Friday, April 27, 2007
The CNN Anderson Cooper 360 airing of Eric's story on Monday night received such an overwhelming web response (in the top 5 most viewed stories) that they're updating the story with a LIVE call from to Maggie (Eric's mom), on this Monday (4/30) night. The show will also include a conversation with a US Embassy spokesperson.
You can see the story at 10p ET / 9p CT / 8p MT / 7p PT. Watch for more information, double-check your local schedule or go to http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/ for current listings.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
For the viewer, you are drawn into that story and shared emotion. Randa Kamal made me weep with this performance of Inta Omri (You are my life). It is a love song. Classic Arab music is poetry. In talking with musicians over the weekend, they really didn't care for the current surge in pop music because it wasn't challenging to play and the lyrics were boring. The poetry was gone.
Belly dancing at its root is improvisational. The music plays and the dancer interprets the mood being played right then. Having a musician (Dr. George Sawa) explain this to me was a huge relief because I have never been a big fan of choreography. I have no problem with having a general plan for a dance but the audience, the location, how I feel will all play a huge role in how I would dance to a particular piece of music. It isn't that if it is a sad song, I would dance it like I just won the lottery but the nuances would be different. Different patterns. So you know "Alf Leyla Wa Leyla" (A 1001 nights) but you don't know this band or how fast they are going to play it. It is not supposed to be the same from day to day. The musicians don't play it exactly the same way each performance - why should the dancer?
For a brief moment Sunday night, I experienced tarab. With the live band and singers, on a packed dance floor, Linda told me to let it go. Use the time to release everything. Put all of my emotions, physical pain, heart and soul into the dance even though no one was watching. Time and space disappeared for a minute. All I heard was the music. No yelling. No wait staff. Nothing. Just the music and the lights. It is nearly impossible to put into words what I felt but I will never forget it. It was not a 'high' like a runner's high or what I've felt before like during showcase, which was a euphoric experience in and of itself. This was different.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Well, last night, I tossed some cut up tomato into the disposal. It would go bad before I got back so I thought I should get rid of it.
The garbage disposal whirred, rocked back and forth and then went THUNK.
IT FELL OFF THE SINK!
IT FELL OFF THE SINK!
It is now sitting at the bottom of my kitchen cabinet. Fell.Off. How the crap does a garbage disposal break and fall off a sink?! I hate it. I have had more problems with this thing (which has currently led to a dispute with the builder/warranty/management co).
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Today marks a monumental step in our fight to Free Eric V. The court in has forwarded Eric's case file to the Appellate court. In accordance with Nicaraguan law, the Appellate Court may take up to 6 days to hold the formal hearing; the verdict follows within 5 days of the Hearing.
Now is our time as a community of supporters to take action. We are going to start a 6 day campaign as we await the decision of the Court – a campaign we are calling the FREE ERIC V. Avalanche
We must have as many people as possible with their eyes turned toward this case as we go through the appeal process. As a community of supporters, we must demand justice and will not stop until we bring him home.Day 1 of the Avalanche is today. The first step? Alerting everyone about the appeal. Contact your friends and fellow supporters of Eric; tell them it has begun!
Please check the MySpace page for bulletins every morning this week. Thank you again for your continued support.
(from the Free Eric Volz mail list)
The real deal: Kathy T - thank you!
Should you choose to participate, please make sure you pass this list of rules to the blogs you are tagging. I thought it would be appropriate to include them with the meme.
The participation rules are simple:
1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,My four nominees:
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative silver version if gold doesn't fit your blog).
1) Miss O'Hara. Our friendship is proof that one does not need to be face to face all the time in order to participate in the significant events of each other's lives. We had been talking in IM for months and months before we met. And the second time we met was when I flew to Detroit for her bridal shower. It was a hoot at her wedding to tell people that we met online and in person only twice. The looks were priceless.
Beyond that, she is amazing, thoughtful, stylish, intelligent and almost as crazy as me.
2) Blake Wylie. When he's blogging that is. Like I can say much. He has a very unique (in a good way) take on things. Good humor and insightful analysis. Blake goes for the best dressed man in the blogosphere and one of my favorite gun lovin' (almost, sort of) libertarian. That whole Fred Thompson thing I think disqualifies him. Hee. And I miss his videoblogs.
3) Digital Cowboy. Mark is one of my best friends. His posts on religion push me to search the Bible for more answers. And don't forget the poker. At least it isn't all poker all the time.
4) Chris Wage. I know. Shock! Chris and I likely agree on very little but he does make me think and he's a dang fine photographer.
And since there were a number of choices for 5 (most of them already nominated by other people) and I spent 6 days working on this post, I'm stopping at 4.
The shooting at Virginia Tech is about to become a case study in crisis management and response. In the coming days and weeks, there will be alot of criticism and analysis of the school's actions following the first shooting. People always say "you didn't do enough" in hindsight.
What is "enough?"
If you are an administrator at a time like this, there is NOTHING you can do to win (I don't mean win like the Sharks did last night - boo). Nothing. You are screwed no matter what you do. It is too much; it isn't enough. You aren't giving enough information. You are talking too much. If the university had cancelled classes and no further incident took place, there would have been hissy fits that the administration over-reacted. I guarantee it.
A large number of students commute to the campus and probably don't check their email first thing when they get up so they may not have gotten anything sent before 9:30am, approximate time of the email notifying students of the dorm shooting.
It took time to get the RA's up and moving. They went from door to door in the dorms, encouraging people to stay inside and away from windows. When the first shooting happened, they had no indication that a second spree would take place. I believe they focused their attention properly: on the dorms to keep those people safe.
Now, when did the university and police know the male victim in the room was not the shooter (assuming they thought murder/suicide and he shot her then himself)? That is where some quibbling can come in. I read one article that said witnesses at the scene told them the shooter fled the scene.
If they knew, say, at 8:30 that the shooter was loose and didn't do something at that point, then there is some room for questioning the school's response. I'm not sure what could have been done - I think it might have been a logistics nightmare to get security/police in all buildings. As the Vol Abroad noted in the NiT comments, college campus are porous. People come in and out from a variety of places. It would be nearly impossible to lock it completely down.
Virginia Tech is a large campus. I can't imagine what it would take to get something like that to happen at Vanderbilt given its size. Perhaps the email should have gone out earlier to cancel classes given they knew the shooter was at large.
The next question about warning signs will be what did the university do for the student in an attempt to prevent this. Well, a school can have the best counselors and psychological assistance programs in the world and if the student doesn't voluntarily walk through the door for assistance, there is nothing that we in administration can do.
Or are you going to suggest we force people go in for treatment?
People think living/working on a college campus is a safe environment. It isn't. Everything that happens in the wider world happens here. Incidents on campus are magnified because of that perception. Several years ago, an expelled student shot the Dean and others at Appalachia State University. An angry parent called and threatened me several weeks ago. It was serious enough that I called security in anticipation of his arrival to carry it out. Unfortunately, I am not permitted to carry on campus or else I could defend myself against such threats. Fortunately, he did not fly down to "take care of things."
I originally had a long rant about why the foreign press is involved and why it is none of their business, but I took that out mainly because I still don't care for the French. And Iran condemning the shootings like it was our own government that did it? Yeah. Whatever. I could also go on and on about gun control, but other people can argue that better than I can so I will stay out of it.
bridgett has some excellent thoughts about the stress of being on campus/in school in April. And I'm guessing the same bridgett has more spot on comments at Kat's blog on depression among foreign students. I would take her assessment of professional programs (engineering, etc) one step further to say that colleges should look at them long and hard as well as the surrounding support systems.
A friend of mine from undergrad was a physics major. She hated the program but loved what she was studying. There was no support - do or die culture. It isn't about the feminization of the hard sciences. If we expect the university to act as in loco parentis (in place of the parents) then make sure students are fully aware of ALL services available to them - not just when the Muncie Mart is open.
Give faculty, RA's, TA's, and staff that have regular student contact (not all staff positions deal with students) training on how to recognize depression and the appropriate information to help direct students to treatment. Full blown courses on psychology aren't necessary. We don't need to get into the business of treatment. A couple of hours spent in a meeting with the Director of Campus Counseling ought to be enough so that we as staff know what to look for in the students we work with on a daily basis. In defense of my own place of employment, we do have such a talk each fall during faculty orientation.
Given the size of the programs at many schools and lack of training for faculty and staff in recognizing warning signs of depression, it is an absolute wonder more incidents like what happened at Virginia Tech don't happen more often. Thank God they don't.
Vox Day is also correct in either one of his post or somewhere in the comments thread about what happened that the live coverage of the shooting and for days on end will be nothing more than violence porn.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Friday, April 13, 2007
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Maybe because this is the playoffs, things are different.
See all the photos here.
Can't wait for Friday!
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Actually, Brittney at NiT has a very nice roundup of the whole saga. Saves me from trying to hunt everything down again because I'm sure I missed something.
In PK's opinion, you have no right to free speech anymore. It's on paper - that whole First Amendment thing. But to protect it takes time and money. The crappy a$$ thing is that JL Kirk has more money and more resources than Kat (who SHOULD BE ABLE TO SAY WHAT HAPPENED TO HER AND WHAT SHE THOUGHT ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE WITHOUT FEAR OF BEING SUED).
Free speech is for those that can afford it.
Today, liberty died a little more. (/end melodramatic effect)
UPDATE: Evil Glenn (from the days of the War) has picked up the story. As a law professor, he does have some knowledge on the subject of free speech in the digital frontier.
UPDATE 2: I would like to remind JL Kirk Associates that the blogosphere took out John Kerry (Swiftboat Vets anyone?) and Dan Rather (fake memos). I'm sure the story will be picked up in the old school media as well as float around the internet for a while. The internets is nearly forever, ya know. Oops. You thought threatening Kat would stop it? No. It's just started. Just because Kat may be forced to take it down, doesn't mean that others won't keep it.
UPDATE 3: Newscoma is keeping a master list of bloggers writing on this story. My favorites are Bob Krumm (SERIOUS google juice) and Bill Hobbs. They should definately be read.
UPDATE 4: Bob's post made the front page of Fark.com. Read the thread here. Oh... the linky goodness.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Monday, April 02, 2007
Saturday night was the Bal Anat show, the first time ever in the Midwest and one of the few presentations outside of California. Bal is the French word for "dance" and Anat is the Mesopotamian mother goddess, so the show (and the first dance) is "Dance of the MotherGoddess".
I wish I could convey to you what that show was like. Amazing. Wonderful. Way better than Bellydance Superstars. This show should be on the road. It takes the viewer on a journey - the history and evolution of belly dance from its roots in the Mother Goddess rituals through the folk dances of North Africa and the Middle East (such as gahwazee, Algerian and the Tea Tray dance) to today with hip hop belly dance fusion and props such as veils and swords.
The opening had a processional of all the dancers coming down the aisles to the stage. The energy and joy they projected was emotionally overwhelming for me. I cried all the way through the entrance. One of the other non-belly dance performances that does that to me is Ben and Shalene Ermis dancing to O Mio Bambino Caro. I have it on tape and every time I watch it, I cry. The love for the dance and each other just pours out of the screen. See? Even as I am thinking about it right now, I am tearing up. 'Scuse me. *tissue dab*
I went up to talk to Suhaila about my injury and how it was affecting my dance. My roommates encouraged me to do so. She gave me some recommendations to take back to my physical therapist. "Tell him your your dance teacher said to do..."
"My dance teacher."
Suhaila called herself my dance teacher. I nearly squealed. I did scream when she was rolling my thigh - it hurt! She has hands like vice grips. 38 years of zil playing will do that.
Few people live up to the hype that sounds them. Fewer still exceed expectations. She launched past any pre-conceived notion I had about her and her teaching style.
I plan to go to California (eep!) to attend her Level-1 Certification workshop in later this year. After really being exposed to she and her mother's technique, I can see how it can and does transform the dance. Her mother is truly the root of belly dance in America, along with Ibrahim Farrar (who passed away a while ago). Total East Coast/West Coast drama, but according to Suhaila they loved each other and danced together often. Many of the terms we use are terms Jamilla Salimpour created. Maya. Turkish Drop. Basic Egyptian. I had no idea how much of an impact her mother had on my dancing. I can't wait to meet her.
She is 80 years old and still teaches! "And she will kick your butt, too." Can you imagine it? She has been dancing since the 1940's. 60 years devoted to her craft. The amount of knowledge and experience she has is likely to never be paralleled. Except for maybe Suhaila or her daughter (who is a doll-baby! You just want to put her on a shelf. So cute and so sweet.)
On my way home, I was listening to some songs that I have danced to in the past. I was seeing them in a whole new way after the choreography session this weekend. I heard new elements in the music. "If my feet went half time, then I could do interior hip squares full time... layer that with a undulation up to down..... while turning 6 counts to the right. Stop and turn 6 counts to the left." so you can see how complicated this art form can really be.
I am definitely blessed to have been a part of it and my dancing will be much better for it.
And it was all way better than Bellydance Superstars. Yeah - I'm saying it again 'cause it needs to be said. This isn't a smack to the dancers in that show (several of them are former students of Suhaila) but there isn't real variety in the show as compared to Bal Anat. There is no history. No depth. No real emotional experience for the viewer. Sure, you are entertained by pretty girls in cute costumes who are technically very good dancers with years of training in multiple dance styles but... it lacks depth. I would follow Bal Anat around the country like people follow(ed) the Dead or Widespread Panic.