Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dear Lord,

I need a few things. Just a few. Nothing miraculous.

A nice shaded spot under a tree. A simple hammock. Some ice cold beer in a bucket - on a tropical beach, with clean sand and clear water.

I need no:

I need this pleasure right now. OK thanks.   
- humming air conditioning units in the background.
- tourists walking, chatting and milling about
- kids screaming
- no plastic chairs and no colorful umbrellas
- no waiters or servers
- no big hotel, building or resort behind me

I would like to bring my:
- my sun glasses
- some music
- a good long book
- my notebook and a pencil

Preferably somewhere remote, quiet, rough, untamed, no cell phone signal, desolate and away from the bustle - so I can see the stars at night when I wake up from my alcohol delivered slumber.

Why is something simple like this too much to ask? Please advise.



Google Maps

Out of sheer curiosity, I wanted to check the traffic situation of the whole United States. It worked. 

As expected, the densely populated cities have trouble spots. I hope you're not travelling between Spokane, WA and Missoula, MT. You'll encounter some slow downs there. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


On August 6, 2011 - a weekend, most of us woke up to the news that a large helicopter came under fire and crashed in Afghanistan and crashed, killing all 38 occupants of the aircraft. This included 8 Afghan soldiers and 30 US military personnel, including a g special forces from the same unit as the SEAL team that made its assault and captured the Abbottabad compound eventually killing Osama Bin Laden.

Here's a snippet of a report on one of the service of one of the fallen soldiers.

"Petty Officer Jon T. Tumilson was laid to rest Friday in Rockford, Iowa, where an estimated 1,500 mourners came to pay respects for the fallen Navy SEAL, including his dog Hawkeye. In fact, Hakeye’s loyalty to his owner at the funeral was visible, creating a heart-wrenching image as he laid down by the casket of his owner during the entire service."* 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What do you get when you leave a megaphone on a podium in the middle of New York City?

Apparently, a lot of love.

"For our latest mission we constructed a custom wooden lectern with a megaphone holster and an attached sign that read, “Say Something Nice.” The lectern was placed in public spaces around New York and then left alone. We wanted to see what would happen if New Yorkers were given the opportunity to amplify their voices to “say something nice.”"

Say Something Nice
The way I see this is that, there's hope for humanity. People love to love. People love to share love. Unfortunately, the environment asks people to be cool sometimes too cool. Sometimes becoming to uncouth. 

This video is awesome. Can't wait for this to show up in Las Vegas. 

Scabs and rugrats

As I was perusing the Internet this morning, I came across a Russian LiveJournal account with this photo on it's banner. I smiled because I realized that in this world, there are still misfit groups like this that grow up learning about life's lessons as they earn more scabs on their knees and shins and elbows.

I was one of the boys that cruised the streets of our gated subdivision on his own bike every single day of the week. As soon as school ends, we all head home, change out of our school uniforms and meet up somewhere.

This is not a photo and me and my friends. 
During the summer, we would all meet up after breakfast, rest at someones house during the day when it's too hot , play outside in the afternoon and all get home as soon as it gets dark.

We knew what areas of our subdivision to avoid because there were dogs roaming around. We knew  the trees that we could climb, we knew which neighbors were nice enough to let us have fruits from their own trees and we knew where we can buy chilled water in plastic bags for 1 peso. We knew which walls to scale to go to the neighboring subdivisions.

We would visit the homes of the girls we liked, talked to them with their iron fences separating us, and if we're lucky and their parents are nice enough will be offered some mirienda, and be told that if we plan to court their daughters that we should do it properly, inside the house. Not on the street.

I wonder if my children will grow up with their crew. With his "barkada". In the Philippines, the idea of barkada or your group is largely responsible for teaching the sense of no man left behind, "walang iwanan". Everyone knew where the other one was. Everyone followed the leader, usually the oldest one in the group, even if it meant just a few weeks older. The eldest took care of everyone especially the youngest one. The boys will stand up for each other. They will face other boys and sometimes mangy dogs or older bullies.

They will help each other go over walls, fix their bikes and climb trees. Learn how to fish in the small ponds and creeks. Realize that worms aren't that disgusting, that caterpillars shouldn't be touched. Pornography was for shits and giggles and it was not a click away. Knowing how to fix your bike was a must and playing in mud is ok.

I'm trying to put myself in the shoes of the grown ups back on those days whom I came across when I was a kid, barely 10 - maybe even when I was 7 or 8. The security guards, the guy in the neighborhood store, the school bus driver, the local mechanic, even my friends' parents. I can't imagine how they saw me and why they would let me and the other kids just go out and roam around - how did they know that we will be back home later that day? We may be bruised and wounded a bit, but they knew we will be home.

We've had our share of accidents before. Maybe a trip or two to the local doctor. Maybe 10 or 12 stitches here and there. But you know what? No one blamed us. Our parents did not stop us from being who we were. We were just told to be more careful. And you know what? We knew that and we were.

We had video games back then, but we played with it when it gets too hot outside or when it's raining. We amused ourselves with playing street games, making makeshift basketball courts, playing hide and seek, swimming in the community pool, playing with fireworks, building kites and running in the rain.

Somehow I have faith that this life will come back. I can't imagine boys growing up another way. It builds character, and fosters all the value of taking care of one another, exploration, simple happiness, camaraderie, honesty and nonchalance.

Go forth, children with wounded knees, dirtied faces and calloused hands! The world is an adventure! It is yours to conquer! Just make sure you'll be home by sun down.