BPI – Bank of the Philippine Islands – National Embarrassment!

I’ve complained about BPI’s terrible service in the past. Wednesday they struck a new low.

June 7, 2017 8:12 AM

9:40 AM

12:43 PM

4:06 PM

10:03 PM

Isn’t tracking transactions the most basic thing that banks do? How could a major bank possibly screw this up?

This image started making the rounds late Wednesday:

The Inquirer has the story behind it – apparently this really did happen to someone. However that was not to be the case with my account!

I was finally able to access my account information via the web at around 2:30 this morning. Two of my accounts are okay. One account is showing an ATM withdrawal on June 6th (resulting in a negative balance), but the last time I withdrew from an ATM was June 3rd.

This morning, 10:25 AM, the BPI web site is down again.

The lines to do a simple transaction at BPI are horrific. Going to one of their branches tomorrow, the day after this nightmare, I should probably bring a sleeping bag and a few sandwiches.

[According to Wikipedia, BPI’s ownership is roughly 53% Ayala (and various Ayala subsidiaries) , 33.7% Philippines Central Depository, 8.4% Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila.]

UPDATE June 8 10:46 AM

 

 

Back in Manila – And Resorts World Is Manila in a Nutshell

I know, I’m way overdue for a post. I’m back from two weeks in Hong Kong, where most of my time and energy was devoted to my job search, as well as time spent preparing to shut down my department and hand off our responsibilities to people in the U.S. The job search went about as expected – roughly 20 meetings, all of which were pleasant but none of which yielded anything substantial. I tell myself it’s early days and that I still have a job for four months. I’m trying to stay focused and positive. I’ve also put together the beginnings of a “Plan B” and a “nuclear option.”

While I was in Hong Kong, the June 2nd tragedy at Resorts World was unfolding. Initial reports said it might be terrorism (Trump picked up on that and mentioned it in a speech – within hours of the occurrence, even though it had taken him 72 hours to mention the two men killed in Oregon protecting a Muslim citizen from a hate crime). Bear in mind that this wasn’t that long after Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao. All sorts of theories started bouncing around –  not the least of which was that if this really was a terrorist attack, Duterte might declare martial law nationwide.

Last and in this case definitely least, the casino is located directly across the street from NAIA Terminal 3 and this happened just two days before my return flight to Manila.

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Everything is Broken

Random thoughts on a random day ….

I Read the News This Week Oh Boy

Manila’s MRT commuter rail line breaks down almost daily. This past Monday it was due to “tracks failure.” Meanwhile, there are reports that 48 new train cars ordered 4 years ago and built in China and yet to be deployed are defective and unusable – repairs slated to take three years.

A safety net at a construction site that wasn’t so safe.

Power failure at Rizal Hall when President Duterte was hosting a state banquet.

4,000 police will be guarding the area around the ASEAN summit this weekend. They forgot to order portapotties for them.

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Subculture Live at B-Side

My buddies in the band Subculture played a Sepultura tribute show at B-Side and I tagged along, quite happy that I would finally have a chance to shoot a band with my Fujifilm X-T2. When I arrived there, I saw the bands were setting up to play in an area that had zero lighting – just the ambient lighting from the surrounding bars and the almost-full moon above. But I was there, I had the camera with me, I bit my lip and got on with it. Everything was shot with the Fujifilm XF 23mm F2.0 lens, most shots were at ISO 10,000.

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Random Thoughts and Photos

Part One – Manila Taxi Drivers Suck

Saturday night I wanted to go out and find some bands to shoot with my new camera. I was talking to an American friend and he said he’d come with if we went to the Hard Rock. Since drinking would be involved, we both left our cars at home and took a Grab over to Makati.

We got to the Hard Rock waaaayyyyy too early. It was 7:30, there was practically no one else there, they told us the bands don’t start till after 9:30. We sat in the bar and had dinner and then it was 8:00 and still time to kill so we went for a walk – Cafe Havana where we had some drinks and admired the view, then Spicy Fingers, and then back to Hard Rock. It was boring cover band night, I kept hoping for something better, but by the time the band on stage decided to torture us with Toto, I said it was time to leave.

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Random Stuff on a Saturday Night

I went to SM Mega Mall on a Saturday night, which is an indication of how much of a masochist I must be. 30 minutes to drive there, 30 minutes waiting to get into the parking lot. But I figured I could find almost everything I was looking for in one place and I had nothing else to do, ergo ….

First order of business – buy a surge protector.  I made the dumb mistake of checking The Wirecutter for recommendations first. Dumb because of course I already knew in advance that whatever they’d be recommending wouldn’t be available here – here being the relatively large Cyber Mall on the 4th floor of Mega Mall. And I was right! Their number one choice – Tripp Lite – no one ever heard of it. Their number two choice, a specific model from Belkin that sells for all of US$31 (gasp!) on Amazon apparently is too expensive for this market.

One shop I went into had a cheaper Belkin, just one model, two pieces on the rack. Another shop had several different Belkins and a couple of models from a company called Silvertec.

My experience can be summed up by this exchange:

Him: Good evening. Can I help you?

Me: Yes, I’m looking for a surge protector.

Him: What?

Me: A surge protector.

Him: For what?

Me: (?????) For my computer.

Him: Oh. How many inches?

Me: That’s a rather personal question, isn’t it?

Him: ????

Me: Thank you!

Dinner at Mighty Quinn’s. Brisket, dirty rice, cole slaw and three kinds of pickles including pickled jalapenos. No complaints.

Then I figured I’d hit a movie (Logan) and had two hours to kill before the next showing. Walked around. Looked in a bunch of shops. Almost bought a new pair of prescription glasses but decided to hold off a couple of weeks.

Went outside for a smoke. Walked past Gerry’s Grill. There’s a family of 10 dining outside there. And here’s what “outside” looks like when you’re eating outside of this branch of Gerry’s Grill (red arrow):

Yeah, you’re sitting in a tunnel, with about 10 FX vans and 20 taxis parked there, all revving their engines to keep their air cons going, not to mention standstill traffic in both directions. People are sitting there eating? Inhaling a solid wall of CO2 along with their food? And then this family is finished, they get up to leave, the kid who couldn’t have been more than 8 or 9 stands up and deliberately spits on the ground – hocks up a huge loogie on the ground right where he was sitting and right next to another table where people are sitting. He couldn’t even be bothered to walk the 2 feet over to the curb to spit into the street. No one says a word. No one. Not one word.

Anyway, eventually it was movie time. Logan. It’s the third weekend it’s playing here, it has plenty of competition (Beauty and the Beast, King Kong Skull Island, Power Rangers something or other), it’s still playing in one of the bigger rooms in the multiplex – an 800 or 1,000 seater. No Imax, no 3D, no reserved seating, so tickets just US$5. Cannot complain about that.

And even though it’s currently rated an 8.5 at IMDb and gets a 92% at Rotten Tomatoes, I thought it was good (and definitely different enough from the rest of the X-Men films, which have grown quite tiresome in many ways, not the least of which the way in which they waste talented actors) but not great by any means. I guess I got more of a kick out of seeing Stephen Merchant (Ricky Gervais’s possibly more talented and definitely taller frequent collaborator) buried under tons of make-up, not to mention Richard E. Grant and Eriq LaSalle. And it was good to see Hugh Jackman without the stupid hair do and facial hair.

And now I’m home and, well, that’s about it!

(Actually Friday night was better. I was introduced to a group of local tattoo artists, spoke to them about maybe shooting in their shops at some point, started thinking about my next tattoo and flashed on this melting clock from Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory:

Or maybe Dali’s The Melting Watch, if I wanna get really ambitious about it:

Perhaps draped over my right shoulder (and yeah, I know, doing it there will hurt like a motherfucker, but it seems like a logical place for it) so pass the tequila and let’s get it on … maybe.)

 

Playing With the Fujifilm X-T2 (And Some Random Photos)

I’ve had the Fujifilm X-T2 for almost two weeks and the more I use it, the more I get used to using it, the more I’m convinced that I made the right decision in selling off my Nikon.

My initial fear was that this camera was going to be too small for me to comfortably hold but that didn’t turn out to be the case at all. It’s a great fit, almost as if they had my hands in mind when designing the camera.

My next realization was that with easily accessible and clearly marked dials for ISO and shutter speed, and aperture rings on the lenses I purchased, plus the “assist” I can get from the two command dials, I’m possibly thinking about settings more than I did in the past, and manually bracketing a lot of my shots as I continue to try to find out what works and what doesn’t work with the camera.

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PLDT – Why Do You Make Me Hate You So Much?

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks and I’ve been meaning to write an update but I’ve just been that busy. I was in Hong Kong for 8 days and meant to write something about that but the time has eluded me. Also the company I work for has been bought and it’s not immediately clear what that means for my future.

Anyway, last month, I was a little bit late in paying bills – sheer laziness, no other reason. I paid my monthly PLDT bill a couple of days after the due date. But here’s the thing – it was due on a Thursday, I paid it on Saturday, the payment registered on their system on Monday, and then they still cut my service on Tuesday because essentially their systems are so fucking shitmongous that they couldn’t cross-process the information on time.

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Some Days Are Good Enough

It is 5:39 AM as I start writing this post. I’ve been up since 3 AM. There are several reasons for this.

I’ve started taking a medication called Champix, which is supposed to help one quit smoking by somehow reducing the, um, enjoyment one gets from a cigarette and from nicotine. Actually I’d started taking it in November but went off it when my mother died. I’d felt it starting to work and always intended to give it another try and started with it again last week. One of the common side effects is insomnia, which I’ve got. Another is very vivid dreams, which I’ve got. One rare side effect apparently is suicidal thoughts, which so far I don’t have.

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