a childs hug

a little background…there are two little girls that live with me. sisters, bella who is almost 5 and bri who is 3. they are my angels. bella had to visit the dentist yesterday and as a result had 5 cavities filled. she was in horrible pain. i was caring for her all day. she asked me to pick her up and hold her like a baby… which i did. she asked me to hug her, hold her close. talk to her. pray with her. i cancelled my days’s appointments so i could be with her. late last night she came into my room and just hugged me. “ mike”, she said in my ear, “ i love you. i want to give you a hug” and proceeded to give me the warmest most sincere, grateful hug i’ve ever experienced.

you know, i believe this is God’s way of showing cynical adults HIS love for us. as i was embracing bella i felt such peace and warmth. love and caring. after a tough day, that hug and those words from a 4 year and 11 month old girl gave me renewed energy and hope.

God’s gifts to us are in the form of little ones that know nothing but innocence and purity. what else is there to say?

see you around…

new years, again…

new years!

so in a few days we will be celebrating the end of one year and the beginning of a new one. technically there is no difference from 11:59:59pm on dec 31 to 12:00:01am jan 01. however, there is that ‘magical’ interval of time; a second, a brief interlude, before the new year arrives. remember dec 31 1999? the entire world was on edge. would computers continue to work? power grids? databases? satellite communications? would gremlins pop out of trees and eat puppies and kittens? i remember being with my two daughters in cupertino california. i was feeling a bit anxious. i wanted my daughters next to me, “just in case.” of course nothing happened. relieved but at the same time, disappointed. after-all i had prepared emergency kits, a plan in the event of a global meltdown. sad…

so a new year is almost upon us. 2017. what magical events will transpire at the tick of the clock as we move into a new year…? i can tell you with strong certainty that absolutely nothing will happen. 99.9999% sure. but, just in case, i have my emergency kit next to me…! give me your best shot, 2017!

i really need a life…

see you around…

a road unknown

life has its challenges. you think you are going one way, but unforseen forces push you towards another path. a road unknown. new adventures whether you want it or not.

sitting here in the middle of humanity, present but not. i want to be isolated. but its not to be. no one gives me a second look. a flow of people all around me. no one gives me a second look. no one cares. i dont care… do i? no… maybe… we’ll see…

it’s christmas season. everyone is focused on material things. including me. i’m drinking a 150 php coffee. there are families on the streets that could feed their families for the cost of my coffee. this observation has nothing to do with this post… just pondering…

i’m heading down a new road. an unforseen road. untold new adventures await. here i  go again.

see you around…

 

 

 

The Meatshop

Recently I got involved in a Monterey meatshop franchise in Taguig, Philippines.I’ve never been much into retail or selling consumer stuff. Running a meat shop, albeit a high-end shop has very different problems and challenges from my normal work.

Firstly, I’m not a meat-eater. I love the occasional juicy cheeseburger with tons of veggies, or the baked chicken loaded with Italian herbs. Thats my limit as a carnivore.

Secondly, customer service. I gotta be honest, I’m not really a customer oriented kind of guy. I expect a customer to come in and know what they want without asking too many questions. Questions like, “how much is this? or is this beef organically fed?” Um…if you have to ask how much something is, you probably can’t afford it or “yea, we feed the cattle my dirty socks. Is that organic enough for you?”

Then there are the parents with the kids who feel the need to touch everything in sight. And I mean everything! The meats are in freezers and chillers…but still…

One last major issue…the closing cleanup. After the store closes, all equipment, tools, cutting boards, chillers, saws…all need to be cleaned and sanitized. Which means getting dirty. And bloody. Bacteria ridden animal fluids. Yeech! Not for the faint of heart… Now I am a pretty tough guy. I’ve had my share of fights. But I’ve realized that by eating meat I am a contributor to the wholesale slaughter of lots of kind, innocent, smelly, fly-infested animals. Sorry Burger King! Adios Shakey’s Pizza.

By the way, profit margins are tiny. Microscopic. Imprecepable to the naked eye. Or wallet. The key to success is volume. LOTS of volume. Mega-volume. Selling to walk-ins will not do much. One needs institutional sales. Hotels, restuarants, etc… So, I am finding myself walking around talking with chefs, managers, owners about buying my product. And of course, the first question is, “how much?”

I need a beer…

Focus or not to Focus- is this a real question?

Over the last few weeks I’ve at an impasse in terms of my focus for writing. I like to blog, but my real desire is to create short stories that are connected together. Like a serial novel. There are a million ideas running through my head. The key for me will be to focus on one set of ideas and just start to write. Ignore the ‘other’ ideas for the moment. Make notes and save them for later consideration. I tell you, its not easy to focus. I have so many distractions in my life. Business and family issues. Only so many hours in a day. At times I feel my head will explode. Also, impatience with people and situations have been a problem. I want to be left alone. No one to bother me. The other distraction, at least for me, are the many writing tools out on the market for the Mac. As of this writing I have no less than ten writing apps installed. I am trying and playing with them. I am writing this post on i/A Writer Pro. The last two Desk. Before that, Ulysses. Minimalist writing tools are my passion as they offer distraction-free tools. You know what? I’m distracted by the distraction-free writing apps! Crazy…

So, I am sitting in an Italian restuarant with my americano and a flatbread pizza. Getting inspiration from watching other people.
Previously I posted my desire to focus my blogging on other things. I haven’t done this. Again…focus, focus, focus.
This current post serves to kick my ass into gear. Again.

See you around-

Mike

 

Who is Windom Allegro?

I’ve posted very little due to my work on a series of short stories. I have a fictional character, not so unlike myself, Windom Allegro. This guy is a wanderer, a traveler, for sure. But in reality he does not specific destination; the journey and the adventures he has on his journey is what he is after. If you are like me, a traveler and adventurer at heart, you know done deep that it’s the road that is most inspiring. Destinations are anti-climatic; you need (sometimes) as a point of reference when planning your route. But for people and me and you (most of you) the journey, the road, the path along in which you grow and know is the key.
In the old days, I kept paper journals and slide film of my travels. With the technology today, all I need is my computer, cell phone, and I’m off. I use a small, digital range finder camera for important shots. Like now, I’m in the middle of nowhere writing, and shooting what I see. Recording what I hear. In a matter of minutes it’s all posted for the world to see.

I digress. So Windom will be a series of short stories, all researched out. He will be me, but virtual. What I experience, so will Windom. Although I’m considering the notion that this may work in reverse as well. Think about it…I’ll get back to this another time.

I will release these stories one at a time as an ebook. Where I haven’t a clue yet. I’ll keep you posted. I would really like your constructive criticism. I have many ideas for supporting of my character(s). Again stay tuned.

If any of you out there write, I’d love to hear from you. As I am new to being creative and publicly at that, I’d love some communications with you. Bounce ideas… you know…

Thanks for reading. Have a great week!

See you around,

Mike

Changing the format of the blog

I have decided to change the format of my blog. Somewhat. A little. Some directional changes. You know, I’m getting bored with what I am writing. Always about me. I want to start writing about facts but with a twist of humor. And a slice of lime. I’ll change the title of the blog as well.

I just caught that sentence before the last. The stories I wrote about me were true. Still are…

Okay. So…this is what I’ll do. Starting the next post, I will be writing about interesting things around me. Could be anything. Local politics, food, science, people…you name it. I will find something to research out and write about. Now, I need a new title for my blog. Any ideas? Send me your ideas. Please. Be creative. Something catchy.

Anyways. I have an idea for a blog. I love mechanical pencils. Used them a lot in college and in my professional life. I have performed exhaustive research. I use Rite in the rain journals for my outdoor work and Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks for everything else. The pencils I choose must work well on both kinds of papers.  I use a Rotring 300 series with the RITR and a Uni Kuru Toga for the Leuchtturm. Why, you ask?

Firstly, the pencils are great to hold and use. The cost is justifiable. They are made well and can stand abuse. (trust me, with me thats important) They write well on the page and won’t tear the paper. The Uni is lighter in weight than the Rotring, but its got some cool technology. For example, as you write the lead rotates so you always have a sharp point.

I paid PHP 127 for the Uni and PHP 433 for the Rotring. In US$ thats 2.82 and 9.62, respectively. Not bad, especially for the Philippines. At the end of the day, it becomes a personal choice.

Enough of this. Next blog will be of some cool historical fact. Please let me know of your thoughts.

See you around,

Mike

A volcano in Iceland. Credit to DxO

My detention in India

It was July 1997, flight from Singapore to New Delhi. i had my Indian visa fresh from that morning. With me were seven Samsonite hardshell suite cases and a small carry-on bag. Flew Singapore airlines and arrived at midnight.

When my turn was next at the immigration counter, i felt something wrong. I’ve been in India many times before, all on business. Usually I am greeted with smiles, however, tonight was not going to be a normal night. I had my distributor waiting for me at baggage claim. I was anxious to get out of there and into a car heading for sweet sleep.

“Where is your luggage?”, barked the immigration officer. With tired eyes, I motioned towards baggage claim. “There’, I said. “Go retrieve your bags, and wait there. We will hold onto your passport.” I felt my stomach sink. “Okay”, I thought. “Don’t worry, I am an American businessman. Everything will be cool.”

I walked over and waiting for my seven Samsonite hardshell suitcases to arrive. A guard watched me closely. “I really hope they don’t ask whats in my suitcases…’ I quietly said to myself.

Two luggage trolleys and some help and I was off to a darkened hallway. Musty smells permeated the halls and into the room that I was guided into. “sit down!”, yelled the officer. “Do you know why you are here? Your visa is no good.” I explained that couldn’t be. I had received the visa from the Indian embassy in Singapore. Singapore! No one makes mistakes in Singapore. Again the officer barked at me to keep quiet. Then the truth came out. The government of India realized that the USA was selling weapons to Pakistan and Pakistan was using them against India in Kashmir. I happened to come along at the point where this was exposed.

“What do you want from me”, I asked. Nothing. Not a single word. He motioned to the guard and i was pushed into a detention cell. Without my belongings. “Shit…thats a problem” I thought almost speaking it.

In the cell were two people. One an Indian national caught using a fake British passport and a Swedish national caught for possession of narcotics. Nice cellmates…

Its now 1:30am. Im sure my biz partner is wondering where I am. I asked to call the US embassy. I was told “no…we wont involve them.” What?? “Be cool…and pray they dont open my suitcases… hey, Im hungry. can we order out?” I figured some humour would be ok. At least my two cellmates laughed. The guards just stared at me and walked off.

Twelve hours later…some replacement officer comes up to me and asked what do I have in my wallet. I opened my wallet and produced S$200 . Thats all I had. I was going to the bank that day. “Okay, thats enough. You are free to go. But we keep your passport here until you leave the country.” REALLY?! SERIOUS?! Thats what this was all about?

Great! I got a calling card of the department at the airport where i can pick up my passport. grabbed my stuff and made a cell phone call to a very worried business partner. Within 90 minutes I was out of the airport with all my belongings intact.

What was in the seven suitcases that no one bothered to examine? Duties of LCD projectors brought into India are 210%. In each of the cases was a single projector worth about US$ 11,000. Total I had US$ 77,000 worth of smuggled electronics. If the cases had been opened I still be somewhere in and indian prison. Stupid and lucky at the same time.

Geckos in my Risotto

There are geckos in my risotto. Really…well one anyways. They look especially disgusting when cooked. Or burnt. Let me explain…
I had a hankering for a seafood risotto the other day. I had half a package of risotto left. All I needed was the stock, wine and the seafood. I have some very nice spices and herbs in the pantry.
I sauteed the seafood, then using the same paella pan, dumped in the risotto and started to cook. I noticed ants in the risotto. Ants! I hate ants… “I’m not cooking anymore” I said to myself.
As I am dumping the uncooked rice into the rubbish bin, I noticed a black oddly shaped object in the bin, mixed in with the risotto and the damn ants. At first I thought it might have been burnt rice, however, I wasn’t cooking long enough to burn anything. Or so I thought. Upon closer inspection I was horrified to find a three inch gecko toasted nicely. Its legs were spread out and it was quite flat and dead. Was it dead before I started cooking? Did it die an undignified death in my paella pan? I shall never know. Nor do I care to know…!

I put the seafood into a container and fridge vowing to never leave a half box of anything in the pantry. Thats what fridges are for. I went into the cupboards and removed as well as completely inspected the contents of everything. My fridge and freezer are now home to pretty much everything that I could cram into them.

Gross. And I was hungry. What to do? I ordered out…

See you around,

Mike

Rainy days and Mondays

Rain, rain and more rain. Lots of it. After-all, its the start of our rainy season. This morning my internet radio popped on with a old Carpenter’s song, “Rainy days and Mondays”. I never much enjoyed their music. But the lyrics were spot on. I really didn’t want to get out of bed. The rain was quite loud but soothing. Thunder in the distance.
Maybe a couple minutes more…
Coffee would taste great about now…
Hey, I have bagels in the kitchen…get up!
Newly bought and roasted Sagada coffee…
Gentle sounds of rain keeping me here…my head on the pillow…
That stupid song… turn off the radio! Nah…too much work to reach over and shut the computer off…
That coffee would taste great right now…plus that blueberry bagel with cream cheese!
Knock, knock on my door… “what?” “Sir, your breakfast components were left out last night and the local insects got them!”
“Really? Well there’s my coffee…”
“Sir, we are out of water. Someone forgot to call Jerome to bring in new bottles.”
I hate Mondays.

See you around…

Mike