Friday, October 28, 2011

people observation #22: There is no reason I don't like Halloween. I just don't.

This is my Halloween Post. God, I'm festive. The only problem is that I hate Halloween. Love pumpkins. Love cider. Love dressing up as some cultural reference for the sake of sarcastically making fun. Hate, however, Halloween. Why? I'm not quite sure. Because I used to love it a lot, and that might be the thing. I love Halloween age 2-12, not age 17-now. (OU Halloween information from thePost.)

When your crafty mother can make your fifth grade Christopher Columbus project into the most life-like paper doll in history using just a glue gun and some felt, Halloween is just another time to exemplify her arts and crafts expertise. Growing up, I had the MOST original and homemade costumes. At age three I was a cow with a fever for more cowbell. My brother was a robot made out of spraypainted cardboard and those silver tubes you find behind the dryer. I was a cat with ridiculously lifelike features. My brother was a homemade ninja turtle (like most five year olds circa 1992) with big felt feet and a half-shell backpack. Our jack-o-lanterns weren't just triangle-eyed simpletons; they were perfectly carved and beautifully glowing Bert and Ernies (gotta tip my hat to my equally-creative pops on this one).
I'm a mouse, duh.

So Halloween was really fun. It was the ultimate nostalgia. The way it should be. Costumes should be homemade. Jack-o-lanterns should be carved without using a stupid stencil.

But then we get older and all of a sudden Halloween is an excuse for boys to dress like penises and women to dress like the occupation they want to be if that occupation's uniform made drastic changes, i.e., Cops who've seem to have lost their pants, nurses with stethoscopes stuck in their cleavage, or a referee wearing knee-highs and heels.
My roommate Sarah and
her twin sister Liz ca.1995

Erin, Erin, Erin, the boys say, why are you so against this beautiful display of the female population?

Really boys, I'm all for sluttin' around (sarcasm), but I think it's because I liked Halloween when I was a little kid. Maybe I just feel betrayed.

I've seemed to have found a Halloween kid in the decorations and excited eyes of my roommate Sarah. She comes from a family of crafty nostalgics as well, I suppose she's just taken the hold on to that nostalgia route rather than be a cynic. I could learn a lesson or two from her.

Me, pumpkin, with some Green Monkeys, and my
friend Lizzy, Spongebob, on Halloween 2009.
And I will say that OU Halloween is unique in its block party, and the fact that homemade and creative costumes are very much celebrated. Some of my favorites from years past include the characters from UP, a LEGO man, and the Green Monkeys from Legends of the Hidden Temple.

Nevertheless, people will still buy their costumes from some overpriced website, and they'll still be made out of a cheep fabric. Dorothy is still going to turn into a huge slut in ruby red slippers, and some dude will go as a Dick in a Box, very creative bro. People will still crowd court street, maybe holding on to the Halloween from their childhood's (of course with a little more beer and a  little less candy). I, however, will be working a double.

On a lighter and less-bitter note, and in spirit of the holiday, I love this show:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

reader-writer communication in journalism, who's taking advantage of the technology?

We spend a great deal of time in my journalism classes talking about citizen journalism and interactivity and what publications are doing to get their readers involved in the process of creating media.

Back in the day, the letter to the editor was really the only way to get any reader feedback in the newspaper (what's that?). Now thousands of comments are posted online with almost every article.

I found a piece in the Times today that has the readers literally writing the article themselves. It involves an interactive graph of different reader feelings about the economy. I can't explain it very well because it's unique. Take a look at it for yourselves:

It's all about being able to provide more information to readers, and the new things that we can do with journalism provide just that.

Here's a tweet conversation I had yesterday about when a publication finds themselves stuck in the nineties internet era:
(sidenote: suhlmann12 gives great Bobcat Sports tweets.)
The publication he's referring to

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Location Journalism

For my Location-based Journalism project, I created a map with the Crime Reports of 2011. Comparatively, Athens is a pretty safe campus, but over the year, I did notice a trend of location of Sexual Imposition within these Crime Reports. Getting a visual of just how close these crimes occur to each other can best be done with a Google Map which can be found here (or be seen below). The map also shows specific locations of Emergency Call Box locations on campus relative to the trend of these crime reports. Sexual Imposition and Rape is very serious, and unfortunately it is not reported more often than in it is. In most cases, victims know their attackers, and reporting the crime does not occur. Unfortunately, there is no way to show how often and location to where unreported crimes occur.

View Ohio University Campus Crime Reports 2011 in a larger map
  • Red Markers indicate Campus Crimes and are titled by their Crime
  • Yellow Officers feature location of Campus and Athens Police Departments
  • Blue Markers indicate locations of Blue Light Emergency Call Box systems on Campus. Phones are also found at entrances of every dormitory. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

start your engines

Over the course of the next couple weeks I'm going to start a series on health; I'll be looking at the different aspects of our lives where we can all stand to give ourselves and each other a little more tender lovin' care. 

The different segments I'll be focusing on include:
  • physical
  • emotional
  • spiritual
  • social
  • helping others
  • mental
I'm no expert in any of these fields, so there will be a lot more going to the people who know what they're talking about. For the time being, these are great sites:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Homecoming, 2011

My attempt at a picture of the alumni band
I went to the 2011 Homecoming parade today for the first time since being at school. (simply because I haven't been able to wake up in time for it the previous two years.)

{A ten year old fell and seriously squished an ankle in front of us. I felt bad for her, but wondered more why they felt it important to crowd around her in the middle of the street as the parade carried on. Eventually they realized she was in the way and literally dragged her across the bricks. She was crying, but I think more out of embarrassment than real pain.}

We went to the football game today, and although I'm a big Bobcat Football fan, the band, as always, is what had my attention. Marching 110 has such a tradition, which was evident when the alumni band came out and danced. This year has been especially cool for them since their Party Rock Anthem dance on YouTube went viral.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Goodbye Bologna; the story of a steak-loving woman, and her venture into vegetarianism

It all began the summer after my sophomore year of high school. It was my first summer as a nanny. One rainy day we decided to go to the cinema down the street, where they were playing a free screening of Charlotte's Web, not the cartoon one, the real-life people one with an innocent Dakota Fanning (pre-Twilight, post-War of the Worlds) and animal voices played by Oprah, Reba and Julia Roberts. Everyone knows the story: Dakota's character, named Fern, forms a bond with a special pig named Wilbur who forms a bond with a spider who forms a bond with her webbing to bond together letters and the whole town bonds with the curly-tailed snout face. Call me eccentric, but I, too, bonded with the babe. I made a decision to never touch pork again. And with the exception of a quick relapse Spring quarter, 2010 (a piglet Dark Age), and a mild surrender to the temptation of the Nacho-Flavored Slim Jim, I have not eaten it since.

So the sixteen year old Erin did her research and learned a lot about the Pork industry. Pigs are actually intelligent animals. They rank up in the brain department with Apes and Dolphins, and have learned how to get out of their gates, because they actually understand their future and its nonexistence.
We can now get the hog-hugging hippie moment out of the way, and make room for the more rational Erin to explain where she went from here. I swear it's legitimate.

I started realizing exactly what I wasn't realizing at the time: I wasn't aware of the food that I was feeding myself with. When the "I'm hungry" thought came into my mind, I was satisfying it with whatever I was craving instead of being cognitive of the different food groups and nutrients I was getting.

To be more aware of the things I was putting into my body, I made a priority in adding vegetables and fruits to every meal. I realized how great I felt when I drank enough water. To take it a step further, I stopped including meat by looking to other sources of protein like beans, and if I did have meat with my meal, I didn't make it my main dish. "Okay, now I'm eating a vegetable, now I'm adding a fruit to my meal..."

If there's one thing you should know it is that I absolutely love meat. I was never a lean-meat kind of girl, I didn't enjoy low in fat meat like grilled chicken and deli-turkey. I liked bacon. I loved beef jerky. My mouth watered at the thought of filet mignon. I mean, you know what they say: "There's nothing like a big, juicy hot dog to ease your troubles after a bad break-up."
What do I miss most of all? Plain white bread with a piece of bologna on it.

To start, I designated two days a week as "meat days" where I could include it in my meal. This was especially helpful for days when someone was cooking for me, or going out to eat, because i didn't have to be that girl that needed the special dish. I didn't want to seem picky or needy or high-maintenance.

Eating meat twice a week provided me with thinking out-of-the-deli with the food that was on my plate. Variety was the key. I knew I wanted my plate to have color; fruits, legumes, and vegetables were the place to get it. (Here are some great Vegetarian Recipes.)

Eventually, I no longer craved meat. It became easier and easier to omit it from my plate. And eventually, I started to feel good. Really good. I had more energy, my workouts proved more successful, and I wasn't sick nearly as much. My brother and I once stumbled across Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead on Netflix, a documentary that tells the story of a man who was eating nothing but junk and started on an all-natural juice diet. He was amazed with the way he felt.

The last time I had meat was Christmas dinner in a last hoorah before I endeavored into what would be my New Year's Resolution: no meat for one year. It was filet mignon and it was delicious. I thought it would be hard to go for a year without eating meat, but I have really enjoyed it, and I'm pretty sure I will keep at a vegetarian diet.

"But Erin, you're just one person. How do you think you will ever make a difference?" Vegetarianism is becoming so widespread that it is actually starting to make an impact on the industries it fights against. I am constantly finding more arguments towards a vegetarian or semi-vegetarian diet. It's much better for the environment, for the world population, and for YOU when done right. I'm not telling you to go vegetarian, but I am encouraging you to be more conscious of what you're putting into your body. Hell, I could be a vegetarian and eat nothing but cheese pizza and fries. That defeats the purpose. Don't focus on what meat is the main dish, focus on colors, variety, fruits and vegetables.. I promise you'll feel better.

If you decide feeling good or eating healthy or not being bloated all the time isn't "your thing" then I encourage you to have a little more respect for us vegetarians. Most of us don't do it just because we believe "animals are people too". Most of us enjoy taking care of our bodies. I first started out being afraid to be high-maintenance when it came to my diet. But eventually I got over that. I am allowed to be picky when it comes to taking care of myself.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Social Media Storify Project

For my Online Journalism Social Media project, I created a story on to explain a typical day in the life of Athens County Young Life and the 40+ leaders that it comprises of.

I created a Twitter account for ACYL and asked leaders to tweet at it, or hashtag #acYL throughout their days. Sundays are typically very productive days for a YoungLife leader. This is when teams often meet to plan events and hang out together, but the rest of the week is where the true work takes place, which is why I'm excited to see what every member of the group does with this twitter account for the rest of the week.

Storify allowed me to put together different twitter comments and photos posted over the course of one day and even post a map of the "hotspots" YoungLife finds itself all over Athens County using Google Maps. I could also take posts that were made within YoungLife's Facebook group. Sometimes someone mentioned ACYL in a post on Twitter expressing their support or excitement about the group. I also put that on the Storify. They all seemed to come together very well. This is a project I am planning on continuing the rest of the year; something that will be very helpful to my student organization.

You can look at the story here!

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Went to see Joseph Gordon Levitt and Seth Rogen's new movie 50/50 last night where Levitt plays a 27-year-old named Adam who finds himself with spinal cancer. Rogen plays the part of Adam's best friend Kyle, who ends up being a key part of Adam's survival and an amazing friend.

The movie is actually quite funny. It makes a serious life situation something that everyone can relate to, and it was quite refreshing to watch.

The story is based on the true story Will Reiser (producer of HBO series Da Ali G Show).