Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Emily on 05-10-2012


Paper Man Movie Review

            What would you think of a married man who regularly talks to Captain Excellent, his superhero imaginary friend? This is just one of many quirks of Richard Dunn, the main character in Paper Man. Dunn, played by Jeff Daniels, is a writer struggling to start his second novel. His wife, played by Lisa Kudrow, suggests that he seclude himself on Long Island to work on his book. Abby, played by Emma Stone, gets to know Dunn and encourages his writing.

This 2009 comic drama, directed by Kieran and Michele Mulrooney, presents the delightful relationship between Abby and Richard. They are truly interested in each other, not in a sexual way. They talk about important things on a personal level. Abby finds and reads a copy of his first novel, The Renderer, and she encourages him to not give up on his writing. He helps her cope emotionally with a traumatic childhood experience.

Other characters in the movie add a good blend of humor. Captain Excellent, played by Ryan Reynolds, wears a skin-tight costume with a cape in bright, primary colors. He tries to get Richard to grow up. He encourages Richard by talking in a faster-than-a-speeding-bullet voice, telling him that he is “going to save the world from peril”. Richard talks to and even wrestles with Captain Excellent. Richard has to be careful about his interaction with Captain Excellent, so the people around him won’t think he’s just talking to himself.

Lisa Kudrow plays Richard’s wife, a vascular surgeon who practices in New York City. When she visits him on the island, he lies and tells her he has been learning how to cook. There is a hilarious scene where he pretends to know what to do with a whole, raw fish. She can tell something has changed him; he is behaving suspiciously.

Emma Stone’s performance is what really shines in Paper Man. Abby’s chemistry with Richard is much different from typical relationship dramas. There is a sweet oddness that develops with a few surprising twists and turns. Hunter Parrish and Kieran Culkin also compete for Abby’s attention. Emma Stone is able to portray an “everyday” feeling to her character, yet the audience knows that there is something special about her. The movie has a very heartfelt quality overall. I give it 3.7/5 stars.




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, theotaku.com, 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, http://animedetour.com/. 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.





Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Emily on 31-08-2012

Nostalgia: I think I will interview a few students and professors and compare/contrast their feelings about what makes them feel nostalgia. There will be interesting generational differences!

Obsession: I think I will make this one just about students. What do they feel they are obsessed about, and why? Do their friends understand their obsessions, or do they think they are weird? I am curious to find someone whose obsession is unusual. 🙂

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Emily on 29-08-2012

My thoughts on some of the themes we have discussed in class.

Nostalgia- I remember enjoying Flinstone sherbet push-up popsicles, using my Winnie-the-Pooh thermos, stirring my ice cream so it became ice cream soup while my mom read my Bible stories, renting The Great Mouse Detective and 101 Dalmations over and over until my parents were probably sick of them.

Addiction/Obsession-A recent obsession of mine has been my battle with disorganization and how I feel like I am constantly trying to overcome it. I think college students (and almost everyone else) are obsessed with being constantly plugged it, whether to computers, cell phones, mp3 players/Ipods. It seems that in the process of becoming connected technologically, we have disconnected more socially. People with Asperger’s Syndrome sometimes have a hard time getting themselves away from video games or their computers, but I think everyone is way too plugged in. It’s sad, really.

End of Days-I’m not sure what to say about this. Is the End really coming, or are people being too paranoid? Are there any definite signs of the End, and what do they look like. If the End really is coming, I think the Signs will be bigger than we realize, not just people saying that the end is near, but Signs from God. (2 Peter 3:1-18, Matthew 24:36-37)

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Emily on 27-08-2012

When I was a small child, my dad used to tell me stories from his childhood. He went to a Catholic school in a small town. Some of his stories were sad, some were funny and others were mystifiying. I always looked forward to hearing him tell them before I went to bed. I knew he would use a lot of different voices for the characters, and he would add his opinion in the story, looking back on it from his current perspective.

He had a lot of stories about the nuns that taught him. One of the recurring themes was that he grew up wondering if the nuns were really human. Did they even have feet? They wore long black robes and white habits. Some of them were very stern, and none of them showed any appreciation for my dad’s irreverant sense of humor.

I remember all of his stories distinctly because they were wildly original and I knew I could count on him to use squeeky, high pitched voices, low voices and everything in between. He and I invented two characters and created silly stories about them. They were Albert and Bill, two saber-tooth cats. Albert and Bill came to life after a family trip to a dinosaur/saber-tooth tiger museum. The big cats had funny adventures. Sometimes they would drive my dad’s car and run it into a cornfield. Other times they dressed up and pretended to be insurance salesmen.

Stories are important because they help people bond and spend time together. If the story is written, the reader can feel a connection to the author without even having met the author. When my dad told me those stories, he had found a way to relate a part of his past with me, in the present. Even though it was hard for me to imagine my dad being a young child (in the nun stories), I was grateful to hear his stories because it gave me a new perspective on his life before he was my dad. I was so happy to go to a school where I knew that the teachers were real humans with real feet, who weren’t intimidating like I imagined the nuns were.

I love stories, especially from writers who are passionate about what they write. We need stories because they are important to the growth of relationships, but also because stories can inspire people and change their lives.

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Emily on 15-12-2011

Mass Comm. 208

December 12, 2011

Profile Assignment

The Reverend Patricia Johnson

                Patricia Johnson may not know what her future looks like, but she is certain of one thing: “In God, we are continually being remade.”  She has been remade from being an everyday mother of two daughters to being an ordained deacon and community leader.

                Pat was raised in a Missouri Synod Lutheran church. In the early 90s she began the process of taking a new direction in her life. At St. Thomas Episcopal Church, she enrolled in a formal 3 year program called Education for Ministry, created by the University of the South Episcopal Seminary. The program is an intensive study of the Bible. Pat decided that she was being called to be a deacon in the Episcopal Church.

The formation process, which involved regular trips to Des Moines for instruction at the Diocese of Iowa offices, took more than six years to complete. She was ordained as the Reverend Patricia Johnson in 1999.

                Her family was very surprised about her decision to become a deacon. At first, her mother had a difficult time accepting the idea of her ordination, because the Missouri Synod Lutheran church does not accept the ordination of women. Eventually, she came around. Her two daughters had thought of her as “just their mom”.

                While she was training for ministry, she had the added stress of going through a divorce. She described the formation process as a period of self-discovery. She was forced out of her comfort zone while learning about preaching and praying. “I was being remade into someone I couldn’t imagine.”

                Being a deacon is servant ministry. The deacon assists in Sunday worship services, reading the Gospel and attending at the altar

                The deacon also takes the church out into the world. One of Deacon Pat’s first experiences was visiting a nursing home. At first she thought it was depressing, but then she connected with people who she visited for years.

                When she talked with a critically ill person, she felt that the hospital room became sacred space.

                Father Torey Lightcap, the rector of St. Thomas, said that he has a lot of admiration and respect for Dn. Pat. He recognized that she has faced a lot of adversity in her life. “Most impressive is how she continues to stand up for those who are not being treated fairly. As a deacon in the Episcopal Church, her job is to provide a voice for those with no power. She has done that faithfully.”

                Deacon Pat has worked for social justice both in her employment and in community involvement. She has been very active with the Council on Sexual Abuse and Domestic Violence for 20 years and has served as president of its board. She talks with women at the CSADV shelter and still sees women she has referred.

                She has worked with people with drug addiction and mental illness. In the past she was a probation officer. She still serves as a drug court officer, helping to keep people on track so they are not sent back to prison. She has spoken out for the rights of gay people and for the humanitarian treatment of immigrants. She has traveled to Swaziland and has spoken out about the terrible effects AIDS has had on African women and children.

                One year during Lent she conducted a “Stations of the Neighborhood,” a walking tour of homes on Douglas Street near St. Thomas church. The tour stopped at several homes and Dn. Pat discussed the history of the houses, usually owned by a slumlord, and the struggles that people in the neighborhood face on a daily basis.

                Currently, Deacon Pat works as the director of a transition center for workers displaced by the closing of the John Morrell packing plant. The center is funded by a federal grant which runs out in March 2012. So Dn. Pat, who is approaching age 60, will soon be unemployed, with no clue what the future holds for her.

She remains hopeful that she will find work that lets her continue to be the voice for those who have no power. Deacon Pat is inspired by Revelation 21:5, “See, I am making all things new.”  She is confident that God will continue to remake her and she will still find ways to make a difference in the lives of others.

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Emily on 25-11-2011


Today is Black Friday, but I will not be shopping in any “big box” stores. I am relaxing, eating Thanksgiving leftovers (yum, pumpkin pie!), and blogging in my Hello Kitty pajamas. The desire to wake up at 5 a.m., stand in long lines both inside and outside the store just to rush around and save a few bucks on stuff made in China is completely lost on me. The mall can wait.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to shop. But this article is a perfect example of America’s excessive commercialism when it comes to Christmas. Last year on Black Friday, a person was killed after being trampled in a stampede at a Wallmart. Are Americans so consumed with getting what they want (but don’t need) that they will act like a herd of buffalo? Apparently.

I have a few questions regarding the article: Is there extra security at stores participating in Black Friday? What area of LA is this Wallmart located? Did this woman just happen to have pepper spray, or did she bring it just for going shopping? How did the police let her get away?  

I’m surprised that the store stayed open and everyone acted as if nothing happened. Oh, I think I know! It’s because if they closed the store, they would not get as much consumers’ money, and they opened ON Thanksgiving day, so people can start buying stuff even earlier.

Christmas is about spending time with loved ones, taking a break from being stressed out, and, most importantly, celebrating the birth of Jesus.


Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Emily on 20-11-2011


I have a  few questions about this article. Where specifically was the boy when his sandwich was stolen? Was he sitting on a park bench? Was he waiting to cross the street?

Apparently, the men were so hungry they didn’t care about the boy’s cell phone. Maybe they were homeless and desperate to find something, anything to eat.

Why is this news? I think this could be considered news in a local newspaper. However, I don’t think this is worthy of being national news.

 I hope the boy is okay, and that his loved ones are looking out for him.

What I really want to know is, “Why did the men steal the sandwich? Did it look delicious, oozing with meatball sauce and cheese? Did the boy cut in line ahead of them at Blimpie’s? When I read a news story, I want details! At the rate at which Yahoo’s articles are getting smaller, they will soon be only a few sentences long.