Mike Purvis

Who Am I ?


February 2012

1: Who am I?

I am Mike Purvis in Hilo, Hawai’i. I am studying and working with Computer Science at UH Hilo on the Big Island.

2: What do you do and what project are you currently working on?

I’m helping develop a website for a large federal grant called EPSCoR, and another website for a community-action group called Global Hope. Between that I’m the traditional college student: insomniac, coffee-addict, and without a concept of weekends.

3: Where are you from and where are you going?

Originally a missionary kid from the Philippines, I moved to the USA in fifth grade. I moved to Hawai’i six years ago from Huntington Beach, CA. I’m hoping to use my computer skills in journalism, politics, or advocacy.

4: Who is your biggest hero?

Cenk Uygur, the host of the Young Turks–hands down. The Young Turks is a progressive YouTube-based news show that consistently hits the nail on the head. It’s the perfect example of a free press using the paths of the internet. Also, for some reason, being able to swear in a news show is very important! There is so much blatant corruption, and asinine legislation, that a straight-faced commentary is often weak sauce.

5: What book is your bible?

No book and I are soul mates, honestly, but I did read a book recently that pressed the hard reset button my soul. Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar is a book based on this popular Harvard course. It really bridges the gap between self-help and psych journals. Taking the essence of good advice that comes from self-help books and the results of psychological case studies, it mixed well for a person like me. What actually makes you happy, what are common archetypes of “happy” that don’t pan out, and what the elderly give as testament to their life choices.

But that was all my softer, warmer side. My true bible is Google. I’ve worked on my Google-fu for years, and I couldn’t live without it.

6: What are some things you love? And some things you hate?

I love meeting people that don’t watch television. It makes me melt, knowing that people tune out of the popular culture.

I love riding my moped. Some mopeds get 110 miles per gallon, and the feeling is exhilarating.

I love the movie Garden State for many reasons, the highest being its off-the-wall plot points. From silent Velcro to adopting an African child who grew up “with flies on his face,” it made almost the perfect movie. Memorable, first-world struggles, great music, romance: epic.

On the hate side of things, I hate cookie-cutter movies. I’ll probably never watch another Will Ferrell movie, or films of that ilk. I feel like creativity has been absent for a while. I saw George Lucas talk about how production depends on international sales, celebrity appeal, blah blah blah. When a business model is what runs one of the most fantastic forms of human art–the motion picture–you know something’s gone terribly wrong.

Lastly, I hate that the “tough guy” image exists. I still find myself at parties surrounded by actors in the same machismo play. Let’s drop it already. Sensitive man for life!

7: What is your raison d’être?

I’ve dedicated many hours of volunteer work like showing free documentaries in our town, interviewing publicly-funded candidates, editing educational videos, etc. I look back on the amount of hours and find that I enter a time warp when working on community-centric work.

It’s like Joseph Campbell’s famous advice, “find your bliss.” I seem to find the bliss when the work is related to community organizing. I think it’s a good sign when a tremendous amount of effort doesn’t faze or exhaust a person.

8: What is your favorite color?

#c0d37a is green color I recently used in a tour poster for some musicians. Think the flesh of a ripe melon, that’s #c0d37a.

9: Who is your favorite comic book superhero?

I always had a crush on Rogue. Besides her powerful energy-sucking mutation, she also gets to fly as a freebie–that’s hot.

10: What is your favorite NYC hot spot?

I’ve never been to NYC yet, but I would have loved to visit The People’s Library at Liberty Plaza before it got popo’ed to smithereens. Populist movements are supposed to wax and wane, be ridiculed and sometimes confusing. Real historical movements take many years, so I keep a hopeful eye on the Occupy movement.

11: What turns you on?

Women who can talk politics and news, but can also tap into that feminine nature–the nature that seems to grasp a ton more intuitively than my monkey brain. It’s fascinating, and a turn on.

12: What would the last question of this questionnaire be if you were the one asking?

What’s your favorite documentary?

That’s a great question. I watch documentaries incessantly. It depends on the genre, so here goes:
Politics/News: Inside Job
Just-for-fun: The Pixar Story
Health and Wellness: Forks Over Knives

Mike Purvis is a Computer Science student and activist on the Big Island of Hawai’i.


Mike Purvis’ Facebook Page


Questions by PMc Magazine

Photography by Jessica Kirkwood

Design by Jillian Mercado

Contact Jillian Mercado if you’re interested in becoming a “Who Am I?”


Mike Purvis, Photography by Jessica Kirkwood

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