Tag: Spotlight

Meeting expectations

If my life were a series of Sesame Street episodes, the word of the day would be: Meetings.

Pretty much as soon as I woke up, I joined Mom at a local Starbucks to have breakfast with Tatjana — the wife of Magic Moreno, who I spoke to for Gladeo not long ago.

Worth reading if you haven’t.

Breakfast was a nice, quiet opportunity to relax and sip down a little coffee. Both of which are very important the week before Finals and graduation.

Speaking of relaxing. I mentioned Tarantino movies the other day, but I’ve also been chilling out by watching some speedruns from various Games Done Quick events.

For those of you who don’t know, GDQ is a series of video game marathons where games are played for record times, under conditions ranging from basic 100 percent completion to multi-player races and even bizarre hacks like randomizers.

All to raise money for charity while showing off cool tricks. Definitely worth supporting.

My tastes are currently aligned with Super Metroid, A Link to the Past and Mario Sunshine.

However, I’m watching a neat Super Mario RPG run while writing this post, so that’s worth a shout out.

GDQ aside, after breakfast I made my way to Fullerton for the semester’s last CSUF Society of Professional Journalists meeting.

We ate pizza, discussed what did or did not work about our events and elected part of the board for next year. Most of the current group is graduating, so it’s a big old passing of the torch.

My girl Kristina, who is not graduating, will be taking over as President. And I know she’s going to kill it.

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From left to right: Jared Eprem, me, Harrison Faigen, Rick Piñon, Kristina Garcia and faculty advisor Frank Russell. Photo taken by Anita Ally.

Guess I’ll have to update all my social media descriptions pretty soon to reflect all this graduating/moving on from things.

That’s certainly what I started doing last night.

Job applications. Gotta love them.

I’ll get back to that eventually. In the meantime, from SPJ I went to my next meeting in the Honors Center to try and complete a few more graduation requirements. Namely getting my Honors Project title page signed off on.

Which I did:

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Now all I have to do is compile the stuff I’ve done so I can officially turn the damn thing in and move on.

While in the Center I had a lovely chat with Dr. Simoes as well. We spoke briefly at my presentation, but today he was more than happy to congratulate me for getting the project through this next step.

He even told me he’ll be buying a copy of my book once it’s published — so long as I sign a first edition for him.

It was very sweet.

After all of that I came back to Redondo and set up a meeting with Michelle to give back that lovely computer I’ve been holding onto. Too bad I never got it to full working condition on account of internet issue, but it’ll be much happier with a video editor where it belongs.

Once that was done, I went to probably my most important meeting of the day:

A meeting with the treadmill.

Because with all of this graduation stress on my shoulders it honestly feels great to go burn some calories and let off some steam.

Highly recommended stress relief, folks. Especially if you can watch some dope GDQ runs while you’re running!

You know I’ve got those great set-up/pay-offs.

On Fandango and Vive

On Fandango and Vive

I’ve been vaguely hyping this up for a while, so I’m excited to finally talk about it.

A few weeks ago I had a lovely conversation Paul Yanover, the President of Fandango. I put together a Spotlight all about his career path from being a software-writing USC graduate to heading one of the largest names in the movie/entertainment industry, and it’s one of my favorite pieces.

Not just because he’s a big, recognizable name to promote either — though that does help. Mostly because he had a lot of great advice for anyone interested in managerial positions.

For instance, we talked about his early years at The Walt Disney Company.

There he learned that he was better with interpersonal relations than programming, which led to him “making a positive difference” as an advocate for the animator clientele he and other engineers were serving.

He had a lot to say about the value of recognizing one’s emotional quotient as an indicator of leadership potential, while recommending those who aspire to lead teams make sure they practice working with diverse staff who learn in different ways.

At one point we even went off on tangents about the Dyson vacuum cleaner company and Mike Tyson, because that man loves to tell stories and anecdotes.

Even with all that condensed from a 4,000+ word interview to a 1,000-ish word story, there was plenty more I couldn’t include.

Such as the quote that made its way into my Featured Image!

All-and-all, Paul Yanover was a great conversationalist with some excellent advice. I’m happy I got a bit of his time, even if it meant rushing to my car after class so I could lock myself in a quiet place, as the interview had been rescheduled once already. And also working some extra photos through corporate HR departments.

As is the life of a soon-to-be-not-student journalist.

If you want to read the piece in full, check it out here.


Editor’s Note:

Full disclosure, the way I got an in for this interview was because my Dad passed my interest along as an employee at Fandango.

He had nothing to do with the process beyond that introduction. The closest he came to being involved was when Yanover suggested I sound like the old man over the phone.


But wait, that’s not all folks!

I haven’t had the chance to talk about this yet either, but a Spotlight I wrote about Jason Ray, Senior Content Producer at HTC Vive, also got published recently.

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Here he is being a total badass with some virtual reality gear. Because if you haven’t heard of Vive, it’s one of the more well-known virtual reality headsets on the market right now — a field that has been growing substantially (in gaming especially) for the last few years.

Jason Ray up there helps to create the games in said virtual reality, which is awesome.

I’m obviously more interested in the writing side, but I do have aspirations to work on video games. So getting to talk to someone in the industry was pretty cool.

Especially since he too has a long history of working with companies like Activision and Konami, which let him touch properties like Yu-Gi-Oh!

Obviously that’s one I care about in particular, even if Duel Links hasn’t been opened in a bit.

Ray also had some great things to say about working on teams, so it’s definitely worth a read! There’s going to be more coming from me on that subject down the line, so I won’t go too deep on the matter now.

If you want to check out the piece, it’s right over here for your viewing pleasure.

Both of these Spotlights will soon be among my blog-based collection of writings for Gladeo, as will a whole bunch of other Spotlights and Career Profiles I’ve been working on for the last couple months as part of my Comm Internship class.

Would’ve had more to show off today but a few of the Profiles were sent back for a couple of updates. Stuff I’m about to go work on, actually.

I’m sure I’ll write another post whenever those get through the pipeline.

So look forward to that when it happens!

To the bone

To the bone

After commitments kept me busy Friday and Saturday, today became my dedicated homework repository.

I mostly just kept on my Internship hours hunt.

Locking myself away in the house wound up being a really positive thing—as it usually is, in my experience. I got the opportunity to chip away at a lot of my work, turning in a Career Profile on being a UX researcher (a career I really didn’t know existed, but one with a lot of resources online) and a Spotlight featuring a very special person.

I’m going to wait until it publishes to really go off about that, because it’ll look much better with the story’s context.

Just know that I’m excited.

Between those two pieces I racked up almost 10 hours of work today alone. As a result I’ve just broken past 100 of my 120-hour requirement for Comm 495-T, that internship class I need to graduate.

My final report for the class isn’t due until May 3 and the timesheet isn’t due until May 10. I’m fairly certain I can bust out the remaining 20 hours by then.

Especially considering I still have my Profile/Spotlight on Dr. Wesley to write.

And a video interview to schedule.

And the blog-related side project that kind of went on the back burner for a while.

Somewhere in there I’ll have the rest of my time served and still find the chance to do whatever else I have. Give my Honors project presentation and write two more gaming papers. All that fun stuff.

After putting in all that time today I’m a little weary of continuing to stare at this screen and type, so I won’t make this post too long.

Instead I’m going to turn my attention to the T.V. screen, nosh on some Milk Duds and watch Futurama with my family.

And you know. Not type stuff.

Even though re-watching episodes of that show is a consistent reminder of how brilliant it was, a topic that could theoretically fill tons of copy on my blog.

Tomorrow I’ll try to post something a little more insightful, I just wanted to write something up so I didn’t have a gap. That something may just be lackluster teasers in overly verbose prose, but if that doesn’t describe my life in a nutshell I don’t know what would.

It certainly wouldn’t be Game of Thrones. Because I ain’t ever watched that junk.

Maybe one day. But for now, take that people who have spent all day talking about the last season’s opening.


Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons

Racking up hours

Racking up hours

I promised something more exciting than hang-out escapades at the end of my post yesterday, but let’s just say I never got around to doing anything more exciting.

To be fair I made “more exciting” impossible by staying up until 1:30 a.m. playing Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice with my boys, finally learning why people love From Software games.

I seriously went from this:

To absolutely exploding with hype as soon as we began picking off mini-bosses with Sly Cooper levels of stealth.

But I also didn’t come up with something more exciting to talk about today because I spent most of it working.

I’ve hit that point (as always) where thinking about the things I have to do before summer turns me into a quivering mess of stress and food wrappers.

Except this semester has the added benefit of stress about graduation too!

My goal was to use Spring Break to catch up on homework. Namely my internship hours and Senior Honors Project.

Most of it has been spent throwing myself against those internship hours, much to the detriment of progress on my novel.

For now I’m hoping to hit my 120-hour mark so I don’t have to worry about that ever again, since I have a bit more time to finish my novel on the backend.

I have made decent progress (approaching 90 hours), and there are enough other things coming for Gladeo that I think I’ll be fine.

In fact, tonight I finished transcribing my interview with Dr. Nicole Wesley, the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for the Redondo Beach Unified School District.

Also my ex-Principal at both Adams Middle School and Redondo Union High School. We’ve stayed in touch.

I transcribed almost 7,500 words for a good couple hours and still have to put the piece together, so she’s been a godsend. Alongside other stories in the works.

I probably won’t talk about her again until stuff gets published, so I figured I would leave y’all a nice teaser from the end of my transcript:

“I think that before you become a teacher, you don’t realize the level of difficulty and complexity that comes with the job. But as complex and frustrating as it can be, it is equally if not more rewarding in every other sense. Even on the worst day, you will experience a situation that brings joy and hope in a way that is inexplainable.

I think that may be the case with a lot of jobs. There are no perfect jobs and you’re going to work really hard, even beyond the seven hours you’re paid. But the memories and relationships and the impact you make are second to none.”

— Nicole Wesley

Great stuff. Can’t wait to pull the Profile and Spotlight together.

That was about the most exciting part of my day. Unless you want to get into my orthodontic adventure.

… Actually, I did talk about this problems, so it might be worth writing closure.

Toward the end of 2018 I broke my permanent retainer at a celebratory end-of-semester dinner with my friend Mimi. The cherry on top of an already relentless day.

I took a little too long getting to the Orthodontist after that, so my teeth had moved out of alignment. They told me to wear my plastic retainers 24/7 for a few weeks and come back.

School got busy. So I wore these bad boys all day, everyday for probably a good month or two.

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Just be glad I didn’t get a gross picture of the new brace in my mouth.

Spring Break offered the rest I finally needed to make a new appointment, so $250 later I am back at full capacity.

Only having to wear these at night again is a true blessing that I will never take for granted.

… Until probably half a year from now when I stop bothering.

But I’m hoping to be better about that this time around!

And that, ladies and germs, sums up my day. Lots of work and orthodontic care.

I’ll try to stop promising cool things on specific time frames because I seem to keep failing to keep my word.

At this point Shantae will be taunting me for the rest of my life.

All I’ll say is, don’t be surprised if I come out with a few more silly posts or life dump posts for a while as I attempt to keep writing through my imminent semester-end burnout.

God knows graduation will be the death of me.

Working for the new year

It has been a few days since the ball dropped. For the most part I’ve spent the early moments of 2019 chilling out — sleeping, spending time with friends, writing about silly things like my Naruto fan animation, etc.

But today I really started to kick myself into some kind of working gear.

A source I’ve been talking with at HTC Vive finally got back to me with some responses last night, so progress is being made on my next piece for Gladeo.

Plus I sent out a few other emails and messages while at the same time trying to start cleaning my room. All while listening to some YouTube videos and podcasts in the background, trying to catch up on that media I’ve fallen a little behind on while doing other things like play Smash Bros.

Because for some reason I only thrive when I’m doing a million things at once. Always have.

I wound up having kind of an opposite day to my sister as a result, as she spent the morning out at breakfast with her friends and then went to a party with totally different friends later.

Quite the social butterfly, as opposed to my more introverted personal time sensibilities. Ironic considering the line of work I’m studying into I know, but I can turn on the talk when need be.

I guess to be fair there are two caveats to that. I did spend all night last night with my friends, and I have a dinner thing tomorrow, so it’s not like I’m not doing anything with other people. Plus she goes back to school next week and I still have a few more weeks of winter break to follow, so she has to squeeze it all in where she can.

That being said, it was still funny how I really wound up kicking work more into gear while she was out being social. Just came to mind when I was driving her to that second party earlier.

In terms of working, I should go to the gym again, and also get started on my Senior Honors Project stuff. I think I might try to do some research for it soon, and could even talk about it here if I find some good stuff.

Though tomorrow I might focus more of my time on trying to find a new wall calendar for my room.

This last semester I discovered the true benefits of having all my scheduled appointments available on the wall right next to me.

That’s about all I have to say after a fairly long day of not a lot happening. Got started on a lot of work, with my next Gladeo piece and maybe even novel research to look forward to sometime soon. Otherwise, for the most part I pulled this together simply so I wouldn’t miss a committed blog writing day this early into the new year.

Before I go, however, I think it’s also worth mentioning that Alyson never finishes Pokémon games. Because she absolutely adores it when I bring up video games in a way totally unrelated to what I had mentioned her for.

But also, also, that mention could become related to what I mentioned her for if I tell her that we best finish Let’s Go, Eevee before she goes back to school and leaves me Macaulay Culkining here.

Consider that a challenge if you actually read this far into a dumb post of mine, sis.

Director of Photography Career Profile uploaded

I didn’t want to let this actually important work-related stuff fall through the cracks in between a pair of Fire Emblem Heroes posts after seeing it come through my email, so welcome to lucky post number two for the night.

The Career Profile I wrote on being a Director of Photography finally got put up on Gladeo’s website today!

If you recall, a few weeks ago I wrote a Spotlight on Alexxiss Jackson. She’s a freelance DP who has won a number of awards for her work on films, music videos and more. That piece was interesting because it was really the first (features-style) profile of that sort I had cobbled together using interview answers from text rather than actually talking to them in person or over the phone.

The follow-up to that piece was a full Career Profile on Directors of Photography that I, again, used some notes from her that I received over an interview form to create. In a much less significant capacity, however.

Career Profiles are built more on research through places like the Bureau of Labor statistics after all. So this is a ‘research with a side of interview’ than a Q&A like the Spotlight.

If you want to check out the profile, take a look jump on into the rabbit hole through this link here, or head on over to the right-side of the blog to see my full archive of work for Gladeo!

Since the experimental stuff worked so well with Alexxiss, I’m sure more Profiles/Spotlights will start to roll in via some connections Gladeo has been making. In that case, look forward to some more frequent work uploads hopefully coming soon.

A different kind of Gladeo Spotlight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Musical Space Filler

Musical Space Filler

I’m not sure how I forgot to write this until 11:00 p.m., especially considering I was looking to base it off of something that ended at 7:00 p.m. the whole time.

But if I’m being completely honest, I’m a little checked out right now. So I’m just going to go into the Aly band stuff I wanted to talk about real quick and move on. Try to get something out into the world before midnight.

As school quickly creeps up for me, it also creeps up for my sister. Thus, she and the Redondo Union High School marching band have been starting to rehearse their field show for the year. Traveling around to watch marching band competitions have become a pretty common activity for us since Aly started seriously doing high school band stuff.

We’re so early into things that I can’t actually talk about the show without breaking some kind of contract because something something secret high school band espionage?

I don’t know, it’s all a little over the top in my opinion.

So that picture up there in my featured image is just the band standing in a half-circle doing their pep band songs at the parent preview today.

Because that is what I’m talking about, by the way. The band puts on a preview for parents on what they can expect to see at competitions and such as the year progresses and a show slowly comes into maturity.

It was basically an hour of listening to the band play a few songs that they’d do during football games, then show us the first draft of a couple of overall show things.

I’m not entirely sure what I expected to be able to write on this subject considering I’m not really allowed to go into detail. But hey. I supported Aly and her band stuff today, it offers another opportunity to lament school coming and I have something to discuss that isn’t related to going to the gym.

Which I also did today.

I’m willing to bet that’s a good part of the reason why I’m so tired and out of it right now. So I hope you weren’t expecting anything cognizant and of significance tonight. Because I don’t have it for you.

If you want you can go check out the Gladeo Spotlight I did on the RUHS band director, Ray Vizcarra. That ties into this. I got to meet his husband today and they were both very pleased with the piece I wrote so I have that going for me.

Also something something new job callback.

Look I wish I had something else for you guys but I’m honestly, truly beat. Spending most of tomorrow with my friends for one final summer 2018 hang out as well so I can’t promise anything substantial until Monday when I’ll likely say something about my first day experiences for the semester.

But until then, please cut me some slack. I think I did pretty good with he whole one post a day thing this summer so I’ll just imagine I’m afforded an easy day or two now and then so long as I get something out before 12:00 a.m.

Yeah.

Later, man.

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.

The Mad Ramblings of a Man in the Heat

The Mad Ramblings of a Man in the Heat

If yesterday was a day of relative progress and hard work, through going to the gym, updating my social media accounts and turning in a Spotlight article for Gladeo, today is… Well, the opposite.

Because it is way too hot out for anyone to seriously be motivated about doing anything.

The reason my Featured Image for the day is just a picture of my fan going is because that’s what I’ve been staring at 90 percent of the time since coming home today. We don’t have any kind of air conditioning here by the beach because the heat is normally counterbalanced by a cool sea breeze, but this summer things have been especially insufferable. So downstairs, hidden in the alcove of my room with the fan going is probably the coolest area in this place.

Despite the heat I have been keeping myself busy and entertained with a few things where I can.

Probably the most notable thing involved obsessing over the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct that went on this morning.

It was 1000 percent insane and basically hyped everyone for the game even more than ever.

Castlevania characters.

King K. Rool.

Over 100 stages and 900 musical tracks.

Tons of new assist trophies and Pokémon summons.

Plus, let’s not forget Luigi dying in the Simon Belmont reveal trailer. Which the entire internet freaked the hell out about, leading to the green-capped plumber trending on Twitter. Yeah no joke.

There was so much more than that to suggest that Smash Ultimate really will be an insane, content-packed explosion of Nintendo pride from Sakurai and his team.

So much so that I considered doing a post solely on that… But I wasn’t exactly feeling the 30-minute video analysis. Today.

Just know it’s something I’ll be thinking about for a long time to come, and I’d say you should be too.

In other somewhat significant video game-related news, last night Intelligent Systems released the contents of our next special banner in Fire Emblem Heroes. So I spent some time pre-writing my post on that before starting to work on this post.

I know a lot of you probably don’t care, but I’m quite excited for these four dancers. So be ready for that on August 10th.

Those are really the two serious stand-out things that happened today between bouts of melting into a pile of goo on my bed.

I did also play some more Enter the Gungeon, which I’m having a great time slowly but surely getting better at. I’m not able to semi-reliably reach the final floor and have started the process of collecting the game’s scattered parts to unlock the true ending. But I haven’t seen even half the content available in the roguelike.

Which is, frankly, insane to me. I love how much these games are packing, since they give me plenty to distract myself with until games like Monster Hunter Generations and Smash Ultimate drop on Switch.

Plus The World Ends with You, which got an official release date of October 12th. And I’m. Just so excited to finally get to try it.

But hey all those video games aside, I also managed to do some regular work on my Senior Honors Project.

Because somewhere along the lines all of the time I had to work on having a basic product over the summer slipped away into the aether. Don’t know how that happened, but it did.

I’ll be honest, I’m not totally sure how to end this blog post. I feel like I could just endlessly ramble in a pre-heat stroke mess of keystrokes, but I’d much rather just sit around in the dark accepting my fate.

So I’m going to end unceremoniously here and say to stay tuned for other things coming soon. Things that I’m sure I have in the pipeline somewhere or another.