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.