Friday, 26 October 2007

Chocolate Kisses

A friend of mine called the other day to say he'd been very depressed and had spent the previous two days indoors wallowing in his sadness of a relationship gone bad. He had no energy to go out and no interest in doing so. People were worried. His family saw him sobbing at the dinner table.

Then, that night, he noticed a message in his nightly Hershey Kiss that told him to "Cheer Up".

Hmmm.

The next morning he noticed another message telling him to go outside.

So he did.

He went out with a good attitude and joined a gym.

Today he texted me with today's words from his Kisses:

"Congratulations"

"U Rock"

"Kiss Someone"

Maybe he will...

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Eewww.

When we can see more than just a veil of gray haze from our window, this is what we've been getting lately.

At least this is stunning.

A veil of gray smogfog (Yes, another new word!) really can't be described well in English. Frowning while sticking out your tongue and making a sort of regurgitating "bluh" sound would do the job nicely, though.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

My Daughter Niece's Birthday

Born in the beginning of October last year, Uncle Daddy Jay's daughter niece, Martina, finally had her party belatedly (as if she knew) on October 20, just a day after the Glorietta "maybe it is, maybe it isn't a bombing" tragedy, and two days before Uncle Daddy Jay's actual niece, Julia, celebrated her twelfth birthday.

Many activities were there for everyone to partake. Silk screening and tie-dying of t-shirts was very popular. Here, Meagan, who has now also been confused as my daughter, adds her name to her t-shirt.

There was also rope walking and rides down the slide for life. Here Martina demonstrates "rope hanging" with a little help from mom, Kit.

Looks even more fun up close!

Time to gather 'round to blow out the candles. When you're only one you need a little help from mom, dad, grandpa, and a lot of people you don't know!

There were also really, really, really mmmscrumptastylicious (New word. If Bush can do it, so can I!) homemade chocolate cupcakes, made by aunt Kat. Most people think of cupcakes as a dessert, while some people think of them as appetizers! (Any guess as to who?)

It was a wonderful party, and the best part of all is that Uncle Daddy Jay finally got to have his picture taken with his daughter niece and her mommy, who, in the minds of some, probably remains my wife! So, to Martina's father, I must say: "Sorry Inaki!"...

...and believe me, if I knew how to place a tilde over the 'n' in your name, I would've!

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...

The day of the Glorietta Bombing Edson and I were a good ten to twelve blocks away at the condo, where our pool looked a bit like it had been bombed as well!

You can see crews are working on the wall around the pool. This is because all the tiles on it have been falling off, so this week the crews have been removing all the old tiles (yes, the ones that hadn't removed themselves) and prepping the surface for their replacements. Replacements that we hope will be better-installed than their predecessors.

How old were those old tiles?

Our building has been open for a year this month...and the construction on the third of the three towers is just nearing completion.

Yikes!

That was on the east side of our tower.

Outside our window (which, if you have been a regular reader, you know faces west...hence the sunset shots. If you didn't know the sun sets in the west, stop reading now, call someone over, have them slap you for it, then commence reading) we were seeing this:

We called around to see if anyone else knew what was burning to no avail.

Nothing on the news.

Just a fire somewhere near the bay.

Oh, and as much as I've described buses belching black smoke here, they aren't quite this bad!

Friday, 19 October 2007

Explosion Rips Through Glorietta Mall

Yes, this is where we do a lot of shopping, our local mall.

Rescuers walk past the damage from a powerful blast that rocked a crowded shopping mall in Manila's financial district of Makati, Philippines on Friday Oct. 19, 2007. The blast killed at least eight and injured scores of others and police said they were not ruling out a bomb attack. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Police gather outside the busy Glorietta Shopping Mall at the financial district of Makati city, east of Manila, Philippines following a powerful explosion Friday Oct. 19, 2007 that killed at least 8 people and wounding 70 others. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Rescuers sift through the wreckage and debris after a bomb ripped through Glorietta shopping mall in the Makati district of Manila 19 October 2007, killing eight people with at least 70 others injured, according to police.(AFP/Luis Liwanag)

My Mustang Tryke



Isn't she a beauty?

I've always wanted a purple and yellow, monogrammed, three-wheeled Mustang!

Regrettably (or thankfully) it isn't mine.

Of course I realize some of you are wondering just what the heck it is, aren't you?

Well, tricycles are really nothing more than motorcycles with sidecars. Semi-enclosed sidecars. Often the motorcycle will also have a windscreen and roof as well to protect the driver.

These are cheap modes of transportation all throughout the Philippines that traverse the lesser roads. You won't find them anywhere in the central business district of Makati, but just a block away they'll be shuttling passengers to homes, restaurants, cemeteries, and small businesses.

The tricycles are used for short-distance trips. Trips that would be too expensive by cab if a cab driver would even accept the fare. (Yes, it is quite commonplace for cab drivers to refuse passengers because they don't like going to a certain place, or they don't feel they'll make enough money off the fare because the destination is too far or not far enough. And on Fridays a passenger can expect to pay an extra 50% or more here in Makati...especially if you are, or are with, a foreigner.)

You wouldn't want to be in a tricycle for too long a trip, anyway. There are no shock absorbers. They shake, rattle and roll you all about. If there are two of you in the sidecar (and I've seen more) it is awfully cramped. There isn't a lot of headroom, either (so the top of my head knows). As there are no sides, they are well ventilated. That also means you have the buzz of the motor on your left side and the plumes of exhausts of traffic on your right. Emerging from one is something of a birth experience. I've watched as tall people have extracted themselves from the sidecars in a way that is reminiscent of watching one of the Transformers go from a truck to a robot.

It is a sensory experience!

Of course, outside Makati and metro Manila one can see tricycles carry much more and much farther. I've seen as many as five passengers clinging to one. They are often seen transporting (not transforming) loads of mattresses, lumber, or rice; the sound of the motor straining I think I can, I think I can, I think I can... even on flat land.

Maybe I should buy this one and bring it back to the US and start a business?

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Seven Minutes

Edson and I placed our order at McDonald's one night. They had run out of his sandwich order and notified him it would be seven minutes before his order was ready.

On another visit to McDonald's I had ordered an apple pie. They had just run out and more were being prepared, but it would be seven minutes before I would get mine.

Visiting another restaurant (Yes, we do eat at establishments other than McDonald's!), we were told our order would take...

...any guesses?

...seven minutes!

You know, if I knew that all food preparation took a mere seven minutes, I'd cook for myself. But it never seems that way. What takes a mere seven minutes for a restaurant takes me three-quarters of an hour. Although most don't believe it, it doesn't take me that long to eat it, so why should I spend that much time preparing it?

If I get a fresh sandwich, I'm more than happy to wait a mere seven minutes. And my Hot Apple Pie really is a hot apple pie by the time it is served to me (Yes, *gasp*, they'll bring it to your table here!), which is nothing to complain about. I'd rather have my dessert served after I eat as opposed to having it sit there in front of me cooling (or melting) while I eat my meal.

But, what's with the "seven minutes" everything takes? Sometimes it is actually shorter. Once it may have been longer. But why not few, five or ten minutes?

Seven is a "lucky" number, sure. So maybe by saying that the order will be ready in seven minutes, they're actually saying an implied if you're lucky. You know, Your order will be ready in seven minutes (if you're lucky).

Well, I have no real ending for this, so I'll leave you with an all-too familiar sight around here these days: dramatic, ominous, rain-dumping clouds!