Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sunday - Laurapolooza finale

I woke up Sunday morning to find out that my roommate and suitemates had stayed for the pageant. They got home around 2:30. Honestly, I was so tired by the time we got back that I was glad we skipped it.
I finished packing and loaded the rental car. It was parked near the dining hall. I went in to have a bite and to say goodbye to everyone. It was such a fun time. I enjoyed meeting everyone and hope to be able to go to the next one in 2012. I hope my vacation time will work out. I heard about the Anne of Green Gables seminar on PEI that was the month before and is in 2012. They should stagger those so they aren't the same year.
I stopped to get a Mt. Dew at a gas station. I know I've said it before, but I blame the many teenagers I've hung around for this. Either that or I don't like hot drinks or brown soft drinks, which rules out a lot of other choices for caffeine. I'd lost the satellite radio so I spent a lot of time scanning the radio and missing my SYNC. I exited at the Mall of America to fill up the car before I returned it. There are no gas stations near the mall! Seriously, why would that be? I started looking out for them, but with little luck. I took the airport exit. The only choice from there is the airport. I had to circle through the airport, then go back to another exit. Finally, I was able to fill up the car. I drove back to the airport and dropped off the car. I grabbed my luggage. It's quite a bit heavier after the three new sets of towels, a set of sheets, and three different times at the Walnut Grove table/bookstore. I get to the check-in - Minneapolis doesn't have curbside check-in, sigh. Joyfully, the flight is overbooked, but my luggage is within the weight requirements! I again walked to the terminal. This involved two trams, several escalators to go through four terminals. I checked in and found that they would give me $300 if I was willing to be bumped. What did I have to get home to do? I accepted because I found that they'd give me dinner as well. I started reading one of my new books since I couldn't get online. After four days, I was going into withdrawal! The two people didn't make the flight, so no money, no dinner, but I did get a free drink ticket. I got a dry white wine, so I have something for recipes. Since any wine we buy is sweet. The flight was uneventful, and I arrived home.
To wrap this up, I thought I might add some comments and suggestions.
1. Roger Lea MacBride's daughter - invite her to speak. She controls the rights, and I don't know if we have ever heard from her. She must have some thoughts about it that to me would be interesting to hear.
2. Stephen Hines - Again someone who has devoted a lot of time to digging through old records and published some books about Laura.
3. I have ideas but no idea where to start. Some of the business aspect of the marketing of the books, the effect of the tourism dollars on the towns as well as the larger community. In other words, Brookings and Mitchell, SD have visitors stay there. How much of their tourism is driven by visitors to De Smet. I'm sure this is true for other towms as well.
4. A few more breaks. I wouldn't want to cut anything out, but a little more time to grab a drink or go to the restroom and not miss anything would be nice.
5. Better to-pack lists. I forgot hangers aren't provided in dorms. I think the towel issue was a surprise to the committess, and won't be a problem because it will be mentioned next time.
6. Internet access in the dorms. I think going along with that the college needs to know that those coming in are different from those coming for orientation. I had a discussion with the guy at the bell desk because they weren't going to alter their check out hourse just because people needed to leave earlier. For one day, they can open earlier rather than me missing a plane.
7. I liked the make & take crafts. I know there were quite a bit of leftovers. I'm wondering if the crafts could have been in the bags we got at check-in. Have a place to complete them, but this way everyone does get one.

Just a few tweaks. I want to stress this really was the most fun I had over the summer.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Laurapolooza - Saturday

I bet you thought I was going to leave you hanging. It's been over a month. No, it's just that I keep trying to get different things accomplished during the day (say find a job) that this gets pushed off. Here it is - the last day of Laurapolooza. Now there will be one more post after this talking about going home and wrapping up my impressions.
The first speaker of the day was Wendy Corsi Staub. Evidently, she's a best selling author. Unfortunately, I've never read any of her books, so maybe I've missed something. Her talk was about how the Little House books affected her writing. Except, I wasn't sure how they did that. It felt like she was a fan, but that there wasn't much she added that any one of us in attendance couldn't have given the same talk.
Next up was a second talk by Ann Weller Dahl. I don't remember much. Something about her tone or her take on the topic just struck me as very dry. I, also, had the impression that she believes that since she is a teacher, her job is more important to the world than any other job and she's not shy about letting us know that.
The last item was a panel discussion, "Loving Laura in a Lindsay Lohan World." Lindsay had obliged to make that reference very, very current. It was great. Everyone sharing how the books affected their lives. I found out the woman who had a book coming out, who recognized me from Twitter, was actually Twittering as Halfpint Ingalls. This is going to sound wierd, but I like the LiveJournal community, 1Bruce1, that mocks the Sweet Valley series. The publisher of the new book is courting them for publicity. I mainly lurk. But the authors excitedly follow Halfpint Ingalls who may follow me. Small world and kinda fun. Does any of that previous paragraph make sense to you?
It was time for the spelling bee and tin pail lunch. Mom and I had made a period costume for me, after the blog suggested we dress up for this and the ice cream social (but I was to late for that) I dressed in the morning since I doubted I would have time to go back. Waiting for my suitemates to go to breakfast, I heard one of the attendees say to her husband, "I'll never understand the compulsion to dress like Laura." First, if you knew me, you'd know that dressing up like that isn't something I do. Or that the new outfit may have doubled the number of dresses in my closet. Second, read the blog. You were asked to dress up. I managed to spell apropos correctly after four people missed it. Go Me!!! But I lost my place on the second word, grammactical. Oh well. We started the meal. The buffet was quite good. However the meal was marred by the attack of the helicopter parent next to our table. I'm not going to dish on the details, but suffice to say it was Exhibit A on the problems with helicopter parenting: failure to realize your adult child exists apart from you. I, also, found out that Laura and her husband Jim wouldn't be going on to Walnut Grove. I so enjoyed meeting them and having an official photographer when any of us wanted our picture taken. ;)
I changed into modern clothing and met down in the lobby to see if anyone wanted ot car pool with me to Walnut Grove. It's over a two hour drive. We'd be returning late, and we might as well save on the gas. I ended up riding with Melanie. She's from New Hampshire and is developing a first person portrayal of Laura. She was dressed in a very authentic costume all week. We had fun driving. She found a notepad, in a thrift shop, from the 1915 PanPacific World's Fair in San Francisco that Laura attended (See West from Home and tell me if you don't wish that 1. the tower of jewels was still standing and 2. if you don't want a scone.) I am soo jealous. We arrived and toured the gift shop. Yes, I had personally assured that they could pay the staff for that day. Then I hurried down to meet the bus. I stopped to hear the end of Dean Butler's talk. Things learned 1. I'm not sure one of the attendees understood the difference between the real people and actors. I sort of think she thought he had dated Laura Ingalls. Evidently, he married the actress that played Donna's mother on 90210 in real life. Never knew that. 2. The kiss at the end of Sweet Sixteen was Melissa's first kiss. Her Mom's crying ruined the first two takes. I guess it's good she wasn't Danica McKeller's mother on the Wonder Years when Winnie and Kevin had their first kiss at 12. So many people were waiting in line for autographs. I walked onto the bus with another conference attendee, and we commented on the access we had all week. There was never 250 waiting in line in front of us. She was Australia. This is the power of Laura - would Walnut Grove and Mankato be your first choice of vacation locations? Would you fly for twenty-four hours to reach there? She was excited to find out the tour was on school buses as they don't have those in Australia. Those of us who are Americans were shocked that this could be a good adventure to someone. The tour was good. Pretty much the same as the one we took in 1986. It was a little off in that the tour guide pointed out some things that are conventional wisdom, like Laura simply didn't remember that it was Nellie Owens not Nellie Oleson. When most agree that it was a conscious choice to have the less favorable characters with disguised names (ie. Bouchie become Brewster, Powers became Pryor) and that Nellie was actually a combination of three girls. We saw the pageant site and other highlights of the town. We went out to Plum Creek where most people went wading. I did that a couple years ago. I knew I was going to be doing a lot of walking, so I had worn gym shoes and socks. Since I didn't want to walk around with wet socks, I skipped it.
We came back and went into the community center for dinner. It was a nice barbeque dinner. I highly recommend it if you are going to Walnut Grove for the pageant. I was lucky enough to be sitting near some Wilder insiders. It was interesting. I found it interesting that at least one said they would be a lot more comfortable if Alison Angrim's book was titled "Confessions of a Prairie Brat" instead of "Confessions of a Prairie Bitch." I made sure my ride was going to wait for me to head out to the pageant site, and I went SHOPPING. There's an antique store that had some fantastic Little House on the Prairie scrapbooking supplies. Then I went to the Oleson's Merchantile to buy an Italian link bracelet for my aunt's birthday. I may have picked up a charm for myself to go with the bracelet I bought two years ago. I then wandered around town for awhile taking photos of Main Street, Highway 14 (the Wilder Memorial Highway) and myself by the Ingalls St. sign (the flash reflected so you can't tell why I'm standing by a street sign :( ). The forecasted rain was starting while we headed out to the pageant site. We got there to the news that we should wait in the car for half an hour. Melanie and I proceeded to watch one of the scarier thunderstoms I've ever seen. We watched it move in. We watched lightening go over 180 degrees around us. After two hours, they started letting us in. It was 10:30 pm and still lightening. We decided to start the two and a half hour drive back to Mankato. It went, well, the ligtening was still happening, in fact it stayed with us all the way back to Mankato. I don't know if it's because it's the flat prairie, but I've never seen a storm last for four hours! One cloud kept lighting up and in the flashing light looked like a funnel cloud. Luckily, it wasn't. We stopped in a Sleepy Eye gas station to pick up drinks. Remember how they were always hauling things to Sleepy Eye? We pulled out talking about how quiet the Prius was which was wierd. We had went about a block when we saw flashing lights, lights flashing at us. Turns out we didn't have the headlights on, but we got off with a warning. We were both exhausted by the time we got back to the dorm. I started packing up what I could so that I wouldn't have to get up quite so early in the morning. I was going to type up this blog after that, however I was just so tired that I fell asleep.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Justice for Bear-Bear

Recopied from Meeshka's world -

Justice for Bear-Bear
Everypup, kitty, hamsterrier... I have something very serious that I want all of you to do.

On Monday, 2 August 2010, in my community, a wonderful husky named Bear-Bear was shot and killed in a local community dog park.

Bear-Bear was adopted from Tails of the Tundra Siberian Husky Rescue, which is where Sam the Spineless Bionic Hip/Knee pup, and Loki came from.

On Monday, while Bear was playing in the fenced in dog park, like he did most nights at the same time, an off duty DoD officer arrived with his wife, and his German Shepherd, Asia, on leash. According to Bear's caretaker, the dogs were playing, when the Officer felt they were playing too rough, demanded the caretaker get Bear, then stepped back, pulled a 9mm handgun and shot Bear.

Anne Arundel County Police and Animal Control arrived and proceeded to stand outside the fenced area questioning the officer and Bear's guardian, while Bear lay on the dirt dying. Witness accounts say that they treated the officer like an old friend, while they held a taser on the guardian and wouldn't let him enter the pen and help Bear. Eventually he was allowed in, Bear was loaded on a stretcher and taken to the Annapolis Emergency Vet. Nothing could be done to save Bear, as the bullet (a hollow point) had pierced several of Bear's internal organs. He was put to sleep.

The Officer stated that Bear had jumped on his dog and bit him, then when the Officer tried to get Bear off his dog, Bear lunged and tried to bite him then bit his dog a second time. Witnesses, who the police did not interview say otherwise. Animal Control did not file a report because they found no bite marks or injuries to either dog, except for Bear's lethal gunshot wound.

County police closed the case and stated that there was no criminal charges.

We need your help! A massive social network movement is underway to get justice for Bear-Bear! We have succeeded in informing the County Executive to re-open this case. We want you to keep the pressure on the county, the county police, and the Federal Officer's workplace. His employer currently states that no charges will be filed and he will be returning to work tomorrow (5 August 2010).

It doesn't matter if you live in Anne Arundel County Maryland, please call and demand justice for Bear:

John Leopold, Anne Arundel County Executive
(410) 222-1821

Anne Arundel County Police Western District
(410) 222-6155

Fort Myer Public Relations (Officer's workplace)
(703) 696-0596
Director of Public Affairs
(703) 696-4979

John the facebook support page:
and the Justice for Bear-Bear support page on Facebook