I was originally going to spend part of today writing the post that will probably ruin my reputation once and for all. A post about my recent relapse into playing the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online.
But uhh… I got lazy and didn’t put the effort in.
So sorry about that! Maybe tomorrow.
Now to be fair, it wasn’t pure laziness that kept me away. I may or may not have slept late after staying up real early, but then I did spend a good amount of time working on stuff for Gladeo and my novel this afternoon.
Plus there were a good amount of chores getting done. There’s only about a week left until the new semester starts, so I’ve gotta get through them while I can.
However, I didn’t want to skip out on writing anything tonight. Not when keeping up the craft outside of work-related pursuits is something of an unofficial New Year’s resolution.
So I think I’m instead going to chew on my sudden desire to return to an experience… Somewhat long-since abandoned.
It all began with Smash Bros. Ultimate, actually. Despite how long it has been since the game came out, I still find myself playing quite a bit. Maybe not as intensely as I did when I was grinding through World of Light, but I’m still hoping to improve so I can have more fun matches with my friends.
Then the other day I was playing on the new Great Plateau Tower map, griping about how I wished Link was his Twilight Princess design since I personally prefer it (in spite of the fact that Breath of the Wild Link has his own interesting mechanical complexities that are arguably more diverse).
When I first saw that at E3, I was fucking hooked on it like a drug.
No joke, I played the trailer on repeat just to hear the music (even while showering), at times on the verge of tears from how beautiful it looked and sounded. I’m not sure a trailer for a game has ever had that effect on me before.
In fact I didn’t even realize that post was more about Pokémon Sun and Moon than it was Breath of the Wild, because I only recall the Zelda trailer leaving an impression!
Once BotW came out, for a long while I was disappointed that I didn’t have the Nintendo Switch to play it on. The Wii U version seemed like it might be inferior, so I avoided it.
Which to be fair means I’m probably part of the reason why the Wii U failed. Whoops.
Eventually I did get the console, and the summer of 2017 becoming the summer of Zelda as a result. I played the game obsessively, combing through the vast environment until I literally got sick of it.
Seriously, I completed one of the Sacred Beast temples and explored a good quarter+ of the map before giving up because I was too overwhelmed with how I was playing it. I may have put it in my top games of 2017 list, but I haven’t looked back.
Yet remembering that trailer gave me flashbacks to the gut feeling of awe.
A feeling which only got more intense as I discovered a new YouTube obsession with KingK.
The guy does extended retrospectives on different game series. The 3D Zeldas, 2D Sonics, Kingdom Hearts, etc. I find his videos really compelling because they don’t strictly focus on the same arguments you’ve likely heard a million times. They seem more about his personal, emotional connections with each game.
All still mediated by tough analysis.
He has some great content and I’d highly recommend watching it.
If I have any people to thank for just about all of the great stuff that has happened to me over the last three+ years, Bonnie Stewart has to be a big one.
Today, current and old members of the Daily Titan staff threw our favorite advisor a surprise party before her retirement from CSUF.
It was a sad day not just for all of us in the newsroom who have come to love Bonnie over her last five-and-a-half years advising the school’s newspaper, but also for nature in general apparently. The universe itself seemed to cry at the idea of her moving on from all of us students.
In this case I suppose I can blame it on the torrential downpour, which necessitated me to take a picture from inside the cozy warmth of a Starbucks post-meeting in the Honors Center rather than getting my phone drenched. I’m not kidding, it really came down like cats and dogs.
Pretty sure I hydroplaned at least once on the freeway going in this morning, and it was extra fun having copious amounts of water splash up against my windshield from adjacent cars.
… Alright maybe that’s enough complaining about the rain. This is supposed to be something of a celebratory ‘thank you’ kind of post after all.
Plus the rain had dried up by the time I left at about 6:00 p.m., four hours or so after the party for Bonnie began.
Nailed the transition
I wasn’t expecting the party to be very long or busy, but I’m glad I was wrong. Not only was it great seeing a packed newsroom show up to celebrate Bonnie, but a lot of those people were friends I haven’t had the chance to catch up with for a while!
Also, it gave my mom an opportunity to do some holiday baking for a crowd outside the usual suspects. By the end of the night there were only three pieces of her coffee cake left, and Bonnie liked it so much that she was happy to take the recipe.
While it was nice catching up with people like Kyle Bender, Amy Wells or Darlene Casas, meeting some older staff members like Samuel Mountjoy, Julia Gutierrez and Michael Huntley, and just generally schmoozing with a bunch of people and food, obviously Bonnie was the lady of the hour.
I’ve actually known about her retirement longer than most (from what I’m aware), as she was one of the first people I had approached to possibly be a mentor for my Honors Project. She had to turn me down since she wouldn’t have been around long enough to see the project through, and since then I’ve had to keep that little secret under lock-and-key.
Feels pretty nice to not have to hold onto it any longer… But it feel even more nice knowing that she trusted me with the secret in the first place.
Three+ years of working with Bonnie has undoubtedly made me a better person and a better journalist/writer/academic/anything, really. Any award I’ve received while at Cal State Fullerton, as well as any internship I’ve gotten as a result of my time at the Daily Titan, can all be tied back to her influence in some respect.
It was bittersweet to imagine her not having that same influence on others going forward as a result. But I know she’s off to do great things even in retirement, and I’m as excited to see where she lands as I’m sure she’s excited to see me (and all her students) land in jobs they deserve.
If there was anything I learned while touring college campuses about three years ago, it was to appreciate the architecture that each campus offered.
For me aesthetics were a fairly big driving factor in deciding where I wanted to go to school. It sounds somewhat petty and shallow I know, but I enjoy wandering and taking in sights. So it mattered.
Honestly the look of Cal State Fullerton as a whole was a strong component in why I decided to go there. I love being on campus, and that’s important for someone who’s commuting every day and wouldn’t have a reason to necessarily stay otherwise.
But I’ve come to appreciate campus architecture overall during trips to a number of California universities because of the kind of insight I’ve gathered at CSUF. Namely the idea that the kind of architecture you see is a signifier for what era the buildings were constructed, and as a result you can essentially walk through time and see what became more important for students over the decades or even eons that the campus existed.
Cal State LA and El Camino College were pretty strong examples of the vastly different building styles on different parts of campus from what I recall.
Today I found myself at Pasadena City College, where Alyson was auditioning to be a part of the Tournament of Roses Honor Band. If she gets in she’ll be performing at the next Rose Bowl Parade, so… That’s pretty fricken cool if I do say so myself.
However parents and family were not allowed to sit in on the auditions. So my parents and I were sitting out on the campus proper enjoying a slightly overcast afternoon, some clashing musical performances from practicing students all around and absorbing the nervous energy of basically everyone taking their shot.
Delicious, pure nervous energy. It’s kind of nice when you’re not the nervous one.
As my set-up suggests, I decided not to just sit around the entire time perusing Twitter or whatever. Instead I wandered the campus to get a feel for the different pieces of architecture built over time.
Because, as previously suggested, I’m the kind of weirdo that enjoys that sort of thing.
Now I’m certainly not an expert in era-specific architecture by any means, so I can’t personally tell you which buildings are from which time period just by looking at them. I’m more of a fan from an aesthetic perspective, so that’s my main purpose here.
I’ve always liked buildings where the top portion hangs beyond where the bottom portion ends.
For some reason there were no sculptures in the sculpture garden…
I like how the front of the library looks like numerous faces depending on how you look at it. It’s a goof.
The avian-looking light above the door to E Building gets a thumbs up from me.
This kind of tree plaza in front of a building seems like something I might build in Minecraft… I’ll have to save that idea for later.
More trees, this time in pink! With clock towers. And cops.
This building felt vastly different from the others because it was red, and I have no idea why it was red if nothing else is.
It’s nice that even the parking structure gets to look cute.
Obviously the newest-looking building I could find, the performing arts center looks modern as hell. Aly probably hates it from all that associative stress.
But of course, no architectural tour would be complete without also including at least one piece of bizarre modern art.
At PCC, I think this one took the cake.
It’s just a horse. Made of wood.
The plaque included with the sculpture doesn’t explain anything except who donated the piece and what it’s called. So I have no idea why some artist decided to make a horse out of wood.
I’ll admit it’s impressive and well-constructed.
But just baffling to me.
So yeah. Pasadena City College. Pretty place, bizarre wooden horse. If you’re all curious about how Aly did in her audition, we won’t know until later, this isn’t really the post for that discussion.
Though I guess if you see me talking about the Rose Bowl Parade later, now you’ll know why.
“Why would you keep all of your old binders,” they said.
“You should just throw out/burn all that old stuff,” they said.
“When are you ever going to use your high school notes ever again,” they said.
Well who’s laughing now viewing audience who I’m imagining chastises me for my corner full of old binders on a daily basis. For one of the first times, I had to break out my old AP Psychology binder from about four years ago now (Yikes, I’m getting old) to help fill in a detail for a research paper I’m writing in my Sensation and Perception class.
For context, I’m writing my paper about the way language affects our perceptions of the world around us.
Part of the reason I was interested in grabbing this topic was because it stood out so much to me back in my AP Psych days. My friend Nina, who’s aiming to become a professional interpreter (and is well on her way from what I understand, given that she’s doing a gig translating for the CEO of Sony), made the idea way more tangible at the time by explaining her experiences struggling to translate certain words or emotions between English and Japanese.
Now that I’m writing a paper about that exact topic, I knew I needed to use the general idea we were learning about at the time. Unfortunately… I couldn’t remember the exact term.
My current textbook didn’t exactly provide any useful clues in that department, either.
So it was off to the pile of old binders. Eventually I managed to find the one I needed, and with a cursory search found this:
A range of views in which our thinking (or worldview) is seen as being determined or shaped by language.
That term, coined by Benjamin Lee Whorf, is the crux of my current paper.
And I would not have remembered it if not for this four-year-old binder sitting around idly in the corner of my room. Now I feel completely vindicated for hoarding all of these bulky old documents for as long as I have.
Perhaps I’ll have to go through the pile, clean up the binders and re-organize them one of these days, however. Because these things are dusty as hell and covered in silverfish.
Guess that’s the price I have to pay for just haphazardly throwing them back there after each year/semester when the promise of vacation proves too much for my better judgement to bear.
But anyway, extra special shout outs today to my AP Psych professor, Mrs. Mata, and to my friend Nina for creating such a strong, lasting impression on me that I have the perfect foundation for my big research paper this semester.
Plus that AP Psych class was what drove me to minor in Psychology in the first place so… You know. Just some icing on the cake there.
To make it out to a meeting I had in Fullerton this afternoon, I had to drive my car a substantial distance for probably the first time in a long time.
That’s one of the nice things about summer vacation for me. More hometown driving, less having to go to the gas station multiple times a week.
I’ve been a little hesitant about getting back behind the wheel for a long trip lately because of some issues I had with my car semi-recently. This isn’t something I chatted about when it happened, mostly because I was sort of embarrassed about it, but I figured now would be as good a time as any. Just to keep a log of what happens in my life, if nothing else.
In an effort to not bury the lede and make sure you all can imagine what I’m taking about, enjoy this image:
Yeah, what a mess.
Now before I get any concerned messages, I’m totally okay. This wasn’t the result of a collision or anything of the sort.
Pretty much exactly a week ago now, I got up extra early to drive my sister to summer school (she’s taking Spanish 3 to clear it out-of-the-way for next year). Because that class is fairly early in the morning, I came home and stayed in a sort of sleepy daze for a while after.
Naturally that led to the fact that it was street sweeping day completely slipping my mind. Up until I heard the sweeper start to make its way down the other side of the street.
Panicked, I rushed out to pull my car away from the street spot and onto the driveway so I could avoid getting a ticket. Unfortunately that rush led to my forgetting just how big of a turning radius my car has.
So long story short my front-left wheel dipped down into the small ditch surrounding my driveway where we have some plants growing, and as I pulled back the inside of the bumper got caught on a concrete corner and pulled out.
Like I said, nobody was hurt (if you don’t count my pride) and we were able to bring it down to an auto shop down the block from the house and get the bumper realigned and stuck back in for a quick 20 bucks.
Though that’s only a bandage in the grand scheme of things. Apparently we’re going to have to have the whole bumper replaced at some point.
When you add that damage onto the rear-left window’s broken motor, which has left the thing half-open for the last few months, I’ve finally begun to understand the struggles of car ownership. Particularly on a starving college student’s budget.
Luckily I’m glad I can report that the first big freeway drive I’ve taken it on since that damage was done has been a success. Nothing fell off again and all seems to be relatively okay if you don’t count the slight scraping sound of my wheel against the inward bump whenever I turn right.
It’s more disconcerting than it is dangerous, but still.
Honestly car troubles were about all I had in mind as a conversation topic today, but I think I’m just going to leave it at that. Nobody’s interested in the nitty-gritty because everyone has the same problems, I’m sure.
So in the meantime, I guess I can just say look forward to more exciting(?) posts coming out later this week.
I know at some point I’m going to have to upgrade my WordPress here to store more photos, I’ll probably write about that. Also more units are coming to Fire Emblem Heroes on the 20th, so I’ll definitely be on that. Plus I have a job interview on Friday that I’m sure I’ll talk about.
When I graduated from high school a few years back, my parents got me one of the most important, physical gifts with real-life practicality that I have ever received:
That’s right, a pen and pencil set.
It seems a little bit strange to pick apart over 21 years of constant, loving support and choose something like this as an example of something I regard so fondly.
But it does make sense if you think about it!
As a writer by trade, there are few things more important than the right hardware. Notebooks, pencils, pens, audio recorders, etc. I quite literally live my life by these items through my college student/journalist career.
Add onto that a heaping dose of superstition by my allocating generous amount of credit for things like my grades into the old ‘lucky pencil’ cliché and you’ll be hard-pressed to find any of this stuff leave my side.
The thing that really stands out to me, however, is the dichotomy of the two writing utensils. Those differences are essentially what inspired me to write this silly little post.
Just a quick look up-close will show you why. This is the pen part of the set:
Rather nice and clean, even arguably near-perfect for how long I’ve had it, as I mostly use this thing to mark dates on my calendar.
My dad is a fan of fountain pens, and I’ve seen him spend a lot of time keeping them pristine. This pen isn’t quite up to that standard, but I still feel a happy amount of pride seeing the thing look so nice.
Now compare that to the pencil:
Talk about grungy and well-used. Pretty much the exact opposite of the pen.
It’s a perfect depiction of the difference in quality that comes from use, because I seriously use this sucker for everything. It’s worn down, with some of the metal finish scraping off throughout and the grip toward the tip starting to rust and smooth off.
Even the back of the pencil is a shadow of its former self with an eraser that’s used completely down to the nub. I actually have to take the whole thing apart just to add extra lead into the thing.
Compared to the pen, you might think that the pencil being in such a worn-down, kind of disgusting state would drive me crazy.
You’d be right, to an extent. There are moments where I get some raw spots on my fingers from the messy grip, which inevitably serves to leave my hand smelling like worn metal for a time.
Arguably there’s something to be said about my right hand just being a greasy mess. That’s probably the only explanation as to why the pencil would get to this point, and it’s a clear symptom of my overuse.
Yet I think the dichotomy between the pencil and the pen are part of what I’ve come to love about these things so much in the years that I’ve had them. Not only are they great utensils, reminiscent of a nice time in my life given their association with my high school graduation, but they also represent two sides of my psyche at some deeper level:
The somewhat OCD side that prefers to keep things clean; and the hard-working side that will keep working away at the same thing over-and-over until its worn-down and well-remembered.
Or perhaps I’m just putting too much thought into something otherwise negligible.
On the one hand, I went to the first annual University Honors Program banquet, and had a blast spending time with professors, faculty and other students who I’ve been in multiple classes with at this point. Always a fun time, and I’m glad I went. I didn’t wind up getting a lot of photos, and it wasn’t necessarily an outwardly exciting enough event to warrant talking about it extensively here, but I figure having it mentioned at least should be good.
However, the main reason I was busy happens to be the focus of this post here today. While I was in my history class, the Cal State Fullerton College Republicans club President Chris Boyle called me up and let me know that they were going to be talking at an Associated Students Inc. (ASI) Committee meeting about their resolution to get suspended lecturer Eric Canin terminated from campus after a University investigation came back saying he struck a student on February 8.
The Daily Titan, and specifically the news desk, has been following the Canin incident pretty closely for more than two months now, it’s pretty much been our big story and it really does feel like my baby at this point to be completely honest. So, when the chance presented itself thanks to my connections with the republican groups on campus, I had to jump at it, even though it meant missing my Investigative Reporting class that day.
Really, this pretty much is like a long-form investigative piece anyway from how I see it, so I suppose I can’t really complain about that.
While the coverage started off a little rocky, as there was some confusion regarding the meeting the Republicans club thought they wanted to attend not actually existing anymore and having to figure out when the meeting they needed was, in the end it all worked out and the club was able to address the ASI Board of Directors Governance Committee regarding the resolution they need a Board member to author so it can be reviewed and potentially passed.
The story itself goes into more detail about what they talked about, namely the feeling among club members that CSUF President Mildred Garcia and the school’s administration have not done enough in regards to the Canin incident, that they don’t feel their safety and freedom of speech have been protected adequately and their desire to have ASI stand with the students if the California Faculty Association (the teacher’s union) is standing with the professor.
However, it also delves a little more into why a resolution is significant and what it takes to pass one, as I had a nice talk with the Board of Directors Chair after the meeting ended. On top of that, there are comments from the CFA and from the University in regards to things that have been said… So it’s a pretty meaty story, and one I’m pretty happy about now that it’s done and printed.
Granted, it was a lot of work to pull it all together because of how much more information I had to incorporate than I expected… But that’s what having great friends and fellow editors is for: helping me turn my rough work into far better pieces than they ever would have been without the help.
The work we’ve been doing following this story has honestly been one of the highlights of my semester. It’s one of the first times I’ve really felt that feeling of being a journalist covering something truly important, covering it from all angles and making connections along the way that have only helped broaden my horizons.
It’s been great, and it’s nowhere near done yet. Everything is still going through the motions and there’s more going on even later this week in regards to the case. I continue to look forward to it, and I continue to look forward to working with a great team that’s only helped facilitate covering such a big issue to the best of our collective abilities.
However, this particular piece is all mine, and if you want to see the article in its entirety, you can check it out here. You can also see my full archive of work for the Daily Titan over on the right!
With all the negative coverage that comes as the result of this kind of news, it’s sometimes hard to remember that someone isn’t as bad as expectations might lead one to believe. After talking with the coordinator for the Cultural Anthropology program at CSUF, Barbra Erickson, as well as some students in Canin’s classes, I was able to paint a picture of how other people who know him better see the man. I heard nothing but good things while reporting, and while that makes it a shame that he’s been in this situation, it does go to show that anyone can get caught up in the heat of a moment.
While the four of us wrote these stories separately, Sarah and I helped do the reporting and craft them all since this coverage is like our big project this semester, so we’re both at least a contributing credit on all three. I also put together a timeline on the front page of the newspaper, and with all of this we have gotten some praise from people like the chair of the Communications Department at CSUF.
Finally, the Features Desk had one article in particular that was pretty important to me personally. Dr. Jason Sexton, a CSUF professor, editor of Boom Magazine and pretty good friend of mine, invited me to speak at the Boom Happy Hour this last Tuesday as a representative of the magazine and of the Daily Titan and journalism in general. It was a great time and I got a lot of positive feedback for the speech I gave.
And we had it covered for the paper.
So, if you want to see that story, you can check it out here. I’m looking to try and pull the audio from the speech I gave from the recording our reporter took so I can post it independently, but until then you’ll just have to read what happened in print.
You can also see this picture of me doing my thing that was caught candidly by our Photo Desk assistant Bailey:
If you want to check out my full archive of work for the Daily Titan, you can see it over on the right!
As the holiday season and the year 2016 come to a close (very conveniently at the same time in this case), I feel like I can’t help but take a moment to reflect on some things. As I mentioned in my last post about Carrie Fisher’s passing, the general attitude seems to be that 2016 can’t end soon enough. Globally, the world is a bit of a mess. In the United States, the incredibly divisive presidential election we just completed left everything feeling a little bit fractured and not-so-unified. In the world of popular culture lots of people who were well-known and highly adored by the general public passed away.
It’s understandable why people feel the year was so bad, and admittedly there’s some of that I’ve gotten bogged in too over the last couple months. However, for me personally, the year really hasn’t been all that awful. In fact, it’s been a fairly great year all things considered.
One thing I always find interesting as a gamer is reflecting on what games “defined my year,” as it were. Granted I didn’t necessarily diversify my interests a whole lot, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a lot of things I played.
Toward the beginning of the year, I was still riding some of my Wii U hype. I just got my system as a present last Hanukah, in fact, so games like Super Mario Maker were still huge time sucks, moreso than they are now.
Another thing that I’d gotten for Hanukah in 2015 also continued to take up my time, and that was The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes.
While the game wasn’t a traditional Zelda game like we’d all been waiting for in the relatively soon-to-be-announced Breath of the Wild, it was still a blast to play. The game had some awesome multiplayer functionality both with friends and with strangers, and to this day I don’t think I’m over how hilarious it is to spam the cheerleader pom-pom Link emoji.
On top of that, you could literally dress Link up as a cheerleader and it was one of the most viable costumes in that game. Not sure I ever thought I’d be so gung-ho to get Link to cross dress in all honesty, but I was.
Also earlier on in the year, while I was still getting into the swing of the Spring semester, I remember binging every Shantae game that’s been released thus far.
Not only did I play the original Shantae for the Game Boy, I played Shantae: Risky’s Revenge and Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse. I fell in love with the series fast thanks to the lovable characters, the quirky and fun writing, the beautiful animation style and of course the music (composed by Jake Kaufman, who also produced the music for another one of my favorite games in the same general style: Shovel Knight). I literally played through all three in a row and loved every minute of it, even if none of the games were necessarily all that beefy.
Doing a little bit of research, it looks like the latest installment in the series, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, has been released just recently, but it apparently slipped under my radar somehow. I’m wholeheartedly Ret-2-Go with that game as soon as I can pick it up, as there are a few too many games in 2016 that I unfortunately missed despite wanting to play them. Didn’t have quite as much time to devote to these things as I would have liked.
Next on the list of my year’s rundown is the first in what I would consider my ‘return of old gaming loves’ trilogy. That, of course, was Fire Emblem Fates. All three together technically, but Birthright was undoubtedly my personal favorite.
There’s a few things I’ll never forget just leading up to the games being released. First, I’ll never forget the hunt my friends and I went on trying to find some of the special edition three-in-one game cartridges for Fates that was a resounding failure but had some great moments. Like getting literally laughed at by a guy in a Game Stop one time. That was awesome.
I’ll also never forget getting the first game, Birthright, as it was actually a gift that was given to me by the editors of the News section on the Daily Titan, Micah and Brianna, as thanks for being their assistant for the Fall 2015 semester. Seriously, check it out, I still have the note here:
It was really awesome, especially considering it apparently took a lot of work to build up to the reveal, including using my friend Kaleb as a spy to figure out which version of the game I wanted more.
Fire Emblem took up a huge chunk of my life from there on out, as I went on to play all three versions. In a row. In hindsight, admittedly not the best idea, but I’m really into the games so it was the decision I made at the time. Birthright was incredible, rose-colored glasses or not, Conquest literally made my just about cry on multiple occasions from how unnecessarily difficult it got to be at times (Seriously, screw the port level. If I never play that game again, the port level is to blame) and Revelations was… Admittedly underwhelming.
I meant to talk about it on here a little bit, but beyond just being burnt out on the games by the time I hit the third, there were a few things that really sort of killed the experience for me unfortunately. First, I padded it out too much for myself. I tried to grind all the characters up to have a ton of diverse skills rather than planning ahead what I would’ve wanted, and it wound up being far more effort than I was honestly willing to put in. Second, they killed off my favorite character in what was literally the worst possible way in my opinion. I have a huge, huge rant still built up about it because the moment was so caustic for me, but this isn’t really the time or the place, so perhaps I’ll still come back to it later. Third, there was another game coming on the horizon that left me rushing to finish, which took away a lot of my enjoyment toward the latter half of the storyline. Who knows, maybe if I go back to it now I’ll have a better time, but for now Birthright will continue to be the high point of my memories for Fire Emblem Fates.
The second game in my personal trilogy was Monster Hunter Generations.
I talked about it on here a bit, so I don’t think I need to go into too much detail, but this game sucked away quite a bit of my time as well. Though I’ve only been playing Monster Hunter since the last major release, Monster Hunter 4U, it has quickly become one of my favorite franchises.
The seemingly near infinite levels of customization thanks to a wide range of monsters and a progression-based-on-skill system is something almost totally unique to Monster Hunter in my gaming experience, and it ticks boxes like crazy for me. There are very few games that I get super in depth about building sets and doing hours of research into said sets and also things like lore, but Monster Hunter is definitely one of them. It’s also one of the favorite games of my friend Juan, so we always have a good time going on extravagant hunts as a super powered duo, Hunting Horn and Charge Blade in hands.
Granted, I’ll admit that the game wasn’t quite as invigorating as MH4U for me, since that was the game where I truly had a skill curve to learn and overcome so I could truly become a master, but Generations was still a blast to play through and through.
Last, but certainly not least, comes what must be an obvious entry on this list. Hell, there’s only one game that really defined not only the latter half of my year, but also most of what I’ve built my blogging experience on so far.
And that game is, of course, Pokémon Sun and Moon. Because technically they go together even if they’re two separate games. Because Pokémon works like that.
Really I’ve said more than enough about these games in many, many posts over the last year, so I don’t think I need to waste too much time on it right now. Not only were the games beautiful and fun experiences in themselves, surpassing what I consider to be some of my favorite and some of the best constructed games in the series thus far, they reinvigorated the love of competitive Pokémon breeding that I fostered in Alpha Sapphire and got me back into the Pokémon YouTube communities I followed around the same time.
I have been and will continue to do some breeding in the games, especially once the Pokébank opens in January, and I’ve considered doing more competitive battling in 2017. There’s an official battle competition coming up pretty soon that I’m pretty sure I’ll be entering, so I’m sure there will be plenty more posts in the future on the subject as well.
Beyond those massive entries that took up my time, there are a few other games that permeated my year’s experiences. The 20th Anniversary of Pokémon for me included the continued playing of Pokémon Shuffle and Pokémon Picross on my 3DS, which were my puzzle game obsessions that I’ve only recently seemed to kick.
The summer was undoubtedly defined by Niantic’s Pokémon GO, the game which really felt the most universally unifying during the sub-par situations of the year surrounding it.
My whole family was playing the game together and I still remember wandering El Camino College hatching eggs after my summer classes there. Though I wound up a little disillusioned with the game, and still haven’t jumped in to catch the start of the Generation 2 Pokédex, I still can’t imagine Pokémon GO won’t hold a place in history in some way or another.
Also hitting the mobile gaming scene this year was Super Mario Run.
I gave my thoughts on the game in depth a little while ago, and as a small follow-up I will say that having spent money on the full game has made the experience even better for me. I’ve gotten really into collecting all the colored coins in single player on long road trips and I have a pretty well developed town so far. As a first jump into the mobile scene for Nintendo, I can personally say that Super Mario Run has been a success, and I’m looking forward to seeing more.
I also replayed quite a few older Steam games that I adore but haven’t touched in some time this year.
My friend Samantha and I played Terraria for a long stretch of time together, progressively getting better and better as we learned and built more complicated structures and items together. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth ate up huge chunks of my time in brief intervals throughout the year, as it’s always an addictive rogue-like experience that I’ll never get tired of. The same could be said for FTL, which I can only describe as a real-time rogue-like spaceship command and battle simulator. For anyone who hasn’t heard of the game it can be hard to explain, but it’s one of my favorite games of all time.
My 2016 was defined by more than just the video games I played, however. It marked the end of my first year at college. It also included my first semester as an editor for a college paper, one which I feel went really well considering all the crazy things that happened politically while I was in charge of the News page.
2016 was where I really feel like I got into the rhythm of driving and being able to get myself places. It was also the first year where I got to vote for a serious election – despite how divisive it might have been as far as an election went.
However, because of my time as a journalist, I felt like this was the first time I really got to apply what I was doing and learning to a real-world event. Literally the more I learned, the more prepared I felt to vote in November.
On top of that, I feel like I really learned a lot just in general. Two semesters and a summer intersession at college had me taking classes all over the proverbial spectrum at two different schools: Cal State Fullerton and El Camino College. Not only was the subject matter of the things I learned interesting, I also got to explore more places at the same time, which I also enjoy doing.
I got my first few relatively well-paying jobs in 2016 between being an editor on the Daily Titan and working for Boom: A Journal of California. Thanks to that, I’ve felt more independent than I ever really have before.
In 2016, I went to New York for the first time in I honestly don’t know how long.
I used to have a lot of family living out there, but now most of my close relatives live here in California, so I rarely ever get to go out to the East Coast anywhere that isn’t Florida. The trip was amazing and so much fun, and I really felt like I got close to a lot of my friends and colleagues in the newsroom that went with me.
I also got to relive a part of my Dad’s childhood by finding his old high school.
So, all and all, I’d say that trip was probably one of the most memorable parts of the year for me.
I got to visit SpaceX for the first time this year, and though I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures inside, it was still a phenomenal place to see. Seriously, some of the stuff they have going on in there is incredible.
In my opinion, I really started to come out of my shell a little bit more in 2016, and that helped me meet and interact with some people who I can really see myself continuing to talk to for a long time to come. Both those in and out of the newsroom.
2016 was also the first year I’ve let my beard grow out. It started as a No Shave November thing we did for the Daily Titan, but in the end I wound up getting such a positive reception that I kept the hair grown out.
Seriously, what a difference a little bit of hair will make. I look totally different from one picture to the other, if you ask me. Probably helps that I had more hair on top of my head to cover my forehead in the first picture too… But that’s another story.
Finally, 2016 was where I really got into blogging. Yeah, seems like a silly thing to cap this whole list off with, but you are literally reading this on my blog. I started this blog back on February 18, a day after my birthday, thanks to some school assignments I had to do. My Communications 233 class required us to have a blog that we posted 20 things on of any subject we chose. Naturally, I chose to make this a blog about video games and about my journalism experience.
Though it started as an assignment, one that I literally had to come up with ways to finish by coming up with admittedly silly things to post, I’ve come to really love doing this. Writing is a passion of mine, and getting the chance to write more often has been wonderful. It’s also been a way to voice my opinions and thoughts on various subjects, which I don’t tend to do in a largely public forum like this very often. I may be a relatively small blog still, but I feel like I’ve found somewhat of a rhythm thanks to Pokémon Sun and Moon, and I’m looking forward to writing more on whatever comes up in 2017. As goofy as it might be to say it, one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to try and write more next year, so I hope you all stick around to see whatever it is I come up with to write about.
Really, from the bottom of my heart thank you to everyone who’s following my blog, everyone who’s read anything I’ve wrote and to all my family and friends who have helped me explore, encouraged my writing ambitions, and worked to make sure I put my best foot forward. If you have any of your own favorite memories from 2016, or if you just want to send a good riddance sendoff to the year, feel free to share them down in the comments below.
I hope everyone has a Happy New Year, and here’s to 2017 being a happier time overall than 2016 seems to have been!
Today was the last day of the fall 2016 semester at Cal State Fullerton. Next week is finals week, but I’ve gotten lucky with my classes and don’t have to go in for any exams. There’s a final essay I have to do over the weekend and our final week-long Daily Titan production for the semester on Sunday… But otherwise, I’m essentially free for winter break.
For my Communications 202 class, which was an introductory broadcast production class, our entire semester was building up to producing an actual news broadcast – not a long one necessarily, but still. All of the packaged reports and the roles preparing the anchored bits were made by the students in the class. The productions we put together have both been posted online, the second one just earlier this afternoon in fact.
Because it’s an introductory class, things are put together a bit roughly… But considering they’re the culmination of a semester’s worth of work, I figure it would be cool to share the broadcasts we produced here.
For this first production, I was the assistant script writer for the full broadcast – everything outside of the packages themselves. My own produced piece made it into this show in fact, the first story about Anaheim Ballot Measure U. I’m a little tired of watching it after spending so much time recording and editing everything, but I still think it turned out pretty well.
For this second production, I was the chief script writer. Just about everything the anchors said I was responsible for – and yeah it’s pretty cheesy, I know. I wasn’t exactly putting my best effort into the work, we were hitting the end of the semester after all.
I was also the camera operator for the second show. That meant I was part of the “live” production team, making sure the anchors were properly visible and had the right amount of headroom and everything else that’s needed. However, there were only three cameras in the newsroom we used, so the job became a bit more complicated when we had to use four or more camera angles to encompass multiple combinations of the three anchors. I wound up having to mix my two jobs, setting the script up in a way to facilitate being able to move one camera to a new position while another was being used.
All-and-all I wound up having the most fun in that class doing the camera work along with the rest of the team who signed up for jobs on the show. The rest of the class leading up to it was a little frustrating for various reasons, but I’d say the end made the whole thing worth it.
Since my final American Studies paper isn’t due until Monday, so I’m probably going to take at least the night off to relax. However, now that the class is over, I feel it would at least be nice to give a shoutout to my Comm 202 professor, Penchan Phoborisut. She’s a great teacher, and helped me at least get started in learning programs like Storify and Adobe Premiere Pro. For that I’m grateful, considering they’re the kind of skills I’ll probably have to have a rudimentary knowledge of in this line of work at least.
So, until next time, I’m off to go play more Pokémon. In fact, I’m thinking I’ll have an update on how that’s going at some point this weekend, since I’ve done quite a bit since beating the main campaign. For now though, let me know if you enjoyed our broadcasts. They aren’t the most well-polished things, like I said, but for an amateur project I do think they turned out nice.