Tag: Daily Titan

A smashing blast to the past

A smashing blast to the past

Gotta love tentpole programming.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is officially out today! Even though I haven’t personally gotten my hands on it just yet, by all accounts it promises to be a fantastic collection of all the greatest parts of the series’ 19-year history.

I’m excited to get my hands on this sucker, because I’ve been a pretty hardcore fan of Masahiro Sakurai’s wonderful party fighter games since Melee on the GameCube.

Melee was quite literally a game that defined my young childhood, with many birthday parties spent playing as Young Link on the “Great Bay” stage from Majora’s Mask (many years before I actually played its game of origin).

Brawl was the game that offered my core friend group, from middle school on, to duke it out, find our main characters and test our creativity building our own fields of combat.

Smash 4 brings with it memories of being so excited that I played the demo endlessly during art class in senior year, time that left me proficient in newcomer Mega Man as much as I would be proficient in Lucina — my current main character, passed along from Marth before her.

Yet the fourth entry in the series became so much more. Long nights in the Daily Titan newsroom were more manageable after my boi Aaron Valdez brought his Wii U and we held DT tournaments.

Hell I even have some fond memories of the original Smash Bros., despite the fact that I never owned a Nintendo 64. I distinctly remember going to an animation camp while visiting my grandparents in Florida one summer, and a major highlight of the camp was getting there early to play on some of the consoles available in their waiting room.

My attachment to the series went far deeper than just playing the games with my friends, however.

When Stephen Hillenberg died a few weeks ago, writing my blog obituary for him brought back a lot of memories. One of the most potent memories was attending a sprite animation camp (here in California) over a summer with my friend Mitchell Winn from all the way back in elementary school.

Thanks to that camp, I learned a good many things about grabbing sprites from my favorite games off of The Spriters Resource and using them in different projects.

I took on ambitious sprite projects in the months and years to follow. Including recreating that famous Band Geeks halftime scene from Spongebob with video game characters.

One other project that felt pertinent to today required going back into my old desktop Mac.

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This dinosaur literally hasn’t been touched since 2012 based on the security update. Thus it has become a crystalized time capsule for 15-year-old Jason.

I had so much fun going through this thing that I’m going to talk more about my discoveries later this weekend.

But for now, the important connection back to Smash Bros. were these desktop wallpapers I made using character sprites from various games and other fan projects:

SSBB Battle Subcon Stage2
The Featured Image, a classic fight between Link, Charizard (sans Pokémon trainer as this was the Brawl era), Kirby and Marth on “Mushroom Kingdom II.”
SSBB Battle Battlefield Stage
Four hatted-Kirby duke it out on Melee’s “Battlefield.”
SSBB Battle Yoshi Stage
Pikachu, Yoshi, Marth and Falco fight on “Yoshi’s Island,” where Marth shows off his Dolphin Slash. A favorite move of mine, clearly.
SSBB Battle Mario Stage
The Mario Bros. take on Link and Sonic on the aptly named “Mario Bros.” stage.
SSBB Battle Final Stage
A slightly askew duel between Samus, Fox, Zelda and a very tiny Captain Falcon on Brawl’s version of “Final Destination.”
SSBB Battle Onett Stage
One of my prouder pieces from what I remember, in which Ness knocks Kirby out of the park in his home turf of “Onett.”
SSBB Battle Mario Stage2
We return to “Mario Bros.” so the Bros. can confront a series of variant Sonics each colored after Chaos Emeralds. Not sure if these are the classic Chaos Emerald colors, but the different poses are sweet if you ask me.
SSBB Battle Temple Scene
It’s a race for the Master Sword between Link and Young Link (clearly set during the Melee era) on the leftmost side of the “Temple” battleground.
SSBB Battle Subcon Stage
Apparently I predicted Smash Ultimate being a thing years ago by pitting the (at the time) Melee-exclusive Mewtwo and Brawl-exclusive Snake on “Mushroom Kingdom II.”

Would have helped if I made them all the same size so they didn’t get stretched out when I rotated them as wallpapers. But hey, eight years ago.

All of these babies were created between May and June of 2010 using Graphic Converter, as I never learned Photoshop or anything.

2010! I know I spent all this time building up 15-year-old Jason, but these specifically are all a product of 13-year-old Jason’s ingenuity.

Now that Smash Ultimate is out, I’m hoping to get my hands on it soon so I can start to make some new memories with that game. Perhaps a few of them will come somewhere remotely close to leaving an impression as strong as the older titles.

Here’s to everyone having a happy Smash Ultimate day!

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.

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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.

Editorializing

Apparently I’m such a good Daily Titan employee that even after leaving the staff I’m still winning awards and getting copy filled in print.

Is something I would say if I were being self-serving and full of myself. Because yes, I am here to talk about how I technically have some sort of byline in the Daily Titan today.

It’s just a bit more complicated than that. So this post is going to be dedicated more to me figuring out exactly how I want to classify this than it is just talking about what it is in detail.

However I can’t just be vague and dance around things forever, so here’s some context.

The president of Cal State Fullerton’s Society of Professional Journalists chapter whipped up an editorial to run in the paper regarding President Trump’s anti-press rhetoric in the aftermath of events like the bomb threats last week.

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The editorial was meant to coincide with a statement put out by the national SPJ President Alex Tarquinio a few weeks back. Pretty much everyone on the board for our SPJ chapter got to read over the piece, comment our potential concerns and sign off on it in the end.

It’s hard not to argue that President Trump’s rhetoric has caused or at least perpetuated some issues for members of the press as well as the general public, so I was plenty willing to sign my name to the statement. Overall it actually made for a cool little coming together group moment that I haven’t gotten a lot of thanks to my asymmetrical schedule compared to the rest of the board people.

I’m just not entirely sure whether or not I can now take the statement and use it as an example of something I was involved with as an SPJ board member. Technically yes, my name is on it and it’s a statement by the board as a whole. But I didn’t really do a lot of work for it.

So if I put the editorial in my list of published stories, would that be weird? Should I make a separate category for things I’ve done as a part of SPJ and include this as a part of that page?

I’m not entirely sure what the proper etiquette would be.

Honestly I don’t think it matters all that much either, but these small issues always seem to be what stress me out the most. See my prior post where I talk about trying to come up with a ‘working title’ for my Honors project in spite of the fact that it literally didn’t matter.

I won’t bore you all much longer with my meaningless internal debate about whether I can credit myself for being part of a group that does a thing.

To end this short post off, I also wanted to give a quick shout out to this issue of the Daily Titan as a whole. While I’ve been reading their stories on my own time, I obviously haven’t put as much energy into promoting the paper as a whole since I’m not on staff this semester. That doesn’t mean the story quality is any worse however, and they’re still worth giving props where it’s due.

For instance, I really like the Midterm voter guide this semester.

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This first page has a great infographic map about voting locations around CSUF, and there’s more details within regarding the congressional races relevant to Fullerton and little blurbs on each of the California propositions.

It all looks really nice and is way more simple overall than some special issues I’ve been a part of in the past, which I would argue is really effective.

So… Yeah.

Support your local papers everyone. They’re important.

Hitting the books, hitting the sauce

I was a little lukewarm about writing something for the ol’ blog today. Pretty much my whole arc of experiences has included doing homework and recovering from staying up so late to watch the 18 inning Dodgers/Red Sox game last night.

Because yeah, I watch sports once in a while. Luckily I just happened to be watching a sport when a record-breaking game did its thing.

But even if I like baseball more than pretty much any other sport, I don’t think I can write about that for extended periods of time.

Pretty much why I’m not a sports writer.

In terms of homework, I did an assignment about infographics for my Visual Communications class, read a few pieces on the McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education court case for my Evolution and Creation class, sent out some emails to professors (alongside some work emails for Gladeo) and spent some time trying to come up with a title for my Honors project.

None of that felt particularly enlightening to write about here, though.

So my only other real option was possibly writing about the fact that I’m going to be getting an award real soon as I found out via Twitter and the Daily Titan advisor Bonnie yesterday.

Yet even there it doesn’t feel like the right time to go around and say ‘hey go check out the thing that’s getting an award.’ I’ll probably do that around the time when I actually go to an awards ceremony.

Assuming that’s a thing that will happen sometime soon.

With all those dead ends in mind, I took a break, ate some food, went to the gym and showered. As always, going to the gym seemed to spark some inspiration on what to write.

Guess I’m as much of a proponent of the gym being a good chance to relax and clear your thoughts as anyone now? For as weird as that is to say.

But to be fair, it wasn’t actually the exercise itself that brought about some inspiration. Rather it was the homework that I continued to do while I was power walking on a treadmill.

Because you know. I’m lame like that.

One assignment I’ve been pushing off is picking an image to examine for my Visual Comm class’s final paper. The professor gave us a pre-determined list so I had to pick something off of it. While looking through the list of images at the gym, I stumbled across this gem that will definitely be what I write my paper on:

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Just look at this 1950s 7-Up ad. It’s phenomenal. I’m not even sure where to begin talking about it.

Actually that’s not true, the obvious place to start is with the giant baby, an 11-month-old kid drinking a soda bottle as though it were milk. Not only is it a funny image, but it’s also a pretty striking one thanks to the color contrast.

Oh but that’s not all. I hope you read through the text on this sucker too, because if you did I’m sure you’ll see why I love it so much.

First off there’s an ad for a totally different T.V. show just slapped in next to the baby’s arm for some reason.

Then on the bottom-left corner, where the bottle is among a collection of other children’s toys, the advertisers recommend you “avoid imitations,” completely lacking the foresight to know that in the future everyone just calls everything of that nature Sprite anyway.

But most important is the larger block of text which advocates for, and I quote, “Add(ing) 7-Up to the (toddler’s) milk in equal parts” because it’s a “wholesome combination.”

That’s fucking astounding in just how genuine they are in advocating such a disgusting act for new mothers to immediately get their children hooked on shitty flavored carbonation water.

And I absolutely love it.

It’s just such a product of its time that I’m actually really looking forward to writing about the image for my essay. So much so that I thought it would be worth writing my blog post today about it so I can spread the gospel to you, my loving readers.

As an additional note, I did also want to point out that if I wasn’t picking the 7-Up ad, I would have gone with this ad for fancy ties:

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I don’t think I really need to say why. Just the idea that getting a nice tie is justification for obscene misogyny (and making your wife love that same misogyny because it’s a ‘man’s world’) is such a great little time capsule.

Plus there probably would have been a lot to say about exactly what the implications are when you have your wife get down on her knees for something as innocuous as handing off breakfast in bed.

Because come on, look at his face. You know what he’s thinking.

But I digress, because soda baby spoke to me way more and I’m going with it.


P.S. — Just consider this post an open call for any other crazy old ads that could never have been made today with this kind of 50s aesthetic, because I think they’re amazing and would love to see more. Kay? Thanks.

Life finds a Way

Don’t worry, I’m not here to complain about Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom again.

Even though I’m sure I definitely could.

In my somewhat exhausted, mediocre blog post from yesterday which I completely understand if you all skipped, I mentioned that one of the highlights of the day was finally finding a mentor for my Senior Honors Project.

It has been a long time in the making, as I was supposed to find a mentor and get a proposal for my project signed off on last semester. However, I didn’t feel very confident with my project premise at the time. At least not confident enough to ask anyone to stick with me for a year on a large venture.

So I took the summer to work on the overall premise of my novel, hashing out the plot and some of the major characters. All of it was under the impression that I’d come back to campus this semester and find someone to work with me right away.

For the most part I accomplished step one, getting myself to a place of comfort with my overall idea.

However, finding someone to work with was much more difficult.

I’ve approached a good number of different professors in the Comm Department, English Department and Honors Program over the last few weeks and had very little luck.

The reasons varied, usually fitting into one of three categories. Either they had no interest in working on an Honors Project, were too busy working on other things to devote enough time or had some extraneous circumstance preventing them from helping — despite wanting to.

It was frustrating and somewhat disheartening to me, even if I completely understood where most everyone was coming from.

Though it wasn’t all negative, as many of the people I talked with were able to offer various pieces of advice that I’ve since incorporated into my ideas for the story and how I’ll be processing the writing of it.

It simply became more of a concern under the upcoming time crunch of having to register for classes at the end of October. Because one of the main drives behind finding a mentor is that multiple independent study classes are required for the project, and your mentor grades you for it.

I approached Professor McConnell, who’s one of the main Honors instructors that helps students through the project planning stage, on Monday expressing concerns that I was not having a lot of luck. He recommended a few more teachers that I should try and talk to, and said if I continued to have trouble we’d take some more drastic measures down the line.

One of the teachers he had suggested was Holly Rizzo, who I’m currently taking Mass Media Ethics with. We’ve had a few conversations in the past and I genuinely enjoy chatting with her and being in her class, so it seemed like a decent option to try.

Within about 30 minutes of asking, we had already agreed to work together. It all just clicked so well for a number of different reasons.

After months of anguish and frustration, I finally had a mentor. It felt awesome. And I had Professor McConnell to thank for pushing me in the right direction.

Or so I thought.

The story continued today, when I talked with McConnell after our class — he teaches the Evolution and Creation course I’ve been enjoying thus far and have talked about a couple times. Namely with that short thing I did on Charles Darwin.

He was really excited to hear that everything had worked out so perfectly, as I was. Said it made his day even, and that I deserved to work with someone who was eager to work with me.

Felt good to hear him say that.

But then… He pointed out that he had no idea who I was talking about with the person I’d taken on as a mentor.

As it turns out, Rizzo was not the person he has recommended I talk to.

He had recommended I talk to Heather Osborne-Thompson, a professor in the CTVA department (who I talked to at one point for a story in the Daily Titan last semester, as a fun fact for you all).

Somehow or another I took that as Holly Ocasio-Rizzo.

Signals were very much crossed somewhere along the lines. I blame the very similar H & O name structures, and probably the fact that I was busy being worried about my midterm for Rizzo the next day.

Yet, despite the fact that I had gone somewhere he did not suggest, it all worked out almost too perfectly. Professor Rizzo has experience with Honors projects that are eerily similar to what I’m working on now, and she had a bunch of really interesting ideas to present that got me more excited for what I’m working on.

I’m not a very religious person. My family kind of lives by the moniker that we’re bad Jews.

But I would be willing to argue that some semblance of fate weaved its way into this series of events. Because it really does all seem to have worked out miraculously well.

Hopefully that will continue to be a pattern with my Honors project stuff. After all, now that I’ll be getting past this phase I’ve been held up at over the last couple months, I’ll probably have a lot more to talk about around here.

And boy am I excited about it!

Condensation

Once again I’m a bit under the weather. Likely a side effect of the shot I received from the doctor yesterday.

So I don’t have a whole lot of energy to muster up for this blog post, and I won’t be writing too much as a result. Just consider this one of those filler pieces I like to write once in a while to keep myself writing.

That said, my not writing a lot actually strikes me as something thematically appropriate for the subject of the post that I have in mind.

Last night I spent some time over at a bar in Santa Ana as part of a celebratory good bye party for the man who was Editor in Chief of the Daily Titan when I first got there a few years ago, Rudy. He just recently got a new position at NBC working in Philadelphia, so a bunch of people from his time at the Titan threw him a surprise party.

Pretty appreciative that I got looped into the whole thing, considering a big chunk of my journalism career would not have been possible without him and Liz, the Managing Editor at the time, hiring me.

I know that’s a lot to unpack, namely the fact that I was out being social at a bar. Because it’s still kind of a lot to unpack for me as well.

Such a strange sensation to be old enough for social drinking…

If it makes you feel any better, I didn’t drink beyond a few sips of one beer — and that was mostly out of social obligation. Would’ve been rude if I didn’t touch the drink that Spencer got for me.

I was driving however, so I mostly did avoid it.

Spencer actually plays more of a role in this than just the guy who bought me a beer. He was the News Editor that first semester I jumped on the Titan, and I actually attribute a lot of my early college tutelage and growth to the guy. We’ve kept up a good amount since than as well, as he often liked to visit the newsroom whenever he was local reporting on something like City Council.

While we talked at the party, he mentioned reading these posts once in a while (which still frankly shocks me whenever I hear someone I know irl reading these, despite the fact that I literally post them on Twitter and Facebook for that exact reason).

One of his suggestions was trying to be a bit more concise with my blog posts.

It’s something I’ve thought about a bit since I first started up this project, but I usually usher those thoughts away considering it’s a personal blog and I approach it with the mindset of a repository for my thoughts and long-form writing BS.

But maybe it isn’t such a bad idea to try and keep things cleaner around here. That way it’s less of a random dumping place and more of a legitimate writing practice.

So I’m going to be trying that from here on, as best I can. Spencer suggested going for 1,000-1,200 words max, and that seems like a good benchmark.

Granted, I might not hit it with some stuff like my Fire Emblem posts, where a couple hundred words are dedicated to copying their skills out anyway, but we’ll see. Seems like that’s a good place to take this blog next to make it more professional.

That or redesigning it one of these days. Another thing I’ve been putting off for literal years now.

But anyway, thanks a bunch for reading this stuff Spencer, and for having my back. I had a great time catching up with you and a bunch of other folks last night, and I’m glad that I can take a little bit of it forward with stuff like this!

I would post some of the photos of the group that we took last night, but it might be weird for people I don’t talk to very much. So my apologies for the lack of photography accompanying my ramblings today.

Bringing things up-to-date

I’ve been a little bit sparse on content the last couple days, but I’m just chalking that up to the nature of the beast now that school is in full swing.

Just walked out of my three-hour class that actually took three hours this week, and I still have another quiz tomorrow. So I’m not exactly all that free even as I write this short bit up.

But I figured I should put something out there. That something just so happens to be a really, really short little life/work update. Because outside of just doing school things, I’ve also managed to update some of my social medias.

That’s always a fun topic to talk about, right?

Well no matter how you answered that question you’re in luck. If you enjoy talking about social media updates, here we are talking about t! But if you don’t, I’m basically at the end of this post anyway.

The biggest thing I’ve done over the last few days was bring this here blog up-to-date. Finally went through the Daily Titan page to reflect the fact that I’m not on staff this semester, the Gladeo Page to reflect my new position as Managing Editor and the Boom page to add a quick reflection of the fact that part of my work with them is live-tweeting events.

You know. Now that I did that for the Obama thing.

(You can see all of this through the links over on the right, by the way)

I also went onto my LinkedIn and added a portion about my Obama event coverage there. Which was actually kind of cool because I found out you can attach a specific Tweet into your work experience section.

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When you click on the link it opens up as the full Tweet and kinda looks fancy. I promise.

And I like it.

That’s really about all I have to say today, however. Just consider it a short little reminder to myself that yeah, I’m still hoping to do something on here (mostly) every day, and that it doesn’t necessarily have to be the Citizen Kane of blog posts to qualify.

Though tomorrow I may or may not post about my thoughts on the Nintendo Direct I heard is happening, so that should be more exciting.

Look forward to that, if so.

Covering Barack Obama

Covering Barack Obama

 

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

No? Just me?

Alright.

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

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

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

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

But then we got the credentials.

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

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

Then once it was all together, I got this:

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Talk about a souvenir, am I right?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s all speculation, however.

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

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

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

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

Take that people who sneak into concerts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s just crazy to me.

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

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

 

A Fresh Start

A Fresh Start

So missing a blog post on the first day of the month might not be a great sign for my productivity going forward. But I was busy at my friend’s 21st birthday party, so I’ll just consider it a quick break.

Clearly not a very long break however, as here I am again to share my thoughts of the day with the world.

My thoughts today are potentially more interesting than most. Or at least more game-changing for me personally.

As you can tell by my featured image, I shed some fur today.

I decided to shave my beard off.

It has actually been a long time coming, all things considered. I started growing my beard out almost two years ago as part of a ‘No Shave November’ competition held by the Daily Titan.

Fun fact, I won that contest. Got myself a bottle of shaving cream out of it.

Since then I decided to keep my hair grown out. I liked the more mature look and it gave me the chance to practice adult things like trimming and shaping my hair.

So for about a year-and-10-months now, I have been far away from the baby face I once was, always seen as the youngest person in whatever environment I came into.

But I’ve always been somewhat unhappy with the beard. It was my first time trying to grow anything out and it wound up coming in rather patchy, especially on my chin.

After having a bit of a heart-to-heart with my sister last night, I decided it was time to finally go clean once again.

Of course I captured the ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots, anticipating this would make for a good blog post today.

Thus, here I am after waking up this morning. Fully bearded:

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Nice and scruffy. Truly befitting the Super Beard Bros fandom.

First step was taking a trimmer to the forest on my face. As per Aly’s request, I tried doing some more silly looks along the way.

Here’s me with a soul patch and a mustache:

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As you can tell I can’t really stop laughing because I look like a total loser this way.

So I quickly trimmed it down some more. Starting with the beard, that way I could just be soul patch man:

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Also not really me, but it looked better than with the mustache. Though the mustache was still pretty heavily rooted in there.

So once everything was trimmed down, I finally took a more close-shaving razor to my cheeks and came out like this:

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Welcome back, baby face.

Obviously it’s still a little rough around the edges, but I think I’ll solve that by taking a second pass at shaving either tonight or tomorrow after a shower.

Other things I’m sure you’ll notice include my eyebrows, which I had some help plucking so I didn’t look like Ed from Ed, Edd and Eddy, the much more bright-and-shiny look in my eyes as it’s clear I’ve woken up more by then and some of the acne earthed up by removing the bearded coating that once protected it.

Hopefully that last part will clear up in time now that it’s exposed and I can work at cleaning it more.

But yes, welcome back baby face Jason. I hope it’s a look you all enjoy, because now that I’ve gone to the effort of cleaning up I might as well keep it for a while.

Who knows, maybe with everything more clear it’ll be that much more obvious when I lose more weight and my double chin disappears. Hopefully.

Before I end this off, I would also like to give an extra special shout out to my sister, who hung out with me throughout the process of shaving and took all of my photos so I didn’t look like an idiot taking selfies in the mirror.

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You’re the best, Aly. Love you ❤️

Fall 2018 First Impressions

I may have another day of travel to Fullerton tomorrow, but as of 6:00 p.m. today I have officially experienced all my new classes for the semester. So, as promised, I’m going to take my blog post today to run through my first impressions of all five courses I’m taking.

You know, outside of the general little factoids that are just a part of every new semester.

Like parking being garbage.

Or the fact that I’ve probably spent more on gas this week than I did over the entirety of the summer.

Some of my opinions here may seem more aggressive or more mundane than I’ll actually feel by the end of the semester, but that’s just the nature of first impressions isn’t it? Being probably a little too far on either end of the spectrum?

Frankly I’m not even sure why I’m giving this long disclaimer. It’s a personal opinion post on my personal blog that may or may not be played more for comedic value if anything else.

That’s basically what America was founded to facilitate.

So yeah let’s get into it.


Mass Media Ethics

I decided to go in order of major classes, minor classes then honors classes for this small listing even though it isn’t the order I actually have those classes throughout the week.

Thus we begin with my first Comm class, Mass Media Ethics. It’s a bit strange starting with my two classes that are one-day-a-week, three-hour blocks… But that’s just how things wound up this semester.

Despite those seemingly long, arduous class periods, I think these two Comm courses are probably toward the top of my positive first impressions. Mass Media Ethics specifically started off in a good place because it was my first class this semester where I had a friend.

Tim, who was a social media assistant on the Titan last semester, is in that class with me on Tuesday. Funny enough Chelsea, the other social media assistant last semester, is in my Visual Comm class on Wednesdays.

But that’s a topic for later obviously.

Mass Media Ethics was also interesting in that it presented me with the first time a professor knew who I was before I knew who she was. The professor was an ex-Daily Titan advisor, so we already had some common ground, but it also turned out that she knew my name from an SPJ newsletter announcing my having won that scholarship this summer.

I don’t exactly have too much to say about the class itself since we mostly utilized our time to get to know one another and read out the syllabus. But just based on that alone, the air of support and camaraderie amongst those of us in that small room was already pretty great.

Plus, the one actual ethics thing we started to look at was a debate about publishing the name/picture of a mass shooter from around the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting a few years back. So there’s definitely some interesting stuff coming down that pipeline.

Yet. The most interesting thing about that class, hands down, is the fact that it isn’t in the basement.

I know that sounds like a joke, but literally every class I’ve had in the Comm building before now has been in the basement and this one wasn’t. So it’s already an exciting change of pace.


Visual Communication

I’m fresh off of this class, given the fact that it’s my 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Wednesday night course. Honestly the only thing separating me from writing it on-the-spot is my hour-long drive home.

Even if I had a little more time before writing this, I’d still say the first impression for this class was strong.

My professor here seems far more energetic than just about anyone else I have even in the face of a 230-person lecture.

Oh and I mean 230 people. Because he took attendance for every single one of them today. All 14 pages of his roll sheet.

Granted from here on out he said he’ll just be utilizing a sheet we’ll pass around, but it was still interesting watching that whole experience happen.

Especially since we also talked about the syllabus right after that, so probably close to the whole first hour of the three-hour course was just introductory stuff!

But like I said, he was so energetic and fun about it that that wasn’t even a problem.

Then our first broach into the subject included, amongst other things, discussions about Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code, Ridley Scott and Blade Runner, Harold and Kumar go to White Castle and other various and sundry movie-and-pop-culture-stuffs.

So, as I said in a tweet during the break we took:

Well said, me.

Also every exam is online only. ‘Nuff said.


Learning and Memory

Alright, these next two classes are my Psychology minor block. Learning and Memory specifically is actually the first class I took this semester since it’s my earliest Monday/Wednesday session.

It’s also probably the class I’m most divided on now that I’ve had my first two days of it.

On the one hand, my professor seems like a nice, old man. Which isn’t just a derogatory ‘lol he’s old,’ I genuinely wouldn’t be surprised to find out he’s one of the oldest members of the department.

It’s great in my opinion. More experience = more knowledge to impart and all that jazz.

Though an unfortunate side-effect of it is the fact that his voice doesn’t travel very far. So it’s a little harder to fully gather everything he’s saying in what is already a quickly escalating lecture course.

Also there are certain ways the class is constructed that baffles me and that I will openly complain about regardless of who may see this.

Like every other class, we’re required to write a paper sometime during the semester. For this class, it’s going to be a paper analyzing the similarities between what studies have found regarding operant conditioning practices in animals and in humans.

Pretty interesting stuff, in my opinion.

The problem is… According to our syllabus and his discussion of the paper…

We’re not allowed to quote or paraphrase anything in the paper we right.

So.

We have an analytical research-driven report that requires us to discuss specific experiments that have been conducted in the past using very specific detail to demonstrate various given vocabulary words.

But we can’t actually directly reference any of the experiments we’re utilizing within the text of the essay.

This and a few other things scattered throughout the course bewilder me in how nonsensical they seem to be. I suppose I’ll just have to see how it all turns out.


Sensation and Perception

Out of all the classes I’m taking, I probably have the least to say about this one. Which is ironic considering it’s the subject I’d argue I’m the most excited to learn about coming in.

Sensation and perception was actually a large part of the reason I fell in love with Psychology back in high school.

Just based off our first class session, it promises to deliver on the cool brain stuff. We’ve already discussed why everything tastes like chicken, for example!

The professor is also pretty chill and prides himself on a sarcastic sense of humor. Yet that sarcasm isn’t so pervasive that it overshadows moments when he comes to the front of the room to tell a story, or when he asked me to stay back after hearing I’m just a Psych minor to make sure I felt okay with the style of essay we’d be writing coming in.

That’s all pretty sweet.

I just don’t have a lot to talk about beyond that really. Seems like it’ll be a good time.

Actually, if I did have one more thing to discuss — what is it with upper-division Psychology classes this semester asking me to present evidence that I’ve passed the prerequisites?

Both my Learning/Memory and Sensation/Perception teacher made out first assignments presenting some kind of proof that we meet the requirements to be there. To which I say… Wouldn’t the computerized system prevent us from taking this upper-division class if we didn’t pass its prerequisites?

I would think so.

But oh well, it’s easy points for me in the end.


Evolution and Creation

My only honors class this semester, given the fact that I didn’t finish with my Honors Project proposal last semester, is Evolution and Creation. An examination of the two differing world views on how we got here.

It’s actually a course that I’ve been looking to take for years now. It always sounded like a fascinating subject to examine, but my schedule has never allowed for it. That’s just life when you have four nights of newspaper production a week.

But this semester I don’t have four nights of newspaper production a week, so I actually had the opportunity to take this class I’ve always wanted to take!

As an added bonus, it’s a class being taught by a professor who I’ve had a couple of classes with in the past, so I already know I like the guy.

The only thing I can really think to complain about in that perfect storm… Are the chairs in the room.

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For some reason. This tiny ass room in the bottom of the education building. Is the one place I’ve ever seen these bizarre alien chairs.

Not only are they on wheels and roll around like bumper cars, but the chair piece and the desk piece both independently swivel above the black piece.

It’s honestly like sitting in a chair meant to distract anyone with a semblance of ADHD.

No idea how anyone can learn in them, but I suppose I’ll have to figure it out.

On the bright side, they’re easy to move around the room. So we’ll be able to gather in circles for all of the discussion-oriented portions of the semester.


That just about wraps up my first impressions of my classes this semester. For the most part I have a lot more positives than negatives, and the extra time I’ve built for myself really opens up more work opportunities and the option to keep up with my time in the gym.

So if anything, I think this might just be one of my better, healthier semesters overall.

That said, how are all of you faring if you’ve just started school again for the year/semester? Let me know all about it in the comments down below!