people. Senegal. Music…. yum
I never really talk about my lil sis Roxi on this here blog, but today she did something SO cool. Something I am so proud of her for. It’s actually kind of a touchy subject, and it even involves CITY OFFICIALS and such, so I’m going to wait and write about it later, probably next week, after she has another meeting about the … umm.. thing. Since I’m not writing about how awesome and brave my sister is, I’ll just post these photos I took on X-mas 2008. The second one is my favorite, because it is exactly how I picture my sister when her face pops into my head. It also reminds me that she is the only human being on the entire earth who has the exact same sense of humor as me. Exact. She got blue eyes. I got brown. She’s blonde. I have some brown/reddish/dirty blonde concoction on my head. But damn it — put us alone in a room and if we’re not pulling each other’s hair out, we’re probably laughing at something no one else in the world thinks is funny. I love you sis! and I’m proud of you!
I read newspapers and magazines. A lot. So, of course, I get to read about how DOOMSDAY is right around the corner every time I open up a new browser window to scan the headlines. I could start ranting about journalistic practices right now, but I won’t.
Instead, what I will do, is share some cool facts I’ve learned while researching my next story, which is basically a business/academic hybrid story. I’m having another ‘research is so fun’ day, as I’ve been reading about companies and whether they invest in research and development during recessions, I’ve found some startling stuff. Although, I think it shouldn’t be that startling if you’re a fan of logic when it comes to economics, but I promised not to get on my soapbox, so here are just the cool facts I wanted to share..
As the ever-wise Warren Buffett says, it’s not completely some brilliant secret how he got rich (and which I feel is a great quote in general):
“We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.”
So here’s where I’m going with this…. during a recession, which is what they keep saying were in, that’s when all the COOL stuff happens. That’s when the geniuses and the brave souls barrel forward and innovate and put some really good ideas out there. Prove it, you say? So glad you asked..
1. Kraft launched Miracle Whip during the Great Depression, because people were bored of their normal ‘at-home’ meals of veggies, salads and sammies.
2. Henri Luce launched Fortune Magazine during the Great Depression, because, well, it was kind of obvious that perhaps people should know more about the Markets.
3. Chuck Taylor invented the modern basketball during the Great Depression, because people had a lot more time on their hands and needed a cheap game!
4. The Brazilian Coffee Institute was facing a crisis: They had so much coffee beans they couldn’t sell, so they asked Nestle to invest in the research and development to make a coffee that you could dilute in hot water, with still retaining the flavor. Voila, Nescafe — the first instant coffee — was born seven years later.
5. The Great Depression wasn’t the only ‘good times.’ Savings and Loan Crisis in the 80s? MTV launched then.
6. And that recession in the early 200s? During that time Apple launched the iPod and iTunes.
So here’s my point, to, you know — all those big wigs who read my blog: STOP FREAKING OUT JUST BECAUSE EVERYONE SAYS TO FREAK OUT. and just think of some new ideas already. Geesh.
I’m thinking about taking a new approach to this whole photoblog thing. Not a drastically new approach, but there a couple of thoughts…
1. I want to do more multimedia, so I think instead of posting 3-4 times a week, I might post 1-2 times with video/sound slide projects.
2. I also want to do more religion reporting. Because I don’t have a lot of freelance work in this area, it would be smart to use this blog as a platform for that, no? Religion reporting does NOT mean this website is now a pulpit–no preaching here. I just want to explore the facts and faces of religions…
In light of #2, here’s a video I made for the International Committee of the Red Cross, that I don’t think I ever shared with ya’all…
Remember those snail photos from so long ago? I finally put together a little video/love story in celebration of Valentine’s Day. You can thank/sue me later.
So, I’ve been doing a lot of writing from the ole’ home office and haven’t gotten out much to shoot. Shame on me.
With that in mind, on Tuesday I decided to practice my lighting skills, which are very basic, because they are completely self-taught. I made the self-proclaimed, “poorest model in the world” take a seat and do what I say. I’m lately obsessed with back lighting. Here are a few of the shots….
This last one’s a feeble attempt at photoshop, as well as an obvious commentary about the model.
My very late birthday blog: A tribute to Papa.
A couple of weeks ago, on January 20, I turned 26.
It was a good day. I watched the inauguration, worked in the afternoon, then danced and cooked with my bf at night. Gracefully subdued is what I would call it.
But of course, I have something to say about birthdays. The first thing is that, I don’t really make that big of a deal of them, because I think the first one was just about the only one that marked something truly significant—the day you entered the world.
There are other, random days that I feel mark growth a lot more. And those days you don’t usually plan or even realize they’re BIG DAYS until later.
For instance, I did not become an adult on January 20, 2001, when I turned 18.
I became an adult on June 23, 2006. That is when one of my best friends was suddenly and tragically killed. I decided to dedicate my birthday blog to him. That’s one reason it has taken me so long to write it. Troy Schnelle is hard to put into words, even though, ironically, he was a brilliant writer.
Troy was one of those people who just ‘got it.” I know only two people who get life the way Troy understood it, and one of them is my grandfather.
When I say Troy got it, I mean he never worried about something he could not change, he never took things too seriously and he was always able to soothe and comfort those around him. When I would come home from the paper where we both worked and be freaking out about one thing another, I would sit, explain why I was so upset, and then he would usually say two things:
“Did you do everything you can do about it?”
When I would usually answer yes, he would simply say,
“Then don’t worry.”
He had the ability to make you not worry, because he was not a worrier.
He was also a very devout Christian, which I found odd considering his extremely liberal ideas of life. But when he died, it made me so happy to think that he had done everything he thought was in his power to live a good life. At his funeral, his mother told us about a note he had written when he was about 8 years old.
“Mom, if I die, don’t worry. I believe in Jesus, so God will take care of me.”
He knew from the beginning not to worry, and it’s kind of like he knew he was going to go too soon. After he died, some of our friends would say it made sense, because he already seemed to have it all figured out.
When I say I became an adult that day, it’s because I learned more about life and people and faith than I ever had in any other moment before that. I realized, growing up means losing things, sacrificing things and letting go of things.
Now that might sound like a bummer, but if it does, that’s maybe because you haven’t had to grow up yet and lose, sacrifice and let go. Because that’s another part of growing up—you learn that what you sacrifice defines who you are just as much as what you hold on to. And there’s a certain pride you can take in that.
I don’t like when people bemoan getting older. I’m happier and better than the 7-year-old Ricci, the 17-year-old Ricci, and even the 21-year-old Ricci. Because I’ve learned I will have to lose things, but I’ve also learned that it will be okay when you do.
When someone young dies suddenly, there is a change that happens to the rest of your life. If you lost someone young, you know what I mean. And if you haven’t, you really don’t understand what I mean. So I’m not going to explain it.
I read a book last year that said in our lives we get three teachers, three lovers and three enemies. The catch is—it’s hard to figure out which one is which. You might mistake a lover for an enemy, a teacher for a lover. I really like that idea.
I’m pretty sure Troy was one of my teachers. Although I’m often apprehensive about writing about him in terms of how he affected me, for fear that I make his death seem like something that was done so that I could change and grow, my experience of his life and passing is the best view I have. I don’t know what it felt like to lose him as a brother or son, though I know his wonderful family must still hurt everyday.
But I do know what it felt like to lose him as a friend, and how death impacts our life reminds me of a conversation Mbaye and I had over dinner one night.
I was telling him about something I had read:
How in the beginning of the universe, if you believe in the Big Bang, there were just two elements—hydrogen and helium. Today on Earth, we have 92 naturally occurring elements from hydrogen all the way through to uranium, and that includes the elements that make up mankind. So where did the rest come from?
The biggest starts, stars 8 times more massive then the Sun, are called Red Giants. As Red Giants burn, they produce 24 more elements within their reactions. But when Red Giants die, they turn into a supernova, and a supernova explosion occurs. The violence of this explosion throws elements together, creates the remaining elements and spreads them through the galaxy.
“So we’re all made up of stars – dead stars!” I had told Mbaye happily over dinner.
“Death equals life.” He had replied, more an answer than a question.
(Mbaye’s father had died when he was 17. That’s when he grew up.)
I had not thought about it like that until he phrased it that way. We talked about how I feel compelled to make every minute of my life count, because Troy doesn’t get to live his life anymore, and it would not be fair to waste mine, when I know he wouldn’t have wasted his. Mbaye said the same about his father. In that way, death has equaled our lives, making us put more into them.
It’s also interesting to note that only the biggest starts, the Red Giants, explode and make the elements. The “massive stars burn brighter and perish more dramatically than most.”
That makes sense. Papa, you were a Red Giant. For sure.
Photos is of papa and heidi at a concert outside of Miami. One of those awesome weekends.
On Friday, Susie, Mbaye and I went to a Senegalese restaurant. Yes, I had ginger juice. And yes, I was very, very happy. In an attempt at moderation, I only drank three glasses.
That sparked a bit of an African food lust in the house, and today, Mbaye made fried plantains for lunch..
Right now for dinner, there is Yassa Poulet cooking on the stove. What does this entail? Garlic, peppers and lemon, which are all happy to be eaten this evening..
Also there’s some chicken and Jumbo. Jumbo is a seasoning used in, well.. everything in Senegal. But we cannot find it here, and I have NO IDEA what it is.. is it Gumbo? Is it paprika? Is it magic fairy dust? Can someone (Naomi?) help me out here.. thanks! We settled on paprika, but I fear we are very wrong here.