I had a fun day with my friends yesterday. Chilling for the first time this summer, playing games late into the night, watching dumb internet videos and eating pizza.
Because I got lost doing that, I unfortunately didn’t have the chance to write a blog post. I don’t imagine anyone is going to fault me for that necessarily, but I still personally feel bad for dropping the ball on my goal, so I wanted to write something extra today to make up for it.
Also yes, I know I could have just rescheduled that to post yesterday and completely circumnavigate this internal turmoil.
But I didn’t think about it until today so shush.
I’ve just finished doing another edit for Boom, this time on a piece about the impact of Mexican migrants on the history of soccer’s popularity in the United States as we approach the 2018 World Cup. However, like with the Kennedy piece from the other day (which is online and can be read here), I don’t necessarily have much to say about this one because it’s not available to read so I can give full credit where it’s due.
So instead I figured I would talk about some of the highlights from my friend hangout yesterday.
We played Minecraft for a hell of a long time. It’s something we’ve been doing through online connections and Skype chats for the past couple weeks, so getting to do it in person was a lot of fun.
In fact it was also an excellent showcase of the power of the Nintendo Switch to be a great multiplayer console. While mine was plugged into the large TV we have upstairs that way I could play split screen with Juan (who doesn’t own the game), both Tiana and Mitchell were playing on their personal consoles at other parts of the room, since they’d both brought them along.
Then on top of that, we were also playing with Jonathan, who’s still up at UC Davis finishing off his school quarter. Luckily he had the time to spare, since our main world is hosted on his console. We even called him on Skype, and he basically stayed in the loop for the entire day, which was pretty cool.
Sometimes it’s nice to appreciate how miraculous technology can be in terms of keeping us all connected.
I would share some photos from our time playing, but I’m still working on a more reliable way to pull photos off the Switch that don’t involve needlessly posting them ALL on Twitter, so that’ll have to wait for another time.
For now enjoy this reference Minecraft made to Heavy Rain that was just convenient enough to be hilarious:
After our (admittedly somewhat bloated) play session of Minecraft came to a close, we had some pizza and watched dumb internet videos. Memes, vine compilations, video game-related things. All that good stuff.
One such video was Long Long Man, which is a series of Japanese gum commercials that you need to watch right now if you haven’t seen it.
We introduced my sister to it and this was her reaction when the big reveal came at the end.
I’m not kidding, watch it. It’ll change your life.
Here you go. Thank me later.
We also watched the first episode of Aggretsuko, a slice-of-life anime about anthropomorphic animals who work in a modern-day office setting.
Also the main character deals with misogyny and other headaches by sneaking off to sing death metal in secluded places.
It’s an odd show and I’m not sure I can necessarily give a full scope of my opinions on it having only watched one episode. However, my friend Kaleb did write an extended piece about the show from a more knowledgeable platform that I would recommend giving a read.
One other particularly notable thing from last night was our experience with Fire Emblem Heroes. As I’ve talked about before, one of the reasons I stick with the game so adamantly is because we all play it together.
It hasn’t exactly been kind to me recently, however. I was rather eager to go after one of the red units on the Legendary Ryoma banner, to the point that I started spending a lot of orbs.
However, lots of time and orbs passed, and I wasn’t getting anything.
Eventually it was concerning how I wasn’t able to pull a single five-star unit on the initial eight percent banner.
It got pretty bad. Even my last-ditch effort to buy some orbs when I ran out failed, despite the fact that I imagined having everyone around would make it more likely that the game would take it easy on me.
The game didn’t take it easy on me.
The Ryoma banner is gone now, and all of my orbs have gone to waste.
It’s not an encouraging feeling. Especially considering Tiana decided to summon on her eight percent chance just to test whether or not it was my luck.
Turns out it was all my luck.
That disappointment aside, it was a pretty amazing moment when she literally pulled the unit that had been avoiding me for so long just in a whim.
All-and-all I’d say that aptly describes what makes our hangouts so fun. Doing things that would otherwise be a good time alone, but become that much better when we’re together because of how we can play off each other.
That said, I really don’t have too much more to say, so I think I’ll leave it here.
Hope everyone has had a nice Thursday! Look forward to my posts that will wrap up this week about the RUHS band banquet tomorrow night and whatever updates we’ll be seeing in FEH in the next few days.
On an otherwise lazy day where I basically did next to nothing of note worth talking about with any serious bravado around here, leave it to Dr. Jason Sexton and Boom to give me something interesting and intellectual to reflect on.
The history of the Kennedy family isn’t exactly something I think about too often, despite the intriguing nature of the “Kennedy curse” as it were.
As a result, it was interesting doing a copy edit on the 17-page essay written by Joseph Palermo. The piece examines the death of Bobby Kennedy and what motives drove the assassination, both the actual motivations and whatever motivations were placed upon the assassin. He questions whether or not it was appropriate to frame the politician’s death using the Israeli-Palestinian crisis (as many tried to do) based on logs of interactions kept by L.A. County Sheriffs who watched Sirhan.
It’s a rather well done piece that I enjoyed reading, one that gave me a deeper understanding of a period of history I don’t often think about too seriously. Dr. Sexton is hoping to get the thing out on Tuesday, the actual 50th anniversary, and I’d recommend everyone read it once it’s out in the world.
However I didn’t just want to take this time to promote an essay that hasn’t yet been released.
I also wanted to spend some time reflecting on the English language, because copy editing writing does give one plenty of opportunities to think about how needlessly dumb and overcomplicated this great language can be.
For example, there are so many words that are spelled similarly but have vastly different meanings.
At one point in the piece, someone is described as being a ‘demur’ person. Thinking the intent had been to write that they were a ‘demure’ person, I looked up the two words to get a better grasp of exactly what the difference was.
According to dictionary.com:
Demur (verb) — To make objection, especially on the grounds of scruples.
also (noun) — The act of making objection; an objection raised.
Demure (adjective) — Characterized by shyness and modesty; reserved.
Amazing how much difference one silent vowel makes, isn’t it?
In one fell swoop, a person can go from having a descriptor for someone to having an action. Or a noun that’s technically the embodiment of what that verb creates.
No wonder English language learners need extra assistance, the whole construct is just chocked full of rules, exceptions and similar elements like homophones that make it a nightmare to truly master the damn thing.
But hey, that’s the world I’m looking to immerse myself in one of these days, so it’s just my lot in life to try and learn, understand and apply these kinds of specifics.
Guess it’s a good thing I’ve got opportunities like Boom, Gladeo and the Titan around to help me start to work on everything, huh?
I have been meaning to do this sort of thing for a while. However, even though I’ve had a number of weeks off during Winter Break to edit my stuff before this, sheer laziness has been a hell of a driving force in keeping me away from doing even this simple task.
Yet after working on a wide-range of content across the board of organizations I split my time between this week (including a bi-weekly Gladeo meeting, ) I finally feel a little bit of that laziness melting away in place of the inevitable strung-out workaholic nature I tend to slip into during school semesters.
In an ironic twist, I decided to take a break from that job productivity I’m finally feeling to instead do something personally productive by updating my blog. Does that defeat the purpose of being productive by acting as a glorified variant of procrastination?
What can I say, sometimes it helps me gain traction in one realm of work if I find that I can be productive doing something. Anything, really. Even if some people might think it’s just a distraction.
But I’m getting a little too deep in my mind’s weeds at this point. After all, this is basically just meant to be a signpost to advertise that there are more things to look at on my blog. So, what new things are there to look at on my blog?
Basically that encompasses the entire change. Until next week, when my first two articles of the semester are published, it shouldn’t see too much more activity.
Second, I added a new page to serve as an archive of my involvement with BOOM California. As an assistant for BOOM a lot of my current work involves simply copy editing pieces that are slated to be published on the organization’s website, since there are no longer print publications being put out. Those edits don’t get explicit credit, so what I primarily focused on was adding links to the larger magazines that were printed and have my name attached.
Third, I added a second new page to serve as an archive of my involvement with the Gladeo League. While pieces for Gladeo have a relatively slow roll-out, and I had a lull of writing for them as I went through my personal medical concerns, I stayed on with the group and will continue to work on profiles for them going forward. Thus, I decided it was about time to create a dedicated place to store everything I write. So far I have two highlights up, but there are two more I’m working on as of right now.
These new pages are available to check out now over on the right alongside the rest of my experience databases. The only thing I haven’t been able to figure out is how to properly adjust the categories in an order I’d prefer to see them in.
For some reason the default is alphabetical order, and for the life of me I can’t seem to reorder them in any other way. It’s a small logistical thing, but it bugs me. Even if I’m sure it doesn’t bug anyone else.
That said, as I mentioned before the spring 2018 semester begins next week. Though I suppose I didn’t quite write about everything I had looked to thanks to my aforementioned laziness – my feelings on Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon comes to mind – I did do a good amount of housekeeping that I’d wanted to over the break. In my opinion, this is a good capstone for that.
So as the semester begins, for anyone going back into the trenches with me, I wish you all only the best of luck.
Looking back at my 2016 end-of-the-year post before starting this one off was a pretty interesting little experience. Mostly because I reflected on the fact that last year was a pretty universally divisive time with a lot of personal accomplishment that made things worth it all in the end.
This year, I have essentially the same thing to say. Except I would argue that the divisive part of things had been turned up to 11. Plus, while things have been great for me, a lot of things also have not been so great.
Spoiler alert, I’m basically just ready for 2017 to end.
Unlike in last year’s discussion, I won’t go too far into detail about my video game playing experiences this year. I kind of already did it with my top 10 games list the other day, even if that was in order of my personal enjoyment rather than the chronological order I played things.
I’m going to just leave this off as a ‘check that list out here‘ note rather than talking too much more about it, especially since I’m probably going to do a few more video game-centric posts soon enough.
Namely tomorrow when Fire Emblem Heroes New Year units are released.
To cover all of my bases in this post just in case you guys don’t want to look back, just know that I didn’t play nearly as many games as I would have liked this year, and while I thoroughly enjoyed just about everything I did play, it’s a shame I couldn’t have done more due to my time commitments.
Speaking of, those time commitments wound up bookmarking my 2017 more than my video games did in that respect.
The Daily Titan has been the main driving force of that throughout the year. While last spring semester was my first time being an editor for the paper alongside Megan Maxey, I continued on in that role both semesters this year, only getting better and better at the job (in my opinion, at least).
During the fall semester, I worked together with Sarah Wolstoncroft – who had been one of my amazing assistants the semester before. Then this last semester, I worked together with Brandon Pho – who again had been one of my amazing assistants the semester before. Amazing how that pattern works out in the smaller College-level news industry, especially when you’re one of the younger starting people in the room to observe it.
Looking back at my archive, I’ve written a total of 40 stories between these last two semesters combined. That’s a lot of writing, even kind of overwhelming to think back to considering everything else I balanced, and there are some of them I’ll probably never forget working on.
A couple of articles were really serious last minute things I’ve had to do, such as our reporting the night of the Las Vegas shooting. A couple of them have been little passion projects for things like video games, such as my reviews of the Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga remake and Fire Emblem Heroes. I’ve even done a few things I never quite expected to do at this point in what is a burgeoning career, like writing entire articles off of my phone while translating documents at Downtown Disney. The policies put into place by President Donald Trump, as well as things like the CSU-wide tuition increase, played big parts in the overarching issues we covered.
However, I think the stories I especially won’t forget are the massive projects I helped lead during my time as an editor.
During the spring came the work we did on Homeless in OC, a series that blossomed out of the Daily Titan advisor Bonnie Stewart’s Investigative Reporting class where I got to participate in the all night Point-In-Time count and do extended research into the Anaheim shelter system, particularly under Mercy House.
Spring was also the semester of the Eric Canin incident that shook up Cal State Fullerton. For those who don’t remember, at an anti-Trump rally early on in the year, an anthropology professor reportedly struck a member of the College Republicans club as both the protest and counter-protest made their way through campus. There wound up being many months worth of stories to follow as a political shitstorm erupted over the altercation, eventually resulting in the Professor coming back to teach as the verdict came out that he did strike the student, but there were enough caveats to the moment given it was his first offense that no harsh action was taken outside a few month’s suspension. That last story in particular was special for me in that our Chief Communications Officer Jeffrey Cook reached out specifically to give us information ahead of time so I could write a substantial story over the summer wrapping things up.
Part of the Canin story involved me growing a close relationship with members of the College Republicans club, which was extra useful come the fall semester when I got to be the lead reporter in our work on Milo Yiannopoulos coming to CSUF.
Granted, that whole experience did kind of wreck my Halloween this year, but the aspect of working on and learning from such a high-controversy story was something I wouldn’t change for the world.
The fall semester was also bookmarked by dealing with (current) University President Mildred Garcia. I got to be part of the team that did an interview with her toward the beginning of the semester, and I was also the person that covered the fact that she would be leaving at the end of the semester. In my opinion, it’s never a bad thing to build a good reputation with the higher-ups in an organization. Makes it easier to do things like get comments down the line.
Those big stories weren’t the only things that made this such a hard-working year for me. I also kept on with Dr. Jason Sexton as a part of Boom, which led to me becoming the inaugural editor for an offshoot publication called California Connections in the spring. That project did get off the ground, but most of the work in creating a publication is going to flourish in 2018, so stay tuned for that.
I also started on probably my first major internship over the summer by joining a non-profit organization called Gladeo. Gladeo’s goal is to create a database of business profiles and job descriptions that can all be in one place and help students decide what they want to do for a living. A pretty noble goal, and one that I likely would have benefitted from if I haven’t found my place as a Journalist.
Even if certain other events (that I’ll go into in a bit) got in the way of working hard for that group over the spring semester as well, I’m sticking on with them too and will continue to produce profiles as the organization revamps its web presence in the early months of this upcoming year.
On top of that, I’ve also had a few other fun trips throughout the year. Revisiting Old Fort MacArthur Days comes to mind, as does events I’ve taken part in at places like The Autry Museum. Plus, I got to go to the Fox studio lot for a movie screening – though I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures there, unfortunately.
Being a journalist is only half of my professional moniker, however. The other half is being a student, and I have to say that my classes have been quite enjoyable this year… For the most part.
During the fall I took California Government and got a wider understanding of just how crazy things are in the old Golden State I’ve grown up in. I also took Primate Anthropology, which gave me a pretty deep appreciation of our mammalian ancestors that I never exactly expected to care so much about. My aforementioned Investigative Reporting class allowed me to work with Bonnie and other members of The Daily Titan and journalism majors in general to do some really fascinating and personally perspective-changing research into Homeless populations. Finally, I also thoroughly enjoyed my honors class, which delved into the history of the modern world from a deep perspective, offering in part some really interesting connections to today’s political and social workings.
When spring came along, for some reason I decided to kill myself further by kicking things up a notch and taking five classes.
I coincided my work on California Connections with an internship class out of the English college under the instruction of our internship advisor in Communications, since I was able to get extra credits toward my degree despite not being able to take the Comm-focused internship. Beyond that, I picked up my minor in psychology and jumped right in with a Statistics course (with its corresponding lab) and a course in Developmental Psychology. Both were undoubtedly great entry points into the minor… Even if I admittedly was not the strongest stats student, at least in part due to the fact that I wasn’t a huge fan of my professor. However, my Multimedia Journalism class under Bonnie once again gave me a great opportunity to practice doing video journalism, which at one point helped me bolster my working relationship with the Project Rebound program on campus, and my Junior Honors Colloquium course began me down the journey of preparing for my inevitable Senior Honors project.
Plus, I was in the same class as the president of the College Republicans club, which made things vastly easier to keep up on the Milo coverage than it otherwise could have been.
Sheesh, just writing all of that out was a bit exhausting. Like a lot of people have asked me in the past, I too kind of question how I’ve been able to do all of this with enough competency not to necessarily fall on my ass in any of it.
Who knows, maybe I’m just a bit better at this whole life thing than I give myself credit for.
Despite this wealth of academic and real-life opportunities that have flourished for me over the last year, not everything in 2017 has been all sunshine and rainbows.
Namely, health has been a major concern for my family all throughout.
A lot of the beginning of the year focused on some of my dad’s diabetic complications, which led to him being off his feet for a long, long time due to the introduction of a number of foot surgeries into his life. Luckily, he’s way better now and did not have to go through anything seriously traumatic, so he’ll be apt to tell you that the big take-away from it all was the ease that comes from now having a handicap permit.
My mom and sister also went through their own little arcs, the prior dealing with bronchitis and badly scraping up her knees and the latter dealing with tendinitis that has minorly inconvenienced her blossoming career in music.
However, the other big medical complication of the year came from one other than yours truly.
I haven’t exactly talked about this little chapter of my life too publicly because it was a very personal thing, but at this point I’m well past the blunt of it and figure now would be as good a time as ever to recount the details for posterity.
During a blood test as part of my routine check-up in September, the doctor found that my blood platelet count was abnormally, if not dangerously low. When that result continued to show itself, I was sent to a Hematologist, where we tried a number of treatments to resolve the issue, such as taking steroids over a long period of time in hopes of correcting what was believed to be a potential issue with an overactive immune system.
When that didn’t show as promising a result as expected, I instead took part in an Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IvIG) treatment. After two days worth of a number of hours sitting in a chair, I wound up being in the lucky .01 percent minority that suffered from aseptic meningitis as a result of the treatment.
It was a viral form of the problem, which meant it wasn’t nearly as serious, life-threatening or contagious as a potential bacterial strain would have been. However, I landed in the hospital for a couple days as a result.
On the one hand, I will admit that it was kind of nice getting a reprieve from the world and some quiet time to catch up on work while I was there. Though, on the other hand, it obviously put a wrench in… Basically everything. Even after I got out of the hospital, where I got to try a bunch of new things like a spinal fluid tap, there was at least a week afterward that I still had to rest at home and couldn’t look in the light for more than a few minutes.
Once my life began to normalize again, I was still a little fuzzy-headed for a while, but eventually I got to a comfortable place again, where I continue to stay today.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that my blood platelet count normalized perfectly after the IvIG (a rather ironically perfect twist of fate I’d say), the number has fallen back down since. It’s an issue I might be dealing with for the rest of my life as things go, but for now I can happily report that things are going fine.
That long, drawn-out experience which interrupted a part of my 2017 was only one part of why I’d say things were so rough. Among them were the echo chamber of news that I now tend to subject myself to as a semi-professional journalist.
I don’t like to get very political on my blog here. Or anywhere, in fact. My whole choice in career is built upon the ideal that I should simply be a reporter of things, as objective as possible about as many things as possible. So, I’ll leave it at this. Watching things happen in the world of national politics that I don’t agree with has been a constantly draining force in 2017, especially given that it seems to be all we hear about day-in and day-out for months on end.
Though as usual things like video games and time with my friends are a great escape from that endless grind, as I mentioned before I’ve found myself busier than ever with the work that keeps me immersed in that world, so it’s been a fairly relentless cycle.
Even with all the negativity that has defined 2017 for me, however, I can’t help but continue to look optimistically into the future.
2018 has some big projects in the works, such as the hopefully successful publication of California Connections toward the end of this spring semester.
On top of that, I’m going to be working as a staff member of The Daily Titan through the journalism concentration capstone class, Comm 471. Alongside that opportunity for a break from the hard-working job of editorial board that I’ve hammered at for the last year-and-a-half, I’m also going to hopefully be an assistant on a more feature-focused desk to give me a better grasp of the newspaper as a whole.
Past that, 2018 should hopefully be a year where I find myself less downtrodden by things like medical concerns. With a Nintendo Switch in my possession for the whole year ahead, it should also be a good opportunity to try even more games should I find the time to do so.
As I like to get meta with this site as well, I’ve put together 103 posts throughout this year (this one included), and I’ve gotten a good chunk more views in the process.
I’m looking forward to watching this little passion project of mine grow about as much as everything else, since it really has developed into something I enjoy doing. One thing I’d like to do in the coming year is hopefully diversify what I post just a bit more, but we’ll see what my time permits.
Lastly, for now at least, 2018 will also be the year that I turn 21. A typically sought-after time where I’ll finally be able to round-out the governmental privileges of adulthood like drinking. Though I don’t plan to do a whole lot of that, I admit I am looking forward to a certain sense of prestige that comes with it.
If you have any favorite, or I suppose not-so-favorite memories from 2017, feel free to let me know about them in the comments section. I’m hoping it’s been an overall happier year for all of you out there than it has been for me, since I’m just about ready to leave everything behind for something better around the corner.
Here’s to a Happy New Year for everyone who continues to stick around on this little journey I call my life!
With the panic over President Trump DACA in full swing, it has been a rather crazy day for us Daily Titan reporters. However, the fruits of that labor are quite sweet if I do say so myself, and I’ll undoubtedly be talking more about it tomorrow.
But for now that’s neither here nor there. It deserves its own spotlight and this isn’t the place for it.
Instead, tonight I wanted to highlight a cool little event I got to attend in the midst of all the craziness. One of the benefits of working with Dr. Jason Sexton on Boom has been the opportunity to attend neat things he pulls together.
The two discussed a range of issues regarding food culture and gentrification in Chinatown with a degree of depth and sociological intrigue that I rarely consider when thinking about food. It was frankly fascinating to listen to, and having the break from the newsroom was nice amid the stress. Though I do feel like I spent more time on the road going to and from Fullerton since the Museum was about an hour away…
I was also a little bit distracted the whole time I was at the event, as I was on call with the DT to help my co-editor Brandon work on the big DACA article. Not only did I read the piece he was assembling from the elements we put together to edit it, I also helped with some last minute elements, including a rather serendipitous interview.
On that note, I do mean it when I say I had arguably the biggest moment of serendipity I’ve ever experienced as a reporter.
While staking out the center for DACA students on campus, I was also trying to get a hold of the Dean of the Library to get a statement about the center’s position in the library and whether that has been endangered.
I missed him a number of times at his office while he ran back and forth between meetings, and by the time I had to leave to make it out to the Autry Museum he was already out of the office for the day. So, I left him a message to call me and brought along a recording device for the (almost an hour and a half) drive to the Autry from CSUF hoping he would get in touch.
He did, but as it turned out the recorder I borrowed was out of battery life.
It turned out that the Dean left CSUF early because he was going to the exact same event I was. After all, the event was being moderated by Boom, which is operated out of the Pollak Library. We both found it rather funny that the meeting I was hoping to avoid interrupting on his schedule happened to be the same one I was also attending.
Once I had that interview together I was able to show off the true benefits of being a reporter in the 21st century. I used my iPhone as a personal hotspot to upload the audio recording to gmail so I could send it back to the newsroom for transcription and implementation into the story. It even wound up being a big chunk of it too, so it was a worthwhile grab.
After all was said and done, I also had time to come back to the newsroom to help finish our shift. As a matter of fact, I’m writing this very post from there. I don’t know, something about the whole exchange just stands out in my head as being really cool.
While that story I’ll be able to tell about going to the event was certainly one thing I’ll always remember, it also held a rather important distinction as being something I was able to share with my Dad. When I first RSVP’d to go, Mom had told me that he was a fan of Jonathan Gold’s work. So, I snagged two spots and managed to slip the time off onto his work schedule.
Even though it was short-term and I went straight into a 40-minute drive back to work right after, the fact that I was able to spend some time with my Dad at an interesting and cool event at a place neither of us had been to was awesome. I feel like I so rarely get the chance to thank him for everything he has done for me growing up taking him to a new experience like this was great, even if I was half-working the whole time.
Plus, it gave him the chance to meet Dr. Sexton, who has probably become my mentor for a solid 1/3 of my education experience at least. I liked being able to see that happen.
Editor’s Note: Because of how busy we’ve been putting our pages together, this post is actually being finished much later than I anticipated it would be. Thus, my issues with typing up temporal moments regarding ‘tonight’ or ‘tomorrow’ or whatnot are likely more than apparent. Hopefully it all makes sense.
I also feel like I started to sound very repetitive… But that could be attributed to just being tired and criticizing my work too heavily. So I think I’ll leave it as is and come back to things later if I need to. In the meantime, I need to go get some sleep because there’s a lot of stuff going on tomorrow.
With all the negative coverage that comes as the result of this kind of news, it’s sometimes hard to remember that someone isn’t as bad as expectations might lead one to believe. After talking with the coordinator for the Cultural Anthropology program at CSUF, Barbra Erickson, as well as some students in Canin’s classes, I was able to paint a picture of how other people who know him better see the man. I heard nothing but good things while reporting, and while that makes it a shame that he’s been in this situation, it does go to show that anyone can get caught up in the heat of a moment.
While the four of us wrote these stories separately, Sarah and I helped do the reporting and craft them all since this coverage is like our big project this semester, so we’re both at least a contributing credit on all three. I also put together a timeline on the front page of the newspaper, and with all of this we have gotten some praise from people like the chair of the Communications Department at CSUF.
Finally, the Features Desk had one article in particular that was pretty important to me personally. Dr. Jason Sexton, a CSUF professor, editor of Boom Magazine and pretty good friend of mine, invited me to speak at the Boom Happy Hour this last Tuesday as a representative of the magazine and of the Daily Titan and journalism in general. It was a great time and I got a lot of positive feedback for the speech I gave.
And we had it covered for the paper.
So, if you want to see that story, you can check it out here. I’m looking to try and pull the audio from the speech I gave from the recording our reporter took so I can post it independently, but until then you’ll just have to read what happened in print.
You can also see this picture of me doing my thing that was caught candidly by our Photo Desk assistant Bailey:
If you want to check out my full archive of work for the Daily Titan, you can see it over on the right!
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!
The launch for Boom magazine‘s Urban Humanities issue was held tonight in the Perloff Hall Courtyard at UCLA. It was a small event, and most of it involved seasoned academia members standing around drinking, so there admittedly wasn’t a lot for me to do.
Well, there wasn’t a lot for me to do at the actual event itself. But I was at UCLA, and it was really my first time ever being on the campus proper. So, along with a friend from my honors 201A class who was there to attend the launch for some credit, we explored the campus to see what we could see.
And what we could see was undoubtedly beautiful, to say the least.
Though, I do have to say, the place is literally like a small city. Just these places we saw are a fraction of the available things to look at! So, as beautiful as everything was, it definitely strikes me as the kind of place that I’d like to visit and explore rather than the kind of place I’d like to study. But that’s just me.
Seriously though, calm down UCLA. Schools don’t need to be that big.
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!
It’s pretty strange for me to see my own name attached to a news story that I’ve had very little or pretty much nothing to do with.
The magazine that I work for, Boom, released its prison issue not too long ago. There’s going to be an event held on September 26 in the Fullerton Arboretum to celebrate and discuss the ideas that are inside. A panel of speakers will be talking about prisons in California and prisoner reform for a few hours that night, and I’ll be bringing a reporter and photographer there from the Daily Titan to cover it. I would write about it for the newspaper myself, but it could arguably be seen as a conflict of interest to write about a group that’s paying me.
The reason I bring up this event is because an article was published on the Cal State Fullerton News Center talking to the magazine’s editor Jason Sexton about the magazine and what will be happening on Monday. While I wasn’t personally interviewed for the story that was written, I did get my picture taken along with everyone else working on the magazine at CSUF.
Granted, it took two tries on two separate days to get a proper picture done, but it wound up being a pretty sweet picture in the end if you ask me.
Check out the story here if you want, it’s a nicely done article and I think I look pretty good in the group shot, so I figured it would be worth sharing.