So What? 001: I’m Keeping My Cable Box

I believe it was this New York Times article, Atop TV Sets, a Power Drain That Runs Nonstopthat was circulating my Facebook buddies’ walls that got me thinking about my cable box.  Funny thing is, the people who posted or commented in agreement were mostly musicians. Really, dudes?  Like amps aren’t huge energy wasters…like listening to music isn’t an energy waster either, especially when you have the volume pumped up…
I would (jokingly) consider myself a banana, yellow on the outside, white on the inside.  I can’t understand Asians with thick accents.  I order things by the number at Asian restaurants with the fear of pronouncing things wrong, but hell, I was born in the US, went to preschool in Okinawa at an English-speaking school, and spoke tagaglish, until my dad was stationed in California by the time I was 6. English is pretty much my only language.  The thing that makes me not so white on the inside is the frugality of the industrious Filipino race and an Asian distaste for super-sized anything, unless it means I can take it home and have enough to eat for a week.  Unlike most cheap Filipinos, I don’t troll Wal-Mart, Ross, or Target for deals. Unlike most cheap Filipinos, I lack the tendency to buy everything just because it’s on sale, especially if it is ill fitting, ugly, and triple red-tagged (god, my donor pile of unwanted Xmas gifts gets pretty epic year after year).  I wouldn’t buy tampons with coupons even if I were well beyond menopause, like my grandma did.  I hate coupons…period.

Personally, I like to troll Ebay, Amazon, and online sample sales for deals.  One time, I scored a hand woven alpaca hippie hoodie for my kid that was worth 140 doll hairs, for around 90 tax return dollars!  This other time, I found a Betsey Johnson wool coat with heart buttons for 60 bucks on Overstock!  And, both of my SX-70 Polaroid cameras came into my possession for under 40 bucks apiece!  I don’t even know why I’m talking about this, but the point is I am very keen on saving money so that it could quickly leave my wallet elsewhere.

When it came to setting up Internet and phone service it was cheaper to include cable on the bill.  Big Tall and I just thought, “Hell, at least we can watch Blazer games.”  I hadn’t had cable television since 2002 when it came free with my old apartment.  Even then I didn’t watch it much, because I had access to one of the most amazing video collections in the world (mine, my ex’s, and our roommate’s collections combined were almost enough to make the most obscure, independent video rental place cry).  I was also obsessed with whatever Grand Theft Auto game was out at that time.  Fast forward to four years ago…

So, yeah, because I was depressed and jobless and I had access to cable, I managed to watch a lot of crap like For the Love of Ray J, Celebrity Rehab, Flava of Love AND Rock of Love.  But, you know what? this has always been one of my mottos:  You won’t know what’s good, unless you know what’s bad.

As soon as I subscribed to Netflix, my love affair with terrible shows on cable television was all but over.  TV time was exclusive to Blazers games and Oregon Art Beat on OPB (Oregon’s PBS).  That is, until Project Runway started broadcasting on the Lifetime Channel (our package didn’t include Bravo for some reason).

Then, FX and AMC started busting out with awesome shit.  Then, I finally gave 30 Rock a chance on Netflix (at this point I was mostly watching TV shows on Netflix instead of movies), and I found myself watching network television.  Now, we have Grimm!  And, Walking DeadHell on Wheels!  More Madmen coming soon!  DamagesBreaking Bad!  The ever so delicious Timothy Olyphant in Justified with Walton “Clogging Champion” Goggins and his teeth, which is one of my favorite things in the whole wide world!  Peg Bundy kicking ass in S.O.A.American Horror Story (McDermott = McNummy)!  I think you get the picture

So if you’re so keen on saving money, then why do you still have your energy eating cable box?  Well, I started unplugging my cable box after I read that article, and it has improved my energy bill.  I also, and this had been my plan for a very long-time, installed Belkin Conserve surge protectors.  I have two types.  One has a remote a switch that is plugged into my computer and its many periphials.  The other has a master outlet that my television is plugged into.  When I turn my television off, it turns all but two outlets off.  Anything that is plugged in to an outlet, regardless of whether or not in use, drains energy.  Belkin Conserve surge protectors don’t do that once they’re turned off.  (I am in no way getting compensated for praising Belkin surge protectors on high.  I have stood by Belkin for a very long time)

I am also finding my life is much more organized now that I have to schedule everything around my shows.  So, don’t tell me that television is bad; that it rots my brain and eats up unnecessary energy, especially if you are a musician who thinks TV on DVD is okay.  I probably read more than you do and get more shit done than you do, regardless of the inhumane amounts of television I watch every week.



What I actually look like via the flattery of light emitted from my laptop...

I was in high school when I accompanied my mother to her consultation at a plastic surgery clinic. They took a picture of her, altered it with some fancy software, and showed her what she would look like post-surgery. She asked me if I wanted a consultation and I was very offended. I was offended not because I thought I was hot shit, I was offended because I thought that body altercation was wrong. Never mind that I was dyeing my hair every color of the rainbow. Never mind that I had chola eyebrows, orthodontics and wore a girdle to prom…
Aside from a short-lived flirtation with a slender physique when I contracted mono my sophomore year of high school, I was overweight from second grade to 19-years-old. I had body image issues for sure. I was even self-conscious of my upper lip and would position it in a way that would make it look smaller which resulted in my face looking more like Popeye’s face, because I had an under bite which was later corrected by 5 years of orthodontic alchemy.

When this serpent finally shed her size 12 skin to reveal a size 4/6, it didn’t get any better. I still hated my nose. It had continuously been compared to a tomato by various family members. I was called, “troll” by one of my classmates. I would implement “jowl” shots whenever pictures were taken of me to make my nose look less wide and flat. I would kick myself in the ass for not going through with the consultation and potentially undergoing rhinoplasty.

You would think my opinion of my nose would dissipate as I grew older, but it did not. Sunglasses were difficult to wear because my lack of having a nose bridge couldn’t hold them up and that became my main excuse for wanting a nose job. It was my little made-up way of justifying a $1000+ procedure when I just really had body dysmorphic disorder against my nose.

Only just recently have I gotten over myself and here is why:

With the magic of Photoshop at my fingertips, I decided to give myself a nose job.

Koi fish? Hammerhead shark?

If my nose were slimmed down, my inner ocular distance would be even more exaggerated. I would look like Eartha Kitt’s reject sister. So, I decided to see what it would be like if my eyes were closer together:

So wrong!

Not good. I look like I should be in the movie “Mask” or something. My face is too wide to have my eyes set closer together. So, what would happen if my face were slimmed as well?

I give up.

Oh no! Bride of Skeletor!

Here is what my family would look like if they went under the knife:

So handsome already. Can we improve his good looks?

Billy Baldwin cross-pollinated with David Duchovny?

But Mom! I already look like a more cartoony Bjork!

Ew. Gross.

I think I like us just the way we are.

Singing In the Shower With My Joy Division Oven Gloves

I wish I was able to tell you the more glamorous story of how I met Blur and Chloe Sevigny, but I need to dig up the hard evidence before I can elaborate.  In the meantime, I shall tell you this story instead:

I am indeed old enough to remember the dawn of mankind, when the internet was accessible in every home via landline.  The cost was exorbitant because flat rates were non-existent and your choice of providers included AOL and CompuServ.

CompuServ and black coffee was probably the best diet I had ever had.  I would spend at least 8 hours a day in chat rooms asking people, “Do you like Blur?”  I quickly went from 150-ish pounds to 118 pounds.  Now, you are probably thinking, “How did asking people if they liked Blur get you anywhere?”  Well, it did, and, once again, I will tell the more glamorous story of how that question led to meeting Blur and Chloe Sevigny at a later time.

A clever handle attracted chat roommates to IM you.  I happened to be “Lucretia ‘Lulu’ Borgia” (thanks to Momus) at the time, so I was IM’d by someone called “Duckman”.  Duckman’s real name was David, but he went by the nickname of Woody.  He was a graduate of UCLA journalism school, an ex-pat living in France, who was, you guessed it, a journalist.   He was 12 years my senior, so there was a definite generation gap.  We bitched a lot about our distaste with society, you know, the usual stuff that 30-something-year-old men discuss with 19-year-old girls*.  When it came to discussing music, I asked my usual, “Do you like Blur?” and he responded with, “Never heard of them.”  So, somehow I convinced him to give them a listen.  I also convinced him to listen to Suede.  At this point I think we were actually e-mailing each other, since I had to limit my online use as it was carrying weight on my father’s credit card.

Duckman absolutely loathed Blur and called Suede a David Bowie rip-off.  He told me that I should listen to stuff like Les Rita Mitsouko and Half Man Half Biscuit.  He even sent me a mix tape of their stuff.

LRM reminded me of a cross between Siouxsie Sioux, Nina Hagen and the Sugarcubes.  HMHB was very catchy and quite hilarious, but they were almost like some Nabokov novels, you know, where you have to know the language (or several languages) in order to get the joke, so there were a lot of Britishisms that I just couldn’t get.  Thankfully, these days, there are websites that interpret their lyrics.  Suffice to say, I was intrigued, and I wanted more.

Yet this was the late 90’s, where only rich people owned laser discs and cell phones.  I was typing into what I believed was an Apple IIc+ computer.  The internet meant I had access to transcontinental communication via chat rooms.  It meant I could find myself a British boyfriend.  It meant I could find fellow fans of Blur, as I was living in a land where I was the only person who was into the glory that was Britpop.  I take it for granted now, but technology was exciting back then.  It was exclusive to a certain few, so gaining access felt like a privilege rather than the “just an everyday thing” that it is now.  There was no Google, no IMDB, no YouTube, no

I was at a loss.  None of the local record stores carried LRM or HMHB and special orders were few, but pricey.  All I had was that mix tape.

Years pass.  Duckman and Lulu keep emailing each other.  They would talk about David Lynch and Anthony Burgess and hate on Alanis Morissette (he would call her either “Alanis Morris-the-Cat” or “Anus Mori-sanctimonious”).  They would also fight.  He would say stuff like “Quit trying so hard to be cool.  I’m bored”.  And, she would just, well, cry. 

Then, Lulu finds herself working at a local independent record store owned by some ex-bigwig concert promoter.  She finds LRM and HMHB, a disc apiece is available through special order and somewhat cheap because she gets a 20% discount!  Then, at the age of 21, Lulu gets her first boyfriend, an ex-coworker, and that is the end of the story of Duckman and Lulu Borgia.

Erm, I don’t really know why I decided to end this story about my early internet days in the third person.  And, I don’t know why it took an entire novel just to share these YouTube LRM and HMHB treasures, but I don’t call myself Queen of the Waffle for nothing!  On with the show!

P.S. I hope you enjoy Russell Mael’s harem pants and Ron Mael looking more and more like Ian McKellen in Richard III…

*I broke out my abacus, did the math, and this actually happened during the Age of Reason (Bangs) and have since corrected my age from 18 to 19.-C.11/12/11