Click here for SFR on MySpace

Friday, April 29, 2005

Burrito Lockdown

My favorite news story at the moment is an AP story titled School Mistakes Huge Burrito for a Weapon which happened in Clovis, NM. Basically, someone saw a boy go into school carrying something "long and wrapped" Authorities were called, the school went into lockdown, armed officers on rooftops etc. It turned out to be a 30 inch burrito a boy had made as part of an extra credit assignment to create commercial advertising for a product.

"We had to make up a product and it could have been anything. I made up a restaurant that specialized in oddly large burritos," the kid with the burrito reportedly said.

I like a story like this for the following reasons:

1. No one got hurt
2. 75 parents pulled their kids out of school that day, even after the weapon had been identified as a burrito, proving once and for all that having offspring turns people into completely irrational creatures and
3. It's a story involving burritos which are, of course, the greatest invention ever

On another note, my publisher advised me that the best way to deal with irrationally angry readers is to not engage and tell them your opinions, but to just ask them questions. I tried this on my friend Megan at lunch today, but it didn't work very well. Of course, she wasn't irrationally angry, so perhaps that was why.
I think the reason this works so well for Andy is because he doesn't take it personally when people call and scream at him. I don't take it personally per se, but I feel sort of stricken, sometimes, when I realize how poorly people are thinking things through, and I'm not sure asking questions would calm them down. I sort of envision it going like this.

Random Reader: Julia, I am really pissed off at you for that cover.
Me: Why are you so angry?
RR: It's sexist and degrading and pornographic.
Me: How do you define pornography?
RR: I define it by looking at it and that cover is pornographic.
Me: Are you aware that defining materials as pornographic has been debated by some of the greatest legal minds of our times and even they were unable to do it?
RR: What? Look, your cover sucks.
Me: Do you mean you don't like it aesthetically?
RR: You suck too
Me: As a person? Or as an editor?
RR: Both. Your paper sucks, you suck and I'm never reading that rag again. It used to be great back in 1975 but now it sucks.
Me: Did you find you liked most things better back in 1975?

OK, I could go on like this for hours, but perhaps I'll go back to work instead.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Is My Head Still Attached to my Body?

I am having an odd week. Not sure what is making it odd, exactly, but I've made a choice not to blame it on the weather. (Although, my goodness, it is windy right now).
Am mostly trying to recover from the Anman production cycle (saw the proofs yesterday), the wedding events (saw some pics yesterday, quite lovely) and The flap over our Fred Phelps story (have made conscious decision not to go on tirade about freedom of the press, information versus silence).
Last night I went to hear/see journalist Zelie Pollon's wonderful presentation on her Iraq trip. It was very powerful and important information and I was so pleased to see such a good attendence. You can read Zelie's story for us on her experiences here
Prior to embedding with the Army, Zelie's work focused on interviewing/documenting Iraqis and her Baghdad Project is, in my mind, some of the most inclusive and interesting journalism on the experience for the people of Iraq that I've seen.

Friday, April 22, 2005

wedding by the stupa

heather and brad
heather and brad,
originally uploaded by votergirl.
All will be relieved, upon viewing this snapshot, to know that I was not the official wedding photographer for the nuptials of Heather Marold and Brad Thomason, now to be known henceforth as Mr. and Mrs. Thomason.
I was, however, honored to be one of a dozen folks assembled in the blazing sunlight at an undisclosed Santa Fe location to witness the ceremony, which was one of the nicest I've ever been to (and I've been to a fair number of weddings, although, for some reason, I think I've been to more funerals than weddings, which is ridiculous and not an appropriate topic here anyway).
There were several components of this wedding that made it wonderful and I list them here in no particular order.

1. Lack of rigor. The wedding was pushed back half an hour, because there was no reason to rush.
2. Intimate. The smallness of the wedding gave it a special feeling, and made it feel more like a family/friend event, rather than the witnessing of a State of the Union address.
3. The vows. These vows included pledges by bride and groom to love one another's pets (Francine and Turtle, respectively). Now, for non-animal people this might seem odd, but it's important to love your significant other's animal, kind of like loving their child from a previous marriage, really. Also, Brad's friend, Mike, who performed the wedding, did so with just the right combination of seriousness and humor.
4. Chocolate with green chile pistachio nuts and champagne. No need to say more.
5. Lack of religious sentiment. I realize this might not appeal to some, but I appreciated it. I think the only religious comments might have been the groom's mother inquiring if anyone attending was a Buddhist (none of us were).
6. Lack of copious weeping. This is a reference to my own behavior. I have a tendency to begin sobbing at weddings and was relieved that this did not happen.
7. Lack of singing. I realize most weddings don't include singing, but I once attended a Mormon wedding (don't ask. I don't know why I was invited to a mormon wedding), during which one of the bridesmaids sang a song about love and its resemblence to puppies, and broke down sobbing in the middle of it. It was a scarring event—at least for me.
8. Heather's dress. Most brides are beautiful and Heather was no exception, but even the most wary of shoppers (ahem) can occasionally end up at their wedding looking like a creampuff. Heather looked like a bride in Vogue magazine.
9. Location, location, location. Hard to understand why anyone would get married in Santa Fe and not stand on a cliff surrounded by the mountains. Heather and Brad took pains to find a beautiful spot and it paid off.
10. Lack of horrible wipe-out climbing hill to lookout in three-inch heels. I find it odd that while I often fall over for no reason, I managed to climb up and down to Heather and Brad's wedding in three inch heels AND a skirt (I had the sense Heather wanted me to not wear my jeans to her wedding), without falling face first into a pile of dirt. I think the fact that neither I, nor anyone else, wiped out added a special magical quality to a day already infused with great feelings of love and happiness.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Yes, it's true. I've just signed off on the final pages of Annual Manual. I'm in a bit of a state of shock that it's actually done. The euphoria has not quite set in yet, although I can feel the adrenelin slowly burning away. It's 4 pm and I'm taking off tomorrow to attend Heather and Brad's wedding and, well, sleep and catch up on all the little details of life that I've had no choice but to let go for the last few weeks.
Hopefully on Friday I'll be re-energized and blogging about something OTHER than Annual Manual. Until then…

Look Out Santa Fe

danbo, jg
danbo, jg,
originally uploaded by votergirl.
There are a variety of reasons I am looking forward to the summer. Warm weather, warm nights, longer days, Darius' new swimming pool (!) and, last but so not least, the return of Dan Frosch to Santa Fe.
Dan, as some of you may recall, is a former SFR staff writer. These days he resides in NY but has continued writing for SFR, and was the lead writer for a story commissioned by the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies about soldiers in Iraq returning home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

It's a great and compelling story and if you missed it you can read it here
Now there are several reasons to be excited Dan is returning to Santa Fe. One is he's a fun & wacky guy. But more (or perhaps equally) important, he's a great reporter and he'll be writing for SFR this summer. Stay tuned, folks. Summer is almost here.

Monday, April 18, 2005

My Oldest Dearest Friend Sonya

has requested her name be prominant in this entry and now it is. She also just sent me a link to a case she worked on in Switzerland, which is this huge restitution case for Holocaust victims. Now, for those of you who don't know Sonya, being a lawyer in Switzerland is only the latest of her long and storied career. She also has been a lawyer in Holland, a fisherwoman in Alaska, a private detective in Seattle, a cop reporter in Seattle and, along with me, a bench painter in Santa Fe, NM.
In other news…well, I'm kind of obsessed with the moment about the whole black smoke through the chimney of the sistine chappel to keep people apprised of the pope vote. Wish we could do something comparable at SFR: emit smoke through the chimney to let people know when the paper is finished. Or maybe I could just be allowed to smoke at my desk when the paper is finished.
Spent way too many hours at the cowgirl this weekend. All that summer weather demanded margaritas. Also, had Heather and Brad for the weekend, who are now about town looking for somewhere to get married later in the week. I like a laid-back wedding. We go to press Wednesday with An Man. H & B get married Thursday. And on Friday night…well, you will probably find me somewhere drinking something. In the meantime, must barrell through the weekend papers. Noticed El Mitote ripped off our brief on the Huddy Pfeffer situation last week, which is odd as why didn't they write it a week before…everyone already knew.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Journalists Gone Wild

Jonanna, Zane and I have discovered a quick way to rouse our spirits here in the dog days of Annual Manual. We play the theme song to The Mary Tyler Moore song and dance around. Why is that song so uplifting? Do I have a Mary Tyler Moore complex? Well, sure, divorcee journalist and all that. "We're gonna make it after all!" OK, I'm spinning around now and throwing my hat in the air. Actually, I don't have a hat. Yesterday I tried to throw my hair tie in the air, but I got sort of dizzy from lack of sunlight and fell over.
Hmm. Houseguests this weekend. My friend Heather Marold and Brad (?), who are en fianced and getting married in SF next week. I had very little time to clean and prepare for them, but hopefully there are no piles of dog hair in the guest room.
The traffic sucks today. I made my first foray out of the office during daytime hours and got stuck in all sorts of hell. But it couldn't be avoided. Out of cigarettes and all that.
Yuck! I am so freaking disgusting right now it's unbelievable. I have been living on: coffee, diet coke, American spirits and BackRoad Pizza (delivered all week to our office). I've barely made it to the gym, I accidentally inhaled a moth ball last night (and now will surely die) and, for what it's worth, the air quality in this building stinks right now (literally) due to all the adrenelin pumping through the building.
Are you jealous? Don't you wish you were a journalist now?
OK, am breathing. Sorry this is so non-newsy. This is personal news. I am completely gross and counting the SECONDS to next Thursday when I am going to: sleep in, drink 7 quarts of water, get my toes done and possibly engage in some sort of detoxification process.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

water bills, downtown and the hell that is my life

Let's start with the last item.
Annual Manual. I know, bitch, bitch, moan, moan, but seriously. I am living on pizza crusts, my house is a wreck, my brain is a worse wreck. You try to put out a 200 page guide book in between editing a weekly paper. Go ahead. I dare you.
Ahem. Blogging with bitterness. Bliggering? Blittering? Something.
In the daily news. A Santa Fe couple is suing the water dept. at the City for mis-managing their water bill. I know the feeling. I've never sued the city, but I did carry around a huge manilla file for a year and a half at one point that contained copies of all my bills, cancelled checks, correspondence with the city (that appeared to have been translated to English from German since I, communications specialist, could make neither head nor tails of it).
Downtown tension between special event groups and merchants. I don't understand this at all. Yes, in the summer a fair number of booths et. al line the downtown streets. Do they really impact local merchants that badly? Are there some good numbers on this? Don't events that bring people downtown benefit downtown merchants? Or do people really eschew their shops? I will say that downtown events impact SFR's parking lot on the weekends. But you know what? If I didn't have to work every weekend I WOULDN'T MIND.
OK, back to work. Stop ranting, Julia. So tacky.

Monday, April 11, 2005


Well, my weekend is a blur. On the one hand, there's the 15 or so hours spent at this very desk working on Annual Manual (don't get me started). Then there also was a fair amount of fun. It began at Ohkay Casino in San Juan Pueblo Friday night, where Darius, Grace, Jonanna and I met up with Ruben and Angela to check out Morris Day and The Time. Jonanna and I have been singing Jungle Love to each other (not to each other actually, more at each other) nonstop for about a week. What a great show. Totally crazy, and it ended magnificently with Darius getting his album signed by Day, Jerome and Jelly Bean. Then Saturday night it was a great party at SFR Publisher Andy Dudzik's house where we watched the Trading Spaces premiere featuring Andy and Pamela Thompson. I thought the show turned out great—and Andy's green chile is always a must-have. Now it's cold/sunny/warm/allergy/snowing in Santa Fe and Annual Manual continues to suck my life blood, but as long as I remember the eternal words of Morris Day I think I'll be OK.

U - U've got a pretty car
I think I wanna drive it (drive it)
I ain't playin', said I drive a little dangerous
Take U 2 my crib, rip U off ... huh! (Jungle love)

C'mon—you know you wanna hear it.

Jungle Love clip

Friday, April 08, 2005

A New Public Editor

The New York Times has hired a new public editor to replace Daniel Okrent, whose 18 month contract is up. I'm kind of glad. A few of Okrent's columns have been terribly fascinating to me, as a journalist, and we've used them in our editorial meetings, but in part because his conclusions seemed so specious and wrong that it required us to rethink a reporting problem from the ground up. Still, it's always interesting to see The Times deconstruct itself, so I hope the new public editor, who does come from a journalist background, will do more thinking and reporting on The Times, and less publishing of letters from readers.

Jeff Branch...AAGH

OK, disclaimer: I write this less as the editor of SFR and more as a southside resident whose house is under constant encroachment by Jeff Branch who, not satisifed with approval for San Isidro Village, now wants another 74 acre development. Guess where friends? Oh, my backyard, where I walk my nice dogs everyday, which has been undeveloped open space for, for, forever, and one of the few tracts left in Santa Fe County not crammed with cheap stores and cheap houses, but actual genuine open space. How can the city keep annexing these huge tracts of land? I thought we had a water problem. And why does the county keep letting them do it? If all these undeveloped acres become shopping centers, what is left of rural Santa Fe? The roads on our end of town can barely accommodate current traffic, and most of them have just been redone in the last few years anway. There's schoolkids everywhere walking home all the time and they want to put in a massive shopping center? Why? The Alberson's on Zafarano looks like it's on the verge of bankruptcy as it is. No one has any money to spend. There's video stores within 2 miles of that very area. Not to mention, wasn't Santa Fe just ranked the third most sprawling city of its size in the US. Does anyone in the city planning regions and policy making ranks even give a shit about this stuff anymore? And this isn't a case of NIMBY. Any person who lives on the southside already spends half their time in traffic, stuck behind big trucks, adjacent to some kind of construction or commercial venture. We're hardly spoiled with the largess of unimpeded views and sprawling valleys. This is about larger questions like, I thought these kinds of projects were generally agreed to suck. It's more big box construction, more chain stores, more bad housing (has anyone looked at just how many houses there are on the southside being built and not yet sold. Slow down already. At least let people move into them). And yes, Virginia, where will the water be coming from? Jesus, did Jeff Branch make a deal with the Devil or something? So much for our anti-growth city council. Apparently the only place they care enough about to stop growth is downtown (where re-development makes sense) but on the southside where, oh, those poor people in the county live, why bother.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

There's Something in My Eye

Sometimes I feel as though I am writing a weather weblog—an undertaking I am not qualified and one I can't imagine anyone would have much interest in but, jeez, what was up with the wind last night? I was at the gym, as I usually am most evenings, and it was extremely deserted. Then, driving home, I noticed there were no cars on the road. I then observed what seemed to be a mini-tornado sweeping the town. I was struck, at that point, by the realization that I might be about to experience an ironic death, one in which I was swept away in a tornado that I, newshound, didn't even know was happening. But, friends, I have lived to blog another day. Guess it was just a wind storm or, rather, a dirt storm. My eyes still haven't recovered from the mistake of rolling down my window at one point. I think an entire chamisa bush flew into my right eye.
Onto other news. Oh wait, the only other news these days is the pope's funeral and successor. Now, as one might have gleaned, I am not a person with a HUGE amount of religious feeling, although I try not to begrudge other's theirs. However, I am a bit surprised that the Pope's funeral is being covered in this non-stop manner, as if everything else had ceased to exist. I also am surprised by the venom with which other non-religious feeling type friends of mine seem to experience over this event. I don't feel angry, just mildly bored at this point and wishing CNN et. al might turn a bit attention to Alberto Gonzales' testimony about The Patriot Act.
Senate hearings are about to begin. You can get up to speed, although this NYT article isn't particularly illuminating, here:
NY Times Article on Patriot Act renewal
What else? Well, closer to home prison guards, apparently, miss The Duran Consent Decree which, in addition to helping prisoners, was apparently of help to guards as well. One of those rare times when the master and servant are served mutually, apparently.
And our good old friend, City Councilor David Pfeffer, apparently wants to join The MinuteMen in guarding the border for illegal immigrants. That's lovely. I think the Council should pay to send him there…for as long as he wants.

Monday, April 04, 2005

the next pope

Have to say I love the idea of a black, Latino or Jewish pope. Read why that's a possibility in this Slate article. Maybe it that happens, US presidents will follow.

ww wins pulitzer

Just learned that our sister paper, The Willamette Week, in Portland, Ore., won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. You can learn more about that at AAN's website
I am expecting any day now to win a Pultizer for drudgeful Annual Manual production, or perhaps the Nobel Peace Prize for taking a constant load of shit and not screaming.
Probably not.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Did Guns Lose NM for Kerry?

The Nation has an article today calledDemocrat Killer that makes the argument that the Democrats could have won in NM in 2004 were it not for the gun issue, and goes on to talk about how Richardson and other western politicians understand that guns are a wedge issue in the state.
I, personally, would never have thought for a minute it made much difference. Since that concealed weapon law passed, only, maybe, 2000 people have applied for permits.
Oh Richardson. Oh Democrats. Oh The Nation.
Read it.

No Time for Me

Not to be all whiny, but Annual Manual leaves very little time for me to do write, think or do much of anything. I'm looking at the next few weekends slaving at my desk, my eyesight worsening, my temper being stretched to the end of its—admittedly—not very long tether. So, while I have many thoughts this morning on: The Pope, Terri Shiavo, journalism education (not so much thoughts, as a book list I wanted to post). I'm going to leave it at this. Alternet syndicated a very interesting essay about the recent murder spree on the Indian reservation, written by a 25-year-old Native American writer. You can read it here. Hopefully, more later...