Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Alrightreads: March



Having only decided half-way through February that I was going to try to read (and tediously catalogue) 100 books in 2015, I was fortunate to have another largely empty month that I could fill with digital sheaves and jarring LibriVox accents.

Ending Q1 in the black with 27/100 books read (however that works out as a percentage) was more important than earning money or going outside. One day they'll make books portable, I have to dream.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Closure

Whether you read a lot of books, pore over a newspaper or magazine every day, or you just waste a lot of time reading websites of no nutritional value such as this one, there's no doubt you will have read more open brackets in your life (and other types of punctuation marks than closed ones, due to the illiteracy or forgetfulness of the authors or copy editors involved.

As long as spelling and grammar checks remain passive rather than enforced, this is a problem that doesn't seem to be going away (if anything, advances in technology have made it worse. But I can at least reduce the burden of your open bracket debt by presenting a selection of closed brackets for you to read through at your leisure.

I haven't done any research or got any kind of reliable estimate of the type of figures involved, but here's a round 500 in a neat enough square sort of shape that should at least go some way towards helping:


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If you have the nagging feeling that that wasn't enough, feel free to read through it again as many times as needed until that feeling goes away.

Don't worry if you think you might have accidentally read it too many times and have now read more closed brackets in your life than open ones, as that just means you'll have a handy stockpile to be getting on with. The open brackets will sort themselves out.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Is it worth it?: Groceries in the Philippines



I don't live in the Philippines to save money. That would be totally ridiculous, considering there are many countries in the region where the cost of living is cheaper or at least roughly equal, and that don't require the same level of compromise to my quality of life.

No, I'm here because it's where my wife's family lives, and not everybody can be as cold and ruthless as me when it comes to severing ties and living in self-imposed exile. At least let me be good at something.

But I'm not here to bash on the Philippines again. I got most of that out of my system in my first two years here, especially now we're living in a place where I'm isolated from the worst aspects of the country most of the time. Instead, I thought I'd use my experience and unbiased maths to illuminate some of the reasons why this is a confusing and frustrating place to live, and to better understand why someone on the average monthly income of 10,000 pesos (less than $8 per day) might be having a bit of a hard time not dying in a gutter.

This time: largely imported groceries mostly at more expensive prices than in the developed world.