christmas 2005

The runup to christmas this year has been incredible. Work has always been lots of fun (and it's nice that I can work from home occasionally, so I don't need to be away from sol too much, as I probably would if I weren't able to work from home).

A few days ago we had sushi. That was very, very good. The other night it was nilagang baboy with lots of pechay. Tonight it's going to be, ahh, let me see... vietnamese fresh springrolls, pomelo salad, yangchow rice and other health food after yesterday's lechon, crab, shrimp, potato salad and macaroni salad with white cheese.

The last few month's have been good too because they've seen the launch of C2 lite iced teas and Zesto's One lite iced teas. I like the non-lite stuff too, but the lite I like more since I'm not a sugar person.

There were strawberries from baguio this year, so there's been strawberries dipped in condensed milk and, until i killed the bottle, strawberry daiquiris in Cuervo Especial :-).

All that, plus inexpensive fast internet at home! And good people to work with (well, mostly, there are some duds whose attitude I will need to work to adjust) and fun at work.

I'm very happy for Sol that she's joined a christian church (I might prefer that it be Catholic, but as long as it's not a freako church that is clearly just plain wrogn, I like most non-catholic churches too). It's been very good for Sol. It might be better for her too if I were to join, but I doubt if that's going to happen soon. I have my own spiritual row to hoe (or weed, or plant, or harvest, the metaphors keep pouring out), I think it all works out though. And it'll all work out better as time moves forward.

It's been a great year, and next year will be better. The year after that, maybe in New Zealand, that's going to be even better, and sometime between now and then, probably a baby, God granting.


Torture dehumanizes the torturer too

In 1971, while in Lefortovo prison in Moscow (the central KGB interrogation jail), I went on a hunger strike demanding a defense lawyer of my choice (the KGB wanted its trusted lawyer to be assigned instead). The moment was most inconvenient for my captors because my case was due in court, and they had no time to spare. So, to break me down, they started force-feeding me in a very unusual manner -- through my nostrils. About a dozen guards led me from my cell to the medical unit. There they straitjacketed me, tied me to a bed, and sat on my legs so that I would not jerk. The others held my shoulders and my head while a doctor was pushing the feeding tube into my nostril.

The feeding pipe was thick, thicker than my nostril, and would not go in. Blood came gushing out of my nose and tears down my cheeks, but they kept pushing until the cartilages cracked. I guess I would have screamed if I could, but I could not with the pipe in my throat. I could breathe neither in nor out at first; I wheezed like a drowning man -- my lungs felt ready to burst. The doctor also seemed ready to burst into tears, but she kept shoving the pipe farther and farther down. Only when it reached my stomach could I resume breathing, carefully. Then she poured some slop through a funnel into the pipe that would choke me if it came back up. They held me down for another half-hour so that the liquid was absorbed by my stomach and could not be vomited back, and then began to pull the pipe out bit by bit. . . . Grrrr. There had just been time for everything to start healing during the night when they came back in the morning and did it all over again, for 10 days, when the guards could stand it no longer. As it happened, it was a Sunday and no bosses were around. They surrounded the doctor: "Hey, listen, let him drink it straight from the bowl, let him sip it. It'll be quicker for you, too, you silly old fool." The doctor was in tears: "Do you think I want to go to jail because of you lot? No, I can't do that. . . . " And so they stood over my body, cursing each other, with bloody bubbles coming out of my nose. On the 12th day, the authorities surrendered; they had run out of time. I had gotten my lawyer, but neither the doctor nor those guards could ever look me in the eye again.

Torture's Long Shadow

But of course George W Bush, and his vice president, are pushing for it. Huh. It's probably impossible for them to dishonor themselves, but they dishonor their country, and those citizens who aren't all hot to torture someone too. Now there's been a compromise, they'll accept Sen McCain's restrictions against torture. But of course it'll still happen, and there won't be too vigorous a fight against it. It's just posturing. George W Bush knows what the effect of pushing for a legal right to torture would do to his presidency. So he'll accept the legal restrictions, and then the armed forces and the security agencies will continue to do it anyway.



Sol needed a break and we went to baguio for a weekend. It was a good
trip. On two previous trips I'd given up on baguio as being too crowded
and polluted to be worth the trouble.

It's still that way in the central section (session road down to the
market and surroundings), but it's not bad if you avoid that.

When we arrived we checked out one hotel that was right across from
where the bus first let passengers off (not the station). The hotel
wasn't all that great (smell of mold in the room), so we decided to find
a taxi and look for someplace else.

The taxi driver was very nice, very helpful. Very good english too.
They have good english up here in the mountains, something I found to be
true out in Banaue and Sagada too. He gave us a bunch of options
(including a backpacker type place, we weren't really into that). Our
first try, though, was the Microtel in Baguio. It's affiliated with
Victory Liner, the bus company we used, so there was a substantial
discount if we could show our tickets.

It's a good hotel, seems to be an international chain. Very new, clean,
all rooms have airconditioning (although it's really not needed since
this is Baguio).

We had lunch at the Manor in Camp John Hay. That was pretty good.
Expensive, but good. Sol wanted to plan to stay there on another weekend
trip, but I don't think we'll do that since we were discouraged by the
prices. It's a nice place to visit though. And the surrounding area is
a great place to walk around.

A few hours in the Baguio market are always nice. I love the Baguio
market. The only thing I don't much enjoy about it is the constant
pestering from kids who want to sell sack bags for carrying things, and
who want to carry my bag for me. But they're polite, if persistent, and
I like them, so I just smile at them while telling them that I'm not

All in all, if we don't go to the regular tourist traps, it's a nice
place to visit and rest. A bit expensive, but fun, and restful. We

Gerald Timothy Quimpo bopolissimus@gmail.com bopolissimus.lists@gmail.com
http://bopolissimus.blogspot.com http://monotremetech.blogspot.com
Public Key: "gpg --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-keys 672F4C78"

All men see only in 16 colors. Peach, for example, is a
fruit, not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have
no idea what mauve is.


Japanese School Teacher essays

I recently read Memoirs of a Sansei by David Mura. Didn't like it much. I read it for the mind expansion and insights it might lend. There was some of that, but the general whining (liberal, overtones of hippy) of the author was offputting. And the occasional hypocrisy, or honesty, or something. He's taking a vacation in the Philippines, is rushing to Banaue, there is some sort of emotional turmoil and he has some liberal insight about some hitchhiking filipinos whom he passes by, and later he meets a japanese on the same road, picks him up and continues to Banaue, where he has some sort of epiphany about how he was able to connect best with the japanese person outside japan, when he couldn't quite connect that deeply with the japanese on their home ground. Yech. Dreck.

Now comes I am a Japanese School Teacher, essays by . Haven't read through them all, first essay looks OK though. I may enjoy them all.



Camiguin Curfew Stupidity -- the politicians must be stupid

My wife and I went to Cagayan de oro recently to visit my favorite uncle and wedding ninong who is in the hospital and is in a bad way. Since we were in Mindanao already, we went to camiguin to visit the Camiguin Action Team I thought we might get some Camiguin Diving in.

I was surprised to be informed that there is a 10PM curfew imposed. It doesn't make sense and is bad for business. The reason put forth is that it's an anti-prostitution measure. That's a crock of manure since camiguin is a small place. Everyone knows who the prostitutes are, no one prosecutes despite that.

The rumour though, is that the curfew was imposed due to a conflict between the governor and his son, the mayor of Mambajao. The mayor has chosen to finally ditch his wife and live with his mistress. The governor, for some reason, is punishing the whole population of the island (including the bars and restaurants that depend on tourism, and the foreign tourist high season starts this month) for his son's pigheadedness. Par for the course, I suppose. There is far worse that the reigning family has done, they're just keeping true to form.