Month: May 2019

Graduation hardware

Graduation hardware

It’s honestly not an exaggeration to say that I might pass out at graduation this Sunday from some heat-related illness due to all of the things I’ll be carrying.

That sounds like I’m looking for an excuse to brag, but I swear I’m not.

The Department of Communications commencement is going to be held out on the Cal State Fullerton baseball stadium, which means it’ll be three-ish hours in the sun. On top of my cap and gown I’ll have the college’s stole and my Comm Awards winnings; the Honors stole; and now a Kappa Tau Alpha tassel, medal and pin.

Dr. Rizzo said she’ll be able to pick me out of the crowd with a magnet, and I don’t doubt her on that.

Induction into the Kappa Tau Alpha National Honor Society for Mass Communications happened this morning, giving me those trinkets you see in my Featured Image.

However, while that seems like a subject I’d have a lot to say about… I kind of don’t?

It was a lovely luncheon that Dr. Andi Stein and other members of the Comm Department put on, where I joined 25 people being inducted on account of their “excellence in academic work.”

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It’s a sweet little resume filler, and I got to say hi to a few faculty members while I was there. Plus, there was food:

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The enchiladas weren’t special, but they were free!

So who am I to complain?

Unfortunately, the luncheon was kind of downplayed because I had to leave within the first fifteen minutes.

It’s not that I wanted to just dine-and-dash, but my Cognitive Psychology final happened to be scheduled at noon on the same day where I had a fancy event at 11:30 a.m.

As soon as that final ended, I had to cross campus to finish the arc I established yesterday by picking up parking passes for graduation.

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Everyone understood my need to scram, but I still felt bad about it. When there are only 24 other inductees it’s not easy to slip out unnoticed.

It all worked out by the end, however. I got the tassel and my psych final wasn’t horrible (I self-calculated getting an 80 percent at the lowest), which means I’ve officially completed my psychology minor requirements.

Though that doesn’t mean I’m done with school just yet.

My online final for Comm Law — the class I’m worried about — should be opening soon.

Once that’s out of the way, I’ll dive headstrong into my Gaming in American Culture paper.

So there are still a few steps, but I’m that much closer to getting my degree.

Unless of course I die of heat stroke at the ceremony, in which case I suppose this will all have been for naught.

But you all know I can’t die at the ceremony. If I did, there would be nobody to write a cringe-filled blog post about what an amazing time I had celebrating my academic achievement to bury deep-rooted fears about transitioning into the professional world.

We can’t have that.

That time of year again

That time of year again

Hope everyone enjoyed their Mother’s Day!

We Rochlin children celebrated by getting my Mom breakfast donuts (as requested), went out for lunch and then had fancy home-cooked pasta for dinner. A very food-focused affair.

Spending the morning and afternoon with her (as well as the night with my friends losing hours to Minecraft) left me with no time to write a blog post. Though it was all a nice stress relief…

Because as you can see from my baggy-eyed Featured Image, finals and graduation anxiety are undoubtedly taking their toll.

When I wasn’t with Mom yesterday, I was working on my last few college assignments. Ever.

For instance, the Final cheatsheet for Comm Law:

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It’s technically not a requirement, but the cheatsheet for my midterm was extremely helpful. So making this one seemed sensible.

… Especially considering I get extra credit for the selfie.

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Eating the pain away.

Taken at lunch, with a cameo by Mom’s arm. Because taking a break in the middle of eating to do homework is the perfect encapsulation of my life.

Comm Law is arguably the biggest stressor, as it turns out that is going to be a cumulative exam. Even though it’s online and we have cheatsheets, it will undoubtedly be a nightmare.

More than Cognitive Psychology, anyway. I should theoretically be studying for that now, but the first two exams were so easy that I don’t feel compelled to kill myself here.

If anything, the more stressful parts of tomorrow are around that exam. Like the Kappa Tau Alpha Communications Honors Society induction ceremony around noon.

Which I’ll have to leave early to take my Psych exam.

That event will get me the last pieces of hardware for my graduation attire, which means I’ll have to finally have to figure out who should do my professional Grad photos.

Because that’s a thing everyone does.

However, I’m currently more concerned about parking for graduation. As I found out, the tickets I secured for my family  do not cover their parking at the event. I needed to get a separate parking pass for that — and that deadline was at the end of April.

Had to make some calls while I was waiting to hand off that sweet Gladeo computer so it could go to a better home. Editing videos, as it was meant to be.

Throw in my semester textbook return, getting a legal document notarized (like a real adult) and going to the gym, and you’ve got my scatterbrained mentality for the day.

At least once Psych and Comm Law are out of the way, life should slow down.

As far as my assignments go, I’ll still need to put together my Honors Project — which I’m working as I write:

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Then I need to finish my Gaming in American Culture paper. An endeavor made slightly more difficult by surrounding circumstances, but I’ll get to it eventually.

Oh, and let’s not forget that my Dad’s birthday is coming up.

So that’s the whirlwind I’m currently cycling through. I keep trying to remind myself that once I’m through this week I won’t have to worry about college ever again…

But frankly that seems to freak me out more.

Instead I’ve been trying to drown out the incessant thoughts with more Games Done Quick speedruns.

Because seeing someone beat a game like Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door in under four hours is enough to really melt the stress away.

Detective Pikachu made my heart swell

Detective Pikachu made my heart swell

Move over, Endgame.

You might have ended a decade of MCU movies, but Detective Pikachu played to my 20-years of investment in the subjectively best video game series of all time.

My development as a person and writer was kick-started by Mom teaching me to read with the text in Pokémon Crystal. I’ve been waiting for this movie ever since.

So, the objective side of my cinephilia can critique a few key issues. But that doesn’t take away from Rob Letterman giving me the breathing Pokémon society — focusing on more than just prodigal, battling children — that I’ve always wanted.

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Image courtesy of IMDb

Detective Pikachu follows accountant Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) as he confronts the death of his mother and resulting alienation of his father after the man goes missing in a utopian city designed for Pokémon to coincide with humans.

He does so with the help of a talking Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds — clearly channeling Deadpool while still grounded in this source material) and aspiring investigative reporter Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton).

To be blunt, Detective Pikachu is bloated with clichés.

It mimics film noir and buddy cop tropes, such as a boy who needs to learn to love again and his amnesiac animal partner. There are also multiple plot points throughout the movie’s two-hour run you’ve seen before:

  • The shady, experimenting corporation.
  • The blossoming love between main (human) characters.
  • The incidents with a substance that causes loss of control (ala Zootopia).

Besides a surprise twist in the third act, the overall situations are well-worn. Yet the actors keep them from feeling stale.

Reynolds made me love the overplayed series mascot I usually scoff at. He’s snarky, heartfelt and delivers some solid (seemingly improvised) jokes.

Minor spoiler: At one point, he sings a depressed rendition of the original anime theme song, and it’s worth the price of admission alone.

Reynolds and Smith sell the buddy cop bit, and I liked Smith and Newton’s chemistry as well — especially since their burgeoning romance ended without a dramatic kiss.

Smith carried the movie handily, surprisingly so given my lukewarm reception to Fallen Kingdom. I really enjoyed his character arc and relationship with Pikachu that shined during a heart-to-heart mid-way through the film.

That scene in particular also has a gorgeous shot where Smith’s stoic face during a sad story is betrayed by a tear that makes the neon city lights outline his cheek.

Detective Pikachu had surprisingly pretty cinematography in my opinion, outside of some shots that relied too heavily on shaky dissolves and off-center angles for my taste.

On top of that, I never once felt like the CGI Pokémon were out of place. They always seemed believably real in the living people’s arms.

Granted I might be predisposed to believing in real-life Pokémon because of my history and encyclopedic knowledge with the series. But my sister (who saw the movie with me) is less of a hardcore fan and didn’t report any concerns.

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We had a blast going together!

Ironically, I felt like the Pokémon CGI was masterful in-part because a lot of the practical effects were… Real bad? Most of the actors looked like they were slipping around on wires during action scenes.

But for me, that was barely a concern in light of the respect Detective Pikachu shows fans of the series in its overt and subtle references.

Alongside the anime’s theme song, most of the music throughout the film sounded like it could have come from the Sinnoh or Unova region games.

There are dozens of the 800+ Pokémon appearing as live models (both the recognizable Pikachu and less conventional Treeckos or Purrloins) and set-pieces (some favorites being the Latios and Latias stickers in Tom’s room, and a store named after Whismur).

Their appearances are true to established lore as well, with Charizard weakened as someone stomps on its tail flame and Slaking almost exclusively loafing around.

Mewtwo‘s powers are a less traditional example that sticks out, but even that strange treatment plays into an unexpected plot point that I enjoyed. Plus, they nailed the legendary Pokémon’s origin with an interesting new angle.

People who are not a fan of the games or anime may be somewhat lost. It immediately drops audiences in and lets most references quickly fly by. Yet enough is explained for the public to follow its plot, and the movie is funny regardless of pre-existing knowledge.

You might get more out of some jokes if you know Mr. Mime, for instance, but even if you don’t his scenes have some great slapstick with effective sound effects.

Frankly, I’m not sure what else I can say.

I’m obviously biased, but the movie is just as obviously tailored toward fans like me. From that perspective, I wholeheartedly recommend Detective Pikachu from my three-year-old heart and from the highly knowledgeable dork I am today.

But the movie also has enough family-friendly elements and appeal for non-super-fans. Some of the effects aren’t perfect, and the overall package leans on clichés, but the cast and world-building do more than enough to make up for it.

I had a blast seeing this movie with my sister. It’s a master class in video game adaptations — One that’s very much needed in the face of Sonic the Hedgehog and Angry Birds 2.

Go see it, so we can get more live action Pokémon movies. And cards to go with them:

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You won’t see a TCG fan like me complaining.

Heroes be damned

Heroes be damned

I’m going to keep this intro brief because the banner is pretty exciting.

Just so you know, this is the first time I’m going to try culling my word count by pivoting away from self-generated skill sets to showing off the official video.

It’ll be a little less fun for me personally, but it should make things more efficient.

Let me know what you think!


Darkness Within


Let’s talk about Berkut.

Legendary Alm was amazing, as I reiterated in his banner’s post. Though he screwed me out of 300 orbs, praise was well-deserved.

But my hype for Alm was nothing compared to seeing fallen Berkut for the first time.

Intelligent Systems put extra time into him. His idle sprite looks unhinged with a tilted head and calloused laugh. The witch of his sacrificed Rinea lingers in both his artwork and attack animations. On top of that, the insanity of his lust for power is evident all over the character dialogue.

Clearly the developers know Berkut is a fan-favorite, because he got love far beyond any unit I’ve seen.

He’s also my favorite part of this fallen banner, which is great considering he was my free summon:

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Figures Berkut would peg me as an ally after Alm’s rejection.

However, just because Berkut is the stand-out doesn’t mean he’s the only unit available.

Last year’s fallen heroes banner had Celica, Harden and Grima, with “betrayal” Takumi as a Grand Hero Battle.

This year, alongside Berkut is Tiki, an incredibly powerful colorless armor dragon; Mareeta, a rare Thracia representative; and Corrin, who…

Frankly doesn’t compare. Maybe if she was red? But as things are, I’m not impressed.

However we have possessed Delthea coming, and if she’s amazing I might update my main infantry team.

It’s cool that Echoes has been getting its due, and thankfully Berkut gave me enough savings to focus on Tiki with the free summon tickets from Forging Bonds.

An event with strange continuity issues. Fjorm arrives in a forest of the damned and meets these four heroes, surprised by how different they are… Despite this being Mareeta’s first appearance.

The scenario is wonky, but I can forgive it. Because their individual stories are less dry than the main story chapter.


Book III, Chapter 7 — A Home Unknown

 

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We begin in the midst of the Order of Heroes’ trip through Hel.

Seemingly out of nowhere, the landscape begins to resemble Alfonse and Sharena’s homeland of Askr — just emptier and more unnerving.

Before we can get too deep into that plot point, Intelligent Systems sidetracks us into a brief conversation between Veronica and Loki.

 

It sounds like they will soon be headed for Hel, as Veronica wishes to kill the queen of the dead, which by extent will kill all of the other dead that she cannot kill.

Because plot.

The Order’s trip is a mostly uneventful romp through tortured heroes until Eir has a sudden conversation with Líf: First King of Askr.

 

He gives us plot seeds by asking Eir not to remember things that seem to pain her.

Basic development, but my main problem with the moment is its setting. Where and when are they having this conversation?

If it’s in the Order’s camp, how did the dead guy get in unnoticed?

This conversation happens at the end of map 4, and map 5 has Anna remarking on his sudden battlefield appearance.

So what’s the deal?

Unfortunately, no answers are provided. Once the battle with Líf ends, he retreats and Sharena is distracted by flowers.

 

This is also a blatant set-up for something, though I’m not exactly sure what.

It’s likely either the reveal that Líf’s dead wife loved those flowers too, or that this is some alternate universe’s dead Sharena. Pick a cliché, any cliché!

Then, without any more fanfare, the chapter ends.

Nothing particularly eventful happened, and almost everything that did happen was set-up for future storytelling.

Feh Plot Meme


As cynical as I might be about the weak story chapter, that doesn’t take away from how much I genuinely enjoy the banner’s units.

I’m really excited to see what other possessed/fallen characters they pull out next:

Zombie Scarlet? Demon Lyon? Anankos Gunter? Apparently, fallen Julia was a thing too.

Any of those amazing units… Would have probably been better than Corrin. Banking on her three seconds of losing control at the beginning of Fates is kind of lame.

But that’s just my opinion, so let me know what you guys think about these fallen heroes in the comments!

Art vs. The Artist

Art vs. The Artist

A few weeks ago, I quoted the YouTuber ProJared in my Gaming in American Culture essay.

The crux of my research has been the effects of Japanese Role-Playing Games on the West. In his Final Fantasy Mystic Quest video, ProJared argues that Japanese developers questioned the competence of the outside world, which led to fewer localizations.

It was a valuable insight for my piece, and I was proud to include his video alongside The Geek Critique in my research material.

YouTube has been a huge part of my life, and I try to promote creators. They don’t have near the notoriety of television and movie stars, yet there is great content worth sharing.

After The Completionist, ProJared has been my favorite part of the “NormalBoots crew” for some time. I enjoyed his style, as well as his opinions on video and tabletop games.

I even recently talked about him pulling me back to the Pokémon Trading Card Game.

It’s a parasocial interaction at heart. I wouldn’t say I idolized him or any other YouTuber in an unhealthy way, but the respect and support I show toward those pseudo-celebrities help inspire me to create, and keep the often dreary day-to-day bearable.

This is all to say that I started from an inherently biased position in this conversation.

If you’ve been on Twitter, you already know about how ProJared’s life imploded in a matter of hours. It’s been the #1 trending topic for almost a full day.

If you’re reading this in the future, you can catch up with this Kotaku article.

In spite of how public the issue has become thanks to the people involved, it’s a very private affair that I honestly have no right involving myself with.

The only place I can speak from is that of a former fan whose respect for an online figure has evaporated in an unexpected instant.

A philosophical concern has been weighing heavy on me since late last night:

How much joy are you able to retain from a figure you used to respect — and followed for years — in the time before their skeletons were out of the closet?

This issues with parasocial interactions aren’t new. Bill Cosby and Michael Jackson are two relatively recent examples of celebrities whose actions have begged the question, “how much we should separate the artist from their art?”

But YouTubers are more prominent for me, and tend to be “famous” in smaller communities that they interact with more to create relationships.

I’ve grappled with the recent downfalls of a few people I followed actively.

Just a month before ProJared, TheKingNappy (a Pokémon YouTuber of some acclaim) also received accusations that dampened my enthusiastic support and led to his disappearance from the Internet.

In each of those cases, I’m plenty willing to move on and continue supporting other wonderful creators. But that doesn’t mean their removal is painless.

My immediate reaction to each scandal was almost exactly the same:

  • “What will happen to Nappy’s current Soul Link with ShadyPenguinn?”

Followed by…

  • “There goes the rest of Jared’s Super Metroid/Link to the Past randomizer.”

The thoughts of a spurred fan seem uncalled for, even selfish considering the people who have been genuinely hurt in real life.

And I by no means hope to disparage the victims in these stories because “they took my favorite YouTubers away.”

Yet I believe the reason these thoughts spring to mind are important.

I have given years to some of these personalities, and their current endeavors thrive because of the respect and trust they’ve engendered in this parasocial interaction.

ProJared’s videos have meant enough to me that I thought to quote him in an academic capacity. Plus, he’s also one of the main reasons I started playing Monster Hunter.

TheKingNappy, in a similar vein, introduced me to a community that has foster further love for my favorite series of video games. He’s why I’ve played Pokémon Conquest and the GameBoy TCG title.

All of the times I’ve enjoyed their work and respected their opinions are still there. But now, they seem tainted — it’s hard to come to terms with that.

How much can I still appreciate the time invested in retrospect?

How much can one separate the art from the artist in light of new, changed opinions?

I don’t have an answer to this question. But I think it’s worth posing, because my mindset has honestly contributed to the stressful situation of my last semester at college.

If anyone out there has any insight into this dilemma, I’d love to field some ideas.

Meeting expectations

If my life were a series of Sesame Street episodes, the word of the day would be: Meetings.

Pretty much as soon as I woke up, I joined Mom at a local Starbucks to have breakfast with Tatjana — the wife of Magic Moreno, who I spoke to for Gladeo not long ago.

Worth reading if you haven’t.

Breakfast was a nice, quiet opportunity to relax and sip down a little coffee. Both of which are very important the week before Finals and graduation.

Speaking of relaxing. I mentioned Tarantino movies the other day, but I’ve also been chilling out by watching some speedruns from various Games Done Quick events.

For those of you who don’t know, GDQ is a series of video game marathons where games are played for record times, under conditions ranging from basic 100 percent completion to multi-player races and even bizarre hacks like randomizers.

All to raise money for charity while showing off cool tricks. Definitely worth supporting.

My tastes are currently aligned with Super Metroid, A Link to the Past and Mario Sunshine.

However, I’m watching a neat Super Mario RPG run while writing this post, so that’s worth a shout out.

GDQ aside, after breakfast I made my way to Fullerton for the semester’s last CSUF Society of Professional Journalists meeting.

We ate pizza, discussed what did or did not work about our events and elected part of the board for next year. Most of the current group is graduating, so it’s a big old passing of the torch.

My girl Kristina, who is not graduating, will be taking over as President. And I know she’s going to kill it.

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From left to right: Jared Eprem, me, Harrison Faigen, Rick Piñon, Kristina Garcia and faculty advisor Frank Russell. Photo taken by Anita Ally.

Guess I’ll have to update all my social media descriptions pretty soon to reflect all this graduating/moving on from things.

That’s certainly what I started doing last night.

Job applications. Gotta love them.

I’ll get back to that eventually. In the meantime, from SPJ I went to my next meeting in the Honors Center to try and complete a few more graduation requirements. Namely getting my Honors Project title page signed off on.

Which I did:

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Now all I have to do is compile the stuff I’ve done so I can officially turn the damn thing in and move on.

While in the Center I had a lovely chat with Dr. Simoes as well. We spoke briefly at my presentation, but today he was more than happy to congratulate me for getting the project through this next step.

He even told me he’ll be buying a copy of my book once it’s published — so long as I sign a first edition for him.

It was very sweet.

After all of that I came back to Redondo and set up a meeting with Michelle to give back that lovely computer I’ve been holding onto. Too bad I never got it to full working condition on account of internet issue, but it’ll be much happier with a video editor where it belongs.

Once that was done, I went to probably my most important meeting of the day:

A meeting with the treadmill.

Because with all of this graduation stress on my shoulders it honestly feels great to go burn some calories and let off some steam.

Highly recommended stress relief, folks. Especially if you can watch some dope GDQ runs while you’re running!

You know I’ve got those great set-up/pay-offs.

The penultimate week

The penultimate week

My apologies for the absence this last weekend, oh loyal viewers — wherever the five of you may be.

I took a little time for myself following the Honors Conference (both my panel and a few friend’s panels I attended on Saturday) to focus on the last few assignments I have to complete before the semester is over. Next week.

I’ve also spent a good chunk of the weekend letting the existential dread of realizing that “this week is my last full week of college” drape over me like a heavy blanket.

Seriously, what? That’s not real. Who allowed this?

To be fair, I may go back to school one day and get a Masters or teaching credential so I can be a teacher in my later years. Seems like that would be a cool way to give back after I make a name for myself.

But that’s not really a matter for here and now. I’m mostly just nervous about the incoming inevitability of having no excuses to not go after that name.

Because that is terrifying.

So I’ve been relishing my last few college-oriented assignments. Turning in my Internship hours, pulling my novel’s prep work together for the physical Honors project and watching old Stephen Colbert videos for Comm Law.

For my Gaming in American Culture class, my last assignment (other than the final paper) is to read Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One for our discussion on virtual reality this Thursday.

Or… In my case, to re-read Ready Player One. Much like Ender’s Game, I read this book a few years ago. Well before the Spielberg adaptation was even announced.

Thus, similar to Ender’s Game, I’ve decided to take my re-consumption of the story in a different form: Listening to the audio book.

Cue YouTube-style Audible shill.

But not really, because Amazon isn’t paying me. If anything, I’m paying them — or at least my family is.

I will say the re-listen has been pretty worth it. Not only does the audio book make it easier to reacquaint myself with differences between the written and cinematic versions while doing other work, the act of listening is that much more fun because Wil Wheaton is reading it.

Wheaton’s reading leads to some beautifully meta moments, because he is personally mentioned in the story.

For instance, Wade Watts (the story’s protagonist) talks about Wheaton as a great representative of user interests on an elected council in the virtual reality world of the OASIS.

He says those lines without a shred of irony or winking to the audience, and it’s great.

But yeah… That has basically been my life. Everything y’all missed over the last couple days, other than helping a few friends through their own stressful life situations and watching Kill Bill with my family. Alyson had never seen it, and we needed to rectify that.

I know it’s a hot take for me to say it, but that movie is genuinely still incredible. A visual splendor.

If you need a little stress relief, like I have with all this impending graduation fatigue, go watch yourself some Tarantino. Or play a little Don’t Starve.

That’s my advice.

My Senior Honors Project debrief

My Senior Honors Project debrief

These graduation milestones are really starting to gear up.

Today’s adventure took me out to Fullerton with my parents so I could officially give my Senior Honors Project presentation.

It has been literal years in the making. After I spent some time reflecting on my novel and compiling the work behind it into a PowerPoint, I was finally ready to cap off my time in the Honors Program by speaking on a panel about creative writing projects.

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Here’s me with Valerie on the right and Stephanie on the left.

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When I attended Welcome to CSUF day four years ago, I was intimidated by the project during the Honors Program introduction. The idea of a year-long, self-driven (for all intents and purposes) undergraduate thesis that had no guidelines was terrifying.

I was able to stave off the fear by remembering the long college career I’d have before it would be a concern, and by latching onto people like Dr. Sexton — who I met that day and would later take his class. Which led to much more.

But the fear of the Senior Honors Project never fully went away.

Even when I decided what I wanted to do for my project, there was a period where I fell behind on my Honors courses because I couldn’t find a mentor. Then Dr. Rizzo came along and helped change my trajectory.

Yet the prep for a creative writing piece didn’t click as easily as journalism, which the recent Comm Awards showed I’m decent with.

However, being at the end of the road has given me hope that perhaps I haven’t been bad at the Honors Project thing either.

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Technically the certificate was from the COMM college, but still.

As I’ve transitioned from figuring out the scope of my project to actually preparing and writing, my fears also refocused from uncertainty and lack of guidance to figuring out how to share my work in a way that really conveys how special it is to me.

I practiced my presentation after the Honors Gala last night and it felt a bit shaky.

But in front of a crowd of my peers and mentors, things went exceptionally well. Mom even got some pictures of me doing my thing:

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She caught some good moments. Me with my characters and my little yellow book.

The presentation went off without a hitch, and I was more than ready to answer a questions from the audience. So it was great.

But once everything was said and done, the post-panel interactions went even better.

I got to introduce both of my parents to Dr. Rizzo (though she met my Dad at the COMM Awards) and had a blast watching them interact.

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It was even more fun to give her the gift I’ve been preparing.

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Surprise, this piece was for her all along!

I had to thank her for all of her help thus far, after all.

She cried. Which was an unexpected, but sweet little surprise.

Dr. Simoes was at the event, which was a great surprise considering a section of my presentation was dedicated to his help finding resources for my imagined civilizations.

So was Tyler Siedentopp — though that makes sense considering he’s the program’s Co-Curricular Coordinator. Turned out to be a nice way to wrap up our time together.

The most surprising attendee was College of Communications Dean Ed Fink. Everyone on my panel was a COMM student, but I was not expecting someone like him to come.

Apparently he had some very nice things to say to my parents after my presentation. Wish I could have been a fly on the wall for that conversation, since it seems like I’ve made a good impression all around campus.

If I have any negatives about the cathartic day of presenting, it’s that I have even more hardware to put on during graduation.

I swear I’ll pass out from heat stroke in the mid-May sun.

But you know what, it’ll all have been worth it considering the kinds of personal enlightenment I’ve felt getting there!

Fun and stoles at the Honors Gala

Fun and stoles at the Honors Gala

I had a lovely afternoon with fellow members of the University Honors Program at the 2019 Honors Gala in the Fullerton Arboretum.

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This Gala was essentially a big send-off for graduating seniors in the program. It was one part a chance to sit down and eat Italian food provided by the Monkey Business Cafe (and dessert pastries from Porto’s) with our fellow Honors students, one part a venue to receive our graduation stoles, and one part time for us to cry about the Honors Project Conference this weekend.

Though on top of a stole, I also received these niceties from the Honors Program:

The certificate is a lovely recognition from my mentor Dr. Rizzo, which makes me feel terrible because I may or may not have missed the window to sign her up for an outstanding mentor award in return.

Curse you, exams…

On the right is a glass to say thanks for my work as an Honors Ambassador, alongside a touching note from the Co-Curricular Coordinator Tyler.

It’s all great — even though my friend Mimi caught me with sudden-onset dinosaur arm syndrome while accepting the certificate from Honors Program Director Sandra Perez.

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Seriously, why did I do that?

I like my watch, but not enough to be showing it off like a punk.

Ah well. At least I got some other pictures with a few different people in attendance, including Mimi (with one goofy snark-filled photo), Chris Trinh and Dr. Perez.

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There were a few other people I could have, and probably should have, taken photos with. But at least one notable example left the event early for class stuff, and now owes me fancy dress photos.

Maybe I’ll even up my game a little bit more for that next time. Because I think I underestimated the bar of “cocktail attire preferred” given how I compared to everyone else.

Though to be fair, my dress was probably less awkward than my attempt to talk about myself when they suddenly dragged all the graduates on-stage to speak for the crowd. Guess who got to be the first guinea pig?

That’s about all I’ve got for this glorified photo album. I’m actually off to prepare for my presentation tomorrow morning, so that should take up the rest of my night.

Very glad we got one final as a program before I possibly lose all credibility with them.

Industrial aesthetic in Culver City

Industrial aesthetic in Culver City

If you’ve been around my blog long enough, you know I have a thing for interesting architecture and industrial design when I see it.

The prior was on full display when I went to Pasadena City College for one of my sister’s auditions, while the latter was best seen with this weird and pointless piece about hedges around lumber yards.

You know that one was early in my ‘write every day’ commitment because of how picture-less it is despite the visual topic.

It was also my first mention of Wizard of Legend, which is neat considering I’ve gotten into playing it recently!

Not the point.

The point is, those related interests converged today as I joined a few other members of the Gladeo team for a video shoot at the Dentsu Aegis Network office in Culver City.

Dentsu is a digital marketing group that helps advertising firms secure locations for their product.

Or at least, that’s how I understand it. To be honest I was somewhat disconnected from the filming process because our conference room was so small that I couldn’t watch my on-air reporter Katelyn do her stuff without being in the shot.

I did carry camera equipment, and help craft the video’s message while laying out fair use policies using my Comm Law knowledge during our break — over a delicious pork belly grilled cheese.

Speaking of, the Rice Balls of Fire food truck was a strange combination of Korean, Japanese and high school cafeteria. But it was delicious. So there’s a plug.

But I’m not here to plug food trucks. If my Featured Image didn’t make it clear, I’m here to talk about the bizarre and interesting office!

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Get this. You have a marketing group on the fifth floor of a building that intentionally looks half-finished. It’s a totally open floor plan with few offices and conference rooms (much like Fandango). From the ground you can only access the area with a key card, but if you park in the adjacent structure you can simply walk across a bridge and enter.

A bridge that wobbles in the wind. Very disconcerting when six people simultaneously figured that out while carrying rented camera equipment.

Oh and there are games scattered all over the room, from giant Jenga to foosball.

Though my favorite was this giant chessboard in the courtyard outside:

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The outside area also had furniture scattered everywhere, with different areas labeled after interior rooms. The living room, family room, etc. Pretty weird.

But wait, there’s more.

Overlooking the space was a second story balcony, on which I found this cheeky little blue bomber surveying the scene:

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Reminds me of my SSBCU post from yesterday.

Apparently Dentsu worked with Capcom on getting a Mega Man cartoon series put out in the West.

Which is great, because context makes everything better.

… Though I would have been okay just assuming someone in the office is a huge dork.

This place probably has the most Silicon Valley mentality I’ve ever seen. Considering it’s a business focused on digital marketing I suppose this makes sense, though it was still kind of weird seeing it in Culver City of all places.

That said, I’m not sure I would be too opposed to working there. It’s a nice space, even if open floor plans are still a weird concept to me.

And that’s about that. I wanted to end on a photo of the Gladeo folks together, but they have not been posted.

So instead you’re getting this awkward, stilted cut-off.