Monday, 26 October 2009


For better or worse, the world's largest retailer is America's WalMart. I wonder if that was the inspiration for the Philippines' Walter Mart?

Yes, Walter Mart. It isn't so much a retailer as it is another mall concept, smaller in scale than malls by industry leaders SM and Ayala and located in areas of more affordable real estate. Walter Mart is not the "sosyal" place to shop, but a good place to go when you don't want to deal with hordes of egotistical social wannabees loitering about like they do at an Ayala mall.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009


I find this ad funny. Note how it gives credit to the model. They've actually printed his name below him. Is that so you don't expect him to actually show up to build your house when you hire this company? Is he supposed to make you want to build a house with this company? That house?

I'm not asking...I'm just asking.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Variety Pack

Something to love about living in the US:
8-pack of chocolate donuts + household of 3 = doesn't last long.

Lil' Bit & Crew

Since moving back to the US a lot has happened here as well as in Manila. Keeping busy here has meant everything from getting a drivers license (again) to getting something to drive with said license to reconnecting with friends and getting Edson into sync with the system at University of Cincinnati, where he's on faculty.

Those first days here for Edson and myself were spent largely jet-lagged. Falling asleep at all sorts of inconvenient hours was OK, as being without a car in a place like Cincinnati means getting around is less than convenient, so we spent quite some time at home.

While at home we got to know our roommates Caroline, Figaro, and Gonzo rather well.

This is Caroline:I call her Lil' Bit because she's a lil' bit crazy. There must be multiple personalities going on inside her, as you never know which one you'll wake up to from day to day, or which one will be with her when she comes back into a room she's just left. She's the real character of my brother's three felines as well as the most vocal; mewing and mewing and mewing when she's not growling or hissing...and you never know which to expect.

She's also our little helper. She's quite good at holding pages open in books, although she tends to cover much of the page; making it impossible to read. Edson and I figure she's ensuring no wind will ever blow the page. Little does she realize the windows have been shut for weeks due to the cold. Lil' Bit is very handy when it comes to laundry, though. She usually will let me know when the load in the washer is done and needs to be transferred to the dryer if I ask her to do so when I begin the load. It doesn't work two days in a row though. All that work one day means she's lost out on some of the eighteen hours of sleep cats get each day, so the next day she's good for nothing.

This is Figaro:Figaro is the eldest of the three and the second-most vocal. She used to be extremely shy and until I returned to the US I'd never actually seen any more than her tail as it disappeared beneath the bed in all the times during any of the seven years I'd been to my brother's place. Now she's quite the socialite. She enjoys coming out to see Edson and myself, and loves getting brushed. In fact, she begs for it...but she will only allow it once she's in the bathroom. She's very picky.

This is Gonzo:Gonzo is the Ricky Ricardo to Caroline's Lucy and Figaro's Blanche. He's the long-suffering schmuck who remains quiet while the other two go about mewing and meahr-ing or hissing at each other. His favorite thing to do besides sleeping is shedding, which he (as well as Figaro) does rather well. The proof is in the vacuum cleaner each week.

He's here now reminding me he is also a good purr-er.

About two weeks ago they kept Edson and I company in the office area here as we scoured the internet for news of the typhoon and flooding in Manila. News of the event was hard to come by on television here, as the US news networks virtually ignored it until days after it happened and was then bearing down on Vietnam.

Caroline, Figaro, and Gonzo remind me much of some of the people I got to know in Manila.

I knew many people who have strong personalities and are a lot of fun to be around - real characters like Caroline. Caroline also loves posing for pictures; so she's a lot like some of the models and other self-professed cam whores I knew through my photography.

Figaro is the classic case of the quiet, shy person coming out of their shell at long last. I know several people in Manila who denied themselves true happiness for years or decades until they finally came out and began to live and love life. She is also the most regal of the three here. Her great posture also reminds me of the models and their posing abilities when I worked with them in Manila.

Gonzo is much like some of my clients in photography as well. Very quiet, some summoning up all their might to pose before the camera. Others as if emerging from their shell to shine, actually transforming themselves into another being for the duration of the shoot before returning to themselves and walking back into society the quiet, unassuming types they were before our session began.

Having the three around was also painful in ways. There are the stories written of widowers who lost their home to the flood...and their pet as well as they tried in vain to rescue it; watching as the rapid current swept their beloved pet away. They survived, but have now lost everything...and everyone...who mattered.

Edson and I were at our laptops for hours poring through pictures, articles, and videos of the massive destruction, feeling guilty we weren't there. We have a friend and an acquaintance who lost everything and know plenty of people whose homes were flooded. I've heard the stories from friends of being stranded in their second-story apartment for a day with no food (or bathroom), or being stranded on a rooftop for two days in the rain with no food or water. I've also read of some who felt the flooding was nothing more than something that ruined their weekend plans and I wondered if they ever thought of anyone but themselves. I've heard of friends helping their friends and neighbors clean up after the waters receded, sometimes traveling to get to the affected areas to assist in the cleanup efforts. They came home aching, but happy to have been one of the ones able to help...

...little helpers like our Lil' Bit...

(Hiss!!!), Caroline!