Tag: My Blog

The… Anti-Summer 2018 Initiative?

The… Anti-Summer 2018 Initiative?

Greetings and salutations.

As you may have noticed, things have been a little different around here recently. A little more barren.

Don’t worry, it’s not a symptom of finally running out of ideas. I did that about a year ago and wrote about my pencil set.

Nor is it some delusion that my Naruto-Arena post is the peak of my creativity (though I like that post and you should read it if you haven’t).

There has actually been plenty of exciting blog fodder over the last week.

I attended Alyson’s fourth 4th of July parade and survived the concurrent earthquake.

I also survived the subsequent 7.1 earthquake that struck California.

Though to be fair I was far out of the range of both, and you should follow my old Daily Titan colleague Lauren Jennings to see more of the damage in Ridgecrest.

My Bachelor’s degree was finally shipped.

Over the last few weeks my family has also sat down and binged a few shows:

Good Omens on Amazon Prime Video (which has a phenomenal underlying controversy) and Stranger Things season 3 on Netflix. Both of which are extremely well-constructed and receive honest recommendations.

Even if part of my interest in Stranger Things comes from our long-time investment.

Beyond all that, I’ve also been playing a lot of Fire Emblem Warriors.

The game has been far more fun than I expected, and incorporates a number of intriguing elements in a novel gameplay style for my prior experiences. Interesting elements that might make for a perfect post.

Yet I haven’t written about any of those things.

You see, let’s go back to my Summer Initiative. It was a sort of challenge to myself:

“You’re not working on the Daily Titan right now,” I said. “So why not try writing something every day to keep your skills sharp?”

The drive to write more led to an increase in site traffic and a subsequent sense of pride that has extended my near-daily posts for about a year.

So much so that I used its existence as a part of a freelancing pitch.

With all that said, you might be wondering why I haven’t written in six days.

It turns out I might have conditioned myself to care about blogging a little too much. For some time now, what I’m blogging every day has been the focal point of all my writer’s stress.

Which is kind of a problem when you have a book you want to finish.

Thus I decided to scale back as a test. Would I be more productive on my book if I stopped focusing on daily blog posts?

As it turns out, I have been.

Over the last week I’ve gotten myself to nearly 300 pages, and I believe that’s as good a sign as any that I should scale back my blog stuff until I get through the novel.

Currently my anti-Summer Initiative is shaping up to be blog posts over the weekend while keeping my weekdays free to write the book. I’d like to finish my first draft before Mom and Aly get back from New York at the end of July.

The weekend will probably have at least one week-in-review and quicker one-offs like a piece on Spider-Man: Far From Home that I’ll write after seeing the film tomorrow.

And I’ll leave myself open to the occasional weekday post. Because I’m a Fire Emblem Heroes addict and Intelligent Systems lied about fewer summer banners.

But otherwise I’m trying more life updates through Twitter and Instagram during the week — as you can see throughout this post.

So if you’re interested in keeping up, go ahead and follow me there!

Statistically surpassing 2017

Statistically surpassing 2017

About three days ago, the amount of views my blog has accrued this year surpassed the total from 2017.

With a lead-in sentence like that I’m sure you’re expecting this post to be an exercise in prideful self-fellatio.

To an extent I suppose it is, but part of the reason why it’s cool is because of interesting insights I believe I can pull out of the analytics. As I tend to look at.

For instance, here are the yearly statistics as of my writing this:

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The bar graph shows an overall trend toward increasing views, and that’s sensible considering my blog has evolved from a class requirement to a digital resume and regular part of my writing life.

In 2018 the number of views jumped sizably compared to the growth from 2016 to 2017 due to my Summer Initiative and its aftermath.

Last summer was when I shifted the emphasis of my blog from writing a few times a month (mostly archiving stories) to writing nearly every day.

The jump from 1,944 to 4,210 views makes sense when audiences have a higher volume of content to consume on an almost daily schedule.

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Notice the shift around June 2018.

And that was when I only wrote daily for half the year.

This year I’m halfway to that number and we’re only at the end of May, which bodes well for further growth. Especially if I get a few more breakout posts like my Redondo Union Archives write-up:

Post uploaded on March 25, 2019

I may be on-track to surpass 2018 in views, but other aspects are faltering.

“Likes” is one statistic I have trouble explaining due to the lack of a noticeable tracker on WordPress. I can tell you that I received 129 likes on my posts in 2018 compared to the paltry seven in 2019 so far, but I can’t tell you why that might be.

However, I can say something about the trend in daily views and viewers.

As you can see in the 2017 v. 2019 analytics, I surpassed my views from two years ago with about 30 fewer individual visitors.

I’ve also noticed a pattern of more views-per-day recently in spite of less visitors coming overall. I used to see about six or seven views at most every day, but recently it has hovered closer to 20:

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Even yesterday, where I was so busy with family Memorial Day barbecuing and playing Minecraft with my friends that I didn’t write a blog post, my site received 33 views.

The last time I hit views near that high was April 24, when I wrote about my collection of graduation gowns.

If nothing else, I hope this post can be a positive affirmation for you regular viewers that people notice when you put extra energy into something. Even when that something is as silly as a personal blog.

I find the analytics fascinating to sort through so I hope you found them just as interesting to consume!

But if you didn’t, how about you take a look at this views-per-country breakdown:

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Because the map is always a fun thing to see in my opinion.


Featured Image courtesy of Carlos Muza via Wikimedia Commons

Post-Grad socials

Post-Grad socials

There are a lot of things to do after you graduate from college.

An obvious example is looking for jobs. But what do you have to do before you look for jobs?

The smart folks in my audience will say you have to cultivate a strong set of marketable skills to entice and/or fool employers into thinking you have potential, only to really hone those skills while circumnavigating imposter syndrome at the new workplace.

The galaxy brain folks in my audience will say you update your social media accounts.

I know that’s a stretch and largely an excuse for me to open an otherwise innocuous blog post, but there is a kernel of truth to the idea.

Personally, I hate having to update my social media accounts. It goes against my internal desire to stay away from those platforms as much as possible.

But I’m one of three people in my generation that hates being active on social media, and many workplaces do check accounts when they’re hiring a job candidate.

So it might not be the best look to have bios on every platform that are months old and inaccurate. At least not when big life transitions cause ripples in your identification information.

That’s why I decided to take part of my off-day to update all of my account biographies and pictures — with some of my favorite graduation-related images.

Because I got a few of them.

Here’s my current Facebook:

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Twitter:

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Instagram:

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And LinkedIn:

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Arguably the most important out of the four in terms of job acquisition. As a result, I even went through and updated the profile to reflect some of my recent awards and other accolades.

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Much like I did to with my resume a few weeks ago.

If you’re asking why I bothered to share all of this with you today… I mostly just didn’t have anything else to talk about.

But I also think it’s a good idea to get some kind of record as to how my social media looks today, that way I can compare to whatever sort of growth I’ll experience in the next leg of my professional journey.

Going through all of my social media accounts got me thinking that it might be time to update my blog soon, too.

It hasn’t changed aesthetically since I threw something together three years ago for a class assignment. Yet the platform has grown into something I’m trying to actively write for, and who knows what extra attention I might get with a spruced up space?

If I do get around to that, I’ll absolutely milk it for another blog post.


Featured Image courtesy of cogdotblog via Wikimedia Commons

Under pressure

Under pressure

I told myself I wasn’t going to do this.

“It’s too cliché,” I said. “Everyone will make fun of you for capitalizing on a wave of popularity.”

But you know what? This is my blog and I can do whatever I want.

Also, I couldn’t come up with anything substantial enough to be a feasible alternative.

So. Taking inspiration from my pressure cooker as well as Queen after the music copyright lecture in my Comm Law class (a follow-up to lectures I watched this weekend), I decided to go with it.

Let’s talk about how pressure led to me not knowing what to talk about.

Yesterday I wrote about the cool things I learned from Archivist Therese Martinez during a brief visit to the Redondo Union High School Alumni House.

To be honest… I feel like I half-assed that post.

Everything I talked about is great, and I genuinely learned a lot from Therese. But I write the vast majority in ~30 minutes while sitting in the Main Branch Public Library with less than 20 percent battery.

The ticking clock of my power situation, on top of knowing it’s a topic I will return to, led to silly things like stuffing information into a slideshow.

However, in spite of my reservations about the execution, Therese loved it. So much so that (after I made adjustments to inaccurate dates), she shared the piece with Admin.

Then with the Archives’ Facebook group.

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I scratch her back, she scratches my back, I scratch hers.

Suddenly this interesting, somewhat half-assed look at historical goods in my alma mater made my dinky personal blog blow the hell up.

3:26:19 Analytics
As of 7:40 p.m., about four hours after she asked to share.

That’s pretty awesome.

Except…

I don’t know about you, but when I have a burst of popularity it comes with baggage. Most notably the desire to follow-up with something significant and not disappoint those newcomers.

I’ve been stressing over what to write for a while now.

My first inclination was to write about my recent purchase of:

HalfGenieTitle
On the Nintandoh Splorch!

There’s a bit of a story behind that purchase.

Yesterday, WayForward announced that they are on the verge of releasing the fifth game in the Shantae series — a collection of games that have been around since the Game Boy.

I adore Shantae. In my Sophomore year I binged the first three games on my 3DS after finding the fourth on Kickstarter. Mostly while waiting for my history class with Dr. Paulo Simoes.

However I never got around to playing Half-Genie Hero when it came out because money.

So Shantae 5 was announced, and guess what I found out next:

It truly was a dangerously effective strategy.

That seemed like the perfect opportunity to write something about my adoration of video games.

Open-and-shut case for a blog post. Right?

Well… It would have been. If I had any time to play the game beyond the title screen. But I haven’t, and probably won’t until Spring Break.

Hold that thought. I’ll probably have a review of the game sometime soon.

With that struck down, it was onto idea #2: Honors Project stuff.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m writing a fantasy genre subversion novel for my big Senior Project — the equivalent of a thesis for the University Honors Program.

One of my favorite pieces of side-content for the project has been my world map.

You know the kind. Those continent overviews you see at the beginning of Tolkien books.

I wrote a whole long post all about my adventure in mapmaking this semester, so you can read that to catch up.

The important thing is that I’ve continued to make adjustments to my novel’s continent Drocux in the weeks since. Namely adding names to every location, but also adding details like rivers and roads for more realistic topography:

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HexTML continues to serve me well, and it has been fun writing out lore to explain outlandish names (such as the Xilbalar Canyon above being named after a prominent Elven activist).

But I’m still adding new ideas almost every day, and if I’m going to deep dive into my EXTENSIVE LORE, I would like to do so with the complete product.

Thus, two ideas have been struck down.

And I couldn’t come up with a decent third.

By the time I combed through possibilities, I was home and had my magical encounter with the InstaPot in my Featured Image.

The rest, as they say, was history.

Hopefully you newcomers don’t feel like this was a waste of time — or get too annoyed at my somewhat blatant attempt to throw a lot of my old posts at you. All I needed to add was something about my journalism awards to give the full flavor of Jason.

Speaking of, tomorrow I’ll probably have a more serious post about the next Society of Professional Journalists meeting.

Assuming I don’t change my mind, I’ll look forward to possibly seeing you there.

Coursework influences art

It’s never fun when I have to head to campus on a day where I don’t have class.

After forgetting the gift cards for my Honors networking panel game on Wednesday like a dolt, I had to make arrangements with the winners to deliver their prizes.

One of them was most available today around 12:30 p.m.

Because I was the one who fucked up, I couldn’t try to waive off their best time because it wasn’t convenient for my do-nothing day. So I went to Fullerton to deliver the card.

The whole meeting took literally two seconds. It was ostensibly just a hand-off, and they left immediately after the product was given.

So yay. An hour’s worth of a drive for two seconds of pay-off.

On days such as these I usually try to find things to do so that my time is not wasted. When my attempts to reach out to a couple local friends all ended in failures, I resigned myself to whittling time away in the Honors Center with homework.

By working on homework, I mean working on Comm Law homework. Because that stuff takes hours — and in fact I was working on it all four hours I sat in the Center until it closed at 5:00 p.m.

Then I spent even more time on it after I got home from my ~hour & fifteen minute drive.

As much as I’m enjoying the class, the sheer amount of work is absolutely killer.

Yet, the lectures we had to look over this weekend spoke to me more than usual. Our topic was the one and only:

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Now I know what you must be asking yourself. “You don’t have any intellectual property, Jason. Why did this speak to you?”

First off, rude.

Second, given the requirements for copyright (having an original work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression), I would say I have copyrighted intellectual property in both my journalism and whatever I’ve written on this blog.

Especially given the fact that copyright is written into the Constitution as pertaining to works beginning at the moment of their creation.

Unlike trademarks, which pertain to brands and aim to create an association with product quality so consumers can knowing what they’re buying. Because capitalism.

I don’t have a brand to protect, and trademarks only begin the moment they are put into commercial use. So I can’t claim I own that as easily as I do copyright to an extent.

Now. I’m sure some of you must be asking yourselves a different question. “Jason, why the hell are you spouting Comm Law nonsense at us? This isn’t a lecture.”

The point I’m aiming toward is that I’ve taken the opportunity to think about copyright further than just my journalistic writings. I’ve been thinking about a copyright that, at least to me, feels a bit more important in the moment.

I’m working on having a copyrighted work in the completely original intellectual property of my Senior Honors Project novel.

Though it’s obviously a pipe dream for a product I haven’t finished yet, something about learning the bundle of rights that come with a copyrighted work made me kind of giddy.

Five rights come with copyright that pertain to how one wants to divide up and license out their work:

  1. Distribution
  2. Display
  3. Reproduction
  4. Adaptation
  5. Performance

I’m not going to say I expect my novel to hit the same heights as, say, the Harry Potter series (which we used as an example).

A series of books which were licensed out to be reproduced and distributed by a publishing company. Then a series of movies which were adapted from those books that, in turn, had their own bundle of rights as an independent copyright.

But hey. It’s a nice dream, isn’t it?

The kind of dream that I may have more to talk about in the near future. Hint hint, wink wink.

Until then… Who would’ve guessed that Comm Law, of all classes, would help contribute to that dream in the most clinical, detached way imaginable.

Gamers just want to have fun

Gamers just want to have fun

With this showing up in the mail earlier today, I suppose it’s as good a time to talk about it as any.

I’ve spared no shortage of copy writing about my Gaming in American Culture class. From not knowing what to write for my semester-long project to what I wrote about for my semester-long project, from my re-absorption of Ender’s Game for our discussion on militarization of video games to my new absorption of a Barbie game from the early 1900s.

Given my general adoration for all things video games, it makes sense that I’ve been enamored with so many things which have been assigned in this class.

It was a good decision to follow my friend Mimi into a random American Studies class as my ‘fun’ activity for my last semester of undergraduate college education.

One of the most interesting aspects of the class has been the gradual shift of my understanding of U.S. history based on different elements of popular culture that, for the most part, I already knew about.

For instance, that aforementioned analytical reading of Ender’s Game. Or our in-class discussion today about the 1983 Matthew Broderick classic WarGames.

Part of our discussion hinged on the shift from a World War II mentality of game theory in that the best way to win is to make sure your opponents can never fight again to a Cold War mentality of anxious peace through the zero sum game of the nuclear arms race (“The only way to win is not to play”).

But then we also tied the movie into discussions of early hacker culture with the development of Spacewar! in 1962, really the first game that taught people computers could be used for something other than work.

As well as the game that got banned at Stanford for being too addicting and inhibiting work (which you can now play in all its antiquated glory here!).

However, another branch of our discussion was the change in concepts of masculinity that came from gaming culture and nerd-driven movies in the 80s.

A shift from the grizzled frontier-pushing heroes of John Wayne to the intellectual digital frontier exploring cowboys of Matthew Broderick’s David teaching a computer to play tic-tac-toe.

That’s where Carly Kocurek’s book, Coin-Operated Americans, is going to pick up the slack for next week.

According to the blurb on the back, it “explores the development and implications of the ‘video gamer’ as a cultural identity,” most notably in relation to the perception of games as a “boy’s world.” But also looking at the moral panic stemming from 1976’s Death Race and other culture examining video games like Tron and WarGames.

Hence us watching the latter movie before reading the book.

That’s essentially my big task for the next week, getting through this little tome while dealing with Comm Law homework and such.

Luckily, now that my big networking event and midterms are out-of-the-way, I have a little extra time to settle down and read.

So if I wind up coming back in the near future with an obscure book review, now you know why.

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.

The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect

Remember yesterday when I was gung-ho about going to the DMV if for no other reason than to have something interesting for my blog?

Funny how naive I was in thinking that the DMV could offer any sort of interest.

To be fair, it’s not like I had a particularly negative experience there today — unless you count PTSD flashbacks to failed driving tests or the generally oppressive air of bureaucracy washing over hordes of upset numbers in the government’s labyrinthine system of rules and policy.

If anything, renewing my license was a quick and painless experience. The kind of trip through the DMV that left me saying-

-after I left, but would not have been my “fun activity” of choice over going to the class I missed.

Thus that did not blossom into a subject to fill my entire post. Nor did the lovely lunch I had with Mom afterwards, as much as I enjoyed it.

When I decided to scrap the idea, I half-considered writing about my unusual blog traffic today. Analytics are usually a fun subject for me, and for whatever reason a bunch of people looked at my blog today before I even wrote anything:

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The last big spike was my birthday.

However I don’t exactly have a reasonable way to explain why I got more traffic today than I have in recent days, so it would just be mindless babble.

… As though the rest of this wasn’t already mindless babble. I know, I can hear you all saying that to your screens amid a slow eye-roll.

I’ll get to the point.

I went in to CSUF for my late class, Comm Law. So far my favorite course of the semester because of the professor.

An example as to why: She overlaid a well-edited video of John Oliver’s Supreme Court dogs over the audio of a case we were covering in our homework.

Today’s conversation broached into SCOTUS decisions which have affected obscenity and porn laws. It was a conversation full of amazing conversations and references one would not expect to hear in a classroom.

One such conversation involving that innocuous fair use butterfly photo I used for my Featured Image.

I kid you not… It ties back to Pornhub.

I know, I know. When I made a half-hearted post joking about that Pornhub ad carved into a bathroom stall in the Education Building, I said I was at risk of becoming a shill for the pornography aggregate.

After the glowingly positive piece I wrote about their analytics a while back, I wouldn’t blame you for thinking my semi-rapid increase in smut-related posts was a problem.

However, the way I see it I’ve just found myself increasingly interested in Pornhub-related subjects specifically. As niche a wheelhouse as that may be.

While talking about porn in class, I specifically brought up the yearly Pornhub analytics in reference to her joking about the existance of fetish websites for everything. In response, she told us about a podcast which dives deep into the way Pornhub has changed our society — for better and worse.

As someone who drives long distances back-and-forth, I’m always on the lookout for new podcasts.

So even though she warned us that it gets depressing after a certain point, I was curious and downloaded all seven episodes of the series.

It’s called “The Butterfly Effect with Jon Ronson,” and I’ll recommend it at least based on the first episode.

That episode features interviews with the Belgian boy who brought the website into popular consciousness, as well as the technical guy from Canada who worked on things like search engine optimization and mobile user logistics.

With promise of going into all the nitty-gritty, uncomfortable stories about society changing, the challenges to that industry with a massive and free entity in their midst, and so forth.

If you’ve got the time for it, why not take a chance and listen through some niche podcast programming with me?

I, for one, am clearly excited enough about it to share if nothing else.


Featured Image courtesy of Charles J Sharp via Wikimedia Commons

A symmetrical birthday

A symmetrical birthday

Another year, another trip around the sun.

Turning 22 doesn’t offer nearly as many significant things to talk about as the ‘milestone’ 21, where drinking and properly oriented drivers’ licenses were officially on the table.

I won’t be starting this post off with a deep, important-sounding remark on the different milestones one hits in life.

Rather, 22 mainly stands out because… It’s symmetrical? I guess?

To be fair, 22 does have some things going for it. Most notably the fact that I’ll be graduating from college during that year. Yikes.

All of that is pretty forward thinking, though. Today there aren’t a whole lot of exciting things going on, as I’ll be saving the friend gatherings for later in the year when more people are back in town.

What I have gotten is a lovely breakfast made by my younger sister:

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Homemade waffles with fruit compote and whipped cream? I’ve been spoiled.

And a couple of birthday gifts from the family that I definitely did not know about from being in the store with them.

That would be ridiculous! I was honestly, truly surprised.

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Look at this adorable surprise!

Aly must know me real well if she thought to get me a Mimikyu-related gift again, totally without my input.

As much as it messes with my head that Sun and Moon came out almost three years ago, my love for this Pikachu lookalike remains strong. Even if I had to pull a Scizor out to take advantage of her weakness.

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Get it?

While Mimikyu and that new Switch controller are the main physical gifts I’ve gotten thus far, I have been eagerly watching all of the digital presents from various organizations roll in.

Like this cute little email from Nintendo helping me celebrate with all those Marro brahs:

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C’mon Bowser don’t be like that. Have some cake with your son.

Unfortunately platinum coins mean basically nothing next to gold coins, which would allow me to buy new video games.

Just give me more gold coins, Nintendo. I promise I’ll keep shilling for you if I can buy more games.

Until you do, I’ll just go back to Planet Fitness for my free water bottle.

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Not a joke.

I think it’s hilarious that my gym wants me to go spend my birthday working out as I’m sitting around eating ice cream cake, but to be fair I am planning on going tomorrow.

So I might actually use a free water bottle, as silly as that is.

At the very least water seems reasonable as an immediate necessity to keep my body working, which gives it an edge over this offer from Facebook:

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I get the sentiment here, getting members to create fundraisers for nonprofit organizations. It’s a nice goal in-and-of itself.

But one dollar? Seriously, Mark?

Pretty sure you could stand to offer a bit more of a generous care package all things considered. I know you have a bajillion users and that money stacks up in the long-run, but even something like $5 would look less silly as a ‘present.’

Alright, I’ll stop fruitlessly complaining at social media companies. I just honestly don’t have all that much more to say. After breakfast we went out for a bit to visit my Grandpa and buy special pasta ingredients for dinner.

We were greeted by a little bit of rain while out shopping, keeping up the tradition of water falling on my birthday.

Though it wasn’t near as bad as my 20th when I brought attention to the issue on the blog.

So that’s not an exciting direction to head down. Nor is all the homework that I’ll unfortunately be stuck doing tonight due to deadlines that leave no room for extensive birthday fun.

I think I’ll just wrap things up here, then. Get back to relaxing, spending some time with family and… Yeah, homework.

Just one more semester and I’ll never have to deal with that again.

As usual, thank you all for the support here on the blog and in my real life endeavors. Particularly to my old colleague/friend Ashlyn Ramirez who gave me shout outs on all the social media platforms unexpectedly.

That girl works hard, she deserves a little extra support!

But for all the rest of you as well, hope you’ll stick around for however many birthdays are still to come.

Assignment explanations gone wrong

Assignment explanations gone wrong

I’m not usually one to outright complain about a professor’s style of teaching. I tend to just brute force my way through a class if there’s some element I don’t enjoy.

Now, that might be a surprise for those of you who remember various complaints about my Psychology professors last semester.

Well… Apparently I’ve just had a terrible track record with the Psychology department.

Because my complaint for the day happens to come from my Cognitive Psych class.

Let’s set the scene.

After finishing our lecture on Chapter 2, she decided to tell us about our required paper and presentation so we could be ready when the due dates start to roll around.

Each of us were grouped together with one partner. We do a presentation on a specific topic together, while each writing separate essays to ensure nobody gets wholly screwed by a partner that does no work.

The professor led her discussion on the essay portion by telling us we need to find three research papers or scholarly articles, one of which is a jointly researched piece to form the basis of our presentation.

She presented that information as though the group would only need three papers researched all together.

What she meant was that each person individually needs to have three papers for their essay. One of which can be the joint presentation paper.

Thus, all together we need five research papers for each group. When you explain it like that, the concept makes sense. However, by starting off telling the class we’d need three papers, then later telling us we’d need five, and generally not making it explicitly clear that only one of those papers can be shared…

Let’s just say she wound up getting a whole lot of questions.

Yet somehow it got more confusing. While we were all trying to figure out what the hell she meant in the first place, she started to let us know that we could take a less work-heavy paper if we wanted. All we had to do was tell her.

Naturally every single college student in the room said, “yeah we want less work.”

So she lowered the requirements. Now each group needed three papers, with each individual only needing two papers for their essay.

I can’t complain about the lessened workload, but dropping that sudden and seemingly random change on us while we still didn’t understand the original assignment was not such a great decision.

After I left class, while crossing the windy tundra between the Humanities building and College Park, I thought a lot about it. There had to be a simpler way to explain what we were doing.

So it hit me:

All you needed to say was that each person is writing an essay that needs three (or two as it became) research papers for background information.

Then that one of those papers can be shared between the two group members, the same one that will become the focus of the topic presentation on an assigned date.

It’s honestly that simple.

So why did this seemingly unimportant bit of confusion from poor explaining stick in my craw? To the point that I felt the need to write all about it, anyway.

Well… Part of the reason is because it was either this or the State of the Union address that I haven’t honestly bothered to watch yet.

The rest of my day hasn’t been very exciting.

The other part of why I decided to talk about this moment was because of how it took on a more frustrating face by my professor smiling and (if you ask me, somewhat sassily) expressing her confusion at what we found so confusing.

To some extent I can let it slide because English clearly isn’t her first language. So I have no qualms believing she may have thought her explanation was perfectly adequate.

But when literally the entire class is so obviously confused and asking a variety of questions, it seems kind of cheeky to smile and laugh as though we were completely at fault.

Maybe it’s just me, but that kind of attitude just bugs me from… Well, anyone. Though from someone I’m there to learn from especially.

Based on prior experience, it seems like the language barrier issues might just be a big problem throughout the semester.

So maybe my Psychology experience has been cursed all along.


Before I go, I also wanted to mention this neat little tidbit I missed out on yesterday:

Screen Shot 2019-02-05 at 8.00.37 PM

Happy birthday, blog!

And thanks to all of you who keep reading these things. Whether they’re goofy and full of life or annoyed and full of spite.

I really appreciate it.


Featured Image courtesy of Missmarettaphotography via Wikimedia Commons