Tag Archives: the hairpin

One Time I Took A CAMS Course

That’s Cinema and Media Studies in Carleton-speak. In my senior year, I asked myself, “Is there anything else I want to try before I graduate?” The obvious answer was CAMS. Since it was Intro to CAMS, I was one of two seniors in a class full of freshmen. Yeah, I was that girl.

I’ve always loved movies and the experience of going to the theater. Like, a lot. My creative side was interested in how films worked as an art form. Sometimes I watched Turner Classic Movies. Sometimes I listened to audio commentary for fun. Do you know what people always say on audio commentaries? “Nobody’s really listening to this, right?” Wrong. I’m listening, so tell me something good.

In hindsight, I wish I had taken more CAMS during my time in college. The skills learned in countless English classes transferred easily to film interpretation, so the assignments were rarely stressful. (Then again, being a senior in an intro-level class helps.) Mostly I just got to watch some great movies and develop a concept of film history.

The upshot is that I’m like one of those people who takes a psychology class and thinks they can diagnose their friends. While I’m watching a movie, I can casually try to identify the break between the first and second act. I can bore my mom with stories about how The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance was shot in black-and-white because Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne were twenty years older than their characters. I can say, “Oooo, composition in depth!” And most recently, I can watch Far From Heaven on Netflix Instant because it’s an homage to the 1950s melodramas of Douglas Sirk, most notably All That Heaven Allows, which we watched for Intro CAMS. See, it all makes sense.

Far From Heaven

So forgive me if I go into wannabe-CAMS-major mode now and then. If you too enjoy the occasional TCM movie, gawking at old photographs, and a touch of humor, I can recommend a series of articles over at The Hairpin called Scandals of Classic Hollywood. Guaranteed to inform and amuse.


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The Best Time I Got Fingerprinted

Yesterday I found myself at the Clay County Jail. No, I hadn’t committed a crime. The latest and most bizarre step in the MRC employment process was fingerprinting and a background check. It’s as if they don’t want criminals working in elementary schools. Shocking, I know. Needless to say, this was a first for me.

In a burst of self-reliance, I drove to the jail with only a vague idea of where I was supposed to go. I figured that it would be apparent once I got there. Not so, as it turns out. As I approached, there were signs directing me to the jail entrance on the other side of the building. However, what I found was a windowless metal door that was marked as the “jail visitors’ entrance.” A high, fenced-in area with basketball hoops stood a few yards away — a real life prison yard.  “Well, this can’t be right,” I thought to myself.

Back around the building to the police entrance. The doors were locked beyond the entryway with no signs of life inside. A large notice proclaimed that fingerprinting was indeed done at the jail. Great. I returned to the oh-so-welcoming “visitors’ entrance” and went inside. There I found another locked door. To my left was literally the area where people visit with inmates across glass partitions. I had to pick up a phone and tell someone what I was doing there. The woman on the other end said that she would be with me in a moment. “I have someone in holding,” she explained. As in, holding cell.

Finally an officer emerged and led me to a smaller building next door. Apparently other people knew that this is where the fingerprinting took place because there was already a line. The rest of the outing was fairly mundane. I filled out a form and had my fingertips pressed onto black ink pads. This building was almost cheery compared to where I had been before. The fact that men in orange jumpsuits seemed to be wandering freely through the lobby was only mildly alarming. I’m sure the nice police officers had the situation under control.

But kids, don’t go to jail. There are lots of depressing metal doors and glass plates between you and your visitors. And Lady Gaga won’t be there.

*This blog post is inspired by a series of columns on The Hairpin called Personal Bests.


Filed under Real Life

Courtney, What Blogs Do YOU Read?

I’m glad you asked, Hypothetical Reader! There are many blogs that I read on a regular basis. In fact, my admiration for these bloggers was part of the inspiration for Courtney Coherent. Here are my top 5 favorites.

Sarah Dessen’s Blog

Sarah Dessen is my favorite young adult author, and I have been reading her blog since middle school. After years on a very simple LiveJournal, she recently transitioned to a snazzier blog on her website. She also happens to be the person whose career I would replicate if such things were possible. Although she won’t discuss books as she’s writing them, there are often interesting tidbits about the rest of the publishing processing. Plus she loves pop culture almost as much as I do. You can see why I consider her a kindred spirit.

Cathy Zielske’s Blog

Some people have baking blogs, and I have scrapbooking blogs. There are several that I follow, but Cathy’s is the only one that I check daily. She was my favorite contributor to Simple Scrapbooks, by far the best scrapbooking magazine on the market, which stopped publication in 2009. (Stupid economy.) Luckily I was able to keep up with many of its contributors in the blogosphere. Cathy is a character, for sure, and I admire that almost as much as I admire her streamlined scrapbook style.

Tara Whitney’s Blog

Tara is another find from the Simple Scrapbooks era, but her specialty is photography. She posts less frequently than Sarah or Cathy. Then she posts photo sessions with clients or her family, and the wait is totally worth it. The woman works magic with light and color. A Tara Whitney photo session with someone special would be a dream-come-true moment for me.

Tegan and Sara’s Official Site

This doesn’t count as a blog, you say? Sure, it serves the functions of an official musician’s website, announcing new tour dates and merchandise. But look a little closer, and you will see that all the posts are written by Tegan or (more frequently) Sara. For that reason, the site doubles as a place for them to relate a weird experience or (more often) tease each other. As any fan will tell you, the bickering is an essential part of the T&S experience.

The Hairpin

I’ve told many of you about this site already, perhaps several times. Still, I couldn’t end this list without mentioning my favorite feminist humor blog. Although many people contribute to the site, it’s the baby of one Edith Zimmerman, who describes herself as “a grave young woman who spends all her time on the internet.” I will admit that one motivator for starting my own blog was an intense desire to become best internet friends with Edith. Or perhaps insinuate myself into The Hairpin’s inner circle.

So if you’re feeling bored, Non-hypothetical Readers, click on one of these links. Or all of them! Don’t read them too often though, or you will steal all my small talk material.

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