Abroad Profile: Learning to love country music

Jordan Javelet

Contributing Editor

have been in England for three weeks now, and one thing I have realized is British people do not understand the appeal of country music. In their defense, many Americans do not understand it either—including, until recently, me. Since leaving the States, however, country music is all I want to listen to, whether I’m studying or reading or hanging out in my room or eating dinner. When I first felt the urge to listen to country music, I wasn’t sure what to make of it, but after a few days, I realized that my desire for the twangy sounds of Luke Bryan and Keith Urban stemmed from my desire to feel closer to home. There is something about country music that is quintessentially American.

Country music tells the same stories over and over: girls and boys falling in love, getting drunk at a tailgate party, parking the truck on a back road and listening to music (maybe even stealing a kiss), hanging around campfires eating greasy home-cooked foods. Hardly a complete picture of American values; more like a small microcosm. And I’ll admit that this experience of life has not been my experience by a long shot. But being familiar with the musical stories of such experiences makes me feel it has been. I can see America by listening to the songs. And it makes me feel closer to home.

Country music talks literally about American soil in its every verse, describing the people and their relationship to the vast, open land that exists in much of America. In America, we can drive for hours upon hours and still be in the same state. We can find places out in the woods to hang out with our friends and build bonds with each other and with nature. We can swim in lakes and run around in fields and climb mountains. America is a nation unified by the concept of freedom, and that sense of freedom comes in part from the wide open spaces the land itself provides, and with those wide open spaces come the freedom to go.

Because England is a small country located near a lot of other small countries, British life lacks the sense of vastness and freedom that exists in America. My British friends don’t see any appeal in the idea of a summer spent swimming in a lake and sneaking whiskey out to a cornfield and blasting “Sweet Home Alabama” on the Fourth of July, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that many Americans understand that, even if they’ve never lived it and never will. And that is what country music denotes.

My life in America was not like a country song, but now that I’m in another country, it feels more like it than where I am now. So while I’ll admit that there’s something a little strange about my intense desire to listen to country music when I’m studying abroad in England, I’m thankful for the reminders of the Americana lifestyle that country artists such as Billy Currington in his song “We Are Tonight” provide: “Summer pouring through a rolled down window / Tearing down all those two-lane back roads / Freedom and fireflies in the air.”

Tilling it like it is: Ag Co-op- anything grows!

Todd Troester

Staff Writer

Over the past few years, Goucher College’s Agricultural Cooperative (Ag Co-op) has grown in leaps and bounds. The first changes included a large and costly renovation of the garden, expanding it from 3,000 to 5,000 square feet. This expansion was complete with 7 dump truck loads of topsoil and a new wooden fence. The group also expanded their operations in the greenhouse to include a new hydroponic system and rebuilt several greenhouse beds.

Naturally, with all the expansion and growth, the costs of keeping up with what has been built have increased. The cost also became more immediate. Maren Stunes ’15, President of Ag Co-op, expressed, “If a hydroponic pump breaks, we can’t wait to fix it. It needs to be done immediately.” This was the main motivation Ag Co-op leaders had for separating from Goucher’s Student Government. Stunes indicated that Ag Co-op will have access to their ac

counts and funds through a newly formed Board of Faculty and Staff.

The Board of Faculty and Staff is a new feature of the revamped Ag Co-op leadership structure. The group of faculty and staff will provide a “range of long term supporters that can represent Ag Co-op in other areas of Goucher College,” indicated Stunes. The Board will consist of 3-5 faculty or staff members, serving three year terms. This long term commitment of the Board members will ensure smooth transitions of student leadership. The faculty members also give academic legitimacy to Ag Co-op, as seen in the summer research project with the hydroponic system. Ag Co-op’s Board of Faculty and Staff also serve the purpose of holding the four Executive Board leaders accountable for their responsibilities.

Yet another feature of the restructured Ag Co-op is the addition of three Vice President positions. Erin Snyder ’15 is the VP of the Greenhouse, Katrina Kniss ’15 is the VP of Finances, and Max Heller ’15 serves as the VP of Facilities. The purpose of these positions is to “spread out the responsibilities and hold each other accountable,” according to Stunes. Stunes also made the point that four people can make more connections than just one. Spreading out the responsibilities also allows for more people to accomplish things.

Stunes mentioned several hefty goals she hopes to accomplish within Ag Co-op this year. “I want to leave a strong sense of community,” stated Stunes. She also indicated the importance of following through with the ideas and traditions laid out by Ag Co-op’s previous leaders. These presidencies include keeping the majority of the garden a malleable space where each generation can grow and plant what they want to while also including permanent areas that will “thrive for a long time.” Stunes also hopes to finish big projects like the garden shed mosaic and construction of several new arbors.

Ag Co-op Green Tip: Save water by showering with a buddy!

Goucher Eats: The descent of pumpkin mania

Jessica Gude

Features Co-Editor

can say that, without a doubt, fall is here. What tipped me off? It wasn’t the dropping temperatures, the red and orange beginning to speckle treetops and sidewalks, or the pop-up Halloween stores. No, I was alerted to fall’s presence by the annual descent of pumpkin mania. Spiced and hot beverages are advertised by every major coffee chain and accompanied by any imaginable pastry of the same flavor. Even several weeks ago, a trip to Trader Joe’s revealed an entire display of pumpkin related products, everything from oatmeal and cereal bars, to corn bread and pancake mix, all featuring fall’s favorite orange squash. As someone who keeps a fair amount of Libby’s Pure Pumpkin on hand throughout the year, I’m not complaining. That day I ended up leaving TJ’s with pumpkin flavored coffee, rooibos tea, and something called pumpkin butter that I’ve been smearing liberally on just about anything. While I don’t restrict my consumption of pumpkin-themed products to the fall months, I must say that it’s exciting when the rest of the world joins in. Why do we fall so hard for pumpkin every time the temperature starts to drop? Sure, the canned stuff takes center stage in grocery stores at this time, but it can usually be found in the baking aisle year round (trust me, I’ve been known to make up pumpkin soup in the middle of July).  Part of it, I’m sure, comes from the idea of it being “seasonal” both agriculturally and socially in the way that we’ve assigned certain symbols, activities, and even feelings to specific times of year. And in this social construct, fall looks like piles of leaves, it feels like sweaters and high school football games, it smells like bonfires, and it tastes like pumpkin spice.

Here on campus most of us don’t have a lot of cooking supplies or feel like walking all the way to the end of the hallway to use the communal kitchen. If this is you, but you’d like to make yourself a little piece of the seasonal spirit, I have you covered. This recipe is super simple and pretty delicious if I do say so myself. Canned pumpkin is easy to find and pretty inexpensive. The liquid egg whites (or “egg substitute”) are a mini-fridge staple for me, simply because they’re really versatile and are a lot less messy than their shelled counterparts, but if you have real eggs on hand they should work just fine too. Use 1 whole egg for every ¼ cup of substitute and it should turn out, so without further ado I give you: Microwave Pumpkin Pie Soufflé

Equipment:

A microwave safe bowl or large mug

A fork

A microwave

Ingredients:

1 cup of pumpkin puree

½ Cup of liquid egg whites

Pinch of Salt

Cinnamon to Taste

~Teaspoon Sugar/Sweetener

Instructions:

*Place egg whites in bowl and whisk gently a few times with the fork.

*Add pumpkin and mix until the two are well incorporated with one another.

*Add in spices and mix in well.

*After everything is homogenous, place in the microwave for two minutes.

*Continue to microwave in two-minute increments until completely cooked. It should be “solid,” be sure to check the bottom, where uncooked egg likes to hide. The entire cook time is usually about ten to twelve minutes.

*Once cooked through, remove from microwave and let cool (it will be very hot).

*Once cool enough to eat grab a fork and enjoy!

The state of ebola

Jessica Gude

Features Co-Editor

Ebola. A word that I’ve probably heard more in the last twenty-four hours than in all of my life excluding the last month or so. Ebola is a viral infection that causes fever like symptoms and is often fatal. A virus is not a bacterium; it is in no way similar to bacteria. It is small yes, but it cannot reproduce by itself. It must attach to a host cell and essentially spit its genetic information inside; it can then reproduce inside the cell and will eventually cause its host to lyse. The new viruses can then spread out and infect other cells. A viral infection cannot be treated with antibiotics, it is not a bacteria. So please, stop hosing your kids off with Purell, it’s not helping. Furthermore, it is not at this time believed to be airborne, but is transferred through direct contact with blood or other bodily fluids of those already infected.

Ebola was first documented in 1976, when it infected 284 people, killing 151, in Sudan. It was then seen in the same year in Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo, (DRC) resulting in a quarantine of the area, and ultimately 318 infections and 280 deaths. A second major outbreak stuck the DRC in 1995 and two more in 2007 and 2012. Uganda faced major outbreaks in 2000 and 2007 and two smaller ones in 2012, and the Republic of Congo saw one in 2003. A major outbreak occurred in March of 2014 in the country of Guinea in Western Africa; it quickly spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia and later to Nigeria and Senegal.

On September 19, Eric Duncan of Liberia flew to Texas. He visited a hospital after feeling ill, but was sent home. On September 30, he was diagnosed with Ebola, and on October 8th he was dead. On October 12, Nina Pham a health care provider in Texas was diagnosed with the virus and a second nurse, Amber Vinson, was diagnosed on the 15. In total, the World Health Organization estimates that of 9,216 documented cases, 4,555 deaths have been reported, although they admit that both of these numbers are likely low. Furthermore, they estimate that 216 of the deaths were those of health care workers.

Let’s put this into perspective. Of the 4,555 people who have died, one of those deaths happened on US soil. Of the 9,216 diagnoses, three have occurred in the US, two being US citizens (not taking into account possible US health care workers abroad). Is this a huge percentage? No, it is tiny. Is it a prob

lem? Well yes, certainly the spread of any disease is concerning. However, we need to keep in mind that medical practices here are much different than in areas affected in Africa, where there are often not enough beds to meet their needs, as well as much less medical supplies and personnel. We also need to remember that, while the disease poses a threat to the US, that threat is very small compared to the threat it continues to pose to Sub-Saharan and Western Africa. So should we be searching for better treatment and possibly preventative measures? Absolutely, but such efforts should have been made long before the disease reached the US. The issue of containment is also touchy. Is it wrong to send someone with Ebola into the US (or across the US) if that will provide him or her with the best possible medical treatment and therefore the best chance at survival? Does the risk of infecting someone else justify not putting in every effort to save someone who is already infected? These are not easy questions, but questions that the World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control are faced with and will need to answer sooner, rather than later.

Reel Talk with Annie: “Finding Vivian Maier”

Annie Schwartz

Staff Writer

“Finding Vivian Maier” is a fantastic documentary about the mystery behind a complex woman and her profound works of photography. After purchasing roughly 30,000 negatives at an auction, director John Maloof is determined to uncover the history behind these works. Piecing together the puzzle that is Maier’s past, Maloof travels across the world, revealing the strange life of a self-taught photographer.

Meeting with those connected to Maier, Maloof reveals a woman who was dedicated to documenting the world around her, but who strove to keep her own life a secret. Maier did so quite successfully. Conflicting interviews leave many questions unanswered as the viewer is left to determine Maier’s true character. Who was this strange woman and why did she choose to hide her past?

What makes this film fantastic is not so much the work of Maloof and co-director Charlie Siskel as it is the content provided by Maier herself. Compared to photographers such as Berenice Abbott and Weegee, Maier’s photographs are captivating. Her unique eye provides a fascinating outlook on the world. She sees what the average eye does not and is not afraid to explore what is deep and dark about our world.

Not only will this film introduce you to one of America’s hidden talents, but will also leave you guessing. In “Finding Vivian Maier,” Maloof establishes an unfinished caricature and invites you to provide its final details. It is the unknown of this reclusive artist that is most intriguing. No longer around to confirm her feelings and beliefs, pieces of Maier’s life will always remain in shadows.

Like Maloof in his journey to understanding this multifaceted personality, the audience is left with feelings of obsession, determined and yet struggling to comprehend this strange woman and her peculiar habits. While opinions on Maier herself may vary, I can promise that you will fall in love with her work. If there is one thing to get out of this film, it is the discovery of an American master and an abundant archive of marvelous photographs.

Edited For Libel: Self – Care

Sarah Hochberg

Opinion Editor

With the craze of midterm week finally dying down, it’s time to get back to basics. For me, that means endless Netflix-binging, book reading, and procrastination-not-doing. Everyone has something, not quite a hobby, not quite doing nothing, but a preferred method of productive inactivity. Over the course of my academic growth in stress management, I’ve realized inactivity can actually be the most productive way to spend a free afternoon. Self-care is incredibly important in whatever way it expresses itself.

     When it’s hell week, and my “free” time is really just when I’m slightly less constantly busy, having time to myself can really be crucial to my mindset and emotional state. Everyone has something, whether it expresses itself in video games, TV, or going for a run. For the extroverted types, it can be catching up with some friends and blowing off steam together. For those who need time to themselves to recuperate and recover, it can be reading or watching TV. The important thing is to be doing absolutely nothing and giving yourself a break. Hey, college is hard and these are crucial years of our youth – we deserve to kick back a little.

     Stress can be one of the most damaging forces to overall health and productivity. Ironically, yes, the more work you’re assigned, the less likely it is you will finish all of it to the best of your ability. Anyone who has been in the Ath in the wee hours of the morning knows, when you’re trying to polish off an essay in a caffeine-fueled haze of deadlines and anxiety, you are not going to come up with your best work. You are not even going to get close. Additionally, prolonged stress can lower your immune system. High anxiety leads to a crappy diet of Easy-mac and Ramen, less sleep, and general illness. There’s a reason the Goucher Plague moves so quickly among students, and we can’t blame everything on Stimson. Just most things.

We’ve all heard the tips from ACE: space out your work, try not to leave things to the last minute, email your professor if you’re struggling with an assignment. These are great tips, and the psychology behind these are to avoid stress and freaking out. A relaxed mind is the most productive way to actually get stuff done instead of freaking out over not finishing the assignment, wasting valuable time and mental resources.

     So, in the end, yes, we all get stressed out. Even the Type-A color-coded Excel sheet people who seem to have everything in order get stressed out. The important thing is to manage it, and then use it to make yourself a better student. Sometimes, you’ll be too stressed to do work, and that’s fine. It’s not the end of the world – paint your nails, play some Frisbee, go to the SRC, watch an episode (or season) of a show you like, go pet Lucy. Do what you gotta do. I’m not directly saying blow off assignments, but you are important too. Maybe push them back an hour or so, and then start from a better place. You will be much happier.

A small-town Vermonter’s experience at Towson’s new movie theater

Sarah Callander

Features Co-Editor

I

n my hometown of Woodstock, Vermont, on the weekends the town hall doubles as a movie theater by pulling down a screen and serving maple butter popcorn. Usually, they choose a movie that premiered several weeks ago and seems a little outdated. When I came to Goucher my freshman year, I was surprised to discover that Towson didn’t have a movie theater. As I learned my way around Baltimore, I discovered the behemoth White Marsh AMC theaters and eventually, the more charming Senator Theater and Charles Theater. I loved how the Senator had the main large theatre with a gilded ceiling and draping red curtains that frame the feature film. Along with slightly more reasonable tickets, they offer special showings of classics like “The Godfather,” “The Shining,” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Sometime last year, I first heard rumors that a new movie theater was in the making and then of course, the evidence. Early on in the construction of Towson’s new cinema, it became obvious that it was going to be much more than a place to watch movies. The Cinemark officially opened late this past summer, but construction still continues on the movie and dining complex off of the Towson circle. I finally decided to take the plunge by seeing the new blockbuster thriller Gone Girl, and I was for the most part pleased with my overall experience.

The parking garage costs hurts a little, but movie-goers get a $2 discount for the parking. Because it was a late showing, my boyfriend and I decided to park on the street, but there is also free parking at the mall, and of course it’s really not a far walk from Goucher. The entrance of the Cinemark is not elegant per se but it is remarkable. The huge flights of stairs, escalators, lines of people, and boisterous teenagers all form to create a mass of energy and confusion. Our student tickets cost $9.50 each, but for a couple of dollars, you can upgrade to the reserved seating that has food service as well. At the top of the escalators, there are seemingly dozens of food options – more than the usual movie menu. Off to the side is an arcade area for if you get bored of the movie or are killing time while waiting for friends. The seats in the movie theatre were actually very comfortable, but it was surprisingly full considering how many theaters (within Cinemark) were showing the movie and how early we had arrived.

“Gone Girl” did everything that it advertised it would do as a thriller and I felt satisfied with the film and the experience. Yet, I still felt oddly ripped off even though I hadn’t even spent that much on the ticket. I felt like at every corner the Cinemark was trying to get a few more dollars from its visitors with parking, dinner, movie, movie seat upgrades, snacks, and arcade. I’m not really sure if Towson ever really had a small town feel, but I worry how much of this experience could be going to helping small businesses in the area. Yet, I recognize coming from a small town, I have trouble accepting the experience of large chain enterprises even while it might greatly benefit the local economy. For Goucher students, the draw of the Cinemark is its accessibility and broad range of options. If given a choice, I would recommend expanding your horizons by going into the city, grabbing a meal out at a local restaurant, sneaking some candy in your bag, and enjoying the smaller, independent local movie theatres.

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