Backyard Fruit Breakfast

September 2, 2013
BackyardFruits

My favorite fruits.

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The Walking Dead Kills It

October 15, 2012

The Walking Dead’s Season 3 premiere rocked, especially the silent beginning of the well-organized, finely-tuned zombie killing machine that has become Rick’s group since we last saw them, and the last five minutes or so of the show that saw Hershel get bit, his leg hacked off by Rick who showed no hesitation in doing so, and a group of prisoner survivors. Check out this article that talks about this premiere shattering the old ratings and thereby making ratings history.

The premiere also confirmed for me what I have been pondering to do since I watched the premiere of Revolution.  I have officially cancelled the series recording of Revolution on my DVR.  I just don’t have the time to watch a show that at best, is a very pale version of TWD.

With that being said, I wonder what TWD and its rating bonanza says about our society.  Are we really going the way of Ancient Rome, becoming more and more desensitized to violence, demanding it more and more, which then is happily supplied to us so that we are essentially pacified and not a threat to the government?  Or does the popularity of TWD have more to do with the unease we as a society feel in our current times rather than a genuine craving for graphic violence?  I vote for the former.

Everything’s Better With Zombies

October 14, 2012

The Walking Dead is finally back tonight!  As I count down the hours to the premiere by watching the marathon of Season 2, I finally realized what’s wrong with that new show Revolution-it has no zombies.  Zombies, after all, make everything better.  If only Revolution added some zombies to the show, I’d be a fan for life.  The Walking Dead, though, works not only because it has zombies, but because it is a modern day “Heart of Darkness”-you know the descent of humanity into the darkest part of its soul.  In order to survive, then, those folks on TWD are faced with decisions that weigh humanity against survival.  Is it worth it to survive if it means forsaking your humanity and turning into a monster yourself?  The tagline of this season’s TWD says it all-“Fight the Dead. Fear the Living.”  In this vein, then, TWD becomes much more than just another zombie show, transcending into the realm of metaphor and commentary on the very state of what it means to be human, and how easy it can be to regress into what humans supposed left behind in its own march to civilization.

That other show, Revolution, wants to be that-it wants to be able to make a dark commentary on the state of humanity.  But so far, it hasn’t succeeded.  It’s early yes-only 4 episodes so far, but it’s too caught up in conspiracy theories, soap opera dramas, and good looking people.  Throw in some zombies, and the show would be taken to a whole new level.  It probably would still be lacking in the metaphor and commentary department, but at least it would have zombies.  Everything’s better with zombies.  

I’m hard on a show like Revolution not only because it’s attempting to copycat the success of a post-Apocalyptic show like TWD.  It’s also because I read a phenomenal book called “One Second After” by William Forstchen that tells the story of a town trying to survive an EMP attack that crippled the U.S.  The EMP attack makes much more sense in explaining why things no longer work (anything with a computer in it got fried) while also allowing for the fact that some things do still work-anything old, before computers took over, still work like cars from the 50s.  But the book it’s just logical in what caused the Apocalypse, it is also a brutal look at how HARD it is to survive with no running water, no food shipped to you, no medicine, no sanitation.  Revolution, on the other hand, makes living in a post-apocalypse world look easy.  And here’s what’s truly irritating about a show like Revolution which is set 15 years after the lights went out-that they still haven’t PROGRESSED enough to realize that they still have a lot of other energy options available to them-like solar, wind, water, hell they could even make a steam engine.  Why are they so concerned then with trying to turn the lights back on?  What the hell have they been doing in the past 15 years anyway?  Now, if the answer to that was that for the past 15 years they’ve been eliminating the zombie threat, and it’s only now that the zombies have been destroyed and they can now concentrate on other matters, well now, that would make things a whole lot more interesting.  

Commit to Revolution?

October 3, 2012

The first time I saw a preview for NBC’s new show, Revolution, I couldn’t wait for September to come.  After all, I was in the midst of The Walking Dead withdrawals, and since I basically gave up on Falling Skies a while ago (hey, I did ATTEMPT to watch this season but it bored me so much that I turned the channel and started watching Ice Road Truckers…if a reality show about flawed, sometimes total pricks, other times totally likeable guys risking their lives to make money to support their families gives you way more likeable characters than Falling Skies, then something is definitely wrong with the writers writing for Falling Skies), I had such high hopes for Revolution.  I marked when the Revolution would begin on my calendar (of course, though, I had marked The Walking Dead first).  But any show about living in a post-apocalypic world totally gets me hooked even BEFORE it actually premieres.  That, though, makes for a huge problem-can the show actually live up to my expectations?

Revolution so far has failed to live up to them.  The first episode played like a cross between Falling Skies and Jericho trying to be the next Lost or The Walking Dead.  To give it credit, though, I never watched Jericho when it first came out.  I had tried, but Jericho just moved too slowly.  This summer I bought the series and became a total Jericho fan.  I know though that much of my like for Jericho had to do with the fact that I had nothing else to watch with it being the summer season.

But back to Revolution.  Watching it makes me realize just how much I miss The Walking Dead, with all of its flawed, always dirty, characters.  Like seriously, Revolution, make your characters STOP looking like they take a bath twice a day!  Make them dirty and gritty.  And make them skinny!  If you really live in a world with no electricity, where you WALK everywhere, how is it that everyone looks like they smell like roses and some of them are still obese?  Lost had that same problem with the character of Hurley, but at least Lost didn’t attempt to be FIFTEEN years in the future (and Hurley did have that secret stash of Dharma food).  It takes time to lose weight, but NOT that long when you no longer have access to processed foods.

The Walking Dead characters are not always totally likeable BUT you always are scared for them.  You care if they make it out alive.  Because you never know if they may die.  On a show like Revolution, I don’t care if the characters live or die.  In fact, maybe they should just kill off some of them so that the show can focus more on those interesting ones…like Captain Neville, Monroe, and “Juliet” from Lost.

I haven’t lost all hope for Revolution.  But it being on a major network shows its difference from a show on cable.  Cable shows are so much darker and grittier, with flawed characters you end up rooting for even though they do bad things, or asshole characters that you would never want to invite to dinner but still command respect.  Take Darrell for example…he’s become one of the heroes of The Walking Dead even though he started out as a redneck asshole.  And Merlye, that racist bastard, definitely not a hero on the show, but everyone is drooling over his return because his character is interesting-like seriously, if you have the balls to cut your hand off to survive, you are definitely the ultimate survivor in this zombie-infested world.  And you gotta respect that in some messed up way.

So that’s what Revolution is not.  It has yet to create truly gritty characters.  Think the grittiest character so far is Juliet from Lost when she showed what she’s made off and killed that guy trying to steal their food.  Her husband was a wimp, but Juliet-she channeled her inner protective mama bear and commanded respect.  It’s horrible what she did, but we understand why she did it.  And we respect her for it.  But she’s an underutilized character and her being stuck in house arrest is just dumb.

As I ponder if watching Episode 3 is worth it-my DVR failed to record it, think that’s a sign?-check out this review of the show.  It captures the pros/cons perfectly.

Reason #9: The Price of Local Fruit

July 28, 2012

When my bill for a small bag of lychee and 5 lilikoi rang up to $17.65 (lychee = 11.50; lilikoi = $6.15) at a stand at the KCC Farmer’s Market this morning, I wanted to scream that that better be some damn good lychee and lilikoi.  I had just spent most of my money on purely impulse buys. Then I realized that it’s not like they didn’t post the prices next to it.  It’s not their fault that I don’t know one ounce from one pound.  But it got me to thinking why living on Oahu sucks.  If I was on the Big Island, lychee and lilikoi (not to mention guavas, mountain apples, star fruit, mangoes, watercress, oranges, avocados) are FREE.  It grows in the wild–you just need to know where to find them.  Or, you would definitely know someone with a tree.  My dad keeps the household well supplied with the bounty of the land that he picks himself.  And if not, if you end up buying some lychee on the side of the road, the prices are nothing like that on Oahu ($5 per pound on Big Island vs. $8 per pound what I just paid).

So lessons learned.  First, I’m boycotting that fruit stand because those prices are just ridiculous.  And second, as soon as I publish my book and am able to afford to buy lots of land on the Big Island, I’m making a farm that will keep me supplied with all the lychee and lilikoi (and the other stuff) that I want.  That way I’ll never have to buy those things again.  And if the apocalypse should ever happen, I’ll still have food to eat.

Freedom vs. Security

July 23, 2012

The horrible, tragic shooting in Colorado has reignited America’s long standing gun debate.

Out of all developed countries, America stands alone in being armed to the teeth.  So why is it that whereas other developed countries have gun control laws, America’s laws have seemingly gone in the opposite direction?

No other country has a Second Amendment that guarantees the right of the American people to keep and bear arms.  This right is part of the Bill of Rights that was crucial in the founding of the United States of America as some states were not about to sign on to the notion of a federal government without a series of protections against a strong, centralized government.

So here’s the problem.  If certain people, due to the increasing problem of gun violence, want to overturn the Second Amendment, they have just sacrificed freedom-the basic fundamental right that all private citizens have to own guns-for the sake of stability and security.

Gun violence is a horrible problem.  But I don’t believe that you can solve a problem by creating an even bigger problem.  Once you give government the right to take away your guns, then what’s next?  Will they then tackle the First Amendment, our right to free speech, press, assembly, and religion?

There is a fine line balancing individual freedoms with stability and security.  I, for one, fear the day when government revokes the Second Amendment (or any other Amendments) with a willing American majority going along with it because that is the day that our government passes into the realm of totalitarianism, where freedom is sacrificed at the hands of stability and security.

Once you give up your freedom to do something, it will be extremely hard to ever get it back.  After all, throughout history, governments were very stingy in giving out freedom.  More often than not, battles and wars had to be fought to win certain rights and freedoms, even though these freedoms usually then only served a select group of people.

On a side note, such a well-armed American public will probably be the most capable of all societies in dealing with the zombie apocalypse should it appear.

Find What You Love

November 27, 2011

The words of the great late Steve Jobs:  “You’ve got to find what you love”–have become my lighthouse.

Get A Job…But Where?

October 14, 2011

The “Occupy Wall Street” Protests sweeping the country are a fascinating, hypocritical, train wreck of mixed messages.  I’m not sure exactly what it is that they are trying to do. I get the “we are the 99%” part.  The 1% of the country that makes an obnoxious amount of money basically controls the government.  But the scary part is that that 1% of the country supplies millions of jobs to people.  We are literally stuck in this vicious capitalist system and there is no one to blame but ourselves–all 100% of us.

The jobs that these corporations provide for us allows us to accumulate stuff.  Do we really need all this stuff?  Probably not.  But every time we buy another pair of shoes, or download yet another song off iTunes, we are supporting this capitalist system, and therefore we are supporting jobs.  Of course, though, many of these jobs we are supporting are overseas since the smart, albeit greedy corporations outsourced their jobs so that they can lower the price of what they are selling and make even more money.

From the pictures I’ve seen of the occupy protests, many of the protests literally look like they have nothing else better to do than camp out for weeks on end protesting the greed of Wallstreet and Washington, but with no clear plan on how to do it.  In other words, who else has the time to do this?  The unemployed.  No one with a job would actually have the time to devote 24/7 to this movement.

Hence, this movement looks like a protest of the disenfranchised, the ones who have not bought into this capitalist system that provides everyone with the OPPORTUNITY to make something of themselves.  Or, the ones who are too lazy to seize this opportunity, and instead what the rich people to subsidize their lifestyle.

What gets really confusing is when the unions and politicians decide to support it.  Do they even really understand what they are supporting?  What gets downright hypocritical is when the STARS decide to support it.  Like seriously?  What do these multi-million dollar stars know about the 99%? They are the ones on Cribs and other reality shows showing off all the stuff they can afford to buy but don’t really need.  If the protesters were really serious about their message, then they would throw dirt at these stars, politicians, and unions that decide to join them in solidarity.

Stars, politicians, and unions are all part of the CAPITALIST system of our country. Thus, the protesters who are advocating for the REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH should not be excited when the stars show up.  And the stars should know better themselves–the protesters want to take what they worked so hard to earn.  They are the last people who should be supporting the protesters.

If, though, the protest is about something else, like saying things such as the government needs to stop being run by corporations, AND people will no longer vote for anyone bought off by these corporations, well that then is a step in the right direction.

If people start to demand that our government works for us, and perhaps, that the government starts to levy huge taxes on U.S. corporations that outsource jobs, then just maybe, the protesters are moving the country in the right direction.

On another note, Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain had something blunt to say about the protesters–“If you don’t have a job, and are not rich, blame yourself!”

He’s partly right.  We live in the land of opportunity.  Go to college, become a medical doctor, engineer, or lawyer.  Don’t go to college, but be like Steve Jobs.  Innovate something that people need.  Start your own business.  All of these paths could lead you to great riches.

And certainly please do blame yourself if you go to college, major in something like history or women’s studies, and find yourself with no job upon graduation.  Or if you do find a job as a teacher, realize you are never going to be rich.  No one to blame but yourself.

But here’s where Cain gets it wrong–what happens if you go to college, major in engineering, and STILL can’t find a job because that damn corporation decided to outsource the engineering jobs to India?  You did everything right.  And the country is to blame for outsourcing those high-paying jobs overseas just so they can make more money.

Greed will be the downfall of the United States.  Thank god that at least some Americans have decided to no longer be apathetic about it, and are now making sure their voices are heard in these occupy protests.

I, though, lack the desire to join these protests.  I’m too selfish and materialistic to really care about changing the world.  In other words, I’m like the majority of America, too caught up in their own lives, being part of this capitalist system, to really care about doing something about it.

So when those occupy protesters hold up signs that say we are the 99%, don’t believe them.  98% of America ain’t there.

FTR: The Best Colleges?

September 14, 2011

Since when is a statement such as this something to be proud of:  “UH ranked A+ for B students”?  Or to drive the nail down even further:  “UH is where non-superstars have a decent shot at being accepted and thriving”?

I don’t take offense to the last part–everyone, no matter where you are, should be accepted and thrive.  However, to basically say that UH is a place for non-superstars is quite offensive.  It is a statement that implies, among other things, that only non-superstars go to UH.  So I guess I’m a non-superstar.  And so are all of the people I know who went to UH.  We’re all non-superstars then.

So what exactly is a superstar anyway?  Someone who goes to an Ivy League school? Someone who graduates high school with a 4.0+ GPA, perfect SAT scores, does community service, is an accomplished musician, can speak 3 languages, and a star athlete?  Someone who will then attend this Ivy League school that costs $50k+ a year in order to get a piece of paper proving your knowledge in some useless subject that you wrote some convoluted thesis on in order to impress people with all that you know just so that you can, upon graduation, join the millions of unemployed, except you will be paying back the equivalent of a mortgage payment in student loans but instead of owning a house, you have a piece paper.

So that’s a superstar?  Someone without the smarts to realize that in this day and age, college is what you make of it, and you don’t need to go to an Ivy League college, or any expensive, private, &/or out-of-state college for that matter, in order to succeed in life? In fact, some people (think Steve Jobs) don’t even need to go to college in order to succeed in life.

College is what you make of it, no matter where you go.  But before you go to college, be smart, and calculate the costs of it.  It doesn’t make sense to go to an expensive college and incur $100k+ of debt just so you can become a teacher.  Incurring that kind of debt only pays off if you’re going into a high-paying field, such as becoming a  medical doctor.

In sum, go check out my earlier post regarding the “C” student.  It’s not good to be the “A” student.  So perhaps a statement such as UH being ranked an A+ school for the B student is actually a compliment.  Our country doesn’t need anymore A students.

Freedom of Speech

September 7, 2011

I admire people who are vocal about something they don’t like.  It’s one of the things that make living in a free country so amazing.  Hence, I found Bobby Martinez’s interview at the Quiksilver Pro New York–the interview that got him disqualified from the rest of the contest–quite refreshing.

I don’t get the new One World ranking system.  I tried to understand it by reading about it on the ASP website, but failed.  Perhaps I need some visuals.  What I do understand, though, is that some guys currently on the title tour will get purged for lack of points and be replaced by others.

Besides the fact that it’s just damn confusing, there’s something wrong about this complicated, convoluted new ranking system.  And finally someone–Bobby Martinez to be exact–has spoken out against it and called it like it is.  I wonder how many other pro surfers feel the way he does.  On the other hand, I also wonder how many pro surfers prefer this new system.  I guess as long as you’re Kelly Slater and sitting pretty at the top of the rankings, it doesn’t really matter what kind of system is in existence. But for everyone else, especially the ones that may get purged, it certainly does matter.