Monday, December 29, 2008

Life After TV

“The world is made of stories not atoms”
- M. Rukseyer -

It's been five and a half years since I've had a TV. Despite what that may sound like there has been no absence of "TV" viewing at all, I'm a sucker for good stories and I believe "the world is made of stories not atoms".  Life after TV has been very bright.  All media viewing became targeted, purposeful, more diverse, and better quality. The most vital part of life after TV is that I no longer allow giant media conglomerates with political agenda’s to spoon feed me advertising with what they deem to be quality TV in between. I get to choose.  That’s why I checked out "Six Feet Under" from the library and watched the entire series over two years on DVD, that’s why I sampled “24” and “Lost”. The rest I can do without.

Together as media consumers we have the power to completely reshape the media landscape.

Here are some places to watch/check out targeted media online for free (feel freed to comment and add your own favorite places):

(Best) Your Public Library
Check out DVD’s at your library! You may be surprised by many library’s have some great classics, foreign films and new films.

Current TV
Viewer created content
The most popular internet film spot will often have just what you’re looking for but now it’s partnered with MGM and offers selected feature films (poor selection for now but it may improve)
Google video
Revver pays video makers a small fee for viewers who watch their video.
Classic Cinema Online
Great classics for free here!
A joint venture of NBC and Fox.
Atom Films

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Five Years Dry

Yes, that’s five years dry. Five years (plus) that I haven’t owned a TV.

As a media person I assure you it wasn’t intentional. I recognized it’s addictive nature yet I still craved it, wanted to flip channels mindlessly and sink into the soothing drunken depressed stupor afterwards. You know what I’m talking about - the confused dislocation, the spinning numbness, the deep dissatisfaction with your body, heck your entire life! Ambitious politicians call pot the entry drug, but uncool teenagers know that junk food and all night TV/Video Game/Internet binges are the real entry drug. Of course this drug, much like alcohol is widely accepted and universally encouraged to promote the heavy stuff. Haven’t guessed? Consumption!

Some of our favorite articles of consumption include, oil, beauty/health supplies,  celebrity news, (more oil), fast food (with giant meat portions) and TV!

My pathway to ridding my addiction to TV was a fortunate twist of fate. I lived in a climate inhospitable to TV viewing enjoyment. Imagine a stark university apartment with carpet off limits to bare feet and 4 girls from all corners of the world thrown together. The hard and fast rule in the place was that you must be out of the apartment as much as possible. When in the apartment, you must venture outside of your room only to fulfill the absolute necessary. Cooking was necessary, bathroom use was also necessary. Use of the TV (where suspiciously only the Australian SBS station could be tuned in) was not necessary and therefore frowned upon. It put you into the category of extremely uncool. This was a very unpleasant category to be in. If you were caught watching, you had to claim that someone else turned it on, while you were innocently cooking in the nearby kitchen, thus shedding any blame.

During this 6 months in a home utterly intolerant of TV viewing, I felt deep withdrawal symptoms, craving my German MTV where I learned to speak Hoch Deutsche, my thumb-on-remote exercise, the surprise excitement of a real movie on TV, that you never wanted to watch in the first place, but you would watch on TV since it’s a free movie. At first I denied my addiction. I hadn’t even been a TV everynighter, a statistic average (4 hours a night is the US standard) and obviously only the TV everynigghters, the unnamed statistics, were addicted!! Of course I could live without TV! Me? No worries.

It still didn’t stop the sweat that beaded on my forehead, the craving, the longing. Those first few weeks in my new home I was forced to read Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix cover to cover much too quickly, twice. I flipped through art and film magazines, I wrote and finished my first novel (it sits neatly on my hard drive collecting dust). Amidst the melt down, it dawned on me that I was addicted. My addiction may have been eased had I had the Internet at home (I could have easily replaced one addiction with another) but I didn’t even have that. (Yes – shocking I know – I was too cheap to install it, in my temporary living space). For this period I even fasted from movies – for 6 months!

Only time could heal and it did.

At the end of my fast I realized I hadn’t craved for a long time. In fact, I felt released, freed, better, improved. I liked myself more. I was more inspired, more tuned in, turned on, more creative, more alive!

When my boyfriend joined me in Australia, for a brief second as we hunted for apartments we had a TV or no TV discussion, it was hands down – no TV. He went along, and five years later neither of us have looked back.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Transit Comics

A comic anthology by the Dirty Drawers (Bay Area cartoonists with some amazing talent - do explore the links) about public transportation has been published on the Internet and is also being distributed, from what I can gather, on San Francisco public transport.
 If you've public transported much, you know the time you spend there can range from maddening to spiritually uplifting. This anthology taps into the ritual, the opportunity, the small yet beautiful daily habit. How often do you get to sit in close proximity with absolute strangers after all? For some of us everyday. For most, rarely. I think car is still king. And all that time waiting then riding and all of the different stories colliding together, it's so beautiful it makes me cry.

Check it out for yourself.

I especially like Story Submission #7 Lean on Me and  "No Live Animals" has got to be on the way to cult (if it isn't already?). I even sent in a story myself ("Story Submission #6")!

What's your story?