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.