After a couple of days of hardcore convention-ing, it feels nice to settle in for a week of school with your name adorning the paper once again.
As I teased in my ACP post from yesterday, I’ve had an opinion piece worked up over the last week or so that made it to print in today’s weeklong. Only one paper this week — alongside our special Health Issue — because half our staff is going out to New York.
Honestly that’s a double whammy bonus for me. More time for my story to be out on the stands and more time for me to get some homework out-of-the-way that I’ve been desperate to catch up on. Guess I can count that as one more benefit to not making the cross-country trip.
Enough pussy-footing around though. You’re probably all here to see some of my behind-the-scenes looks at what goes into writing an article. Though if you aren’t and you really do prefer me to just ramble on… Just let me know. I’d love to hear why.
Though my second opinion piece for the Titan isn’t exactly as noteworthy as the first one I wrote last semester, I think I honestly had a little more fun putting this one together. It centers around California Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, my hometown representative actually and a pretty nice guy at that, having put through a bill to the table that would make surfing the official state sport if passed.
Now, I’m not personally super into surfing. I love the beach and I used to surf a bit, but I got pretty traumatized after an incident where I got crushed between a couple of boards during a surfing lesson way back in the day and haven’t really done it since.
Even with that stipulation, I’m not looking to suggest that surfing would be an inherently bad choice for this position. If anything I agree that surfing would make the most sense as a singular sport associated with the state of California. However… I just don’t think it’s right to necessarily boil down an entire facet of a state’s culture into one legislative representative.
There’s a distinction I’m imagining between something like a sport and something like a tree or a flower. Obviously every state has its signature flower or tree, and in a lot of regards that makes sense. Either that flora is common in the area or has some significance for another reason, but it’s easy enough to just say “California has redwood trees. They’re cool. Let’s make that the state tree.”
For human-driven cultural pursuits, I think it’s a little more tricky to pick just one. While surfing is strongly associated with the Golden State, it’s not the only one that holds distinction amongst the people living there. That can go for any state or country really, but it’s especially true for California where (as I note in the story) Big Bear snowboarding and Hermosa Beach surfing are just three or so hours apart.
Essentially my article goes through a number of examples building on the original premise that surfing along doesn’t represent all of California. I talk about beach volleyball. I talk about snowboarding. I talk about basketball. I make a Beach Boys joke.
Because really how could you not with this premise?
Then, once I’ve made a case for why all of those sports could also represent facets of California, I came to the ultimate conclusion that maybe there should not be just ONE single state sport. You discount too much history and culture if you go that route.
After my article was finished, I also decided to get some pictures to accompany it. I live down by the beach after all, so that was an easy thing to get access to. Plus, I get extra points for having photo credits in print. So why not?
Well… If you’ve paid attention to my adventures these past couple of days, you’ll know why not.
Really though, outside of the rain this was a pretty fun and easy assignment. I enjoyed the topic and I talked with a source for some background on potential flaws with surfing as a concept who was quite nice.
She even gave me an arts and crafts project… For some reason.
Still not sure why, but it’s sweet all the same.
If you want to read my article in its entirety, you can check it out here. Or you can see my whole archive of work for the Daily Titan over on the right!
Or, you can always come down to Fullerton to pick it up in person. It’s going to be on racks all week, after all!
The last day of the Associated Collegiate Press 2018 Midwinter Convention was a long one. Not only did I do a bunch of stuff before heading to Long Beach, but I was there extra late for the California College Media Association awards that followed the closing keynote of the event.
That late awards ceremony was also the reason I didn’t manage to get this out the night of like with my first two posts, by the way. If you even noticed that weird discrepancy and were curious about it.
But if you did not notice that and don’t want to see my keep rambling on, I’ll just jump right in.
Even though there were a few early sessions I was potentially interested in attending during the last day of the convention, ultimately I decided not to go over there yesterday morning. Other pressing matters presented themselves that needed to be addressed from Redondo.
First and foremost, I needed to take some photos regarding a story I’ve been working on for the Titan. The article is an opinion piece about surfing being considered to become the official state sport of California through a bill introduced by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi.
It’s getting published tomorrow, so if you want to know exactly what I’m thinking about regarding that issue, you’ll just have to wait and see. #Cliffhanger
In my desire to earn extra points for Comm 471, I decided to go take my own photos to accompany the surfing article. After all, I live literally five minutes away from the beach. So why not take my own photos?
Turns out, nature gave me a perfect reason why to not take my own photos.
Seriously, what were the odds that I went out to take photos on one of the rainiest, lousy days I’ve seen in this part of the world in months.
At least there was a nice pier to hide under so I didn’t completely ruin the camera I have rented from Bonnie.
Also, shout out to my Mom for taking this dope picture of me. Even if I look silly wearing a leather jacket out on the beach in hindsight.
On the bright side, we went and had a lovely breakfast together after escaping the torrential downpour.
We both look pretty lousy and waterlogged in this photo, but I think that adds to the charm. It was a fun adventure.
After our beach trip, I stayed home for a while longer to work on some homework. That’s the unfortunate thing about going to a dope conference: Having to keep up with your regular life responsibilities at the same time.
Especially when those real life responsibilities include a Psychology Research Methods paper to write in perfect American Psychological Association document style. That’s the funnest kind of assignment.
I did make some substantial progress on that during my morning time — though I didn’t finish it, and I theoretically could probably be working on it instead of this… But those are semantics we don’t need to get into right now.
Eventually, time dictated my necessity to go to Long Beach. I may not have gone to any other sessions, but there was one I absolutely had to go to.
Covering Milo Yiannopoulos
I think it’s probably no surprise at this point that our biggest story on the Daily Titan in 2017 (for the second half of it at least) was the Halloween visit of conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.
There’s no need for me to go into detail about every single story we wrote on the subject, so just check out the Daily Titan tag to get the gist of it if you’re behind.
For our purposes here, know that I was essentially the project lead on our Milo coverage since I broke the news that he would be appearing initially. That’s the magic of having connections with the club that was inviting him.
Because of the extensive work behind our Milo coverage, Bonnie got us a slot on the ACP convention schedule to talk about everything that went into it. Not only was that an awesome opportunity, but I had the honor of essentially leading the talk because I led most of our efforts!
That included everything, from the creation of a PowerPoint:
Of course I wasn’t the only one talking, if the pictures above didn’t make it obvious enough. I was joined by current Sports assistant Kathryne Padilla (left), Opinion editor Sophia Acevedo (middle) and News assistant Breanna Belken (right).
Our talk was pretty popular too, I’d say:
… I know it sort of looks like a half-empty room in this picture, but I took it toward the end of the session. There were more people there early on and a few trickled out throughout.
But there’s no need to try and overcompensate or whatever, as just the fact that we got to speak to anybody like an expert in the subject was an absolute joy!
Probably my favorite part of it was the fact that people stuck around after the talk ended to ask extra questions. Specifically from me! Seriously, they staked out the room and hit my up after I left to find out a bit more about how I was able to stay objective with my reporting on the guy.
It’s a pretty significant confidence booster to see people want your advice on how to handle something.
I may be wrong about this, but I believe it was UC Santa Barbara students that stayed around to talk with me after the talk. So shout out to them.
But if I’m wrong and you just so happen to be those guys and you’re reading this, just let me know and I’ll correct it. I feel bad about not being 100 percent sure, there was just a lot that happened after we talked.
The Ending Keynote: Dirty John
The Los Angeles Times took a chance in late 2017 by publishing one of their larger investigative stories in tandem with a series of podcast episodes. That podcast, called Dirty John, has been downloaded 10 million times since it was put out in October.
Christopher Goffard was the reporter and narrator for the print story and the podcast respectively. He was also the keynote speaker for the last day of the convention.
I was already pretty hyped up for his talk after Steve Padilla, an LA Times editor, advocated for the keynote and encouraged me to go see what he had to say. Luckily, I was not disappointed.
Goffard ran through the ten lessons he learned from working on a podcast:
The story always comes first.
You will eventually grapple with some kind of ethical issues.In his case, deciding whether or not to include certain sound clips to enhance the emotional connection of the story.
In a hyper competitive podcasting space, experience with prior reporting will offer an advantage.
Having the right equipment is important.
You will never know what words you have been mispronouncing your entire life until you have to say it in a professional space.
Even if your podcast can reach more people, use it to draw attention to print.
Always think about the cat (or whatever other noise obstructions there might be).
Your work shouldn’t be about you, as interesting as you may be.
Stop saying ‘uh huh’ during your interviews on tape. Learn to nod your head.
You will not be murdered if you fail. Only staying in your comfort zone will kill you.
After getting through his points in speed running fashion, he spent a long time just answering questions from anyone and everyone in the audience who wanted his advice. It was super cool and useful, and after it ended I was excited to start listening to the podcast on my daily drives to-and-from Fullerton.
Pardon my dumb late-night repetition of ‘excited’ too many times.
The rest of my time at the conference was spent at two different awards functions.
The first bled right into Goffard’s talk. A part of the ACP convention is a ‘Best of Show’ competition, where schools in attendance had the opportunity to enter what they considered to be their greatest work in various categories.
The Daily Titan entered one of the Homeless in OC-centric papers for ‘Best Daily Newspaper,’ the special Milo Yiannopoulos coverage reprint for ‘Best Special Issue’ and the Milo multimedia accompaniment for ‘Best Multimedia.’
We won first place, third place and fourth place respectively.
The banquet was pretty great for a number of reasons.
First and foremost: The food.
It was all as delicious as it looks.
Dinner was almost comically on-point by offering us the opportunity to have both the meat AND the fish course, alongside some salad, mashed potatoes and cauliflower.
Then there were a number of desserts served throughout the night, and I was able to get my hands on a tiny tiramisu and a small thing of custard with gold-colored chocolate shavings and a coffee-ground base.
Though the food was delicious, putting it as my ‘first and foremost’ choice is honestly a bit of a joke.
Really, the coolest thing about the banquet was getting to see a bunch of old friends from the Titan who swung around to get awards!
Namely, my ex-co-editors Sarah Wolstoncroft (Twitter not included) and Megan Maxey, Ashlyn Ramirez and Kaleb Stewart came back into the fold to pick up various accolades. Bryant Freese was also supposed to be there to pick up his first place award for the sports story that got a coach at CSUF fired, but unfortunately he blew a tire on the way over (poor guy…)
Our ads department also won a couple of awards alongside the writers who were in attendance, with the most striking award featuring an amazing typo.
I don’t think anyone got a picture of it, but essentially they gave the Daily Titan Ads Department staff an award for their advertising package, which was a “The Daily Californian” production from 2016.
So we technically got credit for something that UC Berkeley did I guess? I don’t know, either way it was pretty hilarious.
What’s most important for my purposes, however, is the award I received.
Megan, Ashlyn, Sarah, Bryant (who as I mentioned was not there) and I won third place in the News Series category for our work on the “Homeless in OC” stories that were produced as a part of Bonnie’s Investigative Journalism class last year. It’s a super huge honor, and I’m so proud that we were able to get that important work recognized!
Gotta give credit where it’s due, to all my hardworking peeps on the Daily Titan staff, past and present.
After the awards ended, we all stood around and took photos together, then made our way home.
After three days of fun and learning in Long Beach, the convention was over. By 11:00 p.m. when I got back to Redondo, I was ready to pass out.
And I did.
That’s why this is coming out so late into Sunday instead of Saturday night. Because I fell asleep, then had to get up early to take beach photos again (this time more successfully) and have been doing my Daily Titan shift for our weeklong issue before half of our staff goes to New York for yet another conference.
Still kinda wish I had the opportunity to go to New York with them, but after my experiences in Long Beach I suppose I really can’t complain. I had an amazing time with some of my friends, got to share my expertise with a national audience, learn from a number of professionals and won some awards.
Anyway, dumb attempt at a clever opening monologue aside, welcome to my regularly scheduled big Fire Emblem Heroes update. I’ve actually been fairly busy the last few days doing some work for my internship (hopefully some Gladeo stuff should be coming around in the next couple of days for me to talk about), so I haven’t been able to update everything as I’ve been going.
Figured I would update it all in one fell swoop, all under the banner of this strange, strange special character addition.
That’s right folks, if June was the month of the brides, July is the month of summer fun for the colorful cast of Fire Emblem characters… From Ylisse. Because apparently only the Ylissians get nice things like summer vacations.
Now, just who do we have filling out our roster of summer-themed heroes?
Can’t have a collection of heroes from Fire Emblem Awakening without including Chrom, Lucina or Robin somewhere in the mix. Lucina’s gotten more than enough love in the time Heroes has existed, so I’m glad to see Robin finally getting some more time in the sun. And no, not because she’s scantily clad and running around spearing seafood. Not strictly, at least.
Never did I ever think I would see this great Ylissian knight don casual clothing, hit the beach with his friends and chuck seashells at people. Seriously. The guy that usually flattens enemies with his horse and impales those who do disservices to his lords chucks seashells at people. Easily the best character added solely for how strange he is, and that’s saying something considering…
Have you ever wanted to see an eons-old half-dragon of divinity with a pension for feeling heartbroken about the deaths of her friends in the hundreds of years she hibernated decide to smack a watermelon with a stick and use the combined items as an axe? No? Well have this anyway.
Besides the fact that “Thief Exposed” is a ridiculous name to bestow upon anything in this context, I don’t have a lot of things to make fun of with old Gaius here. In fact, if there was anyone on this list I would want, it’s him. Not only does he get the skills Vantage AND Astra, but he also shoots the blue ice cream pops from Kingdom Hearts at people. It’s pretty dope.
I’m sure you know exactly what’s coming next at this point.
New heroes equals new paralogue. New paralogue equals three new missions. Three new missions equals nine new orbs, plus an extra three for included special missions. The return of two orbs daily. Rinse and repeat, as usual.
Oh, but this time they also included an extra event to get us some boosted Skill Points for playing over the weekends.
So that’s pretty cool.
In case it wasn’t all that obvious, I don’t want to spend an exorbitant amount of time on this like I usually do. As much as I love writing far too much about a relatively small amount of content with this game, it is already pretty late and I have some stuff going on tomorrow. However, the writing in this game never ceases to amaze me with how bizarre it is.
If you thought things got weird when the girls of the game were wandering around in wedding dresses… Well…
Surprisingly, talking about liberation from one’s clothing isn’t even the weirdest thing Anna talks about in this miniature storyline. It actually gets much, much creepier from there.
To sum it up really quick, you and the rest of your colleagues from the Order of Heroes decide to go to a beach in Ylisse to relax for the summer. However, Anna has ulterior motives with the casually dressed heroes under contract with Emblia to defend the beach.
She basically wants to take the four new special heroes and use them to make her own Playboy-esque pictures to sell so she can help fund the army.
I’ve had a couple of hours to stew it over and I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about this plot point.
However, it just about goes how you would expect. You fight a few maps, Anna fails to get any of her pictures, she actually winds up losing money thanks to a letter from an alternative version of herself and everyone fills her in on the value of spending the summertime making friends and relaxing rather than dwelling over money.
Seriously this game has more Hallmark card morals than Hallmark cards as far as I can tell.
The “lore” for this event doesn’t get much deeper than this, so that’s really all I have to say on that matter. Except that getting through this event makes me feel like like the writers for this game are trying to send a message that they could probably stand for a “liberating vacation” of their own.
The map environments are quite pretty however, I have to say:
It’s obviously hard to tell with a still image, but the water flows back and forth with a little bit of froth. It’s really nice.
With the summer beach fun out of the way, let’s get into a little lightning round for all the other updates in my games I’ve neglected, big and small.
Otherwise, don’t have much to say about this. I like the character, she seems cool and I got a three star version of her. However, with my current collection of heroes, I’m not having much luck at the harder difficulties for her mission.
The latest Voting Gauntlet: Battle between the ladies of the cloth
Admittedly I’m not super invested in this voting gauntlet. Because healers aren’t prominent or even necessarily good to battle with in this format, you don’t see the headlining characters strongly supported in the battles at hand with this gauntlet.
I suppose there’s an argument to be made for having a balanced cast to prevent any unfair match ups (experiences like Ephraim vs. Eirika one time do come to mind), but when people aren’t using the characters featured it makes it harder to feel invested in the team support. At least in my opinion.
However, I have been supporting my teams all the same. I started with Sakura, the best younger sister from Fates… But she swiftly got beat by Elise. Guess people didn’t agree with me, but at least I can take solace in the fact that people can have their own opinions… They just can’t make up their own facts. So my opinion still stands.
Anyway, now I’m supporting Lissa from Awakening in the fight against Priscilla from the Radiant series. Whether I win or not, at least I know… Everyone who plays gets tons of rewards at the end.
Rewards are good.
Champion of Valentia
In other non-Heroes related Fire Emblem news, I finally beat the main story in Fire Emblem Echoes over this last week! It was a long time coming, as I’d been putting it off for quite a while due to other things, but I certainly don’t regret a moment of it.
Seriously, Echoes has easily skyrocketed to being one of my favorite Fire Emblem titles over the time I’ve played it. The characters are wonderful, the story is engaging, the graphics are easily characteristic and exemplary of all the advancements made in the Fire Emblem series in recent years and dungeons are simply wonderful.
I sincerely hope that the popularity of this game encourages the return of similar first-person dungeon exploration in future titles. I would understand if they want to keep it unique to Gaiden and its remake, but in my opinion they would be remiss to not capitalize on how fun the mechanic is.
There are also a striking amount of similarities between this game and the Sacred Stones from my point of view. That added some extra investment personally, as it reminded me of my favorite game in the series. Plus, on top of that, I eventually realized that Valentia is the ancient equivalent of Valm from Fire Emblem Awakening, much like Archanea is the ancient equivalent of Ylisse. Seeing that kind of world building across generations is always phenomenal.
I do have my problems with the game, however. There’s a certain element of “keeping to tradition” with Echoes in terms of its character interactions that I can respect… But disagree with at heart. If you want to keep the original support system from Gaiden and keep the canonical relationships canonical, that’s fine. In fact, I quite enjoy most of the canon in-game relationships. Alm and Celica, Gray and Clair, Clive and Mathilda, Mae and Boey, so on and so forth. They’re great.
But for this being a modern Fire Emblem game… They really aren’t enough.
Particularly on the coattails of Fire Emblem Fates, which gave you the chance to essentially learn about, befriend and create your own relationships between two complete armies and their children, Fire Emblem Echoes was sorely lacking.
All of the characters I would love to see have more development essentially don’t. This lack of development is almost uncomfortably disappointing, as many obvious options for connections to at least talk are simply missing. For example, many of the initial villagers from Alm’s route can’t talk with one another despite being childhood friends. Genny, the little sister surrogate from Celica’s route, can’t talk with Celica or any of the other people she starts the journey with. Or, in fact, anyone besides Sonya from later on in the story.
I could go on and on. Saber should be able to talk with Celica, Delthea should be able to talk with Clive, Silque should be able to talk with Jesse. Most of these names are just garbled nonsense to people who haven’t played the game, but trust me. They have hinted relationships through different outlets that get unfortunately ignored by the lack of support conversations.
Again, I can appreciate sticking to conventional things and keeping canonical relationships alive. But if you’re going to revamp a game, to the point where entire characters are added and given integral parts of the story (Editor’s Note: Love you Berkut <3), the least you could do is add extra conversations into the game that I would assume aren’t entirely too hard to implement.
But I digress, as I’ve already probably talked about this game far too much in this unconventional space as is. Time to move on, shall we?
Yami Bakura is a dick
In actually non-Fire Emblem related news… I love this character and I love the event he comes with in Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links. The blood red sky full of eyes and mouths are rad, and when I first started playing the game this event was happening the first time, so it comes with a certain amount of nostalgia as I see how much further I’ve come.
However, dueling him is way too god damn hard thanks to a mechanic he abuses that ends the match within five turns, so it’s a real pain in the neck to collect any points and prizes from him. It annoys me, but not enough to go into immense details about here.
I also figured I would mention that Konami has impressed me recently with all the notices about updates that are coming and have come to the game. Tons of overpowered skill rebalancing, revamping some graphics, adding lots of new and cool cards and more. It’s actually really nice to see how much they seem to be listening to the community with this game.
Good on you, Konami.
2,000 words in and I’m finally done. Geez, I really need to stop doing this to myself. Every time I say I’m going to write short, get in early and get out fast, I always wind up going above and beyond the call of duty without intending to. I do enjoy the writing, but I always hate myself in the morning when I have to drag myself out of bed.
For now, however, that’s neither here nor there. It’s about time I let you all go on with your lives.
What do you think of the summer heroes? Which one of the four Ylissians are your favorite in their special getups? Also, because I’ve been considering it myself, are you interested in a more extended discussion on Fire Emblem Echoes? I thought about it when I finished the game initially, but I’ve been so busy that I didn’t think I was going to get anything official out. However, if the demand is high enough, I just might.
Maybe I should get a better way to capture images off my 3DS. That could encourage me to talk about those games more, since I know part of my interest in the mobile games comes from the ease of getting screenshots.
But once again I digress. For now it is time to sleep so I can stop rambling on and on like this.
Last night I spent the day over at Cal State Fullerton, working on our first “paper” for the Fall 2016 semester. It wasn’t really a full paper as much as it was just a small advertisement-filled insert of sorts meant to be displayed at the New Student Orientation, but still. It was the first things I’ve gotten to work on as the new News Editor on the Daily Titan’s editorial staff.
There’s another two weeks left before we start our serious productions, at which point posts on here about my journalism stuff should get quite a bit more frequent.
In the meantime, I’ve been trying to take advantage of the last bit of free time I have that isn’t taken up by my Political Philosophy class. For today, that meant going out with one of my sister’s friends who invited us out to Palos Verdes to spent time at Abalone Cove, where there’s tide pools to explore.
I got to swim in the ocean, which I haven’t done in quite some time, and we spent time skipping and stacking rocks.
Oh, and naturally, there were plenty of water-type Pokémon to find while we were there, because how could I not look out for them?
The Cove also happened to be right next to Lloyd Wright’s Wayfarers Chapel, which was right up the road. Lloyd Wright being the son of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, naturally.
All and all a pretty good day, I’d say. Sometimes it’s nice to take a little bit of time to relax and enjoy nature – which is still just as pretty here in California despite the eternal drought we’ve been plagued with for an unsung number of years.