Afterthoughts on June 2017 trip

“American woman, get away from me. Dont come hangin around my door. Dont wanna see your face no more. I dont need your war machines. I dont need your ghetto scenes.” – from American Woman, song by Canadian band The Guess Who

Bonnaroo has been quite a good experience. Contrary to expectations, the kids at Bonnaroo have been nice and less rowdy than west coast kids. No hateful or rude episodes whatsoever.

While taking my selfies a lot would offer to take my picture. How sweet. (Or maybe, theyre not aware of selfies?)

I also realized that I cannot go toe-to-toe with the younger people anymore in terms of endurance and enthusiasm. My plans of becoming a caffeine induced zombie did not work & I short circuited at 1:00 AM instead of my planned 4:00 AM

I am planning to return to Bonnaroo but for next year, my sights are on Austin City Limits. I also enjoyed Nashville. This led me to conclude that if travelling to Eastern US, one should go to a touristy spot or an event where the majority are millenials. And this is due to the life-changing negativity i experienced in the American heartland.

Some things have been clearer on my trip from Nashville to Milwaukee.
There is real structural discrimination going on in the US. (Worst in the eastern half) .Though its mostly racial, it is also happening to white people and veterans who have fallen to the cracks. The older generation are the main perpetrators but this is also evident in some of the younger generation, perhaps at a lesser degree, on average. The melodrama of Hollywood movies do not depict the subtleties of these oppression and inequality.

Its now hard to erase from memory, the hateful looks directed at me by older white people. Seems like they assume that all racial minorities are there to settle and immigrate in their communities and need to “shoot” them without checking. If they think this is OK  then what other evil things are they capable of doing.

When, i was checking in at the plush hotel in downtown St. Louis, the receptionist kept asking about my car as if she cant believe someone without a car would check into the hotel.

In went to watch the movie “My Cousin Rachel” in St. Louis. I asked the attendant if its OK to go in the theatre with a backpack. Then he replies: “Not unless you are carrying a five-course meal”. He proceeds to guard me like im going to shoplift or something. When the movie was over he spots me carrying my popcorn trash and asks “Where are you taking that”. I replied, “To the garbage, we clean after ourselves.”

Then of course there was that spat i had with the car rental employee in Milwaukee. She disrespected the latina and the black guy who went ahead of me. When she vetted me, worse than the border guard, i let her have it and let her know her behaviour is unacceptable and it doesnt matter for me if i get a car or not. A really forgettable experience.

Singin the Blues in St. Louis

“She was invited but she was not welcome” – from poster of newly released movie Beatriz At Dinner

First off, i hope not to ride greyhound in the US ever. It is a mess, and people who ride it are destitute, mostly black. And rental cars are expensive. And unlike Western US, people in the east look at hikers with backpacks like homeless or destitute people and look at them with extreme suspicion.The next time i travel to eastern US, i will bring a car and endure the long long drive.

There are a lot of similarities between St. Louis and Nashville. They both have professional hockey teams and they are wide and sprawling.

And both have obvious segregation of blacks. St. Louis has a metro train but those who ride it are all blacks. It is infuriating that a lot of black thugs are loitering the train stations. In the events i go to from Bonnaroo to the St. Louis concerts it looked like i was the only oriental. And Which oriental in his right mind will immigrate to these cities coz if one starts from the bottom, one will have to deal with the unsafe company of marginalized and angry blacks?

I went to the Whitaker jazz festival and the sheakespeare at the park in St. Louis and amazed at how almost everyone is white.

It is really really sad as well as frustrating to see this social, economic and racial inequality – the tensions, the ignorance and the stereotyping.

I think i realize why there are a lot of obese people in the US. Its coz food is cheap from oversupply and coz of cheap mexican and black labor. And food is delicious and unhealthy in the South.

St. Louis was the third biggest city in the Us at the turn of the century (1900) after NY and Chicago. But it looks like the investments just went to SF and LA and bypassed the gateway to the west (St. Louis). Even the title of “the gateway to the west” has now moved to Denver.

St. Louis’ illustrious past explains its wide and sprawling landscape and its old monumental buildings. But the density typical of other metropolis is not there. Huge old buildings stand alone.

Even its entertainment structures is old world – operas, theatres with musicals and jazz festivals. This makes this city more out of touch with modern tastes, unlike Nashville which able to sell Country music to mainstream america and is reaping from its popularity.

Unlike lethargic St. Louis, Nashville is bustling with construction and events and one could feel its mojo. Hotel prices in Nashville is outrageous while hotel prices in st louis is a bargain as such i was able to splurge at the city center hotel with huge rooms with living rooms and bubble bath tub at the price of a motel.

To illustrate, bunk bed space in Nashville hostel during events rises up to $80 but i got my huge cozy hotel in St. Louis for $72.

Three other good points for St. Louis is the botanical garden which is filled with diverse lush plants and the forest park which is huge and surrounded by huge beautiful colonial mansions.

I watched the movie “My Cousin Rachel” at St Louis’ oldest movie theatre- hipointe (one screen only). Saw the trailer for “Beatriz At Dinner” starring Salma Hayek. I commend the writer and director of this project. This is like a very important concept in my head that was able to be brought into the screen.

Oh hell yeah. Nashville/Nash Vegas/Nastyville

“This song is about that great sin. No, its not about drugs or infidelity. Its about letting life pass you by.” – Ann Wilson on the song Fool No More.

At Chicago customs, the US officer asks me if i was with the other Calgarians headed for Nashville and i said no. He then tells the other officer “a lot of people from Alberta heading to Nashville and they are not even with each other”.

The motley crew of Albertans has turned the Nashville bound plane to perhaps the noisiest flight ive been coz of the getting-to-know-you chats and Albertans acting like Kiwis or worse. Im glad the pudgy american steward did not lose his cool despite the juvenile taunts.

At the Nashville airport, I took the public bus (the only passenger to do so) and got a nasty introduction to racial segregation. The bus came and left 10 minutes before the schedule (no respect for time). All the riders were black! The white driver did not accept my $2 fare and he headed straight to the scary central bus station that is full of vagrants and not bothering passing through the bus stops. After stopping at the station, he rudely motions everyone to get out. Shocking.

The fringes of downtown Nashville are scary with lots of black hobos so i headed to broadway avenue. I tried to enter Mcdonald’s only to know that it is not 24 hours as advertised and  there is a sign everywhere saying anyone with a hiker’s backpack is not allowed inside. Shocking.

Soon enough my misconceptions about Nashville were disproved:
1. That Honky-tonk central is wide and sprawling.
It is actually compact, with iconic bars attached side-by-side each other and the additional spaces added are going vertical.
2. That Honky-tonk central is beside open farm-like spaces.
It is actually in a modern cosmopolitan urban jungle of high rise buildings and paved concrete roads that reminds me of Chicago, Portland and Vancouver. No farm-like scenery within a 10 mile radius from downtown.

I loitered around Broadway St from midnight to 4am. Bars are bustling till 3AM. I went to a 24 hour diner and ordered a burrito only to find out it is 3 times the size i imagined.

Downtown Nashville is one big bachelorette party with lots of lumba-lumbas letting loose. Their behavior is downright disgusting and i didnt make any attempt to get inside a live country music bar after watching them. But apparently the door ushers are focusing on them. I hope the fat bozos drain the $ out of those b1tche$.

But im glad that tourists are glued to Honky-tonk central. Those b1tche$ can take downtown. I will have midtown with its collegiate atmosphere and Southern fare. My diet went out the window as i gorged on Nashville’s original hot chicken. The chicken liver bam bam became a favorite and i also tried the jim beam lacquered chicken lollipops. And i could barely walk after taking a cup of the boozy peach traditional smoothie. I have not tried the many other original dishes of the two restos i went to – Hattie Bs and Party Fowl. I missed trying the fried green tomatoes at Arnolds as they just closed when i arrived.

The weather in Nashville is very hot and so are the other “attractions” in midtown.

If one wants to experience a real country feel, one should go to places like Jackson, Wyoming. Nashville is a typical American urban center but with some “country” glitter.

 

 

Jay of All Trades, Master of None

“Encourage inspiration by making yourself a fertile ground for an idea. This usually means living life well, make sure your sensibilities are stimulated by new experiences.” – Rikky Rooksby

After a brief introspection at the mall, I think I found the reason why I never excelled or become famous. Its because I am both a perfectionist and a generalist (who is also insecure).

Going back to my growing years in elementary, high school and college, my normal behavior would be to go out of the classroom during class hours and go to the library. Its because I was interested in general knowledge in many field of study, current events, history, etc. The teachings in the classroom bored me.

I am also happy at visiting new places and trying new things and is fickle in many ways. Although inherently loyal and even clannish, it is my perfectionist, discriminating self that has prevented me from manifesting this nature.

So my life has been a terrible cycle of mediocrity. My generalist self trying everything and my perfectionist self discarding everything, knowing I wont stick around and try another thing tomorrow.

I think it was just the lucky breaks that helped me reach the level I am at now. Passing the Philippine CPA exam was one, and I only did it because I imagined each subject as a competitive gymnastic routine (Auditing = Balance Beam). Getting highly irritated if I don’t get a perfect 10 in the self-exams has propelled me from being a listless C accounting student to a board-passer in a matter of a few months. How weird is that.

I think it is high time I should just stick to a thing or two that I should master and consequently be substantive and relevant. I have already laid the foundation of an accounting career that would help me get through life and finance the projects that I would like to get involved.

I have the next three or so months to find out which areas I would be good at. I would be scheduling my time to discover writing/literature, music and painting, product development, technology, entrepreneurship, and other creative work. Then I will just focus on the thing/s I could excel in.

Jay gets old. Been working all ‘summer’

“Take your time. Think a lot. Think of everything you got. Cause you may still be here tomorrow but your dreams may not.” – Cat Stevens, Father & Son.

“…You may still be here tomorrow, but your hair may not” – Jay

Still thinking about old age and one thing i have noticed about getting old is how fragile your physical faculties are becoming. If you take too much of something a part of your body breaks down.

A few weeks back, I have been experiencing headaches/migraines and after analyzing, I thought it was caffeine that was causing it and i was right. I started to drink decaf coffee and my headaches went away.

After this success, I turned to my loose bladder that wakes me up at night. I thought, cut back on salt. I did, and it was also a success. Now im thinking, what is sugar doing to my body?

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Ive been thinking, what if one compares ones life to the seasons in a year. For Westerners whose life expectancy is 80 years – age 1-20 is Spring, 21-40 is Summer, 41-60 is fall and 61-80 is winter.

I thought my life expectancy is 72, so my spring is 1-18, summer is 19-36, fall is 37-54 and winter is 55-72.  Wow. I have been working all summer. I was lucky to get ‘enlightened’ and utilize my early fall years.

At this point in time, i should pass mid-fall in a few more months. And to be more specific, i should in the Halloween, Oct. 31 of my life. What is scary is that I will only have colder, darker, bleaker November left so i will really have to use this time.

Oh. And i should be putting my snow tires already as snow could be falling any day…

 

 

Of Old Age and Relevance

“After youre 70, you have no interest in being sexy” – Gloria Steinem

“After 45, I have no interest in how i look” – Jay

Still riding the greyhound bus to Calgary from Edmonton and thinking mortality.

The prime reason i gave up on my farming dreams is due to my old age. Because of my supraventricular tachycardia it is hard for me to get down on a bowing planting position as i lose my breathing. And because of my plantar fascitis, it is painful for me to do short walking rounds. I wont be able to create something even by sheer hard work and determination due to the physical constraint.

And im planning to go back to the rat race, not because of the love for materiality but in order to stay relevant. There are lots of threat lurking in society that the average person has to build a war chest almost in perpetuity.

And the best way one can help others is from giving of resources acquired from your talents.

As the reality of old age has finally struck me, what are the things I should have done at a younger age? And more importantly, what will I do in perhaps the next relevant five to ten years?

My current pause in life is giving me a preview of retirement and i am not liking it. Its boring stiff. I think i will die working. I also think I am not meant to build tangible things and connections. Im here as a wanderer.

And while watching “The Lost City of Z” yesterday at an indie theatre in Edmonton, it struck me how these explorers will risk their life, their family, their youth, in search of adventure. Perhaps this is now my time. I have not much to lose.

Perhaps there is a reason why Im in Calgary after all. Northern Canada has vast barely explored territories. Or perhaps its the UFO’s in Nevada that i should dig into. Humanda sila. Lol.

So it is imperative that my next 10 years will have to be lived largely, with purpose and with zest. Stay tuned.

Edmonton Musings (Apr’17)

“Choose happiness. Unless you feel you have a calling. A real calling.” – Thomas Wayne letter to Bruce Wayne/Batman, GOTHAM.

I rode the bus to Edmonton and read online news that UFC 216 will be in Edmonton on my birthday. Got excited but undecided if this will be my bday bash.

I rode city transit bus to West Edmonton Mall and was surprised that almost all the people in the packed bus were visible minorities, mostly Oriental.

I was dissapointed that the salt water aquarium was not there anymore and the lagoon is bare. I took the wrong bus going downtown which got me pissed and decided to cancel my tire pounding mission.

I was further dissapointed that the eclectic and bohemian Whyte Avenue is now very orderly and with the typical franchise stores. Small shops are gone. Artsy vibe is gone.

What was once rowdy, big deal, celebrations of Oilers hockey playoff games is now a whimper. A lot of police patrolling Whyte avenue. Few revellers. No troublemakers.

The greyhound bus depot downtown was transferred to the remote and less accessible Via Rail station. Another big inconvenience due to corporate cost cutting.

Im not happy at the trend that Canadian society is headed. Its turning into a country with few good ideas and putting more emphasis on irrelevant climate and gender issues. To create employment, it expands government and the empowered bureaucrats, in turn, try to mold society to their own liking. A restrictive boring society.

At best, Canada will be able to sustain this sick situation by incurring more debt and delaying the negative outcome.

And im not liking Albertans anymore. They are bad during the good times and even worse during down times, like some kind of money addiction.

Green Rat Race

“Farming as a business is a wonderful lifestyle; farming as a lifestyle is a horrible business” – Anonymous

It has been a month since I started being a “deplorable” and I have come up with the following alternatives for moving on until retirement.

Alternative 1 – Active green entrepreneurship

Alternative 2 – Start small while holding a job

Alternative 3 – Get back into the rat race for 5 to 10 more years

Alternative 4 – Hibernate in PH for good

After doing a feasibility study of commercial greenhouse production, one of the green venture options, I can say that the first alternative is now down the drain. The three main obstacles are:

  1. It is capital intensive (a huge no)
  2. It is heavily regulated (you need to tell the government what is in the water you feed your plants)
  3. You have to beg the government to give you an allocation to produce. (whaaaaat?)

I have also been scanning the farming community and it looks like this industry is already saturated. I tried looking for Crown Land to rent but there weren’t any more good spots. And the bureaucrats managing the Crown Land system weren’t very receptive despite the very nice, democratic, user friendly website that they created.

There were also no small private land for lease, only huge ones for more than 100 acres. There are a lot of land for sale and the numbers dwarf the number of land for lease by a ratio of 100:1. It seems like everyone is just looking for a fast buck and real estate sale is the way to go and not farming.

So yeah, I would call it – “The Green Rat Race”. And the reason this is worse than the office rat race is because the pay-out/benefit is far less. No wonder very few people are going into farming. A lot of millennials are engaging in it and make it look hip but that is probably because they still have the physical ability and they don’t have much to lose.

So, I am left with Alternative 2 – Start small while holding a job & Alternative 3 – Get back to the office rat race for 5 to 10 more years.

Alternative 4 – Hibernating to PH, is still pretty much in the mix because I just found out that doing nothing in PH feels a lot better than doing nothing in Calgary. And it is a lot cheaper too. And even a lot safer as well, because in PH, if people attack you, it is for a reason and they do it frontal. In Calgary, some people could attack you in the most subtle and underhanded way for the simple reason that you look different.

Peace out.

 

Spring, Spirituality and Green Thinking

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work” – Thomas Edison

Yehey. It is spring and the coming two weeks would be above seasonal and warmer. So I joined a tour of the urban farm of Grow Calgary with the Science Club members. I was impressed with the Earthship project that they were building. They were basically creating a structure that consumes little or no electricity or gas through the use of recyclable materials and positioning the structure facing south so it takes in a lot of sun and consequently, warmth or heat. The structure has an outer room that regulates the temperature of the inner room where the temperature is supposed to be stable and where you can grow plants. I will likely use this concept in one of my sites.

After touring the hydroponic tour, I had serious doubts on the feasibility of a small farm concept. Primarily because of the amount of time and effort and capital that you have to put into it. Secondly, because of the cheap low prices offered by the competition. The big commercial farms have economies of scale. The technologists have now constructed and selling a state of the art container-type structure that could produce the equivalent of a 2-acre farm. And Bill gates and Co. are also coming up with revolutionary technology to further enhance agriculture. My critique on this trend is that the food grown by science does not look natural at all. Many of them are genetically modified and the plants themselves look like mutants.

To make a small farm feasible, you have to use and harness the power and resources of nature intelligently. It takes a hundreds of gallons of water to produce a kg of apple. You need to let nature do most of the farming for you and so you need to position yourself to where the resources are available. You should not invest much in technology and efforts to amend your situation. If it does not look right in the first place, then it is not right.

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And I also went to a meetup for “Spirituality and Nature” and it is a moment I would rather forget and gave me another reality check that people going to meetups are the deplorable fringe-types who have a bad personalities that they don’t have their own social circles and go to meetups so they can chat with other people. The reason I thought the meeting was really bad is because here is a group of people chatting about spirituality but they have injected racial aspect into it suggesting that there are also racial groupings in the spirit world because they only honored the spirit of their white ancestors (their cultural grouping) and the ancestries of people they probably thought are “cuter” like the Italians, Druids. Etc.

First of all, these people strike me as the liberal politically-correct types. They spoke of openness and even put a positive light on their Persian (why not Iranian?) neighbors’ muslim culture. Then I burst their bubble when I threw in the concept of reincarnation. That was when they showed their true colors, with some going ballistic and some leaving the meeting earlier. They cannot accept that they could have lived as a non-white in an earlier life. They also contradicted themselves and their so called openness. They were in praise of the myths of the Wicans and the Druids and then went full science-based on the concept of reincarnation. And this reinforced my notion that all the political correctness is fake.

I started to do regular Sunday Mass at St. Cecilia, the least I could offer on my spiritual side. The community I live in is not an immigrant community but I noticed that majority of the people going to this church are Filipinos. Which leads me to believe that one reason Christianity might be hollowing out in the Western world is because the white people don’t want to share the same religion with other races and now turning into pop-culture beliefs and science-based types.

For now, I will just focus on technical type meetups and bring my A game to my little B project.

Winter moods in Calgary (2016 Rewind)

“Mistakes are the penalty we pay for living a full life” – Anon

“Nothing feeds the soul like working with your hands” – Anon

Winter 2016/2017 has been one of the coldest winters I experienced. But I am back to writing in my journal. Its weird that I thought I would spend more time writing after I got laid off and the opposite happened. Anyways, first things first and I need to wrap up things I left out from 2016.

My Jammy awards soundtrack for 2016:

Side A:

“Sorry” – Justin Bieber

“Don’t Let Me Down” – Chainsmokers”

“Cake By the Ocean” – DNCE

“I Took A Pill in Ibiza” – Mike Posner

“This is What You Came For” – Calvin Harris feat. Rihanna

“Into You” – Ariana Grande

Side B:

“Love Yourself” – Justin Bieber

“Me, Myself & I” – G-eazy

“Stressed Out” – 21 Pilots

“Work From Home” – Fifth Harmony

“I Need Never Get Old” – Nathaniel Rateliff

“Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” – Emma Stone

 

And the Jaycademy Movies of 2016 are:

  1. Deadpool
  2. X-Men: Apocalypse
  3. Captain America: Civil War
  4. La La Land
  5. Hacksaw Ridge
  6. Arrival
  7. Sing Street
  8. Manchester By The Sea
  9. Captain Fantastic
  10. Passengers

 

…And I will be writing a blog that I will call S.M.I.L.E.E. or Smilee. Each of the letters is an adjective that describe me and is the basis for my causes and advocacies for which I will write and make commentaries.