Sunday, October 30, 2005

Happy Halloween!

I almost won a costume contest Friday night. I went to the Graduate Student Association Halloween party at a big barn near my dorm. I got beat out by a bunch of grapes. No hard feelings, they looked really good with price stickers and all. My outfit came together perfectly as did Siri's (a My Little Pony) and Leonardo's (a pizza dinner.) The three of us also went to a second party on Saturday night, attended mostly by physicists at Fermilab. It was a very surreal feeling because I couldn't tell who the people were behind the masks and face paint, although I'm sure I've interviewed some of them in the past.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Dress up

I'm going to be the Corpse Bride for Halloween, inspired by the movie. I'm putting the finishing touches on my costume right now. I bought a long white dress at the Good Will for $6. They also had real wedding dresses. Poofy sleeves, long trains and tons of buttons, but they came with a $50 pricetag. As I sifted through them a couple people walked by pointing and cooing. I let them think I was soon-to-be married in one of the early 90s-influenced dresses and even tried one on. Despite its perfectness, I stuck with the thriftier version. It's six sizes too big, but I'm working on sewing the sides in and it should work. My stitching is really ugly, however, I figure that since the corpse bride was buried for a while, a ratty looking dress will just add to the character. I also bought some lace and made a veil. Tomorrow I'll spray everything with fake blood. I'll post pictures later.

Monday, October 24, 2005

On pointe

I realized this weekend that I've never seen a real ballet, not counting our annual family trips to the Nutcracker. I saw the Joffrey this weekend in Chicago with John and Alison, two friends from my internship in Erie who I haven't seen since that summer ended. The show was great. John is a ballet freak so I knew it wouldn't be disappointing. And it makes me want to see more. I should be taking advantage of what the city has to offer. Maybe not just ballet, but plays, museums, all that stuff. So for as long as my budget allows, I'll be there.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Letter from the past

Here's an email I received today:

When you were a freshman you did a story about a dear friend of mine and she was killed in an accident on this day in 2002! I wanted to thank you for making the story heard and that you have made me remember her forever. I did not go here at the time, but wanted to! I stayed at home and went to Community College where I pursued my dream of one day being a police officer. But also had the dream of coming to MSU to finish what I have always wanted to do and that is be a Spartan as well as a police officer! So here I am now at MSU when she would be alum. I was older than her, but she had big dreams and she is truly missed. But, thanks for letting us remember the life of a wonderful, beautiful young woman.

Talk about unexpected. I couldn't remember the story he was talking about until I looked it up on the State News archive. I guess it speaks to the number of deaths I've covered, or just the sheer number of stories I've written in the past few years. His friend was 19. She was walking along a road during the night in East Lansing when she struck by a car and killed. I feel horrible that I couldn't remember her when this guy can recall all the details, including the reporter who wrote about her death three years ago. Journalists go in and out of so many people's lives on a daily basis. We usually don't feel we have much of an effect. But maybe the impact is larger than we perceive.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Still alive

I had the scariest car ride of my life. I went along with a physicist to a local high school for a classroom visit today and the 20-minute ride was terrifying. Let's ignore the fact that he seemed to view stop signs as a mere suggestion. The worst was a right-hand turn from the left lane. The maneuver required us to swerve ahead of a car stopped beside us, all performed while the light was a deep shade of red. 'Sorry, I know that was bad,' he said. 'But that car was annoying me.' Don't mess with a physicist on the road.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Sandbox lovers

One of my best friends got engaged today and I'm so excited for her.
I always knew Lindsay and Trep would get married, and when I say always, it's not that much of an exaggeration. I've been friends with Lindz since the second grade. Our brothers met in kindergarten, discovered they lived on the same street and our families have been friends ever since. We filled our summers playing kick the can and kickball, our winters spent ice skating and playing hide and go seek. The four of us really had a picture-perfect childhood. But we never let friendship get in the way of sibling taunting. One chant in particular, the start of many fights, began sometime in grade school from Lindsay's brother: "Trep and Lindsay sitting in a tree..."
For just about as long as I've known Lindsay, there's been Trep (known by some as Chris), a boy in one of Lindsay's classes who lived the next street over. That was the beginning of the game that would go on for years, and I mean years. It followed the same pattern that most childhood crushes take. Girl likes boy. Boy likes girl. Girl denies her crush because boys have cooties. Boy denies his crush because he doesn't want to make the first move. But unlike most sandbox crushes, theirs didn't fade.
By high school, it was common knowledge that Lindsay and Trep liked each other. But no one seemed to have let them in on the secret. Dances came and went without either making a move. Everyone smiled when Trep finally got the nerve to ask her to Homecoming. But it wasn't until their senior Prom that an actual relationship began. That night, they held hands as we sat by a campfire in Lindsay's backyard. Everyone sighed in relief. Years of whispering and frustration and they were finally a couple. They'd lived just a street away from each other for years, yet left for different colleges after dating for just three months. They survived. And today Trep proposed to Lindsay on a pumpkin patch, on his birthday.
Now, if that isn't a good love story, I don't know what is.
Congrats to my two great friends.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Birthday mag

There was food, champagne and even a cake. But it was the first birthday party I've attended where the guest of honor couldn't blow out the candles. On Wednesday we celebrated a year of "Symmetry," the particle physics magazine the Fermilab staff produces with the writers at SLAC (Stanford Linear Accelerator Center). It's a really cool magazine. It would be a little difficult to follow if you weren't up on physics lingo, but the design is big and bold, not what you'd expect from a scientific magazine. Look for my byline in November.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Time's a changing

It looks like my whole family is relocating to Florida afterall.
After being tricked into thinking she had the spot for her new store secured, my mom faced terrible disappointment when the owners shut her out of the space last month. Well, as she would say herself, maybe some things happen for a reason. While moving my brother to Orlando this week, she found another place, much cheaper and perfectly fit for what she needs. The crazy part: She's moving in on Nov. 1. As in less than a month. I had kind of given up on her move to Florida, at least for the immediate future. I imagined coming back home from my internship in December to spend the holiday season there with my family. A comforting thought. Obviously, things look very different now. I really don't know what to expect, but I'm excited to see what happens.
I talked to my brother last night, his first night by himself in his new Orlando apartment. "I could live here for the rest of my life," he said. I'm sure he'll change his mind after a while, but for now, he's completely content with the feeling of having a place of his own and as much freedom as he can handle. He beat me there. Sure, I've got freedom. But I'd hardly call the Fermilab dorms my own place. I can't wait to get a real job so I can have that. Who knows where that will be, Florida, Michigan, or anywhere else across the nation. I guess I'm just struck at all the changes going on right now, not just in my life, but to everyone in my family. I'm scared and at the same time excited at the idea of us spread across the country. Everyone is doing what they want most, satisfying their own goals. And that's important. But at the same, I feel a sense of homesickness. Where is home for me? In a few months, I'll probably feel like there isn't one. It's like they say in Garden State: "You won't ever have that feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself... Maybe that's all family really is. A group of people that miss the same imaginary place."

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Home on the range

Despite a disappointing overtime loss to Michigan, again, I had a good time in East Lansing this weekend. Things were different from previous football seasons, as expected, most notably the absence of a common sleeping ground (11F), a regression back to the dorms (which Fermilab has gotten me used to) and the lack of a good bar night (the lines were longer than graduation weekend). But it still felt great to hang out with friends I haven't seen in a while. (See attached photo as evidence.)
Today, I witnessed the annual Fermilab buffalo inoculation. Yes, there are a herd of about 50 buffalo here on site. Don't worry, they're not used for any crazy physics experiments. The story is that they're kept here to symbolize the frontier, implying that Fermilab is on the edge of the high-energy physics frontier. Pretty clever, eh?
Well today's medical exam was quite a scene. I've never seen a buffalo up close, not even in a zoo. I've learned that they are one tough animal, and when they're scared, contained inside a small metal holding cell and poked with needles, they don't like it one bit. Some bucked, banging their horns against the metal bars. Others looked so helpless, hissing loudly through their nostrils. It took 17 guys to run the series of doors and corrals the buffalo were steered through. A veterinarian stabbed each one in the back with a cocktail of vaccines and two grounds members cleaned the tags in the animals' ears, holding their heads steady with a metal nose ring. Everything was so loud. People yelling "Here she comes," or "This one's a jumper."
But the hardest part for me to handle was the separation of the mother buffalo from their children. Each fall, the babies are auctioned off to local farmers. I'd rather not think about what they use them for. After the medical checkups, the moms are sent back to the pasture and the children are steered toward a holding pen, where they stay until auction day. The moms pace around the holding pens, looking unsuccessfully for their babies. They cry out to them with a noise I've never heard before. Very heartbreaking.