Only my Mom was able to make it, however. Turns out the Department of Communications likes to schedule their fancy award dinner at the same time as my sister’s Pops Concert at Redondo Union High School, so Dad went with her to split our representation appropriately.
This year we swapped. Which means I got to bring the old man out to Fullerton:
Now… I hate to say it. But I think Dad got the better end of the bargain. Sorry Mom.
For my senior year, I stepped things up from just a few scholarships to winning all of these accolades:
The Journalism Program’s “Outstanding Student” Award
The J. William Maxwell Outstanding Communications Student Award (one of three Department-wide recognitions)
Recognition of my graduation with a University Honors distinction
Graduation with a Summa Cum Laude Honor (in other words, I kept my GPA above 3.90)
In other words — I not only received top marks for my concentration, but also for the department as a whole. While also graduating with Honors. And somehow keeping my grades very high.
What the hell did I do to myself these last four years?
Frankly, the only person who stepped on that stage more than I did was Harrison Faigen, who got a whole host of awards AND scholarships.
Showed me, I should have gone for some extra money.
Oh, and his awards were also well-deserved. That guy runs like a truck, and it has been an honor working with him in a number of capacities at Cal State Fullerton. The newspaper and SPJ, primarily. Definitely helped me learn a lot.
Speaking of learning a lot, the event was chock full of professors I’ve had over the last four years. And I tried to take a picture with a bunch of them for posterity!
I can’t imagine I’m alone in feeling a deep-seeded dread toward the kinds of formalities that mark the transition into adulthood, so I won’t linger on it.
Instead I’ll subvert that fear and anxiety by bringing up my favorite childhood pastime so I can keep my psyche in a place of comfort:
You should all know that I love me some Pokémon. Sword and Shield is coming out soon, and even though we haven’t heard anything since the first announcement, I can’t wait for it to be my obligatory Game of the Year.
Yet, having played the creature collection series since 2000, I’ve never had a reason to justifiably call myself a Pokémon…
After I bought my cap and gown, Mom suggested I dig through my closet to find my other gowns. I didn’t remember holding onto them, so I was a little skeptical.
But then I found them.
And the three-stage evolution is actually incredible:
Over on the left you have a cute little preschool graduation gown. Because apparently my preschool did a fancy graduation.
It’s actually impossible for me to imagine ever having been small enough to fit into that.
Though who knows, maybe if I keep working on getting swole at the gym…
In the middle is my high school graduation gown. All the boys wore red while all the girls wore white, and it’s complete with extra cords and doodads—outside of a wreath made of candy that I remember wearing at the time.
Unfortunately, Cal State Fullerton denied me the opportunity of completing the red, white and blue set by using boring, plain black robes.
Like sure, the sleekness of the black robes is pretty nice. And the fact that it looks so big compared to the other two really completes that metaphorical Pokémon evolution I’ve gone through.
But was any of that worth it if America got shafted at the end?
I think not.
… Also for anyone that might ask, this is not my official “cap and gown picture” or whatever. I’ll probably wind up doing that once I have all my stoles and other doodads.
I might even be thinking about some fun pictures to take. We’ll just have to wait and see.
For my upcoming class, I had to watch a kickstarted documentary from 2015 called GTFO.
But this time I was not alone. GTFO is all about the treatment of females in the video game industry — both in production and play. That particular subject matter drew interest from other members of the Rochlin household:
I’m assuming they would have otherwise rolled their eyes at the prospect of a documentary about video games (or at least Aly would), so it’s nice that we all had a subject to collectively appreciate.
… Well, it’s not nice that we had to appreciate the examination of sexual harassment/discrimination/misogyny/insert-buzzword-here in any industry.
That’s about what you can expect here, if you’re interested in the subject.
Subjects ranged from women being pressured in professional eSports, the distinct lack of females in game production (only occupying about 10 percent of the industry), the day-to-day harassment in the voice chats of games like Call of Duty, and more large-scale harassment public scandals like Gamergate.
Though Gamergate was a smaller subject, as the major example of harassment highlighted was Aris Bakhtanians’ treatment of Miranda Pakozdi on a livestream marketing campaign for Street Fighter x Tekken in 2012.
It’s crazy stuff, but not thatcrazy. Which is an unfortunate takeaway of the documentary to me.
When interviewees shared and even read out examples of terrible rape- and death-threat filled messages they’d received while gaming, my mom and sister seemed pretty shocked.
And yeah, there was some pretty graphic and intense shit read out.
Yet I’ve been gaming for a long time and saw the proliferated multiplayer days of Halo 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 on the Xbox 360 — before I refused to fix my broken console to spite my friends for some ultimately forgotten comment that annoyed me.
I’ve seen that kind of stuff happen, and I have a lot of female friends who play video games that have similar stories to tell.
So I can’t say I was surprised by anything in the documentary.
Which is unfortunate in itself, but the reality of the situation.
However, it’s not a reality that everyone knows about as multiple subjects remarked. The fact that such a well-composed and thorough documentary exists is great in that regard.
I’d definitely recommend watching it for that reason: More awareness is never a bad thing — even if it might put you back $5 for the day.
Especially given some interesting ideas fielded, such as hoping that encouraging more women to get involved at all levels would cause the toxicity to recess. It’s much harder to attack a woman if there are eight in the voice chat than if there’s only one or two.
But that’s enough of me sucking the oxygen out of the room.
I watched a documentary about treatment of women with a couple women, so it only seems right to let them have the last words.
I’ve always been aware of misogyny and how it is used in the video game industry. However, I was not prepared for how deeply pervasive it really was portrayed in this documentary. It think a lot of the problem stems from the anonymity allowed, and like my husband says, “on the internet, no one knows you are a dog…”
(And Introducing) Aly’s Corner:
Yayyy I finally get one of these! I walked into watching this thinking I’d be bored out of my mind, but it was actually super well done and intriguing for me. I never really considered myself a gamer, mostly because I can’t just sit down and spend hours finishing a game (Jason can attest to that), but the treatment that women in gaming go through is everywhere in society, and it’s kinda scary to see.
I suppose it might be. But I think it’s funny, and really all I mean to say is that I spent the day cleaning my room and the downstairs bathroom. Not only has dust built up since the last time, but we have family coming out to California for my graduation in May.
Puts the brunt of making things look nice on my shoulders, since I’m the reason why people will inevitably be here stressing my Mom out.
All that toilet scrubbing and floor sweeping and Amiibo dusting has me worn out, so I don’t want to linger on writing too long. But I want to get something out considering I skipped yesterday in favor of playing Pokémon with Aly and watching The Lego Movie 2.
Not that I regret either of those choices.
Between my bouts of cleaning, I spent some time starting to pull together a PowerPoint for my Senior Honors Project presentation.
Doing so has been a trip down memory lane, as I’m essentially summing up everything I’ve done for the last year.
Except it goes much further than that.
Part of my project involves the context of my experiences with creative writing prior to this novel. I have many single-chapter story drafts lingering around different folders on my computer that came about from dreams or fantasies and unfortunately never went anywhere because all I had were those singular ideas.
But then I have the one project that made it further than any other prior. All because, I’d argue, I pre-planned everything in this sweet yellow notebook:
The summer before I started at Cal State Fullerton, this book and I were inseparable.
I distinctly remember sitting out by the pool at my Dad’s friend Sylvan’s house writing things out. Everything from character descriptions—
To bits of lore about the world and magic system—
To a lengthy run-down of the plot—
Because of the amount of effort I put into this thing, it’s one of my favorite stories conceptually. Even though I moved away from it because of school, it’s a piece I feel like I can return to one day.
Especially since I took such meticulous notes on where I wanted the story to go and when.
That’s the main takeaway for my current Senior Honors Project. Pre-planning is very important to coming up with a solid idea one can move forward with.
Though if I did go back to this yellow book story, I’d have to rework a number of the really cliché bits. Like more tastefully handling my “amnesiac protagonist,” if I keep that at all.
I’d also have to completely rework the ending. At the time I came up with a vague encounter against a large mechanical wolf because something, something, bad guys invented technology using magic.
He stood alongside the other six members of my party quite well:
There was Teflonto, a wood elf ranger; Celia, a wood elf monk; Jeff, a half-orc fighter; Phil, a gnome bard; Rein, a half-elf cleric; and Silver, a human paladin.
Our Dungeon Master was the Professor, wielding an unending spring of knowledge, a set of golden dice and a lot of monsters.
Thus the adventure began.
We started in a tavern, where Jeff nearly got beheaded trying to steal from the bartender and Phil spat Mario-style fireballs from a potent whiskey.
The quest kicked off when a sheep arrived. But he was not a sheep, he was a wizard transformed by a dastardly ex-assistant with a grudge.
Mr. Evil Wizard’s mercenaries arrived in search of the former mentor-turned-livestock, and our first battle began.
An eight-foot bear in a robe mauled Jeff as the animal-loving Teflonto was horrified by Thokk nailing a wolf to a barrel using a crossbow bolt.
That is, until he learned the animals were humanoids turned beast.
After a handy beating, the mercenary leader gave in and conferred his great sword to Silver. He escaped with a lie that the remaining wolf was his unfortunate wife.
A night’s rest later, the party made their way to the hollowed-tree tower where Mr. Evil Wizard hid.
Celia was able to use a mass sneaking fog to get the party past a gang of dice game-playing wolves, then get inside by climbing the bark and hanging a rope out.
Suspicious at the sudden fog filling his tower, Mr. Evil Wizard used his transmogrifying wand to turn his bed into a bed dragon that absolutely exists.
While hiding in the fog, Phil cast blindness on the wizard before running out, climbing the dragon, stealing the wand, climbing down and THENescaping out the rope-strung window.
You should have seen the DM’s face when he kept failing rolls to prevent all of that.
After getting back to the ground, Silver attempted to use the wand to turn our sheep companion back into a man. Yet, even Thokk’s guidance spell could not help his luck as the poor NPC turned into a Cronenberg monster before exploding.
That drew the attention of Mr. Evil Wizard, who approached riding his bed dragon with an army of wolves and a bear.
The final battle for our lives began:
We were fucked.
But… We were fucked with 10 minutes left. Because three hours goes by fast when you have to account for seven players.
Rein and Thokk conjured magic, ethereal weapons to strike Mr. Evil Wizard as the rest of the party threw darts and shot crossbows.
Teflonto was mauled by a pack of wolves. Silver attempted to persuade the wolves to play a dice game with him, but to no avail. The wolves kept at it and Silver just watched.
Luckily, the almighty power of Deus Ex Machina was applied by the DM — who wanted the bell to end our one-shot campaign.
The wolves and bear turned against their master with the promise of being turned back to humanoid form. As Celia, Phil (now changed into a sheep) and Rein suffered splinters from the dragon’s breath, Teflonto stood up and shot an arrow into Mr. Evil Wizard’s face.
Once he and his dragon fell, we gained access to a convenient number of transmogrifying spells. Everyone was turned back to normal.
It may have been “cheap” that we were helped out of a bottomless hole by the DM because of time constraints, but it was justified by the journey.
All of our luck from the initial tavern fight and stealth mission came crashing down in the most spectacular of ways, and we undoubtedly would have all died without the handicap.
So in my personal headcanon, I like to imagine our party fell in the search for treasure and conquering evil.
However… In reality, none of our party fell.
Which means that Thokk lives to one day return, perhaps enlightened by his experience fighting the tyrannical Mr. Evil Wizard man.
All-and-all, I would say it was a very successful class.
Definitely worth a semester’s worth of anticipation, and definitely more than encouraging for me to go back and play more D&D in the future.
Locking myself away in the house wound up being a really positive thing—as it usually is, in my experience. I got the opportunity to chip away at a lot of my work, turning in a Career Profile on being a UX researcher (a career I really didn’t know existed, but one with a lot of resources online) and a Spotlight featuring a very special person.
I’m going to wait until it publishes to really go off about that, because it’ll look much better with the story’s context.
Just know that I’m excited.
Between those two pieces I racked up almost 10 hours of work today alone. As a result I’ve just broken past 100 of my 120-hour requirement for Comm 495-T, that internship class I need to graduate.
My final report for the class isn’t due until May 3 and the timesheet isn’t due until May 10. I’m fairly certain I can bust out the remaining 20 hours by then.
Especially considering I still have my Profile/Spotlight on Dr. Wesley to write.
And a video interview to schedule.
And the blog-related side project that kind of went on the back burner for a while.
Somewhere in there I’ll have the rest of my time served and still find the chance to do whatever else I have. Give my Honors project presentation and write two more gaming papers. All that fun stuff.
After putting in all that time today I’m a little weary of continuing to stare at this screen and type, so I won’t make this post too long.
Instead I’m going to turn my attention to the T.V. screen, nosh on some Milk Duds and watch Futurama with my family.
And you know. Not type stuff.
Even though re-watching episodes of that show is a consistent reminder of how brilliant it was, a topic that could theoretically fill tons of copy on my blog.
Tomorrow I’ll try to post something a little more insightful, I just wanted to write something up so I didn’t have a gap. That something may just be lackluster teasers in overly verbose prose, but if that doesn’t describe my life in a nutshell I don’t know what would.
It certainly wouldn’t be Game of Thrones. Because I ain’t ever watched that junk.
Maybe one day. But for now, take that people who have spent all day talking about the last season’s opening.
Now it let me add “forum moderator” to the list as well.
For the last few days, the program has been holding Open Forums to introduce students to the three finalists vying to be next year’s Associate Director.
Co-Curricular Coordinator Tyler reached out to see if I wanted to be a student representative and ask some questions, given I already had some clout with the Honors Center as an Ambassador.
I saw no reason why not. Sure there are superficial benefits to the event being résumé filler and something to do on a Friday (slyly for blog purposes), but it also seemed like fun! An extension of personally sitting on panels.
Plus I was slated to run the forum for Craig McConnell, who I know pretty well.
Figured having slightly different pictures to go along with the slightly different messages on each platform would make sense.
Perhaps I could have been more creative… But practice is practice.
Plus, there weren’t a lot of opportunities to get diverse pictures given the paltry audience we gathered on a Friday at the commuter college.
The event was mainly for Dr. Perez (left) and Tyler (unpictured), as they are going to be voting on the new Associate Director soon. Other students were there mostly for McConnell to address and field questions from.
I featured two quotes in those social media posts, but those were drawn primarily from the start of the Open Forum.
We also went into specific ideas for improving the Honors student community engagement (because commuter campus) and the possible role of an Associate Director in helping students figure out their career trajectories beyond course adjustments.
Yet as vaguely self-serving as that was, Dr. McConnell had a good response:
“I think colleges should give students a few years to expand their minds,” he said of his concern that traditional schooling is too tunnel-visioned about post-grad careers. “But I’m also aware that it becomes more important every year for schools to help students find jobs as soon as they leave.”
He pivoted on my question quickly and easily, so I was impressed.
The only line of questioning I was unfortunately not able to delve into was arguably the most important.
I should have asked him what he thought of the Star Wars Episode IX teaser! It dropped about a half an hour before our event, so that would have been a perfect barometer of his cultural absorption.
Considering I barely have any experience outside of one character building session in high school, I’ve gotten a little practice. We played D&D at the party I brought my Redondo Beach friends to in Fullerton over Spring Break.
I kicked ass as my pre-built elf sorcerer Elfson.
But in-class today we prepared for our upcoming escapades in a different way: Talking about the moral panics caused by D&D.
Because you know. If something is fun and leaning in a pagan direction, parents are going to freak out about it.
… Okay, it’s not entirely fair to simplify that into a joke. We actually discussed interesting aspects behind the 1980’s D&D panic, including the perceived loss of self-identity to multiple, fractured fantasy identities steeped in olde mythological traditions of witchcraft and monsters.
It just so happens that you can only showcase the moral panic by laying out all of the over-the-top examples of role-playing game hysteria.
This amazing comic created by Jack T. Chick in 1984 seems to be the perfect embodiment of Big Brother wiping out imagination and personal expression in exchange for the conformity of true-blue American Catholicism.
Or that’s how my boy Mitchell perceived it, at least.
There are arguably kernels of truth in Chick’s fear of fantasy overwhelming reality. It’s hard to take the guy seriously when you write such lines as:
“Lord Jesus … you guide me through life. I want You to be in charge of everything…not that lousy D&D manual.”
Following the deus ex machina of random friend appearing to save the damsel in distress — having apparently prayed and fasted for her off-screen.
Or at least… I find it hard to take this comic seriously.
It’s amazing that Hanks went on to have one of the most successful actorcareers of all time with a start as wild as Mazes and Monsters.
With all of that said, it only makes sense that we get to risk our lives playing the tabletop role-playing game for our entire next class period.
By God am I looking forward to it.
P.S. — There was another cool part of my day that I wanted to talk about, but could not think of an organic way to include it. Outside of there being vaguely related fantasy elements.
So I’ll just pin it down here.
During the break between my classes, Dr. Sandra Perez (the Director of the University Honors Program) brought over an underclassman while I was working in the Honors Center because she wants to write a fiction novel for her senior project.
Apparently I was the expert in that department, as Dr. Perez said she was very impressed with all of the pre-planning she’d seen me do for my novel.
It was nice to be considered an expert in something like that!
Or at least the most readily available spring of knowledge.
The first day back from Spring Break went off pretty well all things considered!
Last night I expressed some concern about a Cognitive Psychology exam that would be greeting me after a week of lazing around.
My feelings were mixed about it. On the one hand I gave the material zero attention over the break because I was busy hanging out with friends and doing internship stuff, so I couldn’t help but imagine walking into a nightmare. On the other hand the class’s first exam was very easy, so I didn’t feel the need to spend a lot of time studying.
Luckily the lazy side of my intuition won out.
The test was rather easy, and even though I haven’t seen the official grades come out (we took it at 1:00 p.m. today), I did my own basic calculations off of what I didn’t know and figure I’ll get a 92 percent at the lowest.
Unless I’m wrong about what I don’t know, of course. But my intuition is usually solid.
The thing that got me about the exam was how haphazardly our professor seemed to handle things. Firstly, she decided to announce that she added extra free response questions to our docket only five minutes before passing out the exam.
Would’ve been nice to get some advanced notice over Spring Break… But then again, she promised to post the kind of scantron we would need and didn’t get around to that either.
So who knows. Teachers need a week to relax too.
There was also a stretch of seven questions at the beginning of the test where every answer was “C,” which made me second-guess my choices despite knowing they were correct.
I don’t have proof that it was on purpose… But that kind of trickery always felt like a joke on behalf of professors to stress us students out.
After finishing up the exam, everything else was smooth sailing clear to nightfall.
I managed to secure my Commencement tickets, another topic I touched on last night. Even made a fun little Tweet out of it:
I’m not sure what’s weirder, the fact that I needed to watch a video and take a quiz to get Commencement tickets or the fact that they called it a graduation “tutorial.”
I know academia is a game but that’s a bit on the nose, don’t you think?
Spent a little bit of time in the Honors Center after that, finding out some more about another event I’m taking part in this Friday and working on my novel.
Felt good when I sent the next chunk of the story to my mentor tonight, even if Spring Break wasn’t as lucrative for the writing process as I wanted it to be. At least I’ve done something, and the more I write the better I’ll look come my presentation in May!