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Think Tank Thursdays: Power of the People through Youtube

This is a short essay I wrote for one of my classes in Brandman University.

It’s almost global knowledge that Hollywood’s blockbuster movies have generated a dominant cultural hegemony that echoes America’s image as the world’s greatest superpower.  A notable example is 2004’s disaster epic, The Day After Tomorrow.  In the final scene of the movie, the new President Raymond Becker, begins his speech with the traditional ‘my fellow Americans’ even though it’s obvious that he is addressing the world; as if America speaks on behalf of the global community (Langley, 2012).  Hollywood has succeeded in selling America as a utopian society that is devoid of errors (Andrew, 2014).  And even though the internet did not become mainstream until around 1999 (Spiegel, 1999) Hollywood continued to sell the United States as the undisputed leader of the free world (Langley, 2012).  Until one event led to the tipping of the scales, the birth of YouTube.

The domain name “YouTube.com” was activated on February 14, 2005 with video upload options being integrated on April 23, 2005.  Six years later, it became the 3rd most visited site in the world, next to Google and Facebook (Cayari, 2011).  It is also the first major website dedicated for uploading and viewing of videos, putting creative power in the hands of the individual, and not the industry.  The traditional medium of Hollywood dominating visual media isn’t quite yet on the verge of extinction, but it’s starting to struggle maintaining its dominance as the United States’ representative to the world.  One no longer needs writers, editors, producers and a sales team to build content (Solis, 2014).  Power is going to the people, with YouTube as their main weapon, with heroes such as Felix Ulf Kjellberg of PewDiePIe fame to wield it.

Although I give deference to PewDiePie as the de facto ambassador of YouTube (even after the fallout from his anti-Semitic joke), I am not a fan, nor do I care to watch other personalities like him such as Smosh or the [Jake and Logan] Paul brothers.  At the risk of sounding like and elitist hipster, I’d like to say that I’m more partial to:

Kiva.org and similar non-profit organization can easily spread their message through Youtube and the internet in general.  They no longer need to pay television networks to air their commercials, or promotion firms to sell their business.  All it takes is the knowledge of web design and digital media analytics, to turn up in Google’s search lists when typing “non-profit.”  Although movie companies and TV networks still have the market on mass media, the world wide web allows the transfer of information to be independent from them, and it balances the power of the haves and have-nots closer and closer together.

#weightlossjourney Wednesdays Introductory post

“I always cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.”

– W.C. Fields

So, what started as a competition with Arnold as to who would lose weight the most, turned into a cooperative effort to get fit, and is growing into both a steady pace towards becoming a fitter me, as well as a revelation that Instagram, out of all my social media accounts, got me the most amount of followers in the quickest time.  As a result, it has given me the motivation to keep going.

Sadly, I’m not the spry feller I used to be.  Way back when I remember jogging 17-mile-road from Monterey to Carmel every week.  Even way backer than that, I fancied myself a breakdancer, but where friends Jonathan, Eric and Arnold did ground work with windmills, head-spins and flairs, I took to the air with back-handsprings and somersaults.

(Note:  TBH, their moves weren’t that on point, and I definitely was no Mary Lou Retton)

 

 

 

 

 

As for the present times, let’s just say I’ve let myself go pretty far…

*sigh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So the goal then is not so much bring back my “glory” days.  My motivation for fitness has changed from “for the ladies,” to “for my general health and well-being as a person.”  I’m not trying to be the lean machine that I was before (wait, was I ever?).  I just want to lose a good amount of pounds to weigh as much as someone of my height (6 feet 5 inches by the way if you’re wondering) and body type

via GIPHY (…if only lol)

So it’s been a little over a month now and progress has been slow but steady.  But as I get more followers on Instagram, I get more motivated to get to my #weightlossdestination.

Tune in next time for my next post of my ongoing quest to fitness, where I try my best not to be this guy…

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Time Travel Tuesday: Sedona vacay (Part 1)

“People’s hearts color the heart of the earth and the earth colors the hearts of people.”
― Ilchi Lee, The Call of Sedona: Journey of the Heart

Took me long enough to start this . . .

Today’s Time Travel Tuesday features one of the most extraordinary, if not the most extraordinary trips I’ve taken my whole life.  Although I’m a ways away from claiming to be a globetrotter (the traveling kind, not the basketball kind), I can say I’ve been to a few places in Europe, Asia, and of course, North America (more on them at later dates).  But so far, no place has stayed with me physically, mentally, and spiritually more than Sedona.

Now I’ll admit, I was skeptical at first…

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I heard the stories about how Sedona was this mystical, magical place, but I just wrote them off as new-age, hippie shit to trap tourists and other new-age hippies.  And I probably would have never went there, if it weren’t for my wife.

The religious beliefs of Okinawans, or Japanese in general, have elements tied to animism.  In short, it’s the belief that everything has a soul or spirit, and I mean every person, place or thing in this world everything.  They are beliefs similar to Modern Paganism which, up until today I thought was the same as New-Age.

via GIPHY

I still don’t have a full grasp of it.  So, before I go more and more off-topic, I’ll bring this back to my Japanese wife and how she always wanted to go to Sedona, almost after she came here to the U.S. with me.

So eventually, we found time (because once you retire from the military, you find out you’ve got tons of time now) and decided to take a 3 day-2 night trip to this so-called magical place.  And I thought, I’ll save money on plane tickets by driving us the whole 12 hours down there.

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On the next Time Travel Tuesday, I’ll continue the journey to Sedona with my mind-numbing but worth-it-in-the-end drive all the way from Vacaville, CA to Sedona, AZ.

Wait, I’m driving the whole way?!!

Military Mondays: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

This is an easy one.

What is really derived from NATO, the phonetic alphabet is used to convey clear and concise messages over telecommunications platforms.  Before the advent of the cel-phone, most verbal commands or inquiries had to be requested over a walkie-talkie.  You remember those right?

I get the talkie part, but why the walkie?

Well, hypothetical idiot, they’re mobile telecommunications equipment, which means you can talk while walking.

You know when you pull up in a drive-thru, and both of you have to repeat what you’re saying over and over because of the poor quality?  Well imagine the same scenario, except the speaker is asking for reinforcements while being shot at by the enemy.  Kinda important to get the message clear.

 

And so the phonetic alphabet was taught to all military personnel in order to relay coordinates and reports that are usually in the form of a mish-mash of numbers and letters.  So as to not confuse the receiver (like saying “b” but the guy hears “v”), the letter is said using the phonetic alphabet (“b” as in Bravo, “v” as in Victor).

And that’s pretty much it.  If you want to know what all the letters are, just refer to the featured image above.  I also recommend checking out Military.com for all your questions about the military.  It’s where I get most of my sources, aside from a couple of outliers and personal experience.

Tune in next week for another Military Mondays feature.

End of the Week review: Introductory post

Every Sunday, I will do the best I can to sum up the week’s highlights.  Whether it’s a topic on Military Mondays, Veteran Fridays, Free radical posts, or just a summary of the week’s events, I will post them here.

Here’s a quick recap:

April 30:  Watched Avenger’s Infinity War I – It truly is the the “The Empire Strikes Back” of the MCU

May 1: First day of Spring Term I of Brandman University – the only downside to this thing is that I have to pay $5 to come back home from Walnut Creek

May 2:  Daily obligations for my wife in Sacramento

May 3:  Capital Public Radio‘s Big Day of Giving sponsored by the New Helvetia Brewing Company and Hefty Gyros – The Capital Public Radion Khz Kolsch was phenomal, and so was the event, not to mention the Pita Gyro

May the 4th be with you:  Aside from the Star Wars reference, it was the beginning of blazing some trails in Lagoon Valley Park, Vacaville

Cinco de 5-oh:  Fun fact, while we use this day as an excuse to drink, In Japan, it’s a day set aside to remember one’s children, and it’s also marks the end of Golden Week

That about wraps it up.  Stay tuned for more posts.

Super Random Saturday: Introductory post

Anything goes on a Saturday Night . . . sorta.  These post will be on just about anything cheeky like “pop culture analysis” or “silly things my friends do or say” or nostalgic like “A Tribute to…”  So they’re basically Free Radical Posts on a Saturday Night, except they’re special (no not really).

In the meantime, enjoy this clip:

I think the chaos is starting to settle

And if it doesn’t, eh, one post at a time right?

I had intended to start this week on putting down regular post.  I even started with a military misconception in Military Mondays (say that 3 times fast).  Tuesday started to get away from me and Wednesday I just couldn’t keep up.  And here I am Friday having nothing to talk about our veterans, which is sad, but which I hope to remedy.

However, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I might not post a clever little take on military life on Mondays,

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a training montage on Tuesdays,

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 some woo-woo post about wandering outdoors on Wednesdays,

via GIPHY (I’ll have to admit though, this looks pretty cool)

a douchey philosophical discourse on Thursday,

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or even Veteran Fridays, arguably the only posts of mine that matter the most.  Life happens I suppose, and it doesn’t care about my silly little blog.  But, I will do the best I can to post regularly, and focus a majority of them on my intended topic of the day.

But, if I am not able to, I will more than likely write one of these Livejournal-esque (is that even a thing still?) posts either that day or tomorrow, depending on what the powers-that-be and whatever it is they throw at me.

(AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

I really want to make this work.  I don’t want my whole “ambassador of military, vets and civilians” be bullshit!  But I know it’s gonna take time, and probably result in more entries like this.

So bear with me folks, both actual and hypothetical, I got my eyes on the prize.

 

UPDATE (6/21/2018):  About the chaos settling?  I was mistaken.  Still in panic mode trying to figure this shit out.  Plus, I’m trying to get this blog in compliance of the fact that I’ve been attaching gifs and pics without crediting them, which is apparently a big no-no.  So, yeah, at best this is still a work in progress and at worst, this is a shit-storm barreling through a madfuckering volcano as the earth shatters in to a million pieces to reveal the fact that I’ve got a looooooooooooooooooong way to go until this bitch is kosher for blog reading eyes.

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WTF Wednesday: Introductory post

Apart from “Things that make you go Hmm,” it’s things that make you go

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I realize that’s a broad spectrum which ranges from mild frustration to utter shock but, when rage sets in, I have no choice but to use this day to vent nuclear warhead detonation levels of extreme, flabbergasted dumfoundedness.  At the moment of writing this post, I feel as calm as a Hindu cow.  But there will be times when I am angry at:

  • Restaurant staff who get my order wrong (which incidentally, I shouldn’t be at anyway because #weightlossjourney!)
  • People who cut me off or don’t let me pass while driving
  • The news!

It’ll be mostly the news.  Given the political climate, it’ll be the fucking news.  This is not an all inclusive list and I will build upon it as I find more shit to get pissed at.  In the meantime, listen to some Enya.

Time Travel Tuesday

Sometimes, I have nothing to write about for Training Tuesday.  Other times, I think Training Tuesday sucks.  But most of the time, I have nothing to write about for Training Tuesday because, really, it sucks.  Instead, Time Travel Tuesday is a review of all the experiences I’ve had in the past; so kinda like Wanderlust Wednesday.  But on occasion, I’ll look back on some of the random thoughts and think pieces I’ve either written on past posts, past projects or past college assignments (so basically Think Tank Thursday).

In all honesty, it’s just a catchy title to tack on when I don’t feel like writing a particular themed piece on a particular day.  Currently in progress is my Sedona vacay series which you can see here, and here.

Military Monday-Misconception #1: Not everyone in the Air Force flies.

“Off we go, into the wild blue yonder, flying high, into the sun…”

– Air Force Song

Although the word “airmen” implies flight, not all Air Force personnel fly.  If by fly you mean control a plane, that would be a pilot, or co-pilot (usually the newbie pilot in training).   If you mean riding on a plane while doing their job, that’s aircrew.  For example, those would be your navigators or combat system operators on the officer side, and loadmasters (the guys who pack everything on the plane and, on most cargo aircraft, air-drop everything at the command of the pilot.

More often than not, mission essential personnel are included with the aircrew as well.  They can be aircraft maintenance personnel such as crew chiefs, and even specially trained security forces that provide extra protection while the aircraft is on the ground and in contested or hostile territory.  Then you have your mission support personnel like your financial managers, medical technicians, firefighters, etc.

All airmen play a part in U.S. air power, whether they are up in the air or on the ground.  But yeah, not all of us fly.

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