Tag: Driving

Coursework influences art

It’s never fun when I have to head to campus on a day where I don’t have class.

After forgetting the gift cards for my Honors networking panel game on Wednesday like a dolt, I had to make arrangements with the winners to deliver their prizes.

One of them was most available today around 12:30 p.m.

Because I was the one who fucked up, I couldn’t try to waive off their best time because it wasn’t convenient for my do-nothing day. So I went to Fullerton to deliver the card.

The whole meeting took literally two seconds. It was ostensibly just a hand-off, and they left immediately after the product was given.

So yay. An hour’s worth of a drive for two seconds of pay-off.

On days such as these I usually try to find things to do so that my time is not wasted. When my attempts to reach out to a couple local friends all ended in failures, I resigned myself to whittling time away in the Honors Center with homework.

By working on homework, I mean working on Comm Law homework. Because that stuff takes hours — and in fact I was working on it all four hours I sat in the Center until it closed at 5:00 p.m.

Then I spent even more time on it after I got home from my ~hour & fifteen minute drive.

As much as I’m enjoying the class, the sheer amount of work is absolutely killer.

Yet, the lectures we had to look over this weekend spoke to me more than usual. Our topic was the one and only:

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Now I know what you must be asking yourself. “You don’t have any intellectual property, Jason. Why did this speak to you?”

First off, rude.

Second, given the requirements for copyright (having an original work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression), I would say I have copyrighted intellectual property in both my journalism and whatever I’ve written on this blog.

Especially given the fact that copyright is written into the Constitution as pertaining to works beginning at the moment of their creation.

Unlike trademarks, which pertain to brands and aim to create an association with product quality so consumers can knowing what they’re buying. Because capitalism.

I don’t have a brand to protect, and trademarks only begin the moment they are put into commercial use. So I can’t claim I own that as easily as I do copyright to an extent.

Now. I’m sure some of you must be asking yourselves a different question. “Jason, why the hell are you spouting Comm Law nonsense at us? This isn’t a lecture.”

The point I’m aiming toward is that I’ve taken the opportunity to think about copyright further than just my journalistic writings. I’ve been thinking about a copyright that, at least to me, feels a bit more important in the moment.

I’m working on having a copyrighted work in the completely original intellectual property of my Senior Honors Project novel.

Though it’s obviously a pipe dream for a product I haven’t finished yet, something about learning the bundle of rights that come with a copyrighted work made me kind of giddy.

Five rights come with copyright that pertain to how one wants to divide up and license out their work:

  1. Distribution
  2. Display
  3. Reproduction
  4. Adaptation
  5. Performance

I’m not going to say I expect my novel to hit the same heights as, say, the Harry Potter series (which we used as an example).

A series of books which were licensed out to be reproduced and distributed by a publishing company. Then a series of movies which were adapted from those books that, in turn, had their own bundle of rights as an independent copyright.

But hey. It’s a nice dream, isn’t it?

The kind of dream that I may have more to talk about in the near future. Hint hint, wink wink.

Until then… Who would’ve guessed that Comm Law, of all classes, would help contribute to that dream in the most clinical, detached way imaginable.

The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect

Remember yesterday when I was gung-ho about going to the DMV if for no other reason than to have something interesting for my blog?

Funny how naive I was in thinking that the DMV could offer any sort of interest.

To be fair, it’s not like I had a particularly negative experience there today — unless you count PTSD flashbacks to failed driving tests or the generally oppressive air of bureaucracy washing over hordes of upset numbers in the government’s labyrinthine system of rules and policy.

If anything, renewing my license was a quick and painless experience. The kind of trip through the DMV that left me saying-

-after I left, but would not have been my “fun activity” of choice over going to the class I missed.

Thus that did not blossom into a subject to fill my entire post. Nor did the lovely lunch I had with Mom afterwards, as much as I enjoyed it.

When I decided to scrap the idea, I half-considered writing about my unusual blog traffic today. Analytics are usually a fun subject for me, and for whatever reason a bunch of people looked at my blog today before I even wrote anything:

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The last big spike was my birthday.

However I don’t exactly have a reasonable way to explain why I got more traffic today than I have in recent days, so it would just be mindless babble.

… As though the rest of this wasn’t already mindless babble. I know, I can hear you all saying that to your screens amid a slow eye-roll.

I’ll get to the point.

I went in to CSUF for my late class, Comm Law. So far my favorite course of the semester because of the professor.

An example as to why: She overlaid a well-edited video of John Oliver’s Supreme Court dogs over the audio of a case we were covering in our homework.

Today’s conversation broached into SCOTUS decisions which have affected obscenity and porn laws. It was a conversation full of amazing conversations and references one would not expect to hear in a classroom.

One such conversation involving that innocuous fair use butterfly photo I used for my Featured Image.

I kid you not… It ties back to Pornhub.

I know, I know. When I made a half-hearted post joking about that Pornhub ad carved into a bathroom stall in the Education Building, I said I was at risk of becoming a shill for the pornography aggregate.

After the glowingly positive piece I wrote about their analytics a while back, I wouldn’t blame you for thinking my semi-rapid increase in smut-related posts was a problem.

However, the way I see it I’ve just found myself increasingly interested in Pornhub-related subjects specifically. As niche a wheelhouse as that may be.

While talking about porn in class, I specifically brought up the yearly Pornhub analytics in reference to her joking about the existance of fetish websites for everything. In response, she told us about a podcast which dives deep into the way Pornhub has changed our society — for better and worse.

As someone who drives long distances back-and-forth, I’m always on the lookout for new podcasts.

So even though she warned us that it gets depressing after a certain point, I was curious and downloaded all seven episodes of the series.

It’s called “The Butterfly Effect with Jon Ronson,” and I’ll recommend it at least based on the first episode.

That episode features interviews with the Belgian boy who brought the website into popular consciousness, as well as the technical guy from Canada who worked on things like search engine optimization and mobile user logistics.

With promise of going into all the nitty-gritty, uncomfortable stories about society changing, the challenges to that industry with a massive and free entity in their midst, and so forth.

If you’ve got the time for it, why not take a chance and listen through some niche podcast programming with me?

I, for one, am clearly excited enough about it to share if nothing else.


Featured Image courtesy of Charles J Sharp via Wikimedia Commons

Stranded in Suburbia

Stranded in Suburbia

I’m in a bit of an odd predicament.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kinda proud of it, honestly.

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

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

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

Guess we’ll just have to see.

A symmetrical birthday

A symmetrical birthday

Another year, another trip around the sun.

Turning 22 doesn’t offer nearly as many significant things to talk about as the ‘milestone’ 21, where drinking and properly oriented drivers’ licenses were officially on the table.

I won’t be starting this post off with a deep, important-sounding remark on the different milestones one hits in life.

Rather, 22 mainly stands out because… It’s symmetrical? I guess?

To be fair, 22 does have some things going for it. Most notably the fact that I’ll be graduating from college during that year. Yikes.

All of that is pretty forward thinking, though. Today there aren’t a whole lot of exciting things going on, as I’ll be saving the friend gatherings for later in the year when more people are back in town.

What I have gotten is a lovely breakfast made by my younger sister:

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Homemade waffles with fruit compote and whipped cream? I’ve been spoiled.

And a couple of birthday gifts from the family that I definitely did not know about from being in the store with them.

That would be ridiculous! I was honestly, truly surprised.

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Look at this adorable surprise!

Aly must know me real well if she thought to get me a Mimikyu-related gift again, totally without my input.

As much as it messes with my head that Sun and Moon came out almost three years ago, my love for this Pikachu lookalike remains strong. Even if I had to pull a Scizor out to take advantage of her weakness.

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Get it?

While Mimikyu and that new Switch controller are the main physical gifts I’ve gotten thus far, I have been eagerly watching all of the digital presents from various organizations roll in.

Like this cute little email from Nintendo helping me celebrate with all those Marro brahs:

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C’mon Bowser don’t be like that. Have some cake with your son.

Unfortunately platinum coins mean basically nothing next to gold coins, which would allow me to buy new video games.

Just give me more gold coins, Nintendo. I promise I’ll keep shilling for you if I can buy more games.

Until you do, I’ll just go back to Planet Fitness for my free water bottle.

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Not a joke.

I think it’s hilarious that my gym wants me to go spend my birthday working out as I’m sitting around eating ice cream cake, but to be fair I am planning on going tomorrow.

So I might actually use a free water bottle, as silly as that is.

At the very least water seems reasonable as an immediate necessity to keep my body working, which gives it an edge over this offer from Facebook:

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I get the sentiment here, getting members to create fundraisers for nonprofit organizations. It’s a nice goal in-and-of itself.

But one dollar? Seriously, Mark?

Pretty sure you could stand to offer a bit more of a generous care package all things considered. I know you have a bajillion users and that money stacks up in the long-run, but even something like $5 would look less silly as a ‘present.’

Alright, I’ll stop fruitlessly complaining at social media companies. I just honestly don’t have all that much more to say. After breakfast we went out for a bit to visit my Grandpa and buy special pasta ingredients for dinner.

We were greeted by a little bit of rain while out shopping, keeping up the tradition of water falling on my birthday.

Though it wasn’t near as bad as my 20th when I brought attention to the issue on the blog.

So that’s not an exciting direction to head down. Nor is all the homework that I’ll unfortunately be stuck doing tonight due to deadlines that leave no room for extensive birthday fun.

I think I’ll just wrap things up here, then. Get back to relaxing, spending some time with family and… Yeah, homework.

Just one more semester and I’ll never have to deal with that again.

As usual, thank you all for the support here on the blog and in my real life endeavors. Particularly to my old colleague/friend Ashlyn Ramirez who gave me shout outs on all the social media platforms unexpectedly.

That girl works hard, she deserves a little extra support!

But for all the rest of you as well, hope you’ll stick around for however many birthdays are still to come.

Mini-band banquet bonanza

Mini-band banquet bonanza

Well I promised two blog posts today, so even if I don’t have a lot to say I might as well follow through.

For the past week or so both my parents have been pretty sick. As a result, thanks to still being on vacation, I’ve become a more distinct guardian for my sister.

Which includes being the chauffeur. Which, by extension, meant getting up to drive her to school for zero period.

At 6:00 a.m.

Every day.

Needless to say she owed me a little something. Luckily tonight was her mini-band banquet, a potluck the RUHS Marching band holds halfway through the school year to celebrate the end of the competition season.

If there’s anything high school kids enjoy, it’s gorging on lots of food.

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I’m more than happy to mooch.

The unfortunate downside of tagging along to mooch off free food is that the entire event, which hosts about 100 high schoolers and band parents, is held in the small gym on campus.

So imagine a bunch of people stuffed into a hot gymnasium wearing semi-formal attire, walking around on rolled out tarp.

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As it turns out, band kids also enjoy breaking the flow of music to do silly things.

Like Fortnite dances.

And singing a Minecraft-themed parody of a-ha’s “Take On Me” en masse.

While it was admittedly hilarious seeing the older parents who have zero concept of internet memes cringe harder than I did, that didn’t stop me from cringing.

In fact, ridiculous high school antics were rampant throughout the event. The most stand-out of which for me being a girl walking around who apparently did not get the semi-formal memo because she wore a sleeveless crop top, leggings and heels.

I know that sounds like I was being a creep and judging what some high school girl was dressed in, but I swear she just stood out that much.

Outside of cringe-enducing high school antics, I suppose I can’t say I regret going. The food was a huge plus, and I have become at least pseudo-friends with some band parents simply because I’m around so often for Alyson. It’s nice catching up with them.

I even chatted with someone who was willing to give my business card out to someone who works at one of the local newspapers around Redondo Beach.

Always networking. Always.

But of course, it was also nice to support my sister.

Even if it meant getting a picture with this real creepy mannequin from their field show in the background.

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I assure you that even for someone who was at some of the shows, this guy here doesn’t make too much sense.

Aly only has one more year of this stuff ahead of her (as much as I die inside every time I imagine her graduating high school so soon), so I might as well fill in as much time supporting her as I can before she probably heads across the country for music school.

… Just as long as she doesn’t do so until we finish Pokémon Let’s Go, Eevee together.

I’m not letting that one go.

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.

Overheard at a Starbucks counter

Overheard at a Starbucks counter

For all intents and purposes, this morning has kind of been a bust. I’m going to spend a good chunk of this post complaining before getting to the fun Starbucks bit, as a fair warning.

I woke up extra early today, around 6:00 a.m. or so, that way I could commute to campus and show up for 8:00 a.m. walk-in hours at the Communications advising center. I’ve already complained about that and referenced it twice after, so I’ll yadda yadda that and send you over to my complaining post for further details.

If you aren’t interested in reading that post, and I wouldn’t blame you considering you’re probably here for Starbucks stories thanks to the title of this post, basically all you need to know is I had one question about the application of something in my planned schedule next semester that I was going to take regardless. A really quick, little question that I couldn’t get answered with an appointment because they were all booked up for the next month or whatever.

Figured if I showed up at the beginning of walk-in hours today it would be fine.

Then this happened.

Turned out even with my early commute I was the fourth or fifth person in line and everyone is allowed 20 minutes at most. Many people needed that full 20 minutes, as it turns out.

Adding insult to that injury, my question wound up being negligible anyway. Apparently the collateral category I was interested in applying this class to goes away once I complete my minor in Psychology.

Which is something I was made aware could be the case via the internship coordinator on Monday.

So I guess I got confirmation that it is, in fact, the case… But the nearly two-hour wait certainly didn’t feel justified to get that confirmation.

Oh but that’s not all, I also had some salt rubbed into that injury which was subsequently insulted. By the time I got my Comm advising, the office hours of my Psych professor were basically over so I couldn’t go there. Then it turned out the Honors Program Director isn’t around until next week because she’s at a conference, so I wasn’t able to have my project proposal signed off and finalized.

Basically. Getting up super early this morning was a bust. Don’t feel super justified doing it.

That ends the “let me complain about things that annoyed me on my personal blog” portion of my post, though.

Because the fun Starbucks-focused thing you all probably jumped on this train to hear about came while I went to get a drink and drown my annoyance.

Now there are a few caveats I need to elaborate as scene setters.

The Starbucks I went to is on the ground floor of the Pollak Library here at CSUF. It’s kind of the most central point on campus so it’s a very busy spot.

By 10:00 a.m. or so, the lineup to get coffee was long and the place was booming.

After ordering my drink I popped one headphone in and continued listening to a podcast I started during that two-hour wait.

Mostly Nitpicking, the podcast put on by that YouTuber I love Nando V. Movies, for anyone curious. It’s great and you should be listening.

BUT ANYWAY. Point is I might not have been the most cognizant of my surroundings.

Even so, I swear to god this is true. While waiting for my order to get thrown onto the counter I saw one girl attract the attention of a barista. She leaned in, mumbled “Order 66,” and the barista got the most solemn look on her face as she nodded, turned around and went to the back room.

Being the nerdy loser I am, the only way I could have possibly took that was in the framework of the Star Wars prequels.

Like now I’m totally convinced some random customer at Starbucks is secretly Emperor Palpatine and all of the younglings in the back room of the coffee shop have been chopped up by future Darth Vader barista.

There’s absolutely no other way to interpret that scene.

Especially not one that involves the mobile order Barista Vader brought out a few seconds later.

Total coincidence.

Yeah, that’s the whole story. Don’t know if you think it was underwhelming after spending a chunk of this reading about a guy complaining about his first world problem of getting up early for no reason, but I personally thought it was hilarious.

Probably in good part due to the aforementioned lack of sleep and general annoyance.

Figured if nothing else it would make for a good blog post to write and fill the extra three-hour time gap before my first class at 1:00 p.m.

So I hope you too feel that reading this was a good use of your extra time.

‘Baby Driver’ will drive its way into your heart

‘Baby Driver’ will drive its way into your heart

So I haven’t really done this sort of thing for a movie that isn’t brand new yet. But a combination of not having too much else of note from the day and thoroughly enjoying this flick has led me to the conclusion that, yeah, I could stand to talk about some more filmography around here.

When Baby Driver first came out, all I heard was praise for it across the board. Yet I was never really interested in seeing the movie just off the trailers alone, so I passed it up.

Now that I’ve seen the movie, it has occurred to me that perhaps that was a mistake.

Despite it being about a year old now I don’t necessarily feel obliged to spoil the film for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet. After all I hadn’t seen it until now and feel spoilers may have still… Well, spoiled the experience. So I’ll try to be sparing with my plot details.

That said, for the context you’ll need, Baby Driver is the story of a kid named Baby who got himself into trouble with a crime boss and is forced to serve as the getaway driver for a number of robberies to repay his debt.

Just based on that description alone you must imagine the movie has a cliché premise. To be fair, it kind of does, right down to the way it winds up tackling the ‘innocence to hardened edge’ and ‘love over all else’ story arcs.

But even if the premise was clichéd, that doesn’t take away from how brilliantly it’s presented and handled by Edgar Wright and everyone else involved in the production.

Ansel Elgort, as Baby, makes for a lead that truly pops in every sense of the word.

His interactions with just about every other character in the movie offer him the chance to display a range of emotions. He goes from being a fun-loving, dancing fool with his deaf guardian to a silent, demure and downright prodigal criminal assistant to, as I mentioned before, a hardened badass. Yet, he never loses the good-natured core you see all throughout the movie.

He’s a truly lovable character to root for in spite of the concessions that tend to come alongside a criminal child prodigy story.

Though I would also be lying to say that his prodigal driving, a somewhat clichéd idea on paper if you replace that talent with basically anything else in an action movie setting, isn’t wildly entertaining.

In fact, every action scene in the film is thoroughly engaging. The driving stunts are insanely well choreographed and feel as distinct as the character himself.

Part of this comes from the way music is integrated into the movie. Only my sister knew this coming in, but most of the movie is actually paced alongside the soundtrack. The driving scenes and most of the on-foot action, both actually action-packed and mundane (things like laying out money in stacks), all follow the beat of whatever piece is playing over it.

The effect is well-done when imagining the scale of the job it took to capture scenes with very specific motions and tempos. However, it’s even better when seeing just how well that musical overlay is intertwined with Baby’s character on top of the scene direction.

There are lots of moments where the film makes it obvious that the music playing out is being listened to by Baby in real-time, which ties the character’s thoughts and actions directly into what you can see him doing on-screen.

Perhaps that’s hard to explain through text, but I’ll just say it helps to bolster the already strong engagement I had with the protagonist by seeing the movie around him play beautifully to his character.

The musical overlay representing real-time listening also opens itself up to other neat tricks.

Similar to John Krasinski’s “A Quiet Place” from earlier this year, the film uses its sound design to represent a main character’s disability in key moments. Baby’s tinnitus, which he tries to hide with the music he so often listens to, becomes the film’s sole soundtrack at a point where he can no longer listen to music.

Frankly it’s a brilliant moment that requires no explanation in the film itself because of how much they develop his character naturally leading up to it. It’s the kind of thing that happens and allows the audience to go ‘oh hey, I see what they did there!’

Sound design is the thing to talk about when talking Baby Driver, in my opinion. The action scenes are also great, but mostly because of how the audio plays into them.

However, there are other great qualities to talk about from the film. The characters are all well-acted, and the ultimate antagonist of the film isn’t quite as predictable as one might expect walking in (which is, thankfully, a nice surprise).

It’s also a very pretty movie, using lots of fancy swipe cuts to transition scenes and similar effects that create a cinematic style that stands out in its own right.

While I could go into more, I feel it would only be right to say that you should go see the movie yourself if you haven’t already. I had not been interested prior, like I said, but all of the wonderful things you’ve probably heard everyone say about Baby Driver is definitely true.

It’s worth a view, or even a few. It feels like the kind of movie that could be watched over-and-over if caught on cable in the middle of the night.

Trust me, for my family that’s probably the highest form of compliment that can be bestowed on a film.

Glendale Friendventure

Glendale Friendventure

Once again I spent all day today with some friends off on a friendventure. So instead of a long, intricate post, I just figured I would do a real quick run through of all the photos I took as something fun.

We went well off the beaten path for our usual hangouts by going to the Glendale Galleria, a large mall in… Well, Glendale. It was somewhere Juan and I had been to before but nobody else had, so we figured it would be a good place to just explore since it’s a real big area.

Plus Juan wanted to go to the LEGO store to buy something, and it was either there or Downtown Disney.

After an almost hour-and-a-half drive (both there and back I might add, with all five of us packed into my car just chatting and having a good time), we wound up in a totally different world, surrounded by so many fancy cars that we decided to affectionately title our trip “Detroit becomes Glendale” after the current future-set David Cage experience everyone’s pretty into right now.

The first store we went into was this place called Box Lunch, which seemed to be the less angst-ridden version of Hot Topic. While there we discovered, among other things, this figure of Sora from Kingdom Hearts:

He’s seen some things, man.

I also decided to snap this photo of a Guardians of the Galaxy t-shirt to share with Aly, since it seemed right up her alley.

Needless to say she was a fan:

Then we started to really wander the place. One of the things that stood out was this absolutely incredible advertisement starring Johnny Depp:

He’s straight up about to be eaten by that wolf.

Also, we had a very long debate on whether or not the name of the cologne was someone misspelling “sausage” or “savage.” Either way someone definitely should have been fired, we decided.

Soon enough we made it to the LEGO store for the first time, because we were going to confirm they had the set Juan wanted before coming back later to buy it so he didn’t have to carry the whole thing around all day.

Here he is playing with the machine that makes sets build in front of you in augmented reality:

Mitchell, Jonathan and I can be seen off in the background of the video screen by the way. Fun fact, I suppose.

We also discovered a number of things. First, the fact that porg LEGOs exist. Second, that the Millennium Falcon LEGO set is 800 god damn dollars.

I’m honestly not sure which of those facts is more shocking, even hours later.

From there a lot of the journey was relatively uneventful. Mostly just walking and talking.

Eventually we wound up in an area with a Japanese pop culture store that had awfully suggested figurines to an almost comic degree, as well as plenty of stores under construction.

Including a place called PLAYlive Nation, which is apparently just a lounge that people can come in and play video games together.

Another fun fact, the second selling point on the place’s website is that it gets gamers out of the house to make friends.

Seems like an awfully savage thing to put so high on the features list in my opinion, especially since just across the street was an icon of gamer hangout spots:

Hey it’s Mitchell, what’s up dude?

A R E. Y O U. G A M E?

Also this was a place.

I’m just not going to say anything, because we thought it was suggestive enough on its own.

Speaking of food, however, that was what we did next. Juan got Blaze Pizza, Tiana got Boba, Jonathan and I got Five Guys, and Mitchell…

Well he didn’t get anything.

Except the pleasure of enjoying this New Yorker article about Incredibles 2 that Tiana introduced us to because WOW it’s just unreasonably suggestive of all the sexual baggage the movie leaves with the parents who go to see it.

It’s absolutely incredible and worth a read.

We also discovered this Build-A-Bear Workshop kiosk which was… Odd. To say the least.

Seems like the kind of place that makes infinitely more sense as a store, but oh well. This serves the purpose just as well, I suppose.

By that point we had essentially circled the entire mall, so of course our last stop was the LEGO store redux. Juan bought himself a giant set while the rest of us goofed off a little.

Tiana and I had a pretty good time just building with LEGO pieces at one of the builder stations. I even made this neat mini house!

I guess it kind of looks more like a car than a house… But still.

Are you proud of me yet, internet?

I sure hope so. Because some much younger kids came to play with the LEGO pieces and we just sort of backed away awkwardly as the grown adults we are.

Once the set was bought, we made our way home again. An hour-and-a-half worth of a drive later we were back in Redondo, where we got to play video games and watch the second live action Scooby Doo movie.

It’s super fun having adult friends, guys.