Movies and Mozzarella Sticks

Like any normal person I wouldn’t throw $12 in the trash, so I didn’t, but I did accidentally throw it on the movie theater floor.

I was with my twin sister at a local movie theater here in southern Connecticut, catching a double feature. The theater I was at isn’t really near anything fun, so I didn’t want to just go in for one movie. Transformers: The Last Knight, and 47 Meters Down, were some of the films playing, and I wanted to see both. With my offer to pay for the movie tickets on the table, my sister Jen accepted my invitation, and we headed to the local Bow Tie movie theater. I would like to note that we bought tickets for both films. Movie hopping isn’t cool guys.

After seeing Transformers, and then chilling in the lobby for a bit, I needed snacks for the next film. I got my popcorn refill (this theater does refills for a large tub), ordered two orders of mozzarella sticks, and a drink. Sometime during the wait I had mentioned to Jen that she might have to help me carry my food. I had paid for her movie ticket after all, so it was only fair. She said, “Alright,” completely happy to help out, but somehow, I completely forgot the plan, and put the mozzarella sticks in a drink section of the disposable tray I was using. We made it all the way to the theater door without incident, and were about to be the first ones in. A movie theater employee was leaving the room. He had clearly just cleaned the area, and that is when my mozzarella sticks fell to the floor. Both orders. All ten mozzarella sticks, and the sauce packets. Thankfully the sauce was sealed tight.

The movie theater employee guy didn’t bat an eye, and said it was alright, and that he would clean it up. I tried to insist that I would, only for him to insist he would. Finally, I said “Dude, I feel so bad.” He laughed, and again insisted. I just let it go, and went into the theater with my sister. I felt a cross of sadness, and content. Nothing bad had happened. I knew spilling my mozzarella sticks was the best representation of a first world problem, as I had money for more food, and still had popcorn. I felt bad for making the movie theater employees job just a little bit more extra, but I have cleaned spills at both my homeless shelter job, and seafood department job. So much worse has happened at both, so I like to believe he felt the same way.

Inside the theater the lights eventually dimmed, and we listened to that message about silencing our phones. I’m sure the movie would have been more enjoyable with mozzarella sticks, but at least my sister gave me a couple of her fries.

-Katelyn Avery

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A True Alumni

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My diploma from Central Connecticut State University. I now have a B.A. in Journalism, with a minor in History.

So, I picked up my diploma today. My time at CCSU is officially over, and I feel fine. Better than fine I feel great. Walking around campus as a true alumni was everything I dreamed it would be! Just magnificent. It was a fast two years, yet somehow that time is so distant. Was I really a 21 year old transfer student as recent as fall 2014? That seems like 10 years ago. I was a little fish in a really big pond then. Leaving the little community college world, for an extreme experience at CCSU, in a great little city called New Britain. How did that first semester at CCSU turn into me being out of school for three months? Those two years at CCSU were truly a blast, and words can barely describe how awesome it all was. I became very comfortable in my college life, but somehow it didn’t feel awful to leave. It just felt right. The jump from 21 to 23 was a big one, and there was a part of me that wanted to freeze time, and bask in the college experience forever, but it’s also kind of nice to be off the academic hook. Real world here I come. I will get a driver’s license (in the permit stage), a job (any kind at this point), a place of my own, and I will live a happy life. We all will. Every graduate.
-Katelyn Avery

 

240 words

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Katelyn Avery’s Vlogs | Summer 2016

This summer I will be vlogging, as well as writing. It’s my first summer after graduating Central Connecticut State University, and I’m so excited. Join me on the journey to a driver’s license, a job, and “down this road that we call life.”

Also, I’m definitely a Boy Meets World Fan.

Check out my vlog playlist for the summer below. Check out my channel for all of my videos as well.

 

 

 

-Katelyn Avery

 

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There’s Something in the Soup

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Homemade chicken noodle soup. Photo by Katelyn Avery.

In college (Central Connecticut State University) I was confined to canned soup, and the hope for a 4 for $5 sale at the Stop & Shop on the Newington and New Britain border. Homemade soup wasn’t an option while living the Vance residence hall life, even if homemade things are cheaper. It was something I accepted though, and would eventually become well known for my different breakfast choice.

My residence hall had ovens, but it didn’t have burners, and we weren’t allowed to have hot plates. Even if we had been able to use them I didn’t have a personal fridge to store things in, and we all know your entire floor raids the communal fridge. With soup cup* in hand I often made chicken or turkey noodle soup, among closely related others. Sometimes it was in my works break room, my [Vance] floors kitchen, or the basement kitchen as the microwave constantly had an out of order sign in front of it. Either way, soup got me through breakfast in one of the cheapest and easiest ways possible for a college student.

My soup obsession started when I received opening shifts at the STC (Marcus White Computer Lab). As a transfer student I spent two years at CCSU, and a year and a half of them were spent working inside that wonderful lab. I actually enjoyed opening as mornings were relatively quiet, the only bad side is that the dining hall didn’t open until after I started working. I wasn’t the biggest fan of dining hall breakfast to begin with though. The staff did their best, and bacon days were my favorite, but my idea of a traditional breakfast is pizza bagels, and their’s was omelet’s and cereal. The clash sent me to buy cereal bars for the first semester of Saturday opening shifts at the STC. I wanted to liven things up for the next semester though, and that’s when I received a free soup cup at a club leadership training workshop. My days in a breakfast rut were over.

Throughout the year I would continue my soup breakfast routine, especially when I had three opening shifts. I became “famous” to other coworkers, and eventually the boss, for my unconventional morning meal. During one Saturday morning I spent a good amount of time googling “soup for breakfast,” explaining to a coworker how awesome soup for breakfast was, and that the internet supported my decision.

It was always a shock to some of my fellow openers if I had Dunkin’ Donuts or Subway (The meal…I know…odd) instead of my usual. It’s a funny identity to have, “Soup girl,” or “Coworker who loves soup,” something like that, my former coworkers and I never really had a title for my workplace role, but I was always happy to be known for my breakfast.

 

-Katelyn Avery

472 words

 

*The hyperlink does not show the soup cups that I use, it is just an example of what a soup cup is.


 

 

 

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Little Things Deserve No Time

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Broken water fountain. Photo by Katelyn Avery.

Sometimes life hits you with a thirst so strong you just can’t live until you quench it. The pain in your throat just won’t go away, and you can’t imagine having one clear thought until your lips touch water.

This post will eventually get metaphorical, but for now I’m simply describing that regular thirst for water. I’m also describing first world problems, but sometimes privilege escapes your mind. It happens during life’s little obstacle courses. The ones where your floors water fountain breaks, floods into the elevator, but somehow you’re still not fazed. This is college after all, expect the unexpected.

The little things in life can be the most annoying. Somehow they are harder to avoid than actual issues. Maybe it’s because there’s no way to solve them sometimes. In my case I simply had to walk by a trash bag covered machine, down one floor. It feels like giving up in a way, because you’re not in control. Waiting is all you can do, and that just doesn’t seem right.

For anyone else who ever finds themselves overthinking anything, which includes most of us, the solution is to stop thinking. Just keep walking, because no one ever wins by sitting down. Too many things pass you by, and before you know it, everyone else is celebrating at the finish line. That’s right, they made it to another floors water fountain, and their water bottles have been filled.

-Katelyn Avery

-237 words



 

 

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Connecticut, January 2016 [Video]

Connecticut’s 2016 winter is practically snowless, but I still enjoyed filming.
-Katelyn Avery
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Flipping the Phone Closed

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Flip phone. Photo by Katelyn Avery.

Just before the dawn of 2016 I made the big switch from the flip phone life to being a smart phone user. I could call myself a complete millennial, but even my middle aged mother had a smartphone before I did. As a 22-year-old I broke stereotypes every time I snapped my flip phone open. I would find kinship with older students in need of assistance at my colleges computer lab, where I work. They would take out their outdated models, and I would quickly show them mine. They were always happy to find out that they weren’t alone in this smart phone world.

My last “dumb phone,” as nonusers call them, had been a present from my Mom during either my junior or senior year of high school, and I had once shared it with my twin sister. Later on she purchased her own flip phone, and I was allowed to keep the shared one. Before that we had also shared another flip phone, adorned with a small stub, known as an antenna. We had started on minute plan, but when I took over the bill I switched to an unlimited plan.  Prior to that ancient device we had shared an AT&T Go Phone. It was a small rectangle, but I remember ninth grade me (and my sister) being so happy to finally have a cell phone.

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Flip phone. Photo by Katelyn Avery.

As a current Journalism major I realized that switching was inevitable. If anything I should have done this a few years ago. Not being able to take clear pictures was getting in the way of assignments, and I kept having to borrow my Mom’s phone during a summer/fall freelance job at an online newspaper. Eventually I couldn’t even use my flip phone for Facebook posts that well, as Verizon didn’t allow outdated phones to send photos to an online album. I would have to text someone my photos, and email them from that person’s phone. It was a first world struggle. Mad annoying and whatnot.

Friends at my college had also encouraged me to switch, and I was planning to by graduation, but I needed to find the right phone. Which meant a cheap one offering a low cost phone plan. A slightly unfortunate event would lead me in the right direction.

My laptop had broken just before Christmas at one of the hinges used to close the screen. Everything still worked, but I couldn’t properly close my laptop, a hassle for a college student moving between a dorm room, classes, the library, a computer lab, and so on. Being a college student on a budget, I hadn’t purchased a warrantee. I know I made a mistake, but all colleges students do at some point. No warranty meant it would be very expensive to fix the problem, so I had to purchase my post-graduation laptop a semester early. Trying to be positive, I decided to think of it as getting a head start on the “real world.” Draining my savings three days after Christmas in order to do so.

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Flip phone. Photo by Katelyn Avery.

After ordering the laptop I wanted, as Best Buy had just sold the last one in the store, I strolled through the phone section. A prepaid smartphone was on sale for $40. After I went home and looked up some YouTube reviews of the product, and most importantly the camera, I decided I would again dip into my savings.

During the pickup trip two days later for my laptop, I allowed the Verizon Transpyre 4G LG prepaid phone to fully enter my life. My flip phone was dropped to a junk pile, and my smartphone was activated. I am now addicted to emoji texts and taking pictures, although I don’t plan on getting a snapchat, and I wouldn’t have things any other way.

-Katelyn Avery

630 words

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Maintaining the Innocence of Little Girls

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“Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?” writes 8 year old Virginia in her famous 1897 letter to Frances Pharcellus Church.

Santa Claus is a staple of childhood for most people. Regardless of religion many children still experience Christmas through the big guy in red. This explains why a letter over 100 years old still finds itself part of pop culture. Whether someone has actually read the original letter, or they only know the famous lines, the idea of “childlike faith” as Church phrases it, is a staple for adults.

In 1989 a Christmas film, Prancer, clearly inspired by the letter, was released. The story centers around an 8 girl named Jessica Riggs (Rebecca Harrell), who loves Christmas. That interest shields her from the harsher side of her life. Her mother is dead, and her father’s apple farm is struggling financially. Amongst all the disarray Riggs still posts reindeer window stickers in her room, and loves going by her small towns reindeer statues. Unfortunately the Prancer statue falls from the line one day. The situation heads north again however, when Riggs finds a reindeer in the woods, believing that it’s Prancer.

Within the movie a sermon is given about how children are growing up faster than before. The idea being timeless, because 92 years prior children were also losing their fantasy worlds relatively early as well. The 1897 letter proves that. Within different mediums, over different decades, the idea is accepted well by audiences. No one understands how important it is to stay young until they’ve grown up.

In one of the final scenes Riggs admits to not believing Prancer it the real Prancer. Her father John (Sam Elliot) takes the same approach as Church, and takes the response out to read. The final lines of Church’s letter, “Thank God! He lives, and he lives forever. A Thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood,” capture the point of the film, and the original article. Innocence is something to hold onto, in this case specifically for little girls.

In Majorie Williams piece, The Halloween of My Dreams she struggles with her third grade daughters Halloween costumes. “I court her wrath by refusing to buy the kids’ fashions that seem designed to clothe tiny hookers,” writes Williams.

In a common mother/daughter struggle Williams has to keep her child from wearing something too mature. An unfortunate twist to the story however, is that Williams is sick, and might not be able to see many more years of her daughter’s life. During this latest Halloween she is able to create a fantasy though, by having he daughter wear something mature, but not too skanky.

“I’d just seen Alice leave for her prom, or her first real date. I’d cheated time…” writes Williams of the costume. It allowed her to see her daughter grow up, without stealing her daughter’s innocence. Something that Williams wants to hold onto, even if darker circumstances are    around her.

Both pieces follow the idea of little girls staying innocent. It’s not to say little boys should grow up quickly, but something about a little girl seems more fragile. You can present them as princesses, always kept away from the more terrible aspects of life. A job similar to that of a security guard, that different types of people take on, because everyone seems to agree that we need to maintain the innocence of little girls.

 

Works Cited

Church, Frances Pharcellus. Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus. September 21, 1897.

Prancer. Dir. John D. Hancock. Nelson Entertainment, Cineplex Odeon Films, Orion Pictures. MGM. 1989. Film.

Williams, Majorie. The Halloween of My Dreams. November 3rd, 2004.

-Katelyn Avery

-622 words

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The Night They Saved Christmas is the Film with Two Hearts

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The Night They Saved Christmas (1984) could easily be dismissed as a dated 80’s Christmas TV movie, but millennials can actually get something out of this film. Now one of the many 80’s family TV movies to be lost in the nostalgic abyss, the younger generation should be exposed to its story. The heart of its plot still holds up. Well its two hearts.

In the film Michael Baldwin (Paul Le Mat) is a manager at an Oil company, and he lives with his wife Claudia (Jaclyn Smith) and three kids in Alaska. They have moved from Los Angeles, and all of them miss home. The youngest son, C.B. deals with this by putting all his energy into his belief in Santa Claus. It proves to be too much for the family though, as C.B. is getting older, and will even become angry when his older brother David dismiss the idea of there being a real Santa Claus. While the family deals with their own conflict, an even larger one is in its 11th hour.

Santa Claus’ chief elf, Ed (Paul Williams) turns up at Michael’s office at work. Ed informs Michael that the company’s dynamiting is causing damage to North Pole City, the home of Santa Claus and his elves. While the activities at “Site A” (the primary drilling area) are causing extensive damage, any blasts at the secondary site, known as “Site B”, would destroy North Pole City entirely. Michael, who does not share his sons [C.B.] undying belief in Santa Claus laughs, assuming that Ed isn’t an elf at all, and was just hired to pull off a practical joke.

Paul Williams performance as Ed doesn’t leave the audience wondering if this part of the story is real or not though, as his dedication to being a wise elf would convince anyone. A cross between Dumbledore and Mr. Miyagi, Ed speaks in a way that screams real elf. He is humble, yet sure. Paul Le Mat’s serious performance controls the scene though, as he convinces the audience that this is exactly how a manager would handle a meeting with a man claiming to be an elf. This 80’s movie doesn’t shy away from any corny plot points. At the same time they are fun for the nostalgic crowd. If you can put up with a Full House rerun you can put up with quality acting mixed with Santa’s second in command fighting for the future of North Pole City. Applause is sent to the actors for not showing discomfort, and performing with normalcy in one of the many films where a family meets Santa Claus. Made in a decade before Tim Allen would become famous for taking over the jolly guy’s job, the cast holds their own.

In the film Ed is determined, and arrives at the Baldwin’s house in a modified World War II-era snowcat, the day after after the first meeting. He wants to take Michael and his family to North Pole City. Claudia and the kids agree to go along, continuing to assume that it’s just a practical joke. A dated part of the plot, as stranger danger doesn’t seem to be a thing for this All-American 80’s family. They are not kidnapped and killed, as would happen in most present day films, but instead the family gets to meet Santa Claus (Art Carney) and Mrs. Claus (June Lockhart).

Santa shows Claudia how North Pole City is right next to “Site B,” where the company may also begin to dynamite. Santa warns them that one blast at Site B would mean the end of the city and, therefore, Christmas as they know it. He tells them that the main oil field is actually at Site A, which means Site B shouldn’t even exist.

Claudia tells Michael and his boss Sumner Murdock (Mason Adams) about what Santa said. Unfortunately Murdock believes that Claudia and the kids were given a hallucinogenic drug by Gaylord, the corrupt head of a rival oil company, to keep them dynamiting in the wrong place. Murdock orders that Site B be dynamited on Christmas Eve so they can get to the oil before Gaylord does. No one is sent to the hospital though, even though it is presumed that they have been given drugs. Another perk of the happy 80’s decade one can assume, but that shouldn’t push any millennial viewers away just yet.

The kids were eavesdropping on this meeting, so the older two, David and Marianne, decide to sneak out of the house to warn Santa. Soon after Claudia finds out, and takes off in her plane to look for them. While Claudia appears to be a homemaker, in the mid 80’s when it was becoming less common, this airplane scene gives her strength. Maybe not as much as current female leads such as Katniss Everdeen, but a film from 30+ years ago is going to have some flaws.

Meanwhile, Michael begs Murdock to postpone the dynamiting until Claudia and the kids are found. Murdock denies the request, even at the expense of his manager’s family. Michael continues to dynamite at Site A however, believing that the oil field is located there. At this point it is Christmas Eve, and the dynamite crew is out at Site B, beginning the count down.

In a better turn of events C.B. receives a call at home from a crew member informing him that a gigantic oil field has been discovered on Site A. 80’s children must have been quite astute, as a grown man shares this information with someone who hasn’t even reached a double digit birthday.

Santa and Ed visit the family at home with gifts. One of the more dated toys is a robot that helps children with their homework. The 80’s was a pre-internet decade, so the entire family is impressed. As it is the 80’s, this heartwarming family film is then made even cornier. The family watches Santa Claus fly away, and a sappy 80’s song plays over their serious faces.

While the aspect of the plot that says you always want to go home can be seen as the heart of the story, and of course holds up well past the 80’s, this film is on two beats. Pollution and destruction coming to North Pole City is the films second heart. It represents any environmentally damaging things that affect the world, or at the very least America.

Today the Keystone pipeline is the hot topic among two groups. One is the people who will benefit from its expansion financially, and the other is the group who doesn’t believe you should take a financial risk if it could have unimaginably devastating effects on the environment. The Cowboys and Indians Alliance is one of the more famous groups against the pipeline. This more rough and tough American example of the fight against pollution can’t be made into a Christmas movie the way the search for oil can, but the similarities between the two keep The Night They Saved Christmas above other dated films. Unfortunately its lack of exposure around its respective holiday has kept it in the vault. While the film screams 1984, it also screams 2015. It will probably scream every present day year for quite some time. The missing home aspect being there for families, and the pollution aspect being there for any American concerned with the environment. Wrapped inside a Christmas movie, this hard hitting topic is something that always needs attention. Somehow the 80’s found a way for it to share the spotlight with Christmas.

While the films appearance screams 80’s VHS tape recording, and some of the shots are a little too closed in, specifically at the oil company, the film was made to best quality it could have been, and isn’t anything awful to sit through. In fact, it charms audiences in a family friendly setting, without sugarcoating our world, which faces some of the issues in the film. While getting cozy at home parents are able to expose their kids to darker topics, but only with baby steps when using this Christmas movie.

-Katelyn Avery

1352 words

 

 

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Sober Road

Basement Or not (10)Photo by Katelyn Avery.

Judgement is the last thing I’m going for on my sober road, but people driving by seem to think it appropriate to cast their own opinions on me. Drinking just never appealed to me, or if it did, that was a long time ago, before I understood what it was.

Certain family problems pertaining to drugs, alcohol, and mental illness pushed me away from any bar activities. This causes problems though, as people steer clear of anyone who seems conservative. Not that anything is wrong with conservatives, not all of them fit that stereotypical racists and sexist mold, but I’m not one of them. I just made my own choice. I have nothing against people who drink, as long as they do so responsibly of course.

It’s always going to be a struggle for me. Alcohol seems to be a mandatory part of adult life, but I personally need to avoid it. That’s not the right decision for everyone, but it does leave me out of the group sometimes. This is either going to be one of those lovable quirks I have, or a sociability blocker. Whatever not drinking is, I have to deal with it.

-Katelyn Avery

196 words

 

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