Tag: Honors Program

A Heroes post bound by obligation. And darkness.

A Heroes post bound by obligation. And darkness.

Alright, I put off writing this introduction because I have had no idea what to say for the Beyond Darkness banner.

But it’s 1:30 a.m. or so and I just need to come up with something.

So here’s my something:

Star Trek: Into Beyond Darkness.

Let’s talk about some Binding Blade.


LughAnima Child

  • Gronnserpent (Might = 12, Range = 2)
    • If foe initiates combat and uses bow, dagger, magic or staff, grants Defense and Resistance +6 during combat.
  • Rally Up Resistance (Range = 1)
    • Grants Resistance +6 to target ally and allies within two spaces of target (excluding unit) for one turn.
  • Mirror Stance (A Skill)
    • If foe initiates combat, grants Attack and Resistance +4 during combat.
  • Attack Feint (B Skill)
    • If a Rally Assist skill is used by or targets unit, inflicts Attack +7 on foes in cardinal directions of unit through their next actions.

SueDoe of the Plains

  • Short Bow (Might = 12, Range = 2)
    • Effective against flying foes. Deals +10 damage when Special Attack triggers.
  • Moonbow (Cooldown = 2)
    • Treats foe’s Defense or Resistance as if reduced by 30 percent during combat.
  • Swift Sparrow (A Skill)
    • If unit initiates combat, grants Attack and Speed +4 during combat.
  • Chill Defense (B Skill)
    • At the start of the turn, inflicts Defense -7 on foe with the highest Defense through its next action.
  • Hone Speed 4 (C Skill)
    • At the start of the turn, grants Speed +7 to adjacent allies for one turn.

TheaStormy Flier

  • Vanguard (Might = 14, Range = 1)
    • If foe initiates combat, grants Defense +7 during combat.
  • Ignis (Cooldown = 4)
    • Boosts damage by 80 percent of unit’s Defense.
  • Steady Posture (A Skill)
    • If foe initiates combat, grants Speed and Defense +4 during combat.
  • Seal Speed/Defense (B Skill)
    • Inflicts Speed and Defense -5 on foe through its next action after combat.

IdunnDark Priestess

  • Demonic Breath (Might = 16, Range = 1)
    • Grants Defense +3. Effective against armored foes. At start of combat, if a negative status effect is active on unit, or if unit’s Health < 100 percent, neutralizes penalties on unit and grants Attack, Speed, Defense and Resistance +4 during combat. If foe’s Range = 2, calculates damage using the lower defensive stat.
  • Bonfire (Cooldown = 3)
    • Boosts damage by 50 percent of unit’s Defense.
  • Fortify Defense/Resistance (A Skill)
    • Grants Defense and Resistance +6. Inflicts Attack -2.
  • 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).
  • Ward Dragons (C Skill)
    • Grants Defense and Resistance +4 to dragon allies within two spaces during combat.

My apprehension to talk about this banner is two-fold.

First comes from the fact that I have not played the Binding Blade, and thus have no real connection to the characters.

Outside of knowing Lugh is Nino’s daughter — but I only care because she is one of my favorite Heroes units.

Second is the fact that this banner feels like a callback to the more simple units of old, which is admittedly nice after seeing so many with weapon descriptions longer than my novel.

However, Lugh and Thea basically have nothing special to talk about.

Sue similarly isn’t impressive, but only because she’s Brave Lyn lite.

Cavalry archer. Swift Sparrow. “Smoke” B Skill. ‘Nuff said.

Idunn is the only unit I would consider worth wasting orbs on. She is a powerful, red armored manakete with a weapon that counters all the Hectors and Surtrs of the world.

She also has very cute artwork.

What can I say, I’m a sucker for heterochromia. I’ll have to see about adding a character with that into my story…

While Idunn is neat, she unfortunately is not neater than Halloween Myrrh.

So I’m not going to throw a whole lot of orbs into this banner beyond supplementing the free summon tickets from Forging Bonds.

Naturally, that means the story missions are a big ol’ orb repository!


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Book III, Chapter 5 begins an indiscriminate amount of time after Chapter 4, where King Gustav of Askr is killed by Hel.

The royal family mourns. I II II I_.

When Alfonse asks why Gustav wanted to pass along a ratty tree branch, his mother reveals that it was the play sword three-year-old Alfonse used to tell his father he was going to help defend their nation.

Real generic “you were prepared to lead all along” development beats.

Then we find out that as a result of Gustav’s death:

So the Order of Heroes, “built for small-scale operations,” decides to use the break in the war to take the fight to Hel.

Alfonse and Sharena were unable to figure out a trick to defeat her in royal archives, thus Alfonse figures they could scout her domain.

From there, the missions shift to simple character introductions.

The most interesting thing here comes when one map features an enemy pegasus archer — the first time a unit of that type has shown up.

I’m hoping we get a cool pegasus archer soon as a result.

As the Order reaches the entrance to Hel, now-fell King Gustav is sent to fight his children. Eir regards the act as particularly “cruel,” even for her mother.

I mostly found it surprising.

Not in that Gustav comes back to fight his children — that shit was obvious weeks ago. I’m simply surprised that they blew that plot point so early!

I am also admittedly surprised that they play Gustav as a character who keeps his sentience despite being physically commanded by Hel.

Naturally it’s all done so he can encourage Alfonse to be strong and kill him. Also closure:

Yet I had expected him to be a mindless, evil zombie.

So good on you for the surprise, Intelligent Systems.

From there, the Order of Heroes prepares to dive into Hel. Cut to black. See you next banner.


This FEH post feels a bit low-energy, don’t you think?

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m writing it into the wee hours of the morning, or if I simply could not care less about the characters… But either way, not my strongest.

It is one of my shortest, however. So I’ll happily accept that.

Maybe I’ll pivot my usual fever into my Gaming in American Culture class essay all about Sacred Stones, as I finally made up my mind for that.

Who knows, it could inspire IS to finally give us some new units from the game.

That said let me know what you think of this Binding Blade banner! Are you more excited than I am? More jaded? I’m quite interested to know.

Messin’ with the curriculum vitae

Messin’ with the curriculum vitae

While people on my social media the night I’m writing this are probably annoyed that I’m trying to double dip on the love for my recent award, this blog post is more about creating something to show my children in 30 years.

A rather grandiose fantasy that, in execution, will make my reference to a small social media post in 2019 superfluous. If you weren’t already questioning the slight absurdity of my future self’s apparent decision to show the children whom I may or may not even have by 2049 — while Replicants are running wild — a blog post about an award I won rather than showing off the physical award.

Though that’s all a little too absurdely analytical for what is essentially a self-congratulatory post.

This afternoon I discovered that the story I wrote with Jennifer Garcia about restaurant health inspections around Cal State Fullerton won first place in the “Non-Breaking News Story” category for schools with 10,000+ students at this year’s California College Media Association Awards.

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Wow!

That’s a mouthful!

Because this was the big enterprise piece I co-wrote for Comm 471, featuring the interactive map I was incredibly proud of creating, I’m very happy to see it get the recognition it deserves — he said post-receiving the award.

This is actually the second year in a row I’ve had the pleasure of receiving an award from the CCMA ceremony, though I wasn’t invited to the event this year. Nor did I find out from the DT staff in attendance on March 2.

Which is odd, but I’m willing to chalk it up to being disconnected from the team running the paper right now.

When I loaded up the ol’ résumé to update it with a brand new award, I discovered there were a few other places left unfurnished on my October 2018 draft.

For instance, some actually substantial information on the kinds of things I’ve gotten to do as the SPJ Secretary at Cal State Fullerton:

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Might also add that my name was included in a published editorial through the Daily Titan, but I haven’t quite decided on that yet.

More importantly, I finally added in a brand new section for event planner, as I have been not-so-subtly teasing my intension to do in recent posts.

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The Honors Program secretary also sent out our advertisement poster the other day, so I can officially share that sweet piece of digital paper:

Network Panel

I’ll be throwing this puppy out on my social media sometime soon.

Though, again, that won’t matter to anyone reading this 30 years down the line. So…

Yeah.

That’s pretty much been the positive vibe of my day in a nutshell. While I was stuck at school all day for classes and meetings, I found out that I won a pretty huge award! Plus, I made some other kid’s day when he saw my Master Sword umbrella and very loudly exclaimed, “I fucking love college.”

Quite reminiscent of me during Freshman or Sophomore year seeing some kid walk around with the Pokéwalker peripheral from Pokémon Heartgold and Soulsilver.

Oh, and on top of that, we also played old text adventure games in my gaming class:

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Colossal Cave Adventure!

All-and-all, not too much to complain about.


Technically I do actually have something to complain about in a post-post aside.

I’ve been a bit extra spotty on my “daily” blog writing lately, and I just wanted to address that as a result of school really kicking my ass between midterms, honors project writing and internship junk.

Hopefully it’ll pick up again with this weekend hosting a new Fire Emblem banner and my trip to the cinema for Captain Marvel, but if it doesn’t I’ll apologize in advance here.

Man remains the most extraordinary machine

Man remains the most extraordinary machine

Valentine’s Day 2019 will officially go down as the Valentine’s Day where I truly learned the value of a human touch.

Because when automatic email reply systems fail, you really need to break through and get an actual person on the other side.

What did you think I was referring to?

Oh, well okay I guess I can see where you were coming from. But no, it’s definitely not that.

Guess I should provide you with a little more context just to make sure we don’t get confused from here on out.

Toward the end of last semester, I was contacted by the Co-Curricular Coordinator for the University Honors Program on campus. Because I had applied to join the Honors Student Advisory Council earlier (in one of my attempts to find something other than the Daily Titan to focus on), he wanted to offer me the chance to create an event alongside other prior applicants.

I believe the argument was that they didn’t want to let all of the extra talent and brain power disappear on the breeze. Couldn’t argue with that.

Especially since it would let me put ‘event planner’ on my resume.

So this semester I’ve been working with another Honors student to set up an event for late March. A lot of the details are still being designed, but essentially we’ve decided to host a panel about networking in various industries.

The Honors Program is interdisciplinary, so having tips from all across the career spectrum seemed like a nice idea.

I’ve mostly been working on finding panelists to bring in, but the first step in that process was getting someone from the CSUF Career Center to jump on board. They seemed like a much more natural choice for a panel moderator who could keep the conversation focused on what a broad range of different students might need.

Last week I went into the Career Center and spoke with one of the students at the desk, who left a written message for the Associate Director of the center.

I also sent along a follow-up email, just for the sake of making sure the message got across.

However, despite my best efforts, I didn’t hear back from anyone leading into this week. So before my group met up again, I stopped by the Career Center one more time. They suggested I submit a workshop request through their website forum, as that apparently gets checked more often.

Today I finally got my response from the Career Center. Which recommended I… Submit a workshop request.

Through the same link I had submitted the request that the Career Center was replying to.

Definitely something a bit screwy about that automatic response.

I sent another email back letting them know how weird the response was, seeing whether I had missed something or could talk to someone in a face-to-face meeting. With the Associate Director added .

About five minutes after I sent that, she responded to me directly.

Then ten or so minutes after that, once I elaborated on what we were looking for, she sent off the message to Career Center specialists seeing who might be available.

All was good in the world, and I could finally move on to step two of my portion of the planning.

It just figures that only fifteen minutes were required to solve an issue I was waiting over a week for, simply because I finally got through to the right human being.

So this Valentine’s Day, if you’re sad and alone like I am, just remember that real human beings can make life better even if they aren’t doing it in that way.

Peace and love and all that good stuff.


Image Courtesy of Nevit Dilmen via Wikimedia Commons

Fantastical Creatures

/me hopes that title is different enough to avoid any sort of legal action from Warner Bros. or J.K. Rowling

With Dad at work and Mom + Aly off in Disneyland where the youngin’ was marching in a parade (which would be a much more exciting story if it was mine to tell), I had the house to myself today.

So obviously I partied hard with some friends, got messed up on drugs, died and am now writing this from the grave.

Boo.

In all seriousness, I didn’t party too hard and become a spooky, scripting spirit. As cool as that would be.

I actually had a chill afternoon all on my lonesome. I didn’t even leave the house outside of going to the gym.

After two weekends of running around doing things with relatives, it was nice to take it slow and focus on my own stuff. Mostly because all of the running around made me fall behind on my novel-writing schedule.

20 pages a week doesn’t seem like too much until you get hit with the roadblock of a death in the family.

But luckily, I was able to rectify that setback with a nice, quiet day on the couch.

At this point I’ve made it to ~35 pages, with my goal being at least 40 before tomorrow.

So far everything is shaping up far nicer than in my original 12-page attempt at a draft. I’ve actually made it past the first major set piece of the story: An underground cavern with a single room at the end of it.

… Exciting, I know. I promise it sounds better with in-depth descriptions!

One of the more interesting bits of research I’ve done recently to push my writing forward was, as the title suggests, finding the right mythical Tolkien-esque creature to fit the slot of an antagonistic race for my main characters.

Luckily my friend Sam is a bit of a Dungeons and Dragons savant and came up with a whole bunch of possibilities when I asked if there were any good avian-themed monsters I could use.

Why avian specifically? It was a jokey idea when I was writing that early draft that started when I described a helmet as beak-like, and stuck so I could make one of my characters call them “birdbrains.”

So… Bird people. Seemed legit.

I didn’t quite expect there to be so many different kinds of bird people, however. There really is a ton to unpack when you delve into the inner-machinations of an experience like D&D.

Probably the most obvious and well-known example is the Harpy.

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Courtesy of DnD Beyond

Pretty famous representative from Greek mythology. Not a bad choice, but a little too much of a monster-monster for my tastes.

The kind of creature you can see mindlessly attacking, but not necessarily forming an advanced society.

So next came the Kenku.

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Courtesy of Giger’s 5E D&D

Definitely a closer match, given their clear propensity for humanoid dress and a variety of roles in warfare.

However, the crow look is a bit too inherently evil-looking, and they are quite a sinister race apparently. Was looking for more of a neutral appearance.

Plus they cannot fly in the lore, which is something I wanted to include.

So Kenku were a no.

Luckily the third choice, Aarakorca, was perfect.

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Courtesy of DnD Beyond

Check out these majestic bastards.

Not only are they a perfect blend of humanoid and avian features to make for a fairly human-like sensibility in my story, but the extra lore features from D&D — their obsession with self-grooming, bilingualism, status as traveling explorers and the fact that they look like giant birds while flying — make great tie-ins to my story’s purpose for them.

Namely… To be a surrogate for Napoleonic-era French society.

Yeah, that’s right.

It’ll be even weirder when I write about their leader riding around on a horse despite being a literal birdman. And I love it.

Being able to gather all sorts of new knowledge on interesting fantasy creatures has been a great pleasure of mine over the course of this project. It’s essentially an amalgamate of some of my favorite video games, movies and books in the fantasy genre, so the more I can include the better.

Wargroove is the big contributor of new ideas to my concoction at the moment, but that game deserves its own story another day.

In the meantime, I’m going to get back to writing so I can finish this section I’m in the middle of. Who knows, perhaps I’ll start to trickle out passages and chapters for advice in the near future.

All I know now is that this line kind of defines my brain.

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Changing of the seasons

Changing of the seasons

If I have any people to thank for just about all of the great stuff that has happened to me over the last three+ years, Bonnie Stewart has to be a big one.

Today, current and old members of the Daily Titan staff threw our favorite advisor a surprise party before her retirement from CSUF.

It was a sad day not just for all of us in the newsroom who have come to love Bonnie over her last five-and-a-half years advising the school’s newspaper, but also for nature in general apparently. The universe itself seemed to cry at the idea of her moving on from all of us students.

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Easily one of our heaviest rainstorms in years.

Not sure why pictures of the Pollak Library seem to be my barometer for things happening at Cal State Fullerton, but between this and my empty library picture from before Thanksgiving break I seem to be developing a pattern.

In this case I suppose I can blame it on the torrential downpour, which necessitated me to take a picture from inside the cozy warmth of a Starbucks post-meeting in the Honors Center rather than getting my phone drenched. I’m not kidding, it really came down like cats and dogs.

Pretty sure I hydroplaned at least once on the freeway going in this morning, and it was extra fun having copious amounts of water splash up against my windshield from adjacent cars.

… Alright maybe that’s enough complaining about the rain. This is supposed to be something of a celebratory ‘thank you’ kind of post after all.

Plus the rain had dried up by the time I left at about 6:00 p.m., four hours or so after the party for Bonnie began.

Nailed the transition

I wasn’t expecting the party to be very long or busy, but I’m glad I was wrong. Not only was it great seeing a packed newsroom show up to celebrate Bonnie, but a lot of those people were friends I haven’t had the chance to catch up with for a while!

Also, it gave my mom an opportunity to do some holiday baking for a crowd outside the usual suspects. By the end of the night there were only three pieces of her coffee cake left, and Bonnie liked it so much that she was happy to take the recipe.

While it was nice catching up with people like Kyle Bender, Amy Wells or Darlene Casas, meeting some older staff members like Samuel Mountjoy, Julia Gutierrez and Michael Huntley, and just generally schmoozing with a bunch of people and food, obviously Bonnie was the lady of the hour.

I’ve actually known about her retirement longer than most (from what I’m aware), as she was one of the first people I had approached to possibly be a mentor for my Honors Project. She had to turn me down since she wouldn’t have been around long enough to see the project through, and since then I’ve had to keep that little secret under lock-and-key.

Feels pretty nice to not have to hold onto it any longer… But it feel even more nice knowing that she trusted me with the secret in the first place.

Three+ years of working with Bonnie has undoubtedly made me a better person and a better journalist/writer/academic/anything, really. Any award I’ve received while at Cal State Fullerton, as well as any internship I’ve gotten as a result of my time at the Daily Titan, can all be tied back to her influence in some respect.

It was bittersweet to imagine her not having that same influence on others going forward as a result. But I know she’s off to do great things even in retirement, and I’m as excited to see where she lands as I’m sure she’s excited to see me (and all her students) land in jobs they deserve.

Feeling Uninspired

Ironically enough, despite getting out of Fullerton almost three hours earlier than usual today, I can’t think of too much I feel like chatting about.

Like yeah it was great that my midterm was easy and finishing it within a half hour or so meant I could leave my otherwise three hour class right away. That was super cool.

But that’s about all I can really say about it.

Then I could also potentially talk about the fact that my Senior Honors Project is finally starting to move forward after finding who I believe will be my mentor.

But that seems like a subject which will be more interesting once my proposal is signed and ready.

So then what? The fact that I’ve begun planning out my spring semester schedule with the early registration deadline coming up? Venting about this one assignment I’ve been putting off that I have to do now? Talking about Monster Hunter again?

I don’t know. I’m not particularly feeling any conversation topic right now.

Honestly the only story I can think to tell is a funny moment on-campus today where I was stopped by some faculty asking me if I had registered to vote, because it was some kind of voter registration day.

I was kind of in a hurry to get to class and told them no because I already was registered while passing by quickly. Felt a little bad being so dismissive to them.

Except then I realized I was feeling bad about the fact that I had already registered to vote and didn’t need to waste their time. Which is kind of not at all something that I need to feel bad about, because it wasn’t like I lied about being registered.

So yeah. Go vote, it’s important.

But frankly that’s about all I can muster right now. I’m a bit tired and not too inspired to write much of anything, so this will have to suffice.

I’ll probably head to the gym, come home to work on that assignment and chill.

Hopefully I’ll have a bit more to talk about tomorrow.

A quick glance at Yoruba Creation Mythology

In what seems to be the growing pattern lately, I’m rather late getting a jump on this post from a combination of going to school, doing homework and helping to straighten the house for my Grandmother coming tomorrow.

Which, looking ahead slightly, will probably give me an easy post for tomorrow. But I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

For now, I was struggling to decide what I wanted to write about out of a rather mundane day. But then I realized (thanks to a helpful little push from Mom) that there isn’t anything wrong with just regurgitating some information I learned through my studies today as an interesting tidbit to fill a quick-and-dirty blog post.

So that’s precisely what I’m going to do.

As I’m sure some of you remember, I wrote a nice piece the other week about Charles Darwin as I was in the midst of reading his “Origin of Species” for my Honors Evolution and Creation class. Since then we have begun to move out of talking exclusively about the origins of evolution and into some early examples of creation myths.

Soon enough that will evolve into a more Christianity-centric religious creation as the latter half of the class will focus a large chunk of time on the oft cited debates in America, but until then we’ve been reading creation myths from a number of different groups around the world.

My reading tonight featured at least one that had a detail so specific and bizarre, I felt it was worth talking about.

Though for general reference, we’re primarily reading excerpts from “A Dictionary of Creation Myths,” by David Adams Leeming and Margaret Adams Leeming for the assignment I just worked on tonight. If anyone is curious as to where I’m pulling this stuff from.

While the excerpts our professor pulled together were all generally interesting and spoke to varying degrees of shared human thought and experience when crafting their creation stories, the Yoruban creation story out of Africa (specifically the Nigerian region today) in particular, caught my eye.

According to the text (which summarizes the stories more than it does recreate the entirety of the myth), everything began when the supreme deity Olurun (or Olodumare) sent the lesser god Obatala down to the earth.

At that point, the earth was only water and chaos. Obatala brought with him a shell, some iron and a rooster as he descended down a chain which hung over the water from the heavens. He placed the ground-filled shell on top of the iron before letting the rooster spread the land further.

Once there was enough dry land, other gods descended to help create everything else.

As the rest of existence took form, apparently Obatala took control of creating humanity — shaping beings out of earth so Olurun could bestow life upon them. All children born are thereafter shaped by Obatala in their mothers’ wombs.

While the story of creation set up here is fascinating to me in how it differs from so many other myths depicting a complete void from which things emerge, it isn’t entirely novel. Most of the Native American myths we read out of this same collection also depicted beings rising earth out of the waters in a similar fashion.

What makes the Yoruba creation story stand out most to me is a detail that seems pretty insanely specific and unique. I’ll write out what I have here exactly, because I’m not sure I could summarize it any better:

“… one day [Obatala] got drunk and by mistake started making cripples, who are now sacred to Obatala.”

We had to read 15 creation stories for this assignment. On top of that, three stories were read for our assignment due today on Judeo-Christian stories.

Yet between all of those stories and everything else I’ve personally heard before now, not once have I heard of any one society going so far as to explain the existence of cripples.

It’s actually fascinating to think that was a detail they wanted to include. Kind of goes to show that we have a desire to explain everything about the world around us, even if you need to collage a variety of different cultures to get the full picture.

Goodbye homework, hello monsters.

Okay so on the off-chance any of my professors wind up snooping on this post, I’m not actually going to forego my homework this semester.

I just might procrastinate on some of it these first few months because I’ve got some sweet monsters to hunt!

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Check out that Valstrax, baybee

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a huge fan of the MH series. Started with 4 Ultimate on the 3DS and sunk hundreds of hours into that and Generations, also on the 3DS.

Unfortunately when the big groundbreaking HD open-world Monster Hunter World came out, I didn’t have any consoles to play it on. So I missed playing it, which was a shame considering a lot of my friends who had never played the series got into it for World.

But now there’s a Monster Hunter game on Switch. A direct improvement to the already fantastic Generations with many more monsters on a console that all of my friends own.

It’s quite literally a dream come true.

One thing I’ve been contemplating since the game was announced is whether or not I should port my Generations character into Generations Ultimate. Because that’s a feature, you can literally keep your character going.

But I think I’m going to air on the side of not porting my character over. It would seem a little cheap to start the game with end-game armor and weapons, especially considering my friends are jumping into this pre-World realm for the first time. Might as well grow alongside them, right?

These are the kinds of thoughts that have been echoing through my brain these last few weeks, by the way. Like non-stop. Especially since that demo happened.

So hey, cut me some slack. I survived the first week of school. I did my due diligence by going to the Honors Program’s Welcome Back Event. I went to the gym. I sent out some emails. I scheduled my yearly physical for tomorrow, right after which I’ll be leading my first Gladeo meeting.

If I don’t get to creating my binders and such until Labor Day, which we conveniently have off the first week after school starts, so be it.

Because baby my Hunting Horn itch is going strong and I’m ready to tear some massive beasts apart to wear their skins.

A Nintendo licensed game.

What? Why are you still here? That’s all I have to say.

I’m off killing monsters right now, you can go home. Actually I’m probably gathering a bunch of mushrooms and stuff since those are always the early missions.

But my point is still the same.

If you’re expecting something deeper about the first week of school or whatever, that already exists. It’s here.

So leave me to my cavern of darkness and beasts, that way I might one day be able to grace you all with amazing hunt photos.

Fall 2018 First Impressions

I may have another day of travel to Fullerton tomorrow, but as of 6:00 p.m. today I have officially experienced all my new classes for the semester. So, as promised, I’m going to take my blog post today to run through my first impressions of all five courses I’m taking.

You know, outside of the general little factoids that are just a part of every new semester.

Like parking being garbage.

Or the fact that I’ve probably spent more on gas this week than I did over the entirety of the summer.

Some of my opinions here may seem more aggressive or more mundane than I’ll actually feel by the end of the semester, but that’s just the nature of first impressions isn’t it? Being probably a little too far on either end of the spectrum?

Frankly I’m not even sure why I’m giving this long disclaimer. It’s a personal opinion post on my personal blog that may or may not be played more for comedic value if anything else.

That’s basically what America was founded to facilitate.

So yeah let’s get into it.


Mass Media Ethics

I decided to go in order of major classes, minor classes then honors classes for this small listing even though it isn’t the order I actually have those classes throughout the week.

Thus we begin with my first Comm class, Mass Media Ethics. It’s a bit strange starting with my two classes that are one-day-a-week, three-hour blocks… But that’s just how things wound up this semester.

Despite those seemingly long, arduous class periods, I think these two Comm courses are probably toward the top of my positive first impressions. Mass Media Ethics specifically started off in a good place because it was my first class this semester where I had a friend.

Tim, who was a social media assistant on the Titan last semester, is in that class with me on Tuesday. Funny enough Chelsea, the other social media assistant last semester, is in my Visual Comm class on Wednesdays.

But that’s a topic for later obviously.

Mass Media Ethics was also interesting in that it presented me with the first time a professor knew who I was before I knew who she was. The professor was an ex-Daily Titan advisor, so we already had some common ground, but it also turned out that she knew my name from an SPJ newsletter announcing my having won that scholarship this summer.

I don’t exactly have too much to say about the class itself since we mostly utilized our time to get to know one another and read out the syllabus. But just based on that alone, the air of support and camaraderie amongst those of us in that small room was already pretty great.

Plus, the one actual ethics thing we started to look at was a debate about publishing the name/picture of a mass shooter from around the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting a few years back. So there’s definitely some interesting stuff coming down that pipeline.

Yet. The most interesting thing about that class, hands down, is the fact that it isn’t in the basement.

I know that sounds like a joke, but literally every class I’ve had in the Comm building before now has been in the basement and this one wasn’t. So it’s already an exciting change of pace.


Visual Communication

I’m fresh off of this class, given the fact that it’s my 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Wednesday night course. Honestly the only thing separating me from writing it on-the-spot is my hour-long drive home.

Even if I had a little more time before writing this, I’d still say the first impression for this class was strong.

My professor here seems far more energetic than just about anyone else I have even in the face of a 230-person lecture.

Oh and I mean 230 people. Because he took attendance for every single one of them today. All 14 pages of his roll sheet.

Granted from here on out he said he’ll just be utilizing a sheet we’ll pass around, but it was still interesting watching that whole experience happen.

Especially since we also talked about the syllabus right after that, so probably close to the whole first hour of the three-hour course was just introductory stuff!

But like I said, he was so energetic and fun about it that that wasn’t even a problem.

Then our first broach into the subject included, amongst other things, discussions about Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code, Ridley Scott and Blade Runner, Harold and Kumar go to White Castle and other various and sundry movie-and-pop-culture-stuffs.

So, as I said in a tweet during the break we took:

Well said, me.

Also every exam is online only. ‘Nuff said.


Learning and Memory

Alright, these next two classes are my Psychology minor block. Learning and Memory specifically is actually the first class I took this semester since it’s my earliest Monday/Wednesday session.

It’s also probably the class I’m most divided on now that I’ve had my first two days of it.

On the one hand, my professor seems like a nice, old man. Which isn’t just a derogatory ‘lol he’s old,’ I genuinely wouldn’t be surprised to find out he’s one of the oldest members of the department.

It’s great in my opinion. More experience = more knowledge to impart and all that jazz.

Though an unfortunate side-effect of it is the fact that his voice doesn’t travel very far. So it’s a little harder to fully gather everything he’s saying in what is already a quickly escalating lecture course.

Also there are certain ways the class is constructed that baffles me and that I will openly complain about regardless of who may see this.

Like every other class, we’re required to write a paper sometime during the semester. For this class, it’s going to be a paper analyzing the similarities between what studies have found regarding operant conditioning practices in animals and in humans.

Pretty interesting stuff, in my opinion.

The problem is… According to our syllabus and his discussion of the paper…

We’re not allowed to quote or paraphrase anything in the paper we right.

So.

We have an analytical research-driven report that requires us to discuss specific experiments that have been conducted in the past using very specific detail to demonstrate various given vocabulary words.

But we can’t actually directly reference any of the experiments we’re utilizing within the text of the essay.

This and a few other things scattered throughout the course bewilder me in how nonsensical they seem to be. I suppose I’ll just have to see how it all turns out.


Sensation and Perception

Out of all the classes I’m taking, I probably have the least to say about this one. Which is ironic considering it’s the subject I’d argue I’m the most excited to learn about coming in.

Sensation and perception was actually a large part of the reason I fell in love with Psychology back in high school.

Just based off our first class session, it promises to deliver on the cool brain stuff. We’ve already discussed why everything tastes like chicken, for example!

The professor is also pretty chill and prides himself on a sarcastic sense of humor. Yet that sarcasm isn’t so pervasive that it overshadows moments when he comes to the front of the room to tell a story, or when he asked me to stay back after hearing I’m just a Psych minor to make sure I felt okay with the style of essay we’d be writing coming in.

That’s all pretty sweet.

I just don’t have a lot to talk about beyond that really. Seems like it’ll be a good time.

Actually, if I did have one more thing to discuss — what is it with upper-division Psychology classes this semester asking me to present evidence that I’ve passed the prerequisites?

Both my Learning/Memory and Sensation/Perception teacher made out first assignments presenting some kind of proof that we meet the requirements to be there. To which I say… Wouldn’t the computerized system prevent us from taking this upper-division class if we didn’t pass its prerequisites?

I would think so.

But oh well, it’s easy points for me in the end.


Evolution and Creation

My only honors class this semester, given the fact that I didn’t finish with my Honors Project proposal last semester, is Evolution and Creation. An examination of the two differing world views on how we got here.

It’s actually a course that I’ve been looking to take for years now. It always sounded like a fascinating subject to examine, but my schedule has never allowed for it. That’s just life when you have four nights of newspaper production a week.

But this semester I don’t have four nights of newspaper production a week, so I actually had the opportunity to take this class I’ve always wanted to take!

As an added bonus, it’s a class being taught by a professor who I’ve had a couple of classes with in the past, so I already know I like the guy.

The only thing I can really think to complain about in that perfect storm… Are the chairs in the room.

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For some reason. This tiny ass room in the bottom of the education building. Is the one place I’ve ever seen these bizarre alien chairs.

Not only are they on wheels and roll around like bumper cars, but the chair piece and the desk piece both independently swivel above the black piece.

It’s honestly like sitting in a chair meant to distract anyone with a semblance of ADHD.

No idea how anyone can learn in them, but I suppose I’ll have to figure it out.

On the bright side, they’re easy to move around the room. So we’ll be able to gather in circles for all of the discussion-oriented portions of the semester.


That just about wraps up my first impressions of my classes this semester. For the most part I have a lot more positives than negatives, and the extra time I’ve built for myself really opens up more work opportunities and the option to keep up with my time in the gym.

So if anything, I think this might just be one of my better, healthier semesters overall.

That said, how are all of you faring if you’ve just started school again for the year/semester? Let me know all about it in the comments down below!

Starting to Schedule

After a brief (sort of) respite yesterday, I’m here to deliver on what I promised: A blog post about my planned class schedule for the fall 2018 semester.

Because… People care about that, right?

Sure. Why not.

Because I’m a part of the Honors Program at CSUF, I get priority registration when it comes to scheduling my courses. While I’ve loved a lot of the honors classes I’ve taken, this is honestly the main reason I’m endlessly grateful that I joined the program.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to get all the classes I want if I wasn’t able to cut in line, as it were.

My friends that go to other CSU schools ironically tell me that my ‘priority’ registration is still months later than when they register for classes, since they do it in the middle of the semester rather than during the summer. But that’s another story.

More of a funny aside right now, if anything.

When scheduling myself out for this upcoming semester, I also found I had less to worry about because I’m officially done with all of my general education requirements.

Insert confetti pop here.

As sarcastic as that text-audio joke might sound, I am actually really happy about that. As a result, I was able to only schedule major, minor and honors courses — the stuff that I’m in college to actually learn.

I may not have been able to schedule any Honors Project-related courses because I’m still working on my proposal, but again. Different story, different time.

Besides, I scheduled one that I’ve been quite interested in taking for a long time instead.

It’s about now that I hear all the bored audience members out there ask that I quit the dumb set-up and get to what I’m actually taking.

So I’ll do just that:

Screen Shot 2018-06-26 at 9.08.28 AM
Simple and Clean

Ta da! Isn’t that just a nice and balanced 15 unit spread?

Before I break down what I took and why, I just wanted to give a quick shout out to the Titan Scheduler application that CSUF provides to work out class schedules. It’s actually a really useful way to pick out classes, add breaks and see just how many overall options become available to lay out as a result.

But no, that isn’t any sort of ‘go check this out’ shout out. Because it’s only available to CSUF students, and would likely only be useful for them even if it was more widely available.

So that said, let’s get into classes.

As usual I scheduled out an extra break day on Friday, a force of habit from having Titan shifts on Sundays, and I managed to get every class started at 1 p.m.

Hopefully that will give me more morning time to do things I should have been doing a long time ago. Like go to the gym. Because I need to.

On Mondays and Wednesdays, that day of class starts with Psych 302: Learning and Memory.

Now that I’ve officially finished the math-heavy portion of my Psychology minoring experience by getting through statistics and research methods, I can finally break into the fun stuff that I joined the department to learn more about.

All of the crazy and weird things our human brains do.

Seriously, I’m not sure I’ve ever had more fun learning than I had back in AP Psych with Mrs. Mata in high school or in Abnormal Psych at El Camino a few summers back, when everything was all about getting my mind blown thinking about the fact that I can think about how certain collections of lines look, interpret those lines into sounds and interpret those sounds into words with esoteric meanings.

Have fun thinking about that for a while.

The concepts behind how we learn have always been a big one for me, so Learning and Memory seemed like a perfect choice, but even that isn’t quite as exciting to me as my Tuesday/Thursday starter: Sensation and Perception.

I’m hoping those are going to be as fun as I imagine going in.

Following Monday’s journey into the mind, I’m going to be taking (what I hope is) an equally mind-bending class: Evolution and Creation.

I love the idea of this class not just because the idea of examining the dichotomy between those two lines of thought excites me. It’s also a smaller, intimate honors course (with 18 students max) that’s being taught by a professor I’ve had before and like.

As I said, it’s a class I’ve actually thought about picking up every year for a while, I’ve just never had a schedule open enough to do it until now.

Beyond that, I’m also taking what I’m considering the gauntlet of Communications courses. Visual Communications and Mass Media Ethics.

Both once-a-week three-hour courses, both taught by Comm professors I don’t think I’ve met before.

While that’s somewhat daunting, I did the exact same kind of thing last semester with two three-hour courses later in the day, and I wound up really liking both of them. These two not only fulfill some of the few requirements I still need for my major degree, but they also seem like they’ll help with things I should learn more about.

Namely, how to best apply things that aren’t strictly print and how to handle potentially unethical things over the internet. Probably very useful skills all things being equal!

Plus they help me delay the inevitable struggle that will be Communications Law. Reportedly the hardest course in the major, despite being a fascinating romp into the world of laws via the journalism department head.

And with that, you now have my thoughts about the classes I’m officially registered for in the fall 2018 semester. Perhaps once the semester is over I’ll come back to this and see how well my expectations matched up with reality.

If you have any big plans being worked out for the near future, let me know in the comments!