Tag Archives: getting screwed



9 screens on OFF

SCREEN-FREE WEEK is from may 5th to the 11th this year, and I intend to take another stab at it. Media addiction is real, and in some extreme cases, it can ruin careers, relationship and even families. I’m not advocating for people to go out and smash their TV’s to bits in their driveways. But what I’d like to do, is have a dialogue on the subject.

It’s a good idea to be aware of how much time per week, that we’re spending just sitting there being idle, just absorbing screen-fed, infotainment  content, like some digital baby being fed virtual nourishment.

Over-consumption of media is like a run-on sentence. Something that starts off feeling good, but drags on for so long that it might end up making you feel nauseous. Throughout my life, I have binged on media. Whether it was watching 8-9 hours of tv a day, everyday, as a kid. Or playing some 10-12 hours of video games in a row, during the weekend as an adult. Great storytelling has a tendency to grab me and not let go. And I’m not the only one out there. Left and right, I’m hearing stories of people doing some time travel after getting Netflix, or some other streaming service. It’s  early afternoon, they start off watching an episode of a tv series that ends up being better than anticipated, and next thing you know, it’s now late at night. Time-travel in action.

I’m not going to go entirely offline and screen-free during that week, because realistically, I have no control over what content I’m shown at class. What I am planning to do, is to seriously reduce the amount of digital media I devour. I’m not going to play video games, or watch movies or tv shows, or surf the web for a week. But also have to be realistic, I am going to answer my cell if it rings, and I am going to check my emails quickly everyday, since I am job-hunting.

To me, SCREEN-FREE WEEK isn’t about being media-abstinent as a show of willpower. It’s about meditating on how much of our personal time we’re willing to give to absorbing other people’s stories, and how much we’re willing to invest in living out own lives, and in the process, living out our own stories.



-UPDATED May 13th :

I may have fumbled a few times ( I played some ps3 ), but I consider my SCREEN-FREE WEEK as at least, a moderate success. It was hard not to watch any tv shows & movies. Not being able to surf the web and check facebook made me feel disconnected at first. But then it felt great to have all that extra time to work on my projects, and to go outside. ^_^






[ SF SIGN ] 2

I think there’s nothing worse than hanging out at friend’s place who only has 1-Player adventure/shooter games. It doesn’t make for much  2-player interactivity. I buy multiplayer games, including Capcom fighting games, because, as silly as it sounds, I want to be a good host. Plus, obviously, I enjoy playing them tremendously. I love the Capcom fighting games so much, I’ll buy everything Capcom produces that’s got a versus option. From SF2 on SNES, to Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure on PS1, To buying games on PS3 that I already have on Ps2. Capcom fighting games are like pokemons to me. I want them all!  See photographic evidence below:

[ capcom fighting games ]

Now back to the point I want to make about Videogame Segregation.

Traditionally segregation is defined as:

1. the act of segregating or state of being segregated
2. sociol : the practice or policy of creating separate facilities within the same society for the use of a minority group

*source: dictionary.com

I love all the capcom fighting games, but with all the updates and different editions, I’m hooked beyond my budget. And what really irks me is how they segregate their online gamer community between different versions of the same game. For example: last time I checked, Street Fighter 4 had sold around 4-5 million copies, and because there’s so many copies, and because it’s available dirt cheap used,  most of the people online are noobs. So I can win online matches at SF4 without too much work even though I usually take “random” at the character select screen. The newer edition, Super Street fighter 4 AE, which sold 1-2 million or so copies, is harder to find and is more expensive, so most of the people online for that game are hardcore. They’re hardcore enough to pay more for the same game, and hardcore enough to learn a newer more complicated move-set.  I can’t  afford to choose random when I play SSF 4AE online, no, I gotta stick to my strong characters and work hard for every win.


It’s segregation because it separates people into groups, based solely on their purchasing power and skills set. everybody should be able to play the best, and latest version of the game. And in my case, since I own both copies,  I find it’s a downer that the community is split up like that, and that with my skill set, it’s not a fun option  for me to play the latest version of Streetfighter. That strikes me as a design flaw on Capcom’s part, that they would split us up like that, that they would make the latest, and most updated version of their game, so unapproachable.

And Capcom keeps repeating the same pattern. They’re doing it to us again with Marvel Vs Capcom 3, and the newer version called: Ultimate  Marvel vs Capcom 3. Yes, against my own personal logic, Capcom will ultimately get me to shell  another 60$ for a newer version of the same game that now has a few new characters. Woo-hoo! And I wouldn’t mind paying 120$ for one game, if only the online offering wasn’t split into two absolutely polar-opposite groups.

So you end up with two segregated gaming communities for the same game. One for noobs, one for hard-core gamers. Which sucks, because everybody should be able to play the same game, the best version of the game. No gamer should be told to go sit at the back of the digital bus.



NATNOTE: For anyone who wants to call me out, and challenge me at SF4 on PS3, my PSN username is: Razorblade_Candy. And I’ll take on anybody online. Well, at least for a couple of matches…   ^_^

[ - getting screwed - ]


This time around I decided to make a comic strip instead of a full-on article. It’s more art and less text for your buck. Please let me know what you think below.

The war against the web

The internet we know today was originally created as a means of protecting vital information in the case of an invasion. It involved the U.S. department of defense and some American universities, and it was known as Darpanet.

Darpanet eventually became the Internet as we know it today. The internet is a vital world resource, but since it was originally created within the U.S., it’s mostly all regulated within the U.S. as well.

US laws have repercussions all over the world. Which is why law projects like SOPA ( the Stop-Online-Piracy-Act ) which threaten the neutrality of the internet, is a concern to everybody. At least everybody that’s online. And now-a-days, that’s a lot of people.

And the good news is that this article is more of a eulogy than anything, since as we all know, SOPA, that no good piece of law, was defeated.  An unprecedented amount of people contacted their government to complain, web organizations like Google and Wikipedia had blackouts and similar actions. Basically the internet got together to defeat a bill that would have amputated the internet. Basic survival instinct. That’s powerful stuff.

And sure, I’m against copyright infringement, but it should be up to the copyright owner to enforce it. It should not become the responsibility of search engines and internet service providers to police such content.

And who’s asking for such draconian measures? It’s mostly the RIAA ( Record-Industry-Association-of-America ) and MPAA ( Motion-Picture-Association-of-America ).And to this day, depending on the jurisdiction, some people are still being given massive fines and even sent to jail for ripping or distributing some movie, or some piece of music. And yet any public library will have a photocopier available to photocopy any written copyrighted work right there on the premises. They even get a cut of the profits. And that’s legal.

So my questions is: Why do we allow municipal institutions, such as public libraries, to profit from facilitating  copyright infringement of the written word and of visual arts, while we prosecute criminally people who distribute music and music type arts for the only crime of wanting to share their love of that art?

It’s possible that our culture and our governments are telling us that anything visual is of no value, but that, oh wait! IF it’s got soundtrack to it, IT IS A CRIME TO COPY IT!!!

The reality is that the feds are too cowardly to start going after those evil municipal governments and their evil public libraries. That would be one level of government taking on another level of government, and that would require courage. Feds don’t like working that hard.But, when it comes to creating a legal framework that allows music industry related enforcement pit-bulls to pounce on single moms and their kids for sharing a song, well in those cases, the feds are glad to help.

But maybe I’m getting worked up about this, so I therefore conclude expediently, not wanting to become another person who ends up M.I.A. because of the R.I.A.A.   …

Conclusion: So, in a supreme display of irony, the internet, a system that was created to protect vital information from foreign invaders, ended up getting attacked by a home-grown threat to liberty and freedom of speech: unchecked corporate greed.


*NATNOTE: And for those who think the art for this particular post is rather weak, well, that’s precisely the point. I create original art that I own for this blog. So if SOPA  would have gone thru, it would not have affected me that much. But If SOPA had gone thru, the blogs of most people who post material they do not own, would have ended up looking like the visuals for this blog: [ NO ART INCLUDED ] !



I would define DOG-EAT-DOG capitalism as a system in which one profits using the capital and efforts of another while not being held accountable in the event things don’t work out. Bankers and politicians are very similar in that sense, since both are praised when things go right,  and both are usually not held responsible when the decisions they make lead to disaster.

The 2008 financial crisis and its subsequent  multi-national and multi-billion bailouts of the banks responsible for that very mess, resulted in the creation of a system where the profits are privatized, and risks are socialized. The worst of Capitalism and Communism combined.

Sure, since then, some governments have tried their hand at legislation to regulate the banking industry. But when the banking lobby is involved in the drafting of that said legislation,  it starts to lose its potency. It’s funny how virtual corporate citizens are intimately involved in the legislative process, while flesh-and-blood actual citizens are never allowed to have a word in it.

If, for example, the delicatessen industry was to be caught blatantly lying about the content of their product, there would sure to be some serious legal consequences. A company selling chicken breast that turned out to be mostly pig ears and pig tails, would most certainly be held accountable for it.

So why are companies operating in the financial industry, that get caught blatantly lying , not being held accountable against those very same high standards? Bankers get bonuses for selling predatory sub-prime mortgages to people who they know won’t be able to repay them. Then investment firms trick pension funds into buying into those bad loans, even though themselves are buying derivatives designed to profit when those very loans get defaulted. But that’s just business as usual, no one should be held accountable. No one  except the taxpayer.

And when a politician gets caught blatantly lying or screwing us, there’s usually no real serious consequences as well.  They usually get off pretty easy. Diplomatic immunity I guess.

So my question is: Why is it that the rules of accountability apply to the delicatessen industry, and pretty much everyone else, but not to the banking industry and the political industry?

The answer is that we expect at least some people out there to be able to swallow what comes out of the delicatessen  industry,  but nobody is expected to be able to swallow anything that comes out of the political industry.

And as far as the banking industry goes, they’re just accountants who  bought their way into not being accountable…


My representative democracy metaphor

In a representative democracy we’re able to go vote on who’s gonna be deciding for us. That’s like,  if you went to the grocery store, and you were able to decide who’s gonna do the shopping for you, but you’re not allowed to walk in and make the purchases yourself. Even though it’s your money! Basically you’re given the choice between a guy in a plaid shirt who says he’s a good shopper, and some dude in a polka dot shirt who says he’s good at spotting items that are on sale.

So, you try to explain to them your family’s dietary needs. But the best you get out of them is a shrug. So you take a leap of faith,  and decide to hand over your wallet, with all your food budget for the week inside it, to the guy in the plaid shirt.

And, an hour later, the guy in the plaid shirt comes out with a shopping cart full of candy, soda pop, and sugary treats. You explain to him that someone in your family has diabetes and you ask him to go back in and follow your grocery list. But the only answer you get is: ” If you don’t like my choices, go ahead and choose somebody else to do your shopping for you!”

So a week goes by, and without any other alternatives, you end up going back to the only grocery store  available in your area. You think about it for a long time, and you decide to give your wallet, with all your food budget for the week, to the dude in the polka dot shirt. But this time, you make sure he sees the grocery list in your wallet.  All you get is a shrug. But you have hope. You’re hoping it’s an affirmative shrug.

And an hour later,  the dude with the polka dot shirt comes out with a shopping cart full of beer, bacon and beef jerky. You explain to him why that’s unacceptable, considering the dietary needs of your family. But you end with the same reply: “If you don’t like my choices, go ahead and choose somebody else to do your shopping for you!”

So you ask for the manager. He comes out wearing clothing with no distinctive pattern, pretending to be neutral.  You explain your situation, and ask if you could go in and do the shopping yourself, like they used to do in the olden days. To that, the manager replies: ” Sure, in ancient Greece people used to be able to walk into their grocery stores and do the shopping themselves. But that was a long time ago. Now-a-days, people are too lazy to care or get involved. So they eat whatever we decide they should eat. If you don’t like it, feel free to try and start your own grocery store. That is if you can get the required permits!” and with that, the manager walks off,  laughing.

So yeah! Basically,  I think we should all be out there, trying to start our own metaphorical grocery stores, where we’re able to decide how our money is spent. In ancient Greece, they used to have real democracies where all the citizens of one town would get together once a week, and vote, debate and legislate all through the day. Unlike us, they were able to vote for themselves on actual law projects. They didn’t have to decide on who’s gonna be doing the voting for them.

I think one day, eventually, a new modern  system of governance will arise. One that will actually give the electorate the option to speak for itself, instead of being required to put up with people pretending to be speaking on our behalf.

But maybe that’s just me. I could be wrong. I got a feeling that there’s also a lot of people out there that are completely happy to be consuming bacon, beer and sugary treats, week after week, without having any choice in the matter.