Tag: Grandparents

My Grandpa is Into the Spider-Verse

Broke away from my homework long enough today to venture into the wild, rainy yonder so I could spend some time with the family.

Not the usual suspects though.

No, today I went out to the movies with my sister, cousins Josh and Erica, as well as our collective Grandpa Joe!

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Ain’t we the cutest?

After all the unexpected chaos of Grandma Rhea last weekend, we decided it would be a good idea to spend a bit more time with the big lug. Get him out of the home, have some fun.

So we took him out to the movies, and lunch soon after!

As the cheeky, self-reference headline suggests, we all watched Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. For Josh and I, it was a repeat viewing. For the rest it was a first.

I’m sure a lot of you will remember that I fricken adored that movie the first time I caught it.

Pleased to report that I liked it just as much, if not more, on the second go.

However, I imagine the more pertinent question on your mind is how my Grandpa felt.

Well… The reaction I got after the movie ended was, “It was alright. But I wouldn’t see it again.”

I can’t blame him. There’s a whole lot of action and visual overload throughout the film for an 87-year-old.

Granted I’m not sure it matters, all things being equal. The important part is he had a great time being out with us, especially at Johnathan J. Rockets afterward where we could chat and eat.

Might not know who his favorite spider-person was, but I’m still glad to have shared one of my favorite recent movies with him.

Grandpa wasn’t the only one seeing Spider-Verse for the first time, however. Alyson and Erica both seemed to love it, and I’m definitely looking forward to doing this gag on repeat.

For my money, the movie stayed fresh thanks to easter eggs and foreshadowing moments early on.

I live for that shit, and movies that do them well tend to become some of my favorites. Like Fight Club.

Except I’m not going to talk about Fight Club. It’s in the rules.

Instead I’ll use a part of this post to talk about some of my favorite moments of foreshadowing here, since they add a great dimension to the film.

If you haven’t seen Spider-Verse yet, don’t read past this point. I don’t care that it’s probably past spoiler barrier, it’s still an experience I’d recommend fresh.

That means you, Mom and Dad. Don’t be reading this next part yet.

Continue reading “My Grandpa is Into the Spider-Verse”

The things we leave behind

The things we leave behind

We started to go through some of the stuff my Grandma Rhea had in her room at the assisted living home today.

I know that’s a very morbid way to start one of these, so just trust me when I say I have a not quite as morbid reason for talking it over.

Yesterday I said I probably wouldn’t touch the subject for a while, so the fact that I feel good doing this should say something in itself.

None of us seemed to realize just how many old knickknacks and photos of different family members she had hidden away until we began looking through her bedside table drawers.

For instance, this beautiful little stand stood out to me.

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I’m not entirely sure where it is from or what the 30 is supposed to mean, but the ornate leaf pattern is just great.

We also came across a collection of business cards she apparently ordered for herself:

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It was a genuine surprise to all of us that she had these hiding away, as none of us were ever given any of them.

However, it’s a testament to how much she cared about the little knitting business she was trying to start for herself in her twilight years that she went out of her way to get cards made. There were a few half-finished pieces hiding around the room as well.

I’m probably going to carry one of these cards around, or at least store it in my room somewhere.

But then of course we get to the fun stuff: The photos.

I would say the Featured Image I used is my favorite. From left to right, it’s my Grandma, Dad, Aunt Mindy and Grandpa together at Mindy’s graduation from Kingsborough Community College.

In a similar vein, there’s another photo of the three minus my Dad, this time featuring Rhea’s sister Toby who passed away a few months ago.

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There were also a couple of grandkid pictures she kept, mostly school picture day kind of set-up shots for me, my sister and my two cousins.

Arguably the most interesting things we dug up, however, were these:

From the Brookside Hotel in Kerhonkson, New York.

I can’t confess to knowing what these are called, and if you know I would really appreciate some insight. Though in general they kind of remind me of ViewMasters.

On the other side of the larger, capped end are tiny little photos. That cap is slightly translucent and you can hold it up to the light while looking through the smaller end as though it were a small kaleidoscope.

Time has been kind to these, as in 2019 we have magical pocket-sized devices with small, yet fantastic cameras that I figured could easily simulate looking inside.

So I have the photos within to show you in as similar to an authentic means as possible.

First there’s this photo of my grandparents together when they were younger.

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Then there’s this photo of my Dad with his parents later:

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Knowing that Grandma has all of these hiding away actually made me feel a whole lot better about this entire unexpected, difficult ordeal. It’s a good reminder of just how much she cared about us that she held onto all of this for… Well who knows how many years.

The feeling is bittersweet, but more positive than upsetting overall.

It helped that my Aunt Mindy and Cousin Erica were down here today along with us.

Because if nothing else, them being here meant we also had dogs.

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The good boy Rocky (left) and good girl Sophie (right). Plus Aly’s a good girl too, I suppose.

With these puppos, it’s hard to really be upset.

A smashing blast to the past

A smashing blast to the past

Gotta love tentpole programming.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is officially out today! Even though I haven’t personally gotten my hands on it just yet, by all accounts it promises to be a fantastic collection of all the greatest parts of the series’ 19-year history.

I’m excited to get my hands on this sucker, because I’ve been a pretty hardcore fan of Masahiro Sakurai’s wonderful party fighter games since Melee on the GameCube.

Melee was quite literally a game that defined my young childhood, with many birthday parties spent playing as Young Link on the “Great Bay” stage from Majora’s Mask (many years before I actually played its game of origin).

Brawl was the game that offered my core friend group, from middle school on, to duke it out, find our main characters and test our creativity building our own fields of combat.

Smash 4 brings with it memories of being so excited that I played the demo endlessly during art class in senior year, time that left me proficient in newcomer Mega Man as much as I would be proficient in Lucina — my current main character, passed along from Marth before her.

Yet the fourth entry in the series became so much more. Long nights in the Daily Titan newsroom were more manageable after my boi Aaron Valdez brought his Wii U and we held DT tournaments.

Hell I even have some fond memories of the original Smash Bros., despite the fact that I never owned a Nintendo 64. I distinctly remember going to an animation camp while visiting my grandparents in Florida one summer, and a major highlight of the camp was getting there early to play on some of the consoles available in their waiting room.

My attachment to the series went far deeper than just playing the games with my friends, however.

When Stephen Hillenberg died a few weeks ago, writing my blog obituary for him brought back a lot of memories. One of the most potent memories was attending a sprite animation camp (here in California) over a summer with my friend Mitchell Winn from all the way back in elementary school.

Thanks to that camp, I learned a good many things about grabbing sprites from my favorite games off of The Spriters Resource and using them in different projects.

I took on ambitious sprite projects in the months and years to follow. Including recreating that famous Band Geeks halftime scene from Spongebob with video game characters.

One other project that felt pertinent to today required going back into my old desktop Mac.

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This dinosaur literally hasn’t been touched since 2012 based on the security update. Thus it has become a crystalized time capsule for 15-year-old Jason.

I had so much fun going through this thing that I’m going to talk more about my discoveries later this weekend.

But for now, the important connection back to Smash Bros. were these desktop wallpapers I made using character sprites from various games and other fan projects:

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The Featured Image, a classic fight between Link, Charizard (sans Pokémon trainer as this was the Brawl era), Kirby and Marth on “Mushroom Kingdom II.”
SSBB Battle Battlefield Stage
Four hatted-Kirby duke it out on Melee’s “Battlefield.”
SSBB Battle Yoshi Stage
Pikachu, Yoshi, Marth and Falco fight on “Yoshi’s Island,” where Marth shows off his Dolphin Slash. A favorite move of mine, clearly.
SSBB Battle Mario Stage
The Mario Bros. take on Link and Sonic on the aptly named “Mario Bros.” stage.
SSBB Battle Final Stage
A slightly askew duel between Samus, Fox, Zelda and a very tiny Captain Falcon on Brawl’s version of “Final Destination.”
SSBB Battle Onett Stage
One of my prouder pieces from what I remember, in which Ness knocks Kirby out of the park in his home turf of “Onett.”
SSBB Battle Mario Stage2
We return to “Mario Bros.” so the Bros. can confront a series of variant Sonics each colored after Chaos Emeralds. Not sure if these are the classic Chaos Emerald colors, but the different poses are sweet if you ask me.
SSBB Battle Temple Scene
It’s a race for the Master Sword between Link and Young Link (clearly set during the Melee era) on the leftmost side of the “Temple” battleground.
SSBB Battle Subcon Stage
Apparently I predicted Smash Ultimate being a thing years ago by pitting the (at the time) Melee-exclusive Mewtwo and Brawl-exclusive Snake on “Mushroom Kingdom II.”

Would have helped if I made them all the same size so they didn’t get stretched out when I rotated them as wallpapers. But hey, eight years ago.

All of these babies were created between May and June of 2010 using Graphic Converter, as I never learned Photoshop or anything.

2010! I know I spent all this time building up 15-year-old Jason, but these specifically are all a product of 13-year-old Jason’s ingenuity.

Now that Smash Ultimate is out, I’m hoping to get my hands on it soon so I can start to make some new memories with that game. Perhaps a few of them will come somewhere remotely close to leaving an impression as strong as the older titles.

Here’s to everyone having a happy Smash Ultimate day!

On the first night…

On the first night…

It has been brought to my attention that I was lied to by my mom and last night was not, in fact, the first night of Hanukkah. Tonight is.

I know I’m at least partially at fault for not fact checking myself… But I’ve gotten permission to blame her for it.

So if you’re in the future reading this, confused as to why I didn’t know when the actual date of Hanukkah was in 2018.

That’s why.


Happy Hanukkah everybody!

That’s right, as of sunset today, the Jewish festival of lights began. Because we’re on a lunar calendar in the calculation of hebrew holiday placement, the big events tend to fall out at different times every year.

This year it just so happened that our closest equivalent to Christmas fell out about a month before Christmas. Or as we in the Rochlin house like to call it: Two days before Alyson’s birthday.

Yeah… She got a bit shafted in that department as far as the availability of her non-Jewish friends goes for parties every year. But hey, at least we don’t have to worry about buying her presents twice-over in the same time period.

At least some years we don’t. Like this year, for instance.

Now I’m a bit tired and sore after helping a friend move some boxes today, so I don’t think I’m going to write anything too prolific. It’ll give me some more time to work on this essay — which, by the way, is the same one I talked about doing my FDA research on the other day and am continuing to have a blast with. I’ll definitely have to do another post on it sometime soon.

But for now, if you want some more Hanukkah-based content, you can take a look at this post I wrote about getting a chunk of presents early this year.

Tonight I got the rest of everything, since we gave up on the eight nights of presents thing a long time ago. The haul expanded to include a new set of Cards Against Humanity cards, a lovely check from my grandparents in Florida (who I’ll thank here as well as over-the-phone soon!) and..

Wait. What’s this?

It can’t be.

It’s…

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We’ve got new Pokémon! This is not a drill.

And I definitely did not know about it ahead of time from being in the store when we purchased the game.

Totally.

If you see a lot of posts coming out of my Twitter account in particular talking about all of my new Pokémon adventures in the near future, now you know why.

I’m thinking I’ll treat this installment specially. It has the capacity for two-player games, so I’ve considered trying to only play the game with my sister so we can have the experience together.

Whether or not I break that rule as I get too excited to play the game is a bridge I’ll have to cross when I get to it.

But that being said, hopefully you all have a great Hanukkah — even if you don’t celebrate!

I’m going to go off and spend some time with my family for the holiday.

And rest my back a bit.


Featured Image courtesy of Adiel lo via Wikimedia Commons

Our new Toy Opening channel

Our new Toy Opening channel

After a lovely family lunch at Mama D’s with my grandparents to celebrate my Grandpa Joe’s belated birthday, Alyson made me take her over to Target.

She didn’t need anything. She just wanted to wander aimlessly and kill time.

To be fair I do that sort of thing with my friends constantly, to the point where we covertly call ourselves the ‘Loiter Bois,’ so I couldn’t argue. In fact I was pretty into the idea. Especially considering Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee & Pikachu just came out and I was interested in seeing it on shelves as I start to prepare my holiday wish list.

But then something happened. Idly wandering the video game and toy aisles making fun of things turned into more when she found this rip-off Lego Pokémon toy of one of my favorites:

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Isn’t Mimikyu just the cutest? Who needs Pikachu when you’ve got one of them, huh?

On the one hand, I don’t know why I let her convinced me to buy this thing. I just started cleaning my room up for the Thanksgiving Break, and having another little figurine to take up space seems counterintuitive. Plus, when I say this thing was a Lego rip-off, I mean it is like a real cheap Lego rip-off.

Just look at how weirdly confusing and unintuitive these instructions are.

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Somehow it manages to take a Lego figurine made out of ~20 pieces and not distinctly separate out which pieces are what for big chunks of the instructions. It took some time to figure out which parts went where.

But at the very least I suppose these Mega Construx are similar to Lego in that they have just random extra pieces for no reason.

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Where do you go, random circle piece? I don’t see you anywhere in the instructions.

Granted I did just complain that the instructions were unintuitive so maybe I’m just missing something… But oh well.

On the other hand, despite those points, I really can’t complain about the purchase. It was maybe six dollars for a pseudo-figurine of one of my favorite Pokémon and it came with a Premiere Ball, which is also probably my favorite kind of Poké Ball.

Its creepy long neck might just haunt me in my dreams, but I’ll happily suffer that fate for Mimikyu.

However, I didn’t just buy this fake Lego. I was pretty close to putting it down and not buying anything because it just didn’t seem worth it to get one item. Especially if that one item was a dumb toy like this.

So my sister made up for it by buying another toy while we were there:

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Yeah that’s right, I know you’ve seen these kinds of dumb collectible packs for every popular culture property in existence.

Well we got one to open up for ourselves just for the hell of it. Even though the movie isn’t out yet as of my writing this, so who knows if it’ll be worth supporting fringe toy-based ventures for it.

All I know is it definitely became worth it when we decided to do this jokey, vague toy opening YouTube channel parody just to put here on the old blog.

See? Even though I make fun of her a bunch on here, she’s still more than happy to make herself look stupid alongside me when the time comes.

I guess this is the part where I would tell you all to like, comment and subscribe to my channel like every cliché in the book tells me I should? But honestly I just use that thing as a dumping place for videos that I want to throw up on my blog, as WordPress has kind of terrible compression when videos and such are concerned.

But that’s going way into the weeds for no reason. I just wanted to share the fun, silly thing my sister and I did today.

Hope you like it.

Straight outta West Palm

Straight outta West Palm

All the way from West Palm Beach, Florida, welcome to the stage my grandmother: Sybil Ratner.

That’s right, I’ve been building it up the past few days and she’s finally here. Always excited to have her here, since it means getting to do all those fun grandparent-specific things that parents won’t do because they’re lame and trying to keep you down, man.

Which of course I mean in total jest. Because I know my parents read these and don’t want them to genuinely think I think they’re lame.

They’re the best.

But I’m not here to talk about them, I’m here to talk about grandma. Even if I don’t exactly have a lot to talk about for grandma at the moment.

If anything, this post is mostly just going to be a short interstitial letting you all know that if I’m busy and don’t post a lot in the next few days — or if I post a lot more with fun stuff you only do with visitors, this is why.

Hope y’all will afford me some kind of leeway for grandma time.

Temporal Contiguity

I’m trying something totally radical today. Instead of writing this post after my trip to the gym, I’m writing it while currently at the gym!

Using the treadmill, to be specific.

About 10 minutes into my run and I’m already beginning to suspect this whole split mindset is a mistake. But overall I’m very interested in killing two birds with one stone, because once I get home from the gym I’ll have to study for this quiz I’m dreading.

Somehow we’re only a week into the semester and have already covered two whole chapters in this class. No idea how the quiz is going to go because it’s uncharted territory and this is the class where I don’t feel totally confident in my notes, so…

Yeah.

Should be fun.

That’s another story, though.

This blog post isn’t necessarily meant to be about me writing it at the gym. That would probably be weird.

Instead I figured I would try to write something positive about school considering yesterday’s post was so negative.

During my Learning and Memory class this morning I learned about something really cool which put words to a thing I’ve always thought about:


Temporal Contiguity

Occurs when two stimuli are experienced close together in time and, as a result an association may be formed.


I think this just about explains itself honestly.

I’ve talked about this same subject probably countless times before, particularly concerning my nostalgia for certain games being intrinsically linked to different locations.

Playing Pokémon Sapphire and the first run of Shovel Knight on 3DS while in Florida with my grandparents.

Playing through Pokémon Firered while in New York many, many years ago for my cousin’s Bat Mitzvah.

Playing Fire Emblem Fates (Birthright specifically) while in New York for a journalism conference.

Playing Pokémon White 2 in a Target near the Del Amo Mall by my house.

I could go on and on with this list frankly, and at least 80 percent of the examples are clearly Pokémon inspired — in case you ever needed a good reason why the series is my favorite of all time.

But I think you get the point.

Before you think I’m a total loser though, just know it isn’t all video game examples running through my head. Even if those are the most prevalent.

For instance, I remember finishing Wilson Rawls’ “Where the Red Fern Grows” while riding our family exercise bike when it was still in my parent’s room.

Followed soon after by bawling uncontrollably all over our family exercise bike when I finished the book.

Screw you Rawls. I’m still not over that.

This writing on the treadmill thing actually kind of sucks so I think I’m going to cut things off here. Try not to kill myself on exercise machines and give myself some closure to focus wholeheartedly on stressing myself out over a quiz later.

Just figured it would be worth sharing this cool new term I learned today that gave me the words to describe a phenomenon I’ve noticed quite often.

Have you found any sort of terms or words like that recently?

Or, if not, what sort of temporal contiguities have you experienced that really stuck with you?

Let me know down in the comments!

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.