The independent student newspaper of Goucher College


The Quindecim - page 2

The Quindecim has 103 articles published.

Pictures from Australia

Fairy Pools at Noosa Photo Credit: Moe de La Viez
Me and a Koala at the Australia Zoo 🙂 Photo Credit: Moe de La Viez
Me with a snake during orientation! Photo Credit: Moe de La Viez
The beautiful Noosa Heads beach Photo Credit: Moe de La Viez
A drive through Rainbow Beach. Those “rocks” are completely made of sand! Photo Credit: Moe de La Viez

People of Color Disproportionately Affected by Climate Change


In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Louisiana. The horrific hurricane killed at least 1,833 people and annihilated homes, schools, stores, and more. The residents located near this tragedy were people of color who lived in low level areas. Along with living in poor conditions, people also lacked proper resources to prepare for disasters. It is now 2019 and communities affected by this tragedy are still dealing with the effects of this hurricane. While dealing with these challenges, these people are also fighting companies that are causing pollution near their communities.

Hurricane Katrina demonstrates the struggle for communities of color (typically African Americans and Native Americans) to recover for natural disasters. These communities tend to struggle due to lack of governmental funding, which results in little resources. For instance, communities of color tend to have little resources to evacuate when disasters are occurring. If these people are evacuated from their communities, they are often left with uncertainty about when to safely return to their homes, since the government does not announce when to do so.

Not only are these communities dealing with a lack of funding, but many are also dealing with companies who are producing pollution near their homes and schools. Studies have shown that polluting companies are disproportionately located near communities dominated by people of color. For instance, a utility corporation named Entergy is attempting to gain an environmental permit for a gas power plant near East New Orleans. If this corporation gains a permit, they will be able to release one million pounds of toxic air pollutants located alongside many homes and schools. They will also produce over a billion pounds of greenhouse gases that result in climate change. The pollutants and toxins increase the chances of asthma and cancer within these communities.

This can explain why one in six African American children have asthma, differentiating from 1 in 10 nationally. Nearly sixty-eight percent of African Americans lived near 30 miles of a coal plant, one of the biggest carbon pollutants in the United States. Also, African Americans located in Los Angeles are more than two times as likely to die during heat waves rather than other locals living here. This is due to creating “heat islands,” which are made by lots of concrete and asphalt (which is correlated to rising temperatures). Since people of color mostly populate these heat islands, they are more vulnerable to the effects of them. People located in these areas also tend to not have resources such as air conditioning or proper transportation.

Here are a few ways to prevent further suffering for people of color communities and to eliminate further damage of climate change: properly equip people of color to prepare for natural disasters, elect officials into office that care and plan to take action against climate change, and increase investments in clean energy. Properly equipping people of color will result in less damage or better methods of evacuating. Electing officials who take action against climate change will be efficient because they can promote the idea of clean energy and other methods for the fight against climate change. The idea of clean energy is providing homes with wind, solar, and efficiency upgrades. Also, increasing investments in clean energy can provide employment for people, more so for people of color. By making these changes, climate change can stop worsening and destroying communities dominated by people of color.



Argentina: A beautiful country full of friendly people

Vista de Córdoba Photo Credits: Kate Longabaugh

From the overlook in Parque Sarmiento, this photo is above a grand old staircase that people run up and down to work out or sit on the benches and talk with friends. The old abandoned Ferris wheel sits inside the zoo and the apartment buildings to the left look like the ones I walked by every day in Córdoba that had a distinct look. 

La Cañada a la noche Photo Credits: Kate Longabaugh

A nighttime view of La Cañada near El Paseo de los Artes, a weekly artisan fair full of tempting things to buy. I crossed La Cañada every day to go to class at the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba and when I went almost anywhere since my host family lived right next to it downtown.

Andes de Patagonia Photo Credits: Kate Longabaugh

Monte Fitz Roy or Cerro Chaltén is one of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful, mountains and hiking locations in Andean Patagonia in southern Argentina and Chile, so I made sure to see it before I left. My friends and I got lucky with a clear day and good weather when winds and storms are notorious for keeping people off the trail.

Andes de Jujuy Photo Credits: Kate Longabaugh

A view of the Quebrada on the trail from the town of Tilcara to the Garganta del Diablo. La Quebrada de Humahuaca in northern Argentina is known for its colored mountains, trade route of the Incas, and indigenous Quechua people.

Amigos en La Cumbrecita Photo Credits: Kate Longabaugh

Some Argentinian, French, and German friends I made in the UNC Trekking program and a local language practice group. We hiked around one weekend in La Cumbrecita, a Swiss/German village in the mountains of Córdoba.

Danzas Irlandesas Photo Credits: Kate Longabaugh

As an Irish Dancer I was excited to find a twice-monthly Irish Cultural Organization in Córdoba. Here I am with one of my Irish Dance friends/teacher Andrea when her dance school Celtic Argentina came to perform at Argentina’s famous Oktoberfest in Villa General Belgrano, a town with Bavarian roots in the mountains of Córdoba.




Gophers and Elephants: A Mastodon-supported Goucher Community?

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Social networking is a natural and important part of the Goucher community and culture. Goucher reaches out to students, faculty, and family members through traditional networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Students, faculty, and staff have access to the GopherApp for iOS and Android to post information, exchange messages, and get feedback. Goucher clearly intends to make use of social technologies to further connect with people with little to no obstruction. However, traditional networks’ own political agenda can interfere with Goucher’s plans in posting their own content, as centralized networks and their parent companies own users’ data. While the GopherApp relinquishes control of their data, the app also comes with its own issues and doesn’t completely solve the problem.

In my sophomore year of high school, I researched the disadvantages of using Instagram to share photos from a legal perspective and a photographer’s perspective. I discovered that Instagram’s data is centralized –– Instagram takes away the rights to my photos. Data centralization can prove detrimental to institutions that own photos or videos, as they are forced to relinquish this data to another company. In an interview with April Glaser and Will Oremus for Slate magazine, Eugen Rochko, the developer behind a social network called Mastodon, makes the issues with centralization very clear: “Centralization is not just centralization of power, but […] data as well […] the more data a platform like Facebook collects—it’s all in one place. It’s easy to access and to analyze.” Despite having some advantages in content control and review, data centralization shifts the controls from the user to the company.

In an attempt to restore control to users, Rockho is working on a new network called Mastodon. It’s a decentralized social network that makes up for the disadvantages of centralized social networks. In the aforementioned interview, he also mentions how Mastodon works in this regard: “With Mastodon, the data is separated. Every server stores only the data of its local signed-up users and the data that they subscribe to from their friends.” Eugen doesn’t own all of Mastodon; rather, he just owns his particular server (aka an ‘instance’). These instances talk to each other to make a network rather than being hosted in one place: this is known as federation. You can think of it like the federation in the Star Trek series: there are many planets and species, but they all come together to form a single federation without being a giant entity.

Adopting Mastodon would give Goucher an opportunity to host its own instance that interacts with others. However, Mastodon’s federation can also lead to access to unwanted servers that could potentially be harmful for the Goucher community or that can violate laws. Thankfully, Rochko has also thought of this. In the same interview, he states that owners of an instance can block other instances from the timeline, images, or the whole instance altogether. Although some consider this as censorship of Mastodon data, this also provides Goucher with the ability to allow students to interact with other Mastodon users from other instances.

Decentralized social networks like Mastodon have an advantage on interoperability. Many developers have been making networks that can work with others; examples include Instagram-alternative PixelFed and YouTube-alternative PeerTube. The interoperability between said networks is possible because of an underlying technology: ActivityPub. ActivityPub works a lot like email and allows cross-network interaction. As such, any services that use ActivityPub can interact with other instances. If Goucher hosts Mastodon, PixelFed, and PeerTube, for example, they can make these services interact with each other quite easily while allowing public access. In contrast, using traditional networks require a third-party cross-posting service like HootSuite or If This Then That (IFTTT) to work between social networks.

Alas, as with any social network, a concern for privacy arises. Naturally, we believe that social networks force us to think before we post. Professor Judith Donath from Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society describes this behavior in her book, The Social Machine: “[…] people are free to act as they will, and there is little social pressure on them to conform. Privacy supports diversity; where people have protected private space, they have the freedom to be different from the public mainstream ideal” (Donath 304). This rings true for any social network, including Mastodon. It is also true that, because of this, we tend to think more about what we post. In the Psychnology Journal, Florencio Cabello, Marta Franco, and Alex Haché in 2013 discusses the restriction: “The uncertainty about what we post online also involves serious consequences for fundamental freedoms such as free speech and the right to information” (Cabello, Franco, and Hache 49). Thankfully, Rochko considered this idea; in Mastodon, users can change the visibility level of their content so that it can be targeted towards a certain audience or to the public. Goucher can make use of this to send content on Mastodon only to its users or to the public. This ability to control who sees the content can come handy for sharing information about an upcoming club meeting privately but sharing the next Common Hour publicly.

However, you may be asking the question: “Don’t we already have something like this with the GopherApp?” We do have the GopherApp as a means of communicating with each other in a social way for posting information inside of Goucher. However, from a software developer’s and user’s standpoint, the GopherApp doesn’t necessarily have the same advantages as something like Mastodon. The GopherApp doesn’t have a network that can be accessed via a web client or desktop app; if anyone wants to view the latest updates in the GopherApp, he/she must open the app on his/her phone to do it. Another issue arises from the app: GopherApp users can’t post the same kind of content as one can via Mastodon. Mastodon makes use of sharing links, uploading videos and images, and emoji, as well as providing spoiler tags to censor content to a degree; the GopherApp lacks some of this functionality, forcing its users to view a specific type of content. Furthermore, some additional features, such as club page edits, require the developers to make changes upon request. Another way to look at the GopherApp versus Mastodon is this: Mastodon can do what the GopherApp does and then some. We can further modify the web version of the Mastodon client to include Goucher links and branding, if we really wanted to. Besides using the stock web client Mastodon provides, Goucher can take advantage of some of the other clients designed for Mastodon in mind; there are already a few decent mobile apps for Mastodon that anyone can use to connect with their own accounts, and the rise of desktop clients like Tootle, Pinafore, and my recently-developed Hyperspace make Mastodon really accessible.

Besides the technical and social advantages of using Mastodon, becoming a part of the bigger fediverse has its long-term advantages. In a blog post I wrote last year, “Why I believe the fediverse is the future,” I briefly state some of my previous arguments. However, I also make an important observation about how decentralized social networks can help sustain cultures: “It feels more likely that federated, decentralized social networks put the emphasis on fostering relationships rather than control and censorship of data, which, in turn, helps sustain cultures.” Because of my aforementioned arguments, Goucher, should it move to Mastodon, would retain the ability to focus on its community and culture rather than the concerns of censorship, globalization, and/or centralization.

News outlets are already making us aware of these issues, too. Many have published articles about Facebook’s recent privacy issues, including the scandal regarding their enterprise Facebook Research app that Apple pulled off their store. Examples include Recode in their article titled “Apple says it’s banning Facebook’s research app that collects users’ personal information,” CNN with “Apple says Facebook’s controversial market research app violated its policies,” and even The Verge with “The fallout from Facebook’s controversial research app.” Given these circumstances, it’s easy to see how some are making the migration over to Mastodon and the fediverse.

I’d like to make myself clear on my stance on use of networks like Mastodon at Goucher: I am not saying that we should completely abandon networks like Facebook, Twitter, etc. in favor of Mastodon. Most of the world still relies on those networks to connect with family and friends and will probably not migrate right away. Rather, I am proposing that we take a step in supporting an open community that isn’t entirely governed by a single company by hosting instances of Mastodon, PeerTube, PixelFed, etc. Though we cannot guarantee that everyone will migrate to this universe, or fediverse, in this case, we can at least show our support for projects like this. Mastodon currently has over a million users from different instances all over the globe, so it already has established itself in the social network space. However, it is up to us to decide whether we want to have social networks that work for us by us instead of the other way around.




英語話者にとって、中国語、ロシア語、アラビア語は難しい言語だとよく言 われるのではないでしょうか。日本語もそれらに並んで難しいとよく言われま す。今回は、なぜ日本語が、非日本語話者、英語話者にとって難しいとされるのかについて述べようと思います。

では、英語と日本語の大きな違いとは何でしょうか。ここで3つの大きな違 いを紹介しようと思います。

その一、3種類の文字(ひらがな、カタカナ、漢字)を使う。英語ではアル ファベットという一種類の文字で構成されているのに対し、日本語にはひらが な、カタカナ、漢字という3種類の文字があります。例えば、「りんご」とい う単語書き表すとき、英語では“apple”としか書き表せないですが、日本語 で 「りんご」、「リンゴ」、「林檎」の3種類で書き表すことができ、すべ て意味は同じになります。文字の種類が2種類以上あるという概念は外国人に はなく、それらをどのように使い分けるのかが外国人にとって難しいようです。また、日本語の文字の種類が英語と比べ多いのも難しく感じる理由の一つで す。ひらがな、カタカナはそれぞれ50種類あり、漢字については、日本の学 生は小学校を卒業するまでに1006種類の漢字を学びます。

その二、1つの漢字に2つ以上読み方があることがある。英語において、発 音の種類はいくつかあるが、“A”という文字は「エー」であり、他の呼ばれ 方はありません。一方、多くの日本語の漢字は2つ以上の読み方があります。例えば、「日」という漢字。一般的に使われる読み方として、「ニチ」、「ジ ツ」、「ひ」、「か」等があります。つまりこの「日」という漢字一字には少 なくとも4種類の読み方があることになります。「3月1日は日曜日で祝日、晴れの日でした。」この文章に5つの「日」という漢字が使われていますが、どれも読み方が異なります。中国語でも漢字は使われますが、このように1つ の漢字が複数の読み方をするのは日本語の漢字のみです。したがって、漢字の 数は中国語の方が多いですが、日本語の漢字は読み方がややこしいという理由 で中国語話者からも日本語は難しいと言われることがあります。

その三、使われる言葉が、地域、年齢・性別、場合によって大きく変わる。地域による言葉の違いについて、日本語には方言があります。これはイギリス 英語とアメリカ英語の違いに似ているところがあるかもしれないですが、単語 レベルの違いだけでなく文法、イントネーション、言い方までも違ってきます。したがって一般的に外国人が習う日本語は標準語といわれ、日常的に使われ る日本語と違うかもしれません。年齢・性別による言葉の違いについて、人称 代名詞が大きく異なることがあります。英語の一人称単数の主格の人称代名詞 は“I”しかないですが、日本語には「私」、「僕」、「あたし」、「俺」、「わし」、「わい」等、何種類も存在します。一人称だけでなく、二人称 でも「あなた」、「お前」、「君」等、複数あります。これも英語に無い概念 の1つです。場合による言葉の違いについて、日本語には敬語があります。敬 語は年上の人と話すときや、公的な場面で用いられます。敬語を用いると主に 動詞とその活用が日常的な言い方と異なります。日本において敬語は重要な文 化であり、正しい敬語を使わないと相手に失礼な態度をとってしまうことにな ることがあります。態度や行動の他に、言語のレベルで相手に敬意を表すこと ができるのは日本語の特徴のように思います。

これらの他にも日本語と英語の違いは数多く存在します。英語と日本語にこ れらの違いがある理由の1つは、それぞれの言語の起源が異なるからです。英 語の起源はインド・ヨーロッパ祖語であり、例えば、英語と起源が同じである スペイン語は文法や単語において英語と似ている点が数多く存在します。一方 、日本語の起源はインド・ヨーロッパ祖語でないため異なる点が数多く存在し ます。

非日本語話者にとって日本語は母国語とかけ離れていると思うかもしれませ ん。今回は日本語と英語の違いについて取り上げてみましたが、自分の母国語 と日本語の共通点を見つけてみるのも面白いかもしれません。韓国語と日本語。中国語と日本語。スペイン語と日本語。醤油をつけてお寿司を箸で食べるつ いでに日本語に興味をもってみるのはいかがでしょうか?


Why Is Japanese Difficult?


It is often said that it’s hard for English speakers to master tonal and character-based languages like Chinese, Russian, Arabic, etc. Japanese is one of those languages. In this article, I’m going to discuss why Japanese is difficult for non-Japanese speakers, especially English speakers, to master.

Then, what are the huge differences between English and Japanese? I’m going to introduce three huge differences below.

First, there are three kinds of alphabets in Japanese, which are called “hiragana”, “katakana”, and “kanji”. In English, there is only one type of alphabet— the Latin alphabet. For example, there is only one way to describe the fruit, “apple” while we can describe an apple in three different ways in Japanese. If you use hiragana, “apple” is “りんご”. If you use katakana, “apple” is “リンゴ”. If you use kanji, “apple” is “林檎”. All of them have the same meaning. English speakers don’t have the concept of using more than one kind of alphabet, so it is difficult for them to distinguish the Japanese alphabets. In addition, since there are many more characters in Japanese than there are letters in English, Japanese is difficult for English speakers. There are 50 kinds of hiragana and 50 kinds of katakana. Students are supposed to learn 1,006 kinds of kanji before they graduate from elementary school in Japan.

Second, many kanji characters can be referred to more than one way. In English, the letter “A” is referred to as “A” and there is no other way to refer to it. On the other hand, there is more than one way of referring to each kanji character. For example, the character “日” has at least four ways of being referred to: “nichi”, “jitsu”, “hi”, and “ka”. Here is an example sentence: 3月1日は日曜日で祝日、晴れの日でした。In this sentence, there are five “日” characters but they are all called differently. How they are called depends on the context. Kanji also exists in written Chinese. However, each spoken Chinese dialect refers to each kanji character in only one way within that specific dialect. Thus, Japanese is sometimes regarded as difficult for Chinese speakers just as it is for English speakers.

Third, the way Japanese is spoken can change depending on area, generation/gender, and situation. Speaking on the differences according to area, there are many kinds of dialect in Japan. The difference may be similar to that of British English and American English. However, the difference is not only in the choice of words but also in the grammar, intonation, and expression. Therefore, Japanese spoken by non-Japanese speakers is sometimes different from daily Japanese because non-Japanese speakers’ Japanese tends to be the standard Japanese. Speaking on the differences in the way of speaking according to generation/gender, there are many kinds of personal pronouns in Japanese. In English, the first person pronoun is “I”. In Japanese, “watashi” (for everyone and formal), “boku” (for men), “atashi” (for girl), “ore” (for men and casual), “washi” (for elderly people and casual), and “wai” (for everyone and casual but not popular) are all first person pronouns. Just as in the first person, there are many personal pronouns for the second person perspective, such as “anata” (for everyone), “omae” (for everyone and casual), “kimi” (for everyone) and so on. This is also one of the concepts that non-Japanese speakers don’t have. Speaking on the differences because of the situation, there is an honorific word called “Kego” in Japanese. “Kego” is used when people talked with older people or when people speak in a public stage. When it comes to using “Kego”, verb and conjugation are changed. “Kego” is one of the most important aspects of Japanese culture. If you don’t use “Kego” correctly, your behavior sometimes seems rude. But I believe expressing respect at the linguistic level instead of with attitude is one of the beautiful features of Japanese.

In addition to these differences, there are other differences between Japanese and English. One of the reasons why there are so many differences is because the origin of each language is different. Though the origin of English is different from the origin of Japanese, the origin of Spanish is the same as the origin of English. That’s why there are some similarities between English and Spanish such as in grammar or with words.

For non-Japanese speakers, Japanese may be extraordinarily different from their native language. However, it may be interesting for them to find similarities between Japanese and their native language. What are similarities between English and Japanese? How about between Korean and Japanese? Between Chinese and Japanese? Between Spanish and Japanese? Do you get curious about Japanese when you eat sushi with soy sauce using chopsticks?


Halloween (1978) vs Halloween (2018)

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Horror is a genre full of killers, but the real killer is familiarity. Over the past thirty years, we’ve seen Michael Myers, the terror at the center of the Halloween franchise, unsheathe his knife and kill in ten movies. Ten times he’s come back from the dead, ten times he’s killed the horniest of teenagers, and ten times he’s been defeated in a slightly more extreme way than the last…only to come back and start the cycle all over again.

But this year was different. David Gordon Green, the director of the new version, went on record saying that he was ignoring every Halloween sequel after the first one; essentially, he was making a direct sequel to the movie from thirty years ago, thus unburdening himself from the overly convoluted mythology the franchise had accumulated over the course of ten movies (two of which are technically a reboot). The star of the first one was back, as was the original director to craft a whole new score. The stars were aligned to make something great.

I should probably get into the original. Fifteen years before the film begins proper, we see an eight year old boy pick up a knife and, for no apparent reason, kill his older sister. Cut to the present day, and the boy (Michael Myers, who I should mention shares no apparent relation to the Shrek actor) manages to escape from the mental institution he’s been kept in, seemingly intent on heading back to his hometown to terrorize the residents, including teenager Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her friends. It’s up to Myers’ psychiatrist, Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) to stop him before he kills anyone again. Loomis had spent the past fifteen years observing Myers, and has come to the conclusion that Michael Myers is pure evil.

While watching the original again, I found myself agreeing with Loomis. Michael Myers managed to be scary in a way he never really was again, and the comparison I kept coming back to was Jaws; like the shark, Myers is barely in the movie. His first on screen kill after the opening scene isn’t until almost an hour into the movie; before that, he kills a man off-screen to steal his clothes. But he’s always there, even when he isn’t, and this is largely down to the film’s greatest asset: the cinematography. In his review of the movie for The New Yorker, film critic Pauline Kael wrote, “The film is largely just a matter of the camera tracking subjectively from the mad killer’s point of view, leading you to expect something awful to happen. But the camera also tracks subjectively when he isn’t around at all; in fact, there’s so much subjective tracking you begin to think everybody in the movie has his own camera.” She obviously meant this as a knock against the movie, but it somehow winds up being what gives the film its awesome power. By never letting up on the slow, creeping build of the camera, director John Carpenter very deliberately gives off the impression that Michael Myers could be anywhere, and strike at anytime, doing wonders for Dr. Loomis’ claim that he is “pure evil”. When he is on screen, he’s usually in the background, slightly out of focus, or in close up, with his head cut off by the frame. We don’t get a good look at him until over an hour into the thing, and by then, it’s far too late for most of our protagonists, most of whom we’ve really come to like by then.

These two things – slow-burn dread and likable characters – were the first to go by the time the sequels rolled around, followed quickly by Michael Myers’ mystique and practicality. In the first one, he stabs and strangles people, and we don’t see all that much blood. In the next several movies, he bashes heads with hammers, electrocutes bodies with Christmas lights, impaled with extreme prejudice, and, in one memorable instance, drowns/burns someone in a hydrotherapy tub. Throughout all of this, he gets killed and resurrected so much, that he essentially becomes immortal, a far cry away from the power the first film was smart enough to only suggest.

So when David Gordon Green said he was going to get back to basics, I was understandably excited. I sat down to watch it, popcorn and soda in hand…

…and thought it was okay.

It’s probably the best of the sequels, honestly. Much as I have a soft spot for Halloween II, it does jettison most of the likable characters, including Jamie Lee Curtis, who spends about 80% of the movie confined to a hospital bed, dreaming in flashbacks. The 2018 Halloween, at least, does right by her, putting her front and center again to great effect. It’s easy to say that Jamie Lee Curtis is the best thing in the movie and leave it at that, but she is really, really good. For whatever problems the movie has otherwise, you feel Laurie Strode’s pain in a way you never did before, not even in II or H20. Laurie centers the movie in her character, and gives it a weight the original didn’t have.

Which is good, because everything around Laurie is a tad lackluster. One of the key elements of the original Halloween was how direct it was, and how well the slow burn was built to a fever pitch. While there are moments of excellent suspense in the movie (I’m thinking especially of the long-take in the middle, that has Michael move from house to house, picking off random people), the overall pacing itself is way too scattershot. Scenes begin and end at the wrong place, often cutting off when things are about to get interesting. And while Laurie and her immediate family are reasonably well-defined, the rest of the characters (or, more accurately, cannon fodder) suffer from only one dimension. And where the original got away with having little brutality, the new is chock full of gore. It has one character better served than in the original, but other than that, it falls short.


Top Ten Horror Movies

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  1. Green Room – a punk rock band barricades themselves in a green room after witnessing a crime. A deliberate throwback to older, grungier movies, Green Room manages to rise above being a pure gorefest by virtue of moments filled with frighteningly unpredictable violence. Green Room is one of the finest examples of a non-supernatural horror villain.
  2. The Shining – one of those movies that’s so classic, everyone probably feels like they’ve seen it even if they haven’t. “Here’s Johnny”, “REDRUM”, and “Come play with us, Danny” are moments I’d seen referenced and parodied long before I finally sat down to watch the thing. But even so, this film works beyond its famous moments. There’s a creeping, eerie power to how this film is shot, making The Overlook Hotel with its empty hallways and endless corridors feel alive. The best compliment I can give is that at close to three hours, the movie doesn’t feel long at all.
  3. The Conjuring – a throwback horror film that nonetheless manages to be pretty spooky in its own right, The Conjuring follows a husband and wife paranormal hunting team trying to save a family who moved into the wrong house. Based (very loosely) on the real-life exploits of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, any issues with telling the story of real people with this many liberties is quickly swept away by just how brilliantly spooky the whole film is. Director James Wan manages to make the tired old “haunted house story” feel fresh and new with likable characters, good practical effects (what’s done with a mirror in one scene is nerve-jangling), and some truly inspired cinematography.
  4. The Ring – what I like to call “fun horror”, The Ring isn’t grisly, violent, or uncomfortable; hell, it’s not even really scary until the final twenty or so minutes. In the place of deep, bone-rattling horror is a terrific sense of spooky joy that comes from seeing a capable, smart protagonist put together an intriguing mystery. Naomi Watts plays a journalist looking into the deaths of several teenagers, all of whom have seen a cursed videotape (it’s kind of a period piece). The curse dictates that whoever sees the tape will die in seven days, meaning it’s a race against the clock for Watts to save herself – and her son. While the film probably isn’t as good as the Japanese movie it’s remaking, The Ring nevertheless gets a lot of mileage out of deadly silence and odd imagery.
  5. The Babadook – one of the most popular recent horror films, The Babadook gains an impressive amount of power from its minimalist quality; you rarely see the monster, and a large portion of the action is confined to inside a house. Jennifer Kent makes her feature film directorial debut here, adapting her short film Monster (all ten minutes of which are on YouTube) into a powerful and oddly uplifting look at the power of a single mother in a seemingly unwinnable situation.
  6. The Invitation – a simple but effective premise that leads to simple but effective scares, The Invitation stars a couple going to a dinner party hosted by the man’s ex-wife and her new husband. Things start off weird and get progressively weirder, but the film is commendable in how long it manages to keep up in the air whether or not the main character is really in danger, or if he’s having some kind of stress-induced psychotic break. A slow burn for sure, the film both serves as a completely fair mystery (in that the clues are peppered through early and often) and a unique character study.
  7. Halloween – the one, in many ways, that started it all. Halloween, originally titled The Babysitter Murders, opens with a six-year-old boy murdering his older sister for seemingly no reason. Fifteen years later, he manages to escape incarceration, returning to his old hometown to finish what he started. The first thing to understand about Halloween is that I just made it sound a whole lot more violent than it actually is. You can count the number of murders on one hand (one of whom is off-screened to death), and none of them are particularly overblown or even all that gory. No, what really makes Halloween work, even after so many imitators, is the atmosphere; that oppressive dread that comes with the assurance that The Boogeyman is out there and he’s coming for you.
  8. Alien – the tagline “in space, no one can hear you scream” has become something of a legend itself, in no small part because it perfectly sums up the isolating terror of Alien. Set in the year 2122, a crew lands on a planet in response to a distress call only to find evidence of a much bigger, more advanced ship having been completely wiped out by…something. The best thing going for Alien is the claustrophobia; you really feel like you’re trapped on this tiny vessel hurling through the cold depth of space, being hunted by a parasitic thing you barely understand. The performances are iconic, the scares are unforgettable, and the look of the monster is a sight to behold. Even if science fiction isn’t your thing, it’s worth checking out.
  9. Hereditary – the most recent “scariest movie ever” to come to theaters, Hereditary, more so than any other film on this list, is not for the faint of heart. Describing the plot would do the movie a disservice, so suffice to say that the family dynamics at the center of this movie are twisted enough to not even need the ghosts, demons, and headless old people the film trots out as it goes along. Strictly for those with nerves of steel.
  10. The Gift – diabolically turning our fear of misreading situations against us, Joel Edgerton does triple duty to magnificent effect as director, writer, and actor. A married couple played by Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall move into a new house, where they run across Bateman’s old friend from school (Edgerton). While Edgerton’s Gordo seems harmless enough, there’s something…off about him. Is he a well-meaning but socially awkward, poorly adjusted guy, or is he something else? And why is Bateman so resistant to seeing him again? The cinematography emphasizes wide, open spaces and backgrounds where people can easily hide, and on more than one occasion, do, turning this movie into something of a demented Where’s Waldo? at times. The script is also brilliant, with constantly shifting character motivations and believable dialogue grounding this story.


5 Places to See in Norwich


Photo Credit: TripAdvisor

Developing a bond to the place where you are studying is part of the study abroad experience. This particularly happens in a semester long program, where you build your life for about 5 months around the people near you and the places closest to you. As two students who studied at the University of East Anglia, both of us developed a love for the city of Norwich, which is located just outside the university. This old medieval town has a rich literary history with a modern edge. If you ever find yourself in or near Norwich (which is only a two hour train ride from London), be sure to check these places out!


A traditional Japanese restaurant off of Tombland, Shiki has some of the best food in all of Norwich. Although it can be a bit expensive depending on what you order (about £5 for 6 pieces of sushi, £22 for a bento box), the quality of the food and the service makes the prices worth it. If you’re in Norwich and looking for a quality sit-down meal or a break from the typical pub food, check out Shiki and try their Tonkatsu Curry (curry being an “English” addition), or grab an onigiri to go.


Tombland Books

Off of a lane of the same name, Tombland Books was my go-to used bookstore in Norwich. This bookshop, comprised of two floors, has the classic feel of a used bookstore — extra lines of books because there isn’t shelf space, that mix of wood and old book smell, and also some incredibly beautiful and slightly unique books. There are plenty of bookshops in Norwich that deserve a visit, such as City Bookshop, The Book Hive, and Dormouse, but the lack of claustrophobic spaces, in addition to its extensive collection of beautiful, well-kept, used books makes it a bookshop not to miss.

St. Gregory’s Antiques and Collectibles

One of many old stone churches, St. Gregory’s has long since left the religious life. Instead, it has been transformed into an antiques and collectables market. You never know exactly what you’ll find, from old clothes to knitting needles, from maps to music records and quirky tins. Just remember to bring cash with you; they don’t accept any cards.

Oh So Sweet

Oh So Sweet is essentially a combination of the candy shop from Willy Wonka with British sweets. Walls lined from floor to ceiling with colorful hues and confections of every imaginable type, from spicy to chewy and chocolates galore — every sweet tooth in Norwich would be remiss to overlook this sweet treat of a shop

Loft and Flaunt

Both Loft and Flaunt were the places to be when attending UEA. With their continuous seductive energy and cheap, yet surprisingly good alcohol (which is legal to consume while abroad), they were the best places to go whenever students needed to let out a little steam. Music blaring, hormones raging, and admission cheap (Flaunt: free admission; Loft: three pounds per person or about six dollars), it was easy to see why everyone loved going there, even on school nights!



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