Thursday, December 23, 2004

Blog with caution...

Post-Dispatch writer suspended after bosses discover his blog

Post-Dispatch managers took staff writer Daniel P. Finney's hard drive as
evidence of his
blogging (he wrote under the pseudonym "Roland H.
Thompson"), then suspended him. Ben Westhoff reports: "In his blog, begun
this past September, 'Roland H. Thompson' -- a reference to a song by one
of Finney's favorite musical artists, the late Warren Zevon -- took
frequent, thinly veiled potshots against his employer and co-workers. He
also wrote about stories he was working on for the paper." (Related Staci
K. Kramer comment)

Merry Christmas!

Today we are off to the frigid homeland. Current temp in St. Louis: 13. Current wind chill: -2. That's two degrees below zero. Why do people live there again?

Anyway, we get a week and a half off work, and after just four days in the Midwest, we go to LA and Catalina Island! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Here's the annual Christmas letter I sent out to family and friends this year:

Nathan and I had a lovely year. The highlight was definitely our trip to the Grand Canyon in August. We traveled with Nathan’s mother, father and youngest brother, Matthew, on a 6-day, 5-night trip down the Colorado River! We floated down the river on a big, motorized boat guided by three experts, and joined by a psychologist from the Chicago area and his three adult children. We camped every night on beaches by the side of the river, often within sight and sound of waterfalls and rapids. Our three fabulous guides cooked all our meals for us in a “kitchen” at our campsite. They steered us safely through dozens of rapids and led us on amazing hikes through side canyons and up to clear, cool pools. Around every bend in the river was another amazing vista.

Since February, Kathy has been working at a non-profit here in Redwood City called the Marine Science Institute. (Check it out at MSI has a boat that takes kids out on San Francisco Bay for educational field trips. It’s a really cool program, and all the people at the Institute are fabulous to work with. Kathy misses the hum of the newsroom, though. So she is hoping to get hired by a local paper in the New Year. She has also applied to UC Berkeley’s graduate program in journalism. She should find out this spring if she is accepted for the fall 2005 semester.

Nathan started working at Google this summer. Their headquarters are in Mountain View, about 20 minutes south of here. He likes the work alright, and there are lots of perks to the job: the company frequently brings in guest speakers; so far these have included Al Gore and Jimmy Carter! (But Nathan is more interested in the technical talks. J) And the food in the cafeteria is amazingly good and free!

We had some sadness in our household recently: our cat, Alex, died two days before Thanksgiving. He was diagnosed with cancer a month before that; his weight had dropped dramatically and he was getting weaker, so we decided and the vet agreed that it was time. We are so grateful for all the wonderful years of joy he brought us and for the terrific memories we have of him. He was 16! Nathan got him when he was a kitten. Now we are looking forward to getting another pet or two when we are done with our holiday traveling in January. We plan to get a kitten and a Scottish Terrier!

Happy Holidays,

Kathy and Nathan

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Merry Kwanza, er Happy Christmas, er, Holiday Greetings

How 'bout we just forget the whole thing and start saying "Happy New Year" on Dec. 26?

I've pretty much had it with people getting their panties in a bunch over "political correctness" and "traditional values." Wouldn't it be nice if the liberals quit whining about the Hanukah, Kwanza and Winter Solstice celebrators being "excluded" and the conversatives put down their fire and brimstone about the "secularization" of society and everyone just went to the mall and engaged in some wholesome, old-fashioned, patriotic capitalism?

Monday, December 20, 2004

Mulder to St. Louis

It is a dark, dark day in baseball. Not only has my favorite American League team -- the heroes of the small market, the champions of scrappy stick-to-itiveness, the poster children for stats trumping deep pockets and pumped-up steroid freaks -- traded two of its star pitchers, two of my favorite players. That wouldn't be so bad by itself; the A's have rebounded time after time from the loss of star players (witness the 2004 replacement of Bobby Crosby for star shortstop and fan favorite Miguel Tejada). But who did they trade Mulder to? The bleeping Cardinals. The nemesis of my team, the Cubs. As if it's not enough that they were virtually unbeatable last year or that they've won the division four of the last five years.

At this point in time I have absolutley no will or incentive to follow baseball in 2005.

Friday, December 17, 2004

This is really funny

What the Google neighbors think of Google.

Partying like it's 1999...

Super Size Me!!!

Have you seen this movie? If not, please do so!

My husband just said to me: "I'll never eat McDonald's French Fries again!"

If you watch it on DVD, make sure to check out the "extra" called "The Smoking Fry."

Thursday, December 16, 2004

When news becomes something personal

This is really something. I have no idea how I would react in such a situation. I'm pretty sure I'd be freaked out and an emotional wreck afterwards.

Also, I've known the guy mentioned in the story -- Josh Richman -- for more than five years.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Flap over reporter's soldier's question

It was a soldier's concern, but a reporter's question

Just answer the question, Mr. Rumsfeld

I'm a bit conflicted about this one. I certainly disagree that Pitts was "creating news," but the story definitely should have been clearer about the source of the question. That's just journalistic common sense.

I'd be interested to hear what others -- especially those outside of journalism -- think about this.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Statement of Purpose

Sorry I've been so remiss in posting. There have been extenuating circumstances: Largely, we had to put our cat, Alex, to sleep two days before Thanksgiving. He was 16 years old and had had a good, long life. But that was hard, and I promptly got sick, and have been battling a cold and now I have an ear infection. I took the GRE a couple weeks ago, and for the last week I've been finishing my grad school application, which has mostly meant fussing with my "statement of purpose." I'm not totally happy with it, but I had a deadline. So, here it is:

I’ve had a love of writing since I was old enough to pick up a pen. My love for journalism, however, is newer. I began working on my high school’s paper in my senior year, and at North Central College in Naperville, Ill., I worked on the school paper for four years. The moment when I first saw the power of "The Fourth Estate" - and knew I wanted to be a part of it – came during my sophomore year of college.
While I was co-editor in chief of the NCC Chronicle, I learned that red paint was showing up in a river downstream from a pipe draining from the athletic complex. We quickly figured out that maintenance workers were dumping excess paint used on the football field into a sink that drained directly to the river. I wrote two stories which resulted in the state Environmental Protection Agency investigating the situation and forcing the school to change its practices. I won a first place in investigative reporting from the Illinois College Press Association.
I’ve learned a great deal since then, working on the student paper and in several professional newsrooms. But because North Central didn't have a journalism program, I didn't get much of a formal education in what became my chosen field.
Now I believe I’ve reached a professional plateau, and it’s time for me to learn in a formal setting in order to take my abilities and my career to the next level. Earning a graduate degree in journalism at North Gate would afford me a broader vantage point of the field and let me experience types of writing with which I don't get much chance to work, such as longer magazine pieces. I also believe it will give me an opportunity to take a more thoughtful approach to my craft, to help me narrow my focus and chart a clearer path for my career.
I’ve read much about the quality of Berkeley's program and heard it recommended by professional journalists whom I admire. After attending November's informational meeting at the school, I am excited about the prospect of spending two years working with highly-skilled, working journalists and discussing key issues with enthusiastic peers and experienced mentors.
A good friend of mine graduated from the program two years ago, and talking with her has deepened my resolve that this is the right next step in my career. She has raved about her time at the school under the tutelage of such instructors as Cynthia Gorney and the opportunity to delve into multimedia reporting. As a result, Berkeley's is the only program to which I have applied.
My long-term goal is to hone my reporting and writing skills while developing my proficiency in one or two specialties. This could mean more experience covering city hall, further specialization in covering education, or gaining expertise in covering environmental issues, a subject about which I am passionate. Jane Kay’s environmental reporting program is of special interest to me.
If accepted to Berkeley's graduate program in journalism, I look forward to experimenting with other kinds of media, such as broadcast – with which I have no experience – and photography, with which I have some experience. My interest in a wide variety of disciplines, along with my desire to become more highly skilled in specific areas, makes me well suited to a graduate program like Berkeley's.

Friday, December 03, 2004

America Beyond Capitalism

Here's another book by an interesting author I heard on NPR.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Yesterday Nathan, Linda and I visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It was, as always, amazing. I had plenty to do at home (studying for the GRE, getting ready for Thanksgiving) but who knows how many chances we'll have to see a great white shark up close? The aquarium's female white shark is the only one in captivity in the world.

This is a good time to remember all the things we can do to help ocean environments -- even if we don't live near an ocean:

Marine biologists eat seafood, too -- but they make sure what they eat is good for the ocean. You can too!

Just pick one of these101 Things to protect wildlife today!

And here's some info about my favorite ocean animal, the sea otter, including how the Monterey Bay Aquarium works to study and protect these cuties.

A story by me

Friday, November 19, 2004

Crimes Against Nature, by RFK Jr.

This is long, but worth it.

Here's a shorter version.

The stuff this administration is doing is truly aggregious. Like he says, little kids can't breathe! Even if you do believe that the End is near, how does that justify trashing the planet? As my coworker just said to me: I know I'm going to die, yet I excercise and eat right and otherwise take care of my body, so it's in good shape while I have it. It's just amazing to me that more people aren't outraged and that the administration doesn't even attempt to defend itself. (And I can't believe Kerry didn't slam Bush on the environment in that second debate.)

Here's a Mother Jones interview

PLUS: Republicans and the Environment

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Gov. Ahnold

This is a great column by David Broder. It really is a suprise to many of us that he's doing so well as governor.

From a pure writing standpoint, this is probably the best final paragraph of a newspaper piece that I've read in a long time:

'The "changed climate" that President Bush promised but did not achieve in his first term in Washington is on display in Sacramento.'


Woo hoo! Someone's reading my blog! At least one person, anyway: my blog-crazy bro-in-law, Peter.

On to j-school...

There's no turning back now. I'm signed up to take the GRE Dec. 1. That, I imagine, will be the toughest part of applying to Berkeley's journalism masters program.

The fun part will be my "statement of purpose." Why I love journalism...

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Corporate greed and single-payer

Recently I've become convinced that the biggest problem with the U.S. isn't Bush or Arnold or Republicans or Democrats or red vs. blue or whatever. It's corporate greed. Greedy corporations control the government, on both sides of the aisle. Greedy corporations are ruining the environment, screwing people out of health care and creating a class of poverty workers.

This morning on NPR I heard part of an interesting interview with the authors of a book who believe our health care system is totally broken and that a single-payer system is the way to fix it:

"Critical Condition"

In looking around for other info on single-payer I found this blog by a Stanford med student, which I thought was interesting and well-crafted:

Back to books... If you haven't read this one, you should. And you'll never shop at Walmart again:

"Nickled and Dimed"

And for a laugh:

Museum of the Middle Class opens in Schaumburg

At least one good thing about Bush

So cute!!!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Shop till you drop

Wedding dress shopping, Round Four. Today it was Vera Wangs at Saks 5th Ave. (This was preceeded by Unique Bride and Eve's Bridal in Burlingame and Bridal Emporium in SF, all in the past six weeks.)For those of you who don't know, Vera Wang is a famous designer who makes shiny, pretty, expensive things like dresses and shoes. Her dresses are the most expensive ones Linda has tried on so far.

Now, you can't just walk in off the street and try on Vera Wang dresses. You have to have an appointment. So there we were at 10:15 on a Saturday morning. (Actually, it was 10:45; we were late.) As far as things to be doing on a Saturday morning with a monster hangover, looking at pretty, shiny things isn't so bad.

We only tried on five or so dresses. At this point I would go into the details about the dresses, including the two that were Linda's favorite, but that would make Linda very pissed at me, because Adam might read this and then get some inkling as to what the dress looks like. I have learned that that would be very bad. So I will only say that one of the front runners cost $2,700, and the other one $4,900. The veil was only $150. (My job is generally to hold the veils, which is fun, cause I get to put them on :-) )

We shall see if Linda decides to buy the lower-priced dress, and if she is able to get it "cheap" online.

After we were finished with gowns, it was time to shop for shoes; specifically Jimmy CHOOs! (Linda really likes to say that.) These are very shiny, pretty, expensive things. At Saks they live right next to the Manolo Blahnik. For those who don't know, Manolos are the shoes that Carrie made famous on Sex in the City. (I would never have known what they were but for the show.) So I thought I'd try some on. I tried on one pair about which I no longer remember any details. Then I tried on these little sandals. They were pink. They were gorgeous (or "darling," as one fellow shopper said while I admired how cute they made my feet look in the mirror). They must have been crocodile, Linda said, because the tag on the bottom said $1,050. A thousand dollars for a pair of shoes! The sales guy seemed pretty disappointed when I said I was going to pass on them today. I could have made some quip about coming back after Google stock had split a few times, but I instead reflected upon the Jimmy Choos Linda was trying on. Very shiny and pretty.

My first published stories this year

Click on "Police address rash of breakins" and "Rengstorff improvements delayed."

They swear they're going to spell my name right next time...

Kathy's blog has moved


Friday, November 12, 2004

Peterson guilty

My coworker and I drove five minutes to downtown Redwood City at lunch time for Peterson pandomonium. Hundreds of people were out there gawking and waiting for the verdict. There had to be about two hundred reporters and photogs. It was nuts. We got there right about 1 and people were just milling around in the street. One woman had brought a portable tv and all the photogs were crowded around her taking pics.

At about 1:15 the crowd right in front of the courthouse erupted in cheers, as if we were at a ball game and someone had hit a home run. Everyone was talking into their cell phone. The word of the verdict(s) spread across the crowd: "First degree for Laci, second for the baby!" One guy had a sign that said "Finally, peace and justice for Laci and Connor." (The back of the sign, incidentally, was a pro-Bush placard!) Additional cheers went up as people left the main doors of the courthouse. As far as I could tell, the cheering was just for TV anchors.

Most of the reporters were doing man-on-the-street interviews. Three helicopters hovered over downtown. There were cops everywhere. I've never seen anything like it in my life.