Tag: CSUF

Procrastinating in all the right ways

That’s right, I’m here to admit my faults. If I don’t, I’ll never be able to hold myself accountable.

Today I spent most of the day procrastinating…

From writing my desktop Mac blog post.

I know, I know, I’ve been promising to put that one together all weekend. But I have a long history of procrastinating on just about everything, especially when the thing I’m procrastinating on means a lot.

Out of the many different things I’ve put together for my blog in recent history, this particular post probably means the most to me thanks to what I uncovered. Thus I want it to be as well put together as possible, but going in with that mindset almost inevitably breeds anxiety over the piece never quite getting to a place of perfection.

It’s something I’ll have to get over eventually. I’m sure I will, but until I do get over myself I’m not going to promise a specific time frame for the post to come out. Otherwise I’ll just keep feeling like I’m failing myself — and all of you — as I continue to push the deadline back.

It’s just such a shame that there are so many other things going on that have been taking up my time. What kind of priorities must I have to be pushing off my blog post in favor of ridiculous things like my Mass Media Ethics final essay?

I spent a good couple of hours this afternoon just hunkering down and working on that paper, one of the last six things I have to worry about this semester as I stipulated yesterday. So now that it’s written and printed, ready to turn in, I’m officially 2/6 concerns down.

But really, is the comfort of making it through another stressful college-related responsibility worth the deep feeling of failure forming a hefty pit in my stomach?

Personally, I don’t think so.

Just consider this a brief apology as we move into the new workweek.

Fall 2018 finals stress update

Originally I was planning on getting part two of my “old stuff from my desktop Mac” series out today (in spite of the fact that only 2 of you actually read the first one, come on guys I was proud of that). But then the unsung combination of homework, Super Smash Bros. and work meetings kind of distracted me from it.

The subject is kind of near and dear to my heart, so I want the post to look really solid before I put it out.

That being said, as a result I kind of didn’t have a post to put out for all of you. For most of the day I was totally fine with that, especially considering I put out that post last week talking about school stress and how I might fall behind on this blog stuff.

Except then I went to the gym, took a hot shower and realized that I would personally feel bad if I didn’t have ANYTHING to share with you all today.

So here’s my brief sharing something with you all today. It won’t be long, but it is actually a nice update.

While that “Burnout” post I linked just two paragraphs ago was a huge laundry list of stressors to work through, it really did turn out to be a crazy in-the-moment explosion of my self-deprecating lack of confidence.

Since then I’ve done other things like talk about Superman comics (a post that Scott from NerdSync actually noticed because I was overenthusiastic about @ing him, but that made me feel super good), find cool stuff on my old computer and play Smash Bros.

So mentally I’m in a much better place.

That better place has facilitated actually working through some of the stuff I had on my plate to a much more productive degree. Now that I’m out of my own head and just ranting for the sake of it, I’d say the main stressors of the next two weeks boil down to six things:

Three big end-of-term essays and three final exams.

Except wait, no longer are there six things!

As of about an hour ago, I officially turned in my Visual Comm essay:

Yeah you know, the one that I wrote a post on while doing some particularly interesting research for a while back? Wound up writing ~13 pages with two pages of references.

Hope the professor likes it — maybe next time he’ll remember my name and not call me James in an email.

Definitely not still bitter about it

Thus my big list of concerns drops to five.

  1. My Mass Media Ethics final paper (also the final for that class)
  2. My Evolution and Creation final paper
  3. My Sensation and Perception exam (cumulative, kind of a nightmare)
  4. My Learning and Memory exam
  5. My Visual Communications exam (online only, not so bad)

I know this post is a bit cobbled together and padded out by referencing older things on my blog, but I didn’t want to leave you all with nothing.

Because I love you guys!

… Even if you did leave my cool Smash Bros. post out to dry.

But hey it’s only been a day, so maybe that’ll pick up with time.

Either way, hopefully this post, if nothing else, serves as a reminder that even the most stressful periods of time in the moment can turn out okay on the other end.

Yeah, that’s a good message to take away from this. Nailed the heartstring appeal, Jason.

Changing of the seasons

Changing of the seasons

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.

IMG_1574
Easily one of our heaviest rainstorms in years.

Not sure why pictures of the Pollak Library seem to be my barometer for things happening at Cal State Fullerton, but between this and my empty library picture from before Thanksgiving break I seem to be developing a pattern.

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.

A super palate cleanser

A super palate cleanser

Yesterday I vented all about how stressed I was by the end of the semester fast approaching.

However… That didn’t wind up being the end of the story.

After finishing that blog post at school and coming home, I proceeded to do a ton of my homework late into the night. Doing so alleviated a lot of my anxiety about being able to get things done.

As did watching the Monty Python’s Flying Circus sketch about spam.

I’m not even sure the sketch itself was THAT funny, but watching my dad lose his shit the second it came on was amazing and definitely killed me.

Stuff like that helped keep me balanced today, to the point that tonight I’m feeling way better about life. Enough to work through the idiocy of my Sensation and Perception class this morning.

If you saw the tweet I wrote, you’ll understand.

Yeah.

It also made me feel better enough to justify spending extra time getting into writing on the old blog here!

Which completely defeats the purpose of my giving myself the out yesterday… But hey. I did say I have messed up priorities there.

I would also argue that going to the gym tonight helped me burn off some of the stress. Which yes, I know makes this into just another post-gym posting for me.

Except this time the topic I wanted to delve into is only related to going to the gym.

While working out tonight I spent some time listening to the Nerdsync podcast. I’m positive I’ve talked about them before in one of my “YouTube Recommendations” posts, but in essence Nerdsync is a YouTube channel that I came across while getting more into the comic book scene over the summer which really thrives on intellectual takes on subjects in (mostly) superhero comics.

Highly recommended.

After getting through all of the video content there I discovered there was a podcast starring the channel’s main head Scott and his friends Chris and Bryce. Since then I’ve been listening through the ~130 episode backlog during my daily commutes.

Episode 89, which I happened to be listening to while lifting weights, was one of their recurring Trivia Challenge podcasts where the three guys make up quizzes for one another based on obscure comic book or pop culture stuff.

Through the episode I discovered something so hilarious that it not only killed off more of my stress, but also probably added a few years onto my lifespan.

In the golden age of DC Comics, around the 1950s, there was a series of stories under the title of “Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen.” It’s one of Scott’s favorite things and has become one of mine as well because it’s quite literally the goofiest stuff you’ve ever seen Superman involved with, to the point that most of it doesn’t even sound real.

That’s the case with this particular Jimmy Olsen comic, Volume 113 from June of 1956.

In essence, this was a story in which Superman tried to convince Jimmy he was in a dream after the reporter accidentally got a photo of Clark Kent changing into the superhero attire. He did so by doing ridiculous things like duplicating eggs.

If that wasn’t already wild enough, take a look at the cover in which everything is exactly the same… Except Superman is upside-down.

Image and story summary are all from the DC Wikia, by the way.

Yet even if that’s a trustworthy source, I still cannot believe that this is an actual thing that exists. Not only is it a ridiculous premise, but the fact that they decided Superman being upside-down was whacky enough to grace the cover of the book is astounding to me.

He flies! It’s not weird that he can turn upside down!

Everything is just… So good about this.

So, so good.

After hearing that this excited I needed to share it with the world. Because hopefully it can help you all feel better about life as it has for me.


Featured Image courtesy of Roland Tanglao via Wikimedia Commons

Burnout

I’m sure a small number of you out there read the title of this blog post and got very excited that I was finally going to talk about the hit series of demolition racing games that have (apparently) been released on just about every console since 2001.

Well… I’m not going to. Right now anyway.

I do actually have some fond memories of playing Burnout games on the PlayStation 2 with my dad that I could probably talk about some day.

That’s just not my plan for right now.

No, instead I just wanted to briefly touch on a more depressing, real-world form of burnout: School burnout.

The end of this semester is kind of killing me with stress right now, guys.

We only have two weeks of regular classes left at this point, and after that there are three days worth of final exams I’ll have to take. So we’re hitting the last stretch of fall 2018.

That means all of my teachers are stepping up their games with a number of incoming deadlines and attempts to squeeze in as much information as possible in a short amount of time.

Obviously this post is just here for me to vent on everything I have going on that’s contributing to stress, so let’s lay it all out.

  • In the next week or so I have two major papers due, as well as a couple of smaller two-page papers to write.
    • One of those major papers is almost done, but the other one I haven’t really started on… Yikes.
  • At least one more quiz tomorrow in my Sensation and Perception class, though probably another one coming next week if I’m being honest.
    • By the way, last week the professor of that class introduced at least six more lecture PowerPoints online to fit into only four more lecture sessions AND let us know his cumulative final will not be curved — nice guy.
  • Whatever other homework I need to get done that will be assigned in the next two weeks.
  • Three exam finals, one of which being a cumulative test as I mentioned, as well as a fourth exam that’s a case study analysis for my Mass Media Ethics class.

But let’s not forget about all the other responsibilities I have lining up!

  • I’ve scheduled out at least three interviews for Gladeo in the near future to focus work on.
  • A potential sit-down with a family friend about a new potential job opportunity that I could take on. Not yet scheduled.
  • My friend Tiana wants me to help her edit another one of her papers, which I’m more than happy to do but don’t know if I have the cycles free — and the thought of turning her down due to time management almost stresses me out as much as adding helping her onto my workload…
  • Wanting to fit in continual trips to the gym into my schedule so I don’t fall off that commitment, especially after moving boxes the other day made me feel less confident about the progress I’ve made thus far.
  • Trying to keep up writing a blog post a day.
    • Yeah this blog does stress me out, in a similar way to going to the gym. It has become an obligation for me that I feel terrible about skipping, especially after things like my dad complimenting my commitment to writing during lunch with a family friend yesterday.
  • Just generally thinking about girls and wanting a relationship but feeling like I don’t know if I have the time to commit to one (more of a deeply personal grievance).
  • Plus a couple new video games I own thanks to Hanukkah that I have not gotten the chance to start yet.
    • Probably the lowest rung on my priority list, but it’s there.

Like I said, I actually feel really bad when I have to miss writing something. Yesterday I was simply too buried in a small mountain of homework to get around to writing anything, unfortunately.

So I wanted to write something up today for the ten of you or so who read this stuff regularly. Even if it just amounted to me barfing up all the obligations that are stressing me out for the next couple weeks.

If I’m going anywhere with this post besides making it a ventilation system for my stress, I suppose the through line is my asking for forgiveness ahead of time if I don’t get to writing as often over the next couple weeks.

… Though knowing the way my brain works, I’ll wind up writing a lot here anyway in place of taking extra time to study. Because it’s a decent stress reliever and my priorities are weird.

Also because I love you all. Especially when you stick with me for things like this.

On the first night…

On the first night…

It has been brought to my attention that I was lied to by my mom and last night was not, in fact, the first night of Hanukkah. Tonight is.

I know I’m at least partially at fault for not fact checking myself… But I’ve gotten permission to blame her for it.

So if you’re in the future reading this, confused as to why I didn’t know when the actual date of Hanukkah was in 2018.

That’s why.


Happy Hanukkah everybody!

That’s right, as of sunset today, the Jewish festival of lights began. Because we’re on a lunar calendar in the calculation of hebrew holiday placement, the big events tend to fall out at different times every year.

This year it just so happened that our closest equivalent to Christmas fell out about a month before Christmas. Or as we in the Rochlin house like to call it: Two days before Alyson’s birthday.

Yeah… She got a bit shafted in that department as far as the availability of her non-Jewish friends goes for parties every year. But hey, at least we don’t have to worry about buying her presents twice-over in the same time period.

At least some years we don’t. Like this year, for instance.

Now I’m a bit tired and sore after helping a friend move some boxes today, so I don’t think I’m going to write anything too prolific. It’ll give me some more time to work on this essay — which, by the way, is the same one I talked about doing my FDA research on the other day and am continuing to have a blast with. I’ll definitely have to do another post on it sometime soon.

But for now, if you want some more Hanukkah-based content, you can take a look at this post I wrote about getting a chunk of presents early this year.

Tonight I got the rest of everything, since we gave up on the eight nights of presents thing a long time ago. The haul expanded to include a new set of Cards Against Humanity cards, a lovely check from my grandparents in Florida (who I’ll thank here as well as over-the-phone soon!) and..

Wait. What’s this?

It can’t be.

It’s…

IMG_1548

We’ve got new Pokémon! This is not a drill.

And I definitely did not know about it ahead of time from being in the store when we purchased the game.

Totally.

If you see a lot of posts coming out of my Twitter account in particular talking about all of my new Pokémon adventures in the near future, now you know why.

I’m thinking I’ll treat this installment specially. It has the capacity for two-player games, so I’ve considered trying to only play the game with my sister so we can have the experience together.

Whether or not I break that rule as I get too excited to play the game is a bridge I’ll have to cross when I get to it.

But that being said, hopefully you all have a great Hanukkah — even if you don’t celebrate!

I’m going to go off and spend some time with my family for the holiday.

And rest my back a bit.


Featured Image courtesy of Adiel lo via Wikimedia Commons

On social media culture and overthinking everything

On social media culture and overthinking everything

This morning I got a rejection letter from the Washington Post on my application to their summer 2019 internship program.

It’s a shame, but considering they were only accepting 27 people out of over 1,200 applicants… Yeah I can’t get that upset about it. Plus I’m not exactly new to rejection this year, so it isn’t something I’m going to linger on for too long.

Granted if I don’t get positive news from the Boston Globe internship I applied for I’ll have to figure out something totally different to do with my summer, but I already have a bit of a baseline with Gladeo, Boom and some other possible upcoming opportunities.

So I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not writing this post as a sympathy grab. Kind of the opposite actually!

I’m writing this post more as a symptom of how I’ve been overthinking the nature of sympathy grabs on social media and the skewed perspective that comes with a purely text-driven medium.

Sounds complicated, I know. Refer back to the “overthinking” part of that sentence.

But I’ll break it down into my thought process in its entirety.

After seeing that rejection email in bed this morning (because I’m one of those people who checks my email as soon as I wake up), I couldn’t help but deliver a corrupted, well-worn cliché to my mom this morning. Something along the lines of:

“Nothing like the sweet sting of rejection in the morning to remind you we’re living in a cruel, indifferent world.”

Clearly a bit of extra cynicism baked in from recently re-reading Stephen Jay Gould’s piece on “Nonoverlapping Magisteria” for my Evolution and Creation class, but to me it was funny nonetheless.

In fact, I thought the idea was funny enough that I considered posting the phrase up on Twitter with no context just to hopefully elicit a laugh.

Two different trains of thought stopped me from doing so.

The first was a concern that if I did post something like that, it would garner a primarily sympathetic response. Rather than having everyone laugh a little at the idea, they would just apologize and ask what happened.

That’s not to say sympathy is a bad thing, even if it is for the Devil. This just wasn’t a situation where I was actually looking to garner sympathy, and it seems disingenuous to present myself as though genuinely begging for attention online (where sarcasm and such is much harder to read).

The second train of thought ties into that idea from more of an aggression-avoidance point of view. I wouldn’t have wanted to post something like that only to receive a dozen messages accusing me of being thin-skinned and not handling rejection well.

Obviously cueing some sort of message about all millennials being snowflakes somewhere in there.

Because you know that would inevitably be included in the conversation.

Of course some of you will probably say that by backing down from my conviction to post something in light of potentially negative messages I’m just confirming the whole thin-skinned thing. I happen to see it more as not provoking a hassle that would be agonizingly predictable to deal with, but do with that as you will.

So in the end I decided not to post that particular post. All of the back-and-forth in my own head considering things twenty steps ahead that I probably don’t even have to worry about eventually talked me out of it.

What can I say? I’m a fan of overthinking simple things.

As a fun aside to further prove that point, I was a part of the chess club back in elementary school (nerd alert, I know) and one time got an opponent of mine to quit in the middle of a match by talking over a number of different steps he could possibly take as I worked on my own move.

Which makes me sound like a dick to children in hindsight… But to be fair I was also a child, so that’s not unreasonable.

Many years in the future I think it’s a funny little anecdote to reflect on.

With all that said I wanted to leave the thought experiment up to all of you for further debate.

Do you put yourself through these kinds of moral quandaries when posting things on social media? Or am I alone in grossly overthinking what should be a quick 200-character goofy, dumb post.

How do you feel more generally about the culture of essentially begging for sympathy online, or at least what becomes the perception of it by a viewing audience?

Let me know, it’s a subject I’m genuinely interested in right now.

International Entertainment

It’s never a bad day when you get home at 3:00 p.m. Especially when there’s enough of an endorphin rush from getting a solid grade on that Sensation and Perception research paper rough draft to counteract the dejection of finding out thefinal exam won’t be curved like the midterms were.

I’m not at all bitter about being told about it just two weeks before the exam.

You can tell by the way I definitely did not start this post off with a paragraph-long rant.

But hey that being said, at least I got home early right? Which means I had plenty of extra time to get started on my homework for the weekend.

Ahaha, haha, ha.

Haha.

Hah…

Yeah no, I just watched YouTube all afternoon.

Don’t give me that look, viewing public. It was a long week, okay? I just wanted to go home and veg out a little.

Oh boy, here I am arguing with the empty void that I’m pretending is a robust audience.

Let’s just stop filling in empty space on this post and get to the point.

When I talked about the somewhat bizarre international reach of my blog the other day, I didn’t realize it would make me get all deeply philosophical and thoughtful about other stuff I’ve been observing.

For instance, the YouTube videos I’ve been watching.

Yeah that’s right this is another recommending YouTube channels post. Don’t pretend like you didn’t see that coming.

Even if this is a makeshift post thanks to events I had planned getting cancelled, it is based on something I was thinking about in the shower this morning.

See I recently discovered a new video game reviewing YouTuber who has sent me down the rabbit hole of binging every old video out of sheer love for the great new entertainment.

His name is RadicalSoda, and for the most part he does a lot of Sonic-related stuff from what I’ve seen. But also his Kingdom Hearts 2 and bad Pixar PS2 games videos have stood out to me.

The reason why he’s relevant in the conversation I set up for myself is because a few videos in I found out that my new favorite long-haired dudebro is from New Zealand.

Land of the Hobbit and… Usurping old Zealanders. I guess.

I don’t know anything about New Zealand.

But that’s kind of the point! I know literally nothing about New Zealand, yet thanks to the magic of an open content creation platform like YouTube I’m able to see his creative energy and sense of humor come to life.

It’s kind of awesome to imagine, and I’m not sure I would have thought about it too much if I wasn’t already primed by seeing my own blog’s analytics.

Naturally I couldn’t help but think about other YouTube personalities I watch who aren’t based in the United States, because this would have been a very boring post if it was just lots of rambling only to have one recommendation at the end.

So I have other recommendations. For instance, Caddicarus is a channel I’ve been following for some time that’s based in England and also does video game-related content more often than not.

In a similar vein I’ve gotten very into watching another British YouTuber, I Hate Everything. He has a massive backlog of interesting videos just talking about dumb things in general or talking about dumb movies specifically.

His channel also got me introduced to Ralphthemoviemaker, who also does some fantastic movie reviews… But he’s in the U.S. so I’m not counting that right now.

The only other big international name I can think off the top of my head is RANK10YGO, but he’s arguably the most niche suggestion I can offer to a general audience.

All he does is Yu-Gi-Oh! videos. Specifically informational videos about different card archetypes in the game.

Which are fantastic if you want to find out more about the game like I did after getting real into Duel Links. But I imagine it isn’t for everything.

Unless you happen to like somewhat deadpan, meme-ridden humor. In which case he’s your man!

Also he’s apparently from Montenegro. Just in case you were wondering why he fit into this whole international shindig.

So yeah, there’s a bunch of (mostly) international YouTube suggestions that you can check out if you’re interested. For me it’s a pretty great reminder that the Internet isn’t just a cesspool of dumb crap.

It’s a place where people from literally all over the world can share their creativity for even random Joe’s like me to see.

Even if their creativity is just dumb crap, it’s still pretty awesome to think about.

If you have any international content creators you want to recommend, I’d be happy to hear all about them!

When did we start labeling ingredients?

When did we start labeling ingredients?

A few weeks back I talked about the essay I was going to have to write for my Visual Communications class.

I’m sure if you follow my posts regularly you remember this one. My little laugh at the 1950s era advertising we could choose to analyze.

In that case I’m sure you also remember that I decided to go with this 7-Up ad.

Boy is it more and more beautiful every time I see it.

I bring up the subject again because I started to work on the actual paper itself yesterday evening and already the damn thing has taken me down a bizarre rabbit hole.

A rabbit hole that, in all honesty, is pretty interesting. If you ask me at least.

Here’s some more in-depth context before I get into that branch of my research. The content requirements for the essay are relatively straight forward. We simply have to examine the image we chose from the six perspectives that were elaborated in earlier in the semester:

  1. Personal — Our gut reactions to the image.
  2. Historical — How the context of the time shaped the image.
  3. Technical — What techniques and elements went into creating the image.
  4. Ethical — Would ethical philosophers find the creation or use of the image justified?
  5. Cultural — What symbols can be found in the image that relate it to the culture of the time.
  6. Critical — Taking a second, more objective look at the image now that all of the analysis isdone to see how thoughts and opinions might have changed.

My deep dive began as I broached into the historical aspects of the advertisement.

Most of the analysis was easy enough. The ad comes from the 1950s, so there was plenty to discuss as far as the post-war economic boom and opening stages of the Cold War went. Both contributed to the development of a middle class American ‘nuclear family’ that in many ways became dependent on purchasing power to show their status and connection to the mainstream culture.

What I looked into had nothing to do with that overall historical context. Instead it came from pinpointing a very specific part of the advertisement.

In the lower right-hand corner there’s a block of text which, among other things, tries to convince new parents to feed their babies a “wholesome” mix of 7-Up and milk.

More important to point out for my purposes is the section where the advertisers tell readers that they have all the ingredients in 7-Up listed on the bottle — despite the fact that it was not required.

When I read that I stared at the screen for a moment mulling things over. Were food labels not required in the 1950s? There was a Food and Drug Administration overlooking those matters at that point in time, wasn’t there?

It was a bit of a tangent, sure, but if I found the idea so interesting it seemed like a good research avenue to go down.

… Only in part because I needed a few more sources to fit the requirement and some U.S. government resources seemed official enough to justify using. I promise.

I found that, yes, the FDA did exist prior to the publication of this 7-Up advertisement. The FDA came into place alongside the passage of the Pure Food and Drugs Act in 1906 according to the horse’s mouth.

However, labels on food like you see required today, with their widely enumerated requirements that are stipulated upon in this most recent FDA Food Labeling Guide from 2013, were not required until the passage of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA). Prior to that, listing things like ingredients and nutritional information of food product labels were purely voluntary.

So it seems like the 7-Up people were right in congratulating themselves for posting that kind of information on their product in the 1950s.

But in that case, just when did it become a requirement for everyone?

Diving a little deeper into the subject I came across this discussion of the history behind nutritional labeling on the National Center for Biotechnical Information’s website. As a subset of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, I figure they’re a pretty reputable source.

According to this source, the NLEA wasn’t officially passed until November 1990.

That’s almost 90 years after the FDA first came into being. It’s astounding to me that it took that long to get this kind of legislation passed!

Perhaps that’s hindsight bias in some respect. Food labels are so ubiquitous in the 21st century, and they’re the butt of so many jokes about GMOs and fake ingredients, that it’s hard to imagine a time they weren’t in use.

To think that time was just a few short decades ago…

Humans are pretty crazy, huh?

Blog Analytics

Blog Analytics

I’m sure it seems a bit narcissistic and self-serving to dedicate a whole post to my own blog’s analytics out of nowhere. Especially considering the last time I did this kind of thing when I hit 100 Twitter followers over the summer, I didn’t have 100 for that much longer.

By now I have some number fluctuating around 110 or so, to be fair.

But that’s beside the point. I assure you that narcissism has nothing to do with this.

If anything, to lampshade myself appropriately, this is just a result of having no idea what to talk about to fill today’s gap.

Otherwise my choices would have been the mandatory internship class orientation I attended today (but it was kind of a waste of time and I already complained about school this week), my fluctuating inner conflict over going to the gym tonight (I decided to just go tomorrow on account of my big lunch food coma™ (thanks Mimi) ) or Fire Emblem Heroes (except the new banner comes out tomorrow, so you’ll have to wait a day for that).

For the reasons I stipulated in the parenthesis up there, I decided not to go with any of the above.

However, while doing some soul-searching and just staring at my blog to try to figure out what I was in the mood to write, I came across something that piqued my interest. In traffic analytics, of all things.

I’ve talked about the analytics that WordPress offers briefly in the past, during my 2018 New Year’s Eve post. In that post I looked at the large overall increase in views from 2016 to 2017 when I got slightly more interested in writing blog stuff.

By the end of this year it’s going to be an even bigger story considering the inherent jump that came from me writing a post just about every day. I’ll get to that story in about a month.

Today, however, I’m looking at more of a small-scale moment in recent history. Recent history meaning approximately two days ago.

I’m sure you all remember the silly post I did with Alyson where we opened a stupid “Wreck it Ralph 2” toy in a faux box opening channel style. Had a lot of fun with that one, it was a goofy little experiment. The video part we made has 20 views on YouTube right now too, which is neat. Especially considering that’s about a third as many views as that Sonic on Apple T.V. video I made for the post of the same topic in July.

Boy I know I said this wasn’t a narcissistic, self-serving post but I sure am calling back to a lot of things, aren’t I?

ANYWAY, all of that was to set up the analytics I noticed from that toy opening post.

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That’s a hell of a sudden spike for that one post.

Sure, we can be cynical and talk about how that’s still only about 40 people when I on average reach about 20 people. But that’s still a 100 percent increase.

I don’t know, I think it’s pretty cool to see.

Plus while I was looking at that, I happened to also briefly look back at the ‘countries’ tab of the analytics. Aly told me she let her friends know that we shot a stupid video, so I wanted to see if it was purely a U.S. demographic that picked up on the post.

What I found was that as of, say, 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 20, 2018, here was the spread of people visiting my blog:

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Mostly the U.S., as I would have thought. But also Taiwan and France!

Don’t know who’s out there reading this blog in Taiwan and France, but I’d be very interested to know how you all perceive the mad ramblings I embark on.

Oh, but that’s not all folks. I didn’t just look at today’s visitation statistics.

I looked at an entire week’s worth:

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Check out the diverse spread of yellow. I know those are just one or two people compared to the 81 individuals in America that came in over the last week, but still.

The fact that a stupid, silly blog some college student in Redondo Beach, California rambles into on a whim can reach this kind of international audience continues to astound me. It’s probably the only thing that has really, truly made me care about things like analytics and search engine optimization.

Everything I do on the old blog here I do for me. But seeing the kind of reach my personal business has is just incredible.

Gosh that definitely came out sounding self-serving again didn’t it?

I’m just going to cut my losses and leave things there. Look forward to tomorrow when I write about Fire Emblem again and probably kill all interest in anyone coming back!