Friday, February 8, 2013

When the Patchsters Came to Town

Patch, an online hyper-local news operation, came to town in the Fall of 2010, I think. I remember meeting them at a hocoblogs party they sponsored at the Stained Glass Pub in Elkridge. Ah, those were exciting days. The thought that we might have local news more than one per week was a dizzying concept for many of us.

By way of introduction, Patch in Howard County sponsored an i Pad giveaway contest. I won. And yes, I never win anything. And yes, it changed my life. I use it for teaching, both for music playing and making picture books, and buying interactive music apps to enhance my special needs music classes. I use it when I go to a restaurant alone, and I don't feel like "a woman alone".

And I use it when I blog. Yes, if not for Patch, I would not have become a blogger. David Greisman encouraged me and gave me a space on Columbia Patch. He was a wise and compassionate editor. I am thankful to him for getting me started.

Of course, times change, nothing is perfect, and people move on. David left Patch, but luckily for us is using his talents for good over at CA. And I took my blog off Patch and went out on my own because I'm a control freak and don't want to "submit" to anyone.

High points for me: the series on local chocolate chip cookies that must have provided a lot of fun for the taste-testers, coverage of a student composer's brass work debut by the Saxony-Anhalt Brass Quintet, the thorough coverage of the Inner Arbor Plan for Symphony Woods. A low point: coverage of the cancellation of the Rockburn Elementary Halloween Parade. I don't think the writers had any idea what they would unleash in covering it the way they did. It was a sobering lesson in how irresponsible some people will be online when you allow them to sound off without having to take any responsibility for what they are saying. I know that Patch learned something from that, as that sort of mistake has never been repeated.

Last Friday an enthusiastic preschooler danced right into my i Pad and knocked it to the floor. I gave a little shriek, picked it up and we kept on going. After class the teacher asked, "Are you sure it's okay?"

"Looks just fine," I assured her. "and, not that I want it to break, but I have this feeling that I just might be getting a new one for my birthday in March..."

I was wrong. The next day my husband went out to run some errands, and when he came back he plopped a white box in my lap. Wow. An i Pad 2, which means a camera, and improved i Photos, better more crashing...

"I was going to get it for your birthday, but I thought you might want it for our trip," he explained. "Oh, and once you get it set up, can I have your old one for my classroom?"

"Um...sure..." I felt a twinge of panic. "Um...I'll let you know..."

I don't want to get rid of my old i Pad 1. It has sentimental value. It has memories. It has an old Patch cling on the back that I tried to stick on with Tacky Glue. (Bad plan)

And a lot of the memories have to do with what happened when Patch came to town.

So, thanks to Elizabeth Janney, Brandie Jefferson, David Greisman, Brian Hooks, Marge Neal, Lisa Rossi, A.J. Metcalf. Thanks for the big stories, the little stories, the crazy polls, the weird online discussions, the informative tweets. Thanks for taking our news seriously while being able to maintain a sense of humor about our idiosyncrasies and foibles.

I think that the Patchsters make pretty good neighbors. But, what do you think?

Tell us in the comments below. :-)


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