Last night I mentioned going to swim in the pool today.
I made good on that promise, because how could I not?
It’s a beaut.
The water was also perfect today. Just cool enough to counteract the heat without freezing my toes off.
Fun fact, while I was getting that picture of the pool I noticed all of these cute old pictures of my grandparents that made me smile:
Also there’s a terrifying cat statue.
It’s fine. Don’t worry about it.
A return to the pool also meant a return to one of my favorite pastimes: Watching geckos climb all over the mesh fencing.
Look at this little guy, he’s so sweet.
Yet in a jarring turn of events, I found it was easier to watch the geckos than ever because I’m officially too damn big for the pool.
The deep end is 6 feet. I’m 6’2 or so.
Last time I came to Florida I was definitely not tall enough to stand in the deep end with my head above the water, which means it has been longer since I’ve been here than I thought. That blew my mind.
But before going for a swim, wading in the existential dread of time and noticing my growing collection of bug bites, I helped Grandma throw together french toast.
A nice, hearty breakfast. The kind of breakfast that I needed because part of my day was spent working out computer issues for both grandparents.
For Grandpa I simply helped update their computer software and readjust his settings back to normal.
But for Grandma… Poor girl… I had to show her that she could scroll further down the website she was on to get to a link.
I finally understand what it’s like for my Dad to be technical support.
My perception of Daylight Savings Time changes every year depending on what my class schedule is like.
For instance, last year I barely noticed the time shift during the Fall semester. Probably because 90 percent of my time outside of classes was spent in the Daily Titan newsroom, where seven or so hours kind of blurred together day-in and day-out. Nobody realized when the sky changed outside when we were so wrapped up in work.
The year before that I do very distinctly remember having a later class in University Hall where the time shift made a serious difference when leaving for the day. At one point in the semester I walked out of class and it was suddenly dark outside, whereas it was light the week before.
Kinda jarring stuff, not gunna lie.
This semester has been much more akin to that jarring transition. However, more delayed than it should have been.
I have two late classes this semester, one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday. My Tuesday block class got cancelled this week however, as Professor Rizzo wanted to give everyone the chance to vote.
Wish my Psych professor had the same idea… But oh well. We’ve got a day off for Veterans Day next Monday so that should make up for it.
Because I wasn’t in school until 7:00 p.m. or so yesterday, I did not see the difference in lighting. However, I definitely did see it tonight when I left my Visual Comm class.
Normally I wouldn’t give too much of a second thought to the time shift. Sure it got a bit colder and more awkward getting to my car in the dark, but nothing too crazy.
I guess DST is in my head a bit more often lately thanks to Prop 7 on the ballet this year. A proposition which passed with 60 percent of the vote.
Now that it’s passed, our state legislature will be able to vote on eliminating Daylight Savings Time all together (by making it “permanent”) if a federal law is enacted first.
After 21 years of experiencing it, I can’t exactly imagine the time shift just being gone all together. I know that it’s already gone in states like Arizona, but the biyearly change feels so ubiquitous.
How would you feel if DST went away — if you live in a place where that happens of course. I’m kind of curious to know what sort of public reaction might come out of it.
P.S. — Yes, this is kind of a space filler post. I’m trying not to expend a lot of effort with a second exam to study for tomorrow.
Though my exam today went well, considering I got a 91 percent on it. So I’m not very nervous.
Just the usual amount of nervous.
As an added note, Fire Emblem Heroes has a new banner and a totally new game mode coming out tomorrow. But I probably won’t be talking about it tomorrow. Have to head to bed early so I can sleep up for my exam, and then at night I have an awards ceremony to go to for Aly.
I’ll probably talk about that on the blog tomorrow, save Fire Emblem for Friday.
I’ve come to really appreciate the gym as a solid source of stress relief on days like today.
Life can’t all be fun and polling places after all. I may have gotten an initial high by doing my civic duty and voting, but that was a very small fraction of the day right when the polls opened at 7:00 a.m.
Yeah, I finally got to pull out this joke I’ve been sitting on for a few months. Yeah, I’m proud of myself for deciding to actually do it. And yeah, I’m glad the Tweet and my identical post on Facebook got a good number of likes more than usual.
Not that it matters how much my things are liked, I just appreciate knowing that a number of my followers here and there have solid meme sensibilities.
I’m getting sidetracked.
Voting was cool, acknowledged. But after I did that I still had to go to school.
Which leads me to my next point: School kind of sucked today.
I went in for what amounted to a 20-minute long Sensation and Perception class where we reviewed for our upcoming test, but because my late class and study date were cancelled I had no reason to stick around.
Always a pleasure to drive around for a couple of hours so I can be in class for 20 minutes.
See we’re smack in the middle of midterm season 2 in Cal State Fullerton’s Psychology department. Tomorrow I have an exam in Learning and Memory, then on Thursday I have an exam in Sensation and Perception.
Plus, on the back-burner is the early deadline for my Learning and Memory research paper: Friday.
That theoretically matters less than the rest, but if I get the paper in before Friday I’ll have 4 points extra credit applied. Considering those points are the difference between a ‘C,’ where my rough draft stood, and an ‘A,’ I’m pretty eager to get it in.
It just so happens that I have no idea whether or not the professor is going to be on-campus Thursday or Friday. Which is why I’m pushing myself to finish the paper by tomorrow.
While also hoping to study for the exam in that same class tomorrow.
See why I’m getting on-edge?
Well hold your horses folks, because it gets more frustrating somehow.
My professor left tons of notes on the rough draft I turned in because he’s anal as hell and basically wanted us to write his essay, not our essay — even if something made more sense to us the way we wrote it.
… So I’ve heard from a friend.
When I sat down with the guy during his office hours to get clarification on the chicken scratch notes, the general take-away was that he wanted the early portion of the paper to have clear definitions, examples and statements on how those examples prove the definitions. It wasn’t good enough to have a definition followed by a “, for example xxx.”
That’s all fine and well… Until you remember that the paper as a whole has a page limit.
So the man basically strong-armed me into adding dozens of paragraphs and extended examples throughout the paper, and now expects me to cut down all of the extra space that came into the piece as a result.
It’s a Tantalus-level torture straight out of Hades if I’ve ever seen one.
That’s about where my headline today comes from, my resignation to the fact that I’ll be sitting here with my mom snipping off words and sentences from this paper where applicable to hit a page limit, despite the fact that I’m already sick of looking at it after nearly five hours of editing his comments yesterday.
Not the emotional place I want to be in while knowing I have to move into exam studying after for the same man that’s currently ruining my life.
But like I started this post off with, at least I had the gym to blow off some steam.
Even if not I feel like I’m passing out on the couch while working on my paper.
Because everything needs a trade-off, doesn’t it life?
I’ve been positively swamped with homework, essays and exams this weekend. Which is why I didn’t post any blog stuff yesterday.
I quite literally locked myself in my room and did work, turning off (most) of the usual distractions.
Luckily last night I got an extra hour of sleep from Daylight Savings Time, so I was able to get up nice and refreshed to… Do more homework.
It’s just been that kind of weekend.
But DST does actually offer me a neat little segue into the topic I figured I would touch on for this quick blog post today.
Tuesday is midterm Election Day here in the States. We’ll be voting on state and national senators, judicial appointments and ballot measures.
One such measure this year in California has the possibility of allowing our legislature to vote on essentially eliminating DST if the national government implements the idea. For my purposes, that made an excellent transitional statement.
This is only my second time being able to vote, and again it’s a bit of an awkward situation for me. I’m very used to Fullerton-centric politics because I spend all of my time there, but the local appointments I get to vote on are based in Redondo Beach. Sure there are still the state-wide initiatives and elections that I’ve paid a good amount of attention to thanks to my being enmeshed in journalism (though that’s a bit less concentrated than 2016 when I was at the Daily Titan). I just needed a bit of a closer look at what’s going on at home.
So that’s where my parents came in tonight.
We had a grand old time talking everything over before dinner tonight, and now I’m plenty ready for Tuesday.
Honestly I just wanted to put this together to say that you should go vote if you’re in an area/age demographic where you can.
I’m not going to talk about my policies or what I’m planning on voting for because that doesn’t matter. Taking part in our democratic process is what matters.
It’s an important thing and I felt like I should put my two cents in.
I didn’t have too much else to talk about today due to my aforementioned homework-filled weekend, which is more or less why I went down this route. In the near future I’ll probably write something about my obsessive armor planning in Monster Hunter, or that new Toby Fox game whenever I get around to playing it.
Just some fun stuff so I don’t have to think about all of these upcoming exams and freak out too much.
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.
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.
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.
Support your local papers everyone. They’re important.
Ironically enough, despite getting out of Fullerton almost three hours earlier than usual today, I can’t think of too much I feel like chatting about.
Like yeah it was great that my midterm was easy and finishing it within a half hour or so meant I could leave my otherwise three hour class right away. That was super cool.
But that’s about all I can really say about it.
Then I could also potentially talk about the fact that my Senior Honors Project is finally starting to move forward after finding who I believe will be my mentor.
But that seems like a subject which will be more interesting once my proposal is signed and ready.
So then what? The fact that I’ve begun planning out my spring semester schedule with the early registration deadline coming up? Venting about this one assignment I’ve been putting off that I have to do now? Talking about Monster Hunter again?
I don’t know. I’m not particularly feeling any conversation topic right now.
Honestly the only story I can think to tell is a funny moment on-campus today where I was stopped by some faculty asking me if I had registered to vote, because it was some kind of voter registration day.
I was kind of in a hurry to get to class and told them no because I already was registered while passing by quickly. Felt a little bad being so dismissive to them.
Except then I realized I was feeling bad about the fact that I had already registered to vote and didn’t need to waste their time. Which is kind of not at all something that I need to feel bad about, because it wasn’t like I lied about being registered.
So yeah. Go vote, it’s important.
But frankly that’s about all I can muster right now. I’m a bit tired and not too inspired to write much of anything, so this will have to suffice.
I’ll probably head to the gym, come home to work on that assignment and chill.
Hopefully I’ll have a bit more to talk about tomorrow.
It’s not very often that I can get meta about the inner workings of this blog I’ve got regarding subjects beyond the simple milestones like post numbers or followers. But today I wanted to do just that because of a somewhat more interesting development affecting the blog completely beyond my control.
Facebook has been trying to, at the very least, put its best face forward (pun only somewhat intended) about aiming to regain the trust of the service’s users. Anyone who spends nearly as much time on YouTube as I do, for example, will probably recognize this ad that suddenly started showing up before just about every video in existence a few weeks back:
The cynic in me rolls his eyes pretty hard seeing this ad, as it’s more than likely Facebook cares more about keeping itself alive as a juggernaut business than it does making sure every Joe Schmo out there can still talk with their friends and family like ‘the good old days.’
But there’s also something to be said about the fact that they’re trying to do something rather than just letting everything burn to the ground while pretending that nothing happened.
Even if that something just amounts to customer-facing BS.
I think that’s about as political as I’m willing to get on the subject right now, however. I haven’t done any of my own significant research or reporting and as a result can’t give you all a definitive ‘Facebook is doing it wrong/right’ verdict.
All I can really say is that based on stuff like the reporting out of Vox I linked to up above and the fact that Facebook is changing its third-party integration (the thing this post was supposed to be about, what a circle!), at least there seems to be an effort to improve. Something I’m hopeful isn’t just BS, as I previously mentioned.
Unfortunately that effort to improve does make my personal life a little more difficult.
See the non-political part of this post is here to address the fact that changing integration also changes the way I need to handle my social media with regards to WordPress stuff.
As must be obvious to most people out there, my social media accounts right now are primarily means of creating a wider viewership for my blog posts. Sure I still go through and post independent things on Facebook and Twitter on occasion, but for the most part I actually much prefer the freedom of being able to write as much as I desire here and spreading that to the world instead of dealing with some restriction like 280 characters.
Now that my WordPress posts will no longer automatically publish to Facebook, I’ve arrived at something of a crossroads.
Is it worth going about the extra step of posting my blog activity to Facebook directly?
Or should I just abandon that social media branch entirely?
The obvious choice for my lazy self is the latter. However, even if I don’t think too much of it in my head, there are some benefits to getting my words out on Facebook specifically.
Those benefits more or less boil down to the posts being seen by people who do, at least occasionally, pay attention that wouldn’t be able to continue doing so via Twitter. Family is the big chunk of that demographic, as I’ll see people like my grandparents liking posts out of the blue on occasion. But there’s also some high school friends I’ve got that occasionally like or comment on my posts. Which is pretty cool, to be completely honest. I like knowing that I’ve caught someone’s fancy with something I might not have expected to.
So with that said, I suppose I should thank you all for making it this far into what is ultimately a non-discussion. I pretty much knew from the get-go that my decision would ultimately be to figure out the best way to separately post these up on Facebook.
I just figured it would be a more interesting post if I went into some of the mindset I had leading up to the decision. After breaking away from writing to hit the gym for an hour, I figure I’ve hit a place in the writing and in my energy level to end it here.
Though that said, I suppose this is going to be my first post separately uploaded to Facebook. Because of that please stand by if it takes some time for me to figure out exactly how I want that to work.
Okay so it’s not actually Take your Child to Work Day… As far as I’m aware… But for my dad it was.
Since I’m off on summer break, he decided to take me along to the office today so I could get a change of scenery and tour the office — something that my sister has been able to do, but I haven’t considering I’m off in Fullerton 99 percent of the time right now.
Obviously I can’t bury the lede too deep considering the big reveal is spoiled in the featured image.
If it even is a spoiler? I’ve probably talked about this before.
My dad is a Senior Director at Fandango, the movie ticket and streaming media site owned by NBC Universal. It’s a pretty perfect place for him in the way it blends movie stuff and technology stuff.
But to be fair, it’s also a pretty awesome place in general.
Just in the last week he got moved into a different office, so I got to be an early observer.
Fun fact, apparently the desks are all mechanized to allow people to adjust them into standing desks if desired. That’s neat, in my opinion.
Not just my dad’s office is cool, though. This place is chock full of movie posters, memorabilia and all sorts of other neat modern spaces.
The more casual parts of the office extend to the outdoors as well.
But of course there were other benefits to coming in on a Tuesday than just a nice couple of spaces to work in.
Fandango apparently does catering for its employees a couple days a week, and someone had enough foresight to bring me in on one of them. On the menu was a pretty good Mediterranean spread:
We had lunch with one of dad’s co-workers from the NBC side, which actually was one of the nice things of coming to work with him. Getting to watch him in his element, talking with friends and colleagues.
Even if I felt like I was kind of just off to the side doing my own thing, possibly even in the way during such exchanges, it was still a good time.
Oh, but let’s not forget. The other cool perks of the job.
We were able to watch The Last Jedi on the big, fancy curved TV that was apparently a Korean prototype left over from the previous inhabitant of the office.
That was pretty sweet. Especially when some of his co-workers came in and sat around for a while to shoot the shit about movie stuff.
While I make it sounds like the whole day was just fun-and-games, there was plenty of downtime for me where I sat around doing some work as dad went off for meetings. Plus, many of the visitors to his office were there for official work business before getting distracted by fun movie stuff.
So if anyone else from Fandango winds up reading this, don’t take it as me saying my dad just did nothing all day. I assure you that isn’t so.
However, it still was a fun day overall. A full day with my dad, going all the way back to our early morning stop at the voting booth for the California primary election today.
Gotta do your civic duty, folks. Especially since this midterm for us means a Gubernatorial and Congressional seats race alongside a whole bunch else.
But hey, this isn’t a political post or anything. So I won’t dwell on that for too long.
It all just plays into the overall message, that I went out, had a fun day with my dad and got to see him in his natural element. Plus I got some work done in the process, so I can’t say I have too many complaints.
I don’t exactly have a lot of filler to throw in before this post gets going because I frankly don’t exactly have a lot to say about the story itself.
So I’m just going to get right into the thick of things.
My article published in the Daily Titan today was a quick and easy piece regarding the student government elections going on at Cal State Fullerton this week.
Probably the most interesting thing about the build-up to my writing this one was the fact that it wound up being one of the quickest stories I’ve ever written. At about 10 p.m. last night, my editor shot me a message over slack asking if I could write something about the president and vice president candidates running in the ASI elections this semester.
But luckily all we were really looking for was a summary of the candidates based on the information they included in the Official Voter Guide. Sort of a quick and easy translation job, if anything.
By the time 12:30 a.m. hit yesterday morning, I’d already turned in the piece. It actually only took me about a half hour or so to write the thing, but I was also spending some time with family and struggled with some computer issues trying to upload a video… You know, usual stuff.
The video was actually important because I did end up using quotes from the Inter-Club Council meeting I attended to give the story more flavor without me having to directly copy the candidates’ jargon in my own words. Wound up having to just show people the video off of my hard drive the next day because I couldn’t get it onto gmail without hours of upload time (even for a 12 minute video!), but it all worked out in the end.
Even if the piece was one of the easier 500 word stories I’ve ever pulled together, it was an interesting exercise in a way. I tried to make sure each pair of candidates had equal time to one another in print, but doing so presented a separate challenge of trying not to make every line sound too repetitive with the last segment.
I think what I turned out sounds pretty good, with that consideration.
If you want to judge that for yourself, you can see the story here. You can also read my full archive of work for the Daily Titan over on the right!
Normally I’d end things off there, but while I’ve got you all under my spell I just wanted to take a minute to promote work that isn’t my own.
While it’s great that I got a story in print today (especially for the cache of points I still need to complete for Comm 471), the big news of the day was undoubtedly what my editors Amy Wells and Brandon Pho pulled together on their continual investigation into the dismissal of former Pollak Library Dean Clement Guthro.
I personally cannot work on this story because I had personal ties with Clem (after all, you can’t avoid conflict of interest when you worked directly under the guy for a while), but frankly I wish I could.
So far this story is really feeling like the Canin striking/Milo visit of this semester. It’s big, heavy news with a lot of underlying political intrigue that they’re starting to dig up. Seriously, one of the interviews they did yesterday had such a hard-hitting question that the source was silent on recording for 15-20 seconds. It was nuts.
Sure I had to basically lay out all of the news desk pages again while they were busy running around getting this together… But I volunteered to do so because I knew how hard they were working on the thing.
While my conflict makes me unfortunately ineligible to help them out more than I have with providing sources and transcribing interviews, it also makes me all the more appreciative of the job they’re doing. Clem was a nice guy when I worked with him, and the more I find out about what happened with him the more I really get to feel the impact of local journalism at a personal level.
Plus, the stories are just really well written in their own rights! So if you want to read a nice piece of journalism today, check out their article here. It deserves way more views than my candidate round-up, it’s worth a read and it’s honestly worth following their work on it from here on out.
But that’s enough brown-nosing for one afternoon, it’s about time I ran off to class.
As the holiday season and the year 2016 come to a close (very conveniently at the same time in this case), I feel like I can’t help but take a moment to reflect on some things. As I mentioned in my last post about Carrie Fisher’s passing, the general attitude seems to be that 2016 can’t end soon enough. Globally, the world is a bit of a mess. In the United States, the incredibly divisive presidential election we just completed left everything feeling a little bit fractured and not-so-unified. In the world of popular culture lots of people who were well-known and highly adored by the general public passed away.
It’s understandable why people feel the year was so bad, and admittedly there’s some of that I’ve gotten bogged in too over the last couple months. However, for me personally, the year really hasn’t been all that awful. In fact, it’s been a fairly great year all things considered.
One thing I always find interesting as a gamer is reflecting on what games “defined my year,” as it were. Granted I didn’t necessarily diversify my interests a whole lot, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a lot of things I played.
Toward the beginning of the year, I was still riding some of my Wii U hype. I just got my system as a present last Hanukah, in fact, so games like Super Mario Maker were still huge time sucks, moreso than they are now.
Another thing that I’d gotten for Hanukah in 2015 also continued to take up my time, and that was The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes.
While the game wasn’t a traditional Zelda game like we’d all been waiting for in the relatively soon-to-be-announced Breath of the Wild, it was still a blast to play. The game had some awesome multiplayer functionality both with friends and with strangers, and to this day I don’t think I’m over how hilarious it is to spam the cheerleader pom-pom Link emoji.
On top of that, you could literally dress Link up as a cheerleader and it was one of the most viable costumes in that game. Not sure I ever thought I’d be so gung-ho to get Link to cross dress in all honesty, but I was.
Also earlier on in the year, while I was still getting into the swing of the Spring semester, I remember binging every Shantae game that’s been released thus far.
Not only did I play the original Shantae for the Game Boy, I played Shantae: Risky’s Revenge and Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse. I fell in love with the series fast thanks to the lovable characters, the quirky and fun writing, the beautiful animation style and of course the music (composed by Jake Kaufman, who also produced the music for another one of my favorite games in the same general style: Shovel Knight). I literally played through all three in a row and loved every minute of it, even if none of the games were necessarily all that beefy.
Doing a little bit of research, it looks like the latest installment in the series, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, has been released just recently, but it apparently slipped under my radar somehow. I’m wholeheartedly Ret-2-Go with that game as soon as I can pick it up, as there are a few too many games in 2016 that I unfortunately missed despite wanting to play them. Didn’t have quite as much time to devote to these things as I would have liked.
Next on the list of my year’s rundown is the first in what I would consider my ‘return of old gaming loves’ trilogy. That, of course, was Fire Emblem Fates. All three together technically, but Birthright was undoubtedly my personal favorite.
There’s a few things I’ll never forget just leading up to the games being released. First, I’ll never forget the hunt my friends and I went on trying to find some of the special edition three-in-one game cartridges for Fates that was a resounding failure but had some great moments. Like getting literally laughed at by a guy in a Game Stop one time. That was awesome.
I’ll also never forget getting the first game, Birthright, as it was actually a gift that was given to me by the editors of the News section on the Daily Titan, Micah and Brianna, as thanks for being their assistant for the Fall 2015 semester. Seriously, check it out, I still have the note here:
It was really awesome, especially considering it apparently took a lot of work to build up to the reveal, including using my friend Kaleb as a spy to figure out which version of the game I wanted more.
Fire Emblem took up a huge chunk of my life from there on out, as I went on to play all three versions. In a row. In hindsight, admittedly not the best idea, but I’m really into the games so it was the decision I made at the time. Birthright was incredible, rose-colored glasses or not, Conquest literally made my just about cry on multiple occasions from how unnecessarily difficult it got to be at times (Seriously, screw the port level. If I never play that game again, the port level is to blame) and Revelations was… Admittedly underwhelming.
I meant to talk about it on here a little bit, but beyond just being burnt out on the games by the time I hit the third, there were a few things that really sort of killed the experience for me unfortunately. First, I padded it out too much for myself. I tried to grind all the characters up to have a ton of diverse skills rather than planning ahead what I would’ve wanted, and it wound up being far more effort than I was honestly willing to put in. Second, they killed off my favorite character in what was literally the worst possible way in my opinion. I have a huge, huge rant still built up about it because the moment was so caustic for me, but this isn’t really the time or the place, so perhaps I’ll still come back to it later. Third, there was another game coming on the horizon that left me rushing to finish, which took away a lot of my enjoyment toward the latter half of the storyline. Who knows, maybe if I go back to it now I’ll have a better time, but for now Birthright will continue to be the high point of my memories for Fire Emblem Fates.
The second game in my personal trilogy was Monster Hunter Generations.
I talked about it on here a bit, so I don’t think I need to go into too much detail, but this game sucked away quite a bit of my time as well. Though I’ve only been playing Monster Hunter since the last major release, Monster Hunter 4U, it has quickly become one of my favorite franchises.
The seemingly near infinite levels of customization thanks to a wide range of monsters and a progression-based-on-skill system is something almost totally unique to Monster Hunter in my gaming experience, and it ticks boxes like crazy for me. There are very few games that I get super in depth about building sets and doing hours of research into said sets and also things like lore, but Monster Hunter is definitely one of them. It’s also one of the favorite games of my friend Juan, so we always have a good time going on extravagant hunts as a super powered duo, Hunting Horn and Charge Blade in hands.
Granted, I’ll admit that the game wasn’t quite as invigorating as MH4U for me, since that was the game where I truly had a skill curve to learn and overcome so I could truly become a master, but Generations was still a blast to play through and through.
Last, but certainly not least, comes what must be an obvious entry on this list. Hell, there’s only one game that really defined not only the latter half of my year, but also most of what I’ve built my blogging experience on so far.
And that game is, of course, Pokémon Sun and Moon. Because technically they go together even if they’re two separate games. Because Pokémon works like that.
Really I’ve said more than enough about these games in many, many posts over the last year, so I don’t think I need to waste too much time on it right now. Not only were the games beautiful and fun experiences in themselves, surpassing what I consider to be some of my favorite and some of the best constructed games in the series thus far, they reinvigorated the love of competitive Pokémon breeding that I fostered in Alpha Sapphire and got me back into the Pokémon YouTube communities I followed around the same time.
I have been and will continue to do some breeding in the games, especially once the Pokébank opens in January, and I’ve considered doing more competitive battling in 2017. There’s an official battle competition coming up pretty soon that I’m pretty sure I’ll be entering, so I’m sure there will be plenty more posts in the future on the subject as well.
Beyond those massive entries that took up my time, there are a few other games that permeated my year’s experiences. The 20th Anniversary of Pokémon for me included the continued playing of Pokémon Shuffle and Pokémon Picross on my 3DS, which were my puzzle game obsessions that I’ve only recently seemed to kick.
The summer was undoubtedly defined by Niantic’s Pokémon GO, the game which really felt the most universally unifying during the sub-par situations of the year surrounding it.
My whole family was playing the game together and I still remember wandering El Camino College hatching eggs after my summer classes there. Though I wound up a little disillusioned with the game, and still haven’t jumped in to catch the start of the Generation 2 Pokédex, I still can’t imagine Pokémon GO won’t hold a place in history in some way or another.
Also hitting the mobile gaming scene this year was Super Mario Run.
I gave my thoughts on the game in depth a little while ago, and as a small follow-up I will say that having spent money on the full game has made the experience even better for me. I’ve gotten really into collecting all the colored coins in single player on long road trips and I have a pretty well developed town so far. As a first jump into the mobile scene for Nintendo, I can personally say that Super Mario Run has been a success, and I’m looking forward to seeing more.
I also replayed quite a few older Steam games that I adore but haven’t touched in some time this year.
My friend Samantha and I played Terraria for a long stretch of time together, progressively getting better and better as we learned and built more complicated structures and items together. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth ate up huge chunks of my time in brief intervals throughout the year, as it’s always an addictive rogue-like experience that I’ll never get tired of. The same could be said for FTL, which I can only describe as a real-time rogue-like spaceship command and battle simulator. For anyone who hasn’t heard of the game it can be hard to explain, but it’s one of my favorite games of all time.
My 2016 was defined by more than just the video games I played, however. It marked the end of my first year at college. It also included my first semester as an editor for a college paper, one which I feel went really well considering all the crazy things that happened politically while I was in charge of the News page.
2016 was where I really feel like I got into the rhythm of driving and being able to get myself places. It was also the first year where I got to vote for a serious election – despite how divisive it might have been as far as an election went.
However, because of my time as a journalist, I felt like this was the first time I really got to apply what I was doing and learning to a real-world event. Literally the more I learned, the more prepared I felt to vote in November.
On top of that, I feel like I really learned a lot just in general. Two semesters and a summer intersession at college had me taking classes all over the proverbial spectrum at two different schools: Cal State Fullerton and El Camino College. Not only was the subject matter of the things I learned interesting, I also got to explore more places at the same time, which I also enjoy doing.
I got my first few relatively well-paying jobs in 2016 between being an editor on the Daily Titan and working for Boom: A Journal of California. Thanks to that, I’ve felt more independent than I ever really have before.
In 2016, I went to New York for the first time in I honestly don’t know how long.
I used to have a lot of family living out there, but now most of my close relatives live here in California, so I rarely ever get to go out to the East Coast anywhere that isn’t Florida. The trip was amazing and so much fun, and I really felt like I got close to a lot of my friends and colleagues in the newsroom that went with me.
I also got to relive a part of my Dad’s childhood by finding his old high school.
So, all and all, I’d say that trip was probably one of the most memorable parts of the year for me.
I got to visit SpaceX for the first time this year, and though I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures inside, it was still a phenomenal place to see. Seriously, some of the stuff they have going on in there is incredible.
In my opinion, I really started to come out of my shell a little bit more in 2016, and that helped me meet and interact with some people who I can really see myself continuing to talk to for a long time to come. Both those in and out of the newsroom.
2016 was also the first year I’ve let my beard grow out. It started as a No Shave November thing we did for the Daily Titan, but in the end I wound up getting such a positive reception that I kept the hair grown out.
Seriously, what a difference a little bit of hair will make. I look totally different from one picture to the other, if you ask me. Probably helps that I had more hair on top of my head to cover my forehead in the first picture too… But that’s another story.
Finally, 2016 was where I really got into blogging. Yeah, seems like a silly thing to cap this whole list off with, but you are literally reading this on my blog. I started this blog back on February 18, a day after my birthday, thanks to some school assignments I had to do. My Communications 233 class required us to have a blog that we posted 20 things on of any subject we chose. Naturally, I chose to make this a blog about video games and about my journalism experience.
Though it started as an assignment, one that I literally had to come up with ways to finish by coming up with admittedly silly things to post, I’ve come to really love doing this. Writing is a passion of mine, and getting the chance to write more often has been wonderful. It’s also been a way to voice my opinions and thoughts on various subjects, which I don’t tend to do in a largely public forum like this very often. I may be a relatively small blog still, but I feel like I’ve found somewhat of a rhythm thanks to Pokémon Sun and Moon, and I’m looking forward to writing more on whatever comes up in 2017. As goofy as it might be to say it, one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to try and write more next year, so I hope you all stick around to see whatever it is I come up with to write about.
Really, from the bottom of my heart thank you to everyone who’s following my blog, everyone who’s read anything I’ve wrote and to all my family and friends who have helped me explore, encouraged my writing ambitions, and worked to make sure I put my best foot forward. If you have any of your own favorite memories from 2016, or if you just want to send a good riddance sendoff to the year, feel free to share them down in the comments below.
I hope everyone has a Happy New Year, and here’s to 2017 being a happier time overall than 2016 seems to have been!