Tag: Evolution

Evolving at level 22

Evolving at level 22

A week ago, I lamented the passage of time after buying my graduation regalia from Titan Shops:

 

 

You might remember this as, “that thing that happened before I wrote about the SPJ meeting with Sonya Quick.”

But that brief moment of panic wasn’t actually all that brief.

Buying the cap and gown was an encapsulation of my anxiety about the imminent transition from academia into the professional workforce.

I’ve become something of an expert at navigating academia. In fact, I’m attending the Department of Communications Awards again tomorrow to get some unknown accolade.

They don’t tell us what we’re in for, so you’ll just have to wait for my recap!

Sick teasers aside, the “real world” intimidates me far more. Not only because job prospects are in decline for journalists at the moment, but because of the increase in necessities. Rent, bills, health insurance… All that good stuff.

I can’t imagine I’m alone in feeling a deep-seeded dread toward the kinds of formalities that mark the transition into adulthood, so I won’t linger on it.

Instead I’ll subvert that fear and anxiety by bringing up my favorite childhood pastime so I can keep my psyche in a place of comfort:

Pokémon

You should all know that I love me some Pokémon. Sword and Shield is coming out soon, and even though we haven’t heard anything since the first announcement, I can’t wait for it to be my obligatory Game of the Year.

Yet, having played the creature collection series since 2000, I’ve never had a reason to justifiably call myself a Pokémon…

Until now.

After I bought my cap and gown, Mom suggested I dig through my closet to find my other gowns. I didn’t remember holding onto them, so I was a little skeptical.

But then I found them.

And the three-stage evolution is actually incredible:

Over on the left you have a cute little preschool graduation gown. Because apparently my preschool did a fancy graduation.

It’s actually impossible for me to imagine ever having been small enough to fit into that.

Though who knows, maybe if I keep working on getting swole at the gym…

In the middle is my high school graduation gown. All the boys wore red while all the girls wore white, and it’s complete with extra cords and doodads—outside of a wreath made of candy that I remember wearing at the time.

Unfortunately, Cal State Fullerton denied me the opportunity of completing the red, white and blue set by using boring, plain black robes.

Like sure, the sleekness of the black robes is pretty nice. And the fact that it looks so big compared to the other two really completes that metaphorical Pokémon evolution I’ve gone through.

But was any of that worth it if America got shafted at the end?

I think not.

… Also for anyone that might ask, this is not my official “cap and gown picture” or whatever. I’ll probably wind up doing that once I have all my stoles and other doodads.

I might even be thinking about some fun pictures to take. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Stories by the fire

Stories by the fire

In the beginning, early hominids huddled in dark seclusion deep inside caverns on the fringes of the world, scared of beasts and inclement weather threatening their existence from the wilds outside.

Then everything changed in the year of our lord 2001, when the blessed Kubrick himself delivered our ancestors a gift of blazing fire: Bright enough to stave off the darkness and hot enough to cook most anything.

Since then we have gone through hundreds of years of evolution to become the kings of the proverbial and literal food chains, shaping the world and even external worlds to our whims.

Yet one thing has not changed in all those decades.

That same sparked flame which bolstered our growth was and continues to be the perfect backdrop for gathering around and exhibiting our social capabilities, doing what we humans are arguably known for best:

Talking.

After an especially windy day traveling around to do some chores, my family returned home and decided to whip up a fire for some extra help keeping warm.

Considering we’re positioned smack dab in the middle of Southern California, there’s not many chilly opportunities to necessitate a fire every year, so it’s a nice change of pace whenever we do light one.

Though my set-up might suggest there was a large storytelling element to this particular fire, I wouldn’t say there was in such a traditional sense.

The television is on right next to it, so that’s a pretty large story outlet right now.

Especially with someone like Alton Brown on. Can’t argue with re-runs of Good Eats.

However, something I’ll always link to a fire being set at the Rochlin household is the story that literally always gets told whenever we light one. Without fail.

It’s my parents’ story and I stake no real claim to it, but like I said it has become a significant part of the experience for me.

So I figure I’ll save it for posterity, if nothing else.

My parents moved to California not very long before I was born, having lived more or less their whole lives on the East Coast — New York in particular. My Dad had aspirations to be a famous actor and had long venerated the Golden State, though soon enough he had moved into more work behind the camera managing computer systems at companies like Disney.

Neither had ever owned a house with a fireplace before, so having one when they moved into this place was something special to try.

However, the first day they did try it out, the fire department showed up. Apparently they didn’t realize you needed to open up the flue, otherwise smoke would pour back into the house rather than out.

When they answered the door, somewhat confused by what had gone wrong, the official asked, “You guys just move in?”

Now that’s what I call a punchline.

Bit of a weirder post than usual tonight I know, but like I said I haven’t done too much besides chores and freeze to death in the windy tundra of SoCal.

Figured this small, fun subject would serve as a nice capstone for the end of Winter Break. Tomorrow I’m headed back to school for what looks to be my last semester of college.

Needless to say I’ll be looking to write as many fun, distraction-filled posts as possible over the next week or so to keep my mind occupied.

A change of scenery

When I wasn’t playing Smash Bros., I’ve spent the last two days trying to get a jump on the last four pieces of my fall 2018 commitments. Namely the last essay for my Evolution and Creation class.

Granted, the process of buckling down and focusing has been made slightly more difficult by the constant Discord reminders that most of my friends are officially off because of different schedules… But hey, that’s what distractions and isolation are for.

Particularly distractions and isolation with regards to the headline of this blog post: Changes of scenery.

Don’t you love how masterfully I tie in these themes and draw attention to them for extra padding and lampshading?

My change of scenery for the day came early this morning when Mom asked me to come out to Lakewood with her. While Aly went to school, we brought some of her musical instruments to their usual shop for repairs and upkeep.

After that we hung around at a local Starbucks; a nice, quiet little spot to work on homework.

But also with at least a little bit of Smash Bros. because… Yeah it’s addictive.

I actually just unlocked every character for normal Smash battles and am well on my way to completing the World of Light adventure mode. It’s a blast, even if it came at a very inopportune time.

Anyway though, sitting around Starbucks was productive to an extent. Yet the most interesting part of being there was this Christmas-themed decoration:

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Look at this thing. It’s kind of gaudy and over-the-top, but also aesthetically pleasing in a way that I can understand why it was made.

The coffee cup tree is just trite and inoffensive overall, but the reason I wanted to point it out was because I found it hilarious to see such a blatantly Christ-centric symbol used as decor here when just a few years ago the world lost its shit due to red cups.

The wishy-washy nature of Internet-era overreaction is truly a sight to behold, is it not?

That being said, because my time in relative isolation these last two days has offered me the chance to get a sizable jump on this essay I previously believed was going to be a nightmare, I figured I should talk a little bit about it.

Seems like the least I can do in all fairness after shoving the fruits of my research on the Visual Comm essay down your throats too.

This essay is about Deism, the religious school of thought that considers a God having created the universe only to step back and let everything run on its own accord. It was popular during the Enlightenment especially, and caught my interest handily during my time in AP European History back during Sophomore year of high school.

As a result I decided to focus my research paper on it. Though this specifically dives into contemporary thoughts on the religion post-evolution emerging as a result of good old Chuck Darwin.

One source I discovered talking about Deism in relation to a post-evolutionary “modern setting” (being 1898) had such a fantastic little tidbit that I figured it would be worth dedicating at least half of a blog post to it.

For context: In a journal called The North American Review, an auspicious Walton W. Battershall submitted a short piece as comment to an earlier story published. His comment was about “The Efficacy of Prayer in the Light of Evolution.”

The important aspects of the writing to pull for my paper were his discussions of prayer being a placebo of sorts. Something that provides a positive benefit to the praying individual just because of the possibility that it might receive a response from God, even if it likely wouldn’t. He goes on to undress Deism for distancing God to the point of making that possibility totally unattainable, but you can read the whole thing here if you want.

The important aspects of the writing to pull for this blog post is a line I’ll leave completely out of context just for the sake of how incredible a piece of prose it is.

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Just the thought of this clearly reverent man talking about God’s pitiful, throbbing ‘Fatherhood’ is so hilariously phallic that it made my night when I found it yesterday.

So much so that I felt compelled to share it with the world. Good old 1898.

That’s about all I’ve got for you today, as I’ve got to get back to finishing that essay. Only short breaks for blog writing allowed in the Rochlin house this weekend.

Luckily, after this weekend is three days of finals followed by freedom. Boy is that freedom going to be… Smashing.

Because puns.

The Shoulders of Giants

The Shoulders of Giants

Don’t have anything too crazy for y’all today. Mostly because I procrastinated doing this for a while.

Classes, the gym and a homework assignment I’ve been putting off that’s due tomorrow took priority, I’m afraid.

Sorry about that, blog.

But I can do something about procrastinating another day. Today I wanted to talk really quickly about something that came to my attention the other day while doing a different assignment.

Lately I’ve been reading chunks of Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species” for my Evolution and Creation class. I actually mentioned it right at the beginning of my Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom pseudo-review yesterday, but we’ve been talking about natural selection and all of the details surrounding it for about two weeks now.

While reading the introduction to his arguably seminal work (which he calls an incomplete abstract in hilarious contrast to the fact that it’s nearly 500 pages), something very poignant struck me.

At one point, Darwin mentions a specific tenant of his theory: That creatures who have specific adaptations more beneficial than others will be more likely to live on and spread their genes, hence propagating that new adaptation.

Admittedly a bit distracted while reading through that part of the piece, I rolled my eyes and muttered, “well duh.”

Then I had to stop myself and reconsider my entire life.

Because I had just ‘well duh’d’ the man who literally invented the concept I was brushing off as obvious.

A concept which he only brought into popular consciousness less than 200 years ago.

Just starting to imagine that such a ubiquitous idea in modern science is so relatively recent is kind of mind-blowing. Schools teach Darwin’s ideas of natural selection and evolution as the first two paragraphs introducing a chapter in Biology 101.

The casual air with which we treat these, frankly, revolutionary and recent ideas is kind of stunning. It’s amazing how much one can take for granted that old tenant that we stand on the shoulders of giants with regards to the sciences…

But also with practically anything else on Earth today. Seriously, even things that we consider wholly modern like social media or 3D printing can see roots traced back to town criers in a pre-mass literate era and rudimentary use of electricity brought about by pioneers like Benjamin Franklin.

Honestly I think that’s the kind of mindset I’d like to hopefully instill in all of you with this quick post.

Even if you don’t agree that Darwin was a revolutionary figure (as I recognize that much of my reverence comes from a liberal-leaning Western education and an understanding of how hilarious the man was from reading his works directly), there are tons of things you use every day that you could think about in terms of which developments have become ubiquitous in making them a now casual idea.

So go on and think about all of the cool things you use that would be unthinkable just decades ago, and let me know what sort of interesting things come to your attention.


P.S. — When I say Darwin was hilarious, just know that in the portion of Darwin’s “The Voyage of the Beagle” that covers his trip to the Galápagos, he spends a page-and-a-half describing how he repeatedly threw the same iguana into the ocean to see how it would return.

That’s the kind of man I would party with.