No Bad Words in Facebook Ads?

Screen shot of original post:

Suggested ad on Facebook:

Spot the difference?

I just find it amusing that someone took the time to write a program that would screen out certain words for Facebook ads.

(No, I don’t pay to “promote” my site. I don’t really do anything to promote it at all – aside from having things set up to automatically post on Facebook, Twitter and Google + whenever I post a new thing here.)


Used Stuff I’m Selling (Manila Only)

Several used items I’m selling off. Ads are on OLX and Facebook and thought I might post here as well, with the caveat being that I’m not really wanting to ship anything so this is for meet-ups in the Manila area. Prices are negotiable. Everything is in very good to excellent condition.

GoPro Camera and headphones being sold because they are not used, Kindle being sold because it was one of three that my mother had (long story), other items for what should be obvious reasons.

(Aside – people have a weird way of haggling here. This has happened to me often enough that I suppose it is the regular way of doing things in this country. Example: I say “asking price P20,000.” No one says “would you take 16,000”? Everyone says “what’s your last price”? If I respond, “It’s negotiable, make an offer,” that is almost always met with silence.)

Anyway, if you’re interested in any of this stuff, leave a comment with your contact details (I won’t publish the comment) or send an email to hongkietown at gmail dot com

Thanks for taking a look!

GoPro Hero4 Silver Edition with MicroSD card & other accessories

Asking P13,500. Includes 64 gig SanDisk Micro SD card, 2 extra Wasabi batteries and charger, GoPro floating handle, Polar Pro strap mount, black cover, and all original accessories.

Bowers & Wilkins P3 Headphones

Asking P5,000, includes carrying case, iPhone cable

Sennheiser Momentum Around-the-Ear Headphones, Brown

Asking P4,000. Includes carrying case, iPhone cable, regular cable

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7b Noise-Cancelling Headphones


Asking P3,000. Includes carrying case, 2 plug adapters

Amazon Kindle 4 (WiFi) with leather cover

Asking P2,000

Deluxe Comfort Transport Wheelchair

Asking P13,000. Purchased new in March, used probably once a week for six months.

Commode Chair

Asking P2,000. Used for two months, thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, looks new.


Some Boring Blog Stats

I got a series of emails from WordPress offering “annual reports” on my little sites for 2015.

Hongkie Town – I stopped blogging on Hongkietown at the end of January when I moved to Manila. I have never gotten around to shutting the site down completely – I moved all of the content over to here and only have a farewell message of sorts posted there. Nevertheless, the site managed 31,000 views for the year. Not only do people keep ending up there but the page keeps getting new likes on Facebook weekly despite the almost total lack of content.

Spikes Photos – I was mortified to discover that I had posted a grand total of three times for the entire year – the last Underground show that I shot before leaving Hong Kong, a tattoo convention in Manila and a post of some random photos shot one afternoon near my home. Somehow I still managed to get 7,100 views for the year. I hope to post more in 2016; I hope to shoot more in 2016.

And finally, this site. 88 posts for the year, 37,000 views from 111 countries in 11 months. I think that’s fairly decent considering I did almost nothing to promote the site aside from cross-posting to Facebook and Twitter. (This post, by the way, appears to have been my most popular for the year.)

I do have this tendency to look at my stats a few times a week. I look at top posts, top referrers, all of that kind of thing. I do almost nothing in terms of saying, “well this post was popular, I’ll do a lot more like that.” I don’t do anything in terms of SEO.

It has occurred to me that it wouldn’t hurt to get a little extra income from what I do here. I’m not sure that Google Ads or Amazon affiliate ads are the way to go. And there’s still more than a few things in my life that take away from the time I’m able to spend on the site – not the least of which are our two new wonderful puppies, who still don’t have names.

Only one thing is for certain. In 2016, I’ll still be here, still writing when the mood strikes and still looking at the road in front of me.

Another Post About Nothing

Nothing in particular. Just feel like writing.

These days I don’t go out too often. Partly it’s a matter of budget and partly it’s a matter of the soul-crushing traffic in Manila.

On Friday I read that Anthony Bourdain is currently in Manila, more than likely taping an episode of his CNN series. He did one episode of No Reservations here, more than 5 years ago. I think with his CNN series he is moving away from “just food” to get more into socio-economic conditions. That’s both good and bad – he couldn’t keep doing “No Reservations” forever. He’s a good writer and good TV host but how qualified is he to dig into issues not related to food or to travel? He was spotted at Cafe Chosun, a Korean restaurant in Malate. Someone else posted a picture of him dining alone at Jollibee – I don’t think so.

(Please stop referring to Bourdain as a “celebrity chef.” He is not and never was famous as a chef. He is an author and TV host and entrepreneur. In more than 10 years of television shows I think only one or two episodes show him cooking, and only one of the dozen or more books he has written is a cookbook. He never had any substantial fame as executive chef at Les Halles in NYC and it was an article he wrote for New York Magazine that was his first step to where he is today.)

(Which is not to say that I’m not a fan. I’m a HUGE fan. I have probably watched and read almost everything he has put out there. Like many, I would also like to think that I am equally talented and that I could do what he does. This blog is clear proof that I am not.)

Anyway, food … Friday night, company Christmas dinner. It was held at the Vikings Buffet Restaurant at Mega Mall. Every other place I’ve been, buffets seem to be strictly the province of hotel restaurants. Here they are hugely popular and can be found all over town. I wonder what the incidence of obesity and diabetes is in the Philippines compared to the United States? I suspect it’s similar.

The places that are somewhat more expensive, like Vikings and Sambokojin, do a pretty good job of offering a large selection of dishes, decent enough quality I suppose, for a relatively low price. A carving station with roast beef, ham, lamb and turkey. Make your own bibimpap, sinigang or shabu shabu. Nice lechon. Pizza that barely qualified as pizza. Very light on salads.

Dinner at Vikings is P888 (about US$19) and includes all the beer you can drink, if that’s your thing – and it certainly was the thing for several of the people at my table. Let’s face it, you don’t go to a buffet for quality, you go for quantity. I noticed at another table (and wish I had gotten a photo) someone had brought two toy poodles, one of which was wearing a diaper.

Following three hours sitting there, a half hour walk back to my car (didn’t want to get anywhere near Mega Mall because of the pre-Xmas traffic), fight the traffic to get back home, only to be informed by my wife that I had to turn around and pick up her daughter from her high school’s Xmas party. That’s probably 2-3 kilometers away. And it took 45 minutes to get there. First because it was after 10 PM, so all of the trucks were coming out from the many warehouses in the area, and second because all of the parents were driving to the school to pick up their kids (the school was very strict, properly so, not allowing kids to leave without their parents).

Saturday morning I woke up to find that my computer was telling me my E: drive was failing. This is my work drive – my C: drive is an SSD so quite small and I only keep what’s absolutely necessary there. My E drive is a 1.5 TB drive, 2/3rds full. It had been acting weird for the past few months so this was not a huge surprise.

Fortunately, due to reorganizing storage, I had a currently unused RAID box with two 2 TB drives. I was able to successfully get everything off the bad E: drive before it failed. (I had everything backed up on the cloud at but didn’t relish the idea of having to download it with my erratic internet service.) That took up a good portion of the day.

Mid-day we went out to the Fort, aka BGC. We bought the kid’s Xmas present – she wanted a pair of Nikes.

While at the Nike store, I saw people lined up and getting the latest Air Jordans. Heavily tattooed teenagers who could afford P10,800 sneakers – though perhaps some will try to resell them at a profit. These had to be reserved in advance and were all sold out.

I asked one guy how he knew about this. He said you had to follow Nike Philippines’ Instagram account. I don’t pay much attention to Instagram. I think I remember to post about 5 pictures a year there. I did some digging around and saw that nine out of the current top ten most popular pictures on Instagram came from Taylor Swift or Kendall Jenner. This was not much incentive for me to dig deeper.

Walked around a bit and decided to try a slice of pizza at a place called Nolita. It’s named for a section of NYC – “North Of Little Italy” – and there aren’t many places doing pizza by the slice. I tried a slice with spicy Italian sausage and while it wasn’t exactly Ray’s Famous, it wasn’t bad. But 220 pesos for a slice – almost US$5? Well, they’re in the Fort, that’s the rent they’re paying. It’s almost like being back in Hong Kong!

Then we braved the crowds at S&R so we could get our fridge and freezer loaded up in advance of the coming typhoon. (Typhoon in December? What’s up with that?) I also loaded up on Drake’s stuff – Twinkies and Ring Dings and now they had the Drake’s Coffee Cakes too (but not the original, some cinnamon variation, but still, come on, Drake’s Coffee Cakes!).

Back home, having ascertained that when my wife said she doesn’t like Star Wars, she’s only seen 1, 2 and 3 and not the original trilogy, I yanked out the Blu-Ray and put on “Episode IV – A New Hope.” I haven’t watched it in a long time. It played slow and clunky. All the extra digital nonsense that Lucas added over the years was wasted. And my wife hated it. She said it was boring. Actually we started it on Saturday night and she fell asleep, we finished it on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, up early, out to vote in our village’s elections for various village leaders. (Well my wife voted, I stood around and watched.) Hungry after that. The food places within the village are pretty crappy. The closest places outside the village are McDonald’s, Jollibee, some very local places that don’t look clean or appetizing. We didn’t want to go very far.

We ended up at a branch of a chain called Hap Chan. “The leading authentic Chinese food chain in the Philippines.” I thought it was going to be a fast food joint, order at the counter, but it turned out to be a sit-down place with a big menu. The shu mai (they call it shao mai here) was actually pretty okay. The char siu bao (they call it sio pao here) was very localized, too big and too sweet. The big surprise was the stir fried beef with hor fun noodles, which tasted almost exactly the same as it tastes in HK’s cha chaan tengs. So I was very happy indeed. Add a pot of a tea, a can of soda, some dessert, and the bill was under 500 pesos.

Back home, finished off Star Wars. I would have gone for The Empire Strikes back but my wife dug in her heels and absolutely refused. So I put on The Assassin, directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien. Hou won best director at Cannes for this film. It’s shown up on some top ten lists and it’s Taiwan’s official entry for the foreign language Oscar. It has a 6.5 out of 10 rating on IMDB and 83% over at Rotten Tomatoes.  Only 3 of 21 “top critics” didn’t like it – one of the three being A.O. Scott at the NY Times, who wrote, “It is as gorgeous to behold as anything you are likely to encounter on a movie screen or a museum wall. The film is intriguing, but ultimately opaque, a lovely, inert object that offers, in the name of movie love, an escape from so much that is vital and interesting about movies.” I would have to agree with that.

It’s gorgeous to look at but it moves at a glacial pace and has a very convoluted way of trying to tell what should be a simple story. There are very long shots of people just sitting there staring off into space. One long shot was just a river and trees. Very Zen, I suppose. My wife fell asleep after 45 minutes. Later we turned it back on, she fell asleep again after 30 minutes.

Outside of that, a nice home cooked dinner. I’ve been back from the U.S. for two weeks now but I’m still not entirely unjetlagged I think. I’ve only had 8 hours sleep per night for the last two nights, and going to sleep uncharacteristically early for me (11 PM).

Some other random bits:

I changed my mobile service from pre-paid to post-paid (Globe) last month. I signed up at the Globe shop at Podium. I gave them my credit card and filled out all the forms for auto-pay. Then this month I got daily SMS’s telling me my payment is due. I asked them why I am getting all of these reminders when I am on auto-pay. They responded “sorry but registration for auto-pay is suspended at our stores, you can apply through your bank.” “So why did you make a copy of my credit card and have me spend time filling out all those extra forms?” “Sorry.”

Fun stuff on Twitter #1

Cher – As Judas Was 2 Jesus,So Is Ted Cruz 2America.Read What He’s Written&Watched What He’s Said,4 Yrs.He ALWAYS TERRIFIED ME?#30piecesofsilver

Ted Cruz – Cher, thanks for the kind sentiments. And I wish you a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

Fun stuff on Twitter #2

Donald Trump – Amazing how the haters & losers keep tweeting the name “F**kface Von Clownstick” like they are so original & like no one else is doing it…

I don’t know that anyone doing that thinks they are so original. I think it’s the best name for Trump. I think his acknowledgement of it shows what a loser he is.


Spam Just Gets Weirder

After getting about 1,000 emails in the past couple of months with SEO offers and dozens of emails that just say “I have a project for you,” this one caught my eye.

Hello how are you doing today my name is Blake Williams My Son Wedding is coming up on the 24th of August and i will like to place an order for 180 Grilled Chicken Salad in individual pack for the 180 guest, it will be pick up by 3pm on the given date and i will like to inform you that am ready to make the full payment with my credit card today so can i know the total cost for the order plus tax…..get back to me with this following information below.


Restaurant address:

Personal cell number:

Total cost for my order plus tax:

Type of the credit card you accept



Assuming for the moment that this was real, this guy’s kid is getting married and he’s serving the guests chicken salad sandwiches? In a baggie?

The only thing sadder is that probably some people will actually fall for this and respond.



Why Does Google Translate Do Such a Piss Poor Job On Chinese?

It’s kind of a running joke now. My friends post stuff on Facebook in Chinese and they ask me to run it through Google Translate and post the result. Usually you can get the gist of it but sometimes it’s just completely awful.

I’m going to try a little test here. I’m going to take the title of this post and run it through Google to translate into Chinese, which gives me:


Someone else will have to tell me if that’s close or not. Then I’ll take the above and translate it back to English, which gives me:

Why Google translate to do so piss poor recruitment in China?

Cute, huh? Actually not too bad, aside from Google at some point not getting the word “job” right.

Anyway, I was looking up a Tai Po restaurant on Open Rice. There are no English reviews so I used inline translation in Chrome. Not only next to useless, but also quite funny. Here’s the restaurant listing (for those who want to see the original Chinese) and here is the first translated review:

Today, ate dinner at half past six, from Tai Po Centre has been OK, OK over Beppu, Mummy, then not tried to accompany drainage try it! Actually, I do not tease for Beppu Nuisance-what a good impression, but called Mommy , you will fight about … two individuals called Left 4 kind of wild, wild drinking 2 cups all child (drinks buy one get one) Dstring butter into the dry sample had had fried bad bad like that, would eat into the Well of seeking fresh baa taste, but eat off the entrance are OK, Well tough all child Nuisance slag. , I called kimchi Pork Ramen , in fact rang at home and cook a pig kimchi ramen plus D are all Ciwu Duo flavor, left more than a few lines Pork roast Hello. Mommy to theGillette pork chop noodles , soup too light, but Gillette few good fried pork chop, crunchy outer layer, which has gravy, Wucuo! Grilled saury OK friends, blazing power, Nuisance Zheng taste Qualified! lychee soda syrup just add soda water, add canned litchi grain, Nuisance special, but not even drink. as just filling the belly of a meal is also possible, the quality of the chain is so!

Tough all child Nusiance slag?

Here’s the last one – the translated title is “New feces pit.” Probably they didn’t care for the place.

Why I waited for something to eat first resistance Link? All because of technical problems. Store clerk tied to novices friends, watching the door of the woman Essentials too softly, Feizi number and㩒too fast, one that should never see someone flying next Fei, turn left both my enemy lines beside Temple gel, ring Listen to live drainage Essentials door quickly after I had left Zhang Zhong Road Essentials multi-speed three (if three are tied Nuisance should), I ask the canal line to the microphone to be buried row over the matter, had left佢words Yanyan After three straight Essentials to row through the first four, just being driven off GOD Essentials think fast drying back to rest it!
Window into the sit position, I like GOD goldfish goldfish bowl into the surface like that, all the way to wait for the food to come forward all the way to serve both beer patrons live, Zhong finished k take both Pakistani and alighting passengers are 8 hanging look scare you, really big pressure, Eating Well comfortably.
Asking him to add water Essentials left three people were added to Zhongwei, the Department of Enterprise GOD waiters obviously buried side Chit Quite busy tight. We should note that the drainage will ask you to Di Qi Ye Li did not, if the sun drains tied together Will not you add water to drink to serve both! Talk back Yeshi, called the left rectangular pizza, a fruit shop sill GOD pizza bread bag taste, smell only if you agree authentic pizza, above Nuisance-what sauce, dry fight fight both. Ajisen Ramen with the same level, pig soup sweet Nuisance-what a surprise, all drains to GOD Ramen Nuisance Xun both, drying my rock, my hate GOD Xun taste. But I Wu Shi spicy, so fewer alternative styles.

“Zhong finished k take both Pakistani and alighting passengers are 8 hanging look scare you”??????

Then, for fun, I took a look at the reviews of King’s Belly, the one western style bar in town with fish & chips and Guinness on tap (and the $138 burger). Here’s some translated review excerpts:

Have you heard of Westerners have salted it?

Well I guess I eat the sun / Yan day eating fried wild and Flow A No heat, so they are all fresh penne cautious.

Colleague sitting opposite me take the mouth, you Do not know baa?

It opened my death experience another food.

Fresh Pasta personal preferences eight mature, more and more tough pharyngeal taste.

Actually, without the translate plugin for Chrome, I wouldn’t be able to navigate essential (to me, anyway) HK websites like DCFever, Car8 or Mac.HK.  For short bits of text, it’s okay enough to navigate around. 

But seriously, shouldn’t Google be doing a better job of it at this point?

Luis Bunuel – Martini Man

Dangerous Minds digs out some information on Luis Bunuel‘s love for the martini.

“To provoke, or sustain, a reverie in a bar, you have to drink English gin, especially in the form of the dry martini.”

In terms of his philosophy of drinking in general, the Great Man said:

“If you were to ask me if I’d ever had the bad luck to miss my daily cocktail, I’d have to say that I doubt it; where certain things are concerned, I plan ahead.”

I may need to rethink my own ideas about alcohol. One certainly cannot argue with Un Chien Andalou, Belle de Jour, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie or the rest of his brilliant output across an almost 50 year career.

For more on Bunuel’s thoughts on martinis, including a video of him making one, check out Dangerous Minds.