Tag: Wikimedia Commons

Sacred Stones and The Dropout

Sacred Stones and The Dropout

Once again, a large portion of my day has been spent doing homework between a rock and a hard place.

I was feeling pretty lazy and had no desire to do work… But my weekend plans did not allow for procrastination.

Yesterday was the CBS Broadcast Center tour.

Tomorrow I have a St. Patrick’s Day party to attend over in Fullerton.

Both of which are great social things to do, so I cannot complain. However, my first paper for Gaming in American Culture is due tomorrow, so that became an assignment I was unable to push-off.

Luckily, in spite of my complaints about overwriting the other day, I was finally able to focus and cut the paper down. It’s now six pages exactly, with a bibliography and citations in Chicago Style — something I’ve never used before.

Long ago I wrote about my turmoil trying to decide what video game I should write about for this paper series.

That impossible choice wound up landing on Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, my favorite game in the turn-based tactical RPG. So far it has been a great one, as I’ve had a ton of fun analyzing how Sacred Stones is arguably one of the most replayable games in the series due to its unit variety, random stat distributions, intentionally restrictive player choice options, multiple pathways and Permadeath concessions.

All wrapped up in a polished, 32-bit handheld bow that I adore.

Perhaps when all three parts of the paper are finished, I’ll try to compile everything and post it on the old blog here. Seems like something that would fit.

I’ve also spent time working on my essay for Cognitive Psychology, which involves analyzing a study that corresponds with the presentation I gave in-class last Thursday.

While the paper was easy to pull together, having a 3-page maximum limit, I’m still kind of struggling with the finishing details because of how confusing the professor has made certain instructions.

Though I’ve talked about that before, so I won’t bore you here.

Something that has helped me work through all of this essay writing is a brand new investigative reporting podcast I recently discovered called: The Dropout.

Helmed by Rebecca Jarvis, the Chief Business, Technology & Economics Correspondent for ABC News, this podcast discusses the rise and fall of a company called Theranos and its female CEO Elizabeth Holmes — which basically defrauded millions of dollars from investors in promising a miracle medical test, also putting millions of people at risk.

Sounds like an ad, I know. But it’s not an ad.

Though… It could be an ad?

Hit me up, Rebecca. I’m sure you’re dying for these 10+ views/day.

Seriously though, it’s a fascinating story. I’m about three episodes deep and really looking forward to finishing the rest during my next couple commutes.

It’s another great addition to my growing collection of one-shot journalistic podcasts. Joining the ranks of Dirty John and The Butterfly Effect.

Because I could listen to Nando and DJ discuss movies on Mostly Nitpicking or Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman discuss celebrity news on Hollywood Babble-On for hours. But sometimes the real, raw journalism is far more of a fascinating subject to absorb.


Featured Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Unraveling more YouTube recommendations

Unraveling more YouTube recommendations

You can spin this blog post today one of two ways.

Perhaps this is a public service for all of those affected by the over 10-hour Facebook outages that affected the social media platform and its company’s holdings (including Instagram and WhatsApp) for some reason other than a denial-of-service attack — an issue which they, in my opinion, hilariously had to go to another platform to report:

Those folks addicted to these apps like I sometimes become with Twitter are likely looking for something interesting to do to bide their time.

Interesting, time-wasting YouTube channels happen to be my area of expertise.

… Or, perhaps this post is a futile effort to write something on my blog daily, after a day of two-hour Comm Law exams and finishing my listen to Ender’s Game while at the gym where I could not come up with anything better than yesterday despite saying I would. But in place of that interesting subject matter, I’ve simply decided to guise my lazy alternative in the guise of the solution to a social media-driven turmoil that has long ended by the time I began writing; all due to the aforementioned requirements.

But I think we all know which is the true answer to the question.

That said, I’ve delayed the inevitable long enough.

While my parents travelled around California going to different doctor’s appointments on Monday, I was in charge of my sister back home. We more-or-less spent the afternoon sitting beside one another on the couch doing homework and watching YouTube videos.

Among the usual line-up of Game Grumps and Super Beard Bros. videos taking up time, we were recommended a strange looking think piece on the “Sonic the Hedgehog Bible.”

That’s the kind of offer we couldn’t refuse.

So we didn’t.

And thus we discovered the magic that is Unraveled: A show by the gaming news website Polygon, helmed by their video producer Brian David Gilbert.

As someone who appreciates few things more than highly-analytical, well-produced and funny content deeply examining video games, this YouTube series earns my highest recommendation.

The show, in essence, takes huge amounts of data and information from the video games themselves or from real-world (often governmental) organizations that can be used for video game applications and just distills them down into quippy 15-minute binges that use massive amounts of paper for on-the-wall diagrams with rarely an apology.

It’s a beautiful sight to behold.

While we started with their Sonic Bible episode, I was also a big fan of his dive into madness on the Legend of Zelda timeline, breakdown of hundreds of Mega Man Robot Masters and look at how Bowser’s army would be organized in relation to the U.S. Army.

An oddly prescient piece considering Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aimé announced his retirement just a few days after it dropped, leaving it in the hands of a man literally named Bowser.

I won’t say I’m much for conspiracy theories… But the truth is out there.

Anyway, yeah. That’s my recommendation for the night.

If a YouTube show can get my sister of all people excited to watch deep-diving video game content, you know it has to be good.

So give Unraveled a look, if you would.


Featured Image courtesy of Gaurav Shakya via Wikimedia Commons

Ten-dollars worth of nihilism

Ten-dollars worth of nihilism

As I battle the unholy combination of impulsively long writing and too much content in the form of video game mechanics and aesthetics for my first Gaming in American Culture paper, it’s about time for a break.

Because my 4-6 page restriction has long since been surpassed by a 10-page first draft, and I’m electing to take advantage of the Sunday deadline’s opportunity for procrastination.

Instead, why not write a blog post?

In lieu of something substantial (as I have spent my afternoon writing about video games and listening to Ender’s Game), I figure why not take advantage of the Cognitive Psychology student presentation I watched during class this morning?

As I’ve briefly discussed in the past, our main grade outside of exams in Cog Psych are coming from presentations we have to give on a professional study which will become the subject of our research papers.

The presentation given today was about the spacing effect: In which we memorize better by spacing out information rehearsal over long periods of time than with condensed study.

To show us how this worked, the group’s activity involved learning obscure vocabulary terms intersperced by periods of rest and cat videos.

If you know me at all by now, you know that I can’t let a particularly interesting vocabulary word slip by without making a “ten-dollar word of the day” post.

Thus, I present to you:


Nihilarian

Noun

  1. A person who deals with things lacking importance.

via the Collins Dictionary


As a long-time user of nihilism, both in my vocabulary and philosophical musings (particularly fun with YouTube dives into popular culture), I was quite interested to learn a new word with a similar root.

It’s a simple but poignant term. Nihil-, the Latin word for nothingness, mixed with the suffix of different jobs — reminiscent of words like librarian, technician, etc.

While the word was used to help us learn a facet of psychology, my introduction to nihilarian engaged an entirely different part of my brain.

Now I’m going to look for any excuse to use the phrase to describe a character in my novel. Because the Honors Project is such a hodgepodge of influences from my daily experiences that I may as well.

Perhaps it could apply to one of my new mantis people.

See, I very recently had the drive to include a race of praying mantis-like characters. The idea came serendipitously in a dream I had last night — which I suppose is the kind of intuition I’m listening to now.

Next thing you know I’ll be a full-blown spiritualist.

They may be Thri-kreen, a la my similar inclusion of Aarakocra bird people from Dungeons and Dragons lore (because literally everything exists in D&D apparently, and my friend Sam is great at pointing out the obscure bits).

Or they may be something more humanoid of my own creation, considering how uncomfortable I am with full-on bug people after seeing the D&D depiction.

Thri-kreen2
Image courtest of the Forgotten Realms Wiki.

Either way, mantis folk are coming. And one of them will likely deal with things lacking importance.


Image courtesy of Woolchan via Wikimedia Commons

Schrödinger’s @

Schrödinger’s @

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Period. End of story.

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

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

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

But is it the same for the at sign?

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

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

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

Do you…

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

Or-

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

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

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

Did you read this:

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

Or-

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

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

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

How would you write that?

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

Or-

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

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

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

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

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

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

Science demands your compliance in this unofficial study.


Featured Image courtesy of Post of Moldova via Wikimedia Commons

The magic of maps

The magic of maps

A good, old-fashioned map can add a whole lot of character to a place.

Sure, the colorful country-accurate map of the Earth on a globe is an impressive sight especially fully animated online:

But that view of the planet is a bit too modernist and clinical for my tastes.

I’m more of a fan of classic, stylized pieces such as the 1643 depiction of Europe by Dutch mapmaker Cornelis Danckaerts that I used for my Featured Image. It’s just the sort of rugged, swarthy style you’d expect to see in some kind of fantasy novel.

Replace that boat off the port of Spain with some kind of serpentine sea creature and it may as well be the map of a fantasy world. Like something you’d expect to see from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth.

Speaking of, did you know that there’s an interactive Middle-Earth map available online? It is full of complex names and points of time for different important events.

That’s the kind of stuff I love.

As I’ve made more progress in my Senior Honors Project novel, I’ve found it necessary to start keeping track of all the locations I’m name dropping to give the world a little more history and life.

To remember places I might want to bring up later and also lay everything out on a more cohesive latitude and longitude for when I explain travel across the content — as my book will include plenty of travel.

During class yesterday, I started to draw out a rudimentary sketch of my world map on a sheet of paper:

IMG_2123
Results not final.

I used to draw things like this all the time, inspired by the maps I’ve seen in the front of books like Lord of the Rings and Eragon.

But never before have I put one together that might actually be useful.

So it was serendipity that, while sitting in my Honors 400B class last night, my friend Mimi noticed my drawing and offered to point out some free campaign map making software she knew about for Dungeons and Dragons.

How was I supposed to say no to that?

Of the software I got pointed to, my favorite was a website called HexTML, which as the name implies lets you create a world of your own using hexagonal signifiers like the board game Settlers of Catan.

Many hours were spent last night screwing around to translate that hand-drawn map into something that could reasonably be shown off to the world.

It’s still open to adjustments down the line and I’d like to put names on all of the areas and towns through the site, but for now I’m really proud of where I’d gotten:

Screen Shot 2019-02-21 at 9.36.45 PM
The left side.

While the continent proper does not yet have a name, but a lot of the structures within it do.

The town on the lower left is Fehrn, where my main characters live.

The singular structures around Fehrn are ruins of the old western empire that have been used as treasure hunting locales. To the north, that black cavern, is an underground chamber where my story begins — just below the Redbark Woods.

To the lower right is the Gnarled Forest, a large mesh of roots, branches and bark that was nigh impenetrable for eons. The old elven tribe was able to thrive there before being attacked.

Just above that in the mountain range hides a small structure signifying the capital of the Sparrine Empire. The Sparrine being the bird people who are basically France, taking over the region under bird Napoleon. Talked about that recently.

Screen Shot 2019-02-21 at 9.36.19 PM
The right side.

Moving onto the other side of the map, a few new main areas stand out.

Hidden in another mountain to the right of the Sparrine empire is the Prophet’s Sanctuary, where my main characters must travel.

Below it is a yet unnamed lake with an equally unnamed port town to its right side where the player character of my story’s game world will have to take on bird Napoleon in a thinly veiled allegory to the Battle of Waterloo.

Spoilers, I guess. If you know historical stuff.

The walled city to the right of that lake is the capital of the Bresegon Empire, where the lordly prince character hails from. Just above it is the ruins of an older nation’s capital.

Essentially the ruins of Rome beside the now prospering Byzantine Empire.

All of those ruins to the leftmost side of the region being the desolate remains of the Holy Roman Empire’s holdings.

Those are some of my world’s major locations, as far as I’ve planned things out up to this point. With all of the plot beats generally worked out for my story, I’m especially excited to start using a bunch of them now that I have a spatial awareness of how everything fits together.

Hope you’re interested in seeing some more cool little behind-the-scenes details on my writing like this from here on out.

Now that I’m getting into the book, I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to share.


Featured Image courtesy of Cornelis Danckerts via Wikimedia Commons

The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect

Remember yesterday when I was gung-ho about going to the DMV if for no other reason than to have something interesting for my blog?

Funny how naive I was in thinking that the DMV could offer any sort of interest.

To be fair, it’s not like I had a particularly negative experience there today — unless you count PTSD flashbacks to failed driving tests or the generally oppressive air of bureaucracy washing over hordes of upset numbers in the government’s labyrinthine system of rules and policy.

If anything, renewing my license was a quick and painless experience. The kind of trip through the DMV that left me saying-

-after I left, but would not have been my “fun activity” of choice over going to the class I missed.

Thus that did not blossom into a subject to fill my entire post. Nor did the lovely lunch I had with Mom afterwards, as much as I enjoyed it.

When I decided to scrap the idea, I half-considered writing about my unusual blog traffic today. Analytics are usually a fun subject for me, and for whatever reason a bunch of people looked at my blog today before I even wrote anything:

Screen Shot 2019-02-19 at 9.10.38 PM
The last big spike was my birthday.

However I don’t exactly have a reasonable way to explain why I got more traffic today than I have in recent days, so it would just be mindless babble.

… As though the rest of this wasn’t already mindless babble. I know, I can hear you all saying that to your screens amid a slow eye-roll.

I’ll get to the point.

I went in to CSUF for my late class, Comm Law. So far my favorite course of the semester because of the professor.

An example as to why: She overlaid a well-edited video of John Oliver’s Supreme Court dogs over the audio of a case we were covering in our homework.

Today’s conversation broached into SCOTUS decisions which have affected obscenity and porn laws. It was a conversation full of amazing conversations and references one would not expect to hear in a classroom.

One such conversation involving that innocuous fair use butterfly photo I used for my Featured Image.

I kid you not… It ties back to Pornhub.

I know, I know. When I made a half-hearted post joking about that Pornhub ad carved into a bathroom stall in the Education Building, I said I was at risk of becoming a shill for the pornography aggregate.

After the glowingly positive piece I wrote about their analytics a while back, I wouldn’t blame you for thinking my semi-rapid increase in smut-related posts was a problem.

However, the way I see it I’ve just found myself increasingly interested in Pornhub-related subjects specifically. As niche a wheelhouse as that may be.

While talking about porn in class, I specifically brought up the yearly Pornhub analytics in reference to her joking about the existance of fetish websites for everything. In response, she told us about a podcast which dives deep into the way Pornhub has changed our society — for better and worse.

As someone who drives long distances back-and-forth, I’m always on the lookout for new podcasts.

So even though she warned us that it gets depressing after a certain point, I was curious and downloaded all seven episodes of the series.

It’s called “The Butterfly Effect with Jon Ronson,” and I’ll recommend it at least based on the first episode.

That episode features interviews with the Belgian boy who brought the website into popular consciousness, as well as the technical guy from Canada who worked on things like search engine optimization and mobile user logistics.

With promise of going into all the nitty-gritty, uncomfortable stories about society changing, the challenges to that industry with a massive and free entity in their midst, and so forth.

If you’ve got the time for it, why not take a chance and listen through some niche podcast programming with me?

I, for one, am clearly excited enough about it to share if nothing else.


Featured Image courtesy of Charles J Sharp via Wikimedia Commons

Man remains the most extraordinary machine

Man remains the most extraordinary machine

Valentine’s Day 2019 will officially go down as the Valentine’s Day where I truly learned the value of a human touch.

Because when automatic email reply systems fail, you really need to break through and get an actual person on the other side.

What did you think I was referring to?

Oh, well okay I guess I can see where you were coming from. But no, it’s definitely not that.

Guess I should provide you with a little more context just to make sure we don’t get confused from here on out.

Toward the end of last semester, I was contacted by the Co-Curricular Coordinator for the University Honors Program on campus. Because I had applied to join the Honors Student Advisory Council earlier (in one of my attempts to find something other than the Daily Titan to focus on), he wanted to offer me the chance to create an event alongside other prior applicants.

I believe the argument was that they didn’t want to let all of the extra talent and brain power disappear on the breeze. Couldn’t argue with that.

Especially since it would let me put ‘event planner’ on my resume.

So this semester I’ve been working with another Honors student to set up an event for late March. A lot of the details are still being designed, but essentially we’ve decided to host a panel about networking in various industries.

The Honors Program is interdisciplinary, so having tips from all across the career spectrum seemed like a nice idea.

I’ve mostly been working on finding panelists to bring in, but the first step in that process was getting someone from the CSUF Career Center to jump on board. They seemed like a much more natural choice for a panel moderator who could keep the conversation focused on what a broad range of different students might need.

Last week I went into the Career Center and spoke with one of the students at the desk, who left a written message for the Associate Director of the center.

I also sent along a follow-up email, just for the sake of making sure the message got across.

However, despite my best efforts, I didn’t hear back from anyone leading into this week. So before my group met up again, I stopped by the Career Center one more time. They suggested I submit a workshop request through their website forum, as that apparently gets checked more often.

Today I finally got my response from the Career Center. Which recommended I… Submit a workshop request.

Through the same link I had submitted the request that the Career Center was replying to.

Definitely something a bit screwy about that automatic response.

I sent another email back letting them know how weird the response was, seeing whether I had missed something or could talk to someone in a face-to-face meeting. With the Associate Director added .

About five minutes after I sent that, she responded to me directly.

Then ten or so minutes after that, once I elaborated on what we were looking for, she sent off the message to Career Center specialists seeing who might be available.

All was good in the world, and I could finally move on to step two of my portion of the planning.

It just figures that only fifteen minutes were required to solve an issue I was waiting over a week for, simply because I finally got through to the right human being.

So this Valentine’s Day, if you’re sad and alone like I am, just remember that real human beings can make life better even if they aren’t doing it in that way.

Peace and love and all that good stuff.


Image Courtesy of Nevit Dilmen via Wikimedia Commons

Assignment explanations gone wrong

Assignment explanations gone wrong

I’m not usually one to outright complain about a professor’s style of teaching. I tend to just brute force my way through a class if there’s some element I don’t enjoy.

Now, that might be a surprise for those of you who remember various complaints about my Psychology professors last semester.

Well… Apparently I’ve just had a terrible track record with the Psychology department.

Because my complaint for the day happens to come from my Cognitive Psych class.

Let’s set the scene.

After finishing our lecture on Chapter 2, she decided to tell us about our required paper and presentation so we could be ready when the due dates start to roll around.

Each of us were grouped together with one partner. We do a presentation on a specific topic together, while each writing separate essays to ensure nobody gets wholly screwed by a partner that does no work.

The professor led her discussion on the essay portion by telling us we need to find three research papers or scholarly articles, one of which is a jointly researched piece to form the basis of our presentation.

She presented that information as though the group would only need three papers researched all together.

What she meant was that each person individually needs to have three papers for their essay. One of which can be the joint presentation paper.

Thus, all together we need five research papers for each group. When you explain it like that, the concept makes sense. However, by starting off telling the class we’d need three papers, then later telling us we’d need five, and generally not making it explicitly clear that only one of those papers can be shared…

Let’s just say she wound up getting a whole lot of questions.

Yet somehow it got more confusing. While we were all trying to figure out what the hell she meant in the first place, she started to let us know that we could take a less work-heavy paper if we wanted. All we had to do was tell her.

Naturally every single college student in the room said, “yeah we want less work.”

So she lowered the requirements. Now each group needed three papers, with each individual only needing two papers for their essay.

I can’t complain about the lessened workload, but dropping that sudden and seemingly random change on us while we still didn’t understand the original assignment was not such a great decision.

After I left class, while crossing the windy tundra between the Humanities building and College Park, I thought a lot about it. There had to be a simpler way to explain what we were doing.

So it hit me:

All you needed to say was that each person is writing an essay that needs three (or two as it became) research papers for background information.

Then that one of those papers can be shared between the two group members, the same one that will become the focus of the topic presentation on an assigned date.

It’s honestly that simple.

So why did this seemingly unimportant bit of confusion from poor explaining stick in my craw? To the point that I felt the need to write all about it, anyway.

Well… Part of the reason is because it was either this or the State of the Union address that I haven’t honestly bothered to watch yet.

The rest of my day hasn’t been very exciting.

The other part of why I decided to talk about this moment was because of how it took on a more frustrating face by my professor smiling and (if you ask me, somewhat sassily) expressing her confusion at what we found so confusing.

To some extent I can let it slide because English clearly isn’t her first language. So I have no qualms believing she may have thought her explanation was perfectly adequate.

But when literally the entire class is so obviously confused and asking a variety of questions, it seems kind of cheeky to smile and laugh as though we were completely at fault.

Maybe it’s just me, but that kind of attitude just bugs me from… Well, anyone. Though from someone I’m there to learn from especially.

Based on prior experience, it seems like the language barrier issues might just be a big problem throughout the semester.

So maybe my Psychology experience has been cursed all along.


Before I go, I also wanted to mention this neat little tidbit I missed out on yesterday:

Screen Shot 2019-02-05 at 8.00.37 PM

Happy birthday, blog!

And thanks to all of you who keep reading these things. Whether they’re goofy and full of life or annoyed and full of spite.

I really appreciate it.


Featured Image courtesy of Missmarettaphotography via Wikimedia Commons

That owl sure was superb

That owl sure was superb

Gotta ride that SEO wave, am I right?

I kid of course. Out of all the blog posts I’ve ever written, a football-related piece is far from the one I’m looking to blow out of the park.

It just so happens that the only thing I’ve done today beyond researching history for my novel is watch the Superb Owl. So as much as I could care less about football, it might as well serve some kind of grander purpose.

Even though that grander purpose was definitely not to get me more invested in the sport.

Because hoo boy, I’m not a fan and even I could tell that Super Bowl 53 was lame.

The game was tied up 3 – 3 from field goals alone until the fourth quarter. There the Patriots scored the first touchdown of the game and a subsequent second field goal to end things 13 – 3.

As much as I couldn’t care less, at the very least I figured I should root for the Rams considering they’re a Los Angeles team. It’s just too bad they lost after an excruciatingly boring game.

The commercials weren’t even that special, making it so the one reprieve from sportball didn’t balance out the boring game.

Probably the best spots were the brief Avengers: Endgame trailer right before the game started, the Bud Light commercial that turned out to be an ad for Game of Thrones in disguise (gotta give HBO a shout out for that majesty) and the Washington Post ad narrated by Tom Hanks toward the end.

As someone going into journalism I figure I should be happy about them spreading the good word, even if I do think it was a weird promotional gimmick with a whole story about the fact that they put out an ad in the first place?

But you know what. I’m at least a friendly acquaintance with Gene Park, who does social media stuff for the Washington Post, so I won’t complain about his business.

He’s very worth a follow. Just saying.

So okay. The game sucked. The ads sucked. What about the Maroon 5 halftime show? That had to be something good, right?

After all, the NFL was planning to do good on a petition for “Sweet Victory” from the Spongebob Squarepants episode “Band Geeks” to be played in honor of Stephen Hillenburg dying a few months ago.

They couldn’t have messed that up, right?

Well…

Let’s just say the concept was much better than the delivery.

Even I got in on the fun with my own hot take:

If anything, I suppose this was my favorite part of the Superb Owl this year. Never before have I been ‘invested’ in the game enough to watch it carefully and follow the Twitter reactions as a result.

We’re going to talk about it this week in my Gaming class, so I figured I should pay attention.

Seeing the Internet lose its mind over the Spongebob debacle and a select number of commercials was more fun than I’ve had on social media in a long time.

However, that wasn’t the most fun thing about the game.

That honor, of course, had to go to the feast:

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After a rough weekend, it was nice to take a little time to relax and pig out with lots of junk food.

Even if I’ll definitely have to hit the gym a few times this week to make up for it.

So anyway, that’s my sport-related content quota for the year. Anything else from here on out is pure overtime. Look forward to maybe that!


Featured Image courtesy of Paul Sableman via Wikimedia Commons

50 shades of analysis

50 shades of analysis

So I just flew in from Fullerton, and boy are my arms tired!

Does that joke work over text?

I guess the more important question is whether that joke works considering I drove to-and-from Fullerton instead of flying, but nobody knows that.

And if I have my way, they never will.

Anyway, today was the first day of the spring 2019 semester for me. If it’s not already obvious, the whole affair has me a bit exhausted and delirious.

That being said I can’t complain about the contents of my day as much as the fact that it was required in the first place. I enjoyed my first two classes and found out that my class tomorrow was canceled, meaning I get an extra day off.

But I want to save a week-in-review post for the end — Thursday or Friday.

Thus today I’m going to go in a completely different direction and talk about something I discovered which helped keep me sane during the return to form.

While listening to the recent Split episode of Nando V. Movies‘ podcast, “Mostly Nitpicking” (which sounds like a paid plug but comes solely out of a fan’s love), I was recommended a different YouTube channel’s video series.

That series was the “A Lukewarm Defense of 50 Shades” trilogy by an analytical writing-focused channel called Folding Ideas.

Now I know what you’re thinking. “50 Shades of Grey? That series of mommy porn books from the early 2010s? That stuff was trash, why should I care?”

Trust me. I was the same way.

I’ve actually seen this video series floating around in my recommended feed considering I spend a lot of time watching similar analysis channels [Examples one and two] to both help my own writing and laugh at bad writing.

I just never cared because 50 Shades wasn’t a series I got into.

But I happen to trust Nando’s opinions because I enjoy his content, and because I am succepible to media influencers apparently.

Now I’m here to pass on that recommendation to all of you because this Lukewarm Defense trilogy is wonderful.

For the most part, especially in videos two and three, the guy is more than eager to lampoon the terrible, awful writing of the books and how they translate into terrible, awful writing in the movies.

Except it goes so much deeper than that.

The video on the first book goes in-depth on the history of translations from the fan fiction to book to movie, and offers a wealth of positives about the first book’s movie adaptation to contend with all the obvious negatives.

It succeeded in making me appreciate the filmmaker’s zeal adapting what must have been a garbage fire into something more palatable and well-crafted.

A lot of his points about things like the removal of the main heroine’s inner-dialogue making her a more self-driven and competent player in the plot are really successfully delivered thanks to an editing style that presents evidence from both mediums simultaneously.

Of course most of the positives are confined to the first book’s adaptation, considering he also goes into why the other books are worse and had worse movie making conditions.

But I never thought I would appreciate 50 Shades of Grey — the movie — near as much as I did while watching this.

That’s not even to mention how funny the guy’s content is in its own right, and how successfully he tangles brief jokes or asides into relevant points multiple videos down the line.

It’s just excellent content. Enough so that I’ll go back and watch more.

To be fair, I am somewhat more open to narrative analysis content at the moment considering I’m swinging back into more focused work on my own novel.

However Folding Ideas presents some serious, evergreen writing advice. If nothing else I’m going to think way harder about paying off plot points in my own writing because I watched this guy destroy 50 Shades for dropping the ball so often due to the original nature of its production as a serialized fanfiction.

If you have about three hours to kill, check out this mini-series. I promise it’s worth your time whether you’re into script doctoring or just laughing at terrible content.

It certainly kept me sane on day one of the semester, and for that I owe Folding Ideas a lot.


Featured Image courtesy of Teesta31 via Wikimedia Commons