We got the official email with the final schedule brochure and everything. It’s happening.
Not only is it happening, it’s coming up at full speed.
So most of my day has been spent preparing the Powerpoint I’ll be using. A few weeks back the Honors Program Director Sandra Perez asked me to help another student who wanted to do a creative writing project, as she said the pre-preparation I’d done was impressive.
That experience wound up being my lightbulb of inspiration. I realized that my project was better grounded in a Pre-Preparation of Rites than “I wrote part of a book.”
By the end, I’ve come to find that a whole lot of preparation was involved in my novel.
And let’s not forget the elements I have yet to talk about.
Notably backend research into creating believable cultures for my fantasy world. I asked my old professor Paulo Simoes for some advice because a lot of his background involves researching ancient societies, figuring out how they tick.
He recommended trying to model my fictional cultures and the events that characterize my world off of real-world societies.
Game of Thrones is in vogue to reference right now, yeah?
I’d hope so. Because I’m more than happy to capitalize on that, even though I haven’t personally watched the show.
For my project, however, I am not utilizing Game of Thrones in any capacity. Rather, I’m using “The Story of Civilization” collection of historical novels to base parts of my book on periods of history. As suggested by Dr. Simoes.
Along the way, I’ve been trying to craft the oral part of the presentation:
I have 15 minutes to present, and then I’ll have to be ready for five minutes of audience questions. I’m hoping I’ll be all put together and confident by then.
While getting prepared, I took some time off with my Mom to go out and put something sweet together with the drawings from Elizabeth:
Just a little something to help remember the project by. Doesn’t it look nice?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Kiss your wife and kids goodbye, it is time to ascend into the aether of purgatory.
God is dead. We have killed him.
Long live the King.
This is how April Fools jokes work, right? Piggybacking off of a company’s April Fools joke to make a different joke?
I’m assuming the pre-conceived notion that I enjoy writing about Fire Emblem Heroes might make people double take at this weirdly set-up post and have a nice chuckle.
However, at the bottom of this jokey joke I wanted to seriously address my recent absence from blogging.
Chalk that up to a combination of a party in Fullerton I went to Saturday that lasted until 4:00 a.m. Sunday, followed by most of that Sunday spent shopping with my parents while playing Shantae: Half-Genie Hero.
I’ve already blown through three campaigns in the span of a day or two, and if I were you I’d expect a review of sorts within the next couple days.
Hopefully I’ll be better with my writing in general this Spring Break. I have a bunch of extra time that I’ll mostly be using for homework, but I want to keep y’all in mind too.
All I have to do is figure out things to write.
So, if you have any ideas, let me know about them somewhere on the Internet!
In the meantime, I’m off to catch some Z’s. Because I didn’t expect to be up so late making this joke post.
When a new war breaks out years later, Yune takes shape as a small bird and befriends a persecuted girl, helping her lead the crusade for peace so they can prevent the Goddess of Order from passing judgement on all living beings.
Grants Resistance +3. If a penalty inflicted by a skill like Panic or Threaten and/or a negative status effect (preventing counterattacks or restricting movement) is active on foe, grants Attack +6 during combat and unit makes a guaranteed follow-up attack.
Glacies (Cooldown = 4)
Boosts damage by 80 percent of unit’s Resistance.
Attack/Resistance Bond (A Skill)
If unit is adjacent to an ally, grants Attack and Resistance +5 during combat.
Sabotage Resistance (B Skill)
At start of the turn, if any foe’s Resistance ≤ unit’s Resistance -3 and that foe is adjacent to another, inflicts Resistance -7 on that foe through its next action.
Chaos Named (C Skill)
At start of the turn, if foes within three columns have Resistance ≤ unit’s Resistance -3, inflicts -5 on their highest stat through their next actions (When calculating, treat Attack -15. Calculates each stat penalty independently).
Her skills also feel properly ‘chaotic’ in their design to drop a variety of stats based on her superior Resistance.
Yet I’m not sure I’ll be putting a whole lot of resources into summoning our first Dark Mythic Hero. Flying green tome is a unit type I could use (only having the outdated Spring Camilla), but not enough that I’m looking to blow my orb stash.
It defined my life when I started back then, but I’ve completely abandoned the game after a nearly two-year streak.
I blame a combination of exhaustion with the gameplay and a distinct lack of time to pass around.
I’m not going to say I regret the decision necessarily. Plus it’s still on my phone, and can be reopened at any time.
But the timing felt poignant on the eve of this anniversary.
However, the more stand-out example of a recurring college experience happened when I stopped to get gas on the way home. Because I won’t be at that Shell station I use during my commutes for at least a week, I was thinking about how I might not have to use it much longer.
But don’t worry, I’m not actually getting sentimental about a gas station. Only a specific story related to that gas station.
About two-or-three years ago when I was News Editor at the Daily Titan, I found myself looking for things to drive our Copy Editors Kyle Bender and Ashley Haley crazy.
My favorite discovery was a completely misspelled word in the gas pump digital display. It was very obvious, and given the high traffic through that station I expected it to get fixed quickly.
Here we are in 2019 and that same spelling error is there:
It’s astounding to me that this is still there. I’m 100 percent certain they’ve changed out all the pumps since I saw this the first time, yet nothing has changed.
This is why we need Copy Editors, folks. Otherwise these mistakes live on forever.
That’s all I had to say. Go pay your copy editors.
In the meantime, I’m going to go start whatever semblance of a break I have.
Welcome to “I put this off until late and decided to scrounge something together based on semi-recent activities as a last ditch effort” blog post #1738.
Last night I spent St. Patrick’s Day in Fullerton celebrating with my friend Mimi and a few of her people. Even dragged my friend Juan out there with me, which was somewhat bizarre, but I would argue successful.
Bizarre mostly in that we’ve never really travelled outside of Redondo as a duo, that is. You can judge his personal eccentricities for yourself.
Oh and before you ask, I did not drink at the party. No Irish coffee for me.
It was a small party with maybe eight people, and one that took up my entire evening with board games and video games and corned beef — hence my lack of a post yesterday.
Theoretically I could have written something before the party… But I got caught up with work meetings and getting homework done.
So sue me.
I figured you all would not be interested in the exciting adventures of leaving the gym early to go check on Grandpa after he fell out of his wheelchair. Especially since he’ll fine and will tell you he’s “impervious.” I believe it.
Instead, I think it might be fun to focus on a little game we played at last night’s called Munchkin.
Munchkins the board game was developed by Steve Jackson Games and is, for all intents and purposes, a parody of Dungeons and Dragons. Players travel through a dungeon, collect treasure and class/race/gender changes and advance (mostly) by killing monsters like Lawyers and [Inter]Net Trolls.
It’s a game where players can ask one another for help or screw each other over, which becomes an ocean of mind games once one player is poised to win and the rest stack curses and debuffs during their combat.
That all said, I suppose this post has kind of turned into a bit of an endorsement for the game? It’s not an ad, but it could be an ad. Because I would certainly recommend it for people looking to play something engaging with a bunch of friends.
I’m not joking when I say things get intense by the end.
I absolutely would have won my game if Mimi didn’t sweep the victory one rotation before my turn. And I’m still mad about it.
Plus, the game fits well into my recent dives into D&D creatures for my novel. It’s just the kind of thing that’s up my alley.
So take my enthusiasm with a grain of salt. Or with a pile of soft, sugary donut holes.
Yet I have plenty of experience collecting Pokémon cards as well! Looking back at my most recent room renovation, you can actually see a Jirachi card hanging out with my other mythical wish-granter merchandise:
But that and the Gardevoir set I keep under my desktop keyboard for good luck…
… is only the tip of the iceberg.
My parents like to tell the story of how they had original card packs for one of the first sets in the Pokémon TCG, which would have been amazing collectors items today. However, I had no interest in them at that point.
So they got rid of them.
Hilarious considering how much I wound up getting into collecting the cards:
Back when I collected most of these, it really did just amount to collection. Like with my physical Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, I never actually played the game.
Watching it get played again inspired me to jump in. But this time I didn’t go back to my 3DS.
I re-downloaded the official Trading Card Game online.
I say re-downloaded because I did have a brief attempt at playing the game before (as you’ll see from my cringe-worthy screen name based on some half-assed character), but it didn’t stick quite as well as my recent deep dive.
For those of you who have never played the Pokémon Trading Card Game, I figure a very brief synopsis of how it works is in order.
Each player starts with a 60-card deck, out of which they draw seven cards for a hand and six prize cards. There are two primary win conditions in the game. You either draw all of your prize cards by defeating a Pokémon, or you defeat all of your opponent’s Pokémon so they can no longer play.
There are six kinds of cards in the game:
Pokémon: The monsters are your primary players. Each has a set amount of health, specific moves they can use when given energy and sometimes abilities that can affect your play environment.
Pokémon can evolve by placing the next stage card on top of a basic card, but not on the same turn that basic card is played.
There are also “EX” or “GX” cards that are powerful and have strong abilities, but allow your opponent to draw two prize cards instead of one if defeated.
Energy: Energy is required in specific typings to use an attack, unless that requirement is a basic white star — any energy can fill that requirement.
Items: Provide a variety of effects from healing to drawing cards. Can be used as many times as they are drawn per turn.
Supporters: Typically based off of major characters or NPCs from the video games, these cards are usually advanced versions of items that can only be used once per turn.
Tools: Can be attached directly to one Pokémon as a buff, such as increased damage or defense.
Stadium: Applies an effect to both sides of the field, similar to certain abilities. Only one can be in-play, and playing a second Stadium overturns the first.
The balance of Pokémon and energy placement, where only one is active at a time and players can set up the team in their back row, feels a lot more complex than Yu-Gi-Oh!’s basic gameplay style.
However, all of the Trainer cards seem a lot more focused on draw power and health restoration than Yu-Gi-Oh!’s Spells and Traps, which have a daunting amount of variety and often incentivize playing to a narrowed archetype.
That said, I love both games.
Here’s an example of me playing with a Psychic-type deck I built.
Video’s a bit choppy, so be warned. Though it shouldn’t be nearly as bad as my Armagetron video.
As you can tell, the primary focus of my deck is to build up to Gallade or Lunala (mostly the latter).
I don’t have quite as many GX or EX cards as a lot of players who have clearly been playing longer, but Lunala being a Stage 2 legendary means card designers balanced the trouble of getting her out with some powerful attack output.
It has worked wonders for me thus far, and I’ve been building up my digital card collection using booster packs from the Trainer Challenge mode…
… As well as theme decks bought using coins from Versus duels…
… To create a few different decks.
While I think the card game itself has some unique complexities that stand out compared to Duel Links (which I’ve fallen out of favor with and replaced my vice apparently), what really keeps me going with the Pokémon TCG is how amazing the card art is.
See Yu-Gi-Oh! cards are always the same for a given card, unless they get altered for balance down the line.
But Pokémon cards for each monster can have a variety of attacks, abilities and even types in different printings. Each of those new prints also has a new piece of artwork.
Here’s a small slideshow of some of the really cute cards I’ve found in my relatively short time playing.
That’s the real charm of the Pokémon TCG. That’s what keeps me playing.
I’m sure many of you saw ‘Jason plays the Pokémon Trading Card Game’ and groaned. Hopefully I gave you enough visual spectacle and explanation to understand why I’ve been so hooked on this stuff.
Because as much as I keep joking about how playing this game out of everything I could be doing in 2019 will ruin my reputation… What can I say.
It’s never a bad day when you get home at 3:00 p.m. Especially when there’s enough of an endorphin rush from getting a solid grade on that Sensation and Perception research paper rough draft to counteract the dejection of finding out thefinal exam won’t be curved like the midterms were.
I’m not at all bitter about being told about it just two weeks before the exam.
You can tell by the way I definitely did not start this post off with a paragraph-long rant.
But hey that being said, at least I got home early right? Which means I had plenty of extra time to get started on my homework for the weekend.
Ahaha, haha, ha.
Yeah no, I just watched YouTube all afternoon.
Don’t give me that look, viewing public. It was a long week, okay? I just wanted to go home and veg out a little.
Oh boy, here I am arguing with the empty void that I’m pretending is a robust audience.
Let’s just stop filling in empty space on this post and get to the point.
For instance, the YouTube videos I’ve been watching.
Yeah that’s right this is another recommending YouTube channels post. Don’t pretend like you didn’t see that coming.
Even if this is a makeshift post thanks to events I had planned getting cancelled, it is based on something I was thinking about in the shower this morning.
See I recently discovered a new video game reviewing YouTuber who has sent me down the rabbit hole of binging every old video out of sheer love for the great new entertainment.
His name is RadicalSoda, and for the most part he does a lot of Sonic-related stuff from what I’ve seen. But also his Kingdom Hearts 2 and bad Pixar PS2 games videos have stood out to me.
The reason why he’s relevant in the conversation I set up for myself is because a few videos in I found out that my new favorite long-haired dudebro is from New Zealand.
Land of the Hobbit and… Usurping old Zealanders. I guess.
I don’t know anything about New Zealand.
But that’s kind of the point! I know literally nothing about New Zealand, yet thanks to the magic of an open content creation platform like YouTube I’m able to see his creative energy and sense of humor come to life.
It’s kind of awesome to imagine, and I’m not sure I would have thought about it too much if I wasn’t already primed by seeing my own blog’s analytics.
Naturally I couldn’t help but think about other YouTube personalities I watch who aren’t based in the United States, because this would have been a very boring post if it was just lots of rambling only to have one recommendation at the end.
So I have other recommendations. For instance, Caddicarus is a channel I’ve been following for some time that’s based in England and also does video game-related content more often than not.
In a similar vein I’ve gotten very into watching another British YouTuber, I Hate Everything. He has a massive backlog of interesting videos just talking about dumb things in general or talking about dumb movies specifically.
His channel also got me introduced to Ralphthemoviemaker, who also does some fantastic movie reviews… But he’s in the U.S. so I’m not counting that right now.
The only other big international name I can think off the top of my head is RANK10YGO, but he’s arguably the most niche suggestion I can offer to a general audience.
All he does is Yu-Gi-Oh! videos. Specifically informational videos about different card archetypes in the game.
Which are fantastic if you want to find out more about the game like I did after getting real into Duel Links. But I imagine it isn’t for everything.
Unless you happen to like somewhat deadpan, meme-ridden humor. In which case he’s your man!
Also he’s apparently from Montenegro. Just in case you were wondering why he fit into this whole international shindig.
So yeah, there’s a bunch of (mostly) international YouTube suggestions that you can check out if you’re interested. For me it’s a pretty great reminder that the Internet isn’t just a cesspool of dumb crap.
It’s a place where people from literally all over the world can share their creativity for even random Joe’s like me to see.
Even if their creativity is just dumb crap, it’s still pretty awesome to think about.
If you have any international content creators you want to recommend, I’d be happy to hear all about them!
Everyone’s had those moments where they hear a song — be it in the background of a T.V. show, on the radio or a restaurant backing track, or whatever it may be — and can’t quite put their finger on what that song is.
If you haven’t had that moment because you have a photographic memory or something… Well the I’m sorry to be leaving you behind with this topic.
I have those kinds of moments fairly often, as I am a fan of a range of music but am not necessarily an audiophile like my Dad and sister.
But I’m not here to talk about remembering specific songs.
Rather, I’d like to talk briefly about what I would consider a much less discussed but equally prominent concern: Identifying exactly what category it sounds like that song should belong in.
I don’t mean something like “pop song” versus “rock song” versus”country song,” or whatever the overall genre might be. This is specifically about those times where a song sounds like other songs you’ve heard before, but you can’t quite put your finger on exactly what that similar sound is.
Now. This is an odd conversation topic on my blog I’m sure, considering I don’t talk too often about the particulars of music. I tend to just stick to the generals of “my sister played a thing” if I do bring it up.
But in this case the context suggests that it’s not a thing my sister played, because she doesn’t play video games anymore.
Yeah I’m still on that bit, Aly
See recently Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links got a major update. A much-needed one for me, as I was starting to drift away from the game.
Until they added on the next generation, 5D’s, and a novel (for me) summoning style called Synchro summoning.
Learning a brand new way to duel has gotten me right back into the swing of things. Synchros offer up an interesting level of field management that Ritual monsters attempted to hit but couldn’t, as you need to have a specific “tuner” monster on the field alongside a specific number of stars to summon a Synchro monster.
So many of the cards being added as a result are interested in flooding the field with monsters and augmenting the number of stars on a monster, that way you can summon things with specific requirements. It’s just the kind of micromanaging that makes me love to do things like deck build.
Which… Who knows, I just might do again soon.
Look out for some Synchro deck profiles, possibly.
But for right now that’s off-topic. The only reason I gave all that context is to get to the point that a new season of the anime being added into the game also means new characters to play.
New characters means new battle tracks. One in particular has caught my ear so far:
Meet Akiza Izinski. I know literally nothing about her because I never watched 5D’s.
But I do know that in Duel Links she has absolutely amazing battle music.
I have to say, as much as I like a wide range of music, video game soundtracks are definitely at the top of my list. I could go on-and-on about different songs I adore from various games.
In fact, I’ve been considering doing video game music posts around here. Just haven’t really had the time to hash out a specific style for it.
But Akiza’s theme here is a real prime example of the kind of tune I can just melt into.
Then the song continues to build until about 30 seconds in, when the real magic begins.
At that point, the piano is co-opted by some kind of Theremin-sounding track that gives everything a techno/haunted house feel.
Even when the Theremin bits disappear, the song keeps its haunting undertone despite somehow also bringing a lot of battle-ready energy to the table.
The song overall is just really well-done, and makes grinding for cards against Akiza a real pleasure.
My problem is, as much as I can (somewhat haphazardly) explain the emotions that this song elicits, it’s hard for me to place exactly what the song reminds me of. Because it definitely reminds me of SOMETHING.
I know I said essentially the exact same thing about two days ago, but pardon me if this post is a little bit short or discombobulated.
We may not have been sniffing paint fumes this time around, but the family has been off on a nearly 12-hour journey across L.A. County doing chores and such. So I’m a bit tired and honestly just want to rest up considering I’m hanging out with the crowd again tomorrow and want some energy for that.
You’re not here to talk about tomorrow though, are you? Especially not when we have a Herculean tale for today.
Get out your maps if you’re interested in following along our route from the day.
We started relatively close to home in Manhattan Beach, first going to our family optometrist for my dad to get an eye exam. Also spent a good chunk of time in the surrounding mall buying sunglasses at the same time as I was doing some planning for future events.
Then we hit up a nearby Best Buy. We were picking up a new home printer we had ordered because our old one was ‘donated’ to the Redondo Union band program.
Aly’s the head librarian and has to make a lot of copies of sheet music, long story short.
While we were there I discovered this gem as I perused the video game section:
Felt like that was worth sharing.
After finishing up there we got ourselves some lunch, then made our way to the Fandango office so my dad could follow-up on some work that was being done in the conference rooms there.
At first I imagined I might focus this blog post on that. Specifically all of the movie posters that I snapped some pictures of all around the office while he was testing the technology.
Because they have some pretty unique, awesome movie posters. Check some of these out:
Pretty cool stuff, right?
Of course I also considered writing something related to my own work since I was expecting to hear back about my application to the Honors Student Advisory Council at Cal State Fullerton today.
But when I did it turned out to be a no. So… Figured I didn’t want a blog post that was a total downer about that.
There was even briefly a thought running through my head that I could offset the general negativity of that idea by countering it with this neat, little milestone I happened to hit this morning:
But uhh… Subjectively I figured 500 basically consecutive days of playing a mobile gotcha game could also be considered pretty sad as an ‘accomplishment.’
So I tabled that idea.
Soon enough a perfect opportunity for a blog post came along, however.
A little store known simply as
By little, of course, I mean the exact opposite of little. Because anyone who has ever been to the Swedish furniture chain should know that Ikea stores are god damn gigantic.
Can’t really argue with that sentiment, honestly. From the ground it took us probably four, four-and-a-half hours to make our way through the labyrinth of ridiculously named decor.
In fact, that whole adventure would probably be a little too long to enumerate in the order of how we did things. So I’m going to cop-out by just throwing together a slideshow of pictures here.
For anyone who’s curious about what it looks like in the absolute epitome of capitalism of course.
Boy howdy that’s about a sixth of a day of furniture, ain’t it?
Luckily even when we got tired and my legs felt ready to collapse we were still having a good time.
Seriously there’s few things as fun as a random thing to do with some friends than wandering an Ikea. In case you want something to do sometime soon.
Plus, even though we didn’t get all of the new furniture to fit into Aly’s refurbished room today, we still got a bunch of nice household stuff. Like some pillows that we desperately needed.
Or that we will desperately need after such a long day out, I suppose.
I also made a very interesting little observation while we were there. See as you can imagine for a store the size of a small country that has replicas of households built within it, all segmented into various kinds of applications throughout a maze, Ikea needed a way to direct the mass exodus of people.
From what I recall growing up, that goal was mostly accomplished by taping or painting arrows on the floor. That much hasn’t changed:
Except that’s not tape. Nor is it paint.
That arrow is courtesy of a digital projector.
At first I was confused about the whole thing. It seems like it would be far less expensive to use tape rather than installing all of these projectors throughout the store. There are a lot of arrows, as I’m sure you can imagine.
But then I thought about it and realized that there’s also some merit to the long-term staying power of projectors versus something like tape.
People are constantly walking throughout that store. Thousands, probably. Day-in and day-out. Seven days a week.
That’s got to wear on physical markings pretty considerably. Enough so that tape or paint might have to be re-applied every other day just to keep the information fresh.
With a projector you don’t have to worry about that. So long as the tech is working, you never have to worry about the arrows washing away under a sea of feet.
I kind of came around in my own head to recognize how good of a long-lasting idea it is to do this, is what I’m saying.
Bet you didn’t think you’d be reading a blog post that said ‘sea of feet’ in it today, did you?
Well I did it. Which likely marks this portion off as a good place to end things off.
I didn’t really have a solid idea of exactly what I wanted to write about today, so thanks for making it this far into my roadmap of our long day of chores. It seemed like as good of a stand-in for content as I could imagine.
So with that said, I’m off to go play some video games before bed. Hope you all have a good day/night/whatever it may be in your time zone!