January 31, 2005

Flattered: I am reading material

Imagine my pride when I saw myself cited as reading material on a syllabus. Drawback: I have to reread myself.

While rereading, I realized that my entry and Julie's aren't just for academic weblogs, but rather for weblogs in general. What is described in these blogs is a matter of class and subjective taste, rather than strict guidelines. I am reminded of a Pirates of the Caribbean line...but I digress.

I also noticed that some elements of blogging effectively in a classroom setting may be added to this mini-handbook of weblog instruction, such as a small tutorial on appropriate citation of sources in a weblog. I still struggle with that, especially in the photo realm after being reamed out recently.

After finishing my lil' ol' project this past semester, I think that revamping that blog and perhaps adding it to my pages would be a good idea.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 12:22 AM | Comments (4)

January 27, 2005

Update: Trib Internship

Yesterday I called the Trib about the supposed internship. The managing editor answered and me, going rather wild at not getting a voicemail, began speaking--not always a good thing--but thankfully, this time, the babbling was minimal. I shut my mouth and let her speak.

As for my prospects, I think I am in the running for an interview. She mentioned it on the phone, and asked me to call in a couple of weeks, giving me a new number to call. As I was scribbling all over Tiffany's phonebook, my hand shaking, I realized that she may just want me to stop calling her...

I will not focus my energies on negative options. Besides, I only called her twice: for information and to check if she received my resume and samples.

The internship will be over the summer, and I would learn so much from this experience. I would also get paid, which is uncommon in this area. I am looking into getting SHU credit for this internship too.

I don't want to get my hopes up, but the opportunity is tantalizing. Working with reporters, photographers, layout editors...This is what I was meant to do.

If it doesn't happen this time, I will find another alternative. If it does...well, we all know how I am when I am excited (screaming, crying and laughing absolutely included).

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 11:59 PM | Comments (4)

January 25, 2005

Facing facts of new blogging semester

Back to SHU means back to academic blogging...So what does that mean for you, my lovely audience? You may become irritated with me, my subject matter, or the occasional six-syllable word I insert, but the new design of my page will make up for it, right? RIGHT?!

No, really, this semester, though I will be dealing with academic infamous forced blogs, I hope to write with the same voice that I have in blogs mentioning adventures an/or bats. I am faced with an all-too common dilemma on the blogosphere, but hopefully I can overcome those pesky barriers, and create blogs that people actually want to read. I said hopefully.

Keep reading if you are ready for my reading challenge:

As for my first trick, I just read "Pygmalion" in the several formats listed.

I know I just said Pygmalion. Don't run away. I will give very abridged version.

In short, a guy (Pygmalion) doesn't want wife, but he loves to sculpt, so he does, and he makes a beautiful maiden, which he lavishes both gifts and physical affection upon. In doing so, he falls in love and then asks the goddess (Miss Venus) to give him the likeness of his sculpture, not wanting to say that he wants her. When he gets home, he kisses the statue and touches it, and it feels warm and alive, he continues to touch it and finds that it is alive. They have a child together.

I would have to say my favorite representation is in feminist prose. I mean, I can really relate to this viewpoint. Working at a library where primarily guys (at least on my watch) look up pornography, I was repulsed. The traditional versions of the story, with images like this one:
"The flesh, or what so seems, he touches oft,
Which feels so smooth, that he believes it soft.
Fir'd with this thought, at once he strain'd the breast,
And on the lips a burning kiss impress'd"

made me a bit queasy. The poetic language is appealing, but the scene taking place reminds me more of the "balding pate,... weak, petulant mouth[ed],...soft second chin[ned],...dirty hands,... greedy eyes and...stained pants" type that I sometimes deal with at work. This version sort of mimics my interpretation of the events.
As the Jerz-described "feminist" version, which I think is more aptly described as modern, plot and descriptions are indeed altered by the writer of 2001.

I especially enjoyed the reference to the gods "as giv[ing] in to his pleas, one of them [finally] descend[ing] from the heavens (where he had been losing at his poker game." This gods reference, in addition to the earlier reference of divinity as "actually listen[ing] to their people" indicate a difference in the way humans perceive the divine. In the classic interpretation of the text, Venus is benevolent and kind, whereas in the modern version, the goddess image is replaced by a "he" playing poker.

But isn't that the modern way of looking at religion? As a guy with a beard that you go to when you need something, and when "he" is finally fed up with hearing your pleas, he gives in? Such a narrow-minded and limiting perception of the divine, but nevertheless true of our culture. In addition, feminine images in relationship to divinity are void in some faiths. Through this absence of a female goddess, as in thee classic telling, the author reinforces the power of men in both heaven and earth, and the effect is brutish--the gods being "annoyed enough."

Okay, I concede. This is predominantly a feminist retelling, but there are more things at work in this version than the standard bra-burner's male bashing.

With the reference to Pygmalion's fame, which earned him praise all over the world "(except for the areas that hadn't been "discovered" by white people yet,"
Modi is making a statement about the western world and what we thought, and still perhaps think, as the civilized world. This statement goes beyond the feminist fray of insults upon a masculine world, and looks more closely at what we believe is good and acceptable.

Some other mentionable differences that I hope to expand upon in class are:

  • Historical references: "his buggy or chariot (whatever vehicle they had back then)"--the lack of historical reverence in current culture

  • Sarcastic approach: "For weeks, he didn't move from that position (not even to go to the bathroom.)"--differs from the respectful classic view of Pygmalion

  • Ending: She doesn't accept him. "Moral of the story: Be sure you are worthy of your own ideals."

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 10:06 PM | Comments (2)

January 24, 2005

I rate the day: 7.5 out of 10 SHU points

On the "first day" scale, I would grant my first day back to SHU an 7.5: clean on the turns, but a little messy on the dismount.

Clear skies and wind slicing through my joined me on my morning jaunt from faroff extended D-Lot, but I made it on-time to my digital imaging course. Adobe. Fun. The Macs in the lab aren't as bad as I thought they were. My book hasn't come in yet from freakish Amazon yet. No more checks.

After the shortened version of the class (intros never take long), I headed up to the Seton--ahem Publications Office with Anne and we did some rearranging. Anne and I moved a monstrosity of a file cabinet.

Sweating and tired, we went off to Media Lab where the we met the new people. Shortly after class and introductions, we went to the office yet again (which was then in shambles from our redecoration) and showed them around. Exhibit A: Pencils. Exhibit B: Crappy Macs. Exhibit C: Dry Erase Board accompanied by mass of cardboard and carbon paper.

I had to jet to work, and I couldn't chat at length with pals, but overall 7.5.

Wednesday is the test; 4 1/2 hours of Islam. Qu'ran anyone?

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 10:19 PM | Comments (4)

January 22, 2005

Knitters Unite:
Stitch and Bitch Greensburg Event

Ever wonder what happens when women are armed with pointy multi-colored sticks of steel and pent-up rage? They get together and knit at a coffee house.

Karissa and I can knit. So domestic.

On Friday night at DV8 in Greensburg, Karissa and I attended the first monthly Stitch and Bitch meeting. With a small gathering of some experienced and inexperienced knitters, we introduced ourselves to one another. How sad that our informant of the event was missing. :-( There were women of all ages there; I was pretty surprised. By the end of the evening we had about ten to fifteen people there, not counting the men that popped their heads in the doorway to see what the womenfolk were doing. There was one guy there at the end of the night, but I did not see him pick up needles. Another guy, who briefly stuck his head in, mentioned that his grandmother taught him how to crochet.

The knitting group gets together for a pic

After we assembled, several of the women got right down to it. I was baffled at the knitting needles and the yarn and manner in which I was to manipulate both. I got the basic principle from Karissa.

My first try was a great big flop. My stitches were too tight, and I was dubbed "Hewoman stitcher." One of the ladies asked if I had a controlling personality--Karissa and I got quite a laugh out of that.

My Hewoman stitching efforts

Throughout the night, I got helplessly knotted several times before I finally got going. I ripped out my stiches at least ten times. I think I had to do that because I was so focused on the great conversations sparking.

Two Seton Hill College alums were at the event and asked me about my major and Seton Hill University in general. Karissa and I told them about the changes, specifically in the athletics departments. I think that is when I started the official b-i-t-c-h-i-n-g. I am not a naughty sailor speaker, so every time the words came up, I sort of felt like a bad girl. :-)

I also *get this* met a woman who loves squirrels: Heather. She told me a horrible story about a squirrel in her toilet...but otherwise she was really nice. She is an English teacher in the local area. Karissa heard her say "squirrels" first; she leaned over to me and said, "She just said the magic word." Yes, Karissa, yes she did. Insta-squirrel pal.

"Insta-Squirrel Pals"

I am still knitting. I am making a purple scarf, but I have an inkling I will not finish it until spring. ;-) They will be having more Stitch and Bitch meetings every month on Friday evenings, and now that I know how to do some of it, I can actually relax. What a great way to wind down after a day of SHU.

*Special thanks to Karissa for the wool yarn and Marian for the loaner knitting needles.*

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 9:17 PM | Comments (8)

Firefox creator: "A scrawny [kid]"

With all the talk on my blog about Firefox, imagine my surprise reading this today:

Blake Ross is 19 -- the same age Bill Gates was when he founded Microsoft -- but the surprising success of the free Internet browser Ross helped create doesn't yet have him dreaming about a Gates-sized fortune.

"That's not really my concern right now. I just want to make a good product," Ross said recently from the bedroom of his parents' condo as he the watched the Mozilla Firefox browser quietly chip away at Microsoft Corp.'s stranglehold on Web surfing....

Ross started learning about computer programming at 10, designing Web pages on AOL. That hooked him, and he bought programming books to learn complex languages like C++ on his own.

When he was 14, the precocious teen began fixing bugs in Netscape's Web browser from his home computer. A few months later, Ross told his parents he had a job offer.

"What, at the local store or something?" David Ross remembered thinking when his son told him.

No, at Netscape.

Sheesh. Let's hope he keeps his momentum.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 4:31 PM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2005

And the nerves set in.

With the ink drying on the pages, I scan and probe for mistakes one last time. Fonts. Size. Everything seems to be in order.

My coverletter and resume are put together, located rather precariously near my bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats. Maybe I should move them...

Sometime today I will be dropping the precious pages in the blue box that seems to eat and never deliver mail. The reason for my discontent? Textbooks. I sent a check--yes I still use them--for books, and they have to receive the check before they start bundling my books. I am about to crawl up a wall when I visit Amazon and all I see is "we must receive your check first."

I know it is going to Washington state. I should really have some patience. I try to stay clear of the debit card numbers when working online. I just don't trust companies with that information.

Let's hope Greensburg mail moves a bit more quickly.

(I can't believe how professional and feminine this looks, especially on Firefox (that I downloaded with Karissa's recommendation).)

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 10:29 AM | Comments (7)

January 19, 2005

Another Pretty Blog, and Why I like Firefox

Amanda's blog has officially been "re-beautified."
What do you think about the changes?

I was going with the template that she chose here, and this is what I was able to incorporate. With the directions given on that particular site (which I have used before in "skinning" sites), it's advisable to -not- directly copy and paste the stylesheet and index templates straight into your files in MT. (Reasons: the version of MT that we're using here in the SHU blogosphere isn't that recent, the stylesheets use elements that aren't in your original index, and (for me) it was much easier to just slap things into a previously existing, working template.)

And now I'll move on to my reasons for loathing Internet Explorer.

Exhibit A:
New Picture (16).bmp
Amanda's snappy new blog design in Mozilla Firefox.

New Picture (17).bmp
The same snappy design, minus a few utterly great elements, in IE.

This should be enough evidence for me to rest my case, but I'll provide more (and you knew I would!).
Working on IE to test the blog, since I know that's the browser most everyone uses, the thing closed on me--without saving or rebuilding--several times. It happened enough times that I was driven to stop for today; hence my thwarted anger in not presenting the final design...

I recommend Firefox. I downloaded it before the holidays, and I haven't looked back. I've had fewer problems with the internet, in general. I've not had a virus since. There's a handy "tabs" system to cut down on the number of windows on your screen (see above illustration of Firefox), and the "bookmark" feature makes more sense than making something a "favorite." You don't have to hold the CTRL key when you want a pop-up to open (such as the window for uploading a file, or the comments box) if you have a pop-up blocker installed. This isn't even getting into all the customizable features nested beautifully in Firefox...

What with all the nonsense contained in IE (including that wonderful, malicious Service Pack 2 for XP), I have no reason to need that silly, fallable browser again.

The only thing I can tell SHU bloggers to look out for if they would like to switch to Firefox is that the nice little toolbar
New Picture (18).bmp
will disappear (or at least I haven't figured out how to get it back...). But adding bold, italics, underline, and links isn't that hard--use the HTML when you're typing.

Despite all that, I hope you enjoy Amanda's new look. I hope to finalize it after you comment on it with suggestions and/or praise :-)

Sincerely in style,

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 2:20 PM | Comments (13)

January 17, 2005

D.O.A.: My blog style

My blog will be altered by Karissa. I have also been caught in her web of style once more. Though I have toyed with the idea of changing my blog to Woman Meets World for the millionth time, I have decided to retain the title and make the changes speak for themselves.

Though I would like the unabashedly pretty styles of my blogging pals, I am also using my blog for professional reasons too, and I really don't know how receptive the Trib would be to a background of dancing ponies, however graceful and/or beautiful they may be.

As for my concern over the Tribune Review, I am hoping to be enlisted in their ranks as an news intern for the summer, and I am listing on my resume this site and my work for the Setonian. I am really stressing over the cover letter...

Anyway, back to the style...Karissa will be tinkering with it soon so be prepared!

EDIT 1/17/05 8:54pm: Hello all; Karissa here... Amanda, here are your ponies. A picture to suffice that pony craving you may have living inside ;)

amandaponies haha.bmp

Just a little joke :)
And now I'm off to work on the -real- layout for Amanda... Seriously.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 4:29 PM | Comments (9)

January 13, 2005

Inauguration Costs: Hullabaloo on Blogs

How did it all start? Not sure, but I can trace the original fly-in-ointment to Rubino's reference to Alternet. But was this reference in reference to Michael Sichok's reference to Alternet first? Hmm. Not sure, but then I got into the mix.

I found some evidence saying the exact opposite of Mike's claims on Paige's Paige.

It looks as if Mike Rubino has made the rounds on all the blogs mentioning this issue. How about you? Do you have anything to add?

I just like watching--

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 7:39 PM | Comments (0)

I wanna be a tortoise when I grow up

Via Paige.

'A baby hippo at the Mombasa (Kenya) Zoo lost his mother in the tsunami. The young hippo was swept away by the water and then left on a beach before being rescued by wildlife rangers. However, the baby then “bonded” with his new surrogate mother, a male tortoise believed to be 100 years old.

“It is incredible. A-less-than-a-year-old hippo has adopted a male tortoise, about a century old, and the tortoise seems to be very happy with being a ‘mother’,” ecologist Paula Kahumbu, who is in charge of Lafarge Park.

“After it was swept and lost its mother, the hippo was traumatised. It had to look for something to be a surrogate mother. Fortunately, it landed on the tortoise and established a strong bond. They swim, eat and sleep together,” the ecologist added.

“The hippo follows the tortoise exactly the way it follows its mother. If somebody approaches the tortoise, the hippo becomes aggressive, as if protecting its biological mother,” Kahumbu added.'

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 7:21 PM | Comments (1)

January 11, 2005

Live bait: memories of smaller days

This evening I took a trip to Wal-Mart. I don't even know why my car suddenly veers left and turns on the turn signal automatically when the store comes into view, but it does.

As I was perusing the wide aisles of stacked items of every shape, I realized that I needed to get to the other side of the store, but instead of taking Wal-Mart's mapped out trails of higher-priced look-at-me-goods, I cut across the sporting goods department.

Isn't this something sacred? I was just an athlete in high school, but I can remember my first beloved pair of googles, perfect and special from Swimmer's Network, a specialty stocker of everything "swimmer". There they were--Speedo racing googles, but not the kind I used specifically that suction-cupped to my eyes perfectly when I nervously adjusted them before a race. Not the same, but cheaper--always less.

Then I saw it--a live bait refrigerator--I suddenly felt tears welling up; well, not really, but for effect, envision me with tears sliding down my cheeks. :-)

I remember the bait shop near my grandma's house, Red's Bait Shop, where I would look down in the tanks and faintly see a minnow dart past, and suddenly, my eyes adjusting to the dark water--his little friends passing. Something was special about that shop where we would always go for chips and pop (soda, whatever), but never bait. I didn't fish until I was ten, and I had been going there since I could catch up with my cousins. I didn't know what bait was; I just liked the tanks and the sound of rushing water filling them as my grandpa and the owner talked over a Mountain Dew.

Wal-Mart is replacing that charm. I hate that I go there instinctively. They make it so convenient. We go there for everything, including bait, which is right next to the soccer equipment. Unnatural.

Some items I remember everything about where I got them and how I paid for them, and it really didn't matter about the price. It was the experience of ownership that defined that moment, and the desensitized environment propogated by the mega-store with dog food and shampooa walk away makes for a loss of ownership that one may receive at a smaller, more intimate establishment.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 5:41 PM | Comments (2)

January 10, 2005

Too pretty for her?

This proves that Brad Pitt was just too pretty for Jennifer Aniston.

I can just imagine their last conversation as a couple.

Jenn: How does your hair stay so light and fluffy. So...windswept.
Brad: I don't know. I got this amazing mousse from George Clooney on the set of Ocean's Twelve, but it was like that before...(mumbles on about his co-stars and how Angelina Jolie has amazing hair)
Jenn: Shut up or I swear *she glowers* I have friends.
Brad: What? Don't you agree that I am the epitome of a pretty man?
Jenn: I think I need to go get a treatment.
Brad: Botox? I think so. Your eyebrows are starting to sag.
Jenn: No--spa. I wanted something with seaweed--*She stomps off*

And with this, she went her way, and he, his, though they are still "committed and caring friends. Ain't love grand?

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 4:53 PM | Comments (2)

January 6, 2005

10 reasons I need the SHU norm

10. I am in my pjs most of my off days. This practice is becoming so chronic that I am infusing my wardrobe with more night shirts than going-out clothes.

9. I am building a major relationship with the Mount Pleasant Library. I am becoming personally attached to it, even assenting to nine-hour days. I remember where the history books are, and I even know the creepy kids that come in to look at classical art books.

8. I have resorted to shopping to pass my time. Today I spent an obscene amount of time shopping, buying lots of black. Depression? Goth? No. Just need to shed some pounds with some slimming fabric. Which brings me to my next point...

7. Eating the holiday leftovers. I am a tragic case. Bridget Jones, anyone?

6. I have begun to visit SHU. While yesterday I did have an agenda of visiting the Financial Aid Office, today, I just turned into the drive and visited Tiffany, who was just as happy to see me as I was her. Gosh, Farrell Hall is really lonely.

5. I have started to check book prices and the course outlines and such on the Seton Hill website. If I can do anything to get started, I plan on doing so. I have even started reading up on Islam, which is one of my courses this upcoming semester.

4. I have ceased to find comfort in the so-called insurmountables of cooking and cleaning. Disenchanted with the fact that I know enough about both to survive, I have left my wisk and 409 behind, hoping to try an activity that does not involve stereotypes of girl:apron : boy:hammer.

3. Thoughts of starting a save-the-world revolution. After watching and reading about the tsunamis in Asia, I feel the need to do something. The need to do, to spark some good deed of epic proportions is sometimes overwhelming when I see footage of the broken bodies and buildings. I think a lot of us feel helpless in our little homes and lives that we feel like we can just give our money. After Mexico, I know that I can do more, and I want to.

2. I am watching t.v. and movies more than ever. Tonight, I even stopped a moment to check out a Disney Channel movie, which is no. 1 on the you-are-a-desperate-tv-junkie list.

The love of all these have sustained me throughout the past few weeks, but I am starting to go cabin crazy, and going outside does little to ease my wintery doldrums.

1. And no. 1. I am constantly on edge- anticipating the next invisible deadline. I miss the frenzied life of planners and books and drama. Maybe I will write an ode to school...

oh the bookbags, weighing at least a ton,
the slow internet connection

Maybe not. I have also realized that I cannot write poetry and should not do so.

However, I am optimistic about this year, despite appearances. Activities will pick up quickly. As I write this, professors are probably outlining their syllabi, and I will whine about the work, but once again I realize that as much as I hate the work, I love it in the same measure. I just miss it. I miss everything.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 12:24 AM | Comments (4)