Month: August 2018

Preparation is Half the Battle

Preparation is Half the Battle

I have to say, I didn’t quite expect a real job to require sending out so many emails. But so far that seems to be 90 percent of what I’ve done as the Gladeo League Managing Editor.

However that’s neither here nor there. We may have had a meeting today, but I’m not looking to talk about that in this blog post.

I also don’t really want to talk about my physical before that, since the only significant take-away is how much my arm hurts because of the two shots I got.

Also the fact that I haven’t lost any weight since last year, I suppose. But I prefer to look at it as I haven’t gained any weight either.

So yay for starting exercising regularly!

No, today I’m just going to talk real quick about one of those staple first week of school traditions:

Marking down dates and creating binders.

Typically I’ll go to school for the first week with a smaller messenger bag rather than my big backpack. Every class usually just spends the time going over syllabi and starting the first basic lectures, after all. So I usually only need my laptop and a notebook.

I’ll usually use the notebook that later becomes my homework agenda for the semester.

Once the first week is through and I have all of my syllabi compiled, I spend a day going through them all and jotting down the major dates (exams, research papers, etc.) on my wall calendar.

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Naturally all of the big things wind up mostly lining up in December, but this semester I do have a few papers scheduled to be due in November and my exams are scattered throughout the few final months.

By this point I usually have all of my textbooks ordered and delivered considering Cal State Fullerton lists all of the required texts online.

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Chegg is pretty cheap and quick when it comes to rentals, in my experience.

With the important dates established and my books ready and waiting, next comes my personal favorite step in the process: Setting up the binders.

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Kirby and Rowlet chillin’ in the back.

My philosophy on how to create each binder for my classes varies from semester-to-semester. Sometimes my professors will require a single binder to be devoted to their coursework, sometimes they’ll even have specific divisions in mind within said binder.

Those are the fun professors. Especially when they require binder checks throughout the semester.

Thought you got away from that requirement in middle school?

Think again.

Luckily, none of my classes have those stipulations this semester. So I’m free to build everything the way I want.

Thus I’ve decided to create two primary binders for this semester.

One will be my psychology binder. I’m taking two psych classes and both seem like they’ll have a significant amount of notes and assignments to keep track of. So I’m going to keep them together, which should hopefully be extra helpful considering how much overlap Sensation/Perception and Learning/Memory will have.

My second binder with be focused on Comm courses and include a section for my one honors class. Both of my Comm classes are one-day-a-week and probably won’t have as much overall bulk as the rest despite being three-hour classes each. Figure I can throw in my also not very hefty honors workload and it shouldn’t be too much trouble.

Sometimes I’ll set up my binders to correspond with days of the week, that way I only have to bring one a day and keep the weight off my back. But this semester everything is a little jumbled, so it’ll make more sense to go by connected classes.

With that said, everything comes together and all I’ll have left to worry about is translating my first day notes from my notebook onto lined paper so it can fit into my lecture note tabs. Wherever those wind up.

Because even if I’ve already done the work once, continuity means enough to me that I’ll copy it all over again.

But perhaps not right now. There are monsters to hunt, after all.

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Focused on the hunt.

If you’re still going to school, how do you like to prepare your supplies? Or I suppose for work if that question also applies there.

Let me know in the comments, I’d be interested to hear about it!

Goodbye homework, hello monsters.

Okay so on the off-chance any of my professors wind up snooping on this post, I’m not actually going to forego my homework this semester.

I just might procrastinate on some of it these first few months because I’ve got some sweet monsters to hunt!

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Check out that Valstrax, baybee

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a huge fan of the MH series. Started with 4 Ultimate on the 3DS and sunk hundreds of hours into that and Generations, also on the 3DS.

Unfortunately when the big groundbreaking HD open-world Monster Hunter World came out, I didn’t have any consoles to play it on. So I missed playing it, which was a shame considering a lot of my friends who had never played the series got into it for World.

But now there’s a Monster Hunter game on Switch. A direct improvement to the already fantastic Generations with many more monsters on a console that all of my friends own.

It’s quite literally a dream come true.

One thing I’ve been contemplating since the game was announced is whether or not I should port my Generations character into Generations Ultimate. Because that’s a feature, you can literally keep your character going.

But I think I’m going to air on the side of not porting my character over. It would seem a little cheap to start the game with end-game armor and weapons, especially considering my friends are jumping into this pre-World realm for the first time. Might as well grow alongside them, right?

These are the kinds of thoughts that have been echoing through my brain these last few weeks, by the way. Like non-stop. Especially since that demo happened.

So hey, cut me some slack. I survived the first week of school. I did my due diligence by going to the Honors Program’s Welcome Back Event. I went to the gym. I sent out some emails. I scheduled my yearly physical for tomorrow, right after which I’ll be leading my first Gladeo meeting.

If I don’t get to creating my binders and such until Labor Day, which we conveniently have off the first week after school starts, so be it.

Because baby my Hunting Horn itch is going strong and I’m ready to tear some massive beasts apart to wear their skins.

A Nintendo licensed game.

What? Why are you still here? That’s all I have to say.

I’m off killing monsters right now, you can go home. Actually I’m probably gathering a bunch of mushrooms and stuff since those are always the early missions.

But my point is still the same.

If you’re expecting something deeper about the first week of school or whatever, that already exists. It’s here.

So leave me to my cavern of darkness and beasts, that way I might one day be able to grace you all with amazing hunt photos.

Fall 2018 First Impressions

I may have another day of travel to Fullerton tomorrow, but as of 6:00 p.m. today I have officially experienced all my new classes for the semester. So, as promised, I’m going to take my blog post today to run through my first impressions of all five courses I’m taking.

You know, outside of the general little factoids that are just a part of every new semester.

Like parking being garbage.

Or the fact that I’ve probably spent more on gas this week than I did over the entirety of the summer.

Some of my opinions here may seem more aggressive or more mundane than I’ll actually feel by the end of the semester, but that’s just the nature of first impressions isn’t it? Being probably a little too far on either end of the spectrum?

Frankly I’m not even sure why I’m giving this long disclaimer. It’s a personal opinion post on my personal blog that may or may not be played more for comedic value if anything else.

That’s basically what America was founded to facilitate.

So yeah let’s get into it.


Mass Media Ethics

I decided to go in order of major classes, minor classes then honors classes for this small listing even though it isn’t the order I actually have those classes throughout the week.

Thus we begin with my first Comm class, Mass Media Ethics. It’s a bit strange starting with my two classes that are one-day-a-week, three-hour blocks… But that’s just how things wound up this semester.

Despite those seemingly long, arduous class periods, I think these two Comm courses are probably toward the top of my positive first impressions. Mass Media Ethics specifically started off in a good place because it was my first class this semester where I had a friend.

Tim, who was a social media assistant on the Titan last semester, is in that class with me on Tuesday. Funny enough Chelsea, the other social media assistant last semester, is in my Visual Comm class on Wednesdays.

But that’s a topic for later obviously.

Mass Media Ethics was also interesting in that it presented me with the first time a professor knew who I was before I knew who she was. The professor was an ex-Daily Titan advisor, so we already had some common ground, but it also turned out that she knew my name from an SPJ newsletter announcing my having won that scholarship this summer.

I don’t exactly have too much to say about the class itself since we mostly utilized our time to get to know one another and read out the syllabus. But just based on that alone, the air of support and camaraderie amongst those of us in that small room was already pretty great.

Plus, the one actual ethics thing we started to look at was a debate about publishing the name/picture of a mass shooter from around the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting a few years back. So there’s definitely some interesting stuff coming down that pipeline.

Yet. The most interesting thing about that class, hands down, is the fact that it isn’t in the basement.

I know that sounds like a joke, but literally every class I’ve had in the Comm building before now has been in the basement and this one wasn’t. So it’s already an exciting change of pace.


Visual Communication

I’m fresh off of this class, given the fact that it’s my 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Wednesday night course. Honestly the only thing separating me from writing it on-the-spot is my hour-long drive home.

Even if I had a little more time before writing this, I’d still say the first impression for this class was strong.

My professor here seems far more energetic than just about anyone else I have even in the face of a 230-person lecture.

Oh and I mean 230 people. Because he took attendance for every single one of them today. All 14 pages of his roll sheet.

Granted from here on out he said he’ll just be utilizing a sheet we’ll pass around, but it was still interesting watching that whole experience happen.

Especially since we also talked about the syllabus right after that, so probably close to the whole first hour of the three-hour course was just introductory stuff!

But like I said, he was so energetic and fun about it that that wasn’t even a problem.

Then our first broach into the subject included, amongst other things, discussions about Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code, Ridley Scott and Blade Runner, Harold and Kumar go to White Castle and other various and sundry movie-and-pop-culture-stuffs.

So, as I said in a tweet during the break we took:

Well said, me.

Also every exam is online only. ‘Nuff said.


Learning and Memory

Alright, these next two classes are my Psychology minor block. Learning and Memory specifically is actually the first class I took this semester since it’s my earliest Monday/Wednesday session.

It’s also probably the class I’m most divided on now that I’ve had my first two days of it.

On the one hand, my professor seems like a nice, old man. Which isn’t just a derogatory ‘lol he’s old,’ I genuinely wouldn’t be surprised to find out he’s one of the oldest members of the department.

It’s great in my opinion. More experience = more knowledge to impart and all that jazz.

Though an unfortunate side-effect of it is the fact that his voice doesn’t travel very far. So it’s a little harder to fully gather everything he’s saying in what is already a quickly escalating lecture course.

Also there are certain ways the class is constructed that baffles me and that I will openly complain about regardless of who may see this.

Like every other class, we’re required to write a paper sometime during the semester. For this class, it’s going to be a paper analyzing the similarities between what studies have found regarding operant conditioning practices in animals and in humans.

Pretty interesting stuff, in my opinion.

The problem is… According to our syllabus and his discussion of the paper…

We’re not allowed to quote or paraphrase anything in the paper we right.

So.

We have an analytical research-driven report that requires us to discuss specific experiments that have been conducted in the past using very specific detail to demonstrate various given vocabulary words.

But we can’t actually directly reference any of the experiments we’re utilizing within the text of the essay.

This and a few other things scattered throughout the course bewilder me in how nonsensical they seem to be. I suppose I’ll just have to see how it all turns out.


Sensation and Perception

Out of all the classes I’m taking, I probably have the least to say about this one. Which is ironic considering it’s the subject I’d argue I’m the most excited to learn about coming in.

Sensation and perception was actually a large part of the reason I fell in love with Psychology back in high school.

Just based off our first class session, it promises to deliver on the cool brain stuff. We’ve already discussed why everything tastes like chicken, for example!

The professor is also pretty chill and prides himself on a sarcastic sense of humor. Yet that sarcasm isn’t so pervasive that it overshadows moments when he comes to the front of the room to tell a story, or when he asked me to stay back after hearing I’m just a Psych minor to make sure I felt okay with the style of essay we’d be writing coming in.

That’s all pretty sweet.

I just don’t have a lot to talk about beyond that really. Seems like it’ll be a good time.

Actually, if I did have one more thing to discuss — what is it with upper-division Psychology classes this semester asking me to present evidence that I’ve passed the prerequisites?

Both my Learning/Memory and Sensation/Perception teacher made out first assignments presenting some kind of proof that we meet the requirements to be there. To which I say… Wouldn’t the computerized system prevent us from taking this upper-division class if we didn’t pass its prerequisites?

I would think so.

But oh well, it’s easy points for me in the end.


Evolution and Creation

My only honors class this semester, given the fact that I didn’t finish with my Honors Project proposal last semester, is Evolution and Creation. An examination of the two differing world views on how we got here.

It’s actually a course that I’ve been looking to take for years now. It always sounded like a fascinating subject to examine, but my schedule has never allowed for it. That’s just life when you have four nights of newspaper production a week.

But this semester I don’t have four nights of newspaper production a week, so I actually had the opportunity to take this class I’ve always wanted to take!

As an added bonus, it’s a class being taught by a professor who I’ve had a couple of classes with in the past, so I already know I like the guy.

The only thing I can really think to complain about in that perfect storm… Are the chairs in the room.

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For some reason. This tiny ass room in the bottom of the education building. Is the one place I’ve ever seen these bizarre alien chairs.

Not only are they on wheels and roll around like bumper cars, but the chair piece and the desk piece both independently swivel above the black piece.

It’s honestly like sitting in a chair meant to distract anyone with a semblance of ADHD.

No idea how anyone can learn in them, but I suppose I’ll have to figure it out.

On the bright side, they’re easy to move around the room. So we’ll be able to gather in circles for all of the discussion-oriented portions of the semester.


That just about wraps up my first impressions of my classes this semester. For the most part I have a lot more positives than negatives, and the extra time I’ve built for myself really opens up more work opportunities and the option to keep up with my time in the gym.

So if anything, I think this might just be one of my better, healthier semesters overall.

That said, how are all of you faring if you’ve just started school again for the year/semester? Let me know all about it in the comments down below!

The Hero-King Reigns

The Hero-King Reigns

The original Hero-King, legend of Archanea, first champion of the Falchion.

There are many ways to describe Marth. He’s a vastly popular character, essentially the face of the entire Fire Emblem series.

Hell, Marth being included in Smash Bros. Melee (alongside Roy of course) is a major reason why the Fire Emblem series started to see releases in the United States. Without Marth, none of my love for this series — which has filled countless blog posts — could have existed.

I mained this man during the Smash Bros. Brawl days. He was only replaced in Sm4sh by Lucina, who is his echo fighter with slightly faster movements.

Sacred Stones may be my favorite Fire Emblem game, with Ephraim and Eirika taking high billing as lords in my head. But Marth.

He’s truly a legend.

So thank goodness Intelligent Systems finally got their heads out of their asses and made a really good Marth alt. Let’s check him out!


MarthHero-King

Skill Set:

  • Exalted Falchion (Might = 16 / Range = 1)
    • Effective against dragon foes. Grants Speed +3. Grants bonus to Attack, Speed, Defense and Resistance during combat = current bonus on each of unit’s stats. Calculates each stat bonus independently.
  • Fire Emblem (Cooldown = 2)
    • Boosts damage dealt by 30 percent of unit’s Speed. Grants Attack, Speed, Defense and Resistance +4 to unit and all allies for one turn after combat (bonus granted to allies even if unit’s Health reaches 0).
  • Attack/Speed Bond (A Skill)
    • If unit is adjacent to an ally, grants Attack and Speed +5 during combat.
  • Binding Shield (B Skill)
    • In combat against a dragon foe, unit makes a guaranteed follow-up attack and foe cannot counterattack or make a follow-up attack.
  • Infantry Flash (C Skill)
    • Infantry allies within two spaces gain: If unit’s Speed > foe’s Speed, grants Special Attack cooldown charge +1 per unit’s attack (only highest value applied, does not stack).

Based on his skills, Marth is clearly meant to be a dragon slayer that grows stronger when supported by his allies.

Danny Sexbang would be proud.

Not only is his weapon effective against the Manakete menace, but no counter or follow-up attacks are possible thanks to that Binding Shield. It essentially gives his weapon the extra utility of being a firesweep sword when fighting dragons.

His Special Attack also has some great utility, between a large and frequent attack buff based on his Speed stat (which presumably should be high based on the +3 his weapon grants and the C Skill) and a buff to himself and his allies.

Honestly the only thing I don’t totally understand about Marth here is his weapon’s main, new effect. The wording seems confusing to me, so from my best guess it seems like all of his stat buffs are doubled during combat. Could be totally wrong about that though, so don’t hold me to it until I actually see the skill in action.

Besides that bit of confusion, however, I like Marth here. It’s certainly a better alternate form than his groom outfit. Even if it’s just another sword infantry unit to clog up the pipes.

Also he is literally carrying THE Fire Emblem into battle. That’s just dope as shit.

I’m not totally sure if he’s worth summoning compared to all of the new Brave units that are still cycling through the game (of which I still only have 2/4). Though I suppose part of that intrigue also depends on what other characters are part of the event!

This special Legendary Hero banner also includes the chance to summon:

Honestly, Green and Blue are immediately negligible for me in this Legendary Hero Banner. I have all six of those heroes, and while getting another Valentines Hector would be good to pass Distant Counter off with, otherwise none of the others excite me too much.

The Red and Colorless pools, however, are pretty fire.

I already have Female Grima, but outside of her I’m missing the other five.

Obviously Marth is Marth, I already discussed why I’d like him. Reinhardt is one of the best units in the game as a sword-wielding cavalier. Lene would help me fill my catalog. Spring Kagero is just a great unit who’s hilariously out-of-place in a playboy outfit. Finally, Faye is one of my favorite Echoes units, and I haven’t had her since she dropped near the beginning of the game.

So frankly any of those five are in my wheelhouse, and I’m starting with about 100 orbs to burn (though I don’t want to burn all of it considering my investment into the Brave banner).

Luckily I don’t have to burn a lot of orbs thanks to my free summon.

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Yeah Kagero. That spring breeze is what makes you difficult to be concealed.

I loved how hilarious this Kagero was when she first came out, and I’m glad to have her finally since I only got Spring Alfonse when that banner was around.

Plus she’s +Attack, -Health. Which may as well be the perfect stat spread.

Who can complain?

Now normally I would count my blessings and move on to bigger and better things… But I let my greed get the best of me a little.

Hoping to get one of the three units I don’t have in the red pool, I kept summoning. Now I’m down to 40 orbs at 9 percent. So I basically can’t stop summoning now even if I wanted to, meaning all the orbs I get from here on out are funneling into getting SOMETHING.

Twas hubris killed the beast.

Luckily there are a lot of orbs offered by the battle map.


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There’s a few interesting things about the Legendary Hero Battle Map this time around. First, obviously, is the fact that Marth isn’t the only one in the spotlight.

Female Grima has also reappeared to challenge players.

If I’m not mistaken, her Legendary Hero Battle was the first, which means we should presumably see more coming back soon.

Though the completed difficulty levels stay cleared, Intelligent Systems appears to have added a brand new surprise for all of us:

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Abyssal difficulty is a new challenge above even Infernal difficulty. Which, to me, is kind of hilarious. Because I cannot even beat Infernal half the time.

Perhaps some YouTuber out there will figure out the solution and I can copy that.

Given that I have not unlocked Abyssal difficulty for Marth (or Robin for that matter), all I have is the Infernal map to show off.

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I like that Marth approaches his battle as more of a training exercise than a serious skirmish. Most of the Legendary Heroes take that perspective, and it makes a lot of sense considering their status as main characters and actual heroes of legend.

Except. You know. Grima.

Who is undoubtedly a villain.

But that’s another story I’ve already discussed.

I actually find Marth’s fight rather difficult, so I don’t have much to say as far as tips, tricks or cool details go. So I’m just going to cut myself off now before I get to rambling for forever.


So I was originally just going to end this off with the usual bs fanfare.

Then I let myself be consumed by addiction once more and tried summoning on Marth’s banner again.

The gods of gotcha were unusually kind and gave me this boy on my first summon back:

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He’s no Marth, but he is my excuse to separate from the banner before I literally bleed myself dry. For that I am grateful.

Even if I now have to restock my orb pile once again.

I thought about changing this whole post to reflect summoning two five stars, but it was all set up before I got this guy so I think it’ll add to the story if I “post-writing” this part.

That said, back to the usual bs fanfare.

What do you think of the Hero-King himself, finally gracing out world of Heroes? Are there any heroes on his Legendary banner you’d like to summon?

Let me know in the comments down below!

The End of the Initiative

The End of the Initiative

When this summer kicked off, I started it with a promise wrapped in a not-so-vague reference to Samuel Jackson’s Nick Fury.

That promise entailed me writing a post on my blog every day about whatever the muse might bring to my fingertips. Be it something random, like my mindset when thinking about my pen or my pencil; something video game-related, like a half a billion Fire Emblem Heroes posts; or something work-related, like my recent ascension in the ranks of Gladeo.

A lot of those posts also wound up being just dumb space fillers where I rambled about nothing or just set up a number of posts coming later on that week.

But hey! Those were still blog posts.

Which means they still served the overall purpose of my initiative, to ensure I didn’t just sit around and play video games or sleep all day. To make sure I kept my mind active and writing on something. Anything really.

I did miss two-or-three days to the allure of just sitting around playing video games, particularly when my friends were involved. So I guess from that perspective, I technically failed at my overall goal.

But you know what? I don’t even care. Those two-or-three posts were just drops in the hat of the overall body of writing I was able to put out over the summer.

I’m honestly proud that I was able to keep the overall conviction, if I might humble brag about things for a moment. Because that conviction also extended to other things I started over the summer, like going to the gym. Things that, in my opinion, are just healthier for me overall.

Thus, I would like to announce that the summer-driven initiative is expanding into… Just a continual, general good practice.

I like pushing myself to write something every day, so I’m going to keep doing it. Basically.

Plus, doing a daily post seems to have dredged up more interest in this dumb little passion project of mine. My follower count has grown exponentially and I’m on the cusp of hitting 40 directly on the blog here.

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I also have more views and engagement and such at the mid-to-late portion of the year than I’ve had in both my previous years of operating this place.

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What do you know? Doing something and sticking to it feels good and has some overall positive effects on one’s life. Who would’ve guessed?

The only serious caveat moving out of the summer and into the general all-time daily postings is that I’ll probably be less critical on myself for missing days on occasion. Between school and work going full-steam, I’m sure I’ll need days to focus more fully on those commitments.

But that being said, here’s looking forward to keeping up the pace and seeing more positive growth from here on out!

For this week, that pace keeping up should include… Probably first impressions about my classes once I’ve finished the first week. Fire Emblem Heroes tomorrow when the Hero-King drops. Probably something on Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, which is coming out this week. Maybe that thinking on possible social media expansion I briefly mentioned that one time.

Who knows.

(You will, if you keep reading on!)

2:00 a.m. Adventures

Because I’m on the cusp of starting the last friend hang out of the summer, I’m probably just going to make this post quick and dirty so I don’t have to think about it later when everyone leaves.

Figured what better thing to talk about than the reason I’m so tired right now?

See I went to bed relatively early last night because, as mentioned, the gang is getting together today. Wanted to get some extra sleep to prepare for that.

The world apparently had different intentions.

Right around 2:00 a.m., I woke up to the sounds of very loud arguing just outside my house. At that point I was pretty groggy and didn’t think too much of it, but whoever was out there really wanted to just go at it.

It became much harder to ignore when the police sirens kicked in. Someone must’ve called in a noise complaint, I figured. So by that point I got up and went to look out of the window upstairs.

Thinking it may have been more than a noise complaint considering six police cars showed up.

Naturally I went to see if my parents were cognizant enough to wake up and come see, because at the very least they would have been interested in checking out whatever was going on from the distance like I was.

They were not. So they’re probably going to find out that all this happened from this blog post considering I wasn’t cognizant enough to tell the story this morning when they left to do chores.

That being said I don’t personally know what happened very well either, so I suppose I don’t have too much to share. From the distance I was able to hear just a couple minor things, as the three suspects were turned away from me. The most significant thing I was able to hear was that none of the three of them had a knife.

One of the guys was super insistent that none of them had a knife. So I’m assuming something about weapons was involved in the 911 call.

Just before 3:00 a.m. everything seemed to mellow out. It seemed like some of the suspects were brought away, leaving their red car in the middle of the street.

Around that time I was able to pay a bit more attention to the police officers as they gathered together to chat.

Wanted to point that out specifically because just.

Look at this guy in the middle. He’s so god damn tall.

I honestly thought Slender Man was a police officer in Redondo Beach for a while there. The fact that he’s that big while also standing off of the sidewalk ledge that everyone else is standing on is just.

Hoo boy.

What a man.

But anyway. Eventually they all parted ways, cars skidding around as they went off to address other crimes. Except for one car that hung back until a tow truck showed up to bring away the red car stuck in the middle of the street.

While I mostly put this post together just to say “whoa some wacky stuff happened in Redondo this morning,” I also thought it had a somewhat interesting conflation with my reporter life.

Because I genuinely considered going out and asking the officers what was happening. At least for my own curiosity, but potentially even as something that could be a freelance article for… I don’t know, the Daily Breeze or something.

In hindsight I likely wouldn’t have gotten anything from them since I don’t have credentials for any newspaper and it might come across as me impersonating the press.

But that’s hindsight. Honestly the reason I didn’t do it was because it was 2 a.m. and I was super tired. Plus I didn’t want to get dragged into things as a potential witness to whatever was happening considering I didn’t actually witness anything.

So yeah. No serious reporting. You just have to deal with these mad context-less ramblings.

That said, consider it the potential for future reporting. Because I pay attention to crime things that are happening and newspapers appreciate that.

Anyway that’s all I had, so I’m off to hang out with my friends. Hope you all have a good Sunday!

Musical Space Filler

Musical Space Filler

I’m not sure how I forgot to write this until 11:00 p.m., especially considering I was looking to base it off of something that ended at 7:00 p.m. the whole time.

But if I’m being completely honest, I’m a little checked out right now. So I’m just going to go into the Aly band stuff I wanted to talk about real quick and move on. Try to get something out into the world before midnight.

As school quickly creeps up for me, it also creeps up for my sister. Thus, she and the Redondo Union High School marching band have been starting to rehearse their field show for the year. Traveling around to watch marching band competitions have become a pretty common activity for us since Aly started seriously doing high school band stuff.

We’re so early into things that I can’t actually talk about the show without breaking some kind of contract because something something secret high school band espionage?

I don’t know, it’s all a little over the top in my opinion.

So that picture up there in my featured image is just the band standing in a half-circle doing their pep band songs at the parent preview today.

Because that is what I’m talking about, by the way. The band puts on a preview for parents on what they can expect to see at competitions and such as the year progresses and a show slowly comes into maturity.

It was basically an hour of listening to the band play a few songs that they’d do during football games, then show us the first draft of a couple of overall show things.

I’m not entirely sure what I expected to be able to write on this subject considering I’m not really allowed to go into detail. But hey. I supported Aly and her band stuff today, it offers another opportunity to lament school coming and I have something to discuss that isn’t related to going to the gym.

Which I also did today.

I’m willing to bet that’s a good part of the reason why I’m so tired and out of it right now. So I hope you weren’t expecting anything cognizant and of significance tonight. Because I don’t have it for you.

If you want you can go check out the Gladeo Spotlight I did on the RUHS band director, Ray Vizcarra. That ties into this. I got to meet his husband today and they were both very pleased with the piece I wrote so I have that going for me.

Also something something new job callback.

Look I wish I had something else for you guys but I’m honestly, truly beat. Spending most of tomorrow with my friends for one final summer 2018 hang out as well so I can’t promise anything substantial until Monday when I’ll likely say something about my first day experiences for the semester.

But until then, please cut me some slack. I think I did pretty good with he whole one post a day thing this summer so I’ll just imagine I’m afforded an easy day or two now and then so long as I get something out before 12:00 a.m.

Yeah.

Later, man.

I’m Ready, Promotion

I’m Ready, Promotion

Before I kick this off can I just say how happy I am to be able to use a random Spongebob quote for my post headline? Because I’m almost giddier about that then the actual news itself.

Except not really because the news of the day is pretty awesome.

I kind of teased it out on one of my posts the other day, but wanted to wait until I had my official meeting today to outwardly speak on it in any significant capacity.

Now that I have, I’m pleased to announce that I am officially Gladeo’s Managing Editor, the head of the nonprofit’s reporter division.

Turns out giving a year+ of your life somewhere can open up some pretty sweet opportunities, and I’m really excited to grow out of my internship capacity into a full-time employee.

The move actually comes at a pretty great time, as I won’t be working for the Daily Titan at CSUF this semester. I get to focus all my extra time outside of class on this job!

Well, when I’m not working on my Senior Honors Project I suppose. But that’s a different story.

With my new position comes a number of responsibilities, including editing written pieces and uploading them to the Gladeo site, running the bi-weekly meetings us reporters have to keep track of who’s doing what assignment, helping to hire and train new reporters and more.

My first big assignment is actually generating and running a small database of interested interviewees to disseminate amongst the reporters, which is getting a major launch early next week. Though I figure it’s worth mentioning in case anyone who’s reading this knows a career professional who may be interested in getting interviewed about their work.

Just putting it out there.

Over the next couple of days I’ll be updating all my social medias to reflect my new position, so if you see a bunch of random messages here or there for things like that, don’t be too alarmed. My blog here will actually need a pretty significant update to reflect the role under my Gladeo page… I’ll get to it eventually.

Honestly that’s about all I wanted to say. I’m just excited about this new opportunity and eager to humble brag get my name out there more and help the nonprofit.

Hopefully all of you have a great weekend full of some positive news, because I’ll be passing these good vibes around wherever I can!

Jason and Dara explore ‘America’s Got Talent’

Jason and Dara explore ‘America’s Got Talent’

I don’t know how exactly I got roped into this, but Mom and I have spent a chunk of the day just streaming through the most recent season of America’s Got Talent on Hulu.

She said she’s watching it because there isn’t a whole heck of a lot else on. But also because sometimes you get to watch people pull Howie Mandel on stage and swing a katana at him. Or almost crush him doing motorcycle tricks.

For those of you who aren’t aware, AGT is essentially a reality television competition show in a similar vein as American Idol. Both of which star Simon Cowell as a judge in fact.

But while American Idol is entirely focused on singing (and playing instruments in later seasons), AGT hosts a variety of acts all competing to be the most talented of the Americans.

Sometimes it’s singing. Sometimes it’s dancing. Comedians do schticks. People do horror acts. Or, as I mentioned, sometimes people do things like blind themselves before swinging samurai swords around or complete motorcycle tricks.

My only serious underlying concern with the show is how weird the prospect of having to judge between so many different kinds of acts as if they’re on equal footing to decide what’s the best? Though they’ve been doing it for 13 years now or whatever so I guess I’m just not hip enough to it.

As far as I’m aware our family doesn’t watch this particular reality TV competition show very often. I believe the only time I’ve seen it on in our bourse before was when my grandmother was visiting from Florida. Even so, it has its own entertaining merits.

Whether it be a genuinely impressive performance from, say, a 13-year-old singer that makes you feel as though you’ve done nothing with your life, or it’s just an attempt to do something that winds up being hilarious in how awful it is, the show can be pretty fun to laugh at.

God knows the reality competition shows are far better than the bs reality shows like Jersey Shore. Or the Kardashians show.

Yeah that’s right I said it Internet.

Don’t @ me.

I suppose if I’m being fair, we haven’t just spent all day vegging out watching competition shows. Even if that doesn’t sound like such a bad way to spend a day.

We also went out and hung out at a coffee shop for a while, catching up with one of her band parent friends.

But I couldn’t really think of a way to extrapolate on that for a semi-interesting blog post. So instead you’ve got like the most bare bones discussion of America’s Got Talent that anyone’s ever given.

Hope it’s something you enjoy.

Also I guess I should stick to whatever tradition I’ve started in my one post of this kind and let my Mom say some words. But I don’t think it’d serve the post well to pseudo-interview her like last time, so I’m just going to give her the floor.


Dara’s Corner:

Mom caveat: we don’t watch these shows often, and he’s right, usually only when my mom comes out to visit. But, what else to watch at the end of the summer when there is nothing else on yet.

I watch these shows and go, what have I done with my life. Then again, my mouth goes agape when shy kids who barely can answer the judges’ questions all of a sudden belt Janis Joplin.

Certainly, some acts make me wonder if they’re planted by the producers, but in a nutshell, one never knows what will come out on stage. Plus, added mom bonus – I get to spend time with Jason on the couch laughing. 🙂

-Dara



P.S. — Back to Jason now. Who decided to let Tyra Banks be the Ryan Seacrest of this show?

Don’t get me wrong, I used to be a big fan of America’s Next Top Model, but it just feels so… Strange.

Wanted to put that out there. Don’t have anywhere else to go with the thought.

More YouTube Recommendations

More YouTube Recommendations

I know I basically did this exact same thing less than a week ago, so it probably seems like this is a cop-out.

But honestly just consider it a symptom of me spending the whole day cleaning the house. Don’t have too much to talk about outside of inhaling chemical fumes all afternoon, so I figure it’d be much more engaging if I talked about more content creators I’ve discovered on YouTube over the past few days that have helped make the cleaning more bearable.

That said, welcome to… That thing I just said!

Yeah. Get hyped.

While the previous ‘check out these content creators’ post I did focused primarily on people who talked about comic book lore and writing conventions in cinema, the two people I want to talk about today primarily discuss writing conventions and cinema.

But in more specific details this time around. I swear.


Lindsay Ellis

Though I initially saw her content adjacent to the Nostalgia Critic some years ago, I only just recently discovered Lindsay Ellis for her purely solo career here doing video essays.

Video essays which are wonderful and educational in all the best ways.

More than basically anyone I’ve seen before, she takes deep dives into the minutia of film studies, as well as the history and cultural influences behind media that she, primarily, seems to hate in one way or another.

Though not in a CinemaSins-style “let’s just tally up all the shitty things” kind of hate, more of an academic “here’s what works and what doesn’t” kind of hate. Which just so happens to mostly target pieces of popular culture that leave her drinking herself into more of a stupor the longer she talks about them in an unexplained but great little running gag.

Out of everything of hers I’ve seen thus far, my favorite pieces would have to be her discussion on how the live action Beauty and the Beast is terrible about remaking a classic (with additional shout outs to her other Disney-themed videos on why Hercules isn’t a huge blockbuster and why Moana was Pocahontas but better), a lengthy piece on why the Netflix Will Smith movie “Bright” was terrible, and two documentary-length multi-part series on why the Hobbit failed and how Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise can be read from a multitude of different film study disciplines.

There’s just a bunch of good stuff all around, and the sometimes dejected tone of dealing with film studio bs and expectedly horrible comment sections on videos are nice additions to really thought-provoking ideas.


Pop Culture Detective

Where Lindsay Ellis seems to approach much of her content with a clear underlying sense of love for the film industry as a whole, Pop Culture Detective takes a vastly more critical look at everything in cinema (as well as television and occasionally video games) that are problematic in relation to one subject:

Masculinity.

As a fair warning, these videos hold no punches when it comes to eviscerating popular culture for instilling often toxic values often without intending to. If you love franchises like Star Wars or actors like Tom Cruise and Bruce Willis, it may sting some to watch these sorts of analyses.

Yet, that’s clearly the point. An effective one, at that.

It’s clear throughout multiple videos that the Pop Culture Detective loved many of the movies he discusses to death as a kid. But when he began to look at them in a new light, he was able to pick apart problematic patterns that we can all learn from even if we love the original content.

More often than not I find his content most effective when it delves into those patterns which have grown throughout the history of cinema. For example, his videos on abduction and stalking as abundantly-used tropes were eye-opening in that I frankly didn’t realize just how often they are used.

His more individually-focused pieces, like a video on the backwards logic of the Jedi Order in Star Wars, are also great.

Yet he also spends time talking about more positive representation of diverse forms of masculinity, like in a video about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

In fact, no matter what’s being covered, this creator clearly spends an ample amount of time looking into the subjects for their faults and what kind of effect it has on our culture, but at the same time he isn’t just blatantly negging everything and everyone in the industry.

More often than not he at least makes the aside that there likely isn’t an intent to be a bad influence, even if it sometimes comes across that way from how he otherwise presents the material.

It’s a well-balanced, educated look at film and T.V. through a lens that I don’t often see given as heavy a focus, so definitely check Pop Culture Detective out.


So those are the two content creators I wanted to introduce you all to today. Both with very different approaches at the same goal: Educating the public on more positive ways of producing film and other media.

What do you think of these two? Are you interested in the technical and theoretical sides of filmmaking?

If so, let me know in the comments! Also, if there are any creators whom you believe are worth their weight in views, let me know about them too. I’ll certainly be on the lookout for more things to watch as I continue my pursuit of a clean house during these fleeting final summer days.