearing shorts and a tank top, and he said he sweltered yesterday "wearing black pants, a t-shirt and a vest with his hand up a monkey's butt." Apparently, an intoxicated Canadian to whom Stephen sold a hundred dollars worth of magic tricks bought the "monkey" a lemonade because it was so hot. Steve drank it, considering that the monkey is, after all, a puppet.

Well, I'm off to work. My first assignment is to photograph children who are painting a giant American flag on their front yard.

Friday, September 21, 2001

Alright, I am sorry, but I feel obliged to talk just a teeny little bit about all the whackos that are coming out of the woodwork in the last ten days. In some ways, I include myself in the list of people who have gone temporarily insane because 1.) I found myself being oddly moved by the song "Proud to be and American" 2.) I am sort of excited to watch the telethon tonight and 3.) I was not completely repulsed and/or wickedly amused at the stupidity of our president during his address last night. He didn't even falter in his word choice or anything. Huh. Go figure.

That aside, I want to share with you some of the more stupid things that have been said about the subject of Afghanistan. I happen to listen to A LOT of Republican talk radio, because I believe it's good to know one’s enemies. Therefore I listen to Rush Limbaugh almost every day. I had a women's studies professor tell me quite seriously that that would rot my brain. Rush, while he has been using the airwaves for years to propagate a sexist, racist and classist agenda, is actually rather intelligent, as far as oppressors go. It's the OTHER Republican talk show hosts, like Bob Durgan, who kill me. He had a caller who said that he's worried about his sons, ages 14 and 16, if they get drafted because Clinton let the "sodomites" into the army and he doesn't "want his boys to have to watch their backs in the foxholes because of the sodomites." My other favorite whacko is the "anti-Christ" who emailed Gwen at her job at the newspaper in Gaithersburg. Here is my favorite excerpt: THERE WILL BE MANY HUMAN LIVES LOST THROUGH THE MULTIPLE NATURAL DISASTERS, WAR AND DESTRUCTION OF CIVILIZATION WHICH IS TO FOLLOW THIS NOTICE. HAVE YOU EVEN CARED TO ANALYZE THE WEATHER PATTERN SINCE THE FIRST LETTER. THE FORCES OF NATURE WILL NOW BE UNLEASHED!!! THE ORDER OF NATURE WILL NOW BE RESTORED!!! NATURE WILL NOW TAKE CONTROL!!!

I love that the Antichrist sends his regards. Perhaps the best suggestion that I have heard comes from my friend Lydia's husband Paul via my friend Luke. Apparently, they decided that the best course of action would be to send armies of killer robotic Olsen twins against Afghanistan. Sigh.... Speaking of Luke, he has moved to Connecticut, and he is living with this guy Chris from S.U. who used to be Otto the Orangeman mascot at football games. I love that. Luke is living with Otto. That's just a funny mental image.

Anyway, I will go about my day in which I have run a bunch of errands that I have been meaning to take care of for days. It's actually quite satisfying. I bought a new air freshener for my car, picked up Bella's special dog food from the vet, got a prescription refilled, mailed some letters, hugged Alissa's mom and bought recipe cards.

Saturday, September 15, 2001

This seems like a fitting time to talk about Alexia Tsairis. Alexia Tsairis was a Syracuse University student who died when Pan Am 103 exploded in the sky over Lockerbie, Scotland, as a result of a terrorist bomb on December 21, 1988. Alexia was 20 when she died. She was a photojournalism student, one of 35 Syracuse University students who died returning from the S.U. Department of International Programs Abroad in London. (This is the same program in which I studied in England in 1999.)

Each year, S.U. offers a Remembrance Scholarship to 35 students who most closely resemble the spirit of the students who were lost in 1988. I had the great honor and privilege to represent Alexia in 2000. I have come to know her family, who have reached out to me with a warmth I can not begin to capture in words.

Alexia was deeply commited to world peace. She was a member of Amnesty International. She wanted to change the world with her photography. At the end of each semester in London, the photo students write record memories, share messages of encouragement, and leave advice for the next class in the lockers in the darkroom. Alexia wrote, two days before she died, "Take your camera with you wherever you go, because you never know what is going to happen." Someone has since written, "S.U. misses you" under her name. Some of Alexia's images and film were recovered from the crash site. She was very, very good.

Her parents have since started the Alexia Foundation for World Peace. They offer scholarships to photography students who wish to study abroad in the London program and grants to professional photographers who wish to pursue picture stories around the world that will help foster world peace.

As we seek answers in this difficult time, I offer you her words as they were printed in the Ramapo High School yearbook her senior year.

"Do not be afraid of the shadows. It only means that light is shining nearby."
-Alexia Tsairis

As I begin to write here, the first message I have written since September 11th when the attack on America began, it seems strange to me to realize that everything has a new perspective. Even the outrage I felt at the mistreatment of the animals at the York Fair seems misdirected and somewhat trivial, even though the exploitation of those animals was very real. The entire world is different now. I don't know what to think. I am usually not a supporter of war, and yet I feel our country needs to take some sort of action. I do not know yet where I stand. I feel that we need to take a firm stand against terrorism in all its forms; nonetheless, hearing the words "bomb the hell out of them" coming from a senator, when we don't really know who that "them" should be, causes my stomach to knot itself.

I am amazed at the remarkable bravery and generosity that is being spread throughout our country. It's really quite wonderful.

Last night, when we were all asked to light a candle at 7 p.m., I was driving home from work, the first time I left the newspaper office before 10 p.m. any day this week. I pulled over by the side of the road and joined some women who were standing outside their beauty parlor with candles. We sang Amazing Grace, and it was the first time I could stand and sing and not have to photograph others in their display of solidarity. I feel a deep moral commitment to document my community as they come together in mourning and in solidarity, and so, most of the time, photographing is precisely what I feel I should be doing. But last night, standing on West Market Street and singing softly was the only thing I wanted to do, the only place I wanted to be.

I have had the urge to stand with each of you who read this web site and cry and send invocations to the spiritual force (from whom I began to seek solace during my depression) and find hope. Hope for peace, hope for solidarity, hope for justice. For my high school friends and all others who know, more than anything, I have wanted to stand with you and sing "The Lord Bless You and Keep You." May the Lord come to you in your own individual ways-- the Christian Heavenly Father, the Jewish Lord of the Universe, the Mother Goddess, the power of Music, the Beauty you find in others and the Force that connects us all. In the words of the NPR guy who reads the Writers' Almanac each morning, "Stay well. Do good work, and keep in touch."

Jerry Falwell's message that blames "feminists, pagans, abortionists, homosexuals and the ACLU" for the mass destruction, along with a feminist response to the call for war, can be found up on my soapbox.

Friday, September 07, 2001

ok. York Fair. hating it. new attraction=feature story. new attraction is called "Baboon Lagoon." I'm thinking "Monkeys and children!" I'm thinking, "Fun, psuedo zoo-type exhibit!" I'm thinking "educational" in a "zoos are oppressive and sad" type way. No. Instead? Tutus, unicycles, motorcycles, sequins, fishnet tights and spandex. And that's what the BABOONS were wearing.

My Women's Studies Amazing Activist Friend Emily would have gone, pardon the pun, ape-shit. She would have liberated the baboons and cleaved the stupid monkey trainer in half with his own scary "training stick"/cattle prod. I wanted to cry. It was completely humiliating for these animals. I was embarrassed for them. Look on the YDR website tomorrow for the pictures. Ew. I guess the "You can't do eco-tourism, so we're bringing it to YOU!", la dee la scenario I had imagined was too progressive for York, but still.... I wasn't expecting the baboons to be wearing hot pants. Sigh....

Thursday, September 06, 2001

I kissed some girl last night.

There, Nick, are you happy? Geez. I don't talk about my sex life on my web journal because 1.) It's not really anyone else's business, except for Stephen, and he doesn't read this very often 2.) People I work with sometimes read this 3.) My dad reads this and 4.) Finally, and most importantly, I find the people who talk a lot about sex are usually the people who aren't having very much of it.

Having said that, I did NOT kiss a girl last night. I went to Long's Park with Dan Brown. It was fun.

Today I have photographed a horse dentist-- excuse me, equine dental technician-- a United Way "Day of Caring" where local workers help out non-profit organziations by painting their fence, etc (Mostly people who were excited about missing a day of work and who were all mad at the one loser girl who DID want to go back to work when they were done volunteering thus ruining everyone else's plans to say they literally "cared" all day), and the owner of a new jazz club that I am psyched to go to when it opens at the end of the month. (For Jill and Luke, I used the "Shake and Bake" method-- long exposure with rear-sync flash-- with some funky lights; I can't wait for my film to be done as it is in the processor right now. Hope it worked).

Yup, that's about it. New rantings on Up On My Soapbox to follow shortly.

Wednesday, September 05, 2001

I am so embarrassed! I was just walking across the newsroom, coming back from the bathroom, minding my own business, about to go do a story on the Agricultural Museum’s new mural (Woo hoo!) when out of the corner of my eye, I see a gigantic (honestly 11-ft tall) monster at the receptionist’s desk. Naturally, I scream (in front of the entire newsroom, including the president of the company) and everyone thinks this is the funniest thing EVER. Great.

It turns out they were from Field of Screams, dropping off a press kit.

So then My Boss Ted says, “We need local art. Why don’t you follow them and get pictures of people reacting to them?” Great. The next thing I know I am running down North George Street trying to catch them before they reach the Dispatch, our competition. People think they are very funny, etc, and I got the requisite picture of the scared little girl and the laughing adult woman. Fine, fine, fine.

Then a funeral passes by. Luckily, the actors were very respectful and didn’t say anything. They felt really bad about it, actually. Then a guy in a car with a Jesus fish ornament and a couple of other religious bumper stickers slowed down and yelled, “Down with Satan!”

Well, I’m off to the Agricultural Museum. I love York County.

Tuesday, September 04, 2001

So here I am back at the York Daily Record for my first day of another internship. It's fine. I was here all summer, so it's really not much of a change. Nonetheless, I had to meet with the woman who runs the newsroom to get a company cell phone, garage opener, parking pass, etc. In the middle of going through W-2 forms, etc., the feeling suddenly hits me, "I am going to throw up!" So in my head, I am like, "Nah, I'm not going to throw up. Why would I throw up? Am I really going to?" and all of a sudden my body was like "You are, too, going to throw up!!" So I have to internrupt this very important lady to run to the bathroom. I barely made it in time. Huh. I wonder why that happened. I wish for each of you no random acts of illness.

My friend Adam from college throws up all the time. Sometimes, if he breathes a gust of air in a funny way, he vomits. There is a very funny story about him vomiting in a building on the S.U. campus, and he didn't know where the bathroom was. He had vomit all over his hands, and he ran into another building, but the bathroom was locked. When he finally found one, in a third building, he went in and a professor saw him. The professor was like, "Adam! How are you? It's good to see you!" before he saw the vomit. Then, the professor broke off midsentence, gagged and fled the bathroom. Adam also barfed in someone's coat during a congo line at a Homecoming dance in high school, and he once threw up a gallon of gatorade and big mac in a McDonald's parking lot in Battle Mountain, Nebraska.

Blah, blah. So I have some time to kill before I shoot field hockey at 4:30. I think I will not spend it talking about vomit. Sorry for that tangent. That last paragraph is a little gross.

Today is Kelly's first day at her new job. Let's all send her good health educator vibes.

As for Shauna's idea for a laugh blog, I totally agree. I am, after all, the Queen of Wetting Oneself with laughter. I have been reading "Dave Barry Talks Back" by Dave Barry. It has been causing me to laugh hysterically, the kind of laughter you usually only get with old friends while doing things like playing Bloody Stump. I actually cried with laughter at one of his columns about dressing radioactive crabs in chipmunk suits. I can not nearly do it justice.

Monday, September 03, 2001

Every once and a while you have the opportunity to be someone's guardian angel. It usually happens when you least expect it. The last time I got this opportunity (until today) was in June 1998 when I helped this woman who was absolutely terrified of heights climb over a ten-foot wrought iron fence after she got locked in this beautiful-but-full-of-gothic-gargoyles cemetery in Prague. She was so afraid of heights that she was actually debating whether or not she should sleep in this getting-creepier-as-the-sun-sets graveyard. Anyway, after an hour of smiling, boosting and coaxing in my extremely limited Czech (mostly saying "good/dobry" and "yes/anno"), I helped this very nice Czech woman over the wall. You would think that the caretakers responsible for locking up creepy graveyards would check to make sure everyone was out first, but whatever.

Anyway, I got this opportunity during a layover in Detroit on my way back from visiting Kelly. There were two women in front of me on the people-mover (Meet George Jetson!), and one of them was pushing a stroller. As we step off the people-mover, the wheel of the stroller gets stuck which causes a little pile-up. (I start having flashbacks to this time when I was like 3, and I fell flat on my face getting off an escalator in J.C. Penney which resulting in my developing a mortal fear of escalators) and so I was worried about the baby what with the potential for injury and phobias and whatnot. The baby was fine, just a little jostled, and I asked if they’re okay. They say yes, but they think they missed their flight and they don’t know what to do.

One woman is from Kenya, trying to get to Wyoming to go to med school, and the woman with the baby is from Oman on the Saudi Arabian peninsula, and she is trying to get to Denver to meet up with her husband who is there for grad school. They apparently flew from Kenya and somewhere like Saudi Arabia, respectively, to Amsterdam, where their flight to the U.S. was delayed.

The woman with the now-crying baby is like, “No one will help us!” So we walk over to the Northwest ticket counter and wait in line forever when this man with a Canadian passport, (although it has Arabic letters on it) starts yelling at us, in English, for cutting in line. (We didn’t.) The woman from Oman is dressed in Western clothing, but when she apologizes to the man in Arabic, he gets a whole lot nicer and grumpily apologizes.

So we finally get to the front of the line. I’m worried that they’re going to miss their flight (which it turns out, they already had) so I approach the first “available” ticket clerk. Apparently, you have to wait until they call out, “Next!” which I didn’t realize. I thought you could just approach the desk when it was your turn, but apparently you need an engraved invitation. So sue me. So the first lady is doing something, so we stand in front of her for ten minutes. Then the clerk beside her finishes up with her customer, but she’s leaving for her dinner break, so we have to wait again.

At this point, my bag of weight watchers snacks bursts open and there are baby carrots all over the floor. (I bet this would not have happened if I had been planning to eat a Kit Kat Chunky.) Fine. We clean up the carrots, passing the baby (who was a meltingly cute 7-month-old little girl whose name was, as best I could tell, “Wee Wee.” I kid you not. I think it was a nickname for Wellayan) back and forth. At one point, I engaged her in a game of “This little Piggy Went to Market.” I was all the way up to the Piggy Who Eats Roast Beef when I realized that a game about piggies going to market and/or eating beef may not be entirely appropriate for a child who is mostly likely Muslim. Oops.

Okay, so the ticket agent who was helping us was really nice, but the baby was crying off and on, and the check-in desk was very noisy, and apparently the confirmation number was written in Arabic characters and it was really hard for the agent to find the lady from Oman’s reservation in the computer to put her on the next flight to Denver.

I would like to add that both women had an excellent command of the English language, but the agent was using words like “itinerary” and “voucher” and it was midnight Kenya time and she was asking them things like, “Has your luggage been in your possession since you packed it?” and they were like, “Um… We checked our luggage in Kenya/Saudi Arabia. Sorry? What?” They agent was trying to explain about the difference between Eastern time and Mountain time which lead them to believe that they had to change planes twice, when in fact it was one plane over two time zones.

So I am trying not be Pushy American Woman, but they said they appreciated my help, and at this point, we had been at the desk for forty minutes because the agent is like, doo de doo de do. Sheesh. So I get the lady to give them seats together in a row with no one else so that the baby could have the middle seat. She gives them vouchers for free food (I have to say, the agent was trying, she really was), and I dropped them off at their gate with just enough time to jump on my own plane back to BWI.

All in all, it was really nice. We were all about the same age, and it was one of those unexpected moments that life throws your way. I know if I were ever stuck in an airport in Oman or Kenya, I would want someone to help me. I love traveling and the unexpected friends who manage to find you.

Sunday, September 02, 2001

Rice cake, anyone?

You know what I was wondering... How do they get the air in things like puffed rice and wheat? I mean, think about it. There aren't, like, miniature bike pumps or anything. How do they do that? It's like a little diet food miracle.

One of my favorite stories that Stephen tells involves puffed wheat, actually. Apparently, he spent a great deal of time during the 1992 Olympics hanging out with his cousin Ted and eating puffed wheat. They tried to figure out how to say, "I am a fool for puffed wheat" in different languages.

"Je suis un bouffau pour frommage esouffle" is the French way. That may not be exactly right. I sort of forget the word for "wheat." I have this feeling that "frommage" means cheese.

In that case, I am a fool for puffed cheese.
Wt: 121 lbs Cigarettes: 6 Alcohol Units: 12 (v. bad) Lottery Tickets: 2

Am going to Oxford Circus in search of shoes in manner of shopping goddess. Wish to pop by Cafe with Shazzer and Jude in honor of fabulous new plan to fnd inner poise.

OH WAIT... I'm not Bridget Jones. I am in a very Bridget-y place, having just watched the movie with Amanda and Kelly in the fun hotel in Chicago. Chick-a-go, as Kel would say. We had a very good time! Kelly, (whom I am now calling Wart, you should call her that too. She really, really likes it) took me downtown to the field museum where we saw a stupendous exhibit about Julie Taymor, the puppeteer who designed all the puppets in the Lion King, etc. It was astounding. Julie's (we're on first name terms now, you see) work is totally influenced by Japanese principles of bunraku techniques, and she is clearly well versed in knowledge of kente cloth and African culture and they had an exhibit of work from a Spanish play for which she did the set design, costumes and puppet work and it really smacked of El Greco, Dali and Picasso. One of the puppets was even shaped like this very distinctive screaming head in Picasso's cubist work, Guernica. Gush, gush, gush. I can't believe she holds all of that knowledge of mechanics and culture and design and artistry in her head. Wow.

I kept thinking about Gwen's puppetry teacher in her last semester of college who was really jealous of Julie Taymor. Gwen once demonstrated how to make a puppet look like it was walking instead of flying. She said that her puppetry teacher has a beef with Sesame Street because it made our generation think that puppets just whiz around or something like that.

So I am home.

Dan Brown called me back, which is nice. I ran into his mom at a retirement party that we had for my dad. She said he is living at home and is also bored. I have decided that he is my new friend.