Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Adoption Progresses...

... but it's slow going. Many fees, many requirements, many documents to obtain, many authentifications of those documents to be done, many more fees to be paid.

The attorney and social worker both say it may be done by the end of the year - the year 2016, that is. Ria will be over 2 years old by then. Whoo-boy.

No wonder adoptions are extremely rare in the Philippines.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Been busy, but for a good reason...

Meet Ria Faye Carlson - soon to be the newest member of the Carlson family.
The adoption hearing is next month.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

RAMADAN 2014!!!

I guess Ramadan for 2014 starts on June 28th.
Soooo - in celebration, and since I live in the Philippines,
it's time to start planning the roast pig and Red Horse feast!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Manila American Cemetery and Memorial

[Note: This is a government shutdown related post that, for some reason, has been in my 'drafts' folder. Oops]

I'd been hearing rumours that the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial (MACM) has been closed due to the US government shutdown, so we decided to take a trek out of the house and take a look for ourselves. We live in Taguig City and the Cemetery is within a few kilometers of our house.

On October 7th, 2013, a Monday morning, we drove around a bit and finally found the MACM. We arrived at noon and the gates were locked. Normal business hours for the MACM are 9am-5pm, pretty much every day of the year except for Christmas and New Year's day.
I saw two guards at the guard house and lots of maintenance staff on the grounds. I talked to one guard who explained that the Cemetery was closed due to the shutdown. I asked if they were running at reduced staff and he replied "No, we are fully staffed, but we are unpaid at the moment." I asked him if the Cemetery could be open at this moment, and he said "Yes" and laughed a bit I commented that being fully staffed, but closed, was sort of stupid, wasn't it? He laughed again. Nice man, though - he went to the guard house and brought me a brochure and stated that he hoped I would come by again when it was open.
 He smiled the whole time as I took pictures.

Monday, December 2, 2013

About On-Line Gaming in the Philippines

We’ve been painting the house for the past month. Oh, not me – I’m just the financial guy. A _very_ happy filipino gent has been doing the labor for me. Our flat (penthouse? bunker?) was dark green and ‘amazing’ green for the past 4 years. Then my sister-in-law painted her house, which is just across the way, 'amazing' green. And the Pure Gold building, that dominates the view from my front and side windows, is various shades of green. Dammit.

Time to change and plus the paint was peeling due to the lovely atmospherics in the islands (read: constant humidity, occasional freakin’ heavy rain). I sure hope continue to love pale yellow / BRIGHT yellow. What started as painting/repainting the 3rd floor flat has turned into a complete repaint of the entire building – 5 floors in toto! *sigh*

I hope everyone in the family enjoys their bags of sugar and cans of tuna for Christmas, because we are _broke_. Oh well, at least we are weather-proofed – sorta. Did I mention we painted the entire OUTSIDE, too? *double sigh*

We had a lovely Thanksgiving feast with friends I haven’t seen since before my wife was born. Turns out many of my old friends have moved from the US to, or at least purchased houses in, southeast Asia in the subsequent years. I’m still trying to figure out why that is. Oh, yeah... well – our conversation at the dinner table _did_ focus, for a while, on the fact that I'm not on the hook for ObamaCare, but they still are since they still have enough of a presence in the US. We all got a big chuckle out of that - well, at least I did. I’m still hoping that everyone in the US will get a chuckle out of it, too, eventually, but I’m not so sure.

I’m still recovering from the filipino versions of lasagna, turkey, and mashed potatoes.

I did get a ‘job’ out of the reunion, tho – turns out my one friend is quite the entrepreneur now, and has a factory here that turns out Christmas lights. He saw a few of my LED projects and was particularly enamored with my lighted cane, so he proposed that I help him out with some new designs. Should be interesting, hopefully I don’t kill anyone because they tell me that lights are not blinking in a proper sequence.

And if the ‘job’ turns into actual ‘work’, I quit.

Can’t do on-line games from here. Our internet access barely surpasses dial-up. And that’s on a good day. I don’t have the attention span for games anyway – which kinda sucks since I’m in the position to be a gaming monster 24/7.

Well, 12/7. I go to bed early.

Oh, and the black Friday crowds in the US? That’s a typical shopping day in Manila. You should see it on paydays/holidays. We’re used to queuing up. And waiting. And queuing up. And waiting some more. No fistfights, tasers, or gunshots here. Hard looks and muttering is as bad as it gets. I mutter in Thai (ex-wife), so no one understands or gets offended.

BTW: $15 minimum wage? You guys are pricing yourselves out of a country. There are many reasons why I moved to the Philippines, and the high prices in the US are just many of many.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

What To Do About ObamaCare

First things first: I'm an ex-Pat living as a permanent resident in the Philippines, so I am exempt from ObamaCare and the IRS fines associated with not having healthcare insurance. In fact, I was allowed to opt out of Medicare because there are no Medicare providers in the Philippines. I have no 1st person skin in this game - however, my sons still live in the United States. I have other family there. And I have many friends who still live there. So my concerns about ObamaCare are because I am concerned about _them_.

I'm conflicted when it comes to what to do about ObamaCare. My first choice is to just repeal it, second is to defund it - however, I'm afraid that so much damage has been done already to the insurance infrastructure we had before that there is no way to get back to the pre-ObamaCare state.

Delaying it will just give the politicians some breathing room for the 2014 elections. No one will know the true pain yet and will probably vote the corrupt bastards back into office. That will be a big mistake. Plus, even with it delayed, businesses will still have the spectre of ObamaCare hanging over their heads and it will negatively impact the American economy.

I don't want everyone to go through the pain, but we may have to for a short while so the true destructiveness of ObamaCare is known. Maybe we should just fund it now, so the backlash is so great that a great cleansing wave washes over Washington in 2014. Then we can repeal it and figure out what to do to repair the damage.

One thing I do know - there needs to be tort reform included in any revamp of the healthcare system so that costs can be held in check. Doctors and others are required to spend a large portion of their earnings on malpractice insurance. If that can be reduced, then the amount charged to the consumers can be reduced.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Trial? What Trial?

Abortion provider Kermit Gosnell, 72, is charged with killing a woman
patient and seven babies allegedly born alive, and with performing illegal,
late-term abortions at his thriving inner-city clinic.

The latest from FoxNews HERE.

It seems that FoxNews and conservative blogs are the only ones reporting
on the Gosnell trial. There is a complete blackout at ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN,
MSNBC and the liberal blogs.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Compare And Contrast

Ephrata, Pennsylvania - 03/25/2013:

Batangas, Philippines - 03/24/2013:

Exhibit #53 on why I live in the islands.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

More Construction

I've been under the weather, but my brothers-in-law have been busy working on the patio/kitchen off from the office. It's looking good - but still needs some cabinetry, paint and electrical work (that's my job - I get to be shocked). Once it's ready, we'll get a new refrigerator and oven. Can't wait to bake - I miss lasagna and meatloaf. And especially looking forward to the turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas!