Lisa M. Krieger is a reporter at the San Jose Mercury News. Before moderating a panel on what we can learn from doctors about how to deal with death, she sat down in the Zócalo green room to talk about being an alien in L.A. for the day (also known as a Northern Californian), open spaces from California to New Jersey, and what you might hear her sing at a karaoke bar.
What was the first album you owned?
Nancy Sinatra, These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ in a 45. And Herman’s Hermits were a big thing with the 9-year-old set back east.
What’s your favorite thing about Los Angeles?
I don’t know L.A. very well to be honest with you—I’m very much of a Northern California comfort zone. I’ve always been a little intimidated by L.A. to be honest with you. I’d like to learn more. This is my first big trip here.
What’s the last law you broke?
I can’t say this in a public place! I jaywalk routinely. I hit 80 trying to catch the plane this morning. I’m not going to incriminate myself any more than that.
What do you proselytize for?
Saving open spaces is a pet project. Frankly, in Northern California, we looked to L.A. and said, is this what we want to be in the future? And, with respect to tonight’s discussion, one of my passions with everyone and particularly with my friends is that we’re not afraid to die, we’re just afraid to suffer. And I think baby boomers need to start thinking about what we want our death to look like.
What are you keeping in your closet that you should have thrown out already?
A lot of purses that my mom made, and every time I see them I think of her. I shouldn’t throw them out I suppose, but they’re collecting dust. I still keep a lot of her clothing there—it reminds me, she made me who I am and she’d be very proud. I keep Christmas cards from friends every year going back to probably 2000, and I organize them in folders by year. I’m a little bit of a hoarder …
How do you respond when people hate on your home state, New Jersey?
Bruce! I actually grew up on the edge of the Great Swamp, which few people know about. I grew up in the woods, and my response is to let people know about how much open space there still is in New Jersey.
What did you have for lunch today?
I had sushi; it was damn good. We’re snobbish about our sushi in Northern California. I had a California roll—it was $5 with a salad, and I was very impressed.
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
“Long Black Veil.” I love John Hartford—a beautiful song I thought of this afternoon: “In Tall Buildings.” And then anything Americana and bluegrass.
What item would you bid for on eBay?
A really good jumping saddle.
If you could have anyone’s talent, who would you choose?
I’d say Michael Phelps, but he lost yesterday! I’d like to sing like Alison Krauss.