Sunday, 23 December 2007

Holiday Lights




If you've made it this far, you've already seen the nice lights strung up on the trees around our swimming pool.

Most days lately the water has been awfully chilly, but it is just about perfect at night for us to be able to relax after dinner on those new teak chaise lounges or at one of the tables. It beats spending time indoors on a nice night until the urge to watch another three or four episodes of Desperate Housewives kicks in and we rush back up to our unit on the 14th floor.

This is about as Christmas-y as it gets for us around here. Oh, there is the Christmas tree in the lobby downstairs, but we don't spend a lot of time in our lobby for it to really influence our feeling of Christmas. It's just a traditional tree. It doesn't spew the fake snow (styrofoam pellets) out the top like the trees at SM department store did.

Yes, "did".

They sold out!

SM sold out of those awful, tacky things!

There's just no underestimating the tastes of a consumer society.

I'll stick with the joyous tranquility of the scene around our pool.

Merry Christmas, all!

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

The Day After

What do you the day after you stay out until two in the morning at your office party?

Well, if you're us, you start by sleeping in a little bit.

Then, to avoid the frenzied crowds at Glorietta (Yes, the crowds are back, despite one-quarter of the mall still being closed due to the blast.) we headed off to brunch and a movie at Mall of Asia.

I should pause right now to inform you that we've been reading quite a few other blogs recently, and we've noticed many of them revolve around what the bloggers eat and where. They like to photograph themselves at all the restaurants they patronize, including the food. I don't know why this is. They just do it.

For a time I thought it was because they really didn't have anything worthwhile blogging about, but felt people wanted to know where they ate and what they ate there. Perhaps it is to rate the establishments, much like the Mobil guide. Of course, it could also be for documentary purposes in the event of food poisoning.

So, in this spirit of taking pictures in restaurants and posting it for the world to see I write today's blog entry.

We began at Burgoo, then window shopped while waiting for our movie to begin. We decided on Enchanted. We wanted something that would make us feel good. Disney's always been good at that, and Enchanted is no exception. It's one of those films where, from the moment it begins, you know it's going to be good.

The first thing you see is traditional, hand-drawn, classic Disney animation. Despite the technical wizardry of the computer-animated films from Pixar and others, nothing comes close to capturing you like real, old-fashioned animation. Suffice it to say, we enjoyed the film.

Edson also enjoyed the big sketchpads that cover the tables at Burgoo.

Sitting in a dark theatre watching a movie doesn't exactly take a lot out of you, but it did make us want to go get a bite to eat, so we headed to a shop specializing in chocolate desserts.

Dark Chocolate with Baileys and Dark Chocolate with Kahlua cakes! Yum!

Right about now there are probably more than one of you out there wondering why if this is my blog about my interpretations of life in the Philippines (blah blah blah...) that I'm not in any of the pictures.

Well, I'm the photographer, that's why.

I know that in this, the "MySpace" era, everyone is supposed to go around snapping pictures of themselves at arm's length everywhere they go, but that isn't me and this is the blog entry about pictures in restaurants, not pictures taken at arm's length. Although that sounds like a fine idea, and one that I may pursue sometime in the future.

Although you may want to remind me about that, since to me those kind of pictures rank right up there with those people shoot of themselves looking in their bathroom mirrors.

Instead, I'll share with you the shot from Mall of Asia of the sunset over Manila Bay...

...and the five o'clock crowds coming and going at Mall of Asia.

Monday, 17 December 2007

CIBA '07

Join Edson and I as we are taken back in time by Sherman and Mr. Peabody in the WABAC machine...

We're going way back (WABAC) to December 8th. Okay, being only a week or so off, that's not so far back; but read this months or years from now! Then we're talkin'!

That was the night of the Cadiz International Baso Awards. Cadiz is the company where Edson is working a part-time job. Baso is tagalog for a drinking glass. The awards night is a year-end office party. The awards part of it is rather reminiscent of the MTV Movie Awards. Each has unique awards, to say the least. At MTV you have the award for Best Kiss.

The CIBA has Best Grind.

No, grind or grinding doesn't have anything to do with the practice of architecture, although if the building you are in now can't tolerate people grinding in it, you probably ought to leave. The Cadiz offices seem to be quite grind-worthy from the video footage shown of their staff members grinding over and over again, either by themselves or with others. Maybe I ought to pause here for a moment to note that of the many meanings of the word grind, I'm referring to its dance-related definition...at least that's what the videos conveyed. I only assume those shown grinding returned to their cubicle to do actual work once the video ended and that other variations of grind and grinding were not involved.

Edson was part of a team up for that award. If you know him, that comes as no surprise. But he/they didn't win it.

He did win an award, however.

Best Newcomer, or, as the frosting on the awarded drinking glass is etched, Best New Comer.

Like so many other office parties at the end of the year, a band was hired for entertainment. This had to have been one of the easiest gigs this band has had. Not only were there the interruptions in their sets for the host and hostess to greet everyone, introduce the awards, and hand out awards. Some of the office members themselves are musicians and did their own sets. So, the hired band had over an hour-long break between sets sometimes. I'm no musician, but I'll bet the idea of being able to go out and catch a movie in between sets sounds pretty good to a lot of people who are!

Here's our band (the hired one) "hard" at work.

One of the Cadiz Band singers caught in a very Joey Ramone-esque way.

No, these aren't the real Pussycat Dolls. What? You didn't think they were? Oh....

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Christmas Time is Here Again

Christmas Time is Here Again

Yes, it is indeed time for Bing Crosby to sing White Christmas, the only time of the year anybody anywhere listens to Burl Ives, and of course, an endless plethora of putrid poetry put to music. Why must so much good holiday music go unheard while malls and radio stations inflict well-meaning Christians with unfortunate vocal abilities and Mariah Carey on us? And will somebody please go slap the producers who thought of making euro-inspired dancey, dare I say, almost polka-ish mixes of some of the worst Christmas music ever recorded?

All of metro Manila has been listening to this since late September. (Yeah, they start early here!)

At SM department store, Christmas trees spew "snow" out the treetop that trickles down, eventually being collected in the large bowl in which the tree sits, only to be sucked up and out the top again.

In the Philippines it is felt that Christmas here is somehow distinctly second-rate when compared with America and Europe. White Christmas, Jingle Bells, Winter Wonderland, Frosty the Snowman, even Santa Claus and his sleigh, are all rather unlikely imports to a nation where, this December 12th, it is 87 degrees Fahrenheit! Filipinos think they're missing out on something. Yeah, missing out on the likelihood of needing to wear multiple layers of undergarments, sweaters, parkas, scarves, and gloves to stay warm! It's nice every now and again, but I'm enjoying it just the way it is, thanks!

In fact, just yesterday it was around 85 degrees Fahrenheit and I was having coffee with my friend Noel at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in the Convergys building. Actually, I wasn't having coffee. I was having a "mixed blend" iced chocolate, which has no coffee in it whatsoever. But it doesn't seem right to say I was having "mixed blend iced chocolate", especially at a coffee shop. It doesn't roll off the tongue very easily. In fact, a lot of people say they "had coffee" even when they didn't drink anything at all! Just being in a coffee shop while their friends and others around them have coffee seems to be reason enough to say they "had coffee".

And no, this time we were not talking about food. Aside from looking at the menu at a restaurant, I don't recall ever talking about food with Noel. We were talking about something apparently far less interesting, since I can't remember what it was when we noticed someone walk past the window outside wearing a wool skull cap, gloves, and a parka. He was followed by a man perspiring in slacks and short-sleeve button-down shirt who was fanning himself with an envelope. Now, if you're cold enough to wear a parka, gloves, and wool hat when it is 85, you're prepared for global warming! If you're like the man behind him, you are clearly not, like the rest of us.

Anyway, all this is just to lead you up to some pictures I thought you may, or may not be interested in seeing of metro Manila during the holidays.

Along Ayala Avenue:


At Greenbelt:

Commuters, traffic and lights:

The tree at Mall of Asia, decorated completely with poinsettias, gold glass balls, and teddy bears. Underneath notice the Cartoon Network Snow-ville area, where fake snow is blown onto poor unsuspecting children while their snap-happy parents take their pictures.

And on the other side of our tree we have St. Nick in his shiny satin suit and poly-fiber beard. Nobody charging parents $10 or $15 to have their child's picture taken. Just kids sitting on Santa's lap while mom or dad uses up some more space on the memory card.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Pump It Up!

I've been procrastinating in downloading images from my camera, so this is a bit late. Let me take you back to November 22nd. That was a Thursday, for those who need to know. My friend Allan is big into bodybuilding and imported supplements right now. He texted me the week previous asking if I'd like to go to the Mr. & Ms. Philippines World & Universe Qualifier. "OK, sure," I texted in reply.

Not since my time living abroad in Japan in 1997-1998 had I met another who was so much into bodybuilding. I was working in Imabari, a small town in Ehime prefecture on the island of Shikoku when I met a woman by the name of Angela. She was an English expat who met and married a Japanese man. Kenji was his name if I remember correctly. She met him at her friend's wedding reception when he came over to the table where she was seated. The groom was a bodybuilder and had invited Kenji and some of his other bodybuilder friends to be guest posers at the reception. Angela was introduced to Kenji that night while he was busy flexing, wearing a Tarzan-like loincloth. He had participated in the Mr. Ehime contest and won and was busy trying to bulk up to a higher weight class when I met them.

I agreed to meet Allan at six at Robinson's Galleria (mall) and took a bus from there to The Music Museum at Greenhills Shopping Center. We figured since the event was scheduled to begin at six, if we arrived and took our seats by six-thirty we'd be on time in Filipino time. We were right.

Our celebrity hosts were actor/singer Carlos Agassi and Sports Unlimited host Dyan Castillejo.

Allan and I were quite convinced that neither were given much in the way of preparation or direction prior to walking on stage. Whatever was on the scripts in their hands seemed to be it. They were the hosts and it was up to them from there on. That's okay, they're in show business. Too bad nobody thought about rehearsals for the athletes though. The poor guys (and gals) hadn't eaten since eight in the morning. Time and again Dyan and Carlos would ask the athletes to come on stage or leave the stage and they'd all just stand there, as many as forty seven at a time. Just standing there looking at each other.

Marks were another problem for the athletes. You know, those little X marks made in tape on a stage so people know where to stand? You do. The athletes didn't. They'd be bumping elbows doing their poses because only two or three of five knew where their mark was.

I figure it must have been their hunger. After all, it couldn't be that they're all stupid or that steroids could impair their ability to comprehend simple instructions. Stage fright? Maybe. You would be too if you stood on a stage wearing so little. The attire of all forty-seven combined couldn't have weighed more than a pound.

Somewhere in that picture there are up to seven women. Two looked more like men than women, and received hoots from the audience members to that effect.

Sports of all sorts have long been dominated by men. Women have found it hard to break into sports and women's leagues of sports have often been challenged financially due to the difficulty in finding an audience, both at the events themselves as well as media coverage, whether that be live broadcasts or even a mention in the nightly news sports report. In an economically challenged Asian nation, this is no easier. The women received little enthusiasm from the audience and Carlos had to go above and beyond his script when it came to bestowing praise on them and encouraging audience attention and participation in applause.

One particularly interesting thing about the night was just in noticing the use of the bronzer on the athletes.

Filipino people, like all Asians, are extremely obsessed with lightening and whitening their skin. Women (and even an occasional man) are regularly seen carrying umbrellas over their heads. No rain. Sometimes even if it isn't sunny. It is such a habit to them they instinctively lift one over their head despite the time of day or weather conditions.

L-Glutathione use is also seemingly rampant in trend-obsessed metro Manila. Billboards, radio and television commercials encourage people to buy these whitening pills. The vitamin C and zinc in the pills also enable them to be marketed as health supplements. Let us not forget that only whitening pills can reveal the true beauty within.

Excuse me while I vomit.

So, it seems a bit odd that bronzer is applied to people who, for the most part, have a beautiful natural bronze to their skin to begin with (that they are unhappy with), only to cover up their new, lighter skin with bronzer.

Carlos really stood out that night. At one point Dyan was chanting to Carlos, Take it off! She encouraged the audience to join her, and all did. Carlos is also a fitness/bodybuilding buff it seems. And he has really light skin. Really light. It was blinding when he capitulated and removed his shirt to the delight of the audience and other bodybuilders. I believe he is only a shade or two darker than Michael Jackson, he's so white.

The evening wore on as athletes from one category after another came out to compete, each more starved than the previous. By nine-thirty we were also feeling starved ourselves. We had one luxury the athletes did not. We could get up, leave, and go do something about it, which we did.

We made it across the street to Teriyaki Boy where we indulged in a lot of tofu and tempura and teriyaki well before other audience members who bothered to stay for the final rounds, comparisons, and pose downs.

Days later, my fitness instructor Bryant, enjoyed the pictures from the event. He would point at each athlete and say "steroids, steroids, no steroids, steroids..." It was a good time. Fun. A new experience. And, with a theme titled The Gallant Filipino Warrior of the World and Universe, something I won't forget, especially now that I've put it here in the blog.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Pics of the Day

Some pics from the Quezon Avenue MRT station...


...and what is around the station.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Basketball in the 3rd Round?

I'm no sports fan. If you know me, you didn't need me to tell you that.

Anyway, I was with one of our security guards and my fitness trainer watching a basketball game on television Friday night and the graphics on the screen kept flashing "3rd Round".

It didn't take me too terribly long to realize that is NOT a term usually (How about EVER!) associated with basketball. In fact, I can safely say it has eluded even comedy writers. Usually they stick to people (usually women) confusing baseball and football terminology. It's a bit writers have been doing since the days of I Love Lucy and continue to this day because it is such a convenient crutch once they have run out of original dialog and story lines.

This was a professional, live broadcast and, despite our hardy har-hars of laughter, this was not the most amusing part of the game in progress.

It was the teams.

The two teams were, and I am not making this up, the Magnolia Beverage Makers vs. the Pure Foods Tender Juicy Giants.

Read it as many times as you like. Go ahead, I'll wait. It doesn't change, does it?

Kinda makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Close your eyes (not just yet...keep reading) and imagine a bunch of guys preparing fountain beverages, mixed drinks, or your local coffee house barista going at it against tender juicy giants, which are hot dogs!

Just from the sounds of the names you'd expect the beverages to get "spilled" by the sausages, but noooo...Friday the latte had drowned the wieners 90-45 by the time I walked out of the room just a few minutes into the "4th Round", which is a boxing term, for those unaware. Boxing, thanks to Manny Pacquiao, is to the Philippines what sumo is to Japan and soccer is to Brazil; a reason to stop everything and watch. Thus, any battle between two teams is likely to be viewed in the colorful language of both that sport and boxing intertwined.

I still can't help but laugh at the poor announcer trying to utter Tender Juicy Giants over and over as they fell further and further behind on the scoreboard!

And that's not the only amusing item of note this week. Our second comes from Music 1, a Philippine CD/DVD chain:

While browsing through their selection of CDs I noticed two titles by Xavier Cugat under the Pop/Rock category.

Huh?

Since when?

No wonder I have trouble locating the CDs I want.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Coup-quake!

Yes, another new word, and hyphenated at that!

On Tuesday of this week there was an earthquake here in the Philippines. Apparently it registered 5.4, though it didn't seem that different from the 3.somethings I experienced when I lived in Japan in 1996.

I was home.

The building swayed back and forth (or side-to-side, depending on which direction one was facing, I guess). Maybe it moved in a roundabout way, kind of like the rides at amusement parks that are always making people sick. I don't know. I don't care. Suffice it to say, like Carole King, I felt the earth move under my feet...or the wood floor, anyway.

Today was another of those rainy days (yesterday was beautiful, by the way) where you open the window, look outside, and say "bleh". Apparently it was also a good day for military coup plotters on trial for their 2003 coup attempt (including bombs planted in strategic shopping and hotel locations throughout Makati) to march out of the courthouse and into the streets demanding the resignation of President Arroyo. Apparently they had arms, and I don't mean the two that naturally hang from either side of most peoples shoulders. And they were in Makati.

Cancel any plans to go out towards the shopping areas today.

The first I heard of it was a phone call from Edson saying there were reports of another coup attempt. His officemates just shrugged their shoulders, as if to say "Gee, coup season already?"

Coups are, after all, the way in which each Philippine president ends their term. Too bad this hasn't been tried (or tried successfully....who knows, maybe it has been attempted) on Dubya.

I was about to get dressed to go get lunch. What does one wear to a coup?

Olive seemed out of the question!

Blue? No. Marines.

Black? No. Too K-9 unit.

Khaki? Still too military.

White? In the rain???

Uh, how about pink? Hmmmm....gotta go buy something orange or yellow or light green, but that'll have to wait for later, won't it?!

"Bleh."

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Let's Get Some Food

It has recently been said to me that I should know I've been in the Philippines long enough to be in-part Philippine-ized because while eating I'm a part of the conversation, if not it's initiator, about food.

On our trip to Iloilo in May, Edson warned me that his aunts would do this, and they did. While eating breakfast they were talking about what would be nice as a late morning snack.

During the snack, where to go for lunch.

During lunch, where to get dessert.

During dessert, where to go for coffee.

During coffee, where to go for merienda.

During merienda, where to go for dinner.

During dinner, where to go for dessert.

Our conversations in Manila go a bit further. We compare foods, we reminisce about the good meals or bad meals or the times we had during those meals.

Lately it has been about chicken.

Edson, like the vast majority of Filipinos, loves fried chicken. And we live at Fried Chicken Central.

Within a block's walk we have KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken, for those who remember what the acronym means), Tropical Hut, McDonald's (Yes, Americans, Mickie D's serves fried chicken in the Philippines), Max's, and Jollibee.

Everyone is always curious as to whether I prefer the food from the Filipino fast-food franchises or the American. That depends on what menu item we are speaking of, in this case, chicken.

One night last week Edson, our friends Kit, Inaki (Sorry, still can't figure out how to type a tilde here), Marje, and myself were talking about chicken over coffee. (See, I told you!)

Because the coffee shop was next door to Jollibee (In the Convergys building with all the call center workers busy helping OnStar motorists in trouble above us), their Chickenjoy was mentioned.

Chickenjoy, it is believed, is the favored fried chicken dish of the Philippines.

This is only a belief.

I have tried the chicken at all of the above-mentioned establishments and ironically found McDonald's to be most to my liking. KFC is a close second. Followed by Max's and Tropical Hut. There was chicken, but no joy, in my Chickenjoy sampling.

It was universally agreed upon that today's Jollibee Chickenjoy is inferior to the chicken offerings of the others.

Tropical Hut's came in low because it was dry. Jollibee's came in last because it had no taste.

No taste? Fried chicken with no taste?!

Amazing, but true. The rice (Yes, fried chicken is served with rice here. Everywhere. I know, it's weird. The Colonel is rolling in his grave thinking about it.) had more flavor! Of course, this makes Chickenjoy the perfect dish to serve to someone with a bad cold, since they can't taste anything anyway!

All the others recalled how once upon a time they had loved Chickenjoy, but had since switched, mostly to KFC and McDonald's. They felt quality has been slipping at Jollibee for several years.

Even an informal on-line survey I came across found twelve out of seventeen respondents preferred KFC over Chickenjoy.

This does not bode well for Jollibee, the only fast food franchise that dominates McDonald's in any market anywhere on earth.

Regarding other menu items, Jollibee does have a yummy fried peach mango pie; its only drawback being its teensy-tiny size. I did love their Aloha Burger (despite all the fillers), recently purged from their menu.

And this is what we talk about over coffee....fascinating, isn't it?

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Fffffffashion!

I am SO disappointed!

Knowing how critical and sarcastic my readers are, I thought for sure someone would have mentioned the Pigs in Space meets Napoleon Bonaparte and his milkmaids meets Stars on Ice meets 1980's gay new romantics movement fashions the models were wearing in my previous post.

At least, that's what I make of it.

Don't believe me? Here's a couple shots I found of the Muppets doing their Pigs in Space skits:


Now, here are our Filipino humanoid versions after being beamed down to a tropical island (Sand being the only link to Star Wars planet Tattooine. You just know Luke Skywalker would have rather been here than there!). Of course, this could also be a futuristic Napoleon (Either of the guys. Take your pick.) having just escaped the island of Elba with his three "friends". Read into that what you will. They're all supposed to be French.

What?

Yes, I know! But French and Filipino both begin with "F"! Isn't that similar enough?!

It got Dubya through Yale.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Island Getaway

Over the weekend of the 17th Edson and I went on a photo outing organized by a local group of photographers on Cagbalete Island, on the east side of Luzon, off the coast of Quezon province, about six hours from Manila.

There were twenty of us on the trip. Four models, a dozen photographers, wardrobe and make-up specialists, and others who just wanted to get away from it all.

I spent the entirety of the weekend shooting, of course.

Cagbalete Island doesn't have beaches as smooth as Boracay and only has electricity from late afternoon through early morning. We reached the island on a boat just big enough for our group. Its construction had our bench seat hanging over the sides of the boat with the water passing below us as we faced towards the boat, waves crashing against the outriggers, spraying us as we went.

I know, you're thinking: Ewww, wet!

As they say on the infomercials: But wait! There's more!

The boat stopped a good hundred yards offshore to let us off into the ocean. At that point the water was pretty shallow; somewhere between waist-deep and just below the shoulder blades depending on your height and how the tides were catching you. This was no place for the well-dressed in our group! We were among the prepared.

The following are a sampling of the snaps I got during the weekend adventure:

A treehouse accomodation.

"The facilities"

Breakfast view from our "room".

Edson works the water pump.

Edson and our friend Booboy in our accomodations.

We also found the island cemetery. I was thinking of putting these up in black & white to emphasize the spookiness of the place, but it doesn't really need it, does it? Being there and looking at these, you can almost hear Shaggy crying out: Scooby-Doo! Where are you?! I was expecting to get run down by them at any moment!


Oh, remember I said this was a trip about shooting models and all?

Yeah. Here they are.


Anyway, as luck would have it, on our way back, after wading another hundred yards out to the boat (this time in turbulent waters), upon our return to the mainland torrential rains hit...

...so here we are seeking shelter in a bus stop after running another hundred yards in the rains.

And for all of you wondering, the tour organizer was well prepared and had someplace ready for us to clean up and change into dry clothes. Another six-hour trip back to Manila soaked in salt water would NOT be a welcome sight...or smell...or sound to those living in "civilization".

In the end, I have over five hundred images to go through, a lot of lost sleep, a tan line despite the cloudy weather, and great memories.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Advertising Don't

What a great sign. (Click on the image to make it bigger.)

Aside from it being graphically uninspired, harking back to kitschy billboards dotting the American landscape of the 1970's, and containing way too much print, I love the content...especially that what really stands out is...

"Marry Now, Pay Later"

You can just imagine the gears turning in the heads of every stand-up comic as they read it, can't you?

Let's just say it's a good thing that, upon seeing this sign, I am a pedestrian. Even walking I had to stop and read it twice. C'mon, who thought "Marry Now, Pay Later" would be a good slogan???

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Rib Tickler

I heard something really funny the other day that I just must share with all you readers!

Are you ready?

There are traffic laws in the Philippines!

I don't know about you, but that was about the funniest thing I've heard in a LONG time!

Monday, 12 November 2007

Back in Time

OK, this blog entry is quite overdue. Then again, as what I'm going to write about is the All Saints Day observations I experienced, this is all about the past anyway.

Or is it?

The Filipino people observe All Saints Day as a national holiday and families all over visit the graves of their ancestors to gather, pray, and do a bit of cleaning. (Apparently the dead are no better at keeping their grave sites clean than I am at ironing.) Anyway, this results in cemeteries overflowing with the living. It is almost a carnival atmosphere outside the cemeteries as umpteen dozen vendors await the crowds, ready to sell the hungry visitors all varieties of food and beverage from their stands, carts, tricycles, and tents.

Here's some pictures from the day's events:

Before going to the cemetery we needed to eat. Edson's Tita Syl cooked up a feast for the whole clan.

His freshly-shaven elder brother Ed did a little cutting-up.

We don't know if was something he ate, the playing with knives, or his new look, but Ed ended up wearing a camera on his head after lunch.

You gotta admit, a camera hat's a unique look and not an easy one to pull off. But hey, no one said it was easy being eccentric.

After dessert we headed to the cemetery! (exclamation point?)

This is the scene that greeted us as we began the few blocks walk from the car:


Remember those provincial trannies (TVs) I mentioned a couple months ago? No? Well, I haven't figured out how to link blog entries, so go back to the beginning of September and read about it. It's somewhere in there.

Anyway, here's a couple at the gate to the cemetery.

Once inside, amidst the masses of living humanity, we could see what the real purpose was in being there.

The dead. The past.

Dates of birth. The past.

Dates of death. The past.

Respect for those who have come before. Learning both from their successes and failures. Celebrating the good of the past and working to avoid repeating its evils. This is the present and, most importantly, the future.

As I said, this blog entry is quite overdue.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Is It Just Me?

Short musing from yesterday...OK, more like a bitching than a musing, actually.

I arrived back at the condo in a torrential downpour. There is a very short flight of steps up to the building from the side I was entering.

Standing at the top of said flight of steps were a dozen people sheltering themselves from the rain, blocking the top of the stairs. There is plenty of space behind them closer to the building where easily another four dozen people could stand.

Do you think any of them moved aside for me to pass as they watched me approach from the street and then come up the stairs?

(That was a rhetorical question.)

Do you think they were upset as they got really wet from the rain running off my umbrella?

Yes they were. Upset with me for wanting to enter my own home without walking around the block to enter someplace more convenient for them.

Serves them right for being too stupid to move aside when they see a wet umbrella headed their way.

Just had to get that out of my system.

The rest of the day went really well, though!

In the morning, my friend Allan came by to practice new massage techniques he'd learned on me and we had his new business cards made that I designed. He got them back from the printers a few hours later and said the cards were "awesome".

The people at Pixel Point in Glorietta, where I do all my photo printing really appreciated that I am one of the few customers they have that labels folders according to what size print I want. Makes their job easier. Of course, after the bombing (which was not a bombing, according to the government, but everybody knows otherwise) their business, like all the other tenants, has dropped significantly. So, they might actually need something to complicate their lives just to make the day more interesting, don't you think? Maybe I should demand odd sizes next time I print....no, then I'd be too much like those people at the top of the stairs.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

BOO!


Happy birthday! Mwah! A year older, a year wiser and a whole lot sexier! ^_^ -Yucel

Happy birthday, J-dahl.
-Marje

Happy birthday dear. Hope I didn't embarrass you much. I meant well, really I did. Mwah! ^_^ -Noel

Happy birthday.
-Alan

Belated happy birthday my friend. I did not know until today that you are a scorpio.
-Rhon

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR JAY! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!
There, I'm sure that was a lot easier on the ears than having to hear me sing. Hope it's the beginning of a great year for you.
Love,
Mo

Happy Birthday Jay! I hope the Philippines are treating you well. Though, since I'm reading your blog, I should know.
-Brian

Apparently all these text messages and emails I received last week are from people assuming I've aged another year.

Take a moment, picture Jack Benny, and shout an exasperated Well!

Jack was born in 1894 and died in 1974 at the age of 39.

If he could do it, so can I!

People who do something called "math" tell me he could not have been 39.

Well, neither am I!

One of those above-quoted "friends" got the idea I was turning 45. I've put him on a list, but as I'm keeping this a PG-blog, I can't disclose the name of said list.

I've been asked what moisturizer I use.

Hmmmm.....

What to do with these people?

Waterboard them? It isn't like it's torture. Only problem is it looks like I'd have to get them to the U.S. first before I could do it! Too expensive. The only torture would be on my wallet!

Although maybe he had a point.

Perhaps I could be 45.

After all, right now I'm....

...let's see...

...according to my sister-in-law Kelly, I'm...uh...what was her "math"?

Twenty-nine minus....oh yeah!

I'm 16!

No, that's how old I looked when I graduated college....

When was I last 29?

I couldn't be 29 this year, Edson thought I was 29 last year!

I have something I call "Jay Math" that I think I'll use.

It's very scientific, and about the only thing I took from any mathematics class after fourth grade; and I'm going to share (That's right, no charge!) it with all you lucky readers around the world (provided you are there and I'm not just wasting my evening here)!


Here it is: x-10=Jay


No, I'm no Einstein, but it'll suffice.

Isn't the simplicity stunning?! (Of the formula, not my mind!)

If I have to spell it out for you, it means by using this formula you can insert the age the government, your doctor, parents, family, school, employer, and universally accepted calendars claim you to be in 'x'.

Whatever that number is, subtract 10.

This is your age.

Like nuclear warheads in the hands of madmen,


this is a very dangerous formula.

If you look anything like either of the guys above, do not use this formula!

If your face has more lines than Disneyland and your birth certificate says you were born after 1940, do not use this formula.

If your friends and co-workers scowl when it is time to celebrate your birthday each year, reminded how much better you look at your age than they did at that age, by all means begin using the formula immediately!

This is my little birthday present to all of you. Use it wisely. If you use it well, it saves the pitfall of lying about your age: not remembering how old you really are when someone demands that kind of information.

At any rate, my birthday week was a great one, despite being serenaded by the staff of Friday's (That's what Noel was trying to apologize for above). Edson gave me an external hard drive for my laptop. Kit's family treated me to a day up at the camp in Antipolo complete with massage from a professional masseuse and a chocolate creme filled chocolate cake with cocoa topping.

Decadent?

Yeeeeaaaah!