March 31, 2004

Great Blogs Afire! What a Gem

Who is the gem? Grandma--her diamond birthday--75. You know which one I am talking about--the one that blogs!!!

She just bought a new laptop too. From California to the Dakotas to Pennsylvania and Mississippi, she e-mails my distant relatives pictures and information about the family tree and our history.

I hope I am as technologically inclined as her when I am 75. Happy Birthday, Blogging Grandma. Love you o' sparkly one.

Don't take this picture the wrong way, Grandma--I just thought it was cute...

birthday_pig_cake_md_clr.gif Animation Factory


Posted by Amanda Cochran at 9:16 PM | Comments (8)

March 29, 2004

Five Things I Adore About Today

5. Flip flops: I am wearing some right now; my toes are naked. Bad Amanda. They need some polish. Girls (and guys, if so inclined) in my Lit class: I am having a fingernail painting party around 1:00 in the computer room across from our class tomorrow. Please come prepared with your own pretty hues. If you do not have any, I will bring my collection. Sharing nail polish is fun.

4. Finishing my French journal, math homework and blogging reflection on John Donne: How I love checking things off of my dry-erase board. That wonderful little board has been so helpful in celebrating my accomplishments. In the past, I would finish something and then just plow onto something else, not celebrating the moment of triumph. If I have learned anything this year, it is to celebrate the small victories; they are the sum of wonders.

3. Roadtrip!: I love that I didn't get Karissa and I killed on the "big roads" of Greensburg. We arrived at all shopping destinations intact. And I crossed town! (Insert beaming smile of effervescent pride)

2. Good stories: Swapping stories is a nice way to while away an afternoon. Or a couple hours. I felt like an elderly lady telling stories on her back porch in a rocking chair, except--the stories are very recent and perhaps, a bit funnier and racier than grandchildren, recipes, sewing, and laxatives. (To all you older ladies out there, I apologize for the stereotype, I know that these subjects can be very amusing as well. Love ya, Grandma)

1. Pretty clothes: The entire trip was spawned by an innate feminine need for summery clothing. Yellow. Cerulean. What a shame Old Navy doesn't have flip flops I love in the color and size I need. Too bad I didn't find anything other than the teeny purchases. I am going to save my money for the thrift store. ;-) Hail to the St. Vincent de Paul!

The best part about the day does not need to be listed. Can't you see it? I spent it with the best gal pal a girl meeting the world could ask for. Thank God for you, dearie.

*And how about that paper towel roll with the signs: "Yes, this is a paper towel"? To all of you Setonians, look up to 3rd Browlee, you may see the random, sleep-deprived and quirky efforts of two golden gals: Miz and Kiz.

Today is ranked up there with the time I finished my closet. And THAT is saying something.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 6:35 PM | Comments (7)

Newspapers Alive

While working the night shift at County Market, grocery store extrodinaire, Friday and Saturday nights, I learned how alive newspapers really are in southwestern PA. (This is in response to Firefighter Chica's ditty on news.)

I pieced together over 250 Sunday papers. That includes the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, The Herald Standard and the gargantuan, Tribune Review. Paper cuts, inky fingers and an acute realization that someday I will, yes, I will write for papers not piece them together for some incredibly low wage in the wee hours of the morning. I think I sunk to my all-time professional low this weekend.

Back on subject: I prefer to get my news online--for obvious reasons: the accessibility, timeliness, but never-before-now-mentioned--lightweightedness. Sunday papers are huge, especially with the coupons, which I will inevitably have to deal with whenever the scissor-bearing old women of Mount Pleasant start their Sun. afternoon ritual: clipping coupons, invariably infuriating cashiers with their mountains of 10 cent rebates.

Sorry I am tired. Working the night shift will do that to you. And I am ready to make brash decisions, such as quit. Maybe a brief leave would do my brain and I good.

Again, I support the online versions of newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journals wholeheartedly. However, some works, such as novels and poetry, just feel better in the tangible form.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 12:13 AM | Comments (1)

March 27, 2004

Death and Donne (Pun Intended)

"I have never been afraid of death." How I wish that statement were completely true. I have feared death in my life, but I found a new hope, knowing that death does not have the last word. Death has been an enemy of mine. In "Death be not proud, though some have called thee," by John Donne, however, (Bartleby for text), death is discussed as a persona, not to be feared but pitied in its transient, almost powerless existence.

Donne's poem reveals that death only has power in the moment one draws their last breath, not in life: "nor yet canst thou kill me" (l. 4), nor after: "And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die" (l. 14). Death, as viewed by Donne, is not to be the enemy, a common foe among many peoples; it is, by his interpretation, as natural as sleeping (l. 11-13).

Though death is usually a morbid subject, I caught myself smiling while reading these lines. Parallelling my own Christian beliefs, this work is a great comfort. Instead of Death being portrayed as a scythe-wielding darksome figure with Poe's raven perched on its shoulder, Death is viewed as an almost mortal creation, with a definite end. Personifed as a slave, Death answers to "Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men" (l. 9); this representation brings an almighty persona, one of humanity's most feared entities, down to our level. When the speaker states, "Die not, poore death", (l. 4) the reader sympathizes with this creation, which has one powerful moment in its lifespan. Similar to a football player with only golden memories of his victories, death has a moment of victory and then disappears, just as a former athlete may recede into gray at a dead-end job.

Donne's characterization of Death as an almost-mortal being dispells fear and gives the reader a hope that when the "One short sleepe [is] past, wee wake eternally" (l. 13). I enjoyed this poem's content very much, but Donne should really get a spellchecker.

*I did not want to taint my analysis with other's views until I was finished. I will probably add more later, but as of right now...this is entirely my own work.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 9:26 PM | Comments (0)

Window Treatment

I ripped down my wallpaper. Such an ugly color.

No--I have not gone crazy. And the walls aren't yellow. (The Yellow Wallpaper)

I ripped down the nasty semi-clear frosted plastic coverings (that acted like wallpaper) which have hidden my picture windows throughout the winter. I relished each moment wielding those orange-handled scissors. I ripped and pulled, unstuck and then--Light!!! Twist the lock and yank up the pane. Warm air!

And I am not the only one who is enjoying the lacy curtains billowing gently in the warm breeze. Samson, my fat black-and-white cat is taking it in too. The problem with him though, is that my windows need new screens--he cut them to ribbons years ago, and we have not replaced them, because we know he will do it again. Sometimes he leans out really far, and I am afraid I will be picking him out of the flower bed below. Today, he jumped down from the sill and I thought he had fallen. No, he is just that heavy. Let's just hope he never gets the inclination.

In any case, I like my room better without the screens. He is not the only one that likes to stick his head out the window and watch the sun set or the moon rise or stars poke out.

I think that is my favorite part of my house--those windows. Over the years, I have leaned out and pretended that I was Rapunzel, an astronomer, and poet. If I ever get my own house, apartment, whatever, I want a pretty balcony or terrace.

The windows are placed right above my mother's tea roses. On summer nights, the smell lifts up into my room--unpackaged potpourri.

I write the most in the summer. Get ready bloggers for some very sentimental material. My favorite seasons are upon us.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 9:16 PM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2004

Blob went to the junkyard

Sorry, Karissa. Madame Purplicious has gone to the junkyard for some clothes. I have looked everywhere for her, but she just bounces away....

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 1:12 AM | Comments (4)

March 25, 2004

Woe to Reuters

Reuters

The anti-abortion National Right to Life Committee strongly backs the legislation. But the American Civil Liberties Union has called it a "thinly veiled attempt to create fetal rights and further erode women's reproductive rights."

Notice the lack of quotes for the NRLC...Can someone say "biased"?

And what about the issue at hand? They are protecting unborn children and not fetuses. They are the same thing. So if the child is loved, such as in the Laci Peterson case, the child has a right to live and be called "unborn" while an unwanted child from a rape is called a "fetus"? There is something incredibly wrong with this reasoning.

I do understand the whole thing with Laci--that she would have had the child within a few weeks. But when does life begin?

"This issue is not as simple as it seems at first glance," Feinstein said. "Clearly there is a concerted effort to codify in law the legal recognition that life begins at conception."
DeWine's bill applies to an "unborn child" at "any stage of development, who is carried in the womb." The assailant does not have to know that the woman was pregnant.

Any stage in development--that means at one or two months. A woman could be on her way to have an abortion, get killed in a car accident and the person driving could be tried for a double vehicular homicide.

Or in the case of this bill, a woman could be riding down the road on her way to getting an abortion, be driven off the road, beaten to death and the murderer could be tried for a double slaying. Something is really wrong with this picture.

I digress. My original intent was to complain about Joanne Kenen's reporting skills; with a subject as complex as this, give all sides. Do not paraphrase one side's view. Come on.

Maybe I should try to take her job at Reuters someday. :-D But I did something a reporter should never do--give one's opinion. Oh, well. My blog.

*I would like to give credit to my wonderful RTA Michelle Farabaugh for bringing this subject to the surface today in my STW class. She has a way of making us think in our THINKING & Writing course. Great job today, girl. The political cartoons were such a nice change from parenthetical citations (:-() :-D!!!

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 7:40 PM | Comments (0)

Another Big Decision

The honors program. I don't know what I want to do. I have played with the idea, tossed it around, and eventually broken it in my roughhousing.

I don't know. Should I stay with it...tough out the honors classes, pay for the capstone through loans and get the wonderful experiences of visiting another country, or should I save myself the trouble?

I really should be consulting my advisor, Dr. Jerz about this.

Why am I suddenly pummelled with these life-changing decisions all at once? I am tired, stressed-out, and incredibly angry about certain things pertaining to the program (and school) and I am not sure if I should be making these decisions now. The pros and cons of my life are whirrling around in my head. County Market-Con. Visiting London-pro.

Should I take "the road less traveled and let it make all the difference"? Should I take the inexpensive road that will give me a good financial start when I graduate?

I am feeling too much like an adult. I need to take another drive with the windows down and the radio blasting (it is warm). Karissa and I saw yellow bursting forth from the soggy soil today. Oh happy day. Gospel singing and spring!!!

That's right, Amanda, Denial is your best friend.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 6:01 PM | Comments (4)

March 24, 2004

Commuter gone Resident?

I have been struggling with the decision of coming to Seton Hill to stay next semester. Karissa, great pal that she is, wants me to be her roommate. I want to be, but I don't want to have any student loans.

I went to the financial aid office today and the outlook is grim. Although I would be getting more money from the government (thank you FAFSA), I would still have a grand gap in my money supply.

The benefits of staying here would be phenomenal: a great roommate, no more commutes, and most importantly--a life of my own.

The pros of staying home are my closet, my own room, and free food. Oh, yeah, my family too (but we know how close prolonged contact with them is like).

Seton Hill: freedom.

Home: free.

I don't know. I can't seem to make my parents understand how much I need the freedom, but I don't want to be suffering with the gigantic bill after I graduate.

Anyone care to help solving my residency impasse?

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 12:41 PM | Comments (10)

March 23, 2004

Not outstanding, but better

Running through my cranium...books.

Though I cannot say I enjoyed The Diamond Age during the first hundred-or-so pages, I did tolerate the second leg of the reading relay with more interest and ease.

My first impression of this book was more like--"Oh, no. Jerz has gone and given us Star Trek with children." I kept it by my bedside and fell asleep to the nanotechnological descriptions of Stephenson's world. That was what I hated most, I think. The plot, a thing most writers are working at developing--concerned about--did not surface until the book finally reached its new little owner, Nell around page 95. Almost a hundred pages of endless blathering about a world I had difficulty understanding. AND I READ AUSTEN!! Me, as a reader who never witnesses the actual very visually inclined technology, felt lost. Couldn't he have put charts or diagrams somewhere?

Needless to say, I dreaded the second helping. After reading the next few pages, however, I began to notice an underlying humanity amid all of the futuristic world's machinations. Fascinating. The primer's lessons really brought this element of the book alive for me. A kind of irony really: in the middle of all these intrigues and double-agenting, a little girl (portrayed as a princess no less) is being told once-upon-a-time stories of Rabbit, Dinosaur, Duck, and Purple.

The most (excuse the overused term here) interesting elements of the second section of The Diamond Age lies in the indirectt mother-daughter relationship Miranda has with Nell. Turning the pages, I found this to be the incentive to continue. Will she finally meet Miranda? How will Nell react to her if they meet?

Funny how I don't really care about the male characters, except perhaps for Hackworth. His intrigues below the ocean's surface are tangents I have yet to completely understand.

Another outlier is how the story's veins will coalesce. I like to think that the Primer has something to do with the story, that it holds the key. Time to get back to it...another incentive!! Making happy out of bad. Yay!

I would not put this book up on my favorites shelf next to Pride and Prejudice. Never. With time, though, I may label this among my second-stringer literary works. After all, if I like the ending, I could just rip out the first hundred pages. :)

I am so destructive lately.

The Diamond Age has not bored me, however; in fact, I plan on investigating other works in the Science-Fictiony genre. Are all of them crappy the first hundred pages? Do they all have lengthy descriptions and random sexual sacrifices? Hmmm.

"Beam me up, Scottie."

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 5:26 PM | Comments (2)

March 22, 2004

Disktastrophe

While doing my literary criticism for Intro to Lit, I saved everything on my pretty blue disk at home.

Taking it to school, I popped it into the wonderful SHU Dells. No problem. I saved what I had been working on to my disk...and nothing else. I usually save to a disk and e-mail the document to myself, but not today. Mission accomplished. Ready to print...oops....really late. Math class.

Okay. Disk out, in my bookbag. Class.

Glad that's over...now time to print. WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!???????????? Disk will not read? This isn't a Macintosh...Oh, it's just this computer. NOOOOOOOOOOO! (3 computers later).

Dr. Jerz. Please be merciful. Sure. Something about Jesus and Satan in a computer war. Funny haha. Don't tell jokes to those in pain. My paper died, and he is laughing at the funeral!

Look around on the disk a little longer. Tears. Oh no. Paul's in the room, wipe them away. No weakness.

The pretty blue one dies in its own master's knuckle-whitened hands, crushed beyond computeresque recognition.

Saving grace: home computer. My car racing up 819, slow down, girl. Three-car accident. Bronco or some off-roader flipped. Carnage.

Seems a lot like Death of a Salesman. Poor Willy. Poor Linda. Poor Biff and Happy. Poor pretty disk--I shouldn't have killed you.

I really need to stop taking things so seriously.

:-D **It really was a funny joke, Dr. Jerz. Sorry I didn't laugh amid my grief.**

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 7:15 PM | Comments (3)

Officially Sick

As much as I fought it last semester, as much as I tried to stay away from the cold, I think I have caught something.

Current Status:
Throat: An Itchy Purple (not a Snowflake, but more like a couple of beavers gnawing at my vocal chords)
Nose: Niagra Falls hasn't been this active, convulsing sneezes every 10 min.
Head: Spinning, occasionally psychedelic colors pass my eyes


I have been saying, "I will not get sick," but it doesn't seem to work.

Vick(s) is going to be my friend tonight. Eucalyptus is my perfume for the next two-four days. Hail to hot chocolate and tea. I guess being sick has its perks. Nahhh.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 6:43 PM | Comments (0)

March 20, 2004

Hillibilly Dicksunairy

Via Paige.

All you English majors or intelligent human beings (the few that you are): Here is what you don't want to do...that is unless you have an inclination to sound like Jeff Foxworthy, the Beverly Hillbillies, Huck Finn, southwestern PA or a certain state or group of states to the south.

Personal experience with hillbillydom:

"Can I have 3 pokes?" an elderly gentleman asked me at County Market.

In my confusion, I asked again. He said the same thing.

I thought, okay...people ask some weird things. I had no idea what he meant, so I took it literally.

Before I reached over the register to start jabbing him in the arm, I finally realized what he was talking about--brown paper bags. Apparently the poke is also a Hillbilly term here.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 3:06 PM | Comments (7)

Making us look even worse

From Washington Post:

"We're all devastated by Jack's betrayal of the public trust and our trust," Editor Karen Jurgensen said yesterday. "It's unfair to the people involved in the stories, unfair to readers and unfair to all the honest journalists who worked for years to build USA Today. We're committed to making sure this never happens again and learning from this awful experience."

Celebrities hate journalists. Politicians hate reporters. And now, people like correspondent Jack Kelley give them more ammo.

Journalists are liars in the public's eye. And now real reporters must cover this because it is their job to do so, hacking off their own hand as they write it. Kelley has just made it a little harder for journalists to get the story: the interview, the quote that could perhaps change the course of history.

Why should people trust journalists? Why do they should they give us anything? Thanks J. Kelley for making them mad at us even more.

And I thought misspellings and punctuation mistakes would make the public mad!

Just a little note: The article states that this betrayal of journalistic integrity surpasses that of Jayson Blair. I think they are even in their creative writing skills.


Posted by Amanda Cochran at 2:42 PM | Comments (3)

Aesthetic Me

You may be wondering what the bouncing thing is above my calendar. You may be wondering what the heck has happened to the black-and-white blog Amanda you once knew.

It is all Karissa. She has brought color and animation into my life. Here I am with a Madame (Parisian influence) and Purplicious. Ahhh!!!!! Beyonce has a hold on me too.

Just wanted to let you all know that I like it.

Madame Purplicious may get tired some day from all that jumping and go on vacation (probably when I show my blog to the "higher authorities"), but right now she is going strong...bounce....bounce. I wonder how many times she jumps in an hour.

And then I realize, I am such a follower. Karissa gets one. I get one. At least it is free. I just hope the next new thing isn't anything with Louis Vuitton in the name. :-D

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 12:05 PM | Comments (1)

March 17, 2004

The Lures of Wal-Mart

I wanted three things: a Top-Up card for my cell, shampoo, and pencils. I came out with styling mousse and Sour Patch candies as well.

I am developing a theory about Wal-Mart. They are better at this whole marketing thing than any other store out there. They put competitors prices right beside theirs. They lure you into the aisles with pretty colors and swirling tie-dye displays of cookies. I feel like I have gained a few pounds just walking past the candy that is so strategically placed at the front of the store. And I knew it. I knew that I was walking into a trap, but my stupid eyes betrayed me.

Everything is just so pretty....

The sour delectables and mousse were so tantalizing I couldn't pass them up. The candies had pretty little people on the outside...it reminded me of buying movie candy...how I miss the movies (this obsession has really affected my personal life). And the styling product, well, it has a frosted package that caught my eye and feels texturized. Oh no!!! Traitorous touch.

My eyes: Brutus My hands: Benedict Arnold. How the mighty have fallen.

I also spent 45 minutes in there. Which shampoo? Off-brand Pantene or the real thing? I bought the generic. I get twice as much and I even checked the ingredients--identical. Maybe I am not a complete Judas to my wallet just yet. :-D

Dang you Wal-Mart. I mean, look at my checkbook: Gabes, Wal-Mart, Seton Hill, Wal-Mart, Seton Hill, Wal-Mart. This is ridiculous.

Speaking of the Big Store:

A challenge:
Name that movie from which this quote is taken--without the help of Google or IMDB(You are on the Girl Meets World honor code now): "Oh I got the money, the president of Wal-Mart gave me five-hundred dollars." Winner will get a cookie. Out-of-staters will get a nice e-mail j-peg of a cookie and mention on the winners announcement blog. Good Luck, bloggers. Be quick.
Hint***The movie is also a book.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 6:28 PM | Comments (8)

March 16, 2004

The tens

Annoyances

10. Usher's new song "Yeah." I like Usher but playing the song every hour on-the-hour makes my long commute unbearable.
9. People that talk just to talk in class. Have something to say, don't just ramble on. I am mimicking a good pal's advice, but really, if you raise your hand, have something on the tip of your tongue.
8. The crappy weather. What is it about the change of the seasons that makes everyone sick, and then germy? And irritable.
7. Cars in general. I don't know what the lure of a car is, but I am so sick of being paranoid about what is about to blow on my white monster. You residents don't know how good you got it.
6. The lack of traffic on the blogs. Where has everyone gone?
5. The umpteen research papers that are coming up. Can't we just say we did them? (I am just venting, I am not challenging the honor code :))
4. County Market. I am so tired. I don't have weekends and I am constantly exhausted.
3. Losing things. I have lost almost every book, every binder, my cell, and planner about fifteen times this semester.
2. Money. I have some, but I don't have time to spend it.
1. The stress of tomorrow.

Thank God for the Good Things

10. The new lamp in my bedroom that gives me more light...so I won't think so negatively.
9. The prospect of tearing down the plastic that covers my picture windows in my room.
8. Watching the sun go down in the pinks and oranges of long-awaited summer.
7. Waking in a soft electric-blanketed bed, every muscle in my neck and back relaxed.
6. A big piece of strawberry cheesecake. How I miss NY!
5. The goosebumps that prick my arms when the wind whispers over them. (That means I have a short-sleeve tee on)
4. The tingles of singing that perfect note. Women's Chorale on Sunday. We sang beautifully. I am not too humble to say that I felt chills. There is something magical about perfect women's harmony.
3. Listening to a song you love you haven't heard in a while, remembering your favorite parts. Remember Hootie and the Blowfish? I do. :p
2. Thunderstorms.
1. Squirrels and nuts. All types.


Posted by Amanda Cochran at 5:50 PM | Comments (7)

March 15, 2004

Million Dollar Bill?

Via Paige...

story.pike.split.apCNN.com


COVINGTON, Georgia (AP) -- A Georgia woman who tried to use a fake $1 million bill to buy $1,675 worth of merchandise at Wal-Mart was arrested, and police later found two more of the bills in her purse.

Can anyone be this stupid? But then again, there are some characters that go to Wal-Mart. I am losing faith in the theory that all humans are intelligent creatures.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 7:37 PM | Comments (7)

Misunderstood Mom or Mad Murderer?

3_21_031204_csectionwoman.jpg Fox News

AP--SALT LAKE CITY The woman charged with murder for allegedly refusing a Caesarean section (search) that doctors say would have saved her twins pleaded not guilty Monday.

Since this story is just developing, I want to do a little experiment based upon the news coverage in this case.

After reading Sophie Treadwell's Machinal and the portrayal of reporters as biased story-creators (not reporters), I have decided to ask you, wonderful blogging pals, for a favor.

Which source, Fox News, Reuters, or KSL-online coverage, is the most sympathetic? Objective? Or can't you tell the difference?

If you can find an article that is completely one way or another, please post a link. I would love to talk about this.

What made the piece biased? The selection of quotes, the author's voice? How does the view of the organization or reporter intrude upon the facts of the case?

I urge everyone to participate, even if it is a few words.

I am not stating my opinion right now, but who knows? Maybe I will let something slip in my coverage. :) Or have I already. The woman looks so much like Charlize Theron in Monster it is creepy--put upon creepy.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 7:14 PM | Comments (3)

March 14, 2004

The pair

A quick set.
Watch them.
Look how fast they are!

Move without a thought.
Another has taken over.

Sensation and aching.
They understand it all.
Soft.
Calloused.
Scarred and blemished.
They know it,
Will not accept it.

Keep moving.
Quicker, better.
Proficient.
Exemplary.
Perfect.
Always proving,
Something more.
Nothing less.

But cannot change their state--
Just two.

*This one is for you, dear.


Posted by Amanda Cochran at 2:02 AM | Comments (2)

March 11, 2004

The Devil Has Ascended to SHU Blog Country

Paige can't post on my blog. The blogs are going down on or around March 15th, and the comments on the NMJ site are on 666 right now.

The Devil has taken over the most beloved of mediums. There will be gnashing of teeth.

I have always been disgusted about that biblical image. That would really hurt. Teeth being grinded everywhere. Molars being chucked out. Yuck.

What are we to do?

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 6:05 PM | Comments (6)

Small Shop, Big Benefits

I feel like I am so rich when I have more than a dollar in my wallet. Today I went to the bank and got a little more than a dollar and then I went to the Dollar Tree for some necessities. Or what I like to think of as necessities. Heck, I got to go shopping--that is a necessity.

Sunglasses: Squintiness corrected. They are pretty little blue things. They remind me of a fifties movie. $3 I love them.

Generic Post-Its: Colors of the rainbow. Post-its--close second to pink hilighters. Hail to off-brand post-its!

Dry-Erase Board: Now instead of sticking their head in my bedroom door, wondering what I am doing, in loco parentis will know that I am incredibly busy. I got pretty markers for it, too.

Better vision (and less wrinkled visage), sticky pretty paper, and more privacy. Dollar Tree--making my life a little better--one dollar at a time.

What a good slogan!

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 12:03 AM | Comments (3)

March 9, 2004

An MIA prof.

I just found out today that my communications teacher has left SHU. Though my class does not know the reasons for her swift and quiet departure, I am going to miss Professor Nightman.

My new teacher is Dr. Robin Illsley. She seems like a nice lady, but like a substitute, she is getting the feel of the class. In the middle of the class.

We were just beginning to write press releases and other corporate communications writings. We were beginning to create something; now however, we are going back to the book. I have never had this happen to me.

Questions fill my head...Why did she leave? What will this new professor be like? Will my grade suffer by this switch?

I have got to stop worrying. Little lines are forming on my brow. I can see me in 20 years--a great blonde prune. That is, if I run out of Oil of Olay :-D Reminder to self: Get sunglasses--you squint.

But I digress. Miss you Dr. Nightman, wherever you are. I am sorry you left.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 11:43 PM | Comments (2)

March 8, 2004

A river (or stream) of consciousness

I want to write something profound. Something that goes beyond the research papers and exercises I write for class. I want to write a novel, a novella, a poem, something to bring me back.

What am I missing? Have I lost a part of myself that I will never get back?

The blinking cursor mocks me with its blinkiness. There it goes again. Stop it.

Is this what drives writers crazy?

Do we write things of the everyday to assuage the battles that live within? Why am I such an actress? Why can't I just be one thing--not the schitzo? This isn't me, not the Happy Amanda everyone knows.

Scroll up to the top of the page....I have written enough. There, there it is. My blog entry. Another. I wonder what my last one will be. Probably something about squirrels, definitely squirrels.

Now I am turning into Rainman. Thanks Bennett for the dark inspiration.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 10:57 PM | Comments (9)

March 7, 2004

In a New York minute (weekend)

Too much time on a bus, getting lost several times, quality family time, and riding on practically every type of transportation...including the NYC subway.

Let's say that my trip was very eventful.

FAMILY NYC HUMOR:
10. My dad getting searched on his way to the Statue of Liberty (he had to take off his shoes, his belt and all the change that lined every pocket in his pants. It took us fifteen minutes to put him back together. We almost missed the ferry. He walked away saying, "Never again!"
9. Jumping on the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty at night and in the fog...finding out that the statue can only be seen from a distance and only in good visibility. Oh well, the boat ride was free.
8. Getting stuck in several revolving doors throughout NY. My dad and I got caught in the same compartment at the NYC Library and his arm got smashed. We stopped the doors; he eventually unstuck himself as I moved like a mouse on a wheel, trying to get the doors moving again. The guys on the other side of the doors, trapped, just rolled their eyes, as if to say, "Insolent tourists."
7. We ate at a Chinese buffet, and we all got screamed at for getting our own food out of the buffet, supposedly you can only get five items. "Only fi items!!!!" screamed a Chinese server. I though I had murdered her only son or something.
6. I stopped in the middle of the street several times when I saw the orange hand light appear. I was paralyzed by that hand-STOP. Thank God my sister pulled me along...
5. My mom screaming at us up and down Broadway. We didn't know where we were going. She tends to like a plan, and well, we are from no-wheres-ville Pennsylvania and we didn't know where we were going. We got to go everywhere we planned, though. NYC transportation is better than I expected. That is, if you take the subway. Thanks Dad for your street map skills. I think I got the subway and bus thing down, though.
4. We walked into the Plaza Hotel--the concierge didn't stop us either. I guess we have the look of the upper-class. Ha. My mom kept saying, "Look for celebrities. Ya see any?" No, Mom.
3. Our horse-drawn carriage driver in Central Park had a horse named "Simba" that would walk on command. We were all pretty astounded by that, and that we had the only Arabic driver. The rest were really hot Irishmen. Woohoo. Our driver said, "Do you want me to talk, or do you want a nice quiet ride. Sometimes when I get talking, you can't shut me up." He knew so much, and we were glad he spoke. Even if it was BS, which I doubt, he was a nice man. Everyone in NY is so nice if you have money. :-D
2. Dear mother got herself caught in the NYC subway doors. They shut in on her and she had to pry them apart. The train kept calling out commands: "Please step inside the train completely, and the doors will close," but she had to disentangle her new scarf from the doors and then step in. I thought I was going to die laughing.
1. Our first cab ride: All four of us--grown adults--wedged together in the back of a cab. I sat on the floor and watched my family crush themselves in. We looked like an overstuffed sausage. Thank you Bhindiny Muhammed wherever you are for not killing us (as much as you tried to). I have met a worse driver than myself. Or was he better? I really don't know. They have to put up with a lot. Including Indian folk music playing throughout the cab. Thank God he knew English. I have never had such a good time. Brushes with death seem to have that effect on me.

We did everything. I will not list them all. We bought T-shirts. Did what tourists do best. I don't think my family will ever go on a family trip ever again. For several reasons that will remain assumptions.

My mom and dad said they would never return. I can't wait to go back. Generational difference? Probably.

I loved the hustling world of NY. But I want to live there, belong there, not just visit. If not New York, then another city. I think this trip was a prelude of things to come.

About the bus trip. We switched buses because of a certain "cackling hen," as we liked to call her, on Bus One. Poor Dad had to sit in front of the woman for 500 miles, while she talked and cackled the entire way. When we changed buses along with another part of our group, I thought all hell would break loose. But it didn't. Apparently we stole someone's seats, but I say 'ya shuffle them, ya lose 'em'. They talked in that line of conversation for about 2.5 hours, until the movie was switched on. Adults can be so much like children. Pop in a video and you can shut them up for hours. hehe. Everyone rode and we returned safely.

Yes, I had my NY cheesecake--and just like the city--it was amazing. I might make the return trip just for that. :-]

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 10:30 PM | Comments (4)

March 4, 2004

Bye! Bye!

HOLLYWOOD, March 4, 2004 -- After Wednesday's stunning 43 percent withhold board vote in Philadelphia for Disney chief Michael Eisner, the company's board named former Sen. George Mitchell, chairman of the entertainment giant.
Hollywood.com reports.

Let's hope George Mitchell will bring Disney back from the sequel madness. And what about Pixar? Will the new chairman bring back Nemos and Toy Storys for us to enjoy?

Hope so.

Or will they return to their roots with films like Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and Snow White? I hope so. They really need a hit. Lilo and Stitch just didn't cut it.

I propose a good fairy tale. Rapunzel or Rumpelstiltzkin would be a great change from the infantile aliens that plague the cinemas. Haunted Mansion...need I say more?

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 2:49 PM | Comments (3)

March 3, 2004

Peanut-Butter Ice Cream

You buy it. Stick it in the fridge...two days later you can see the white carton poking out from beneath the brown goodness. THIEVES!

Three dollars. Not much to the wealthy, or even semi-wealthy, but that is at least 20 miles on my car. I set that money aside for ice cream and it is disappearing.

I love my folks, but really. I wish I could work up the gumption to put a big extra-sticky Post-It on it declaring: THIS IS AMANDA's ONE TREAT. Please do not put your pilfering fingers on it.

Milton and his Swingline. I swear.

Well, I guess I can't complain totally. My dad handed me a dollar when he came into the living room with a bowlfull last night. I wish I could go grocery shopping. I would get things people would eat.

My mother usually buys oatmeal, cottage cheese, and some kind of beastly yogurt--and let's not forget--the intricate confections that take three hours to bake, broil, or otherwise--tame.

I am not a cook. I burn everything. I have even burnt ramen! I have mastered canned raviolis, lemonade, soup, and macaroni & cheese but the oven and the range still look like a gaping monster, lying in wait for a chance to pulverize my dinner, and my attempts to be a semi-functional human, not to mention domicile girl HAHA!

The kitchen has never been my domain. But when it comes to frozen ready-to-eat wonderful things like ice cream, I am very, very protective. When I look in the cubboards I skim over the things that take more than five minutes to prepare. I have better things to do. So don't touch my ready-to-eat items, especially the sweet ones.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 6:38 PM | Comments (6)

March 2, 2004

Gearing up for the Big Apple

The New York trip is this weekend. I don't know what I am going to do. A play? The Statue of Liberty? Central Park?

I have so many clothes to wash. We all do. The next few days are going to be madness in the Cochran household. We all wait until the last day to do our clothes, overload the poor Whirlpool, and eventually scream at each other for using up all the detergent.

And then back to trip planning. I have been scouring the internet for links to events, but most of them are more than I am willing to pay. If anyone finds anything in a do-able price range. Leave a comment, I have clothes to do.

And what I can't believe is that I am going to be there in a few days. Isn't that funny? When we travel somewhere our lives speed up for a few days, the minutes tick a little more quickly, and then we go home and the clock seems to return to its molasses-in-winter pace. My favorite part about traveling is the day before--the anticipation and excitement of doing something--anthing--that Calgon "takes me away."

This may be really dumb, but why do they call New York "The Big Apple"?

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 6:06 PM | Comments (4)

March 1, 2004

Indescribable

Sometimes I wish that writing could have scratch and sniff phrases. If only I could explain the scent of the air today. If only I could catch that in my hand, put it on a sticker and say "this is exactly what I mean."

And though I hate to admit it, sometimes words just aren't enough.

Like today, I sat on a bridge looking down at the water. I felt the wind linger on my cheeks, promising me to come again with warm days. The sky looked bluer. The air didn't freeze in my nostrils, and my senses perked up to the tinkle of the neighbor's windchimes and the harsh bark of the huge monster down the street. I wanted something to catch it all in so I could keep it there for those winter days when nothing smells. Open up that box of spring and watch the goosebumps prick your skin--and it has nothing to do with cold.

Foolish blogger. Who wants to read about this? Oh well, maybe this will be a box I can open next January and feel the goosebumps come, which have nothing to do with cold, just the memory of a beautiful promise.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 8:34 PM | Comments (2)

Calculator

My scientific calculator (TI-83) is not mine. My calculator isn't working. My calculator has a black screen (or is it blue?) Completely blue. Am I running down the new batteries? What is wrong?

Consider this a cry for help. And no it is not the contrast. I tried that. ahhhhhalk;sdjf;laksjd;laskjds;lakj;lkdjla;ksj!!!! Math makes my head hurt. Calculators make me hate math even more. ARGH.

Alack Alack. My thoughts are swimming and this is the first day back from bliss.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 12:37 PM | Comments (0)