Monday, February 11, 2019

Yesterday's Victims can be Tomorrow's Oppressors

Being victimized  DOES NOT make you immune from victimizing others!

However, saying such comments can cause hysterical reactions such as .......


  • Really?!? "Intolerant social justice warriors"? Are they too intolerant of neo-Nazis? "Which is better or worse" how can you even group them together..? !? !

That comment was made in response to a facebook post related to how extreme left-wing so-called "justice" warriors bullied a liberal-leaning professor who questioned their tactics.

And that facebook post itself was posted by a Asian-American Bernie Sanders supporter "woke" in all the "right" (or in this case "left") causes.  She was concerned about how the So-called Justice Warriors  hurts the dialogue necessary to advance justice.

When a person of non-European ancestry makes a bigoted comment (or even commits a hate crime), the So-called Justice Warriors will scream "how dare you practice false equivalency, don't you know your history. A few non-white bigots don't compare to 400 years of slavery and segregation"

You want to talk about history?

Let's talk about history!

History is FILLED with former victims becoming victimizers.

One example is Robert Mugabe from Zimbabwe. He fought against European domination of what was then called Rhodesia! He took over as a brutal dictator who caused massive human misery in his homeland. 

But had you criticize him back when Zimbabwe was called Rhodesia, you'll get hysterical reactions from people yelling "how dare you make him sound equivalent to the British imperialists who oppress us" . 

This isn't limited to Zimbabwe as Uganda's Idi Amin and Cambodia's Pol Pot were all born as subjects to European empires, but became mass-murdering dictators.

 The book "Animal Farm" illustrates that example so well!

This isn't an "Alt-Right" rant as I respect REAL justice warriors like Nelson Mandela who who said when he was on trial that he is just against black supremacy as he was against white supremacy. If someone says that now, they'll be accused of "false equivalency".

Nelson Mandela is definitely a role model for real social justice. He was very assertive in the face of the brutal apartheid regime. For his actions, he was forced into 27 years of imprisonment. When he was released, he did everything he could to calm tensions when many feared civil war. He spoke in favor of racial reconciliation.  He became the nation's first post-apartheid president back in 1994, and refused to run for re-election because he believed that the nation shouldn't under the rule of one person for too long. 

That is someone in favor of real justice.

The So-called Justice Warriors could learn a lot from him.


Saturday, January 19, 2019

Toxic Masculinity isn't the Same Thing as "All Masculinity is Toxic"

If I say the words "red birds", does that mean I'm saying that "all birds are red"?

If I say "saltwater", does that mean I'm saying that "all water is saltwater"?


It's obvious that the answer to both questions is NO! 

But once you say the words "toxic masculinity", the so-called "real men" (and their female defenders) start screeching "how dare you say masculinity is toxic!"

It's like saying "how dare you say all trees are oak trees" when all you said was that oak trees exist!

The reason there is talk about "toxic masculinity" is because too males grow up with the attitude that I should do whatever I want (bully weaker boys, harass women, disrespect teachers, vandalize property) because "that's how I prove that I'm a man and not a sissy boy"  and "f--- you, because I can".

Yes, there are some extreme feminists who think that all boys are rapists/sexists/abusers/mansplainers by default and that they should all be treated guilty until proven innocent.  

However, the Gillette advertisement that is getting so much controversy isn't saying that at all! 


Gillette advertisement:  

We Believe: The Best Men Can Be


It was encouraging males to use their masculinity to help others. In other words, it was promoting divine masculinity, the type of masculinity that encourages males to use their strength to help others!

If you are offended by that, then you are a scumbag who gets offended when someone stands up against your scumbag behavior.  #TimesUp


To make matters even more bizarre, many of the FoxNews "conservatives" who acted so offended by a Gillette ad encouraging men to stand up to harassment were the same exact people who were cheering Bill Cosby when he demanded that his fellow African-Americans take education and parenting seriously! Those FoxNews conservatives were happy when Bill Cosby told African-Americans to stop blaming all your problems on racism.  Yet, those FoxNews conservatives got all offended when Gillette told their male customers SIMILAR HARD TRUTHS that Bill Cosby told the African-American community. 

(yeah, I know Bill Cosby is a hypocrite that told young African-American males to "pull your pants up" when he was forcing women's pants down when they were too intoxicated to fight back. I only mentioned his name to show how hypocritical the FoxNews conservatives are on these issues).


=============


Toxic and Divine versions of masculinity and femininity


So just there are freshwater and saltwater, there are toxic masculinity and divine masculinity.

And yes, there is such a thing as toxic femininity and divine femininity.


There is this chart on Facebook that describes Divine Feminine/Masculine Balance.



Divine Feminine is selflessness, energy for doing good, humility, contentment, perseverance, affection, compassion, patience, empathy, love. Divine Masculine is strength, confidence, assertiveness, energy for achievement, endurance, dignity, curiosity, decisiveness, focus and reason. Toxic feminine is selfish, sabatoging, jealous, isolated, withholding, impatient, blame, despair. Toxic masculine is weak, self-loathing, angry, intimidated, boastful,reckless, indecisive, cowardice.
credit:  Jeff Miller HP (facebook)

According to the chart

Divine Feminine is about Goodness,
and includes selflessness, energy for doing good, humility, contentment, perseverance, affection, compassion, patience, empathy, love.

 Divine Masculine is about Strength
and includes strength, confidence, assertiveness, energy for achievement, endurance, dignity, curiosity, decisiveness, focus and reason. 

Toxic Feminine is about Selfishness
and includes selfish, sabotaging, jealous, isolated, withholding, impatient, blame, despair. 

Toxic Masculine is about Weakness
and includes weak, self-loathing, angry, intimidated, boastful, reckless, indecisive, cowardice.


===========

There's another chart about the positive and negative versions of masculinity and femininity


Positive Femininity is Patient, Sensitive, Devoted, Responsible and Appreciative. Negative Femininity is Timid, Weak, Needs Approval, Dependent and Nervous. Positive Masculinity is Strong, Confident, Firm, Forceful, Carefree. Negative Masculinity is Aggressive, Bossy, Sarcastic, Rude and Feels Superior.


According to the chart............

Positive Femininity is Patient, Sensitive, Devoted, Responsible and Appreciative.

 Negative Femininity is Timid, Weak, Needs Approval, Dependent and Nervous. 

Positive Masculinity is Strong, Confident, Firm, Forceful, and Carefree. 

Negative Masculinity is Aggressive, Bossy, Sarcastic, Rude and Feels Superior.

---------------

I've already had a few blog posts relating to toxic masculinity, and the psychological harm it causes to males who don't fit the traditional masculine mold. You can read from the following links

Pablo Wegesend, “What is 'Be a Man' supposed to mean,” November 2, 2013
http://pablowegesend.blogspot.com/2013/11/what-is-be-man-supposed-to-mean.html


Pablo Wegesend, “Locker room, manhood, and bullying,” January 3, 2014
https://pablowegesend.blogspot.com/2014/01/locker-room-manhood-and-bullying.html


----

On Toxic Femininity and how it causes psychological harm to females who don't fit the traditional feminine mode, I found this article from Medium


Devon Price, “Toxic Femininity Holds All of Us Back,” Medium, December 31, 2018, 
https://medium.com/s/story/toxic-femininity-is-a-thing-too-513088c6fcb3


Toxic femininity is not the same thing as simple “sexism,” but sexism and toxic femininity are certainly partners in crime. Sexism says that a woman is too frail or docile to play a contact sport; toxic femininity says that you don’t want to play football anyway, sweetie, you would look horrible and sweaty in the helmet and pads. Sexism is focused on robbing women of status and rights; toxic femininity is about defining womanhood so shallowly that a woman feels de-gendered by basic human acts or neutral preferences. Both factors lead to women being compressed into impossibly tight, uncomfortable shapes. One is the carrot and the other is the stick.
and more


I received a lot of toxic-femininity-based advice as a child and teen. I was told that not wanting to have children made me unacceptably unfeminine. Classmates said that my voice was unsuitably low and, worse, that I used it in a masculine way: I sang like a boy, and I declared things with flat confidence. I didn’t care about makeup throughout my middle school and high school years until some particularly vicious acne started to rear its head and I embraced powders and creams as a way to cover it up. I didn’t carry a purse. 
People worked very hard to remedy these things for me. Friends gave me late-night makeovers that made me cry, parents and grandparents gifted me with handbags and bottles of beige stuff, peers looked deep into my purple under-eye circles and asked me why I had them. They were all trying to help, dispensing practical advice for how to win in a system that ought to have been dismantled rather than gamed.
It was all toxic femininity. It was a cultural disease. It was nobody’s fault. And everyone around me suffered from it too.

====

on Divine Masculinity and Divine Femininity

“Divine Balance, When Masculine Aligns with Feminine,” Beyond the Ordinary Show
https://www.beyondtheordinaryshow.com/spiritual-dictionary/divine-balance-masculine-feminine/


DIVINE MASCULINE
The Divine Masculine represents a spiritual, psychological and archetypal ideal of masculine energy. It is the highest, most inspiring and truest expression of masculinity that is manifested through thoughts, actions and beliefs.
The common misconception is that divine masculine is inherent to the male population. However, all of mankind has intrinsic Divine Masculine characteristics, such as logic, rationality, strength and leadership. These aspects of human personality or behaviors are deemed masculine, and depending on their expression through an individual, they can be balanced or imbalanced. Is one rational at the expense of a lack of emotional maturity? Is one’s strength overpowering, overbearing, or ego-driven? These are signs that the masculine energy is imbalanced.
A healthy representation of the Divine Masculine is witnessed through a person who is strong, but gentle. He has an appropriate action of guidance and leadership without the need of praise or ego-stroking. He turns away from greed and conflict, and instead stays in a space of honor, honesty and diplomacy. He is confident but not arrogant, and adventurous but not reckless. He is someone you want to follow and makes you feel safe, supported and protected either physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

DIVINE FEMININE
The Divine Feminine is the manifestation of the purest form of feminine expression. Because of the patriarchal system that has developed throughout time, the Divine Feminine has been degraded, looked down upon and oppressed. But as time passes and human evolution marches forward, there has been a rekindling in the need for devotion and commitment to the Divine Feminine. A balance of both inherent energies will be necessary to continue progress. And now, all men and women alike are called to empower the Divine Feminine.
A healthy representation of the Divine Feminine is kind, generous, wise and supportive. With the continued growth of mankind dependent on the health of its women, the Divine Feminine represents the ultimate mother–fertile, intuitive, patient, nurturing and healing. She is the representation of growth, not just in a physical way, but also emotionally and spiritually. We all birth something – an idea, a friendship, a business plan, a family – and it is the Divine Feminine within us all that brings it into full fruition.

======



And for more links to articles related to the Gillette controversy


Christopher Muther, “The Backlash to the Gillette Ad Is Exactly Why It’s Needed,” Boston Globe, January 16, 2019, 
https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/2019/01/15/the-backlash-gillette-exactly-why-needed/PnO4dpkyoTFYgh1LcIe5HO/story.html


Do you know who isn’t taking to Twitter to complain about the Gillette ad? Those of us who have been bullied, beat up, and sexually victimized. When I watched the ad, I didn’t see tanks gathering at the border of masculinity. I saw myself, and it nearly brought tears to my eyes.
When a distraught young boy is shown being held protectively by his mother with text bubbles that read “Sissy” and “Everyone hates you” surrounding them, I was transported back to my high school track team, which I eventually abandoned because I was tired of being called “faggot” and “queer.” 
When a teenager is shown running from a pack of boys who eventually catch him and begin beating him, I flashed back to a pack of junior high bullies who slowly started tormenting me with spitballs and eventually worked their way up to punching me in the back of the head whenever they walked past me. 
In the eighth grade, I skipped school for three weeks, not because I didn’t like my classes, but because I was scared of the bullies and too ashamed to talk to anyone about it. I have wonderful parents, but I didn’t want to feel as if I was letting them down. I kept quiet. 

 and more


Many of the hundreds of thousands of complaints against “The Best a Man Can Be” come from men who feel that the ad, which was directed by a woman, paints all men as bullies, sexist, or predators. I’m not an advertising expert, but it’s clear to me this ad isn’t calling you names. It’s asking you to be an example to your children by not calling other people names. This ad is not trying to emasculate you; it’s asking you to treat people with respect.
I do have one gripe with the ad. I wish it had debuted during the 1989 Super Bowl rather than the original “The Best a Man Can Get” ad, which was a halcyon vision of sweaty feats of athleticism, featuring Wall Street bros with women as arm candy and father-son bonding. If the younger, more timid 1989 version of me had seen the new ad, perhaps I would have spoken up. Maybe I would have fought back or been able to help a close friend who was bullied to the point of suicide. 
I can’t turn back time, so instead I’ll defend Gillette against the naysayers who are somehow offended by its positive message. This soy boy is no longer afraid. 


And if so-called "real men" don't like it when so-called "soy boys" answer back to them, my attitudes towards those so-called "real men"  is 
with all due respect, eff  your feelings! 


Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Nightclub Parties Vastly Superior to Popping Fireworks

Fireworks are technically banned in Hawaii, but laws do get defied. Police can't be everywhere to enforce, and not everyone wants to be known as a "snitch".

On social media, some people are angry at the ban, claiming that "fireworks are a local tradition" even though it didn't exist in Hawaii before Captain Cook!

Fireworks are just as "local tradition" as typing comments on social media. In other words, it's not really a "local tradition", it's an imported activity that people do because their attitude is "f--- you, because I can". The same reason people in other places fire gunshots in the air to celebrate the New Year.

As for me, I prefer going to nightclubs to celebrate the New Year.

Sure, the music at the nightclubs can be loud (don't get too close to the loudspeaker). But at least you can dance to the music! And if someone attractive is dancing near you, you might share a magical moment together.

But more importantly, partying at the nightclub is vastly superior to popping fireworks because fireworks  are ......


  • severe fire hazards
  • flying fire hazards that can land on someone's house
  • fire hazards that can blow off your hands and can burn yourself
  • cause tons of smoke that can really hurt those with respiratory problems
  • cause land pollution by materials left on the ground after they explode (so much for caring for the ʻaina)

Also, while the nightclub music may be loud, it doesn't do the following

  • make loud booming noises that scares pet, children, people with heart conditions, people with sensitive hearing, people with PTSD
  • make sounds that sounds like bombs and gunshots that reminds people of wartime traumas

However, people who pop fireworks think they're "badass"  for causing trouble for other people. They think that "real men" (and "tough chicks") don't care about people with respiratory problems, heart conditions, sensitive hearing or PTSD. They think that showing concern for the vulnerable means that you're a "overly sensitive snowflake". 

And even more stupidly, they get defensive and claim it's "the haoles" (people of European ancestry) that want to ban fireworks just to oppress "the locals", nevermind that firework bans have been passed by  locally-raised legislators who are of non-European ancestries. There are people of non-European ancestries (and yes, even some Native Hawaiians) who have expressed concerns about fireworks causing problems for pets and humans with vulnerabilities. 

Also, being that I am from the housing projects in Kalihi, I've noticed the allegedly low-income people blowing up fireworks. Think about this, people who are allegedly so low-income that they need government assistance to pay their rent and buy food for their families spend big money just to pop fireworks!  I know what it's like to struggle and whatever little disposable income I had to was used to buy a stereo and play music when I want to celebrate stuff!  At least a stereo can last years, whereas fireworks are useless after you  pop them. In other words, I rather spend money on something that can last long and not cause problems for other people.  It's called spend your money wisely!

So no, I'm not impressed by how "badass" you think you are by popping fireworks.  A real "badass" would boycott the fireworks and instead come to the nightclub and impress people on the dancefloor! 


Monday, December 31, 2018

my life in 2018

The year is about to end and things are about to change (I got a new job at a school library).

But being that this is a year-end blog post, I'll just focus on what happened this year rather than what will happen soon


1) Work

This has been my 13th year as a substitute teacher.

In a way, it's been a miracle that I lasted that long!

When I started in 2005, I wasn't sure if I was going to have any success. That job was just "something to do" before I move on to the next thing.

It took nearly forever to find that "next thing" that would at least pay a little more than what I'm making.

I did spend most of my time as a sub working within the public school system, though I did sub at the private schools too.
For the private school, I worked under Kelly Services (for 6 years).

Then in early August, I went to a job fair, just to interact with employers to figure what could be my "next thing".  There I interacted with the people at HiEmployment. They also provide subs for private schools. On the spot, I was invited and scheduled for an interview.  Some of the staff actually met me when they used to work at the schools I have subbed at for Kelly Services. So I was in!

I spent some time working with HiEmployment in the last few months. Some were schools I once subbed at under Hawaii Educational Resources (HERS - who I was working with 2006-2010) while others I've never been to before.

Though on the last week of the Fall semester, I was working at what I consider my favorite public school to sub at. The last day was an easy day:)

Then on the first day of winter vacation, I got a call stating that I will start a new position soon at a school library. I finally found my "next thing"  :)

================

Summertime is usually a fun time for most people, but it's a money-free time for substitute teachers. Not much fun for that.

But I did get lucky.

Back in the summer of 2016, I was working with a temp agency that sent me to the facility that printed the ballots that would be used for the elections. I was the one who inspected the ballots to make sure there were no errors. It was time-consuming and repetitive, but I liked it :)

This was in June & July, to prepare for the Primary Election in August!

I was invited to help out in September/October to prepare for the General Election, but I declined. This wasn't an easy decision to make. I loved the ballot inspection process. However, I decided to focus on working as a substitute teacher, especially being that I just joined HiEmployment and wanted to give them a chance. Also, substitute teacher gave me more flexibility to take time off in case a job interview came up! Because after all, I'm ready to go on to "the next thing".

==========

Talking about elections, I did work on Election Day as a precinct official. For both the Primary & General Elections.

I did comment on my blog why I think the format for the Primary Election should change. This was posted a few hours after the polls closed.
https://pablowegesend.blogspot.com/2018/08/hawaii-primary-elections-need-to-change.html


Voter turnout was lower this year compared to 2016.

However, the one positive this year was the same-day registration. My polling place was for the district that includes the University of Hawaii at Mānoa (UHM) and therefore includes the dorms. So we had a population of people who are at the age when they become eligible to vote. Many people only become interested in the election when the Election Day is getting closer (just like how some people only start shopping when it's almost Christmas). In the past, they only gained their interest when the voter registration deadline passed. But now with same-day registration, we had many UHM students registering on Election Day. Good to see the next generation getting involved.

=======

And of course, I continued to volunteer with the Friends of the Library of Hawaii (FLH).


FLH has their annual summer booksales at McKinley High School (Go Tigers) as well as their smaller booksales on Veteran's Day and Martin Luther King weekends at Washington Middle School.

It was on the Saturday of the Martin Luther King weekend when we had the false missile alert.

I was on my bike towards Washington Middle School when the alert came. When I arrived near the school, I took my BlackBerry Q10 just to take the picture of the sign advertising the booksale, so I can post it on facebook to remind people. Then I looked at the phone and it said there was a missile headed to Hawaii. My mind was thinking

  • we in Hawaii had so many warnings for hurricanes and tsunamis that never land on our islands, we become numb to warnings and alerts
  • if there's a  missile, the missile would most likely land in the ocean
  • the alert system might've been hacked.
  • if the missile hits while I'm at the booksale, at least I'm around the people I love when it strikes.

After I parked the bike and entered the school's cafeteria, the FLH volunteers were still setting up and customers were waiting outside.  People who got the alert were just laughing because they think it was a hoax.  (I found out later that the customers waiting outside were thinking the same thing). We were still getting ready to open when we got another text saying it was just a false alarm.

What did the media do? Act as if everyone in Hawaii was terrified for their lives. BALONEY!  Most of us have become so numb to the warnings & alerts that we were joking about it BEFORE the official text said it was a false alarm.

Yes, I feel bad for the parents who had to comfort their children (who obviously have a hard time calming their expressions of vulnerabilities).  And yes, there were cameras showing UHM students running for shelter.


But the media exaggerate the level of panic coming from Hawaii residents. Yes, I know, stories of panic are way more interesting (and get more ratings and clicks) than stories of calm. There was a lot more calm than panic where I was that day!

------

Enough about the alert, back to the FLH.

Every month, on First Friday, I am the cashier at Books@Mark's, FLH's mini-bookstore that shares space with the art gallery Arts@Mark's.  The Mark's being Mark's Garage near the border between Downtown and Chinatown.

First Friday's tend to have an opening party for a new exhibit at Arts@Mark's, so there are many people who come in to check out the opening party, the arts, and of course, the books (plus music, postcards, etc) being sold at Books@Mark's.

Being a cashier at Books@Mark's is so much more simpler than being a cashier at Macy's or Nordstrom Rack. National fashion retail chains want cashiers to encourage reluctant customers to join their reward's programs. To add the frustration, dealing with customers in the reward's programs require some complex transactions. At Books@Mark's, we keep it simple. The customers get the items they want, I add it up, charge the tax (sorry, the government wants your money), and I invite them to come to other FLH booksales.   That's it! None of this nagging customers reluctant to join rewards programs, none of this complex transactions! Much more relaxing, much less stress :)  



2) Hawaii Library Association (HLA)

Earlier this year, the HLA offered a mentorship program for those interested in the library profession.

I did get my master's degree in Library & Information Science (LIS) and have worked in libraries before but was still trying to get a full-time library position.

So I applied for the HLA mentorship program.

They did hook me up with a mentor, a librarian who works at Leeward Community College (LCC). I met the librarian before at previous conferences.  However, LCC is out of my usual range of places I go (I usually stick with Urban Honolulu, whereas LCC is on the border between Pearl City and Waipahu). 

But hey, I wanted a mentor and a mentor is available.

We did meet at UHM and talked about my career path. I did mention the previous library jobs, my current sub teaching job, and struggles landing a full-time library job. We did talk about what kind of interview questions I had difficulty with and how to best deal with the next time. The mentor also emphasized understanding the application and interview process from the employer's point of view.

Then in September, I visited the LCC campus. I have only been there once, one of my brothers was graduating from there.

 I took the A-bus then transferred to the #78 bus (I could've walked from the transfer point to the campus, but it was a mega-rainy day). 

Then I explored the campus before the meeting with the mentor.
We took a tour of the LCC library, talk about how the LCC library has been evolving and meet with the staff members (some of whom I met when they were working at their previous libraries). 

Then I was invited to observe a library instruction session. A professor brought her class to the library so that the library instructor can teach the students how to use the library databases to find resources they need for their research project. The librarian went over online search strategies and how different search terms can come up with different results. Then the students practiced using the databases to find resources relevant to their research topic.  The library instructor went over to observe and assist the students. After the session was over, I talked with the library instructor. I was fascinated by the session. Facilitating those library instruction sessions on information literacy is something I would love to do.

After the session, I went back to meet with the mentor.  He mentions that these library instruction sessions are the "one time shot" for the librarians to teach students who they might never before or again have the chance to teach. I said that reminds me of being a substitute teacher. We laughed.

Then one more thing that day.  The library was hosting a wellness workshop in which a librarian and some guests talked about aroma therapy, meditation, and music therapy.


====================

On November, we had the HLA conference at the East-West Center, which happens to be the place that hosted HLA in 2015 (the last time I went before this year). Walking distance for me!

Being that I haven't attended HLA conferences since 2015, it was a reunion with LIS classmates that I haven't seen in years. I attended a few sessions, enjoyed the buffet during lunchtime 😃, and talk to some exhibitors (mostly publishers, database vendors, and a scanning machine vendor).

The sessions I attended  included

  • Nainoa Thompson (the legendary navigator) talking about his experience as a child viewing libraries a place for independent learning
  • protecting library & archive materials in a tropical environment
  • DNA databases
  • databases providing access to indigenous cultural information
  • hotel archives
  • multimedia instruction
  • school library collaboration
  • libraries in Palau
and the most important one (for me) was the session about the HLA mentorship. My mentor couldn't make it, but I still went basically to compare notes with other mentors and mentees. Also, there were current LIS students interested in the HLA mentorships.  Besides our mentorships, much of our discussions revolved around the difficulties of the job search process. It wasn't so much about "playing victim" but about what to be alert for when doing the job search.

At the session, I found out that one of the teachers at a private school I subbed at is now an LIS student. Small world.


===

Fast-forward a few weeks to Black Friday.

I meet with my mentor again at LCC.  The library was closed to the public, but some employees were there basically for housekeeping purposes. I told the mentor about the job search since the last meeting, that I was recommended for a library position but still waiting for the paperwork to be processed before I could start working.  When talked about how libraries have evolved since he started working in a library (circa the early 90s) and how it is evolving towards to now.

I then told the mentor that after the meeting, I will ride my bike in the area and he told me about the bike path, which I will discuss in the next part of this post




3) Bike Adventures


As I just mentioned, I was at LCC for a mentorship meeting on Black Friday.  Afterward, I decided to take a bike ride going through Pearl City and Aiea. From LCC, I rode towards Kamehameha Highway towards Blaisdell Park. From there, I had my first ride through the Pearl Harbor Bike Path. This path is hidden from most commuters because you can't see much of it from Kamehameha Highway or the H-1 freeway. So much of what I saw on the bike path is new to me. 

While people usually stereotype Pearl City as a middle-class suburbs, you can see some old shacks along the bike path.  It is way more low-level poverty than public housing complexes I grew up in Kalihi. There are also homeless settlements hidden by tall grasses of sugar cane. I did see one luxury car when one guy who looked like the rapper Machine Gun Kelly threw gang signs in my direction. I just kept riding. 

I also rode past the Pearl City power plant and stared at the machines for a while. I also rode towards the west end of the path (near the place where the firefighter trucks get repaired) then back to the east end (near Aloha Stadium). From there I continued a few blocks on Kamehameha Highway and I went back on the bus.

In the future, I plan on biking in other areas I never biked before. Maybe Waipahu, Ewa or Kapolei. 


4) Housekeeping


As mentioned earlier this year, this year is the 15th anniversary at my current apartment
https://pablowegesend.blogspot.com/2018/07/15-years-at-my-apartment.html


During work breaks (at end of summer, and now in winter break), I spent some time reorganizing stuff at home.

I live in a small studio, and I like to collect stuff.  Mostly books and printed articles. So that means I have to constantly reorganize.

For the books, I got a new plastic storage container. I also reorganized the books by categories.

For magazines, I looked through them and threw some out.

But it's the printed articles that give me the most headaches. Sometimes I see articles on the computer and I print out a copy. Sometimes because I'm impressed, other times I'll print it so that I could read it on paper when I have time. But the problem is that they pile up.

So in the summer, I did another purge. I looked at the folders where I kept the articles and threw many of them out. Trash bags filled with folders of articles placed in a rolling trash can to dispose all that stuff in the big garbage can outside.

Just like the summer of 2012 (just not as extreme)
http://pablowegesend.blogspot.com/2012/06/my-war-against-clutter.html
http://pablowegesend.blogspot.com/2012/07/my-apartment-gets-make-over.html

This week, I reorganize the folders again and threw out more printed articles that I already read.  I have some more reorganizing to do before the winter break ends.

========

Early this year, in the springtime, I did upgrade my TV and stereo. 

My TV was so old that it stopped working a long time ago. It was a tube TV that was outdated in the era of the flatscreen. I replaced it with a small flatscreen TV that I got for cheap from Best Buy. Takes up less space. 

The stereo I had was donated by my brother 12 years ago. It had a multi-disc player that stopped working. The sound system once had great bass, but it was messing up. So I ordered a TechPlay stereo online that had radio, CD, cassette, USB and vinyl playing capabilities. It was relatively cheap so I bought it, though I did use PayPal to buy it. Works good so far! 

I also bought a small battery powered radio mostly in case of another storm warning. 

I also had to replace an old mattress (from 2003) with a new hybrid spring/foam mattress that I bought online for relatively cheap from WalMart. Also used PayPal. 

And as mentioned in a blog post earlier this year, I replaced my BlackBerry Q10 with a BlackBerry KeyOne.
https://pablowegesend.blogspot.com/2018/09/adventures-with-my-new-keyone.html

Yes, I made sure that whatever replacements I buy are affordable. I don't believe you should have to pay big money when you can get something effective for a relatively low price.  I also used PayPal for most purchases I mentioned, so that I can pay installments. I love it! 

5) My Music


Last but not least is my music.

In case you didn't know, I am a digital musician who releases instrumental tracks under the name Pablo the Mad Tiger Warrior.

This year, I finished making my "no budget music videos" (just a collage of still images) for tracks for my electronic music album I released early 2017, "Sounds Like A Video Game".

I think there was too much time gap between the making and posting of these videos.

Anyways, as I noted earlier, on October I released an album of metal instrumentals titled Urban Honolulu Metal Industries
https://pablowegesend.blogspot.com/2018/10/urban-honolulu-metal-industries.html

Also in October, I released as a dark ambient instrumental single "Slow Walking Through a Haunted Castle".


I have made "no budget music videos" for  10 out of 15 tracks from Urban Honolulu Metal Industries


When I'm done for all those tracks, I plan to complete work on my next instrumental albums.

This time, it will be an album of slower, softer, more relaxing music. Total opposite of heavy metal.

I already made a few slow jams. I will definitely experiment with multiple genres to make a classic album of relaxing instrumental music.

I have not decided on a release date, but it will most likely happen within 2019. 

Stay tuned. 

Sunday, December 30, 2018

2018 memorials

Being that I don't always have time to blog, I haven't gotten to writing about some of the people who have died in 2018. Of course, I won't be able to write about every person with a dose of fame, especially if I don't know much about them.

I  already wrote about the following

Aretha Franklin: 
https://pablowegesend.blogspot.com/2018/08/aretha-franklin-queen-of-soul.html

John McCain
https://pablowegesend.blogspot.com/2018/11/john-mccain.html

George H.W. Bush
https://pablowegesend.blogspot.com/2018/12/george-herbert-walker-bush.html

Stan Lee
http://pablowegesend.blogspot.com/2018/11/stan-lee.html


Now I will write about a few more famous people who passed away in 2018


Let's start with where I'm from: Hawaii

1) Vince Manuwai


Associated Press
Vince Manuwai

Vince Manuwai was a professional football player born & raised in Hawaii. He was an offensive lineman, one of those large guys who protect the quarterback from the defense.

He attended Farrington High School where he was an All-Star player being recruited by many colleges.

His senior year was 1998-1999 (in other words, he's my age, though I attended a rival school. Some of my classmates from elementary/middle school went to high school with Manuwai).

In the Fall of 1998, the University of Hawaii (UH) had its worse season ever, going 0-12.  Their coach Fred von Appen got fired. Meanwhile, many local players were embarrassed to even admit interest in joining the UH team.

Then came coach June Jones to the rescue. June Jones made it a mission to convince the local boys to stay home and turn UH into a football powerhouse.  Manuwai was considering playing for Utah but decided to give June Jones a chance and play for the home team.

Manuwai was the rookie player in the 1999 UH football team that made one of the biggest turnarounds in college football history. The team that was 0-12 the previous year became 9-4 and won a bowl game! 

(note: I started attending UH the same year, but never had any classes with Manuwai, nor did I have a chance to interact with him. I did interact with his teammates who were in my classes)

Manuwai became a team leader and was known to be one of the strongest players on the team. Coaches said that the lineman drills between Manuwai and Isa'ako "Issac" Sopoanga were very epic battles, being that they were the strongest guys on the team and both became NFL players.

Honolulu Star Advertiser
An iconic photo of Vince Manuwai from his UH days.


Manuwai was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars for whom he played for 8 years as a starter. He had some Hawaii-raised teammates for some of the seasons he played there, so that must've helped him with whatever culture shock he experienced there. 

Then last month, Vince Manuwai collapsed while moving his items into his new condo in urban Honolulu. 

According to family, Manuwai had a heart ailment that was discovered a year earlier. According to a medical examiner, some drugs were found in his system. His alleged drug use was not known to the public when he was alive.
“Former Hawaii football star Vince Manuwai died of ecstasy poisoning, medical examiner says,” Honolulu Star-Advertiser, December 3, 2018,


For more on Vince Manuwai's life and legacy, check out this article from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Stephen Tsai, “Vince Manuwai Was One of the Best Offensive Linemen in University of Hawaii Football History,” Honolulu Star-Advertiser, November 5, 2018,


=======

One more from Hawaii


2) Malani Bileyu

Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Malani Bileyu

Malani Bileyu was the lead singer of Kalapana, a contemporary Hawaiian music group that was popular in the 1970s and 1980s. They combined the sounds of soft rock with orchestral flows to make some iconic songs that define a generation in Hawaii. 

Their songs are staples of many local radio stations who still play their music today. The popular ones included “Naturally", "When the Morning Comes", "Nightbird" and  “You Make it Hard.”

The group had when many Na Hoku awards (Hawaii's version of the Grammy's). Bileyu also released a few solo records. 

Bileyu died at his home earlier this month at the age of 69.  The cause of his death is unknown to the general public.

learn more at
“Malani Bilyeu, Founding Member of Kalapana and Hoku Award-Winning Solo Artist, Dies,” Honolulu Star-Advertiser, December 27, 2018,

===

now for outside of Hawaii

3) Anthony Bourdain & Kate Spade


The reason I am putting those 2 people in the same section was the timing and the similarities in their deaths.

Both were very successful people who became household names. Sadly, their wealth & fame could never erase their depression. Both committed suicide by hanging in the early part of this summer.

Wikipedia
Kate Spade


Kate Spade was a fashion designer whose name also became a brand. She was most famous for her handbags, but also made other fashion accessories, a clothing line, cosmetics, and home items.

Anthony Bourdain was a celebrity chef who had his own TV series. His TV series traveled to different countries to give a cultural & historical context to where the food comes from. 

Peabody Awards
Anthony Bourdain

Bourdain also advocated for immigrant and women's rights.  His girlfriend Asia Argento was victimized by Harvey Weinstein, putting Bourdain in the spotlight on this issue. 

Bourdain also later admitted that the work environment restaurant industry was a fast-paced environment where people don't care about other people's feelings and that he should've done more to make his restaurants a more hospitable work environment.

The deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain both goes to show that money, fame & success doesn't guarantee happiness and could never erase whatever traumas they were experiencing in their life.

4) Avicii

Perfect World Foundation
Avicii

Avicii was a Swedish digital musician and a star in the EDM (Electronic Dance Music) world.

He became famous with his progressive house track "Levels" which sampled the vocals from Etta James "Something's Got a Hold on Me". "Levels" later got sampled by Flo Rida's "Good Feeling" 


Avicii didn't just want to be limited to EDM. He mixed the sounds of blues and country into his music as well. An example would be his ""Wake Me Up" featuring the vocals of Aloe Blacc.

With his success comes  massive demands for worldwide touring. While many artists dream of being worldwide stars and traveling to exotic locations to perform, all the traveling and stress factors take their toll. 

Avicii experienced burnout and retired from touring in 2016.  He also suffered from pancreatic cancer.

Then on February 2018, while on vacation in Muscat, Oman  Avicii died in a hotel room for what is believed by suicide from self-inflicted injuries with a glass bottle.
“Dj Avicii Death a Suicide: Report,” Jacaranda FM, December 28, 2018,


5) Dolores O’Riordan


University of Limerick 
Dolores O'Riordan


Dolores O'Riordan was the lead singer of the Irish alternative rock band Cranberries.

The Cranberries were popular in the 1990s with the hits ""Linger" and "Zombie". Both songs showed a contrast of musical influences. "Linger" was a slow love song with some violins playing in the background. "Zombie" had some heavy metal riffs and had a more political zone, as the song was in response to the traumas caused by the violence in Northern Ireland. 

She later had solo albums as well as her project with D.A.R.K. (an alternative rock/synth-pop band).

In January of 2018, Riordan died in an accidental drowning in a bathtub, a situation similar to the death of Whitney Houston. 

6) xxxTentacion

Florida Dept of Corrections
xxxTentacion

xxxTentacion was an emerging artist in the world of hip-hop.

His style of hip-hop, which combined the influences of emo and reality rap, a mix that is very popular among his generation. 

He had a troubled childhood going through various foster homes. He had many violent outbursts at school and got expelled. He spent time in juvenile detention facilities, where he brutally attacked a gay inmate. As a young adult, he physically abused his pregnant girlfriend.

These incidents caused a moral dilemma among music fans in the #metoo era.  The general public has been expressing conflicting feelings about supporting abusive artists. This is an era where many prominent people have been losing their jobs due to allegations of sexual abuse and even for less serious cases of sexual harassment. 


xxxTentacion was shot & killed when he was shopping for motorcycles in June 2018.

At that point xxxTentacion already scheduled his next video "Sad" that focused on death. This reminded people of 2pac, who already scheduled his next video to be focused on death ("I Ain't Mad At Cha") he was murdered in Las Vegas in 1996. 

Learn more on xxxTentacion's life at
Kyle Swenson, “Xxxtentacion: The Nasty, Brutish and Short Life of the Chart-Topping Rapper Killed Monday,” Washington Post, June 20, 2018, 


7) Vinnie Paul


Photo by Scott Legato/Getty Images
Vinnie Paul


Vinnie Paul was a drummer for several heavy metal bands, the most famous being Pantera, an aggressive heavy metal band popular in the 1990s.

Vinnie Paul started the band with his brother, guitarist Dimebag Darrell.

After Pantera broke up, Vinnie Paul and Dimebag Darrell joined Damageplan. While performing at a concert in Columbus, Ohio in 2004, a deranged person went on stage and shot & killed Dimebag Darrell.

Vinnie Paul blamed former Pantera's lead singer Phil Anselmo for indirectly contributing to his brother's death. No evidence supported that claim. Paul and Anselmo had never reconciled. 

Vinnie Paul died of a heart attack in his Las Vegas home in June. 

Check my 2014 blog post on Dimebag Darell to learn more about his life and the legacy of Pantera.