July 30, 2004


At the wall
Shifting from heel to heel.
Shrinking to the back
Grounded in the greyed canvas.

A shape--
Daunted by light.

Shirking activity.
A course outline
Blackened for effect.

until this long query
Seen slightly by one wary.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 11:55 PM | Comments (2)

The Chair a.k.a. Adventure One

Driving home from my aunt's house after imbibing quite freely with blackberry dumplings and coffee, a giant cardboard sign screaming FREE in the darkness caught my eye.

Be aware that my family has that gene. You know which one I am talking about: the I-see-something-along-the-road-and-I-pick-it-up-to-show-visitors-how-much-I-saved one. Yes, the one that I have tried to suppress the past 19 years of my life, a life filled with various characters, I mean relations, picking up items that are supposedly worthwhile and loading them into the ever-dwindling trunk space of van, pick-up, or sedan. My mother, I believe, bought her huge van solely for this reason.

I thought the gene had skipped this generation, but tonight's events proved quite the opposite.

The blue chair (and ottoman) sat quietly in the darkness, waiting to be plucked. I did not know that that person would be me, until I started with the inquiries.

"Mom, I saw this chair. We have to get this chair. It looks really nice. I don't know where we are going to put it, but we have to get it. Will you help me get it?"

Dad "The Muscle" Cochran would not go; so after some coercion, Katie decided she would aid in my chair adventure.

Driving with lights dim, we headed for the chair. She said she wasn't going to get out until I checked it out.

So I did. Sniffing, prodding, sitting, and eventually lifting, I began the chair's trek toward home. It would not be so easy. Chairs do not like to be lifted, especially velvet ones. Slipping out of our hands, we laughed as someone approached.

Then lights shined at us. Katie said something like "If someone comes out here, I'll leave it." But we got going.

Gasping for breath, our giggles escaping, we finally secured the chair and ottoman in my Corsica and headed down the hill toward home. Luckily, it was a short drive because I didn't have anything to secure the chair in my trunk. Needless to say, we took the semi-flat route home, attempting to keep the blue mass lodged.

Then we realized the chair had a problem. A slight issue of smell. I think it had been sitting in the basement for a while. My mom, Katie and I eventually starting singing "Smelly Chair" in the tradition of Phoebe's "Smelly Cat" on Friends.

No prob. With a bit of Febreze, carpet and furniture foam and some time, we'll have that thing in our house, a smellin' and sittin' pretty. Maybe as a sitting area in my closet; it needs a little decor.

Adventure One: Check.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 12:39 AM | Comments (14)

July 27, 2004

Stashing the Suds

I took a trip to Wal-Mart tonight and bought many, many soap-oriented products. I bought shampoo, conditioner, 2 bottles of body wash, and shave gel. The cashier probably thought I was obsessive about personal hygiene.

I also bought a toothbrush; that probably put her over the edge.

As for the nature of my purchases, I am a shampoo manufacturer's dream. I have been buying the "best" since grade school, which then, translated into Pantene or Finesse. Presently, I have moved onto the other products outlined above, and it is getting worse. I fear the day I start getting wrinkes; Oil of Olay will have high quarterly earnings when that time comes.

It has gotten so bad that I won't use what my family uses. I have my own cache in my closet that I hide from them. I feel terrible about it, but I buy it and then they use it all up, revelling in the novelty of using Amanda's Stash of Great (and moderately expensive) Products.

Am I a shampoo miscreant? I would appreciate feedback. This is turning into an issue of super-suds proportion.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 1:46 AM | Comments (7)

July 24, 2004

Counting down County

If you haven't noticed, I have added a little something to my blog. Yes, Dr. Jerz, I am learning a little more about HTML and Java.

Anyway, it is on your left if you don't know what I am talking about--or right if you have dislexic vision (sometimes I do).

I am very excited about this event. So excited that I plan on August craziness. What is this craziness that I speak of? Squirrel watching? No--but that would be fun.

Geauga Lake with family very soon. Perhaps a late trip to the beach (Stacy we have to talk). Weekends.

After all the whining I have done over the past year, yes, one terrible year at that place, I am finally going to be free. I will not say that all of my experience there has been bad; I have met many nice people, but irregardless, I hated it. Period. The end.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 12:12 AM | Comments (9)

July 22, 2004

Sentiments from a sentimental

Be aware or Beware that you may need an airplane bag when you read this.

When I get past my birthday (my self-proclaimed high point of the summer), I like to reflect on all I have actually done--the things I will remember when I start seeing the leaves turn.

This summer has been better than many of my life. I think I have been happy. But then, I knew I would be.

Anyway, while swimming today, looking up periodically at my angelic charges, this thought surfaced once more into my head. One more summer, again my mind dulled by the beauty I have slipped under--a drug that only cold can remedy. What, in these months--the weeks slipping past--have done to note?

I regret to inform all that I have not done much, at least academically, which does make me feel a bit wasteful of this quiet time. My mind is dormant. Will I be ready to face that first assignment?

However, so much has happened. Scenes flicker through my memory and I realize that I would want to do it all again; but alas, Life doesn't have a rewind or pause button.

I feel caught between two worlds that I love equally. Can they coexist? I hope with all my heart.

As for the scenes that linger, I note these:

Literally, frolicking in the grass, spinning so much in the dark that all you can see are the stars in a frosty swirl.

Green, green water inching closer--so slowly and yet so quickly when I leaped, the screams my own, mingled with my girls'. The rocks scraping my toes as I fought to kick and surface.

Bologna and cheese sandwiches 3 days a week. The only thing I have expertise in--well, that and soup, if I am very careful.

Watching strawberry ice cream trickle down Alyssa's little brown hands; her pink mouth covered with rainbow sprinkles, weakly attempting to cease the mess's progress.

Holding close because you are breaking apart, and the only thing holding you together are those arms, encircling your own.

Flowered sheets flapping, the sun blotted out: a private sanctuary among the linens.

As of now...no leaves have fallen yet.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 2:20 AM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2004

Check this stink

The Onion reports:
ANN ARBOR, MI—The University of Michigan has become the 17th institution of higher learning to be implicated in the checks-for-degrees scandal rocking American campuses, representatives from the Department of Justice reported Tuesday.

While I don't look at college in the same way as this satirical study of higher learning, I do have common ground with Trumbull, a quoted source, who said he has to use a calculator to do simple math. Sad. So sad.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 6:58 PM | Comments (0)

BEWARE: Toe Sucker

There is a strange man sucking toes in Greensburg.

Though this man has been apprehended, I now fear for my flip flopped ones. Let's hope copycats do not surface.

I can just imagine what the victims said to the police.

Maybe I could join a self-defense class. Or wear more socks.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 12:34 AM | Comments (7)

July 13, 2004

The Glass Bottle

One round lip
and a rounded bottom,
Something more lies within.

Cast aside,
Almost cracking on impact.
She waits
Angled haphazardly on a stone.

She will not be undone,
Without the desperate pull of a lonely one.

Inside, Something
Unknown even to her,
Lies waiting for discovery.
Alone--a long tract for recovery.

Taken again in angry waves,
Shards sparkle in the shallows,
She cannot contain it longer.

The white unfurls,
Her inky secrets twirl.
Dancing in a fancy script.
Without even a pull!
Her dire debt paid in full.

*A quick try at poetry. Inspired by my Grandma Ulery's seascape painting that is hung above my computer desk.*

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 1:26 AM | Comments (4)

July 8, 2004

An Interesting Sister

From diaper genies, to sticker collections, to hair pulling fights, and finally cars, Katie and I have shared everything for as long as I can remember. Sisters are required to do that.

And now, just when things are starting to go well--the hairpulling stops and the tears taper off--she refuses to tell me things. I have become the older sister that she doesn't tell me anything about her life because her activities may be illegal, or frightening to the older, protective sister--me.

I can understand, and that is probably the most problematic element of this entire situation; I probably wouldn't tell my older sister what I planned to do with my friends if I knew she may be a tattle-tale risk.

However, I don't think she understands where I stand on this whole older sister deal. I wanted to do all the things she is doing now. And I respect her for taking those risks.

Why didn't I do them? I was too busy in high school, building my incredible college resume, to do fun stuff exclusively with pals. Most of my friendships were built around the activity I was taking part in, and when that play, recital, publication session or season came to a close, so did the short-lived connection.

The entirety of my party time in high school was movie nights about once a month, which ended at 11:00 because I had actually followed the driving curfew. Or sleepovers, with my close-knit group of pals that were all as relatively subdued as I.

Okay, so you are probably all thinking I am some kind of exhaust pipe rusting away in your basement, but I assure you that I am not. My passions have always existed in work, and I am proud that I can give my all to something, but now, more than ever, I am starting to see how interesting life could be if I would just loosen up, and follow my sister's lead.

I have been the example for years, always doing the "right" thing, and now, seeing her so happy, so wonderfully excited about her life and future, I question what is really the "right" thing.

And what I have come to discover is that she is the interesting one. She is the one shaving creaming houses and talking into the wee hours of the morning on the phone. She is the one still making all of her payments on her car, still getting through school, and still having a marvelous time.

Can't I do the same? I hope so, because I was on the brink of crazy this past year. I don't want to do it again. Let's hope some experience in college time management will help in this ongoing balance battle.

I am sending out an SOS to mes amies. With the school year fast approaching, I ask that you stop me if I am sitting reading a book on a Friday night, tell me to--no, take the book from me--until at least Saturday. Even if I pummel you with my cold fists take it, hide it, and tell me to "get interesting" (that's the new "it" phrase, after all :-)). Tell me to go egg someone. It is for my own good.

I will be grateful in the long run. If that happens, just get me a cappuchino. A cappuchino and a pet squirrel. That's all I want.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 12:48 AM | Comments (5)

July 6, 2004

Librarians with laquer...and paint thinner

A cantankerous (I love that word) odor wafted throughout the library today. The head librarian, and I quote, said, "My tongue is burning."

I didn't know that people's tongues could burn at unpleasant smells.

Anyway, she knew something was up the moment she opened the door this morning.

I arrived at the library around 5:30 and the smell continued to waft, the waftability of the smell spurred Carole, of the burning tongue variety, to turn on the fans, thus circulating the infected air a little more rapidly.

Then she came out from the back room and what to our wondering eyes should appear, but 6 leaking bottles of paint thinner and laquer, oh dear.

I don't even know what paint thinner and laquer are doing at the library. I guess they used these substances to hold the books together or....why not ask someone?

Okay, Barb (another librarian) said that they are for preserving the books in a cheaper manner than plastic coverings.

So, I guess when the libraries finally got funding a few decades ago, the paint thinner was scrapped, or thrown in a backroom to eat away at the cans and then the cabinets in which they are stored, and perhaps, catch fire.

No, the library didn't burst into flames, but we do lots of demonstrations, including some with other flammable substances. If anyone would have made one of those volcano paper-mache du-flickers and lit it, the MP library may have been a nice place to make smores.

Onto the real reason behind this entry. Is there? Oh yes. The smell. While cleaning up the gooey mess, we all got a little, um, well--you know. We shut the cabinet several times to ward off the smell, but...

And I know what you are saying to yourself, dear readers. Librarians getting high? Unheard of.

Well, not today. And I was the only one under 40.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 7:32 PM | Comments (1)

July 3, 2004

Another Pseudo-Objective

I have been out of the loop on the entire Farenheit 9/11 film, but wanting to catch up I did a little reading, and this article by Randor Guy was the first pick on Google. First pick? Even algorithms should have better taste.

The article doesn't even start out well. "Never in the history of motion pictures in America has so much controversy been generated by a single movie, a documentary, as has Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11'. "

What about Citizen Kane? The Passion of the Christ?

And then Randor Guy goes from bad to worse.

Exhibit A:
Articles should not contain exclamation points!!!

"He [Moore] went even to the extent of calling Americans, ‘idiots’ for assuming many things about themselves like ‘world supremacy’, which according to him are all just hot air!"

Exhibit B:

Statements of blatant support of the subject.

"With the thumping success of Fahrenheit 89/11 Michael Moore has emerged as a formidable social commentator and crusader against the American establishment. And also as a cult figure in America."

Expressions, such as "thumping success," "crusader against the American establishment," and "cult figure" inspire both awe and a certain cool factor, which the author connects to Moore. These expressions could easily have a counterpoint, which automatically disqualifies the entire article as news.

Still, the article is listed under news, rather than editorial. Pseudo-objective by placement, but not by content. I hope that readers are intelligent enough not to trust this Guy.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 11:42 AM | Comments (4)

Worker Bee Dies

Okay, I work three jobs. I had a minor epiphany last night while looking at my schedule for the Fourth of July. 6:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m.--working through the fireworks. What have I become?

So, I have decided to quit. One job has to go. A County Market employee no more.

Well, I have to go back next summer, that is, unless I find something better--perhaps cleaning bird baths or waxing old ladies. I will not think about that now.

Right now, I just want to concentrate on getting through the 7 p.m.-3 a.m. shift scheduled for tonight. That is, after I finish here at the library.

This is heinous.

Too much work makes Amanda boring.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 10:43 AM | Comments (3)

July 1, 2004

Movie Tech Decision

I have a combination DVD/VHS recorder, but I don't know which I like better. Let's try a little pro-con analysis.

dvd.jpg VS. vhs.jpg

DVD Pros
1. Digital
2. Neat menus
3. Will not break
4. Does not need rewound
5. Sound capabilities
6. Extra features
7. Easy storage

DVD Cons
1. Scratch very easily
2. Loading time
3. Expensive

VHS Pros
1. Inexpensive
2. Old movies are usually in this format
3. No loading time
4. My rewinder doesn't feel obsolete.

VHS Cons
1. Can break
2. Crackly sound, if old
3. Cabinet space sucking

While I love DVDs, VHS are more cost effective. DVD to rent, VHS to buy. My home entertainment quandary is solved.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 6:43 PM | Comments (4)