Thursday, June 25, 2009

AlazkanTheWanted on Beauty

Let me ask a simple question...Have you ever taken the time to experience the beauty in the world, in the night's sky, in the sounds of life?  these are things I fear mankind has taken for granted for far too long a time.  I mean, have you ever taken the time to notice a happy child smile?  A thing of beauty to behold...The sound of cicadas has long since vanished from our ears and yet no one misses it; for The Ipod sounds too good...Crickets during dusk, where are they?  Even the scent of the honeysuckle has escaped our senses, but yet it has gone unnoticed by the masses.  Beauty is a thing to behold; truly.  The sound of the merriment of others has been reduced to a nuisance...What happened?  Life is no longer enjoyed by those who have it still.  Mountains as far as the eye can see replaced by Condominiums, Golf Courses, and Parking Lots...Forests replaced by Processing Plants, Factories, and Testing Grounds...The Red Robin no longer sings for He is drowned out by the Sound of The Modern Mechanism, The Siren, and The Horn; even if he could sing, where He pirch?  Beauty is a thing to behold, but has long since been forsaken by mankind, He who charged with a mission of Sentry to protect it.  The Sun no longer shines Bright, for it has been arrested by The Smog, Wounded, and Defeated.  Provisions of Nature now developed in a laboratory.  When is the last time The Morning Dew was observed settling on a Ripe, Red Tomato and truly appreciated by the masses of mankind?  For far too long have the Elements not been given their proper respect.  A thing of beauty to be held, since forgotten.  The Sunflower in all of its Glory ceases to grow, for mankind has gone to wild.  Simple desires replaced by Dollar Dreams and Monumental Egocentricity.  When will we learn?  beauty is truly a thing to behold.  The smell of barbecue...mmmmm...The Ocean in all of Her Glory has been Defiled, Raped, and Abused; Her fruits have been tainted by mankind's iniquity.  Up and down, Right and Left, North and South, Advancement; these are all relative terms.  Depending on perspective Advancement can be seen as digression, yet beauty Remains...Still forsaken.  The Forest seeks to retreat but has not a place...Where have we gone wrong?  How were we spoiled?  Will our Eyes ever again witness the beauty to behold?  The sound of a river's quiet current has left recollection for even she has been replaced by the cacophony of mankind's ingenuity.  It knows No Bounds.  Beauty forgotten but still a thing to behold...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Digital TV Transition Info - June 12, 2009


So now I'm temping as a DTV Converter Box Installer, which basically means I'm going from one person's house to another and connecting their converter boxes. instructing customers on how to use the remote and advising them on what to do in case they don't have a signal. As a former satellite TV installer, this is stuff I do in my sleep, but there are plenty of people who cannot do this type of thing themselves, or are just too nervous about tech hardware to know what to hook up.

There are at least two websites that will explain the need for and the process of hooking up a digital converter box, so that you may continue to watch network channels as before:

DTV.gov - This website was set up by the FCC in order to inform the general public about the digital transition, the necessary tools and hardware to install, tell you what channels you will receive in digital, depending on what region you happen to be in, and whether or not they are broadcasting in full digital or not, plus a handy channel guide for your region. It also has pages for locating local retailers in your area and how to acquire a discount coupon towards the purchase of a converter box.

Antennaweb.org - This site will give you options on how to "maximize your television reception" by offering various types of antennas and hardware to pull in the channels stronger. They also have suggestions and an FAQ about DTV and signal amplifiers.

- Not all the stations are broadcasting at full power at the moment; for whatever reason, some stations are waiting until the June 12 transition date. If you are experiencing weak signals on some channels and not others, this might be the reason. My suggestion is to wait until June 12th and see if the station signal stengthens. If not, go to one of the sites above for discussion on digital antenna options.

- If all else fails, what can you do? There are various digital TV amplifiers and aerials of different shapes and sizes, but if you can't install or afford those? Well, you more than likely can't get a refund if you used the discount coupon issued by the FCC, so determine if the box is in working condition (try it at another person's house where you know that person is getting signal), and if the box works, I suggest gifting or selling it to someone and getting some of your money back.

Unfortunately, the box is not a perfect solution to getting free TV; people who were not getting a signal before may likely not get one now, mainly because of obstructions in your locale like tall buildings or power lines. Cable TV is offering a promotion for new customers who are being displaced by the transition, and I'll bet satellite is offering the same deal, but the drawback for satellite is that not all building structures allow for dishes to be mounted on them, and if you don't have a clear line of sight between your dish and the company's satellite, then you're out of luck.

Now, none of this is an endorsement of one over the other, it's just a lsiting oof what your options are. You could also avoid the whole TV thing by getting your news on the radio and renting movies from the library for free.

If you are in need of further information or assitance, you can also call the FCC's DTV Hotline at 1-888-CALL-FCC (225-5322) or the TTY line for the deaf/hard of hearing: 1-888-TELL-FCC (835-5322). I currently service New York State only, but if you need to scehdule an installation, I or someone in your region will be scheduled to visit and install your converter box and discuss the functions and other options. And, please feel free to publish your experience of questions here. Good luck! >;)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Depression: Temp Worker, Life Partner? - Introduction

I've thought long and hard about this particular subject, because I just came out of a phenomenal funk not long ago. And because of it, I want to reveal a little more of myself as a person behind the rants, the raves, the pictures, films and even sometimes the music. I am not a celebrity, I am a real person with real person issues; not to say that celebrities are not real people, but they are people who the public perceives in a certain way for consumption, while I am an admittedly-unwilling member of that public. I suppose I will break this down into several parts in order to thoroughly analyze the roots of my own depression, and determine what's in store afterward.

There are several underlying factors into what drove (and drives) me into these funks, the like of which I have not experienced since Mom & Terry passed away nearly twelve years ago. In fact, that is one of the factors itself. My mother and my oldest sister were integral parts of my life as a child and a young man, and losing them in the manner we did and at the time of my life it occurred severely scarred me for several years; I can say it both accelerated and inhibited my development as an adult. It is an inescapable part of my heritage as much as being Black is something I was born with and will die with, except that being Black does not depress me (quite the opposite, I feel inspired!) But their passing changed me from one person into another, such was the bond I had with them and continue to have with my surviving family.

That also can be said about my relationship with my friends, which has changed with the times and circumstances; not the least reason being that my longer-term friends have married and and have started or are in the process of building their own families. I am happy for my friends who have the love and support of a "life partner", as most of them would call their husband or wife or girlfriend or boyfriend, and in most cases children to establish or continue a legacy of their own (not to mention shower with and receive unconditional love). I have neither, perhaps by choice, perhaps by nature. Such as it is, what's left unsaid, sadly, is that committed friends and non-committed friends often find themselves incompatible, and soon become former friends. It is one of life's sublime and perhaps nastier little discoveries that relationships change based on the dynamics of a person's lifestyle; most drastically if that person is married, single, divorced or widowed. I am single, a consequence of my choice to pursue a risky career as a filmmaker, where relationships are often key to building careers as opposed to building a family life (if you are a "successful" filmmaker or such in the entertainment industry, it's easier to do, but often comes after the success is reached.)

There are personal compositions to consider as well. I am anti-social; I can't/don't drink or smoke because of two congenital conditions I possess; one being epilepsy and the other Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome. In my early teens, I started having grand mal seizures, the kind where you black out and convulse on the ground uncontrollably for several minutes. They were rather scary episodes where I occassionally hurt myself by falling hard on the ground; all this happening in front of friends and loved ones. What happened; not purposefully, but naturally and with good intentions, was that I was "incubated" by people who were concerned and scared about my health and well-being. As such, I felt islolated from normal activities and relationships (I was temporarily reserved from participating in Phys-Ed classes to the point where my prodigal father intervened on my behalf) and I was forced to quit any athletic ambitions I had (baseball and possibly basketball).

Since I couldn't drink or smoke, I felt very awkward in social settings where such activities were second nature, and I was certain that my friends felt likewise. I was withdrawn and moody, and though I put up a reserved front during my high school and college years, I was lonely and angry at excluding myself from being "normal".

I also may have inherited my depression from family members who experienced it themselves; Mom was never one to admit to such feelings, and if she did, she often tackled them head on with activities that involved hard work or pleasure excursions. My Uncle Woodrow (who, btw, left the hospital three weeks ago to rehabilitate in a nursing home before returning to his real home this coming Thursday) had told me that the reason he entered the adult home where he lives was because of depression; his experience there changed his life and he has become an active and well-adjusted gentleman of considerable strength, dignity and influence. But for reasons of their own, many of my other family members don't address these issues with each other, unless it's to explain certain eventys or episodes in our family's heritage. I shall not break their confidence as such, I only intend to discuss my own battles. Besides, who's to say they even had issues as dramatic as mine? That's for them to decide.

I will say that by addressing my own depression this way, I hope to conquer it for good and explain myself in what motivates the way I create, destroy or reconfigure certain aspects of my life and person. I am a devoted friend and artist, but I isolate myself from people, in my mind, for their sake. I have witnessed and/or accepted certain things that would devastate many others. My anti-social nature is bred from conflicts with myself and the nature of being part of a social fabric that would otherwise harm or kill me. I treat my friends and relationships delicately for fear that my nature would overwhelm them, yet I feel highly inadequate in their presence. I try not to hide my feelings, but the rejection stings as much as it ever has, and any reaction beside quietly moving along would be unacceptable. Perhaps this way of thinking would be considered "boxing myself in", but no one can say that without knowing where I came from and where I'm going.

Come walk with me, if you will. Maybe something you discovert about me will resolve a circumstance of your own. If nothing else, I hope you understand where I'm coming from. >;)