every time i get an email saying "cool dude has written an entry in your Orkut scrapbook" i'm amazed! even tho i was at the launch soiree, there was a one-year anniversary party that i didn't know about.... (tho i didnt search long, this was the only post-party write-up i found) i guess i should pay bigger attention (smirk).
i am certain it's her by matching the age, location of crime and of course, identifying her by her looks.
the washington post updates that she was released from prison tuesday and is undergoing psychiatric testing. the weapon was two kitchen knives taped together which explaines the blade that broke off near the escalator.
she had been previously arrested for writing "david is a bitch" on 77 different spots on cars and buildings in rockville, md.
she was wearing a black skullcap and a black trenchcoat.
father, his wife natasha and i went shopping, ending up at nordstrom around 7 pm.
as we walked to the escalator to get from the second to the third level, i heard screaming. thinking it was a couple or a parent and child arguing, i ignored the yelling, but it grew louder. we stepped onto the escalator, and a woman screamed,
"she just stabbed her! go back down, go back down!"
unable to understand what was happening--this kind of event is unbelievable--we remained on the escalator heading up to the scene of the stabbing.
the saleswoman ran from the stabbing to the down escalator, heading from the third level to the second, yelling at us,
"run down the up escalator, go down, go down!"
the woman below me managed to do so. i tried to rush down, but i was too high up, as was my father and natasha.
i felt nothing.
i just wanted information.
as we walked off the escalator onto the third level and stepped around to get to the down escalator, i scanned the scene, maybe looking for an angry woman out for blood, but noticed a woman walking from the clothing racks.
she seemed too calm.
5'6", in her 40s, in a blue button-front shirt untucked from a pair of tan pants. her hair was a somewhat unkempt short afro, she would not stand out in a crowd.
her hands were down at her sides, in her right hand she held a large kitchen knife, the kind from horror movies.
i stopped in my tracks. i didn't know how i would react if she came toward us--that was beyond my scope of thinking. i just wanted to see her and her moves. if i could see her, then i was ok, i think my brain thought.
three or four of us remained on the third level. almost everyone else--customers and employees--had evacuated the building.
a straggling shopper in a pink sweater was running toward the down escalator. she didn't pay attention to the woman with the knife and kind of skipped onto the elevator, ahead of her. thinking she was safe, she began folding her jacket.
the woman with the knife stepped onto the escalator behind her.
after a beat, the woman with the knife began stabbing the customer in the pink sweater.
it seemed as if it was almost not going to happen.
i couldn't scream or move.
the woman in the pink sweater ran down the steps, but the stabber followed her, sticking the knife repeatedly between her shoulder blades.
i lost sight of them.
i ran around to see if we should go down to level two, but then realized the woman with the knife was down there and stopped. the we saw the blood on the floor that had dripped off the knife on level three. i stepped in it, but there wasn't enough to trail.
a knife blade lay on the tiles next to the escalator, which was revolving bloody steps.
the stabber was on the second level, still holding the knife, this time with more blood on it.
[i learned that the second victim ran into the garage and collapsed there]
a man told the woman to "drop the knife"
she waited a beat and dropped it. she never said a word or made a sound.
he then ran up to her and handcuffed her [i found out he was an off-duty fbi agent shopping].
shook-up customer who got stuck with us on the third level was the first to see the knives moments before the stabbing had begun--she told me the woman had four kitchen knives in one hand. this would support the existence of the extra blade on the floor i saw before i spoke to this shopper.
an employee saw the stabber attack the first victim. the stabber said nothing, just started poking the knife into the woman's abdomen and back.
i got as many facts as i could and called the washington post, where my columbia j-school alumnus mitra kalita is a reporter. they quoted me in the story.
i didn't even think to be a witness for the police.
i was hesitant to reply to "Melanie Yao" or to fill out the surveymonkey form.
i'm a reporter, which means i'm nosey and i can't help it. i got into other people's business before i figured out i could make a career out of it.
so, here we go.
Melanie provided her cell phone # which i called. left vm.
I googled her, and first result was adam tow's blog. (i don't know him) so i emailed him to see if she's legit. he pinged yes.
oh, she just called back. we're on the phone:
Me: hi, i just wanted to look into this, for one, to make sure it's not spam.
Melanie: i'm getting a low response rate because of that. i interned at Hewlett-Packard at palo alto. right now i'm in Indiana. I read some Harvard Business Review articles focused on blogging/marketing and want to submit an article on that topic.
Me: so what are you trying to do?
Melanie: there are few articles that focus on blogging and implications that it has on brands. people write "i love Ikea," etc. if they're becoming cult brands and if this is why.
Me: i'm not sure what your article would add to the stuff that already is out there. can you explain?
Melanie: Of course, i have to add to the info that's out there. i ask bloggers, "what is your intention about writing about this brand?" a lot of them say, "i don't really care about the brand, i'm just mentioning it."
Me: i see...
Melanie: but you're right, i have to do a lot more research. i'm sure a lot of companies are doing a lot of getting to know the consumers, what they are saying.
Melanie: right, so i want to find out where you go from here--what do you do with that information? do you make changes based on the blogs? how important do you consider the blogs?
Me: ok, here we are.
Melanie: i want to take it a step further since it seems that all the marketing companies (intelliseek.com, umbria.com, blogpulse.com, etc.) are offering the service of investigating blogs.
Me: Not a bad idea.
so i'm gonna go ahead and fill out the survey since i agree with melanie that it's very trendy to talk about blogging/marketing, but the fact of the matter is that--according to Jan. study by pew internet and american life project--62% of US internet users don't know what a blog is. about 8.4 million Americans have looked at a blog in the last 24 hours. is that number worth the trouble? but of course, it is growing daily, according to technorati's numbers (full disclosure: doing some research work for them). "informal" eMarketer survey states 4% of "major" US businesses have a blog.
so, marketing consultants love NEW things to sell. business people love new info to buy. power point presentations are waiting to be made. conference calls, meetings, lunches, dinners--so much frazzled activity to fill human time. and of course, i'm blogging about it.
so, i was just bragging about how much flickring i been doing, and here i am, empty handed on both fronts.
sadly, and without much sarcasm (though it's inevitable) i had to retire my mother's 1994 volvo. i tried and tried and tried to pretend that THE NOISE didn't exist, but it did. and i overheated the engine so badly, that i need a new one. as much as i love my mother (the anniversary of her death is may 25, five years) i did not want to pay $5k for a new volvo engine. i cried because it was the last thing of my mother's that i've been using every day. but i called the donation place and it will be towed away from the shop this week.
the picture above is from the san francisco inpound lot from when i got the volvo towed. i have been a careless, though obsessive owner. the fact that i and columbo drove volvos helped me feel that my car was a controlled mess. sometimes i called it my storage unit on wheels.
as my roommate greg said, there's layers in there that go back years. geographically, it goes through virginia, florida, new jersey, new york and now california. not bad for a car that i've owned for five years.
now, chapter 4*: the purchase of my "new" car--a 1989 mazda 323 for $700--is a story. let's just say two days after purchase, it required a man named "big john" to perform what he called redneck engineering on parts of the car i could not identify.
more to come.
*chapter 1: 1980 canary yellow totyota coroNa station wagon chapter 2: 1991 electric blue ford escort bought in manassas, va chapter 3: 1994 volvo 850 inherited upon my mother's death in a car accident on may 25, 2000