Tag: Redondo Beach

Who’s that car?

Who’s that car?

It’s been a long time coming.

After months of dealing with a broken rear driver-side window, one that was stuck so wide open that it was hard (if not impossible) to seriously wash my car without flooding the inside, it became a bit of a disgusting mess.

Covered in black grime that came off on your fingers from the rubber around the doors. Coated on the back in old, ratty tape that was used to seal the open window during rainy seasons. Canvased with the remnants of squished bugs and, no joke, the waffling pattern on the bottom of a shoe that hit my side mirror on the freeway one night.

It’s a long story.

But you get the point, my car was a mess. I’m running out of C-word synonyms for covered so I’ll just get to the point.

The point being, if you hadn’t guessed from that featured image, the fact that I finally got my car washed and detailed after literal months of idle care.

Look at how shiny this boy is! I’m so proud of him.

The guys at Redondo Car Wash (shout out to them) even cleaned up the inside. Dusted all of my panels, washed the floor mats. A really stellar job all together.

Now I’ll truly be the talk of the school. Probably.

I’m not sure how much people care about seeing cars go by when it’s a commuter school and nobody pays much attention to anything on campus, but I suppose I’ll find out.

That’s honestly about all I have to say for the day. Now that I’m back home after finishing my last class for the week, I can officially declare the end of my midterm hell week.

It’s a sweet feeling, and I couldn’t think of any better way to celebrate than finally cleaning my car so I could feel better about myself.

Which is probably kind of sad in hindsight?

But hey. You do you and I’ll do me.

As far as the weekend coming up goes, I have some Gladeo-related responsibilities to attend to. Running a meeting, rescheduling an interview, all that fun stuff.

Plus I have some other school-related business like another exam next week… Because my Comm professors like to stagger things out where my Psych professors made everything happen within three days of each other.

So that’ll be fun.

Oh, and I’m probably going to do an internship application. Somewhere in between the time that I’ll be running around with my family to do some activities for Aly’s band career.

Otherwise, I think I’ll finally have a little time to kick back, play some Monster Hunter with my friends and chill.

Hopefully all of you equally get some much-deserved time to chill, because you certainly deserve it — whether you had a bad week like me or not.

2:00 a.m. Adventures

Because I’m on the cusp of starting the last friend hang out of the summer, I’m probably just going to make this post quick and dirty so I don’t have to think about it later when everyone leaves.

Figured what better thing to talk about than the reason I’m so tired right now?

See I went to bed relatively early last night because, as mentioned, the gang is getting together today. Wanted to get some extra sleep to prepare for that.

The world apparently had different intentions.

Right around 2:00 a.m., I woke up to the sounds of very loud arguing just outside my house. At that point I was pretty groggy and didn’t think too much of it, but whoever was out there really wanted to just go at it.

It became much harder to ignore when the police sirens kicked in. Someone must’ve called in a noise complaint, I figured. So by that point I got up and went to look out of the window upstairs.

Thinking it may have been more than a noise complaint considering six police cars showed up.

Naturally I went to see if my parents were cognizant enough to wake up and come see, because at the very least they would have been interested in checking out whatever was going on from the distance like I was.

They were not. So they’re probably going to find out that all this happened from this blog post considering I wasn’t cognizant enough to tell the story this morning when they left to do chores.

That being said I don’t personally know what happened very well either, so I suppose I don’t have too much to share. From the distance I was able to hear just a couple minor things, as the three suspects were turned away from me. The most significant thing I was able to hear was that none of the three of them had a knife.

One of the guys was super insistent that none of them had a knife. So I’m assuming something about weapons was involved in the 911 call.

Just before 3:00 a.m. everything seemed to mellow out. It seemed like some of the suspects were brought away, leaving their red car in the middle of the street.

Around that time I was able to pay a bit more attention to the police officers as they gathered together to chat.

Wanted to point that out specifically because just.

Look at this guy in the middle. He’s so god damn tall.

I honestly thought Slender Man was a police officer in Redondo Beach for a while there. The fact that he’s that big while also standing off of the sidewalk ledge that everyone else is standing on is just.

Hoo boy.

What a man.

But anyway. Eventually they all parted ways, cars skidding around as they went off to address other crimes. Except for one car that hung back until a tow truck showed up to bring away the red car stuck in the middle of the street.

While I mostly put this post together just to say “whoa some wacky stuff happened in Redondo this morning,” I also thought it had a somewhat interesting conflation with my reporter life.

Because I genuinely considered going out and asking the officers what was happening. At least for my own curiosity, but potentially even as something that could be a freelance article for… I don’t know, the Daily Breeze or something.

In hindsight I likely wouldn’t have gotten anything from them since I don’t have credentials for any newspaper and it might come across as me impersonating the press.

But that’s hindsight. Honestly the reason I didn’t do it was because it was 2 a.m. and I was super tired. Plus I didn’t want to get dragged into things as a potential witness to whatever was happening considering I didn’t actually witness anything.

So yeah. No serious reporting. You just have to deal with these mad context-less ramblings.

That said, consider it the potential for future reporting. Because I pay attention to crime things that are happening and newspapers appreciate that.

Anyway that’s all I had, so I’m off to hang out with my friends. Hope you all have a good Sunday!

Two-for-One Deal on Gladeo Spotlights

You like reading?

I sure hope so, because today I’ve got two brand new published Spotlight interviews to check out. That’s right, the editing and publishing pipeline has finally caught up with me.

There isn’t a lot of build-up I can think to add to this other than a vague “keep on the lookout” message for some interesting developments coming soon. Next week when everything is confirmed I should have more to say.

But until then, feel free to enjoy these nice little interviews:

The first is featuring Raymundo Vizcarra, the band director at Redondo Union High School. Though my sister is one of his students, I never really had the opportunity to talk with Ray that often before going to chat for this piece.

He’s got a lot of solid advice in regards to balancing school and work, considering he’s working toward a master’s degree, as well as a rather heartfelt history concerning his family moving to the U.S., his father being absent for a number of years and how life led him down the path of music.

You can check that Spotlight out here.

The second features Ismael Villarreal, a design engineer for the aerospace manufacturer AdelWiggins Group.

I found Ismael after being asked to look for some individuals working in STEM careers, particularly engineers. My friend Jonathan’s dad works for AdelWiggins and was able to help get me connected to Ismael, a fairly young buck in the field that got a lucky break into aerospace.

We mostly discussed how the competitive business of aerospace manufacturing works and how his past experiences with education proved both beneficial and lacking in preparing him for the work he was going into.

With some advice on good practices for aspiring engineers who want to go into that field, of course.

You can check that Spotlight out here.

But of course, if you want to see my continually growing body of work, you can always head over to that listing over on the right!

It occurs to me that one day my entire blog could get a re-design and my mainstay “check this out on the right” message may become obsolete… But I think that’s a bridge I’ll cross when I get to it.

Not super relevant for this conversation, however. For now, like I said, just be on the lookout for some things coming up in the near future.

Stealing from Sports’ Traditions

Stealing from Sports’ Traditions

I may not be a very sport-y person, but if there’s anything I enjoy about sports it would be the team naming conventions.

Yeah I know that’s a strange thing to latch onto. But trust me, there’s a through-line to this conversation. Which, spoiler alert, is video game related.

Because hey if you wanted to see me spend an entire post talking about sports alone, you should have been around for this discussion I did a while back about watching the behind-the-scenes goings on at a baseball game.

As a home-grown Southern California kid I do have some interests in sports teams that come from some semblance of nostalgia. Namely the Dodgers when it comes to baseball and the Lakers when it comes to basketball. I’ve gone to see them many times over the years, so there are fond memories there even if I’m not as much of an avid follower of their games as I am Nintendo games.

However neither are striking examples of the kind of naming conventions I enjoy when it comes to sports teams. Like… What even does the name ‘Dodgers’ stand for? If anything, you wouldn’t want to be good at dodging a ball when you play baseball. Don’t you get to walk when you’re hit by the ball while at bat?

Come on Dodgers, get your act together.

Granted there is something interesting about them specifically. The fact that both the Dodgers and the Giants were originally East Coast teams before coming to California.

Inherently that brings up some questions about the permanence of a name if it can be so easily uprooted and moved around. Like yeah now we always associate the Dodgers with Los Angeles, but they weren’t always so closely linked with the culture here. That’s kind of fascinating, honestly.

Though according to official records by Major League Baseball themselves, the only reason those teams moved were simply to bring baseball to the West Coast. Which is a kind of underwhelming answer to an intriguing question.

But hey that’s a long tangent isn’t it? What I was going to get at was the fact that I enjoy seeing sports teams that are named after singular entities which could potentially duke it out.

The phenomenon tends to be more prevalent in high school and college sports, in my head. At my high school the main rivalry was the Sea Hawks versus the Mustangs. Though I did have some school spirit, for the most part I couldn’t care less which campus actually won. It was just kind of cool to imagine some kind of battle between a vicious hawk (which my biology teacher told us was actually based on a real life bird known for crushing bones) and a majestic hoofbeast.

I imagine the same thing could be said for many small-town sports rivalries. Certainly the idea of two forces of nature going at it is much more exciting than some other team names. Like the Patriots. Or the Redskins.

Much less racist too.

As I already mentioned, I’m not just bringing up this idea because I have a sudden passion to talk about sports. Or racism scandals. There was actually a spark that got me thinking about the subject of sports team names.

Unofficial Pokémon battle tournaments.

Yeah you heard me right. Bet you didn’t think anyone would be relating competitive Pokémon battling to actual real life sports in your daily blog posts today. Well I am, so you best be ready for it.

There’s actually a healthy amount of comparisons one can make between the two. When preparing for a Pokémon battle, trainers are restricted to six members, much like sports teams are limited to X number of team members on the field. Those six Pokémon fit different roles, be them wholly offensive, defensive or supportive. Or they could be some combination of the three.

It’s not hard to say that my hyper-offensive glass cannon Mega Beedrill in a battle is comparable to a football team’s leading quarterback, or that my heal-passing Audino is supportive much like a shortstop on a baseball team that quickly gets the ball from base-to-base for multiple outs.

I don’t know, I think it’s a pretty easy comparison to make. Maybe you disagree, but it’s all just an unapologetic segue anyway.

The reason I’ve come to think about this subject is because of the lengths I’ve seen certain Pokémon-playing YouTube personalities go to when establishing battle leagues that are steeped in the traditions of real life sports.

There are about a billion examples out there, but the one that’s most impactful to me is the United Championship League (UCL). There’s no real specific reason why other than the fact that most of the circle that competes in it are a close-knit group of Pokétubers that I tend to watch fairly often.

Which yes is possibly one of the nerdiest things I’ve said around here. But does it look like I care?

The UCL started about three years ago and carried an interesting aesthetic:

It comes to mind today specifically because the draft for Season 3 happened over this last weekend. Based on the video that was put up by TheKingNappy not too long ago, it took five hours just to get teams assigned to each competitor.

Yeah that’s right. This is a Pokémon battle competition with an extended team draft and a classic branching tree tournament board. On top of that, each team tends to do a pre-game discussion where they determine which members they’re bringing based on the opponent’s overall draft and how they’re building their teams up as a result.

It’s kind of crazy to thing that that’s almost exactly the same thing as a real sports league, but I adore one and can’t bring myself to seriously care about the other.

I think part of the reason I do care so much about the UCL — other than the fact that I’m a Pokémon junkie in general — is the fact that another real life sports trope they use so well is the naming convention.

Every team in that league names themselves the same way. City name (or some other location) followed by a Pokémon name that matches in some way.

Tucson Terrakions.

Pittsburgh Pichus.

So on and so forth.

Though of course it would be a terrible mistake for me not to mention my absolute favorite Pokémon sports league name:

The New York Mankeys.

Shout out to ShadyPenguinn for coming up with literal perfection. That’s the kind of name I wish I was clever enough to come up with on my own. Not only is it a solid team name, it’s a great reference to an actual real sports team too.

I just love it man. I basically wrote this whole post just so I could say New York Mankeys out loud. It’s just the kind of name that makes me giggle whenever I hear it. More of the world deserves to hear about it even if it couldn’t give a damn about Pokémon.

Now before you ask. Yes. I have had moments where I’ve tried to figure out what my Pokémon sports team name would be. Though I haven’t exactly come up with a good answer as of yet.

Incorporating my favorite Pokémon Gardevoir would be tough without stretching my location to Gardenia (though Gardenia Gardevoirs is a cool name).

I do like the sound of something like the Manhattan Beach Mimikyu, though again that requires relegating my location to somewhere I’m technically not, a city that’s my city’s rival if nothing else.

Unfortunately I’m just not sure which ‘R’ Pokémon I would use to go with Redondo. Ralts sounds a little not intimidating, though they fit the Gardevoir line love. Roserade also doesn’t seem right, despite being one of my favorites.

Also let’s be honest. As much as the Redondo Rayquaza sounds dope, I’m not sure I’d want to use a Legendary. It seems a bit cocky.

The Redondo Rhydon might work well. I have a pretty strong affection for him too, and Rhydon certainly sounds like the kind of Pokémon that could fit a sports team.

I guess if you want you can leave your suggestions in the comments below. Or you can say what teams you might be able to make using your home region. That’d be cool to hear!

In the meantime, I’ve got a five-hour livestream recap to catch up on. So I’m going to go off and do that.

In the meantime, I suppose I should come up with some kind of moral for today’s post.

Uhh…

If you’re a sports guy, don’t make fun of nerds that like Pokémon. Because we do wacky competitive things too.

And if you’re a Pokémon guy, don’t make fun of nerds that like sports. Because they built up a cool structure that we can do stuff with.

Let’s just all live together in harmony. Liking weird things that we all like without judgement.

Yeah, that’s a good lesson. Nailed the ending.

Sleeping, working and dying.

If I had to characterize my day today in just a few words, it would be easy. Sleeping, dying and working.

Basically a perfect microcosm of life I suppose.

Like I mentioned in my post yesterday, I’ve been sick lately. Today happened to feature a nasty flare-up, which led to sleeping in until at least 1:00 p.m. followed by an afternoon of sequestering myself away in my room to avoid disrupting the world with my somewhat intense cough and Advil-riddled outlook.

On the one hand that seclusion was a positive because, as I mentioned, it gave me the chance to focus on work. I managed to work through my entire transcript for the interview I conducted with Magic the other day, giving me an easy head start for the profile and Spotlight I’m writing.

On the other hand I basically spent the whole day sitting around in my own sick misery. That’s never exactly a positive, all things considered.

Because of that rather uneventful course of events, I don’t have a bunch to talk about in this blog post.

So I just wanted to give a shout out to the one thing today that gave me a series relief outside of drugs: Chinese food.

Yeah that sounds silly I know. But really, what’s better on a day when you’re sick than some hot, tasty soup.

Now I don’t have a lot to say about Chinese food specifically, don’t get me wrong. I’m not promising a particularly meaty discussion here. I just figured it was worth reflecting on something or another to avoid a day where I haven’t written anything.

Even if, to be fair, I did write about 6,000 words or so just transcribing my interview. But that’s a different story.

Though writing it out seems silly from how ubiquitous the act is in American life, My family has ordered in a lot of food over the years. Chinese and Pizza are the chief culprits, naturally, though with more recent advents like Grubhub that spectrum of potential has expanded widely.

One thing I’ve given almost no thought to over all those years is the middle man in the equation, that person who delivers the food. Don’t ask me why, it seems like they would be the first thing that comes to mind from how ever-present the idea of being a food delivery person is in popular culture, but I guess I’ve always been more focused on the destination than the journey in that regard.

Today I’m feeling a bit more fond toward the delivery people of the world. Perhaps it’s some outlandish association between the comfort that came from hot soup against my sore throat and the fact that it wouldn’t have been possible without the guy from Emerald Garden at the door.

Even if it is a very specific association, it’s something to extrapolate much further. It’s easy to say that those delivery people, like many others who hold jobs we may take for granted, are what help keep modern day society rolling along as smoothly as it does. For the most part.

So take this as a plea from a sad, strange little man dying from a cold. Treat your delivery people well and tip them well. Because they deserve it.

Thanks for the soup you wonderful man. I hope your July brings many great things!

The Big Band Banquet, 2018

The Big Band Banquet, 2018

For the second year in a row I have made the pilgrimage out to the Double Tree hotel in Torrance for the end-of-year Redondo Union High School band banquet.

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As Dad aptly put it, the event marks the end of our family’s sixth year of high school. Two for Aly after I finished my four. The whole band portion is obviously newer to me personally, but we’ve spent more than enough time discussing the fact that my sister is a great musician (whose performances you can see in my blog posts here and here).

One thing that stood out about this year compared to last year is the fact that my friend Tiana was not in attendance. Her brother graduated from RUHS last year, so she had no reason to go back.

As silly as it sounds, I actually missed seeing her for what had become a regular game of phone picture tag at most of the high school band events.

But oh well, I suppose that’s life. Just made things a bit more boring than before.

Even if she wasn’t there, however, the room was certainly packed:

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RUHS has a huge band program, but it wasn’t just the band kids and parents, the school’s dance guard was also represented at the event.

Essentially the banquet was a celebration of a year’s worth of hard work. Graduating seniors were given a sendoff, the booster club that fundraises for the program passed the torch off to next year’s leaders and awards were given out.

Unfortunately, the microphone didn’t work. All night. So because I was in the back of the room, I couldn’t hear anything that was happening in any detail.

So instead of doing that, I figure I’ll make this post something a bit different.

I’m going to review the banquet food. Consider it a tribute to the great Anthony Bourdain on the day of his passing.

Let’s do my man proud.

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Course One — Salad

First impressions are important. Often one can judge how a meal is going to be based on the salad course.

At least, that’s what my brain is making up as something that sounds intelligent.

This salad course was decent, I’d say. It was mostly just leafy greens with shredded carrots, a single cherry tomato and a single slice of cucumber. While I ate the whole meal happily, some of the greens left a rather bitter aftertaste that made everything feel a little less great than it began.

The rolls that were also laid out alongside the salad tasted quite good. They were perhaps a little dry and grainy, but with just a bit of butter it made up for that small flaw.

Really the worst aspect of this part of the meal, I’d say, was the lemonade. Maybe I’m too accustomed to a sweet, sugary lemonade, but this one tasted somewhat blandly sour. I quickly replaced it with water as soon as I could finish the glass.

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Course Two — Chicken

For a fancy dinner banquet that fed probably close to 500+ people, the dinner course was better than I might have expected. For the most part.

The chicken was good, though it did have dry patches and a few bones that messed with the experience. What helped it shine was the sauce, which tasted something like teriyaki to me.

That was not only delicious with the chicken, but mixed in with the vegetables and mashed potatoes too.

On those two subjects, the vegetables were hit-or-miss. Broccoli, cauliflower and carrots were all tasty. All the squash wasn’t my cup of tea, but I’m not a huge fan of squash in the first place so perhaps that bias colored my opinion coming in.

The mashed potatoes, however, were easily the star of the entire meal. They were fluffy and honestly delicious, especially when run through the sauce like I mentioned. I could’ve eaten a few plates of the stuff by itself, and my Dad readily agreed on the ride home.

Double Tree, your mashed potatoes won my heart. 10/10.

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Course Three — Ice Cream

It’s hard to go wrong with dessert. Especially when that dessert is vanilla bean ice cream with a little whipped cream, some chocolate sauce and a vanilla wafer cookie.

It was about as good as it sounds really, I don’t have a hell of a lot to say about it.

Perhaps my only complaint with this latter portion of the meal was the fact that the ice cream tasted a little grainy at times, perhaps too heavily stuffed with the ground vanilla bean.

To be completely honest, the ice cream almost took a back seat to the secondary dessert that was laid out at each table — not as a part of the hotel’s meal plan:

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Some genius in the band program decided to put out chocolate and taffy at each table.

While most of my personal consumption came after the official dessert course, I happily gnawed on chocolate coins, Hershey’s Kisses and licorice-flavored sea salt taffy throughout the night.

Thank you whoever made that decision.

With that food review out-of-the-way, I’ll be sure to make this post a part of my resume whenever I wind up at some Lifestyle magazine somewhere.

Because I couldn’t really hear much of what happened, like I said, I suppose that’s also all I have to say about the banquet. The night ended on a high note, with the speaker for the music that was going to play not working.

Up until it did work and blasted music from right above our table specifically out of nowhere, scaring everyone. That was about the point where Dad and I decided to skip out early, as Aly stuck back to dance with her friends.

In the end I suppose that’s what it’s all about. Aly got to have a great time with her friends. She is pretty much the social one, after all.

I do appreciate that she wanted me to come along though, if I can be real for a second. It may not have been the most fun event in the world for me, but I was still glad to come along and support her.


P.S. — I also wanted to say that I remembered the fact that last year at this time exactly I was still playing Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. Even more specifically, I remember playing the mission where Alm’s army was approaching Nuibaba’s Mansion under the table at Aly’s freshman banquet.

I say that, again, because I know Aly hates it when I bring up video game stuff in the middle of posts about her music stuff.

You’re welcome, gurl.

Music by Moonlight

Music by Moonlight

Probably a shorter one for you all today. I’ve been out quite literally all afternoon at this event and don’t necessarily feel awake enough to spend all night writing.

That said, I suppose I can’t complain too much about being tired since I had a great time at Jazz under the Stars today.

Jazz under the Stars is an annual end-of-year concert that’s put on by the Redondo Union High School jazz bands/music program. Given my little sister’s involvement with the musical performing arts in high school, it has become a yearly tradition for my family to attend.

In fact, I still remember last year quite fondly. During the night’s performances, I finally managed to unlock the cards I needed in Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links to be able to play the at-the-time overpowered Gravekeeper’s deck.

That deck was really fun while it lasted in the meta.

My aside here, by the way, only exists because Aly told me she was annoyed that my last post about her music stuff was interrupted by my talking about video games.

So there you go Aly. Have fun with that side story.

But that’s enough being petty. I do actually have some nice things to say about tonight’s musical event.

The show altogether was about five hours of different performances out in the front lawn of the RUHS auditorium.

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A bunch of different bands and combinations performed, including the two primary jazz band classes at the high school (Jazz A and Jazz B, as convenient naming schemes have it), quintets of freshman in the program and of like-minded brass musicians, as well as some performances by the student band from Adams Middle School – which also happens to be an alma mater of mine.

One performance also featured some RUHS music program alumni coming out to play, and a few songs were done alongside the band director’s own high school band director/mentor.

I took the liberty of recording a couple of the pieces at the show, in part because Mom asked me to and in part because it offered me the chance to continue guinea pigging this whole uploading videos schtick.

Here’s one of the songs done by the Adams Middle School band:

And here’s my sister performing as a part of Jazz A (the advanced band, #humblebrag):

No idea how these people can keep performing for eight minutes at a shot. Musicians are some special kind of talented, man.

I do wish I had recorded the brass quintet as well, since they did a cute maneuver where most of the members started off hidden amongst the audience and walked up to the stage… But oh well.

Hindsight is 20/20 and all that.

Alongside all those performances was another display of talent by the school’s swing dance club. It’s apparently a frequently popular activity amongst band kids at RUHS, and my sister is also a part of that:

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She’s the one with the red hair if you hadn’t caught on just yet.

The night of music sitting out on a lovey Southern Californian plaza would be nice enough as is, but there were other parts of the event that I enjoyed.

Because Jazz under the Stars is the last major concert of the school year, the band director took an opportunity to salute a number of graduating seniors. It’s honestly kind of touching just how intimately he seems to know each and every kid with such a large collection year after year.

On top of that, the event was also full of little torch-passing moments. The middle school performance was one, as it was the opportunity to see some kids coming into high school.

I also caught this moment:

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Where Magic Moreno helped teach some kids how to work the sound board for the event.

However, arguably one of the best parts of the event was the food.

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See this tri tip sandwich? Yeah. Not sure I even have to say all that much more.

A guy named Kevin Pierre caters most of the band program concerts at RUHS and makes a hell of a steak sandwich. It’s always a highlight.

On top of that, there was also a gelato stand, a jarred pickle stand and a nut stand manned by an RUHS student who started his own business.

Pretty cool stuff.

That’s about all I’ve got to say about Jazz for today. Stay tuned for what will probably be a post talking about the end-of-year band banquet next week, but until then please go back and enjoy the Jazz Band A performance again.

Seriously still impressed me how long those guys can play.

Memorial Day in Redondo Beach

Memorial Day in Redondo Beach

I don’t believe I’ve ever felt the need to describe myself as having been “emotionally patriotic” before, but that’s frankly the best way I can bring to words part of how I felt during the Memorial Day ceremony I attended today.

The City of Redondo Beach put on the event at Veterans Park this afternoon, which for context is a nice sized park with a memorial statue right next to the Redondo Pier.

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It was all-and-all a lovely event with a rather nice turnout, including political figures like State Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi and Congressional representative Ted Lieu, as well as both veterans and currently serving members of the country’s five military branches.

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My view from the back row at the Memorial Day ceremony.

Part of the reason I came out to the event, besides showing my respect for our country’s fallen, was because my alma mater’s band was performing — including my sister.

They did a great job not just during stand-alone performances like the one above, but punctuating the entire event with pieces of ambiance. For example, the band’s Trumpet Trio took the place of a bugle to play out recognizable military salutes and calls.

However, the National Anthem was what really got to me in an unexpectedly intense way.

Part of that was because it was a very sweet, slow and drawn out rendition being performed, and the high school kids really nailed the emotional delivery.

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The RUHS Wind Ensemble preparing to perform.

But it wasn’t just on them.

When the song started, it was just the band playing against the nearby crashing of the waves and seagull cries. Then, a couple members of the audience began to sing under their breaths, barely loud enough to be heard. It was mostly older folks who I would later see stand during the performance I linked above.

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A more full-scale shot of the audience at the event.

Those few singing members of the audience eventually blossomed into a fervent performance from just about everyone in attendance. It slowly built up throughout the song and left everything to wrap with a unified call for the “home of the brave.”

Totally unprompted. Totally unplanned.

Completely beautiful.

Like I said right at the top of this, I don’t often get very outwardly emotional with heavily patriotic things related to, say, military service. That isn’t to say I’m not emotional of course, it’s just typically a more silent, introverted and somber emotion.

But I actually cried a little at that moment during the ceremony where the audience unexpectedly joined in on the National Anthem.

Because of that and other parts of the event, like the keynote speech by U.S. Coast Guard Captain Jose Penã and the presentation in honor of Vincent Barbee, a local  RUHS student that died not too long ago, I found myself walking out feeling much more deeply moved than I had expected to.

Though the Master of Ceremonies punctuated the beginning and end of the event with jokes about Stormy Daniels and a George Washington impersonator in the audience, so there was also a good amount of chill Southern Californianism to break up the emotional introspection.



As a quick aside, the video I posted in this piece is actually something I took on my iPhone at the ceremony.

Decided to try something new with this blog post since I wanted to upload my sister’s performance directly here, but haven’t exactly been able to in the past because uploading video directly to WordPress is awkward with how much space it takes up. So I tried posting the thing to my unused YouTube account, that way I could link to it.

Hopefully it works as an experiment, because if so that’ll open up the possibility of my doing more video-oriented content in the future.

Just excuse the shaky-cam quality!

 

Whipping out the Wallet

Whipping out the Wallet

I’ve been on a bit of a cleaning kick lately. Getting the house straightened up tends to be one of my first big summer projects, as we’re coming fresh off the busy end of a semester/school year where things tend to become a pig sty and I feel a little bad about how little I’ve been able to contribute.

So far I’ve hit part of our main living room, the kitchen and the downstairs bathroom. However, I took a bit of a distracted turn when starting to look at my room.

While clearing off my desk (which you can see in a fairly clean state through this post I wrote the last time I straightened up around here), I also decided to clean out my wallet to make room for a few extra cards and such I now want to carry around with me.

I thought the state of my wallet when I started was interesting as some sort of example of my “constant carry” mental state, so I wanted to take the chance to run through exactly what I found.

Who knows, maybe it’ll be interesting to compare that to whatever I carry in the future.


The Valuables

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Here’s the stuff I won’t outright show you, but it’s the stuff you’ll expect to see no matter what.

Boils down to this:

  • My Driver’s License
  • My Cal State Fullerton ID
  • My AAA Card
  • My Family’s Health Care Card
  • My Family’s Vehicle Insurance
  • My Debit Card

Pretty generic stuff. Just don’t expect me to be silly enough to post pictures of my numbers and such to be abused by whatever internet trolls are lingering around.


My Lucky Coin

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In a complete 180 degree turn, here’s something that isn’t vital to my survival, but also isn’t something I tend to part with very often.

I can’t tell you exactly where or when I got my hands on this Lugia-printed silver coin. I can’t tell you why I wound up putting such high praise into it.

All I can tell you is that it will always be sitting right behind my Driver’s License in its special outward flap. For luck.

It’s goofy, but what can I say. I’m a superstitious guy when I want to be.


My SPJ Card

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Probably the most recent addition to the cast, here’s my membership card for the Society of Professional Journalists.

Though I’ve been interested in joining the organization for some time, I decided to wait way too long for some reason and didn’t get my hands on this until a few months ago.

Considering I’ll be aiming to get myself more actively involved in the CSUF branch of SPJ going forward, it won’t hurt to keep this sucker around.


My Library Card

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If my SPJ Card is very recent, this library card is very old. I’d argue at least 10 years, but the plastic itself doesn’t actually indicate how long ago I first got it.

All I can tell you is it’s at least old enough to warrant my mom having signed the “for anyone 18 and younger” parental signature space.

If nothing else, digging this sucker out has made me think about just how long it’s been since I used it.

Perhaps I’ll take a trip down to the Library one of these days, just to hang around and study if nothing else.


A single GameStop Gift Card

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How much money is still on this thing?

Why am I just carrying it around?

Who gave it to me?

What is making me put so much thought into the damn thing?

All of these questions and more linger as I gaze into the sleek red-black-white physique of this particular card.


Some Membership Cards

There’s a bit of a “Tale of Two Cities” deal going on with these cards, for as random a combination as they may be.

The Men’s Warehouse Rewards Card is the more bizarre of the two. I’ve really only used it once back when I needed to get a suit for my high school graduation.

Didn’t even go to Men’s Warehouse when I needed a suit for the Comm Awards a few weeks back.

On the other hand, I actually use the Which Wich Rewards Card all the time. Way more than I probably should, honestly.

What can I say. There’s a Which Wich right next to the newsroom, so it’s one of the three or four restaurants that are constantly in my circulation of places to eat.

So whether or not I’m going to carry this with me


Too many Starbucks Cards

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Okay, look people. I drink Starbucks pretty often. Like more often than I probably should – a pattern apparently.

But this is ridiculous.

Obviously most of these cards were gifts from others, but what sick delusion broke its way into my head forcing me to keep all of them in my wallet at the same time?

Actually, that’s not fair. Not all of them are in my wallet.

I also found three or four Starbucks cards sitting on my desk hidden under piles of junk.

Seriously what is wrong with me? I literally spent a good 15 minutes today just jotting down Card numbers to throw them all on my digital account for ease of access later.

Did I really think it was more beneficial to just carry all of this extra junk?!

Sighs…

Sometimes I’ll never understand past Jason.


Punch Cards

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Probably more interesting than the plastic rewards cards I pointed out earlier are these punch cards I’ve decided to carry around for some reason or another.

The one on the left is for a local car wash right around where I live, one that actually does a pretty nice, thorough job not only cleaning the outside but the inside of the car.

However… Fate can be a cruel mistress. I’ve only had the chance to go once, hence the one stamp on the card, because the back window on my car is still broken.

Haven’t been able to get the thing properly washed in months. So that’s great.

The card from the ice cream place is a bit more interesting to think about why exactly I carry it around.

I’ve only gone to that place a few select times as well, with probably my only visits coming from times I’ve hung around the Del Amo Mall with my friend Samantha.

There’s only two stamps left till we get a free dessert, so I guess we’re going to have to hang out again soon whenever she’s finished with her semester over at El Camino.


Last but not least…

Good old Washingtons.

Er… Washington.

Only have one dollar on me right now. So I guess it’s a good thing I decided to stay inside and clean rather than go out, huh?


That really wraps it up for my wallet excursion. Like I said, perhaps I’ll check back on this post in a few years and see where I’m at in my life based on the contents of my wallet.

Though in the meantime, I am curious to know if any of you have anything particularly bizarre or special in your wallets/purses/whatever it may be.

If you do and you’re interested in sharing, let me know in the comments!

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?