More Observations and Updates On the Usual Activities

Chris Van Deelen

So here we go again. Another week has passed and I have only a few things to say. Before you ask, the reason I used the image I did was to show my readers what I typically see every day... Jeepneys overloaded to the max! It really is more fun in the Philippines! 

Just for the hell of it, I’m going to change my typical format when it comes to writing my blog. Typically I start with what I’ve been writing, followed by brief reviews or comments on what I’ve read or watched, then an observation on a topic that caught my interest.

Let’s be a little different this week.

One thing that I find amusing about the Philippines is that most of the time when you see a white person, they're typically in their fifties or older, and almost every single one that I have are dressed the same way.

Shorts, flip-flops and polo shirts.

That is one thing I will never be caught wearing in public. While I'm out (unless I have NOTHING to wear) I will always be in jeans, a t-shirt, and running shoes or work boots.

And another interesting fact I discovered is the VAST majority of the white's I've seen refuse to make eye-contact or speak to others. Of course there are a few exceptions to this rule (talked to a dude from Belgium, another from the British Isle, and a dual Canadian / Norwegian).

But for the most part the ones I see here don't want to be bothered talking with others.

And the ratio of old men to younger men is literally about 40 to 1. I've seen at least 50 whites here, and out of that I've seen only 4 that are younger than say 25.

There are several possible reasons for this. Maybe they just want to be left alone like myself. Maybe they think they’re too good to talk to other, maybe they feel ashamed when they encounter another white guy because they are here for less than pure reasons.

But the simple fact is that this has been the case every time I have come out here.

Also another follow-up when it comes to funerals. Three days after we buried my father in law, we went to the beach, specifically the one location that he loved to go to when he was still with us. We spent a good part of the day there, and I still managed to get a bit of a sunburn despite staying under cover the whole time.

When we were finished eating and socializing and generally celebrating his life, my younger brother in law took a shirt, shorts, and socks and put them in a hollow bamboo tube, sealed it carefully and then swam out into the ocean far enough that he could easily hurl the tube into the current.

I don’t know the significance of that act, and no one really bothered to try and explain it to me, just saying that it was part of the culture.

Who am I to mock or complain? I just accepted what they did and got on with my day.

And then yesterday we went to the cemetery and had our evening meal at his grave. My mother in law led a prayer first and then they ate and again celebrated his life.

Odd customs to be sure. At least for me. I’m Canadian and seeing how other cultures handle death and their customs is really quite interesting to behold.

Last week I did not go to see any flicks in the city. There were none that really caught my interest anyhow, although on Saturday and Sunday I had thought of going to see a Serbian horror movie called ‘Nymph’, but due to time constraints it just did not happen.

I also finished John Ringo’s ‘Islands of Hope and Rage’. A damn good read, to be sure. The series is really shaping up, and as usual he was able to make the whole issue of logistics interesting and entertaining all at once. There were a couple of interesting scenes in the novel for sure.

I did watch ‘White House Down’ though the other day. It was one of the movies that I brought with me to watch while we were here. I really found my attention wandering and I found that the humor was, at best, forced throughout the movie. It was not great, but it certainly was not the worst movie I have ever seen.

If you’re up for a half-way descent action flick, then watch it. But the other movie that was released nearly at the same time -  ‘Olympus has Fallen’ was a superior flick in my opinion. Then again we all know that my opinion is not worth anything – it is my opinion and no one else’s!

And finally time to bring up what I’ve been working on. This week saw the completion of the Aliens: Colonial Marines conversions that I have been working on pretty much since I arrived here. So I took a few days off and I’m back at it. I’ve just converted a couple of critters that were not aliens and posted them on the site. I also started converting the weapon systems from the Crysis series of games, so that will be keeping me busy for the next few weeks at least.

I’ve also been putting a lot of work into the Powered Armor book and have even started writing the basics – at long last – for using vehicles. Yes I am liberally borrowing from the Gamma World Pathfinder, but I’m adding enough rules and material to the rule-set to make it at least somewhat original. But hey until I finish writing the book I would suggest that my readers use the vehicle rules provided in the Gamma World link.

My thoughts when it comes to the armor and vehicle rules is that I should also finish writing the Robots book so that all three can be published at the same time. All three books will end up complementing each other quite nicely and as such they should be released at the same time – or at the very least within a few weeks of one another.

When will they be ready for release? Not a clue. My long-term readers should know by now that my interest is a fickle thing. I tend to write until it becomes too difficult to do so for various reasons and then I switch to  new project.

After all, it was my novel and short stories that were preventing me from finishing the Robot and Armor books, both of which I started to write back in January of 2013.

Even though I have already submitted my Alternate Character Advancement issue for editing, I know that I will need to write another one for sure. I’ve been inspired by ‘Heroes of Might and Magic’ and what happens each time the character you are controlling goes up in level. Might farm that game for ideas to add to my second issue.

Lastly I found something that is REALLY cool and would make a perfect gift for any Fallout fan, such as myself. Someone created a Fallout Monopoly! Click on the name to be taken to the page where  you can download it and create your own Fallout Monopoly game. Once I have a few extra bucks to play with, I will be getting a set made up for myself. 

And with that, I’m finished for another week.  

I’ve had a few new likes to my personal author Facebook page, so I finally broke the 100 mark. I still have only a single follower on Twitter though. If you have the time and the inkling, please like both for me.

Until next week, when I will finally be back home in Canada – Peace!