My favorite issues from running Orange City News

These are the covers that I’m most fond of since I started covering Orange and Villa Park in September. Below each part are links to the full articles should you have an inkling to read some more.

Orange News Jan.6

In the above issue:

El Camino Real Park in Orange is hit for handball players

Villa Park tightens control over marijuana

Relics of Saint will visit a church in Orange

Nov. 11 part1
Nov. 11 part2

In the above issue:

Orange persimmon party is a peculiar tradition

Urth Caffe design gets okay from Orange officials

Orange events celebrating Veterans day

Lady Orange Column on housing developments in East Orange

Oct. 7 part1
Oct. 7 part2

In the above issue:

Orange group makes ceramic angels to commemorate events

Election sought for OUSD school district

Water District official testifies in D.C.

I interviewed the guy who inspired Dr. Alan Grant in Jurassic Park

I recently interviewed Dr. John (Jack) Horner about coming to Chapman University in Orange as a fellow. He’ll be leading research and teaching classes on education – not dinos – but I talked to him a little bit about both.

The following is the interview I had that was published in The Orange County Register a few months ago.

ORANGE – John “Jack” Horner, a world-renowned paleontologist who was a consultant for Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park,” will join Chapman University as a presidential fellow in the fall of 2016.

Horner, 69, has been at the forefront of important discoveries. He was among the group that unearthed the first dinosaur eggs in the western hemisphere that turned out to include the first discovery of dinosaur embryos. He was a MacArthur Genius Grant recipient in 1986, too.

Next summer, he will retire after 33 years as regents professor of paleontology at Montana State University and then head to Chapman, where he will help with creative-learning techniques.

Horner spoke about his work, his influence in the field, and what brought him to Chapman:

Q. What do you do as a paleontologist?

A. I do a lot of things. First and foremost, I go look for dinosaurs. I do that all over the world. I have worked all over Asia and South America and Africa and Europe. …

I get a team together of anywhere from 10 to 100 people, and we find out what questions we’re interested in answering and we set up camp and look for stuff. When we find it, we excavate it. Then we clean up the fossils and study them. …

Most of the questions I’m concerned with are learning about dinosaur behavior and growth. It covers a lot of information.

Q. How has your work influenced current theory?

A. When I started back in the ‘70s, people still thought dinosaurs were regular old reptiles. I was part of the group of people that started realizing that birds were dinosaur descendants, and a lot of my early discoveries confirmed that. I was part of what they call the “dinosaur renaissance.”

The whole notion of dinosaurs being green and slow and cold-blooded changed over to them being more like birds, warm-blooded and less reptilian.

Q. How did you get involved at Chapman University, and what kind of work will you be doing there?

A. “I recently came down to Chapman for the dyslexic summit. I’m dyslexic. I’ve actually written more books than I’ve ever read. The way I do things is very different from the way most people do things. I think very spatially. …

Chancellor (Daniele) Struppa asked me about wanting to work there and he was interested in looking at how education works and changing the education system in such a way that people like myself and other dyslexics wouldn’t be turned away just because we think differently.

So, I’m coming down there to rethink education and create a class about creativity and imagination and thinking outside of the box.

Q. What did you do as a consultant for the “Jurassic Park” franchise?

A. My job was to help the director … to make sure everything was accurate that could be accurate. I helped to make sure the actors pronounced the dinosaur names correctly. I was there to oversee the film and make sure they (the dinosaurs and the characters) could be as scientifically accurate as they could be for a fictional film.

Q. How are you similar or different to the character of Alan Grant?

A. Alan Grant is a character that was created in the book by Michael Crichton, and he created that character based on a book I wrote called “Digging Dinosaurs.” In the movie, Alan Grant is based on the book character, which is based on my discoveries and work in Montana. Basically there’s a lot of insinuation that he’s based on me.

All I can say is I’m glad his character didn’t get eaten by a dinosaur.

Q. Do you have a favorite thing you’ve accomplished or discovery you’ve made?

A. I’ve found an awful lot of stuff, but I always say that my favorite part of my whole career is producing really great students. I’m so proud of my students. They’re more important to me than any ol’ dinosaur.

Q. Do you have a favorite dinosaur?

A. I have named about a dozen of them, so I guess I should pick one of those. But I never really have a favorite. … I’d say my favorite one is always the one I’m currently working on. It changes almost every day.

A recap of my Hoziest experience yet

IMG_0787A few weeks ago I got a text reading something like: “BROOKE text these codewords to 98.7 every 30 minutes for a chance to win Hozier tickets!”

The text was of course from my younger sister, the most Hozier obsessed human I know. As a solid older sister, I oblige and send in 10 different code-word texts to be entered to win Hozier tickets.

But these weren’t really just tickets. It was for a private concert  on the roof of the Redbury Hotel in Los Angeles.IMG_0816

And I won.

It feels good to win, especially when all you’ve been thinking about lately is the massive amount of debt you plan to drown in starting 6 months from now.


We not only heard Hozier, but we took a photo with him. Perhaps the best part for me was the Redbury Hotel’s amazing Dark and Manly which is a twist on the classic Dark and Stormy.

Me with the aforementioned drink donning my favorite flannel for Hozier.

Whiskey and ginger beer will always win the day.

The Myth of Meaningful Work TEDx Talk


This is one of my favorite TEDx Talks from TEDxAzusaPacificUniversity. I had the pleasure of helping one of my college professors plan our university’s first-ever TEDx talk. I helped with aspects of running the event day-of, organizing tickets and attendance, creating promotional materials, and a number of other tasks to prepare.

The above talk explores what meaningful work is and whether or not we can find it and bring it into our day-to-day lives. As a student who heard this while just approaching graduation and wondering how to get through stacks of applications and job listings, this talk resonated with me and reminded me that meaning is something we make and choose. It reminded me that our purpose and meaning is not tied to the job we do, but how we do things.

In a speech that highlights the significance and beauty of the mundane, Dr. Hartwig explains that we have authority over our lives’ meaning.

A great listen whether you are a dewy-eyed graduating college student (like I was when I heard this) or someone jaded with years of work.


TEDxAzusaPacificUniversity Follow Up

TEDxAzusaPacificUniversity Stage

APU President Jon Wallace, Dr. Brooke Van Dam, and Dr. Ryan Montague (our hosts)

Dr. Michael Bruner giving his talk titled “The Amnesia Industry”

Jim Daichendt’s talk titled “The Street’s as Canvas”

Olympic Gold Medalist Bryan Clay’s talk “Run Your Race”

Dr. Ryan Hartwig’s talk “The Myth of Meaningful Work”

Dr. John Thornton “Flipping Rich”

Ed Barron’s talk “The Flywheel Effect”

Volunteer Corrdinator Payton Boeh, Myself (event coordinator) and Live Blogger Jessie Gomez in the media center leading up to the event.

Myself and Dr. Brooke Van Dam during an event break

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Was able to sneak some time to take photobooth pictures with our host Dr. Van Dam and a friend who attended.

Our final event went of without a hitch. The talks were great, informational, insightful and on more than one occasion inspiring.

Our photos officially went up on our website this week and we are working to get the videos of the talks up and available for the public. I look forward to sharing the talks.

It was a privilege to be involved in such a great experience that provided an opportunity to spend time thinking creatively and challenging the world around us.

I’ll speak more to the actual talks as the videos come out, but thought I’d share some photos for now.