Us Against Them Is Not-So Dead and Gone

I haven’t been posting lately, for which I apologize. I’ve been a tired little girl, falling asleep at nine or ten o’clock every day, meaning I have traded in my blogging me time for listening-to-the-radio-in-the-car-on-my-way-home-from-work me time. And I have to say I’ve enjoyed being in-the-know about what’s out there in the land of pop music. Because let’s be honest, I love the same music as most 14 year old girls. Continue reading

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I Am Such A Bum

It's Been A Rough Weekend

It's Been A Rough Weekend

It’s been quite the weekend.

Saturday I woke up without heat or hot water. Awesome. I called a repairman, who told me it would be about 5 or 6 hours before he could white-horse it to my rescue. In the mean time, my cute little farmhouse turned into a frosty deathbox, growing colder by the minute. Continue reading

Rain or Shine

It’s almost Super Bowl time, and I’m in a prime location. This year, for a limited time only, Maggie G is broadcasting live from Pennsylvania. I’m living just outside of Allentown, which puts me in prime Eagles territory. And I have to tell you, I’m excited at the prospect of an all-Pennsylvania showdown. Continue reading

Default Conclusion: Boyf Is Wrong

It’s been about three weeks since I posted about the blogging debate Boyf and I had, and I figure now is as good a time as any to post an update about the survey.

The results are in, and they’re well, palyndromic. (That means he same forwards and backwards, not Russia-spotting Hockey-Momming VP candidate-like). I guess that’s what happens when only nine people respond.

Their votes? 44 percent agree with Boyf, calling blogs “self-important noise,” while 33 percent of those surveyed say blogs are outlets that contribute to the media and society. 22 percent say other.

I hate to do this — I really do, but given the small sample size Milk and Cheerios is going to have to classify these results as inconclusive, which means that under blog-poll bylaw Article 10.43 section j, the opinion of the blogger reigns supreme. Sorry Boyf. Looks like you’re wrong and I’m right.

At least you’re used to it.

I Want Your (Self-Important) Opinions on This One

Boyf posted a comment on my blog post yesterday. No. Of course it wasn’t an adorable post. After all, it was Boyf. Anyway, it got us talking about the fact that I’m updating semi-consistently again, and opened the door for a conversation about blogging. He had a lot to say (typical), and actually made a couple good points (less typical), but ultimately I respectfully disagree with his conclusion (incredibly typical).

He made three points.

Point One: Anyone Can Write a Blog.

Any idiot can write a blog. Further, any idiot can find other people who will read their blog. Trust me. I’m not an expert on anything (though I do claim to know a bit about interning), and I got your attention.

I can’t even count how many times I’ve stumbled upon a seemingly ridiculous blog, which in all seriousness has no reason for existence. Fashion “experts” who’ve never taken a design class? Please. “Feminists” who support Sarah Palin? Read a dictionary. Women who write about their cats? Nobody cares.

Point Two: Facts Make “News,” Opinions Don’t.

I got him on semantics at one point here.
Boyf: Just because you have an opinion doesn’t mean you have the right to declare it to the world.
Maggie: You mean like in the Bill of Rights? Like the First Amendment?

That’s not really what he meant though. Boyf is a medical student right now, so he takes the scientific approach to life. And in science, he pointed out, you can be one of two things: right or wrong. Something is a fact, or it isn’t.

That got my feathers a little ruffled. Binaries? Dichotomies? Right, wrong? Black, white? Good, evil? News, blog?

Blogs can’t be news, he said, because they’re not always dutifully reported facts, statistics and quotations (I’m paraphrasing by the way, which I’m sure you expected since this is a blog). Blogs are one person’s (or a group of people’s) response, opinion, or musing about a particular topic. And sometimes they’re just like diary entries, which leads him to point three.

Point Three: They Make Too Much Noise

I think I might agree with him here. Not based on principle, but in the way he presented it to me. (Disclaimer: I am now relying  on information relayed to me from Boyf. Accuracy not checked as of yet) George Saunders, a professor at Syracuse University and renowned writer, created a great analogy for the current state of the media, Boyf said.

In this analogy, there was a dinner party, and one guest had a voice amplifier through which he was talking about the weather and changing seasons. By the end of the party that’s all any of the guests could talk about;  not because it was the most important topic on their minds, but because it was the loudest, and it drilled its way into their heads an conversations. According to Boyf, this analogy describes the amount of bloggers out there right now. They’re “taking over” the media, not because they have the “best” news or stories, but simply because every Tom, Dick and Harry knows how to type.

Hmm. I have to admit, this makes sense too. And I often have trouble discerning blog posts from news and features stories on newspaper Web sites. They’re not always clearly labeled, and they tend to pop up in search, making research a very frustrating endeavor.

So Boyf had three good points. But the thing is that I just can’t bring myself to agree with him. Maybe it’s because I’m self-important enough to have my own blog. Maybe it’s because I read my friend’s blogs as a way to stay in touch and up-to-date with their lives as they navigate their post-grad lives, teach math in Chicago, or just write their thoughts as though they were keeping a diary.

Maybe it’s because I’m a news girl who can’t help but think that everyone has a story, and you can never really have too much information.

Maybe it’s because I make it a point to disagree with him as often as possible. Either way, I can’t stop thinking about it. And I want to know what you have to say about it too. Do you think blogging is a self-important way to broadcast your life to a large audience, or do you think it actually contributes to the media and to society?

Behold: My Future

photo_3.jpgWarning: If Christina Crapanzano is reading this — Fear The Worst.

It was a cute joke this summer.  Down with the man.  Buy a [explicit] cat!  We joked on and off about moving around the country and working at newspapers to come home at night to one of two things:

1.)    A Cat.

2.)    A Kennedy.

So how about a cat named Kennedy?  All right, all right.  I know this will technically make me a cat lady at the ripe old age of 22 (thanks, Dad, for pointing that out), but it’s really not like that.

My grandmother bred Siamese cats for most of her life.  And even though my Aunt Pam isn’t really a fan of them, she has continued on the tradition since Grandma passed away last Christmas.  So there I was, sitting at Aunt Pam’s kitchen table when a beautiful Siamese cat landed on my lap.  What’s a girl to do?  I had to pet the thing.

And we entered into a 30-minute long snuggle fest.  While I was taming one of the world’s prissiest animals, my aunt noticed that we had hit it off and remarked, “If you ever want a Siamese, just let me know.”

After a couple glasses of wine at Christmas Dinner last night, this “let me know” turned into “I have a litter of Balinese being born near your birthday in March, which will be ready for launch around graduation.  The pick of the litter is yours — do you know what color points you want?”

Which means that when I move to [insert city, state here], I will not be going alone.  Instead, I will be packing up a precious little kitty for the ride, and making a new BFF.  I’m not sure yet whether I’ll get a boy or a girl — I don’t really have a preference.  And as far as what color points I’m going to look for… um, I think I’ll just point to one and say “Pretty.”

My other aunt, Auntie M (who is, by the way, the textbook definition of a southern belle), told me a Siamese is my first step toward becoming a real lady.  Siamese are apparently a gateway drug.  This will lead to harder things, like a pair of poodles like Auntie M’s.  She would also like to see me with blonder hair, serving tea from the family’s silver with fresh baked goods (Auntie M’s recipe of course).

A gateway drug indeed.  This cat could stomp out every bit of feminism in my body.

Or could it just be a cuddly new addition to my life?

Now for the real question: What to name it?  Is Kennedy the best bet?

The Impatient Kayaker

lifesaver.pngI have a little problem with patience. I blame one of the kids I went to elementary school with. He and I were always battling to see which one of us was a little bit smarter than the other. After a couple years, we realized we got the same scores on just about every test we ever took, so we began competing to see who could finish the test first.

Of course I wish this had never happened, because to this day, I have to be the first in the lecture hall to turn in my Scantron sheet. 100 multiple choice questions — that should take no more than 15 minutes, right? And three essay questions — that’s 40 minutes tops.

I have only recently begun to allow myself to re-check my test after I’m done filling in the bubbles, applying hints the professor might have accidentally left in the end of the test to correct mistakes I may have made on the first couple pages. And I don’t turn in first drafts as papers any more. They may be A material in high school, but it only took one semester at SU to learn that they’re B+ at best. If nothing else, there’s always going to be a careless typo on the third page. Despite this realization, I still like to bang out a 10 page paper in no more than four hours.

I suffer from severe and chronic impatience. Being last, for me, was just never an option. So you can imagine how distressing it can be to feel like one of the only seniors at Syracuse University with absolutely no clue what I’m going to do after graduation. All four of my roommates have their plans all made up in their heads. They know the want to do Teach For America, or graduate school, or which area they are going to move to after graduation so they can dive into their chosen field.

I don’t even have a time zone figured out. Alaska sounds nice. So does Alabama. Not to mention my overwhelming love for Washington, D.C. — what I wouldn’t give to go back there, or another top market like Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, or New York. But what are the chances of that for someone fresh out of journalism school, battling against the hundreds (more like thousands) of recently unemployed journalists who have lost their jobs due to buyouts and budget cuts.

I look at my friends who have already applied to fellowship programs, law schools, and top-notch jobs and wonder how they decided their choices were for them. Don’t get me wrong; I know I want to be in the journalism field. I’ve known for… well, forever. I want to work as an editor and move my way up the ranks, but the question is, where do I want to start? Does it matter?

vacationclub.gifPart of me wants to do something exciting, like pack up two suitcases and drive my station wagon out to Montana for a three-year stint at a newspaper in the middle of nowhere. Another part wants to move to the city on a wing and a prayer. Still another part wants to stay within a two-hour radius of at least one of my best friends, so I don’t have to go on this new adventure all by myself.

But while it’s exciting and invigorating to think that six months from now I could be anywhere in North America, it’s also scary to think that for the first time in my life I have no idea what the next step is. And it’s even scarier to think that I might be in last place for once — the undecided boat is quickly emptying out, and before I know it I’m going to be paddling alone to God knows where.

In the mean time, I guess I’ll just learn to swim in case of emergency.

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