slyvermont: (Rum?)
This is creepy. I got a friend request on Facebook from a stranger, although, I wasn’t positive at first it was a stranger since it could be, for example, a Club Jade person who I know by a screen name. I went to his profile and looked at his friends – all women. Here’s where it got weird: Eight had names that were variations of Jessica (Jessie, Jessi) and nine had names that were variations of Susan (Susie, Susanna, Susana) and five were women whose name began with an “M”. Needless to say, I did not friend him back. I suppose I could consider it a compliment, since all the women he friended were attractive and considerably younger than me. But it’s odd to think that he sent out friend requests to women whose names are Susan and Jessica.

(Although, in retrospect, I know someone who married a guy she met after he sent mass e-mails to strange women on AOL who said they had freckles.)

File this under the “who knew?” category: The New York Times ran a story about bangs recently. I quote:
“Few hairstyles are as packed with emotional triggers as the bluntly cut bangs that have been cropping up on runways and in salons. They can bring back childhood memories and raise deep-seated feelings of longing (for the look) and loathing (for anyone who can pull it off). Some see them as cute and playful. Others think they’re anything but, especially on those over 30.

“’To me they scream: ‘I’m cooler than you, I have a lot of sex, and if you leave your husband with me I’ll devour him,’ said Meredith Hays, a literary agent in Manhattan with an unhinged brow.”

One hairdresser is so skeptical of bangs that when a client asks for them, he responds, “Did you break up with someone? Are you on your period?” Another commented that whenever a woman decides to trim her own bangs, she must be drinking. And finally, I learned that, “I don’t think you can name one woman who has those blunt bangs who is taken seriously in a professional setting.”
Honestly, I had no idea that my decision to wear bangs should have come with such emotional, psychological and career considerations. I suppose I should avoid meeting that Hays woman.

Number 3: Last Friday at 4 p.m., there was a drug bust in the parking lot of the newspaper I work for. I left work at 3 p.m. that day. What’s creepy is that it was a set-up: the cops arranged the drug transaction at that time and place. I’m not sure I like that – what if something had gone wrong? Somehow arranging a drug bust in a parking lot of an office building of a newspaper in mid-afternoon seems wrong to me.
slyvermont: (Default)
This is what the street outside my office looked like last night:



That idiot trying to drive into 3 feet of water did get stuck.

More pictures are here.

One of the more amusing moments last night was when Stefan, our photographer, had finally sloshed his way into work and was hungry. Stefan eats Chinese food every night, but the restaurant was not reachable. It so happened that I hadn't finished emptying my car after my Costco excursion on Monday, and there was food in the trunk. Stefan took my keys, sloshed outside to my car, and came back in holding two huge bricks of peanut butter crackers and granola bars. I ended up providing dinner and snack food for the office.

My car was fine; I got home just fine last night, my basement didn't flood. Downtown Barre is another story -- I have no idea how the movie theater playing the Harry Potter movie did, and it's in the heart of the flood zone.
slyvermont: (harry disco)
"Rapping in the 802"

It took us forever to write this headline for today’s paper – and it’s not even that good ([personal profile] hollywdliz would have done better, I'm sure). It is  our lead story, about this hysterical and addictive rap video created by three MHS students about Vermont and Montpelier. Not only was it on our front page today, it was a feature on VPR this morning.

802 is Vermont’s area code. You have to listen to the song several times to catch the lyrics, which I’ve now done because we played it numerous times at work yesterday and I saw/heard staff and faculty watching it at school, too.

Lyrics are behind the cut (except for a few lines I can’t quite catch). I know there is a way to embed the video in this entry, but I can't figure it out, so here's the link to the YouTube page.

Spring!

May. 7th, 2007 09:55 am
slyvermont: (fieldofdreams)
Yes!!

I just finished writing yet another cover story for our Sunday magazine – that’s reporting and writing four big articles in about three months, which is a lot for me. Add to that the increased number of hours that I’ve been working in the last 2 months because of a coworker's illness – I’ve been very very busy.

Of course, I’m about to embark on another long-term assignment that will take me months to finish. And I have a few other shorter articles I hope to write this summer. But I am going to take a break from interviewing and writing for the next few weeks – my attention will be on dance recital and Celebration IV, and other school-year-ending milestones.

Whew.

More updates:




And the trees are finally beginning to turn green -- this is one of the latest springs ever. I'm ready for some warm weather.
slyvermont: (Default)
I'm home now. Yea!

I was fine until we decided to watch the news in the office, and the TV reporters kept saying how this was the "storm of the century" and conditions were treacherous and dangerous, and absolutely no one should be out on the roads, etc., etc. And listening to the scanner didn't help either -- roads were being closed, the Interstate was shut down at one point. The worst of it ended up being our parking lot -- which no one thought to have plowed. There was a tremendous amount of snow out there, and in fact, one of my coworkers did get stuck in the parking lot and spent almost an hour digging herself out. My timing was perfect -- I left just when the plower finally came and cleared out the lot.

The roads weren't dreadful, and I made it up the hill to my house. There's a lot of snow out there. This may be the most I've seen in one storm in my 22 years here. I'll take pictures tomorrow.
slyvermont: (Default)
I'm posting this from work. Like police officers and fire fighters and mail deliverers, newspaper editors can't use a blizzard as an excuse to stay home.

I  made it to work OK, but before the worst hit. I brought provisions, just in case -- an air mattress, sleeping bag, toiletries, change of clothing. So I'm not sure where I'll be sleeping tonight -- whether I'll stay in the office or attempt the drive home. My biggest concern is the hill up to my house -- so I could park at the bottom and walk up. It's been snowing pretty heavily, but right now the wind is not strong so visibility is still OK. But the plowers are definitely having trouble keeping up with the snow accumulation (Rich is now shoveling six-inches of snow that fell in two hours).

So, either keep your fingers crossed for me, or pray if that's your thing, that I make the right decision and stay safe tonight.

PS (edit): Someone just reminded me that we have rats in the building. So it will take an awful lot for me to decide to spend the night here.
slyvermont: (ritaskeeter)
Here's my favorite cop brief of the night (and there is a Berlin in Vermont):

Man stopped with $30,000 in cash
BERLIN – Vermont State Police found $30,000 in cash and a small amount of marijuana on a Berlin man after they stopped him while driving to New York City.
Police said Anthony Larosa, 20, of Berlin was stopped on Friday Nov. 24, while he was on his way to New York with two New York residents. Trooper Vincent Dimauro discovered approximately 3 grams of marijuana which, police said, Larosa said belonged to him.
Dimauro said Larosa told him he was headed to New York City for a family celebration. “Then after we found the money he said he was going Christmas shopping in New York,” Dimauro said.
According to Dimauro, Larosa explained that the money was his life savings, but Dimauro said Larosa does not have a job. While police continue their investigation, the money is being held at the evidence room at the Royalton barracks, and Dimauro is preparing an affidavit for a federal forfeiture of the money through the US Drug Enforcement Agency, because, after consulting Montpelier Police, Dimauro believes Larosa is a drug dealer.
“Those dealings lead us to believe that he sells marijuana for a living,” Dimauro said.
Montpelier Police said Larosa has not been arrested for drug activity, and declined to discuss their knowledge of Larosa.
Larosa was cited into court for possession of marijuana for early January and the two New York residents who were with him at the time of his arrest were released, according to Dimauro.
slyvermont: (Tonks)
Caroline got into her first college! University of Wisconsin. She was quite thrilled, skipping down the stairs, a huge grin on her face.

I’ve seen two movies in the last week, The Queen and Casino Royale (the latest Bond movie). The Queen is about the dramatic week in England when Princess Diana died, and all of England except the royal family went into paroxysms of grief. Tony Blair was new in office as PM, so a lot of the movie explored the relationship between him and Queen Elizabeth (played marvelously by Helen Mirren). The day Diana died we were in Cape Cod staying with friends. Coincidentally, their au pair, Angela, was from Great Britain. Jane and I discussed how to wake her up and break the news to her, figuring that she would be devastated. When Jane finally did it, Angela couldn’t care less and went back to sleep. She was the one Brit (besides the royal family) who was indifferent. I remember that week checking the British papers online, being astonished by the outpouring of grief and the indifference of the royals.

The characterization of Prince Charles was interesting – he came off as a mix between a weak-willed ninny and a concerned father and ex-husband. It was at moments flattering and at other moments not. His father, Prince I can’t remember his name, came off as a total asshole. All he wanted to do was take the princes out “stalking” (hunting). Fresh air and all. He seemed to hate Diana more than anyone. Good movie: I recommend it.

Casino Royale was fun. Violent and bloody – there was a horrible torture scene, and I don’t understand how it got a PG-13 and not an R rating. The emphasis was not on megalomaniac bad guys wanting to take over the world with super weapons – it was a more personal, smaller story. It takes place just after Bond becomes OO7, so before all the other movies (it’s like being in a warped time machine). So we learn a little about Bond before he became a suave womanizer. Not that he wasn’t a suave womanizer in this movie – although he had sex with only one woman. The plot was convoluted (of course); the first blond Bond was OK, and they certainly figured out lots of ways to show his chest and abs. Which were fine to look at.

Funny moment in the office yesterday. A lady calls up to tell us that someone shot and killed her pet duck in her backyard. After much discussion about this in the office (is it duck season? Did it look like a turkey? Who cares?) one reporter comments – “a duck is killed. The turkeys are thinking, cry me a river.”
slyvermont: (anti-war)
One of the reasons I went back to journalism is to be able to be more than just an observer on election night. In the 90s I went to Vermont Democrat headquarters (fun in 1992, depressing in 1994) – which was enjoyable, but I always felt strange. Like I was on the wrong side of the fence. Even though our newsroom is small and relatively quiet, it is fun to shape the paper, have access to the wires, be around smart and informed people. Plus we had a ton of good food to eat. The TV was on, but the sound was off, so I didn’t get to listen to all the analysis – small price to pay.

Yesterday I voted. Turnout here was very high; the Montpelier clerk said it was “wild.” There were no lines (this is rural Vermont, after all). Some towns here had turnouts of 70-80 percent.

Vermonters split their ticket. Socialist Bernie Sanders is our new U.S. senator. Really one of the nice things about living in a small state for years, and being a journalist here, is that you meet people when they first started. I’ve known Bernie for years; interviewed him many times when he was mayor of Burlington. I remember the tie hanging up in his office in Burlington, which he only wore if he needed to. He was always such a character – and now he’s in the U.S. Senate. Wow. He beat billionaire Rich Tarrant, who spent gobs and gobs of money – $100 per vote – highest ever nationwide, I think the paper said this morning. Tarrant only got 33% of the vote.

On the other hand, our Republican governor and lt. governor were re-elected.

And major congratulations to Kelly (you go girl!), because it looks like Arizona defeated its anti-gay marriage amendment. Before you all move there, remember that Vermont and Connecticut have civil unions, Massachusetts gay marriage and New Jersey will have something soon.

I got home around 2:15 a.m. It was a long, but fun, night.
slyvermont: (ritaskeeter)
I feel a need to talk about the pig and the drowning incident. Or, how our small-town police chief may need to find a good PR person.

News update

Aug. 4th, 2006 01:42 pm
slyvermont: (Tonks)
Trolling the wires at work, I just saw a story that England's Domesday Book is now on the Internet -- pretty cool.

The article ends with this:

"The book is one of Britain’s best-known documents, but a poll commissioned by the National Archives suggests not everyone is sure what it is. While 80 percent of respondents had heard of the Domesday Book, 13 percent thought it was a chapter in the Bible — and 2 percent thought it was a book by Dan Brown, author of the hugely popular 'The Da Vinci Code.'"

That made me smile. At least it was only 2 percent.
slyvermont: (POTC)
At work; browsing the wires. This story reminds me of both [personal profile] hollywdliz and [profile] lexsara predicting the box office take of movie opening weekends:

This ’action’ is off the set
By STEVE PERSALL
c.2006 St. Petersburg Times=

Hollywood high rollers always gamble on making movies. Now the way those films perform at the box office is a game of chance for moviegoers, too.

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Walt Disney Pictures wagered an estimated $250-million to create and market Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. ....

Some online gambling  „investors“ made money on Capt. Jack Sparrow’s adventure much sooner. Others are kicking themselves for underestimating the film’s appeal, an example of a new wave in proposition bets on entertainment chances.

Members of BetUS.com were offered an over-under line of $110-million for Dead Man’s Chest’s opening weekend box office total. Those who bet the over, believing the movie would earn more than $110-million, won $100 for every $120 wagered. Members who took the under lost their investment during Sunday matinees.

At Sportsbook.com, the over-under line for Dead Man’s Chest was even lower at $96.5-million but with a higher buy-in ($170 to win $100) for winners. That rate of return is far less than what Bruckheimer and Disney will likely reap from the pirate flick.

In recent weeks, enterprising Internet gambling sites have added box office predictions for high-profile films such as The Da Vinci Code, X-Men: The Last Stand and Superman Returns to their wager boards.

 
slyvermont: (ritaskeeter)
The people who write obituaries need some rudimentary lessons in English.

This is verbatim from an obituary I edited tonight:

“Currently, he was enrolled in the External Degree Program in Business at Johnson State College, working toward his Bachelor's Degree.”

Cringe.

I know it’s morbid, but I’ve started to truly enjoy reading the obits. People do amazing things, have bizarre interests; the typos and grammar errors can be amusing. I should start compiling the more interesting ones – there’s one in today’s paper about someone who liked to “dance the night away.”

However, I need to add an addendum to my will that someone with good writing and grammar skills writes and edits my obituary. Given what I do now for a living, I would hate to have a blatant grammar error in my obit. I’ve also come to the conclusion that including something like “She loved Star Wars and Harry Potter and enjoyed discussing her fandoms with her virtual friends on Livejournal” is no stranger than many of the obits we run regularly.

(I shouldn’t complain too much about the state of the obits given what our Monday paper looked like. There was a huge typo on the main headline on the front page (pediatrican instead of pediatrician), a story that somehow lost  two paragraphs midstory, a wrong obit photo ran (not sure how we managed that one), a photo ran B&W instead of color … a mess. I didn’t work, so at least none of it was my fault.)
slyvermont: (omgwtflol alias)
This story running on the wires cracked me up, so I'm sharing some of it:

slyvermont: (typewriter girl)
Today is Town Meeting Day. It’s one of the things that make Vermont special.

Even though I’ve lived here for 21 years (wow, how did that happen?), I’ve never attended a real town meeting – where the residents raise their hands to vote and decide on the spot whether to buy that fire truck or repair the roof. I’ve always lived in the "larger" cities (if you can consider a place with 8,000 people large) where I voted using a ballot, and even as a reporter was never assigned to cover a meeting. So I asked to go cover a real town meeting today.

I went to a small town north of Montpelier, called Worcester. Population 900. Number of houses – 380. There was the town moderator exhibiting his dry wit; the residents worried about tax increases, the 15-minute debate over whether to set aside $10,000 to fix a bridge (“the bump in the road is where the foundation and the bridge are separating”). There were no controversies, but that’s OK. It was cool to watch. Real, grass roots democracy.

Then I voted in my own town, of course. We may have democracy, but the sad thing is that there were no contested races. I hate filling in the circles for people running unopposed. What’s the point? There are a lot of uncontested races this year, in a lot of communities.

Off to work soon. It’ll be a late night. But fun.
slyvermont: (Default)
My magazine article about Girl Scouts Beyond Bars ran this weekend; I’m happy with it. It can be read here.

Update on my boss: First, she is so upbeat about all of her tragedies it’s inspiring. She was planning on sleeping at her house last night, because the toxicity levels were down to normal range (they were as high as 130 on a scale where 1 is considered safe). There are 175 gallons of oil that leaked below her house that need to be removed. So they’ve had to dig up her basement.

Meanwhile, all her clothes and many other possessions have to be washed. And – her insurance company says this isn’t covered, and the first thing the oil company said when she reported the problem was that they weren’t paying either.

Luckily, Vermont has a fund for petroleum spills that she’s tapping into. But what a mess.

slyvermont: (Default)
I’m writing a story about a program called Girl Scouts Beyond Bars. It’s in 22 states, but I’m writing about how it works in Vermont. There’s one main prison for women in Vermont, and the Girl Scouts get volunteers from around the state to pick up girls every three weeks for a troop meeting at the prison. Some of these girls have to drive close to three hours to get to this prison. The moms – or aunts, sisters, grandmothers – are trained as troop leaders.

I spent all day Saturday on this story. I joined one of the drivers, we picked up two girls – cousins, whose mothers are sisters and roommates in prison (hard to believe)  – and then drove to the prison. I watched them do the flag ceremony, say the GS pledge, sing songs, play games, make lunch and then have a spa day where they painted each others’ finger nails, gave foot massages and styled hair.

My thoughts )
slyvermont: (Tonks)
Seriously now. We've just spent 15 minutes at work debating this and searching the Internet for answers.

Why do we want to know? Because a bunch of schoolkids in NH want to make the pumpkin the state fruit, and we're skeptical.

In other exciting news, the most popular girls name in 2005 was Emma and boys name Aidan. Aidan?

Well, that is better than De'Liberately and Bles'Id, Karma and Greatness.
slyvermont: (Default)
I'm at work -- volunteering to work again this year so someone else can spend Christmas Eve with their family. And, just like last year, my editor is late, so I'm here with not much to do. So I'll ramble for awhile, adding on as the day goes on. (Even though she just walked in.)

Rambling )
slyvermont: (Default)
Tuesday night was crazy again at work. I designed the front page, and agonized again over Katrina photos. I liked the end result, but it was tough. Too many photos, too many stories. We’re a small newspaper, with a small news hole; it’s just so hard to pick from all the choices.

Today I went to the high school faculty meeting, and talked about the parents’ group and the school newspaper. I am still the parents’ group co-president (why or why?) and the advisor for the newspaper. When I said I was volunteering again to advise the newspaper, one of the teachers (Barb – the art teacher) started clapping. Others followed. That was pretty cool. And very unexpected.

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