Tag: California

My new Let’s Play channel

My new Let’s Play channel

What’s up, gamers. T1meslayer here with a channel update for all y’all.

A few months ago I launched a series of toy unboxing videos with my sister that has gone on to achieve great acclaim. That first video has almost 100 views, and that not-LEGO Mimikyu was a star in my class’ Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

Our YouTube community has reached amazing heights, and I couldn’t be more proud of you all for helping me get to the coveted 1 subscriber milestone.

That’s why I’ve decided to launch a new project.

I’ll be going toe-to-toe with industry greats like the Game Grumps and Markiplier through my brand new gameplay channel: T1meslayer plays.

As you know I’m a huge Nintendo fanatic, so that’s going to be my primary focus. In fact, we’re starting off with one of my favorite titles on the GameBoy Advance. Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones (2004).

To help stand out from my competitors, I’m taking a new approach to YouTube gaming that I like to call “non-chronological let’s plays.”

We’ve all seen the first levels of certain games played a dozen times as new channels start to play, only to collapse under the weight of mediocrity before they get to the end.

I’m going to solve that problem by starting with Episode 5 and then jumping around.

So if you’re up to going on this journey with me, you can see the first episode of my series here:

Thanks so much for sticking by me during this turbulent time as I get ready to graduate. Like, comment and subscribe to see what’s coming next!



Alright. Obviously I don’t have a gaming channel.

Sorry to disappoint those of you who might be interested in watching that cringe-fest.

This let’s play video is actually one of the final assignments for my Gaming in American Culture class. We had to essentially parody the YouTube video game scene to try and convey some ideas we’re focusing on in our papers.

My paper is all about Sacred Stones, so my let’s play is an episode of what would be my Sacred Stones playthrough.

It was a nightmare actually putting this together (as one might expect when trying to pull an 18-minute video off of their iPhones to edit on a 10-year-old laptop), but I actually really like how it came out?

Like sure, I’m terrible on camera. And technology was so difficult that I skipped blog writing yesterday. But I cut out dead air and added an editorial commentary track to inject some humor, I think it’s a nice piece.

Nice enough to share publicly, at least.

Yet sharing the video is bittersweet. This is literally my penultimate college assignment. All I have left is the final paper for this same class.

Today was my last day of college ever — and it also happened to be my Gaming in American Culture.

Learned about some interesting things from these presentations. In sports especially, like the existence of pickleball and the beer mile.

The latter of which makes me happy that I don’t drink.

“Bittersweet” is really the best way I can describe my feelings. I’m happy to move onto the next stage in my life, especially since I can share the celebration with my family — particularly my grandparents from Florida, who both flew in together for the first time since my Bar Mitzvah.

Almost 10 years ago. Yikes.

But at the same time I have genuinely enjoyed my time in Academia, and the idea of finding a real job still terrifies me.

You don’t have to worry yourself with that part of my psyche, however. For the next couple days I’ll probably be posting all sorts of positive things on social media to try and convince you all that my life is nothing but wonderful.

Because that’s really what social media is all about, isn’t it?

In the meantime, enjoy my cringe-y let’s play.

Please.

I’m proud of it.

My little yellow book

This Zombie Jesus Day, I spent most of my time down in the cave.

… Is that an insensitive comparison to make?

I suppose it might be. But I think it’s funny, and really all I mean to say is that I spent the day cleaning my room and the downstairs bathroom. Not only has dust built up since the last time, but we have family coming out to California for my graduation in May.

Puts the brunt of making things look nice on my shoulders, since I’m the reason why people will inevitably be here stressing my Mom out.

All that toilet scrubbing and floor sweeping and Amiibo dusting has me worn out, so I don’t want to linger on writing too long. But I want to get something out considering I skipped yesterday in favor of playing Pokémon with Aly and watching The Lego Movie 2.

Not that I regret either of those choices.

Between my bouts of cleaning, I spent some time starting to pull together a PowerPoint for my Senior Honors Project presentation.

Doing so has been a trip down memory lane, as I’m essentially summing up everything I’ve done for the last year.

Except it goes much further than that.

Part of my project involves the context of my experiences with creative writing prior to this novel. I have many single-chapter story drafts lingering around different folders on my computer that came about from dreams or fantasies and unfortunately never went anywhere because all I had were those singular ideas.

But then I have the one project that made it further than any other prior. All because, I’d argue, I pre-planned everything in this sweet yellow notebook:

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The summer before I started at Cal State Fullerton, this book and I were inseparable.

I distinctly remember sitting out by the pool at my Dad’s friend Sylvan’s house writing things out. Everything from character descriptions—

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To bits of lore about the world and magic system—

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To a lengthy run-down of the plot—

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Beat-by-beat.

Because of the amount of effort I put into this thing, it’s one of my favorite stories conceptually. Even though I moved away from it because of school, it’s a piece I feel like I can return to one day.

Especially since I took such meticulous notes on where I wanted the story to go and when.

That’s the main takeaway for my current Senior Honors Project. Pre-planning is very important to coming up with a solid idea one can move forward with.

Though if I did go back to this yellow book story, I’d have to rework a number of the really cliché bits. Like more tastefully handling my “amnesiac protagonist,” if I keep that at all.

I’d also have to completely rework the ending. At the time I came up with a vague encounter against a large mechanical wolf because something, something, bad guys invented technology using magic.

Basically the arc of Avatar: The Last Airbender, in hindsight.

So yeah. Work would be needed.

But I still have a soft spot for Anya, Maribel and their band of misfits and fantasy tropes.

In fact, the yellow notebook has been in the front pocket of my backpack for all these years. Just in case I ever do go back to it.

Who knows, maybe after I finish with Isenvid and the Four Orbs, I will go back and put it together.

Fantasy-adventure novels seem to be my thing, apparently.

Might even be fun to take the genre in a less deconstructive direction.

The dungeons prequel

The dungeons prequel

We are officially one week away from Dungeons and Dragons day in my Gaming in American Culture class.

Toward the beginning of the semester I listed D&D day as one of the enticing course elements, so being on the cusp makes me salivate with anticipation.

Considering I barely have any experience outside of one character building session in high school, I’ve gotten a little practice. We played D&D at the party I brought my Redondo Beach friends to in Fullerton over Spring Break.

I kicked ass as my pre-built elf sorcerer Elfson.

But in-class today we prepared for our upcoming escapades in a different way: Talking about the moral panics caused by D&D.

Because you know. If something is fun and leaning in a pagan direction, parents are going to freak out about it.

Looking at you, Pokémon. And also Pokémon.

… Okay, it’s not entirely fair to simplify that into a joke. We actually discussed interesting aspects behind the 1980’s D&D panic, including the perceived loss of self-identity to multiple, fractured fantasy identities steeped in olde mythological traditions of witchcraft and monsters.

It just so happens that you can only showcase the moral panic by laying out all of the over-the-top examples of role-playing game hysteria.

Most notably: Dark Dungeons.

This amazing comic created by Jack T. Chick in 1984 seems to be the perfect embodiment of Big Brother wiping out imagination and personal expression in exchange for the conformity of true-blue American Catholicism.

Or that’s how my boy Mitchell perceived it, at least.

There are arguably kernels of truth in Chick’s fear of fantasy overwhelming reality. It’s hard to take the guy seriously when you write such lines as:

“Lord Jesus … you guide me through life. I want You to be in charge of everything…not that lousy D&D manual.”

Following the deus ex machina of random friend appearing to save the damsel in distress — having apparently prayed and fasted for her off-screen.

Or at least… I find it hard to take this comic seriously.

Apparently others do not, as a short film adaptation came out in 2014.

Something I only know about because my friend Jonathan reminded me that JonTron put out a video about the movie in 2016.

Isn’t the internet just a god damn beautiful mess?

But wait, that’s not all!

On top of Dark Dungeons, we spent part of our class period watching and discussing Mazes and Monsters.

The 1982 Tom Hanks flick where then-unknown sentient toy cowboy / crazy stranded FedEx employee / historic figure with a pension for chocolate almost kills himself after getting so invested in a parody of D&D that he can no longer distinguish fantasy from real life.

It’s amazing that Hanks went on to have one of the most successful actor careers of all time with a start as wild as Mazes and Monsters.

With all of that said, it only makes sense that we get to risk our lives playing the tabletop role-playing game for our entire next class period.

By God am I looking forward to it.


P.S. — There was another cool part of my day that I wanted to talk about, but could not think of an organic way to include it. Outside of there being vaguely related fantasy elements.

So I’ll just pin it down here.

During the break between my classes, Dr. Sandra Perez (the Director of the University Honors Program) brought over an underclassman while I was working in the Honors Center because she wants to write a fiction novel for her senior project.

Apparently I was the expert in that department, as Dr. Perez said she was very impressed with all of the pre-planning she’d seen me do for my novel.

It was nice to be considered an expert in something like that!

Or at least the most readily available spring of knowledge.


Featured Image courtesy of Philip Mitchell via Wikimedia Commons

Out-of-context eavesdropping

Out-of-context eavesdropping

 

Catching something completely out of context in public.

It’s the trope that has spawned a thousand episodes of a thousand sitcoms. The Live-Action T.V. section of this fan-driven tropes wiki for out-of-context eavesdropping even suggests that the narrative device “was the plot of roughly 2/3s of the episodes of Three’s Company.”

But much like any cliché or stereotype, it is sometimes easy to forget that they exist in entertainment because they’re circumstances people see in real life.

I’ve found myself glancing over my shoulder on occasion when playing Fire Emblem Heroes, for example.

Looking at you Summer Noire.

The excuse of playing a video game somewhat mitigates that particular fear. We all know the Japanese are a special breed in that regard.

But today I had a slightly different experience in that vein, where the concern was being perceived as some kind of sociopath out of context.

So let me provide context that way you all don’t think I’m a sociopath.

Yesterday I spent a lot of time writing my novel. So much so that I skipped out on doing a blog post.

To make up for it I tried doing a silly gif thing:

Figured I should keep practicing that stuff I learned a few weeks back.

Even though I kept throughout today, I needed a change of scenery. Wound up dragging my Dad out to get coffee at a Coffee Bean in Torrance for a couple of hours.

While we were there I checked my school portal and saw the last two Comm Law assignments we needed to complete over Spring Break were finally uploaded.

I would have preferred to work on them at the beginning of the break… But I can’t force my professors to do things just for my convenience.

Luckily the assignments were quick enough to blow through that I can’t complain.

One of them just happened to come with some bizarre imagery.

For our section on copyright and trademark, a case we went over was Mattel v. Walking Mountain Productions. In which Utah artist Tom Forsythe created a number of images using frazzled Barbie dolls in domestic appliances and common food items to comment on the brand’s effect on society’s treatment of women and gender roles.

All that fun stuff.

Forsythe won the case as fair use for commentary and was later compensated for the legal fees.

A very interesting case, but one that required me to watch videos zooming in on pictures of mangled Barbie pieces in enchiladas and stir fry.

Obviously the “school assignment” excuse would have saved me from any dirty looks. Especially given my ability to at least partially explain why the court case is important in First Amendment studies.

But I definitely would have gotten some dirty looks out of context, and I couldn’t help but look over my shoulder to make sure nobody was peering over the hedges.

Even though I would have more things to worry about if a total stranger was watching me from behind a hedge in a public space, I suppose.

Under pressure

Under pressure

I told myself I wasn’t going to do this.

“It’s too cliché,” I said. “Everyone will make fun of you for capitalizing on a wave of popularity.”

But you know what? This is my blog and I can do whatever I want.

Also, I couldn’t come up with anything substantial enough to be a feasible alternative.

So. Taking inspiration from my pressure cooker as well as Queen after the music copyright lecture in my Comm Law class (a follow-up to lectures I watched this weekend), I decided to go with it.

Let’s talk about how pressure led to me not knowing what to talk about.

Yesterday I wrote about the cool things I learned from Archivist Therese Martinez during a brief visit to the Redondo Union High School Alumni House.

To be honest… I feel like I half-assed that post.

Everything I talked about is great, and I genuinely learned a lot from Therese. But I write the vast majority in ~30 minutes while sitting in the Main Branch Public Library with less than 20 percent battery.

The ticking clock of my power situation, on top of knowing it’s a topic I will return to, led to silly things like stuffing information into a slideshow.

However, in spite of my reservations about the execution, Therese loved it. So much so that (after I made adjustments to inaccurate dates), she shared the piece with Admin.

Then with the Archives’ Facebook group.

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I scratch her back, she scratches my back, I scratch hers.

Suddenly this interesting, somewhat half-assed look at historical goods in my alma mater made my dinky personal blog blow the hell up.

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As of 7:40 p.m., about four hours after she asked to share.

That’s pretty awesome.

Except…

I don’t know about you, but when I have a burst of popularity it comes with baggage. Most notably the desire to follow-up with something significant and not disappoint those newcomers.

I’ve been stressing over what to write for a while now.

My first inclination was to write about my recent purchase of:

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On the Nintandoh Splorch!

There’s a bit of a story behind that purchase.

Yesterday, WayForward announced that they are on the verge of releasing the fifth game in the Shantae series — a collection of games that have been around since the Game Boy.

I adore Shantae. In my Sophomore year I binged the first three games on my 3DS after finding the fourth on Kickstarter. Mostly while waiting for my history class with Dr. Paulo Simoes.

However I never got around to playing Half-Genie Hero when it came out because money.

So Shantae 5 was announced, and guess what I found out next:

It truly was a dangerously effective strategy.

That seemed like the perfect opportunity to write something about my adoration of video games.

Open-and-shut case for a blog post. Right?

Well… It would have been. If I had any time to play the game beyond the title screen. But I haven’t, and probably won’t until Spring Break.

Hold that thought. I’ll probably have a review of the game sometime soon.

With that struck down, it was onto idea #2: Honors Project stuff.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m writing a fantasy genre subversion novel for my big Senior Project — the equivalent of a thesis for the University Honors Program.

One of my favorite pieces of side-content for the project has been my world map.

You know the kind. Those continent overviews you see at the beginning of Tolkien books.

I wrote a whole long post all about my adventure in mapmaking this semester, so you can read that to catch up.

The important thing is that I’ve continued to make adjustments to my novel’s continent Drocux in the weeks since. Namely adding names to every location, but also adding details like rivers and roads for more realistic topography:

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HexTML continues to serve me well, and it has been fun writing out lore to explain outlandish names (such as the Xilbalar Canyon above being named after a prominent Elven activist).

But I’m still adding new ideas almost every day, and if I’m going to deep dive into my EXTENSIVE LORE, I would like to do so with the complete product.

Thus, two ideas have been struck down.

And I couldn’t come up with a decent third.

By the time I combed through possibilities, I was home and had my magical encounter with the InstaPot in my Featured Image.

The rest, as they say, was history.

Hopefully you newcomers don’t feel like this was a waste of time — or get too annoyed at my somewhat blatant attempt to throw a lot of my old posts at you. All I needed to add was something about my journalism awards to give the full flavor of Jason.

Speaking of, tomorrow I’ll probably have a more serious post about the next Society of Professional Journalists meeting.

Assuming I don’t change my mind, I’ll look forward to possibly seeing you there.

Into the orchestra

Into the orchestra

Another year, another Spring musical by the Redondo Union Theatre Arts Program.

This time around, my alma mater put on Stephen Sondheim‘s take on Grimms’ Fairy Tales: Into the Woods.

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Le playbill

The show had live music by a pit orchestra, in which my sister took part. When they did Crazy for You last year it was the first time in a long time that a musical had live orchestration at RUHS, so I’m glad to see the tradition continue.


Editor’s Note: I thought I wrote about that show but apparently not, so forgive my semi-random link up there.


I don’t have too terribly much to say about the show itself. The theatre kids put on a nice performance that I would say shined most in its stage design.

To create the titular woods, stage hands dragged tree stumps into the mid-ground, and logs were lowered onto them from the ceiling. It was a really neat little effect that got enhanced by fog machines.

Those gave everything a mysterious Midsummer Night’s Dream forest vibe.

And of course, the music was wonderful. Which I only say in part because this post is a shill for my sister (who deserves credit, but still). Even though the sound mixing was not optimal and a lot of the actors kind of got lost in it.

The only major complaint I have about the show was an odd framing device added on top of the story.

They decided to have Into the Woods, in the context of their continuity, be the content of a book being read to a lost little girl in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

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The stage set up as a disaster relief area before the show.

Bit of an oddly paired metaphor.

It didn’t bear enough of an effect on the story to ruin it necessarily, but at the same time the fact that they didn’t elaborate on it much just left me asking why it was included at all.

I suppose I will say that it contributed to an immersive theatre-going experience.

All the kids got to mess around and play their hearts out in the aisles of the auditorium before the show. Asking audience members if they’ve seen family or friends lost in the hurricane, requesting food in exchange for voodoo crystals, so on and so forth.

It was a lot of fun, and added to a nice overall presence through things like a faux red carpet backdrop in the lobby:

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Didn’t get a picture with the backdrop because I’m stupid.

Pretty cute stuff.

That’s just about all I have to say about the show. It was originally going to be my main blog post of the day before I exhausted myself last night and decided to save my Us review for earlier.

But I didn’t want to leave my sister hanging. Especially after I got such a cute picture of her.

So you’re getting two-for-one today, and I don’t have to feel as bad about skipping another day of writing in March.

Jordan Peele brings Us, a captivating horror/thriller/slasher experience

Jordan Peele brings Us, a captivating horror/thriller/slasher experience

I don’t typically go to the movie theatre to see horror movies.

The last time I did, I watched the Blumhouse classic Truth or Dare on a date. Horror movies peaked in that moment, and I decided I never needed to see one on the silver screen again.

Just kidding, it was a dumpster fire.

It also had nothing to do with the reason I don’t see horror movies. I’m just a baby when they’re done right.

But I loved Jordan Peele’s Get Out, so when Us was coming out and my friends Juan and Nina were interested, the perfect opportunity to support this great filmmaker arrived.

Before I jump into the movie, I’ll briefly address the elephant in the room: I had an awful experience watching Us. Won’t go into too much detail because you can read through my angry Twitter thread.

I just think it’s worth mentioning because I enjoyed this movie, especially talking with my friends about it on our drive home, but I wasn’t as enthralled as I could have been.

That said, there’s plenty of objective things I can say about this movie.

Us follows the Wilson family — Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o), Gabe (Winston Duke), Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex) — as they vacation in Santa Cruz. Adelaide’s nerves get the best of her as she recalls coming across a doppelgänger of herself at the boardwalk’s hall of mirrors over thirty years earlier.

Her fears are justified when a family of doppelgängers, each deformed and known as the Tethered, arrive to torment and kill them.

There isn’t a whole lot else I can say without spoiling the film, yet there are a couple of major plot beats that I feel are worth addressing. Some of you may consider them minor spoilers.

Fair warning.

Most notably that compared to Get Out, Jordan Peele’s newest movie is a bit more predictable. If you’re anything like my friend Jonathan, you can probably guess the explanation why evil clones suddenly arrive.

That being said, the way the story is handled completely supersedes that complaint. Peele’s world and characters are so engrossing that you almost don’t care why the Tethered have arrived until it’s explained.

Even with the explanations given, there’s a decent amount of mystery left on the table to keep viewers mulling over questions. That’s clearly the intent.

It doesn’t matter why certain things happen so much as it matters that things are happening and the characters need to deal with them.

It’s great that Peele has created such an interesting scenario that you want to know more after the movie cuts to black, but you don’t NEED to know more to enjoy it.

Beyond this mysterious lore, Us has two other major draws: The cinematography and the acting.

From the opening scene of a young Adelaide wandering the hall of mirrors on the Santa Cruz boardwalk, it’s clear that Us is a marvel to watch. Tension mounts immediately just trying to figure out which girl (and which exit sign) is real.

There are scenes all over the movie that stick with me. From Nyong’o’s Tethered character Red slamming Adelaide’s face into a glass table, leaving her reflection shattered, to the first reveal of Tethered outside the Wilson family in a gruesome scene.

This movie is more of a slasher flick than a horror/thriller at times, and it handily capitalizes on all of the blood-gurgling imagery and sound effects you’d expect.

However, arguably the best scene comes toward the end, where Nyong’o’s bug-eyed, Tethered face is large in the foreground as the grounded regular version is creeping up with a fireplace poker.

It’s gorgeous to watch, and highlights just how amazing Nyong’o is in the movie.

Every actor plays two roles. A normal, quirky human and their scarred, primal Tethered counterpart.

Besides perhaps Alex at times (who I would give a pass being the youngest actor in the movie), everyone nails playing the duel versions of themselves — in some ways completely alien, but in more ways amplifications of each other’s good or bad sides. I particularly liked how Duke captured a hulking, imposing monster of a man and a crippled, goofy family man.

Yet nobody plays like Lupita Nyong’o.

I’ll frankly be upset if she doesn’t at least get a Best Actress nod for this. Nyong’o became a real powerhouse to me with Us, much like Daniel Kaluuya after Get Out.

Hers is the only Tethered that speaks, and every word comes out hoarse as she struggles to talk. It’s a bone-chilling performance, especially combined with her rigid, mechanical mannerisms.

The fact that she plays that intensity against a normal, terrified version of herself makes it stand out that much more.

A lot more of my negatives with this movie come from my viewer experience — laughter at inappropriate, tense moments and Instagram glowing two rows ahead does not mesh with suspenseful horror. So it’s hard to tell what parts I didn’t like for the movie or for the audience.

But I can absolutely say what I enjoyed about Us, even if I’d like to see it again. The cinematography is great, the acting is amazing and any sort of plot hole or missing lore just serves to create a captivating and mysterious experience.

I’m certainly still thinking about ideas the movie posed, and how some reveals completely re-contextualize the movie — one of my favorite things in film.

And that’s not to say anything about the killer Bernard Herrmann-esque score by Michael Abels.

Us is a great movie, and a wonderful second showing for Peele. I would highly recommend it (even if you wait to see it in the dark at home).

Yet it offered one thing more shocking than anything else:

How the hell did Jordan Peele context switch between directing such a suspenseful, deep horror film and goofy high jinx voice acting for Toy Story 4?

The man truly is an enigma.


Featured Image courtesy of IMDB

Live from Studio City

Live from Studio City

In case some of you weren’t around this morning to see what I’ve been up to today, here’s the real brief teaser I put out on social media:

However, assuming you might be reading this in some far-flung future date where Twitter is dead in the aftermath of terrible social media toxicity, I’ll lay it out in good, old-fashioned text:

The Cal State Fullerton branch of the Society of Professional Journalists got an opportunity to tour the CBS2/KCAL9 broadcast center in Studio City, California this afternoon.

However, assuming you might be reading this in some far-flung future date where the Internet is dead after a nuclear apocalypse…

Well you wouldn’t be reading this anyway. My entire joke would fall apart well before I started it.

So I’ll stop wasting your time.

My dad worked at the station for about three years as an Information Technology Manager, in-part helping to build out some of the infrastructure that we were able to see today.

In fact, I personally helped build bits and pieces when he took me to work with him. Crawling under tables to plug-in computers and stuff.

Because he still has some friends at CBS, he was able to get our club president Harrison in touch with Dan Haight, the Director of Broadcast Operations and Engineering.

As the Secretary for our chapter, I figured the least I could do was help us get a tour at a professional newsroom. Luckily it was a successful venture!

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The broadcast building from behind, on the sixth floor roof of the parking structure.

I got to Studio City pretty early and had the chance to look around at the entertainment side of the house first.

That included a whole host of fancy-looking lots as well as named buildings, street signs and more.

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But more importantly, it included a lot of brief looks at areas where different TV shows are currently being recorded.

The one that stood out most to me was Last Man Standing. Not because I watch the Tim Allen sitcom, but because of where the show was:

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The home of Seinfeld? Now that’s a sound stage that could tell some stories.

Even if most of those stories are technically supposed to be centered in New York.

~*~Hollywood magic~*~

Here are a number of other discoveries I made, all lazily compiled in a slide show because I’m pretty tired after a number of hours on the freeway.

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However, arguably the most important discovery I made was off the lot:

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Don’t know if this is a business officially affiliated with CBS, or if it’s just some business owner with a lot of ingenuity to capitalize on the major job provider in the area, but either way I’m a fan.

After my little self-driven tour, it was time to head back to the broadcast center for our official tour!

… Except traffic was apparently not great today, so I was the first one there and had to hang out for quite some time before the rest of the group arrived.

Gave me a lot of time to look around at the big stuff in the lobby.

It was actually a lot of fun watching folks wander in-and-out, usually stopping by the security desk to see what was on the news with the guard.

After Dan arrived to take us around on the tour, I didn’t take a whole lot of pictures. Got caught up in just checking everything out.

So the best I’ve got for visuals in this stage are the couple of pictures we took as a group that got posted on the SPJ account:

Obviously, that’s where I got my featured image from. I love the image Harrison got of us all looking into a news camera.

We found out that the area where we took that picture is going to be reworked soon for a new project CBS is working on to get live news broadcasts to mobile phones easier. All with the hopes of attracting that young audience that doesn’t watch traditional TV anymore.

Then we got a look around the newsroom, everything from the assignment desk to the online story stations and editing bays.

Afterward we checked out a couple of the shows currently recording, or preparing to record, during our tour.

First was the weekly Veteran’s Voices show, where a few actors were sitting in as the anchors so they could make sure all the shots were right.

After that we saw the end of the News at Noon with Sandra Mitchell, sitting alongside the weather lady Alex Biston.

Fun fact, this weather update was actually what we watched her record. Live. It was pretty cool, and she took some time to chat with us afterward!

The most interesting thing about watching the news broadcast was the fact that those two were the only people on the entire set. Everything else was fully automated.

I can’t help but feel it would be disconcerting to record an entire broadcast like that with nobody else around on a big sound stage… But I suppose it’s the kind of thing that Internet personalities do all the time in the 21st Century.

It was kind of cool to see how much technology has advanced I suppose, even if it wasn’t a great sign for getting jobs in the industry.

Finally, we were in one of the big control rooms just in time for Donald Trump’s speech on the New Zealand attacks — which I’ll use the CNN story for just for the sake of variety.

It was pretty amazing watching almost every screen in the room change to show the President’s face, both for the CBS channels and their competition.

While we were checking out the fully automated sound deck beside that control room, another one of my Dad’s old friends showed up. Bob and Dan got to talking, which led them to telling our tour group about how much they enjoyed working with Dad and missed him.

Which was a very sweet thing to see.

But that was pretty much all there is to say about my CBS tour. It was really cool, especially on the verge of graduation when I need to start thinking about things like work more avidly.

… Plus, I got to write it off as networking with reporters for my internship.

So I really can’t complain about that.

Rainy day jazz in Santa Barbara

Rainy day jazz in Santa Barbara

At this point it feels like I’m collecting California high school visits for a checklist.

Once again my day has been spent journeying to watch my sister perform with the Redondo Union High School jazz band.

The destination? Dos Pueblos High School in Santa Barbara.

The event? The 50th annual “Jazz in Paradise” Jazz Festival.

Luckily hosted indoors, as it rained hard all morning on our way up north. None of those outdoor venues like the marching band competitions get.

While I appreciate any and all opportunities to break out my Master Sword umbrella (and boy has it gotten work this rainy season), I was more appreciative that we could hide instead.

Especially with such a nice auditorium to hide in:

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The beige whites, wooden trim and striped-blue decor gave the Elings Performing Arts Center a nautical harbor vibe that felt like home, even though home was a good few hours away.

I was also a fan of the music, even if I can’t speak to why quite as well as I can for a visual aesthetic.

That’s frankly my biggest problem with these events. While I can’t say I’m the biggest jazz listener in the world, I typically enjoy what I get to hear at the competitions. I just don’t have near enough musical knowledge to be able to tell people why — and usually those who can will tell me how awful a band was despite my thinking they sounded as good as the rest.

The one thing I can point to is Santa Ynez, who really impressed me in particular by utilizing a violin in their set.

After a while, the performances across different events do start to sound similar, so shaking that up was nice.

Plus I’ve found that I’m actually a huge fan of taking more “classical” instruments like the violin and using them in unique, more modern settings. Been noticing that a lot more in different soundtracks I’ve listened to for games and such.

But beyond that, hopefully you aren’t here for deep diving musical analyses.

All I can really provide are these screenshots and videos to help you feel like you were there.

For instance, here’s Aly and RUHS’s Jazz Band A performing “Barnburner” by Les Hooper:

I know I say it a lot, but I am quite proud of how good she is at this stuff. So much so that she recently got accepted into a rather prestigious-sounding summer program in New York.

Then again, I also make fun of her falling off video games whenever I can, since I know she loves that a whole lot.

But recently I found a good game to get her into solo play with Kirby’s Adventure on the Nintendo Switch online NES game compilation. Thus I can’t really make fun of her.

… Though I will pester her about finishing Let’s Go Eevee with me again. Especially now that Sword and Shield are coming soon.

Oh- By the way, RUHS won first place in the advanced bands with their set.

As well as smaller awards for having the best saxophone and rhythm sections.

Then they won best overall band score, on top of one of their musicians winning best solo performance of the night.

AND Aly got an outstanding soloist certificate for the advanced division.

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In other words, they swept the floor.

This event in particular also stood out because after the awards there was a concert featuring Wayne Bergeron — who has apparently worked on things like the soundtrack to Pixar’s The Incredibles.

That’s pretty cool!

Unfortunately my parents and I did not stick around for that part. We went hard from 9:00 a.m. until the end of the awards at about 6:30 p.m., plus the drive home after. So we were beat down.

Especially me after an unexpected nosebleed in the middle of the performances.

Wound up scrubbing my hands of spots like Lady Macbeth as people came in and out of the bathroom.

Never had that particular flavor of “unintentionally embarrassing myself in a public venue” before. It was fun.

Just like it was fun when my family and I went to Chili’s in the rain while waiting for the festival to start.

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Hi, welcome to Chili’s

A fact that I only bring up so I can finally reference an ancient Vine in some attempt to appear relevant and hip with the kids.

Because that feels like the most appropriate way to end off a blog post all about Jazz.

Stranded in Suburbia

Stranded in Suburbia

I’m in a bit of an odd predicament.

In my 22nd birthday blog post, I based the whole thing on the fact that there isn’t a lot of external fanfare surrounding 22 compared to 21.

But there is one specific thing that happened when I turned 22, which I sort of alluded to yesterday.

I was able to get a new driver’s license when I turned 21, one that would be horizontal instead of vertical to assure certain establishments that I am of age for things like drinking. But I didn’t have to get my new license because the old one wasn’t expired.

I can no longer say that because the expiration date came yesterday:

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Be glad I’m not showing you the full picture… It’s bad.

For the first time in close to four years, I am no longer legally able to drive myself.

Now I know some of you are probably saying that it shouldn’t matter, because what are the odds of getting pulled over?

Well… Sure. I could still drive around if I wanted, because it’s not like the license is inherently visible unless asked for specifically. I could still do things like hit the gym if I wanted, as I had planned on today to start working off that birthday cake.

After all, I hit 200 lbs on the scale as of my visit to the hematologist last week, and I don’t want to lose too much progress on my journey to become healthier.

But that being said, I live by the same anxieties as my Mom when it comes to these things. Twelve other people could be driving around with expired licenses around me, but with my luck I would be the one who gets caught and pays the price.

So I won’t be driving around on my own today. Just on the off-chance anything happens.

I could still get driven around by my parents, and Mom has gone to the gym with me in the past. It’s not like I’m totally stuck.

… Except for the fact that I stayed home this morning while the rest of the family went out to do chores. Because for some reason I decided doing homework was more important.

And you know, by ‘for some reason’ I mean because I have assignment deadlines.

Deadlines I could be working on instead of this blog post if I didn’t enjoy living on the edge.

Thus, as the title implies, I’m stuck at home doing work today. I even took that artsy Featured Image through the screen door just to imply bars.

Kinda proud of it, honestly.

On the bright side, my pseudo-house arrest shouldn’t last long. I have an appointment at the DMV tomorrow that I’m… Completely looking forward to…

But you know what, if I have to miss my morning class and suffer through government bureaucracy in order to get my driver’s license back, I suppose it will all be worth it in the end.

Who knows, the experience might even give me something interesting to talk about around here.

Guess we’ll just have to see.