My Longest [Sort Of] Relationship



 About ten or so years ago, I was that student carrying twelve plus books out to my car and lugging them around everywhere I went. When assigned research papers, I refused to use online sources because it devalued the meaning of research. I searched through lengthy encyclopedias and multiple books, for hours on end, just to get one similar answer. I once was so enthralled in my hardcopy books, that I was locked in the public library for a good thirty minutes after close. Somehow, I always choose the hard way to do things.


It wasn’t until I participated in a board meeting, which turned into an ugly debacle, for which the topic was about going from paper copies of our handbook to either Print On Demand (POD) or solely electronic options. At first, I was on the side with the “ancients”, as the student next to me called them. The ancients fought tooth and nail for their publications to be in print, and if there were any new options, they had to be POD books.


The opposing side, which the ancients called the “lazy generation”, strongly pushed for electronic options to save money in the company’s budget. They also mentioned that they didn’t care that some people like holding physical books in their hands.  The lazy generation only wanted to use their new gadgets. You know, the electronic things with words and a billion books at your fingertips? Yes, it was then that I was introduced to the Kindle. 


There was no formal introduction between the Kindle and I, but more like an awkward lunch between two petty girls. I figured that the Kindle knew I spoke endless crap about it and its stupid fancy gadgets. It was time for us meet face-to-face, or really Kindle’s face to my finger swiping.


I’ll say that our relationship has gone pretty well over the past two years. It has allowed me to read and access any books through the physical Kindle in my hands to my phone and even on my computer. Reading gives you a sense of being somewhere else; being somewhere where only you can go, at that moment, with anyone you choose.


In my heart, I still feel like one of the ancients. I long to hold a physical book, smelling the musty book smell, dog-earing the pages when I get distracted, and even reading the last page because I can’t wait to find out the ending. Although Kindle has taken those away from me, I am still thankful it lets me read whatever I want, whenever I want, and for however long I want. Let’s just say, I’m a little spoiled!


Scared to Life

I was scared, out of my mind, with a stomach full of worry. They fastened the harness like my life depended on it. I knew I was going to die. The coaster’s chain released. I am alive more than before.

I Love My Dog More Than I Love You

I am not exactly sure what prompted me to type into Google “I think I love my dog more than you” and then continue to scroll down to a link named “Can you love your dog too much?” At first, I laughed and expected to mock everything said on Leslie’s page, but line after line I came to realize that I might have a problem.

Hi. My name is Loren McCollom, and I am addicted to my dog. It all started when my mom, on a whim, wanted to visit the local American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). She told me multiple times not to get too excited because we were NOT getting a dog.

To set the scene at the shelter, people walk down a concrete walkway with dogs, in their separate cages, on both sides. Each cage has a packet full of information about that specific dog’s gender, history, etc. Little did I know, for the three hours we had been looking at the dogs, my mom held onto one particular dog’s paperwork so that no one was able to adopt him. (I’m starting to see the root of my problem; it’s in my genes!)

When we get home, my mom and stepfather argue about adopting a dog, and how it was not going to happen. Well, if anyone knows my mother, there will be a dog in our house within 24 hours. As I expected, she slept on the couch in protest to getting the dog, and we were at the shelter before it even opened the next day.

Leslie and her husband, Mike, set some ground rules for their house and how they were going to approach living a life substituting children with a dog. Their rules included:

  1. No birthday parties for the dog
  2. No Christmas cards with their dog on it
  3. A two photo maximum of their dog on their desks at work
  4. No name calling “Mommy” or “Daddy”

While I completely agree with their rules, I knew that continuing to read Leslie’s article would only result in them breaking their rules. I gladly can say that I don’t throw birthday parties for my dog; mainly because I don’t remember when his actual birthday is.

I also don’t send out Christmas cards with him dressed up as Rudolph, but I do dress him up. He’s a 60-65lb German Shepard/ Shar Pei mix, so he is kind of hard to dress. One Halloween, he wore my work shirt, a white long-sleeve button down, and a pair of tube socks. At first glance, no one on our walk could figure out what he was, but once I said Risky Business Dog, they finally got it. He was the talk of the neighborhood.

As far as pictures, I don’t have any hard copies of him lying around, but his face is littered on Facebook and Instagram like the plague. It has gotten to the point where my friends forget it’s actually MY Facebook page and not my dog’s. I mean, when you’re photogenic, you just can’t help yourself!


Lastly, the Mommy and Daddy name-calling thing, it happens. I do it. You do it. The dog has no clue otherwise. I feel name calling is more for the humans rather than the dog. He just cares if someone has treats or not. Which we, the humans, have convinced ourselves that our dog knows how to spell the word “treat”. It goes back to the time where parents spell out words so that their children don’t understand what their conversation is about. Yeah, we do that with our dog.

Not unlike most families with pets, our pets are part of our family. I feel that there are grey areas to which loving your dog too much can be a problem. As for now, I think my dog and I will throw in a movie and eat some popcorn. He prefers the lightly buttered popcorn; he’s on a diet.


Get Your Write On

After reading Montaigne’s essay “On the Education of Children”, I have come to some knowledge that not every person can teach on an abundance of subjects nor teach them correctly. Montaigne believes that you cannot shove information down a student’s throat and expect them to learn. True learning is not memorizing a subject and regurgitating information back to the teacher, but more a sense that you know what you are doing and with time you will excel at it. During that time, you will experience setbacks and downfalls, but you will learn enough to teach someone else what to do. In most cases, I teach what not to do.

Montaigne goes into saying; “We often spend a lot of time and effort for nothing, training children for things in which they cannot get a foothold.” Does this mean that practice makes perfect, or is it stating that naturally we just are not good at something?

There’s a quote from my favorite chick flick, The Wedding Planner, that states, “Those who can’t do, teach? Well those who can’t wed, plan.” Although Montaigne and Jennifer Lopez are far from similar, their philosophies are not far from the truth. Is it a stretch to relate these two philosophies to my writing?

In this moment, I am idling in life between a part-time job at a seafood restaurant and the eleven classes left until my long awaited spring graduation.  My left analytical brain constantly contradicts my right intuitive side with little peace in between. Can I combine the two in the world of writing or are there strict guidelines that need to be followed?

As I read on, in Montaigne’s essay, I stumble upon a paragraph on writers block; I tend to have this almost every time I write. He calls it “bluff” because we have brilliant things floating about our minds, but cannot narrow them down or know enough information about them to sit down and write. It’s because we don’t understand ourselves. We don’t know ourselves well enough.

A cure, you may ask? As Montaigne seldom let’s his readers down without a finished product, there is in fact a cure. He follows Socrates rule that states, “that whoever has a vivid and clear idea in [his or her] mind will express it.”

On writing, I will read writings of all sorts from all types of avenues. I will think about writing with both sides of my brain. I will then write about everything in between. And maybe by the end of all this learning, I may teach someone something along the way. 

What is the Right Career?


When I was around seven-ish years old, I would spend time at my dad’s grocery store, Hy-Vee, where I became a novice at bagging groceries properly and enjoying what each department had to offer. The departments I spent most of my time in were the bakery, movie rentals, and florists sections of the store. In no time, I was the master at rewinding VHS tapes (yes, those did really exist!), creating and successfully selling beautiful bouquets, and eating more than baking every type of cookie imaginable. At seven, this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

It wasn’t until I started realizing, at age eleven, that there were many differences between boys and girls. Girls always ruled, and boys will forever drool. We had separate bathrooms and locker rooms now. As I filed away paperwork at my dad’s new job in Cape Girardeau, MO, I was giving speeches to all the unsuspecting employees about how I would become the first girl president. I would fix our problems with ice cream socials, plenty of dress up parties, and every person could have a puppy of their own. Being the United States first woman President was my new career choice.

In high school, I stumbled into journalism where I freelanced my own tongue-in-cheek columns and the occasional sports update for the school newspaper. I quickly climbed up the ladder and shared the editor-in-chief position with a good friend Christina Roman. Here, we joined her technical/computer skills with my ever so picky editing skills and maintained The Shark Encounter. With this experience, anything journalism was my career choice.

It was then, after  an English teacher (wont mention any names) told me that broadcast journalism was a competitive field based solely on looks and not necessarily my talent. Basically stating that I should stick to print media only. I was to choose a job in which my average looks could suffice. That confidence boosting conversation led me into the direction of anything medical, mathematical, or something in foreign language. Either way, I ended up lost and drowning in 130+ credits that all have really no connection to one another.

So, this is where I stand. I am, yet again, possibly switching majors. I am now in route to a BA in Mathematics, but is that where I really want to go? I am good with numbers. I am good at writing. I am pretty darn good with people. Where in the world can you combine these talents successfully?

My plan for the next few weeks is to explore and research what I can do with my talents in the real world.

For now, I’ll bag my own groceries, spill speeches to the dog, and write whatever comes to mind on here.

The Last Word

Throughout the semester, we have been taught from beginning to end of all of today’s mediums that supply our news on a daily basis. We started with the Egyptians for newspapers and eventually the creation of magazines; continued with Philo Farnsworth with the invention of television; Thomas Edison is credited for the creation of sound recording and film; and Tim Berners-Lee for the invention of the World Wide Web. We were taught the mechanics of each medium in order to appreciate each medium’s purpose in our lives today.

Addressing a touchy subject to some, it is not the argument that the “old-timers” don’t want newspapers to end fearing that the Internet will take over the world completely, but the mere fact that we underappreciate the hard work and dedication of its creators. I would prefer to continue my morning ritual of picking up the newspaper in my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Snuggie, getting my fingers all black with ink and spreading it on everything, and laying the already read newspapers down to potty train my puppy.

Newspapers provide not only lasting rituals, but also can be credited to be the only medium that places opposing sides of a topic in the same section of newspaper. It would be difficult to have half of the television screen blaring CNN while the other half holds FOX News updates. The newspaper industry is the only medium left for such endeavors, and I’d rather take advice from Dear Abby columns than the ones I receive on Facebook and Twitter.

As the semester comes to a close, so do the doors of many newspaper companies across the United States. Television is limited to Jersey Shore re-runs, TMZ, and sporting events modernizing the Gladiator days of Rome. Radio is infected with glass shattering bass beats with lyrics about Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The Internet is jam packed full of YouTube videos, sex-scandals, and the newest craze after Facebook.  This is the future of our media.

According to an “old-timers” proverb, “if you can’t beat them, join them” @futuremediafail!

It All Starts in a Test Tube

This week’s blog assignment was to read an excerpt from Brave New World, written by Aldous Huxley in our Future Media book, and write about its main advertising technique within its society. I do have to start out by saying that I would not have understood this excerpt if it was not for SparkNotes on chapter eleven and the character list.

In the excerpt starts talking about a woman who is prescribed somas, which from what I have gathered is a pill that makes her “live” in an alternate world or “holiday” all the time. From the character list, this woman is Linda and she is John’s mother. John is a one of the main characters who does not fit in this World State full of test tube grown people, also known as the: Alphas, Betas, Deltas, Gammas, and Epsilons. There’s also this character named Bernard who is very self-conscious, but it comes off as arrogant. He has a fascination with sexuality and acceptance in the society.

The advertising technique that sticks out the most from this excerpt is the “bandwagon” technique.  This technique is most familiar, for me to describe in an athletic sense, as a fan that only likes the team when the team is doing great, but refuses to acknowledge that the team exists when they are doing horrible. It’s the method where, “Hey! Everyone is doing it; so, why don’t you?” In the excerpt, it shows that everyone is going to a “feelie” which is like a show where all the identical bodies go.  We see this technique a lot in our society with the new exercise routine, fashion trend, driving an environmentally friendly vehicle, or even purchasing products from Apple. Personally, I was one of those who converted from a PC to a MacBook Pro and a Droid to an iPhone. I blame it on the peer pressure of everyone purchasing and raving about these products.

Advertising is in our everyday lives whether we recognize the signs or not. I was once told that we are subject to around 1,000 plus advertisements a day; most of which we have no conscious clue we are subjecting ourselves, too. If you haven’t noticed yet, I’ve advertised a few things in this article.