Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sleep deprived

I have been sleeping 8+ hours a night lately. A departure from the past few months. I have noticed that I have been tired a lot. Our neighbors (not the Persians) have interesting habits and lifestyles. It is one extended family in three of the six units in the compound. Anyway, I assume they are fairly well off because none of them work (or leave the house). They are always working on stuff and tinkering around before 7AM, and are wide awake at 3-6AM, doing their "daily" routine of arguing and house maintenance at that most un-holy of hours. The landlord, we have found, is a heavy drinker, and his sons are chips off of the old block. Tuesday 3AM full blast Karaoke music is not uncommon. To celebrate the new year properly, they have built home made "cannons" out of PVC pipes, barbecue lighters, and denatured alcohol. These would almost be interesting to me if not for a) the hours of operation and b) the proximity to adjacent concrete walled buildings (my apartment). More on sleep deprivation. It can be the cause of a great many problems, it would seem.

So how am I getting all of this sleep of late? earplugs. I recommend them for other people suffering from insomnia as of late (Jesse!) as disturbing noise, even slight may be your reason for not getting enough sleep.

I have tried to say something, but there is a communication and cultural barrier between us that seems impermeable. Tenants have virtually no rights in the Philippines as compared to back home, it's a sort of, "if you don't like it, leave" type of policy here. Ironically though, squatters in this country have the right to be "relocated" by their "landlords"to another suitable location, if say an undeveloped piece of property that the squatters are on is to be developed. The onus is on the "landlord" to find them another place to "squat".

Our holiday schedule worked out by Karen's mother and myself looks like this.... pre-xmas in Puerto Galera, x-mas in Manila with her family, post x-mas in Sagada. Then back to Baguio for new years!!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Another Typhoon

Philippine typhoon season is no quitter. We have yet another. It's almost a non- issue at this point. We are facing our first grading (midterms) this week, and we are hoping the Philippines can get past this with less tragic loss of life than the last one (or ten)...

We had an impromptu lunch party with our wonderful Persian friends today. We had some intermittent power outages and I decided to barbecue some of the food that was at risk for spoilage. It's always interesting to see how impressed my friends are with things like "American style Hamburgers" (recipe to follow) and Christmas trees. (We just put ours up last week.) I wish that they could be in America one day to experience it first hand like we do. Al, my dear friend has once again invited me to his home and country. I would love to, but our class schedule seems to work against spontaneity. One day, I will. I have been treated to many interesting slide shows of various areas of this beautiful country that they love so much, yet practically weep for. One of them, Nima, has moved to his own apartment down the street. I hope that he continues to come around, he is a good friend, too.

Trying to find more purpose these days. I have integrated a very effective (for me) organization system that uses 3x5 index cards both blank and pre-printed... I fully endorse this system for people who a) want to get organized b) don't want to spend a lot of money on an untried system and c) need portability

The specific system I use is based loosely on the "Getting Things Done" aka GTD program put to book by a David Allen. I have made a "folder" of index cards that can be fit in my back pocket, known as the "Hipster PDA"... It's low tech, but highly productive. I found it on a Digg link to a Japanese guy who credited this system with all of his success, etc. . more info can be found at "43 folders". I am trying out about a dozen different templates. They have hundreds and they are free and fairly customizable. Do check them out, even if you don't think you are "busy". you will enjoy it, I am sure. It's good for anyone who would like some help in bringing out new ideas, and keeping on top of all the things that you want to accomplish. I am a typhoon of productivity these days.

Joaquin's "American" hamburger Recipe

1 KG Ground Beef (not "lean", please)
1 medium red onion, diced
1 medium green(bell) pepper, diced
5 cloves of garlic, crushed and minced
2 TBSP of Lea and Perrin's Worcestershire Sauce
1TSP salt
1 TSP pepper
1 TSP ground cumin
2 eggs
1/2 cup of bread crumbs

mix together all ingredients thoroughly by hand 24 hours before serving. Cover and refrigerate. Then, roll into equal sized balls, try for 8. These are "American" therefore, don't try to get too many out of this batch. You wanna blow away your guests, not leave them wanting "another". After pressing (by hand again) into patties, let sit for about 10 minutes before grilling. Serve on toasted fresh buns or large French rolls and garnish with Dijon mustard, wasabi mayo and a fresh cut tomato slice. Don't over cook them. (conversely, don't under cook them either)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

After some soul searching and an abrupt reminder

I have decided to begin to post here again. May I humbly apologize for the lack of content here. I really should try harder.

Well, we have a "super" typhoon heading our way http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20061129/sc_afp/weatherphilippines
I had a trip to Pangasinan planned, a nice seaside town in a cheapo resort, but we are not too eager to be "trapped in Pangasinan" if the proverbial feces hits the oscillating airflow apparatus.

not sure if I should start being alarmed at this point. I got some bad news, my mom is NOT buying the house that she just decided to buy as Southwest is once again threatening to drop their Albuquerque center. I hope that they don't just threaten to do this and do it already so my beloved nearly 60 year old mother can move to Phoenix where she can hopefully almost buy a house there until they threaten to drop Phoenix, then it will be on to San Antonio and finally by 2017, they will close their final res center and people will simply inject themselves with the reservation serum and automatically book flights from them via DNA strand and satellite feed. /end sarcastic, bitter rant

Talked to Rinah and my Dad and some friends from Victoria, they are anywhere from 8" to 2 feet of snow, depending on whom you ask. I think that those who must "enjoy" the snow due to obligation probably have a lower opinion of it than those who can watch it's wonderful splendor from the inside of a cozy warm locale. Rumor has it that the City of Victoria has sold their snow plows, and people are getting stranded and freaking out. I was there during the blizzard of '96, and I can't imagine that they have not maintained a snow clearing procedure, in spite of the past low snow falls. I miss snowboarding, but living/working in Utah kind of cured me of the snow bug that was rarely satiated in Northern California and Victoria.

Our wonderful friends are our best cure against the insanity of what is Philippine Education. I could bore you to tears the problems faced by students here, but suffice to say that for some reason, it seems to be OK to just change the schedule on an hourly basis some 8-10k students on a whim. Oops, gotta stop ranting. Anyways, my good friend Raymund is ever helpful in many ways and I hope to be able to be a coworker of his one day.

Our Persian friends downstairs are hosting another bash. They are really fun loving, energetic and thoughtful people. All enrolled as dentists in my school, they have such an interesting and at times happy and sad view of the world. Not oppressively negative mind you, just the kind of outlook that comes when you have a ridiculously hard headed, foolish, dictatorial and oppressive regime in charge of how you chose to pray or not to your God, among other astounding rules. Your penalty could easily be your life and though they love their country, I think that many will never return if given the chance. I can't blame them for that. Anyways, if tradition is held tonight, the shin-dig will not go into full swing until about 10pm when the BBQ will be lit, and the drinks will come out. I have some Chivas Regal (my favorite blended scotch) to wow them with. The world standard of "good scotch" seems to be JW Black Label, though I can't dispute it is good, I favor the smoothness of Chivas, though after a couple, I could easily drink almost anything and not know (or care)... Anyways, the menu will often include saffron (imported from Iran, and yes, it is the best) marinated chicken and meats, an herbed rice and several salads, pickled veggies like garlic, my favorite, and tons of exotic sweets and whatnot.

Well, thats about it for now, Kaern and I are really looking forward to the Xmas break and her mom and dad are visiting. We can't wait.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Sorry about the huge time lapse in between blogs. We were without broadband for a while, and though I am sure it helped me focus on studies, I am glad to be connected again.

We have made a lot of good friends here, and have hosted a few parties and whatnot to mix up the constant school work.

We moved to a new apartment and are very pleased thus far. The location is a 10 minute jeepney or 5 minute taxi to school. We were happy with our other place, it was big, quiet, good security and real nice landlords, but we couldn't overcome the long commute and lack of high speed internet. So, here we are.

School is almost over for the semester, we are in finals week now. We have a lot to get ready before our trip home on Oct 16th for semester break, including immigration issues, early enrollment for next sem, unpacking into our new home and repacking for our trip.

I believe I have sent out an email about the breakneck pace of school here, 6 days a week, minimum 6-10 hours in class per day. We have been busy as president and first lady of "F.O.S.A" (foreign office of student affairs), and we just purchased a nice big sofa from our budget for this semester. Everyone hangs out and has a good time. I wish the rest of the world could do this rather than what they are doing. We have Phil-Ams (Filipino Americans), Koreans, Persians, Sudanese, and a handful of 20 other nationalities composing of 186 foreign passport holding students at University of Baguio. We have some big plans next semester, we concentrated on making our "lounge" area comfortable and accessible this semester.

Anyways, we are doing fine in school, we are comfortable and happy in our home and looking forward to seeing many of you (the ones we cant get to will be missed, but maybe summer, ok?)

Anyways, we are back on skype and here, too. I promise this time...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Sweet deals in Baguio

come one, come all. its nice and cool here, in the 70s, for the past couple of days . we have lots of room, and are almost all mosved in. Still waiting on DSL hook up. We are visiting our school today to hopefully get a few credits creditedbefore starting for a couple of weeks... Everything here is pretty cheap by Manila standards, which is to say, real cheap by US/Canada standards.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Great News!!

We found a great apartment. Around twice as big as our current one and a third of the price!! We also enrolled in our classes and are pretty well all set for the coming year. We move in next week.

I promised not to harp on it any more, but to those who are STILL holding out on getting Skype, I don't see how you could possibly avoid it now that they have a new promotion. All outbound calls are free within the US or to Canada until the end of the year. You just need a $5 headset with a microphone and a DSL connection (you will need to subscribe to a number IF you want to receive calls from landlines, but as always, Skype to Skype is free) I don't see how anyone who has a computer is not using the heck out of this. Download this and start calling for free.


Saturday, May 13, 2006

Back in the Pilli-Peens

Well, a nice flight back through CKS airport again and here we are, jet lagging like crazy. I recommend China Airlines, BTW, much better than EVA. We arrived at 10 AM, went home and at noon took a short 10 hour nap. Then up at 10pm until 6 pm the following day, where I took another 10 hour nap. I think I'll have it licked today.

We got great news about our grades, our anatomy & physiology classes came in with higher than expected scores. I finished with a somewhat respectable 92% overall average.

We need to postpone our Baguio trip to next week as we are still waiting for one of Karen's teachers to submit her grades...

We have a couple of apartments to look at when we get there... I think one of them is a cottage, 2 bed 1 bath 1CG type. The other is a Townhome. Both are a bit out of town, but appear to be just off well traveled jeepney routes, which is what I am really looking for, because I would love for us to not have to get scooters/cars.... I don't like the extra expense/hassle/exposure of a vehicle. Hopefully we won't need one....(though a small scooter for hiking excursions doesn't seem all that unreasonable)

My Grandmother is doing very well after her ordeal. I think she is doing an amazing job of keeping herself in good spirits and is eating up therapy like I have been eating Pancit Canton. I believe we grew even closer during the month that I spent there and though a rotten way to "get together", I am so thankful for the time we spent together, mostly talking about everything under the sun.

My Florida trip was good too, though short and sweet as they say. Karen and I stayed in her parents condo, called the Symphony. It is located right on the Inter Coastal Waterway (ICW) of the desirable Los Olas Region of Fort Lauderdale, next door to the Performing arts theatre and many other wonderful walking distance areas. There are yachts and water taxis out front of the private dock s in front of the towers. A great gym and spa facility proved to be the coup de grace, and the entire facility is truly a luxury accommodation. Valet parking, concierge, business centre, aforementioned gym and spa 5th floor pool deck and whirlpool, and the crown jewel: the @ 2nd floor club room over looking the ICW. Karen's parents, Paul and Maria threw a great party there and after Lola's pancit, and various other dishes from a great Chinese Restaurant like fried crab, baked chicken, my own Caviar recipe and caprese salad and maMy Florida trip was good too, though short and sweet as they say. Karen and I stayed in her parents condo, called the Symphony. It is located right on the Inter Coastal Waterway (ICW) of the desirable Los Olas Region of Fort Lauderdale, next door to the Performing arts theatre and many other wonderful walking distance areas. There are yachts and water taxis out front of the private dock s in front of theny others, the guests also had a wine tasting with prizes awarded for accurate guessing, an open bar (Crown Royal being the fave as I tended the bar for an hour) and the topper, was the chocolate fondue fountain with fruits for dipping. (the fresh pineapple being the winner here).

Karen and I also did two things that I have always wanted to do, go to the Everglades, and go Bass fishing.. We did them both at the same time! Our guide Tony, was referred to us by Paul. Tony has been a long time patient of Paul's and we had quite a treat, going out in the Glades, and pulling in pound for pound, the hardest fighting fish in the world. Karen, as always dominated the day, catching and releasing 10-12 fish, I managed a respectable 6. I say, it was her lure, a plastic worm from the onset that had her number so high, as I had several kinds of lures prior to getting the same plastic worm and then I was off to the races, too. Though Karen attributes her catch rate to skill and mine to lack thereof.

We managed to see my brother Jesse and Yvonne and they are doing well in their apartment, things were cozy when we arrived as my father and his girlfriend were there too, visiting for a week. Jesse is currently interviewing for a new job and appears to have "landed a bigger Bass" than the one on his line before, so we are all happy and proud of course. We hit gastronomic paydirt several times, once with my brother's reliable motza ball soup, once at "Le Bonne Crepe" and once at a great Indian place down the street, (lucky so and so) from his house.

My Dad and Terri seemed to have a good time in Florida, enjoying the beach and trying to stay cool as best as possible. They went to the Keys and had a great time there. They also stayed at the Symphony for the last couple of days with Karen and I, and my Dad and I had some great "sauna talks", hashing out our plans and the latest ideas.

We left Florida with Karen's sister and went to Albuquerque to visit my Mom for a few days. She had booked a room in Santa Fe to stage our outings from, and the first day, we went to the Petroglyph park to check out the several thousand year old- 500 year old drawings on a few conspicuous volcanic rock formations just on the edge of Albuquerque.

After provisioning at Walmart, we embarked north and went to Bandolier National monument, an interesting canyon area that has been the home of Native Americans for 1000 years plus, though has been deserted for 500 years or so. The site is amazing, and must be seen to be properly understood. The canyon walls were formed through the combination of rocks and more significantly, volcanic ash. The ash, over time is the solid structure in general, while the rocks and other items were somewhat more transient, creating an interesting Swiss cheese like look to the side. The first people in the area recognized the value of the protection an elevated dwelling made of rock could provide and settled there in that beautiful area. Later, people began to move into the valley and they erected the "Pueblo-esque" type structures at the base of the canyon wall. They had the community built in a circle, again for defensive purposes, and lived there for hundreds of years until they too left, presumably after depleting the food supply or perhaps to seek more comfortable climate. The natives of this area used "Kiva" to conduct their spiritual/governmental pursuits. We were able to see them and go into one of them. I have a great idea for my next back yard, but I guess that may have to be cleared through Karen.

After, we went to Santa Fe, where we were exhausted enough to barely make dinner in this town, as the place starts to shut down at 9pm (this was Saturday night, after all!!)

The next morning, we found a great Breakfast place called Bagelmania, and after a sound gorging, we went to Taos to tour an active Pueblo. The native people who run and live at/near this location had a short walking tour of the area, and some interesting historical references. My Mom has been several times and was eager to expand her already profound knowledge of the area and to expand her collection of native flute playing, of which we were already priming ourselves with. The nifty shopping available there is not to be missed, the actual inhabitants of the Pueblo (100 or so, almost all elderly) rely on this as their means of preserving their Pueblo. We bought several CDs (from my Mom's favorite flutist, John Ranier Jr) and I must admit, this stuff is good. These guys play the wood flute in a way that is as expressive as Louis Armstrong plays the Trumpet, BB King plays the guitar, etc.... Amazing. After gorging ourselves on some baked goods from their own special ovens (think giant fresh fig neutons made with apples and dates) and I bought Karen a silver necklace with turquoise and a carved deer shin bone made into a feather. Also, I bought some burning herbs, sage and lavender and sage and cedar. After we had wrapped up the Pueblo, we ventured into Taos proper and grabbed coffee and had some shopping experiences, where Karen got me a nifty folder black with 24K accents. She was longing for something to get me for my Birthday and that fit the bill in style. I found a wooden box with Geronimo, my Mom's favorite person in the world, on the road back to Santa Fe, we stopped at a small bend in the road (mimmicking the river that plays alongside the entire trip back, and got some great pictures by the river. We wrapped it up in Santa Fe for another night.

The next day, after the what was now known as "the obligatory breakfast at Bagelmania", we set out early to wrap up Bandolier. This was a focused trip, to "summit" the ceremonial cave area. Well worth our effort, when we got to the top though the 6 inch wide path and series of 30 foot ladders, we were treated to an almost eire amphitheatrical experience overlooking the valley of a home for a small group of people for thousands of years. The Kiva at the top was reconstructed and visitation to it was permitted. We sat inside for a while, and I was reluctant to leave for some reason.

We got in the car and headed towards the Jamez Volcanic monument and area. The Earth Shattering volcanic event that took place millions of years ago and basically was 700 times more powerful that Mount Saint Helens. Some of the ejected boulders and rocks made it to Lubbock, Texas. The ash from that explosion most likely triggered a complete change in global climate and served to create the distinctive landscape of the states east of the Rockies like Utah, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, etc... Jemez Springs was essentially closed for the day by the time we got there, so we simply sat back and enjoyed the lovely colors and scenery of that region, going from desert, to mesas and canyons, to Alpine, back to Mesas, back to desert, until we arrived back in Albuquerque. I went and grabbed a handful of precious beers from an amazing collection at a liquor store up the street and we just vegged out watching the horrible and forgettable "Ring 2".

The very next morning, we were off to LA, spent a few hours with Grandma, my Dad and Terri, and my Uncle Rick and Denise before the shuttle came to take us back "home" here.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


As many know and do not know, things here in OC took a huge turn for the worse. I had left my grandma for an hour to pick my mother up from the airport to find her laying on the kitchen floor with a severely fractured femur. Though in reasonable spirits, this was a huge set back for her and the family. She underwent a successful surgery that involved the implantation of a titanium rod into the hollow portion of her femur, thorough her artificial knee. The leg is now at 0% weight bearing for at least 6 weeks. She has been transferred to rehab and has begun the arduous journey to recovery of her regular functions. She has really been courageous as the title suggests, and that is the only words I can come up with for her. I am at the facility every day for 8 hours + helping her along and helping her with the physical therapy as much as possible. With a bit of luck and hard, hard work, she should be able to be coming home with some temporary at home care and therapy in a few weeks or so (we hope less, but that is up to her surgeon and her own progress) In a couple of weeks, I will be passing the baton to my father, and then he will in turn pass the baton to my uncle to keep her steady and occupied during this time... Although this could not be under worse conditions, my time here with her is cherished. I will ask her if I can take some inspirational pictures of her progress. Though she will probably decline to allow them. The had her stand the first day after surgery, and are teaching her how to function minus the left leg. She has been incredible in her patience and determination, and is my hero......

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

In Taiwan internet booth at Chang Kai shek (spelled wrong, but I can't figure out how to spell check because of Chinese language protocol) Airport

We have a 8 hour layover here, so we are just walking around, freezing to death.. It's 60 degrees here if it is a degree, let me tell you. We both have shorts and sandals and t-shorts, Karen of course brought her "hoodie", but we are quite uncomfortably cold, nonetheless..... There would appear to be some decent restaurants in the airport here, so we are eyeballing the "big bowl of soup" places here. The first leg of our trip was pretty quick, besides sitting on the tarmac for an extra hour, then in a holding pattern for about 30 min. ..... Thankfully, I have my iPod, and I am listening to a very good podcast by some personal development guru.. I like to listen to that stuff. A good recharge on the batteries.

In the airport lounge in Manila

On our last day here, and we found the best deal... All you can eat buffet, 10 minute scalp massage, all you can drink (had a congac)and nice aquariums and real quiet.. what a releif after getting dinged with another 'immigration" issue... almost home!!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Almost home

Well, we are all packed up and cleaned up, and ready to hit the road. Just in time, too. It's getting much, much hotter with each week. Last night it was rather inescapable... It will be great to get some fresh air and see everyone. Karen Is REAL excited about coming home. She misses everyone a lot, and I am happy for her to be going back for summer. We have things in order for our school in Baguio next year, so all we have to do when we come back is to find an apartment.. (shouldn't be too hard)

I finally got my cr-- stuff together for my immigration "situation". That was yet another lesson that I am forced to learn the hard way. But they say it builds character. .......

Friday, March 24, 2006

Good News and Bad News

First of all, the good news.... We went to our new school to start our processing yesterday.. Everything pretty well seems to be in order, and the new school looks good.

The bad news, given my time constraints and money issues, my North American Summer Tour 06 looks pretty short and exclusive.... I have to make some hard decisions about where I can go, and how much time I can spend.. More details will follow as I go along.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Well, we got screwed

I have been going after the elusive "student visa" for 6 months now..... In order to get things done immigration wise in the Philippines, you have to "play ball"....I have a "friend of the family" inside that was "helping me". As it turns out, after a lot of money, time and energy, they produce for me a completely useless visa. The date on it invalidates my schooling that I have taken, and prohibits me from going to school in Baguio for 1 year! Of course, nothing like receiving this news 72 hours before my scheduled flight home. To make matters worse, I need to get a couple of other letters so that my visa is not "used up", therefore causing me to have to restart the entire procedure. Since there is no time to get this done within our scheduled return, we must unfortunately extend our return flight home to the 28th... Karen was real upset, I have managed to retain my cool. I am starting to get used to this stuff. I suspect that the woman helping us is basically ripping me off, but at this point, I cannot jeopardize the time and effort I have spent going to school here ,therefore she has me over a barrel.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Some pics of Dinner!

Lola can whip up some serious grub. (That's Filipino for Grandma)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Some new Stuff

I have outfitted my blog with some new gadgets to make it easier to use. (As if it is functional to actually "use" in a productive way, haha!) I have added an email subscription service, so that when I post something new, you will be emailed. Also, I have a selection of my recent posts for interesting websites that I have found. You can click the link, check out the website, and observe my asinine comments. I only "feed" the websites that I have bothered to comment on. This website roundup is from my latest online craze, www.digg.com where you go and find some very interesting and soon to be popular websites or cutting edge information, submitted by people. It is a kind of public bookmarking system that lets you see what people find interesting. Sometimes, you find it interesting too. I enjoy some of the side banter that happens when people don't agree with your opinion. It is user moderated, so that means that you can actually make a good point, and the idiot that responds that you should just go @#$@#% yourself, gets his comment voted down and moderated out. This type of thing is new to me, but has been around in other forms for a while. The site is quite tech oriented, but I still manage to blow an hour a day reading it. I have RSS'ed the feed so that I get the info that I want. I recommend learning how to do this (RSS if you want to save time by picking and choosing the content that you want.

Anyways, we are almost at the end of the school year. The school didn't surprise us when they announced yesterday that the school year was to be extended one week!! This being two weeks prior to the end of the year!! They fail to realize that some people like oh, I don't know, students and faculty might have other plans, like say, non refundable or exchangeable airline tickets. We have a workaround on this, so I just shook my head and laughed when I found out. It is amazing to see the differences in what is acceptable to people. I think many of the students are looking forward to the extra week of school. I can't say that for sure, but I suspect it. What the heck is up with kids these days??

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

21st century blog meets 20th century Phone line

this is an audio post - click to play

Hear my exciting nasal voice (sinus issue this week) here!!! Wow!!! This is neat, because you can call a number and leave an "audioblog". Good for road warriors and travelers. Hey, that's me!


Well, so much for bad things in 3s. You can add Earthquake to the list now. We were sitting at our computers tonight about 30 minutes ago and the room started rocking around. We ran downstairs and waited a while. Nothing. Ok, so we went back. And now I am writing it here, for all!! Breaking News.. Disturbingly, When you go to google "earthquake alert" or anything like that, you can't find a current alert notice or anything. I hope there isn't any tsunami. For the record, I told Karen, "I loved you!" as I grabbed her hand and ran out the door. Her reply, "I love you too."

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Interesting Times

There was a lot of things happening in the Philippines, this month. We had a stampede in a game show, killing 100 poor old ladies, a landslide that completely covered a small town of 2,500 people under 30 meters of mud, and a failed coup attempt. As always, it's the innocent that are harmed, while the fat cats, (TV show producers, Logging companies, and the seated President and her government, respectively) that come out on top. We are winding down our time here this school year. I have a good feeling that my grade in anatomy will be acceptable. (I was worried about that one, for a while) We saw Memoirs of a Geisha last night, It was real good, I read the book some time ago. One thing though, I always find that using the native language w/ subtitles would be better than just English with a Japanese accent... However, it was good.

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Week of intramural

This week was "intramural" week. In Filipino speak, it is also called "games". Basically, lots of volleyball, table tennis and maybe an egg toss or two. We have opted out of most of it. After all, how many hours can you sit there and watch people play volleyball? They go all day from 8AM till 5-6PM with activities. I don't want to be a party pooper, so I'll just be absent. Most likely, since attendance is mandatory, we will be obligated to do some kind of kitchen duty or cleaning schedule for a day. I am up for that, no problem.

I can hardly believe that we only have about 6 weeks left. I would just stay here and go to school over the summer break if I could, but financially it is not very feasible. I can make good money going home a working for a month or so. Then, some vacationing around and back here in June.

I have finally got the picture thing figured out, so you will have to look back at some of my pictures from prior entries.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Funny, the new Biochem class with the teacher looks to be a big improvement. So in a way, I can thank that guy for pissing me off so bad. Anyways, anatomy appears to be my new "obstacle to peace", but I am at least passing, so I guess that will do since most of my "peers" are not. I can hardly believe that an entire school year is almost over.

We were in an FX on the way home (an FX is a four door truck/minivan that holds 12 people) and the guy drove like a maniac. He was probably going like 60 mph, and Manila may have the most unpredictable roads of anywhere I have ever seen. We got home in about 6 minutes. At one point, Karen shrieked "OH NO!" as we swerved in between a lane changing Jeepney and a bus. The guy was a nut.

I am dreaming up my next computer upgrade, I have a wish list on "www.newegg.com" that should bring me up to speed, plus I can't get Karen to stop playing hours on end of World of Warcraft, as the saying goes, "If you can't beat em', ..."

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


If you think potty humor is not for you, don't link to my latest offering, www.poopreport.com. This is perhaps the funniest site I have ever read. If you think you might find it funny, check it out. It is fascinating how many people are completely involved with their digestive system or as some call it on the web-site "The Hunt For Brown October"...LOL

Another strange tale

Typically, Filipinos are very reasonable. Last week, during my BioChem class, there was this student standing outside the room, whistling this repetitive annoying whistle over and over again. For the first minute or so, it was OK. I mean, his friends in the class I was were chuckling, no biggie. Then, as time wore on (several minutes later) I began to get distracted and annoyed. I mean, this is Biochemistry and the topics are difficult for me to grasp under the best conditions. After a few moments of annoyance, I got up, went to the door and politely asked the guy to stop whistling. He looked at me with a dumb expression (he had a few friends outside, too) and denied that he was whistling. I told him that was fine, as long as whoever is whistling, just stopped. I went back and sat down in the class and what do you think happened? That's right, the idiot started whistling again, from around the corner. By this time, the entire class is thoroughly distracted, not only from the whistler, but the fact that I am intervening, and causing a scene. After about 10 seconds this time, I get up, heart pounding, fist clenching, teeth gnashing and without the politeness this time, step out the door, approach the guy and say "STOP WHISTLING!, the students in this class room cannot concentrate when you do that!" The guy stood there slack jawed for about five seconds. I was ready to pound the guy if I saw any hint of "Disrespect". Anyways, the whistling stopped. After the class, there was much talk and gesture towards me. I guess it is uncommon here to get into a conflict over something like that. Even the teacher simply ignored the person, rather than tell him to stop. It is a concept of "face" here that we don't have back home. The upshot, is that my teacher asked me yesterday if I wanted to take a special class with him and three other students rather than the regular class I am enrolled in because of the "distractions" of regular class. I said yes without hesitation.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

New Year

We had our New years party at Karen's families home. It was quite a party. The whole neighborhood shuts down then everyone starts blowing crap up. The fireworks are pretty much non stop and the noise was absolutely deafening, but fun. The kids appeared to have a blast, and the adults all had beer and whatnot. It was a good time, and the hangover wasn't too bad. Now we are back in school, I really can't wait to get this 1st year out of the way. I feel Baguio will be an even better move, but for now, I will slug it out.