Tag: Cal State Fullerton

Updating my Life

Updating my Life

Check out that artsy Featured Image. Pretty great, huh?

Obviously today I’m planning on talking about my social media accounts a little. Any really observant, dedicated readers of this blog will likely remember that my post last night ended with my thoughts regarding updating the descriptions and such on my various accounts.

Those descriptions, everything from profile pages to general life or job details on a site like LinkedIn, haven’t been given a lot of attention in the past. I obviously put some work into them when I first established the social media sites, but my general disinterest in social media overall let to them falling somewhat stagnant.

Which is the reason why I was still listed as a News Editor for the Daily Titan close to a year after I actually technically held that title.

Oops.

That may not have caused any actual problems for me, but recently it has come to my attention that they could cause actual problems. Seeing people I’m looking to interview for Gladeo check my LinkedIn profile, making more extended friends on Twitter, hearing my friend Nina checks out this blog regularly amongst other friends who have expressed that in the past…

These are the kinds of details which helped click in my head the fact that people actually look at my social media pages.

So no matter how much disinterest I express toward them (seeing as I mostly use the pages as signal extenders for these blog posts), I know it’s important to keep them up-to-date. Because important people are looking at them, and I need to put my best foot forward.

My LinkedIn page probably got the most tweaking, as I finally updated some more of my jobs, awards and skills to gain whatever recognition the site decided to bestow upon me for completing my profile. If you want to check that out as my digital resume of sorts, it’s right over here.

Twitter got the second-most revamping with a brand new profile picture (because unfortunately the Frankenstein one was just a little too silly) and an updated bio. Because again, can’t be going around saying I’m a DT editor anymore.

It’s just former editor now, as you can see on my page.

Facebook got the least amount of love because… Frankly, it’s just a mess. I finally replaced my profile photo from like three years ago, added a banner photo of the beach that I love and… That’s about it. One of these days I’ll go through the interests page and my personal information to update it beyond what it was in high school, but that’s a project for another day. The pretty pictures are right through here, though. For anyone curious.

The only site that I haven’t done much of an update to recently is this here blog. As I went through the other three, I started to think that maybe it’s about time I do so.

Like seriously, I haven’t put any kind of profile photo to represent the site as a whole since its inception a few years back. I fielded the idea of commissioning my friend Sam to draw something for a time, but that never really panned out. I could think about doing that again, but considering she just moved to Arizona it might not be the best time.

On top of that there are some sidelined things that could be better put together in my opinion. Like getting rid of the tag cloud. That’s just kind of useless.

Or hey, maybe I should try to come up with some new post categories so it isn’t all just ‘miscellaneous’ or whatever.

That could be a good idea.

I’m still working on some Gladeo stuff and preparing for school to start at the end of the month by working more on my Honors Project, so who knows if I’ll get to updating this place anytime soon.

Just know that it’s something I’ve been thinking about.

Printers, Posters and Posh Interior Design

I know I said essentially the exact same thing about two days ago, but pardon me if this post is a little bit short or discombobulated.

We may not have been sniffing paint fumes this time around, but the family has been off on a nearly 12-hour journey across L.A. County doing chores and such. So I’m a bit tired and honestly just want to rest up considering I’m hanging out with the crowd again tomorrow and want some energy for that.

You’re not here to talk about tomorrow though, are you? Especially not when we have a Herculean tale for today.

Get out your maps if you’re interested in following along our route from the day.

We started relatively close to home in Manhattan Beach, first going to our family optometrist for my dad to get an eye exam. Also spent a good chunk of time in the surrounding mall buying sunglasses at the same time as I was doing some planning for future events.

Then we hit up a nearby Best Buy. We were picking up a new home printer we had ordered because our old one was ‘donated’ to the Redondo Union band program.

Aly’s the head librarian and has to make a lot of copies of sheet music, long story short.

While we were there I discovered this gem as I perused the video game section:

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Pretty disturbing how transparent his limbs are, huh?

Felt like that was worth sharing.

After finishing up there we got ourselves some lunch, then made our way to the Fandango office so my dad could follow-up on some work that was being done in the conference rooms there.

At first I imagined I might focus this blog post on that. Specifically all of the movie posters that I snapped some pictures of all around the office while he was testing the technology.

Because they have some pretty unique, awesome movie posters. Check some of these out:

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Pretty cool stuff, right?

Of course I also considered writing something related to my own work since I was expecting to hear back about my application to the Honors Student Advisory Council at Cal State Fullerton today.

But when I did it turned out to be a no. So… Figured I didn’t want a blog post that was a total downer about that.

There was even briefly a thought running through my head that I could offset the general negativity of that idea by countering it with this neat, little milestone I happened to hit this morning:

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But uhh… Subjectively I figured 500 basically consecutive days of playing a mobile gotcha game could also be considered pretty sad as an ‘accomplishment.’

So I tabled that idea.

Soon enough a perfect opportunity for a blog post came along, however.

A little store known simply as

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By little, of course, I mean the exact opposite of little. Because anyone who has ever been to the Swedish furniture chain should know that Ikea stores are god damn gigantic.

Yet this particular store takes that idea to the nth degree. The Burbank Ikea is the largest one in the United States, you see. Big enough to be seen from space, as my mom quipped.

Can’t really argue with that sentiment, honestly. From the ground it took us probably four, four-and-a-half hours to make our way through the labyrinth of ridiculously named decor.

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The “map” here straight up looks like a subway system.

In fact, that whole adventure would probably be a little too long to enumerate in the order of how we did things. So I’m going to cop-out by just throwing together a slideshow of pictures here.

For anyone who’s curious about what it looks like in the absolute epitome of capitalism of course.

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Boy howdy that’s about a sixth of a day of furniture, ain’t it?

Luckily even when we got tired and my legs felt ready to collapse we were still having a good time.

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Seriously there’s few things as fun as a random thing to do with some friends than wandering an Ikea. In case you want something to do sometime soon.

Plus, even though we didn’t get all of the new furniture to fit into Aly’s refurbished room today, we still got a bunch of nice household stuff. Like some pillows that we desperately needed.

Or that we will desperately need after such a long day out, I suppose.

I also made a very interesting little observation while we were there. See as you can imagine for a store the size of a small country that has replicas of households built within it, all segmented into various kinds of applications throughout a maze, Ikea needed a way to direct the mass exodus of people.

From what I recall growing up, that goal was mostly accomplished by taping or painting arrows on the floor. That much hasn’t changed:

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Except that’s not tape. Nor is it paint.

That arrow is courtesy of a digital projector.

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At first I was confused about the whole thing. It seems like it would be far less expensive to use tape rather than installing all of these projectors throughout the store. There are a lot of arrows, as I’m sure you can imagine.

But then I thought about it and realized that there’s also some merit to the long-term staying power of projectors versus something like tape.

People are constantly walking throughout that store. Thousands, probably. Day-in and day-out. Seven days a week.

That’s got to wear on physical markings pretty considerably. Enough so that tape or paint might have to be re-applied every other day just to keep the information fresh.

With a projector you don’t have to worry about that. So long as the tech is working, you never have to worry about the arrows washing away under a sea of feet.

I kind of came around in my own head to recognize how good of a long-lasting idea it is to do this, is what I’m saying.

Bet you didn’t think you’d be reading a blog post that said ‘sea of feet’ in it today, did you?

Well I did it. Which likely marks this portion off as a good place to end things off.

I didn’t really have a solid idea of exactly what I wanted to write about today, so thanks for making it this far into my roadmap of our long day of chores. It seemed like as good of a stand-in for content as I could imagine.

So with that said, I’m off to go play some video games before bed. Hope you all have a good day/night/whatever it may be in your time zone!

Home Improvisement

Home Improvisement

I just spent the last few hours locked in a small room with my family inhaling paint fumes, so excuse me if this post isn’t super verbose or coherent.

See, when Aly was about seven years old, she asked for a room that was pink-and-purple. Because when you’re that age everything is all about princesses and cute Disney stuff and she loved it.

But then she went full goth.

Then, shortly after that, she became a band geek. Who is also pretty much a goth still, just more deeply buried.

A deeply-buried goth band geek who, somewhere along the way, lost sight of her true purpose in life by giving all of her 3DS game cartridges back to me the other day during her room cleaning process.

Though that’s a tangent for another day.

Or at least just one to show her that I still talk about video games in every post she’s involved with.

The reason she was cleaning everything out is because all those life transitions I mentioned led to her eventually despising the pink-and-purple. So now that she’s finished with her summer Spanish class and has a few weeks before band stuff starts, she decided to finally go through with what she says has been a two-year-long planning process and start painting.

There she is.

Since I wasn’t doing too much today, I decided to let myself get roped into it.

Mom and Aly were up half the night last night starting on the base coat, this sort of grey-ish blue. I only came in this morning to assist, mainly getting those high up places that these other short people can’t.

We’re just starting to set up to do the lighter grey trim paint by taping up everything we don’t want to cover, so I figured it would be as good a time as any to just get this blog post for the day out of the way.

Seeing Aly’s determination, I imagine this task will probably be taking up the rest of my afternoon. Or if not, the rest of the day I’ll spend continuing to set up some interviews I’m finally lining up for Gladeo.

The whole thing is kind of funny to me, honestly. Can’t help but think of my buddy Spencer, the first news editor for the Daily Titan when I arrived on that scene.

Before he graduated and took a mantle reporting full time for Voice of OC, he was freelancing some while also working as a house painter.

Obviously this situation is not at all similar to that one, mostly considering I’m not getting paid for my time.

But what can I say, there’s still some sort of strange feeling of kinship there.

Running and Gaming

I probably could have written up a blog post much earlier today when I wasn’t about to fall asleep while also taking the trash out.

But what can I say. Hollow Knight has enthralled me for easily the last six or so hours straight, so I lost track of time.

I’m not going to say I regret the loss or anything… Because boy is that game wonderful in every kind of way…

But yeah. This probably won’t be super long as a result.

Especially since the whole ‘falling asleep’ part of things stems out of my trip to the gym with mom today, which some of you might remember from this tweet I sent out in the middle of my run.

Mr. Crump is one of my high school gym teachers, if that wasn’t clear enough via context clues.

The trip is finally starting to hit me hard, so I might just pass out as soon as I finish this.

See I haven’t exactly been to the gym in a long time. I went fairly regularly about a year ago at the Cal State Fullerton Rec Center. Back then I made sure my schedule had a few open periods for me to head in there.

Then I found out about my low blood platelet count. Followed shortly after by a stint in the hospital with Meningitis.

Add onto that a busy class/work schedule and my trips to the gym became less and less frequent.

As you might imagine, that’s not exactly the healthiest reality. But it was reality for a bit.

Luckily I’ve finally decided to reverse course and go back to hitting the gym I registered for a membership at a local Planet Fitness where my mom and sister go, that way I have somewhere at home and on campus I could potentially go to.

That way I have no excuse.

Day one went quite well I’d say, even if I may have overdone it based on how wonky I felt for a while after. But hey, with this kind of a early result, who can complain?

Soon enough I’ll build up my stamina and branch out to more than just the treadmill. Then maybe I’ll be less wiped by the end of the day.

I’m just glad that I’ve hopefully found the motivation to go frequently again, that way I can start to feel better.

I’m also glad the Super Beard Bros exist, as they’re my favorite YouTube channel to watch while I run going back to those days at the CSUF gym.

Guess that’s a good possible question for this post that doesn’t need one. What do you all like to do when you’re at the gym? Listen to music? Watch TV? Watch videos? Listen to yourself pant and suffer?

Let me know! Could be something good for me to keep in mind for the future.

Car Troubles are Fun

To make it out to a meeting I had in Fullerton this afternoon, I had to drive my car a substantial distance for probably the first time in a long time.

That’s one of the nice things about summer vacation for me. More hometown driving, less having to go to the gas station multiple times a week.

I’ve been a little hesitant about getting back behind the wheel for a long trip lately because of some issues I had with my car semi-recently. This isn’t something I chatted about when it happened, mostly because I was sort of embarrassed about it, but I figured now would be as good a time as any. Just to keep a log of what happens in my life, if nothing else.

In an effort to not bury the lede and make sure you all can imagine what I’m taking about, enjoy this image:

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Yeah, what a mess.

Now before I get any concerned messages, I’m totally okay. This wasn’t the result of a collision or anything of the sort.

Pretty much exactly a week ago now, I got up extra early to drive my sister to summer school (she’s taking Spanish 3 to clear it out-of-the-way for next year). Because that class is fairly early in the morning, I came home and stayed in a sort of sleepy daze for a while after.

Naturally that led to the fact that it was street sweeping day completely slipping my mind. Up until I heard the sweeper start to make its way down the other side of the street.

Panicked, I rushed out to pull my car away from the street spot and onto the driveway so I could avoid getting a ticket. Unfortunately that rush led to my forgetting just how big of a turning radius my car has.

So long story short my front-left wheel dipped down into the small ditch surrounding my driveway where we have some plants growing, and as I pulled back the inside of the bumper got caught on a concrete corner and pulled out.

Fun. Stuff.

Like I said, nobody was hurt (if you don’t count my pride) and we were able to bring it down to an auto shop down the block from the house and get the bumper realigned and stuck back in for a quick 20 bucks.

Though that’s only a bandage in the grand scheme of things. Apparently we’re going to have to have the whole bumper replaced at some point.

When you add that damage onto the rear-left window’s broken motor, which has left the thing half-open for the last few months, I’ve finally begun to understand the struggles of car ownership. Particularly on a starving college student’s budget.

Luckily I’m glad I can report that the first big freeway drive I’ve taken it on since that damage was done has been a success. Nothing fell off again and all seems to be relatively okay if you don’t count the slight scraping sound of my wheel against the inward bump whenever I turn right.

It’s more disconcerting than it is dangerous, but still.

Honestly car troubles were about all I had in mind as a conversation topic today, but I think I’m just going to leave it at that. Nobody’s interested in the nitty-gritty because everyone has the same problems, I’m sure.

So in the meantime, I guess I can just say look forward to more exciting(?) posts coming out later this week.

I know at some point I’m going to have to upgrade my WordPress here to store more photos, I’ll probably write about that. Also more units are coming to Fire Emblem Heroes on the 20th, so I’ll definitely be on that. Plus I have a job interview on Friday that I’m sure I’ll talk about.

Receiving the Carl Greenberg Scholarship

At first, I figured today was going to be a day where I would talk all about the trailer that was dropped about the upcoming Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu & Eevee games.

But something much more important came up after I started writing that which feels like a better conversation topic for the day. So sorry Pokémon, you’ve been sidelined.

Today I received word from the Scholarship Chair of the Society of Professional Journalist’s Los Angeles branch that I have been awarded the Carl Greenberg Scholarship for Political and Investigative Reporting.

Frankly, that’s pretty kick-ass and I’m excited about it!

According to the SPJLA website, the scholarship is “awarded to a college student pursuing investigative or political reporting,” named after a LA Times political reporter “famed for being singled out by Richard Nixon as the only reporter who covered him ‘fairly.'”

So not only am I excited about the fact that I won something I applied for kind of out of the blue — mostly as something to do early on in the summer when I was sitting around — but I’m also humbled at the fact that I’ve been recognized to sit in a pantheon which sounds so prestigious. Helps give some perspective to the work I’ve had the pleasure of doing, and all those other clichés that must be expected from an awards acceptance speech of sorts.

Though to be completely honest, the $1,000 that comes with it certainly helps pique my interest.

What can I say, prestige is nice and all, but so is food and gas when you’re a broke college student.

As are plenty of new video games coming soon, but don’t tell the nominating committee that.

In celebration of my award, I figured I would throw out this short post as both a way of logging the fact that I earned this recognition and as a way of slyly promoting myself.

You’ve all seen those articles out of major newspapers that showcase stories which received accolades. Hell, I even wrote an article in that vein for the Daily Titan at the end of the Spring 2018 semester.

So consider the bottom of this blog post one of those for me. I submitted three articles alongside my scholarship application, and I’m going to link out to each of them here.

Before I do, I just wanted to thank the SPJLA Scholarship Chair Richard Saxton, who helped let me know what I needed to do to apply, and all the other members of the Scholarship Committee for this awesome opportunity. Here’s to many more hopefully coming in the near future!


This article has arguably been one of my proudest achievements as a journalist thus far. That could be said for most of the stories in this small list alone, sure, but there’s so much history to my coverage of Milo Yiannopoulos’ visit to CSUF that I consider it a saga.

Kicking the whole thing off was an article that was weeks in the making. It began as simple rumors that supposedly there were plans in the work to bring the conservative provocateur to campus based on a petition online to keep controversial figures off campus. Based on that rumor I talked to a myriad of sources and eventually put out this fairly large piece covering the entire process of how one can bring a speaker to campus in light of the confirmation that Yiannopoulos’ visit was in the works.

And that isn’t even going into all of the coverage of the Canin scandal from the semester prior that helped build my relations with the College Republicans Club enough to help them trust my reporting.

Even during that initial coverage I knew the plan was to bring the man to campus on Halloween. At the point this initial piece was published, however, I kept that to myself in case the reporting of that information changed the plans at hand in any significant way.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Our semester was thus far filled with coverage of Yiannopoulos’ visit from any conceivable angle from myself and other members of the news desk staff. Eventually that culminated in a massive three-story package of a paper that went on to receive a special edition reprint, got me a talking head spot on NPR’s ‘Take Two’ and earned a number of accolades at the most recent LA Press Club Awards.

Plus Milo himself said on Facebook that he liked how balanced I was with the story on his speech. Never would have expected that, but it’s something I’ll take on as a badge of pride considering I didn’t get that praise while also upsetting the other side of the aisle.

I could talk about this article all day, but then we’d be here all day. Nobody really wants that.

So check it out if you haven’t, and see all of the reporting that emerged as a result while you’re at it.

My coverage of Project Rebound goes back a ways. Multiple semesters, in fact, unlike the one-semester shots of the other articles on this list.

I was the person who covered the story when the program, which helps offer previously incarcerated individuals an opportunity to earn their degrees and avoid recidivism, first came to campus. At that point I made friends with the program’s director, Brady Heiner, and its brand new coordinator, Romarilyn Ralston.

At least once a semester I try to go back and see the Project Rebound folks because, despite obviously being objective in my reporting, I do feel the cause is an important and righteous one.

The story I used for this scholarship application is my most recent piece about the program: A profile of its coordinator, Romarilyn.

It started as an assignment for my Multimedia Journalism class, and the actual meat of where it originated comes in the form of the video I produced alongside the written article. It’s embedded within the story if you haven’t seen it, and it’s probably my most proud achievement in a multimedia realm.

Though that being said, her story is also incredibly powerful, and certainly one of those stepping-stones that I would argue got me more invested in the idea that Features are a powerful tool for telling other people’s stories more than they are extra avenues of reporting.

Another piece stemming from my work with the Daily Titan’s advisor as a part of her Investigative Reporting class, the homeless coverage I was a part of is another ‘saga’ in my reporting experience thus far that I remember fondly.

Certain specific events, like our coverage of the Point-In-Time count toward the beginning of that semester, are things I’ll never forget.

However, the coverage of Mercy House I did alongside Roxana Paul is another thing I’ll always hold dear. It fits into a similar vein as the Romarilyn story I talked about above, as it gave a hard news-focused kid the opportunity to do slightly more Features-based coverage by actually going out and talking with some of the homeless population in Orange County.

Yet it was also a story steeped in hard news, covering the numbers with how much help is available in the County and talking to the people who provide the aid on the ground.

There are plenty of other elements I could dive into regarding this story. It was one of the first time I took pictures for my own article, it had graphics and other multimedia elements, it was part of a wonderful series put together by a group of really talented reporters. On top of that, it helped me out further last semester when I assisted with the coverage of Santa Ana clearing out whatever homeless population was living along the riverbed.

It’s another story I would consider one of my most in-depth and powerful. So read it if you haven’t, and check out the other Homeless in OC coverage the Titan did as well!

Starting to Schedule

After a brief (sort of) respite yesterday, I’m here to deliver on what I promised: A blog post about my planned class schedule for the fall 2018 semester.

Because… People care about that, right?

Sure. Why not.

Because I’m a part of the Honors Program at CSUF, I get priority registration when it comes to scheduling my courses. While I’ve loved a lot of the honors classes I’ve taken, this is honestly the main reason I’m endlessly grateful that I joined the program.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to get all the classes I want if I wasn’t able to cut in line, as it were.

My friends that go to other CSU schools ironically tell me that my ‘priority’ registration is still months later than when they register for classes, since they do it in the middle of the semester rather than during the summer. But that’s another story.

More of a funny aside right now, if anything.

When scheduling myself out for this upcoming semester, I also found I had less to worry about because I’m officially done with all of my general education requirements.

Insert confetti pop here.

As sarcastic as that text-audio joke might sound, I am actually really happy about that. As a result, I was able to only schedule major, minor and honors courses — the stuff that I’m in college to actually learn.

I may not have been able to schedule any Honors Project-related courses because I’m still working on my proposal, but again. Different story, different time.

Besides, I scheduled one that I’ve been quite interested in taking for a long time instead.

It’s about now that I hear all the bored audience members out there ask that I quit the dumb set-up and get to what I’m actually taking.

So I’ll do just that:

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Ta da! Isn’t that just a nice and balanced 15 unit spread?

Before I break down what I took and why, I just wanted to give a quick shout out to the Titan Scheduler application that CSUF provides to work out class schedules. It’s actually a really useful way to pick out classes, add breaks and see just how many overall options become available to lay out as a result.

But no, that isn’t any sort of ‘go check this out’ shout out. Because it’s only available to CSUF students, and would likely only be useful for them even if it was more widely available.

So that said, let’s get into classes.

As usual I scheduled out an extra break day on Friday, a force of habit from having Titan shifts on Sundays, and I managed to get every class started at 1 p.m.

Hopefully that will give me more morning time to do things I should have been doing a long time ago. Like go to the gym. Because I need to.

On Mondays and Wednesdays, that day of class starts with Psych 302: Learning and Memory.

Now that I’ve officially finished the math-heavy portion of my Psychology minoring experience by getting through statistics and research methods, I can finally break into the fun stuff that I joined the department to learn more about.

All of the crazy and weird things our human brains do.

Seriously, I’m not sure I’ve ever had more fun learning than I had back in AP Psych with Mrs. Mata in high school or in Abnormal Psych at El Camino a few summers back, when everything was all about getting my mind blown thinking about the fact that I can think about how certain collections of lines look, interpret those lines into sounds and interpret those sounds into words with esoteric meanings.

Have fun thinking about that for a while.

The concepts behind how we learn have always been a big one for me, so Learning and Memory seemed like a perfect choice, but even that isn’t quite as exciting to me as my Tuesday/Thursday starter: Sensation and Perception.

I’m hoping those are going to be as fun as I imagine going in.

Following Monday’s journey into the mind, I’m going to be taking (what I hope is) an equally mind-bending class: Evolution and Creation.

I love the idea of this class not just because the idea of examining the dichotomy between those two lines of thought excites me. It’s also a smaller, intimate honors course (with 18 students max) that’s being taught by a professor I’ve had before and like.

As I said, it’s a class I’ve actually thought about picking up every year for a while, I’ve just never had a schedule open enough to do it until now.

Beyond that, I’m also taking what I’m considering the gauntlet of Communications courses. Visual Communications and Mass Media Ethics.

Both once-a-week three-hour courses, both taught by Comm professors I don’t think I’ve met before.

While that’s somewhat daunting, I did the exact same kind of thing last semester with two three-hour courses later in the day, and I wound up really liking both of them. These two not only fulfill some of the few requirements I still need for my major degree, but they also seem like they’ll help with things I should learn more about.

Namely, how to best apply things that aren’t strictly print and how to handle potentially unethical things over the internet. Probably very useful skills all things being equal!

Plus they help me delay the inevitable struggle that will be Communications Law. Reportedly the hardest course in the major, despite being a fascinating romp into the world of laws via the journalism department head.

And with that, you now have my thoughts about the classes I’m officially registered for in the fall 2018 semester. Perhaps once the semester is over I’ll come back to this and see how well my expectations matched up with reality.

If you have any big plans being worked out for the near future, let me know in the comments!

Am I Uncomfortable with Silence?

Am I Uncomfortable with Silence?

So this post comes in response to what I wrote the other day about the dichotomy of transcription, why it’s a terrible thing to do but also why it’s the best thing one can do when practicing journalism.

I know there was a gap where I talked about videa gaymes because of timely E3 business, but these extended thoughts kept nagging at me.

So consider this a part two of the discussion of transcription, and check out part one here if you haven’t already.

There was another ‘con’ to the act of transcribing that I considered going into while sitting in Starbucks with mom, working on the first post. But I decided not to include it because the more I thought about it, the more the problem felt like one example of a larger, personal idiosyncrasy of mine.

The idea of being subjected to total silence as something potentially uncomfortable to endure.

Now, to preface this discussion with myself, I’d like to say that I don’t actually feel like I’m the only person on the planet who might just be uncomfortable with silence. If anything, I think it’s an inherent part of being as social a creature as humans are.

There are likely hundreds of scientific studies out there on the matter, covering things like our tendencies to fill dead air in a conversation by changing topics or inserting speech fillers like “um” or “ah.”

But I’m going to be looking at the subject from an entirely personal perspective. None of those silly “empirical tests” and whatnot to murk up my subjective torrent of words.

I’ve always been a rather introverted person growing up. Ironic for someone going into a field where they need to constantly talk to people, I know.

My passions have always leaned toward personal activities like reading, writing and video games rather than group activities like partying and sports. I had my groups to do things like play video games with of course, but you get the idea.

Because of that I’ve generally considered myself the kind of person who enjoys, if not thrives in more silent environments. Sitting sheltered off in my room to do work, for example, which has in the past led to my parents deeming it “the cave.”

Yet the more I reflect on my past, the more I’ve come to realize that perhaps it’s more the isolation in which I thrive, rather than the quiet. I say that because more often than not I’ve always tried to fill the silence with other noises even when I’m not with other people.

Video games themselves are the perfect embodiment of this. I’ve been playing them my whole life, and the songs and sound bites from a number of titles are just as iconic to me as some images, just as likely to help recall certain events or moments from my life.

As a quick example, I’ll never be able to disassociate the opening theme to Pokémon White 2 from the specific Target (right across the street from the South Bay Galleria) where I started to play the game for the first time after having put it down unfinished when it first came out.

The idea of making sound ever-present in my life goes much deeper than that, however.

As much as I love driving as an activity, I find my commutes to-and-from Cal State Fullerton nearly unbearable when I can’t listen to a podcast or a video as I go.

When I’m falling asleep, I can never just lay back and go to sleep. I have to do what I consider pre-dreaming, where I start to imagine some sort of scene in my head – a scene that includes some sort of dialogue or musical score – in order to really lull myself into unconsciousness.

While reading tends to be one of the exceptions to this rule, as sometimes ill sit silently just imagining the pages play out in my head, sometimes particularly boring novels for class can get so unbearable that I need something else running in the background to help me get through it.

More often than not I have my computer somewhere in the bathroom as I shower, that way I can continue to listen to whatever video series I have running while standing under the relaxing spray for arguably way too long.

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The laundry basket makes for a convenient pedestal.

The list, as I’m sure you can assume, goes on-and-on.

Having gotten far off-track with that background information, let me tie everything back to why I believe feeling uncomfortable with silence is one of the reasons transcribing audio is such a terrible thing for me. As counter-intuitive as that must sound.

Sound. Audio puns. You know the drill.

When I imagine audio that fills all of the dead space in a moment, it’ll often be the sort of things I’ve discussed already. Podcasts. YouTube videos. Music.

Hell, more often than not my family has the TV on, but it’ll be on a mindless channel like the Food Network just to create background noise while we do other things.

However, I don’t consider work audio, something I’m transcribing, to be in the same category of unencumbered noise to distract from the uncomfortable void.

Part of that could be distilled down to the psychological difference between doing something for pleasure versus doing something for work, I suppose. But I think it goes deeper than that.

When transcribing an interview, you aren’t simply jamming out or getting engaged with an adventure someone else is describing. Unless of course your interviewee is describing an adventure… But again, semantics.

Rather than having the chance to just mindlessly enjoy something and absorb what’s happening, transcription is a much more heavy-duty job. You’re listening to someone talk in the same way, but instead of just absorbing it passively you’re very actively listening to that audio, translating it and jotting it down before going back to make sure what you’ve jot down is accurate.

You become more like a wall or a mirror than a sponge, bouncing that information off to a different place rather than just taking it in. The activity is much more taxing, and it becomes easier to lose your interest.

But on top of that, the requirement to constantly repeat things for accuracy leads to a whole host of other internal issues inherent to the process. While transcribing is a “listening” activity, large portions are spent in total silence. Silence is needed to finish copying down the sentence you just heard before the subject moves into their next thought. Silence is needed as you go back in time to listen to something again, and one can’t even have any other sorts of sounds going on the side because the copying needs to be as accurate as possible.

Then let’s not forget the fact that when one is transcribing audio, they can’t necessarily think about anything else other than that audio, either.

While a mind can wander while going to sleep and fill empty space with memorized sounds, transcribing requires a person to repeat what they’ve heard over-and-over again in their head to make sure they don’t forget what they’re writing so they have to go back and hear it again.

That reminder of the sentence is noise to break up the silence, yes, but again it plays back to the mundane, repetitive nature of transcribing that makes it somewhat unbearable as an activity.

Imagine constant switching between total silence and hearing the same sentences on repeat for a few hours. That’s what transcription is at its core.

Whether or not everyone else in the world feels the same way about silence and how it effects things like transcribing is hard to judge since I’m just going off of my own thoughts.

But if nothing else, simply reflecting on those thoughts and trying to imagine why certain things make me feel the way they do, even if I don’t come to any sort of substantial conclusion, is something else that’s inherently characteristic of being human.

The ability to reflect on one’s own situations, and even reflect on the ability to reflect in the first place. That’s the kind of meta that I find fascinating.

Especially when it comes off of an essentially pointless “deep thought” that winds up boiling down to me complaining about my job, if you think about it hard enough.

May 3, 2018 Article Published

My piece out in the Daily Titan today is actually pretty serious, so I’m going to skip over the tomfoolery and get straight into talking about what has been happening.

As we approach the end of the Spring 2018 semester, a bunch of the reporters in Comm 471 have been working on a large-scale project about local and on-campus restaurants. It’s essentially a means of getting enterprise points for multiple members of the class, but it has also given us the opportunity to do some heavier reporting.

Given the fact that I’m the most experienced person in that class, our advisor has also made me essentially the project lead on this endeavor. So even though only one part of everything here technically has my byline, I’m going to talk about all of it.

The project has been split into two days, with everything in today’s paper focused specifically on restaurants surrounding CSUF, their health code violations and why those violations are in place to protect the safety of consumers. The on-campus stuff is coming sometime next week.

Three stories were published with the first part of the series:

First and foremost was the ‘headlining’ story, the one I wrote alongside Jennifer Garcia about restaurant violations.

Where do I even begin with this one.

I actually wasn’t even supposed to be credited on it at first. That’s probably as good a place to start the story as any. Originally, my job on the series was to be a de facto project lead next to Bonnie and create an interactive map based on the inspection reports of local restaurants surrounding CSUF.

The restaurant map wound up being pretty easy and fun to do all things considered, and I actually did most of it in one day when I was home sick a few weeks ago.

If you want to see where the 55 restaurants I looked at stand based on their inspection results out of the Orange County Health Care Agency, you’re in luck:

I enjoy how the map overall turned out, even if it has given me many reasons not to ever walk into a couple of places ever again. Plus I’m not very snobby when it comes to telling other people where not to go…

But that’s another story.

While my piece here was finished early on, the other stories meant to go around it had some growing pains. Bonnie changed what the focus of the pieces were going to be and asked me to jump on this story so I could help the writer, Jennifer, incorporate information from my research that was needed to flesh out why certain restaurants were bad.

Eventually that took the form of a story in which we more deeply analyzed the five restaurants that all needed two reinspections following their initial inspections.

From there everything has a pretty straight forward through-line. Talked to the managers of a bunch of restaurants to give them the chance to talk about what we were writing, got in touch with the OC Health Care Agency to find out more about the inspection project, threw it all together and here we are.

Granted production night last night was a bit of a nightmare with me having to be off at class for part of it, only for people to think there were things wrong that weren’t actually wrong despite the fact that I wound up having to adjust the map anyway as we decided to add more into it at the last minute…

But it all worked out in the end, and I’m definitely not sick and tired of staring at any of this stuff.

I promise.

Second on the docket was a piece about food poisoning.

Written with the cooperative effort of four writers who each contributed various things,

I didn’t actually help to write this story or the next one, so i don’t exactly have as much to say about either as I did for my own piece, but in this case I can at least comment on the photo illustration that was included.

For anyone curious as to how the “Illnesses associated with raw or undercooked foods” illustration came about, it all started with our advisor actually bringing in a bunch of food to the newsroom. Along with our very artsy photo editor Gabe, we arranged the food on a picnic table cloth in the multimedia room.

There were also some goofier items like fake fish we considered throwing into it, but for this kind of serious project we decided against it.

Not all of the food on the image was actually there, however. I’m not sure how noticeable it is, but the raw chicken, sushi, eggs and milk were all added in after the fact. All-and-all I’d say it was done rather well.

Fun fact, originally when we had planned on running this series of stories during Comm Week, the food poisoning story was the only one that was finished enough to be ready to go.

I’m not sure who that fact would be fun for, but hey. In case someone out there was curious about the chronology of all this, there you go.

Finally, we also ran a story about vermin and why they’re a problem. Even if that subject seems fairly obvious from the outside.

Though to be fair I suppose you can say that about all of these stories, so I digress.

Again I don’t have all that much to add about this piece since I arguably had the least amount of involvement with it. We had originally planned on holding the vermin story for day two of the package, but quite literally the night before it was decided we were going to include it.

I gave the writers a list of restaurants that had violations cited for cockroaches based on the extensive research I had done, but otherwise the story was completely independent.

Kristine and Jacob did a nice job with it, so I’ve got to give them some credit alongside everyone else who has been working so hard with everything involved in this series.

I’m going to include each part of the food/restaurant series over in my archive on the right, as I figure at the very least I can argue I was an overseer of sorts on the project, but every story credit undoubtedly goes to the individual writers.

They’re all way up toward the top of the news search when you look up the Daily Titan on Google, which is always a nice feeling.

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Stay tuned for more coming up, and let me know if you have second thoughts about some of these restaurants based on the work we’ve done. God knows I do.

Awards Weekend part two

Awards Weekend part two

I’m not looking to necessarily toot my own horn or anything, but my resume did get a good bit beefier these last couple of days.

Today was the 2018 Society of Professional Journalists’ Region 11 Conference. Technically it started yesterday but that was pretty much just for regional directors, so I’m considering this the starting point.

Members of the Daily Titan staff were nominated for a number of awards by our advisor, and those of us who were finalists (alongside general members of SPJ) got to come up to sunny Universal City and spend the afternoon at the Hilton near Universal Studios.

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It really does feel like I was just up here… But that’s beside the point.

Personally, I was nominated in the Breaking News category alongside Amy, Brandon and Breanna for our Halloween coverage of Milo Yiannopoulos’ visit to CSUF.

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Not pictured above: Brandon. He somehow managed to miss our group picture at the Comm Awards too.

Even though we didn’t win, just being finalists in this kind of competition is a great honor given that we made it far enough to get to the luncheon (which, sorry CSUF, was much tastier than the Comm Awards. Though points off for lack of Del Taco).

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The keynote speaker at the luncheon was Stephen Galloway, the executive featured editor at The Hollywood Reporter who frankly did inspire me a bit to go finally finish this profile I’ve been sitting on for a long time.

However, what he didn’t help with was meal etiquette:

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Seriously I wasn’t expecting this thing to be quite as fancy as it turned out to be and many of us were lost trying to figure out which silverware to use when.

My formal training has failed me in that regard, apparently.

But hey, who needs a formal training in old time-y meal etiquette when you can get jelly beans?

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That’s right, we got jelly beans in a cool silver tin that I promise I haven’t been sponsored by.

I just really dig it, okay?

Anyway though, if you feel at all bad for us not winning in our category, there’s no need to fret for two reasons.

For one… Well, nobody from the Titan won in our categories. Just being nominated was cool yes, but in the face of defeat at least we could all be losers together.

Secondly, there was a bit of a skewed power dynamic to the whole event. Just about every award went to USC, UCLA or the Walter Cronkite school.

They’re pretty much the heavy hitters you would expect to win everything, so the fact that we got nominated as much as we did next to them is a great achievement in its own right.

However, even beyond that, the truly nice thing about this event wasn’t the awards, naturally. It was getting to spend time with friends at a fancy event.

Especially considering many of the people who came are graduating in the next few weeks, that made this an especially bittersweet time.

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Here I am with Kaleb, one of the coolest dudes in the room and my best wingman.
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The best selfie with me, former Editor in Chief Zack (his badge said so) and my old news editing partner Megan.

Not pictured above: Pretty much everyone else that was there in the big group shot.

I really do work with the best team in the world, and I’m not sure how we’re going to carry on with so many heavy losses next semester.

Okay I mean I do know how we’re going to carry on. Because that’s just how life works.

But you all understand my sentiment.

Though now, with this quick life update out-of-the-way, I’m off to go work on some end-of-semester stories and projects I still have to get done.

Luckily I’ve got a nice venue to do it in today.


Oh and P.S. – For those of you wondering about the featured image, it’s a picture of the ceiling in the ballroom where the awards luncheon was. I thought it was artsy and cool so… Yeah.