Wednesday, December 28, 2005

MBTA musings

Sometimes municipal organizations crack me up. Here's something from a press release the MBTA sent to the station about New Year's Eve/Day transportation:

Sunday, January 1st- New Year's Day

*Blue, Orange, Green, and Red Line trains will operate on a Sunday schedule
*Buses and trackless trolleys will operate on a Sunday schedule's Sunday anyway... I wonder if anyone would've noticed anything different?

Monday, December 26, 2005

Frustration ensues

I'm back at work, on another late night shift before a very early morning shift. I am overtired and frustrated. The person who was here during the day shift had a problem with sounds during the B black of the 4 p.m. show. This means that s/he never posted a particular story and now I have to do it. S/he didn't think to go get a copy of the tape from ENG or Master Control and manually record it to post it. Now I have to clean up the mess. Wonderful. The same person also managed to note that there was a 6 p.m. show (after I was told that there wasn't), s/he did not bother to set up the computer to record the show. Luckily it's not too different from the 9 p.m. show. S/he has also (again) forgotten to update the associated newspaper website with video. But still...... Let's try to be a bit more responsible. (This is not the first time that I've had to clean up after this person).

OK. I feel a bit better after venting.

Place blogging

This project fascinates me. More later....Work calls....

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Sunday!

I'm downright domestic today. I am baking blueberry muffins to bring into work later. Not very Christmassy or Hanukkah-ish, I know, but they were all I really had in the house. Some wonderful people brought in some very yummy treats last night. And we had Chinese food, courtesy of the bosses. There goes the timer.....I'm off to play Donna Reed.
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Saturday, December 24, 2005

The PJs, take II

I've been thinking about my apartment complex in relation to last weekend's incident. It's not that I dislike the people in the complex. Most of the people that I've met are quite neighborly and friendly. It's just that no one wants to live in an environment of fear and/or worry. Especially when things have been going smoothly for a while(or so I am told, I haven't lived there for that long).

Friday, December 23, 2005

Yankees show Damon the $$$

Since I now live in Boston I suppose that I should comment on the Johnny Damon departure, after all everyone else in town has. He went where the money was. I'm not sure why people seem so shocked by this.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Crimes & misdemeanors

An update to the shooting thing that I recently found out:

A friend was waiting at my apartment for me to be finished with work so that we could go out after. He said that around 10:30 PM (about when I was due home) he heard a lot of yelling and angry sounds coming from the driveway to the complex and was worried that I would drive in and there might be some sort of unpleasant result. What came to mind was that some kids might be in the driveway, I'd get pissed (as I am not the most patient person when it comes to idiotic pedestrians), honk at them or something, and get shot at or have some other unpleasant confrontational experience.

Hearing that there was some sort of beef or whatever earlier in the night makes me think that the person with the weapon was, as my roommate suggested, an uninvited guest to a party in one of the buildings. Hopefully it was not someone who lives here. Hopefully. Roomie also found out from a friend of his who is the Gang Unit Coordinator on the police force in a nearby town, who upon being told about what happened here over the weekend, said that about 10 years ago in Boston crime was way up (in fact, the city is experiencing the highest rate of crime since then) and that gangs are recruiting kids younger and younger these days. I'm not jumping to the conclusion that there is a gang problem in the area that I live in. I'm just mulling over the information that I was given.

I wish that I could afford to live someplace better. A problem for me is that I need an assigned parking spot in the immediate vicinity of my house. I'm not going to wander around a dark street in the pre-dawn hours to find my car. That's not so safe either.

But I don't want to have to worry about stray bullets. And I don't want anyone visiting us to have to take that risk either. I know that I live in a city and that there are many risks that we take every single day. Just getting into a car in this city is a risk because of all the people who obviously got their driver's licenses at Sears, as my grandfather would say. But I'd like to do all that I can to lessen the risk to myself, whether it means using my turn signals or moving for a second time in less than 3 months.

Churchly goodness, for Jews

(via the Church Sign Generator)


Holiday treats

One of the anchors of the early morning show made fudge and packaged it in these cute little tins to give to all of us as a holiday treat. I had no idea that he could cook, much less make his own fudge.
I am finding that sometimes a newsroom can be a caring place. (Sometimes it's cold and filled with the scent of paranoia, but that's a topic for another post....).


Monday, December 19, 2005

Shots fired

I'd never heard a gunshot before. It really does sound a lot like a car backfiring. The following happened outside my apartment complex on very early Sunday morning. I am so moving.

Gun Recovered, Suspects Arrested after Shots Fired in xxxx xxxxx

Around 2:45am officers from District 13 responded to a shots fired call in the area of 133 xxxxxxx xxxxxx Street. Three suspects were arrested in connection with the incident. One suspect, a juvenile male attempted to run from police but was apprehended a short distance away. The juvenile was found to be in the possession of a .38 caliber black handgun. Other ballistic evidence was recovered from the scene. Arraignment will be in West xxxx District Court. The juvenile is charged with Resisting Arrest, Assault with Intent to Murder, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm/Ammunition, and Firearm Discharged within 500 feet of Dwelling.
(courtesy of BPDNews)

I no longer feel safe in my own home. I am suddenly much more empathetic to the residents of (insert name of ghetto neighborhod here). I can't imagine what life is like when the bullets fly on a nightly basis.

My roommate says that this is the first time anything like this has ever happened in the seven years that he's lived in this apartment.And I do comprehend the fact that I live in a city. But I happen to think that even one shooting outside your apartment complex (even if no one dies and the person responsible is arrested) is still one time too many.


Friday, December 16, 2005

As seen....

...printed on the window of a hair salon on VFW Parkway:

"We service men & children"

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Inferior work environment

This post and it's resulting comments got my panties in a knot. I experience many of these frustrations at work and felt frustrated whenever I tried to put my thoughts on paper. This one really gets me annoyed:

The other thing that bothers me is that I am not viewed as a journalist, but rather as a computer geek. Can you help me get this from tape to DVD? How do you add a network printer? How do I get the spam to go away again? Why can't I get this laptop to hook up to the Internet? Those are the kinds of questions I get.

Luckily I've never been asked to fix anyone's computer. But I do get the impression that some a decent number of people at the station view me as inferior because I'm not a 'regular' producer. I think that they are lucky- what they write is not written down for any viewers to see so they can toss grammar out the window if they'd like. I have to make sure I spell things correctly, have proper capitalization, etc.... My job isn't rocket science but it is challenging and I do have to use my brain. Some days I mightt wish that I was a 'regular' because I'm feeling inferior or whatever but then I remind myself that I'm just as good as they are. Unless they make way more $$$. In that case, sign me up.

From the peanut gallery:

Station executives are often all talk about how hot they are for the web, while rank-and-file TV staffers treat the web team like they work in IT.

If they're so hot for the web, why isn't my salary higher? Where's my health insurance?

I'm not sure it's a "news room" problem. It's a business model problem. The Web site at most TV stations aren't taken seriously as a business proposition. An executive-level person with budget responsibilities should be in charge of the Web site, which would give the Web operation leverage to make things happen.

I have news for this commenter- our website/webcenter are run by a guy who has to deal with all that crap....and we still get the short ed of the stick. I'm not blaming him. In fact, I I really wouldn't know who to blame since I haven't been there long enough to know how the machine functions.

The war on Christmas

Let me tell you a story.

A friend of mine was asked by his company's art director what he thought of the holiday card that the art director had designed. Friend looks at it and comments that it has a Christmas tree on it. Then he asked the art director if the company was planning to send it to the mayor (they work for a company that has some local government contracts). Art director says that they were. Non-Jewish friend then points out that the mayor of their mid-sized city is Jewish and that many of their clients were non-Christians of some sort. He then had to explain to the art director that Jews don't tend to get completely offend if they get a holiday card that has a more Christmas theme (vs. holiday or seasonal), but that non-Christians do tend to think favorably of you if you opt to send them a more non-denominational greeting. Art director then saw the light.

That is a perfectly reasonable way to explain how non-Christians (and even some Unitarians) might feel about the season. I do not understand how that has turned into a war on Christmas.
Even the president is feeling the heat. Never mind that the first family has to send those cards to many non-Christians, not just Jews. And the New Year is a calendar holiday*, not a religious one, so it's perfectly reasonable to send every American you know a card that says Happy New Year.

I, as a Jew, feel kind of attacked. This is all so silly. So much for that immigrant dream that my grandparents had, that America was for all people. What scares me the most about those who feel that all non-white Christians should not live here is that their families most likely immigrated here too.

*though I did have one rabbi in hs who refused to celebrate it because he insisted it was a celebration of the bris of Jesus since it occurred eight days after Xmas.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005


I'm adjusting to my new life in the big city. Probably not as quickly as I would've liked, but I am adult enough to know that the world doesn't move at the pace I'd like it to all the time.

New job, which I guess is not so new anymore, is going fine. I like that it challenges me. When I go into work I never know what I might have to write about that day- baseball, obit, politics, natural disasters, the arts, etc.... I guess that's why it's called 'news'....

I wish that I felt more connected with a larger amount of people that I work with. It can be kind of tough since the fluxuating schedules of people who work in a newsroom tend to be about as far from bankers' hours as you can get. As I must've kvetched about before, I dislike the setup of my work area since it leaves me with my back to the newsroom. Not only do I come across as rude and/or unfriendly (or so I worry), but anyone there can read what's up on my nice large flat screen monitor (not that I'm surfing porn or anything, but I do prefer some modicum of privacy, or at least the illusion of it). I am getting used to sharing a desk/computer/workspace with four other people. I do long for my own drawer, so that I could leave some things at the station. Every desk has the same crappy chair that is warping the backs of many staffers. I wish ergonomics mattered to the powers that be.

Enough tired rambling for now.....


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Pro gear

If so inclined you will now be able to own your own official Weather Channel on-air clothing. The channel is partnering with Maine retailer L.L. Bean so now you too can stand outside during a hurricane or snowstorm and feel like a pro.

Monday, December 05, 2005


The DVR arrived Friday. The new roommate came home with an HDTV yesterday. All is well with the TVs in JP. Just the DVR was enough to make me happy as I missed my old TiVo and kept wanting to throw the ancient VCR out the window. I'm a digital gal now.

HDTV is amazing! (Assuming the program you're watching was filmed in HD). Football looked so crisp and clear that I felt like I was actually at the game. I can't wait to watch hockey on it, maybe I'll actually be able to see the puck, not just a fuzzy black thing swirling around the ice. I can now feel better about myself in comparison to celebs, as HDTV makes it easier to see their imperfections. On a related note, I began to watch The Last Samurai on the new TV and Tom Cruise still manages to look amazing.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

T-shirt madness

As my (new) roommate says, this is a t-shirt you can only buy for yourself.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Arrested Development gets arrested

It's sad to hear about the 'hiatus' on Arrested Development. I even own the DVD set of season one (and I rarely buy DVD's). Here's an idea about how to save the show.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The PJs in JP

I live in the PJs. Sort of. Found out the new apartment complex is home to a bunch of government funded apartments. I haven't met many other residents, but they seem to be a bunch of families and some young professional types. And many of them have much nicer cars than I do. JP itself is very organic.

It's not all bad. The new roommate is very cool. Among other good qualities and a nice disposition he's Jewish and can fix things. It will be nice to have someone to light the menorah with this year. And the digital cable rocks! (New roommate works for the cable company so we get free cable). This On Demand shit is the best. Instead of being depressed because it's Thanksgiving and I'm sitting in my pajamas in the PJs I am delightfully distracted by Weeds on Showtime On Demand, at least for the next few hours.

Later today I'm going into work. They'll pay time-and-a-half but this way my boss will be able to spend the holiday with his family. He's a good guy so I don't mind too much. Besides, it's not like I have a family of my own (or any at all around here) so I'm not missing out on spending a holiday with my offspring.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The eagle has landed, sort of

Please excuse any tardiness or spotty blogging. The move is in progress. I may have computer use, I may not.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

My life in boxes

Most of my life is currently sitting in boxes and other assorted containers in my living room.

Flanks are still a bit tender and the doc has no good answer for me yet. She's still waiting for bloodwork to come back. So for now her instructions are that I not overexert or strain myself. Easy for her to say. She isn't moving 99% of her stuff to a new metro area in two days. Thankfully I have some wonderful friends who've offered to help me with the actual moving and lifting. But not the packing- I'm enough of a control freak to feel the need to do this myself. For some reason the idea of someone else packing things for me seems kind of odd. At least to me.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Pain in the....

..back. That has been the dominant thing in my life since Saturday night. Stabbing pain in my flanks (yes, we humans have those) that has slowly dulled down to sort of tolerable. Mainly I've been trying to find a position that is comfortable without much success. If only this were a muscle thing so that I could take some Aleve and get on with my life. I've spent the majority of the past few days on the couch. I feel lethargic and desperately want to go to the gym.
Went to the doctor today and she's sending me for some tests tomorrow. This is frustrating, as it inhibits my ability to pack- not being able to lift, bend, etc.... It is also scary. I just want to know what's wrong so that I can fix it. And make this pain go away.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Texas: sodomy still OK

Gay marriage is out in Texas. Sodomy still OK though.

Enemies list, but better

This is scary stuff. (via Fark) I wonder if anyone I know is on it?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Blogging the West Wing (East Coast version)

'Hawkeye' Pierce vs. Det. Bobby Simone
I'll probably have to go back and watch this again on my wonderful TiVo but here are my thoughts so far.

  • Fascinating way to break into sweeps. Give NBC points for creativity.
  • Live theater. This is what TV must've been like when my mom and dad were kids. Live TV is pretty rare now, especially for an hourlong drama. It does seem a bit staged.
  • Forrest Sawyer looks annoyed. Not sure if he is acting (can he act?) or if he's really annoyed. How'd he end up with this gig anyway?
  • Props for taking on unpopular topic of what's really wrong in Africa (corrupt governments, debts, taxes, etc...). Not sure how Bono would feel.
  • Are any of the audience reactions prompted or are they spontaneous? How did those people get a chance to be in the audience anyway?
  • In some ways this is almost as boring as a regular political debate.
  • Seem to be using a very realistic NBC News bug**
  • How will this fair against the season premiere of The Simpsons over on FOX?
  • I am laughing inside because Alan Alda is such a well known liberal. Actually, seeing Alda as a Republican senator has amused me for the past little while on the West Wing.
  • Some things seem stilted, sadly, not unlike a real debate. These guys probably rehearsed less than George W. Bush and John Kerry did for theirs last year.

Aftermath: My thoughts a few days later

  • Jimmy Smits seemed to be dwarfed by the small screen presence of Alan Alda. If you watch any scenes they have together on the (non-live) West Wing episodes they seem to have decent chemistry and Santos/Smits does not seem easily out shined (out acted?) by Vinick/Alda. Steve told me that he thinks that Alda really shines on TV vs. the movies. I have to pretty much agree (minus his great role in Flirting With Disaster).
  • Yes, they were able to say things in more plainspoken ways that lacked mucho market research and polling than might be said in a 'real' presidential debate. But in many ways the two talking heads made it just about as boring as watching a real one. One reason that I like the WW is that it presents topics learned about in Civics or American History in a way that makes them easier to swallow. (To quote a former retail co-worker of mine "It's like learning without knowing you're learning").

I rewatched the show later on with my roommate. He's not really a huge West Wing fan, more like he watches it when I have it on. He had a few interesting points to make-

  • That the news bug** that they used was missing the 'ELECTION 2005' graphic
  • The presidential seal and/or corresponding graphic was nowhere to be found on the set or in the 'coverage'
  • Africa- this topic and the things that were said about it are not '"real political issues" but are the "pet projects" of the producer, John Wells*. But that everything else debate was "real". (I think Africa is an issue issues, but the opinions voiced in the debate are not the kinds of things said in the popular media, mainly because there is not good way to put them. Also, Africa has been in the news lately, thanks to Bono).

* John Wells has definite opinions about what's going on in Africa, just check out reruns from seasons nine and ten of ER.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Jews are back

Jews are back in Boston. I had no idea they were missing.

(Thanks for the article Esther)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Blog block

I'm having writer's block with regard to the blog. Maybe this is due to the fact that I spend most of my time at work writing things. I also want to make sure that what I write here is of quality and not just because I feel a need to fill some sort of online void.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Is this what feminism has lead to?

I've been thinking about this lately in light of a recent article by Maureen Dowd in the NY Times Magazine where she points out that in this post-modern society " women of all ages are striving to become self-actualized sex kittens". I've never really thought of myself as a sex kitten. I do value my sexual (and reproductive) freedom, but I don't feel the need to take a strip-aerobics class to feel better about myself. I'm hardly bound for the world of June Cleaver, nor am I as radical as Andrea Dworkin or Catharine MacKinnon since I don't think that all porn can be equated with rape.

Some girls in Pennsylvania are staging a 'girlcott' against Abercrombie & Fitch. They feel that the some of their t-shirts enhance negative images of women. While the shirts do make me chuckle, I kind of agree that they're not helping my gender get the amount of respect we deserve. Would my mother and her contemporaries have worked so hard to make the struggles against sexism and gender bias less prevalent for my generation if they knew that 14-year-olds were going to wander around the mall in shirts that say things like "I make you look fat" and "if at first you don't succeed, try buying me some diamonds" ?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Rites of passage

What American Jew doesn't remember their bar or bat mitzvah? I remember mine.
My bat mitzvah date fell on Memorial Day, a Monday, which saved me from having to read a whole Shabbos-sized Torah portion. Immediately after was a luncheon for family and close friends. There were only a few people there that my parents made me invite. It was very good food at a kosher restaurant near the temple. I had the kids party a week later at a health club. There was swimming and basketball and other fun things. And it did not involve the mortifying slow dance with my dad* that a 'regular' party would've. The best compliment I got was from a male classmate- "Your bat mitzvah was the best of all of them because I didn't have to wear a tie to the party."

An article in the NY Times, My Big Fat 80's Bar Mitzvah, has some interesting insights about this major Jewish rite of passage. Though my own bat mitzvah was in 1992, I can relate.

The MTV-era bar mitzvah... was a time when an insular Old World ritual blew up into an all-American affair: inclusive, often suburban and, thanks to new Hollywood production values, unforgettably garish.

Parents are featured in the book as well, always lavishly dressed and often posing proudly in front of banquet tables overflowing with food. Many Jews of that era, said Jeffrey Shandler, an associate professor of Jewish studies at Rutgers University, saw their son's bar mitzvah as a way to telegraph their social standing and ambitions....For them, he said, their child's party was as much about networking and conspicuous consumption as about watching their child give a commentary on the Torah. Bar mitzvahs built around a "Raiders of the Lost Ark" or a Disney theme became common. Thanks in part to the introduction of the videographer, he added, the parties started to take on the look of movie sets.

I cannot tell you how many of those I went to. Where it was way more about what the parents wanted than what the newly anointed Jewish adult wanted.

*I regret that my dad will never be able to walk me down the aisle at my wedding. But I do not think that I missed out on something by not doing this. Having to slow dance, in the spotlight, with anyone is still not an idea that thrills me. Hopefully I can skip out on that at the wedding too. :-)

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Do they make turkey for one?

Alone in a new city on a holiday. Just the kind of fun I was hoping for.

I am working the day after Thanksgiving, which means that I can't go home to New York for the holiday. I understand that working in TV means working lots of holidays. It just sucks when you're the only one left in town, but not working the actual holiday itself. If I were working on Thanksgiving Day might at least get to be with the other people a work who are also unlucky enough to be there on that day.

I know that there's not much to the day aside from the symbolism- pilgrims, turkeys, football. Not to sound like a greeting card, but I have always liked the secular aspect of the holiday- that it is for all Americans to celebrate, regardless of race, creed, color, or sexuality. I missed family Thanksgiving two years ago because I had to pick up someone from the airport and would have never made it back to RI by Friday morning. But that was OK after all and I was invited to the home of my friend's mother. She is an amazing cook and it was the least stressful Turkey Day ever not having to deal with my family. I don't think that many of my friends will be in town (either Boston or Providence) since this is a day that tends to draw people back to the nest* This year is looking iffy (and kind of lonely), especially since most of my furniture will probably be up in Boston by then, leaving me in some sort of awkward in-between state of being.

*unintentional bird pun

Nice Jewish Girls

Last night I went to see a performance extravaganza put on by Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad. A good Shabbos was had by all (except for the one audience member who got thrown out for being drunk and heckling the performers). The Goddess handled the heckling ins stride. Her comedy and songs made for a wonderful interactive showcase of some of the best in Jewess stage talent. It surprised me that the audience skewed a bit older than I imagined for this kind of show. They looked more apt to see Fiddler than a show that featured a Hasidic striptease. The great cast was rounded out by some comedy, music, and hip-hop poetry.

I laughed so hard that I almost hyperventillated at the comedy of Ophira Eisenberg. Ophira is a beautiful name, but many people mess it up by doing things like calling her Oprah. She told this great story of recently meeting a guy at a loud bar and her asked her name.
"What's your name?"
"What? Your name is the fuhrer?"

The spoken word stylings of Vanessa Hidary were quite open, honest, and relevant to what it's like to be a contemporary Jewess. Michele Citrin and her guitar reminded me a cute, Jewish, and funnier Ani DiFranco. If this show comes to your area I highly recommend seeing it, Jew or goy.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Best mug shot: Tom DeLay

This is the best (quasi) celeb mug shot ever. (via Smoking Gun)

He combed his hair. Isn't drunk or on crack. Smiled nicely for the camera (unlike some of his brethren). This looks better than some head shots I've seen.

Lesbians plot world domination

A scary sermon sent to me by a friend. It's about how lesbians are plotting to take over the world, since lesbianism is what happens when women make too much money and say that they don't need men.


I think he misinterprets that phrase "I can make it by myself".

The reverend knows what a strap-on is....and mentions it in a sermon. 'Strap-on' and 'church sermon' are two things that should never go together. Ever.

Lesbians don't necessarily use strap-ons.

Why does he think it only goes in "the behind"? Women have two holes, in case he hasn't noticed.

The reverend must have a very small.....ummm....sense of self esteem since he obviously feels threatened by smart, powerful, financially secure women. (So families should starve because he feels it's not right for a women to make more money than her husband?)

Random note- he's right about the origin of the Hebrew word 'neged' (it means 'against').

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Flu prevention

Today we got flu shots at work. Very nice of employer to provide these. Now I'll be well enough to come in to work in the winter to report on how many people have the flu this year.
The nurse who administered them was nice but her technique could sure use some work. I'm not afraid of needles, do OK with blood tests and the like but it really hurt when she jammed that needle into my arm like she was putting a thumbtack in a wall.

Later in the evening I was looking in the mirror and noticed a small red bump under the band-aid the evil nurse had applied. It was the spot where she had jabbed me. She didn't even put the band-aid on the right area!

(Local) TV reality

A piece on the blog of a friend that points to some of the realities of working in local TV news:

Ah and a congratulations to Bernie who is now an official First Mate at a private airline in New Hampshire. No more late nights standing in the snow on top of TV stations filming the local highway to prove to all the warm viewers that it is snowing outside.

(background note- Bernie has a degree in communication but also has a pilots' license)

Monday, October 17, 2005

Workplace woes

Happy and healthy workers are more productive.

Things that could greatly improve the workplace experience for many of us here at the station:
  • Tell the shipping company across the street to move their damn tractor-trailers off the road. The roads through our office park are ridiculously small and for some reason, though this is an office park, people park on one side of the street. Park a semi on the other side and you've got a passage about the size of a Mini Cooper.
  • Have free 'feminine care' products available in the bathrooms (and not those scary ones you get from a vending machine in a gas station bathroom). We do not go to the ladies room with a quarter in hand anticipating that surprise visit from Aunt Flo. Female guests appreciate this touch as well.
  • We have a water purifier in the kitchen. The hot water tap on it does not work. What is the point of paying that company for their product when it fails to do 50% of what it is expected to?
  • I cannot say it enough- ergonomics! A pain-free employee is a more productive one (because I am not constantly shifting position to relieve the back, neck, and shoulder strain caused by my crappy chair and keyboard that I pound away on hurting my wrists).
  • Tell certain departments not to hog all the tickets and entry to events. The perk of working in TV (for little pay) is supposed to be the access to Bruins games.

Friday, October 14, 2005


Whenever the meteorologist (or some other on-camera person) races towards the studio to make it on-air on time I am tempted to shout out "run Forest, run!" this mean?


A happy moment today when one of the suits at the station asked me if I was the new intern. I politely said no and then thanked him for thinking that I looked young enough to be.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Synagogue, singular.

My new temple made an effort to reach out to those under 30 and offers free membership for a year. But what upsets me is that they don't make an effort to address the a problem that I think of as the 'singular sensation'- the feeling that when you go to shul it is painfully obvious that you are there alone.

I went to Kol Nidrei last night at the local temple where I am (now) a member. Everyone at the temple seemed to know each other or was a bonafide nuclear family unit. It was so lonely and isolating. Why do I feel so uncomfortable? Why I am letting myself feel so uncomfortable? As I sat there alone I began to wonder if Christians who attend church services by themselves feel similarly?

From what I've read on the wonderful world wide web I understand that this seems to be a problem for single Jews, especially the more Orthodox ones who are really fixin' for a shidduch. I am tired of family members asking me if I've met anyone nice lately (and they don't mean friends). Though I'm lucky, my own family is not too bad when it comes to this. It's being posed questions like that or situations like the one in synagogue that I start to have a sense of inadequacy that might stem from not having a partner there with me. And then I wonder what is wrong with me for feeling this way....that I am too postmodern to all of this or that get to me.
Frustration ensues.

On that note, I am off to shul for another round of 'stare at the single person'.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Movin' on up..

I began the moving process yesterday. I moved my futon, which previously resided in the living room, into the bedroom at my new place. Practical gal that I am I can now spend the night at the new place if I need to. It was weird but kind of exciting at the same time. I'm looking forward to exploring my new neighborhood and city.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Cold turkey

Change can be sudden, a cold-turkey alteration of behavior, or slow and steady, like time-lapse photography. I can change my name or my hair color or my ZIP code any change is risky, and frightening because people may not approve. But in my High Holy Day recommitment to improved behavior in the coming year, I'm also committing to the concept of change where helpful and necessary, even if it's scary not knowing who I'm becoming.

Esther puts it very well...the anxiety and fear excitementment that I've been feelings for the past few months. With this new job my life has taken a turn towards change. It is scary not knowing what will happen when I move and move away from those whom I have grown fond of. It is all geared towaimprovementment and becoming an adult. It is necessarysary so that I can become the person that I am supposed to be.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

New year, new me?

Happy 5766!

Rosh ha Shana is the Jewish New Year. We run on a lunar calendar so it tends to occur in late summer/early fall. Ten days later comes Yom Kippur- the Day of Atonment- where we ask forgiveness for our sins and other mishaps during the past year. The ten days in between the two holidays are for meditating on ourselves, our sins, our strengths and weaknesses.

As I sat in synagogue today I began to think about the all the changes in my life in the past year and pondered what the new year has is store for me. I keep coming back to a few themes:

New job- a future I think is more interesting than the one I might've been headed towards in my old job in TV Ad Sales. So far I like the new boss. I want to learn as much as I can, beyond the call of my job. I feel it would be practical to learn to do a bit of the 'traditional' production stuff as well as refining my editing skills. And brushing up on my grammar. I wonder if work might be willing to pay for a class, some sort of AP style boot camp or something....?

New address- I'm pretty sure I'll be leaving the Ocean State for the shorter commute to work that I'll have in the Bay State. In many ways I feel like I've finally settled into life here in this small state. At long last I have a mechanic that I trust. A temple I like. I'm finally able to give lost tourists directions like a real Rhode Islander (" go 6 blocks, past where John's Restuarant used to be, then turn...") and can navigate the parking garage at Providence Place Mall without getting lost. Moving is scary. (And I don't just mean the packing). I'll need to learn where to get the best NY-style bagels, shortcuts to take during rush hour traffic, etc... And make new friends (I have a few up in the new metro area, but not many of them seem like they really care to help me settle in...which annoys me because I would totally do that for them if they moved here). I've got to learn the ins and outs and patterns of a whole new neighborhood- how safe certain areas are at 3AM, the best shortcuts, where to find the best parking spots- those kinds of things.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Bullet for bullets

Palestinian police broke into parliament building in Gaza City to protest lack of bullets:

More than three dozen Palestinian police officers broke into the parliament building in Gaza City on Monday, firing in the air to protest a lack of bullets and equipment in what they said was a humiliating confrontation with Hamas

Firing into the air, effectively wasting the precious bullets that they were storming a building over. Can someone explain to me the logic of wasting bullets to protest your lack of bullets.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

News is...

...more emotionally exhausting than I ever imagined. Sure I worked in the newsroom at the last station when they needed help, but those were usually in times of undue stress (blizzard, Election Night, etc...). Maybe my opinion/experience so far has been colored by what has gone on in the world since I began my new job- the Gaza Pullout, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita....

My opinions about what I do and what others who work in news (any kind- newspaper, TV, etc..) do. I am beginning to feel more proud of my job because it enables me to do something to help disseminate information- info that might help someone in a time of need or even just make them laugh when they're having a bad day. This does not mean that I am going to take myself too seriously and start having some sort of ego trip because I am the gatekeeper of some information. But at the end of the day it makes me feel better that I've done my (small) part in the very selfish society that we live in.

A few good...shows?

Calling all potential producers:

ABC is looking for some new fare on Saturday nights, and they want everyone to know about it. According to Variety, emails were sent out to the production community yesterday that the network is looking for shows that can be produced for less than $500,000 per ep, are broadly appealing, not niche ideas, said the email. Think unscripted, think low cost, which then makes ABC think low risk. They are looking for both big name producers and smaller named producers, tho all submissions must be made through an agency.

(via Cynopsis)

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Situation

With all of the hurricanes that we've watched unfold in the media in the past few weeks I think I've become slightly addicted to The Situation Room on CNN. Maybe it's the multi-media platform? I don't think it's Wolf (no offense Wolf, you're old enough to be my dad). Or it could be because it is on for three hours a day. In my overtired state it disturbs me that I cannot figure this out.
Note- as I sit here watching- Tom Foreman's hair scares me.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Status: limbo

Transition times in life are never easy.
I feel as though I'm in limbo. Neither here nor there. People are moving. And moving on. I feel disembodied. Not a part of things. On the fringes of my former life.
I don't know what is to come for my future. I want to learn everything there is about this job, I want to conquer it and move up in the ranks. I anticipate that the career move I have made will work out, but one can never be without doubt. I sometimes fear that I am kidding myself, that I'm not good enough at what I (currently) do. That my learning curve is not fast enough. That I'll never move beyond my current salary or get health benefits. I worry some days that I seem to be failing at bonding with most of my co-workers. Sure, we chat and say hello. But I feel like I haven't really been able to interact that much in a more informal way (if that makes sense).

Thursday, September 22, 2005

As seen in....

.....the ladies room at the Wickdenden Pub

(Not bad for a picture taken with my cell phone)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

G is for Gloria

This is what a hurricane looks like to me. I am a resident of the northeast where we do not get many hurricanes. The last one I remember actually hitting someplace that I lived was Hurricane Gloria back in 1985. I was five years old. My mom did stock up on water an candles and etc... and warned me to stay away from windows (many trees in our yard) and not to take a bath. She said that we might have to go into the basement if it got really windy because somethign might fly through one of the windows if it got very windy. My most imprinted memory is of my mom lighting a bunch of candles in my room and of us sitting in my bedroom and it got kind of quieter outside and she said that this was the eye of the storm and we shouldn't be fooled into thinking it was over. (no electricity = no nightlight). I wasn't too scared or anything. When I did venture near a window and peeked outside I just saw lots of wind and rain. Nothing spectacular, no flying cows. I think I was more bored than anything because the electricity eventually went out leaving me with no TV. Reading by candlelight is really annoying. There was nothing else to do but go to bed.

The next day she spoke to her parents, who lived about two miles away, and found out about The Tree. There was a massive weeping willow treewith a big, solid trunk in the center of their front yard. I loved that tree. I used to climb up onto the lower branches and play happily with the long, wispy outer ones. Well, the tree had crashed across their driveway. I can't remember if it crushed the one car that was in the driveway or not (neither does my mom). But who could really see what was under all of those willow branches? It was one of the most amazing things I'd seen in my five years of life. This huge thing that I viewed as permanent and solid had been knocked over by this thing called a hurricane. And The Tree had knocked down the power line across from my their house and I wasn't to go anywhere near it or I might get electrocuted. I was now much more impressed by Gloria's strength.

Reporter safety

So much for toning down live shots of dripping wet, adrenaline junkie reporters.....

Friday, September 16, 2005

Finding fault

Everyone has a theory on who is to blame for the problems associated with Hurricane Katrina- from an evacuation that didn't come in time, the looting, to relief agencies (federal and non-profit) not getting to the battered Gulf Coast fast enough, and so on.... The Boston Globe's version of the timeline of the disaster was endorsed by none other than NBC's Brian Williams, blogging on The Daily Nightly today:

So far the best work I've read on the anatomy of this disaster was published by the Boston Globe. It is called CHRONOLOGY OF ERRORS: HOW A DISASTER SPREAD. While there will be many others, for a snapshot of a crisis that is still unfolding, it's an impressive piece of journalism.

I find it fascinating that by blogging, Williams can essentially give his seal or approval to particular newspaper (or any other form of media), which he cannot do on The Nightly News program itself. One of the things that I like about The Daily Nightly is that it is written by the actual people who bring you the news. Public Eye, the blog of CBS News, seems to be written by people who were hired for the particular purpose of blogging:

New budgets were approved by the uber-bosses to staff Public Eye. The Public Eye team is officially employed by CBS Digital Media, not CBS News, giving them independence that is unprecedented for journalism's watchdogs.

Update (after receiving coment on post from Dick Meyer at CBS): I don't have a problem with the path that CBS has chosen to pursue (not like they'd really care if I did) in terms of hiring newsroom 'outsiders' to blog about CBS News. It is a fascinating contrast to the concept of the people who deliver the news posting their own personal opinions and recommendations. In a way it gives the talent and the producers a chance to editorialize that they would normally not get to do. Or at least that's how it appears.

{After reading the piece in The Boston Globe it is my opinion that the fault rests not with any particular (federal, state, or local) government agency, but with the red tape that was required of them.

In a timely fashion

I got a phone call this morning from a place that I had put in a job application at back in
June. June. That's a heck of a long time, especially considering that they told me back in June that they were hiring for July.
I got one last week as well from the place* that I had to do a phone interview with back in July. I also had an interview with this organization on August 2, the day before meeting with Steve about a potential job at the TV station. I wrote thank you emails but didn't hear back form them. Last week I got a call wanting to know if I could come back to meet with the executive director about the job. I called back and politely said I had taken another job since I'd met with them. The guy on the phone expressed disappointment and basically admitted that they knew they'd taken too long to get their act together. Oh well, their loss. Steve's gain.

*I'm not really sure that I wanted that job anyway. Especially because I have since heard some not totally positive things about working for that organization (not what they do, it's legit and a great cause, but office politics and such)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Order and disorder

Katrina: a TV cameraman's diary, part two
...The lack of a plan is still the big story. Who is in charge? What is going to be done first? What are the goals? Evacuation? No evacuation? The New Orleans Police Department is trying to rebuild itself, and the National Guard seems to be the most organized. But there are way too many cops from as far away as Reno driving around with shotguns and M-16s.

This is like a giant summer camp for law enforcement. There are hundreds of black and whites, armored cars, assault vehicles, and lawmen carrying every type of firearm ever made. Its as though every police chief in the country put 20 officers in 5 cars and sent them to New Orleans - on overtime.

Of course, many are helping, but some have no orders or task to complete. So they drive around all day taking pictures, and then they go and sleep in their cars with the engine running and the air conditioning on. They are sightseers with guns taking happy snaps to show to all the folks at home. Complete with long tales of how they saved New Orleans....

What a waste. Of resources and talent. I imagine that the police who drove down to NOLA to help out must feel so useless. No directions, no orders, no jurisdiction. I think back to 9/11 (I was living in NY at the time, just outside NYC) and I remember police and firefighters and other rescue outfstreamingmign into the city from many far away places (including an EMT* related to a good friend of mine). They got their orders, did what they were told- dig through the rubble, transport, etc...despite the fact that the main communications center for NYC emergency management agency (not sure of officials name) and the HQ of the Port Authority had just been lost in the collapse of the buildings. The situations are not entirely comparable. Granted there was no looting in NYC n 9/11, but rather an eerie calm came over the NY metro area during those following few days. And people somehow managed to flee the city (including friends and family of mine) in some fashion most easlabeledbled organized chaos.

Katrina: a cameraman's journal in NOLA
What's missing from the rescue is apparent to anyone. A simple plan. It's like no one ever gave it a real thought. Simple things like storage of emergency rations, clothing, tents, etc. in strategic locations.communications that allow different entities to talk to one another, emergency plans and routing for moving large numbers of people (easily done with the hundreds of public and school transit buses available locally), and the list goes on.
You think we would've learned something from events like 9/11. Hell, I'm about ready to go out and buy a lot batterieseis and canned food and seal off some sort of safe room in my basement. I'm from the suburbs, not socompoundund in Idaho. It takes a lot to scare me into contemplating a survivalist mentality. The lack preparednessnss theteh part of all of these organizations is changing my view on things.

I have driven from one end of New Orleans to the other - a drive of over 7 miles, and repeatedly not seen one cop, guardsman, trooper. And where is the Red Cross? Not ONE. Everyone on the street says, Where's the Red Cross? I gave them so much money after 9/11 and the tsunami - where's the Red Cross. The cops I've asked say they are not here because they are afraid. The Red Cross says that the authorities are not letting them in the city. I find that hard to believe. The police can't even secure a few blocks, let alone keep the Red Cross out. Helping victims in New Orleans is exactly why the Red Cross was created.
I'll bet that they (the Red Cross) were scared. I mean people did shoot at doctors and nurses of one NOLA hospital who who attempting to evacuate patients in their own vehicles. If I was the Red Cross I wouldn't want to be shot at either.

*who had also been to Oklahoma City after the bombing

Boston bound?

Can't sleep. Body clock all screwed up.

There are many reasons to move to Boston:
  • closer to work (which can make a difference when you need to be at work at 5AM)
  • internal clock and sleep schedule might be less screwed up if I lived closer to my job.
  • larger city, less claustrophobic than it can be here
  • price of gas is astronomical, I'm spending like three times more gas now with the commute. It took $40 to fill up my tank the other day. $40! And I have a Subaru
  • my car is old and slightly uncomfortable for long drives
  • who will shovel the driveway fro me at 3:30 AM in a blizzard so I can get to work? (not to sound prissy, but it is a lot of shoveling for one person to do)
  • to round out the snow in the driveway problem my street is one of the last ones in the area to get plowed, despite the fact that there is a school at the end of it. Things can get so political here, even over something like plowing

There are , of course, reasons not to move:
  • it's very safe to go out to my car at 4 AM
  • cost of living is lower here
  • not sure I can afford Boston (well, safe at 4 AM neighborhoods there)
  • parking issues galore in Boston, really tough to find decent housing with parking that is not way out of my price range and also near the T
  • I have a semblance of a life here- people I care about and who are about me
Now that I've gotten some of this off my chest perhaps I can sleep.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Blog deals

Yet another blog leads to a book deal for the author. Usually it seems that people toil for years working on manuscripts, then sending the tomes out to publishing houses while possibly facing multiple rejection letters. The internet seems to have changed the process. Now if you have a blog or website that catches the eye of some important publishing character you might just have yourself a book deal. Kind of neat.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


I heart newsmap. I'm reading a lot of new things that I might not have not have on regular Google news since I can be lazy and not scroll down all the way sometimes.

Gaza blog

A Gaza blog (via Joho). Don't have much of an opinion on it yet. It's kind of like reading a traffic report. I like that it features both Israeli and Palestinian sources. That is a good sign of an attempt to be fair and balanced. I also feel that it is not as comprehensive as it could be.
For some reason I a bit bothered by the fact that it is funded by USAID. I'm not really sure why they need a blog, especially one hosted by blogger (why not do it from their own page?) , when a press release should/could suffice.

Workplace relations

I am adjusting to the new job. The people here seem nice, those that I've met anyway. Something funny about TV stations seems to be the amount of people who work there but don't know each other. The News people stay in the newsroom and Sales people stay in their area. Sometimes the Promotions people feel the need to venture into the newsroom. Sometimes. And Editors can always hide in the edit bays. As for Sports, they sort of exist in their own little world.
Another observation of mine as I venture into my third year working at a TV station is how incestuous this business can sometimes be. (Especially when you have two or three TV markets in such close proximity). I tend to shy away from dating co-workers. Or as my friend J says "you don't shit where you eat". I know of people who married co-workers and it has worked out wonderfully for them. In these cases it seems that one spouse eventually ends up working somewhere else for whatever reason.

I'm not going to say that some people aren't tempting.....but I'd hate to have things end badly and people get nasty and passive-aggressive, especially when you add the stress of the work environment. I'm not worried about me, I'm not passive-aggressive. If I have a problem I generally say something about it. But some people (men) just can't deal with a woman who can express herself. Call me a bitch if you want. It's a power word to me.

5 AM

It's getting easier...I even made it here by 4:45 AM. Then I'll get all screwed up again by next Monday.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

First responders

Fascinating. Brian Williams blogs about beating the first responders to the scene in New Orleans. And after watching NBC Nightly News tonight I think that Brian Williams, or his producer, or someone is making an effort to try to educate the public on how the decisions about the news and what goes on the news get made. Tonight the lead story was the blackout in L.A. Then came the story about the confirmation hearings for John Roberts. At this point Williams explained to the audience that normally the confirmation hearings would've been the lead story.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Jews + Missionaries

A repost of something I worte a while ago.
(As seen on Jewish Connection)
Jewish Education + Missionaries
I value my Jewish education (Schechter school from K-8 and yeshiva HS) for the questioning nature, concept of tikkun olam, biblical factoids that help me do well when playing Trivial Pursuit, and sense of depth it has imbued in me. I also value it because it has helped me easily shoo away some missionaries I’ve encountered.

The Hare Krishna Guy
Picture it- New Years Eve of the new millennium, Big Cypress Reservation in Florida’s Everglades. I was there to attend a Phish concert and enjoy the sunshine. Besides a few college friends I was accompanied by an old friend form my Schechter school. One day as we wandered around the campgrounds a guy wearing a saffron colored robe stopped us. Having recently taken a intro course to Eastern Religions I immediately recognized him as a member of the Hare Krishna sect. He began his spiel when one of us (not sure if it was me or my friend, D) piped up with “Umm…we’re Jewish”. The man began speaking about how all religions are related, or some nonsense like that. I countered with “I just read this great book called The Jew in the Lotus about how Buddhism and Judaism have some fundamental things in common”. Saffron man asked me more about the book. I told him a bit about it. He wrote down the title, thanked us, and walked away. D and I looked at each other and one of us said “Wow, all that $$$ my parents spent on Jewish education was worth it for the fact that we made a Hare Krishna walk away wanting to learn more about Judaism”.

The Mormons Go To Shul
Picture it- about 10 am on a Saturday, the summer of 2000, a hippie college town in upstate NY. I have just gotten up and am wearing pajamas consisting of a tank top, no bra, and boxer shorts. The doorbell rings. Who could it be so early on a Saturday? Mormons (the neat shirt and tie plus names tags gave them away instantly. Dressing up inIthaca means not wearing your Birkenstocks). The main door was open, meaning that they could see me through the screen door. Busted! I had to interact with them. They begin their spiel. I tell them that I had just learned about Mormonism in a class called Sociology of Religion. I then inform them that I’m probably not a good prospect, being that I am Jewish. They seem happy to hear this and then babble on about how our two religions are related. We are kinfolk. From the LDS website: The Book of Mormon is another witness that Jesus Christ really lived, that He was and is God’s Son. It contains the writings of ancient prophets. One of these, Lehi, lived in Jerusalem around 600 B.C. God commanded Lehi to lead a small group of people to the American continent. There they became a great civilization. I kind of nod. Then they tell me that they’d gone to temple the night before to celebrate the Sabbath. They really enjoyed it, even though they could not understand that language that people prayed in. “Hebrew” I inform them. Perhaps because of my tired state I then go on to explain the difference between biblical Hebrew and modern day Hebrew. They are very excited at this point and tell me that they are off to the library or something to learn more about Judaism…since we’re kin and all… A housemate comes out of hibernation and asks whom I was talking to. I tell him the story and he says “see you didn’t go to Hebrew school for nothing”. “Exactly” I reply “and worth every penny”.

[Side note- morning of college graduation another housemate answers the door to two Jehovah’s Witnesses. They begin to talk. B cuts them off with “Three Unitarians and a Jew live here. I really think you’ve got the wrong house.” Closes door.]

I told my parents those two stories and they said that it made them feel that spending all that money on my Jewish education was indeed worth it to ward off proselytizers, know who I am, where I come from, and to stay Jewish.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Boss Blog- the experiment

I've always had a certain admiration for artists and the vulnerability that they are able to show. They put their works, therefore themselves, out there for all kind of public scrutiny. So do journalists- their job hazards go beyond dodging flying shrapnel in a war zone or the boredom that comes with covering a town meeting. They also include the possibility of screwing up on live TV and the fact that people have no problem calling the station to tell you that they think your haircut is bad or that your new suit makes you look bloated.
I tend to be the kind of person who shies away from letting myself be vulnerable in any sort of situation. My online life has evolved from the paranoia of my first days as a blogger (in the blog before this one). My writing, my thoughts, and my feelings were now fair game for anyone online who fancied themselves a critic. Now I'm venturing forth where not many people (if any at all) have gone- I'm now sharing a blog with my boss. If I screw up at work, the whole internet can read about it. I hope that he realizes that I am demonstrating incredible trust in him with this endeavor.
Was this the smartest move I've ever made? Who knows? I guess I'll find out.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Not very presidential

This was not the most appropriate thing for President Bush to say about the recent hurricane:

(From the AP)
President Bush is trying to pump up what he calls a "tidal wave of compassion" in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Smart choice of words, with that recent tsunami and all......

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Single forever?

I hate my new schedule. Working weekend nights plus early AM Monday through Wednesday might kill me (from my body clock being out of whack) or my social life. I worry sometimes that I'll turn into one of those people who is single forever because of their strange work hours. It may sound like I'm being dramatic but I do know people like that who work in media. More people than I care to actually. I've always felt sort of bad for them and now I wish not to turn into one.
I just feel so alone now. There are things that I'd much rather be doing than sitting home alone on this Sunday night of Labor Day weekend. I just got back from work (it's 11:30 PM) and have to leave again for work again at 4 AM (working in the media sucks sometimes). How am I supposed to have a life when I have to go to bed before 8 PM some nights to get up to be at work for 5 AM? (It does not help that work is 45 minutes away without traffic). I like my job and I knew about the schedule when I took it but that does not mean that I have to like the hours.
I'm young. I want to be out partying like I should be at my age, savoring my youth and all.....but here I sit. Alone at the computer. It is frustrating when I come home from work and people are already out and drunk and, well, basically can't come out and play with me because they're already too busy for me and my late/odd work hours. Selfish, a bit. But that's what blogs are for sometimes.


OK, first of all, I have no sympathy for your schedule woes. I worked overnight for something like six years. Your schedule isn't THAT bad. I know it can feel sometimes like you will be "single forever," but you are WAY too young to be in that mindset. If anything, this is the right time for you to be on this kind of schedule. You don't want to be doing this when you're married. The hoary old news chestnut of "paying your dues" is a cliché for a reason - we all have to do it. And you'd much rather do it now than when you're trying to start a family. I hate to sound like the Old Fart that I am, but I can't possibly count how many holidays I missed, parties I couldn't go to, and milestones in my kids' lives I wasn't there for. (I found out about my daughters first steps over the phone.)

You're just starting out. Working the ugly side of the day will give you a deeper appreciation for a real schedule when you get to that point. In the meantime, I suggest the ol' "come into work on the weekends straight from the bar" plan so many journalists master in the early days of their career.

There's nothing wrong with blogging your woes or being "selfish" as you put it. We're all selfish. Especially me.

Gaza pullout, a look back

The Hurricane Katrina frenzy has made me think back to the Gaza pullout a few weeks ago.
Training for my new job, as web producer at a TV station, fell on the days after disengagement. Talk about baptism by was chaotic in the newsroom that day and I had things to do and learn but I could not help but be affected by those images of what was going on in Gaza beamed around the world.
Steve made a good point in his comment on my last post.
"Good journalists try to tell the world what's happening. We didn't make the disaster - but hopefully your work will help those affected by it. "
I might whine about my hours or pay or whatnot (don't we all sometimes?) but overall I feel that my job is important in the sense that I can aid in the dissemination of information. Information that could be lifesaving, uplifting, or simply informative.
Some people (even friends of mine) might scoff at those of us who work in the media. They complain about bias and lack of depth and other things. But when it comes down to it, when there's a Hurricane Katrina, a Gaza pullout, or a tsunami, we are all glued to the TV. There is something comforting in being able to know that the images you are watching are probably the same, if not similar, to what people all over are watching. That shared imagery can bring people together. I cannot count the number of times people of my parents' generation speak with reverence and awe about watching that first moon landing in 1969. I'm sure that I will tell my kids about when I saw the Berlin Wall come down. Not because I was there, but because a journalist was. And because of that I could share in the awe of this physical symbol of Communism crumble.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Katrina media frenzy

Is it wrong of me to wish that the Hurricane Katrina media frenzy ends soon?
I'm all for using the media to help families locate each other and happy things like that, but just how many more pictures of broken levees do we need to see? After a certain point we become immune to the repeated shots of people stranded on highway bridges, wading through the floodwaters, and the like. After something huge and horrible (London bombings, tsunami, etc..) we spend the first few days glued to the TV and/or the internet. But then the shock of the imagery begins to fade. The video all begins to blur into a never-ending loop.
I will say that it is nice that the media can share so many stories on the outpouring of support domestically and from abroad.

Full disclosure- I work in the TV business, so I suppose that I am one of those perpetuating the fetish for disaster imagery, but only because I get paid to. ( I can be hypocritical. It's my blog).

Friday, September 02, 2005

I wonder if this ever happened to Cronkite?

In the past few days I have often wondered about the mental health of the journalists covering catastrophic events like these. What I had to deal with at work in the newsroom yesterday- reading story after story about the devastation, not being able to escape the images of wreckage and ruin- left me feeling depressed and raw. It was horrible to be bombarded by all those images of suffering but it was nothing compared to how hard it must be for those how are actually there.

I wonder if this ever happened to Cronkite? I wonder if it was ever this bad covering Vietnam or WWII?

NBC's Kerry Sanders was at the airport in New Orleans, which is serving as a makeshift hospital and transport center for hospital patients:
  • I cannot believe what I am seeing here in the New Orleans area. IÂ’ve been reporting for 21 years around the world and I've never seen the likes of this.
  • This is, I think, the hardest story IÂ’ve ever covered. Emotionally, IÂ’m just really being tested. I cannot believe what IÂ’m seeing.
  • Perhaps the most difficult thing for me was when I woke up this morning next to two dead bodies....went to sleep last night on an extra stretcher....The cameraman with me said they actually tried to take my stretcher during the night. They thought that I was one of the victims, until he told them I was OK and to leave me there.
  • It is human misery as people are lying in pain, ailing and wailing....The pained screams from patients is like fingers on a chalkboard because there is nothing you can do to reach out and help these people.

Ethics of looting

A relative recently told me the story of what happened when she was liberated from the work camp (note that this is different from a concentration camp) she was in at the end of WWII . She and her friend wandered into the nearby town where an Allied soldier saw that they had no shoes on. He took them to an 'abandoned' store and told each girl (they were about 15-years-old) to pick out a pair of shoes that fit. This leads me to conclude that there is a certain code of ethics when it comes to looting.

  1. Milk
  2. Bread
  3. Water
  4. Diapers
  5. TV
  6. DVD player

It is easier to rationalize the taking of those first four items, as they are all basic staples. As it has been pointed out to me, Jean Valjean stole only a loaf of bread and only because it was necessary to. It is hard to understand why anyone in New Orleans needs a DVD player right now, being that there is no electricity.

The experts have weighed in:

Ethicists and social psychologists said in interviews that rules of human behavior _ including respect for others' property and for social order itself _ dissolve quickly in desperate circumstances like the storm's aftermath.....In the cauldron of lawlessness that is New Orleans, these ivory-tower hypotheticals are being played out with life-or-death consequences.

Yet I don't remember there being much looting after the devastating tsunami in Indonesia last December. (And neither does anyone else I've posed the question to). If I remember correctly the victims did whatever they could to help each other, similar to the way people behaved after the liberation of the concentration camps.

A picture is worth 1000 words

check out this before and after

"May I help you?"

I'm filling in for the front desk receptionist at the station today while he's out on vacation. I'm kind of bored out here since I'm used to the crowded and slightly chaotic newsroom. It's also cold out here. I wonder if anyone will notice if I change the temp?

Safe & sound

Spoke to E last night. She is in Tennessee for now, she does not know for how long. Her life is on hold. She and her roommate still have her rommate's 4-year-old nephew with the, as his mom and little brother were evacuated from the hospital they were at to another one north of the city. In a brilliant move by authorities the hospital in the town they evacuated to also had no electricity (well, OK, the town itself had none). Not to criticize rescue efforts, but isn't that somehow counterintuitive?
Her roommate's other sister is a nurse who was called into work at the hospital due to the storm. Her hospital was only able to secure one bus to evacuate their patients, who could not all fit on that one bus. Employees were forced to take other patients and the patients' family members in their own cars. As the sister drove out of New Orleans, her car stuffed with patients, family, etc..., people on the street began shooting at her. Apparently they wanted her car.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


I don't say this lightly, but the images and descriptions of the dead bodies in the convention center and on the streets remind me of the way my grandparents described the state of some of the bunkers in the woods that they lived in (if you can call it that) while they were fleeing the Nazis during WWII. Watching the videos of people evacuating the Gulf Coast stuffed into any vehicle that they can find reminds me of the evacuation of the refugees in Europe after WWII.

Lake New Orleans

The frenzied pit that is (now) Lake New Orleans has made work a very busy place. But for me it's more personal than that. A good friend of mine from childhood ("E") lives (lived?) in New Orleans.

When Hurricane Katrina hit I was on vacation in Montreal. I was there to see the sights, take in the culture, marvel at the architecture, and see how good the exchange rate was. I knew that there was some sort of hurricane headed for the Gulf Coast but didn't think much more of it than most people. CNN was one of the few English TV channels available (the other was the CBC, whose staff is on strike- they did the best they could) at the first hotel I stayed at, but being that this was a vacation I hardly spent any time in the hotel room sitting around watching TV (especially since most of the channels were in French and my French is pretty much non-existent).

It wasn't until I got an email from my friend, D, asking if E had managed to get out of New Orleans, as the storm had hit the city pretty hard. Since I'd by now moved to a different hotel with wirelss internet I surfed my way through the major news sites and was stunned by the devastation that I saw. I fired off an email to her not expecting a response (as I had no cell phone in Montreal). After a few confusing emails to and from my mom and D, I found out that my friend was indeed safe. All we knew was that she had exited safely and was presumed to be staying with relatives of her roommate in northern Louisiana.

I spent Monday night in Toronto at the home a friend. The family and I proceeded to watch the major cable news networks (they get pretty much teh same basic cable news channels that we do in the states). As experts began to speak about levies and water pumps and dead bodies floating in the streets I began to see just how much worse the situation was than I'd originally thought it to be.

Once we hit I-90 in New York on Tuesday I found out that seemingly every rest stop in the NYS Thruway has a TV permanently tuned in to CNN. Every rest area we pulled into we saw more devastation that had spread far beyond the Big Easy. I was also now worried about another friend who is stationed at the naval air base in Pensacola. I tried his cell phone* to see if he was alright. It turned out that he'd gone home to Oregon on leave and the Navy phoned him to tell him not to come back to base just yet, they were evacuating it due to the storm. Relieved that he was out of danger (and knowing that his cell phone worked) I tried calling E and was greeted with "due to the hurricane the cellular customer you are trying to reach in unavailable". Chilling.

I was relieved on Wednesday morning to get an email from E:

I'm ok, in Knoxville, TN too tired to write now, will write some time soon. Won't be back in New Orleans for a long time.
Even though I knew she was out of harm's way, it made me feel better to hear from her that she's safe and sound and out of the pit of Hades that the city had devolved into. As are her cats, her roommate, her roommate's 4-year-old nephew (they were babysitting when the storm hit), and dog. She has no idea what has become of her house. Her grad school program (she has one semester left) is obviously on hold, as is her life.

*By now my cell phone was working again

Day 5- Toronto & I-90

Sadly today is the last of my vacation to the great land that is Canada. I got a quick tour of Toronto this morning before driving home-historic Cabbagetown, Leaside, Chinatown, and the provincial government building. The University of Toronto has a beautiful campus with some fascinating buildings (the theme of the trip is architecture and design).
Montreal and Toronto both seem like such functional cities where people live, work, and play all without needing to leave the city. Good public transportation seems to be essential to their liveablitiy.

The ride home was long. We crossed back into the USA at Niagara Falls after checking out the offerings at the duty free shop. The trip along I-90 through central NY made me sort of nostalgic for college, as it was sad to be so close to Ithaca and not to be able to show off the true beauty of the Finger Lakes region (vs. what one sees on the Thruway). It was also sad to see the increasing damage to the Gulf Coast on the CNN-equipped TVs at every rest area.

Day 4-Au Revoir Montreal, Hello Hockey Hall of Fame

It was a long-ish car ride from Montreal to Toronto and as much as I liked Montreal I felt an immense sense of relief as English showed itself to be the predominant language in Ontario. (I hated having to ask "what does this mean?" every few minutes).

The car ride was worth it as I finally got to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame. (I've only been wanting to visit since high school). I have to admit that I didn't like the way the exhibits were set up. So much memorabilia made it feel like a hall of mirrors as I passed the "Legends- Past & Present" exhibit for the fourth time while looking for the ladies room. But it was all worth it when I got to touch the Stanley Cup. (How many other museums let you touch their most prized possession? Ever try to touch one of those Monet's at the Met in NYC? A lot of alarms go off once your hand even brushes within an inch of the painting). It was amazing that the silver trophy was not entrenched behind some complex security screen. There was a guy there to take your 'official' photo and to make sure that you don't maul it or something. But there it stood, begging to be touched. I ran my fingers over the silver rings that had also been handled by Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Maurice Richard, Ray Bourque, Brian Leetch, and Gordie Howe. it was an almost indescribable experience that elicited a combination of joy, excitement, relief, and awe.
The evening was spent with a friend's family who lives in Toronto. Sometimes homemade food and a comfy home is much preferable to a hotel room.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Day 3- Bagels & The W

Tried Montreal-style bagels this morning. NY bagel snob that I am, I actually enjoyed them. Sweeter and a little less dougy. The bagel place was in the old Jewish area (I even saw a mikvah that still appears to be in use)- home of both famed bagel shops, Fairmont (the one we tried today) and St. Vituear (sp?) and several of the smoked meat palaces.

W Hotel- AMAZING! (other than not having the room ready on time). I'm not hip or good-looking enough to be staying here. It's like I'm staying in a palace of runaway modernism. As beautiful as the place is some more functionality would not kill them. The purity of the bathroom would not be harmed too much if they added a few more places to hang a towel or bathrobe. Never the less the room was beautiful and luxurious*, complete with actually fast wireless internet, nightstands that light up internally, a faux fur blanket, comfy armchair, and beautiful fixtures. Fabulous robes, a and Aveda products awaited the weary traveler in the bathroom.

Underground city= mall mania. In Montreal's downtown almost all shopping malls are connected both underground and (when possible) above ground. That's something that one wouldn't find in the states. It is pouring rain right now, which made the underground shopper's paradise a good choice for today's activity. There is even a statue of 'Rocket' Richard in one of the malls (I'm not sure which one it was in the vast maze of indoor shopping). There are even people (troll people?) who never have to come aboveground for months out of the year. They live in an apartment building that is connected somehow to an office building that they work in and a mall where they can shop. (They must be very pale creatures).

One thing that I've noticed walking around Montreal for the past few days is how integrated of a city it seems to be (at least in my tourist eye view). One sees people of all different races and ethnicities interacting in social situations unlike in the States. The thing that seems to divide people here has more to do with whether you're Anglo or French than it does with race or religion.

Today at the food court I was getting falafel from the Lebanese place and the guy made it perfectly to my liking (not hot sauce or turnipsor other weird crap) once he understood that I was used to having them in Israel. He was like "Oh, you like it the correct way".

It is also safe to say that I'm probably the only woman ever to go into the (in)famous Montreal strip club, Club Super Sexe, and notice the Montreal Canadiens jersey hanging on the wall.

I tried the smoked meat that Montreal is so famous for. While I enjoyed the Montreal-style bagels because they were sweet, I disliked the smoked meat for the same reason. As a New Yorker I like my deli meats on the salty side.

*good job by the travel companion who got the room for a third of the rate by using Expedia

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Day 2- Old Port and CCA

Last night involved a lot of walking around the Latin Quarter and the Gay Village neighborhoods (oddly, didn't spot any rainbow flags). A lot. Went to a few bars- one was a college hangout (the hotel is near U of Quebec at Montreal- UQUAM) and another was a wanna-be biker/rock/American dive bar. Both had pretty decent music playing, lots of mid-90's tunes, no crappy electronic music (which Montreal is apparently a center of).

Today we're off to the Center for Canadian Architecture and the Old Port area. Maybe there will be more things in English there, as I have yet to experience the Montreal where everything is in both languages. People do seem very nice and would rather speak English to us. It's like they can sense my nonexistent French and are not pleased by my traveling companion's Anglo-accented French.

The Old Port was cute, but smelled like horse poop (think Central Park and its carriage rides). I do like how they turned the old industrial parts of the port into a park with bike trails and canals in teh old dry dock areas. Sort of like you tend to find in the old industrial areas of Germany.
The Canadian Centre for Architecture was amazing! The tour guide was great and very informative about both the museum building itself (hey, it is the architecture center) and the main exhibit- "the sixties: montreal thinks big", which is about the60's in Montreal and how Expo '67 lead to the city planning that makes up present day Montreal. Lots of politics and demonstrators and demolitions.
Dinner last night was at a cute tapas place on Rue St-Denis called Confusion. Tapas is all about sampling. I was brave and sampled my dining partner's venision carpaccio (essentially raw Bambi). I now know the meaning of the word 'gamey'. Food in Montreal is amazing in general. So many choices. A lot of Lebanese food- shwarma, falafel, and hummous galore!

This city puzzles me though. You can get perfectly decent shwarma or burgers at anytime of the night, yet the stores close at 5 or 6 PM. Insane. I've heard Montrealers complain about teh economy. Perhaps if stores stayed open later it'd bring a bit mroe money into the city.

{please ignore any spelling or format errors. the computer I'm using doesn't seem to like Blogger much}