Category: Blog Stuff

Saying Sayonara to 2018

Saying Sayonara to 2018

I’m sure most people would agree that 2018 was a maddening political clusterfuck, no matter which side of the aisle or where in the world you sit.

While I can’t help but agree with the hope of moving past that in the new year… At the same time, I sort of disconnected myself from the news-y world in 2018 and focused a lot more on myself.

Overall that wasn’t a bad decision. A lot of nice things came out of the more chill personal year!

For instance, all the video games I played. Did my big splurge on that yesterday so you don’t have to be bogged down with it here.

This post is more about my actual life and times.

Seemingly the most poignant place to start charting out my year is with my health. That feels ironic considering the first week of Winter Break was spent dying in bed, but I’m talking about the grand scheme of things.

A sizable chunk of my 2017 year in review was devoted to finding out about my blood disorder, ITP, and crazy things like the hospital stay that resulted from our early attempts to treat it.

It’s kind of insane to think that we’re more than a year out from that now, especially since so much of my stress at the time was getting better enough to cover Milo Yiannopoulos at Halloween.

Equally hard to believe I spoke at a conference about that coverage this year.

img_7586
He’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Tangent aside, this year I never had a big medical scare. In fact, the whole incident inspired me to be better to myself, as this summer I started regularly going to the gym for the first time.

Even lost a little bit of weight in the process. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if a few weeks of holiday eating and falling behind while sick reversed that progress.

The summer was also significant to my personal growth this year because I started my Summer 2018 Initiative: Writing something here on my blog every day.

My drive to force myself to become better at my craft each and every day persisted past the summer and into the fall semester. Then my buddy Spencer encouraged me to try to be concise with all of my posts for the sake of practicing, which has definitely helped.

You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve cut an extra 500 words off of these since.

Speaking of, 2018 was when I turned 21 and got to enjoy some of the perks of that! Like going to comedy shows at bars. Or meeting up with friends at bars to celebrate things.

Sure, I may have found out I’m not a fan of drinking, but a whole new world of spending time with people has opened up.

Back to the original point though. Putting more effort into my blog has proven fruitful, because as it turns out posting something every day really drives up that website traffic:

Screen Shot 2018-12-31 at 2.26.29 PM

Screen Shot 2018-12-31 at 2.27.08 PM

Can’t wait to see how big that bar gets in 2019 when I hopefully get a whole year of pseudo-daily posts out!

Also on the media front, I finally caved and got a few new gizmos to play with this year. Instagram, Paypal, LinkedIn, Discord…

I don’t know that I’d say any of them have significantly impacted my life per-say, but Instagram and LinkedIn have been interesting insights into the world of photo-based and work-based media.

Ah, did I say the dreaded “w” word? Guess I should talk about that too.

2018 was a bizarre transitional period for work. The spring semester had me stepping down as an editor at the Daily Titan so I could focus on writing for the journalism capstone class.

Some really great articles came out of that, including fun reviews, covering the Sports Clubs Inter-Club Council and this soon-to-be award-winning piece about restaurant gradings around campus.

However, I decided not to return to the paper for the fall semester. Gave more priority to my major and minor classes, knowing graduation is slowly rearing its ugly head.

Quicker than I thought it would be at the beginning of 2018, I should say. A really happy part of the year was finally finding a mentor for my Senior Honors Project and working things out with the program director to graduate on-time rather than needing an extra semester!

On top of that, I won a pretty huge scholarship over the summer and followed that up by receiving a promotion at Gladeo to head the reporter-interns. Not only did I get to do some really cool interviews and stories, I also got to start working on management outside of the school paper.

Also I covered Obama for Boom.

DmmCdVlU0AA4wxI
Enough said.

I suppose that really caps off all the big things I can recall. Sure there were some smaller things like going on my first real date with a girl, cracking open my old desktop and finding some wonderful things and finally shaving my beard for the first time since 2016.

But otherwise that seems like as much fellating myself as I can handle for one year.

So! Here’s hoping even more great things happen in 2019, where it seems I’m slated to finally move past my schooling days and enter the workforce full-time.

Yikes.

Let me know about some of the great things that happened with you this year, with all the negativity buzzing around on TV I’d absolutely love to hear why 2018 was great for people!

Blog Analytics

Blog Analytics

I’m sure it seems a bit narcissistic and self-serving to dedicate a whole post to my own blog’s analytics out of nowhere. Especially considering the last time I did this kind of thing when I hit 100 Twitter followers over the summer, I didn’t have 100 for that much longer.

By now I have some number fluctuating around 110 or so, to be fair.

But that’s beside the point. I assure you that narcissism has nothing to do with this.

If anything, to lampshade myself appropriately, this is just a result of having no idea what to talk about to fill today’s gap.

Otherwise my choices would have been the mandatory internship class orientation I attended today (but it was kind of a waste of time and I already complained about school this week), my fluctuating inner conflict over going to the gym tonight (I decided to just go tomorrow on account of my big lunch food coma™ (thanks Mimi) ) or Fire Emblem Heroes (except the new banner comes out tomorrow, so you’ll have to wait a day for that).

For the reasons I stipulated in the parenthesis up there, I decided not to go with any of the above.

However, while doing some soul-searching and just staring at my blog to try to figure out what I was in the mood to write, I came across something that piqued my interest. In traffic analytics, of all things.

I’ve talked about the analytics that WordPress offers briefly in the past, during my 2018 New Year’s Eve post. In that post I looked at the large overall increase in views from 2016 to 2017 when I got slightly more interested in writing blog stuff.

By the end of this year it’s going to be an even bigger story considering the inherent jump that came from me writing a post just about every day. I’ll get to that story in about a month.

Today, however, I’m looking at more of a small-scale moment in recent history. Recent history meaning approximately two days ago.

I’m sure you all remember the silly post I did with Alyson where we opened a stupid “Wreck it Ralph 2” toy in a faux box opening channel style. Had a lot of fun with that one, it was a goofy little experiment. The video part we made has 20 views on YouTube right now too, which is neat. Especially considering that’s about a third as many views as that Sonic on Apple T.V. video I made for the post of the same topic in July.

Boy I know I said this wasn’t a narcissistic, self-serving post but I sure am calling back to a lot of things, aren’t I?

ANYWAY, all of that was to set up the analytics I noticed from that toy opening post.

Screen Shot 2018-11-20 at 7.19.32 PM

That’s a hell of a sudden spike for that one post.

Sure, we can be cynical and talk about how that’s still only about 40 people when I on average reach about 20 people. But that’s still a 100 percent increase.

I don’t know, I think it’s pretty cool to see.

Plus while I was looking at that, I happened to also briefly look back at the ‘countries’ tab of the analytics. Aly told me she let her friends know that we shot a stupid video, so I wanted to see if it was purely a U.S. demographic that picked up on the post.

What I found was that as of, say, 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 20, 2018, here was the spread of people visiting my blog:

Screen Shot 2018-11-20 at 7.20.27 PM

Mostly the U.S., as I would have thought. But also Taiwan and France!

Don’t know who’s out there reading this blog in Taiwan and France, but I’d be very interested to know how you all perceive the mad ramblings I embark on.

Oh, but that’s not all folks. I didn’t just look at today’s visitation statistics.

I looked at an entire week’s worth:

Screen Shot 2018-11-20 at 7.21.01 PM.png

Check out the diverse spread of yellow. I know those are just one or two people compared to the 81 individuals in America that came in over the last week, but still.

The fact that a stupid, silly blog some college student in Redondo Beach, California rambles into on a whim can reach this kind of international audience continues to astound me. It’s probably the only thing that has really, truly made me care about things like analytics and search engine optimization.

Everything I do on the old blog here I do for me. But seeing the kind of reach my personal business has is just incredible.

Gosh that definitely came out sounding self-serving again didn’t it?

I’m just going to cut my losses and leave things there. Look forward to tomorrow when I write about Fire Emblem again and probably kill all interest in anyone coming back!

Condensation

Once again I’m a bit under the weather. Likely a side effect of the shot I received from the doctor yesterday.

So I don’t have a whole lot of energy to muster up for this blog post, and I won’t be writing too much as a result. Just consider this one of those filler pieces I like to write once in a while to keep myself writing.

That said, my not writing a lot actually strikes me as something thematically appropriate for the subject of the post that I have in mind.

Last night I spent some time over at a bar in Santa Ana as part of a celebratory good bye party for the man who was Editor in Chief of the Daily Titan when I first got there a few years ago, Rudy. He just recently got a new position at NBC working in Philadelphia, so a bunch of people from his time at the Titan threw him a surprise party.

Pretty appreciative that I got looped into the whole thing, considering a big chunk of my journalism career would not have been possible without him and Liz, the Managing Editor at the time, hiring me.

I know that’s a lot to unpack, namely the fact that I was out being social at a bar. Because it’s still kind of a lot to unpack for me as well.

Such a strange sensation to be old enough for social drinking…

If it makes you feel any better, I didn’t drink beyond a few sips of one beer — and that was mostly out of social obligation. Would’ve been rude if I didn’t touch the drink that Spencer got for me.

I was driving however, so I mostly did avoid it.

Spencer actually plays more of a role in this than just the guy who bought me a beer. He was the News Editor that first semester I jumped on the Titan, and I actually attribute a lot of my early college tutelage and growth to the guy. We’ve kept up a good amount since than as well, as he often liked to visit the newsroom whenever he was local reporting on something like City Council.

While we talked at the party, he mentioned reading these posts once in a while (which still frankly shocks me whenever I hear someone I know irl reading these, despite the fact that I literally post them on Twitter and Facebook for that exact reason).

One of his suggestions was trying to be a bit more concise with my blog posts.

It’s something I’ve thought about a bit since I first started up this project, but I usually usher those thoughts away considering it’s a personal blog and I approach it with the mindset of a repository for my thoughts and long-form writing BS.

But maybe it isn’t such a bad idea to try and keep things cleaner around here. That way it’s less of a random dumping place and more of a legitimate writing practice.

So I’m going to be trying that from here on, as best I can. Spencer suggested going for 1,000-1,200 words max, and that seems like a good benchmark.

Granted, I might not hit it with some stuff like my Fire Emblem posts, where a couple hundred words are dedicated to copying their skills out anyway, but we’ll see. Seems like that’s a good place to take this blog next to make it more professional.

That or redesigning it one of these days. Another thing I’ve been putting off for literal years now.

But anyway, thanks a bunch for reading this stuff Spencer, and for having my back. I had a great time catching up with you and a bunch of other folks last night, and I’m glad that I can take a little bit of it forward with stuff like this!

I would post some of the photos of the group that we took last night, but it might be weird for people I don’t talk to very much. So my apologies for the lack of photography accompanying my ramblings today.

Bringing things up-to-date

I’ve been a little bit sparse on content the last couple days, but I’m just chalking that up to the nature of the beast now that school is in full swing.

Just walked out of my three-hour class that actually took three hours this week, and I still have another quiz tomorrow. So I’m not exactly all that free even as I write this short bit up.

But I figured I should put something out there. That something just so happens to be a really, really short little life/work update. Because outside of just doing school things, I’ve also managed to update some of my social medias.

That’s always a fun topic to talk about, right?

Well no matter how you answered that question you’re in luck. If you enjoy talking about social media updates, here we are talking about t! But if you don’t, I’m basically at the end of this post anyway.

The biggest thing I’ve done over the last few days was bring this here blog up-to-date. Finally went through the Daily Titan page to reflect the fact that I’m not on staff this semester, the Gladeo Page to reflect my new position as Managing Editor and the Boom page to add a quick reflection of the fact that part of my work with them is live-tweeting events.

You know. Now that I did that for the Obama thing.

(You can see all of this through the links over on the right, by the way)

I also went onto my LinkedIn and added a portion about my Obama event coverage there. Which was actually kind of cool because I found out you can attach a specific Tweet into your work experience section.

Screen Shot 2018-09-12 at 7.04.41 PM

When you click on the link it opens up as the full Tweet and kinda looks fancy. I promise.

And I like it.

That’s really about all I have to say today, however. Just consider it a short little reminder to myself that yeah, I’m still hoping to do something on here (mostly) every day, and that it doesn’t necessarily have to be the Citizen Kane of blog posts to qualify.

Though tomorrow I may or may not post about my thoughts on the Nintendo Direct I heard is happening, so that should be more exciting.

Look forward to that, if so.

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.

Screen Shot 2018-08-27 at 5.46.18 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2018-08-27 at 5.44.32 PM

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!)

Summer’s end, looking ahead

As we begin the last week of summer vacation, I can feel that vaguely existential dread of having to go back to school start to creep up my back.

Of course there are pluses to school starting. Like having a regular schedule. And being a bit more challenged by novel material every day.

But for the most part it just means driving to Fullerton every day and getting back into the daily grind.

In the lead-up to school starting again, I’ve been busy setting up various and sundry meetings over the next week. From a lunch discussing some Boom stuff today to an afternoon full of Gladeo stuff on Friday, as well as some more time with friends where we can squeeze it in.

Plus, more video games are of course on the docket. Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate may not come out until next week, but I can keep throwing myself at Enter the Gungeon in the meantime.

Not to toot my own horn or anything… But I’ve become quite good at the game. I’ve completed the secret final bosses for two of the six characters just in the last couple days, which is a long way from barely making it past the second boss when I first started.

I could also branch out to try Into the Breach like I’ve been meaning to, but with bigger games coming out soon I’m a little more hesitant about spending money. So we’ll see.

Also new characters are being announced tonight in Heroes based on the second “Choose Your Legends” vote we all took part in some time ago. That’ll probably be my post for tomorrow, as a spoiler.

All of those gaming aspirations are also going to be somewhat sidelined by my desire to start school off like I always do.

Cleaning my room to symbolize the fresh start.

Cliché I know, and not exactly in line with any of those spring cleaning aspirations people seem to have… But what can I say. I’m a creature of habit, and one of those habits happens to be waiting for months in a continually messier room just to hard clean everything during a special occasion.

I don’t know if it’ll be the subject of some kind of blog post like my cleaning streak was a while back, but just know that’s going to be the undercurrent of my life for a while.

The rest of the house will also be getting some kind of facelift in the near future, as it has hit the point where having friends over this Sunday hits a roadblock of my Mom not wanting people to see the mess.

I know this is more of a passing over post again, but once in a while I think it’s good to take things a little easier and just look toward the future.

The future on this platform being, more than likely, a Fire Emblem Heroes post, a post about work stuff with Gladeo at some point, possibly debating my expansion into more social media platforms, maybe something about seeing some old friends who I haven’t gotten the chance to hang with yet this summer and like. School. Probably.

So look forward to all of that!

Updating my Life

Updating my Life

Check out that artsy Featured Image. Pretty great, huh?

Obviously today I’m planning on talking about my social media accounts a little. Any really observant, dedicated readers of this blog will likely remember that my post last night ended with my thoughts regarding updating the descriptions and such on my various accounts.

Those descriptions, everything from profile pages to general life or job details on a site like LinkedIn, haven’t been given a lot of attention in the past. I obviously put some work into them when I first established the social media sites, but my general disinterest in social media overall let to them falling somewhat stagnant.

Which is the reason why I was still listed as a News Editor for the Daily Titan close to a year after I actually technically held that title.

Oops.

That may not have caused any actual problems for me, but recently it has come to my attention that they could cause actual problems. Seeing people I’m looking to interview for Gladeo check my LinkedIn profile, making more extended friends on Twitter, hearing my friend Nina checks out this blog regularly amongst other friends who have expressed that in the past…

These are the kinds of details which helped click in my head the fact that people actually look at my social media pages.

So no matter how much disinterest I express toward them (seeing as I mostly use the pages as signal extenders for these blog posts), I know it’s important to keep them up-to-date. Because important people are looking at them, and I need to put my best foot forward.

My LinkedIn page probably got the most tweaking, as I finally updated some more of my jobs, awards and skills to gain whatever recognition the site decided to bestow upon me for completing my profile. If you want to check that out as my digital resume of sorts, it’s right over here.

Twitter got the second-most revamping with a brand new profile picture (because unfortunately the Frankenstein one was just a little too silly) and an updated bio. Because again, can’t be going around saying I’m a DT editor anymore.

It’s just former editor now, as you can see on my page.

Facebook got the least amount of love because… Frankly, it’s just a mess. I finally replaced my profile photo from like three years ago, added a banner photo of the beach that I love and… That’s about it. One of these days I’ll go through the interests page and my personal information to update it beyond what it was in high school, but that’s a project for another day. The pretty pictures are right through here, though. For anyone curious.

The only site that I haven’t done much of an update to recently is this here blog. As I went through the other three, I started to think that maybe it’s about time I do so.

Like seriously, I haven’t put any kind of profile photo to represent the site as a whole since its inception a few years back. I fielded the idea of commissioning my friend Sam to draw something for a time, but that never really panned out. I could think about doing that again, but considering she just moved to Arizona it might not be the best time.

On top of that there are some sidelined things that could be better put together in my opinion. Like getting rid of the tag cloud. That’s just kind of useless.

Or hey, maybe I should try to come up with some new post categories so it isn’t all just ‘miscellaneous’ or whatever.

That could be a good idea.

I’m still working on some Gladeo stuff and preparing for school to start at the end of the month by working more on my Honors Project, so who knows if I’ll get to updating this place anytime soon.

Just know that it’s something I’ve been thinking about.