Don’t worry, I can already hear all of your complaints. “Three posts in a row about fixing your room up? What’s the deal Jason, why even bother?”
To be fair, until about an hour ago I was not going to put anything up on my blog today. I have two ideas set for tomorrow and an event on Friday, so the rest of my week in writing is planned out and I figured that could be enough of an excuse to skip a day.
But then I realized I would honestly feel terrible about myself if I broke my New Year streak so early.
So this quick n’ dirty post is mostly for me to make sure I don’t have a gap, and if you want to just come back tomorrow when I have a Fire Emblem Heroes banner release and a movie review lined up, I won’t harbor any ill will.
Yesterday I talked about how my room hadn’t changed much since the last time I showed it off. That was early into the cleaning process and it turned out to be a lie. A lot of the tchotchkes taking up space on my countertops hasn’t changed in terms of contents, but the layout is pretty new.
For instance, here’s the top of my TV cabinet — now featuring a fancy new backdrop:
Told you that’s where I was going to put the Naruto poster. Even if I wound up having to move Diancie to make space.
As usual, my line-up of chess club trophies from elementary school remains in-tact. For years I’ve adored the way younger me happened to conveniently win enough trophies in specific placements to create an upscaling pattern, and I always put them up.
Except now in front of the trophies are the Luna wand I got from Universal Studios and a toy car that I happened to pull out of the dust and turmoil underneath that same cabinet when my sister and I pushed it flush against the wall.
We did so to clear some room next to my desk for where this Gladeo computer is going to go. Though it’s admittedly strange to not have that cabinet take up a diagonal space.
Fun fact, on top of that convertible I also found a list of interview questions from when I covered my friends taking part in the Bay Math League way back in middle school.
Now that’s definitely a story for another day. Remind me to tell it, because I actually have some fun throwback material I can use.
Beyond that car, the most notable changes to the collection are that Han Solo is on the left side instead of the right, replaced by Tanuki Mario — who used to be on top of my main clothing drawer.
I also added a few plushies to make the right side into a Pokémon-dedicated corner and it’s one of the best ideas I’ve ever had. I’m considering moving some other posters over there as well to really complete the picture, but I don’t know how much it would mess with the feng shui.
You know, if you believe in that sort of thing.
I took Chinese for three years in high school so I feel like I’m somewhat obliged to try believing in it.
The next most changed surface in the room is that aforementioned main clothing drawer, which is constantly subject to me coming up with new Amiibo configurations:
All things considered this is probably the most stable configuration I’ve tried yet, and I think my Star Wars legos fit in pretty well on this side of the room.
However, this wasn’t the first layout I tried.
Originally I thought about spacing the Amiibo out across both surfaces in a curving manner:
I love the way this set-up looks, but unfortunately it took up too much space.
Saying that is a bit crazy when I realize I have 19 Smash Bros. character Amiibo and there are 73 fighters so far? But still.
Needed some room to fit all my other stuff too.
On the bright side I have an outlet like this to save a photo of the curving configuration, since it is one of my favorites aesthetically.
I think that about covers all the major changes to my room decor starting out 2019. As usual I’m sure it’ll be subject to adjustments as I pick up more useless garbage throughout the year, but for now I’m pretty happy with how it looks!
Hopefully this filler post was worth your time, because it wound up being more fun for me to write than I had expected.
As someone who typically feels like he couldn’t care less about social media, this small life update came a bit out of left field for me.
I apparently have 100 followers on Twitter now!
Probably small change all things being equal… But to be fair, it doesn’t exactly feel like I’ve tried too hard to get to that point, so I’d be willing to consider it a badge of pride.
See I started using Twitter as a part of my Communications 201 class in 2016, where one of Professor Frank Russell‘s assignments had everyone tweet things to him as a ‘test’ of being able to use the site. Since it’s an important journaler’s activity.
Ever since, my Twitter has been a somewhat mixed bag of advertising my blog posts — which brings up a whole other interesting debate about how meta this post will be when going onto the site that I don’t want to think too hard about now, live tweeting on occasion and then doing just quippy, small life updates.
Oh, and posting my Nintendo Switch and 3DS images. Because I still haven’t figured out a great way to pull those down without social media assistance just yet.
I’ll have to give an extra special shout out today to Matt Ford, who became my 100th follower on May 20. Because yeah… The fact that this happened two days ago should probably be an indicator that I don’t pay nearly enough attention to Twitter.
Hell, just looking more closely at my account for the sake of writing this short blurb has actually reminded me that I haven’t seriously updated my profile in god knows how long.
I may have picked up a new Frankenstein-adjacent avatar when my family went to Universal Studios a few weeks ago, but I’ve apparently still been listed as the news editor for the Daily Titan despite only having been an editorial assistant last semester.
(Sorry about that, Amy and Brandon. I’ll give you guys an extra bit of attention here to make up for it.)
I might be making a big fuss over essentially nothing, but what can I say. If Cal State Fullerton has taught me anything over the past couple years during classes where I’ve been forced to get more invested in social media, it’s that building an online presence is important.
Maybe this can be a wake-up call for me to actually pay my social media some more mindful attention, just to make sure I don’t fall too far out-of-date.
Although to be fair, if I had to guess it was this tweet was probably the one that pushed me over the edge.
So here’s to more dumb (and not-so-dumb) things coming in the future! I appreciate all the love and support I’ve gotten thus far, and I’m hoping to connect with more interesting people while continuing with this long journey called life.
I’m not looking to necessarily toot my own horn or anything, but my resume did get a good bit beefier these last couple of days.
Today was the 2018 Society of Professional Journalists’ Region 11 Conference. Technically it started yesterday but that was pretty much just for regional directors, so I’m considering this the starting point.
Members of the Daily Titan staff were nominated for a number of awards by our advisor, and those of us who were finalists (alongside general members of SPJ) got to come up to sunny Universal City and spend the afternoon at the Hilton near Universal Studios.
Personally, I was nominated in the Breaking News category alongside Amy, Brandon and Breanna for our Halloween coverage of Milo Yiannopoulos’ visit to CSUF.
Even though we didn’t win, just being finalists in this kind of competition is a great honor given that we made it far enough to get to the luncheon (which, sorry CSUF, was much tastier than the Comm Awards. Though points off for lack of Del Taco).
The keynote speaker at the luncheon was Stephen Galloway, the executive featured editor at The Hollywood Reporter who frankly did inspire me a bit to go finally finish this profile I’ve been sitting on for a long time.
However, what he didn’t help with was meal etiquette:
Seriously I wasn’t expecting this thing to be quite as fancy as it turned out to be and many of us were lost trying to figure out which silverware to use when.
My formal training has failed me in that regard, apparently.
But hey, who needs a formal training in old time-y meal etiquette when you can get jelly beans?
That’s right, we got jelly beans in a cool silver tin that I promise I haven’t been sponsored by.
I just really dig it, okay?
Anyway though, if you feel at all bad for us not winning in our category, there’s no need to fret for two reasons.
For one… Well, nobody from the Titan won in our categories. Just being nominated was cool yes, but in the face of defeat at least we could all be losers together.
Secondly, there was a bit of a skewed power dynamic to the whole event. Just about every award went to USC, UCLA or the Walter Cronkite school.
They’re pretty much the heavy hitters you would expect to win everything, so the fact that we got nominated as much as we did next to them is a great achievement in its own right.
However, even beyond that, the truly nice thing about this event wasn’t the awards, naturally. It was getting to spend time with friends at a fancy event.
Especially considering many of the people who came are graduating in the next few weeks, that made this an especially bittersweet time.
Not pictured above: Pretty much everyone else that was there in the big group shot.
I really do work with the best team in the world, and I’m not sure how we’re going to carry on with so many heavy losses next semester.
Okay I mean I do know how we’re going to carry on. Because that’s just how life works.
But you all understand my sentiment.
Though now, with this quick life update out-of-the-way, I’m off to go work on some end-of-semester stories and projects I still have to get done.
Ever since my dad shifted careers to start working for the movie ticket broker Fandango, we’ve had the chance to enjoy a number of benefits.
Up to this point those benefits have been rather specifically movie ticket related (for obvious reasons). However, today we got to take advantage of benefits related to the company’s attachment with NBC Universal:
That’s right, we went to Universal Studios, y’all.
I had a blast spending the day with my family — pictured above in the featured image if it wasn’t clear to everyone — and just wanted to take a little bit of time to debrief myself from the trip and publish a couple of the pictures. Who knows, maybe that can serve an auxiliary purpose of showing some people the theme park/studio lot who can’t get there.
He says as if there aren’t plenty of outlets for that already.
But I digress. The day began, funnily enough, with work. I still work with the Gladeo League, and every two weeks (more or less) we have meetings over Google Hangouts. Naturally I forgot that today was the day I had a meeting at the same time as we needed to drive up.
Luckily it took plenty of time to get up to Universal.
Check out that fancy map
I would like to take this chance to apologize to Michelle and everyone else again for having to deal with my jostling around in the car during our meeting. If any of you happen to be reading this.
That said, even if you guys are reading this, I’m sure neither you nor the rest of the audience is interested in the logistics of driving to a theme park.
It’s all about the parking, after all.
Yeah we parked in the Frankenstein Lot. Also yeah, I got my sister to pose like everyone’s favorite amalgamate Universal monster. Also also yeah, my dad photobombed the picture.
But do I care?
Nah. It’s a great shot.
But hey, let’s jump into the park shall we?
Just kidding, got you! First I wanted to talk about this.
Look at these trees with me. These are trees outfitted with mist sprinklers. Sprinkler trees. I don’t know who came up with this idea or where they are now, but wherever they may be they should be happy I’m not there. Because I’m not sure whether to smack them for being so silly or hug them for being a genius.
It’s just so perfectly weird in all the best ways. I’m still trying to sort through my thoughts and we caught these walking into the park at 10 a.m. or so.
Okay. Now let’s get into the park. Seriously this time.
The first thing we did was wander the length of the main level to check out the different facets made available to us. Eventually we settled on the Studio Tour as our first stop.
Not included in my photo slideshow above is the interactive portions of the Tour, most notably.
The ‘ride,’ if you’re interested in calling it such, features two 3D virtual experiences. They both took place inside dark rooms with imposingly large screens surrounding the trams, which sat on rocking bases to simulate motion. One was based on King Kong and the other was based on Fast and the Furious.
There were also a number of examples of soundstage tricks throughout the time strolling around the studio lot, all capped off with a fun, snarky tour guide. Who started off the journey making fake airhorn noises.
Also in case you were curious, the Fast and the Furious portion of the Tour was just as ridiculous as the movies. Somehow they managed to pack two-and-a-half hours worth of insanity into about five minutes. Great stuff, honestly.
After finishing the Studio Tour, we moved over to check out the Simpsons region of the park.
Welcome to Springfield, population… A lot.
“Closed until Disco comes back.”
Playing carnival games!
Winning three-eyed fish off of carnival games! Also a blue monkey.
The wait for the Simpson’s Ride was a little rich for our blood, so we decided to go straight from there to the Lower Lot.
I didn’t get a picture of the escalators down, but there were seriously at least seven. The lot is built into a crazy steep mountain.
At the bottom there are a few rides, but Aly and I did not tackle the Jurassic Park ride specifically. A few years ago I took the literal plunge with my dad when we weren’t expecting what it entailed, and the picture that was taken of us that day still graces out living room.
But that’s a story for another day.
Today our time in the Lower Lot consisted of two rides: Transformers and the Mummy.
The Transformers ride was okay, though I frankly don’t have much to say about it. It was a 3D experience similar to the two portions of the Studio Tour I described, except moving around rather than being stuck on a single panel.
It did manage to be just as ridiculous as the Fast and the Furious portion of that Tour, however. Though that is a given considering it was based on a Michael Bay experience.
I think my tweet from that time sums up my thoughts pretty succinctly.
Somehow the ride incorporated that mentality while also containing an arc where Optimus Prime died, then came back to help save the day. All within the span of about five minutes. Good stuff.
From there we moved into the Mummy, where a lot of the fun came from the lead-in. Mostly watching Aly freak out as we got closer to the front.
Here she is stealing a book.
Gotta love the magic of subtitles.
The ride itself actually wound up being way more intense than either of us expected. It accelerated ridiculously quickly — but of course the park planned things specifically to take photos right when those G-forces hit.
As a result, we got this gem.
I thought very hard about using this for the featured image.
But if I did, I wouldn’t be able to zoom in like this:
Talk about 100 percent pure magic.
After finishing in the Lower Lot, we moved up into the place my family was looking forward to most:
I jest of course, but we really were excited for the Harry Potter stuff.
There were a couple of awesome things about this part of the park specifically. First and foremost, Butterbeer:
That stuff is real good. Enough said.
Then of course, the wands:
My dad’s job includes a discount at all the stores in the park, so we were all able to get wands of our own. Personally, I snagged a Luna Lovegood wand because of how beautiful a shape it takes:
It looks like a broom or an arrow, and it’s great. I also managed to get the last Snitch keychain on the rack and it’s just as beautiful. I’ll have to figure out what to do with it, since I’m not sure I want to actually stick it on my keys. Looks fragile, man.
My dad also got one of the special wands that interacted with parts of the park and he looked real cute walking around waving it at things.
But anyway, the other great thing about Harry Potter was the fact that my friend Tiana just so happened to be coming to the park today as well, so we met up there and jumped on the big attraction.
Honestly the line going into the ride was the best part. It had so many amazing facets to explore that were all recognizable rooms from the movie.
The ride itself was just okay, though. Fun but a little overwhelming when it rolls you totally upside down as your feet hang free.
I tapered off on photos around this part of the day. My phone had trickled down into single-digit percentages so I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my abilities to keep it alive. Basically we ate at Mel’s Diner, I had an obscenely complicated trip around the park attempting to find a bathroom and we wound up over at the Minion’s Ride. Based, of course, on Illumination’s Despicable Me.
I’ll be honest, that ride was probably the worst part of the day. It was cute, but very impersonal compared to the way a lot of the other rides were presented.
Also it reminded me a little too much of the mobile game my sister messed around with a few years back, honestly.
On the way out we hit a couple of stores.
Welcome… To the photo I forgot earlier.
Aly being her dorky 50’s obsessed self.
The globe store.
Aly being a dork x2.
Also here’s something we found in one of the stores that will stare into your soul for the next few nights.
From there we left the park, took that neat-o picture I used for my post’s featured image out by the big globe and went over to City Walk so Aly could drag us to Voodoo Donuts.
That, in a not-so-concise nutshell, was my day at Universal Studios. From there we drove home, where I got in some more Don’t Starve on the oh-so-convenient Nintendo Switch:
Don’t think I have too much more to say without things getting weirdly meta and self-contemplative, so I’m going to leave off where I started. I had a great day with my family and I can’t wait to see where we wind up next.