Tag: Journalism

Sacred Stones and The Dropout

Sacred Stones and The Dropout

Once again, a large portion of my day has been spent doing homework between a rock and a hard place.

I was feeling pretty lazy and had no desire to do work… But my weekend plans did not allow for procrastination.

Yesterday was the CBS Broadcast Center tour.

Tomorrow I have a St. Patrick’s Day party to attend over in Fullerton.

Both of which are great social things to do, so I cannot complain. However, my first paper for Gaming in American Culture is due tomorrow, so that became an assignment I was unable to push-off.

Luckily, in spite of my complaints about overwriting the other day, I was finally able to focus and cut the paper down. It’s now six pages exactly, with a bibliography and citations in Chicago Style — something I’ve never used before.

Long ago I wrote about my turmoil trying to decide what video game I should write about for this paper series.

That impossible choice wound up landing on Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, my favorite game in the turn-based tactical RPG. So far it has been a great one, as I’ve had a ton of fun analyzing how Sacred Stones is arguably one of the most replayable games in the series due to its unit variety, random stat distributions, intentionally restrictive player choice options, multiple pathways and Permadeath concessions.

All wrapped up in a polished, 32-bit handheld bow that I adore.

Perhaps when all three parts of the paper are finished, I’ll try to compile everything and post it on the old blog here. Seems like something that would fit.

I’ve also spent time working on my essay for Cognitive Psychology, which involves analyzing a study that corresponds with the presentation I gave in-class last Thursday.

While the paper was easy to pull together, having a 3-page maximum limit, I’m still kind of struggling with the finishing details because of how confusing the professor has made certain instructions.

Though I’ve talked about that before, so I won’t bore you here.

Something that has helped me work through all of this essay writing is a brand new investigative reporting podcast I recently discovered called: The Dropout.

Helmed by Rebecca Jarvis, the Chief Business, Technology & Economics Correspondent for ABC News, this podcast discusses the rise and fall of a company called Theranos and its female CEO Elizabeth Holmes — which basically defrauded millions of dollars from investors in promising a miracle medical test, also putting millions of people at risk.

Sounds like an ad, I know. But it’s not an ad.

Though… It could be an ad?

Hit me up, Rebecca. I’m sure you’re dying for these 10+ views/day.

Seriously though, it’s a fascinating story. I’m about three episodes deep and really looking forward to finishing the rest during my next couple commutes.

It’s another great addition to my growing collection of one-shot journalistic podcasts. Joining the ranks of Dirty John and The Butterfly Effect.

Because I could listen to Nando and DJ discuss movies on Mostly Nitpicking or Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman discuss celebrity news on Hollywood Babble-On for hours. But sometimes the real, raw journalism is far more of a fascinating subject to absorb.


Featured Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Live from Studio City

Live from Studio City

In case some of you weren’t around this morning to see what I’ve been up to today, here’s the real brief teaser I put out on social media:

However, assuming you might be reading this in some far-flung future date where Twitter is dead in the aftermath of terrible social media toxicity, I’ll lay it out in good, old-fashioned text:

The Cal State Fullerton branch of the Society of Professional Journalists got an opportunity to tour the CBS2/KCAL9 broadcast center in Studio City, California this afternoon.

However, assuming you might be reading this in some far-flung future date where the Internet is dead after a nuclear apocalypse…

Well you wouldn’t be reading this anyway. My entire joke would fall apart well before I started it.

So I’ll stop wasting your time.

My dad worked at the station for about three years as an Information Technology Manager, in-part helping to build out some of the infrastructure that we were able to see today.

In fact, I personally helped build bits and pieces when he took me to work with him. Crawling under tables to plug-in computers and stuff.

Because he still has some friends at CBS, he was able to get our club president Harrison in touch with Dan Haight, the Director of Broadcast Operations and Engineering.

As the Secretary for our chapter, I figured the least I could do was help us get a tour at a professional newsroom. Luckily it was a successful venture!

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The broadcast building from behind, on the sixth floor roof of the parking structure.

I got to Studio City pretty early and had the chance to look around at the entertainment side of the house first.

That included a whole host of fancy-looking lots as well as named buildings, street signs and more.

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But more importantly, it included a lot of brief looks at areas where different TV shows are currently being recorded.

The one that stood out most to me was Last Man Standing. Not because I watch the Tim Allen sitcom, but because of where the show was:

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The home of Seinfeld? Now that’s a sound stage that could tell some stories.

Even if most of those stories are technically supposed to be centered in New York.

~*~Hollywood magic~*~

Here are a number of other discoveries I made, all lazily compiled in a slide show because I’m pretty tired after a number of hours on the freeway.

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However, arguably the most important discovery I made was off the lot:

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Don’t know if this is a business officially affiliated with CBS, or if it’s just some business owner with a lot of ingenuity to capitalize on the major job provider in the area, but either way I’m a fan.

After my little self-driven tour, it was time to head back to the broadcast center for our official tour!

… Except traffic was apparently not great today, so I was the first one there and had to hang out for quite some time before the rest of the group arrived.

Gave me a lot of time to look around at the big stuff in the lobby.

It was actually a lot of fun watching folks wander in-and-out, usually stopping by the security desk to see what was on the news with the guard.

After Dan arrived to take us around on the tour, I didn’t take a whole lot of pictures. Got caught up in just checking everything out.

So the best I’ve got for visuals in this stage are the couple of pictures we took as a group that got posted on the SPJ account:

Obviously, that’s where I got my featured image from. I love the image Harrison got of us all looking into a news camera.

We found out that the area where we took that picture is going to be reworked soon for a new project CBS is working on to get live news broadcasts to mobile phones easier. All with the hopes of attracting that young audience that doesn’t watch traditional TV anymore.

Then we got a look around the newsroom, everything from the assignment desk to the online story stations and editing bays.

Afterward we checked out a couple of the shows currently recording, or preparing to record, during our tour.

First was the weekly Veteran’s Voices show, where a few actors were sitting in as the anchors so they could make sure all the shots were right.

After that we saw the end of the News at Noon with Sandra Mitchell, sitting alongside the weather lady Alex Biston.

Fun fact, this weather update was actually what we watched her record. Live. It was pretty cool, and she took some time to chat with us afterward!

The most interesting thing about watching the news broadcast was the fact that those two were the only people on the entire set. Everything else was fully automated.

I can’t help but feel it would be disconcerting to record an entire broadcast like that with nobody else around on a big sound stage… But I suppose it’s the kind of thing that Internet personalities do all the time in the 21st Century.

It was kind of cool to see how much technology has advanced I suppose, even if it wasn’t a great sign for getting jobs in the industry.

Finally, we were in one of the big control rooms just in time for Donald Trump’s speech on the New Zealand attacks — which I’ll use the CNN story for just for the sake of variety.

It was pretty amazing watching almost every screen in the room change to show the President’s face, both for the CBS channels and their competition.

While we were checking out the fully automated sound deck beside that control room, another one of my Dad’s old friends showed up. Bob and Dan got to talking, which led them to telling our tour group about how much they enjoyed working with Dad and missed him.

Which was a very sweet thing to see.

But that was pretty much all there is to say about my CBS tour. It was really cool, especially on the verge of graduation when I need to start thinking about things like work more avidly.

… Plus, I got to write it off as networking with reporters for my internship.

So I really can’t complain about that.

Working hard? Or hardly working?

Working hard? Or hardly working?

In case any of you genuinely wanted that question answered, I can assure you that I have, in fact, been working hard.

Next week is my Comm Law midterm. A totally online exam, but one based on a class where the workload has been far larger and more time-consuming than I had expected going in.

The nicest thing about the exam is that my professor pretty much let us know it’s intended to be an open-note test — or at least she expects us to treat it as such. After all, most of it is going to be application of all the information we’ve learned rather than a definition-driven evaluation.

However, she added that she doesn’t want us to necessarily be flipping through our notebooks for the entire exam.

Because she knows just as well as we do that it can be a stressful experience.

Thus, to incentivize pre-studying we’ve been offered extra credit to create a single 8 1/2 x 11 cheat sheet, take a “selfie” with it (with as much creativity as we desire) and upload the picture to an online forum before taking the test.

My Featured Image of the day is that very selfie. Wearing my brand new Frog-in-a-Car T-shirt.

I figured what better way is there to represent myself than having a thick, detailed page of notes that I’m ignoring in lieu of some Tetris?

What’s that? You don’t believe that I have a full-page of detailed notes based on how far away it is in the perspective of the picture?

Well, you’re right.

Because it’s actually a front AND back page worth of detailed notes:

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The front side was a bit off-the-cuff when I first put it together, which is why it looks so left-end dominant.

I tried to fix that more on the back side. It helped that there were less diagrams and more Supreme Court precedents to simply list off as we moved farther into the semester.

Some of you might not find the clean, clinical and small font pencil-only approach beneficial to a study guide very helpful. Personally, I really like to pack in as much detail as I can.

In fact, I essentially shoved every detail I could onto this page to the point that I might not ever have to open up the first half of my Comm Law notebook ever again.

A notebook with ~150 pages worth of notes that I packed into one, at that.

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That’s a spicy-a notebook.

It may have taken me all afternoon to transfer all of this information over, but I’d say it was well worth it to have a condensed study aid tool.

Especially given that just the act of copying all of my written text a second time is as powerful a way to study as I can imagine.

That’s really all I’ve done today, so I figured the cheat sheet would make for as good a blog post as any. The project fits well enough into my narrative of enjoying the class as a whole that it seems appropriate.

I just wanted to end this off by giving an extra special shout-out to my photographer, Alyson. Because one good picture deserves another in return:

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Gotta love those post-SAT blues.

Definitely don’t miss those days.

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:

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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.

That owl sure was superb

That owl sure was superb

Gotta ride that SEO wave, am I right?

I kid of course. Out of all the blog posts I’ve ever written, a football-related piece is far from the one I’m looking to blow out of the park.

It just so happens that the only thing I’ve done today beyond researching history for my novel is watch the Superb Owl. So as much as I could care less about football, it might as well serve some kind of grander purpose.

Even though that grander purpose was definitely not to get me more invested in the sport.

Because hoo boy, I’m not a fan and even I could tell that Super Bowl 53 was lame.

The game was tied up 3 – 3 from field goals alone until the fourth quarter. There the Patriots scored the first touchdown of the game and a subsequent second field goal to end things 13 – 3.

As much as I couldn’t care less, at the very least I figured I should root for the Rams considering they’re a Los Angeles team. It’s just too bad they lost after an excruciatingly boring game.

The commercials weren’t even that special, making it so the one reprieve from sportball didn’t balance out the boring game.

Probably the best spots were the brief Avengers: Endgame trailer right before the game started, the Bud Light commercial that turned out to be an ad for Game of Thrones in disguise (gotta give HBO a shout out for that majesty) and the Washington Post ad narrated by Tom Hanks toward the end.

As someone going into journalism I figure I should be happy about them spreading the good word, even if I do think it was a weird promotional gimmick with a whole story about the fact that they put out an ad in the first place?

But you know what. I’m at least a friendly acquaintance with Gene Park, who does social media stuff for the Washington Post, so I won’t complain about his business.

He’s very worth a follow. Just saying.

So okay. The game sucked. The ads sucked. What about the Maroon 5 halftime show? That had to be something good, right?

After all, the NFL was planning to do good on a petition for “Sweet Victory” from the Spongebob Squarepants episode “Band Geeks” to be played in honor of Stephen Hillenburg dying a few months ago.

They couldn’t have messed that up, right?

Well…

Let’s just say the concept was much better than the delivery.

Even I got in on the fun with my own hot take:

If anything, I suppose this was my favorite part of the Superb Owl this year. Never before have I been ‘invested’ in the game enough to watch it carefully and follow the Twitter reactions as a result.

We’re going to talk about it this week in my Gaming class, so I figured I should pay attention.

Seeing the Internet lose its mind over the Spongebob debacle and a select number of commercials was more fun than I’ve had on social media in a long time.

However, that wasn’t the most fun thing about the game.

That honor, of course, had to go to the feast:

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After a rough weekend, it was nice to take a little time to relax and pig out with lots of junk food.

Even if I’ll definitely have to hit the gym a few times this week to make up for it.

So anyway, that’s my sport-related content quota for the year. Anything else from here on out is pure overtime. Look forward to maybe that!


Featured Image courtesy of Paul Sableman via Wikimedia Commons

Aesthetic updates and internship hours

Aesthetic updates and internship hours

I know all of my loyal readers pay intimate attention to each and every change on my blog, but in case you didn’t notice what happened I’ll fill you in.

Just last night I modified some minor elements over in the archive for my work with Gladeo. The biggest and most noticeable change was the shift from an internal photo showing the reporting team from when I first joined on:

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To a much more recent image on Gladeo’s website showing myself with my title:

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Given my current lack of facial hair, both images are technically pretty dated. So you might be wondering why I bothered.

I assure you that the change isn’t some vain attempt to clear my blog of any pictures not featuring me, myself and I.

It’s more about the page where this new picture is found on Gladeo’s website.

The team photo is about a year-and-a-half old, and the Gladeo League itself has drastically changed since. For instance, I’m technically no longer just a part of the reporter-interns.

I’m the head of the League, the Managing Editor. The Superman to their Justice League. The Lex Luthor to their Legion of Doom.

Just not the Jesse Eisenberg one.

As a result you can this new-ish picture of me on the official staff page. Essentially where a bio would go, just without any text from me.

I wanted to bring things more up-to-date with this web development, as Michelle let me know she was setting it up yesterday.

Even if it isn’t technically that “up-to-date” due to my aforementioned lack of fur nowadays. In fact, when I was in a video conference with Michelle, it took her a long time to figure out why I looked younger until she realized we haven’t seen each other since I had foregone the follicles.

The visual change isn’t the only update I made to that Gladeo page on my blog, however.

Part of the reason I was in a video call with Michelle yesterday was that she needed to show me how to do some work on the inner-mechanisms of the website.

As I mentioned in my Homeless in the South Bay post, and many times before that, I’ve begun to accrue hours for my Internship class. The 120-hour goal will likely encourage me to go to more events or reach out to more possible interviewees, but at the same time it has encouraged me to take up as much extra work for Gladeo as I can.

Including now running the official website’s blog.

That’s right, I have a more traffic heavy outlet to shout my thoughts into now!

… Or I would, if that job wasn’t mostly about posting updates and such. The only assignment I’ve been given so far is copying off the last year’s worth of Facebook post updates onto the nonprofit’s website.

Once I see how that will come out in a tangible form, I’ll figure out the right place to point you all and flesh out my work portfolio with the PR-esque work.

Today I just wanted to relish in the increased responsibilities, expansion of my skill set and time sink for required Internship hours.

As always, great things should be coming soon enough!

I think so, anyway. Really the only reason I had the chance to finish this post so early in the afternoon is because my car crapped out on me.

So here’s hoping that doesn’t become such an issue that I’ll have a lot to say on it for another day’s post.

Homeless in the South Bay

Homeless in the South Bay

For the most part, this weekend has been quiet. The best thing I had to talk about a few days ago was doing homework, and one of the most exciting things I did recently was put my binders together for the semester.

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Beautifully organized and poetic in their duality, but not very interesting.

But tonight my Mom pointed out a meeting dedicated to learning all about the homeless situation in the South Bay. Much more interesting writing fodder in a traditionally journalistic manner.

My interest was piqued two-fold. I spent a good amount of time covering homelessness about a year-and-a-half ago for Bonnie’s Investigative Reporting class.

I covered the Point-In-Time homeless census that year and wound up winning the third place “Best News Series” award alongside my friends at the 2018 California College Media Awards.

So I have some experience in the subject, and wanted to see things happening much closer to home.

The event was held at the Hermosa Beach Playhouse, which is literally five minutes away from my house.

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About as close to home as it gets.

In addition, I’m able to write off the whole experience as research, networking and sourcing for Gladeo. I’m on the clock for my internship class, so I’m looking to do as much extra work as possible.

That more cynical reason aside, I did learn a good amount and picked up a whole host of documents:

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The panel was hosted by the League of Women Voters of the Beach Cities.

There were seven speakers on the panel who each gave spiels and answered a few audience at the end.

First came Jennifer Lamarque and Ivan Sulak from the office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn. Hahn was apparently slated to come earlier on but had to drop out, sending representatives instead.

Most of the discussion coming from Sulak, who is the supervisor for housing and homelessness in the 4th District. He was also apparently homeless himself.

He talked all about different initiatives being worked on across the District. The growth of a year-round shelter, more Emergency Response Team development and pushing more housing projects. A veteran-focused project in Downey, student-focused housing in Whittier and more.

“The end of homelessness is to get people in houses,” he said before delving more into the fact that homeless people on the streets are just a snapshot, as the issue has “many different faces.”

That snapshot came more into focus with the next speaker: Ashley Oh with the LA County Homeless Initiative: Measure H.

Because homeless counts for 2019 only occurred within the last week or so, the numbers we got tonight are technically outdated.

More to come from people like my friend Spencer over in Orange County.

Support local papers, y’all. Nudge, nudge.

That said, Oh pointed out that in 2018 there were more than 52,000 homeless individuals counted in LA County, with ~40,000 not sheltered. She said that was the first year in eight with an overall decrease.

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A bit more of a breakdown.

One of the most interesting things about this event for me was seeing the break-down at a local level with some places I actually know a thing or two about.

I picked up a document from the South Bay Coalition to End Homelessness outlining findings from the 2018 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count which said Redondo Beach had 154 homeless, half in vehicles and half on the street.

Though it’s great that the number was down about 41 percent from 2017, there’s clearly still a long way to go. Over 150 people is nothing to scoff at.

From there the discussion went more into Measure H, a pretty big initiative here in the South Bay.

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Oh mentioned that 51 strategies to combat homelessness have been developed which fit into six categories, including prevention, more affordable housing and increasing income.

That last point in particular led to discussions of working, as she pointed out that “most people think these homeless are comfortable living off government money, but that’s not true. Many want to work.”

Those three speakers had the most general information to hand out, so I figured I’d give the rest more of a quick-fire treatment.

Shari Weaver from Harbor Interfaith Services talked about her group’s more intimate outreach work, claiming that their 40 or so staff members know about 80 percent of the unsheltered homeless in the beach cities.

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She also brought the feel-good stories, such as that of a client who they housed that had lost his home in the recent Paradise fires.

Weaver was followed up by representatives of the Cities of Manhattan and Hermosa Beach who talked about city governments creating homeless plans, including a $150,000 multi-jurisdiction proposal between them and Redondo Beach that got funded by Measure H on January 24.

Finally, a lieutenant with the Manhattan Beach Police Department talked about officers across the beach cities working on more “holistic approachs” of homeless outreach on top of their usual enforcement.

All that remained was the Q&A, which was relatively short. It was hilariously obvious that most of the questions came from older members of the audience who simply do not like the homeless population being around.

Watching the panelists have to explain that private churches would be allowed to help the homeless whether or not there was a “centralized gathering location” to feed the needy was pretty great.

In the end I didn’t have too much of a chance to talk to people after the event, but if nothing else I gathered a lot of names, contacts and general information for the future.

Plus I got a two-hour addition to my internship log while rubbing shoulders with folks like Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand.

So who knows, even if I get no Gladeo interviews out of this, it could be handy if I ever break into covering homelessness again.

Either way, I’d say this was an educational night well spent.

Spring 2019 first impressions

Spring 2019 first impressions

Alternate Title: “Last Ditch Effort”

Last semester I started what could be considered a tradition by writing about my early class impressions.

Granted that “tradition” was started literally one semester before the end so it doesn’t mean THAT much… But hey.

Traditions.

Given that it is my last semester at Cal State Fullerton, I actually have a pretty strange class layout. I’m taking seven, but only four are on campus.

Oh, and one of those four on-campus classes doesn’t meet every week.

As a result I’m essentially at CSUF two-and-a-half days this semester.

I’m not sure how I managed to achieve that while taking seven classes, but I guess that’s the nature of being a near-graduate.

As a result of that weird schedule, the degree to which I can talk about my classes varies. But it’s about as good a time to do so as any.


Cognitive Psychology

This semester we start with my only multi-day class and the end of my journey into a Psychology minor.

I took Cog Psych on the recommendation of a friend from my Sensation and Perception class. She had taken this course before and figured it would work out well for me considering my previous experiences.

Based on the curriculum so far I can’t really argue, even though I have a different professor.

In the two class periods we’ve had, the early subjects have all overlapped with things I previously learned. A third of the semester will even be focused on Learning and Memory, which I took last semester.

So if my general knowledge keeps up, I might just be ahead of the curve.

My biggest complaint is nitpicky, tying into how the desks are randomly dispersed and require students sitting in the same column to have to enter from different aisles.

Aesthetically annyoing, but harmless.

As far as my professor goes, I do like her thus far. She’s apparently a semi-recent immigrant from Egypt, which makes her an intriguing character with a slightly thick accent. Seemingly new to teaching, which could be good or bad depending.

However, considering I came in so positive about my last two Psych professors and got burned hard, I’m cautiously optimistic.

Guess I’ll just have to see.


Communications Law

Working for the Daily Titan may be the capstone course for the Journalism program, but Comm Law is considered the cream of the crop in terms of difficult classes.

Whether or not I succeeded in saving the work-heavy class for an ample time depends on your take regarding my ‘seven classes versus two days on campus’ debate.

Even though I don’t have the usually lauded Journalism department head as my professor, I still got the impression I’ll be very interested and engaged just from our first three-hour class.

My professor is plenty energetic and casual about the subject in a way that suggests her breadth of experience and all-encompassing love for it.

My one trepidation is that she seemingly decided to start winging it in the middle of the first day, shifting course to more of a traditional lecture style instead of a reversed classroom, video lecture style.

I’m not sure how much that will actually change things, and I think I prefer the sound of what we’re doing now, but it’s hard to inspire too much confidence when the immediate impression is “let’s wing it.”

Though maybe that ties in well with the casual air I like about the professor. So it could all mesh together quite nicely now that we’re past the initial civics recap.


Gaming and American Culture

In case you missed it, I wrote a post yesterday more or less discussing my first impressions about this class in service of a larger debate.

So I’ll keep it brief here and thank myself for the foresight.

Despite the fact that I apparently didn’t bother to fact check myself on the course’s name, I think this will arguably be one of the best things I’ve decided to do with my college career.

We’re reading great books, watching great movies, playing Dungeons and Dragons, analyzing video games (and board games and sports) and at the end I might even get to record my own pseudo-take on a Let’s Play.

It’s quite literally 15-year-old Jason’s dream class.


Senior Honors Colloquium

This is the class that I mentioned will only happen on certain weeks.

Ironically, this week was not one of them.

Because it’s taught by the Director of the Honors Program, she needed to be at the Welcome Back event held that same afternoon.

As a result I really can’t say much about the class itself. My friend who had it on a different day said the experience was pretty chill.

All I know is that it’s essentially going to be a bunch of planning to finish our Honors Projects, culminating in the conference of presentations at the end of the semester.

Shouldn’t be too bad.


With that, I’m all out of on-campus classes.

The remaining three are kind of similar in that they’re independent study experiences.

One is my Comm Internship class, where I just need to log 120 hours doing Gladeo-related stuff and turn in a few reflection papers online. Nothing too crazy.

The other two are Senior Honors Project Blocks, one of which is scheduled with my mentor Dr. Rizzo. They’re more or less the actual work half of the Colloquium class. I’ll be meeting with Dr. Rizzo on a weekly basis, possibly doing some outside meetings with people and going over my novel.

That about sums up my semester.

I’ll have two-and-a-half days of classes, with the rest of my four-day weekends being devoted to homework, work-work and writing.

A strange culmination to my schooling experience, but one that makes sense as a denouement for three converging threads of study.

At this point the best I can hope for is a more fun experience than last semester, which drained the life out of me by the time it was through.

Smooth sailing to graduation here we come!

He said, obviously jinxing himself.

Saying Sayonara to 2018

Saying Sayonara to 2018

I’m sure most people would agree that 2018 was a maddening political clusterfuck, no matter which side of the aisle or where in the world you sit.

While I can’t help but agree with the hope of moving past that in the new year… At the same time, I sort of disconnected myself from the news-y world in 2018 and focused a lot more on myself.

Overall that wasn’t a bad decision. A lot of nice things came out of the more chill personal year!

For instance, all the video games I played. Did my big splurge on that yesterday so you don’t have to be bogged down with it here.

This post is more about my actual life and times.

Seemingly the most poignant place to start charting out my year is with my health. That feels ironic considering the first week of Winter Break was spent dying in bed, but I’m talking about the grand scheme of things.

A sizable chunk of my 2017 year in review was devoted to finding out about my blood disorder, ITP, and crazy things like the hospital stay that resulted from our early attempts to treat it.

It’s kind of insane to think that we’re more than a year out from that now, especially since so much of my stress at the time was getting better enough to cover Milo Yiannopoulos at Halloween.

Equally hard to believe I spoke at a conference about that coverage this year.

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He’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Tangent aside, this year I never had a big medical scare. In fact, the whole incident inspired me to be better to myself, as this summer I started regularly going to the gym for the first time.

Even lost a little bit of weight in the process. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if a few weeks of holiday eating and falling behind while sick reversed that progress.

The summer was also significant to my personal growth this year because I started my Summer 2018 Initiative: Writing something here on my blog every day.

My drive to force myself to become better at my craft each and every day persisted past the summer and into the fall semester. Then my buddy Spencer encouraged me to try to be concise with all of my posts for the sake of practicing, which has definitely helped.

You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve cut an extra 500 words off of these since.

Speaking of, 2018 was when I turned 21 and got to enjoy some of the perks of that! Like going to comedy shows at bars. Or meeting up with friends at bars to celebrate things.

Sure, I may have found out I’m not a fan of drinking, but a whole new world of spending time with people has opened up.

Back to the original point though. Putting more effort into my blog has proven fruitful, because as it turns out posting something every day really drives up that website traffic:

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Can’t wait to see how big that bar gets in 2019 when I hopefully get a whole year of pseudo-daily posts out!

Also on the media front, I finally caved and got a few new gizmos to play with this year. Instagram, Paypal, LinkedIn, Discord…

I don’t know that I’d say any of them have significantly impacted my life per-say, but Instagram and LinkedIn have been interesting insights into the world of photo-based and work-based media.

Ah, did I say the dreaded “w” word? Guess I should talk about that too.

2018 was a bizarre transitional period for work. The spring semester had me stepping down as an editor at the Daily Titan so I could focus on writing for the journalism capstone class.

Some really great articles came out of that, including fun reviews, covering the Sports Clubs Inter-Club Council and this soon-to-be award-winning piece about restaurant gradings around campus.

However, I decided not to return to the paper for the fall semester. Gave more priority to my major and minor classes, knowing graduation is slowly rearing its ugly head.

Quicker than I thought it would be at the beginning of 2018, I should say. A really happy part of the year was finally finding a mentor for my Senior Honors Project and working things out with the program director to graduate on-time rather than needing an extra semester!

On top of that, I won a pretty huge scholarship over the summer and followed that up by receiving a promotion at Gladeo to head the reporter-interns. Not only did I get to do some really cool interviews and stories, I also got to start working on management outside of the school paper.

Also I covered Obama for Boom.

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Enough said.

I suppose that really caps off all the big things I can recall. Sure there were some smaller things like going on my first real date with a girl, cracking open my old desktop and finding some wonderful things and finally shaving my beard for the first time since 2016.

But otherwise that seems like as much fellating myself as I can handle for one year.

So! Here’s hoping even more great things happen in 2019, where it seems I’m slated to finally move past my schooling days and enter the workforce full-time.

Yikes.

Let me know about some of the great things that happened with you this year, with all the negativity buzzing around on TV I’d absolutely love to hear why 2018 was great for people!

A data journalist’s wet dream

A data journalist’s wet dream

I’ll be honest, I absolutely wrote this blog post almost exclusively to use that pun in the title.

That’s where I peak for the day. Good night, folks.

Unfortunately I can’t just leave things there. Anyone reading this in the distant future without the context of my social media stinger would be lost.

If you are reading this way after I’m writing it, hello! My name is Jason. This is my blog. I’m here to talk about porn today.

I swear that’s not an everyday occurrence.

I wouldn’t typically bring up the subject at all unless I had a good reason to. It just so happens that this tweet sent me down a rabbit hole this morning.

Apparently Pornhub does a yearly visualization of site analytics, and the fact that I wasn’t aware of it before is a travesty. I’ve gotten very into that sort of thing recently, so alongside psychological implications of “what the world gets off on,” you’ve got something right up my alley.

I suppose 2018 is a good a time as any to find out about it, because hoo boy is there a ton of interesting stuff.

Obviously this whole subject is a bit NSFW, but I’m more interested in it from a data analysis side. However, if you’re squeamish about the topic I’ll understand if you don’t want to read on.

That said, here are some of my favorite Pornhub Insights from 2018.

… Definitely not a sentence I ever thought I would be writing.

The data that starts off the review is fascinating just from the sheer scale.

Apparently there were 92 million daily visits to the site on average, and about 115 years worth of video were uploaded this year. I know porn is a popular thing, and typically an early adopter of every form of mass media thanks to my Comm classes…

But 115 years of video just this year alone?

I’m not sure how to comprehend that much porn. Especially considering Pornhub is just one of countless porn websites.

When presented with that myriad of information, my first inclination is to ask how it filtered down. Luckily, Pornhub has a number of well-done infographics breaking things into manageable chunks. For instance:

1-pornhub-insights-2018-year-in-review-searches-that-defined-the-year

There’s a lot to say about these defining searches.

Stormy Daniels stands out in how hilarious it is that a serious presidential scandal skyrocketed this woman from being the 671 most popular pornstar in 2017 to being the most popular search result in 2018.

Fortnite, as much as I don’t particularly enjoy it, makes sense as a high result considering how popular the game is. Though in that same vein, Bowsette skyrocketing into the top ten based on that week or two she was a popular concept is astounding.

Later on they break down the highest video game-related searches, and it’s not too surprising.

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The best thing about this list is Mario being the highest male result. Shout out to that portly plumber for representing male characters.

With that said, I find the worldwide search analyses more interesting than the media-specific stuff. The fact that categories like “4K,” “Trans” and “Tinder” were among top search results says a lot about the era we live in.

It also says a lot about porn watchers that “Lesbian,” “Hentai,” “Milf,” “Step mom” and “Japanese” were the top five most searched terms this year. Especially given that the United States produced the most Pornhub traffic by more than three times its runner-up, the United Kingdom.

Easily the most interesting graphic produced in this set shows which parts of the world searched for what kinds of porn most.

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Just look at that sharp divide between “Lesbian” porn in the Americas, “Hentai” in Asia/Russia and “Ebony” porn in Africa. The strong leanings in these parts of the world is simply fascinating to me.

Shout out to Pakistan for being about the sole representative of “Big Dick” porn too. Much respect.

The other segment that really intrigued me was the technology insights. For instance, the clear leaning toward Windows/Android devices:

4-pornhub-insights-2018-year-review-operating-system

Or the fact that about 0.7 percent of Pornhub users are searching from their 3DS systems:

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Like who is doing that?! Who is using that janky 3DS web browser to search for porn?

I’d like to meet and interview those people.

There’s so many more things to draw out of these data sets, from the gendered search results to the periods when traffic to the site fell (including the day Big Bang Theory season 11 premiered) and which days/times are the most popular for porn watching.

But the more I talk about here, the more I’ll feel like I’m just stealing things. So instead I’ll point out the link once again and encourage you all to check out the information for yourself.

It’s a hell of a rabbit hole to dive down, and after getting lost in it this morning I’d highly recommend it.