TV Turn Off

Once upon a time in the not-too-distant future:

FYI-from : Just a reminder that TV Turnoff Week 2007 begun this week. If you have not yet pulled the plug on you TV, it is definitely not too late. In fact, go ahead and do it right now -- this can wait!

More info:
The idea is simple: take your TV, your DVD player, your video iPod, your XBOX 360, your laptop, your PSP, and say goodbye to them all for seven days. Simple, but not at all easy. Like millions of others before you, you’ll be shocked at just how difficult – yet also how life-changing – a week spent unplugged can really be.
But there’s a lot more to TV Turnoff Week than shaking up your relationship with passive entertainment. It’s all about saying no to being bombarded with unwelcome and unhealthy commercial messages. It's about saying no to unfettered corporate media concentration and to the democratic deficit that results. And it's about challenging the heavily distorted reflection of the world that we see on the screen, a reflection that is keeping us ill-informed and unaware of the very real political and environmental crises that we all currently face.
This year, we’re returning to the kind of stunt that spawned the Adbusters Media Foundation and our ongoing Media Carta Legal Battle against the corporate gatekeepers that control access to the public airwaves. There are loads of ways you can get involved, whether it’s spreading the word with a poster campaign, posting our spots on your video blog, or making a donation to help us air the uncommercials on broadcast TV.
Or, you can just go ahead and brace yourself for the challenges and joys of seven days spent liberated from the commercial information grid.

I learned about this a wee bit too late, having watched 24* and the last bit of Highlander Season 2 at the beginning of the week. My TV watching habits have changes since my younger and/or college days when the idiot’s lantern would be on all the time. I watch about a half hour of news and an hour or TV or DVD every day and about four hours on Saturday and Sunday (more if Holly and I are marathoning a show). Which is what- fifteen and a half hours of television? Yeah, I am a couch potato.

I also am a bit of a Luddite- I do not have an ipod (or any MP3 player) or a video game system and I do not have any sort of pay TV. The DVD viewing is a bit of an obsession but I can hold off for at least until after Saturday, right? I have several books I need to catch up on anyway. Being safe from commercials for a week though? Too bad you cannot skip them when you are driving home, listening to the radio or especially going online.

*By the way, Mr. Silver Spoons, there are no power lines just off the Tampa Exit on the 118. There is a Whole Foods and a Greek restaurant, but no power lines.

Bad news that make you ashamed of being human:

An extremely rare leopard was found killed- it was apparently beaten to death. Not from poaching or loss of habitat, although both are reasons why the cat is endangered, but this particular cat was found beaten to death. This just sucks.

Trying to get that off my mind, I return to where I found the following article. When I started bloggity blogging, I would post entire articles instead of where they can be found. I like what the Compact are doing and would love to try it as well. The Chronic Overwork to Spend More- that is such an evil cycle. As Thoreau said it best, simplify, simplify, simplify. And as the Buddha also said it best, ridding your attachment to those earthly things is one step towards enlightenment.

Breaking the Consumer Habit: Living the Buy Nothing Life

San Francisco, 1951.
A living room fills with warm laughter and the aroma of fresh-baked goodies. Suburban housewives walk around the room exchanging smiles, telling stories. It’s like any other casual gathering, except for one twist: this is a Tupperware party, everyone is here to shop.

Painting over gray decades of war and depression with bright pastels, products like Tupperware ushered in a new era of prosperity, renewal and superabundance. Consumer goods like the television set and the Cadillac became more than just necessities for life: for millions of consumers, they were the essence of life itself.

Fast forward to 2005. A group of friends in the San Francisco Bay Area are meeting over a potluck dinner. Disillusioned by the endless consumer rat race, they are here to discuss how to not shop, to put an end to needless consumption. Taking the concept of Buy Nothing Day to the extreme, they have decided to attempt a full year without buying new products. Dubbing themselves “The Compact” after the Mayflower pledge at Plymouth Rock, the group vowed to limit their shopping to food, medicine and basic hygiene products, buying used wherever they could. Since the local news began covering them, their story has exploded, appearing everywhere from the Today Show to The Times of London. Today, with 8,000 new members and 55 subgroups worldwide - from regions as varied as Singapore and Iceland - the Compact are finding themselves at the forefront of the turning tide against consumer culture.

What the Compacters are doing is neither radical nor revolutionary; millions of people around the world live this way, and have lived this way for generations. Yet the Compact threatens and challenges everything that people have come to believe about “the good life” in the industrialized world. Reactions to the movement have been passionate, ranging from applause to outrage. Compact members have been accused of being “self-congratulatory braggarts” who are “destroying America’s economy.” One Compacter in Chilliwack, Canada, recalls friends reacting as if she had joined a Satanic cult. Love it or hate it, the Compact has made people question and the real motives behind their daily purchases.

“I used to shop to entertain myself,” confesses Lori Wyndham Jolly, an American expat and Compacter living in Berkshire, UK. “I’d go into a record store and buy a whole load of discount CDs, or into a chemist and get a lot of cheap cosmetics . . . I didn’t do this because I needed any of that stuff, but just to fill the emptiness. I read a throwaway line in paperback once, but it’s stuck with me: People shop because they’re lonely.”

“We’re constantly on the drive to consume more stuff,” says Rachel Kesel, a Bay Area Compacter who keeps a closely followed blog about her experiences. “It becomes a habit and not necessity.”

The reasons why people join the Compact are varied. Some join to cut back on spending, others to reduce waste, still others to escape materialism and focus on spiritual values. One thing they all recognize is that shopping is not the solution to their problems - in fact, it may very well be the cause to many of them.

“Money and debts seem to be ruling our life,” observes Rúna Björg Gartharsdóttir, a Compacter in Iceland. She explains to Adbusters that she joined the Compact to escape what she calls the “vicious cycle” of consumerism - the chronic overwork to be able to spend more; the social disintegration resulting from overwork; the environmental damage caused by consumer waste; conflict over resources to supply consumer demand. In other words, a myriad of problems loosely bound by the innocent desire for an iPod or a luxury car collection.

It is no coincidence that the emergence of the Compact coincides with the rising popularity of the down-shifting and environmental movements. People throughout the developed world have realized that, unlike our psychological desires - which are infinite - our physiology and environmental resources have limits. Our body can’t handle 80-hour workweeks on a 6,000-calorie-per-day diet, no more than our earth can handle cities like New York producing 12,000 tons of solid waste every single day, or the hundreds of millions of discarded cell phones that release cancer-causing toxins into the air. Something, someday, will have to give.

For now, most Compacters defensively state that their choice is a strictly “personal” one and that they have no political agenda. Yet they continue to stir up discontent by turning their back on a sacred ideal, the belief shared by billions around the world that “more” is better than “just enough.” Marketers are hoping this is a fringe movement. The signs point elsewhere. According to recent surveys by sociologist Juliet Schor, 81 percent of Americans believe their country is too focused on shopping, while nearly 90 percent believe it is too materialistic. Newspapers such as USA Today received record reader responses when columnist Craig Wilson swore off shopping for a full year. Radical anti-consumers such as the Freegans (people who survive on discarded food and products) are proving that people can survive off the waste of affluent consumers.

Gartharsdóttir, for her part, speaks with some pride when people tell her that her refusal to shop will shake her country’s economy. “It shows clearly the strong influence the marketing forces currently have on the nation,” she says. “We should rule our lives and decide what comes first.”

_Jenny Uechi

And I also have to agree with the following comment on the article. Balance is perfection. Plus, I love obtaining art that inspires me.


I'm a graphic designer and an artist. There are things i just have to spend money on: materials, software, props, etc. Otherwise i wouldn't be able to do a lot of the things that i do. I wouldn't have a job that i like and i wouldn't have a passion. I shop for clothes and shoes and makeup because i use them to express myself; i shop for music because it inspires me, and i have an ipod because it allows me to carry it wherever i go; i spend a lot of money on books and movies because they inspire me too. i acquire camera equipment to improve my work. i need my sunglasses so i don't have to squint when i walk out into the sun, and i buy banana boat sunblock to protect my skin. i don't want to deteriorate my eyesight or get skin cancer. as much as i spend, i also understand the importance of waste management. as an artist, i like to reuse many things, so i hardly throw anything away unless i'm absolutely sure i cannot use it for anything else. i recycle. i give my clothes and shoes to several organizations so that other people with fewer resources can make use of them when i don't anymore. i'm saving up for my master's degree. and i strive to use my design work to serve a good cause instead of mindless/senseless advertising, like most people expect graphic designers to do. i'm not criticising what these people have done or what is reported here; it was an interesting read, but clearly a lot of people myself included possibly would not relate to it. for me it's not about abandoning the habit of shopping completely; it's about investing in things that truly matter. it's about finding a balance in life.

Where else I can be found:
See all my amazing friends! Beware of inside jokes that no one, even my friends will get!
Possibly maybe stories and projects that I am working on
This will probably be the most updated one with all of my thoughts, feelings, book and movie reviews and other random stuff.

Stuff involving Pinoys

Once upon a time in the not-too-distant future:

Everyone should go to this if they can:

EVENT Fiestas Filipinas 2007: "Many Islands, One People"

LOCATION Oxnard Performing Arts Center, 800 Hobson Way, Oxnard, CA 93030;

DATES June 9 - 10, 2007 (Fiesta); June 12, 2007 (Flag Raising at Oxnard City Hall)

OPENING June 9, 2007, 10:00AM - 5:00PM

The Filipino-American Council of Ventura County invites all to come to their Annual Philippine Independence Day Celebration, "Many Islands, One People", an event to commemorate the Philippines' Independence from Spain for over 100 years. This Fiestas Filipinas festival will take place on June 9 and 10, 2007 at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center, 800 Hobson Way in Oxnard. The event will include a variety of experiences from film screenings, art exhibitions, live entertainment, traditional dances, youth activities, cultural displays, martial arts exhibits, a car and bike show, various food vendors, an Adobo Cook-off contest and a formal dinner dance.

The fiesta kicks off on Saturday, June 9th, with an exciting presentation of independent films and an art exhibition. The exhibition will include paintings and photographic expressions of Filipino culture, spirituality, and politics by internationally known and local artists. The film screening will feature a variety of inspiring pieces by independent film producers.

Highlighting Day 1 of the weekend's festivities is "Dessa: Asia's Divette" also known as the Asian Powerhouse. Dessa gained international acclaim and recognition as Asia's divette when she won the 1993 Federation International Def Organisation de Festival (FIDOF) held in Russia. Also gracing the stage is Bay Area's four-part R&B female singing group, IMMIJ and Oxnard's very own Lew Soratorio Jr. aka L.E.W.I.S.

Included in the Fiesta schedule is an entire day of cultural celebration including Filipino Martial Arts demonstration conducted by Mt. San Antonio College Filipino Martial Arts group who will demonstrate Eskrima, Arnis, Kali and kickboxing. The Fil-Am Camarillo Association will host a "Shall We Dance?" competition ala "Dancing with the Stars" for young and adult couples. Salin Lahi, Zambales Youth Dancers, Angie's Angels, Undeclared, and Emanon will perform a wide array of dances from cultural, modern hip-hop, to belly-dancing. Author, James Daos, of "Ants on the Rainbow", an adventure story about a colony of surfing ants in search of the perfect wave - will be having a story reading and book signing for children of all ages. A car exhibition by High End Performance of Ventura, CA will also take place in the main parking lot displaying several modified show class import vehicles. The day ends with an evening of a formal Filipiniana dinner dance, hosted by Q-104.7's Fred Rock, with a live band- Music Masters, and also to award the winning pageant couple for Mr. & Ms. Philippine Independence 2007.

Day 2 of the fiesta kicks off with an Ecumenical Service at 10:00am in the Oxnard Room. The 2nd Annual Adobo Cook-off will take place in the patio areas while a Harley Davidson bike exhibition by the Pinoy Harley Riders of Southern California will be displayed at OPAC's main parking lot. ICAC will host their 3rd Annual Filipino-American Idol singing contest at 11:00am, leading to another special guest performance by American Idol's Season 3 - Top 12 Finalist, Camile Velasco.

For the duration of the event, over several vendors will be located throughout the facility lobby, terrace, main halls, and gallery spaces including: Pinoy Appeal Clothing Unlimited, Michael's Arts and Crafts, Philippine Expressions Bookstore, United States Army, Visayan Association, Pain Free USA, Ava Sari Sari, Ilocano Association, Java Joe's Expresso, Tri-Counties Regional Center Senior Program, Lexus of Oxnard, Arbonne, Dip N Dots, Kapitbahay News, Meesh Meesh Designs and more.

To close this year's celebration, an annual Philippine Flag raising will take place at 12 noon on Tuesday, June 12th at the Oxnard City Hall, 305 W. 3rd Street, Oxnard.

# # #

For more information on Fiestas Filipinas or to purchase tickets for the Dinner/Dance & Pageant, please contact: Charleen Morla - Chairperson (805) 236-1309 or Tony Grey (805) 415-2958, email or visit

Char is a good friend and an amazing artist as well (she has more talent in the pinky toe than I will ever have in a million life times). And this event sounds like tons of fun. Maybe it is time for a trip home?

Anyway, looking for something closer to home I came across the Philippines Association of Austin at Apparently there are at least 10,000 fobs in this city and they are all trying their best to avoid me. However, all the events listed on the association’s site are for last year and so far nothing is planned for this year. Word on the grapevine is that they found out about me and most of them moved to Waco.

But apparently there are some brave ones left and there are four combination restaurant/grocery stores (just like what you would find in neighbourhood corners in the islands!) here in this burg. For that reason, I shall out them:

2400 E. Oltorf Ste. 12-A
(512) 443-2062

Oriental Grocery & Bakery
707 E. Braker #105
(512) 833-9420

2309 Parmer
(512) 973-8745

Mang Dedoy
8863 Anderson Mill Rd.
(512) 249-0283 and 203-7319

I recommend the pansit, lumpia, menudo (us fobs do not make it with tripe, so do not fear it), adobo, kari-kari, calamansi drink, halo-halo, ube, dinuguan (yes- it is cooked in BLOOD, but do not fear it, it is delicious or as we say- masarap!) and the beef steak with onions (no real name for it as far as I know, my uncle who makes a great version of this just calls it befstek)

Unfortunately, most of these are not vegetarian so if we ever go to these places, I will be in the corner nursing the San Miguel.

Where else I can be found:
See all my amazing friends! Beware of inside jokes that no one, even my friends will get!
Possibly maybe stories and projects that I am working on
This will probably be the most updated one with all of my thoughts, feelings, book and movie reviews and other random stuff.

Bad news, gooder news...

Once upon a time in the not-too-distant future:

So much bad news lately, from the Imus Incident, The lacrosse Duke boys getting off scott free, the Virginia Tech shootings* and of course, the daily deaths from the War On Terror. I am sure I am missing a thing or two, but hey- we are living in end times.

While we all wait for Ragnarok, here are some websites that I visit regularly in an attempt to expand my horizons (I usually fail in expanding those horizons, but I still have fun reading these sites at least):

All of these sites deal with racial issues, identity, how the mainstream world views minorities (good and bad) and the efforts made by many to, for lack of a better term, ‘equalize’ everybody no matter where you were born, how long you have been here and what color your skin is.

They tend to focus on or get the most attention for the more negative items like Rosie O’Evil’s ching chong rant a few months back or the recent Imus Incident but they do also focus on more positive things to (particularly, ironically, angry asian man).

*Curious observation: As with Columbine years ago, anything involving guns, lots of guns becomes a sensitive topic, so I wonder how Hot Fuzz (which I want to see badly) will fare now that the shooter posed and dressed like the characters in that movie?

*Curious Observation number two: The ‘Please Let It Be Some Other Minority’ thing. Were that many people hoping the shooter was some other race than their own? My first thought was, Dude, thirty people just got mowed down by another psycho, not I hope the guy was not a fob.

*Curious observation number three: Okay, time to get over this and move on. At least for mainstream media coverage of this damned event.

On to other important stuff that we all should ponder: the new VNV Nation album is awesome. Thank you to Metropolis, by the way, for getting it to me two weeks before street date. The new Combichrist ain’t bad either and I finally got to hear what And One sound like via their also awesome album Body Pop- a la mode as the saying goes…


24 getting slightly better. The season started off very strong with four of the best episodes the series has ever put out. But the middle section of the show veered into predictability- it was fun, but it was all done before. And, worse, the Bauer was rarely seen. But now the story focuses back on him again and (albeit predictably) he is rogue again. This season so far (minus the opening four) feels like a best of compilation but hopefully it will be one of those best of comps that come with a brand new awesome single.

Other stuff seen: Highlander Season One and Two. This show lasted six years? There are good episodes (and started with a strong pilot), but so far the cheesy ones outnumber them. They are not bad, just very outdated and the bad-guy-of-the-week angle just tires me out. I liked the first movie and the fourth one with Donnie Yen that was based on the TV show as well, but so far, the first two seasons are strictly for those days when you have nothing else to watch.

Although seeing that Panzer guy explain the episodes are hilarious. This guy makes the fanboys who love this show look normal.

Also seen: Justice League Unlimited Season Two. Taken too soon, this is an awesome show. Live action movies can never capture the grandeur of superheroes like this show can.

What I want to see NOW: The new series of Doctor Who. I have been reading spoilers on the web and it looks like the show has kept up the quality set up by the first two series. Not counting Fear Her, of course. That was pure cheese. But Rhino-headed storm troopers, Shakespeare, the Face of Boe and the impending return on not only the DALEKS but also the Time Lords! Sounds like some fun stuff coming up. This is becoming my favourite show at the moment and they great job at making the viewer want more.

PS: When are we getting Torchwood and the Sarah Jane Adventures!?

Is it here yet: Transformers. Every image I see gets me more excited despite trying to be restrained due to overblown expectations (American Godzilla anyone?).

No real interest in: The new Indiana Jones movie- they should just let it die with grace. However, I am looking forward to the Young Indiana Jones TV show to come to DVD. A 22-DVD set, really George? Do you really want your fans to be poor(er)?

I also have no real interest in Spiderman III and am more than satisfied to just wait for it to come to DVD.

Also no interest: The Austin City Limits Festival. People I know are buying tickets because of peer pressure, hey- remember when Rock N Roll meant being different from the norm? Now you are going to a music fest just because everyone else is? Oh, and so far the announced and confirmed acts suck (except for the Reverend Horton Heat).

PS: Earth Day is this weekend: live in it and love it.
Where else I can be found:
See all my amazing friends! Beware of inside jokes that no one, even my friends will get!
Possibly maybe stories and projects that I am working on
This will probably be the most updated one with all of my thoughts, feelings, book and movie reviews and other random stuff.

He's Asian, He likes KMFDM and He's Your Problem...

Once upon a time in the not-too-distant future:

Due to some access issues, I will be changing how I use the various blogs that I have. Currently all three that I operate use the same info, well not anymore, buddy! This time, I will not take it anymore and this time, this time- IT IS PERSONAL!


Oh, well- anyway see below for how the three places I can be stalked online can be found and how they will work.

On to stuff, Mr. Jam has posted the following on his site:

“Publishing in much of the modern world is hard work -- small margins, high costs, and a declining audience size, thanks to the Internet, video games etc.

But in Asia, things are different.
(a) Penetration of computers and the Internet is relatively small compared to elsewhere
(b) Reading is widespread and parents and teachers encourage it very enthusiastically
(c) Gameboys and Playstations are still relatively rare
(d) The standard of English is high
(e) The cost of publishing is very low
(f) The creativity level is high
(g) The quality of editing, artwork and so on is climbing steadily
(h) The market is huge -- 100s of millions”

First I have to assume he is talking about Asia minus Japan or Korea [and whatever beast it is that China wants to become] which is probably the closest the world has at the moment to that Blade Runner future- and I do hope Toyota makes flying cars soon.

But, I believe, he is right about the literacy (or creativity) levels in what most westerners would think of as third world countries. Growing up in South East Asia- even what you would consider the dumbest kids (which usually include me) would devour stories serialized like the pulps of yesteryear and/or manga/manhua/whatever it is they call comics like Storm Riders (I could never read Chinese or Malay properly or even Tagalog so I stuck to whatever English stories I could find- mostly Marvel comics to the horror of my parents). And they were pulps come to think of it; they were printed on the worst and probably cheapest paper anywhere.

And they would be proficient in local urban legends/superstitions that most people nowadays think they are too sophisticated for. Those are stories that stick to in your head and as time goes by each individual add their little bits to those urban legends before passing it along thus encouraging one’s imagination.

(PS: I saw that dead guy in the elevator and/or chick whose braided hair is on both sides of her head and/or aswang and/or chupacabra again today and he says hi)

And yeah, everyone in Asia speaks English. How else could we have watched Santa Barbara? (Tangent: You would be amazed at the number of Germans who visit good old SB just because of that gosh darned soap opera)

So my question is- how does a guy in Texas break into publishing in Asia? Do I just start sending manuscripts to every publisher and magazine and whatever? I’d love to have a book and/or short story published anywhere, but I just think if I break into the Indian market, it’d just be more fun than just have it come out unnoticed in the West.

Plus, being a god to millions in Calcutta is my first step in world domination- wait- did I just say that out loud?*

(Mind you- I am still practicing my writing and story telling skills, typing out my first hundred [thousand] bad stories before I come across one that I am confident enough to send out to be rejected by publishers. Till then, me being your lord and master will have to wait. I don’t mind tributes though if you want to start early. Cash would be nice).

* Yes I did.

PS: I totally agree with these kids:

And, like no duh:

Okay I wrote all that like a month ago and to be honest, I probably will be utilizing my blogger site very rarely from now on. So congratulations if you read me on livejournal or Myspace.

Been way too busy lately hence the lack of my worthless ramblings.

Now, Virginia Tech: why the emphasis on him being a resident alien? Many sites have already written volumes about that but here is another one. Just because he was a resident alien or South Korean has no bearing on what he did.

Being loony is why he did that.*

If we are going to focus on his race or immigrant status as a factor in why he did what he did, can we revisit Columbine then and say the teenagers did what they did because they were W.A.S.P.’s? Oh and because they listened to KMFDM.

That is all I got to say about that.

(So, I am Asian and I listen to KMFDM- should you be scared of me?)

*Not to be insensitive to those with emotional problems, but he was described to be a depressed loner with ‘disturbing writing’ (more than likely his outlet- which is usually a positive outlet). Yes, it can be seen as a call for help but something pushed him over the edge, I wonder what? Rich kids were mentioned in his suicidal note, wonder if he was bullied, made fun of or just plain jealous?

Where else I can be found:
See all my amazing friends! Beware of inside jokes that no one, even my friends will get!
Be warned, NSFW stuff might be found here. Also- maybe stories and projects that I am working on.
This will probably be the most updated one with all of my thoughts, feelings, book and movie reviews and other random stuff.
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