Thursday, November 10, 2011

New Reality Show Trends: Non-Realistic Reality?

I am convinced that the next new wave of Reality TV Shows are tending to go towards the absurd. But, again I am very guilty of watching them because Reality TV tends to hook their audience. The more absurd, the more one is glued to the television screen. Reality Television is often not as real as it would appear. I think people are catching on more and more.

TLC has "Sister Wives" which I watch because I think it is so insane. It is about a Mormon dude that has not 1, not 2, not 3...but 4 wives. For anyone watching the show, the average person is not a polygomous. In my husband's words "In this economy, who the heck can afford 1 wife let alone 4!" Sister wives, seems to reflect the unusual life of one guy who has four wives that live in Las Vegas and each of them have their own house. He is currently unemployed I think or looking for work. I am not exactly sure who is paying for 4 separate house holds? Would they be making enough money from TLC? The Gosslins made money from TLC, I suppose being filmed isn't such a bad gig. Don't get me wrong, I love reality shows. I watch them and would love to even work for TLC or Bravo or Discovery. I am addicted to reality shows. But, I can't help but feel like the title should be changed to "Not Typical Reality" or "Not the Norm Reality" or "Non-Realistic Reality."

Maybe the more unusual and absurd the more we want to watch? Take "Extreme Couponing" for example. This show is by far the most non-realistic reality show on today. It gives us false expectations that we can go out and get all this food for free using coupons. I do not know where all these people get stacks and stacks of coupons and then spend up to $500 worth of groceries and get it usually for $30 or even for free. Most of them, if you have ever watched the show- tend to buy stuff for bulk but stuff that is usually bad for you. Stuff like 3 dozen boxes of twinkies and 4 pounds of candy and 20 cans of processed food. Either way, I tried going on line and printing out coupons and looking for them. There is no way on earth a person can realistically gather that many coupons without some sort of help. Maybe help from the  network filming them? Who knows, but either way I do not see how any real person can actually go out there and get 500, 600, $700 worth of groceries for free using coupons. Some people on the show have actually broken the register because of all their coupons being scanned. I don't know, call me skeptical, but that is one show I am not sure about and would fall under my "Non-Realistic" category of reality shows.

My last "Non-Realistic" reality show is "Hoarders." The show can make you want to clean your house. Yes, I also watch the show and like it. But, I also think that it is not the norm. Most people fall into something in between. The people that are on the show fall under the extremes. Some of us have clutter in our home, a bit of a mess but not to such extremes as seen on this show. Again, "Non-Realistic" reality shows. I can name more, but I won't. In my opinion, reality shows are going to get much more extreme in nature.

CONCLUSION: We will continue to exploite the extremes, the weird, and the absurd. Why? Because it sells and because it makes those that are watching feel less screwed up or perhaps normal people are boring to watch.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Vampire Obsession in Film and TV

There is an obsession with the supernatural world in story telling as of late. Recently, it seems that most of the popular block buster hits has come from comic books or the paranormal world. The fascination with vampires has especially sky rocketed. The fight between good and evil is an old tale. It seems that there are very few stories that have not been done before. But, recently there is something that is compelling people to escape in the fantasy of romanticizing what traditionally has been the picture of evil.

Evil has a face for most of us, a face from a myth that has had a great American tradition. Vampires were a bit more wicked, but has recently softened in character. They have since, morphed in to visual versions of historical romance novels, which is where it all began. Since, historical romance novels has branched out into sub-genres: supernatural and paranormal romance novels.  I am guilty for reading all sorts of books from romance novels to Kurt Vonnegut. I have a range because like television or film, I like to think of it like a buffet. I like to taste a little of everything, because I think it helps one to be well rounded.

Vampire movies are not what they used to be. They satisfy our craving to understand the dark side within us. In my opinion the romanticized version of vampire movies today is catching the attention of so many young adults and hell, people of all ages. It has morphed in to more than a trend, but a huge cult like wave, a following that is unbelievable. The fight that vampires must battle inside themselves to choose between killing to live and living an eternity finding ways to be good despite their nature to do what is considered "evil." This internal struggle is something most people can identify with. Also, comic book heroes and vampires can get away with doing things that we can't ordinarily do. Again, we as the audience are sucked into escaping within the vortex of the supernatural world. Why? Because the impossible is possible and because the rules of the universe change.

Although, the vampires today are not what they used to be when they first appeared in films. Humans have always been intrigued by the concept of eternal life. But, this modern day 21st century vampire has definitely filled our ordinary and dull lives with a new fantastical and romantic dance between love, lust, and yes... blood.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Flawed Health Care: Lack of PCPs & New Online Medical Database

The most frustrating thing about health care today is that even if you do have health care, there is not enough Primary Care Physicians. When I moved to Upstate, New York getting a Primary Care Physician was next to impossible not to mention a specialist. I am not sure how health care is for other insurance holders, that is if you are lucky enough to be covered under an insurance at all. But, even if you do have insurance there is a wait list for everything. One deals with either being put on a 6 month wait list or being denied because the Physician is no longer taking new patients.

If you have a diagnosis and you need medication, one has to resort to waiting in the emergency room for hours and hours just to get a prescription refill. Recently, I had to do the whole "emergency room bit" just to get a prescription refill. Because some doctors have policies, they require a PCP to sign off on a referral in order to be seen. But, with a 6-month wait list for a Primary Care Physician, by the time one actually gets around to seeing the specialist that they need to see, it's practically a year later! Tri-Care which is the insurance for military people and their family tends to be a nightmarish situation of having supposedly great health care benefits, those of which some civilians envy. But, what most people do not realize is that the chances of being seen by a doctor in areas where there is a shortage of Primary Care Physicians is next to impossible. Who can wait 6 or even 9 months for medication that one is prescribed and one needs to take every day?!?! There has got to be a better solution for this.

My last ER visit (to just get simple prescription medication I must take daily in addition to a simple referral to finally get seen) was quite strange. I was put in a data base with my consent of course, in order to have my medical records accessible anywhere, in any city and in any hospital nation wide. One might question the ethics behind medical records being this accessible and how easy computer systems and data bases can be hacked in to. But, if you are someone such as myself that travels frequently and needs their medical records available readily, it feels like a new sense of freedom. Strange, how sharing more of your information- especially one such as medical records is becoming more and more the standard. For those of us that have disabilities and or need to take medication on a regular basis. To function in a learning environment or a work environment, medical records need to be accessible in order to provide proof. Having updated online medical record data bases can definitely feel like an invasion of privacy. But for someone that needs medical treatment on a regular basis and a hospital nearby, it is an equally necessary tool in today's world where we need information quickly and accessibly.

Soon, we may even restore the "VeriChip" which was discontinued in 2010. It was also called "VeriMed." It was made up of a 16 digit number and transmitted as it was scanned. 80 hospitals and 232 doctor's agreed to this having medical records accessible via an imbedded micro-chip. And although it was discontinued in 2010, it may come back new and improved. Who knows? As of now, I am awaiting my own medical records to be mailed old-school from Colorado where I once lived. Having a copy of our medical records are always an important thing to have. But soon, my medical records will be updated over the web and available anywhere, nationwide. This is both good and bad depending upon whom utilizes such a powerful tool. And soon, people like me will not have to wait a week or more for medical records to be mailed to us. It will all be available via the internet, as it already is I am sure.


Microchip implant (human)

Good Related Articles: 

Ethical Issues of Medical Records on the Internet

The Future of primary care in an ACO model

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Learn To Listen: Embracing Conversation in the Digital Age

Look around and observe your surroundings, be interested in what other people have to say. Often when we are trying to find our way in this world, carve out a path for our lives we spend more time assuming than actually fully recognizing a message in its entirety. Observation is the key to growing as an individual because it causes us to become aware of what is going on around us. Observation forces us to take notice of national and international affairs, awakening our senses to other people's reality even if it is for one brief moment. You'll be amazed at how much you grow when you stop to try and gain perspective from expanding your ability to empathize with people you don't know.

When we are consumed with our own world or even our own thoughts, we do a disservice to the real lesson's people teach us. That is why it is always better to learn how to be a stronger listener and not just be an active listener, but one that is sincere. Being honest in your work; being an honest writer and filmmaker is that sensitive balance that comes from healthy objectivity and regulating your emotions. It is surprising how easy it is to get offended. It is surprising how easy it is to misunderstand one another. We live in a society full of "entitlement" thinking and egos that get in the way of healthy bi-partisanship.

The more the wave of technology brings new media and new changes, it is still just as important to know the power behind them. We must not allow technology to numb our sensibilities and cause us to forget how to simply be genuine and have a sincere conversation with another human being. No texting. No IMing. No phone calls. Take a moment out of your busy day, when you are talking to someone- learn to be a better listener. When you are having a good conversation or when someone is speaking and really teaching you something, embrace the lesson with both ears and a sincere hunger to want to understand their perspective even if you may not agree.

If you happen to have a good conversation with someone, count yourself lucky. The basis to any story,  good writing or film begins with experiences. Embrace the inspiration that is around you and experience a good old fashion face-to-face.