New Job – New Car (Someday) – Happy Holidays

I’ve been at my new job for two weeks now. I was hoping to push my start date back to January 2nd (in order to get a few things ready) but they wanted me in there ASAP and three weeks of pay in December ain’t nothing to sneeze at, so I started on December 11th. So far I have nothing to complain about job-wise. The company (which I previously worked for in 2011 and 2012) has grown tremendously, I like my manager and the people in the teams I’m managing (there are three), and there’s a lot of getting up to speed, learning new tools and techniques, which is something I’ve always found fun (nerd alert?).

My only complaint has been my commute.

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72 Hours of Highs and Lows

Yes, some random bitching and moaning, but hopefully some of you will find some of this somewhat interesting. Life anywhere is filled with minor annoyances. The trick, I suppose, is to control how you react to them. I’m getting better at this. But part of that means getting it out of my system by writing about it.

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Photography: Seven Days

I got tagged on this Facebook “seven days” thing.

Seven days.
Seven black & white photos of your life.
No people, no explanations.
Challenge someone new each day.
I was challenged by …
I challenge …

I couldn’t go out and shoot anything new because my priority at the moment remains my job search. This meant I had to dig into my archives. The “no people” part was especially challenging since I love shooting musicians and street photography is generally shots of people.

I did come up with seven photos. Now that I’ve posted them all on Facebook, I thought I’d share them here.

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The Philippines Is the 2nd Least Peaceful Country in Asia Pacific

The Global Peace Index 2017 (PDF), produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace, rates the Philippines as the second least peaceful country in the Asia Pacific region, behind North Korea. This low rating was primarily due to Duterte’s drug war and presumably was determined before the start of all-out war in Marawi (some great photos in that report). A government spokesperson said this does not make sense and I can only wonder what he’s smoking and where I can get some of that.

 

(image taken from the NY Times)

This war in Marawi is of course the biggest story of the past month. It led Duterte to declare martial law across the entire island of Mindanao, a proclamation that is now being challenged in the Supreme Court, where some are arguing that acts of terrorism in one city do not constitute rebellion and are not justification for doing this across the entire island. Meanwhile there are troubling reports (to say the least) that ISIS is supplying fighters from Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Chechnya to support the local terrorists.

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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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A Quick Break at Pico Sands, Nasugbu

Today marks 12 days since getting my redundancy notice at work. I’ll be traveling to Hong Kong on May 20th and staying for around two weeks – available for meetings and also appreciate any tips on networking events I should attend. (I’m already registered for Cloud Expo Asia and planning to go to Web Wednesday.)

I received the official news of being made redundant on May 4th (the day after my birthday). We already had a reservation for a holiday at a beach resort for 4 days starting on May 6th. I decided to keep that because getting away for a few days to chill wasn’t going to hurt – also my wife had come in for my birthday and I thought she needed a “real” vacation as well.

Actually I’d waited until almost the last minute to book something and May being summer in the Philippines, a lot of the places I had in mind were already fully booked for that weekend. I decided it had to be a place I could drive to because I didn’t want to deal with the airports here.

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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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