Sunday, June 25, 2017

Watching By Myself

Today was a beautiful day to attend the Pride Parade in Chicago. It may be the last one I will attend. If all goes well, I will be living in Florida by this time next year. The plan was to get together with a friend who was already in the city. Apparently, he had quite the night and was still asleep by the time I pulled into the city on the South Shore. It wasn’t until I was at the Addison stop by Wrigley that I got a hold of him on the phone. He said that he and some others were just leaving the hotel and that they were getting a bite to eat first.

The parade started at noon and I managed to get a decent spot underneath a tree. I wasn’t on the curb but I was elevated enough to see well. I waited there but about 30 minutes, I accepted that in all likelihood, I would be experiencing this alone. I finally got a text at 1:53. They had just gotten off at Belmont. I told them to stay put-to enjoy what was coming their way; most of it already passed me.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Don't Be Cute

Panda Express at lunchtime had a nightmare of a line at the drive-thru and considering the parking lot was full, I was guessing the line inside was as well. I had a coupon for a free entree and wasn't in a hurry. As I made my way across the lot, I was on an intercept course with two white men who appeared to be college students. I beat them to the door but, since I'm usually a nice guy, held the door open to let them go in before I did.

As I looked up to make eye contact, the tallest looked me up and down. There is nothing that I can point to but a feeling that I had just been weighed and measured went down my spine as soon as my eyes locked onto his.

"Gracias," he said.

"Gracias," his companioned followed.

Oh hell no. I can play that game too. It seemed too long to spit it out but I said, "Bitte."

By then the two guys had their back to me but I saw them look at each other with a confused look, as if to ask, "What did he say?"

Now, I have said many things in plenty of languages, trying to be cute--but only to people I know. I have never done that to a complete stranger. Assuming a person's ethnicity or language on the basis of their appearance can blow up in your face.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Two Parties.

My cousin Kaylee was confirmed into the church today. I'm not much of a church person, but I went anyways. I still don't care for it but it was important to my family. Even my Uncle Jeff came and I suspect that he's about as religious as I am. After the service we had after-confirmation party for her. Food and family--always a fun time.

I had to leave early to make it Logan's birthday party. I'm friends with his parents and he calls me Uncle David. (Awww--I know!) His mom throws pretty cool birthday parties and I didn't want to miss it.

I noticed that with my invitation to Logan's birthday, there was a note that said a gift was not expected. There was a pile of gifts when I got there. I asked another person there, Emily, about it and she was puzzled; she didn't get it. It seems like no one else got it. I wonder if this may have been about that baseball bat that I gifted previously.  Hmmmm.....

Friday, April 28, 2017


I took one last look at my apartment. It was a quick look because time was running out. I had horribly underestimated the amount of time it would take to move out and I needed to hand over the keys before the office closed. My lease for my apartment had ended and I didn't wish to renew it. Note to self: take more than two days to move next time.

I have a possible job lead down in Florida and I intend to take it--just as soon as it opens up. In the mean time, I have moved back in with my parents. I'm not loving it and I suppose that is a good thing as it is driving me to get out as soon as I can. Don't get me wrong, I love my parents. I just don't want to live with them.

Even if the lead doesn't work out, I have set into motion a series of events that will see me in Florida eventually. A friend has kindly offered to put me up while I look for a job down there. As soon as my car is paid off, I think I will take a leap and head down there. My life has been stagnating for a while and I think that moving away may start a new period of growth for me. That's my hope at least.

...Plus, I no longer have internet.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

International Food Fair - Vegetarian Edition

There was an international food fair being held at Andrews University today. I met up with my friends, Kraig and Stacey. Stacey and I have gone to this before and we enjoyed ourselves.

The event is open and you are required to buy tickets. The various booths had signs telling you what they were offering and how many tickets were required. Andrews U is Seventh Day Adventist so this is a vegetarian food fair.

Last time, I bought $20 worth of tickets. This time, I bought $10. Mostly because I am poor but this is still enough to get a good tasting meal as you can see. I don't know what half the stuff I ate was. I simply pointed and asked for what looked good. 

So what I have here going from top left and clockwise is:
Some thick doughy rice noodles with a chili (?) sauce. Very spicy and tasty. Trying to chew up the rice dough was a little off putting though. 
Chicken (fake soy chicken) Curry with potatoes and green peas. Pretty good but it was served up cold. 
Spring Roll. I needed to use up the last of my tickets. It tasted okay although I think they should have fried it longer. 
Roti flat bread. Pretty good. Helped sop up some of the sauces. 
Some kind of fake soy chicken in a delicious coconut curry sauce. Very light and aromatic. It was my favorite. 
Not seen is a slice of flan and chocolate truffle.
There were tons of other things that I would have loved to try. Fellow meat-eaters, I think you would enjoy many of things that were offered. Fellow Filipinos, if you think it is wrong to make lumpia and pancit without meat, still come, but skip that booth.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Performance Review

I had my performance review today. Although I am not supposed to tell you about, what are they going to do, fire me? It went very well. I received high marks in all fields. While not perfect-apparently the company doesn't believe perfection is attainable but they have it on the point system- I was told I was one of the highest scorers. I even had some positive input from another supervisor which I found surprising since I keep thinking he hates me for some reason.

My actual supervisor had only one worry: that I wasn't applying myself. I had his full support if I wanted to advance further up. I have the knowledge and experience. The thing is that I have applied for higher positions in the company before and each time I was passed over-even by people coming in from outside the company. You can even read a post about that here. God bless him for trying to push me but I don't know if I have any drive in me for that place anymore.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Tastes from Home

While I was in Las Vegas this past fall, I went on a pilgrimage to a shopping center that catered to Filipinos called Seafood City. It came to my attention while searching for a Jollibee location. It was my first time out west since 2008 and I didn't want to waste an opportunity to get some nostalgic food.

A few weeks ago I found out that two Jollibee locations had opened up in Chicago last year. One was attached to an also-opened Seafood City. I knew I had to make my way there and I needed to do it as soon as possible. That day was today.

I took my mom. Although she had heard about this place a long time ago--probably before it even opened--she wont drive into the city. This was her first time as well and she was excited. The only complaint that I think she had was that the prices were too high in comparisons to the same items that she could find stores closers to home. The advantage of Seafood City was that they carried things that the locals stores didn't.
Balut. For more on this click here.

So much Spam!

Yum. Blood and bile. Yeah, no, I don't eat this.

Where we live, seafood comes frozen and not definitely with the variety that they had here. Open tables of fish, clams, squid, shrimp and more. We were actually confused as to how to properly get these checked out. It was so new to us.

Since I drove my mom out to Chicago, she offered to buy me lunch. Although there were other tempting places to eat, I wanted to feed the nostalgia that I was feeling for Jollibee. Although not as busy as I had heard, the line did stretch to and almost out the door.

I opted to go for the spaghetti. I remembered not liking it when I lived in the Philippines but after watching some YouTube videos of Americans liking it, I wanted to give it another chance. Turned out to be a good decision. I found myself enjoying it. Mom got the palabok. It was okay and I would certainly eat it again if it was put in front of me but it's not my favorite food. The fried chicken was fresh, juicy, crispy. The taste bland and not very noteworthy. I'd try the spicy version next time. However, they do chicken right so I give it my recommendation. Peach Mango Pie---delicious although I swear there should be chunks of fruit in there.

I got my fast food. Mom got her cooler full of fish and exotic vegetables. It was a good day.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Beasties watching Beauty

Last weekend I planned to go see a Sunday morning viewing of the live action remake of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. I looked it up on Friday night and all the seats were sold out. I haven't seen a book out like that ever--not even for Rogue One.  So I waited until this past Saturday. Even one week later the Saturday morning viewing was sold out and I had to squeeze in with a bunch of kids and their parents. Ugh.

Beauty and the Beast--the cartoon movie from 1991--is my favorite animated film from Disney and I was a little trepidatious about it being messed with. Although I still find the animated version to be superior, I am pleased at how the live action version turned out.

I suppose the only criticism that I have is that this seemed too connected to the animated version. Maleficent was basically pretty much separated from Sleeping Beauty. Cinderella and the Jungle Book were their own movies. Pete's Dragon--was hardly connected to the original. Each one of the above could be watched without seeing the originating movie. With Beauty and the Beast, I feel like this movie has to be watched along with the animated film.

As I told my sister, Disney has got some cash cows going with these live action remakes, Star Wars, and Pixar.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

On My Dad’s Eventual Demise

Last week my dad had a heart attack. I got a call a text from my mom as I was leaving work saying that was in the ER. He’s fine now. He got a clot removed and a stent put in.

It is not the first time my dad has given me a scare. When I was 7 or 8 and living in the Philippines, I remember waking up to find him missing. I was told that he had to be airlifted to Clark AB. I found out later it was for a kidney stone. My mother had died not long before and so I remember panic sweeping over as I thought that maybe he was going to die too. Then I would be an orphan and stuck in a country that I did not know.

The next time we were in the Philippines again visiting family when I was 17. I was trying to fall asleep. Mom and Dad were out in the living room with other family talking late into the night. Screams of surprise and horror from the ladies erupted and I leapt out of bed and out into the living room. My dad was on the floor with the people crowded around. I had to peel them off so I could check his vitals. I saw that he was awake and breathing so I started to try and find out what happened but the screaming continued and I had to start ordering people around to arrange transport to the local hospital. We were told that a combination of medication and alcohol caused him to faint for a bit.

I know that eventually my dad will die. As much as I can think and even plan, I know I will never be prepared for the eventual news.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

How Lucky We Are, Indeed

NASA held a press conference to announce that a small star designated TRAPPIST-1 about 40 light years away has seven terrestrial planets orbiting it with three well within the goldilocks zone and prime candidates for hosting life.

Take this quote from Carl Sagan:
How lucky we are to live in this time – the first moment in human history when we are, in fact, visiting other worlds. 
I consider myself fortunate to be a witness to human discoveries. I know things that people who came before did not know maybe never even dreamed of. Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto but I have seen the geological feature named after him. I have seen Pluto’s demise as a planet but may be around to see its replacement.

What makes me sad, though, is that I will not be around to see some other fantastic discoveries. While I am optimistic that one day humans will explore other worlds outside our solar system, I am not so optimistic that that I will be around to see it happen. Forty light years doesn’t seem far and at the same time, it is depressingly far. Even the nearest star system seems just beyond our reach.

When those new worlds come into view and when new life is discovered, I hope that our descendants will realize how lucky they are to be living in their time. Each generation gets to make their mark on history and I must remind myself that we don’t get to make all of them.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Happy Singles' Day

I am not ashamed to say that I love Valentine's Day. Actually, I love the day after Valentine's Day when chocolates go on discount!

I woke up early to stock up on chocolate. The first-yes, first-place that I went to was Walmart. Would you believe that most of their stock seemed to be sold? Seriously, all their Valentines stuff was moved to one small aisle. The boxes of chocolate were on shelves maybe three feet long. If anyone was hoping to find some tonight, I think they are going to be SOL.

In the past it kinda bothered me that I never had someone to celebrate the holiday with. My recent experience being in a "relationship" with someone has got me looking at the silver lining in this cloud.

Besides when you can swear that the guy who wrote this sounds like the guy you broke up with, you may count yourself lucky.
...DAMN IT! Why are most of these things creme filled?!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Verizon Brings Back Unlimited* Data

I have been holding on the a grandfathered unlimited data plan with Verizon for years. And I vowed that they would have to pry it from my cold dead fingers. Taking away the phone subsidy didn't work nor did their raising the data plan from $29.99 to $49.99 shake me off. Verizon seemed hellbent that they were going to see unlimited data plans die. Thanks to T-Mobile and, to a lesser extent, Sprint, the competition has caused Verizon to reverse themselves and offer an unlimited data plan again. I admit that I am a bit wary of the announcement because for a long time I have been waiting for them to come and take my grandfathered plan away.
So I took a look at the plan.
Currently, I pay $89 and change when you include plan, taxes, and fees. The plan they are offering would save me a few bucks. If I decline enrolling in Auto Pay, it's a few dollars more expensive. I haven't made up my mind on giving up my grandfathered data plan but I think I might.