Tag: Podcast

One Night at the Improv

One Night at the Improv

When I turned 21 about a month ago, one of the presents my parents got me were tickets to see the live show for one of my favorite podcasts: Hollywood Babble-On with Ralph Garman and Kevin Smith.

Unfortunately the show sells out rather fast well in advance. So we weren’t able to get tickets closer to my actual birthday.

But hey, the timing doesn’t matter all that much. I still got to go after all! Had a blast too while I was at it.

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Here’s me and my dad in a very lousy picture taken with poor club lighting.

My dad and I have been listening to Hollywood Babble-On together for a long time now. Back in my high school days, probably starting as far back as my freshman year, it would be one of the staple podcasts in our wheelhouse of things to listen to on the way to school in the morning.

Now, for a little bit of context assuming most of you won’t know about it, Babble-On is a dirty, downright raunchy show. All the portions that don’t have Ralph yelling about this or that celebrity doing something dumb and awful usually involves some level of sexual or morbid humor. It’s generally objectively terrible stuff… But terrible stuff delivered in just the most hilarious way you can imagine.

If you’re an awful person who loves the entertainment business like me, you’ll probably enjoy it.

That said, getting to experience the show live with the guy who got me into it was a whole new kind of experience.

We started in the main bar area at about 8:30 p.m. or so and had dinner, which guaranteed us a reserved spot at the show. I had pizza and he had a burger, which were both pretty damn good I’d say. Dinner also included a couple of hours just sitting around and talking about life, since the show didn’t start until 10:30 p.m.

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Somehow got a much better shot of Kevin (left) and Ralph (right) than I did of us…

We got relatively lucky at tonight’s show, as it was the first Babble-On performed since Kevin has been out of the hospital from his recent heart attack.

… Okay, us getting lucky about getting to see a show because someone else survived a heart attack SEEMS like a statement centering the focus somewhere it shouldn’t belong… But hey, you’re on my blog. If you want a more personal perspective about Kevin’s well-being, just follow his stuff.

If tonight is any indication, he’s doing way better.

That said, if nothing else the aftermath of that experience made for a fun first 20 minutes or so.

Did I mention that the show was nearly three hours long last night? Because it was, and we didn’t leave the Improv until 1:15 a.m. or so this morning. Don’t get me wrong, we had a blast, but it’s going to be arduous to listen through the show again to see if we show up in the general background audience noise.

The shout out we sent in emails for was unfortunately not read during the show. But we were so close to the stage that I wouldn’t be surprised if I hear my obnoxiously loud laugh or a cough somewhere along the way, despite the fact that there were probably close to 200 people packed into that comedy club.

Because of the length of the show, I don’t think it would be healthy for me to lose much more sleep just to break the whole thing down. Long story short, it was super fun, I might link to the audio once this episode goes up and I probably won’t ever listen to Babble-On the same way ever again.

It’s an interesting phenomenon to think about, the fact that you can be imagining something auditory one way for years only to have that whole perception change when you finally see it in person.

Maybe I’ll look into that more and write about it one of these days…

But obviously that’s a tale for another time if I do.

I think it’s also worth mentioning that tonight served as another milestone for my being 21: I drank for the first time!

Yes, yes, that ever-present right of passage that literally nobody would ever let me hear the end of when I was making my way through the earlier parts of college and refused to drink. I figured if there were ever a good time to try alcohol, it would be at a raunchy comedy show at the famous Hollywood Improv.

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Given the fact that I have no idea how alcohol works, I let my dad pick out my poison. A White Russian he decided, as he figured it would taste enough like a milkshake to circumvent the bitter alcoholic content.

Unfortunately, that was but a pipe dream.

I’ll be honest, I barely got through half of the small drink I had. While my mom later argued it would have been better to go with something like a rum and coke, I just still don’t know if that would have been my thing.

Maybe I just don’t really understand the appeal. All I got out of the drink was a harsh, bitter taste that burned on the way down. Bitter without any flavor to disguise it.

I don’t know, I suppose I can try again later, but for now my first experience with alcohol was a failed one. Even if the venue surrounding the drink was unforgettable.

Though it is probably worth mentioning that as I suffered through one drink like a loser, Ralph managed to down three shots and four glasses of Guinness in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

So that’s one for the book of masculinity I’m sure someone is keeping.

My ACP Midwinter 2018 Convention Experiences – Day Three

My ACP Midwinter 2018 Convention Experiences – Day Three

The last day of the Associated Collegiate Press 2018 Midwinter Convention was a long one. Not only did I do a bunch of stuff before heading to Long Beach, but I was there extra late for the California College Media Association awards that followed the closing keynote of the event.

That late awards ceremony was also the reason I didn’t manage to get this out the night of like with my first two posts, by the way. If you even noticed that weird discrepancy and were curious about it.

But if you did not notice that and don’t want to see my keep rambling on, I’ll just jump right in.

For those of you who are just tuning in now for some reason, you can read my reflections on the first two days here [ Day One ] and here [ Day Two ].


Even though there were a few early sessions I was potentially interested in attending during the last day of the convention, ultimately I decided not to go over there yesterday morning. Other pressing matters presented themselves that needed to be addressed from Redondo.

First and foremost, I needed to take some photos regarding a story I’ve been working on for the Titan. The article is an opinion piece about surfing being considered to become the official state sport of California through a bill introduced by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi.

It’s getting published tomorrow, so if you want to know exactly what I’m thinking about regarding that issue, you’ll just have to wait and see. #Cliffhanger

In my desire to earn extra points for Comm 471, I decided to go take my own photos to accompany the surfing article. After all, I live literally five minutes away from the beach. So why not take my own photos?

Turns out, nature gave me a perfect reason why to not take my own photos.

Seriously, what were the odds that I went out to take photos on one of the rainiest, lousy days I’ve seen in this part of the world in months.

At least there was a nice pier to hide under so I didn’t completely ruin the camera I have rented from Bonnie.

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Also, shout out to my Mom for taking this dope picture of me. Even if I look silly wearing a leather jacket out on the beach in hindsight.

On the bright side, we went and had a lovely breakfast together after escaping the torrential downpour.

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We both look pretty lousy and waterlogged in this photo, but I think that adds to the charm. It was a fun adventure.

After our beach trip, I stayed home for a while longer to work on some homework. That’s the unfortunate thing about going to a dope conference: Having to keep up with your regular life responsibilities at the same time.

Especially when those real life responsibilities include a Psychology Research Methods paper to write in perfect American Psychological Association document style. That’s the funnest kind of assignment.

I did make some substantial progress on that during my morning time — though I didn’t finish it, and I theoretically could probably be working on it instead of this… But those are semantics we don’t need to get into right now.

Eventually, time dictated my necessity to go to Long Beach. I may not have gone to any other sessions, but there was one I absolutely had to go to.

My session.


Covering Milo Yiannopoulos

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I think it’s probably no surprise at this point that our biggest story on the Daily Titan in 2017 (for the second half of it at least) was the Halloween visit of conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.

There’s no need for me to go into detail about every single story we wrote on the subject, so just check out the Daily Titan tag to get the gist of it if you’re behind.

For our purposes here, know that I was essentially the project lead on our Milo coverage since I broke the news that he would be appearing initially. That’s the magic of having connections with the club that was inviting him.

Because of the extensive work behind our Milo coverage, Bonnie got us a slot on the ACP convention schedule to talk about everything that went into it. Not only was that an awesome opportunity, but I had the honor of essentially leading the talk because I led most of our efforts!

That included everything, from the creation of a PowerPoint:

To running through everything going on for our attendees:

Of course I wasn’t the only one talking, if the pictures above didn’t make it obvious enough. I was joined by current Sports assistant Kathryne Padilla (left), Opinion editor Sophia Acevedo (middle) and News assistant Breanna Belken (right).

Our talk was pretty popular too, I’d say:

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… I know it sort of looks like a half-empty room in this picture, but I took it toward the end of the session. There were more people there early on and a few trickled out throughout.

But there’s no need to try and overcompensate or whatever, as just the fact that we got to speak to anybody like an expert in the subject was an absolute joy!

Probably my favorite part of it was the fact that people stuck around after the talk ended to ask extra questions. Specifically from me! Seriously, they staked out the room and hit my up after I left to find out a bit more about how I was able to stay objective with my reporting on the guy.

It’s a pretty significant confidence booster to see people want your advice on how to handle something.

I may be wrong about this, but I believe it was UC Santa Barbara students that stayed around to talk with me after the talk. So shout out to them.

But if I’m wrong and you just so happen to be those guys and you’re reading this, just let me know and I’ll correct it. I feel bad about not being 100 percent sure, there was just a lot that happened after we talked.

Speaking of…


The Ending Keynote: Dirty John

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The Los Angeles Times took a chance in late 2017 by publishing one of their larger investigative stories in tandem with a series of podcast episodes. That podcast, called Dirty John, has been downloaded 10 million times since it was put out in October.

Christopher Goffard was the reporter and narrator for the print story and the podcast respectively. He was also the keynote speaker for the last day of the convention.

I was already pretty hyped up for his talk after Steve Padilla, an LA Times editor, advocated for the keynote and encouraged me to go see what he had to say. Luckily, I was not disappointed.

Goffard ran through the ten lessons he learned from working on a podcast:

  1. The story always comes first.
  2. You will eventually grapple with some kind of ethical issues.In his case, deciding whether or not to include certain sound clips to enhance the emotional connection of the story.
  3. In a hyper competitive podcasting space, experience with prior reporting will offer an advantage.
  4. Having the right equipment is important.
  5. You will never know what words you have been mispronouncing your entire life until you have to say it in a professional space.
  6. Even if your podcast can reach more people, use it to draw attention to print.
  7. Always think about the cat (or whatever other noise obstructions there might be).
  8. Your work shouldn’t be about you, as interesting as you may be.
  9. Stop saying ‘uh huh’ during your interviews on tape. Learn to nod your head.
  10. You will not be murdered if you fail. Only staying in your comfort zone will kill you.

After getting through his points in speed running fashion, he spent a long time just answering questions from anyone and everyone in the audience who wanted his advice. It was super cool and useful, and after it ended I was excited to start listening to the podcast on my daily drives to-and-from Fullerton.

In fact, I’ve already downloaded it.

Pardon my dumb late-night repetition of ‘excited’ too many times.


Awards Galore

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The Daily Titan squad, present and past.

The rest of my time at the conference was spent at two different awards functions.

The first bled right into Goffard’s talk. A part of the ACP convention is a ‘Best of Show’ competition, where schools in attendance had the opportunity to enter what they considered to be their greatest work in various categories.

The Daily Titan entered one of the Homeless in OC-centric papers for ‘Best Daily Newspaper,’ the special Milo Yiannopoulos coverage reprint for ‘Best Special Issue’ and the Milo multimedia accompaniment for ‘Best Multimedia.’

We won first place, third place and fourth place respectively.

Shout out to Tusk Magazine as well, which won sixth place in the feature magazine category.

Double shout out to the ACP organization, which gave us a first place trophy with the handle broken that they promised they would send a replacement for.

Triple shout out to everyone who was there with us, which in the picture above boils down to (from left to right) our advisor Bonnie, prior Tusk advisor and my old Comm 201 professor Frank Russell, assistant journalism professor Chelsea Reynolds, Spring 2017 Daily Titan EIC Hayley M. Slye and CSUF College of Communications department chair Jason Shepard.

That’s a mouthful.

Once those awards were over, there was really no rest.

Just across the foyer from that main pavilion of the convention was a ballroom where the California College Media Association 2018 awards banquet was held.

The banquet was pretty great for a number of reasons.

First and foremost: The food.

It was all as delicious as it looks.

Dinner was almost comically on-point by offering us the opportunity to have both the meat AND the fish course, alongside some salad, mashed potatoes and cauliflower.

Then there were a number of desserts served throughout the night, and I was able to get my hands on a tiny tiramisu and a small thing of custard with gold-colored chocolate shavings and a coffee-ground base.

Though the food was delicious, putting it as my ‘first and foremost’ choice is honestly a bit of a joke.

Really, the coolest thing about the banquet was getting to see a bunch of old friends from the Titan who swung around to get awards!

Namely, my ex-co-editors Sarah Wolstoncroft (Twitter not included) and Megan Maxey, Ashlyn Ramirez and Kaleb Stewart came back into the fold to pick up various accolades. Bryant Freese was also supposed to be there to pick up his first place award for the sports story that got a coach at CSUF fired, but unfortunately he blew a tire on the way over (poor guy…)

Our ads department also won a couple of awards alongside the writers who were in attendance, with the most striking award featuring an amazing typo.

I don’t think anyone got a picture of it, but essentially they gave the Daily Titan Ads Department staff an award for their advertising package, which was a “The Daily Californian” production from 2016.

So we technically got credit for something that UC Berkeley did I guess? I don’t know, either way it was pretty hilarious.

What’s most important for my purposes, however, is the award I received.

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Megan, Ashlyn, Sarah, Bryant (who as I mentioned was not there) and I won third place in the News Series category for our work on the “Homeless in OC” stories that were produced as a part of Bonnie’s Investigative Journalism class last year. It’s a super huge honor, and I’m so proud that we were able to get that important work recognized!

Other Daily Titan stories that were awarded included Kaleb’s “IT” movie review, the initial Canin striking a student story from Sarah and Brandon Pho and a group award for Hannah Miller, Tracy Hoang, Brandon, Megan, Gabe Gandara and Bailey Carpenter for the multimedia package around Brandon’s Milo night-of story.

Gotta give credit where it’s due, to all my hardworking peeps on the Daily Titan staff, past and present.

After the awards ended, we all stood around and took photos together, then made our way home.

After three days of fun and learning in Long Beach, the convention was over. By 11:00 p.m. when I got back to Redondo, I was ready to pass out.

And I did.

That’s why this is coming out so late into Sunday instead of Saturday night. Because I fell asleep, then had to get up early to take beach photos again (this time more successfully) and have been doing my Daily Titan shift for our weeklong issue before half of our staff goes to New York for yet another conference.

Still kinda wish I had the opportunity to go to New York with them, but after my experiences in Long Beach I suppose I really can’t complain. I had an amazing time with some of my friends, got to share my expertise with a national audience, learn from a number of professionals and won some awards.

Really, who can complain about that?