March 27, 2007

Babies and blogs

Babies and blogs have never meshed in my mind. If I ever do have children, I think the blogging would stop then. I would send photos and commentary through e-mail to family--not on a blog. I made up my mind about this a while back--you know, taking in the grand scheme of life and blogs, but I am definitely sticking to that decision after reading this horrible story of a mother's blog being ransacked by an angsty teenager.

Though I would not blog about my children if I have any, I can see how blogging was a fun and seemingly harmless activity for this mother. And while she was perhaps naive, this situation was entirely uncalled for. I am happy to hear she fought back and was aided by other bloggers/friends/readers.

Some of the responses in the Gothamist comment section were chilling, however. One comment even said:

"Hey Margaret -

You chose to put your personal life on the web. And then you chose to put pictures of your child on the web. Copyright your photos or deal with it. The scenario you've described is harmless - and quite honestly - funny. Have a laugh."

Have a laugh? I suppose it could be funny for someone who doesn't have children, but I'm not one of them. I wouldn't want someone going through my scrapbooks for the fun of it, and then pasting them into another and then showing it their friends and calling that life their own. Sickening.

Thankfully Xanga has taken down the teen's blog for "violation of Xanga's terms of use."

The teen's blog was a creative remix of online content, I'll give it that. Could this be construed as fan fiction? I don't think so. The entire situation is reaffirming what we already don't know about blogs, copyrights and online property. I can't wait to see where this goes in the next few years. I can't wait to see if Xanga reposts the blog...

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

March 22, 2007

Going to the dark side...MacManda

I'm in New York. Crazy things happen here. I am in the Mac Store and I'm seriously thinking about buying one of these...things.

Dr. Jerz (PC user) wants to say, "Hi, Karissa. Hi, Mike. We made it here first!"

macmanda.jpg

See--I'm playing on a MacBook Pro...starting at $1,999. It has everything, including things I can't pronounce. Cheers from New York. We're presenting tomorrow. Wish us luck.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 11:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 17, 2007

A blog is a blog is a blog--I'll never leave you

Three worlds will collide next week in one familiar, yet alien place: New York City. My past, present and future...dun dun DUN!

I will travel to the Conference on College Composition and Communication with Karissa and Mike and Dr. Jerz (I don't think I'll ever call him Dennis).

This moment, I am preparing for our panel on next Friday.

My leg of the panel is "Blog Desertion: Questions of Prestige, Privacy and Personal Growth." I'm currently finishing up my interviews and piecing it all together. (Thank you, Karissa, for all of your helpful links!)

I think my favorite part of this project has been interviewing my blogging peers/friends about their blogs. Their reasons for blog abandonment are diverse and surprising. I'm surprised I haven't left my blog behind for many of their viable reasons... :-) In fact, the entire interviewing process has made me think about why I have kept a blog so long and why I do not intend to leave it any time soon. So here are my reasons why I have not left my blog behind:

1. Wherever I go, I will always have a tie to family and friends through the umbilical nature of a blog.
2. If I can't stand Ann Coulter in an interview, I can always rant.
3. My links are here. There's only so many websites Firefox's tabs can hold and I need more of them.
4. Though I've graduated and sometimes feel like an oldie around here, my Seton Hill blog is where I started blogging. I'm really starting to dig the wave of my archive listings on the left side of my blog. I don't want to give up blogging. I like writing for an audience, even when I'm not paid for it.
5. When people don't want to hear anymore about my squirrel fixation or I can't tell a story in person, I can always write about them, and I imagine people chuckle, but that's just in my imagination.
6. Blogging has been called a fad. Call it stubbornness, but I want to be there when the fad comes back around. I can say that I kept mine for 20 years while all the newbies are grasping for ideas. I'll be like, "Yeah, squirrel blog. Pshaw. I have 102 of them. Beat that! Yeah. Didn't think so."
7. I have weathered three newspaper jobs, college and a lot of teen angst on my blog. I didn't offend anyone so much that they want to kill me--at least as far as I know. My blog has been my edited story, and though boring at times, I have had some really exciting moments documented here. My first Seton Hill friend. A bat experience. Going crazy. My first time in jail (in Dublin--it was a tour--I'm not a convicted felon--see how things get misinterpreted on blogs?).

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 3:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 12, 2007

Away from home, home again

I found my way back to Belfast with a cup of tea this morning and watching this (a big song we listened to the duration of the trip).

The seven-hour flight was easy because we went out for our last night in Belfast. The feeling that all in one day we were having tea and high "fibre" cereal, walking the cliffs of Ballycastle, dancing the night away and finding ourselves looking at the docile shots of the airplane safety passengers is almost too much to ponder.

The first day of the trip was similar and I suppose it is fitting that the end of the trip was more of the spectacular same.

I think the most difficult part of coming home was saying goodbye to Maguerite, Pat Joe and Kate, our amazing hosts. I can't say enough about their hospitality and generousity, particularly in their own tenous situation of possibly moving to another flat. Their kindness never faltered--even when I told them I didn't take milk in my tea.

However, I have not seen the last of them. I have just signed up for a Bebo account and have their e-mail accounts. I'm making Wednesdays my Irish writing days, so they will get a letter every week, whether they want one or not. I've also invited them to visit me in New York to keep the travel love flowing.

Saying goodbye to Ireland was difficult. I don't usually have the presence of mind to do this, but the moment my foot left Irish soil at the airport, I marked it. Tears filled my eyes unbidden when I saw the green of Ireland vanish in a white screen of clouds. I think that was the best way to have it, though. The pain of watching the fields slink away would have been even worse.

The flights were rather uneventful, but U.S. Customs was an experience. I hesitate to write much on this subject because of the tight security, but we went through some extra stuff because we visited Mags' farm.

In any case, we made it back into America without any international incident, so all was well.

After being deposited at home, I thought I would have crashed, but I was elated to see my family again. The entirety of my luggage was spilled out on the kitchen floor, and I handed out gifts: chocolate, wool and nearly every kind of tourist trap item out there--except glass and pottery.

Something trite is bound to follow, but this trip has changed me. I made it another country. New friends who have been beaten with a hammer, new places with interesting details that I won't talk about in this blog. I guess it all comes down to one thing. There are times in your life when you question your ability to live up to your dreams. And when you suddenly see "traveling to another country" crossed off your mental list in an Irish grocery store or an abbey or the loving look in a once-stranger's eyes, you can scarcely believe that it is real.

I've actually pinched myself--okay, so that was trite.

After the gifts were disbursed and my suitcase lying stagnant once again in my bedroom, I picked through the mail that arrived in my absence. I opened it last. Dreams come in cream envelopes with purple torches on them. It's official. I'm accepted at NYU, and I've the letter to prove it.

So that means that I'll have the Irish visit me sometime soon--a dream within a dream, or maybe a reality I can now believe.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 9:13 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 9, 2007

Dublin for dummies--try a tour

I went to jail in Dublin. It was delightful.

The gaol tour was just one of the sights we saw on our "Hop On Hop Off" bus. I really recommend these. I thought it was a really cheesy thing to do at first, but we did get to see everything we wanted.

We visited the National Gallery and I saw my first Vermeer. Oscar Wilde's house was just across the way. Diana visited the Guinness factory and went on the St. Patrick's Cathedral tour by herself, while Athena and I toured the formal gardens outside it and viewed the burial spots of Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde and others.

There is a lot to see in Dublin, and we didn't get to do a few of the things we wanted, but it's difficult in a two-day span.

I'll have more on this trip when I return, but Internet access is being shared between the three of us, and I think I have more than used my fair share. Back soon with more details.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 5:37 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 7, 2007

more...Ireland

Cows and sheep dotted the Irish countryside yesterday, as it has for centuries, but I was there to see it. We took a trip north to my friend, Maugerite's farm home near Armagh.

Her father raises dairy cattle and sheep on a lovely farm with two houses and several barns filled with bovine companions with sanguine expressions.

Maugerite's sister Clare plays a sport called hurling, also known as something I can't spell, and she gave us a chance to practice in the green, green lawn behind their house.

When we came back inside, we had another two cups of tea (which they say I drink strangely--that is, without milk), and ate a beautiful lunch/dinner of potato bread, bacon, sausage and loads of toast.

The stars in the country are so clear, and arriving in Belfast from the hills is a sight only the airplane ride can rival.

Traveling to Dublin today and tomorrow. Back with more stories and excitement soon.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 3:13 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 5, 2007

Irish eyes are smiling

Churches are numerous. Curbs are painted to label political/religious affiliation. Barbed wire is the current safety system. Belfast is beautiful.

My friends and I are staying in a quirky student flat near Queens University with three bedrooms, a bath that never seems to dry, and a lovely kitchen/living room combination of neutral colors.

Yesterday we visited Carrickfergus Castle. A fishing port is located beside it, and a beautiful view of the sea is everywhere.

I've seen where Titanic was built. I've passed through parts of town that are still bombed out and gated. The political tour was a real, yet entertaining view of the city. In the cold rain and wind, however, the guide's wry sense of humor was often lost on the breeze.

On the first day of the trip, we raced through the Newark airport and were not surprised when our luggage was not as fleet of foot as we were. We were allotted $50 by the airport to buy essentials in the mean time. We bought pretty European clothes at a shop called Primark in town for the night, but the next day, however, our luggage thankfully arrived.

Today we're headed out into Belfast city center, but Tuesday we're headed to our friends' farm homes and Wednesday to Dublin.

Though I've traveled before, jet lag hasn't been this daunting. I'm coming around, though.

The Irish accents are delightful. I was most excited about this aspect of the trip, I think. Listening to people talk on their cell phones has never been so interesting before. "Grand" and "class" may join "arse" in my arsenal of favorite words. A smile is always on my lips when they open theirs.

Cheers!

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 8:31 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack