Happy New Year w/No Resolutions Attached!
Hi! And another Happy Belated New Year! I don’t believe in resolutions – you either accomplish the will to do things or you don’t. I think we’re all sick of hearing how bad the economy is, so let’s stick to a positive attitude about the future. It’s sad enough that the masses are flocking in droves to seek delusions to nurture their insecurities. But, as I’ve said, the good of humanity will prevail in the long run. Yup, I have a positive attitude about things…
I’ve been media fasting in the previous week, done well with it… did some changes to my habits, and now I’m back …with another rayhom.com site update and makeover. Part vanity, but mainly organization of content. Whatja think? Yeah, I wonder why I’m here also. It’s been over 10 years since I started this site, and I continue to pay the fees to keep it up. ’cause there’s a small hint that some of you still swing by here and read/comment/insult my ramblings & thoughts.
I owe y’all one.
Anyways, this “media fasting” thing that I’m talking about is chronicled below. Basically, for one week, it was no movies, no video games, no TV, and no Internet browsing (including IM) for me. Email and music are okay. What resulted was me doing a lot of reading and writing… and cleaning out useless/space & time cosuming junk. And getting my chores done. Hitting the gym. Spending time with friends & family. Being that it was the holidays made it easer. I ended up unsusbcribing from a lot of useless blogs, and removing bookmarks and emails that have links to dumb YouTube videos of people doing dumb things, or a Flash animation of reindeers singing in “Jingle Bells” with elven voices. The main positive thing that came out of this exercise was getting into the rhythm of reading consistently again.
As for the new rayhom.com, most of you know the routine. It’s still the same blog of my latest happenings and ramblings… and projects. I will also be chronicling my physical workout routine under the category of Bench Monkeys United. B.M.U. is a term created by Matt. I recently wrote the intro entitled “Man Amongst Men“. This will include our competition for hiking, scuba diving, bench pressing, etc. Pretty much our adventures to see how much Life can beat us into submission by completing all the things we want to do on our “Before I Die” lists.
I also will have guest writers for rayhom.com. First up is Jerry, who I worked alongside with way back at COE.com and who was an advice columnist for the company’s subsite Asianmall.com. He will be the first of many to come. He will focus mostly on movies, the state of asian-america.com, and how he regretted having not gotten with some FCs in the past.
And check out the launch of my first short film “Hubris” at theHubrisFilm.com.
Stick around, there’s plenty of stuff coming up…
To be nobody but myself — in a world which is doing its best,
night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle
which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.
-E.E. Cummings, poet (1894-1962)
I am currently media fasting for exactly one week starting at 12pm, Friday, 12.19.08, I will be adhering to the following rules:
* No Movies, No Video Games, No TV.
* Internet will be limited to only work related business. Also, it’s okay if I pay bills online, or change account information for something. Updating rayhom.com is also okay, as it is considered “work”-related.
* Reading books is okay; got to fight illiteracy. But news online and blogs do not count as that is temptation to browse.
* No IM, since sometimes I think I chat too much. I will strictly communicate with email, since that will limit my time to exactly what I would consider important enough to say.
* Music is okay. But, since I can’t surf for porn, I will be listening to a lot of porn music.
Why am I doing this?
Inspired by my bro, Stan, and his wifey, Jenn, recently they felt they were over-indulging with too much TV and video games. As a disciplinary measurement of how reliant I can be on the media, I want to see what areas I can be more productive in for the next week. And I made this pact with my “bro-in-law” Ken (probably when I was drunk). I’ll record my findings here the day after Christmas. Happy Holidays, everybody!
NOTE: The links and images to the following were updated after the media fasting.
24 Hours Later: 12pm, Saturday, 12.20.08.
So, far so good. I spent the past 24 hours washing the dishes, filing away all the paper work that piled on my desks, tables, and floors. (It’s a guy’s place.) I spent the large chunk of my hours finishing up scanning, editing, and color correcting some old pictures of my parents, and of me and my brother when we were young… very young. Two old boxes were sitting in my parent’s closet for so many years with not much of a glimpse of the past of them. Boy, does it rile up my emotions just thinking of how naÃ¯ve and care-free I was when I look at these pics, and I’m also weirded out that my parents had a life before I was born! These are the same parents that still bug me if I have a jacket on ’cause it’s cold out? Look at these pics! My parents were some good-looking peoples!
That’s my mom 2nd from the right. What kinda club do you think they were dressin’ up for?
My dad was a poser.
My bro, Stan, and I.
Anyways, I’m planning to get one of those digital frames and have a bunch of these pics ready carouseling in it by Christmas.
I also stacked a few books to hopefully start finish up reading by the end of this media fasting week. I’ve started with “Indiana Jones & The Seven Veils“. It’s a B-Pulp guilty pleasure. It’s only about 275 pages, and I’m already at page 180 now. I’ll finish it later today this afternoon. I have two autobiography books that I also want to finish by the end of the week – Kevin Smith’s “My Boring Ass Life” and Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s “Infidel“. If I do finish these before the week, though, I’ll have to look on the small bookcase that I have in my bedroom to choose from a big stack that I constantly tell myself that I will someday finish them all. I tend to read a lot of blogs, but because of this fasting, this begins the first day that I clear out my bookcase of unfinished books.
I had dinner with Stan & Jenn, and Jerry & Rosanna last night at Westlake’s “Bangkok Garden“. Just my luck, I was sitting at an angle that looked straight-up at the TV that hung above the kitchen door. So, I averted my eyes, and kept them at “eye level” with my fellow companions. When I say “no media”, I mean “no media”!
I was tempted to order the Thai Iced coffee, esp. when I saw two cups of them sitting in front of Stan & Jenn. But, right there and then I decided to add coffee as a vice I will avoid during this moment of fasting. I know it’s not media related, but it’s a bonus to be “good” and focus on my healthy intake also. I will speak more about this in the next few days.
Neither genius, fame, nor love show the greatness of the soul. Only kindness can do that.
-Jean Baptiste Henri Lacordaire, preacher, journalist and activist (1802-1861)
During dinner, Jerry brought up a question that is commonly asked of me. How do I keep such a large circle of friends? I can answer it simply this way: I don’t believe in hanging out with only specific groups of people, which I believe smacks of tribalism. And, also, I trust that people and humanity in general are good (despite how fucked up the world seems to everybody). So, I maintain a large group of friends I consider close to me, and each friend I make adds a certain value, despite everyone’s differences and flaws. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not on a “We Are The World” trip. There are people I do despise, and have my share of “enemies”, and there are certain persons I would not waste my time associating with. Who these people are, I will probably carry to my grave.
The only Internet access I had today was checking the Evite to Terrell’s house party tonight, and paying my AT&T phone bill.
The 2nd day begins.
Day 2: 12:20pm, Sunday, 12.21.08.
I had finished reading “Indy & The Seven Veils” by mid-afternoon yesterday. I know this may not seem like deep intellectual reading to some of you, but it’s more reading than a lot of you do. (Not to point any fingers.) Again, reading Indy novels is a guilty pleasure for me, as Indiana Jones is one of my all time favorite fictional heroes. And, I learn a thing or two, historically, when reading/watching the locales that Dr. Jones visits on his adventures. Okay, I’m done defending myself. As for what “… & The Seven Veils” is about, the adventure takes place in South America where a mythological civilization called “Z” houses members of a tribe who could master the “seven veils”, which includes hiding oneself in the shadows of an environment, veiling other’s memories/thoughts, all the way to the sixth veil of keeping a civilization hidden amongst the jungles of Brazil. This tale was far greater than the 4th Indiana Jones movie. (Aliens & UFOs, huh?) “But, what is the seventh veil?”, you may ask. Well, you have to read the novel yourself, unless you think you’re far too intellectually superior to do so. Anyways, I’ve picked up Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s “Infidel” next to finish reading within the next day or so. I’m currently on page 88 of 350 pages.
Every Sunday, Netflix lists the new movies coming out for the week. And every Sunday morning, I log on to graze over this list to see what new goodies to add to my queue. This Sunday, I can’t do that because of media fasting. I have no clue what new flicks are coming out on video this week. That pains me. I have the 3-movies-at-a-time deal. And I have all 3 movies at home, and I can’t watch ’em. I’m surviving. I currently have the “Man On Wire” documentary. “Cake” by Juwan Chung, who wrote & directed “Baby“. Check out “Baby” at the 4 Star Theater on Clement in San Francisco, if you haven’t yet! The showings are extended until Xmas. And the 3rd movie I have is “Catch & Release“, only because Kevin Smith has a prominent speaking role in the film. I’m patiently waiting for the fasting to pass until I can view these.
Last night, it was a Christmas White Elephant party at Terrell & Frank’s house in the East Bay. We had a hot pot luck dinner. I think that’s what you call it. Everyone brought a dish to throw in the boiling hot pot (3 of them) as we stood around cooking our own food. I brought pork and chicken. I was stuffed by the end of the night.
If some of you don’t know yet, Frank does furniture wood work on the side. Part-time as a hobby, more so for business. You can find the site I created for him at WalnutSlabTable.com. Sorry, I can’t browse to check if that’s correct, but I’m confident that’s the correct domain name based on my memory. Anyways, he called me down to check out his latest project in the workshop of his garage. Seeing the worktable with vice grips and a cutting saw created images from the “Hostel” flicks dancing in my head. This is it! Frank’s gonna kill me for all those times I took his money in poker! (Yes, I do feel guilty about that on occasion.) As I nervously helped him flip over this new small Walnut table that lay next to the grips, he said,”It’s not finished yet. I still have to fix the feet, but that’s your new coffee table.” Eh? “It’s yours.” What a pleasant surprise. He brushed off some of the chippings and showed me the nice wood finished on top. I had mentioned to him before, I guess, that I was looking for a coffee table to display magazines and books next to my futon in my living room. And this is it! I expect him to autograph it when he’s finished with it. Check out Frank Lee’s wood work at WalnutSlabTable.com. I’m confident that’s the correct site.
After all the eating, the fellas went to play some Texas Hold ‘Em. It was tempting to join, but I decided to add poker as another vice to suppress during this moment of fasting, also. I am definitely no gambler, but I do enjoy a game of poker to win the pot once in awhile, but odds are most of the time I end up losing my buy-in. It was best I kept my $10, and save it for the toll-bridge (with change left over). So, I ended up eating a lot during most of the night, and avoided the TV that was playing in the living room where a bunch of kids were watching some sing-along children’s show. (I can hear it from the dining room, in case you want to know. Remember, music was okay?) I also avoided beer as a choice of drinking too. I’m keen to more hard liquor shots for effect, than casual drinking. I know men, esp. when they get my age and beyond, like to brag about their beer bellies, but, sorry, to me, it’s just nasty. They (or we?) would stick out their deformed tummy, and with both hands proudly slap the curvatures of the stomach and proclaim “my bay-bee!” *burp*
Finally, we had the White Elephant game. It was for gifts that would costs approximately ten bucks. The gift I had brought was a coffee pot for 9.99 I bought at [censored]. I’m proud to say it was one of the more popular gifts being “stolen” from each other during the game. =) One of the least original items I saw were picture frames. I lost count how many times someone unwrapped a gift and they would say,”…and it’s… (tearing off the wrapping paper)… it’s… damn, this tape is stuck on tight… it’s… it’s a… picture frame… (someone clapping in the corner waiting his turn)”. Aren’t digital frames the new craze, anyways? When it came to my turn, I got an incense & candle gift set. Being a guy, unless I was planning to be bathing with someone special soon (which, unfortunately, currently don’t have any plans to do so), the gift wasn’t to my taste. By chance, one of the girls stole it from me. So, I had a choice to either choose from what gifts were left, or “steal” from someone else. I noticed a circular box as one of the gifts to choose from. I was curious, so I opened it, and it was a paper weight with a unicorn engraving on it. I confirmed it was Kelly who provided the gift, ’cause I noticed the “Does he like it?”-look on her face when I opened it. I actually liked it, esp. since it came in this cool circle box that had nostalgic Christmas images on it. ’cause I immediately thought the paper weight would go great with Frank’s new coffee table. And it’s way better than a picture frame.
I had brought my copy of “The Dark Knight” for them to view. As they popped in the video, I went for a second round of hot pot in the dining room, while I heard the voice of Heath Ledger as the Joker become the background noise.
I’ll be back in about 24 hours.
3rd Day: 11:57am, Monday, 12.22.08.
Some of you Facebook fanatics may notice that I have some confirmation updates on my profile Wall regarding friends in the past days of my fasting. No, I haven’t been logging into FB. Those are automated updates of my past “friend requests”. So, don’t accuse me of breaking my fasting!
I forgot to mention yesterday about a fella I met at Terrell & Frank’s party. The dude’s name was Michael, an interesting Chinese fella who spoke in quite a casual demeanor. He told a small tale of a friend who he knew who did not follow the path of marriage and buying a home. Instead, she took two trips a year to two different states of the U.S.A., and one trip to a foreign country. Therefore, within 25 years from when she began her trips, she will have visited all 50 states, and a bunch of foreign countries. I did not learn the age, job, or whom this person was that Michael spoke of. But, the fact that she is doing what she is doing is quite far more interesting than those that are keeping up with the Joneses.
Marcelino Ancheta a.k.a. DJ (djatehcna.com), who also DJed the last couple of M.E.M Halloween parties for us, had sent me a sample of the “Hubris Theme Song” he created for my short film. I’m diggin’ it, as it gives me the feel of the 80s horror vibe that I grew up on. I’m currently deciding tho, whether he should tone down the bass/horns a bit, as I don’t think “Hubris” is that overwhelming of a film. Well, you folks will get to check it out when the film comes out. See, I’m using my “music is okay” rule productively during this fasting.
During the night, I had dinner with Stan & Jenn for some Vietnamese food in San Mateo. Stan and I had discussed our plot ideas for our screenplay together, which we hope to begin shooting later next year. The stories are still sparse, and the characters are shallow. So, it’s too early to share any concrete stuff yet. We hung out at Borders after dinner for a bit of book browsing, and I picked up a copy of the latest “Official Indiana Jones Magazine”. There was an article about the dozen of “Indiana Jones” novels, which one of I had read in the past days, if you’ve been keeping up with my fasting reports. These novels were commissioned as part of the Indiana Jones canon. And, the “Seven Veils” is famous for including the storyline of Indiana Jones’s first marriage. You’re missing out, if you’re not reading this stuff! =P Anyways, I had learned a side fact, which I was totally unaware of until I read this article, there are a bunch of German Indiana Jones novels that are in the market in Europe. They’ve been translated into a bunch of European languages except English. WTF?! I must learn to read fluent German, if I must become a hardcore Indy fan.
I’ve recently made a deal with Matt with our workout routine at 24 Hour Fitness. For the past few months, we’ve been pretty good at rebuilding our consistency when it comes to benching. I reached my intended goal of benching my own weight (175 lbs.) during the summer. My next, and final, benching goal is 225. For Matt, it is 250. Whoever reaches their goal first (which is to bench one clean rep of the goal weight), owes the other person dinner. I’m currently at a struggling 210. I bring this up during my off-media time because I’m currently researching more effective weight training techniques, esp. for my arms. I will update this tomorrow, as my third day is coming to an end, and doesn’t allow me ample time to report.
I am now on page 213 of 350 of “Infidel“. I went online to pay my Comcast bill. Sent out a bunch of Christmas cards (late). And, now, I’m almost half-way done with my media fasting.
Day Four: 10:15pm, Tuesday, 12.23.08.
I apologize, I am late for today’s report. I spent most of day driving back & forth between Best Buy and Circuit City and back to Best Buy again looking for an affordable digital frame for the pics I had scanned for my parents. I settled on an 8″ Kodak from Best Buy.
I texted Ken to see how he’s holding up on the media fasting, and he responds: “Really hard. I realize I like the noise.” Heheh, not to laugh at him, but I think he’s breaking down… the written word has been my noise.
I finished Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s “Infidel“. I was supposed to have read this a year ago. I have this bad habit of piling on books I want to read, but it became more of a hobby to just possess the books I want to read. For me, this book was somewhat like a sequel to “The Autobiography of Malcolm X“. I had read that book about four times during my early coming-of-age years, and it is the book that inspired me to read often. Although, I was already hiding myself in the library during my youth, Malcolm X helped me rationalized the value of the written word. His quests from a hoodlum to a leader in the Nation of Islam, to becoming a mainstream Muslim gave me a hope that a person can grow and change, as long as he stood by his convictions and having Knowledge of Self.
Ayaan Hirsi is a heroine that I’ve been keeping an eye on since I first heard of her a couple years back. With the New Atheist Movement emerging in the 21st Century being lead by writers, scientists, and thinkers like Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Pat Condell, Christopher Hitchens, and others who promote Rational Skepticism like Michael Shermer, James Randi, and Penn & Teller, it is refreshing to see a female voice within the cause (with Rebecca Watson of SkepChicks, as being another one). Ayaan Hirsi is a Samolian woman who grew up in an abusive Muslim world and was empowered to become a political scientist, a writer, and an Atheist. “Infidel” itself has become a NY Times bestseller, and Ayaan Hirsi has won numerous human rights awards, and recognized by Time Magazine in 2005 as one of the top 100 Most Influential People. She is currently working for the American Enterprise Institute in the U.S., but living in Holland, heavily guarded. So, don’t try anything! =) Read her books, watch her speeches on YouTube, research her work (www.AyaanHirsiAli.org). Because, ladies & gentlemen, female empowerment is more than just listening to Britney Spears or Beyonce bragging about female individuality. Now to move on to my next book – Kevins Smith’s “My Boring Ass Life“. I need some masculine, gutter humor to balance out the feminine literacy in me.
I updated the Artwork by Mel Waters site. Mel recently had a showing of his work at the Open Studio in Berkeley. Check it out on MelCWaters.com. I also did some backend grammatical corrections to the latest articles on rayhom.com. You currently can’t view them until I put the site back up live this coming Friday afternoon.
Nick, the sound designer for “Hubris“, messaged me informing that he’s 100% done with the sounds to the film… well, actually, he said 97%. Anyways, I’m gonna swing by his place tomorrow to see how it has pulled together so far. The film is almost ready!
Honestly, I’m getting the blues that I haven’t watched a movie in days. I keep day dreaming moving images of actors either giving great dialogue or blowing away aliens. It seems so distant that I have seen anything like that… But reading has been a great alternative, which keeps me going. In fact, I think I will read more again, and watch less crappy movies… 3 more days to go.
Fifth Day: 9:21pm, Wednesday, 12.24.08.
My updates have been lagging. I’m unsure if it may be because I’m getting’ antsy towards the day to end this fasting. I initially seem to believe that I can do this. I still believe that I can. But, deep down, I’m beginning to feel the shakes, either it is physical or psychological… just one peep of a movie or a website? Please…
No! I’m hangin’ in there!
I quickly took the time to head to the gym last afternoon. I got there a bit late, ’cause I spent the whole morning/early afternoon shopping for the digital frame, and did my best to get it ready to present it to my parents last night. At the gym, I met BigMike. I was hoping he would spot me on the bench, as I wanted to attempt 225 lbs. I don’t think I’m ready just yet, but I need to beat Matt ASAP, so that I can get my free dinner. But, Mike already did a bunch of exercises for about half-an-hour before I arrived, and he is exhausted from the weight training he claims he’s been doing the last couple of days. I started my workout by joining him on an ab machine. Gotta prevent the beer gut! It’s nasty to have one! I crunched my stomach for about 100 reps.
Then I got on various chest and upper body machines. I did get on an iso-lateral bench press machine, and lobbed on 2 forty-five plates each side, which is equivalent to approximately 225 lbs. Although, utilizing workout machines is cheating, because the handle bars themselves are designed to help you with the lift. So, I didn’t really lift 225. I can only speculate how much the weight really was, but it was still pretty heavy. As I pushed it outwards from my chest, at one point, I felt my arms trembling and shaking as if they were going to fail. Gave me a little scare, as I actually thought the weights were going to come crashing down towards my arm. But, I entrusted my arms to not give up and just pushed forward – did about 2 reps, with the help of a lot of awkward groaning.
After abusing various parts of my upper body, I got on a treadmill and did 15 minutes of walking & running. I normally don’t like artificial cardio, as it gives me a weird sense of “moving forward while still standing still” when I walk off of the machines. But, I figured, after all the workout, I just wanted to get my heart pumping with blood. Total workout time was about an hour.
Then I had dinner with the family at a vegetarian place on 12th & Kirkham (can’t remember the name, can’t go online to search for it). But, I love the eggplant w/sea bass there. I can literally give up meat just for that dish. Afterwards, we went home, and I handed my parents the digital frame. As suspected, we spent a lot of time reminiscing every picture, that transitioned every 5 seconds on the frame. As my parents accosted me about where I pulled out the pics from, I experienced a moment of pride that I reinvigorated my parents’ life with images from the past. I laughed when my mom bragged about her and her gfs use to wear a lot short skirts as the in-style back in the days. My dad snorted, and said that’s not short considered to what is today… I suspect he’s been watching too much MTV lately.
I’ve decided to put aside Kevin Smith’s “My Boring Ass Life“, and just do more writing. I’m currently on page 116 of 475. Instead, I took out Strunk’s “Elements of Style” to review my grammar structure, since I’m going to write more again.
1 Day To Go: 12:12pm, Thursday, 12.25.08.
I, with Joy and Juan, had head over to Nick’s place to check out the current status of my short film “Hubris“. It’s going good. We’re nearing completion! The sounds are intact, just need a little more tweaking, add on the credits… get the posters, fliers, and dvds printed… I think the new year will be off to a good new start. This took most of the day, so this update is a bit short.
Joy gave me Robert McKee’s “Story” for Christmas. It’s quite a well-written, pleasurable, enlightening read about the structure of making a story great. I’m already on the 2nd chapter… maybe I can finish it before my fasting ends…
This morning, I head out to ABC on Noriega for some breakfast with my dad. They had a menu for two kind of “specials” – lobster & seabass w/rice, or prime rib with rice. I wanted the prime rib, but apparently the kitchen wasn’t prepared to make it at 10am in the morning. Have you ever had a $20 lobster & seabass w/rice on a Christmas morning? It’s a visceral experience.
Now, it’s Christmas day! Merry Christ-Mass! Yes, I know I’m an Atheist, but I’m a strong believer in Freedom of Religion, too! Happy Holidays!
It’s little Angelina’s bday today, also. I’m gonna get ready and head on out to wish her a happy 11th year on Earth…
“Seven Days”: 11:40am, Friday, 12.26.08.
I’m the type that gets easily irritated by bad grammar and ghetto spelling. Yesterday, I got a bunch of texts and emails wishing me “Marry Christmas”. I appreciate the thoughtfulness, but unless they’re wishing me to be engaged to a holiday regarding the birth of Jesus, this is inexcusable. These well wishers aren’t children. They’re either in their late 20s or 30s. (Supposedly, beyond their High School years.) It’s “Merry Christmas”, motherfuckers! What movie was that from again? Movies… oh, movies… I don’t even mind watching a Christmas movie now also…
So, Angelina’s bday was fun, got to hang out with my extended family. She turned 11 and got herself an IPod. She wants songs, which I can provide. She requested stuff like “Chris Brown, T.I., but NO Lil’ Wayne!” I’m proud to have faith she will grow up to be a smart girl.
I had a bizarre dream last night where Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and I were running through a dark corridor that leads into space. When we all reached the end of the corridor, Luke (with lightsaber) and Han (with blaster) jumped up into space to join Yoda in a space battle. Don’t ask, that’s how I understood the dream. Since I’m not a Jedi, I hesitate to follow them. There were some stairs to my right, so I naturally climbed them, and entered a large Star Wars mall… I woke up, not having bought anything.
I dug out my old Men’s Health and other various workout books (including LL Cool J’s Platinum Workout. Yes, believe it or not, I have that book. Hey, don’t laugh. Anyone would want a body like his at 40.). I spent this morning researching the best exercises for arms. Right now, my personal favorite for my triceps is the “skull crusher”. Look it up. My arms are still shaking as I type this from the workout.
I’m getting into the “STORY“. Robert McKee is quite a good writer, of course, and I’ve taken a bunch of notes that I find helpful in strengthening my future screenplays. I am on page 107 of 419.
Well, by the time this goes to post, my one week media fasting is over. I survived. What movie should I pop in to celebrate? What site should I surf? Well… I’ve decided that I’m just gonna step out for a bit of fresh air now… brb.
And, yes, I know Han Solo was not a Jedi.