Tag: Finals

Graduation hardware

Graduation hardware

It’s honestly not an exaggeration to say that I might pass out at graduation this Sunday from some heat-related illness due to all of the things I’ll be carrying.

That sounds like I’m looking for an excuse to brag, but I swear I’m not.

The Department of Communications commencement is going to be held out on the Cal State Fullerton baseball stadium, which means it’ll be three-ish hours in the sun. On top of my cap and gown I’ll have the college’s stole and my Comm Awards winnings; the Honors stole; and now a Kappa Tau Alpha tassel, medal and pin.

Dr. Rizzo said she’ll be able to pick me out of the crowd with a magnet, and I don’t doubt her on that.

Induction into the Kappa Tau Alpha National Honor Society for Mass Communications happened this morning, giving me those trinkets you see in my Featured Image.

However, while that seems like a subject I’d have a lot to say about… I kind of don’t?

It was a lovely luncheon that Dr. Andi Stein and other members of the Comm Department put on, where I joined 25 people being inducted on account of their “excellence in academic work.”

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It’s a sweet little resume filler, and I got to say hi to a few faculty members while I was there. Plus, there was food:

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The enchiladas weren’t special, but they were free!

So who am I to complain?

Unfortunately, the luncheon was kind of downplayed because I had to leave within the first fifteen minutes.

It’s not that I wanted to just dine-and-dash, but my Cognitive Psychology final happened to be scheduled at noon on the same day where I had a fancy event at 11:30 a.m.

As soon as that final ended, I had to cross campus to finish the arc I established yesterday by picking up parking passes for graduation.

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Everyone understood my need to scram, but I still felt bad about it. When there are only 24 other inductees it’s not easy to slip out unnoticed.

It all worked out by the end, however. I got the tassel and my psych final wasn’t horrible (I self-calculated getting an 80 percent at the lowest), which means I’ve officially completed my psychology minor requirements.

Though that doesn’t mean I’m done with school just yet.

My online final for Comm Law — the class I’m worried about — should be opening soon.

Once that’s out of the way, I’ll dive headstrong into my Gaming in American Culture paper.

So there are still a few steps, but I’m that much closer to getting my degree.

Unless of course I die of heat stroke at the ceremony, in which case I suppose this will all have been for naught.

But you all know I can’t die at the ceremony. If I did, there would be nobody to write a cringe-filled blog post about what an amazing time I had celebrating my academic achievement to bury deep-rooted fears about transitioning into the professional world.

We can’t have that.

That time of year again

That time of year again

Hope everyone enjoyed their Mother’s Day!

We Rochlin children celebrated by getting my Mom breakfast donuts (as requested), went out for lunch and then had fancy home-cooked pasta for dinner. A very food-focused affair.

Spending the morning and afternoon with her (as well as the night with my friends losing hours to Minecraft) left me with no time to write a blog post. Though it was all a nice stress relief…

Because as you can see from my baggy-eyed Featured Image, finals and graduation anxiety are undoubtedly taking their toll.

When I wasn’t with Mom yesterday, I was working on my last few college assignments. Ever.

For instance, the Final cheatsheet for Comm Law:

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It’s technically not a requirement, but the cheatsheet for my midterm was extremely helpful. So making this one seemed sensible.

… Especially considering I get extra credit for the selfie.

Comm Law Final Cheatsheet
Eating the pain away.

Taken at lunch, with a cameo by Mom’s arm. Because taking a break in the middle of eating to do homework is the perfect encapsulation of my life.

Comm Law is arguably the biggest stressor, as it turns out that is going to be a cumulative exam. Even though it’s online and we have cheatsheets, it will undoubtedly be a nightmare.

More than Cognitive Psychology, anyway. I should theoretically be studying for that now, but the first two exams were so easy that I don’t feel compelled to kill myself here.

If anything, the more stressful parts of tomorrow are around that exam. Like the Kappa Tau Alpha Communications Honors Society induction ceremony around noon.

Which I’ll have to leave early to take my Psych exam.

That event will get me the last pieces of hardware for my graduation attire, which means I’ll have to finally have to figure out who should do my professional Grad photos.

Because that’s a thing everyone does.

However, I’m currently more concerned about parking for graduation. As I found out, the tickets I secured for my family  do not cover their parking at the event. I needed to get a separate parking pass for that — and that deadline was at the end of April.

Had to make some calls while I was waiting to hand off that sweet Gladeo computer so it could go to a better home. Editing videos, as it was meant to be.

Throw in my semester textbook return, getting a legal document notarized (like a real adult) and going to the gym, and you’ve got my scatterbrained mentality for the day.

At least once Psych and Comm Law are out of the way, life should slow down.

As far as my assignments go, I’ll still need to put together my Honors Project — which I’m working as I write:

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Then I need to finish my Gaming in American Culture paper. An endeavor made slightly more difficult by surrounding circumstances, but I’ll get to it eventually.

Oh, and let’s not forget that my Dad’s birthday is coming up.

So that’s the whirlwind I’m currently cycling through. I keep trying to remind myself that once I’m through this week I won’t have to worry about college ever again…

But frankly that seems to freak me out more.

Instead I’ve been trying to drown out the incessant thoughts with more Games Done Quick speedruns.

Because seeing someone beat a game like Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door in under four hours is enough to really melt the stress away.

Meeting expectations

If my life were a series of Sesame Street episodes, the word of the day would be: Meetings.

Pretty much as soon as I woke up, I joined Mom at a local Starbucks to have breakfast with Tatjana — the wife of Magic Moreno, who I spoke to for Gladeo not long ago.

Worth reading if you haven’t.

Breakfast was a nice, quiet opportunity to relax and sip down a little coffee. Both of which are very important the week before Finals and graduation.

Speaking of relaxing. I mentioned Tarantino movies the other day, but I’ve also been chilling out by watching some speedruns from various Games Done Quick events.

For those of you who don’t know, GDQ is a series of video game marathons where games are played for record times, under conditions ranging from basic 100 percent completion to multi-player races and even bizarre hacks like randomizers.

All to raise money for charity while showing off cool tricks. Definitely worth supporting.

My tastes are currently aligned with Super Metroid, A Link to the Past and Mario Sunshine.

However, I’m watching a neat Super Mario RPG run while writing this post, so that’s worth a shout out.

GDQ aside, after breakfast I made my way to Fullerton for the semester’s last CSUF Society of Professional Journalists meeting.

We ate pizza, discussed what did or did not work about our events and elected part of the board for next year. Most of the current group is graduating, so it’s a big old passing of the torch.

My girl Kristina, who is not graduating, will be taking over as President. And I know she’s going to kill it.

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From left to right: Jared Eprem, me, Harrison Faigen, Rick Piñon, Kristina Garcia and faculty advisor Frank Russell. Photo taken by Anita Ally.

Guess I’ll have to update all my social media descriptions pretty soon to reflect all this graduating/moving on from things.

That’s certainly what I started doing last night.

Job applications. Gotta love them.

I’ll get back to that eventually. In the meantime, from SPJ I went to my next meeting in the Honors Center to try and complete a few more graduation requirements. Namely getting my Honors Project title page signed off on.

Which I did:

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Now all I have to do is compile the stuff I’ve done so I can officially turn the damn thing in and move on.

While in the Center I had a lovely chat with Dr. Simoes as well. We spoke briefly at my presentation, but today he was more than happy to congratulate me for getting the project through this next step.

He even told me he’ll be buying a copy of my book once it’s published — so long as I sign a first edition for him.

It was very sweet.

After all of that I came back to Redondo and set up a meeting with Michelle to give back that lovely computer I’ve been holding onto. Too bad I never got it to full working condition on account of internet issue, but it’ll be much happier with a video editor where it belongs.

Once that was done, I went to probably my most important meeting of the day:

A meeting with the treadmill.

Because with all of this graduation stress on my shoulders it honestly feels great to go burn some calories and let off some steam.

Highly recommended stress relief, folks. Especially if you can watch some dope GDQ runs while you’re running!

You know I’ve got those great set-up/pay-offs.

My children come to life

My children come to life

Next week I will be presenting my Senior Project at the Honors Project Interdisciplinary Conference.

Literally, next week. Friday, May 3 at 11:10 a.m. in room 1307 of the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics.  Just in case any of you are interested in going!

It’s a whole panel on creative writing that includes my novel, a children’s book about a character with Down Syndrome and a collection of essays about learning English.

I’ll talk about that more, but it’s worth a plug now.

Mostly because it gives me an excuse to talk about one of my most exciting pieces of presentation preparation:

The character sketches.

For the last couple months I’ve been working with the wonderful Elizabeth Person to draw my four main characters. Having tangible ways to see them was a perfect way to spice up the PowerPoint.

It just so happened that my Mom knew Elizabeth from her work with Edward Branley (whom she does book edits for), and her art style meshed well with the fantasy aesthetic.

As you can see in my Featured Image, the drawings came out really well!

But of course… You didn’t think I would show off my babies and not talk about them, did you?

Nah. We talking all about these good folks!

I need to practice for my presentation, after all.


Warrior

Eliott Aviknard

Eli is a human knight who leads the adventuring party into raids, looking for treasure and glory so they can leave their small trading town in the Western Badlands and see the Bresegon Empire’s capital.

He proudly uses his father’s white armor and blade, both staples of the paladins who serve as royal guards. For the most part he is stoic and cool-headed in combat.

However, that cool facade often gives way to a defeatist, lamenting rant into a mug of ale as he blames himself for the party’s frequent inability to secure the treasure they need. Which, as a result imposes upon Romeri for funding, keeps Julianna from going abroad and impedes Sovann’s desire to prove himself as a thief.

He is also deathly afraid of horses, which comes up often as he tries to overcome that roadblock preventing him from truly becoming the paladin he claims to be (to the jest of his friends).


Mage3

Julianna Rhuiviel

Julianna is a quiet, well-studied elven mage, an up-and-coming expert in both tome- and scroll-based magics. She carries around enough encyclopedias to be a jack-of-all-trades in lore around the continent.

In the world of Isenvid and the Four Orbs (my novel’s current title), the elvish people have a tragic backstory. Their village in the Gnarled Forest was invaded by Bresegon soldiers and razed, with most of the children being taken away to reeducation schools.

Julianna was one such child, and to this day retains both a desire to find acceptance (only used to racist rejection), a drive to learn her people’s history and a fear of fire.

An element that tends to being important for a mage.

Her personal feelings of being unaccepted leave the girl self-conscious about her 7′ height, glowing porcelain skin and somewhat gangly figure. She covers herself up (under the guise of avoiding sunburns) and prefers to go by “Julie.”

Though Sovann and Romeri will frequently get on her nerves with the affectionate “Ju-Ju.”


Archer

Romeri Russev

Romeri is a human archer and the oldest member of the party. She is business-savvy and worldly, having traveled before settling down to run a tavern, and she’s matriarchal; offering all of her friends an ear.

She tends to be the most fashion-forward when not in battle-ready armor — but even then tends to go for style over substance. Her desire to look good is matched only by her desire for wealth and fiscal security.

In combat Romeri is indispensable, though she has a tendency to arrive late to the party. Her long-ranged attacks almost never miss, as she has a long history of training with some of the best soldiers on the continent.

In fact, her ex was a royal soldier who now runs her own traveling mercenary troupe. A connection that may or may not become relevant in the story. Wink wink, plug plug.

She terrifies the elf who tends bar while she is away, and her hair is dyed by flowers.


Cleric

Sovann Krei

Sovann is a human thief with a skin condition called vitiligo.

From an early age he was trained to be a cleric in the Furbism tradition, a religion that was nearly wiped out as its capital was sacked to leave the Bresegon Empire in control.

He’s an effective healer, but got bored of that mundane life and decided to become a thief. There he could find action and fight with his preferred weapon: Daggers. That transformation is symbolized by his old priest’s vestment, which has been modified to serve as a cloak.

However… He’s a klutz, and more often than not people will defeat enemies before he has the chance, which leaves Sovann relegated to healing duty.

He bemoans the job but eagerly helps his friends, and carries his old staff tied to his back with the unused sleeves of his cloak.

Sovann is also known to be a tease (especially fond of poking fun at the budding romance between Eli and Julianna that only they do not realize is happening), and will hit on just about anything that moves.


They’re wonderful, aren’t they?

I’m planning on finishing my novel over the summer once I have the stress of finals and graduation out of the way, which means hopefully you’ll all be able to read their story sometime soon!

In the meantime, I definitely recommend checking out Elizabeth’s work. It was hard to give away my babies and let someone else try to visualize how I’ve imagined them, but she did a wonderful job and was really communicative throughout the process.

Even traded rough sketches here and there for my feedback:

It’s been awesome, something I’m absolutely considering doing again.

I can’t wait to show these guys off alongside the preplanning of my plot and map next week!

Putting the “Pro” in “gamer”

Putting the “Pro” in “gamer”

With Finals and graduation and all of that terrible real life stuff on the horizon, I’m staving off imminent insanity in the only way I know how:

Video games.

Specifically, finally trying out that brand new Nintendo Switch Pro Controller I got for my birthday. Two months ago.

To be fair, I mostly haven’t used it up until now for two reasons.

First being the obvious fact that I just haven’t had a whole lot of time to play as the semester has progressed. But also I’m just a stubborn baby that tried to convince himself his janky left Joy Con was still usable, despite a significant drift.

In retrospect I don’t know why I was such a stubborn baby. The Pro Controller is actually a solid accessory!

Not only does it fit comfortably in my hands, but I appreciate the grips not being made of the same material as the semi-transparent body, meaning they don’t get covered in fingerprints.

However, I did immediately come across some trouble with the concept of using a more traditional controller for the Switch…

It doesn’t work with every game.

I notably found this out while trying to play some Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee with Aly.

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She was complaining about the drifting Joy Con, so we tried to use the Pro Controller.

Turns out you can’t use it to do things like throw Pokéballs without the same gyroscopic technology, so they just didn’t add any functionality for the external apparatus.

Cool.

On the bright side, I’ve been able to properly try out the device with a pair of Indie titles I picked up again:

Both Wizard of Legend and Enter the Gungeon received recent updates, and I’ve been playing them to avoid slamming my head against a wall from all this work.

They both add a bunch of new content.

Wizard has a new locale called the Sky Palace (similar aesthetically to The Minish Cap‘s Palace of Winds, much to my nostalgic pleasure), new enemy types and a bunch of additional spells.

Meanwhile Gungeon got… Basically tons more of everything.

It’s amazing to me that such an already stuffed game has been filled with an almost imperceptibly large amount of extra content again. That’s good service if I’ve ever seen it.

The funniest thing about playing both of these titles in quick succession is how different the control schemes are, which makes it difficult to swap between the two.

For instance: In Gungeon, item pick-ups and general interactions are done with the “B” button, while shooting and dodge rolling are done with the triggers. But in Wizard, “B” cancels out all interactions and every action/magic command is done with the A/B/X/Y buttons.

But this difficulty context switching is only going to get worse tomorrow. Because we just found out that Nintendo is dropping the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 3.0 Update:

Joker is finally here with all of his funky Persona 5 music (and a ton of really well-done fan service by the looks of things).

Sakurai is appeasing his hordes of complaining fans by adding the Stage Builder we all thought was gone. Now with moving platforms!

Clips can be edited together and posted online via the Nintendo Switch.

Move over Adobe Premiere Pro, turns out I could have been learning how to edit video in Smash Bros. all along! That’s the future of journalism.

Frankly the only “bad” part of this whole update video is the fact that no teaser was dropped for the next DLC character. Nintendo could have kept us strung along for years if they doled out teasers for new fighters one at a time.

Yet that’s not even a reasonable “bad.” The fact that all this content is coming deep into the game’s life-cycle shows it has a god damn ton of longevity.

It’ll be rough switching between all those control schemes, but it’ll be worth it.

Especially on account of all these memes:

You’d be mistaken if you thought I wasn’t going to whittle my study time away building stages in Ultimate.

Even though the mode is based on drawing and I’ll probably be terrible at it.

At the very least I’ll try bringing back some Brawl classics for my friends and I to enjoy.

Who knows, maybe I’ll even introduce you all to the pit of death in the near future. We’ll just have to wait and see!

Holly Jolly Heroes

Holly Jolly Heroes

Boy it sure does feel like I was covering the start of Book III just yesterday, doesn’t it? Glad to see Intelligent Systems isn’t slowing down with these new units.

Luckily today we just have a smaller holiday-themed banner, which makes it a quick distraction from my finals. Which, by the way, is why I’m not getting this out earlier. Had my Sensation and Perception exam at 12 p.m.

It was kind of a mess, but that’s a story for another day.

I’d much rather talk about this banner right now, as it involves my favorite Fire Emblem game! Especially since the units fill some interesting niches.


FaeHoliday Dear

  • Glittering Breath (Might = 14, Range = 1)
    • During combat, boosts unit’s Defense and Resistance by the number of allies within two spaces x 2 (max bonus of +6). If foe’s range = 2, calculates damage using the lower of the foe’s Defense or Resistance.
  • Luna (Cooldown = 3)
    • Treats foe’s Defense and Resistance as if reduced by 50 percent during combat.
  • Defense/Resistance Bond (A Skill)
    • If unit is adjacent to an ally, grants Defense and Resistance +5 during combat.
  • Vengeful Fighter (B Skill)
    • If unit’s Health ≥ 50 percent and foe initiates combat, grants Special Attack cooldown charge +1 per unit’s attack, and unit makes a guaranteed follow-up attack (does not stack).
  • Armor March (C Skill)
    • At the start of the turn, if unit is adjacent to an armored ally, unit and adjacent armored allies can move one extra space (this turn only, does not stack).

EphraimSparkling Gallantly

  • Festive Siegmund (Might = 16, Range = 1)
    • Accelerates Special Attack trigger (cooldown count -1). If unit is not adjacent to an ally, grants Attack, Speed, Defense and Resistance +4 during combat.
  • Dragon Fang (Cooldown = 4)
    • Boosts damage by 50 percent of unit’s Attack.
  • Attack/Defense Solo (A Skill)
    • If unit is not adjacent to an ally, grants Attack and Defense +6 during combat.
  • Bold Fighter (B Skill)
    • If unit initiates combat, grants Special Attack cooldown charge +1 per unit’s attack, and unit makes a guaranteed follow-up attack (does not stack).
  • Close Guard (C Skill)
    • Allies within two spaces gain: “If foe uses sword, lance, axe or dragonstone, grants Defense and Resistance +4 during combat.”

EirikaGentle as Snow

  • Joyous Lantern (Might = 12, Range = 2)
    • At start of turn, grants Defense and Resistance +5 to ally with the highest Attack for one turn (excluding this unit).
  • Restore (Range = 1)
    • Restores Health = 50 percent of Attack (min of 8 Health). Neutralizes ally’s penalties and negative status effects that last through ally’s next action.
  • Heavenly Light (Cooldown = 2)
    • When healing an ally with a staff, restores 10 Health to all allies.
  • Dazzling Staff (B Skill)
    • Foe cannot counterattack.
  • Attack Opening (C Skill)
    • At the start of the turn, grants Attack +6 to ally with the highest Attack for one turn (excluding this unit).

If I haven’t made it obvious before, I don’t celebrate Christmas. So it’s not exactly a time where I get super hyped up on holiday spirit. Thus, events in games that I play are usually my major connections to said spirit.

Everyone loves themselves some holiday variants, after all. Last year’s Christmas banner introduced a bunch of skills that changed the game by making armor units truly powerful.

This year… Not so much. But as a forever fan of the Sacred Stones I do love seeing Eirika and Ephraim. Hopefully between their appearance this Christmas, Tana and Ephraim showing up over the summer and Myrrh on Halloween we’re gearing up for new characters soon!

In terms of what the new variants bring to the table, Ephraim retains his solo warrior schtick, though it takes on an interesting light when applied to an armor unit.

Eirika stands out as being our first healing armored unit, and she’s an especially interesting support because of how she buffs your most powerful teammate.

Fae… Isn’t quite as important to me. I haven’t played the game she’s from and we already have male Grima as a green armored dragon.

So obviously two units were on my radar here, and as far as my luck has taken me so far:

I already got my boi! Plus an extra copy of Morgan, who has some nice skills to give away.

I also summoned a duplicate five-star Nanna, which is neat even if she stole Eirika’s thunder.

What makes this holiday banner particularly interesting is that it not last for a month, but we also have access to last year’s banner for the same amount of time!

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Definitely going after Tharja again once I have Eirika.

But wait, that’s not all! Intelligent Systems has tripled the Christmas cheer by also starting the Tempest Trial right away:

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Between Ephraim and my Lissa from last year, I’ve got this in the bag.

All the more orbs for me to use alongside these Paralogue rewards.


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For the most part, this Paralogue offers a standard story with a few moments of humor that stand out decently well.

As usual the Order of Heroes has decided to take part in a yearly festival so they can bolster their supplies. But this time they have true opponents:

Fjorm and her sister Ylgr confirm that the Nifl units have not disappeared into the aether thanks to the start of Book III. I just hope they’ll make an appearance in the main story as well!

The Order first encounters a particularly bossy Fae.

Then they find Ephraim and Cecilia having an interesting conversation remarking on one another’s renown in legends. It’s similar to his conversations with Hector from the Brave banner, except this time he asks if she would be willing to instruct him in the art of magic.

To which she replies:

And totally tears him down. It’s actually kind of hilarious watching Ephraim fall apart when he’s suddenly told that there’s no hope for him learning a new fighting style.

Of course that’s all set dressing, as the Order shows up and hands them a big, steaming L.

When they retread and join the others, your squad easily beats them once more to receive all the big holiday prizes. Though I can’t imagine all of these contest holders are happy with the Order coming in and winning every single one…

But hey, turns out Nifl was fighting against you in the contest. So Ylgr gives you a bit of guilt:

Which leads to Sharena giving them all of the gifts. It’s frankly the least they can do for a nation that was completely ravaged not that long ago.

Once the Nifl princesses leave, there’s an extended portion of the epilogue where Anna finds out that Sharena still believes in this realm’s version of Santa Claus because Alfonse never told her he wasn’t real.

For a subject that might have just been a fun little aside, this gag goes on for way too long in-game.

So I’m not going to offer it near as much screen time. Play the game if you want to see more!


And with that, more virtual holidays have come and gone. This season’s bounty is truly worth the orb splurge in my opinion… Though in just a week or two we’ll be getting the New Year’s banner as well.

So hey, summon with your own discretion.

Let me know what you think of these new holiday units, and who you want to see get a seasonal alt next in the comments below!

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.

Book III opens, death comes out

Book III opens, death comes out

It figures that a week before finals we get not only the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but also a huge update to Fire Emblem Heroes.

All of this excitement definitely is not helping me stay ready for exams.

But we’re not here for school-related stuff today. No, this is a two-part blog post about the big introduction to Book III! Yesterday I talked about the Feh Channel that Nintendo put out, that way today I could devote all of my time to the beginning of the story.

So knowing this is going to be long enough as is, let’s get into it shall we?

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Chapter 1

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Chapter 1 begins in an… Unexpected place.

Some time has passed since the end of Book II, though the actual period isn’t specified. Our first scene has the Queen of Askr, Alfonse and Sharena’s mother, arriving at the Order of Heroes’ castle with a mission at hand:

After Henriette becomes acquainted with you, the team heads back to Askr proper.

On the way there are aggressive soldiers from the rival nation of Embla — not seen since Book I. The siblings find this strange given how far they are from the nation’s border, but their mother explains what is happening.

Interestingly enough, despite the fact that these enemy units are supposed to be Emblian units previously encountered, there are a whole host of new unit types on the enemy side. Colored bow users, colored dagger users and flying manaketes among them.

Soon enough the Order starts to come across the two generals of Hel’s army:

Upon seeing the two figures on the battlefield, Alfonse and Sharena immediately recognize them. It turns out both figures are intrinsically linked to the characters in an interesting way.

They are the ancestors of the royal siblings and Princess Veronica respectively.

How the characters will deal with their ancestors should be an interesting development throughout the story.

When the Order finally approaches Askr castle they’re intercepted at the gate by Eir, princess of the dead. Once she’s defeated she submits to death by the hand of Alfonse (because I guess the princess of the dead wasn’t dead? Go figure that one out), but he spares her. Instead they take the girl as a prisoner and eventually a wary ally because she supposedly ran away from home and would not be allowed to return.

I say supposedly because… Well… Intelligent Systems blew their load on the surprise before Eir even arrived.

You couldn’t have kept this as a reveal for the future instead of telling us right off the bat?

Ah well. Her character description says she doesn’t quite enjoy her mother’s assault on the living, so at least the character transitioning into a true ally is still available.

But until then we have her as a “tentative” ally.

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I get the feeling most people are going to latch onto the princess fast. Because boy is she packing heat with that base kit of hers.


EirMerciful Death

Skill Set:

  • Lyfjaberg (Might = 14, Range = 2)
    • Grants Resistance +3. At the start of combat, if unit’s Health ≥ 50 percent, grants Attack and Speed +4 during combat, and if unit initiates combat, foe cannot make a follow-up attack. After combat, if unit attacked, inflicts Defense and Resistance -7 on target and foes within two spaces of target through their next actions. If bonus was granted to unit, deals 4 damage to unit.
  • Iceberg (Cooldown = 3)
    • Boosts damage by 50 percent of unit’s Resistance.
  • Swift Sparrow (A Skill)
    • If unit initiates combat, grants Attack and Speed +4 during combat.
  • Mystic Boost (B Skill)
    • Disables foe’s skills that “calculate damage using the lower of foe’s Defense or Resistance” and “calculate damage from staff like other weapons.” Restores 6 Health after combat.
  • Sparkling Boost (C Skill)
    • At start of turn, restores 10 Health to ally that has been dealt the most damage (excluding this unit).

Analysis:

Eir is just good. Her weapon and A Skill give her a ton of Attack and Speed at the cost of a little health each turn, but her B Skill just restores that health while nullifying a ton of different abilities that might give her enemies an edge.

Add onto that the high resistance attack buff of Iceberg and general ally healing and… Yeah, she’s solid.

A hell of a unit to have given us for free.


Chapter 2

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Chapter 2 begins in the grand halls of Askr castle… Of which we see one background panel.

Alfonse and his father, Gustav, vaguely dance around the reason why Alfonse had said he wasn’t allowed back home before just jumping into the meat of story-relevant exposition.

Apparently there’s a single entrance to Hel that had been sealed for over 20 years by the king’s best defenses. However something happened to the gateway that allowed denizens of the dead to emerge once more.

Right away there’s some weird business going on with Gustav being very harsh toward Alfonse while subsequently ignoring Sharena… But later we also get some dialogue with the queen that suggests he’s that archetype of a grizzled old father who wants his son to avoid the same mistakes he made.

But I’ll get to that.

First we have to discuss the shoehorned in appearance of Veronica after battle two.

There’s more vague alluding to the time skip at this point when Loki shows up out of nowhere to ask Veronica for some kind of cooperation in fighting the soldiers of Hel. They also reference Veronica’s brother Bruno, who had deus ex machina’d his way into the end of Book II but is now off on some secret mission again.

Despite Veronica’s hesitation, Loki suggests a partnership between the two nations because dead people just want to kill all living people.

We don’t have a solid idea of Hel’s motivation yet so let’s go with that for now.

My only wish is that we also get a connection to the Nifl/Múspell conflict here instead of just sticking with the Askr/Embla stuff. At the end of Book II Fjorm did join the Order permanently knowing she was dying from the after effects of the Rite of Frost.

Did she die? Or will she and Hríd and everyone be able to help fight the dead?

So far the only reference we’ve gotten to Book II comes at the end of the fifth battle. It centers around the Order of Heroes arriving at the gateway to Hel and seeing thousands of soldiers pouring out to attack a nearby village. They distract the forces long enough for Askr’s full army to arrive and rout the enemy, at which point Gustav scolds his son.

They do bring the moment around into a pretty nice message about what it means to be a king, showing that the harshness is less about being a calloused father and more about trying to groom a proper heir:

But it still seems like a stretch to toss out the entirety of Book II’s scope and consequences by saying it didn’t make everyone in the Order a hero.

You could show some more affection toward your son you know Mr. Grizzled Old Man Archetype. I’m sure that would make things better come the inevitable existential crisis of fighting death and literally seeing his sister get taken into her army.

Since you know, we’ve seen that it’s coming in the opening cutscene.

Just saying.


For now that’s all we’ve got in the Book III story. Everything is obviously a bit rough around the edges as we only have the earliest exposition set out before us.

However, not counting ridiculous things like the developers spoiling Eir’s possible double-cross later, there were a few good surprises just in the first two chapters. Connecting Hel’s generals to the history of the game’s two main nations in particular makes me interested to see more.

But with all that said, this post is extra long considering I had to sum up two chapter’s worth of story. So I’m going to leave everything to all of you here:

What do you think of the Book III story thus far? Where do you think it’s going to go? Where do you want it to go? How should we boycott the game if the Book II characters never show up again?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments down below! I, for one, am looking forward to getting some of that Fire Emblem Heroes fix in again.

Fall 2018 finals stress update

Originally I was planning on getting part two of my “old stuff from my desktop Mac” series out today (in spite of the fact that only 2 of you actually read the first one, come on guys I was proud of that). But then the unsung combination of homework, Super Smash Bros. and work meetings kind of distracted me from it.

The subject is kind of near and dear to my heart, so I want the post to look really solid before I put it out.

That being said, as a result I kind of didn’t have a post to put out for all of you. For most of the day I was totally fine with that, especially considering I put out that post last week talking about school stress and how I might fall behind on this blog stuff.

Except then I went to the gym, took a hot shower and realized that I would personally feel bad if I didn’t have ANYTHING to share with you all today.

So here’s my brief sharing something with you all today. It won’t be long, but it is actually a nice update.

While that “Burnout” post I linked just two paragraphs ago was a huge laundry list of stressors to work through, it really did turn out to be a crazy in-the-moment explosion of my self-deprecating lack of confidence.

Since then I’ve done other things like talk about Superman comics (a post that Scott from NerdSync actually noticed because I was overenthusiastic about @ing him, but that made me feel super good), find cool stuff on my old computer and play Smash Bros.

So mentally I’m in a much better place.

That better place has facilitated actually working through some of the stuff I had on my plate to a much more productive degree. Now that I’m out of my own head and just ranting for the sake of it, I’d say the main stressors of the next two weeks boil down to six things:

Three big end-of-term essays and three final exams.

Except wait, no longer are there six things!

As of about an hour ago, I officially turned in my Visual Comm essay:

Yeah you know, the one that I wrote a post on while doing some particularly interesting research for a while back? Wound up writing ~13 pages with two pages of references.

Hope the professor likes it — maybe next time he’ll remember my name and not call me James in an email.

Definitely not still bitter about it

Thus my big list of concerns drops to five.

  1. My Mass Media Ethics final paper (also the final for that class)
  2. My Evolution and Creation final paper
  3. My Sensation and Perception exam (cumulative, kind of a nightmare)
  4. My Learning and Memory exam
  5. My Visual Communications exam (online only, not so bad)

I know this post is a bit cobbled together and padded out by referencing older things on my blog, but I didn’t want to leave you all with nothing.

Because I love you guys!

… Even if you did leave my cool Smash Bros. post out to dry.

But hey it’s only been a day, so maybe that’ll pick up with time.

Either way, hopefully this post, if nothing else, serves as a reminder that even the most stressful periods of time in the moment can turn out okay on the other end.

Yeah, that’s a good message to take away from this. Nailed the heartstring appeal, Jason.

Preparation is Half the Battle

Preparation is Half the Battle

I have to say, I didn’t quite expect a real job to require sending out so many emails. But so far that seems to be 90 percent of what I’ve done as the Gladeo League Managing Editor.

However that’s neither here nor there. We may have had a meeting today, but I’m not looking to talk about that in this blog post.

I also don’t really want to talk about my physical before that, since the only significant take-away is how much my arm hurts because of the two shots I got.

Also the fact that I haven’t lost any weight since last year, I suppose. But I prefer to look at it as I haven’t gained any weight either.

So yay for starting exercising regularly!

No, today I’m just going to talk real quick about one of those staple first week of school traditions:

Marking down dates and creating binders.

Typically I’ll go to school for the first week with a smaller messenger bag rather than my big backpack. Every class usually just spends the time going over syllabi and starting the first basic lectures, after all. So I usually only need my laptop and a notebook.

I’ll usually use the notebook that later becomes my homework agenda for the semester.

Once the first week is through and I have all of my syllabi compiled, I spend a day going through them all and jotting down the major dates (exams, research papers, etc.) on my wall calendar.

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Naturally all of the big things wind up mostly lining up in December, but this semester I do have a few papers scheduled to be due in November and my exams are scattered throughout the few final months.

By this point I usually have all of my textbooks ordered and delivered considering Cal State Fullerton lists all of the required texts online.

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Chegg is pretty cheap and quick when it comes to rentals, in my experience.

With the important dates established and my books ready and waiting, next comes my personal favorite step in the process: Setting up the binders.

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Kirby and Rowlet chillin’ in the back.

My philosophy on how to create each binder for my classes varies from semester-to-semester. Sometimes my professors will require a single binder to be devoted to their coursework, sometimes they’ll even have specific divisions in mind within said binder.

Those are the fun professors. Especially when they require binder checks throughout the semester.

Thought you got away from that requirement in middle school?

Think again.

Luckily, none of my classes have those stipulations this semester. So I’m free to build everything the way I want.

Thus I’ve decided to create two primary binders for this semester.

One will be my psychology binder. I’m taking two psych classes and both seem like they’ll have a significant amount of notes and assignments to keep track of. So I’m going to keep them together, which should hopefully be extra helpful considering how much overlap Sensation/Perception and Learning/Memory will have.

My second binder with be focused on Comm courses and include a section for my one honors class. Both of my Comm classes are one-day-a-week and probably won’t have as much overall bulk as the rest despite being three-hour classes each. Figure I can throw in my also not very hefty honors workload and it shouldn’t be too much trouble.

Sometimes I’ll set up my binders to correspond with days of the week, that way I only have to bring one a day and keep the weight off my back. But this semester everything is a little jumbled, so it’ll make more sense to go by connected classes.

With that said, everything comes together and all I’ll have left to worry about is translating my first day notes from my notebook onto lined paper so it can fit into my lecture note tabs. Wherever those wind up.

Because even if I’ve already done the work once, continuity means enough to me that I’ll copy it all over again.

But perhaps not right now. There are monsters to hunt, after all.

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Focused on the hunt.

If you’re still going to school, how do you like to prepare your supplies? Or I suppose for work if that question also applies there.

Let me know in the comments, I’d be interested to hear about it!