Category: Miscellaneous/Unsorted

Turning Twenty-one

Turning Twenty-one

There are a number of milestone ages a person hits as they grow older.

When a child turns one, their parents have the opportunity to gleefully celebrate helping their progeny survive a full rotation around the sun.

When a pre-teen turns 13, in the case of my heritage at least, they get to celebrate a religious coming of age with their bar or bat mitzvah.

When one on the edge of ‘true’ adolescence turns 16, the celebration is said to be sweet.

When that now teenager turns 18, they are endowed with the right to drive, to legally consent to sexual endeavors and to both fight and potentially die for their country.

Then, when 21 rolls around, that young adult rounds out their accumulation of privileges by gaining the ability to drink alcohol. Legally, at least.

There are many more from there on out, be it the exit from academia in the mid-20s, the ‘over the hump’ years of 50 plus or the retirement years starting in… Well, whenever people are able to retire in this day and age. But for all intents and purposes, the important milestone we’re here to discuss is 21.

Because today — February 17, 2018 — is the day that I become a 21-year-old man and receive all of the rights promised by that status. Namely, I’ll get my hands on a driver’s license that is facing the right way (and hopefully take a better photo at the DMV while I’m at it), and I’ll be able to go out drinking with my friends.

Granted… I don’t exactly have a huge desire to go out drinking. My close-knit high school friends don’t really either, though I’m sure my college journalism friends will be chomping at the bit looking to get me out to a bar in Downtown Fullerton to celebrate.

I’ll probably try it, in a controlled situation, just because it would seem like a waste not to take advantage of the opportunity. But like I said, I’m not wide-eyed and excited about drinking, nor do I imagine I’ll be doing it very often.

Beyond that, what else do I have to say about turning 21…

Honestly, it doesn’t feel very different from being 20. I know that’s a cliché that’s thrown around a lot, but it’s true. Really it’s just more of the same as far as my day-to-day life goes.

Still doing the semester grind, with an actually quite busy week ahead of me thanks to midterms. I’m working on a few pieces for the Titan, though they’re more on the back burner thanks to the aforementioned tests and such. Gladeo is still giving me work, though the subjects I’m working with are harder to get in touch with then I’d enjoy.

Oh, but in more positive news, the student-run publication California Connections that I’m head editor on finally got its first writing submission last night. Shows that all the work I’ve been doing to get the word out has paid off at least a little bit!

Plus, I’ve been working with our advisor Bonnie Stewart on preparing a presentation that a few of us are going to be giving with her at an upcoming journalism conference based on our work covering Milo Yiannopoulos. I’m also going to be getting an award at that conference, so it’s really exciting!

Though I don’t have much to say about them at this point. Just stay tuned for it, I suppose.

Pretty recently hit 200 posts here on this blog, right around the same time as we hit the second anniversary of this black hole for my thoughts existing. That’s pretty awesome, I think. Sure some of that content might have been a little same-y and formulaic over this last year in particular, but I think I’ve got some stuff working in my head to mix it up more, so we’ll see if things get more abundant from here on out.

To be completely honest, it might not get much more exciting than what I’ve had up to this point until I’m out of school and have less diverse responsibilities weighing my time down, but even then I’m going to keep working at it. I do enjoy having this repository for my thoughts, after all.

That said, I think I’m kind of out of thoughts to deposit for now. I don’t have much to say in this self-congratulatory twenty-first trip around the sun pat-on-the-back of sorts. I’m just excited to see where things go from here.

I’m hoping you’re just as excited to stick with me on the journey! Here’s to another 21, and then some.

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New Year, Fresh Room

Is it tacky to start off two blog posts in a row with the same kind of title?

While I’ve spent some time working on a few video game-themed posts today that I want to get out this week, I wound up taking a little personal detour. As we begin 2018, I figured why not start the year off right by straightening up my room?

Okay so this is definitely a weird set-up for something to write about, I’ll admit. But I’m not putting together because I want to write about cleaning my room necessarily.

Rather, I’m looking to use this post to fill the sort of secret third purpose of my blog. Outside of archiving my professional work and giving me a space to blather on about video games, I also like to think I’ll be able to one day use this place as a time capsule. You know, look back to see how things were or take inspiration from my past or… I don’t know, anything like that I suppose.

So, why not take a little look at my bedroom as it is now? After all, this point of my life is likely not too far away from the point where I’m going to wind up moving out on my own, abandoning it as a result.

If anyone is interested in seeing the place where I spend most of my time, I guess this is your chance to do so while I feel good about it looking nice. But if not, just know that this one is more for me.

So let’s start out with the place I see the most: My desk.

Overlooking my desk are some nice collectible posters of mine, which you’ll find are a frequent sight in this little tour. Super Mario Galaxy and the region maps for Kalos and Alola are the prime examples here.

There’s also a photo of my high school class up top, opposite the photo I have of my middle school class as a matter of fact. I was pretty proud of the way I laid that out when it first came about.

Some of the most notable things on my desk itself are a Kirby plush bought by my friend Jonathan in Japan and my Rowlet McDonalds toy next to the desktop computer I admittedly don’t really use. There’s also a four-star dragonball that Megan gave me for the holidays in 2016 when we were news editors together, a very dried out flower that I wore at my high school prom, a newton’s cradle that has some written out Pokémon team ideas on top and a piece of quartz that… I don’t remember where I got.

I just really like how it looks, honestly. So its been there for about as long as I can remember.

On the other side of the entryway in is my bed.

The bed itself obviously isn’t much to talk about, but above it are a number of posters and pictures and such. Among them are a map of the Hoenn region, an XKCD webcomic, a table of elements and a Terminator-inspired self portrait I drew for my high school art class.

Oh, and you can see the laundry room outside too.

Meanwhile, in the other corner…

Right now there are some more self-explanatory posters on the leftmost wall, but probably some more interesting things on display for the rest of the space.

I have my original Twilight Princess poster from an issue of Nintendo Power in 2016 – still arguably my favorite Zelda game I might add – and the Pikachu/Mimikyu picture I got for my birthday last year that’s usually up in the Newsroom is currently housed here.

Oh, and I have a signed photo of Yvonne Strahovski, who played Sarah in one of my favorite, seemingly somewhat underrated shows, Chuck.

Gotta go back and watch that again one of these days.

The floor space in that corner is also what I like to call “the piles of no return.” It’s more or less all of the binders I’ve used for different school subjects going all the way back to middle school. I say that I keep them around on the off chance I ever need the information inside again, but frankly I think I just don’t know what to do with it all since throwing it out would be a waste.

In my opinion at least.

Moving on, we get to to the next corner of my room, notably featuring my over-stuffed book shelf and the papasan that winds up being extra storage space rather than a seat more often than not.

From this angle, you can also see the orange hat I wore when I dressed as Willy Wonka for Halloween in 2016, the Porg I got as a secret Santa gift from my assistant Breanna this semester, a piece of artwork I bought of one of my favorite Pokémon Gym Leaders (Roxie, from Black 2 and White 2) and the second half of my school-year class photos. On the opposite side of the room as promised.

A little more interesting to me are some of the things hanging up on the wall here.

The Star Wars poster is pretty self-explanatory, it’s just a cool Star Wars poster.

The two hanging pieces of print, however, are special for their own reasons. The smaller one up top is the first article I ever wrote for the Daily Titan (about an upcoming ‘Pizza with the Presidents’ event) that was framed by my friend Lissete because she’s great. The one below it is actually my first major front page article for the Titan, a story about campus police preparedness following the San Bernardino shooting.

On the other wall, stuck to the closet door, is a painting my friend Tiana made for me showcasing my favorite Pokémon, Gardevoir. There’s a whole set that she made for each of my other friends in our little group too, which is pretty sweet. Above the closet is also also an award I got in 2014 for “Excellence in Newswriting” at a Journalism Education Association Write-Off Competition. Pretty cool stuff.

Oh, and I’m sure some people must have noticed the metal weapons hanging up on the jutting out part of the wall too.

Yeah… I don’t have too much of a story for these. Basically, I’ve been the Anime Expo a couple of times, and one of my favorite things to see there is the video game weapon re-creations with real metal.

So I got myself a Master Sword and a Keyblade. And they look dope.

Next up, around the room’s one window, are my main display sources.

These two pieces of furniture are combined drawer and display spaces, and are obviously part of a set with my desk that are some of the oldest things I own.

The main drawers, with my longtime backpack resting in front of it, has a couple of notable mainstay items, including a collector’s Tanuki Suit Mario figure wearing the special Mickey Mouse ears that I got during our senior end-of-ear trip there in 2015, my high school yearbooks and diploma and my Amiibo collection.

Because yeah, I have a bit of an Amiibo collection.

Don’t ask me how this got to where it is now, because frankly I’m not totally sure. I started with Smash Brothers Link, but enjoyed the display value enough that I kept it boxed, and eventually I got it in my head that I wanted to collect every single Smash Brothers Amiibo to make a nice set.

However, I have neither the space nor the resources to really do that, so for now it’s just a little wall of Amiibo that my sister likes to make fun of me for.

The T.V. cabinet and drawer space has a good amount of collectibles on top of it as well. I have a series of trophies from my time doing chess tournaments back in elementary school that are cool because they’re shaped like chess pieces, I have some goodies themed after my favorite mythical Pokémon Jirachi – including a cardboard art piece that I made in my senior high school art class, I have some Lego builds from some time ago of the Fallingwater building, Obi Wan Kenobi’s ship from the Star Wars prequels (Episode III namely) and of the Space Needle in Seattle.

The last one in particular fits in well with some of the other landmark/history-themed goods, like a model of the White House I picked up during a trip to Washington D.C. for a journalism conference some years back and a Ronald Reagan diorama of sorts dating way back to the days of a President report in elementary school. Still proud of how nice that one looks to this day.

There are a bunch of other things I like to keep out on display which mean a lot to me, but that piece of furniture is also where I keep my yearly calendar. Though I often wind up falling a week or so behind when it comes to changing the month over, it’s definitely helpful to keep it so close by in my main workspace so I can jot down important dates if necessary.

Plus, I always like to have something theming the calendar that keeps me happy. For instance, between 2017 and 2018, I went from this:

To this:

Because how can you ever be truly stressed out when you can just turn your head to the left and see some dogs being adorable?

That just about concludes my tour. I could probably go into more depth about a ton of little items strewn throughout the room, but that would honestly take forever.

I do have stories about a lot of stuff, so who knows. Maybe I’ll get to that another day.

Now, as a final note. Is this the silliest thing I’ve ever written about on my blog? Or the dumbest thing? I’ll leave that up to you likely few viewers out there to decide.

On top of that, as a side final note, if this is me from the future looking at this while going through a small nostalgia trip, I hope you enjoyed it most of all.

That said, I’ll catch everyone next time.

Saying Sayonara to 2017

Saying Sayonara to 2017

Looking back at my 2016 end-of-the-year post before starting this one off was a pretty interesting little experience. Mostly because I reflected on the fact that last year was a pretty universally divisive time with a lot of personal accomplishment that made things worth it all in the end.

This year, I have essentially the same thing to say. Except I would argue that the divisive part of things had been turned up to 11. Plus, while things have been great for me, a lot of things also have not been so great.

Spoiler alert, I’m basically just ready for 2017 to end.

Unlike in last year’s discussion, I won’t go too far into detail about my video game playing experiences this year. I kind of already did it with my top 10 games list the other day, even if that was in order of my personal enjoyment rather than the chronological order I played things.

I’m going to just leave this off as a ‘check that list out here‘ note rather than talking too much more about it, especially since I’m probably going to do a few more video game-centric posts soon enough.

Namely tomorrow when Fire Emblem Heroes New Year units are released.

To cover all of my bases in this post just in case you guys don’t want to look back, just know that I didn’t play nearly as many games as I would have liked this year, and while I thoroughly enjoyed just about everything I did play, it’s a shame I couldn’t have done more due to my time commitments.

Speaking of, those time commitments wound up bookmarking my 2017 more than my video games did in that respect.

The Daily Titan has been the main driving force of that throughout the year. While last spring semester was my first time being an editor for the paper alongside Megan Maxey, I continued on in that role both semesters this year, only getting better and better at the job (in my opinion, at least).

During the fall semester, I worked together with Sarah Wolstoncroft – who had been one of my amazing assistants the semester before. Then this last semester, I worked together with Brandon Pho – who again had been one of my amazing assistants the semester before. Amazing how that pattern works out in the smaller College-level news industry, especially when you’re one of the younger starting people in the room to observe it.

Looking back at my archive, I’ve written a total of 40 stories between these last two semesters combined. That’s a lot of writing, even kind of overwhelming to think back to considering everything else I balanced, and there are some of them I’ll probably never forget working on.

A couple of articles were really serious last minute things I’ve had to do, such as our reporting the night of the Las Vegas shooting. A couple of them have been little passion projects for things like video games, such as my reviews of the Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga remake and Fire Emblem Heroes. I’ve even done a few things I never quite expected to do at this point in what is a burgeoning career, like writing entire articles off of my phone while translating documents at Downtown Disney. The policies put into place by President Donald Trump, as well as things like the CSU-wide tuition increase, played big parts in the overarching issues we covered.

However, I think the stories I especially won’t forget are the massive projects I helped lead during my time as an editor.

During the spring came the work we did on Homeless in OC, a series that blossomed out of the Daily Titan advisor Bonnie Stewart’s Investigative Reporting class where I got to participate in the all night Point-In-Time count and do extended research into the Anaheim shelter system, particularly under Mercy House.

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Spring was also the semester of the Eric Canin incident that shook up Cal State Fullerton. For those who don’t remember, at an anti-Trump rally early on in the year, an anthropology professor reportedly struck a member of the College Republicans club as both the protest and counter-protest made their way through campus. There wound up being many months worth of stories to follow as a political shitstorm erupted over the altercation, eventually resulting in the Professor coming back to teach as the verdict came out that he did strike the student, but there were enough caveats to the moment given it was his first offense that no harsh action was taken outside a few month’s suspension. That last story in particular was special for me in that our Chief Communications Officer Jeffrey Cook reached out specifically to give us information ahead of time so I could write a substantial story over the summer wrapping things up.

Part of the Canin story involved me growing a close relationship with members of the College Republicans club, which was extra useful come the fall semester when I got to be the lead reporter in our work on Milo Yiannopoulos coming to CSUF.

Granted, that whole experience did kind of wreck my Halloween this year, but the aspect of working on and learning from such a high-controversy story was something I wouldn’t change for the world.

Plus, I got to be on NPR because of it, so I definitely can’t complain about that.

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The fall semester was also bookmarked by dealing with (current) University President Mildred Garcia. I got to be part of the team that did an interview with her toward the beginning of the semester, and I was also the person that covered the fact that she would be leaving at the end of the semester. In my opinion, it’s never a bad thing to build a good reputation with the higher-ups in an organization. Makes it easier to do things like get comments down the line.

Those big stories weren’t the only things that made this such a hard-working year for me. I also kept on with Dr. Jason Sexton as a part of Boom, which led to me becoming the inaugural editor for an offshoot publication called California Connections in the spring. That project did get off the ground, but most of the work in creating a publication is going to flourish in 2018, so stay tuned for that.

I also started on probably my first major internship over the summer by joining a non-profit organization called Gladeo. Gladeo’s goal is to create a database of business profiles and job descriptions that can all be in one place and help students decide what they want to do for a living. A pretty noble goal, and one that I likely would have benefitted from if I haven’t found my place as a Journalist.

Even if certain other events (that I’ll go into in a bit) got in the way of working hard for that group over the spring semester as well, I’m sticking on with them too and will continue to produce profiles as the organization revamps its web presence in the early months of this upcoming year.

There are still a few interviews I did with people who work at DreamWorks animation that I have to pull together into articles… But I will get around to that soon enough.

Among my journalistic ventures this year, I also got to do some cool things like visit the LA Weekly office. It was a great place and I got to meet some cool people as a result… It’s just too bad they were given a bad break just a few months later. It’s a shame, really. Especially since we know people who worked there personally.

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On top of that, I’ve also had a few other fun trips throughout the year. Revisiting Old Fort MacArthur Days comes to mind, as does events I’ve taken part in at places like The Autry Museum. Plus, I got to go to the Fox studio lot for a movie screening – though I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures there, unfortunately.

Being a journalist is only half of my professional moniker, however. The other half is being a student, and I have to say that my classes have been quite enjoyable this year… For the most part.

During the fall I took California Government and got a wider understanding of just how crazy things are in the old Golden State I’ve grown up in. I also took Primate Anthropology, which gave me a pretty deep appreciation of our mammalian ancestors that I never exactly expected to care so much about. My aforementioned Investigative Reporting class allowed me to work with Bonnie and other members of The Daily Titan and journalism majors in general to do some really fascinating and personally perspective-changing research into Homeless populations. Finally, I also thoroughly enjoyed my honors class, which delved into the history of the modern world from a deep perspective, offering in part some really interesting connections to today’s political and social workings.

When spring came along, for some reason I decided to kill myself further by kicking things up a notch and taking five classes.

I coincided my work on California Connections with an internship class out of the English college under the instruction of our internship advisor in Communications, since I was able to get extra credits toward my degree despite not being able to take the Comm-focused internship. Beyond that, I picked up my minor in psychology and jumped right in with a Statistics course (with its corresponding lab) and a course in Developmental Psychology. Both were undoubtedly great entry points into the minor… Even if I admittedly was not the strongest stats student, at least in part due to the fact that I wasn’t a huge fan of my professor. However, my Multimedia Journalism class under Bonnie once again gave me a great opportunity to practice doing video journalism, which at one point helped me bolster my working relationship with the Project Rebound program on campus, and my Junior Honors Colloquium course began me down the journey of preparing for my inevitable Senior Honors project.

Plus, I was in the same class as the president of the College Republicans club, which made things vastly easier to keep up on the Milo coverage than it otherwise could have been.

Sheesh, just writing all of that out was a bit exhausting. Like a lot of people have asked me in the past, I too kind of question how I’ve been able to do all of this with enough competency not to necessarily fall on my ass in any of it.

Who knows, maybe I’m just a bit better at this whole life thing than I give myself credit for.

Despite this wealth of academic and real-life opportunities that have flourished for me over the last year, not everything in 2017 has been all sunshine and rainbows.

Namely, health has been a major concern for my family all throughout.

A lot of the beginning of the year focused on some of my dad’s diabetic complications, which led to him being off his feet for a long, long time due to the introduction of a number of foot surgeries into his life. Luckily, he’s way better now and did not have to go through anything seriously traumatic, so he’ll be apt to tell you that the big take-away from it all was the ease that comes from now having a handicap permit.

My mom and sister also went through their own little arcs, the prior dealing with bronchitis and badly scraping up her knees and the latter dealing with tendinitis that has minorly inconvenienced her blossoming career in music.

However, the other big medical complication of the year came from one other than yours truly.

I haven’t exactly talked about this little chapter of my life too publicly because it was a very personal thing, but at this point I’m well past the blunt of it and figure now would be as good a time as ever to recount the details for posterity.

During a blood test as part of my routine check-up in September, the doctor found that my blood platelet count was abnormally, if not dangerously low. When that result continued to show itself, I was sent to a Hematologist, where we tried a number of treatments to resolve the issue, such as taking steroids over a long period of time in hopes of correcting what was believed to be a potential issue with an overactive immune system.

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When that didn’t show as promising a result as expected, I instead took part in an Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IvIG) treatment. After two days worth of a number of hours sitting in a chair, I wound up being in the lucky .01 percent minority that suffered from aseptic meningitis as a result of the treatment.

It was a viral form of the problem, which meant it wasn’t nearly as serious, life-threatening or contagious as a potential bacterial strain would have been. However, I landed in the hospital for a couple days as a result.

On the one hand, I will admit that it was kind of nice getting a reprieve from the world and some quiet time to catch up on work while I was there. Though, on the other hand, it obviously put a wrench in… Basically everything. Even after I got out of the hospital, where I got to try a bunch of new things like a spinal fluid tap, there was at least a week afterward that I still had to rest at home and couldn’t look in the light for more than a few minutes.

Once my life began to normalize again, I was still a little fuzzy-headed for a while, but eventually I got to a comfortable place again, where I continue to stay today.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that my blood platelet count normalized perfectly after the IvIG (a rather ironically perfect twist of fate I’d say), the number has fallen back down since. It’s an issue I might be dealing with for the rest of my life as things go, but for now I can happily report that things are going fine.

That long, drawn-out experience which interrupted a part of my 2017 was only one part of why I’d say things were so rough. Among them were the echo chamber of news that I now tend to subject myself to as a semi-professional journalist.

I don’t like to get very political on my blog here. Or anywhere, in fact. My whole choice in career is built upon the ideal that I should simply be a reporter of things, as objective as possible about as many things as possible. So, I’ll leave it at this. Watching things happen in the world of national politics that I don’t agree with has been a constantly draining force in 2017, especially given that it seems to be all we hear about day-in and day-out for months on end.

Though as usual things like video games and time with my friends are a great escape from that endless grind, as I mentioned before I’ve found myself busier than ever with the work that keeps me immersed in that world, so it’s been a fairly relentless cycle.

Even with all the negativity that has defined 2017 for me, however, I can’t help but continue to look optimistically into the future.

2018 has some big projects in the works, such as the hopefully successful publication of California Connections toward the end of this spring semester.

On top of that, I’m going to be working as a staff member of The Daily Titan through the journalism concentration capstone class, Comm 471. Alongside that opportunity for a break from the hard-working job of editorial board that I’ve hammered at for the last year-and-a-half, I’m also going to hopefully be an assistant on a more feature-focused desk to give me a better grasp of the newspaper as a whole.

Past that, 2018 should hopefully be a year where I find myself less downtrodden by things like medical concerns. With a Nintendo Switch in my possession for the whole year ahead, it should also be a good opportunity to try even more games should I find the time to do so.

As I like to get meta with this site as well, I’ve put together 103 posts throughout this year (this one included), and I’ve gotten a good chunk more views in the process.

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I’m looking forward to watching this little passion project of mine grow about as much as everything else, since it really has developed into something I enjoy doing. One thing I’d like to do in the coming year is hopefully diversify what I post just a bit more, but we’ll see what my time permits.

Lastly, for now at least, 2018 will also be the year that I turn 21. A typically sought-after time where I’ll finally be able to round-out the governmental privileges of adulthood like drinking. Though I don’t plan to do a whole lot of that, I admit I am looking forward to a certain sense of prestige that comes with it.

If you have any favorite, or I suppose not-so-favorite memories from 2017, feel free to let me know about them in the comments section. I’m hoping it’s been an overall happier year for all of you out there than it has been for me, since I’m just about ready to leave everything behind for something better around the corner.

Here’s to a Happy New Year for everyone who continues to stick around on this little journey I call my life!

The Daily Titan’s romp through the lights

The Daily Titan’s romp through the lights

I had a really great time tonight strolling through a few blocks of Christmas-decorated houses with a few members of this semester’s Daily Titan staff at the invitation of our advisor Bonnie.

(From left to right) Our Editor in Chief Zack, me, our Copy Editor Kyle – who will be our Editor in Chief in the spring I might add, our Managing Editor Harrison behind him, our Sports Editor Kat, our Layout Editor Tracy and Zack’s boyfriend Jose all had a wonderful time together wandering the rather well-lit streets.

At least I assume we all had a good time together. Obviously I can’t speak for everyone, but I’d like to believe everyone enjoyed themselves.

Of course, we were also joined by Bonnie’s angel of a dog Cokie, who I believe she said is 16 years old.

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What a freaking trooper she is. Even if she wouldn’t look at my camera for a photo from her stroller, which is honestly one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen.

But I’ll let it slide because she’s the best.

I figure I should add that when the event was first getting started, Harrison and I were the only ones who arrived, and we had the chance to decorate Bonnie’s home a little bit for the holidays.

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I said it in a twitter post when this first happened, but I think we set up a nice, appealing scene for a couple of guys who aren’t super visual people.

Plus, Tracy gave us a seal of approval, so we must have done something right.

We also had dinner together before the walk, with lasagna, salad, bread and coffee cake I brought (made by Aly I later found out). Plus sparkling cider. You can never go wrong with a nice glass or two of sparkling cider.

Especially given I don’t drink wine, or any alcohol for that matter, I’m sticking to that.

But of course, the highlight of the night post-story telling over the dinner table was the walk. I took pictures of everything, so I figured it would be worth sharing them here for anyone who wanted to see some great decorations:

It really was a blast, and a great send-off for this semester’s run of the Titan.

Plus, when we got back, Bonnie had made us chocolate chip and pecan cookies, which we sat around and ate while the Sound of Music was on.

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Really, all and all it was a wonderful night. Although Zack won’t be coming back next semester, I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone else on a regular basis once we get into the swing of things after the new year.

Oh, but don’t even get me started on the inconveniences coming home from the party.

I won’t dwell on it for too long, but there were two lane off-ramps I usually use that were closed, and on my alternative route down the 405 freeway, there was a 20 minute parking lot after an accident that closed down like 4 lanes. Talk about a nightmare.

In other words, I meant to put this post up sooner, but unfortunately didn’t get home until later, so… Enjoy this midnight release of Jason having a nice time with his friends. Be sure to join me tomorrow morning for Fire Emblem Heroes, which I luckily had the foresight to start earlier on so I won’t have to be up all night writing it.

Hopefully.

My current hiatus and updated article archive

From the state of this blog currently, I imagine some of you think that I totally dropped off the grid and lost my way in the world of Pokémon, never to return to this mortal realm.

That’s not totally inaccurate, honestly.

However, Ultra Moon isn’t the only thing that’s been taking up my time. Yeah, I have been spending extra time carefully combing through it than usual, absorbing everything that’s different from the original games (something I’m sure I’ll talk about eventually), but my Thanksgiving Break had a good amount more to it.

  • I cleaned my room for the first time since the summer, which was a great personal accomplishment. It seriously needed it.
  • I got ahead on a bunch of assignment for school, including a video project I had to come to campus to work on despite it being a week off.
  • I had a lovely Thanksgiving feast at my Aunt’s house, along with a few of their family friends (including a particularly interesting Egyptian man who had to escape as a refugee during the Arab Spring crisis, super cool guy).

There were also a few things I’m sure, but honestly those were the major highlights I can think of, since the rest was relaxing and catching up on some much needed sleep.

One thing I didn’t do that I had wanted to was write a few personal or more fun things here on my blog. I’ve been sitting on an idea for a Duel Links topic that’s been mulling over in my head for a few months, there’s some stuff for Gladeo and my work with Boom I’ve wanted to update for a long time and I figure it might be fun to do a ‘what I want for the holidays’ list given that Hannukah starts on Dec. 12 this year.

But I just never got around to it. Unfortunately, I might not have that much time to get to it in the near future either, since these last two weeks of the semester are going to be rather hectic with projects and exams. So, I at least wanted to put out something quick now to mention that things are probably going to be quiet for a bit.

… Unless I publish a story, of course. Or wind up having a 3 a.m. Fire Emblem Heroes binge again, which may end up happening soon with some big things on the horizon there.

Speaking of publishing stories, I actually wound up writing three articles just before Thanksgiving Break began. I meant to write something talking about it earlier, but like I said… Being lazy and forgetful came along with my relaxation.

Figured at the very least I should give the articles a little lightning round now in case anyone is curious:

  1. My friends at Project Rebound invited me to a luncheon celebrating a new donor and bringing in the holiday spirit after I started working on my multimedia class final profile on the program director, Romarilyn. It was a nice little event that I wound up writing about because we needed the space filled. You can check that article out here.
  2. On the same night that I wrote about Project Rebound, there was a four-car collision outside of the College Park building. I was the only news desk representative in the room, so I was sent out to cover it. It didn’t wind up being a super weighty story, but we got comments from the police so it was something. At the very least, it was an interesting experience doing two deadline stories in one night. You can check that article out here.
  3. The day after writing the last two articles, we got an email from Chief Communications Officer Jeffrey Cook letting us know that the school had tallied up how much Milo Yiannopoulos’ visit cost them through things like security. I talked with him and University Police Captain Scot Willey to find out exactly how it all broke down and wrote up a nice, meaty little story about it that night. However, I wasn’t done yet, as I still wanted to get comments from the Vice President of Administration and Finance Danny Kim (since he was the guy every other source pointed me to). I managed to get in touch with him, so we updated that article the Friday before break with more detail. I even got my hands on his personal number for future use and found out that his office really liked the original article I wrote. Felt really good, honestly. You can check out that article here.

As usual, if you want to see my full archive of work for the Titan, you can look over on the right.

For now, I’m going to go back to work, since we’re on our first post-break deadline. Like I said, I just wanted to basically let the world know that I might not be all too active for the next couple weeks.

If anything, you can maybe check out my Twitter for a little more activity. I’ve been trying to do more there, and recently that’s included doing some Pokémon posts as I make my way through the game. So, you can see such gems as:

And:

Maybe that sort of thing strikes your fancy, but if not I swear I’ll be back on a more active post schedule come Winter Break with some hopefully interesting content. Probably.

My shift break at the Autry Museum

My shift break at the Autry Museum

With the panic over President Trump DACA in full swing, it has been a rather crazy day for us Daily Titan reporters. However, the fruits of that labor are quite sweet if I do say so myself, and I’ll undoubtedly be talking more about it tomorrow.

But for now that’s neither here nor there. It deserves its own spotlight and this isn’t the place for it.

Instead, tonight I wanted to highlight a cool little event I got to attend in the midst of all the craziness. One of the benefits of working with Dr. Jason Sexton on Boom has been the opportunity to attend neat things he pulls together.

In this case I got to go to the Autry Museum of the American West for a late night talk discussion between Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold and California State University, Long Beach Sociologist Oliver Wang.

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(Left to right) Jonathan Gold and Oliver Wang talk at the Autry Museum in a discussion moderated by Jason Sexton and overseen by an Autry representative.

The two discussed a range of issues regarding food culture and gentrification in Chinatown with a degree of depth and sociological intrigue that I rarely consider when thinking about food. It was frankly fascinating to listen to, and having the break from the newsroom was nice amid the stress. Though I do feel like I spent more time on the road going to and from Fullerton since the Museum was about an hour away…

I was also a little bit distracted the whole time I was at the event, as I was on call with the DT to help my co-editor Brandon work on the big DACA article. Not only did I read the piece he was assembling from the elements we put together to edit it, I also helped with some last minute elements, including a rather serendipitous interview.

On that note, I do mean it when I say I had arguably the biggest moment of serendipity I’ve ever experienced as a reporter.

While staking out the center for DACA students on campus, I was also trying to get a hold of the Dean of the Library to get a statement about the center’s position in the library and whether that has been endangered.

I missed him a number of times at his office while he ran back and forth between meetings, and by the time I had to leave to make it out to the Autry Museum he was already out of the office for the day. So, I left him a message to call me and brought along a recording device for the (almost an hour and a half) drive to the Autry from CSUF hoping he would get in touch.

He did, but as it turned out the recorder I borrowed was out of battery life.

It turned out that the Dean left CSUF early because he was going to the exact same event I was. After all, the event was being moderated by Boom, which is operated out of the Pollak Library. We both found it rather funny that the meeting I was hoping to avoid interrupting on his schedule happened to be the same one I was also attending.

Once I had that interview together I was able to show off the true benefits of being a reporter in the 21st century. I used my iPhone as a personal hotspot to upload the audio recording to gmail so I could send it back to the newsroom for transcription and implementation into the story. It even wound up being a big chunk of it too, so it was a worthwhile grab.

After all was said and done, I also had time to come back to the newsroom to help finish our shift. As a matter of fact, I’m writing this very post from there. I don’t know, something about the whole exchange just stands out in my head as being really cool.

While that story I’ll be able to tell about going to the event was certainly one thing I’ll always remember, it also held a rather important distinction as being something I was able to share with my Dad. When I first RSVP’d to go, Mom had told me that he was a fan of Jonathan Gold’s work. So, I snagged two spots and managed to slip the time off onto his work schedule.

Even though it was short-term and I went straight into a 40-minute drive back to work right after, the fact that I was able to spend some time with my Dad at an interesting and cool event at a place neither of us had been to was awesome. I feel like I so rarely get the chance to thank him for everything he has done for me growing up taking him to a new experience like this was great, even if I was half-working the whole time.

Plus, it gave him the chance to meet Dr. Sexton, who has probably become my mentor for a solid 1/3 of my education experience at least. I liked being able to see that happen.



Editor’s Note: Because of how busy we’ve been putting our pages together, this post is actually being finished much later than I anticipated it would be. Thus, my issues with typing up temporal moments regarding ‘tonight’ or ‘tomorrow’ or whatnot are likely more than apparent. Hopefully it all makes sense.

I also feel like I started to sound very repetitive… But that could be attributed to just being tired and criticizing my work too heavily. So I think I’ll leave it as is and come back to things later if I need to. In the meantime, I need to go get some sleep because there’s a lot of stuff going on tomorrow.

Or today technically. You know what I mean.

Sick days and trading card games

Sick days and trading card games

I haven’t been feeling so hot today, so most of my morning and afternoon has been spent sleeping.

However, the part of my day that hasn’t been spent sleeping (or writing this, to be fair) has been spent taking a little trip down memory lane. After getting my friend addicted to Duel Links – you’re welcome by the way, Sam – she dug up some of her old physical Yu-Gi-Oh! cards.

So I did the same thing:

Turns out these things weren’t quite as deeply buried in my closet as I thought they were. Though clearly I was not all that organized when I played Yu-Gi-Oh! some time ago, as I left the cards in my box in utter disarray.

Obviously that meant it was time to spend the next hour or so looking through what cards I have and organizing them for potential future use.

The first step I took when approaching the problem of sorting such a large, disorganized collection was splitting them into cards I recognize from my time playing Duel Links vs. cards that were completely new to my current understanding of the game.

Piles of cards from Duel Links (left) vs. Cards not in Duel Links (right)

This first step was eye-opening in a number of ways. For one thing, it helped to show me just how many cards I own – which is way more than I expected honestly. I know I was really into the cards at one point, but I didn’t realize I spent this much money buying packs and such.

Going through each and every one of the cards I own also gave me a bit of a deeper appreciation both for Duel Links and for the time I spent playing the game as a kid.

When I was younger, I collected Yu-Gi-Oh! cards but honestly never had any idea how to play the game. Outside of watching the original anime series or playing what I remember to be a dumb Yu-Gi-Oh!-based game for the Gamecube, I never spent too much extra time actually learning the rules for how everything works in the card game.

In fact, I distinctly remember having a Yu-Gi-Oh!-themed birthday party one year in elementary school where my friend Chris Beattie brought over some instructional video so my group at the time could watch it, learn the game and actually play with our cards the proper way.

We never did, since I also remember the rest of us rejecting the idea in place of playing more of that dumb Gamecube game. Part of me wonders if I would have stuck with the game more consistently if we had learned way back then, but I suppose that delves into endless Butterfly Effect territory that I’m not really here to analyze.

Now that I do understand how the game works, I honestly appreciate the sheer complexity of how everything works so much more. There are plenty of cards in my left-hand piles that I actually use on a daily basis in Duel Links, so knowing that I had them way back when I didn’t even understand the rules is kind of mind-boggling.

On top of that, the size of my collection on the right-hand side, all the cards that aren’t currently in the mobile game, blows my mind just in that there’s so much more potential for the game to grow. I’m sure I don’t even have a decent percentile of all the cards that have ever been put into production, and in a way that makes me excited to see more cards added to the mobile game so I can learn how they all interact and create cool decks.

Once I finished separating my cards once, I decided to do it a second time into six different categories: Normal Monsters, Effect Monsters, Ritual Monsters (and Ritual Spells), Fusion Monsters, Spell Cards and Trap Cards.

Oh, and I also separated out the instructional manuals and play mats:

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Made them into a cute little triangle. Because why not?

I could have been way more specific and deep with my divisions, splitting up the monster cards by type and attribute or splitting up the spell cards by type, for example. But I’m still pretty tired, so I decided not to go quite that deep. Maybe I’ll take things a step forward in the future.

So for now, I’ve left things at this:

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Major categories with brand new dividing cards. Far more pleasing to the eye and easy to identify than what I had originally. Originally, the best I could comprehend was that Sanga of the Thunder was sitting on top of everything else on the right side.

Real helpful, past me.

Speaking of Sanga of the Thunder, one thing I found while sorting through my cards was that I seemed to be ready to play the Paradox Brothers-themed deck well before I knew that was a themed deck to play.

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The only thing I’m missing is a Gate Guardian card. If I had that, I could probably build a pretty cool deck with these cards and whatever else I have buried away.

This isn’t the only cool set of cards I was able to find in my collection.

Here’s some Red-Eyes and dragon-related cards that I was able to find. Red-Eyes Darkness Dragon was actually one of the first things I saw, and I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t be willing to shell out money to get copies of it in Duel Links to use for myself. It looks absolutely amazing.

I also wouldn’t complain about having three copies of Stamping Destruction in the game, since it’s a pretty hard to get Ultra Rare card.

But oh well, I’ll get there eventually. In the meantime, check these out:

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These three Sphinx cards look wicked and have some crazy effects. These three and the Red-Eyes Darkness Dragon are definitely the cards I’m really hoping these show up in Duel Links so I can use them.

A bunch of the cards I found have strong sentimental value just from being iconic in the anime. Swords of Revealing Light definitely hit me the hardest, though I can’t deny that the old school art for Dark Magician is seriously wicked.

You could apparently get this old version of Dark Magician in Duel Links if you were playing at a certain point, but I was not playing at the time. So… Oh well. Missed opportunity for me there I suppose.

Also, while we’re on the subject of those cards, I apparently have a wide breadth of cards Yugi Muto used:

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I build all sorts of decks with these cards nowadays, so it ties into the idea of knowing I had them way back when and respecting them that much more now.

Another good example of cards I’m using now comes in an actually very relevant form.

When I found A Legendary Ocean in my collection, I couldn’t help but laugh hysterically. The deck I’m showing on the right was actually just built yesterday when I began to grind Mako Tsunami up to lv. 40. The timing of that specific card showing up right after I pulled together something to showcase that card is just too perfect.

Some of the more interesting cards I have are those printed in foreign languages.

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I have no idea why I have cards in any languages other than English, since I don’t really speak any languages other than English and a few sentences in Mandarin. It’s strange, as I have way more than the two I’m showing above. Yet, I don’t think it’s necessarily bad. If anything, it makes these cards a little bit more unique.

In other interesting card print differences come these ‘magic’ cards:

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I’m so used to just calling these ‘spell’ cards that seeing ‘magic’ instead really caught me off guard. I suppose that’s just what they used to be called or something. Having the cards written like this is probably more valuable as a result, I’d think.

Also speaking of unique, valuable cards, I had a good set of highly coveted prismatic print cards hidden away just ready to be rediscovered.

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The title for my favorite prismatic card definitely goes to Nightmare Penguin.

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Seriously, just think about it. First things first, its name is Nightmare Penguin. That’s incredible in its own right. The art doesn’t disappoint either, evoking images of Oswald Cobblepot in the best possible way. On top of that the card has a pretty cool ability and nice defense for a four star monster.

So basically I lied earlier when I said I just wanted to see the Red-Eyes monster and the sphinx monsters in Duel Links. I want to see Nightmare Penguin get added too, Konami.

Finally, I also found my prized Egyptian God Cards: Obelisk the Tormentor and Slifer the Sky Dragon.

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Or, at least, they were some of my most prized possessions at one point in time. I remember shelling out extra at card shops to get these and having week-long arguments with my Yu-Gi-Oh!-playing friend group over whether or not they were legitimate or not.

I always adamantly argued they were real, of course.

However… Now that I’m older and looking at them next to the rest, I have to admit that they look pretty fake. It’s a shame when considering how much I stood by them growing up, but honestly it’s not all that unexpected.

Oh well, either way I’ll still have the memories with these being wicked cool. They still look pretty rad too, so I’ll be happy to show them off for the sake of those memories at least.


I know this medium of talking about things after the fact with screenshots and some text isn’t necessarily the most dynamic way of experiencing these sorts of things, but I hope you all enjoyed going through these old Yu-Gi-Oh! cards as much as I did! Obviously I didn’t show off all of them, since that would probably take a few years, but the highlights are great either way.

Since I’m so into Duel Links and talk about it here on occasion, I figured these real card memories would be a nice thing to share on here as well.

Even if my rambling might be a little more incoherent than usual since I’m not feeling great.

Just in case it did bug some of you, I’ll leave things off on this note. Some of my favorite ‘funny text’ cards:

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Oh I’m sorry, what was that? You say there was a piece of Exodia slipped into that small slideshow somewhere?

A piece of Exodia not chucked into the ocean by Weevil Underwood?

Huh… Strange.

#1pieceof5 #humblebrag

Old Fort MacArthur Days: A day of fun, sun and guns for the whole family

Old Fort MacArthur Days: A day of fun, sun and guns for the whole family

Who are these beauties you see above the title here? Why, that’s me and my little sister Alyson, dressed in 1940’s era attire. Both of us outside, at that. What could possibly bring us outside the comfort of our home on such a wonderful afternoon?

Plenty of things, actually. It was a really nice afternoon.

But in this case specifically, we were out and about with my good friend Sam at Old Fort MacArthur Days. Held at its namesake, Fort MacArthur in San Pedro, and spilling into the nearby Korean Friendship Bell, Old Fort MacArthur Days is an annual event where tons of people gather for a weekend to put on their finest displays of historically accurate military and era-specific gear so they can reenact events and educate the public.

Those are essentially the two major selling points of the experience. It’s huge in scale with tons of antiques and goods to sell, and each group has people manning the station that are veritable experts in the field they represent. You can stand around and ask the people in dress anything about the time period they’re dressed for and they’ll more than likely have the answer – and then some.

It’s a hard experience to explain for those who haven’t been, but my family has been going on and off for a long time now, as it’s definitely worth going as much as possible.

One thing the event suffered from this year was a blazing hot sun. For as entertaining as everything was, it was torture standing out in the open for the reenactments and listening to the representatives of the different eras. I can’t imagine what it must have been like standing around in heavy armor or old fashioned dresses and such.

Even without bulky clothing, I still managed to burn the hell out of myself out there. You can even tell in the featured image here, the back of my neck is red as it gets. As a result, I’ve been pretty exhausted and uncomfortable most of the afternoon, which is partially why it took until almost midnight to get something out about an event that ended at 4:00 p.m.

Because I’m still exhausted and also fairly lazy, I’m going to take the easy way out on this one and post a slideshow with all the cool pictures I got of all the booths so everyone can get something of an idea of what the event is like.

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If you like the kind of stuff you see here, I can assure you it’s an even better experience in person. Seriously, I wholeheartedly can’t recommend Old Fort MacArthur Days enough, and implore whoever can go to go next year.

If not for the scale and the educational value, at least for the glorious anachronisms.

Ben Franklin hanging out with Teddy Roosevelt? It’s there. Revolutionary soldiers calling for the death of a fallen gladiator? Got that. Roman children checking out World War II rifles as women in puffy colonial-era dress wander in the background? You know it.

Undoubtedly incredible.



I wanted to add an aside here at the end saying that I also have some pretty great videos showcasing some of the weapon demonstrations, a gladiator fight, the Civil War battle and a cowboy skit.

However, I haven’t been able to get it in a format where I can upload the videos easily yet. It’s actually part of the reason I’ve taken so long to write this, as a matter of fact. Until I figure that out I’m going to leave this here as a reminder that I’ll be adding them in once I do.

Another year older, 20 years in

If I had any sense of comedic timing, I would’ve figured out that a year ago I should have waited a few extra days to create my blog so I could coincide that birthday with my really for real birthday today.

Oh well.  Water under the bridge I suppose.

And water everywhere for that matter, since the sky has opened up here in Southern California.

​To be completely honest, rain on my birthday is a bit of a tradition at this point.  My parents still love to tell the story about how my first birthday was washed out by a typhoon.

Enough thinking about the past though, because now that I’m 20 years old and officially no longer a “teen,” it’s time I start thinking ahead to the future.

The first thing I find myself thinking of is whether or not it seems conceited to be writing myself a post about my own birthday.  Like sure, it’s my blog and everything, but it still feels strange.  

I’m not even entirely sure what to say past reflecting a little on my hopes that 20 will be a great year for me, just like 19 was.

Maybe it would be easier to think of things I’ll miss now that I’m another year older.  If I had to pick one thing about being under 20 that I’ll miss… 

It would be no longer getting meal discounts.

Was this whole post just an excuse to fit this surprisingly well placed joke out there? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes.

Rest In Peace oh great deal of the century

Valentine’s Day 2017

Valentine’s Day 2017

For a soon to be 20-year-old bachelor on Valentine’s Day, it helps to remember the small things that make what would otherwise be something similar to every other day into something more special thanks to that spirit of love in the air.

Like staying up into the early hours of the morning reading a book about one of the worst workplace disasters in American history.

Or taking a quiz about said awful tragedy.


Or eating pizza while doing homework, studying Bonobos for my primate class.


(I bet those Bonobos are jealous they don’t have pizza like this, I tell you what)

Playing Fire Emblem Heroes even seems to be just a touch more romantic, I’d say.


… Yeah.

Oh, here’s something more in line with the holiday.  Earlier today at a guest speaker I went to for my Investigative Reporting class, I found out that Burger King is doing a sex toy giveaway at certain stores.  Which is…

Well, kind of incredible to see actually being a thing that’s happening, to be completely honest.

I also got to spend a few hours with a couple of my buddies from the newsroom at a Super Smash Bros. tournament in the Titan Student Union, which was a lot of fun!

My buddy Kyle playing. Don’t think he knows I got this picture, but I’m sure he won’t mind.

I even made it to the third round of the main tournament.

Granted, I made it because of two other players disqualifying, and then lost bad because I didn’t get to practice those first two rounds, but still.

Did alright in the loser’s bracket at least.  I actually got in some decent games there.

… Okay, so for me, it really was just a day like any other.  But hey, hopefully your Valentine’s Day was great, since I’m always a bit of a sucker for a good romance deep down.

Though if you’re just planning on having a good Singles Awareness Day like I will, that’s awesome too.