Tag: JEA

Tribute to well-worn clothing

Tribute to well-worn clothing

I wound up lingering around the house today in lieu of some planned activities because of unexpected car troubles.

Instead I did some chores around the house.

Mainly blowing through this mountain of laundry I’ve avoided for too long.

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While doing so I had to confront that age-old question of what you do when something you’ve worn for a long time is pretty much beyond repair.

That white shirt I featured up above has been one of my pajama shirts since 2014.

I can tell you that specifically because it was a promotional gift I got at a baseball game in San Diego with a bunch of my old High Tide coworkers.

The game (and I couldn’t say what game it was because I was terrible about using Facebook — he said as though he’s any better now) was played up as an event to coincide with the Journalism Education Association conference happening that week.

We were in the city for that conference’s write-off competition, where I happened to win this award that’s still hanging up in my room:

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Good times.

Somehow that shirt continued to be huge on me for the next five years, but it has served me well in the realm of Dream Land.

Until about two weeks ago.

A small hole in the seam just underneath the shirt’s armpit tore far wider than I could have anticipated. Not just along the seam, but inward toward my sternum. My family leveed some complaints but I mostly dissuaded them under the conviction that it shouldn’t matter for something I’m just sleeping in.

Now that I’ve had time to mull it over, however… The shirt is not the most flattering thing in its current condition. Pulling it out of that pile of clothes really hit home.

So that means it’s about time I got rid of it.

By all accounts it’s just a shirt, and the objective part of me has no problem tossing it aside.

Yet I think it’s worth taking a moment to archive the story behind the shirt. Because it may just be sewn-up pieces of fabric, but it’s sewn-up pieces of fabric with a backstory that I recall with a certain amount of fondness and nostalgia.

If you can really consider five years a truly ‘nostalgic’ period.

Hopefully writing up this little account can give all of you at home the chance to reflect on some fond memories toward your possessions as well. Because if you ask me, it’s important to remember that it isn’t really the goods that make us happy.

It’s the tales behind them that do.

So if you have any good memories you want to keep alive about innocuous goods, let me know. I think it’d be a fun little conversation to start.

Giving back to Zeus’ Pantheon

Giving back to Zeus’ Pantheon

I had an interesting full-circle kind of experience today.

Way back when, during my time at Redondo Union High School working under the advisor Mitch Ziegler (who I will affectionately call Zeus since good habits are hard to kill), I participated in a number of write-off competitions.

The competitions essentially featured speakers standing in as important figures for an important story topic, where students had the chance to listen to a presentation before asking question through a press conference. All of the information gathered in a limited amount of time would then have to be written into a substantial article, also within a given time limit, to be judged by a panel of experts.

When I took part in then, the write-offs came in a number of forms. The main ones were full-scale competitions at state or national journalism conferences. I participated in a few of those in high school and actually got some awards:

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However, the important kind of write-offs for this particular blog post were the practice, local-level competitions that Zeus would put together at Redondo Union using professors as speakers and alumni as judges.

If that weren’t enough of a hint, let’s get to the point.

As a now three-or-so-year alumni, I hopped on the opportunity to act as a judge at the practice write-off competition held this morning when Zeus asked who would be available in our alumni Facebook page.

The opportunity was actually offered a couple of weeks ago, but it was cancelled that day and pushed off until now. Luckily, I was still available to come in, so I wound up having the chance to give back to the place that gave me my start in journalism.

Now… Where to begin with my discussion of the day…

I suppose we can start with the place.

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As my lovely (hopefully not too distorted) panoramic picture shows, the side of the competition I presided over was held in my alma mater’s lovely culinary arts room – which is stationed right next to the journalism room, I might add.

I’ll be honest, I never spent a lot of time in there despite that close proximity. The one time I did I was doing a write-off I participated in, if I recall correctly. So it was interesting to be sitting in there, listening to the presentation/press conference and just kind of taking everything in.

It really is a lovely set-up.

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I probably should have taken some culinary classes during my time here, in hindsight.

But that’s a tangent I don’t really need to get into right now.

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This write-off’s topic was an interesting one. The speakers were an imaginary school’s principal, journalism advisor and newspaper editor in chief speaking to the crowd about an issue of the school’s paper that was subject to prior restraint for addressing marijuana.

That was the news and opinion set-up at least, but since that was the one I sat in on as the news judge it was all I saw. I did hear the sports story was about an ultimate frisbee team and the features story was about a student entrepreneur, but I can’t offer much more past that.

After everyone had finished asking questions (with some key ones missing to be fair, as a couple of the other judges and I discussed amongst ourselves), the kids had an hour to put everything together.

During that time, the rest of us got to sit around, eat bagels and just talk about life. It was actually pretty interesting just in that one other person I used to work on the High Tide with, Zach Hatakeyama, was there as well. Pretty cool to get the chance to catch up with him a little.

Once that period of writing ended, it was up to us to start judging as all the kids went off to eat or… Do whatever they did.

As the news guy, I wound up with four news stories to edit and judge.

To be completely honest right off the bat… They varied in quality. At least one was really great, but the rest were all across the spectrum.

The thing that was great about it nonetheless, however, was the fact that no matter how good any one person’s story was, I was able to offer them advice on what to improve on for the future:

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That was really the best part about this whole thing in my opinion. Like I mentioned earlier, these write-offs wound up meaning a lot to me personally, so being able to give back and help the next generation of journalists improve was awesome.

Plus… I got to put shiny stickers on certificates.

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Then I got to watch everyone’s excited faces as they got handed those shiny sticker-adorned certificates:

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But that’s not all. Everyone who participated in the write-off today will be moving on into the state level competition because of how many competed in each category, which is just great. I feel all the better about providing some of my multiple-years-removed expertise knowing that they’ll be able to apply it at a much larger venue soon.

And finally, as if that weren’t enough to explain why this was a great afternoon… Zeus took us out to lunch for helping him out.

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Really you can’t go wrong with a good burger and catching up with some old friends.

I’d even say it made up for the fact that he forgot to tell me what time to show up this morning.


P.S. – I was smart enough to know what time the older version was, so I did still show up on time. Just in case anyone was concerned.

New Year, Fresh Room

Is it tacky to start off two blog posts in a row with the same kind of title?

While I’ve spent some time working on a few video game-themed posts today that I want to get out this week, I wound up taking a little personal detour. As we begin 2018, I figured why not start the year off right by straightening up my room?

Okay so this is definitely a weird set-up for something to write about, I’ll admit. But I’m not putting together because I want to write about cleaning my room necessarily.

Rather, I’m looking to use this post to fill the sort of secret third purpose of my blog. Outside of archiving my professional work and giving me a space to blather on about video games, I also like to think I’ll be able to one day use this place as a time capsule. You know, look back to see how things were or take inspiration from my past or… I don’t know, anything like that I suppose.

So, why not take a little look at my bedroom as it is now? After all, this point of my life is likely not too far away from the point where I’m going to wind up moving out on my own, abandoning it as a result.

If anyone is interested in seeing the place where I spend most of my time, I guess this is your chance to do so while I feel good about it looking nice. But if not, just know that this one is more for me.

So let’s start out with the place I see the most: My desk.

Overlooking my desk are some nice collectible posters of mine, which you’ll find are a frequent sight in this little tour. Super Mario Galaxy and the region maps for Kalos and Alola are the prime examples here.

There’s also a photo of my high school class up top, opposite the photo I have of my middle school class as a matter of fact. I was pretty proud of the way I laid that out when it first came about.

Some of the most notable things on my desk itself are a Kirby plush bought by my friend Jonathan in Japan and my Rowlet McDonalds toy next to the desktop computer I admittedly don’t really use. There’s also a four-star dragonball that Megan gave me for the holidays in 2016 when we were news editors together, a very dried out flower that I wore at my high school prom, a newton’s cradle that has some written out Pokémon team ideas on top and a piece of quartz that… I don’t remember where I got.

I just really like how it looks, honestly. So its been there for about as long as I can remember.

On the other side of the entryway in is my bed.

The bed itself obviously isn’t much to talk about, but above it are a number of posters and pictures and such. Among them are a map of the Hoenn region, an XKCD webcomic, a table of elements and a Terminator-inspired self portrait I drew for my high school art class.

Oh, and you can see the laundry room outside too.

Meanwhile, in the other corner…

Right now there are some more self-explanatory posters on the leftmost wall, but probably some more interesting things on display for the rest of the space.

I have my original Twilight Princess poster from an issue of Nintendo Power in 2016 – still arguably my favorite Zelda game I might add – and the Pikachu/Mimikyu picture I got for my birthday last year that’s usually up in the Newsroom is currently housed here.

Oh, and I have a signed photo of Yvonne Strahovski, who played Sarah in one of my favorite, seemingly somewhat underrated shows, Chuck.

Gotta go back and watch that again one of these days.

The floor space in that corner is also what I like to call “the piles of no return.” It’s more or less all of the binders I’ve used for different school subjects going all the way back to middle school. I say that I keep them around on the off chance I ever need the information inside again, but frankly I think I just don’t know what to do with it all since throwing it out would be a waste.

In my opinion at least.

Moving on, we get to to the next corner of my room, notably featuring my over-stuffed book shelf and the papasan that winds up being extra storage space rather than a seat more often than not.

From this angle, you can also see the orange hat I wore when I dressed as Willy Wonka for Halloween in 2016, the Porg I got as a secret Santa gift from my assistant Breanna this semester, a piece of artwork I bought of one of my favorite Pokémon Gym Leaders (Roxie, from Black 2 and White 2) and the second half of my school-year class photos. On the opposite side of the room as promised.

A little more interesting to me are some of the things hanging up on the wall here.

The Star Wars poster is pretty self-explanatory, it’s just a cool Star Wars poster.

The two hanging pieces of print, however, are special for their own reasons. The smaller one up top is the first article I ever wrote for the Daily Titan (about an upcoming ‘Pizza with the Presidents’ event) that was framed by my friend Lissete because she’s great. The one below it is actually my first major front page article for the Titan, a story about campus police preparedness following the San Bernardino shooting.

On the other wall, stuck to the closet door, is a painting my friend Tiana made for me showcasing my favorite Pokémon, Gardevoir. There’s a whole set that she made for each of my other friends in our little group too, which is pretty sweet. Above the closet is also also an award I got in 2014 for “Excellence in Newswriting” at a Journalism Education Association Write-Off Competition. Pretty cool stuff.

Oh, and I’m sure some people must have noticed the metal weapons hanging up on the jutting out part of the wall too.

Yeah… I don’t have too much of a story for these. Basically, I’ve been the Anime Expo a couple of times, and one of my favorite things to see there is the video game weapon re-creations with real metal.

So I got myself a Master Sword and a Keyblade. And they look dope.

Next up, around the room’s one window, are my main display sources.

These two pieces of furniture are combined drawer and display spaces, and are obviously part of a set with my desk that are some of the oldest things I own.

The main drawers, with my longtime backpack resting in front of it, has a couple of notable mainstay items, including a collector’s Tanuki Suit Mario figure wearing the special Mickey Mouse ears that I got during our senior end-of-ear trip there in 2015, my high school yearbooks and diploma and my Amiibo collection.

Because yeah, I have a bit of an Amiibo collection.

Don’t ask me how this got to where it is now, because frankly I’m not totally sure. I started with Smash Brothers Link, but enjoyed the display value enough that I kept it boxed, and eventually I got it in my head that I wanted to collect every single Smash Brothers Amiibo to make a nice set.

However, I have neither the space nor the resources to really do that, so for now it’s just a little wall of Amiibo that my sister likes to make fun of me for.

The T.V. cabinet and drawer space has a good amount of collectibles on top of it as well. I have a series of trophies from my time doing chess tournaments back in elementary school that are cool because they’re shaped like chess pieces, I have some goodies themed after my favorite mythical Pokémon Jirachi – including a cardboard art piece that I made in my senior high school art class, I have some Lego builds from some time ago of the Fallingwater building, Obi Wan Kenobi’s ship from the Star Wars prequels (Episode III namely) and of the Space Needle in Seattle.

The last one in particular fits in well with some of the other landmark/history-themed goods, like a model of the White House I picked up during a trip to Washington D.C. for a journalism conference some years back and a Ronald Reagan diorama of sorts dating way back to the days of a President report in elementary school. Still proud of how nice that one looks to this day.

There are a bunch of other things I like to keep out on display which mean a lot to me, but that piece of furniture is also where I keep my yearly calendar. Though I often wind up falling a week or so behind when it comes to changing the month over, it’s definitely helpful to keep it so close by in my main workspace so I can jot down important dates if necessary.

Plus, I always like to have something theming the calendar that keeps me happy. For instance, between 2017 and 2018, I went from this:

To this:

Because how can you ever be truly stressed out when you can just turn your head to the left and see some dogs being adorable?

That just about concludes my tour. I could probably go into more depth about a ton of little items strewn throughout the room, but that would honestly take forever.

I do have stories about a lot of stuff, so who knows. Maybe I’ll get to that another day.

Now, as a final note. Is this the silliest thing I’ve ever written about on my blog? Or the dumbest thing? I’ll leave that up to you likely few viewers out there to decide.

On top of that, as a side final note, if this is me from the future looking at this while going through a small nostalgia trip, I hope you enjoyed it most of all.

That said, I’ll catch everyone next time.