May 28, 2004

An Untitled Summer Poem
*you may recommend titles*

Though I feel like I am blogging out into nothingness. (Where has everyone gone?) I think a little summer poetry might do the trick to bring back silent readers. I would love to hear your feedback.

Leaping from that high ledge
waiting for our screams to hush in the bubbly fabric.
Oh! To breathe again.

Shore-sitting eating our peaches,
Sweet juice sluicing down our faces.
Sinking into summer's reaches.
Stretching into tiny places.

The lazy dreamers tap the porchlight
Others sit in warm silence--glowing.
Feeling their way through the dark.
"There you are." Finding, knowing.

Bleached whites blot out a golden stain
Atop the hill, we watch:
the green carpet sways
in soft strokes.

Sweetened melodies we cannot recognize.
A piece to simply harmonize.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 11:44 PM | Comments (9)

May 27, 2004

Milton's Heaven

*If you have not watched Office Space, you probably will not know what I am blogging about, but I hope the links will provide some direction. Shame on you for not watching this corporate masterpiece. :-)*

If anyone does know this movie, Office Space, then you may appreciate this site. Try making the staplers work. It's a hoot.

I have always had a fascination with staplers. I have three on my desk. We named them in my English class. The pink one: Karissa. Red: Milton--or--Amanda (the names are interchangeable because sometimes I speak in unintelligible babble). And Grey--well, because it's grey. Needless to say, I didn't take it to school to be named.

As you may have guessed, staplers play an instrumental role in this film. And while we are on the subject of the greatest corporate comedy EVER, try taking the which-character-are-you? quiz. Beware! (That means you, Grandma) There is some language within the quiz.

No surprise.

1034033391_CAndreaquizmilton.jpg Thanks Quizilla


Posted by Amanda Cochran at 11:52 PM | Comments (3)

May 26, 2004

Spam haikus

Yes, you read that right. Spam haikus via Lisa.

My favorite:

clad in metal, proud
no mere salt-curing for you
you are not bacon

and who dares mock Spam?
you? you? you are not worthy
of one rich pink fleck

Grotesque pinkish mass
In a blue can on a shelf
Quivering alone

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 3:06 PM | Comments (0)

Too old for Hollywood?

Will the characters in Harry Potter outgrow their roles? And if so, how will they mask their adult transformation (I sound like an episode of X-treme Makeover). Though the alterations to mask their growth probably won't be as obvious as Debra Messing's pregnancy on Will and Grace ("Let's give her a big purse"), I wonder how they will do it.

I have been amazed by the amount of child stars that have been welcomed into the American entertainment industry far beyond their tender years. Lindsay Lohan, Hillary Duff, Haley Joel Osment, and most notably, the Olsen twins.

Why the shift? When Shirley Temple outgrew the curls and tap dancing, she was thrown into child star obscurity. What is it that makes these child stars die, and others remain?

Is it the star as a person or actress that makes the difference (looks, charisma)? Or does it have to do with the films they do? Harry Potter, for example, has an incredible cult following. I have a theory. With some projects, such as The Lord of the Rings, the characters go on to other films and have great success. Orlando Bloom and Viggo Mortensen have each had success after LOTR. Not all of their success can be attributed to the trilogy. Perhaps they do possess other skills besides looking broodingly into a camera.

But back to child stars--When talking film history, Shirley Temple was up for the role in The Wizard of Oz, but Judy Garland was cast.

Executives at Loewes, Inc., owner of MGM, were nervous about having Judy in the lead of such an expensive film, since her box office popularity was -- as yet -- not well established. So they insisted that Mayer test Shirley Temple for the part. Roger Edens, Judy's vocal coach and greatest supporter was sent to Twentieth Century-Fox to test Shirley's singing voice, and of course he reported back to MGM-boss Louis B. Mayer that there was no way Shirley could play the part.

I think in this case, America was introduced to Garland as an adolescent, rather than child, and her growth into adulthood wasn't a shock. For Temple, however, her Wizard of Oz knockoff: The Blue Bird, was her first failure; some say because she was growing up.

Instead it was Temple's biggest flop and the beginning of the end of her career. The bluebird, it seems, doesn't bring happiness to everyone.

I guess the biggest question I entertain (excuse the pun, of course) is: "Do we like the child star for their ability, looks, or age they embody?" I really do not know, but I have to say that the Olsen twins, Lindsay Lohan, and Hillary Duff cannot act. I think it has something to do with how easily puberty has been on their skin.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 10:58 AM | Comments (4)

May 23, 2004

Wedding Ten

Worst
5. My feet are sore and blistered from the blasted shoes I wore.
4. Grandpap said "Slow down" all the way to the reception--a 30-mile drive.
3. So much for first impressions. My voice cracked on the first note.
2. The ringbearer (my cousin Daniel) locked himself in a bathroom, afraid to walk down the aisle. He twisted his father's ears when the door was finally unlocked.
1. I am the only one of my cousins that is old enough to have a boyfriend that does not. Therefore, every one of my female friends and relations has undertaken the task of finding me a guy. To all those that read this: DO NOT SET ME UP.

Best
5. Watching my intoxicated relations dance. Being sober has many benefits.
4. The Historical Summit Inn Everything was beautiful. The view. The food--tres excellente.
3. My cousin Daniel, ringbearer extrodinaire, finally walked down the aisle with a smile.
2. Not catching the bouquet--you don't know what a relief that was!!
1. Watching the bride and groom walk down the aisle together, finally married. Have a great time in the Caribbean Amy and Craig!

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 6:39 PM | Comments (4)

May 21, 2004

THE Wedding Singer

I woke up this morning to visions of me on stage, screwing up the lyrics at my cousin's wedding. Went back to sleep. Awakened by the sound of me not hitting the high note. Dreams are confidence drainers. I am the noodles, the water is the confidence, and I am entering a colander. AHHH.

Tonight is the rehearsal. I feel as if everything isn't happening.

I know I am going to cry, but these songs are tough--you have to keep your nerve and voice clear. Dang.

The songs:
1. I Will Be Here: Steven Curtis Chapman
2. Parent's Prayer (my least favorite)
3. No Greater Gift (song from high school sung as a duet a cappella)
4. You Raise Me Up: Josh Groban

This is the order chronologically.

My hands are shaking as I type this. AHHHH. Can't wait for my first wedding gig to be over.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 9:58 AM | Comments (8)

May 19, 2004

Colonial?

Advertisements. Better than television shows. FYI: Adrants is a great place to view the latest campaigns.

Anyway, I noticed a new campaign for Colonial House, a new reality series by PBS, in Time magazine. The best full page spread was of a pig. Above it: SPAM 1628.

I loved the clever ad, but I couldn't believe that PBS had gone over to the "dark side". Reality series Hell. What ever happened to Bert, Ernie, Big Bird and Mr. Rodgers?

Before I hyperventilated on the extinction of all things puppet and red cardiganish, I decided to give the show a try. I watched it last evening and was surprised, but not impressed.

The show started out well. They all obeyed the rules. However, as the night progressed, the "colonists" began disobeying them; restrictions, such as attending the Sabbath and covering their heads (women), were quickly thrown aside, in rebellion against the governor--the leader of the colony, and the 1628 lifestyle. And then they all got drunk. Instead of offering a harsher punishment the voiceover said what the "would have happened" in a real situation. Isn't this supposed to be real?

I mean, you can't burn someone at the stake for heresy on television when they do not attend church; but you can suspend them from the show. They got away with everything. The big question is "Can 21st century Americans live the 17th century colonist life?" Apparently we cannot.

With this series, there isn't a winner or elimination rounds. If the colonists decide to disagree with their governor, they do it with some small penalty, such as a scarlet letter or standing at a post for a couple of hours. Give me a break. How can this work? It takes them away from work--and they do not experience the same shame colonists in 1628 would have endured. They just laugh it off. "I said the F-word. hehe."

Then the dramatics began. I will not waste the space.

Reasserting my opinion of reality television, this is a fall from grace for public television. My Reading Rainbow heart is weeping.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 10:46 PM | Comments (6)

May 14, 2004

A One Act Play--The Black Disturbance

Set: A soft light glows while a young woman reads a novel, nearly finished, in bed. It is summer. The windows are open.

Characters:Amanda, the irate father, the laughing sister-Katie, the mother and the bat.

(Amanda is reading when suddenly something begins flying around the room. Caught up in her book, she thinks it is some kind of late night hallucination, but she looks again. A bat--circling. She screams loud enough for neighbors to think a suicide is in progress.)

Amanda: Mom come kill it!!!! (She screams down the staircase)

(Muffled sleepy mutterings)

The father: What now? I have work tomorrow. Go to bed Amanda...

Amanda: There is a bat up here. It's in my room. (she jumps around like the chicken she is, ducking her head and screaming intermittently)

The mother: What? (she laughs while walking up the stairs)

The father: Katie, stop laughing. (walks up the stairs, cursing)

Amanda: Katie, go get the broom!!!

Katie: Okay (pent-up laughter escaping, she gets the broom and goes back downstairs. The bat is now in another room.)

(The father is afraid of the bat, just like the rest of the cast. He duels with the broom. JAB. SLASH. Not hitting anything. He ducks several times. Amanda shuts the door, locking him in with the bat. Thrashing can be heard from inside the room. The set turns--Stunned by a quick hit, the bat falls on Katie's shorts and is thrown outside--still attached to the shorts. Father turns the knob, and looks out triumphant.)

Mother, Katie, and Amanda: (in unison with MGM musical smiles, they sigh) Our Hero.

(All return to their beds. Amanda finishes her last chapter. All cover their heads, prepping for another bat attack. Amanda is awakened by someone mowing their lawn.)

Amanda: (She looks around confused) Was it all a dream?

No--it really happened. My family has been having problems with birds, bats, and other large bug-eating predators in the past 8 years we have lived here. I have never laughed so hard. The bat episodes are always side-splitting.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 3:45 PM | Comments (7)

May 13, 2004

The 60-something woman wannabe

I saw the cutest bunch of elderly ladies in a Geo Tracker today. Two in the front with the most amazing L'Oreal red hair and another, rather stooped, woman in the back seat.

Eating BIG cones from Dairy Queen. I bet they were larges, but they were pretty cut into by the time I pulled up next to them.

While smiling broadly at these obviously happy little ladies, I was struck by my situation as a young woman, and theirs. They get to eat big ice cream cones without the fear of fitting into that pair of jeans. Have you seen the comfy clothes they wear? Pants with elastic. Oversized shirts. Pre-matched suits. Flats without pinchy toes or high heels.

They don't have kids to take care of--just grandchildren to spoil--then give them back.

Many have time to give back to the community through organizations and church functions.

They are wiser.

I really wish I could do and be all of these things. Eat huge ice cream cones. Wear pajama-like clothes that are still acceptable by society. Spoil kids that aren't mine. Help out more. Be wise.

However, there are some drawbacks. Mortality. Wrinkles (Botox could fix that). I would think of more, but I am really liking this idea, so I won't undermine my argument anymore.

Amanda Cochran: a rocking chairing, ice cream eating, pajama-wearin' honest-to-goodness elderly woman wannabe. That is not to say that I don't like being young--I do. It's just that wouldn't it be fun to step out of yourself for just a little while and try something new without the restrictions society, family, you place upon yourself? Sure you would be stepping into another realm of barriers, but also an entire set of freedoms you never experienced before.

Did I mention the ice cream?

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 11:25 PM | Comments (2)

Instant what?

Relearning things really stinks. You have a vague idea of what you are doing, but you have to learn the specifics all over again.

I recently downloaded the full version of Instant Messenger. I had Quickbuddy at the start of the school year for Writing for the Web. I didn't know what I was doing, but I eventually learned the lingo (i.e. LOL "What the heck is that?"). Anyway, I got really ticked when people wanted to talk and I had assignments to do, so I deleted it from my computer for the remainder of the school year. I am happy to say that I did. I can't tell people, "Look, I have got to go. I have a 25 page paper due tomorrow." I love people, but my work usually takes precedence over social engagements, especially the textual kind. Well, with the exception of blogs, which you can go to any time.

It is back; however, under very different circumstances. Summer--I have infinite amounts of free time. Well, until I start working full-time.

But I have to relearn everything. I sit here typing and then this creepy door opens and someone signs on. My speakers are always turned up because I play CDs, so it really scares me, just like my freakishly loud printer that likes spitting out inky sheets. What a monster. Anyway, I don't know what I should do with it...does anyone have any pointers?

My cousin, Amy, told me to stop using capitals and perfect punctuation, but I can't help it. I am working on imperfection. That just sounds terrible.

And what about telling people you have to go. What do you say? I haven't initiated any conversations yet, but I don't know how to judge if they are busy too. How does one know if the other person is honestly honest about what they are saying?

I guess I could call them up.
Or meet for coffee, but that would be defeating the purpose of a cost-effective communication device. Skimp on the costs or emotion? I really don't know. Heck, I could just start using smileys even more profusely than I do now. :p :-D :-) ;):| >:-)

In any case, as much as I love talking to my friends online, I like talking in person much better. Especially for the laughs. LOL just doesn't seem to cut it. But for the time being, it'll have to do.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 12:37 AM | Comments (3)

May 12, 2004

Requited

A bunch of balled-up lace
Sits on the sill
Waiting to be freed
By the next soft breeze.

A solitary fly inches closer to the flicker
warmed by the soft glow.
Too close.
Seared to wax,
Wings incinerating.

Peering into the inky spanse
For headlights
She waits,
All night and none.

No screen.
She inches farther out,
Closer and then--

Fly.
Until she touches it.
Blackened green.
Her nightgown is sodden with rouged dew.
Until she touches It.
Blaring light.

*A non-autobiographical poem. Don't worry about me.*

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 1:28 AM | Comments (7)

May 9, 2004

Ramps 101

Today my huge family went on its annual ramping adventure. Don't know what ramps are? Wild, wild onions. It is kind of an odd tradition, but we love it. We all convoy up to a park and climb "the mountain" to pick them--they have a leafy top and a bulbuous bottom--onions. And they smell--BAD.

Think domesticated onions smell terribly? Try ramps. I won't go near my aunts and uncles for a week. My hands reek from handling them.

After we pick them, we clean them in a creek that parallels the road. My little cousins wade around in the water, their pants needing at least three cycles of Tide. I have been doing this all 18 years of my life, but I am more of a bystander to the water antics now. I used to get just as muddy, mud and rocks sloshing around in my shoes, making sucking noises that I liked to laugh at.

More than picking onions (odd as it seems), this is a family tradition that has transcended five generations. My great grandmother, Jean (I am named after her--Amanda Jean Marie), started it. I heard that she picked ramps into her 60s. It has become an initiation into the "clan". If you feel really strong about someone romatically, you take them ramp picking--the ultimate test of relationships. We are candid. Real. Loud. These prospective mates really get to know "the family" without the usual pleasantries of other settings.

The best part is that we make a new set of memories each year. For example, one year, I got lost--incredibly lost and was saved by a man in the woods. The experience inspired a short story for my high school literature class. My aunt locked her keys in the car. We dammed up the creek one year. A deer came within ten yards of my aunt. My cousin, Daniel, caught a crayfish. I scared my grandpap so badly driving him home 35 mph--he is such a SLOW DRIVER (I thought he was going to puke or hyperventilate). My mom started a time capsule.

Time capsule? My mom has a jar, she changed it this year to a bigger one, that she places in the ground with pictures, coins of the years we have visited, and most precious--notes from us. We have news records of the year both on a world scale and within the family. We also write individual letters to our future family. Then we seal it up in the glass container, put it in a garbage bag and put it back to be opened the next year. The best part is when we dig it up each year. Is it still there? Did anyone find it? My mom put our address on the inside so that if anyone finds it, they can send it back to us.

And while you are thinking that this is the oddest tradition ever, I have read that many other people do the same thing.

However, the practice is also illegal in most parks....Dang. :-D My family the onion-picking outlaws. How romantic.

Oh yeah. How do you pick a ramp? You can either grab it by the leaves and pull very gently or you can cut it out of the soft spring soil, very carefully to avoid cutting off the smelly root.

How do you prepare them? Clean off all the chunk from the ground: dirt, snails *ewww*, leaves, and mud, and gently swish them around in the creek. Then cut off the leafy stems.

How do you eat them? I don't. My hands still stink from them. I can't imagine my entire mouth smelling like that. Too wild. Most of my relatives eat them on hotdogs or hamburgers, but my Aunt Debbie eats them raw, throwing the stems over her shoulder at the picnic table. You have to be careful walking behind her. hehe.

Though many of my cousins are getting married, they are still coming. While I don't see marriage and a family in the near future for myself, someday I hope to be 70 climbing the hill with my grandchildren. When I think of that, I just smile. There's so much life to live--so many ramps to be picked.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 10:28 PM | Comments (7)

May 5, 2004

Girl Meets World: First Year Reflection

So now comes my sentimental end-of-the-year blog. I know most of my student pals are tired of doing reflection papers, so try reading one. Sit back, relax, and turn your text size to xx-large so you can let your retinas rest. Enjoy.

I can't believe it. I can't understand how just a year ago I sat in my room, finishing my writer's portfolio grad project, thinking, "This is it...I going to Seton Hill. What the heck did I get myself into? Can I?"

I had the will, but I didn't know what I was getting myself into. The work. The professors. The relationships. I didn't know what walls I would run into. What havens I would find.

Yesterday I was looking at my graduation party pictures. I saw my friends from high school. Some with children now. Married. I saw my real friends, the ones I still talk to, and smiled at the ones who went away, remembering the call-me-make-sure-you-call-me-over-the-summer promises.

Then I saw me in my pastel pink B. Moss dress (I remember it--the zipper is broken now--I got really impatient one day and zipped it up myself whoops :-D) In many ways, I don't even know that girl anymore. The smile, the mannerisms were the same, but I wasn't. I lacked something there.

I looked at those pictures and thought of all the people that weren't there. The people I didn't meet yet. I felt sorry for the girl in that picture. Didn't she know all the papers that lay ahead? The long nights of carpal tunnel? Didn't she know that the best friend she'd ever meet was still unknown to her? So many things left to be learned.

I look back on the best times now: Christmas on the Hill, Rent, blogging fights, newspaper production days, dances, seminars, discussions, retail therapy, sleepovers, meetings, cappuchino and frappachino highs, and I can't recall a better year of my life.

I remember people saying that I would miss high school so much when I left. They were wrong in my case. I don't miss it.

I didn't belong there--I never did, but I can say that I belong at Seton Hill. I have loved every moment, learning not only from books and blogs, but from people--faculty and friends alike. Somewhere along the way, I discovered that my place is here. The squirrels, planners, disks, Diamond Age "discussions", blogging, heart-to-hearts with pals, hugs that you desperately need, laughing until your sides ache and your eyes get drippy--adding one more line to Karissa's list of funny quotes, comments that make your blood pressure rise in anger at the Paul, Michael or Puff that wants to see you get spitting mad. Every day was an adventure. I wanted to come. I didn't want to miss class (even when I accidentally did).

Though I see the world more critically now, I can still appreciate it for what it is, and what I can do in it. All of you have been a part of that lesson. Thank you for helping this girl meet another chunk of the world. And letting her smile at it. :-)

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 10:33 PM | Comments (19)

May 4, 2004

I'm Troying

The best combination in movies would be Orlando Bloom and Brad Pitt...WAIT. HUH? They are? Why didn't I know this?
troyposter2.jpg
Thanks Orlando Bloom Files

TROY! Not to be mixed up with Moulin Rouge! The whole exclamation point thing is mine. :-D We all know how punctuation can cause a stir.

I know that the movie theaters have been inundated with epics lately but this one actually looks appealling. The history. The people, the lifestyle. Who am I kidding? Gorgeous men permeate the reels! ;-)

But I have to ask, "Did people really look like that when Homer was around?" I mean, did they have something that was comparable to botox and self-tanner? Hmmm. Any air-brushing teams? What did Helen really look like? Was she the only one in all the lands that had every one of her teeth? Something to think on. I think Hollywood will excuse historical accuracy for aesthetics in this matter.

FYI: Helen isn't pretty enough for Paris (Bloom).

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 4:25 PM | Comments (11)

May 3, 2004

Callow cake

A siren waned in the distance. Wax covered the pink rosettes, icing dripped down, slipping the hues. A decorated corner was sweetened with drying crimson--sliced to imperfection.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 2:49 PM | Comments (6)

May 2, 2004

Bustin' Loose

SHU dance. Bachelorette Party (Cuz Amy). Highlights in my hair.

I think I am reaching new levels of freedom. Something amazing is happening...Dare I say it? I am learning to live.

Well, maybe just for this weekend. I have finals to take and a website to construct, and I go back to CM this weekend.

Or maybe not. A girl can only take so many nights cuddled up with a book before she decides to bust loose from her "good girl" moorings.

Boy, am I lame. I think that if I dance a little bit and get a cosmetic change, I am on my way to Marilyn Mansonness.

Silly Rabbit...

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 10:21 PM | Comments (8)