Saturday, September 16, 2006

Day13PM-Pedros South of the Border

9/13 PM Pedros South of the Border. Dillon, SC.

Over the years, Norman (and many other people who drove up and down I 95) have stopped at Pedros South of the Border. There are billboards announcing the number of miles to go before you get there. Nowadays, these billboards only start to appear about 50 miles or so before hand. Apparently they used to start showing up in NY and count down from there, which worked the kids in the car into a frenzy so that the parents had to stop once they got there. We arrived at night and will go over there in the morning to ring the bell. I hear you can get any souvenir that was ever made.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Day13-So who's listening anyway?

Panning around in the rain to see if anybody notices the bell

9/13 Carrboro, NC. Across the street from Weaver’s Market.
A former Explainer from the Exploratorium ( came by with her young daughter. Caitlyn was a teenager when she worked at the Exploratorium as an Explainer. This had to be at least a dozen years ago, and although she no longer has bright red hair and multiple piercings, she still looks like a kid. She and her future husband met at the museum and they now live in town with their young children. Caitlyn came by with her little girl to ring the bell and talked about how competitive it used to be among the Explainers to ring the bell at 5 o’clock each day when the museum closed. Since this bell will replace that bell, it was like a christening of some kind to have her ring and approve of it, along with the next generation.

When we first arrived, I parked around the corner from the market in a public lot away from the main street. We wondered how people would react if they couldn’t see the bell. It seemed like many people either didn’t like it or were only mildly curious about it. The traffic and rainy streets obscured the sound enough that we decided to move the bell onto the main street in plain sight. It was raining pretty steadily, but many people stopped by. I know we annoyed the people who worked in the ice cream parlor and the hair salon since we were parked right in front, and I apologize should they ever come upon this.

Here’s a nice article from the day:

Thank you, also to Sherri for a wonderful visit.

9/12 UMBC Anna Rubin’s Electronic Music class
Since I was nearby, Anna invited me to bring the bell over to the University of Maryland in Baltimore so her class could ring it and we could talk about the project. One student recorded the bell as part of a class assignment and another shot this video. It was a fun visit. We tried out the major hearing protection.
Day12-Easier on the ears?

Two solutions- hearing protection and a sock

Linda is my friend from High School, and we stayed with her and her family for 2 days. whew. And many, many thanks.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

We really lucked out on the parking- right at the corner of the lot across from the water. It was perfect location for hanging out with the bell and an enviable parking spot in a crowded lot. I was there with my good friend from High School that I rarely see and we took turns coming up with different strategies for encouraging people to stop and ring the bell. Just asking people to ring it is pretty unsuccessful. Ignoring, pleading, inviting, or writing signs doesn’t work much better. My suggested that I ask people, “Would you ring this bell for me?” It worked 100% of the time. Unbelievable. People would ask why, and I would tell them what I was doing, and they would ring the bell. Every single person.

So I have a question for anyone reading this. I am not quite satisfied with that question even though it “gets results”. Yes, people do come and ring the bell which is the end result I am hoping for. However, does it matter that people are ringing it because I am asking a favor of them? I am not only interested in the bell ringing but also in the motivation.

I am searching for a question that arouses a person’s curiosity about ringing the bell and lets that motivate him or her to investigate further. Any suggestions?

9/10 3:45 Dock. Annaapolis, MD. Time to leave.
When it was time to leave, I couldn’t work the buckle on the strap that wraps around the wheel. It was stuck, stuck, stuck. And there was an audience waiting for the parking space. (Very patiently, I might add). After a few minutes, it was clear to me that I wasn’t going to be able to figure it out anytime soon, so I went up to the driver’s window and asked him to help me tie up the bell. Three men got out of the van and came to see what was going on. After they finally got the strap to work, we looked up and the van was gone. Fortunately, in the meantime, the people they had left behind in the van had driven off and found another parking space.

9/11 12:50-1:40 Arlington National Cemetery. Visitors’ upper level parking lot.

I rocked the bell steadily from side to side for 50 minutes, ringing it nearly 2000 times. It was deserted in the parking lot, quiet and grey. In the background was the soft stream of traffic punctuated on two occasions by the muffled boom of cannons firing in the distance.

I was afraid he'd hurt his ears so I cut him off after a minute or so. It's ear plugs time for extended ringers

9/9 Noon. Lambertville Elementary School, NJ

This was the end of Main Street in a quiet town on a Saturday. Kids don’t generally come near a school on the weekends and adults rarely do at anytime. So there wasn’t much activity- One man came over because he and his daughters were eating and heard the bell and wondered what was going on. So the man actually got up from his meal and walked down the street and around the corner to check it out. He said he would go back and report and tell his girls to come over, but they never did.

Most of the photos are of members of my extended family who all live in Lambertville. There’s my Charlotte and my Dad, Laura and my nephew, Andrew. Some people from the nearby playground came for a moment to examine the bell, and the crowd of boys was the loyal audience who stayed the whole time.