Tag: My Life

Literal filler with room filler

Don’t worry, I can already hear all of your complaints. “Three posts in a row about fixing your room up? What’s the deal Jason, why even bother?”

To be fair, until about an hour ago I was not going to put anything up on my blog today. I have two ideas set for tomorrow and an event on Friday, so the rest of my week in writing is planned out and I figured that could be enough of an excuse to skip a day.

But then I realized I would honestly feel terrible about myself if I broke my New Year streak so early.

So this quick n’ dirty post is mostly for me to make sure I don’t have a gap, and if you want to just come back tomorrow when I have a Fire Emblem Heroes banner release and a movie review lined up, I won’t harbor any ill will.

If you happened to be curious how my room wound up looking after I spent all of yesterday cleaning, then this might just be the filler content for you!

Yesterday I talked about how my room hadn’t changed much since the last time I showed it off. That was early into the cleaning process and it turned out to be a lie. A lot of the tchotchkes taking up space on my countertops hasn’t changed in terms of contents, but the layout is pretty new.

For instance, here’s the top of my TV cabinet — now featuring a fancy new backdrop:

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Told you that’s where I was going to put the Naruto poster. Even if I wound up having to move Diancie to make space.

As usual, my line-up of chess club trophies from elementary school remains in-tact. For years I’ve adored the way younger me happened to conveniently win enough trophies in specific placements to create an upscaling pattern, and I always put them up.

Except now in front of the trophies are the Luna wand I got from Universal Studios and a toy car that I happened to pull out of the dust and turmoil underneath that same cabinet when my sister and I pushed it flush against the wall.

We did so to clear some room next to my desk for where this Gladeo computer is going to go. Though it’s admittedly strange to not have that cabinet take up a diagonal space.

Fun fact, on top of that convertible I also found a list of interview questions from when I covered my friends taking part in the Bay Math League way back in middle school.

Now that’s definitely a story for another day. Remind me to tell it, because I actually have some fun throwback material I can use.

Beyond that car, the most notable changes to the collection are that Han Solo is on the left side instead of the right, replaced by Tanuki Mario — who used to be on top of my main clothing drawer.

I also added a few plushies to make the right side into a Pokémon-dedicated corner and it’s one of the best ideas I’ve ever had. I’m considering moving some other posters over there as well to really complete the picture, but I don’t know how much it would mess with the feng shui.

You know, if you believe in that sort of thing.

I took Chinese for three years in high school so I feel like I’m somewhat obliged to try believing in it.

The next most changed surface in the room is that aforementioned main clothing drawer, which is constantly subject to me coming up with new Amiibo configurations:

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All things considered this is probably the most stable configuration I’ve tried yet, and I think my Star Wars legos fit in pretty well on this side of the room.

However, this wasn’t the first layout I tried.

Originally I thought about spacing the Amiibo out across both surfaces in a curving manner:

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I love the way this set-up looks, but unfortunately it took up too much space.

Saying that is a bit crazy when I realize I have 19 Smash Bros. character Amiibo and there are 73 fighters so far? But still.

Needed some room to fit all my other stuff too.

On the bright side I have an outlet like this to save a photo of the curving configuration, since it is one of my favorites aesthetically.

I think that about covers all the major changes to my room decor starting out 2019. As usual I’m sure it’ll be subject to adjustments as I pick up more useless garbage throughout the year, but for now I’m pretty happy with how it looks!

Hopefully this filler post was worth your time, because it wound up being more fun for me to write than I had expected.

What did I just find?

What did I just find?

Oh yeah, I’m clickbaiting all you social media folks today.

It’ll be worth it. I promise.

After an interview fell through this afternoon, in order to not be a complete bum for the day I decided to finally put my full energy into another New Year tradition that I’ve been half-assing for a little while now:

Cleaning my room.

I’ve done an entire post about the subject in the past, and to be honest the overall appearance of the room hasn’t changed much since then.

It will sometime soon when I finally get this new computer together and put in a proper spot, but for now you can get the gist of things from that other post. All the decor is mostly the same.

Arguably the most notable thing I had originally wanted to talk about with this post was how nice it feels to finally clear off a usually cluttered surface.

Because just look at this:

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Especially with the new calendar, it’s looking pretty slick.

At least until you turn around and look at where all the stuff wound up…

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Slightly less slick.

Though I’ll admit it’s also satisfying to remind myself how much I usually put up without it looking too busy.

However, if you’re keen on picking up context clues with blog post headlines, featured images and past tense language in text, you know that I wound up finding something completely different to talk about.

Something much more whacky and interesting.

Hidden away behind my bookshelf in an unopened plastic casing was this astounding poster:

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You may be wondering why I decided to just put up a picture of the woman’s face instead of the full image for my Featured Image, and to be fair it’s 99 percent just to be funny clickbait.

But it’s also because that was genuinely my reaction when I first unraveled this thing.

Now you can’t just dig up something this bizarre and not try to do a little bit of research into it.

As the corner of the poster suggests, this was a promotional poster for “Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution,” a 2014 game released on the most notable last gen consoles besides the Wii U.

I never played the game, and in fact I don’t think I’d even heard of it until right now.

So where the hell did this poster come from?

Well, according to this Reddit post I found from way back in the day, it was a promotional item given out at GameStop for pre-ordering Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution.

But after a while, employees just started to give them away with anything. I must have picked it up alongside some totally different game and forgot about it.

I shared this rare finding with my friends and together we did a bit more fun elaboration into it. For instance, my friend Nina (who lives in Japan and is studying to be a translator) gave us a bit of insight into exactly what it says:

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Knowing this is basically like a cheesy B-movie poster is kind of fascinating, honestly.

Then my friend Jonathan went out to YouTube and found us some footage of Mecha Naruto in action.

It’s uhh…

It’s something else.

Probably the most beautiful nightmare fuel I’ve seen in a long time.

Just look at his ultimate jutsu. I’m dumbfounded staring at such a glorious spectacle and frankly want to go thank anyone who was involved in the executive decision to include it in the game.

It’s just that good.

I’m absolutely putting this up on my wall tonight. Probably right up next to my Mega Diancie poster.

Gotta fit that call to action in here somewhere, so let me know what kind of weird stuff you’ve found while cleaning up around the house! This is probably one of the more strange things I’ve ever dug up, so I’d be curious to know if any of you have some similarly unexpected items hiding away.

Beginning the transfer

Beginning the transfer

While today was a bit strange and didn’t exactly pick up until ~2:00 p.m. or so, when it did pick up it got fairly busy.

I’ve been continuing to schedule things for Gladeo, I got a piece to edit for Boom (which I still have to finish so I’m hoping to not spend a lot of time here <.< ), I continued to try to clean my room (without much progress yet — need to devote a whole day to it), I both dropped off and picked up Alyson from school and then after that we went to the gym together.

First time I’ve gone in a couple of weeks actually, as I was a little hesitant while sick. But I’m happy to say that my routine from before picked up just as well know.

So you know, hopefully that will make it easier to drop whatever weight I must have picked up from the holidays.

After we went to the gym, we decided to take a brief detour to a local Target so I could finally do what I’ve been meaning to do since the new year began:

I bought myself a new calendar.

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As you can probably tell from the Featured Image, I downgraded the flair this year. Instead of having adorable puppies to keep me sane in my darkest moment, I decided to get a much more clean, simple business-forward kind of calendar.

Definitely not because we only decided to go to one place and I picked out the cheapest option.

What would make you think that?

Okay, jokes aside, I did pick this particular calendar for a few reasons beside its price tag. Unlike my puppy calendar from 2018, this new one is made of paper rather than some kind of laminated plastic-y material. As a result I can write everything out on it in pencil rather than pen, meaning not only does my writing look better but it also won’t smear before drying.

Which yes, was a problem I actually had pretty often.

With a new calendar also means a fair amount of time spent going through each month and transferring over some important yearly dates. Notably birthdays and major school landmarks like starting and end times. But having the 2019 set also means I can start to fill in events and appointments.

Otherwise I’d probably be pretty lost sometime soon.

Going through last year’s calendar to transfer dates over was pretty fun, actually. It reminded me of all the big events I took part in and made me excited to see more and more of the blank spaces get filled up this year.

Hell, I might even save my 2018 calendar for posterity.

… Though that does make me sound like Brett Kavanaugh. So maybe not.

Whether I do it or not, all I know is that for now my new calendar is put up and ready to take some dates:

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So hey, if you want to hang out with me anytime soon, now’s your chance to get on my schedule while it’s fresh and new!

Fun fact — the only other thing I could think to possibly talk about in this post was the experience of wandering Target in a post-gym exhaustion with my sister.

But… If I did, I’d have to talk about this.

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Don’t think it would be worth the trouble.

“Hey Siri…”

“Hey Siri…”

I’ll be honest, it has been a little hard to get motivated to do much of anything today. Last night there was a shooting at a bowling alley called Gable House Bowl in Torrance, which hit pretty much all the big news outlets.

Shootings like this are always a tragedy, but this one hit pretty close to home for me.

Gable House is and always has been a big name amongst basically everyone I’ve grown up with. Countless birthday parties and hangouts have been hosted there and at the laser tag arena just next door. Plus the local business makes itself known in other ways that have just become regular parts of life for me, such as through an advertisement that always plays before features at a nearby AMC movie theatre.

As far as I’m currently aware, I didn’t know any of the people involved in the shooting. But I did drive somewhat close to that area on my way home last night, so you know how the mind wanders with those kinds of situations.

It has been hard to distract myself considering all of my group chats with locals have brought the tragedy up at various times with similar pits of dread.

But distract we must. Because as much as I’ll give my condolences to anyone who was involved, I just can’t let it rule my mind all night.

I’ve partially done so by watching two new video series on YouTube that have frankly offered a huge amount of interesting, unorthodox video game-related content.

First is the “Region Locked” series by Did You Know Gaming. I found it for their episode on Mother 3 after binge watching a play through of that series not too long ago, but stayed to take in a ton of trivia all about bizarre or cool games that were never released officially in the United States.

Then I’ve been watching the “Boundary Break” series by Shesez, which is so fascinating that I find myself constantly staring slack-jawed at the screen. This series looks at games of all creeds and pedigrees with a ‘magic camera’ so you can see the inner-workings of how different titles are designed. For someone who just loves video games, it helps me appreciate the work that goes into making such iconic titles way more.

I’ve also — and don’t judge me for this — been trying my hand at the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online again.

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What can I say, I had a craving for a new card game with Duel Links falling a bit out of favor. The artwork on some of these cards are just… SO good.

Thinking about making a whole separate post about this stuff if I can get past it being so lame. Let me know if you’d be interested in that, I suppose.

But then the biggest distraction of the day would, of course, have to be the thing that I headlined the post with. Our new Apple Homepod.

Apparently this was my mom’s very belated birthday present from her parents, even though I’m personally not 100 percent sure why the one person in the house who is more hard of hearing would be so interested in a glorified speaker.


Dara’s Corner:

“It actually listens to me when I talk, which is a good thing considering I have a history of yelling profane things to Siri on my phone!”


She’s really happy with it though, so who am I to complain? Until it starts to refuse turning itself off like HAL 9000, anyway.

Setting the thing up has been a bit tricky because of how it interfaces with various iPhones in the house and other devices like our Apple TV. But that trickiness has provided at least two very funny moments.

The first most notable moment happened when my dad attempted to ask it to play Netflix, which resulted in the device playing the explicit rap song, “Netflix,” by 2 Chainz.

We got about as far as finding out that he smoked a blunt for breakfast before someone managed to turn it off in that flailing, unexpected manner.

Then later on we attempted to figure out how to make Siri text someone through the speaker alone. When we tried to get mom’s phone to text dad, there was (no joke) about a five-minute period where Siri listed off every single phone number and email that could possibly get him a message. Only to have the same list repeated about halfway through with another attempt later.

He has a few too many emails, apparently.

With that said, hopefully this post didn’t come across too scatterbrained for you all. I mostly just tried to do whatever I could to get past my funk, which wound up meaning ‘talk about a bunch of random things’ and recounting funny moments. Because we all need a little humor in the face of tragedy.

But now it’s starting to rain outside and I have to leave to go pick up Alyson from her Bob Cole thing.

Though you’ll likely hear more about it tomorrow when I may or may not write about her actual performance.

My Magnum Opus

My Magnum Opus

Ever since I booted up my old desktop Mac a few weeks back, I’ve written a few posts about some of the goodies I pulled out of it.

My personal favorite so far regarded the Super Smash Bros. wallpapers, which I tried to coincide with the release of Smash Ultimate.

Then I wrote about Armagetron Advanced, a game I really loved playing back in the day.

But I found a whole host of other things from the oughts and early twenty-tens, including elementary/middle school assignments, the first chapter draft of some fantasy novel I tried to write as well as memes or projects that provide a very distinct look at the kind of trash I loved growing up.

Oh, and when I say memes, I mean trashy memes all saved up on my desktop.

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True.

Comedy.

Gotta love those old Memebase pulls.

Sifting through the garbage brought me to something that I ultimately came to refer to as my magnum opus. A project with so much love and passion put into a creative route I’ve since abandoned that it was actually astounding.

In my “fun stuff” folder, I found these three files partitioned off:

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My immediate reaction was a hell of a cringe. Flashbacks to a true period of weeaboo sensibilities that left me doing things like watching all of Dragonball, Dragonball Z and Dragonball GT over the course of a few months in middle school.

True story.

Not only was there a “fan animation” based on Naruto, it was made in the primitive programming language animator Scratch.

Back in the day I used the program religiously, and even made some animations that went into official school broadcasts at Adams Middle School.

Also a true story, but for another day.

I couldn’t imagine anything good coming out of this animation from 2012 Jason… Yet I was blown away by just how great of a product I pulled together. So much so that I went through a lot of trouble to get the final (though unfinished) animation into a format where you all can see it today.

For your viewing pleasure, here it is:

First off, the fact that I didn’t remember spending a single second working on this until I found it again is such a travesty.

This was from that same era when I went to sprite animation camp like I talked about in the Smash Bros. wallpaper post, with all the sprites pulled from The Spriters Resource.

They were taken from a game called “Naruto: Ninja Council 3,” which to this day has some of my favorite sprite work in an old-school DS game.

I can say I confidently knew that because Ninja Council 3 is still a treasured part of my games collection:

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Now for those of you who don’t know, the video is based off the fifth anime opening to the original Naruto series. Crunchyroll has it uploaded here for you to see, and I’d recommend doing so to understand how much I tried to replicate.

It’s incredible to me how I actually grasped the concept of timing scenes to the music so well (mostly). I even went so far as to put the little floating heads in the sky to represent Sasuke thinking about his past!

I adore every second of it.

The journey to get this to you here today was far more complicated than it may appear, however.

It all began that night when I opened up the old Mac and watched this animation in Scratch for the first time.

As it turns out, the only way to pull projects off of Scratch was to go to the program’s website. Unfortunately…

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That wasn’t much of a possibility for a computer that hasn’t been updated since 2012.

Thus the true quest to save my magnum opus began. At first I attempted to record it externally with my iPhone:

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Needless to say I was not able to get the kind of quality I wanted out of this.

After a few more attempts, the best solution wound up being a QuickTime screen recording. That got the video in its purest quality!

However it wasn’t possible to do screen and audio recording at once through the older tech.

So… it’s a good thing I had the song file in that original folder!

Don’t ask me where I got it because I don’t know and it was probably illegal.

When I pulled everything onto my laptop, it became a 2 a.m. adventure to Frankenstein the video together with its original audio timing:

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In iMovie, naturally.

Mind you, it happened at 2 a.m. during Finals week. Big tests coming up and here I was laughing like a maniacal idiot, cutting together an old Scratch animation from 2012.

I’m glad I took a few weeks to get to this blog post because now that I’ve marinated on it, the whole situation is hilariously ridiculous.

But all worth it to finally get that finished project up on YouTube so I can show it off!

Except the process of getting it uploaded actually made the whole story even more ridiculous. Just thirty seconds after the video went up, I got this:

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Sony Music actually blocked my video in Japan and demonetized it.

Which is such a shame, I was really looking forward to the ad revenue out of that video… On my one subscriber storage channel.

It was interesting to be on this end of the YouTube algorithm for once. Gives me a bit more of an understanding of how terrible this must be for creators who have their livelihoods contingent on the site.

For me, it just means any of my readers in Japan won’t see my magnum opus. Sorry!

All this being said, I’m really proud of 2012 me. He’s the kind of man I wish I was now.

I’ll never not smile looking back at this, because no matter how many awards and scholarships I get for my writing as a journalist, none of it will truly be as personal as the actual fan animation I made surprisingly well back when I was 15.

Now if only I had finished the damn thing.

 

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!

Life never relents

As of ~7:00 p.m. tonight, when I finally returned home, I was officially finished with the fall 2018 semester.

Truly a momentous occasion! It’s been a rough one all things being equal, so I’m lucky to finally have made it to the other side of the storm. After all, there’s just one more remaining until I finally get that piece of paper. So it all comes down to this, and there’s something as exciting as it is terrifying about the idea.

… Unfortunately, as the title here suggests, not all is sunshine and rainbows despite how uplifting this freedom is.

Finals themselves were rough to get through because I’ve definitely caught the family cold, which has resulted in consuming cough drops at a rate of far-too-many per hour to deal with a scratchy throat and a cough.

It has also left me kind of lethargic, which will make it very fun to get up at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow and interview someone on the east coast.

I just wanted to make sure I got a post in, even if it just amounts to me venting about… Everything.

Probably won’t widely publicize this one to be honest.

Arguably the worst final to have to struggle through with a cold was my Sensation and Perception test yesterday. That’s the one I’ve been dreading for some time because it was cumulative and non-curved.

Yeah, it actually did suck.

Mostly because there were topics on it that he did not tell us were going to be on it in his ‘study guide.’

Then he doubled down on the frustration by handing back our final essay drafts (graded in just one week, while the rough drafts took 3 months I might add). He gave me a point less than I got on the rough draft for a number of corrections previously unmentioned, which feels pretty disingenuous.

Especially considering he also gave me an extra point for making the original corrections. So I wound up with the exact same score.

Boy I’m glad I never have to see that man again.

Luckily today was much less stressful, as all I had to do was present the findings of my Evolution and Creation essay to the class in a casual round-table. Then afterward I went out to dinner with my friend Mimi to celebrate the end of a long semester.

It was fun!

… Up until the point where my permanent retainer broke. So now I’m missing a wire behind my front teeth, and there’s just a bit of poking if I move my tongue just right.

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Couldn’t get a sit-down with my orthodontist until Friday, too. It’ll be fun to deal with that for a while.

But then to add insult to injury, after my two-and-a-half hour drive home, I got an email letting me know that I did not get the internship with the Boston Globe I applied for. Much like I feared in this post from a little while back.

I know lots of people apply for these things and I’m not super upset about it, that just happened to be the cherry on the suck Sundae of today.

At least I can still relish the idea of finally sending all of these books back to Chegg.

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Good riddance.

Considering I’ll never write anything better than ‘suck Sundae of today’ in my life, I’ll leave things off there. Hopefully you didn’t find this vent post too obnoxious, I swear tomorrow I’ll go back to writing about something more fun.

For now, however… I need some sleep. After all, I’ll have to be up again in a hurry.

Slow and Steady

Slow and Steady

I was pretty worried that the procedural aspects of my hematologist check-up this morning were going to invalidate months of trying to better myself and tarnish my motivation.

But, as an optimistic pessimist might say, my low expectations left me feeling pleasantly surprised. Even rather good about myself!

As I’ve said, toward the end of the summer I started going to the gym regularly. Two or three times a week for about an hour each.

I mainly wanted to feel better about myself. No real “goals” were set, it has been driven by an internal desire to look better in the mirror, feel better about myself… And hopefully not be as winded when I climb a large flight of stairs.

So far I’ve had decent results in the latter two departments, and even if I don’t personally see the difference my family has noted that I’m beginning to look a bit thinner.

In terms of tangible numbers, I haven’t been doing a lot to keep track. If anything I figured forcing myself to stand on a scale every week would just kill my motivation when the number moves incrementally.

Intrinsically I understand that weight loss takes time, of course.

I’m just worried that the raging, emotional segment of my lizard brain would see that result and get me to try quitting.

Thus today became the first real barometer of how I’m doing from a statistical standpoint. A month-and-a-half ago I was weighed at my annual physical and jotted down that I was about 207 lbs.

(A purely American metric that won’t help any of you off using that other, more ubiquitous system, but it makes the most sense to me.)

When I stepped on the scale at the start of my appointment this morning, fearful of anything above where my “starting point” was, I wound up (as previously mentioned) pleasantly surprised.

I was 204 lbs.

Now I don’t know if a net loss of three-ish pounds over a month+ is a good fraction or whatever. I ain’t a nutritionist after all.

All I know is the fact that I’ve been able to lose the weight I had through my exercising is a great sign that should help motivate me going forward. After all that loss comes without any significant change to my diet, which I know is equally important to being healthier and losing weight.

What can I say… I like cheeseburgers. Like a lot.

At least now I can confirm that I’m counterbalancing them if nothing else.

But wait, there’s more!

Honestly my morning was going to balance out that weight loss elation with the more dejected outlook brought on by finding out my last Sensation and Perception midterm went… Just okay. Normally not a problem except that my overall GPA dropped due to a lack of things in the grade-book.

But then the blood tests came back (since I was at the hematologist office), and we found out that my blood cell count is up right now!

I’m sure I’ve given this context before somewhere, but just in case anyone is unaware: I have ITP.

It’s a blood disorder with an insanely long actual name that basically means I have significantly a low blood platelet count. Around the 20s when an average range is in the mid-100s.

Ostensibly the disorder does nothing in my every day life. It just means I might have problems should something happen where I end up bleeding significantly.

When the diagnosis first came and I dealt with a rollercoaster of treatments that at one point landed me in the hospital (which was more than a year ago now crazily enough), I wasn’t very keen on talking about it.

But hey, it’s been more than a year and nothing significant has gone down. So I think I’m feeling way better about discussing the whole thing.

Long context aside, the lede I’ve been burying is that today my blood platelet count is up from about 24 the last time we checked to about 35 today.

It could just be a general fluctuation, but all progress in the positive is good progress I’d say!

Between that and my weight, this doctor’s appointment left me feeling pretty good about myself. From a physical standpoint especially.

Sure, those positive vibes led right into the mundane of going to Fullerton for one single class… But Thanksgiving Break technically starts tomorrow.

So who am I to complain?

A different kind of Gladeo Spotlight

Seemingly out of nowhere, today I have a new byline to talk about and record for posterity! Just of a slightly different vein than usual.

Since taking up my new position at Gladeo and starting the school semester, I’ve had a little less time to do my own interviews for Career Profiles and Spotlights. That isn’t to say I haven’t been trying, but the availability of people getting back to me has also been a mitigating factor.

So long story short I’ve been focused a bit more on the backend, helping our reporters do what they need to do and trying to establish our nonprofit as an avenue for other students to intern at. More of a long-term growth establishment process.

One thing I’ve been in the loop about with Michelle is our outreach to a number of different organizations as potential partnerships. The general idea is that instead of having a longer, more intimate process with every single Spotlight, were also trying to create connections with groups that can disseminate smaller surveys so we can edit those text answers together into a quick piece for our site.

The piece I have for you all today with Alexxiss Jackson is kind of the prototypical example of what we’re trying to do.

Obviously I don’t have a very extensive take winding behind the production of this Spotlight, as the background mostly involved me getting looped in on a process that we’re trying to set up. But Alexxiss was lovely to talk to over email, and I barely had to do anything to edit it into our typical format.

Frankly the extent of it was changing the font, making the Q’s in the Q&A more conversational and re-writing the introductory portion of the piece into third rather than first person. Plus doing a little extra research into the different awards and accolades she’s received so I could make her look that much cooler — since she does have a pretty extensive history directing films and music videos that have been featured at film festivals and won awards.

Then I put the whole thing together, packaged it with the photos we were produced and let Michelle post it online. We’re still working out some security protocols before I get clearance to do the back-end posting step, or else I probably would have just done that too.

With this kind of set-up in place, I imagine I should get a bunch of more quick bylines out for Gladeo sooner rather than later. That won’t change my continuing efforts to pursue larger, more personal interviews…

But hey, I don’t think my resume will complain either way.

If you want to see the other stuff I’ve done for Gladeo, take a look at that link over on the right!

Otherwise I figured I would end this with a friendly reminder to all of you living in the States that you should go out and vote tomorrow.

Not applicable to anyone reading this in the future, but hey. It’s still important.

To Shave or Not To Shave

To Shave or Not To Shave

I’ve been bumbling around most of the day trying to figure out what I should write my daily post about. Unfortunately, a steady diet of homework and chores doesn’t make for a particularly exciting topic of discussion.

So I’m just going to take the route of a thought experiment, debating something I’ve been considering over the past few days over text. Maybe that could help me decide on what to do — or maybe I’ll get some helpful input from my wonderful audience.

That’s a shot in the dark I know, but it’s a shot I’m willing to take.

Ever since I shaved at the beginning of the semester, I’ve had considerations running back-and-forth in my subconscious mind on whether I should grow my beard back or not.

If I keep shaving, I keep a more youthful, exuberant look. As exuberant as I can look, at least.

Clean-shaven baby face Jason is an easier look to manage to an extent, as letting my beard grow out too far always left it looking scraggy and unkempt. Plus my beard came in patchy the first time around and that never went away.

I honestly prefer the more even appearance to a patchy beard, where a lot of emphasis was drawn to my much less hairy double chin. To be fair I’ve been working on that, and I’d hope the exercise is doing its magic… But personally I only see slow progress at best.

However, growing out a beard comes with its own advantages. For instance it looks a bit more mature.

I assume.

Not sure if my beard made me look more mature, but in general I’ll just go with that. There’s some internal debate as to whether I prefer the youthful look to the mature look, so I’m not confident on which side of the fence that argument lies.

I am somewhat more confident that I feel a little more confident with the beard, however. Ever since I started shaving, contrary to what was my belief, I seem to be breaking out more and more. One nasty little pimple repeatedly replaced by another, with smaller patches of acne throughout…

It’s kind of frustrating considering how much work I try to put in to clear it all up. I don’t know that having a beard would solve the issue necessarily, but it may very well cover it up better.

Would I have better chance with the currently undiscussed, mysterious girl who I have my eyes on right now if I had a covered face? Who knows.

I certainly don’t. But I’m terrible with girls, so I’m not sure I can take my own internal dialogue there seriously.

A beard is also somewhat easier to maintain than being clean-shaven, just in different respects. Rather than having to take a razor to my face every other day in the hopes of holding back the tide of stubble that threatens to become more visible with each passing hour, all I’d need to really worry about is edging the beard and keeping it from growing unruly.

Plus it’s low key very relaxing to sit around and run a comb through your beard. Don’t know how many of you have experience with that, but it’s true.

So that’s about where I am right now. Do I keep clean-shaven, wasting more time every other day and risking more visible cuts/acne? Or do I let my beard grow out again, try to appear more my age and have something kinda fun to play with/maintain?

The only reason I’m coming to this debate in any significant capacity is because November fast approaches. When I first grew my beard out it was for a No Shave November competition at the Daily Titan, and I’m not sure whether I want to once again make that the catalyst for a bushy beard beginning.

I guess if you have an opinion, let me know somewhere on the ol’ Internet here.

But if not, I’ll just be here stewing in a pot of my own contradictory thoughts and insecurities. While writing essays and such.

My favorite place to be.