Tag: Daily Titan

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!

I’m Ready, Promotion

I’m Ready, Promotion

Before I kick this off can I just say how happy I am to be able to use a random Spongebob quote for my post headline? Because I’m almost giddier about that then the actual news itself.

Except not really because the news of the day is pretty awesome.

I kind of teased it out on one of my posts the other day, but wanted to wait until I had my official meeting today to outwardly speak on it in any significant capacity.

Now that I have, I’m pleased to announce that I am officially Gladeo’s Managing Editor, the head of the nonprofit’s reporter division.

Turns out giving a year+ of your life somewhere can open up some pretty sweet opportunities, and I’m really excited to grow out of my internship capacity into a full-time employee.

The move actually comes at a pretty great time, as I won’t be working for the Daily Titan at CSUF this semester. I get to focus all my extra time outside of class on this job!

Well, when I’m not working on my Senior Honors Project I suppose. But that’s a different story.

With my new position comes a number of responsibilities, including editing written pieces and uploading them to the Gladeo site, running the bi-weekly meetings us reporters have to keep track of who’s doing what assignment, helping to hire and train new reporters and more.

My first big assignment is actually generating and running a small database of interested interviewees to disseminate amongst the reporters, which is getting a major launch early next week. Though I figure it’s worth mentioning in case anyone who’s reading this knows a career professional who may be interested in getting interviewed about their work.

Just putting it out there.

Over the next couple of days I’ll be updating all my social medias to reflect my new position, so if you see a bunch of random messages here or there for things like that, don’t be too alarmed. My blog here will actually need a pretty significant update to reflect the role under my Gladeo page… I’ll get to it eventually.

Honestly that’s about all I wanted to say. I’m just excited about this new opportunity and eager to humble brag get my name out there more and help the nonprofit.

Hopefully all of you have a great weekend full of some positive news, because I’ll be passing these good vibes around wherever I can!

A Short Essay on Short Essays

A Short Essay on Short Essays

I don’t know why I insist on writing these posts after going to the gym lately, because really it’s just detrimental for my ability to imagine and write coherent posts.

Though perhaps not as much as the insufferable heat wave yesterday.

I’ll count my blessings where I can.

Speaking of that heat killing all of my motivation, it seems I’ve been fluctuating between work-focused and not at all work-focused quite a bit the past few days. After doing next to nothing yesterday, today I actually got my stuff together enough to be productive. Notably with a job application I’ve been working on that is, admittedly, a far-flung idea for me to feel completely justified talking about in-depth.

Doing that job application has gotten me thinking a little bit about one part of this app, and many others for that matter, that feels somewhat strange to me at the moment.

The personal essay.

I don’t typically put a lot of thought into the idea of writing essays. Growing up I put myself through the wringer of the Advanced Placement course pathway in high school, which included AP Language and AP Literature. We had to write a lot of essays in those classes to prepare us for the AP exams, so I was used to the idea.

Essays also continued to be synonymous with college courses. Every undergraduate-level class has some kind of writing requirement and all of my Communications courses are all about writing.

As a result, you would think essay requirements showing up in job applications would just come in stride.

Which, to be fair, they do for the most part. Whenever I’ve applied for the Daily Titan an essay has always been required, for example.

But for some reason the essay that was asked of me in this current job application stuck out as… The worst, most stand-out part of it.

It took me a little while to figure out exactly why. But I think the conclusion I’ve come to says something about me and the way I tend to approach work.

For me essays make a lot more sense in a job application when they ask for some kind of very specific information. Using the Daily Titan application as an example, the essay portion of that involves answering a couple of questions pertaining to the potential job.

What does the paper do well? What does it not do well? What can you bring to the job you’re applying for that would make it better?

Things like that.

Sure it’s arguably formulaic to go down this route, but the sense of direction those questions bring do make for a straight-forward task. Answering the questions, while utilizing them as conduits for inserting stories of one’s experience as a means of showcasing that individual’s abilities.

The application I’ve been working on doesn’t really have any sort of driving questions like this to give potential employees a sense of direction.

As far as premise goes, this application simply asks for an autobiographical essay to tell the hiring staff something that cannot be garnered from the surrounding questions in the application. Given the fact that it already asks for degree-earning information, references and work samples outside of the essay, that leaves a vague opening for what can be written.

That somewhat vague nature exacerbates a potential pitfall in writing the essay. Or at least it does in my head where I’m more than likely over thinking things, but that’s another story.

If you have an essay for a fairly serious job application essentially asking you to write about anything you want outside of your direct work experience, where is the line in terms of being too casual or not casual enough?

Obviously the whole thing can’t just be the tale of how you won X reward or accomplished Y task, but it’s also probably not great form to do something jokey or entirely non-serious since the serious aspects might be in one’s resume off the bat. Looking like you take the job not at all seriously while applying to it seems like a quick way to lose a potential job.

Now all of this is more of a theoretical thought experiment, as the pragmatic side of me has already sorted out the balance of serious-versus-personal qualities to write about. But seeing my personal preference lean so heavily in the direction of a structured, serious or even academic paper versus one that lets me express myself in an open, even goofy way is interesting. Introspective even.

Perhaps all those years of AP classes really did screw me up for the rest of my life, just like I joke about.

This seems like the perfect opportunity to ask an actually interesting question at the end of one of these blog posts. Where do you feel you stand on the spectrum I described here?

Do you prefer if a job (or anything for that matter) asks structured, serious questions of you? Or more open, vague questions?

Let me know somewhere on the internet, I’d love to hear it!

Home Improvisement

Home Improvisement

I just spent the last few hours locked in a small room with my family inhaling paint fumes, so excuse me if this post isn’t super verbose or coherent.

See, when Aly was about seven years old, she asked for a room that was pink-and-purple. Because when you’re that age everything is all about princesses and cute Disney stuff and she loved it.

But then she went full goth.

Then, shortly after that, she became a band geek. Who is also pretty much a goth still, just more deeply buried.

A deeply-buried goth band geek who, somewhere along the way, lost sight of her true purpose in life by giving all of her 3DS game cartridges back to me the other day during her room cleaning process.

Though that’s a tangent for another day.

Or at least just one to show her that I still talk about video games in every post she’s involved with.

The reason she was cleaning everything out is because all those life transitions I mentioned led to her eventually despising the pink-and-purple. So now that she’s finished with her summer Spanish class and has a few weeks before band stuff starts, she decided to finally go through with what she says has been a two-year-long planning process and start painting.

There she is.

Since I wasn’t doing too much today, I decided to let myself get roped into it.

Mom and Aly were up half the night last night starting on the base coat, this sort of grey-ish blue. I only came in this morning to assist, mainly getting those high up places that these other short people can’t.

We’re just starting to set up to do the lighter grey trim paint by taping up everything we don’t want to cover, so I figured it would be as good a time as any to just get this blog post for the day out of the way.

Seeing Aly’s determination, I imagine this task will probably be taking up the rest of my afternoon. Or if not, the rest of the day I’ll spend continuing to set up some interviews I’m finally lining up for Gladeo.

The whole thing is kind of funny to me, honestly. Can’t help but think of my buddy Spencer, the first news editor for the Daily Titan when I arrived on that scene.

Before he graduated and took a mantle reporting full time for Voice of OC, he was freelancing some while also working as a house painter.

Obviously this situation is not at all similar to that one, mostly considering I’m not getting paid for my time.

But what can I say, there’s still some sort of strange feeling of kinship there.

A Novel Writing Tool

If there’s one thing I haven’t talked about nearly enough around here, it’s Fire Emblem.

Nah, just kidding. I talk about that way too much.

But I don’t talk about my Senior Honors Project as much as I probably should. Doing so would probably encourage me to make more progress than I have been.

Though that said, I’m here today to talk about the progress I have made, because I have honestly done a good bit outside of hunting for a mentor to approach once the semester kicks off. Like I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I wanted to ensure I had some sort of basic product to approach my future mentor with as a showing of faith.

That’s meant interacting with some writers to know exactly what a fictional novel’s book proposal might look like so I can emulate it.

But that’s also meant working on actually starting to lay out and write my novel. Characters were the most difficult hurdle for me to get over, as I had a general idea what kind of plot line I wanted to go with but no serious image for who would be going through it.

Since passing that hurdle I’ve made it a good chunk of the way through my book’s first chapter. I’m hoping to at have at least two done as an example of the eventual overall product.

Outlining has been rather important to me on this current venture. I’ve attempted to write books before you see, but most of them falter when I get less than a chapter in because I don’t actually have a clear idea where I’m going with it. Usually my outings have begun with a vague idea of something that sounds cool with no substance around it.

Also they’ve usually started with the amnesiac protagonist cliché.

I’ve come to see the error of my ways. This book does not start that way, I assure you.

To help avoid a faltering in my progress and keep my thoughts better organized, I’ve turned to a new tool that mom introduced me to after using it for her editing work.

She actually wrote her own blog post about this ‘Master Outlining and Tracking Tool,’ but I wanted to give it my own separate endorsement because it has been a really great thing for me personally and I figure it might be for some of you out there too.

The full, in-depth explanation of how the tool works (and a place to download it) is here on the creator’s website. It undoubtedly does a far better job explaining all the intricacies than I could right now in my Hollow Knight-ed daze, so it’s worth going right to the source.

But I figured I shouldn’t cop-out entirely on this blog post by just pointing to other blog posts. After all, there are many different things in this outlining tool, and I’ve primarily been using only a few of them.

Most notably, like I mentioned, is the story outlining stuff.

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Surprise, an actual sort of sneak peek of part of what I’m planning. Don’t tell nobody, though!

It’s honestly hard to explain how invaluable this kind of section is for someone like me. Out of all the words of advice that the Daily Titan’s advisor Bonnie has given out for improving writing in the three years I’ve known her, the one nailed into my head the hardest would have to be the idea that a story should be able to distill down into a sentence.

There are so many stories for the newspaper I’ve written that have been far better once I knew how I wanted to focus them down.

Thus I’ve been approaching my basic outline here with the same mindset. If I’m able to distill the story down into just a sentence, both for the overall product and the individual chunks of that product, then I can more easily stick to one idea and run with it.

Then there’s the characters, both keeping track of how many are floating throughout the story as a whole and accounting for individual details of the characters in question.

This tool offers both:

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I haven’t personally written out the details for my characters yet since I’ve been focused on the outline. Consider this a secret surprise for later!

There are lots of other things that are helpful in this tool as well.

Tabs to keep track of what different plots are intersecting when.

Tabs to track word count per chapter.

Tabs to organize what chapter hosts what information.

It’s just… Really good stuff. I don’t know what else to tell you guys.

Check it out, use it if you need help keeping organized like me, support the creator… And thank my mom. Because she’s great and finds some cool writing/editing stuff in her free time.

Receiving the Carl Greenberg Scholarship

At first, I figured today was going to be a day where I would talk all about the trailer that was dropped about the upcoming Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu & Eevee games.

But something much more important came up after I started writing that which feels like a better conversation topic for the day. So sorry Pokémon, you’ve been sidelined.

Today I received word from the Scholarship Chair of the Society of Professional Journalist’s Los Angeles branch that I have been awarded the Carl Greenberg Scholarship for Political and Investigative Reporting.

Frankly, that’s pretty kick-ass and I’m excited about it!

According to the SPJLA website, the scholarship is “awarded to a college student pursuing investigative or political reporting,” named after a LA Times political reporter “famed for being singled out by Richard Nixon as the only reporter who covered him ‘fairly.'”

So not only am I excited about the fact that I won something I applied for kind of out of the blue — mostly as something to do early on in the summer when I was sitting around — but I’m also humbled at the fact that I’ve been recognized to sit in a pantheon which sounds so prestigious. Helps give some perspective to the work I’ve had the pleasure of doing, and all those other clichés that must be expected from an awards acceptance speech of sorts.

Though to be completely honest, the $1,000 that comes with it certainly helps pique my interest.

What can I say, prestige is nice and all, but so is food and gas when you’re a broke college student.

As are plenty of new video games coming soon, but don’t tell the nominating committee that.

In celebration of my award, I figured I would throw out this short post as both a way of logging the fact that I earned this recognition and as a way of slyly promoting myself.

You’ve all seen those articles out of major newspapers that showcase stories which received accolades. Hell, I even wrote an article in that vein for the Daily Titan at the end of the Spring 2018 semester.

So consider the bottom of this blog post one of those for me. I submitted three articles alongside my scholarship application, and I’m going to link out to each of them here.

Before I do, I just wanted to thank the SPJLA Scholarship Chair Richard Saxton, who helped let me know what I needed to do to apply, and all the other members of the Scholarship Committee for this awesome opportunity. Here’s to many more hopefully coming in the near future!


This article has arguably been one of my proudest achievements as a journalist thus far. That could be said for most of the stories in this small list alone, sure, but there’s so much history to my coverage of Milo Yiannopoulos’ visit to CSUF that I consider it a saga.

Kicking the whole thing off was an article that was weeks in the making. It began as simple rumors that supposedly there were plans in the work to bring the conservative provocateur to campus based on a petition online to keep controversial figures off campus. Based on that rumor I talked to a myriad of sources and eventually put out this fairly large piece covering the entire process of how one can bring a speaker to campus in light of the confirmation that Yiannopoulos’ visit was in the works.

And that isn’t even going into all of the coverage of the Canin scandal from the semester prior that helped build my relations with the College Republicans Club enough to help them trust my reporting.

Even during that initial coverage I knew the plan was to bring the man to campus on Halloween. At the point this initial piece was published, however, I kept that to myself in case the reporting of that information changed the plans at hand in any significant way.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Our semester was thus far filled with coverage of Yiannopoulos’ visit from any conceivable angle from myself and other members of the news desk staff. Eventually that culminated in a massive three-story package of a paper that went on to receive a special edition reprint, got me a talking head spot on NPR’s ‘Take Two’ and earned a number of accolades at the most recent LA Press Club Awards.

Plus Milo himself said on Facebook that he liked how balanced I was with the story on his speech. Never would have expected that, but it’s something I’ll take on as a badge of pride considering I didn’t get that praise while also upsetting the other side of the aisle.

I could talk about this article all day, but then we’d be here all day. Nobody really wants that.

So check it out if you haven’t, and see all of the reporting that emerged as a result while you’re at it.

My coverage of Project Rebound goes back a ways. Multiple semesters, in fact, unlike the one-semester shots of the other articles on this list.

I was the person who covered the story when the program, which helps offer previously incarcerated individuals an opportunity to earn their degrees and avoid recidivism, first came to campus. At that point I made friends with the program’s director, Brady Heiner, and its brand new coordinator, Romarilyn Ralston.

At least once a semester I try to go back and see the Project Rebound folks because, despite obviously being objective in my reporting, I do feel the cause is an important and righteous one.

The story I used for this scholarship application is my most recent piece about the program: A profile of its coordinator, Romarilyn.

It started as an assignment for my Multimedia Journalism class, and the actual meat of where it originated comes in the form of the video I produced alongside the written article. It’s embedded within the story if you haven’t seen it, and it’s probably my most proud achievement in a multimedia realm.

Though that being said, her story is also incredibly powerful, and certainly one of those stepping-stones that I would argue got me more invested in the idea that Features are a powerful tool for telling other people’s stories more than they are extra avenues of reporting.

Another piece stemming from my work with the Daily Titan’s advisor as a part of her Investigative Reporting class, the homeless coverage I was a part of is another ‘saga’ in my reporting experience thus far that I remember fondly.

Certain specific events, like our coverage of the Point-In-Time count toward the beginning of that semester, are things I’ll never forget.

However, the coverage of Mercy House I did alongside Roxana Paul is another thing I’ll always hold dear. It fits into a similar vein as the Romarilyn story I talked about above, as it gave a hard news-focused kid the opportunity to do slightly more Features-based coverage by actually going out and talking with some of the homeless population in Orange County.

Yet it was also a story steeped in hard news, covering the numbers with how much help is available in the County and talking to the people who provide the aid on the ground.

There are plenty of other elements I could dive into regarding this story. It was one of the first time I took pictures for my own article, it had graphics and other multimedia elements, it was part of a wonderful series put together by a group of really talented reporters. On top of that, it helped me out further last semester when I assisted with the coverage of Santa Ana clearing out whatever homeless population was living along the riverbed.

It’s another story I would consider one of my most in-depth and powerful. So read it if you haven’t, and check out the other Homeless in OC coverage the Titan did as well!