Tag: NBC

ART (and pita bread)

ART (and pita bread)

Today started with an early morning trip to the Boca Raton Museum of Art, because Grandma and I had a craving.

A craving for

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Image courtesy of Sarah Thomas on Pinterest

Editor’s Note:

This joke is extra funny with context that The Iron Giant is one of my grandparents’ favorite movies of all time, and that we often refer to my grandpa as “Grandpa Giant.”


The museum is located in an outdoor shopping center with some very nice architectural set pieces called Mizner Park.

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It honestly reminded me a lot of The Grove back home, right down to nearby art museums.

But if you thought it would be easy to overlook an art museum, think again.

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All hail the cube

Those of you that pay attention to my Instagram feed have seen a lot of the photos I took. I decided to put out my favorites on the social platform since it’s all about photography.

I’ll link the posts here so I don’t have to bog down extra media space.

However, there were a lot more pieces that didn’t make the cut. For instance, this animated version of the giant hand on the first floor:

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And then like… A billion more things.

I’ve gathered them together in this slideshow for your viewing pleasure.

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And of course, we can’t forget the best piece in the museum…

But wait, that’s not all!

During our trip to the outdoor sculpture garden, Grandma and I found a curly-tailed lizard running around in the grass. Only to later find an iguana hiding out by the entryway to their gated community!

The invasion of the lizards has begun.

That’s only half a joke, because I was told iguanas are actually overrunning the ecosystem in this gated community and it’s kind of a big problem.

This is the first time I’ve seen one, though. It was very cute.

After absorbing some fine ART, Grandma and I partook in another Iron Giant tradition: Going for ice cream.

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Kilwins is apparently pretty well known for having a fancy blend of chocolates and ice cream made in-house.

Personally, I’m more of a Handel’s guy. But I had some s’mores flavored ice cream that was very delicious.

Once we got home the afternoon was a little more chill. I managed to get in the pool again for a while before the rain kicked up again.

And oh boy, the rain kicked up again this afternoon.

At one point I was genuinely afraid for my life. Until Sonic the Hedgehog came along.

And by Sonic the Hedgehog, I mean a very nice Greek restaurant:

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A very nice Greek restaurant that happened to have a fresco on the wall based on seaside towns like Santorini, Greece that I strongly connect to Sonic Unleashed for whatever reason.

I’ve never even owned that game. What’s the deal, Sonic?

I’ll be waiting for a response.

That’s about all I have. We settled in to watch some America’s Got Talent (which I guess is an interest that runs in the family) and I started to write this up.

As my time in Florida begins to come to an end, it sounds like Grandpa wants to use me for some extra luck at a horse racing track tomorrow.

So come back for my next daily summary to see how that goes!

The Bachelor in Florida

The Bachelor in Florida

Hey.

Been a while, huh?

I’ve been enjoying my “book writing sabbatical” perhaps a little too much. A lot of my novel has gotten done, but there have been plenty of things over the last month I easily could have blogged about.

I was almost completely by myself for three weeks as Mom and Aly went to New York for a summer music program.

During that time I went to the L.A. County Museum of Art for a graduation party.

I bought Mario Maker 2 and made a bajillion levels.

I hosted a full-on sleepover with my friends.

We saw Disney usher the end times by announcing some great looking Marvel movies at San Diego Comic Con, despite my hatred for their entertainment monopoly.

I completely skipped the Three Houses banner in Fire Emblem Heroes.

Dad and I caught up on the latest season of The Flash, I finally saw (and was blown away by) Shazam and I watched Spider-Man: Far From Home for the second time.

Lots of potential content. But as you can tell, I’ve mostly been keeping my day-to-day exploits on social media.

More time to focus on the book and all that.

However, I might return to daily posts for limited time.

This week I’m on vacation in Florida, invited by my grandparents when they came to California for Graduation. I figure that’s worth recording for posterity.

Today wasn’t the most exciting part, however. Hence the long recap.

I flew out of LAX at 9:30 a.m., where I got to sit through that classic California traffic one last time.

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This was actually my first solo experience in the airport. Every other time I’ve gone places there were family members or school-related functions to keep me company.

But it was easygoing, despite oddities like having to walk through a dog pen for the TSA or having my departure gate flip between two locations multiple times.

I decided to be that guy and get a GIF of the takeoff once we boarded. Which turned out nice in my opinion:

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Then about four hours later, after isolating myself from the outside world to write and catch up on podcasts, I landed in Fort Lauderdale.

Though it was technically seven hours because I traveled into the future.

Isn’t technology amazing? I flew nearly 3,000 miles in a fraction of a day.

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That was such a cool realization after we landed.

Though it was immediately followed by the realization that I decided to go somewhere with 90 degree heat and 64 percent humidity at the end of July.

I guess it was worth it considering I got picked up by these two:

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Even if they took me to The Habit for dinner and gave me flashbacks of late deadline nights at The Daily Titan.

After that we came home so I could unpack and watch American Ninja Warrior with them over a cup of tea.

It took a minute to get over the existential panic of finding out I’d be staying in the “adult” bedroom usually reserved for Mom. But then the relaxation kicked in!

Or maybe it was the jet lag…

Either way, that’s all I’ve got from today. Stay tuned for the next leg of my journey tomorrow, whatever it may include.

Schrödinger’s @

Schrödinger’s @

This little premise is probably something that could be served better as a brief question on Twitter, but I figured I would pose a more elaborate version on the off-chance I get interesting responses beyond the shelf life of a tweet.

It’s undeniable that the language of social media has injected itself into our common vernacular, to the point that I can say something like “the shelf life of a tweet” without turning any heads — Just imaging saying that to someone from the 1800s!

However, I’m not particularly concerned about social media terms in real life, general use.

My inquiry is aimed toward how people use an at sign (@) or hashtags (#) ((or the pound sign, though that’s not how I’ll be using it)) in the world of Twitter reading.

That probably sounds like dumb technobabble, so let me explain further.

Obviously the at sign and hashtags serve functional purposes in the world of Twitter. The prior acts as a mention to draw attention to individuals, while the latter compiles specific topics for analytics on what might be popular.

They are essential elements one must know when using the service to get the most out of it.

With brief research I found this hilariously academic and sterile handbook “tips” page for utilizing these two elements of Twitter. It reminded me that some people are not hooked into this stupid website yet and might not understand its digital language.

Outside of their mechanical functionality, both symbols have audible names so they can be discussed in the abstract. Even if I sometimes just mime mid-air finger drawings that vaguely resembles the “@” symbol during real life interactions.

Other symbols in our language have similar mechanical functionality while also being named for discussion.

The last sentenced ended with a period, which either sits silently due to our shared understanding of what it represents (an end point) or can be audibly referred to for emphasis.

Period. End of story.

Yet the period has existed for hundreds of years, affording it a place in the general lexicon that is taught in every high school English class. We all, I assume, have the same understanding of the period’s uses in the manner I have described.

I’m just not sure whether or not the same thing exists for modern pseudo-punctuation.

It does seem common enough for people to say the word “hashtag” before mentioning the word that follows.

But is it the same for the at sign?

There is a concept called the “Inner Reading Voice” that I guarantee you’re all familiar with. While you read this blog post to yourself, you’re likely reading it — as if out loud — in your own head.

For those of you who frequent Twitter as often as I do, I have to ask: How does your Inner Reading Voice handle an at sign in mentions?

I’ve always found that I struggle with two different approaches, and I’d like to know whether I’m crazy.

Do you…

  • Completely ignore the symbol’s existence and continue the sentence as normal?

Or-

  • Actually read the at sign out loud as if it is an extra word in the sentence?

This distinction seems small, but I would wager it makes a big difference grammatically.

For instance, this is the Tweet I wrote to promote my recent Umbrella Academy review.

Did you read this:

  • “… I just couldn’t get Netflix’s Umbrella Academy out of my head.”

Or-

  • “… I just couldn’t get at Netflix’s Umbrella Academy out of my head.”

For this sentence I wager it would not make sense to include the ‘at’ verbally.

However, let’s say I wrote half a dozen tweets asking Netflix to start streaming Umbrella Academy season 2 already. I get tired of throwing all my complaints at the service and express it in a further tweet.

How would you write that?

  • “I’m tired of throwing all these tweets at @netflix, why won’t they answer?!”

Or-

  • “I’m tired of throwing all these tweets @netflix, why won’t they answer?!”

Either could potentially work. Either you read the “@” as an extra word or ignore the “@” as a purely mechanical necessity when mentioning Netflix.

As someone who tries to sounding grammatically correct in my open publications, I suppose the usage I would consider correct depends on context.

If there would be an ‘at’ naturally before the at sign, I might be inclined to leave it out at risk of sounding repetitive.

However, if no at would naturally preceed the symbol, I would just ignore that at sign.

Thus my question remains: How do you handle the @ when you’re reading through Twitter? Are you like me, depending on context? Or do you adamantly always/never read the symbol out loud?

Science demands your compliance in this unofficial study.


Featured Image courtesy of Post of Moldova via Wikimedia Commons

A ten-dollar word worth its weight in gold

A ten-dollar word worth its weight in gold

Once in a while I like to take a break from delving into a video game or bothering you all about my life and talk about another one of my favorite things: The written word.

Unfortunately, this isn’t really an update on my Senior Honors Project. I have been working on that a bit recently, but not in any capacity to show something off.

Instead I wanted to bring back something that I haven’t really done since last summer. A ten-dollar word of the day.

Sometimes I just find a word that stands out for one reason or another, and it makes for some good filler content on a day when not a lot else has gone on.

However, today’s word isn’t quite as (from my point of view) underutilized as something like “proselytize.” In fact, you just might recognize it from my own recent lexicon.


Bonanza

Definition 1:

  1. Something that is very valuable, profitable or rewarding.
  2. A very large amount.
  3. Extravaganza.

Definition 2:

  1. An exceptionally large and rich mineral deposit (as of an ore, precious metal or petroleum while mining).

via the Merriam-Webster dictionary


Yeah that’s right, I’m pulling out that word from my post headline yesterday. Looking it up to see if it was the word I actually wanted to use was what inspired me to talk about it more, actually.

I re-ordered the list of definitions from Merriam-Webster here on my blog to put what I would consider the more common usage on top.

After all,  I personally happen to know the word “bonanza” in reference to something like an extravaganza, or simply something valuable.

But it threw me for a loop to see that the term apparently has roots in the mining industry!

Looking for some more information on that origin led me down an interesting little rabbit hole. I discovered a website called mining.com for example, which apparently covers news regarding different precious metals and their market prices. They also apparently do things like advertise mining-related novels, which is where I found the “bonanza” connection.

Another blog I found off-shooting the Collins Dictionary stipulates that the word came to be popularly used with mining successes as a result of its Spanish origin, where the term meant “calm sea” in reference to an expression of good news for sailors and fisherman.

The general “good fortune” expression wound up being used in the mining industry as well.

This all actually makes some sense considering the more modern usage of the word as being an extravagant event or a rewarding situation. It just comes off of a root that threw me off-kilter — enough to spent at least a little bit of time digging deeper.

Isn’t that the beauty of a language like English, with so many intermingling influences?

While looking for the definition of the term bonanza, I also happened to come across a totally different and interesting off-shoot of the term. One that might be a bit more recognizable for a crowd older than I am.

There was a television show that ran on NBC for nearly 15 years called “Bonanza” based on a group of cowboys tending to their ranch and the surrounding community during and after the Civil War.

This show apparently had 430 episodes, so I’m pretty surprised I’ve never heard of it! Especially considering how much of an old Hollywood fan my dad is.

The western was also popular enough to have a few continuation movies into the 80’s and 90’s according to the IMDb page on its producer, David Dortort.

So there you go! Bonanza. Parties, gold mining and cowboys. Romeo would probably be proud of just how much is in this name in particular.

You know, once he got over the fact that televisions are a thing that exist. Or electricity in general for that matter.


Featured image courtesy of Marshman via Wikimedia Commons

Reading on Writing Tools

It’s funny. After spending three-or-four hours locked away writing this ten-page paper for my Mass Media Ethics class, I looked outside and thought it was so late that I missed my window to write something substantial on my blog.

But then I realized it’s only 7:00 p.m. (as of the point where I started writing anyway) despite looking like 11:00 p.m.

Welcome back Winter. How’s it going? Persephone doing alright down with Hades right now?

That’s good, that’s good.

All joking aside, I am actually pretty tired of writing after banging out an extensive essay on ethical philosophies when publishing graphic images in newspapers.

Plus I’m having a pretty fun time watching my dad get real annoyed at the T.V. while the Dodgers seem to be choking out during seventh inning of game five in the World Series.

So I won’t write too much here today. I’ll save some energy for another small Evolution and Creation paper I have to do next probably.

Certainly I won’t bore you all with the particulars of applying concepts like Utilitarianism and Communitarianism to national news publications — go ahead and watch NBC’s “The Good Place” if you want any of that. The show does it in a far more entertaining way than I could.

Instead I think I’ll briefly talk about my next “for fun” reading project. If you want to consider supplemental materials to help with my novel a “fun” book.

Professor Rizzo suggested I take a look at Roy Peter Clark’s book here as a way to pick up on some extra skills for more literary writing.

So far this kind of thing has been one of the early benefits of having a mentor for my Honors Project. Not only do I have an instructor to grade me in classes over the next year, someone who’s willing to read whatever I write and give me advice, but I have someone in my corner with a wealth of experience to be able to recommend books and connections that may help my writing in the long run.

It’s super cool, and I eagerly ran off to Amazon to pick this sucker up after she mentioned it last Tuesday.

Now that is has finally arrived, I’m excited to crack it open and see what I can learn. Thought that was worth sharing with the world, at the very least on the off-chance that you too are looking for some supplemental materials to help with whatever you might be writing.

However I’ll have to personally broach the subject another day, because for now I’m off to homework land once again.

Wish me luck.

Conflating Art and Reality on… Ethics

Very bizarre premise for a blog post, I know. But that’s kind of what you get when I spend all day doing homework and can’t figure out too much more to write about outside of that homework.

It just so happens that today my homework weirdly connected with outside forces.

I’ve been working on the at-home midterm essay for my Mass Media Ethics class for the past hour or two. The premise of the assignment is simple, we were given four cases of ethical debate and asked to defend one side in one of those debates. A fairly open-ended piece of work meant to show our general understanding of the ethical philosophies and case study analysis methods we’ve been studying this semester.

I decided to write about the case where a reporter in New York was forced to withdraw from a potential candidacy on the city council in his hometown. All things considered a pretty straight-forward argument between conflicts of interest and breaking company policy on one side with a desire to improve the community using a more hands-on approach on the other.

Honestly the paper went far smoother than I expected it to. The vague nature of the assignment was a bit daunting, so the fact that I was able to write it in just a few short hours with a quick seal of approval from the initial parent check was great. I might run over it again before I have to turn it in on Tuesday considering it is a big chunk of my midterm grade, but overall it feels really nice get it off my plate.

Where the art side of the headline up there comes into play only makes sense if you know some context.

Not too long ago, my family started watching NBC’s The Good Place. It wasn’t a show I was interested in watching when it first started to air a few years ago, but after hearing from some friends that it was an amazing piece of television on the eve of season three starting, we decided to pick it up.

Got through season one in a day or two. Still making our way through season two right now.

It. Is. A wonderful show.

Absolutely wonderful.

It’s smart, it’s funny, it’s fresh. I especially adore Ted Danson, though the whole cast makes for a great ensemble. Plus the occasional guest star that slips their way into the cast helps sell it with some stellar comedy.

For those of you who haven’t seen the show, it’s also essentially a hyper condensed ethics class masking as a comedy. The fact that I happened to start watching the show while taking a Mass Media Ethics class is serendipity to say the least.

The most recent episode we watched focused on the classic trolly problem, for example. A thought experiment so intrinsically linked with Utilitarian arguments that the episode as a whole might as well have been plucked out of my class’s week 3 lecture.

If nothing else, it certainly presents some fun examples of concepts to help remember them for when you have to utilize the ideas in an essay.

So I guess the lesson of the day is that television will help you when you have to do homework.

And also to go watch The Good Place. Because it’s an A+ show in basically every regard.

I just wish I’d known about it way back when I went to Universal Studios earlier this year. Because I would’ve paid way more attention to that soundstage on the Studio Tour if I had.

Condensation

Once again I’m a bit under the weather. Likely a side effect of the shot I received from the doctor yesterday.

So I don’t have a whole lot of energy to muster up for this blog post, and I won’t be writing too much as a result. Just consider this one of those filler pieces I like to write once in a while to keep myself writing.

That said, my not writing a lot actually strikes me as something thematically appropriate for the subject of the post that I have in mind.

Last night I spent some time over at a bar in Santa Ana as part of a celebratory good bye party for the man who was Editor in Chief of the Daily Titan when I first got there a few years ago, Rudy. He just recently got a new position at NBC working in Philadelphia, so a bunch of people from his time at the Titan threw him a surprise party.

Pretty appreciative that I got looped into the whole thing, considering a big chunk of my journalism career would not have been possible without him and Liz, the Managing Editor at the time, hiring me.

I know that’s a lot to unpack, namely the fact that I was out being social at a bar. Because it’s still kind of a lot to unpack for me as well.

Such a strange sensation to be old enough for social drinking…

If it makes you feel any better, I didn’t drink beyond a few sips of one beer — and that was mostly out of social obligation. Would’ve been rude if I didn’t touch the drink that Spencer got for me.

I was driving however, so I mostly did avoid it.

Spencer actually plays more of a role in this than just the guy who bought me a beer. He was the News Editor that first semester I jumped on the Titan, and I actually attribute a lot of my early college tutelage and growth to the guy. We’ve kept up a good amount since than as well, as he often liked to visit the newsroom whenever he was local reporting on something like City Council.

While we talked at the party, he mentioned reading these posts once in a while (which still frankly shocks me whenever I hear someone I know irl reading these, despite the fact that I literally post them on Twitter and Facebook for that exact reason).

One of his suggestions was trying to be a bit more concise with my blog posts.

It’s something I’ve thought about a bit since I first started up this project, but I usually usher those thoughts away considering it’s a personal blog and I approach it with the mindset of a repository for my thoughts and long-form writing BS.

But maybe it isn’t such a bad idea to try and keep things cleaner around here. That way it’s less of a random dumping place and more of a legitimate writing practice.

So I’m going to be trying that from here on, as best I can. Spencer suggested going for 1,000-1,200 words max, and that seems like a good benchmark.

Granted, I might not hit it with some stuff like my Fire Emblem posts, where a couple hundred words are dedicated to copying their skills out anyway, but we’ll see. Seems like that’s a good place to take this blog next to make it more professional.

That or redesigning it one of these days. Another thing I’ve been putting off for literal years now.

But anyway, thanks a bunch for reading this stuff Spencer, and for having my back. I had a great time catching up with you and a bunch of other folks last night, and I’m glad that I can take a little bit of it forward with stuff like this!

I would post some of the photos of the group that we took last night, but it might be weird for people I don’t talk to very much. So my apologies for the lack of photography accompanying my ramblings today.

Jason and Dara explore ‘America’s Got Talent’

Jason and Dara explore ‘America’s Got Talent’

I don’t know how exactly I got roped into this, but Mom and I have spent a chunk of the day just streaming through the most recent season of America’s Got Talent on Hulu.

She said she’s watching it because there isn’t a whole heck of a lot else on. But also because sometimes you get to watch people pull Howie Mandel on stage and swing a katana at him. Or almost crush him doing motorcycle tricks.

For those of you who aren’t aware, AGT is essentially a reality television competition show in a similar vein as American Idol. Both of which star Simon Cowell as a judge in fact.

But while American Idol is entirely focused on singing (and playing instruments in later seasons), AGT hosts a variety of acts all competing to be the most talented of the Americans.

Sometimes it’s singing. Sometimes it’s dancing. Comedians do schticks. People do horror acts. Or, as I mentioned, sometimes people do things like blind themselves before swinging samurai swords around or complete motorcycle tricks.

My only serious underlying concern with the show is how weird the prospect of having to judge between so many different kinds of acts as if they’re on equal footing to decide what’s the best? Though they’ve been doing it for 13 years now or whatever so I guess I’m just not hip enough to it.

As far as I’m aware our family doesn’t watch this particular reality TV competition show very often. I believe the only time I’ve seen it on in our bourse before was when my grandmother was visiting from Florida. Even so, it has its own entertaining merits.

Whether it be a genuinely impressive performance from, say, a 13-year-old singer that makes you feel as though you’ve done nothing with your life, or it’s just an attempt to do something that winds up being hilarious in how awful it is, the show can be pretty fun to laugh at.

God knows the reality competition shows are far better than the bs reality shows like Jersey Shore. Or the Kardashians show.

Yeah that’s right I said it Internet.

Don’t @ me.

I suppose if I’m being fair, we haven’t just spent all day vegging out watching competition shows. Even if that doesn’t sound like such a bad way to spend a day.

We also went out and hung out at a coffee shop for a while, catching up with one of her band parent friends.

But I couldn’t really think of a way to extrapolate on that for a semi-interesting blog post. So instead you’ve got like the most bare bones discussion of America’s Got Talent that anyone’s ever given.

Hope it’s something you enjoy.

Also I guess I should stick to whatever tradition I’ve started in my one post of this kind and let my Mom say some words. But I don’t think it’d serve the post well to pseudo-interview her like last time, so I’m just going to give her the floor.


Dara’s Corner:

Mom caveat: we don’t watch these shows often, and he’s right, usually only when my mom comes out to visit. But, what else to watch at the end of the summer when there is nothing else on yet.

I watch these shows and go, what have I done with my life. Then again, my mouth goes agape when shy kids who barely can answer the judges’ questions all of a sudden belt Janis Joplin.

Certainly, some acts make me wonder if they’re planted by the producers, but in a nutshell, one never knows what will come out on stage. Plus, added mom bonus – I get to spend time with Jason on the couch laughing. 🙂

-Dara



P.S. — Back to Jason now. Who decided to let Tyra Banks be the Ryan Seacrest of this show?

Don’t get me wrong, I used to be a big fan of America’s Next Top Model, but it just feels so… Strange.

Wanted to put that out there. Don’t have anywhere else to go with the thought.