Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Working on frivolity during tragedy

At work, I always have what the AP calls "the A wire" open on our internal network on the computer. The A wire carries all national stories. They are in black except if stories are marked "urgent" or are news alerts, they are in red. On Monday, I saw a quick news alert that said 1 person killed and 20 others wounded in a shooting at Virginia Tech. There was one before that that said 1 person killed, 8 wounded. I hate to say it, but I didn't think much except how fortunate it was that only 1 person died. Then less than 30 minutes later, I saw another headline in red that said "21 dead, 20 wounded." And know what the final numbers were. The shock of seeing those stats change. I was horrified and in disbelief.

I felt silly working on my assignment for the day: Last week, our New York City bureau covered a Queens couple who planned to take the longest taxi ride of their lives by hailing a cab tomove to Sedona, Ariz. It ran under Odd News. It got a lot of attention from New York press and media in other countries. At first, we were just going to arrange for a photographer to shoot them as they arrived in Sedona. But then the NYC bureau asked us to follow up with the couple, Bob and Betty Matas, as soon as they reached Sedona. Well, guess who had the fun task of interviewing them on the phone from Phoenix? As people were trying to get information about the carnage at Virginia Tech, I was speaking to the Matases about how their cats, Cleopatra and Pretty Face, survived the road trip. Anyway, I realize that was my job and this sort of story was interesting to people. But, I just had the Virginia Tech community in the back of my mind as I was working on it.

I am not exaggerating about the interest in Bob and Betty, however. Simply Google my name with "taxi cab," and you'll see my story ran in a lot of major newspapers and I made Yahoo!'s front page. Here's a link:
NYC couple complete 2,500-mile cab ride
And I have to say, quirky is fun to work on. This was figuratively and literally an assignment off the beaten news path.

BTW, I was one of those Asian Americans who, upon first hearing the gunman described as a young man of Asian descent, said "Oh crap!" Not that I would enjoy finding out he was of some other nationality or race. It's just, I think for Asians living in the U.S., we are used to being underrepresented. To be publicly "represented" in one of the worst ways imaginable, you can't help but feel a bit of shame, as though this psycho is a distant relative. And I too worry somewhat about backlash in the form of hate crimes against Asians. But at the end of the day, "we" have nothing to feel bad about because "we" are not responsible. And any sane person of any creed, race, religion or nationality will know that too.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Nuts about cupcakes

I ventured into cupcake-land again and attempted to make peanut butter cupcakes shaped and frosted to look like peanut shells. I'd say my presentation needs work. I mean, if I have to explain to people what the cupcake is supposed to look like...well at least they are somewhat close. Too bad my mixer overheated and now is unusable! The things one does in the pursuit of baking.

The culinary experiment wasn't a complete dud. I discovered the joy of tips--I don't mean post-meal money though those are always good. Tips for piping out icing. This is the first time I used one because usually, I get lazy about putting on frosting. But it was fun squeezing the piping bag and making a big, gooey mess. The artistic possibilities also make the whole frosting thing pretty invigorating. I plan to expand my tip repertoire some day.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

No idling on 'Idol'

The latest "hard-news" story the bureau had me working on yesterday was a piece on "American Idol," namely the contestant from Glendale, Ariz. Jordin Sparks. A name that will be part of my consciousness for a while. She's pretty talented and she's only 17 years old!

I wish her much success. However, is it wrong that the lazy part of me wouldn't mind if she didn't make it to the top two? This means I will have to cover her and the show for a loooong time to come. I know, you guys probably think it's strange since I'm Ms. Entertainment Reporting. But I just never have been able to get into "American Idol." Sometimes it's so manufactured and ridiculous. Mediocre performers get their 15 minutes and that bugs me. And not that I don't think Jordin deserves success, but the idea that I may have to forego my Tuesday night at the shelter to drive an hour in traffic to Glendale to attend one of the city's viewing parties...I'd rather go to the dentist. And I'll probably have to go cover some cheesy events when she comes back after the show's over. Don't these winners always get things like a day named in their honor, a key to the city, a Swiss bank account, etc.

Here's a link to my story. It's a profile on Jordin, how the city has been promoting her and the Jordin loyalists--they're not all tween girls!

Fans wish Idol contestant sweet success