September 28, 2004

Update: SHU Squirrel Dearth...and the Drive


While waiting for the infamous shuttle at Seton Hill University to take me down to the nether regions of the extended "D" lot (the one with the handicapped parking spaces), I noticed--get this--two squirrels careening through the grass.

They were frolicking a bit close to the road so I shooed them up a tree, where they safely stowed away their nutty delectables. I hope they may find a tree farther away from the pothole drive.

The Drive

Today, while going around a curve, I almost lost a tire in the pothole. I am about ready to go walking down the hill with a bag of cement.

While I do not have documented proof of this statement, the shuttle driver, one of the campus police officials said that the drive will be paved after the construction is complete. Can we wait this long? Is patching the drive a possibility?

I fear for my entire car going up the drive. If something isn't done soon, I will either lose a wheel, an exhaust, or the rear end of my Chevy.

FYI: There is a pattern that you must take to avoid the crevasses: Swerve left, veer right, and go into the other lane (that is, if no one is in it), and then finally clench your teeth when you see Elizabeth Anne Seton (the statue) ahead--the BIG ONE is coming up.

GRAVEL. TAR. CEMENT. REEDS FROM THE NILE. Whatever it takes to keep me a mobile commuter. We could have a flashmob and each dump a handful of gravel into the holes...imagine what we could accomplish!!

Maybe that is a bit extreme...but something needs to be done.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 10:10 PM | Comments (11)

September 27, 2004

A Bell Recitation

Yes, I was a bell today. I was the low, "iron" bell in The Bells by Edgar Allan Poe. Diana was the alarum bell and Tiffany was the wedding bell.

To sum up our performance:
--I was loud.
--Tiffany was fast
--Diana was alarum.
--None of us moved. The "action-ventriloquist bells"

After we gave the presentation, I kept thinking that we should have swayed our hips (to look like bells, alluring possibly, but definitely bell-esque) when it was our turn to recite. Each of us read a part of the poem, and at the "bells, bells, bells" part, the current reader would finish together with the next reader on the last "bells" of the line. In other words, we overlapped by reading the same word together--a great transition. However, reading the poem is a feat in its self. The reason I couldn't get "into" the poem with hands and pendulous motions because I was holding tightly to the paper, assuring that I got every word right.

What many people do not know about me (and they now will) is that I had extreme difficulty in learning to read. I was in special reading groups and such when I was in grade school. Although it is a distant memory, I still fear reading in front of people. I can act, I can speak, but reciting things remains a trouble area for me. However, with "The Dickinson and Poe Retro Lit Cover Slam" (a bit wordy, don't you think? :-D), I challenged myself, especially reading with my other very English major pals.

I was a bit nervous when Dr. Jerz asked me what tintinnabulation meant, and I did a context search, and surprisingly, I wasn't too far off.

All in all, I think the "Feminist Collective" (as one such reviewee called us--you probably know who--I do), did a great job on "The Bells".

Congratulations to all the other people that read today. I thought for sure someone was going to break out in a Dickinson inspired "Yellow Rose of Texas", though.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 7:45 PM | Comments (2)

September 23, 2004

Amanda Cochran, journalist, makes her way

My first press pass. My first real-life encounter with journalism. And the president was there. (I do not plan on turning this blog into a political forum, I never have, as far as I can recall, but now more than ever, I do plan on keeping my political views to myself.)

While I will do full coverage on the Setonian site for Friday, complete with student opinions, I would just like to look at the experience from my perspective.

After entering the area, being searched for pointy or overly fiery ballpoint pens and the like, my companions and I decided to fan out to interview. Suddenly, a man, I am guessing a volunteer, on a power trip, walks up to me, and asks me if I am part of the press.

Because the administrative people faxed our 'credentials' paper late, we were not permitted to get passes; however, to get my pass, I gave the turquoise-jacketed lady in charge (after I was apprehended and taken to the "misfit" regions of the Arnold Palmer airstrip) the address to the Setonian blog, where she would see my work! YAY for blogs!!!

After that incident, the man with the power trip, would not let me out into the general admission area anymore to question people or take pics; but the turn of events was not bad...I was ushered to the press area where, after about a half an hour, I was given my first official press pass--the White House insignia on it, no less. Needless to say, I was thrilled at my view, that I had a seat, and that my camera had fresh batteries.

In the course of waiting, staring out into the crowd, taking pictures, and awed by the network television stations cameras and tripods (I was so snooping), another man introduced himself, a radio personality from Indiana, Ken Hawk. We chatted for a bit, and he gave me his card, wherein I gave him our newspaper's blog address and mentioned that I desperately needed cards to save my hand from further duress and my pride from looking like a complete amateur. :-)

After a while, people started packing in to hear the band and the rest of the festivities, which I will highlight in my article, and I sat there or stood there amazed at the people I was seeing. When the president did finally arrive, the journalists, photographers, and camerapeople, I could hardly contain myself. I loved watching them in action. I learned so much from watching them prepare and execute their mediums: print, television, and radio, as far as I know were represented.

Their practices I will learn in theory in a classroom, but there is something about applying the craft in a real-life situation that I need to learn beyond the professor/student environment. I think I am going to start looking for a copy of that internship guide mentioned on the NMJ blog this week.

After Bush arrived, I took more pics and then got down to business being a journalist. The press pool was very cut-throat for space by then. I had to practically bend myself backward over the platform railing to get a decent picture.

Afterward, we waited in traffic for a very long time, and I took off my pointy shoes. I also drank about a three gallons of water. I would like to say thank you to Ken Hawk for the plastic dixie cup of H2O he sent up my way. What a lovely gesture.

Today I'll never forget. My press pass is scrapbook-bound and so is the article that I plan on writing (note to self: get going). Experiences like this make me more firm in my career path. Thank you Seton Hill University, Dr. Jerz, my advisor, Anne Stadler, my editor-in-chief, and Justin Norris, my ticket-getter, for making this one of the most memorable days of my professional life. I truly appreciated this opportunity.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 12:19 AM | Comments (23)

September 18, 2004

Lament for Ur (News Pap-ur)

So this was my Friday night...Mesopotamian pessimism anyone?

Articles are missing.
The editors mourn.

Macs are demons intechcarnate.
The editors mourn.

The pages won't print.
The editors mourn.

Ten hours in an office.
The editors mourn.

Back to the dorm with Ivan.
The editors mourn.

While we did have some set-backs last night in the office, I had a wonderful time eating the garlicky pizza that stunk up the office (the editors...ah, forget it).

Anyway, the paper is about halfway through production. I think Anne, the editor-in-chief, myself and the rest of the editors are learning a lot about working with writers and copyeditors, Macs (which act and sound like people--FREAKISH), and each other in a work/party setting.

I have never had so much fun being stressed. My editorial life is one grand oxymoron!

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 3:10 PM | Comments (21)

September 14, 2004

Seton Hill Squirrel Dearth

H'okay so there aren't squirrels on campus anymore. Could it be the heavy machinery?

I saw a chipmunk today, scampering about the garbage can outside the library, but nothing can quite compare to the real article.

If you have seen squirrels (oh! you fortunate few), please post a general locale where I may see some on campus. I am getting worse by the day.

Maybe I will just abandon all scholarly studies this week and take a trip to Olney.

I'm losing it.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 11:45 PM | Comments (7)

Scarlet Fever

Having read The Scarlet Letter once in high school, I despised the idea of a rereading. However, with a kick in the pants I got reading and surprisingly, realized that I can read Hawthorne without pain.

I don't know if it has something to do with the concept of critical thinking while reading or that I have just matured, but it isn't a jab-yourself-in-the-eye-with-a-pen experience anymore.

To assuage the concept of rereading, I likened the style to that of Melville, which I had previously mentioned better than AP high school reading, as well. They each write with a flowery concept that belies the simple plot. The intracacies of their style may take from the reader's interpretation of the story, but that does not mean that the story's happenings are the end-all-be-all of the work.

In response to Sara, I disagree; there is much enthusiasm in the writing. When Chillingworth, the old man--Hester's disguised husband, moves in with her minister lover: Dimmesdale, he picks his heart for clues to his indiscretion. Hawthorne's narrator, in response to this sorry scene, says, "Alas, to judge from the gloom and terror in the depths of the poor minister's eyes, the battle was a sore one, and the victory any thing but secure!"

The exclamation point alone is enough to show enthusiasm, but even more the fervor behind the narrator's diction; "terror," "sorry," and "gloom," for example, denote a crystalline scene of extreme, impassioned pain.

As for the plot, don't watch the movie, folks. Made that mistake in high school. Though the scenery is great and the actors: Moore and Oldman shine as the star-crossed couple, the plot is anything but true to the novel's concept.

The real plot is the only one that really works for this Puritanical society. But more about that later...

Though I do like reading more classical literature with flowery descriptions and such, I also like dialogue. The Scarlet Letter is very sparing with this type of communication--instead the reader is to conjecture what is going on between the characters. This gets pretty old around chapter 6. However, this method probably lends itself to the quiet, strained atmosphere of the Puritan town and what is held within, namely Dimmesdale's daily internal torture.

That is perhaps what I want to see most--Dimmesdale's decline. I know it is morbid, but there is something about watching a tragic hero fall slowly that makes me want to read on.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 10:20 AM | Comments (4)

September 13, 2004

Categorismic: About Me

1. I read A LOT. Austen is a fave.
2. Movies are my passion--well, right next to journalism.
3. Journalism is my major at Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania.
4. I have a sister, mom, dad, 2 dogs and a cat--all of which I live with.
5. My best pal is Karissa
6. I am beginning to not care so much. Perfectionism is getting really old.
7. I have burnt ramen on several occasions. Kitchens and I do not coalesce--we are not like sugar and Koolaid.
8. Editing for The Setonian as news/online head honcho. Woohoo.
9. Work is what I thrive on.
10. Settling down is something I would like to do when I am dead.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 6:38 PM | Comments (1)

September 9, 2004

Week Two of SHU: Top Ten

10. Editorial meeting with Setonian staff. I think wonderful things are going to happen this year.

9. Peanut butter pie in the dining hall. I AM A PEANUT BUTTER FIEND. I guess I just love nutty things.

8. Blogging like mad. I think I have commented myself out on the new blogs. Be an advocate of SHU blogging. Check out the newbies.

7. Cleaning up the Setonian office and decorating. The signs are colorful and the room is relatively clean.

6. Opening Liturgy--Although I am not a Catholic, I think this is a great way to start out the year. Students assemble in the Seton Hill St. Joseph's Chapel and "take mass." Is that right? Though I do get a bit embarrassed when I don't know the hymns or return addresses to the father, I do feel very connected to my classmates in sharing this time together.

5. No classes because of the liturgy. Need I say more?

4. Getting busy once more. I remember over the summer, I was bored out of my mind. My mind, rather than my brute forcefulness (of which there is little), is getting a workout. The work is just enough to keep me on edge, but not put me over the cliff like last year.

3. Meal plans rock. I have three lunches in the dining hall this year. Now, I don't have to surreptiously "borrow" desserts from pals. And friends don't have to deplete their flex on me. I just have to pack the other two days. No biggie.

2. Righteous femurs--lots of them on campus. Karissa, you know what I mean.

1. I got my hair cut this morning. I get freaked out when people start hacking at my locks. But this time it worked out pretty well. It has layers up to my chin and about an inch taken off the bottom (I like the length).

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 1:18 PM | Comments (12)

September 8, 2004

An Unassigned Reflection: Mr. Mel (ville)

Having read one page of Moby Dick and seeing the blessed tome fly unceremoniously to the floor two years ago, I swore off Melville forever.

However, with the assigned reading, which entitles myself to a forced reading of Mr. Mel (not to be confused with the other Mr. Mel), as I like to call him, I began to notice what an incredibly humorous fellow he was. Herman--so Munsters.

Bartelby, the Scrivner was the assigned text--and I know I am breaking one of my own rules by relating that this was assigned, but my most beloved readers know that I do not read this kind of stuff on my own, but obviously, as this blog demonstrates, I really did like this Melville creation.

What has happened to my writing style? I think he has rubbed off on me somehow.

Anyway, I should inform you that Bartelby is an employee at a law office that, when he does not wish to do something, says, "I would prefer not to."

The more astounding thing is that his employer does not fire him, but keeps him on, pitying him when he finds that he lives in the office and will not leave.

H'okay, so the plot is important, but the most attractive thing, as ironic as it seems, is the narrator. His voice, Melville's writing style. When the narrator mentions John Jacob Astor, for instance, I couldn't help laughing at his love of the name: John Jacob Astor: "I love to repeat, for it hath a rounded and orbicular sound to it, and rings like unto bullion." I would do something like this. I love repeating sounds and gestures that I find appealing and incorporating them into my own speech and behavior. However, in this passage, the lawyer does sound a bit like Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice, repeating the name of his patron. Mr. John Jacob Astor--Lady Catherine de Bourgh. I see definite similar characteristics.

When the narrator arrogantly implies that his employees are like horses in the statement, "In fact, precisely as a reash, resitive horse is said to feel his oats, so Turkey felt his coat. It made him insolent." As much as I laughed at this, I also felt the underlying sense of his condescension.

Just one more, I promise. Melville's dialogue cracked me up. "'All beer,' cried Turkey; 'gentleness is effects of beer--Nippers and I dined together tod-day. you see how gentle I am, sir. Shall I go black his eyes?"

What a hoot. Maybe I will give Moby one more try. Whoops, wrong link.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 1:44 PM | Comments (7)

September 7, 2004

Story Scooping Sweetness

This weekend I felt the competitive juices flowing. My mission should I so choose it, was to scoop another paper, which will remained unnamed (it starts with a "Comm" and ends with an "unicator") by Monday when the print version of their publication was to be on the stands.

Mission accomplished.

Though I was a bit miffed on Saturday finding the Seton Hill homepage with my story, I pressed onward.

While I am not sure how many people have seen the story, I have been promoting the blogs in conversation and in sparsely decorating a bulletin board outside the Setonian office on campus. Let's hope it gains more popularity as the year progresses, and with shameless plugs such as this blog.

Though it is incredibly fulfilling for me to get my work published, it is even more rewarding to get a story out first and accurately.

I questioned my major this summer (that's right, folks--Amanda was insecure about her future). But this weekend, with all of its pressures and deadlines, I was reminded in some small way, what I love about being a reporter, competitive, and even more, the uncertainty of the next minute.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 7:28 PM | Comments (3)

September 2, 2004

Repair, Reinforce, Recycle...a Speech

Today *insert excitement and nervousness here*, I will be presenting to Writing for the Web, the class I mentor, about "Getting the Most Out of Your Academic Weblog".

While Julie Young did a stunning job last semester, I plan on creating a more up-to-date presentation that perhaps, fixes some of the flaws in her presentation that surfaced in her comments section--or create more...Hopefully not.

So, instead of creating everything from scratch, I am going to borrow Julie's material and post it once more, intermingled with additional links and some new material. Just a little, but important tip for newbies: ask permission.

Julie's Entry:

    Private vs. Public
  • Anyone can read this: professors, classmates
  • Donít write about your love life or last weekendís activities unless you want your professors (or the academic dean) to read about it
  • Take caution when complaining about classes or classmates
  • Also, watch what you write Ė donít link to pictures of you doing anything illegal while at school. Someone will invariably turn you in. Pictures are tricky. ANYONE can see them, including those that are "outside" the SHU blogosphere.
    The Upside
  • Your own weblog not only gives you a handy personal publishing outlet, but it also is much better than jweb's forums.
  • You get to know your classmates better. Make friends through your blog.
  • Future employers might read your blog, and might want to hire you because of it.
  • Well-thought-out weblogs arenít born every day Ė just look at the recently updated lists of and LiveJournal. Youíll stand out in a crowd.
  • You can publish your works in progress in your blogroll or in an entry. This illustrates, perhaps to perspective employers, that you work progressively, and also that you are passionate--so much so that you blog about it.
Helpful hint: before you click ďsave,Ē highlight and copy it should MT (Moveable Type) foul-up.

Also, thanks to all of you who provided examples for this educational purpose... ;)

Ditto from me. Thanks again to Julie for her beautiful blueprint.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 1:17 PM | Comments (11)