July 28, 2005

My 50-cents: selling off the house's haul

As I haul shopping bags into my house, I always think about how much goes into my house--never about when it leaves.

Most things leave in a garbage can, while others can serve a greater purpose of earning some extra cash for future junk.

This evening, my house seemed to regurgitate all the "stuff" that we have gathered the past few years, making our front lawn and parking spaces look like a nightmarish Hee-Haw episode.

Yep, that's right y'all, we're fixin' on havin' a yard sale. I love it.

I won't actually be attending the two-day junk extravaganza, but I have contributed to the mass of clothes and general junk (Beanie Babies, candles, picture frames, and etcetera) that populates the front porch. I consider it a free donation to my sister, her boyfriend, my mother, and aunts, who will be running the sale.

We make about $200 dollars for a few hours just sitting there, and we get rid of the mountains of crap lining our closets and basement--a definite win-win. I think my sister is putting her earnings toward her church camp trip that is coming up in August.

We have had some great sales over the years. I can't believe some of the things people have actually purchased:

1. A vanity without half the pieces (we told the person about this fact and he still bought it)
2. An Elvis vest, which featured several scenes of Elvis dancing in blue suede shoes throughout the garment
3. An old carton full of empty, dusty soda bottles we found in our basement when we moved in.

A few sidelong glances came from our customers when they saw these items, but who cares? We want rid of it all.

I get on my mom's case about junk collecting. She has the habit of going to auctions and yard sales. I can understand the fun of it, but we end up with so many things that we don't use. I think it has made me wary of what I buy and keep. She's been working on it, and so have I.

My closet isn't bursting at the seams anymore. As a young man once told me--a person needs only so many pairs of shoes. Though I love my shoes, I'm seeing his point, thus saving my extra cash for more important things like car insurance. ;-)

It will be a great sale, I think. We have all the hallmarks of a good one: antiques, collectibles, contemporary house stuff, male and female garments, and yes, the occasional, I-have-no-idea-what-it-is-mark-it-cheaply item.

I guess we'll see how it goes.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 9:57 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 22, 2005

Mr. Rendell, I have one question...

Yesterday in Indiana, I had the pleasure of covering a railroad opening, which featured an appearance by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.

I interviewed some of the people milling around and then listened to the speakers and then the governor. But the best was yet to come.

After the speakers concluded and a ribbon cutting ceremony was held, the media was permitted to ask questions, but I was not in that crowd.

No--I was talking with a group of protestors, waving signs in a nearby bandstand. My editor knew he would make an appearance there, and I had one specific question to ask--a tough one.

Standing serenely among the 5- and 6-year-olds who were dressed in hockey attire, I anxiously waited for my chance. And then I heard the train, which would supposedly carry the governor away, begin to chug. It was now or never and I let it rip:

"Governor Rendell--Amanda Cochran from the Tribune-Review. I have one question I'd like to ask.


Then I delivered it.

"Have you been receiving any negative feedback at these local functions for passing the bill, which raises state lawmakers pay again, making them the second highest paid in the nation?"

So there I was and there he was not two feet away--I could see the anger wash over his face, slightly reddening his pristine complexion.

He said something close to 'no I haven't received any negative feedback, only from the media'.

"Have you recieved any other types of communications concerning this bill? Phone calls, e-mails?"


"How many would you say?"

"About 150."

The governor of PA now hated me, and I strangely loved the sensation.

He answered a few more questions for me and then spoke to the kids with signs.

I thought I was going to die right there, but I did it, and I wasn't afraid. I have never experienced that big of a reporting rush before, well, except when I got to see the president.

He didn't look at me again, but the state troopers around him looked me over, probably wondering how I escaped the media crowd to get this exclusive interview.

It was a defining moment in my growth as a reporter, to say the least.

**None of the information in this blog is affiliated with the Tribune-Review--only Girl Meets World; it is only intended as a informational and reflective account of a valuable internship experience for future educational reference.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 4:49 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

July 17, 2005

Back from beachin'


My bed. My room. My house. Everything looks so strange. Am I really home from my week-long jaunt to Ocean City?

Yes. But I think I am living at both residences at the moment.

Maybe writing this will bring back my sun-fried brain to semi-functionality.

As I mentioned in my previous entry, I did suspect some tension between in my family, and there definitely was; however, I did have a good time, which is what matters.

Let's just say I learned a lot about parenting during this trip--a possible reference if I have kids someday.

Anyway, onto the trip. Recounting the days seems like a really long process, and kind of boring, too (I got into the sleeping habit), so I will just let my photos tell it.

Crossing the Chesapeake Bay is one of my favorite parts of the trip. This is from my vantage point in the back of my cousin's car, which was making scraping noises the entire way to the beach.

She ran over a raccoon on the night before we left PA, and the darned thing hit a heat shield thing underneath her car. But everything was a-okay when my uncle got underneath and dislodged the metal and some stray raccoon fur.

This is our humble abode from the kitchen. After pondering our accommodations for the past three months, our fearful imaginations, filled with dread at open cesspools and concrete beds, were at rest when our nine sets of eyes perused our lovely furnished condo.

Most of it was decorated in a lighthouse theme. We had two bedrooms, two baths, a kitchen, living room, dining room, and balcony. I -loved- the balcony. The ocean was in view, and I could catch the warm wind without the harmful rays.

This pic was taken on the one day I took to myself. After following everyone around in a dependent fog of keeping the familial peace, I remembered the Amanda I know--the one who takes charge and does her own thing.

After catching a bus, eating what I wanted (Subway, pathetic huh?), and relaxing by myself on an oceanside bench, I finally relaxed.

And I didn't take the sensation lightly, either. I'd been on edge the entire trip. I'd been working non-stop since last September, and relaxing was a luxury I did not let myself indulge in very often. When I finally found peace enough to just let go and "be", I realized how nice it felt for about ten minutes.

The funny thing is that I can't really do that for very long. My mind is constantly working at something. I can't tell you how many article ideas I have thought about, how many people I just wanted to interview on this trip. I even called my editor on Tuesday to make sure my articles were fine for publication.

We visited the boardwalk almost every night, and at the very top, a huge Ferris wheel decorates the pier. These are my cousins and Becky, my cousin's pal who joined us.

On the boardwalk, there are also sand sculptures. It was nice to see the scriptural scenes. I couldn't believe that Ocean City would condone that, but I'm glad they do.

In my hometown, we get public upheaval for a nativity at one time of the year.

They were lovely to see.

Another lovely sight was this old lighthouse in Fenwick, Delaware. Though we couldn't go up its old iron stairwell, we did get to pose beside it.

There was even a place where you could stand with one foot in Delaware and one in Maryland. I achieved the conceivably impossible: I was in two places at once. What a rush! Well, maybe not enough for an exclamatory sentence.

My uncle and cousin and my sister all take a break from munching at the Paul Revere Smorgasbord. Taking a breather between plates is a great idea.

I had two pieces of their Oreo cake and strawberries for dessert. Yummy.

One night we went to a Caribbean Beach Bar at the Plim Plaza Resort.

We had a great time listening to the band. Though they played stuff older than most of us gals there, just sitting in the breeze and listening to someone sing was enough. I wanted to join him on the stage and sing something.

My cuz, Stacy, enjoys her fruity something at the bar/grill on the boardwalk.

We made margaritas and pina coladas at our condo, too. Don't worry, folks. Non-alcoholic for me.

I watched this mother and her child fall asleep on the bus and I had to take a picture of them. I asked her if I could keep it, and she said it was okay. They look adorable.

And now for the beachy everyday scenes...

Becky and Stacy hanging out

This is a favorite of my mom and I. I love when I can catch her without her fake camera smile. She looks so pretty in this shot. I really appreciated her this week.

Becky, and my cousins, Julie and Stacy hang out in the condo's pool.

And here's me, trying to look cool in my sunglasses. I am learning to have fun with my camera, despite its supposed crappiness.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 10:26 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

July 9, 2005

Beachin': Pre-OC

I've just finished overpacking.

"Just right" packing is illusive for this Goldilocks. I always bring at least too many shorts or not enough socks or less of something else that I did not think would be necessary.

I guess there's always hope in the thousand Wal-Marts along the way if I forget anything. And, if I have overpacked, the wayside on the trail to Ocean City can be littered with my cast-offs: beauty products and towels, instead of harps and mirrors like in the Old West.

My aunt, uncle, sister, mom, cousins, cousin's pal will all be on the trip...and me.

There's been some tension between family members about who was eligible to come and who was not. Some family members can just be weird...and pretty mean. Anyway, if there is one potential fly in the ointment-o-fun, that would be it. I'm trying to stay out of it.

But that's what's up folks. I will not be blogging for a week, but I'll probably post some pics of the trip, with some commentary.

Have a lovely week--I'll miss you all, especially you, Mr. S.

--Send all mail to 17 Sand, Salt Water, and Serenity Lane, Ocean City. :-D

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 4:06 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 7, 2005

Ponder this

From Columbia Journalism Review:

Pham Xuan An argues that the only difference between being a spy and being a reporter is who reads your information.

--My Colleague, the Spy By Terence Smith

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 1:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 6, 2005

To know or not to know?
Journalist behind bars

It's a mess, but somebody has got to stand up for a free press these days.

All day at work, we kept tabs on this story. Sidebar: The best part about working at the Trib is the access to the wire where reporters are given first dibs on stories right after they are written--faster than Google News.

What kept us riveted is the fact that journalist rights are again being questioned, which means the public's right to know is, as well.
On the news tonight, the reporter said that several states have journalistic laws, but a federal law does not exist. Hmm. I guess the Bill of Rights doesn't count.

This story reminded me of the legal seminar I attended at Seton Hill in June. Speakers from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association outlined the state's laws concerning the press and the few cryptic laws that protect journalists (Right to Know and Shield Law).

Just an FYI, but Pennsylvania has some of the sketchiest media legislation in the country. The Pennsylvania Newspaper Association lecturer had to go through each piece of legislation line-by-line and tell us the implications and multiple meanings of each sentence. Then we went through individual cases that have addressed these laws, and it is bleak almost always for journalists.

One of the best parts of the seminar was when she addressed what pieces of information journalists are entitled to see and which ones we are not, specifically with private organizations and non-profits.

After attending this seminar and watching Miller walk away from the courthouse today, I realized this could happen to any journalist. However a journalist with tact and lots of feedback from other writers and editors may sidle away from something like this...hopefully.

Confidentiality for sources is a great method of finding the truth, but at the same time, reporters should evaluate the motives for a source's information. As one reporter on ABC News claimed tonight, she was digging up dirt, rather than being a whistle-blower, which he said is a more reasonable cause.

As a die-hard dirt-digger, I do understand, to as certain degree, the ambition and amazing payoff fueling her, especially while working for the New York Times. The pressure must be overwhelming to get the story right and as exclusive as possible with the people directly involved.

But I think she may have stuck her foot too deep in the dirt and now it's raining, sucking her into the mud of federal politics. Maybe the prosecutors, who have been investigating, well, nothing, will dig a tunnel out for her.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 8:16 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack