Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Emily on 23-09-2012

It was about 5:30 p.m. when I arrived at the mall. I walked into the Icing, the jewelry store chain, my goal to find something that I had never bought before. It was about 6:15 p.m. and the mall was not too crowded. There were lots of things that could be described in great detail-insanely glittery eyeshadow palettes, orange glow-in-the-dark nail polish, sparkly, princess-y tiaras and really fuzzy leopard print cat ears. But I wanted something different, something that would weird people out and get interesting reactions. After my interest in metallic clutch purses waned, I wandered next door to Hot Topic.

Hot Topic has been a fun store for me in recent years, especially because they have Hello Kitty stuff up the wazoo. When I came into the store, the first items I noticed were trashy, excessively revealing Halloween costumes for young women*. A high school guy wearing a Powerpuff girls shirt and a lip ring walked up to me. “Can I help you find something?” he asked. I explained that I was doing an assignment to find something descriptive, but that I wasn’t exactly sure what I was looking for. He walked over to another customer, and I immersed myself in all that is goth. I almost left when I stumbled upon the candy section. Sour patch kids, apple flavored candy, salt and vinegar flavored crickets. Wait, what?

When I saw the crickets, I knew they would be perfect to buy. Weird, gross, funny. I asked the Powderpuff guy if they were real crickets and he confirmed that, yes, they were indeed real. I bought the crickets and a Cookie Monster bracelet with googly eyes. My next stop was the Food Court. I devoured a Chick-fil-a chicken sandwich with bacon and cheese. Yum. I started writing down details in my notebook about the Crickettes (That’s the official name brand. These aren’t just any old crickets.) The container is small with an oval shaped see through area. It’s like looking inside a beehive, with all of the wings, thoraxes, and antennaes, except if the bees were all dead and piled up on top of each other. The outside of the container has drawings of crickets on it that, for some reason, remind me of South Park. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s because the drawn bugs look like the Sea People that Cartman accidentally creates in one episode.

On the bottom of the front of the sky blue and white package is written “Salt n’ Vinegar. I briefly pondered trying one, just to see how authentically salt n’ vinegar-y they really were. Then I thought about how I didn’t really know where they were from or whether or not they had ever used the plastic bag as their bathroom. On the back of the package is the Nutrition Facts. For one small container of crickets, there are nine calories. Good to know. Below that was a biology-style drawing of a cricket whose different parts were labeled-rump, flank, drumstick, breast, wings, like a chicken. Next to that was written, “the other Green Meat”.

I decided to take a picture of the package just on the off chance that someone with a bug obsession might actually accept my offering of Salt n’ Vinegar flavored crickets. I started wondering who would be most interested in such a product, and I began looking around the food court for teenage boys. Not too many. I looked over at the elderly couple sitting next to me. The idea of offering one of them crickets made me laugh out loud. I decided to find random people who I didn’t know. I threw away my trash.

I came to a kiosk where a man was selling expensive looking skin care products. When he saw me, he leaped out of his chair and asked me if I wanted to try one of the skin creams. I tried to explain that I was doing an assignment, but he didn’t understand or speak English very well. I pulled out the crickets box and showed it to him. “Would you like one?” I asked him. A look of total confusion and slight disgust swept over his face. “Uhm, no…no thanks.”

I kept walking and ran into some guys that used to go to Morningside. I told them what I was doing. One of them couldn’t believe that they were actual crickets. “What’s the first ingredient?” he asked me. “Crickets,” I said, glancing at the ingredients list on the side of the box. He burst out laughing. I asked him if he wanted one. “Uh, no, I think I’m good.” he said with a smile. I said, “Bye.”

My next stop was to Eddie Bauer. I wanted to see if I could find any uppity (old) women who would be repulsed by the Crickettes. I walked in and the store was practically empty. In fact, the only person there was the saleslady. I went up to her and she asked if she could help me find something. I explained that I was there for a class assignment and I showed her the crickets. “What are those?” she asked me in a slightly grossed out tone of voice. “They’re crickets,” I said. She winced. I asked her if she wanted one. “Uh, no, I think I’ll pass.”

The last store I went to was Bath and Body Works. I had to go in; the fragrance of pumpkin beckoned me. The friendly salesgirl told me about the store’s sales. I told her that if I had any more of their products, I could open my own store. She laughed. I said that I was actually doing an assignment. I showed her the crickets. She grimaced. “Oh, eww! Those are so gross!” She declined the offer of trying a cricket.

I thoroughly enjoyed this assignment more than I expected. When I visited my parents this weekend, my mom thought the crickets were funny and my dad is grossed out by bugs, so he actually had to leave the room.

I look forward with great anticipation any other scavenger hunt-type assignments from my Feature Writing prof.


*I will be blogging about this later as Halloween creeps closer.

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Emily on 14-09-2012

“I love Sug! When I heard that they came out with three music videos, I thought I was going to die!” Jessica Sievers tells me with zealous enthusiasm. Sug is a Japanese punk and metal rock band that formed in 2006.

Jessica, a senior at Morningside from Correctionville, Iowa, is an avid fan of anime and Japanese culture in general. Her interest began at an early age, when she was about five years old. After her mother bought the movie My Neighbor Totoro, it quickly became one of Jessica’s favorite movies. Right away, she knew it was a lot different from other animated movies she had watched. The houses were a different style; they did not look like typical American houses. The two lead characters were a little girl and her younger sister.

Totoro is a massive bear-like creature who is considered the ruler of the forest. He is one of the dust creatures who can only be seen by children. Totoro’s roar is so loud that it shakes the hugest trees. He can leap long distances, and children cling to his fuzzy stomach so Totoro can leap them to their destination.

Another creature in “My Neighbor Totoro” is the cat-shaped bus called the Catbus. The Catbus has eyes that shine as the headlights. The bus’ destination is shown with the help of mice. Like Totoro, the Catbus can leap far distances. The Catbus has six legs, and the door on the bus opens differently depending on the size of the passenger. The seats on the bus are fuzzy.

Jessica enjoyed Pokemon when it first came out in 1997. She said, “It was really hard to find other people who were interested in Pokemon, because it didn’t catch on right away.” It wasn’t until she switched to another school that she found a friend who shared her interests. “My new neighbor, Shondra, lived two doors down from me. I brought my Pokemon toys to her house one afternoon, and she was really happy to see that we both loved Pokemon. She pulled out this huge box of all her Pokemon toys. We were both so excited.”

Pokemon is a media franchise that was created by Nintendo in1996. The goal of the Pokemon video game is to collect all the species that exist in the Pokemon universe and become “the Pokemon Master”. There is a Pokemon television show and Pokemon movies that are separate from the video game. The television series’ main character is Ash Ketchum, whose adventures are followed throughout the show’s many generations. A trading card game and a large collection of manga books have been made as well.

One of Jessica’s favorite shows in her childhood was Sailor Moon. “I loved Sailor Moon because it had strong female lead characters, in contrast to a lot of other kids’ shows, where males dominate as the leaders.”  Sailor Moon’s premise centers around a cat named Luna who is looking for the Moon Princess, and finds her in an average middle school age girl. Each planet has its own prince and princess.

Manga, the style of Japanese comic books, is one of Jessica’s current interests. The books are written from right to left and they are in black and white. “Any topic imaginable is covered. There are manga books for young children, and there are horror manga books that have themes that are in “R” rated movies.”

Instead of listening to Lady Gaga or One Direction, Jessica listens to almost all Japanese music. Her favorite singer is Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, a female pop singer. When I asked her if there was an American equivalent to Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, she said that “there is no equivalent. She is completely original, in kind of a “cute meets creepy” sort of way.” Kyary Pamyu Pamyu was previously a fashion blogger and a model.  She launched a line of fake eyelashes called Harajuku Doll Eyelashes by Eyemazing x Kyary. Her musical career took off in July of 2011 with her first hit single, “PonPonPon”.

As a die-hard anime fan, Jessica appreciates quality anime television, and she knows when a movie or tv show has been poorly dubbed. “I hate it when American companies buy the rights to the show and then edit and chop it to pieces. It becomes unrecognizable.” The Saturday morning program “4Kids”is guilty of such “editing”.

Her love of anime extends online as well. There is a “humongous anime following on the internet,” Jessica told me excitedly. “If you like it, there is someone probably writing about it.” One website,, is where Jessica wrote about anime while she was in middle school. Now she has an anime blog on Tumblr that has 80 followers.

She plans to go to an anime convention in Minnesota in April called Anime Detour. Anime Detour has been hosted in the Twin Cities area for the past ten years. It is an anime convention “run by fans, for fans,” according to the official website, Coincidentally, the event is on her birthday weekend. “I’m really excited! I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time.”


It was a sweltering, hot, early afternoon without a cloud in the sky. Walking toward the library, I carried the heavy box of Coke in my arms, hoping to give away as many as I could so the box would be lighter.  A student walking up the stairs from Eppley said, “Hi,” and I asked her if she wanted a can of Coke. She looked at me, bewildered but pleased. “Is this just for fun, or…?” she said.

“It’s for a class. I’m supposed to hand out Cokes and observe people’s reactions and write down descriptive details.” I told her. She said, “Fun! Thanks,” as I handed her a can of pop. I told her it was room temperature, but she said she didn’t mind. She went to her class in the science building.

As I kept walking, I noticed a guy riding a bike coming my way. I asked him if he wanted a can, but he said, “No, thanks.” I wasn’t too discouraged, and I went in the library, hoping to bring more hyfructose corn syrup-y joy to my fellow students. I found my friend Amber, who was studying with someone in her education class. The first thing she looked at was the big box of pop cans. “It’s for a class,” I explained. “I’m supposed to have awkward moments giving away pop to people. She said, “Oh, ok.” We both laughed.

I started on the first floor. There were about 10 or 11 people sitting at the tables by the periodicals. I nervously walked up to three guys I didn’t know. When I asked them if any of them wanted a Coke, they looked at me like they thought I was weird. They all declined. I went to the next table. And the next. Apparently, nobody was in the mood for pop that day, because they all said, “No, thanks.” They were polite, so that made it ok. If I did this again, I would not make the mistake of asking people if they want pop after lunchtime. They must have all been full of cafeteria food, I guess.

On my way to the 2nd floor, I ran into my boss. She was glad to see me, but she was not in the mood for Coke. I was getting a little frustrated. Still, I figured that maybe there would be some tutors who would enjoy pop. Stephanie, a writing tutor, decided to take a can. Yay! So did the new chemistry professor, whose witty banter I enjoyed after explaining the assignment. We joked about the fact that it doesn’t make sense that someone in chemistry would be in the library. I don’t know, maybe you had to be there.

I still had a lot of cans left after I went back downstairs. It was interesting to observe people’s reactions-some amused, others curious. Everyone was nice. That was good. Midwesterners are pretty nice people, for the most part.

This disgustingly hot weather has been horrible for me. I have eczema, and the heat is one of the biggest triggers. I sweat, I itch, sometimes I bleed. I know, it’s gross. It makes outdoor assignments hard in this weather.