Tag: Cal State Fullerton

Man remains the most extraordinary machine

Man remains the most extraordinary machine

Valentine’s Day 2019 will officially go down as the Valentine’s Day where I truly learned the value of a human touch.

Because when automatic email reply systems fail, you really need to break through and get an actual person on the other side.

What did you think I was referring to?

Oh, well okay I guess I can see where you were coming from. But no, it’s definitely not that.

Guess I should provide you with a little more context just to make sure we don’t get confused from here on out.

Toward the end of last semester, I was contacted by the Co-Curricular Coordinator for the University Honors Program on campus. Because I had applied to join the Honors Student Advisory Council earlier (in one of my attempts to find something other than the Daily Titan to focus on), he wanted to offer me the chance to create an event alongside other prior applicants.

I believe the argument was that they didn’t want to let all of the extra talent and brain power disappear on the breeze. Couldn’t argue with that.

Especially since it would let me put ‘event planner’ on my resume.

So this semester I’ve been working with another Honors student to set up an event for late March. A lot of the details are still being designed, but essentially we’ve decided to host a panel about networking in various industries.

The Honors Program is interdisciplinary, so having tips from all across the career spectrum seemed like a nice idea.

I’ve mostly been working on finding panelists to bring in, but the first step in that process was getting someone from the CSUF Career Center to jump on board. They seemed like a much more natural choice for a panel moderator who could keep the conversation focused on what a broad range of different students might need.

Last week I went into the Career Center and spoke with one of the students at the desk, who left a written message for the Associate Director of the center.

I also sent along a follow-up email, just for the sake of making sure the message got across.

However, despite my best efforts, I didn’t hear back from anyone leading into this week. So before my group met up again, I stopped by the Career Center one more time. They suggested I submit a workshop request through their website forum, as that apparently gets checked more often.

Today I finally got my response from the Career Center. Which recommended I… Submit a workshop request.

Through the same link I had submitted the request that the Career Center was replying to.

Definitely something a bit screwy about that automatic response.

I sent another email back letting them know how weird the response was, seeing whether I had missed something or could talk to someone in a face-to-face meeting. With the Associate Director added .

About five minutes after I sent that, she responded to me directly.

Then ten or so minutes after that, once I elaborated on what we were looking for, she sent off the message to Career Center specialists seeing who might be available.

All was good in the world, and I could finally move on to step two of my portion of the planning.

It just figures that only fifteen minutes were required to solve an issue I was waiting over a week for, simply because I finally got through to the right human being.

So this Valentine’s Day, if you’re sad and alone like I am, just remember that real human beings can make life better even if they aren’t doing it in that way.

Peace and love and all that good stuff.


Image Courtesy of Nevit Dilmen via Wikimedia Commons

Unorthodox historical documents

Before you get too far into this, I’m not actually talking about serious historical documents. I didn’t go digging into libraries or brush up on family photos or anything nearly as reputable as that.

I guess we did talk about a lot of interesting Supreme Court precedents in my Comm Law class tonight, so I could talk about some of those. Like Virginia v. Black or RAV v. City of St. Paul — both dealing with burning crosses, funny enough.

Or… Not really funny, I guess. Since we were covering dangerous forms of speech like incitement to violence tonight.

But you know what, that’s all boring legal junk. I have a much more exciting topic than First Amendment protections.

See after Comm Law tonight, I made a stop in the latrine on my way out of the education building’s basement. Normally I’m not one to talk about what happens in the bathroom, but I think I need to make an exception just this once.

Written on the stall wall next to a urinal, I found this actual for real historical document:

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“Pornhub is free – 2/14/18”

I probably would have totally overlooked this if not for the fact that it’s a year old in literally two days. Looks like smut makes for a happy Valentine’s Day!

The fact that I just so happened to find it so close to the one-year anniversary of what is being advertised was so funny to me that I felt a mighty need to share.

Plus, I guess I may as well be a shill for Pornhub at this point considering I wrote an entire post about their site analytics last semester. Something about that website in particular can’t escape my orbit.

I would consider this chance encounter something serendipitous after not too much exciting stuff happened throughout the day.

… Though right next to it was another quote saying that, “bitches ain’t shit,” attributed to the great foul-mouthed wordsmith Robert Frost. So I suppose you can take the cosmic underlying interest in my finding the timely vandalism with a grain of salt.

It was just bathroom wall carvings, after all.

Frankly I was just happy to find something more fun, entertaining even in a stall in the Education building — even if it’s only entertaining to me from some purely meta-textual sense. Last time I was in that building looking at wall carvings, it was some kind of vaguely threatening “don’t come to school on X day” message a couple of years ago.

Can’t seem to find my photos or any sort of Daily Titan story on that, despite the fact that I’m pretty sure we wrote a thing about it. So you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Either way, you’re definitely getting the much more fun story.

Fantastical Creatures

/me hopes that title is different enough to avoid any sort of legal action from Warner Bros. or J.K. Rowling

With Dad at work and Mom + Aly off in Disneyland where the youngin’ was marching in a parade (which would be a much more exciting story if it was mine to tell), I had the house to myself today.

So obviously I partied hard with some friends, got messed up on drugs, died and am now writing this from the grave.

Boo.

In all seriousness, I didn’t party too hard and become a spooky, scripting spirit. As cool as that would be.

I actually had a chill afternoon all on my lonesome. I didn’t even leave the house outside of going to the gym.

After two weekends of running around doing things with relatives, it was nice to take it slow and focus on my own stuff. Mostly because all of the running around made me fall behind on my novel-writing schedule.

20 pages a week doesn’t seem like too much until you get hit with the roadblock of a death in the family.

But luckily, I was able to rectify that setback with a nice, quiet day on the couch.

At this point I’ve made it to ~35 pages, with my goal being at least 40 before tomorrow.

So far everything is shaping up far nicer than in my original 12-page attempt at a draft. I’ve actually made it past the first major set piece of the story: An underground cavern with a single room at the end of it.

… Exciting, I know. I promise it sounds better with in-depth descriptions!

One of the more interesting bits of research I’ve done recently to push my writing forward was, as the title suggests, finding the right mythical Tolkien-esque creature to fit the slot of an antagonistic race for my main characters.

Luckily my friend Sam is a bit of a Dungeons and Dragons savant and came up with a whole bunch of possibilities when I asked if there were any good avian-themed monsters I could use.

Why avian specifically? It was a jokey idea when I was writing that early draft that started when I described a helmet as beak-like, and stuck so I could make one of my characters call them “birdbrains.”

So… Bird people. Seemed legit.

I didn’t quite expect there to be so many different kinds of bird people, however. There really is a ton to unpack when you delve into the inner-machinations of an experience like D&D.

Probably the most obvious and well-known example is the Harpy.

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Courtesy of DnD Beyond

Pretty famous representative from Greek mythology. Not a bad choice, but a little too much of a monster-monster for my tastes.

The kind of creature you can see mindlessly attacking, but not necessarily forming an advanced society.

So next came the Kenku.

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Courtesy of Giger’s 5E D&D

Definitely a closer match, given their clear propensity for humanoid dress and a variety of roles in warfare.

However, the crow look is a bit too inherently evil-looking, and they are quite a sinister race apparently. Was looking for more of a neutral appearance.

Plus they cannot fly in the lore, which is something I wanted to include.

So Kenku were a no.

Luckily the third choice, Aarakorca, was perfect.

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Courtesy of DnD Beyond

Check out these majestic bastards.

Not only are they a perfect blend of humanoid and avian features to make for a fairly human-like sensibility in my story, but the extra lore features from D&D — their obsession with self-grooming, bilingualism, status as traveling explorers and the fact that they look like giant birds while flying — make great tie-ins to my story’s purpose for them.

Namely… To be a surrogate for Napoleonic-era French society.

Yeah, that’s right.

It’ll be even weirder when I write about their leader riding around on a horse despite being a literal birdman. And I love it.

Being able to gather all sorts of new knowledge on interesting fantasy creatures has been a great pleasure of mine over the course of this project. It’s essentially an amalgamate of some of my favorite video games, movies and books in the fantasy genre, so the more I can include the better.

Wargroove is the big contributor of new ideas to my concoction at the moment, but that game deserves its own story another day.

In the meantime, I’m going to get back to writing so I can finish this section I’m in the middle of. Who knows, perhaps I’ll start to trickle out passages and chapters for advice in the near future.

All I know now is that this line kind of defines my brain.

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I’m a Barbie girl.

I’m a Barbie girl.

For my Gaming in American Culture class today, we spent a good two hours or so playing board games.

As a means of practicing different ways of analyzing games. Not for fun.

Except… There was a lot of fun being had in my group.

Because we played The Barbie Game: Queen of the Prom.

In case you can’t read it through the box glare, the tag line for the game is “A fun game with real life appeal for all girls.”

Developed in the 1960s.

If that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, I don’t know what will.

That being said, I’m still about to tell you everything you need to know because by God this game is phenomenal in how atrocious it is.

Yet, we need to talk about some decent aspects of the game first. Namely its aesthetic presentation.

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There’s some cacophony on first glance, but the board itself is quite well laid out and screams art deco.

The box itself also comes with this nifty stage for all of the different relevant cards and bank money:

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Don’t worry, I’ll get into what these mean soon enough.

Our version of the game, provided by the professor, also happened to include some extra charm in the way of additional player pieces:

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Naturally I was an origami swan.

So the game is pretty and well laid out.

Unfortunately, that does not save it from being a perfect window into the sexist ways of the 1960s.

So what is the “real life appeal for all girls” that this game boasts?

Well, obviously the ultimate goal is to become prom queen.

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You get there through a lovely crowd of all-white, male/female couples. Unless of course your dress hem is down.

In order to make the arduous journey to prom, there are three things that you (presumably as one of four different Barbie girls™) need to collect along the way.

  1. A prom dress — This one actually makes a decent amount of sense.
  2. A steady boyfriend — Not just a boyfriend. You can get a boyfriend, but he won’t be REAL until he asks you out at a football game and you go steady. Also these are your choices:

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    One of these things is not like the other, and his name is Poindexter.
  3. The presidency in a school club — Seriously, how do you expect to be prom queen if you aren’t even the president of the drama club? You plebe.

With all three, you can achieve true supremacy.

Oh, and that’s only half a joke. The game is designed to make it harder for players to catch up if one is ahead. For instance, most of the club spaces are specific, so players who land there after you cannot receive the same presidency.

Though they may not want to considering how inept the drama club is.

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Mattel is currently reporting a net income of $14.9 million a year.

On top of that, two players cannot share a single boyfriend, so it might be harder to find the stragglers.

That said, boyfriends can’t be THAT hard to come by. Especially if you’re the most popular girl in school.

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Just toss the losers.

Or you get set up on a double date.

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The blinder, the better!

Or you know that some loser is an exploitable secret admirer.

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Fun fact, Poindexter wrote my friend Mimi a poem and got it published in a newspaper. He gave her $5 of the $10 he made from selling the copy… But didn’t ask her out on a date.

Or even better, just pick one out of a hat!

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That’s him! He’s yours!

It’s amazing that I never scored a boyfriend during our playtime when there are so many of them getting thrown about.

… Though that said I might not have wanted one, when date time includes things like this:

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Too bad there’s not a ‘dump his ass’ option.

So finally, there’s the prom dress. I saved this one for last because it’s arguably the most interesting as a game mechanic.

There are four dresses. The cheapest is $30 and the most expensive is $65.

In 2019 that sounds dope as hell. However, this is also Inflation: the game.

You start with $25 and make (typically) $5 at most. One of the few exceptions to that rule is a perfect example of why players who aren’t quick enough to get the cheap dresses are basically screwed.

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Thanks for nothing, Daddy.

All things considered, these goals might not seem like that much compared to a game like Monopoly, where you need to own the entire planet, build out hotels and literally bankrupt all of your friends (as well as your friendships with them).

But what I haven’t told you is that The Barbie Game has one four-sided dice.

So you’re moving around the board at a snail’s pace. While there are a number of spaces and “surprise” cards that allow you to go to whatever part of the board you want — arguably the only semblance of strategy in the entire experience, there are an infinitum more ways to wind up getting sent back home.

We found that this in itself was an interesting commentary on the nature of a teenage girl in the 60s only being able to go out to do one thing at a time before forcibly getting dragged back home for any number of reasons.

But you know. 2019 foresight again.

To extend the game’s runtime even further, there are a few different spaces which do literally nothing.

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This one was the best.

There was some 2010s time traveler in the room when they made this game who threw in this sarcastic Internet-era joke, I swear.

We didn’t get to finish a full game, so unfortunately I can’t regale you with the triumphant story of some lucky prom queen. But I hope if nothing else, this gave you a very interesting look into the mindset of people more than 50 years ago.

Good thing we’ve moved past this kind of stuff.

Oh wait that’s right, this was a reprint of the game.

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Who decided it was a good idea to bring this back in the mid-2000s??

We haven’t learned shit.

Luckily my group played a much better game soon after to wipe away the tears.

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Assignment explanations gone wrong

Assignment explanations gone wrong

I’m not usually one to outright complain about a professor’s style of teaching. I tend to just brute force my way through a class if there’s some element I don’t enjoy.

Now, that might be a surprise for those of you who remember various complaints about my Psychology professors last semester.

Well… Apparently I’ve just had a terrible track record with the Psychology department.

Because my complaint for the day happens to come from my Cognitive Psych class.

Let’s set the scene.

After finishing our lecture on Chapter 2, she decided to tell us about our required paper and presentation so we could be ready when the due dates start to roll around.

Each of us were grouped together with one partner. We do a presentation on a specific topic together, while each writing separate essays to ensure nobody gets wholly screwed by a partner that does no work.

The professor led her discussion on the essay portion by telling us we need to find three research papers or scholarly articles, one of which is a jointly researched piece to form the basis of our presentation.

She presented that information as though the group would only need three papers researched all together.

What she meant was that each person individually needs to have three papers for their essay. One of which can be the joint presentation paper.

Thus, all together we need five research papers for each group. When you explain it like that, the concept makes sense. However, by starting off telling the class we’d need three papers, then later telling us we’d need five, and generally not making it explicitly clear that only one of those papers can be shared…

Let’s just say she wound up getting a whole lot of questions.

Yet somehow it got more confusing. While we were all trying to figure out what the hell she meant in the first place, she started to let us know that we could take a less work-heavy paper if we wanted. All we had to do was tell her.

Naturally every single college student in the room said, “yeah we want less work.”

So she lowered the requirements. Now each group needed three papers, with each individual only needing two papers for their essay.

I can’t complain about the lessened workload, but dropping that sudden and seemingly random change on us while we still didn’t understand the original assignment was not such a great decision.

After I left class, while crossing the windy tundra between the Humanities building and College Park, I thought a lot about it. There had to be a simpler way to explain what we were doing.

So it hit me:

All you needed to say was that each person is writing an essay that needs three (or two as it became) research papers for background information.

Then that one of those papers can be shared between the two group members, the same one that will become the focus of the topic presentation on an assigned date.

It’s honestly that simple.

So why did this seemingly unimportant bit of confusion from poor explaining stick in my craw? To the point that I felt the need to write all about it, anyway.

Well… Part of the reason is because it was either this or the State of the Union address that I haven’t honestly bothered to watch yet.

The rest of my day hasn’t been very exciting.

The other part of why I decided to talk about this moment was because of how it took on a more frustrating face by my professor smiling and (if you ask me, somewhat sassily) expressing her confusion at what we found so confusing.

To some extent I can let it slide because English clearly isn’t her first language. So I have no qualms believing she may have thought her explanation was perfectly adequate.

But when literally the entire class is so obviously confused and asking a variety of questions, it seems kind of cheeky to smile and laugh as though we were completely at fault.

Maybe it’s just me, but that kind of attitude just bugs me from… Well, anyone. Though from someone I’m there to learn from especially.

Based on prior experience, it seems like the language barrier issues might just be a big problem throughout the semester.

So maybe my Psychology experience has been cursed all along.


Before I go, I also wanted to mention this neat little tidbit I missed out on yesterday:

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Happy birthday, blog!

And thanks to all of you who keep reading these things. Whether they’re goofy and full of life or annoyed and full of spite.

I really appreciate it.


Featured Image courtesy of Missmarettaphotography via Wikimedia Commons

Just rainy day things

Just rainy day things

Just a quick Editor’s Note:

This was the post I had mostly written up on Thursday before everything got sidetracked by my Grandmother.

Today I’ve spent just about all of my time working on homework. Considering rain has been the backdrop of a good portion of that time, I figured I would bring this back around with some minor editing.

It’s goofy and dumb, thus much less heavy than what I’ve been writing lately. So I thought it would be perfect!

Enjoy.


Now before you read on, I know what you must be thinking.

Writing a whole thing about the rainy weather in Southern California while huge patches of the East Coast and Midwest are frozen, to the point where railroads in Chicago are being set on fire to keep trains running, seems pretty self-centered and blind to the world.

Well now that I said it, you officially can’t levy that criticism at me.

So there.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely not trying to start some “woe is me” weather war with places that have it far worse right now.

There are plenty of other people far more deserving of your scorn.

It just so happens that my neck of the woods hasn’t seen heavy rain like we got this week in some time.

On Thursday I may have missed the thunder and lightning back home in Redondo, but my car got a hell of a wash out in Fullerton after I got it back from the mechanic.

That was only slightly more of an ordeal than I expected, and as soon as I got my car back I had to give away my keys for assisted parking. Ironic… But possibly a topic for another day.

The thing that drove me the most crazy about having to use assisted parking was that I was in early that day. Gave a pitch for our upcoming SPJ meetings around 11:00 a.m. in the basement of the College Park building, but I still couldn’t catch a break on finding a parking spot.

The sky was relatively calm when I went underground, but not ten minutes later I emerged to a torrential downpour. Especially fun considering I had to cross campus for my 1:00 p.m. class.

I’m somewhat ambivalent to the rain.

If you’re not doing anything, the rain makes for wonderful sit at home, drink hot chocolate and play video games / do homework weather. No denying that, given its what I did today.

But when you’re stuck out in the stuff, forced to navigate sopping wet hallways, packed in like sardines during campus rush hour while surrounded by fences due to construction…

It’s less great.

Plus rain sucks in Breath of the Wild. So like there’s a big strike.

There is one thing I do tend to adore about rainy days, even if it is innocuous.

I’m talking, of course, about standing under my umbrella.

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… Ella, ella.

Hope you enjoy having that song stuck in your head now.

While I know it sounds ridiculous to tote “umbrella holding” as one of my favorite pluses to rainy weather, It’ll sound even more ridiculous when I elaborate that arguably the best thing about an umbrella is carrying it when it’s not raining.

Crazy, right?

Whenever the rain ceases, that’s when the umbrella becomes a perfect surrogate for imagination.

In my case, that means I’ll be swinging the damn thing around like a sword 99 percent of the time. So long as there aren’t people around to hit.

… Or judge me for being a crazy weirdo.

I’ve always been a fidgeter, handling things like my phone or video games idly. So a sword-like umbrella fulfills that inherent craving in a way I rarely get to play around.

However an umbrella still serves an imaginative purpose even when it is being used as a shield from inclement weather. I always enjoy spinning my umbrella as I stand out in the downpour, reminiscent of Super Princess Peach for the Nintendo DS.

Just look at her.

She’s cute even when her magical anthropomorphic umbrella is eating her head.

I want to be that cute sometimes.

But hey, these are just the weird associations that are forged in a mind as complex and bizarre as mine.

So if you’re also weird and imagine bizarre things when you’re holding an umbrella, let me know! I’d love to find out once and for all if I truly am the only freak in the universe.

Aesthetic updates and internship hours

Aesthetic updates and internship hours

I know all of my loyal readers pay intimate attention to each and every change on my blog, but in case you didn’t notice what happened I’ll fill you in.

Just last night I modified some minor elements over in the archive for my work with Gladeo. The biggest and most noticeable change was the shift from an internal photo showing the reporting team from when I first joined on:

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To a much more recent image on Gladeo’s website showing myself with my title:

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Given my current lack of facial hair, both images are technically pretty dated. So you might be wondering why I bothered.

I assure you that the change isn’t some vain attempt to clear my blog of any pictures not featuring me, myself and I.

It’s more about the page where this new picture is found on Gladeo’s website.

The team photo is about a year-and-a-half old, and the Gladeo League itself has drastically changed since. For instance, I’m technically no longer just a part of the reporter-interns.

I’m the head of the League, the Managing Editor. The Superman to their Justice League. The Lex Luthor to their Legion of Doom.

Just not the Jesse Eisenberg one.

As a result you can this new-ish picture of me on the official staff page. Essentially where a bio would go, just without any text from me.

I wanted to bring things more up-to-date with this web development, as Michelle let me know she was setting it up yesterday.

Even if it isn’t technically that “up-to-date” due to my aforementioned lack of fur nowadays. In fact, when I was in a video conference with Michelle, it took her a long time to figure out why I looked younger until she realized we haven’t seen each other since I had foregone the follicles.

The visual change isn’t the only update I made to that Gladeo page on my blog, however.

Part of the reason I was in a video call with Michelle yesterday was that she needed to show me how to do some work on the inner-mechanisms of the website.

As I mentioned in my Homeless in the South Bay post, and many times before that, I’ve begun to accrue hours for my Internship class. The 120-hour goal will likely encourage me to go to more events or reach out to more possible interviewees, but at the same time it has encouraged me to take up as much extra work for Gladeo as I can.

Including now running the official website’s blog.

That’s right, I have a more traffic heavy outlet to shout my thoughts into now!

… Or I would, if that job wasn’t mostly about posting updates and such. The only assignment I’ve been given so far is copying off the last year’s worth of Facebook post updates onto the nonprofit’s website.

Once I see how that will come out in a tangible form, I’ll figure out the right place to point you all and flesh out my work portfolio with the PR-esque work.

Today I just wanted to relish in the increased responsibilities, expansion of my skill set and time sink for required Internship hours.

As always, great things should be coming soon enough!

I think so, anyway. Really the only reason I had the chance to finish this post so early in the afternoon is because my car crapped out on me.

So here’s hoping that doesn’t become such an issue that I’ll have a lot to say on it for another day’s post.

First attempt syndrome

First attempt syndrome

Someday I’ll move on from talking about early semester school-related things. I promise.

However, today is not that day. I spent all afternoon doing homework and have nothing else to blog about.

Silly as it might sound, I actually do have a good amount for this only being the first weekend of the semester. Probably as a result of my seven classes, many of which only meet once a week if at all.

If you want to read more about that, you can check out my blog post from yesterday.

To be fair I’m not sure the content of the homework itself is necessarily why it has taken so long. A lot of these assignments fall under ‘first attempt syndrome.’

You know, that sensation where you’re more apprehensive going into the first of a thing? Happens all the time for exams especially in my experience, and even real life things like shaving or going on dates.

The most egregious example of that first attempt syndrome with today’s homework came out of my Comm Law class. My professor’s TITANium assignment portal is a bit hard to grasp for first timers like me, and at the end of the mini-documentary I had to watch there was a quiz.

Doubling down on that anxiety.

Her quiz system being somewhat strange didn’t help. We all got three attempts to take the quiz, and two tries at each of the fourteen questions.

It’s really generous all things considered, and for that matter the documentary-watching portion had a fill-in-the-blank note sheet available online. Something I haven’t seen since Mrs. Mata’s AP Psychology class back at Redondo Union.

So I guess my Comm Law professor is just really nice about her assignments.

… Though that alone isn’t the full story. See when I say two tries at each question, that apparently doesn’t mean full credit if you answer correctly by the second try. Instead it’s a system where there are 20 points for those 14 questions (scaled so every one offers a point or two points), and each wrong first try results in half credit.

Thus, despite getting every question right by the end of my first attempt, I had a 15/20 for second guessing three questions.

While I feel the general lack of clarity there is somewhat underhanded, I can’t complain too much because we were allowed to use all three attempts to average out a better score. After the first attempt I got 100 percent on the two following, bringing my score up to 18/20.

It was a lot of extra time and confusion, but the ends justified the means.

Especially considering every right answer came with a snarky response, like calling the Supreme Court racist bastards for their Dred Scott decision, or poking fun at Antonin Scalia’s quote about “never dying” from well before his death last year.

The rest of my homework has been more straight forward. For my Senior Honors Colloquium I simply had to make a game plan for the semester, and I’ve started to distill down my resume for my Internship class’s required Career Center visit.

The only other stand-out so far is my Gaming class. By our next meeting I have to read the first two chapters of this lovely book right here:

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An anthropological study of World of Warcraft? What’s not to enjoy!

I feel obliged to give my friend Darlene a shout-out here for offering to help pass along a few of the books I needed for this class, even though it didn’t work out. She didn’t own Night Elf or Coin-Operated Americans:

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Can’t blame her on either front considering the two bookstores my Mom and I visited yesterday didn’t have them either.

We wound up going to Amazon to find and order them, and miraculously they’re already here.

Guess I’m just further evidence as to why brick-and-mortar stores are going out of business. Kinda wish the book stores put up a bit of a more competent fight.

The funny thing about these assignments is I really didn’t have to put as much effort into them today as I did. I quite literally have four-day weekends to do homework this semester.

But I just get the feeling that the mentality underlying that procrastinating statement might get dangerous with so much dense work coming soon.

Finishing more of my homework now gives me time to focus on the important things going further into the weekend. Like video games, racking up hours for Gladeo or writing my novel.

I did tell Dr. Perez I’ll be trying to write about 20 pages a week, after all. I’m hoping to get myself in a state of mind that will better facilitate the extracurricular work going smoothly.

Only time will tell whether I gracefully succeed, I suppose. But with the sheer number of mental checklists I’m making already, I get the feeling we’re off to a good start.

Spring 2019 first impressions

Spring 2019 first impressions

Alternate Title: “Last Ditch Effort”

Last semester I started what could be considered a tradition by writing about my early class impressions.

Granted that “tradition” was started literally one semester before the end so it doesn’t mean THAT much… But hey.

Traditions.

Given that it is my last semester at Cal State Fullerton, I actually have a pretty strange class layout. I’m taking seven, but only four are on campus.

Oh, and one of those four on-campus classes doesn’t meet every week.

As a result I’m essentially at CSUF two-and-a-half days this semester.

I’m not sure how I managed to achieve that while taking seven classes, but I guess that’s the nature of being a near-graduate.

As a result of that weird schedule, the degree to which I can talk about my classes varies. But it’s about as good a time to do so as any.


Cognitive Psychology

This semester we start with my only multi-day class and the end of my journey into a Psychology minor.

I took Cog Psych on the recommendation of a friend from my Sensation and Perception class. She had taken this course before and figured it would work out well for me considering my previous experiences.

Based on the curriculum so far I can’t really argue, even though I have a different professor.

In the two class periods we’ve had, the early subjects have all overlapped with things I previously learned. A third of the semester will even be focused on Learning and Memory, which I took last semester.

So if my general knowledge keeps up, I might just be ahead of the curve.

My biggest complaint is nitpicky, tying into how the desks are randomly dispersed and require students sitting in the same column to have to enter from different aisles.

Aesthetically annyoing, but harmless.

As far as my professor goes, I do like her thus far. She’s apparently a semi-recent immigrant from Egypt, which makes her an intriguing character with a slightly thick accent. Seemingly new to teaching, which could be good or bad depending.

However, considering I came in so positive about my last two Psych professors and got burned hard, I’m cautiously optimistic.

Guess I’ll just have to see.


Communications Law

Working for the Daily Titan may be the capstone course for the Journalism program, but Comm Law is considered the cream of the crop in terms of difficult classes.

Whether or not I succeeded in saving the work-heavy class for an ample time depends on your take regarding my ‘seven classes versus two days on campus’ debate.

Even though I don’t have the usually lauded Journalism department head as my professor, I still got the impression I’ll be very interested and engaged just from our first three-hour class.

My professor is plenty energetic and casual about the subject in a way that suggests her breadth of experience and all-encompassing love for it.

My one trepidation is that she seemingly decided to start winging it in the middle of the first day, shifting course to more of a traditional lecture style instead of a reversed classroom, video lecture style.

I’m not sure how much that will actually change things, and I think I prefer the sound of what we’re doing now, but it’s hard to inspire too much confidence when the immediate impression is “let’s wing it.”

Though maybe that ties in well with the casual air I like about the professor. So it could all mesh together quite nicely now that we’re past the initial civics recap.


Gaming and American Culture

In case you missed it, I wrote a post yesterday more or less discussing my first impressions about this class in service of a larger debate.

So I’ll keep it brief here and thank myself for the foresight.

Despite the fact that I apparently didn’t bother to fact check myself on the course’s name, I think this will arguably be one of the best things I’ve decided to do with my college career.

We’re reading great books, watching great movies, playing Dungeons and Dragons, analyzing video games (and board games and sports) and at the end I might even get to record my own pseudo-take on a Let’s Play.

It’s quite literally 15-year-old Jason’s dream class.


Senior Honors Colloquium

This is the class that I mentioned will only happen on certain weeks.

Ironically, this week was not one of them.

Because it’s taught by the Director of the Honors Program, she needed to be at the Welcome Back event held that same afternoon.

As a result I really can’t say much about the class itself. My friend who had it on a different day said the experience was pretty chill.

All I know is that it’s essentially going to be a bunch of planning to finish our Honors Projects, culminating in the conference of presentations at the end of the semester.

Shouldn’t be too bad.


With that, I’m all out of on-campus classes.

The remaining three are kind of similar in that they’re independent study experiences.

One is my Comm Internship class, where I just need to log 120 hours doing Gladeo-related stuff and turn in a few reflection papers online. Nothing too crazy.

The other two are Senior Honors Project Blocks, one of which is scheduled with my mentor Dr. Rizzo. They’re more or less the actual work half of the Colloquium class. I’ll be meeting with Dr. Rizzo on a weekly basis, possibly doing some outside meetings with people and going over my novel.

That about sums up my semester.

I’ll have two-and-a-half days of classes, with the rest of my four-day weekends being devoted to homework, work-work and writing.

A strange culmination to my schooling experience, but one that makes sense as a denouement for three converging threads of study.

At this point the best I can hope for is a more fun experience than last semester, which drained the life out of me by the time it was through.

Smooth sailing to graduation here we come!

He said, obviously jinxing himself.

An impossible choice

An impossible choice

I want to put more effort into the post with my thoughts on classes this semester, so I’ll be saving that for tomorrow.

However, today I’m going to sort of ruin that by spoiling my thoughts on the class I’m looking forward to most.

All in service of discussing an existential crisis it has delivered unto me.

While most of my classes are wrapping up my Comm major, Psych minor and Honors distinction, one in particular stands out as being taken purely for myself.

An American Studies class: Gaming in American Society.

I’m no stranger to the American Studies department, as I did take an AMST course on  American Character during sophomore year. Yet that was mainly to fill a general education requirement.

I took Gaming in American Society simply because I adore gaming. Plus I have 21 years of experience in American society, I suppose.

After one class I’m already convinced taking it (as per the recommendation of my friend Mimi) was one of the better decisions I’ve made in my college career. Especially as a final semester swan song.

It’s a 400-level course with a good amount of “dumb fun” elements to the curriculum given its subject matter.

Our novel selection includes Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One and Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. We’re also watching a whole host of movies including 1983’s WarGames and 2012’s Indie Game the Movie, all about the development of titles like Super Meat Boy and Fez.

In other words I’ve already consumed a large chunk of the required materials.

The stuff I haven’t yet consumed seems plenty interesting in its own right, even outside of the bias that comes from knowing they stand in a pantheon of enjoyable media.

Hell there’s even a day where we’re just going to spend our three-hour class just playing Dungeons and Dragons. How sweet is that?

Another objectively cool element of the class is that essays are replaced by a long-form research project where we get to choose a game to analyze. Then the three papers we write will be pulled into one mega-paper as our final.

As someone who writes pseudo-game reviews on this blog and actual reviews for papers like the Daily Titan (big Nintendo hitters like Mario and Kirby at that), I should arguably be the most excited for this portion.

Yet I’ve hit a conundrum.

How the hell do I pick just ONE video game to analyze when I could arguably do it for any of my favorites?

Should I analyze one of my favorite nostalgic games of all time, like Pokémon Crystal?

Or for that matter one of the objectively better Pokémon games, given it is my favorite video game series. Perhaps Heartgold and Soulsilver or Black and White 2?

Maybe I should pick a game with more of a cultural impact considering I’ll need to write about its wider historical context. I could potentially use Ocarina of Time (or its 3DS remake), as much as games of that caliber have been analyzed to death in the past.

The Nintendo fanboy in me could downplay itself as well, leading me to analyze a game I enjoy but haven’t spent quite as much time with. Kingdom Hearts 2 or Simpson’s Hit and Run on the Playstation or even something like Don’t Starve or FTL as indie representation out of Steam.

That said, I could pick a game I straight up haven’t played before just to get a fresh take. Final Fantasy 7 has been gathering dust in my Steam library for a long time, and I do want an excuse to finally play it.

Even with all those options in the abstract, my mind did immediately wander in a particular direction when I found out about the assignment.

Recently, especially with the advent of the third Choose your Legends event in Fire Emblem Heroes, I’ve had the desire to go back and play Sacred Stones. My first and favorite Fire Emblem game.

Part of me couldn’t help but think about an interesting analysis coming out of Sacred Stones due to it being the first title released after Fire Emblem’s western debut.

… I was admittedly primed to go in that direction from watching The Geek Critique’s assertion that Smash Bros. Melee was a “kingmaker” for their series the other day.

That’s my most developed idea at the moment, but frankly I’m more than open to coming up with more in the weeks to come.

There are simply too many good games out there in need of analysis.

So I suppose that brings me to a call to arms of sorts. If any of you have ideas for a game I should try to analyze for my research paper (assuming it’s within my means), let me know somewhere on the Internet.

It’ll definitely be taking an unreasonable amount of my brain power for a good long time.