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Archive for October, 2010

HB came across a few episodes of Ducktales this weekend. We watched it, went back memory lane and enjoyed it. SB, however, enjoyed it even more than we did, as Scrooge McDuck, Huey, Luey, Dewey, Launch Pad McQuack, et al were all new to her.

HB and I have never been big TV people. Growing up in the province, we remember a time when TV was black and white and there were only two channels (RPN 9 and Channel 12) which we switched manually. We spent most of our time playing in the dirt until after dark.

Cable was a hit for a bit, but when you’re in college, there are far more interesting things than sitting glued to the boob tube. Then computers and the internet practically exploded around the world, and that was the end of TV for us.

SB, however, grew up in a world inundated with TV. When she and HB still lived with her grandparents, she was exposed to all sorts of shows, not all of them to our liking. Of course, we had rules about what she could watch: cartoons, but nothing from Cartoon Network. No Tagalog noon time shows. No telenovelas. But with the entire household busy most of the time and me being away so often, it was difficult to keep track. It didn’t help of course that the yayas watched the forbidden noon time shows with skimpily clad girls gyrating to suggestive music and the cheap, unimaginative telenovelas. And it was not my household to run, but that is another story for another day.

Her TV viewing became easier to track when we moved here, but it still wasn’t very reassuring, with the new generation of shows being perpetuated on TV.  There are some gems like Avatar: The Last Airbender and Jimmy Neutron, and of course some of the classics like Scooby Doo have survived, but in general the shows are shallow, with shallow values emphasizing the importance of appearances and of being popular.

In shows like The Little Mermaid and Wizards of Waverly Place, the lead characters always disobey their parents/lie/cheat to get what they want. In the Fairly Odd Parents the lead character uses his enabler and clueless (read: nitwit)  fairy godparents to circumvent/get back at his parents for whatever they are making him do. Courage the Cowardly Dog is on the verge of a nervous breakdown and saves his unsuspecting (read: nitwit) owners from all sorts of evil. I can list a lot more, but the themes are the same: the flouting of authority, and adults portrayed as nitwits, perhaps to justify the first theme.

Whatever happened to loving yourself for who you are? The importance of family? The importance of doing what is right and achieving your dreams with honor?

I’m not so sure if the current breed of shows are dumbing down its viewers, or if they only cater to a demand and are a reflection of them. I suspect it is a little bit of both.

In the beginning I would sit with SB and guide her (ala Socrates) into analyzing the scenes before her. But a parent can’t always be there to explain why Hannah Montana is lying to her friends or why Selena Gomez is copying her classmate’s homework.

Thankfully, our satellite TV conked out a few months after it was installed. I was initially in favor of chewing the TV guy out, but HB pointed out that it was a blessing in disguise. No more Johnny Bravo, no IM Weasel, no Hannah Montana, no more The Replacements.

Now SB just watches shows on the internet, in a common area where we can all see what everyone is doing. And she reads books. But it would be nice if we had more access to the cartoons of our childhood like Ducktales, emphasizing things like ingenuity, bravery, the importance of family over money, and with a little humor thrown in. For now, we will keep looking.

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This US trip had long been in the works, but kept getting pushed back for a variety of reasons, mostly to do with funds. After a year of delays, of dreaming of my long dead grandparents, and of worrying about Dad, I closed my eyes and just did it.

(Backgrounder: I have not seen my parents and my two sisters for give or take seven years. So it was a pretty big deal.)

Anyway, I did do it. As a result, the finances are looking a bit peaky, but I don’t regret it one bit.

To make a long story short, IT WAS A BLAST.

We had soooooo much fun, catching up, eating, shopping, and trying to get on each others’ nerves. When we were a lot younger, my sisters and I used to engage in a lot of hair-pulling, shouting and general theatrics. If anyone had told us we would be the best of friends twenty years later we would have started a rebellion. (We were a handful. Ask our parents.)

It was a lovely trip, but bittersweet. I am having difficulty capturing that loveliness in words, but the bittersweetness comes from the fact that in my line of work, where everyone acts like friends, it is not easy to find the real thing.

It was hard saying good bye. For a brief moment it made me resentful that we were so far away from each other. Sisters are supposed to be able to pop by for weekend dinner or a cup of coffee, consult each other during shopping trips, hang around while you’re doing the laundry or answer late-night calls about the latest “news.”

Somehow despite “globalization” and the world purportedly becoming smaller, I still believe that families should be together.

Solution? Let’s all move to San Francisco!!!!

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No-Carb Diet

So, San Francisco was a blast, for three reasons (in order of importance): 1) the company, 2) the food, and 3) the shopping. I’ll post more about the trip later, but for now let’s just say that that trip made me decide, once and for all, to go on a diet. Why? Allow me to present Exhibit A up there.

As if that was not enough, Exhibit B:

SFO breakfast 2

And Exhibit C:

SFO lunch

Don’t be fooled into thinking those were the only servings I ate. Consider them “sample servings.” And imagine that for five days you ate nothing but these. And imagine that in the six years before that you’ve been bingeing on similar things, along with regular trips to McDo, Jollibee, Greenwhich, and the occasional eat-all-you-can.

Yup, it’s time for some CHANGE.

Another offshoot of the trip was I met a lady in Baltimore who told me about her experience with the Atkins Diet. Feeling like a stuffed lechon on the plane ride back home, I decided to do the Induction Phase myself. This means fourteen days with no carbs and no sugar. No rice, no bread, no chocolates, no fruits.

Okay, let me clarify that last part, as it is not exactly the truth.

Truth is, I started the diet to the letter. By the second day, I felt like I was moving through water…. It became very difficult to wake up in the morning and stay awake the entire day. It also became very difficult to gather my thoughts together and express themselves. It was scary.

And I belatedly remembered that I come from a family of diabetics, with a strong history of hypoglycemia. As a child, I myself had a few bouts of hypoglycemia. And I realized that this diet wasn’t going to work the way Dr. Atkins (bless his soul) envisioned it.

At that moment of epiphany, I popped a dozen Godiva pearls in my mouth and felt better in a matter of minutes.

Sorry, Dr. Atkins. But I promise from now on I will only eat fruits in addition to what you prescribed 😉

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