Tag: California

Covering Barack Obama

Covering Barack Obama

 

Anyone else ever go to an event and then come home and pass out for four hours?

No? Just me?

Alright.

Well, that being said, I’m sure anyone who follows me on social media knows where I’m going with this blog post. I spent the day out covering former President Barack Obama’s visit to Anaheim, so I’m going to run through my experience real quick and log a couple of my more favorite live tweets from the Boom California Twitter account.

Consider this me attempting to just preserve that this happened today, since I’m still kind of in shock about it. But at he same time I feel like a pile of goo right now, so it’ll probably be a little sparse.

Just two days ago, I followed-up on a last-minute email that my professor and friend Dr. Sexton received about RSVPing to go to Obama’s event today. It was essentially a rally for a number of Democratic Congressional candidates in California.

Frankly it was a bit of a moonshot to apply for press credentials. Boom California is an online-only publication now that focuses on issues and life in California specifically, so it doesn’t necessarily fit the bill of who might be going to the event. You know, the LA Times and CNN-type publications.

But then we got the credentials.

So I was up at 4:30 a.m. or so this morning, showering and preparing to head off to the Anaheim Convention Center. Doors opened for press to get their stuff checked at 7 a.m. after all.

Luckily I found that the drive was infinitely quicker than it usually is when I’m heading to Orange County for school. So I managed to make it over before they had even finished setting up a table to check press in. Left me with some time to kill.

Then once it was all together, I got this:

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Talk about a souvenir, am I right?

After everyone got their badges, they were ushered up to the third floor (where Obama and the others would later speak). We were supposed to leave our stuff up there to be checked out by the Secret Service.

At this point I met Joshua Nehmeh, who I spent a bunch of time talking with as all the major news outlets set up their stuff. He’s the host of a political talk radio show who I bonded with pretty quick because we were both caught off-guard by how easily we managed to get into such a high-end event.

Plus his show’s tagline is ‘A shot of truth with your coffee’ and it’s great. So check him out.

Around that time I also ran into Briggetta and Caitlin from the Daily Titan, who also got credentialed in for the local Orange County event, and my original news desk mentor Spencer Custodio coming in for the Voice of OC.

Got to hang out with him for a while after we all got kicked out, and that was cool.

When we were heading back to the Convention Center from Starbucks, there were two protestors standing out in front heckling a bunch of Congressional candidate volunteers who were waiting in line.

Spent a decent amount of time standing outside watching the back-and-forth, because it was so over-the-top that it was just kind of ridiculous and fun.

While I tweeted about these guys a bunch during the waiting period from my personal account, some of my favorite parts had to be these two sound clips I managed to snag:

Particularly the second one where he offered to be an executioner? Like. Holy shit dude. It was 9:30 a.m. and he was going so hard.

Most of what I had gathered from other reporters at this point suggested that Obama’s visit to Anaheim was very last minute. Almost nobody was prepared for it and even the staff at the event seemed disheveled and caught off-guard. Hell, one guy basically told me it was going to be a shitshow when I asked how the whole thing was going to go down.

I’m theorizing that perhaps one of the reasons for that unexpected nature in this event was to try and mitigate protests. Like yeah two guys managed to show up to yell at everyone about every cliché in the book, but there was clearly no big organized response to Obama’s visit.

That’s all speculation, however.

Eventually I had to leave that fun time so I could go back to the ballroom to get my stuff before the doors opened at 10 a.m.

Now, I’ll admit, I kind of underwent a covert operation at this point. We were told ahead of time that most of the press corp. would be put into overflow rooms across from the main room. In fact, when I had shown up early that morning, I was told I’d be in the overflow as well.

But when I went in to pick up my stuff… I just kind of didn’t leave. All I needed was my cell phone, since I was just live tweeting the event for Boom, so I was able to stand off to the side of the press box with my head down. Nobody ever came and told me to leave.

So I think I wound up sneaking my way into seeing Obama’s speech live.

Take that people who sneak into concerts.

Once everything began I shifted over to Boom’s Twitter account full-time. However, I didn’t have too much to do for a while.

Other than Eric Bauman, the chair of the California Democratic Party, I wasn’t really able to get a good grasp on the individuals who opened the event. Most of them didn’t introduce themselves in any specific detail because it seemed like they were just figures who Democrats would know well walking in. It was clear we were leaning toward a specific kind of audience at this rally.

To be fair, my friends at the Daily Titan had just as much trouble with this part, though they did a better job retroactively figuring out who the speakers were.

Mostly with the help of an email that came out like 10 minutes after everyone was finished telling us who they were.

Have I mentioned that the event seemed put together last-minute?

Anyway, after four-or-five speeches from people pushing for veterans and keeping the Affordable Care Act alive, there was a really long intermission.

Probably an hour’s worth of an intermission. I don’t know if we were just waiting for Obama to actually arrive, or if he was upstairs somewhere letting us marinate, but boy was it a long wait.

I was pretty much standing around the whole time, not really wanting to leave to go to the bathroom or anything because… Well… I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get back in.

But then. Like an angel. Obama descended upon our humble congregation.

Which I only say because the tweet I put out about Obama’s arrival was the biggest ‘lightning in a bottle’ from this whole event.

As of my writing this blog post, the tweet has been seen over 7,000 times, has 400+ likes and nearly 200 retweets.

That’s actually insane to me. Watching all of this attention roll in throughout and after the event made me sit there and realize that I did that.

Truly the power of social media can be insanely captivating, for as much as I tend to avoid it.

Everything else I tweeted out got very minor attention comparatively, but there were still some great things I feel I captured at the event.

I also got this great three-part Tweet chain describing Obama’s Disneyland story that he opened with. Basically, he told the audience that the first time he went to Disneyland was his first time in the mainland United States, while the second time he was kicked out for smoking with his friends.

But still told to “come back anytime” by the officers. Because Disney.

His whole speech only went on about 15 minutes after that multi-hour build-up. When it was over, everyone started to trickle out and I split. After all, my whole job was to live-tweet Obama.

Dr. Sexton seemed really pleased with what I did, and honestly so am I.

It’s a little awkward live-tweeting events because you wind up having to focus more on the tweeting than the event itself. But even with that, I have to say… Obama is just a fantastic speaker.

Like all politics aside, it’s hard not to see why (most of) America fell in love with the guy and kept him in office for two terms. He’s just a charismatic guy.

That’s kind of the tone I think I want to leave this off with, because the rest of my story would just be going home and passing out for four hours.

I’m super grateful that I got to do this. Like yeah on a basic level it’s a great resumé builder to say I covered Barack Obama live. I’ll even be updating my blog here to reflect that I did this, archiving a couple of the best-attended tweets.

But even deeper than that, it led to me having a bit of an existentially reflective moment.

When I got home it really hit me that I got to be in the same room as a President of the United States. With press credentials.

That’s just crazy to me.

I’ve had some moments of doubt over the last couple months about my place in the world and the work that I’m doing, to be completely honest. But my promotion at Gladeo and the opportunity to attend this event really turned that around.

I’m excited to see what the next big thing I’ll be doing is!

 

2:00 a.m. Adventures

Because I’m on the cusp of starting the last friend hang out of the summer, I’m probably just going to make this post quick and dirty so I don’t have to think about it later when everyone leaves.

Figured what better thing to talk about than the reason I’m so tired right now?

See I went to bed relatively early last night because, as mentioned, the gang is getting together today. Wanted to get some extra sleep to prepare for that.

The world apparently had different intentions.

Right around 2:00 a.m., I woke up to the sounds of very loud arguing just outside my house. At that point I was pretty groggy and didn’t think too much of it, but whoever was out there really wanted to just go at it.

It became much harder to ignore when the police sirens kicked in. Someone must’ve called in a noise complaint, I figured. So by that point I got up and went to look out of the window upstairs.

Thinking it may have been more than a noise complaint considering six police cars showed up.

Naturally I went to see if my parents were cognizant enough to wake up and come see, because at the very least they would have been interested in checking out whatever was going on from the distance like I was.

They were not. So they’re probably going to find out that all this happened from this blog post considering I wasn’t cognizant enough to tell the story this morning when they left to do chores.

That being said I don’t personally know what happened very well either, so I suppose I don’t have too much to share. From the distance I was able to hear just a couple minor things, as the three suspects were turned away from me. The most significant thing I was able to hear was that none of the three of them had a knife.

One of the guys was super insistent that none of them had a knife. So I’m assuming something about weapons was involved in the 911 call.

Just before 3:00 a.m. everything seemed to mellow out. It seemed like some of the suspects were brought away, leaving their red car in the middle of the street.

Around that time I was able to pay a bit more attention to the police officers as they gathered together to chat.

Wanted to point that out specifically because just.

Look at this guy in the middle. He’s so god damn tall.

I honestly thought Slender Man was a police officer in Redondo Beach for a while there. The fact that he’s that big while also standing off of the sidewalk ledge that everyone else is standing on is just.

Hoo boy.

What a man.

But anyway. Eventually they all parted ways, cars skidding around as they went off to address other crimes. Except for one car that hung back until a tow truck showed up to bring away the red car stuck in the middle of the street.

While I mostly put this post together just to say “whoa some wacky stuff happened in Redondo this morning,” I also thought it had a somewhat interesting conflation with my reporter life.

Because I genuinely considered going out and asking the officers what was happening. At least for my own curiosity, but potentially even as something that could be a freelance article for… I don’t know, the Daily Breeze or something.

In hindsight I likely wouldn’t have gotten anything from them since I don’t have credentials for any newspaper and it might come across as me impersonating the press.

But that’s hindsight. Honestly the reason I didn’t do it was because it was 2 a.m. and I was super tired. Plus I didn’t want to get dragged into things as a potential witness to whatever was happening considering I didn’t actually witness anything.

So yeah. No serious reporting. You just have to deal with these mad context-less ramblings.

That said, consider it the potential for future reporting. Because I pay attention to crime things that are happening and newspapers appreciate that.

Anyway that’s all I had, so I’m off to hang out with my friends. Hope you all have a good Sunday!

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!

Return to Wilson Park

Return to Wilson Park

Once again I spent the evening in Torrance enjoying the second Shakespeare by the Sea performance of the season.

Last night showcased The Winter’s Tale, a drama that arguably wasn’t very dramatic, but tonight was comedy night with The Merry Wives of Windsor.

The seats weren’t as great as last time, but it was worth it to have a sandwich with the show.

Honestly, this play was much better in my opinion. I’m usually one for the Shakespearean dramas, but something about this show in particular really tickled my funny bone.

It was essentially the story of two women getting revenge on a man who tried to steal both of them from their husbands at the same time, not knowing they were close friends and would figure it out. As always, the actors really brought the story — and all the innuendo it carried — to life in the best of ways.

Plus the show told me that Shakespeare was a proponent of cuckolding and crossdressing as a means of humiliating people. The guy may have changed the English language and culture forever, but he was a freak when he wanted to be.

God… What am I doing. Making fun of the Bard in a random Saturday blog post.

This is what happens when you don’t have any ideas, people.

Well okay that’s not necessarily true. There’s a few things I could think to talk about from tonight.

Like how I had a great time going out to the show with Aly tonight.

Plus I’m still sunburnt and look awful? But that’s a different story.

Or the fact that having a seat further back from the stage facilitated seeing a lot more of the special extraneous stuff surrounding the production.

It’s harder to notice the actors slipping out from the side of the stage to make their approach through the center aisle when you’ve got a more centralized, engrossing view of the show. For example.

On top of that, when it came to this show specifically, I noticed a lot more of the things going on in the park around us as well. For instance, the venue happens to be in front of an outdoor hockey rink:

That thing has a very loud buzzer, even when it’s outside.

Yet that buzzer is only barely louder than the little kids playing on the playground over to the right of the stage.

All especially fun distractions when you’re far enough away from the action that even the speakers don’t pick up all the slack in helping us hear what was going on.

That’s about all I can think to say though, I’m afraid. I went to the gym again earlier today, and that coupled with the late play has left me a little burnt out.

So I’ll try to get something more significant out tomorrow.

Even though the plan is to spend the night with my friends. We’ll see.

A Day of Fine Arts

A Day of Fine Arts

After a rare day spent almost entirely outdoors at the Manhattan Beach Pier and at Wilson Park in Torrance, I’m pretty beat.

I’m also pretty sunburnt at that, so I’m sure I’ll come to regret not putting on sunscreen once my face starts to seriously burn up. ‘Tis the unfortunate truth of being an overtly pale, caucasian shut-in.

But that’s neither here nor there. Just consider it my excuse to not write the Citizen Kane of blog posts tonight.

All my tired, complexion-driven complaints aside, it was actually quite a lovely day. My friend Mimi and I spent the afternoon just catching up and venting about all of the drama pervading our lives lately.

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Excuse the wink. I swear it’s the sun, not me trying to be a douche.

Of course there are few catalysts better for bonding than pizza. So luckily I was able to take the opportunity to introduce her to my favorite pizza place: The Manhattan Beach Pizzeria.

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Ain’t that a tasty-looking slice? I’ve certainly been a proponent of it since days long past, when this particular joint was a preferred spot to hang out at after volleyball camp every summer.

Plus the calzone was definitely worth the long journey through L.A. traffic, from what I heard through a totally objective third party.

Speaking of that long journey through traffic, it facilitated my having a little bit of extra time before we started to hang out to just wander the shopping plaza at the top of the hill there. It has been a while since I’ve had the chance, as I haven’t gone nearly as much as I should have over the summer.

For some reason, the thing that stood out to me most while I was traversing the grounds was all the public art all around. A lot of it was new, clearly meant to spruce up the area around city hall and the library.

I decided to try and take some artsy, angled pictures of all the different pieces I found as a sort of miniature time-killing project in the middle of the grey, overcast afternoon.

So yeah if you’re interested in strange, not necessarily copacetic public art, enjoy:

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After a couple of hours at the beach, we decided to hang out longer with no real plans set for the next day. That time spread into more fine art, as mom pointed out that there was a Shakespeare by the Sea performance in Torrance.

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For the uninitiated, Shakespeare by the Sea is a theatre troop that has done free performances across California for the last 21 years. It’s a popular event for my family, and one I enjoy bringing my friends to.

How can you go wrong with Shakespeare, after all?

I guess to be fair the show tonight was one of the stranger plays: The Winter’s Tale. It was particularly funny at token moments, but overall holds the distinction of being the only Shakespeare play I can recall seeing where everyone was alive at the end — including many characters who had died during the course of the play.

Weird stuff.

While attending the show I had another obscure little observation. This one relating back to seeing the audience watching it.

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I’m not entirely sure why, but I felt a strange sense of pleasure watching a large crowd of people all quietly engaging with the live performance. As if they were watching a particularly awe-inspiring television program.

Maybe I was just drawn to the idea that we’ve retained the same kind of interest with live performances, particularly Shakespearean performances, as we once had in the days before being overwhelmed by the constant media barrage of the 21st century.

Especially considering just how timeless and relentlessly clever the Bard’s works are.

Stealing from Sports’ Traditions

Stealing from Sports’ Traditions

I may not be a very sport-y person, but if there’s anything I enjoy about sports it would be the team naming conventions.

Yeah I know that’s a strange thing to latch onto. But trust me, there’s a through-line to this conversation. Which, spoiler alert, is video game related.

Because hey if you wanted to see me spend an entire post talking about sports alone, you should have been around for this discussion I did a while back about watching the behind-the-scenes goings on at a baseball game.

As a home-grown Southern California kid I do have some interests in sports teams that come from some semblance of nostalgia. Namely the Dodgers when it comes to baseball and the Lakers when it comes to basketball. I’ve gone to see them many times over the years, so there are fond memories there even if I’m not as much of an avid follower of their games as I am Nintendo games.

However neither are striking examples of the kind of naming conventions I enjoy when it comes to sports teams. Like… What even does the name ‘Dodgers’ stand for? If anything, you wouldn’t want to be good at dodging a ball when you play baseball. Don’t you get to walk when you’re hit by the ball while at bat?

Come on Dodgers, get your act together.

Granted there is something interesting about them specifically. The fact that both the Dodgers and the Giants were originally East Coast teams before coming to California.

Inherently that brings up some questions about the permanence of a name if it can be so easily uprooted and moved around. Like yeah now we always associate the Dodgers with Los Angeles, but they weren’t always so closely linked with the culture here. That’s kind of fascinating, honestly.

Though according to official records by Major League Baseball themselves, the only reason those teams moved were simply to bring baseball to the West Coast. Which is a kind of underwhelming answer to an intriguing question.

But hey that’s a long tangent isn’t it? What I was going to get at was the fact that I enjoy seeing sports teams that are named after singular entities which could potentially duke it out.

The phenomenon tends to be more prevalent in high school and college sports, in my head. At my high school the main rivalry was the Sea Hawks versus the Mustangs. Though I did have some school spirit, for the most part I couldn’t care less which campus actually won. It was just kind of cool to imagine some kind of battle between a vicious hawk (which my biology teacher told us was actually based on a real life bird known for crushing bones) and a majestic hoofbeast.

I imagine the same thing could be said for many small-town sports rivalries. Certainly the idea of two forces of nature going at it is much more exciting than some other team names. Like the Patriots. Or the Redskins.

Much less racist too.

As I already mentioned, I’m not just bringing up this idea because I have a sudden passion to talk about sports. Or racism scandals. There was actually a spark that got me thinking about the subject of sports team names.

Unofficial Pokémon battle tournaments.

Yeah you heard me right. Bet you didn’t think anyone would be relating competitive Pokémon battling to actual real life sports in your daily blog posts today. Well I am, so you best be ready for it.

There’s actually a healthy amount of comparisons one can make between the two. When preparing for a Pokémon battle, trainers are restricted to six members, much like sports teams are limited to X number of team members on the field. Those six Pokémon fit different roles, be them wholly offensive, defensive or supportive. Or they could be some combination of the three.

It’s not hard to say that my hyper-offensive glass cannon Mega Beedrill in a battle is comparable to a football team’s leading quarterback, or that my heal-passing Audino is supportive much like a shortstop on a baseball team that quickly gets the ball from base-to-base for multiple outs.

I don’t know, I think it’s a pretty easy comparison to make. Maybe you disagree, but it’s all just an unapologetic segue anyway.

The reason I’ve come to think about this subject is because of the lengths I’ve seen certain Pokémon-playing YouTube personalities go to when establishing battle leagues that are steeped in the traditions of real life sports.

There are about a billion examples out there, but the one that’s most impactful to me is the United Championship League (UCL). There’s no real specific reason why other than the fact that most of the circle that competes in it are a close-knit group of Pokétubers that I tend to watch fairly often.

Which yes is possibly one of the nerdiest things I’ve said around here. But does it look like I care?

The UCL started about three years ago and carried an interesting aesthetic:

It comes to mind today specifically because the draft for Season 3 happened over this last weekend. Based on the video that was put up by TheKingNappy not too long ago, it took five hours just to get teams assigned to each competitor.

Yeah that’s right. This is a Pokémon battle competition with an extended team draft and a classic branching tree tournament board. On top of that, each team tends to do a pre-game discussion where they determine which members they’re bringing based on the opponent’s overall draft and how they’re building their teams up as a result.

It’s kind of crazy to thing that that’s almost exactly the same thing as a real sports league, but I adore one and can’t bring myself to seriously care about the other.

I think part of the reason I do care so much about the UCL — other than the fact that I’m a Pokémon junkie in general — is the fact that another real life sports trope they use so well is the naming convention.

Every team in that league names themselves the same way. City name (or some other location) followed by a Pokémon name that matches in some way.

Tucson Terrakions.

Pittsburgh Pichus.

So on and so forth.

Though of course it would be a terrible mistake for me not to mention my absolute favorite Pokémon sports league name:

The New York Mankeys.

Shout out to ShadyPenguinn for coming up with literal perfection. That’s the kind of name I wish I was clever enough to come up with on my own. Not only is it a solid team name, it’s a great reference to an actual real sports team too.

I just love it man. I basically wrote this whole post just so I could say New York Mankeys out loud. It’s just the kind of name that makes me giggle whenever I hear it. More of the world deserves to hear about it even if it couldn’t give a damn about Pokémon.

Now before you ask. Yes. I have had moments where I’ve tried to figure out what my Pokémon sports team name would be. Though I haven’t exactly come up with a good answer as of yet.

Incorporating my favorite Pokémon Gardevoir would be tough without stretching my location to Gardenia (though Gardenia Gardevoirs is a cool name).

I do like the sound of something like the Manhattan Beach Mimikyu, though again that requires relegating my location to somewhere I’m technically not, a city that’s my city’s rival if nothing else.

Unfortunately I’m just not sure which ‘R’ Pokémon I would use to go with Redondo. Ralts sounds a little not intimidating, though they fit the Gardevoir line love. Roserade also doesn’t seem right, despite being one of my favorites.

Also let’s be honest. As much as the Redondo Rayquaza sounds dope, I’m not sure I’d want to use a Legendary. It seems a bit cocky.

The Redondo Rhydon might work well. I have a pretty strong affection for him too, and Rhydon certainly sounds like the kind of Pokémon that could fit a sports team.

I guess if you want you can leave your suggestions in the comments below. Or you can say what teams you might be able to make using your home region. That’d be cool to hear!

In the meantime, I’ve got a five-hour livestream recap to catch up on. So I’m going to go off and do that.

In the meantime, I suppose I should come up with some kind of moral for today’s post.

Uhh…

If you’re a sports guy, don’t make fun of nerds that like Pokémon. Because we do wacky competitive things too.

And if you’re a Pokémon guy, don’t make fun of nerds that like sports. Because they built up a cool structure that we can do stuff with.

Let’s just all live together in harmony. Liking weird things that we all like without judgement.

Yeah, that’s a good lesson. Nailed the ending.

Lucky Number 300

Like yesterday, I didn’t exactly do a lot today that I would qualify as blog post worthy. However I don’t have as easy a crutch to lean on as the play I went to with my family last night.

So yeah I could spend the next couple hundred words or so talking about the almost 9,000 word transcript I did for a Boom conversation with Merry Ovnick of Southern California Quarterly. But I’m not sure a second-hand account of the discussions on regional architecture in California and Los Angeles specifically would be super interesting for anyone but me.

That probably doesn’t sound fair. It’s not an inherently boring interview or anything. In fact, it went over some interesting points, particularly about the effects of history and culture on architecture and vice versa.

I just don’t think I can do it any justice without coming across about as blandly as possible. So I’m just going to leave that to the experts and encourage you all to go read the piece as soon as it’s officially published.

With that mindset in place, I figured this was going to be a short “don’t have much to talk about” kind of post.

But then I started to set it up. When I did I realized this is actually a milestone of sorts.

My blog post yesterday was the 299’s I’ve published here. That means you’re currently reading lucky number 300 — as my headline so aptly remarks.

So yeah. Happy tri-centennial… Erm… I’m not sure what the right term would be… Post-iversary… Thing.

I guess it’s not even so much an anniversary since it isn’t time-specific as much as it is content-specific. I’ll try to come up with something better if I do one of these for the next milestone. Probably 500, or whatever it may be.

While I wish I had something more substantial to say, I suppose it’ll have to do for me to just reflect on my summer project now that we’re at about the halfway point.

I’ve honestly been surprised to see that posting something every single day, rather than putting out a post every other week or so, actually has a substantial effect on how many eyes the words get to. At least twice this summer I’ve broken my record on blog post views and likes (though both are just barely into the double digits so I can’t proclaim it’s that much) and I’ve more than tripled my following.

Even if that’s, again, a less than substantive nine or so followers up to the low thirties, it’s still pretty awesome. I’m sure it sounds cliché when I say it, but I really do appreciate all of you out there that think I’m worth taking a look at for what mostly amounts to random bouts of rambling.

That also extends beyond my direct WordPress followers into the realm of social media. Though that also comes in spurts, I like to know whenever people take a look at the stuff I’m putting out here.

Even if it’s just that Takumi that always retweets my Fire Emblem Heroes posts. I’m 99 percent sure that’s a bot account in terms of retweeting my stuff, but I’m also 99 percent sure he’s the only one who actually takes any sort of interest in those.

So shout out to you Twitter Takumi.

Just based on what I’ve seen come out of this so far, I think I’m probably going to continue writing a blog post a day even after the summer ends. That might be tougher once school starts, but if nothing else I’ll probably just be able to talk about what I learned in class on a given day or something along those lines. So who knows, I’m sure it’ll work out in one way or another.

That’s honestly all I’ve got to say on the matter, but I’m well over 500 words writing about nothing at this point, so I think that should be more than enough. Especially if I want to get something out before midnight.

Again, thanks for all the support, and here’s to many more posts from here on out! Perhaps if I actually keep up this daily business, soon it’ll be child’s play when I hit a number like 300.

That’s the dream anyway.

Tutorials Abound in Version 2.7.0

Tutorials Abound in Version 2.7.0

Another update has made its way to Fire Emblem Heroes. This one is relatively small and more focused on assisting players who are new to the game, but veteran players are able to reap some rewards too.

Thus I’m going to talk about this one all the same! Just don’t expect it to be a particularly long update. I’m still hot, tired and waiting in anticipation for the new summer units to drop.

Speaking of, get ready for that update tomorrow too. Should be fun!


Tactics Drills & Learning with Sharena

The major addition for Version 2.7.0 is Tactics Drills. In a sense these are advanced tutorials for players that go far deeper into the game’s mechanics than the cursory tutorial missions at the start of the story mode when you start the game up for the first time.

As you can see, they come in three tiers of difficulty. Each serves a slightly different purpose, but all offer the same bonuses for new and old players alike. Every five maps give players 300 Hero Feathers when they’re passed, and the sixth map will offer an orb for completion.

The small amounts don’t really build up to a lot in the end, but rewards are rewards and I can’t complain. Especially since supposedly there will be more added into the different tiers as time goes on.

So what do the tiers offer?

The “basics” tab offers challenges that showcase… Well… The basics of the game. There’s really no better way to put it.

These basics range from how different unit types move across the field to showcasing the benefits of certain strategies like baiting out enemies or teaching players how different weapons work.

They’re all pretty simple honestly, and the rewards are more worthwhile than the instruction in my personal attempts.

The “Skill Studies” tab… Again, just about does what the name implies.

Each map showcases a different skill archetype that exists in the game. Hone skills that improve stats, more attack-focused skills like Wraith, so on and so forth. If you don’t understand how certain strategies work, this will likely help you out. There are even a few toward the end that I haven’t been able to beat yet, as I find they’re a little more difficult.

The “Grandmaster” tab moves furthest away from being purely tutorial-based. Rather than teaching basic skills knowledge, Grandmaster challenges are simply that. Challenges.

The game throws you into a map with a pre-determined unit set and just has you go at it. I haven’t personally attempted these maps yet, though considering you need to have access to Book II of the story in order to even open these maps up, they’re clearly more difficult than the average challenge.

I only wish this meant they had better rewards too. But no, it’s still rather basic all things considered.

What’s interesting about all of these missions are that they’re purely for instruction and require no baseline units. The only real requirement to anything is the level cap for accessing Grandmaster tactics.

Every unit is provided based on the challenge. That means not only is everyone more open to the rewards, but newer players can see which units have great skills to utilize should they be lucky enough to summon them.

It’s a respectable idea all-and-all. I appreciate it.

You may have also noticed a fourth tab allowing people to “Learn with Sharena.” If any of you were wondering what that was:

It’s essentially a website with more in-depth tutorials on anything and everything in the game. Pretty much the same stuff you’ll get out of the Tactics Drills but spelled out in further detail.

They also include silly back-and-forth conversations between Sharena and Anna.

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Again, I think it’s a respectable addition to help improve the game’s accessibility for new players.

I’m just not personally very driven to go look at them without the allure of extra rewards. Sorry Intelligent Systems.


Weapon Refinery Update

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Ah yes, another four units have come up to the wringer. Has Intelligent Systems done their job in making these characters more useful than they were before?

For the most part… Not so much. From what I understand, anyway.

Katarina (known as the first scarf bae in my friend circle) essentially gained a refine to her tome that adds a Speed and Resistance Ploy skill on top of its owl effect. However, as Jonathan (owner of the bae) pointed out, her weapon’s might sticks at 14 rather than building up to 16 as we usually see. So… Yeah, that’s a thing.

Eldigan wasn’t given a straight upgrade so much as he was given an alternate path to success. His Mystletainn was already able to refine itself and have a built-in Fury skill, giving him a big boost across all stats at the cost of some health. The fact that he was able to have double the Fury was actually a great meme for a while there.

Now he can take on his son’s previously exclusive variant known as the Dark Mystletainn, which inherent accelerates Special Attack cooldown by one, then accelerates cooldown by two each time that attack triggers during combat. Honestly both are viable options, so it’s up to personal preference.

Titania probably got the worst of the upgrades in this batch. Her brand new Draconic Poleax keeps a Triangle Adept skill in-tact from her Emerald Axe, but has a much more beefy 16 might. When players refine the weapon, it apparently grants +6 resistance to units within two spaces.

I don’t use Titania, but honestly this upgrade doesn’t make me any more willing to do so. Sorry girl, better luck next time.

Conversely, Nephenee‘s upgrade from the Slaying Lance to the Dauntless Lance is a vast improvement and I couldn’t be happier. She has been a mainstay on my Water Blessing team for a long time, so I’m glad to have even more reasons to use her.

On top of cranking her might from 14 to 16 (leaving the base lance as powerful as her old one with a refinement), she also gains an inherent advantage against armored units. Zelgius and Black Knight be damned.

However, add onto that an additional refinement to the Dauntless Lance that gives her +4 Speed and Defense when she’s attacked and Nephenee becomes quite the monster in her own right.

It’s a little silly to say that she moved from being my chief lance infantry unit to being my chief lance infantry unit with even more regard. But hey, that’s what should be expected when you improve upon greatness.


Quest Progression

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I don’t exactly have a lot to say about this new feature in particular. In fact, I don’t fully understand why this standalone update was important enough to distinguish alongside new unit skills and the new game mode.

But someone decided it was important, so I’ll give it the time it demands.

Apparently when players complete quests, there will be a separate screen dedicated to showing off all of a player’s finished quests rather than having everything separated onto different pages.

I’m not sure who thought this was a significant problem that needed to be addressed, but I hope they’re happy with it. It seems a little superfluous when there was already an option to simply accept all of one’s finished quests… But oh well.


Additional Updates

As usual, there are a number of smaller things listed at the bottom of the 2.7.0 update page. They usually aren’t big enough to give a lot of time to, but I like to spread the word all the same:

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Things like new maps scrolling to the top are cool quality of life updates that always come with new versions of the game. They just don’t offer too much to talk about.

However, there are a few especially nice things in the ‘other improvements’ section this time around. Being able to set any music one wants underneath battles is something straight out of classic Fire Emblem games and is a greatly appreciated option in a title that features songs from every game in the series. Event text recaps are also a great addition for someone like me, who seriously enjoys little things like plot in silly games like this.

The most useful overall is the ability to restart ‘difficult’ maps without having to exit and reenter the battle over-and-over again. As someone who tries things like Grand Hero Battles repeatedly to earn all the orbs I can, I can assure you all that this is highly beneficial — even if you haven’t personally gotten to a point where it’s useful just yet.


Like I mentioned up top, none of the updates specifically included in Version 2.7.0 are groundbreaking. The tutorial missions that make up Tactics Drills are nice, though mostly for the rewards given how long I’ve been involved in the game. Nephenee getting stronger is also a plus, and I’m really glad I can restart missions that don’t require stamina at a faster pace.

If nothing else, even smaller moves forward like this show there’s always room for improvement in a constantly developing game like Fire Emblem Heroes.

That said, what sort of updates might you want to see come to the game in the future? Let me know in the comments down below!

In the meantime, I’ll see you all tomorrow when Sketchy Summer units arrive.

Fort MacArthur heats up in 2018

Fort MacArthur heats up in 2018

If the heat yesterday wasn’t bad enough for you, how about this?

California heat wave. Open field war reenactments. Heavy wool historically accurate Civil War uniforms.

Fun, fun, fun.

Luckily I wasn’t one of the poor saps that had to stand around outside for hours in a heavy outfit. Instead I just got to go around and explore, migrating from shady spot to shady spot learning all about cool historical things.

That’s right, it’s Old Fort MacArthur Days time once again! If you missed out on the post I did last year showing off a slideshow of pictures I took, you can check it out here.

But for those of you who fit into the center of the Venn diagram between ‘not initiated’ and ‘too lazy to click the link,’ Old Fort MacArthur Days is a yearly event at the closed military base on the cliffs of San Pedro, California. People of all creeds gather in historical gear and bring a treasure trove of knowledge about whatever era of history they aim to represent.

It’s a really sweet two-day event that my family has been going to for probably five+ years now. Not only is it a good time wandering the grounds of the old base learning historical fun facts, but there are vendors and war reenactments that offer plenty of reasons to come back.

I’ve made it something of a tradition of mine to introduce new people to Old Fort MacArthur Days every year, as I think it definitely deserves the traffic and makes for a fun day of hanging out.

Even if these last two years have been face-meltingly hot. But that’s another story.

While I brought my friend Sam last year, this year Juan got to join in on the fun with me and Aly:

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Road Trip, baybee

Shout out to that boy for always being down to go on random adventures.

Also shout out to this great picture we took as a means of making Sam regret her decision to not come along again because of the heat.

We actually listened to a couple of really interesting figures today.

There was a Union commander for the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment that told us all about the very first attempt at using a submarine during the Civil War which failed spectacularly because of the unforeseen consequences of concussing every member aboard the vessel when an explosive went off too early.

Then we spent a good amount of time listening to the Barber Surgeon in the English Civil War region that told us infinite details about various surgical devices and how English superstition led to the creation of myths like the Tooth Fairy.

But of course we also can’t forget the Saloon owner in what I will affectionately call West World who handed out both lemonade and detailed descriptions of tabletop games kids would play in the 1800s.

While the discussions were all wonderful as ever, just as wonderful were the reenactments.

This year we only got to two of them before the heat knocked us out of our desire to stick around. We saw a World War II battle in which the American soldiers used an actual for real tank (which was awesome) to take a bill from German soldiers, and we saw the West World gun show where a man swindled some other cowboys from their money before being killed by his wife for using their daughter in the scheme.

I’m sure it’s great for you all to hear me just talk about the stuff we saw, but I figure I should do you one better and show off this neat slideshow of pictures with mediocre bits of commentary where I can fit it.

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Pretty cool stuff, right? It was totally worth probably getting a sunburn even through two coats of sunscreen to nab some of these.

Especially the cowboy gunshot I used as the attractive featured image. I love that sucker a whole bunch.

However, this year you should all be glad to know that I’ve stepped it up a notch.

Last year I took some videos that I considered putting in my blog post, but couldn’t quite figure out how to insert them here without blowing my storage out of control or having it take three days to upload.

Since then I have become a smarter man and now know how to use my gmail-associated YouTube account to my advantage.

So enjoy this video of the WW2-era tank in action:

And this video of a cowboy decimating a water bottle with a shotgun:

Plus, here’s a bonus video of another cowboy failing to fire his gun and getting ragged on by all the other cowboys:

I think my favorite part of that one is hearing Juan lose it next to me at the physician comment.

That’s about all I have to share from my trip to San Pedro this year. While I hope my pictures are a cool window into this little world that many of you probably haven’t seen, I really have to encourage everyone to check out this event at least once if they’re in the area at the right time!

It’s an awesome historical adventure that’s well worth the heat stroke. Something I’m sure I’ll say after I forget about how much I die in the heat and do it to myself again next year.

A Warm, Lazy Night

After spending most of the afternoon melting into a puddle of goo on the couch, struggling to come up with something to write about in the heat-laden haze post-Gladeo meeting, I think I’ve finally just decided to give up for the night.

I really have nothing to talk about right now, and my brain is too mushy from the 100+ degree temperatures here in California today to feel my obligatory post is worth stressing over tonight.

So how about this. I’ll just use this post as a ‘things to come’ set-up of sorts.

People like that right?

With my work meeting this morning came the confirmation that both of the Career Spotlights and the Career Profile I’ve been working on are going through the editing process, so they should be published online any day now. As they come around I’ll be sure to talk about them in more detail.

However, if it’s anytime in the near, near future (though that’s somewhat doubtful from where they are in the process), I might hold off talking about them for a day or two. I have a pretty succinct idea for what my posts will hold for a period of time.

Tomorrow I’m going to go to Old Fort MacArthur Days with Aly and a few of my friends. I’ll probably throw out a post with a slideshow of cool things we see like I did last year – but this time I’ll know how to include videos, too.

Sunday I’m going to see Ant Man and the Wasp with my family. I’ll do one of my mini reviews on that after I see it.

There’s also an update to Fire Emblem Heroes coming on the eighth, but I haven’t quite decided whether I want to post two things on a day or whether I should hold off the mobile game update for Monday to take up some extra space. Supposedly there might be another new banner on the 10th as well, but I don’t have personal confirmation for that.

Though speaking of extra space filler, I also have a couple posts in my drafts folder. One is a slightly more extended discussion on Funko Pops I’ve been cooking up, as I have a personal issue with something regarding their business practices.

There might also be a couple Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links deck profiles I can throw together on some decks I’ve been having fun with lately. Especially one featuring Shining Flare Wingman, who I discussed my love for a bit ago.

Beyond that I’m also interested in doing a couple of ‘nostalgic’ sort of posts examining things I haven’t looked at in a long time.

Also also, I’ve begun to put some work into my Honors Project proposal, and especially with the help of my friends I’ll likely have something to chat about in regards to that once I have more succinct views about what my novel-in-progress will include.

Otherwise… Yeah. That’s about all I have to discuss in terms of forward-thinking blog post ideas.

Right now I’m just kind of sitting here in the lukewarm heat of the nightfall, wallowing in a food coma following a nice meal with my parents at one of my favorite restaurants and catching up on some T.V. shows.

Oh, speaking of, I suppose I also might expect a post talking about Luke Cage season 2 at some point in the near future. Because if we finish that show anytime soon I’m definitely willing to talk about it.

Otherwise let me know if there’s anything you might be interested in seeing around here! I’m pretty open to ideas if there are any going around you might want to see me discuss.