Monday, December 15, 2008

Soundtrack of Jennifer Wiederspan

Bryan Adams, “Summer of 69”: The song starts out with the opening of Bryan Adams playing his guitar, and the lyric “I got my first real six string.” The audience then chimes in to finish the lyrics for the artist. The song is about the Summer of 69, a summer the artist remembers vividly. Recalling a time when he had a band with some high school buddies, he then states that they all moved on to other things than just that summer band. He talks about it being the “best days of our lives.” Everyone has that one summer lives with them forever. The times you got into trouble doing things you weren’t supposed to be doing, staying out way too late, and the memories from the short time period that never seem to end. I recall my most memorable summer, it was the summer of 2007. I spent a lot of time with my friends, at my job, and the county fairs. As the song states, “that summer seemed to last forever” and that’s how it feels. Summer is a time that allows you to kick back and to whatever you want. It’s a time for jobs that seem to be of the worst kind, and fun nights that just don’t seem to happen during the regular school year. Summer also brings around the county fairs, which is a popular thing to attend in small rural towns in Nebraska. The point of the song is, summer can bring about the best days and memories of anyone’s life, because summers seem to last forever.

Rascal Flatts, “These Days”: Watching lead singer Gary Levox somberly look down as he sings about running into an ex unexpectedly is what audiences see when listening to this sad love story song. Through the lyrics of the song, we understand that the man is still in love with with this girl who has moved on with her life, and is in fact getting married. This theme of missing someone is evident in many country songs. The band playing in the rain while singing about waking up to teardrops is a nice technique to show audiences that the artist is sad, despite how he is playing off being ok without her around. My best friend’s myspace still has the lyrics of this song on it, which is on the right side next to her profile picture. Myspace and Facebook allow people to express themselves with profiles, music, and quotes. People are allowed to comment on these pages and view them. People have been so caught up in these online profiles that they have a tendency to have their statuses be lyrics to songs. The lyrics in this song can relate to people and describe how they may be feeling at that particular moment of their life. Myspace and Facebook are used as means of expression just as lyrics are. People can express their feelings better b y quoting a song lyric instead of actually putting how they feel as their status. Lyrics provide a disguise and are more acceptable as a mean of expression than actual words.

Frankie J, “Obsession”: A beautiful soothing vocal fills our head with thoughts of maybe being in love, but not so sure. The music video has the stereotype of the singer in a bed with a beautiful girl in just a bra and underwear that he is supposedly “in love” with. The chorus has the word “amor” which in Spanish means love. The artist wonder if it really is love that he is feeling or if it is just an allusion. The idea of love, in the broad terms of love for someone in general, is something that is sometimes not expressed enough. The word amor in this song played a special part in my life, because it was what me and my best friend said to each other every time we would end a conversation. We started it in junior high, ending conversation with “amor ya” because we thought we were special for knowing amor meant love. Telling someone “I love you” doesn’t always have to mean being in love with someone, it just means caring about someone enough to love them. It is seen often in this world that parents don’t tell their kids they love them enough, or friends forget to mention it. It is often said after someone dies that they never really got to tell them how they felt. A tragedy shouldn’t have to happen for people to realize they love someone; it should just be something people often say to just secure those feelings of doubt. If you love someone, let them know it, because at some point, the chance to say it might not be there.
(The following video is the song but the actual video can't be embedded. I had an alternative but it doesn't format with the blog site. The video link on youtube is here.)

Saving Jane, “Girl Next Door": A tape real of typical high school scenes of students in desks and cheerleaders introduces us to the song of bitterness at the perfect high school girl. We have a two sided screen, one with a girl who is clumsy and dropping books down a sidewalk, and the other in a top down convertible that is your typical popular beauty queen. The video shows the girl envying this perfect girl, but towards the end of the song, the audience hears the lyrics “I spend all my time wishing that I was someone else.” This lyric is a message that we should accept who we are and stop being jealous of who we aren’t. This song outlines the details of both me and my best friend in high school. She would label me the “prom queen, cheerleader, pageant girl” while she was the girl next door. What we came to realize is that we both shared qualities of both stereotypes, as she later became a cheerleader and I was in band at one time. Small town high schools don’t bear these stereotypes as much as bigger schools do. In small schools, people tend to be accepting of everyone because there aren’t enough people to have cliques. Everyone has to work together to be in school activities and there isn’t room for fighting or putting others down. The homecoming and prom queens are usually the nicest people in the school, and everyone is in band. Although the song talks about there being a perfect girl, in reality or at least in my reality, that girl doesn’t exist.

FM Static, “Tonight”: The song does not actually have a true music video as the band is not well known, but the song is put to scenes from the movie “A Walk to Remember” which is based off the novel by Nicholas Sparks. It is not the video that has the message of the song but the lyrics themselves. The song repeatedly uses the line “I remember…” We all have memories that we share with our friends and family, and this song touches is about remembering times after someone you love has passed on. My best friend and I sang this song repeatedly over the course of 6 months and it never had a real meaning to us except for catchy lyrics. She passed away in the summer of 2007, and the song became my anthem to remind me of all our memories because every lyric of the song applies to our relationship. We all deal with loss at some point in our life and it’s easy to remember the good times you had, rather than dwell on the bad times and grief. Remembering good talks, road trips, and the fun times help us cope with the fact that they are gone. The chorus line, “Tonight I’ve fallen and I can’t get up, I need your loving hands to come and pick me up, and every night I miss you, I can just look up, and know the stars are holding you” in itself guides the audience on how to cope through the hard times. Just remember that the ones that have passed away are somewhere watching over and making sure everything’s alright.

Rascal Flatts, “What Hurts the Most”: A girl is throwing things around a room, frantically trying to do anything to keep herself from breaking down. Lashing out at her father, saying its not true and blaiming him, she collapses into his arms and cries. The video takes us through a timeline of a girl and a boy, obviously in love, spending time together. At the end, we see the boy roll his truck into a ditch and he dies. The girl is reminded of him everywhere she goes, whether it be school, or the road where he died which has a crucifix to mark the spot. Car accidents are ever increasing in this country and taking many young children before they should. I have lost several friends in car accidents, and I have felt the pain of knowing someone is gone. I found my own friends in a smashed up, flipped over white Dodge Neon at the bottom of a bridge. The car was white and small, the paint chipped away in many places. A car can hold many memories of fun times driving around, causing mayhem, and other sorts. Seeing a car wrecked to pieces isn’t a memory people often want to see, but it’s what sticks out more than the fun memories. The most vivid and realistic part of the music video is the truck rolling and glass shattering. The most real part of accepting a death is seeing the damaged car and knowing that it’s over.

Kenny Chesney, “Who You’d Be Today”: The white metal of a car crushed inward and bent out of its designated shape flashes at the beginning of this video. Glimpses of a graduation, two people looking at each other while one disappears, and people walking out of a fire gives the audience many images to go off of. The video is about death, and people dying to young. “It ain’t fair you died too young like a story that had just begun but death, tore the pages all away,” is a perfect way to tell everyone the cruelty of death and the effects it has on people. I recollect hearing this song first at a friend’s funeral 3 years ago, and then at my best friends. Seeing the graduation scene reminds me that both of my friends that passed away before graduation. Graduation is one of the biggest accomplishments in a person’s life. Getting to wear an ugly robe and cap that make people look silly is part of day that people cherish forever. Listening to a high school band play "Pomp and Circumstance" over and over until every student has gotten to walk into the gymnasium and up onto the stage is what makes the day memorable for many different reasons. It’s a time to look at all the work that has been done and look to a new journey of life. However, for some that journey ended before graduation day ever came. Their journey was cut off, and all the experiences that were left to be explored were no longer able to occur.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


When I came to Wesleyan, the one thing I was scared of was writing papers. I could write amamzing speeches, poetry, and fun narrative stories, but I have to admit that my style and advancement of writing was very low. When I got to here, I learned that I had some bad habits that needed to be broken. For instance, I have a habit of using the word "you" a lot. I finally broke that habit, although it still arises here and there. But I first noticed it in this class.

I have always liked writing and seen it as something that I never really struggled with, just never felt that I was taught properly. I like writing observations and free writes, stuff that isn't so much structured. However, I extremely dislike rhetorical appeals. I think that every time I feel like I know what I'm talking about, I'm wrong. It was what I struggled with the most, but I think I did very well on my 2nd paper, "Return Ye Children of Men." I started to grasp what it meant to look at things rhetorically and its going on beyond what I would normally do while looking into a paper or picture or video.

I have always been a last minute writer. I can't focus if I try to do it earlier than a couple days before it is due. But I have a process that I love and think it works great. I always write my papers in a 2 day process. I will write a majority of it in one night, usually I get to a point where I am tired of writing so I stop. The next day, I go back and read over what I have already wrote, make changes, and then continue to finish my paper. Once I am done, I read it once more. I do this for my rough drafts and final drafts, and I also edit after every peer review.
The peer reviews I thought would help a little more than they did. I tended not to find them as useful as the teacher's own critique. With my last writing project, I was not happy with my peer reviews. I hardly used them as a reference for changes in my paper. I benefited most from hearing what you, Josh Ware, had to say about my paper. I believe the reason I got a decent grade on my last paper was because I listened to your critique and applied as much of it that I could into my final draft.

During the course, I felt that I excelled mostly in the area of description. My favorite blog post was to the video "What Hurts the Most" and I think my observation was one of my best. I also thought our first writing project, "The Elephant Museum" had good writing in it. However, I learned that I struggle with responses. That was my main critique in the paper, and I knew writing the paper that it was something I struggled with.

Although I did not like this section of the course, rhetorical appeals and analysis has definitely transferred over to other ares outside of English. I applied a lot of the concepts to my term paper for my LAS class. Unfortunately to all the speech kids that I judge for high school speech meets, I am now more picky when it comes to Oratory speeches. I look for rhetorical appeals used in the paper, what their argument is, and if it makes a point. The rhetoric process definitely helped me grow as a writer, and as a speech judge, despite my mumbles and grumbles about it.

Overall, I feel that I have grown as a writer since I entered this class. I have learned about rhetoric and observation. I know that the concepts I have learned have made me a better writer and will stay with me throughout my years at Nebraska Wesleyan.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Object Post #3

Loon Lake is located in Vergas, Minnesota. It is owned by a lady named Donna and her husband Mel. These two have known my family for many years, and its to their resort that we take our yearly vacation ever since I was born. It is here that my fondest childhood memories spark from, and a certain object of my grandfather's that I will never forget.

Tied between two perfectly spaced trees is the hammock. It is connected by two small trees that are planted right in front of the lot marked Bill and Dorothy Mohr, my grandparents. Anyone who would come in to dock their boats on the lake had to drive past their trailer and the concrete ramp was just feet away. Laying in the hammock, Grandpa could watch people come in for the week and then leave just 7 days later. He did this every day for many summers in a row. He was always peaceful, just sitting in the hammock, catching a nap or just waiting for visitors to walk by to talk about how many fish they caught or the weather. Old peole stuff mostly.

For any kid, the hammock was a new play toy; an oversized swing if you will. The normal tire swing down the road or the rope swing by the beach just wasn't up to par. The hammock was a conquest, the first there was the one who got dibs. It was just perfect height for a small 7 year old to crawl into, lay back onto the plushy pillow and rock back and forth. Gripping into the perfectly weaved holes of the hammock, rubbing your fingers back and forth against the texture. Staring up into the canopy the outstretched over my grandparent's tan color trailer. Imaginations ran wild, of oversized fish that you would catch later that day, the smell of grandma's food wafting in the air below your nose. The sound of jet ski's going back and forth, causing waves to crash upon the shores. Everything is perfect, until you hear it. "Jennifer, get off it's my turn!" The arguing begins between sisters, the excuses of who's older and who deserves it more spurt out of both mouths. Finally, Grandpa comes stomping up the road from his dock, pushes us both asides, lays down in the hammock, and the fighting of who gets the hammock, is clearly over.

Friday, December 5, 2008

2nd Object Observation

A parents worst fear could either be their kids graduating from high school, their first date, or leaving home. My parents worse fear? Their second daughter behind the wheel of a car. With little driving experience and a 16th birthday, it seemed their little girl was doomed for disasters, or an accident or two.

My parents decided that after I ditched my first Pontiac Grand AM, they should probably buy me one that looked exactly like it, just to keep my trend going. The second one lasted longer than the first one. It was born in 1992, had 4 doors, and blue tinted windows. It had a loud muffler just to make sure people could hear it coming down the road. The color of it was red, just like the Huskers. It lasted about 3 weeks before it encountered its first disaster. Getting t-boned by a Dodge Ram in Fremont, Nebraska. It survived, but had a 7 month recovery time in which its fender and back passenger door were completely replaced to make it look whole again. That was only it's first test.

It went awhile without any major damages, and at least nothing hit it. Until one night, on a dark gravel road, a leif spring decided to puncture its way through the passenger floor board. Nothing damaged, just a nice little whole to remind its driver what had happened. It also liked to get random flat tires at the worst possible times, just to make sure the driver didn't get the feeling that their luck was improving. Then one day, it decided to end its life.

It was heading down the highway it was most familiar with, the road to David City. That's when it decided to stubbornly die in the middle of the road on a hill. Knowing its driver was a complete wimp and couldn't push it off the road, it decided it was the perfect ending to its life. Watching it take 3 hours to move the car onto a trailer to hall it back home was more than it could handle. He got his last laugh as he now sits on the street, just down the block from his owner's house. There he sits, waiting for the right time for someone to fix him back up so his torture on his owner can start all over again.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Object Post #1 Crucifix

It's easy to think of all the neat gifts you will get on your confirmation day. Your mom will buy you a nice white dress, and the perfect shoes to match. You will have pretty hair and invite your whole family. You'll get the usually Black Hills Gold cross necklaces that you'll lose in a week because you can't keep jewelry, or a new flashy bible to go along with the 3 you already have. But there is one gift that you will get that will have deeper meaning than you could have ever imagined. For me, it was a simple silver crucifix.

It wasn't anything real fancy, just plan gray medal, with a cute ribbon design wrapped around the center. It had a cirle hole at the top so you could hang it above your bed post when you slept so God would protect you. The Lutheran Churches of Nebraska gave each of the three kids in my confirmation class one. What the other two did with theirs I don't actually know. I hung mine above my bed against the echo blue paint for 3 years until I found a much better use for it.

I took the crucifix with me along with several items that reminded me of her. I drove the 7 miles to the hill where the dead lay to rest. I pushed past the metal gate, walking around the graves making sure not to step on a single one. I walked until I reached the very back of the cemetary to the freshly dug soil where several flowers, windchimes, and solar panel lights outlined her grave. I knelt to the soil, and held the crucifix in my hand. I looked up at the sky and prayed to God to take care of my best friend and to protect her. I stuck the cross in the ground right next to the photo of us, so God would know to protect her in heaven, and me on earth.