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)