Monthly Archives: July 2003

Hotel Shuts Doors

I ate lunch on Sunday afternoon at Santa Fe on the Bay Hotel. It pretty much sucked; it was hot and still, the food was not very good, and a swarm of flies harassed us the entire time. It was an unpleasant meal, and I commented at the time how it was a wonder the place stayed open.

Guess I spoke too soon. The next day the hotel shut its doors, closing down the beachfront restaurant and tossing all the guests out the door. The place has been in and out of bankruptcy several times the past few years, so this development didn’t surprise me. The new owners offered no reason for the shut-down, but the hotel sustained damage in last year’s typhoons and needed extensive repairs.

I’ll go ahead and start up a rumor too: Last year I met a couple television writers that were developing a series about a hotel on Guam. They were very interested in Santa Fe on the Bay as the possible location for their TV show. Maybe they vetted the series to a network and this shutdown is the first step in converting the hotel into a television set?

What Have I Been Smoking?

So last night I had this really weird dream. I mean weird. I guess I watched too much CNN or something, but I dreamed about Saddam Hussein being on the run. He was hiding out with all his cronies – at a miniature golf course. I knew they were on the run because nobody was wearing shoes. Saddam had big, hairy feet with some nasty corns. James Brown was with him – barefoot of course.

Yeah, I know. Freaky.

The Philippine Question

Yesterday’s excitement in Manila raised concerns on Guam about the stability of the island nation’s government and the safety of relatives. Guam is tightly bound to the Philippines by bonds of history, geography, and family. Fully 40% of Guam’s population is Filipino, and they contribute immensely to the life and diversity of the island.

This latest unrest in the Philippines underscores long running problems in that nation. The continuing insurgency in Mindanao and the southern islands is sapping the nation’s sense of security and pride. Filipinos never forget they were once a colony of the United States, and the presence of U.S. military advisors on Filipino soil deeply rankles many in the government and military. Add to that a long history of abuse and corruption by the military and national police, and the government of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo seems a little unsteady. She has already survived a several crises though, and it appears that yesterday’s situation was resolved peacefully.

Random Thoughts

  • Did I mention my parents saw the Archbishop of the Archdioceses of Agana in St. Louis last month? Well they did. Hell, I probably mentioned it last month already. Just thought I’d bring it up again.
  • Read Whale Rider today. For a small book, it was chock full of cogent thoughts and insights. I hope the film comes to Guam.
  • Watched 28 days Later today as well. Not a terribly bad film, overall about what I expected from a zombie movie. The lead actress, Naomie Harris, was quite good. A real scene-stealer, she nailed her performance dead to rights. I’ll keep an eye out for her in the future.
  • Took the new PT Cruiser round for a spin today. It’s nice owning a new car. It looks good, it runs good, it smells new. I think the best part is the freedom from worry and anxiety that the old Isuzu injected into my life. “Will it break down or get me in an accident? What’s it going to cost me this time to get it running again?” And the worst part? Well I am a lot poorer now, and I will be making payments for a few years. That always sucks. But I am glad I did it. No regrets, no worries.
  • I’m actually looking forward to going into work tomorrow. The onus of dealing with the important projects is off for the rest of the year. It will start up again next year, but I’ve got about five months now to work on projects that really interest me, instead of running an endless series of analyses on healthcare costs and trends, producing claim triangles, or calculating IBNR lag files. We’re doing some major upgrades to our core business software, and also upgrading our servers. We’ve also gotten the green light to build a data warehouse, something I’ve been hollering about for over a year now. It’s time to have some fun and try some new stuff.

One Sunday Morning

After many moons, the weary office worker looks up from his cubicle to discover the myriad impossible projects are completed. The sense of urgency and impending doom has lifted, the late hours and weekends spent in the office are finally at an end, the weight of the company lifted from his sagging shoulders.

The promise of free time, disposable time, tantalizing the haggard man, a siren call of possibilities, awaits out-of-doors. Paddling, scuba diving, hiking, cycling, reading, playing music, hanging out in pubs drinking beer; a world of fruitful and meaningful activities beckons beyond the door. He has only to step outside…

But the many-headed Hydra rears it’s ugly heads. Long abandoned projects, tabled and almost forgotten, make themselves known. Word spreads among the other cubicle denizens of his availability, and promises made when the world was younger. No rest for the weary is the credo of this murder of crows. The cubicle beckons, the work demands completion. His head bowed, the office worker turns to the soft glow of his flat panels and starts working again.

George Orwell Must Be Spinning In His Grave

Careful: The FB-eye may be watching

A freelance writer gets a visit from the FBI regarding his links to terrorism. Turns out he was denounced by somebody that noticed him reading an editorial in line at a coffee shop. In a perverse irony, the editorial was sharply critical of Fox News, the growing climate of fear and the Orwellian group-think that has gripped the nation since 9/11. The FBI came to his workplace and interrogated him about his activities and acquaintances, and requested information about the offending article.

I say it seems like a dark day when an American citizen regards reading as a threat, and downright pitch-black when the federal government agrees.

The original article can be found here.

Via Tom Tomorrow:

Everybody’s Working For The Weekend

My three day weekend has turned into a long, boring slog at the office and at home. Spent this afternoon and evening at the office, then brought home some files to polish overnight. Nothing says fun like array formulas in Excel. It’s off to the office again tomorrow morning. I might be able to squeeze in the parade tomorrow afternoon. If I do, I will take some pictures to share.

I keep repeating my mantra: ‘One more week and it’s over, one more week and it’s over, one more week and it’s over…’

Jon Stewart Interviewed

Found an interesting transcript of an interview by Bill Moyers last week. Jon Stewart of the Daily Show was the guest, and the interview focused on the sorrowful state of the media. Stewart was adamant in his stance as a political satirist, which is why it was poignant to here Moyers describe him as one of the most truthful commentators on television today. Stewart had a number of good things to say about the way media cowtows to the administration:

Politicians… understand that 24-hour news networks.. they don’t have time for journalism. They only have time for reporting. They only have time to be handed things and go, this is what I’ve just been handed by the administration. And they read it.

He also had a less than flattering comparison between how George W. and Tony Blair handle questions and critics:

You know what’s great? Watch a Bush press conference, and then turn on Tony Blair and Parliament. Where he literally has to sit in front of his most vociferous critic. And that critic will say, “Sir, on the 13th, the dossier of the French…would not…the nuclear… You were hiding things. How do you answer, sir?”

“The distinguished gentleman is wrong. I can prove it in this way.”

Contrast that with the press conference that Bush had on the eve of war. “Uh, okay, the next question is Jim. Is there a Jim here? Yeah. You got the next one.”

“That is not the agreed upon question. We’re gonna move on. Ralph, you got something?” It’s an incredibly managed theatrical farce. And it’s incredible to me that people are playing along with it. And they say that they’re playing along with it because they’re afraid of losing access. You don’t have any access! There’s nothing to lose!

Crash Landing

I just slept for 12 straight hours – and it was good. Funny, I was thinking yesterday morning about how July has been a string of three or four day weekends and I was feeling much better because of it. Then I go and crash hard last night after four long days at the office. Guess I need a serious vacation.

A Busy, Blustery Day

It started out okay. A fair bit of rain on the way into work, but nothing extraordinary.

Work was one of those exquisite days where everything comes together nicely. I was busy all day, but I never felt overwhelmed. Plus the day is always a good one when I take my luncheon at Ban Thai. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully by the end of the month things will slacken off at work and I can get back into some tabled projects. For now, it looks like another weekend at the office and the next weekend is GovGuam negotiations. Which means another weekend shot. But that is the end of the tough stuff. The end is in sight!

I regret I worked late tonight and missed the state funeral for Angel Santos. Dianne went, I will try and get a report from her tomorrow morning.

Okay Kayo, time to kick back and watch On The Waterfront. Even if Elia Kazan was a backstabbing snitch, this is still a great film.

Hong Kong Cheers Resignations

Wow. Two top Hong Kong officials resigned yesterday in direct response to the massive protests that have rocked the city for the last couple weeks. Can the resignation of Tung Chee-Hwa be far behind?

It is exciting watching these protests bring about peaceful regime change. The Philippines did it a few years ago, and now Hong Kong appears to be in the midst of its own political awakening. I wonder if something like this would work in the United States?

In other regional news, North Korea exchanged gunfire with South Korean positions across the DMZ today. That makes me very anxious.

The South Korean military said the North Koreans fired four rounds from a machine gun at one of its posts along the DMZ.

It said South Korean troops broadcast a warning through loudspeakers and then returned fire with 17 shots. There were no reported casualties.

I can think of nothing more likely to erupt into a full-scale war than the situation with North Korea right now. It’s too bad President Bush prefers to take out weak demagogues like Hussein instead of a real threat like North Korea.

Guam Airport Ready Layoff Workers

The A.B. Won Pat International Airport is moving ahead with plans to lay off employees. The airport plans to cut $3.5 million from its annual payroll of $11 million.

Wow, that’s a hefty chunk of the airport’s staff on the chopping block. I suspect the layoffs will be challenged before the Civil Service Commission, and probably a few terminations cancelled. Par for the course. It is a noteworthy effort to reduce GovGuam’s bloated payroll though.