It’s not very often that I can get meta about the inner workings of this blog I’ve got regarding subjects beyond the simple milestones like post numbers or followers. But today I wanted to do just that because of a somewhat more interesting development affecting the blog completely beyond my control.
Facebook has been trying to, at the very least, put its best face forward (pun only somewhat intended) about aiming to regain the trust of the service’s users. Anyone who spends nearly as much time on YouTube as I do, for example, will probably recognize this ad that suddenly started showing up before just about every video in existence a few weeks back:
The cynic in me rolls his eyes pretty hard seeing this ad, as it’s more than likely Facebook cares more about keeping itself alive as a juggernaut business than it does making sure every Joe Schmo out there can still talk with their friends and family like ‘the good old days.’
But there’s also something to be said about the fact that they’re trying to do something rather than just letting everything burn to the ground while pretending that nothing happened.
Even if that something just amounts to customer-facing BS.
I think that’s about as political as I’m willing to get on the subject right now, however. I haven’t done any of my own significant research or reporting and as a result can’t give you all a definitive ‘Facebook is doing it wrong/right’ verdict.
All I can really say is that based on stuff like the reporting out of Vox I linked to up above and the fact that Facebook is changing its third-party integration (the thing this post was supposed to be about, what a circle!), at least there seems to be an effort to improve. Something I’m hopeful isn’t just BS, as I previously mentioned.
Unfortunately that effort to improve does make my personal life a little more difficult.
See the non-political part of this post is here to address the fact that changing integration also changes the way I need to handle my social media with regards to WordPress stuff.
As must be obvious to most people out there, my social media accounts right now are primarily means of creating a wider viewership for my blog posts. Sure I still go through and post independent things on Facebook and Twitter on occasion, but for the most part I actually much prefer the freedom of being able to write as much as I desire here and spreading that to the world instead of dealing with some restriction like 280 characters.
Now that my WordPress posts will no longer automatically publish to Facebook, I’ve arrived at something of a crossroads.
Is it worth going about the extra step of posting my blog activity to Facebook directly?
Or should I just abandon that social media branch entirely?
The obvious choice for my lazy self is the latter. However, even if I don’t think too much of it in my head, there are some benefits to getting my words out on Facebook specifically.
Those benefits more or less boil down to the posts being seen by people who do, at least occasionally, pay attention that wouldn’t be able to continue doing so via Twitter. Family is the big chunk of that demographic, as I’ll see people like my grandparents liking posts out of the blue on occasion. But there’s also some high school friends I’ve got that occasionally like or comment on my posts. Which is pretty cool, to be completely honest. I like knowing that I’ve caught someone’s fancy with something I might not have expected to.
So with that said, I suppose I should thank you all for making it this far into what is ultimately a non-discussion. I pretty much knew from the get-go that my decision would ultimately be to figure out the best way to separately post these up on Facebook.
I just figured it would be a more interesting post if I went into some of the mindset I had leading up to the decision. After breaking away from writing to hit the gym for an hour, I figure I’ve hit a place in the writing and in my energy level to end it here.
Though that said, I suppose this is going to be my first post separately uploaded to Facebook. Because of that please stand by if it takes some time for me to figure out exactly how I want that to work.
As the holiday season and the year 2016 come to a close (very conveniently at the same time in this case), I feel like I can’t help but take a moment to reflect on some things. As I mentioned in my last post about Carrie Fisher’s passing, the general attitude seems to be that 2016 can’t end soon enough. Globally, the world is a bit of a mess. In the United States, the incredibly divisive presidential election we just completed left everything feeling a little bit fractured and not-so-unified. In the world of popular culture lots of people who were well-known and highly adored by the general public passed away.
It’s understandable why people feel the year was so bad, and admittedly there’s some of that I’ve gotten bogged in too over the last couple months. However, for me personally, the year really hasn’t been all that awful. In fact, it’s been a fairly great year all things considered.
One thing I always find interesting as a gamer is reflecting on what games “defined my year,” as it were. Granted I didn’t necessarily diversify my interests a whole lot, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a lot of things I played.
Toward the beginning of the year, I was still riding some of my Wii U hype. I just got my system as a present last Hanukah, in fact, so games like Super Mario Maker were still huge time sucks, moreso than they are now.
Another thing that I’d gotten for Hanukah in 2015 also continued to take up my time, and that was The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes.
While the game wasn’t a traditional Zelda game like we’d all been waiting for in the relatively soon-to-be-announced Breath of the Wild, it was still a blast to play. The game had some awesome multiplayer functionality both with friends and with strangers, and to this day I don’t think I’m over how hilarious it is to spam the cheerleader pom-pom Link emoji.
On top of that, you could literally dress Link up as a cheerleader and it was one of the most viable costumes in that game. Not sure I ever thought I’d be so gung-ho to get Link to cross dress in all honesty, but I was.
Also earlier on in the year, while I was still getting into the swing of the Spring semester, I remember binging every Shantae game that’s been released thus far.
Not only did I play the original Shantae for the Game Boy, I played Shantae: Risky’s Revenge and Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse. I fell in love with the series fast thanks to the lovable characters, the quirky and fun writing, the beautiful animation style and of course the music (composed by Jake Kaufman, who also produced the music for another one of my favorite games in the same general style: Shovel Knight). I literally played through all three in a row and loved every minute of it, even if none of the games were necessarily all that beefy.
Doing a little bit of research, it looks like the latest installment in the series, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, has been released just recently, but it apparently slipped under my radar somehow. I’m wholeheartedly Ret-2-Go with that game as soon as I can pick it up, as there are a few too many games in 2016 that I unfortunately missed despite wanting to play them. Didn’t have quite as much time to devote to these things as I would have liked.
Next on the list of my year’s rundown is the first in what I would consider my ‘return of old gaming loves’ trilogy. That, of course, was Fire Emblem Fates. All three together technically, but Birthright was undoubtedly my personal favorite.
There’s a few things I’ll never forget just leading up to the games being released. First, I’ll never forget the hunt my friends and I went on trying to find some of the special edition three-in-one game cartridges for Fates that was a resounding failure but had some great moments. Like getting literally laughed at by a guy in a Game Stop one time. That was awesome.
I’ll also never forget getting the first game, Birthright, as it was actually a gift that was given to me by the editors of the News section on the Daily Titan, Micah and Brianna, as thanks for being their assistant for the Fall 2015 semester. Seriously, check it out, I still have the note here:
It was really awesome, especially considering it apparently took a lot of work to build up to the reveal, including using my friend Kaleb as a spy to figure out which version of the game I wanted more.
Fire Emblem took up a huge chunk of my life from there on out, as I went on to play all three versions. In a row. In hindsight, admittedly not the best idea, but I’m really into the games so it was the decision I made at the time. Birthright was incredible, rose-colored glasses or not, Conquest literally made my just about cry on multiple occasions from how unnecessarily difficult it got to be at times (Seriously, screw the port level. If I never play that game again, the port level is to blame) and Revelations was… Admittedly underwhelming.
I meant to talk about it on here a little bit, but beyond just being burnt out on the games by the time I hit the third, there were a few things that really sort of killed the experience for me unfortunately. First, I padded it out too much for myself. I tried to grind all the characters up to have a ton of diverse skills rather than planning ahead what I would’ve wanted, and it wound up being far more effort than I was honestly willing to put in. Second, they killed off my favorite character in what was literally the worst possible way in my opinion. I have a huge, huge rant still built up about it because the moment was so caustic for me, but this isn’t really the time or the place, so perhaps I’ll still come back to it later. Third, there was another game coming on the horizon that left me rushing to finish, which took away a lot of my enjoyment toward the latter half of the storyline. Who knows, maybe if I go back to it now I’ll have a better time, but for now Birthright will continue to be the high point of my memories for Fire Emblem Fates.
The second game in my personal trilogy was Monster Hunter Generations.
I talked about it on here a bit, so I don’t think I need to go into too much detail, but this game sucked away quite a bit of my time as well. Though I’ve only been playing Monster Hunter since the last major release, Monster Hunter 4U, it has quickly become one of my favorite franchises.
The seemingly near infinite levels of customization thanks to a wide range of monsters and a progression-based-on-skill system is something almost totally unique to Monster Hunter in my gaming experience, and it ticks boxes like crazy for me. There are very few games that I get super in depth about building sets and doing hours of research into said sets and also things like lore, but Monster Hunter is definitely one of them. It’s also one of the favorite games of my friend Juan, so we always have a good time going on extravagant hunts as a super powered duo, Hunting Horn and Charge Blade in hands.
Granted, I’ll admit that the game wasn’t quite as invigorating as MH4U for me, since that was the game where I truly had a skill curve to learn and overcome so I could truly become a master, but Generations was still a blast to play through and through.
Last, but certainly not least, comes what must be an obvious entry on this list. Hell, there’s only one game that really defined not only the latter half of my year, but also most of what I’ve built my blogging experience on so far.
And that game is, of course, Pokémon Sun and Moon. Because technically they go together even if they’re two separate games. Because Pokémon works like that.
Really I’ve said more than enough about these games in many, many posts over the last year, so I don’t think I need to waste too much time on it right now. Not only were the games beautiful and fun experiences in themselves, surpassing what I consider to be some of my favorite and some of the best constructed games in the series thus far, they reinvigorated the love of competitive Pokémon breeding that I fostered in Alpha Sapphire and got me back into the Pokémon YouTube communities I followed around the same time.
I have been and will continue to do some breeding in the games, especially once the Pokébank opens in January, and I’ve considered doing more competitive battling in 2017. There’s an official battle competition coming up pretty soon that I’m pretty sure I’ll be entering, so I’m sure there will be plenty more posts in the future on the subject as well.
Beyond those massive entries that took up my time, there are a few other games that permeated my year’s experiences. The 20th Anniversary of Pokémon for me included the continued playing of Pokémon Shuffle and Pokémon Picross on my 3DS, which were my puzzle game obsessions that I’ve only recently seemed to kick.
The summer was undoubtedly defined by Niantic’s Pokémon GO, the game which really felt the most universally unifying during the sub-par situations of the year surrounding it.
My whole family was playing the game together and I still remember wandering El Camino College hatching eggs after my summer classes there. Though I wound up a little disillusioned with the game, and still haven’t jumped in to catch the start of the Generation 2 Pokédex, I still can’t imagine Pokémon GO won’t hold a place in history in some way or another.
Also hitting the mobile gaming scene this year was Super Mario Run.
I gave my thoughts on the game in depth a little while ago, and as a small follow-up I will say that having spent money on the full game has made the experience even better for me. I’ve gotten really into collecting all the colored coins in single player on long road trips and I have a pretty well developed town so far. As a first jump into the mobile scene for Nintendo, I can personally say that Super Mario Run has been a success, and I’m looking forward to seeing more.
I also replayed quite a few older Steam games that I adore but haven’t touched in some time this year.
My friend Samantha and I played Terraria for a long stretch of time together, progressively getting better and better as we learned and built more complicated structures and items together. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth ate up huge chunks of my time in brief intervals throughout the year, as it’s always an addictive rogue-like experience that I’ll never get tired of. The same could be said for FTL, which I can only describe as a real-time rogue-like spaceship command and battle simulator. For anyone who hasn’t heard of the game it can be hard to explain, but it’s one of my favorite games of all time.
My 2016 was defined by more than just the video games I played, however. It marked the end of my first year at college. It also included my first semester as an editor for a college paper, one which I feel went really well considering all the crazy things that happened politically while I was in charge of the News page.
2016 was where I really feel like I got into the rhythm of driving and being able to get myself places. It was also the first year where I got to vote for a serious election – despite how divisive it might have been as far as an election went.
However, because of my time as a journalist, I felt like this was the first time I really got to apply what I was doing and learning to a real-world event. Literally the more I learned, the more prepared I felt to vote in November.
On top of that, I feel like I really learned a lot just in general. Two semesters and a summer intersession at college had me taking classes all over the proverbial spectrum at two different schools: Cal State Fullerton and El Camino College. Not only was the subject matter of the things I learned interesting, I also got to explore more places at the same time, which I also enjoy doing.
I got my first few relatively well-paying jobs in 2016 between being an editor on the Daily Titan and working for Boom: A Journal of California. Thanks to that, I’ve felt more independent than I ever really have before.
In 2016, I went to New York for the first time in I honestly don’t know how long.
I used to have a lot of family living out there, but now most of my close relatives live here in California, so I rarely ever get to go out to the East Coast anywhere that isn’t Florida. The trip was amazing and so much fun, and I really felt like I got close to a lot of my friends and colleagues in the newsroom that went with me.
I also got to relive a part of my Dad’s childhood by finding his old high school.
So, all and all, I’d say that trip was probably one of the most memorable parts of the year for me.
I got to visit SpaceX for the first time this year, and though I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures inside, it was still a phenomenal place to see. Seriously, some of the stuff they have going on in there is incredible.
In my opinion, I really started to come out of my shell a little bit more in 2016, and that helped me meet and interact with some people who I can really see myself continuing to talk to for a long time to come. Both those in and out of the newsroom.
2016 was also the first year I’ve let my beard grow out. It started as a No Shave November thing we did for the Daily Titan, but in the end I wound up getting such a positive reception that I kept the hair grown out.
Seriously, what a difference a little bit of hair will make. I look totally different from one picture to the other, if you ask me. Probably helps that I had more hair on top of my head to cover my forehead in the first picture too… But that’s another story.
Finally, 2016 was where I really got into blogging. Yeah, seems like a silly thing to cap this whole list off with, but you are literally reading this on my blog. I started this blog back on February 18, a day after my birthday, thanks to some school assignments I had to do. My Communications 233 class required us to have a blog that we posted 20 things on of any subject we chose. Naturally, I chose to make this a blog about video games and about my journalism experience.
Though it started as an assignment, one that I literally had to come up with ways to finish by coming up with admittedly silly things to post, I’ve come to really love doing this. Writing is a passion of mine, and getting the chance to write more often has been wonderful. It’s also been a way to voice my opinions and thoughts on various subjects, which I don’t tend to do in a largely public forum like this very often. I may be a relatively small blog still, but I feel like I’ve found somewhat of a rhythm thanks to Pokémon Sun and Moon, and I’m looking forward to writing more on whatever comes up in 2017. As goofy as it might be to say it, one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to try and write more next year, so I hope you all stick around to see whatever it is I come up with to write about.
Really, from the bottom of my heart thank you to everyone who’s following my blog, everyone who’s read anything I’ve wrote and to all my family and friends who have helped me explore, encouraged my writing ambitions, and worked to make sure I put my best foot forward. If you have any of your own favorite memories from 2016, or if you just want to send a good riddance sendoff to the year, feel free to share them down in the comments below.
I hope everyone has a Happy New Year, and here’s to 2017 being a happier time overall than 2016 seems to have been!
So this actually was not so much an article as it was a collection of briefs, but I’m pretty proud of the final product all the same.
Yesterday was a historic election, undoubtedly. The end result wasn’t necessarily what I hoped it would be, which is an especially painful point considering it was my first time getting to exercise my right to vote, but still. I’m proud that I got to perform my civic duty, and I stand by our Democracy’s tradition of peaceful transition. The fact that there are currently protests in the streets of Los Angeles akin to something we might otherwise see in countries like Egypt when military dictators come to power is honestly astounding to watch, in my opinion.
That’s all I’m going to say on the subject, however. I’m not looking to make enemies or incite anything with this post by any means.
Even though the last couple of days have been pretty glum and somber due to the end of this vitriolic year and a half of electioneering, something good did come out of it. I got to cover my very first presidential election as a part of a newspaper staff, and the coverage we came together with is pretty phenomenal if I say so myself.
We covered the election of President-elect Donald Trump, the local City Council, State Senate and Congress elections in Fullerton’s proximity and we covered the 17 ballot measures in California. To see the full edition, you can check it out here:
While the issue as a whole is a hugely successful undertaking, one that we spent tons of time on and came out on the other end with pretty solid results, I’m particularly proud of how we handled the propositions.
On front page and page 2, we had a graphic representing each of the 17 propositions on the ballot in California. Alongside those, we included whether or not the polls were leaning yes or no for that prop at the time we sent the paper to the printer.
To coincide with those graphics, I wrote a brief-length summary of each of the 17 propositions that we posted to the Daily Titan website. At about 100 words each, give or take a dozen, I wound up writing nearly 1,700 words in what was essentially voter guide coverage of the propositions.
Originally the plan was to mention the online supplement to the graphics in print as a way of improving traffic to our website online. However, our production went right to the deadline we’re restricted by, 2:30 a.m., and it wasn’t until the pages were turned into the printer that we discovered the supplement wasn’t mentioned in ink.
Sure, it sucks that my work didn’t get quite as much attention as it could have as a result, but we did advertise the summaries on social media so that the nearly 2,000 words did not go to waste. Thus is the life of a journalist.
If you want to check out the list of propositions I wrote up, check them out here. You can also check out the full list of things I’ve done for the Daily Titan to the right!
Hopefully things get a little less crazy and stressful now that the election is over and we have a bit of a quiet lame duck period to enjoy.
The 2016 election is the first national election I’ve had the chance to vote for in my lifetime.While the Presidential race itself has admittedly been… Less than appealing, it hasn’t changed my conviction to go out and do my civic duty for the first time.
With a lot of pretty significant proposition on the ballot in California to vote for, as well as local and national offices out of my district, it was definitely still an important thing to do despite any national disillusionment.Now that the voting is done, all there’s left to do is wait. Wait and see.
Naturally, since I work for a newspaper, waiting and seeing means I’ll literally be charting the progress of the national and local elections in Orange County. It’s going to be a long, long day…So having some caffeine in my system will probably be a good thing.
No matter who you’re voting for, I hope you have the chance to go out and exercise your right in what seems like an unprecedentedly big turnout year!
When this article was published yesterday, I was a little bit distracted by other things to be able to talk about it. Half of the newsroom is currently off in Washington DC for a conference, and my co-editor has been a bit under the weather as of late, so the rest of us who were still around had to work extra hard to get our issue with special third presidential debate coverage out for today.
However, with our last issue of the week out, giving me a bit of a break before our big weeklong political special issue production on Sunday, figure now is as good a time as ever to update my blog here with this new article.
Project Rebound is a program out of San Francisco State University that recently received a $500,000 grant from The Opportunity Institute, allowing it to spread out and open branches in seven CSU campuses – including Fullerton, naturally. The program sets out to help previously incarcerated individuals who are looking to get a college degree, at the same time attempting to lower the prison recidivism rate in California (at 44.6 percent or so in the 2010 to 2011 fiscal year according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations) and beyond.
I found out about it from my professor, Dr. Jason Sexton, who also happens to be the editor of Boom magazine. He’s an advisor for the program’s new branch, as I’m sure the push to do a California prison-themed issue of Boom helped bring some attention. The advisors for the program are there to help convey what resources are around that Rebound staff can point students to, though currently there are only two primary staff members on board.
Brady Heiner, Ph.D, is an assistant professor of Philosophy at CSUF and the Director of Rebound there. Meanwhile, Romarilyn Ralston is the recently hired program coordinator for Rebound, and happens to be a previously incarcerated individual who sought out and college degrees herself. In her own words, “An office like Project Rebound and staff that has prior incarceration histories who has walked the walk and accomplished what Rebound sets up to help their students achieve will be very helpful and supportive.”
The story honestly wound up being a behemoth at 1,600 words, since I couldn’t really figure out where to stop writing. There was a heck of a lot of information to convey, and both Heiner and Ralston gave me tons of good quotes to incorporate.
Luckily we have an awesome Layout editor who was able to help set up the paper to fill that kind of extensive content.
If you want to see the story in its entirety, you can see it here. You can also check out my whole archive of work for the Daily Titan through the link over on the right!
Since this is something of a personal blog, I figure I can get a bit personal with the whole silly milestone kind of stuff.
California’s presidential primary for the 2016 election is today, and it’s the first primary I’m old enough to vote in. So, it’s pretty exciting! Especially considering just how much of a wild ride it’s been watching the veritable circus this election has been so far. I still remember when things were just kicking off and the Republican side had 17+ candidates with their hats in the ring at once. I also remember when Donald Trump decided to try out and everyone believed he would leave after a month or two with some boosted publicity.
Man, that sure took a way different turn, didn’t it.
Not that his ticket concerns me very much, as I voted Democrat – though I figure that much should be obvious after my slyly inserted roast against Trump in my Merchants of Doubt post.
Here’s the full pay-off. Honestly, it’s objectively not a lot from a physical perspective. A filled out pamphlet, a ballot stub and a sticker. Subjectively, however, I feel pretty patriotic and satisfied just looking at it all together. The feeling of having my voice heard is a wonderful one, especially since California is getting so much more attention in this election than it really ever does. Plus, my family made voting a collective outing this morning before my Dad had to go to work and my sister to school, so it was a pretty fun way to get through my civic duty.
In other not quite so political news, I’m moving up the chain of command on the Daily Titan. Earlier I did my interview with the new Editor in Chief and he already offered me the News Desk Editor position on the paper for this upcoming Fall 2016 semester. So, expect to see a lot more news in my Journalism experience faction of the blog as the summer eventually winds down and school picks back up again!
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.