Category: School

The strange psychology of a Korean BBQ dinner

The strange psychology of a Korean BBQ dinner

I’m officially convinced my pursuit of a Psychology minor has ruined me forever.

Context. After dropping Aly off at Cal State Long Beach this morning (the genesis of this Tweet that made me laugh):

I wound up going out to dinner tonight with a bunch of people from high school. A pretty diverse range of people at that — from those I’d consider good friends I hang out with regularly to some that I literally haven’t seen since graduation three years ago.

There were about 10 people there and I was right in the middle between two Korean BBQ hot plates.

On the bright side, I got to take food from both.

On the not so bright side, pretty sure I got whiplash trying to split my time between two totally different conversations. If not more considering those two major groups were further split into a number of subgroups.

That said, being somewhat ephemeral in each different conversation gave me time to reflect on other things. As I stipulated at the very top of this post, a lot of the things I wound up thinking about were concepts I’ve learned in my psych classes coming up in reality.

For instance: Right when I arrived, half the group wasn’t there. Long story short they were waiting for one person who was apparently out watching Into the Spider-Verse and didn’t realize the timing or something. They wound up being an hour late.

As I’m sure you all know by now, I wouldn’t say he made the wrong choice necessarily.

Though we wound up being at the restaurant for three hours as a result so… Maybe it was the wrong choice from a utilitarian social standpoint?

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Me incidentally bug-eyed while checking my watch, with Nina caught in the background. Seemed like a good enough place to slip this in.

I’m here to talk about psychology though. Not philosophy.

This one girl and I thought we knew each other from something, but for the longest time all we knew was that we went to the same high school. We couldn’t figure out exactly HOW we knew one another.

It was a very ‘tip of the tongue’ moment up until I finally got just the primer I needed.

Found out that she was studying creative writing, and that pretty quickly translated to my realizing we must have been on the newspaper together at one point. And we were!

Long-term memory retrieval via priming. Classic.

But wait, my nerdiness gets worse.

See the Korean BBQ place we were at in Gardena had a call button for the servers:

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My friend Nina got pretty obsessed with the button the longer the night went on. Whenever any of us even considered getting more food or water, she immediately hit the button.

It let out a very distinctive chime, like two doorbells ringing in sequence.

After the third or fourth call, one ring seemingly didn’t work. The servers were just busy helping other tables, but Nina seemed to get visibly distressed that the call hadn’t served its purpose.

For everyone else? This was pretty much nothing.

But for me? All I could see was a conditioned response being slowly extinguished by the removal of a response to the conditioned stimulus.

Pavlov would be proud.

I swear, this was 100 percent what was going through my head all night. No idea why, but it definitely happened.

That said it isn’t like all that school leaking in ruined the night. I actually had a great time catching up with some people I haven’t seen in a very long time, and I imagine I’ll probably go out with this particular group more often in the future!

Plus there were some extra added benefits. We actually ran into a totally different group of people from high school who I haven’t seen in years that just so happened to be eating at the same place.

The boba we got after wasn’t half bad, too.

That essentially sums up my day overall. Since it sparked this particular conversation, I guess it would be pertinent to ask all of you in the viewing audience if you’ve had any times where something you learned in school viscerally leaked into an everyday experience.

I’m sure someone has a fun story with that. As fun as school-related stories can be, anyway.

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.

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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:

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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.

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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!

Balance is key

Balance is key

As promised earlier, my time to go radio silent for finals has come and (hopefully) gone. This weekend was just a bit too full of work for me to spend extra time coming up with blog post topics.

That said, it was a very productive weekend! I finished my nine page paper for Evolution and Creation:

Which considering how much I was dreading the assignment, the fact that I banged it out in a day or two was wonderful — and I got a lovely talking point out of it.

Then on Sunday I took my online Visual Communications exam. Was a bit harder than I expected it to be, but still squeaked out with an 84 percent…

… That was immediately balanced out by an exceedingly curved 110 percent on Exam 2. Not sure how it happened, but it means I’ve retained a high A in the class.

I also spent time putting my study guides together for two Psych exams. One of which, Learning and Memory, is officially over and done!

I got an 82 percent, though I can’t complain because even that score retains my A in the class.

Thus, all I have left for the semester is my cumulative, non-curved Sensation and Perception exam and a presentation on my aforementioned paper.

Then I am free.

I’m going to try to do a blog post every day during finals, probably culminating with a semester-in-review sort of thing. I’ve found that having some distractions to keep the stress of exam season balanced out has been especially helpful during this semester’s class cycle.

In fact, the rest of this post will be talking about the media I consumed this weekend to break up all of my studying and writing woes. Hence the Thanos reference: Studying and fun in perfect harmony.

I have TV, Movie and Video Game stuff to talk about, so it should be (mostly) fun! Plus this keeps me from the existential dread of my next exam for a wee bit longer.


Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

I want to do a full-scale post all about Smash in the early days of Winter Break, so I’ll keep things brief right now.

Ultimate has been my ‘play a few hours a night’ de-stressor, and boy have I needed that. The process of unlocking every character one-by-one was a great experience of gradually forgetting and being reminded of how many fighters there are in the game.

Yet the biggest thing to discuss (especially with online servers still being kind of trashy) is the sheer amount of love and care that went into the game’s references. The Classic and Adventure modes are a joy to play through because each fighter and Spirit has their own thing to make them unique.

Again, I’ll go more in-depth later. Though I do feel obligated to point y’all to my friend Kristina’s review in the Daily Titan that got published today, because I happened to pick it up a few minutes ago and it’s a good.


Wreck-It Ralph 2

There’s too many nice things to say about this sequel. On top of being a gorgeous piece of animation (with special accolades to the mass-character physics of a plot-relevant spoiler toward the end of the movie), Ralph Breaks the Internet presents an interesting take on the digital world that has strong characters, ever-present metaphoric theming and super tight narrative structure.

The movie also exceeds due to a rare blend of reverential and reference-filled, self-defacing humor that I would have never expected Disney to approve. Especially for the Princesses — who I’m sure you think you know everything about thanks to the ads, but I assure you are a beyond wonderful mix of fan service and commentary.

It helps that my Dad worked for Disney, so we laughed a lot at the jokes they were putting down.

If you haven’t seen Ralph Breaks the Internet, do yourself a favor. It’s not as video game-heavy as the first, but what it offers instead is just as good if not better.


Bohemian Rhapsody

Talk about a movie with a great set-up and wasted potential.

Bohemian Rhapsody is a biopic about Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury, but as my Dad aptly pointed out it winds up being more of a timeline on the success of the band than it is the trials and tribulations of Mercury’s life.

Don’t get me wrong, Rami Malek is wonderful as the lead character, surprisingly so considering how used to him as a psychopathic introvert from Mr. Robot.

The rest of the cast is good too, and the cinematography is very pretty. Plus, it’s hard to go wrong with a soundtrack composed of Queen songs.

But the narrative of the film falls really flat because it glosses over so much of the potential personal drama in favor of the band’s story. I swear, there are a number of scenes missing between Mercury and his father that would make a pay-off scene toward the end that much more impactful.

Bohemian Rhapsody is far from the worst thing I’ve seen this year. It’s kind of perfectly average, disappointingly so.

But the worst thing I’ve seen this year probably goes to:


Venom

Wow. What a hot mess.

You know it’s bad when the best part of the movie is a totally irrelevant post-credit scene previewing another movie that I would have had much more fun watching.

The only thing Venom has going for it is Tom Hardy as the titular character’s host, Eddie Brock — but even then he’s given nothing to work with. Half of this movie feels like it was left on the cutting room floor. It literally meanders until a relationship between the two that had APPARENTLY been developed without us knowing about it arrives.

Then we’ve immediately got the unearned climax to hit.

The whole experience is also generally unpleasant because of clear editing issues like awkward jump cuts. Maybe if the dialogue was better and the characters were likable I wouldn’t have noticed so readily, but because we got things like this:

It was hard to stay engaged.

Venom has been beaten to death so I won’t abuse the poor horse. Instead I’ll just say… Go watch Nando V. Movies’ fix for it instead.


Big Mouth

I can’t give you all a full review of this one. I only watched a chunk of the second season with my sister, so I’m working entirely off that.

That said, Netflix’s Big Mouth is an… Interesting experience. It’s a show all about young teenagers going through life changes, with puberty given physical form as “hormone monsters” that work off of them in a variety of cliché coming-of-age scenarios.

The premise of a physical embodiment of puberty is interesting enough to work through all the clichés in what might otherwise be a typical school-age comedy — alongside a heaping helping of gross-out and mature humor. There were about as many moments where I said, “damn that’s pretty accurate” as I cringed at something uncomfortable (like most of the musical numbers).

If you think you would enjoy a Family Guy-esque adult comedy, but a little smarter and more fresh, Big Mouth is worth checking out. I’ll probably go back and finish season 1 before season 3 comes out.


Featured Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

A change of scenery

When I wasn’t playing Smash Bros., I’ve spent the last two days trying to get a jump on the last four pieces of my fall 2018 commitments. Namely the last essay for my Evolution and Creation class.

Granted, the process of buckling down and focusing has been made slightly more difficult by the constant Discord reminders that most of my friends are officially off because of different schedules… But hey, that’s what distractions and isolation are for.

Particularly distractions and isolation with regards to the headline of this blog post: Changes of scenery.

Don’t you love how masterfully I tie in these themes and draw attention to them for extra padding and lampshading?

My change of scenery for the day came early this morning when Mom asked me to come out to Lakewood with her. While Aly went to school, we brought some of her musical instruments to their usual shop for repairs and upkeep.

After that we hung around at a local Starbucks; a nice, quiet little spot to work on homework.

But also with at least a little bit of Smash Bros. because… Yeah it’s addictive.

I actually just unlocked every character for normal Smash battles and am well on my way to completing the World of Light adventure mode. It’s a blast, even if it came at a very inopportune time.

Anyway though, sitting around Starbucks was productive to an extent. Yet the most interesting part of being there was this Christmas-themed decoration:

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Look at this thing. It’s kind of gaudy and over-the-top, but also aesthetically pleasing in a way that I can understand why it was made.

The coffee cup tree is just trite and inoffensive overall, but the reason I wanted to point it out was because I found it hilarious to see such a blatantly Christ-centric symbol used as decor here when just a few years ago the world lost its shit due to red cups.

The wishy-washy nature of Internet-era overreaction is truly a sight to behold, is it not?

That being said, because my time in relative isolation these last two days has offered me the chance to get a sizable jump on this essay I previously believed was going to be a nightmare, I figured I should talk a little bit about it.

Seems like the least I can do in all fairness after shoving the fruits of my research on the Visual Comm essay down your throats too.

This essay is about Deism, the religious school of thought that considers a God having created the universe only to step back and let everything run on its own accord. It was popular during the Enlightenment especially, and caught my interest handily during my time in AP European History back during Sophomore year of high school.

As a result I decided to focus my research paper on it. Though this specifically dives into contemporary thoughts on the religion post-evolution emerging as a result of good old Chuck Darwin.

One source I discovered talking about Deism in relation to a post-evolutionary “modern setting” (being 1898) had such a fantastic little tidbit that I figured it would be worth dedicating at least half of a blog post to it.

For context: In a journal called The North American Review, an auspicious Walton W. Battershall submitted a short piece as comment to an earlier story published. His comment was about “The Efficacy of Prayer in the Light of Evolution.”

The important aspects of the writing to pull for my paper were his discussions of prayer being a placebo of sorts. Something that provides a positive benefit to the praying individual just because of the possibility that it might receive a response from God, even if it likely wouldn’t. He goes on to undress Deism for distancing God to the point of making that possibility totally unattainable, but you can read the whole thing here if you want.

The important aspects of the writing to pull for this blog post is a line I’ll leave completely out of context just for the sake of how incredible a piece of prose it is.

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Just the thought of this clearly reverent man talking about God’s pitiful, throbbing ‘Fatherhood’ is so hilariously phallic that it made my night when I found it yesterday.

So much so that I felt compelled to share it with the world. Good old 1898.

That’s about all I’ve got for you today, as I’ve got to get back to finishing that essay. Only short breaks for blog writing allowed in the Rochlin house this weekend.

Luckily, after this weekend is three days of finals followed by freedom. Boy is that freedom going to be… Smashing.

Because puns.

Procrastinating in all the right ways

That’s right, I’m here to admit my faults. If I don’t, I’ll never be able to hold myself accountable.

Today I spent most of the day procrastinating…

From writing my desktop Mac blog post.

I know, I know, I’ve been promising to put that one together all weekend. But I have a long history of procrastinating on just about everything, especially when the thing I’m procrastinating on means a lot.

Out of the many different things I’ve put together for my blog in recent history, this particular post probably means the most to me thanks to what I uncovered. Thus I want it to be as well put together as possible, but going in with that mindset almost inevitably breeds anxiety over the piece never quite getting to a place of perfection.

It’s something I’ll have to get over eventually. I’m sure I will, but until I do get over myself I’m not going to promise a specific time frame for the post to come out. Otherwise I’ll just keep feeling like I’m failing myself — and all of you — as I continue to push the deadline back.

It’s just such a shame that there are so many other things going on that have been taking up my time. What kind of priorities must I have to be pushing off my blog post in favor of ridiculous things like my Mass Media Ethics final essay?

I spent a good couple of hours this afternoon just hunkering down and working on that paper, one of the last six things I have to worry about this semester as I stipulated yesterday. So now that it’s written and printed, ready to turn in, I’m officially 2/6 concerns down.

But really, is the comfort of making it through another stressful college-related responsibility worth the deep feeling of failure forming a hefty pit in my stomach?

Personally, I don’t think so.

Just consider this a brief apology as we move into the new workweek.

Fall 2018 finals stress update

Originally I was planning on getting part two of my “old stuff from my desktop Mac” series out today (in spite of the fact that only 2 of you actually read the first one, come on guys I was proud of that). But then the unsung combination of homework, Super Smash Bros. and work meetings kind of distracted me from it.

The subject is kind of near and dear to my heart, so I want the post to look really solid before I put it out.

That being said, as a result I kind of didn’t have a post to put out for all of you. For most of the day I was totally fine with that, especially considering I put out that post last week talking about school stress and how I might fall behind on this blog stuff.

Except then I went to the gym, took a hot shower and realized that I would personally feel bad if I didn’t have ANYTHING to share with you all today.

So here’s my brief sharing something with you all today. It won’t be long, but it is actually a nice update.

While that “Burnout” post I linked just two paragraphs ago was a huge laundry list of stressors to work through, it really did turn out to be a crazy in-the-moment explosion of my self-deprecating lack of confidence.

Since then I’ve done other things like talk about Superman comics (a post that Scott from NerdSync actually noticed because I was overenthusiastic about @ing him, but that made me feel super good), find cool stuff on my old computer and play Smash Bros.

So mentally I’m in a much better place.

That better place has facilitated actually working through some of the stuff I had on my plate to a much more productive degree. Now that I’m out of my own head and just ranting for the sake of it, I’d say the main stressors of the next two weeks boil down to six things:

Three big end-of-term essays and three final exams.

Except wait, no longer are there six things!

As of about an hour ago, I officially turned in my Visual Comm essay:

Yeah you know, the one that I wrote a post on while doing some particularly interesting research for a while back? Wound up writing ~13 pages with two pages of references.

Hope the professor likes it — maybe next time he’ll remember my name and not call me James in an email.

Definitely not still bitter about it

Thus my big list of concerns drops to five.

  1. My Mass Media Ethics final paper (also the final for that class)
  2. My Evolution and Creation final paper
  3. My Sensation and Perception exam (cumulative, kind of a nightmare)
  4. My Learning and Memory exam
  5. My Visual Communications exam (online only, not so bad)

I know this post is a bit cobbled together and padded out by referencing older things on my blog, but I didn’t want to leave you all with nothing.

Because I love you guys!

… Even if you did leave my cool Smash Bros. post out to dry.

But hey it’s only been a day, so maybe that’ll pick up with time.

Either way, hopefully this post, if nothing else, serves as a reminder that even the most stressful periods of time in the moment can turn out okay on the other end.

Yeah, that’s a good message to take away from this. Nailed the heartstring appeal, Jason.

Burnout

I’m sure a small number of you out there read the title of this blog post and got very excited that I was finally going to talk about the hit series of demolition racing games that have (apparently) been released on just about every console since 2001.

Well… I’m not going to. Right now anyway.

I do actually have some fond memories of playing Burnout games on the PlayStation 2 with my dad that I could probably talk about some day.

That’s just not my plan for right now.

No, instead I just wanted to briefly touch on a more depressing, real-world form of burnout: School burnout.

The end of this semester is kind of killing me with stress right now, guys.

We only have two weeks of regular classes left at this point, and after that there are three days worth of final exams I’ll have to take. So we’re hitting the last stretch of fall 2018.

That means all of my teachers are stepping up their games with a number of incoming deadlines and attempts to squeeze in as much information as possible in a short amount of time.

Obviously this post is just here for me to vent on everything I have going on that’s contributing to stress, so let’s lay it all out.

  • In the next week or so I have two major papers due, as well as a couple of smaller two-page papers to write.
    • One of those major papers is almost done, but the other one I haven’t really started on… Yikes.
  • At least one more quiz tomorrow in my Sensation and Perception class, though probably another one coming next week if I’m being honest.
    • By the way, last week the professor of that class introduced at least six more lecture PowerPoints online to fit into only four more lecture sessions AND let us know his cumulative final will not be curved — nice guy.
  • Whatever other homework I need to get done that will be assigned in the next two weeks.
  • Three exam finals, one of which being a cumulative test as I mentioned, as well as a fourth exam that’s a case study analysis for my Mass Media Ethics class.

But let’s not forget about all the other responsibilities I have lining up!

  • I’ve scheduled out at least three interviews for Gladeo in the near future to focus work on.
  • A potential sit-down with a family friend about a new potential job opportunity that I could take on. Not yet scheduled.
  • My friend Tiana wants me to help her edit another one of her papers, which I’m more than happy to do but don’t know if I have the cycles free — and the thought of turning her down due to time management almost stresses me out as much as adding helping her onto my workload…
  • Wanting to fit in continual trips to the gym into my schedule so I don’t fall off that commitment, especially after moving boxes the other day made me feel less confident about the progress I’ve made thus far.
  • Trying to keep up writing a blog post a day.
    • Yeah this blog does stress me out, in a similar way to going to the gym. It has become an obligation for me that I feel terrible about skipping, especially after things like my dad complimenting my commitment to writing during lunch with a family friend yesterday.
  • Just generally thinking about girls and wanting a relationship but feeling like I don’t know if I have the time to commit to one (more of a deeply personal grievance).
  • Plus a couple new video games I own thanks to Hanukkah that I have not gotten the chance to start yet.
    • Probably the lowest rung on my priority list, but it’s there.

Like I said, I actually feel really bad when I have to miss writing something. Yesterday I was simply too buried in a small mountain of homework to get around to writing anything, unfortunately.

So I wanted to write something up today for the ten of you or so who read this stuff regularly. Even if it just amounted to me barfing up all the obligations that are stressing me out for the next couple weeks.

If I’m going anywhere with this post besides making it a ventilation system for my stress, I suppose the through line is my asking for forgiveness ahead of time if I don’t get to writing as often over the next couple weeks.

… Though knowing the way my brain works, I’ll wind up writing a lot here anyway in place of taking extra time to study. Because it’s a decent stress reliever and my priorities are weird.

Also because I love you all. Especially when you stick with me for things like this.

When did we start labeling ingredients?

When did we start labeling ingredients?

A few weeks back I talked about the essay I was going to have to write for my Visual Communications class.

I’m sure if you follow my posts regularly you remember this one. My little laugh at the 1950s era advertising we could choose to analyze.

In that case I’m sure you also remember that I decided to go with this 7-Up ad.

Boy is it more and more beautiful every time I see it.

I bring up the subject again because I started to work on the actual paper itself yesterday evening and already the damn thing has taken me down a bizarre rabbit hole.

A rabbit hole that, in all honesty, is pretty interesting. If you ask me at least.

Here’s some more in-depth context before I get into that branch of my research. The content requirements for the essay are relatively straight forward. We simply have to examine the image we chose from the six perspectives that were elaborated in earlier in the semester:

  1. Personal — Our gut reactions to the image.
  2. Historical — How the context of the time shaped the image.
  3. Technical — What techniques and elements went into creating the image.
  4. Ethical — Would ethical philosophers find the creation or use of the image justified?
  5. Cultural — What symbols can be found in the image that relate it to the culture of the time.
  6. Critical — Taking a second, more objective look at the image now that all of the analysis isdone to see how thoughts and opinions might have changed.

My deep dive began as I broached into the historical aspects of the advertisement.

Most of the analysis was easy enough. The ad comes from the 1950s, so there was plenty to discuss as far as the post-war economic boom and opening stages of the Cold War went. Both contributed to the development of a middle class American ‘nuclear family’ that in many ways became dependent on purchasing power to show their status and connection to the mainstream culture.

What I looked into had nothing to do with that overall historical context. Instead it came from pinpointing a very specific part of the advertisement.

In the lower right-hand corner there’s a block of text which, among other things, tries to convince new parents to feed their babies a “wholesome” mix of 7-Up and milk.

More important to point out for my purposes is the section where the advertisers tell readers that they have all the ingredients in 7-Up listed on the bottle — despite the fact that it was not required.

When I read that I stared at the screen for a moment mulling things over. Were food labels not required in the 1950s? There was a Food and Drug Administration overlooking those matters at that point in time, wasn’t there?

It was a bit of a tangent, sure, but if I found the idea so interesting it seemed like a good research avenue to go down.

… Only in part because I needed a few more sources to fit the requirement and some U.S. government resources seemed official enough to justify using. I promise.

I found that, yes, the FDA did exist prior to the publication of this 7-Up advertisement. The FDA came into place alongside the passage of the Pure Food and Drugs Act in 1906 according to the horse’s mouth.

However, labels on food like you see required today, with their widely enumerated requirements that are stipulated upon in this most recent FDA Food Labeling Guide from 2013, were not required until the passage of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA). Prior to that, listing things like ingredients and nutritional information of food product labels were purely voluntary.

So it seems like the 7-Up people were right in congratulating themselves for posting that kind of information on their product in the 1950s.

But in that case, just when did it become a requirement for everyone?

Diving a little deeper into the subject I came across this discussion of the history behind nutritional labeling on the National Center for Biotechnical Information’s website. As a subset of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, I figure they’re a pretty reputable source.

According to this source, the NLEA wasn’t officially passed until November 1990.

That’s almost 90 years after the FDA first came into being. It’s astounding to me that it took that long to get this kind of legislation passed!

Perhaps that’s hindsight bias in some respect. Food labels are so ubiquitous in the 21st century, and they’re the butt of so many jokes about GMOs and fake ingredients, that it’s hard to imagine a time they weren’t in use.

To think that time was just a few short decades ago…

Humans are pretty crazy, huh?

Giving less than thanks

Giving less than thanks

Happy Thanksgiving Break week, everybody!

What a wonderful time it is to start decompressing a bit and spend extra time with your family and friends.

Unless you’re like me this year.

Fair warning, this is a ranting vent post. So if you enjoy railing against people who do terrible things, you’ve come to the right place.

This is the first time in a number of years that Cal State Fullerton has remained open the Monday of Thanksgiving Break. Every other year I’ve been here, we’ve gotten the whole week off.

That’s annoying, but a lot of my friends have never had the luxury of a full week off, so it would feel a bit disingenuous to complain about that alone.

Everything’s relative.

The annoying part comes from the fact that most teachers decided they would either cancel their classes or just offer online coursework today. Because they, too, would rather have the whole week off as it turns out.

My Evolution and Creation professor was very eager to just not have class today. However, my Learning and Memory professor decided to keep the train going.

Naturally his class is the one that offers so much compact material that I knew I’d have to come in for it at risk of falling dangerously behind. Otherwise I would have skipped out and joined my family in Burbank.

To be fair, I also have to come in tomorrow for a mandatory internship orientation, so I would have had school this week no matter what.

The part about today that really bugged me was the execution.

To set the scene: It’s a cloudy, dreary day in Orange County and campus is next to empty (hence my featured image of the often bustling Library). The universe seems to be in agreement that things aren’t right.

Every student who is here seems downtrodden, as if the gloom of coming in during Thanksgiving Break was folding into the gloomy grey skies.

When I get to my class on the sixth floor of the Humanities building, a typically 35-ish headcount of students has been reduced to about 12.

As the professor starts to take roll amid the sound of the 1:00 p.m. clock tower chime, he pauses after a string of missing names.

He says, and I quote: “What, is it a holiday or something?”

Then he offers a cheeky grin to the audience, as if the villainous character in a reality T.V. show’s confessional booth.

How much of a dick to you have to be to crack a joke about how you’ve forced your students to come in when they didn’t necessarily have to? It’s just a cruel, self-aware form of torture.

From there it was an average lecture. Lots of densely-packed information over an hour-and-a-half. It sucked to be there, but at least I felt somewhat justified by the breadth of material.

Plus, I incurred an extra benefit by getting back my research paper final draft considering I turned it in early. It was the paper from this earlier post actually.

I got an A on the final draft. Frankly that’s all that matters.

However… He was somehow even more frustrating by proxy.

On the rough draft, he said my paper was an “excellent start” before giving me a C. It was littered with red marks, to the point where I wondered how he could justify calling it excellent in any respect.

The final draft had this message adorning the front:

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Seems like a great message to accompany an A grade, right?

Unfortunately the message feels very disingenuous when you see just how much the final draft is still littered with red ink.

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I don’t get it, man. The mixed messages are real.

But hey, I never have to think about the paper again. So I can’t complain.

I just wish that my being required to come in wasn’t accompanied by such a frustrating series of events. It doesn’t help that cancelled plans made the drive out feel like more of a waste of time.

That’s not a judgement call on the person I made plans with, since I know they’ll read this ❤

Hence why I’m sitting here in the Library writing this blog post and working on some homework to justify the time.

If nothing else I appreciate seeing campus as empty as it is during the daytime. It offers me the chance to hang out in places that I couldn’t normally.

Such as the seat by this statue’s butt near a Starbucks.

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Could have never gotten that picture normally and I kind of love it?

So long as you ignore my 5 o’clock shadow and devil horns.

I really need a haircut soon. Perhaps I’ll try to do that over the break once it starts.

But that feels like a post for another day.

When life hands you a freebie

When life hands you a freebie

Someone out there must have been looking out for me this morning.

I was apparently very tired, or my bed was really comfortable and warm, or I was getting ready for Thanksgiving break a little too early, or some other contrivance that might explain my behavior. Whatever it may have been, all I know is that I was cognizant enough to switch off my first few alarms at about 9:00 a.m.

But then I lost a few hours and found myself woken up at 11:30 a.m. by a call from my mom.

For once in my life I was not up into ungodly hours the night before (or morning of, as it goes), so I have no idea what messed with me and kept me clocked out.

All I know is that I usually leave for class at about 11:00 a.m., since that gives me 2 hours or so to make it from Redondo Beach to Fullerton for my 1:00 p.m. class.

So I came to the conclusion that it might just be worth skipping the first class of the day. Sensation and Perception was the earliest thing on the docket, and considering we just had our exam last Thursday I didn’t imagine anything important would be happening.

Plus I have friends in that class that I could get the notes from.

It was arguably the safest class I could have skipped, as luck would have it. My body’s poor life choices were well timed if nothing else.

But then there was a twist.

As I laid in bed sending out messages of feigned pleading to help with whatever notes I’d be missing, I started my “morning” routine by checking whatever emails I might have missed the night before or gotten while I was asleep.

While looking through my college email, I saw a message had come through from the professor of my Sensation and Perception class.

Apparently he wound up with a flat tire this morning and had to cancel class.

So, by some virtue of whatever Gods may or may not be out there, not only was my body’s messed-up internal clock timed to mesh together with a less-important class, but that less-important class happened to get cancelled anyway.

It literally became a win-win situation. I slept in and missed nothing.

My friend in that class and I laughed off the convenience.

Of course it wasn’t a perfectly timed event, because I still had to come in for my 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. block class. But at least it’s a class I really like coming to.

Also, as it happened, today was an easy day in class. We pretty much just spent the whole day watching a movie.

In fact, I wound up writing this whole thing while the movie was going because I figured why not kill two birds with one stone? Getting my blog post out of the way during an easy, chill class opens up more time for me to do other things later.

Like go to the gym.

Or finish some homework.

Or play some Monster Hunter.

Who knows what the evening will hold! All I know is this goofy little story seemed like fine blog fodder for the day.

So I hope you enjoyed the ironic conveniences of my Tuesday.