Thursday, May 24, 2007
Star Wars memories
A good film sticks with you for a while, but a great film can be a lifelong love affair, such is the case with "Star Wars", its prequels and sequels. All the I-Reporters I spoke with said they were hooked on it from the words "A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away..." And their memories seem timeless. John Granger of Northport, New York saw it on his 11th birthday and was so excited he sat on the edge of his seat. Now 30 years later, his kids are fans too.

Another I-Reporter, Jennifer Korin of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, saw it when she was 12 years old and became an instant sci-fi fan. Now her whole family debates the various merits of the film around the family dinner table.

Following a similar vein, Alan Ibarra of Virginia Beach, Virginia, makes his "Star Wars" passion part of his daily life. He’s a member of Garrison Tyranus, which is a local chapter of the 501st Legion: Vader’s Fist, a costuming group. The entire legion is made up of bad guys; Storm Troopers, Tie Pilots, Snow Troopers, and Tusken Raiders, etc.—all villainous characters from George Lucas’ fertile imagination. Each member of the group foots the bill for the creation of his own costume, which can cost hundreds of dollars. The group has been promoting 'Star Wars" at various events for a decade and donates the proceeds to charity.

I-Reporter Charles McLeod of Portland, Oregon, used the adventure and romance of "Star Wars" to help him navigate a tricky social situation. As Storm Troopers took the Jedi-clad McLeod and his girl friend hostage at a "Star Wars" museum exhibit, he proposed. She accepted. They began a new episode in their life together.

But the sci-fi love affair doesn’t end there; see what I-Reporters shared with us about why they love "Star Wars" in our gallery. And read e-mails about why others say its their most memorable movie. Their reasons might surprise you, or they could mirror your own.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Bygone times in a town of dreams
Greg Holmes was taken by the charm of Greensburg, Kansas, when he visited last year. Before it was wiped out by a tornado May 4, the town was a smorgasboard of Americana. From the charming buckaroo smiling down over The Cowboy Supply down to the deepest depths of the city's famed well, Greensburg seemed to be the kind of small town in which most people can only dream about living. The Hunter Drug Store had an old-fashioned soda fountain and a well-known soda jerk to make use of it. But the storm left the town flattened down to a tangled mess of debris.

Holmes returned May 9 with his camera ready to capture the destruction of the town's beloved landmarks, and he found much to see. Identifiable remains of the things he'd seen before were everywhere, and he pieced together a few striking sets of photos showing the town before and after the tornado hit. (View a gallery of his before-and-after photos)

He then sent these photos to I-Report and posted them on his personal blog, using the power of personal experience and citizen journalism to show how the storm changed a part of our world forever. (View I-Reporters' tornado damage photos)

It wasn't his first submission to CNN. Several months ago, during a winter storm, his offbeat photo of an icicle hanging off the nose of a fiberglass storefront cow caught our attention. But now he's told a major story in a way that might not otherwise be told. Individuals often have perspectives and resources that give them the unique ability to give the rest of the world an on-the-ground look at what they've seen, and Holmes is a perfect example. By sending these photos and telling his story, he ensures that the spirit of this destroyed town will live forever and perhaps find a life anew somewhere else.

What do you think of Holmes' storytelling? Where is your favorite slice of Americana? Comment below and speak your mind.
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