Wednesday, 29 August 2007


In his classic song, Diamond Dogs, David Bowie begins: “This ain’t rock ‘n roll…this is genocide”. Indeed, it was not rock ‘n roll. There was no music on at all in the condo.

Yesterday, flip-flop in hand, I found myself joining the exclusive club of genocidal maniacs with such illustrious members as Pol Pot and Adolf Hitler. I speak neither Khmer nor German. Perhaps at annual meetings we’ll just nod, point, and use hand gestures if we meet.

But I digress.

For weeks up to that day I had been a mere serial killer. It was time to step up and realize my full potential.

And it all started innocently enough. All I wanted to do was send a birthday card.

I had just finished penning a note in the card, slid the card into the envelope I’d pre-addressed, sealed the envelope shut and affixed the Hallmark Gold Crown seal when I remembered Edson had bought us both Chinese seals when he was in Singapore last month. The characters on the seals are supposed to sound close to our names or some such thing. Atop each is a carving of our sign in the Chinese zodiac. They are both made of stone and each is packaged in a lovely silk-adorned and lined box that also holds a ceramic container of cinnabar seal ink paste.

Since we have no practical use for such a thing, I like to use it to adorn cards and letters. When I’m not sending cards and letters it sits on the shelf beside Edson’s, a couple shell necklaces from our trip to Boracay, a few AA batteries and some business cards. We look at the names on the business cards from time to time and ask each other who most of these people are. We really have no idea. We must have met and exchanged cards with them at some event. Ours are probably in their homes on a shelf or drawer too. Every once in a while they will come across ours and ask themselves the same question. Which reminds me, I’m running short on business cards.

Again I digress.

I removed the box from the shelf and sat it on the table beside and opened it. I removed the contents and noticed something else inside.


We’ve had some problems with ants the past two months. They’re just little ants and appear a dozen here or there at a time. They’re annoying and I kill them. Edson says they’re a sign of luck or some such thing.

I kill them.

I question why they’re here. We don’t have anything in our kitchen, really. We don’t cook. There’s very little foodstuff for them, not that ants eat much.

I tapped them out of the box and killed the 5 or 6 that fell out, picked up the seal, noticed more near the box, and killed those. I turned the box upside-down again and tapped it harder this time to get the rest out. When I did, I noticed the red silk lining was coming apart from the side of the box and inside I saw more ants. I began to pound the box down instead of just tapping. When I did, hundreds of ants spilled out onto the table.

We had been invaded! Five or six queens, their rears puffed-up to exploding were amongst the others and eggs.




My flip-flop came down hard over and over again, crushing the ants until all were dead.

I washed the bodies from the sole of my flip-flop and cleaned the carnage from the table and swept the floor, flushing them all down the toilet like dead pet goldfish.

“Good luck”, I thought. I had just flushed our good luck down the toilet.


I finally did finish printing the seal on the envelope and getting it in the mail, but by the time I did I was also 45 minutes late for a meeting I was supposed to have with a friend.


A late genocidal maniac. In our little game of charades, I'll have to take up the problem of being punctual while committing genocide with Adolf and Pol, if I may use their first names.

No, it wasn't rock 'n roll.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Before the Storm

Profundity needn't be verbose.

Nature says an awful lot without uttering a word.

And "a picture is worth a thousand words".

What I'm hearing here is "either stay inside or take your umbrella with you, stupid. It gonna rain!"

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Crossing Ayala

Crossing Ayala Avenue became rather difficult this morning. Torrential rains came in at rush hour and dumped so much rain that it was knee-deep in some areas. Naturally, if you drive anything other than a truck, minivan or SUV you were likely in trouble if you were around our neighborhood. One friend reported the waters below his building were up to his underarms. This sounds impressive, but it must be noted he stands just five feet tall. He claims 5'3". If that is so, I've shrunk since I moved here in March. Nitpicking of the exact depth aside, that's enough to ruin perfectly good vehicles.

Like any good blogger, I remained indoors and took pictures to share with you all.

I'm not going out there IN the knee-deep waters! And certainly not with my camera while it's raining cats, dogs, monitor lizards, and various barnyard creatures (yeah, it was really raining hard)!

As you can see, it was pretty rough going on the street beside the fire station.

On Ayala Avenue, a Chrysler was really making waves, but then those cars do it on dry pavement as well!

Pedestrians, tricycles, and cars and trucks all had their share of troubles. As can be seen here, it is rather difficult to walk through water in your flip-flops! The woman in the first picture wasn't being overdramatic; she almost fell over!

Meanwhile, across the street, we can see where the waters of the creek between the Post Office and the park have overflowed and the black water is now enveloping the park, reversing course, and flowing back into the street.

I have no ending for this. Unlike the weather reporters on television, I can't just "throw" the show over to the anchor's desk. But, there is a lesson here: When venturing out in weather like this here in the Philippines, always pack the clothes you intend to wear in a bag or backpack and carry those with you to your destination. Change into them upon your arrival, because what you were wearing outside WILL be soaked.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Makati Sunset (Part 3)

No rain today, but the morning did start out a nice shade of asphalt grey.

By noon that had turned to a sort of bright concrete grey.

Now, in late afternoon, it's a rich steel grey.

Enjoy the color!

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Makati Sunset (Part 2)

All of Makati today (like yesterday) looks like a bathtub filled with newspapers and water--an uncomfortable interactive art piece with a palette of shades of grey.

That's right.

Rainy season is FINALLY here (over a month late!) and it came in with the whistling and howling winds of a typhoon, like a rock band who is late for their own concert. You knew they'd be there (you bought the tickets) and when they finally show up they have to go overboard on the volume to make it up to you. You get to walk around for days afterwards remembering the event because of the constant ringing in your ears.

That may be a bit overdramatic, but so is the weather.

At the Tempura Japanese Grill restaurant in the Convergys Building (where OnStar calls are taken, by the way) they are lamenting the poor design of the building today, as the rainwater flows into their restaurant from the street because the sidewalk sits slightly higher than their entryway, instead of significantly the other way around, as it should be.

Everywhere you hear the sound "wriccky wreccky wriccky" as pedestrians walk from ankle-deep puddles onto pavement in their flip-flops (known here as 'chinelas'--more on that in a future post), their wet feet interacting with the rubbery soles of the footwear.

So, enjoy this sunset shot and those that will follow. It may be awhile before I get to shoot more.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Makati Sunset (Part 1)

Not much news to report. So many things are going on around me, and I haven't been able to make sense of it all yet, so I'm just going to post a picture today. I have a whole series of these sunset shots going.