Make me SCREAM...
Don't stand so close to me...

We'll stand by you...

Seeing as how I now work for a company in Naperville, IL, I've made it a point to, once again, become somewhat ingratiated into the wherewithall of the town.

A little history... I moved to Naperville in 1987 with my parents. But I "left" in 1993 when I went to college and didn't come back full time until the summer of 2000 after I finished my M.A. Of course, I was back during most winter and summer vacations, like most people. After graduation, I stuck around for a year with my parents while saving money for my wedding to Katie. Then, in September 2001, we loaded up the truck and moved to... Geneva. So, other than the occasional visit, I was pretty well removed from Naperville.

So now I'm making amends by spending time in the city at stores, restaurants, events, etc. It seems like the right thing to do and I'm nothing if not a good citizen.

That was why I decided to take part in Gina Glocksen Day yesterday.

For those who don't know, Gina Glocksen is the self-proclaimed "Rocker Chick" American Idol contestant who was booted off the show last week. For the last couple years, she has lived in Naperville. And, even though most Napervillians realize that Gina was raised in Tinley Park, they've embraced her as one of their own. So they gave her a welcome home party at North Central College.

And I was there.

Even though I'm not an American Idol fan.

But, despite this fact, I know everything that is going on in the show. It's the water cooler topic du jour where I work and I can't help but hear it. I try. Believe me, I try.

Plus, working in a media-related role, I read a ton of local newspapers. And she's been one of their favorite topics of discussion for weeks now. I honestly feel like I've known her my whole life.

Sad, eh?

Well, the event was fun anyway. Nearly 1,000 screaming tweeners shouting out "we love you, Gina" and "you're our American Idol!" Thankfully, Gina was a good sport and threw the love right back. I give her credit for that. I know I could only handle hearing those sorts of things shouted at me once or twice before I would likely throw the wireless mic into the crowd hoping for vicious skull fractures. But she didn't. That would've made for a great picture, though.

Instead, I settled for some of the following...

The twirl
This is one of my favorite "accidental" photos ever. I feared the shutter was snapping with her turned the other way, but she spun at exactly the right moment just like in a classic fashion shoot. And this is what I got.

Gina and the press
The media swarmed her. As would be expected

There are a few more shots on Flickr if you're so inclined.

Oh, and there's no guarantee of this actually happening, but footage of this event was shot for a show called American Idol Extra that is set to air sometime in the future on Fox Reality Channel. If you find out when it's on, let me know. I may be in it.