Category: Miscellaneous/Unsorted

Carrie Fisher – Rest In Peace 

Image courtesy of NBC News

So obviously I don’t do this kind of thing a lot, but as a fan of just about all things geek, this feels especially poignant to at least mention.

After suffering a heart attack last Friday on a flight from London to Los Angeles, 60-year-old Hollywood Actress Carrie Fisher died at 8:55 a.m. this morning, Dec. 27, 2016, according to the New York Times.  Though it’s hard to imagine anybody has not seen at least one branch of the legacy it spawned, her most renown claim to fame came from playing Princess Leia Organa in the 1977 phenomenon “Star Wars.”

Though playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise from Episode 4 in ’77 to Episode 7 in 2015 (with somewhat of a cameo in the Episode 3 to 4 transitional film Rogue One that came out earlier this month) has been her most famous role, Carrie Fisher also has at least 110 other credits for either acting, writing, producing and performing in various movie and television appearances, according to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB).  Fisher has also written a number of books, including a recent memoir titled The Princess Diarist published on Nov. 22, 2016.

In a year which has also seen the deaths of quite a few other highly acclaimed celebrities, including Prince, Alan RickmanGene Wilder and David Bowie to name a few of the many, this loss in particular hits pretty hard for science fiction like myself.  It’s rather hard not to echo the general sentiment that 2016 has been a hard year for many at least in part because of such a largely star-studded death toll.

However, her titular role as the princess of a destined-to-be-doomed planet by the hands of a black suit-clad Sith Lord will likely live on longer than any of us and keep Fisher’s memory alive for a long, long time – much like many of the aforementioned stars who have also passed in the last year.

On July 22, 2016, Star Wars Episode 8 director Rian Johnson confirmed that principle photography for the next movie was completed.  Thus, the film series that jump started her carrier will likely hold Fisher’s last film credit as well.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see a memorial to her at the end of Episode 8, and if anything I’m looking forward to seeing it so I can get emotional about it all over again. With New Year’s Eve in less then a week now, here’s to 2017 hopefully being a little less cruel to our Cult of Celebrity than 2016 has been, even during its home stretch.

Rest In Peace Carrie Fisher, and may the Force be with you.  Always.

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One night at UCLA

One night at UCLA

The launch for Boom magazine‘s Urban Humanities issue was held tonight in the Perloff Hall Courtyard at UCLA.  It was a small event, and most of it involved seasoned academia members standing around drinking, so there admittedly wasn’t a lot for me to do.


Well, there wasn’t a lot for me to do at the actual event itself.  But I was at UCLA, and it was really my first time ever being on the campus proper.  So, along with a friend from my honors 201A class who was there to attend the launch for some credit, we explored the campus to see what we could see.

And what we could see was undoubtedly beautiful, to say the least.


Though, I do have to say, the place is literally like a small city.  Just these places we saw are a fraction of the available things to look at!  So, as beautiful as everything was, it definitely strikes me as the kind of place that I’d like to visit and explore rather than the kind of place I’d like to study.  But that’s just me.

Seriously though, calm down UCLA.  Schools don’t need to be that big.

Build-up to Boom’s Summer 2016 Issue Forum

It’s pretty strange for me to see my own name attached to a news story that I’ve had very little or pretty much nothing to do with.

The magazine that I work for, Boom, released its prison issue not too long ago.  There’s going to be an event held on September 26 in the Fullerton Arboretum to celebrate and discuss the ideas that are inside.  A panel of speakers will be talking about prisons in California and prisoner reform for a few hours that night, and I’ll be bringing a reporter and photographer there from the Daily Titan to cover it.  I would write about it for the newspaper myself, but it could arguably be seen as a conflict of interest to write about a group that’s paying me.

The reason I bring up this event is because an article was published on the Cal State Fullerton News Center talking to the magazine’s editor Jason Sexton about the magazine and what will be happening on Monday.  While I wasn’t personally interviewed for the story that was written, I did get my picture taken along with everyone else working on the magazine at CSUF.

Granted, it took two tries on two separate days to get a proper picture done, but it wound up being a pretty sweet picture in the end if you ask me.

Check out the story here if you want, it’s a nicely done article and I think I look pretty good in the group shot, so I figured it would be worth sharing.

Free for the Summer, just in time for Fall Semester

Today was the official last day of my summer Political Philosophy course.  With both this one and the Abnormal Psychology class finished, I’m totally done with all the summer school obligations I signed myself up for.  It feels nice honestly… Even if the Fall Semester at Fullerton is set to start on Monday, so there isn’t too much of a break in store for me before then.

However, even then we’ve already started production on the Daily Titan, and our first issue’s deadline night is Sunday, so I’m already working pretty hard to coordinate all of my writers and photographers to get everything finished by then.  Admittedly it’s a bit overwhelming, having to balance school starting up and my new extensive responsibilities as an Editor on the newspaper, but with Political Philosophy out of the way it really does feel like a huge weight has been lifted.

Not that the class was necessarily hard by any means, really it was a fun experience.  Both of the classes I took at El Camino College were, as Abnormal Psychology helped play more into my potential interest in going for a psych minor through how interesting it was and Political Philosophy introduced me to a lot of (obviously) philosophical topics that I otherwise wouldn’t have necessarily looked at.  On top of that, I got to read some classical texts through the class that I’ve been taught about since my early high school days: Niccolò Machiavelli’s “The Prince”, Jean-Jacque Rousseau’s “Discourse on the Origin of Inequality”, J.S. Mill’s “On Liberty” and Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” among them.

Out of sheer dumb luck, the final exam for the class threw all the questions at me I was hoping wouldn’t be thrown at me, but at the very least I studied those related topics harder because I was less confident with them, so it all balanced out well.

Like I said before, our first serious Daily Titan newspaper production is on Sunday, so by Monday I should have some stuff to show off in that vein.  At the same time, the summer issue of BOOM! Magazine should be close to release, so I’ll be able to show off some stuff from that as well once it does.  Look forward to it, because I know I am!

 

A Calm before the Storm

A Calm before the Storm

Last night I spent the day over at Cal State Fullerton, working on our first “paper” for the Fall 2016 semester.  It wasn’t really a full paper as much as it was just a small advertisement-filled insert of sorts meant to be displayed at the New Student Orientation, but still.  It was the first things I’ve gotten to work on as the new News Editor on the Daily Titan’s editorial staff.

There’s another two weeks left before we start our serious productions, at which point posts on here about my journalism stuff should get quite a bit more frequent.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to take advantage of the last bit of free time I have that isn’t taken up by my Political Philosophy class.  For today, that meant going out with one of my sister’s friends who invited us out to Palos Verdes to spent time at Abalone Cove, where there’s tide pools to explore.

I got to swim in the ocean, which I haven’t done in quite some time, and we spent time skipping and stacking rocks.

Oh, and naturally, there were plenty of water-type Pokémon to find while we were there, because how could I not look out  for them?

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The Cove also happened to be right next to Lloyd Wright’s Wayfarers Chapel, which was right up the road.  Lloyd Wright being the son of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, naturally.

All and all a pretty good day, I’d say.  Sometimes it’s nice to take a little bit of time to relax and enjoy nature – which is still just as pretty here in California despite the eternal drought we’ve been plagued with for an unsung number of years.

Some Fruits of my Research

I’m not sure I’ve talked about it here yet, but I’ve been working for close to a month now with Boom magazine, a journal of California (which you can check out here, I’d highly recommend you do) as an Editorial Assistant.  One professor I had over the Fall 2015 semester brought me along when he was invited to put together the next three or so issues, and I’ve been really grateful to have the extra work to keep me busy!  Mostly it’s been things that I’m pretty used to thanks to my newspaper experience: Researching information, fact checking and section editing academic essays, writing bios, that sort of thing.

However, one thing I’ve had to do with Boom that I’m not totally used to is image research.  With my journalism experience, most of the time getting an image boils down to asking the photo editor to get something that’ll relate to a particular story we might be running.  In this case, I’ve been asked to actually look around and try to find possible images that we could use to supplement the essays that are going in the magazine.

The upcoming issue that I’ve been working on is focused on the prison system in California.  Let me tell you, finding good images related to prisons that aren’t just pictures of drab prison architecture is a tough job.  Mostly I’ve been searching around for artwork done by prisoners, which have brought me some cool finds.  I figured I’d share one of them here, since I think it’s pretty worth looking at!

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“Woman and Dragon” by Gabriel Ramirez, currently in Pelican Bay State Prison.  Image courtesy of artrelease.org

This piece, and most of this artist’s work at that, is not only really gorgeous to look at, it’s also a pretty impressive feat of creativity under restriction.  Ramirez is being held in a Security Housing Unit (SHU), which is essentially a really high security isolation containment used in California – Though I’d read more about it here, since I’m not necessarily an expert on the subject. SHU’s are one of the focuses of the piece I read that inspired me to go out and find this piece of artwork, and according to the site where I pulled it from, “The colors on these drawings were developed by scraping paper pulp out of old magazines. Utilizing a rolled up piece of toilet paper dipped in the pulp, the scrapings are transferred onto the drawing paper.”  Awesome to think about, if you ask me!

If you want to learn more about the California prison system in various facets through articles written by prominent figures in modern Californian writing, or if you want to potentially see more cool artwork done by prisoners, be sure to check out the next issue of Boom!  I personally don’t know when exactly it’s to be released yet because we’re still working on it, but I know it’ll be relatively soon, so I’ll keep you all updated on when you can get your hands on it.

The Benefits of Having Great Teachers

The Benefits of Having Great Teachers

Now that I’m a year into college, I feel I finally have enough of a gap between now and high school to reflect on my experiences there with a bit more substance to my thoughts.  Today my friend Tiana and I visited my alma mater, Redondo Union High School, and I got to see a bunch of teachers that I haven’t visited in probably close to a year – more due to constraints on my time rather than interest in going, as I would have loved to visit more often.

Though the visit was admittedly a little repetitive in that I was telling the same stories to each different person over and over when asked how college has been going so far, just the fact that I was asked so often really made me realize something.  As a student who really cares about school, both the general experience and the actual learning it entails, I found that I really made a lot of friends among the teachers and administrators at my high school.  The journalism facet of my life helped in this too, as I often found more reasons to ask about the diverse interests of those higher-ups, which helped me break a lot of barriers and find out a lot more about people than I would have otherwise.

In retrospect, this decision to try to get closer to my teachers and admins was really one of my best decisions I’ve made.  Having friends with those in higher positions of authority not only helped me do my job as a journalist, it also helped me find opportunities and get encouragement in my college-hunting endeavors and more.  Plus, now that I’ve graduated, these friendships have blossomed with even more benefits.

Today I sat with my AP Government teacher for close to an hour talking about my year in college, about his year teaching the class I once was a part of (which, by the way, sounded pretty exciting given the state of this year’s presidential election) and trading stories about how our college experiences have related to each other.  I talked with my old AP Psychology teacher – who recently mailed me a letter commemorating my first year of her class and out of school I might add – about my experiences and got some pieces of advise I never would have gotten as a student wholly ignorant to the college world.  My old art teacher, who still has a story I wrote in the school paper about her pinned on the wall, was very eager to take time out of her third period class to talk with me.  My old journalism advisor was extremely impressed and proud to hear that I managed to clinch an editor position on the Daily Titan as a second year student there.  I even talked with my Principal, who was actually my Principal throughout middle school and followed my class to high school as well.  We talked pretty often due to this long-term proximity and her general eagerness to talk with me whenever I needed an administrative perspective for a news story on the paper.  The list goes on and on.

Many of these people shaped my life for a long time, four years at least.  If not for them, I likely wouldn’t be where I am today.  Their classes made me more well-balanced and prepared for realistically intense workloads, their personalities made me happy to practice my interpersonal skills, and their friendliness helped me feel like I could always do more, always push myself to be better.  Even now that I’m objectively totally out of their lives, it’s obvious that I’m definitely not out of their minds when I visit them.  The fact that they all cared how my life was progressing on top of being more than eager to get more personal about their own lives and thoughts now that I’m not a student honestly feels wonderful, like I always have other family members to return to in a way.

Teachers are incredibly important.  I’ve always felt that way, but really I’ve come to appreciate that fact more than ever recently.  Some professors I’ve had in college so far have been amazing, others have made promising classes a really trying experience to endure.  They make or break not only individual classes, but interests in various subjects as a whole.  If there’s any advice I’d give to anyone who asks in relation to school, I’ll always tell them to connect to their teachers on a stronger level than they usually would with a “one year and done” mentality.  They can serve as more than just the cornerstones of learning and as sources of advice or expertise, they can serve as really phenomenal friends too.

Why you should watch Merchants of Doubt

For my Communications 233 class, Mass Communication in Modern Society, one of the things we were meant to learn about in the course is media literacy.  I say were because today is the day of our final exam so the course is technically over but… I’m not really here to get into semantics.  Media literacy was defined by our professor as having the ability to analyze the impact that forms of communications have on life.  This referred especially to being able to look at things like advertisements and being able to discern their true meanings through semiotics, for example.

Continue reading “Why you should watch Merchants of Doubt”

Tales from a Holocaust Survivor’s Widow

Tales from a Holocaust Survivor’s Widow

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day.  It’s an internationally recognized date corresponding to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising on the 27th day of Nisan in the Hebrew Calendar, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Not too long ago, there was a story written in the Daily Titan previewing a talk that was given today in the Fullerton Public Library.  I didn’t write the story, but I was very interested in the event after I heard about it.  The talk was given by Lis Leyson, wife of the youngest person ever saved by Oskar Schindler: Leon Leyson.  He was #289 on Schindler’s List.

Continue reading “Tales from a Holocaust Survivor’s Widow”

Let me tell you…

This is probably going to be a little bit different than my usual posts, but honestly I feel like it’s a service I need to provide.  Today is April 13th, or 4/13, and today was the day where the final update for a webcomic called Homestuck was uploaded.

For those of you who have heard of it, this post will seem easily redundant and underwhelming, but for those who haven’t heard of it, here’s a real basic synopsis of Homestuck.  Homestuck is a webcomic created by Andrew Hussie which follows a group of kids as they play a game together where the end goal is to create a new universe.  It gets much more hectic than that, but the story is so long and so layered that it would be impossible to do it justice here.  The comic has been running since April 13th, 2009 – It’s seven years old as of today where its seventh act has both debuted and concluded.

thanksforplaying
An image from Homestuck’s final flash: [S] Act 7         Image courtesy of mspaintadventures.com
I don’t really have anything profound to say because the ending is so fresh, and I have no desperate pleas to get the comic readership since it has a pretty strong cult following as is. I just wanted to say that the comic has been a huge part of my life for literally years now, and it’s helped me cultivate a lot of ideas and friendships that have led me to become the person I am today.

I wanted to thank Andrew Hussie and all those who helped him create the lengthy masterpiece for all they’ve done however I can, and this seemed like a fairly appropriate way to do it.  I’m looking forward to the epilogue whenever it’ll be posted, as well as the game that’s been in production based on the Homestuck universe.

For anyone who hasn’t seen Homestuck and wants to check it out, you can by going here to this series of numbers: 88888888