Tag: Gladeo

The Trouble with Transcription

The Trouble with Transcription

After spending large chunks of the day working on transcribing an hour-long Gladeo interview (arguably procrastinating a lot but that’s a different story), I find myself reflecting on the art of transcription as a whole.

… And the fact that it is simultaneously the most helpful but also the worst, least enjoyable part of my job as an aspiring journalist.

It might seem like hyperbole to use such radical opposites to describe the dichotomy of such an important part of the job, but I can almost guarantee that anyone who works in the field will likely agree.

But from where does this dichotomy stem?

Transcription is an ever-present and somewhat unassuming part of the job. If you’re going to be interviewing and quoting a subject in print, you need to have their spoken words written out to be able to print them. It’s just what needs to be done.

On one side of the argument, transcription is mundane, boring and at times even seemingly superfluous. Many times in the past I’ve found myself working on transcribing an interview thinking “oh I’ve heard this before.” More often than not it’s because I have heard this before, as I heard it the first time when I conducted the interview.

However on top of that basic, unavoidable problem of just hearing repeat information, transcription is also a pain because it feels like busy work when going through the motions. You are quite literally copying down the words someone is saying onto a sheet of paper. There aren’t too many tools out there to assist with the job, either.

Because you want the most accurate wording possible so your piece comes out as accurately as possible, it behooves you not to rely on something like Siri to hear the audio and write it out for you because the computer can’t tell the difference between minutia when it comes to speech.

Ever tried to tell Siri to tell someone ‘you’re here for them’ and she instead tells them ‘you hear them’? Not the kind of mistranslation you want at any level of professional publication.

In recent semesters the Daily Titan staff has discovered a web browser-based app called oTranscribe which is honestly a godsend for the job. Not only does it allow you to slow down or speed up the audio you’re listening to, but it can be adjusted to do things like automatically time stamp, and there are other keyboard shortcuts that allow you to pause the sound while typing. Only it will go back about three seconds automatically so you can review the last sentence you transcribed.

oTranscribe is seriously awesome and has helped my job immensely. But… It doesn’t exactly address the problem of getting bored while listening to the same audio you’ve already listened to. That’s unfortunately an issue that will remain into the foreseeable future, up until some device that transcribes perfectly for you is invented.

In the real world, there are some factors that tend to alleviate the mundane boredom of the act. For example, it becomes much faster and more engaging to transcribe something when you’re, say, transcribing something live as a meeting’s secretary or rushing to get the words together for a deadline article that required a source who could only talk in the penultimate hour before publication.

I’ve done that before. Makes the process go way faster in my experience.

Without the “luxury” of a rapid turnaround to help enliven the process, transcribing can drag immensely.

Say, hypothetically, you have an hour-long interview to transcribe. An hour’s worth of the same person talking about the same thing you’ve already heard that you’re just writing down to help you later. Then add onto that the fact that there is no hard, set deadline to hit.

Someone could procrastinate forever on that kind of assignment. By doing things like writing an overly embellished blog post about the fact that you need to do it but can’t help getting distracted.

Hypothetically.

With all of that said, let’s look at the other side of the argument: Why it’s worth transcribing audio despite the heartache that comes with doing so.

I’ve had to handle stories in both ways I’m about to describe.

Some stories have been on such a last-minute deadline that I’ve had to rely solely on my brief written notes to find a time stamp for the quote I definitely need to throw in my story. It’s an effective system in that it’s fast — one of the more useful things it can be on deadline, but there are some problems.

More often than not, in the midst of an interview a reporter will be thinking about half a dozen things all at once. Not only is the necessity of the content their story requires and the deadline for which they have to get that information weighing heavy.

They’ll also be thinking about their next three follow-up questions that will give them the information needed. Except wait- the subject just said something really important an interesting. I better slot in another question to get more details about that.

Oh, and don’t forget to be checking the audio recorder to ensure it’s still taping. At the same time as you’re taking hand-written notes that are detailed enough to rely on in case the recorder breaks yet brief enough to make sure you don’t fall behind while the subject talks at a mile a minute.

See what I’m getting at?

Interviews are a serious juggling act, so much so that the overtaxed mind of the interviewer is likely to glaze over some details throughout the course of the talk. While those details may not necessarily be important, they could be. Hell there could be a perfect end quote for the story at minute 37 of one’s interview, but they were so busy jotting down notes from the previous statement that they forgot to mark down the fact that something good was just said.

In that first kind of deadline situation, the reporter might lose that quote forever because they’re in such a rush that they can only use things they’ve jotted down and know are necessary.

But let’s imagine a second situation. One in which the reporter has a few days or even weeks to work on a story. Be it a larger enterprise piece, a profile or even just an event story where they got a background interview in advance.

Should they suffer through the lengthy slog of transcribing that interview, suddenly a whole host of new doors open up.

When writing the article, now said reporter can have the transcription up in a window just to the side, allowing them to have all their information in one place that they can copy over without having to re-type everything or struggle to understand what’s being said on a pressured deadline.

Personally I’ve also found this method extremely helpful in that I can mark off what information I’ve already used by highlighting the transcript. It may seem like a small thing to remember what statement has been used versus which one hasn’t, but having the information laid out in a clear, concise way honestly frees up a lot of brain power to focus more on other thing, like where to go next or what statement jumps off the previous one best.

Then there are other benefits to having a written transcript, like being able to share it with an editor or fellow reporter who has offered their assistance in crafting/improving a piece. That way they can glance through the written words I just a few minutes versus having to listen to hours worth of audio just to catch up and know what’s happening.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. For as huge a pain in the ass transcription is, going out if your way to do so makes the entire writing process that follows monumentally easier. I can pinpoint specific stories where I wish I had transcripts of my audio, as they would have made those pieces leagues better.

The piece I had to do a few years ago on a presentation that was given entirely in Spanish comes to mind… But to be fair the issue there was arguably more about that language barrier than specifically the lack of transcripts themselves.

As unrelated an example as that may seem, it does actually highlight the chief reason I think transcriptions are essential for any and all journalists. You may think it’s mundane and worthless to listen to your interview twice-over, but the more you repeatedly look at something the more engrained that information becomes and the more you understand it.

In an industry where our job is to understand a person and what they’re doing intimately enough to convey that information to an audience presumably ignorant on that subject, the better you can understand the words you’re working with, the better you can convey the spirit of that subject through their words.

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A lazy Sunday

As the weekend closes out with another relatively chill day, I find I don’t have a whole heck of a lot to talk about.

I don’t want to skip a day of writing, but at the same time I’d rather not fall into the clichéd territory of the post talking about how I don’t have anything to talk about. So instead, upon the advice of my sister, I’ll just debrief on exactly what I did today. Because why not?

The early morning was somewhat lazy. I slept in until the beast was roused by my parents, who wanted to make sure I was cognizant of the fact that they were leaving to go do chores with my grandparents and drop Aly off at a bowling party.

They figured after I spent time with the old folks the other day I’d probably prefer to stay home. Plus, someone needed to stay home to pick the girl up from her party, and as the third family member with a license and a car it all fit together perfectly.

Funny side story from this morning: My dad forgot his phone at home on the charger this morning. I found that out when I heard it ringing from upstairs, which is what led to me actually getting out of bed. I ran upstairs to see what was happening, only to find I’d missed the call coming in from mom’s phone by a matter of seconds.

The second I hit the icon to call her back, I heard my cell phone starting to ring.

From downstairs.

So I had to head back down, at which point I missed the second call and also lost the connection from dad’s phone since I don’t have the password to unlock it.

I called them back from mine soon after to let them know I had his phone, but overall it played out like an Abbott and Costello routine.

Once I was up and about, I had the opportunity to relax a bit. While watching some videos and eating cereal — the true sign of a successful Sunday — I did some more research for some scholarships I’m planning on applying for as well as some research into profiles I’m working on for Gladeo.

Plus I did my daily activities on Duel Links and Fire Emblem Heroes. Always have to get those out of my system, even when Legendary Ryoma continues to screw me over. Only two days left for that event… So we’ll see how things turn out.

Eventually I got the call to chauffeur the young one. Her party was set to end at 2:00 p.m.

Naturally she let me know at 1:50 p.m. or so.

So I pulled all of my stuff together and drove out the actually somewhat considerable distance to a place called PV Bowl, which is a rather popular destination in my family since I found out about the place through staff bonding days on the High Tide back in high school.

Once I picked her up we decided to go to lunch. There’s a large shopping center right across the street from the bowling alley where we popped into a Jersey Mike’s, followed soon after by a trip to Yogurt Land. My choice than hers, respectively.

Because she had a bunch of homework to do (given she still has another three weeks or so left in the school year) we went home after that. Even though she insisted we go to blindly wander some other store as a further distraction. Unfortunately someone had to be the good brother in the relationship.

Of course, that doesn’t mean she wasn’t able to persuade me to watch a few Vine compilations when we got home. They’re about her favorite thing on the planet, and I do appreciate indulging in the endless gutter of internet creativity on occasion.

Soon enough my parents got home with the week’s groceries, but I managed to get out of putting them away by heading out with my dad on a longish car ride back in the direction of Palos Verdes to pick up some KFC. There are much closer KFCs to home, but he brought a cigar along so it was clearly a drive to blow off some steam.

I was willing to indulge the long ride with nice company. It was nice to have some alone time to chat, catch up on life.

When we got home the night was pretty quiet from there on out. Aly finished her homework, we all ate chicken, we looked over the upcoming California Primary ballot, we watched Westworld (as mind-blowing and wild as ever) and then I started writing this up.

Simple and clean.

Cliché aside I really didn’t have a lot to talk about tonight, but I’m somewhat impressed that I was able to get a solid 800 words or so just talking about my day. It was kinda fun to debrief too, honestly.

I’ll probably try to pivot back to a post with a more defined subject tomorrow, but if you’re interested in hearing me just chat more about my days in the future, let me know. It might become my fallback for more lazy days coming up, frankly.

Good Gladeo Housekeeping

Shout out to video games for making me push off this post for half a week.

Actually that isn’t totally fair. Yes, video games are a large culprit, but I have also been busy running around a bit doing chores and such. For instance I had a lovely time today going out with my mom and grandparents, Rhea and Joe, to get my Grandpa’s walker fixed before having lunch over in old town Torrance.

The walker couldn’t lock down, it had a screw loose, which is a bit of poetic writing in itself that is by no means lost on me. I love my grandparents, but they are getting up there.

Grandma does read my blog stuff on occasion though, and if this is one of those times when I just so happen to be vaguely making fun of them, then my apologies! You know I love you both a lot.

However I didn’t want to spend a huge chunk of this post, for as short as it’ll be, talking about my adventures with the old folks today. It’s just my excuse for waiting so long to finish writing the damn thing.

Instead I’d like to spend some time talking about Gladeo.

You all remember Gladeo, right? The internship I jumped into last summer that I’ve stuck with — despite an admittedly sizable chunk of time when I was dealing with medical issues and dropped the ball. But that’s beside the point.

Now that this summer is getting into full swing I’ve started to plan out more work that I’ll be doing for the nonprofit. Trying to find some industries to dig into, interesting representatives to interview, all that good stuff.

Part of that initiating work for me has been going through my blog/website here and fleshing out my ‘Gladeo work’ section. See, a few months back, Gladeo released a brand new, better optimized website. Before there was an awkward split with profiles on careers filling up one site while the highlights on people who work in that industry were on a different site.

Now everything is all together and it looks much more sleek.

Plus, there’s a better indication on the site showing who wrote what pieces, so it’s much easier to cite the profiles and such I’ve worked on if I decide to go out for more job interviews!

As a result, I revamped the Gladeo portion of my blog, like I said. Not only did I add in all of the pieces that I’ve worked on but haven’t had the chance to talk about because they were lost in the editing process as that new site was being finished, I also fixed the wording to reflect terms that we now use.

It isn’t ‘career profiles’ and ‘career highlights’ anymore. Now we’re calling them ‘career profiles’ and ‘spotlights,’ because even Michelle, the founder, realized that the similar nomenclature was a bit confusing from anyone looking in.

Really that’s about all I have to say on the matter, so if you’re interested in reading the work I’ve done for Gladeo you can now check out that page over on the right!

With some work already lining up, I’m hoping to update that page a good bit more over the next few months. I’ll be sure to keep everyone who’s interested in the loop.

In the meantime, if there’s anyone (preferably in the L.A. area) that’s well intertwined in a particular industry, be it entertainment, tech or anything honestly, that you think has an interesting story that could help the youth of the world determine whether they want to go into that kind of career, don’t be afraid to let me know.

I’d be very interested in talking with them!


P.S. In case anyone’s curious, the title of this post isn’t just me fellating myself for doing an amazing job changing a couple of minor details on my own website.

It’s actually a reference to this Yu-Gi-Oh! card name, which I thought had a nice ring to it.

What can I say, I have the game on the mind after discovering this amazing little thing earlier.

I hope Konami paid well for this little product placement.

Movie Magic, ladies and germs

Movie Magic, ladies and germs

Ever since my dad shifted careers to start working for the movie ticket broker Fandango, we’ve had the chance to enjoy a number of benefits.

Up to this point those benefits have been rather specifically movie ticket related (for obvious reasons). However, today we got to take advantage of benefits related to the company’s attachment with NBC Universal:

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That’s right, we went to Universal Studios, y’all.

I had a blast spending the day with my family — pictured above in the featured image if it wasn’t clear to everyone — and just wanted to take a little bit of time to debrief myself from the trip and publish a couple of the pictures. Who knows, maybe that can serve an auxiliary purpose of showing some people the theme park/studio lot who can’t get there.

He says as if there aren’t plenty of outlets for that already.

But I digress. The day began, funnily enough, with work. I still work with the Gladeo League, and every two weeks (more or less) we have meetings over Google Hangouts. Naturally I forgot that today was the day I had a meeting at the same time as we needed to drive up.

Luckily it took plenty of time to get up to Universal.

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Check out that fancy map

I would like to take this chance to apologize to Michelle and everyone else again for having to deal with my jostling around in the car during our meeting. If any of you happen to be reading this.

That said, even if you guys are reading this, I’m sure neither you nor the rest of the audience is interested in the logistics of driving to a theme park.

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It’s all about the parking, after all.

Yeah we parked in the Frankenstein Lot. Also yeah, I got my sister to pose like everyone’s favorite amalgamate Universal monster. Also also yeah, my dad photobombed the picture.

But do I care?

Nah. It’s a great shot.

But hey, let’s jump into the park shall we?

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Just kidding, got you! First I wanted to talk about this.

Look at these trees with me. These are trees outfitted with mist sprinklers. Sprinkler trees. I don’t know who came up with this idea or where they are now, but wherever they may be they should be happy I’m not there. Because I’m not sure whether to smack them for being so silly or hug them for being a genius.

It’s just so perfectly weird in all the best ways. I’m still trying to sort through my thoughts and we caught these walking into the park at 10 a.m. or so.

Okay. Now let’s get into the park. Seriously this time.

The first thing we did was wander the length of the main level to check out the different facets made available to us. Eventually we settled on the Studio Tour as our first stop.

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Not included in my photo slideshow above is the interactive portions of the Tour, most notably.

The ‘ride,’ if you’re interested in calling it such, features two 3D virtual experiences. They both took place inside dark rooms with imposingly large screens surrounding the trams, which sat on rocking bases to simulate motion. One was based on King Kong and the other was based on Fast and the Furious.

There were also a number of examples of soundstage tricks throughout the time strolling around the studio lot, all capped off with a fun, snarky tour guide. Who started off the journey making fake airhorn noises.

Fun stuff.

Also in case you were curious, the Fast and the Furious portion of the Tour was just as ridiculous as the movies. Somehow they managed to pack two-and-a-half hours worth of insanity into about five minutes. Great stuff, honestly.

After finishing the Studio Tour, we moved over to check out the Simpsons region of the park.

The wait for the Simpson’s Ride was a little rich for our blood, so we decided to go straight from there to the Lower Lot.

I didn’t get a picture of the escalators down, but there were seriously at least seven. The lot is built into a crazy steep mountain.

At the bottom there are a few rides, but Aly and I did not tackle the Jurassic Park ride specifically. A few years ago I took the literal plunge with my dad when we weren’t expecting what it entailed, and the picture that was taken of us that day still graces out living room.

But that’s a story for another day.

Today our time in the Lower Lot consisted of two rides: Transformers and the Mummy.

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The Transformers ride was okay, though I frankly don’t have much to say about it. It was a 3D experience similar to the two portions of the Studio Tour I described, except moving around rather than being stuck on a single panel.

It did manage to be just as ridiculous as the Fast and the Furious portion of that Tour, however. Though that is a given considering it was based on a Michael Bay experience.

I think my tweet from that time sums up my thoughts pretty succinctly.

Somehow the ride incorporated that mentality while also containing an arc where Optimus Prime died, then came back to help save the day. All within the span of about five minutes. Good stuff.

From there we moved into the Mummy, where a lot of the fun came from the lead-in. Mostly watching Aly freak out as we got closer to the front.

The ride itself actually wound up being way more intense than either of us expected. It accelerated ridiculously quickly — but of course the park planned things specifically to take photos right when those G-forces hit.

As a result, we got this gem.

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I thought very hard about using this for the featured image.

But if I did, I wouldn’t be able to zoom in like this:

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Talk about 100 percent pure magic.

After finishing in the Lower Lot, we moved up into the place my family was looking forward to most:

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Hewlett Packard land. Everyone’s favorite technology-driven world.

I jest of course, but we really were excited for the Harry Potter stuff.

There were a couple of awesome things about this part of the park specifically. First and foremost, Butterbeer:

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That stuff is real good. Enough said.

Then of course, the wands:

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So many wands, so little time.

My dad’s job includes a discount at all the stores in the park, so we were all able to get wands of our own. Personally, I snagged a Luna Lovegood wand because of how beautiful a shape it takes:

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It looks like a broom or an arrow, and it’s great. I also managed to get the last Snitch keychain on the rack and it’s just as beautiful. I’ll have to figure out what to do with it, since I’m not sure I want to actually stick it on my keys. Looks fragile, man.

My dad also got one of the special wands that interacted with parts of the park and he looked real cute walking around waving it at things.

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But anyway, the other great thing about Harry Potter was the fact that my friend Tiana just so happened to be coming to the park today as well, so we met up there and jumped on the big attraction.

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This statue was a little too suggestive for us to handle like reasonable adults…
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But otherwise the decor was amazing.

Honestly the line going into the ride was the best part. It had so many amazing facets to explore that were all recognizable rooms from the movie.

The ride itself was just okay, though. Fun but a little overwhelming when it rolls you totally upside down as your feet hang free.

I tapered off on photos around this part of the day. My phone had trickled down into single-digit percentages so I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my abilities to keep it alive. Basically we ate at Mel’s Diner, I had an obscenely complicated trip around the park attempting to find a bathroom and we wound up over at the Minion’s Ride. Based, of course, on Illumination’s Despicable Me.

I’ll be honest, that ride was probably the worst part of the day. It was cute, but very impersonal compared to the way a lot of the other rides were presented.

Also it reminded me a little too much of the mobile game my sister messed around with a few years back, honestly.

On the way out we hit a couple of stores.

Also here’s something we found in one of the stores that will stare into your soul for the next few nights.

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Terrifying.

From there we left the park, took that neat-o picture I used for my post’s featured image out by the big globe and went over to City Walk so Aly could drag us to Voodoo Donuts.

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That, in a not-so-concise nutshell, was my day at Universal Studios. From there we drove home, where I got in some more Don’t Starve on the oh-so-convenient Nintendo Switch:

Then I started working on this blog post.

Don’t think I have too much more to say without things getting weirdly meta and self-contemplative, so I’m going to leave off where I started. I had a great day with my family and I can’t wait to see where we wind up next.

Turning Twenty-one

Turning Twenty-one

There are a number of milestone ages a person hits as they grow older.

When a child turns one, their parents have the opportunity to gleefully celebrate helping their progeny survive a full rotation around the sun.

When a pre-teen turns 13, in the case of my heritage at least, they get to celebrate a religious coming of age with their bar or bat mitzvah.

When one on the edge of ‘true’ adolescence turns 16, the celebration is said to be sweet.

When that now teenager turns 18, they are endowed with the right to drive, to legally consent to sexual endeavors and to both fight and potentially die for their country.

Then, when 21 rolls around, that young adult rounds out their accumulation of privileges by gaining the ability to drink alcohol. Legally, at least.

There are many more from there on out, be it the exit from academia in the mid-20s, the ‘over the hump’ years of 50 plus or the retirement years starting in… Well, whenever people are able to retire in this day and age. But for all intents and purposes, the important milestone we’re here to discuss is 21.

Because today — February 17, 2018 — is the day that I become a 21-year-old man and receive all of the rights promised by that status. Namely, I’ll get my hands on a driver’s license that is facing the right way (and hopefully take a better photo at the DMV while I’m at it), and I’ll be able to go out drinking with my friends.

Granted… I don’t exactly have a huge desire to go out drinking. My close-knit high school friends don’t really either, though I’m sure my college journalism friends will be chomping at the bit looking to get me out to a bar in Downtown Fullerton to celebrate.

I’ll probably try it, in a controlled situation, just because it would seem like a waste not to take advantage of the opportunity. But like I said, I’m not wide-eyed and excited about drinking, nor do I imagine I’ll be doing it very often.

Beyond that, what else do I have to say about turning 21…

Honestly, it doesn’t feel very different from being 20. I know that’s a cliché that’s thrown around a lot, but it’s true. Really it’s just more of the same as far as my day-to-day life goes.

Still doing the semester grind, with an actually quite busy week ahead of me thanks to midterms. I’m working on a few pieces for the Titan, though they’re more on the back burner thanks to the aforementioned tests and such. Gladeo is still giving me work, though the subjects I’m working with are harder to get in touch with then I’d enjoy.

Oh, but in more positive news, the student-run publication California Connections that I’m head editor on finally got its first writing submission last night. Shows that all the work I’ve been doing to get the word out has paid off at least a little bit!

Plus, I’ve been working with our advisor Bonnie Stewart on preparing a presentation that a few of us are going to be giving with her at an upcoming journalism conference based on our work covering Milo Yiannopoulos. I’m also going to be getting an award at that conference, so it’s really exciting!

Though I don’t have much to say about them at this point. Just stay tuned for it, I suppose.

Pretty recently hit 200 posts here on this blog, right around the same time as we hit the second anniversary of this black hole for my thoughts existing. That’s pretty awesome, I think. Sure some of that content might have been a little same-y and formulaic over this last year in particular, but I think I’ve got some stuff working in my head to mix it up more, so we’ll see if things get more abundant from here on out.

To be completely honest, it might not get much more exciting than what I’ve had up to this point until I’m out of school and have less diverse responsibilities weighing my time down, but even then I’m going to keep working at it. I do enjoy having this repository for my thoughts, after all.

That said, I think I’m kind of out of thoughts to deposit for now. I don’t have much to say in this self-congratulatory twenty-first trip around the sun pat-on-the-back of sorts. I’m just excited to see where things go from here.

I’m hoping you’re just as excited to stick with me on the journey! Here’s to another 21, and then some.

Work Experience Housekeeping

Work Experience Housekeeping

I have been meaning to do this sort of thing for a while. However, even though I’ve had a number of weeks off during Winter Break to edit my stuff before this, sheer laziness has been a hell of a driving force in keeping me away from doing even this simple task.

Yet after working on a wide-range of content across the board of organizations I split my time between this week (including a bi-weekly Gladeo meeting, ) I finally feel a little bit of that laziness melting away in place of the inevitable strung-out workaholic nature I tend to slip into during school semesters.

In an ironic twist, I decided to take a break from that job productivity I’m finally feeling to instead do something personally productive by updating my blog. Does that defeat the purpose of being productive by acting as a glorified variant of procrastination?

Well…

Perhaps.

What can I say, sometimes it helps me gain traction in one realm of work if I find that I can be productive doing something. Anything, really. Even if some people might think it’s just a distraction.

But I’m getting a little too deep in my mind’s weeds at this point. After all, this is basically just meant to be a signpost to advertise that there are more things to look at on my blog. So, what new things are there to look at on my blog?

I’ve done three things primarily:

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First, I adjusted my Daily Titan Article Archive page to reflect my shift in position this semester. It’s still a bit strange for me, even after a number of pre-production days, but after a year and a half I’m no longer an editor for the paper thanks to my need to take Comm 471. Instead, I’m an Editorial Assistant again.

Basically that encompasses the entire change. Until next week, when my first two articles of the semester are published, it shouldn’t see too much more activity.

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Second, I added a new page to serve as an archive of my involvement with BOOM California. As an assistant for BOOM a lot of my current work involves simply copy editing pieces that are slated to be published on the organization’s website, since there are no longer print publications being put out. Those edits don’t get explicit credit, so what I primarily focused on was adding links to the larger magazines that were printed and have my name attached.

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Third, I added a second new page to serve as an archive of my involvement with the Gladeo League. While pieces for Gladeo have a relatively slow roll-out, and I had a lull of writing for them as I went through my personal medical concerns, I stayed on with the group and will continue to work on profiles for them going forward. Thus, I decided it was about time to create a dedicated place to store everything I write. So far I have two highlights up, but there are two more I’m working on as of right now.

These new pages are available to check out now over on the right alongside the rest of my experience databases. The only thing I haven’t been able to figure out is how to properly adjust the categories in an order I’d prefer to see them in.

For some reason the default is alphabetical order, and for the life of me I can’t seem to reorder them in any other way. It’s a small logistical thing, but it bugs me. Even if I’m sure it doesn’t bug anyone else.

That said, as I mentioned before the spring 2018 semester begins next week. Though I suppose I didn’t quite write about everything I had looked to thanks to my aforementioned laziness – my feelings on Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon comes to mind – I did do a good amount of housekeeping that I’d wanted to over the break. In my opinion, this is a good capstone for that.

So as the semester begins, for anyone going back into the trenches with me, I wish you all only the best of luck.

 

Saying Sayonara to 2017

Saying Sayonara to 2017

Looking back at my 2016 end-of-the-year post before starting this one off was a pretty interesting little experience. Mostly because I reflected on the fact that last year was a pretty universally divisive time with a lot of personal accomplishment that made things worth it all in the end.

This year, I have essentially the same thing to say. Except I would argue that the divisive part of things had been turned up to 11. Plus, while things have been great for me, a lot of things also have not been so great.

Spoiler alert, I’m basically just ready for 2017 to end.

Unlike in last year’s discussion, I won’t go too far into detail about my video game playing experiences this year. I kind of already did it with my top 10 games list the other day, even if that was in order of my personal enjoyment rather than the chronological order I played things.

I’m going to just leave this off as a ‘check that list out here‘ note rather than talking too much more about it, especially since I’m probably going to do a few more video game-centric posts soon enough.

Namely tomorrow when Fire Emblem Heroes New Year units are released.

To cover all of my bases in this post just in case you guys don’t want to look back, just know that I didn’t play nearly as many games as I would have liked this year, and while I thoroughly enjoyed just about everything I did play, it’s a shame I couldn’t have done more due to my time commitments.

Speaking of, those time commitments wound up bookmarking my 2017 more than my video games did in that respect.

The Daily Titan has been the main driving force of that throughout the year. While last spring semester was my first time being an editor for the paper alongside Megan Maxey, I continued on in that role both semesters this year, only getting better and better at the job (in my opinion, at least).

During the fall semester, I worked together with Sarah Wolstoncroft – who had been one of my amazing assistants the semester before. Then this last semester, I worked together with Brandon Pho – who again had been one of my amazing assistants the semester before. Amazing how that pattern works out in the smaller College-level news industry, especially when you’re one of the younger starting people in the room to observe it.

Looking back at my archive, I’ve written a total of 40 stories between these last two semesters combined. That’s a lot of writing, even kind of overwhelming to think back to considering everything else I balanced, and there are some of them I’ll probably never forget working on.

A couple of articles were really serious last minute things I’ve had to do, such as our reporting the night of the Las Vegas shooting. A couple of them have been little passion projects for things like video games, such as my reviews of the Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga remake and Fire Emblem Heroes. I’ve even done a few things I never quite expected to do at this point in what is a burgeoning career, like writing entire articles off of my phone while translating documents at Downtown Disney. The policies put into place by President Donald Trump, as well as things like the CSU-wide tuition increase, played big parts in the overarching issues we covered.

However, I think the stories I especially won’t forget are the massive projects I helped lead during my time as an editor.

During the spring came the work we did on Homeless in OC, a series that blossomed out of the Daily Titan advisor Bonnie Stewart’s Investigative Reporting class where I got to participate in the all night Point-In-Time count and do extended research into the Anaheim shelter system, particularly under Mercy House.

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Spring was also the semester of the Eric Canin incident that shook up Cal State Fullerton. For those who don’t remember, at an anti-Trump rally early on in the year, an anthropology professor reportedly struck a member of the College Republicans club as both the protest and counter-protest made their way through campus. There wound up being many months worth of stories to follow as a political shitstorm erupted over the altercation, eventually resulting in the Professor coming back to teach as the verdict came out that he did strike the student, but there were enough caveats to the moment given it was his first offense that no harsh action was taken outside a few month’s suspension. That last story in particular was special for me in that our Chief Communications Officer Jeffrey Cook reached out specifically to give us information ahead of time so I could write a substantial story over the summer wrapping things up.

Part of the Canin story involved me growing a close relationship with members of the College Republicans club, which was extra useful come the fall semester when I got to be the lead reporter in our work on Milo Yiannopoulos coming to CSUF.

Granted, that whole experience did kind of wreck my Halloween this year, but the aspect of working on and learning from such a high-controversy story was something I wouldn’t change for the world.

Plus, I got to be on NPR because of it, so I definitely can’t complain about that.

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The fall semester was also bookmarked by dealing with (current) University President Mildred Garcia. I got to be part of the team that did an interview with her toward the beginning of the semester, and I was also the person that covered the fact that she would be leaving at the end of the semester. In my opinion, it’s never a bad thing to build a good reputation with the higher-ups in an organization. Makes it easier to do things like get comments down the line.

Those big stories weren’t the only things that made this such a hard-working year for me. I also kept on with Dr. Jason Sexton as a part of Boom, which led to me becoming the inaugural editor for an offshoot publication called California Connections in the spring. That project did get off the ground, but most of the work in creating a publication is going to flourish in 2018, so stay tuned for that.

I also started on probably my first major internship over the summer by joining a non-profit organization called Gladeo. Gladeo’s goal is to create a database of business profiles and job descriptions that can all be in one place and help students decide what they want to do for a living. A pretty noble goal, and one that I likely would have benefitted from if I haven’t found my place as a Journalist.

Even if certain other events (that I’ll go into in a bit) got in the way of working hard for that group over the spring semester as well, I’m sticking on with them too and will continue to produce profiles as the organization revamps its web presence in the early months of this upcoming year.

There are still a few interviews I did with people who work at DreamWorks animation that I have to pull together into articles… But I will get around to that soon enough.

Among my journalistic ventures this year, I also got to do some cool things like visit the LA Weekly office. It was a great place and I got to meet some cool people as a result… It’s just too bad they were given a bad break just a few months later. It’s a shame, really. Especially since we know people who worked there personally.

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On top of that, I’ve also had a few other fun trips throughout the year. Revisiting Old Fort MacArthur Days comes to mind, as does events I’ve taken part in at places like The Autry Museum. Plus, I got to go to the Fox studio lot for a movie screening – though I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures there, unfortunately.

Being a journalist is only half of my professional moniker, however. The other half is being a student, and I have to say that my classes have been quite enjoyable this year… For the most part.

During the fall I took California Government and got a wider understanding of just how crazy things are in the old Golden State I’ve grown up in. I also took Primate Anthropology, which gave me a pretty deep appreciation of our mammalian ancestors that I never exactly expected to care so much about. My aforementioned Investigative Reporting class allowed me to work with Bonnie and other members of The Daily Titan and journalism majors in general to do some really fascinating and personally perspective-changing research into Homeless populations. Finally, I also thoroughly enjoyed my honors class, which delved into the history of the modern world from a deep perspective, offering in part some really interesting connections to today’s political and social workings.

When spring came along, for some reason I decided to kill myself further by kicking things up a notch and taking five classes.

I coincided my work on California Connections with an internship class out of the English college under the instruction of our internship advisor in Communications, since I was able to get extra credits toward my degree despite not being able to take the Comm-focused internship. Beyond that, I picked up my minor in psychology and jumped right in with a Statistics course (with its corresponding lab) and a course in Developmental Psychology. Both were undoubtedly great entry points into the minor… Even if I admittedly was not the strongest stats student, at least in part due to the fact that I wasn’t a huge fan of my professor. However, my Multimedia Journalism class under Bonnie once again gave me a great opportunity to practice doing video journalism, which at one point helped me bolster my working relationship with the Project Rebound program on campus, and my Junior Honors Colloquium course began me down the journey of preparing for my inevitable Senior Honors project.

Plus, I was in the same class as the president of the College Republicans club, which made things vastly easier to keep up on the Milo coverage than it otherwise could have been.

Sheesh, just writing all of that out was a bit exhausting. Like a lot of people have asked me in the past, I too kind of question how I’ve been able to do all of this with enough competency not to necessarily fall on my ass in any of it.

Who knows, maybe I’m just a bit better at this whole life thing than I give myself credit for.

Despite this wealth of academic and real-life opportunities that have flourished for me over the last year, not everything in 2017 has been all sunshine and rainbows.

Namely, health has been a major concern for my family all throughout.

A lot of the beginning of the year focused on some of my dad’s diabetic complications, which led to him being off his feet for a long, long time due to the introduction of a number of foot surgeries into his life. Luckily, he’s way better now and did not have to go through anything seriously traumatic, so he’ll be apt to tell you that the big take-away from it all was the ease that comes from now having a handicap permit.

My mom and sister also went through their own little arcs, the prior dealing with bronchitis and badly scraping up her knees and the latter dealing with tendinitis that has minorly inconvenienced her blossoming career in music.

However, the other big medical complication of the year came from one other than yours truly.

I haven’t exactly talked about this little chapter of my life too publicly because it was a very personal thing, but at this point I’m well past the blunt of it and figure now would be as good a time as ever to recount the details for posterity.

During a blood test as part of my routine check-up in September, the doctor found that my blood platelet count was abnormally, if not dangerously low. When that result continued to show itself, I was sent to a Hematologist, where we tried a number of treatments to resolve the issue, such as taking steroids over a long period of time in hopes of correcting what was believed to be a potential issue with an overactive immune system.

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When that didn’t show as promising a result as expected, I instead took part in an Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IvIG) treatment. After two days worth of a number of hours sitting in a chair, I wound up being in the lucky .01 percent minority that suffered from aseptic meningitis as a result of the treatment.

It was a viral form of the problem, which meant it wasn’t nearly as serious, life-threatening or contagious as a potential bacterial strain would have been. However, I landed in the hospital for a couple days as a result.

On the one hand, I will admit that it was kind of nice getting a reprieve from the world and some quiet time to catch up on work while I was there. Though, on the other hand, it obviously put a wrench in… Basically everything. Even after I got out of the hospital, where I got to try a bunch of new things like a spinal fluid tap, there was at least a week afterward that I still had to rest at home and couldn’t look in the light for more than a few minutes.

Once my life began to normalize again, I was still a little fuzzy-headed for a while, but eventually I got to a comfortable place again, where I continue to stay today.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that my blood platelet count normalized perfectly after the IvIG (a rather ironically perfect twist of fate I’d say), the number has fallen back down since. It’s an issue I might be dealing with for the rest of my life as things go, but for now I can happily report that things are going fine.

That long, drawn-out experience which interrupted a part of my 2017 was only one part of why I’d say things were so rough. Among them were the echo chamber of news that I now tend to subject myself to as a semi-professional journalist.

I don’t like to get very political on my blog here. Or anywhere, in fact. My whole choice in career is built upon the ideal that I should simply be a reporter of things, as objective as possible about as many things as possible. So, I’ll leave it at this. Watching things happen in the world of national politics that I don’t agree with has been a constantly draining force in 2017, especially given that it seems to be all we hear about day-in and day-out for months on end.

Though as usual things like video games and time with my friends are a great escape from that endless grind, as I mentioned before I’ve found myself busier than ever with the work that keeps me immersed in that world, so it’s been a fairly relentless cycle.

Even with all the negativity that has defined 2017 for me, however, I can’t help but continue to look optimistically into the future.

2018 has some big projects in the works, such as the hopefully successful publication of California Connections toward the end of this spring semester.

On top of that, I’m going to be working as a staff member of The Daily Titan through the journalism concentration capstone class, Comm 471. Alongside that opportunity for a break from the hard-working job of editorial board that I’ve hammered at for the last year-and-a-half, I’m also going to hopefully be an assistant on a more feature-focused desk to give me a better grasp of the newspaper as a whole.

Past that, 2018 should hopefully be a year where I find myself less downtrodden by things like medical concerns. With a Nintendo Switch in my possession for the whole year ahead, it should also be a good opportunity to try even more games should I find the time to do so.

As I like to get meta with this site as well, I’ve put together 103 posts throughout this year (this one included), and I’ve gotten a good chunk more views in the process.

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I’m looking forward to watching this little passion project of mine grow about as much as everything else, since it really has developed into something I enjoy doing. One thing I’d like to do in the coming year is hopefully diversify what I post just a bit more, but we’ll see what my time permits.

Lastly, for now at least, 2018 will also be the year that I turn 21. A typically sought-after time where I’ll finally be able to round-out the governmental privileges of adulthood like drinking. Though I don’t plan to do a whole lot of that, I admit I am looking forward to a certain sense of prestige that comes with it.

If you have any favorite, or I suppose not-so-favorite memories from 2017, feel free to let me know about them in the comments section. I’m hoping it’s been an overall happier year for all of you out there than it has been for me, since I’m just about ready to leave everything behind for something better around the corner.

Here’s to a Happy New Year for everyone who continues to stick around on this little journey I call my life!

Interviewing on Location

Interviewing on Location

My work with Gladeo this month has me investigating more technical jobs than I have since the summer began. I’ve started to do my research into being a database administrator, a system analyst and a network architect specifically.

I wound up scheduling a good amount of my work today since I’ve been busy with orientation for the Daily Titan the rest of this week. Early on this morning I spoke over the phone with Tom LaPorte, who does work with databases for DreamWorks Animation (DWA) Nova.

However, this afternoon was a bit more special in that I got to do my interview on location. That location happened to be one of my favorite places: The DWA campus in Glendale, California.

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My dad worked at DreamWorks for a number of years and made plenty of friends while he was there. What kind of a journalist would I be if I didn’t use those connections where I could?

I talked with Scott Miller, who does system analysis among a variety of other roles in both the behind-the-scenes and audience-facing aspects of technical work.

While the conversation was wonderful, equally wonderful was the chance I got to explore the DWA grounds. I did it fairly often back when dad worked there, but being able to leisurely stroll around on my own a number of years later was great. After all, I haven’t been since the Asian American Journalists Association Trivia Bowl in 2015.

I talked about my time at the Trivia Bowl last year, but I wasn’t really blogging the year before. So in case you were curious, the Trivia Bowl was held at the DreamWorks campus that year. Now you know.

Exploring the campus is generally one of my favorite things to do because of how beautiful it is there. It’s seriously like a high class park that happens to have buildings for work on it. Sometimes I almost feel like it’s akin to an open-air art exhibit.

So, I figured why not share some pictures of a bunch of the cool natural architecture that has been built up there? After all, I’m sure not many people will get the chance to see it themselves.

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Honestly that’s all I wanted to do here tonight, spread the word on how beautiful the DWA campus is for those who might not get the chance to see it.

And humble brag about the cool thing I got to do, if I’m being completely transparent.

While I’m still waiting for my Gladeo pieces from June to get published (since they’re going down whatever spaced out pipeline has been planning out beyond my control), expect to see some more DreamWorks-focused pieces also sometime down the line.

I also put in a message to my bosses today that I’ll be keeping on with the internship into the Fall semester, so I’ll likely keep having more to talk about for some time.

The perks of being in business

Check out what I got in the mail recently:

That’s right, business cards! Arguably one of my favorite perks of doing new things, in this case for my internship with Gladeo. I suppose there’s just something really satisfying about having your name on an official piece of affiliation, showing that you’re a part of a bigger whole and all that. I know I still have my first two semesters’ worth of Daily Titan editor business cards on me in case I need them.

These cards are particularly interesting in that they have the organization’s mission statement on the back. Making it white text on a black background creates an interesting dichotomy with the white on the front. Plus, having been asked by both of my main interviewed sources just what I was doing with Gladeo, it’s certainly useful to have the official version of the story readily available like this.

Though I’ve only done over-the-phone interviews thus far, I’ll definitely start to carry a few of these on my person as well so I can happily hand them out whenever I get the chance.

On that note, I do have my first two pieces for Gladeo more or less put together and turned in, so once they’re edited and I’ve been given whatever notes I need to improve upon or fix, I should be able to talk some more about the work I’ve been doing. After it shows up online, of course.

So hopefully look forward to that in the near future.