Behind The Mic: HogPod: The Show About Nothing

In a world where everything is at our fingertips, sometimes nothing is all you need. HogPod: The Show About Nothing is here to give you everything that you need

HogPod is hosted by freshmen Kameron Grant and Samantha Blanchard along with sophomore Connor Trees. Connor is the eldest, but the Television, Film and New Media Major shares an equally youthful exuberance with the rest of the group. The free-flowing, sometimes awkward, always enthusiastic hosts of the show have made improvements in every episode to date, but what is HogPod really about? 

Now, what does a radio show and podcast that is about nothing encompass?

Well, radio shows usually play music and speak on specific topics. You will be sure to hear some music on this program, but the hosts do not really know what music is just yet. Want to know for yourself? Check them out on Fridays at 4 pm and you can hear them shouting at each other, “I still don’t know what music is!”.

You don’t have to know much about something to enjoy it. They are learning as they go. Learning what music is, and also what their show is all about. The show’s name states it is about nothing, however, it is everything you need to enjoy yourself. 

In a time where our President is acting like a child in the public eye, it’s fun to take our mind off of things. HogPod is the perfect show for you to wind down your long work week with, and start the weekend off on a high note. 

Surely, a group of people this funny and witty would have a good story for how their show came to fruition. The funny thing is, that none of this was planned.

Each semester KCR hosts a new member meeting to allow students to join the station. These three met at said meeting, feeling a connection over their choice to join KCR’s video department. Confirmed as part of the video team, a veteran member asked Kameron if they were interested in having a radio show. Kameron hesitated at first, but upon realizing that there would be no harm, he decided to ask Connor and Samantha if they could do one together. 

The three Aztecs who were still basically strangers began the start of HogPod. Their first episode was their first real opportunity to sit down, learn each other’s names, and talk with each other void of distractions. Connor jokingly said, “During the first show I was just sitting there waiting for one of them to say the other person’s name for a bit.” It all worked out well for them though. Kameron said, “It was a cool experiment to stick these three people in a room, and you know it worked.” After a few rookie mistakes, things have become gradually easier for the group, allowing them to play less music and speak on more topics.

The team is more than the sum of its parts, yet these parts come together perfectly.

Samantha began her journalism career early when she had her own Instagram page where she took portraits and interviewed people before moving to SDSU. Kameron has a fascination with Edgar Wright films and hopes to achieve similar success. Swiss Army Man featuring Daniel Radcliffe encompasses the cinematic vision that Connor has. Connor and Kameron have both done their fair share of Youtube videos, and the three are all working together to create more quality content on-air and on camera. This show has only just begun, but the future is looking bright for these three. 

So, what do they talk about on the show about nothing? For starters, with Kameron and Connor both majoring in Television, Film and New Media, the three discuss cinema in various ways. Whether it be your favorite animated movie you forgot about, Over The Hedge, or Samantha confusing Jamie Foxx’s character from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 with George Lopez’s character from Shark Boy and Lava Girl, you’ll be sure to get a laugh out of the conversation. 

Joker just released in theaters and Connor was lucky enough to see it prior to their fourth episode on October 4th. Choosing to avoid spoilers but still keep the topic of conversation, the HogPod team created Guacin Phoenix, the critically acclaimed actor that is your favorite dips for your chips. Not getting exactly how they got there? Well, you need to check out their next show to see if he comes back into the conversation. 

Samantha is majoring in Journalism and Media Studies, and though the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been one of the number one news topics over the last decade, she is not a fan. Stating her disdain for the man who plays Spider-Man. “I don’t like Tom Holland he looks funny.” Kameron and Connor were so dumbfounded by her lack of MCU knowledge that they decided to explain all of the movies using none of the names of the actual superheroes. They certainly were not able to get all the way through the timeline, but it was something to hear them try.

They also have a reoccurring, invisible guest named Daniel. You can’t see him, nor can you hear him. He’s been very shy so far, but there is hope he’ll speak up one of these days. 

BIG NEWS BIG NEWS BIG NEWS!!!! HogPod is just getting started!

If you’re lucky enough to be tuned in for some Big News you’ll be happy you heard it here first. Each episode they let the listeners know of what big news is going on in the HogPod world, once even contemplating purchasing Kurt Cobain’s home. Unfortunately, it was out of their budget. 

Now with a quarter of a season under their belt, getting comfortable with their new school and show, this team is a family. They’re just like your favorite sitcom; you may not know what is going on all the time, but you know that you are going to enjoy whatever happens next. With the whole world in front of them, where to next? 

HogPod: The Show About Nothing
Photo by Alexis Camel
Written by: Alexis Camel
All photos, shot and edited by Alexis Camel.

Our Love for Converse

More than just a pair of beat-up shoes, my Converse have stood the test of time, carrying defining moments of my youth through its simplicity and sense of familiarity that everyone has grown to love.

I was sitting in a parking lot, surrounded by friends, waiting for a concert to start. We were shaking from the cold and from excitement for the show we had purchased tickets for many months ago. My legs were stretched out in front of me, and I took notice of my hot pink Converse that looked perfect with the blues and pinks from the sky. As I stared at my shoes, I saw all the dirt marks on them. Instead of getting upset about my carelessness with my shoes, I thought about the memories these shoes hold, the memories that have defined my youth that are present on my Converse. 

Proud Owner Since Age Five

I have owned a variety of Converse since the age of five; blue, gray, light pink, hot pink, and the classic white. I remember walking through the Converse store contemplating which color suited me best at the time. Part of the reason why I believe Converse is very popular is because of time.

Playing Against and With Time

Converse All Star shoes have been in production since 1917. Being around for approximately 102 years, they have had to play both against and with time. Every brand’s goal is to exist for as long as possible or to become timeless. Converse, originally a shoe for basketball players, had to challenge time when players moved on to more comfortable and durable shoes. The brand experienced some low points after losing its core consumers, but you can go to almost any setting with young people present and see a pair of Chucks. Our generation seems to gravitate towards anything vintage; record players, mom jeans, fanny packs, and Converse. We long to include ourselves in a past that we have not seen. We lace up our Converse and think about how our parents, and even grandparents, laced their Converse up before us during their coming of age. We are attracted to the sentimentality that comes with aging shoes.

Looking for Simplicity

The Breakfast Club, Booksmart, Stand By Me, and The Edge of Seventeen are all movies about young people trying to understand the world around them now that their view from a place of innocence and comfort is shifting. In all of these movies, there is at least one character wearing Converse. I believe that youths are attached to these shoes because they are simple. As young people, we are overwhelmed by figuring out who we are, others telling us who we should be, and complicated decisions. Chucks can be edgy, soft, vibrant, cool, bold, or whatever we want them to be. Through them, we can show who we are at the moment, and no one picks them but us. They match with almost every outfit, making the decision to wear them uncomplicated. 

New Pair

The Converse that I got in high school has marks from skating in the parking lot after school, running around parks with my friends during sunset, and marching in the streets of downtown to protest injustice. Although I love my Converse and my memories with them, now that I’m in college I think it’s time for a new pair that I can make dirty. I think I’ll get bright yellow because right now, I’m feeling hopeful.

Written by: Maya Dixon

21 Questions: Kevin Almazan

man smiling in front of building

Inspired by Humans of New York, this is 21 Questions; a fun way of getting to know the students, faculty, and staff of SDSU.

Tell us about yourself.

“I am at a point in my life where I feel like I can confidently answer a question like ‘tell us about yourself’. I love the current version of myself and it is surreal how much I have grown.

I am a human being who wants nothing more than to bring positivity and hope to this world. Mainly, because we desperately need more love and cohesion in this world. I am someone who is just trying to polish my gifts and share them with the world. These gifts include compassion, determination, empathy, and a calm soul. I want to help at-risk youth, which might include becoming a counselor, therapist, or social worker.

Looking back at what has happened in my life, I have watched myself grow in so many ways. Especially being a freshman in college, I was immature with certain aspects about being an adult. Now I’m happy to say I’m thriving and working toward making my dreams a reality.

I am graduating in May 2020, so I am excited and proud of making it this far. I will be the first in my family to obtain a degree and that is what keeps me going. I am showing my family that I’ve taken advantage of the opportunity my parents laid out for me. I can’t wait to begin working towards my life goals and becoming the person I have envisioned for so long. 

What are you thinking about, right now?

Right now, I am thinking about how much sleep I have to catch up on honestly. On a serious note, I have been thinking about what I’ve accomplished so far in this new school year.

Thinking about things I would change about myself… Well if I could change one thing about myself, I would erase the regret that I had for things that were completely out of my control. The regrets I had cost me a lot of time and energy that I will never get back. Other than that, I would leave everything else the same because I have accepted myself for who I am. As for the world, I would change the lack of understanding and love that we have for one another. If people made an effort to get to know others there wouldn’t be as much hate or destruction. Ignorance has led to hate and that has led to fear which has led to destruction (the endless wars that have ravaged the planet). Just a little empathy and that would make a huge difference.”I

If you could tell your younger self anything what would it be?
“I would tell my younger self to be strong because things do get better. That was something I didn’t believe when I was younger.”

Kevin Almazan, pronouns: He/Him/His

Stirring the Pot: Gatekeeping in the Skateboarding Community

The skateboarding community has been notoriously associated with the concept of gatekeeping since skate culture became mainstream.

I mean, wear a Thrasher shirt as a non-skater and suddenly you’ve got an army of beanie-ridden, board-strapped teenage boys chasing you down as they yell “POSER!!” at you in perfect unison. That may sound a little far-fetched, but believe me: skaters are brutal. While films like Mid90s depict the best aspects of skateboarding (community values, personal growth, and an escape from the harshness of home life), they also give a taste of the worst. While the negatives (excluding drug and alcohol abuse) are depicted in a lighthearted, juvenile manner, the use of derogatory language heavily present in the film and skateboarding community–especially skateparks– unintentionally alienates and excludes individuals from the LGBTQ+ community from feeling comfortable, safe, and happy in a space designed to bring like-minded individuals together. Although I don’t skate myself, I see this toxic behavior prevalent in the skating community as I have many friends with personal experiences relating to the topic. To get a deeper insight, I spoke with my friend, Aidan Skillingstad, a fellow freshman at SDSU who is quite familiar with the toxicity found in the skateboarding community.

1. How long have you been skating and what brought you to start?

“I’ve been skating on and off since I was in the second grade when I lived in Las Vegas because I have an older brother who had a lot of friends who skated, so whenever my brother and I would hang out, he would always be skating. This eventually led to me getting my own skateboard. I ended up taking a break from it for a couple of years but I went back to it towards the end of middle school ‘cause I moved to a new place and didn’t have a lot of friends, so skating helped me make a friend group and break out of being alone. Despite making friends, I just like the activity in itself. Like landing a new trick is a very fulfilling feeling.”

2. Do you prefer skating alone or in groups?

“When I was younger I would skate primarily with my brother, just because I didn’t know how to skate so he would be the one teaching me stuff. But in middle school and high school, I preferred skating with people, specifically my close-knit friend group of skaters. And now, I just prefer skating alone–it’s more of an anxiety thing. Like being in a new place and meeting skaters is kind of scary because you don’t know if they’re gonna be better or worse than you or judge you.”

3. What was your first skatepark experience like?

“The first time I went to a skate park was in Las Vegas–my brother would get dropped off at the skatepark on the weekends, so we would just be there all day skating, but I was a kid so I didn’t really care if I was getting in the way or skating poorly. I was just following my brother around, tagging along for fun. But to older skaters, I was kind of annoying as I would just skate around without paying attention to other people.”

4. When did you first realize that gatekeeping existed in the community?

“So the first time I actually was aware of it was probably like middle school when I started getting back into it. I had a little bit of experience, but I was not good. I still couldn’t do much on the board, and none of my friends could either. We were all getting into it together, so there wasn’t any judgment between any of us because we were all trying to push each other to be better. But then we would be skating around town with a big group and come across a group of older skaters, ones that were a lot better. Even though we were really trying to give it our best, to them it seemed like we were just doing it to be cool. Over the years that feeling was just terrible, so that’s why now I prefer skating alone just because I just don’t like putting myself in that kind of situation. But it’s something that I like. I just don’t know why I should feel like I’m judged for that. It shouldn’t matter how good I am, just that I enjoy it.”

5. Have you had a personal experience with this?

“Well for me, I push mongo which is not the way you’re supposed to push on a skateboard. So there’s stances and the way you do a trick–you can be regular or goofy–then there’s the way that you actually push the board. This is something that causes a lot of judgment, so if you push regular that’s normal (left foot on the board, right foot pushing). But I push the opposite, which kind of looks stupid, especially when you’re losing your balance you do this weird kind of step thing which is a little embarrassing. If you push mongo, there’s this underlying judgment from other skaters, like you’re not really considered cool or whatever. So that was something that even now I try to avoid by practicing pushing regular. It goes back to the whole anxiety thing, which again is why I prefer skating alone nowadays.”

6. Would you say that the whole gatekeeping concept (existing in both skateboarding itself and within the culture as a whole) creates a toxic atmosphere which prevents people from getting into skating?

“I kind of feel conflicted about it because from one perspective, I don’t like the gatekeeping in skateboarding and I don’t like that people judge you for the brands you wear or the skateboard you have, but also at the same time as a skateboarder, I kind of have this tendency to gatekeep myself–it’s my first response when talking about skating that it’s my thing and that other people don’t appreciate it as much as I do.”

7. Has the toxicity in the community affected you personally?

“So even from a young age I knew that I was different in terms of who I was attracted to but I definitely tried to suppress the feelings or thoughts, so when I would go skate with my brother and his friends as a young kid hearing ‘g*y” and “f****t’ being used in derogatory ways by older teens made me feel like it wasn’t okay to be who I was. Likewise, skating with peers my age in middle and high school who also used this type of language on a regular basis did not help with self-identity. I was more open to who I actually was, but despite that, it was hard to be totally accepting of myself when my friends might not even be accepting of me.”

I’m going to be honest — prior to interviewing my good friend Aidan, I hadn’t even factored the LGBTQ+ community into the equation. I went in expecting just to discuss the common exclusionary, juvenile behavior of teens and left with a new perspective into how these harsh words and practices ostracize an entire group of individuals just looking for an escape themselves.

The use of negative language about LGBTQ+ individuals is especially harsh for teenagers to hear as they are in the midst of exploring their individuality, sexuality, and sense of self. This can be extremely confusing and frustrating for them, as the language denotes a lack of openness and acceptance in the community preventing them from feeling as if they can be themselves amongst people who share the same passion–skating. It frustrates me to know this. But Aidan recognizes that is just a factor of the culture–the harshness is just a phase every skater must endure before fully feeling apart of the community, almost like being hazed before being initiated into a fraternity. But if you skate, be mindful of what you say and recognize when others are spewing derogatory terms into the wind. It may just be “apart of the culture” and just another form of “locker room talk”, but words are powerful; let’s make the skating community more inclusive so that more individuals can appreciate the satisfaction of finally landing that first ollie.

Written by: Olivia Flores
Photo by: Isaac Lopez