Welcome to Las Vegas, Nevada- the Gambling Capital of US and the City that never sleeps! So, what has this city have to do with this site. The answer is none. I just love the photo, I took during our vacation to this city a couple of years ago. In this site, you will find articles from my autobiography, global warming, senior citizens issues, tourism, politics in PI, music appreciation and articles about our current experiences as retirees enjoying the "snow bird" lifestyle between US and the Philippines. Your comments will be highly appreciated. Please do not forget to read the latest national and international news. Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringement of your copyrights. Cheers!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Music for Relaxation ( Ambient Music)

My nephew from Australia was telling me the other day, that one of his other interest besides graphic design and photography is what he called ambient music. I am not familiar with the term "ambient music", so he send me a video example via Face Book. It sounded to me just like music for relaxation. This inspired me to search for relaxation music in Tube You. Below is a seven and one-half of pure relaxation music. The scenery is a feast to the eyes of the beauty of nature here in the US. A few of the pictures were from Zion National Park, that my wife and I have recently visited. I have listened to other relaxation videos, but this one is the best so far. I guarantee that your 7.5 minutes will not be wasted. Please let me know if you enjoy this music video by Enya Kitaro.

Note: I viewed and listened to this video in my newly purchased 32" LCD PC screen. It was fantastic, mesmerizing and a pure delight. If you know of other relaxation or meditation videos that are comparable or better than this one, please share.

Dan Brown's Latest Novel- The Lost Symbol

I just purchased Dan Brown's latest novel, “The Lost Symbol” at Wall Mart for less than $17 this morning. The cover price is $29.95. I have read all of his four books, The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, Deception Point and Digital Fortress. Of course The Da Vinci Code is his most popular and widely read novel and was made into a blockbuster movie. If you have not read the book or have not seen the movie you must be living in another world. Anyway, here's the short synopsis of the “ The Lost Symbol” to whet your appetite.

“ In this stunning follow-up to the global phenomenon The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown demonstrates once again why he is the world's most popular thriller writer. The Lost Symbol is a masterstroke of story telling-a deadly race through a real labyrinth of codes, secrets, and unseen truths....all under the watchful eye of Brown's most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels and temples of Washington, D.C., The Lost Symbol accelerates through a startling landscape toward an unthinkable finale.

As the story opens, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the US Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object-artfully encoded with five symbols-is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation...one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom.

When Langdon's beloved mentor, Peter Solomon-a prominent Mason and philanthropist-is brutally kidnapped. Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly plunged into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-seen location-all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth.

As the world discovered in The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, Dan Brown's novels are brilliant tapestries of veiled histories, arcane symbols and enigmatic codes. In this new novel, he again challenges readers with an intelligent, lightning-paced story that offers surprises at every turn. The Lost Symbol is exactly what Brown's fans have been waiting for...his most thrilling novel yet.”

Of the four older novels of Dan Brown, my favorite is Angels and Demons. May be after I finished reading The Lost Symbol, I may change my mind. I got to go. I am so eager to start reading my new purchase. I hope to hear from you after you read The Lost Symbol. Happy Reading.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cloyne Court, Episode Thirteen

Cloyne Court, Episode Thirteen
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

Based on a true story that took place in Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.


Wow, I had never seen that before! And it wasn’t just one slide of clitoris rising through the pubic hair, but twenty or thirty slides of buttons in every shape, size, skin color, pubic hair color and vaginal area. I must admit at first I was excited to see color slides of a woman’s erogenous zone, but after the eighth or ninth slide, the presentation was becoming a numb, clinical anatomy lesson.
When the room lights came back on, several men were standing by the hallway doors peering into the room. They had seen the slides of the giant vaginas from the hallway.

Mary Jewell asked them to come in and join the discussion or leave. The men quickly left allowing me to savor my honored role as the token male.

Once the women had become comfortable again, Candace opened the discussion on successful techniques for orgasm. I hoped she had a Cliff Notes® version with the answers (and pictures and drawings!) that she was going to hand out, but I was overly optimistic. She wanted suggestions from the audience.

A bashful silence filled the room for several minutes, until one brave soul, a woman who lived on the eighth floor with her lesbian lover, spoke up. “My partner and I like to use our tongues. It can be supersensitive, and she’s very sensitive down there.”

As I listened to this woman describe a private intimate detail between them, my mind wandered. I imagined her and her partner with their heads between each other's legs. The discussion continued for several minutes until my fantasy was interrupted by a question directed to me.

“Derek, what do you think?" asked Candace. "From the male perspective, because you are the only male here, and of course, we won’t stereotype your answer as being applicable to all the male species, do you have any special techniques that you find helpful for your partner?”

I could feel everyone staring at me. I couldn’t answer this question from experience. I had none. I wouldn’t admit it either, and I wasn’t going to let down the entire male species by not giving an answer. I blurted the first lines I remembered from Penthouse magazine, October 1976 in the Forum section.

“I like to thrust deeply.”

Several of the men-haters in the group made audible comments. “Typical man!” “It’s always about the penis, isn’t it?” “Animalist!”

I said, “No wait, hear me out!

It appeared to me whatever I had to say would be meaningless to those close-minded women opposed to my presence because of my gender.

“Please go on,” Candace said. “We’re listening.”

“It’s not the penis that is doing the stimulation, but the man’s body rubbing against her repeatedly in rhythmic thrusts.”

I heard more anti-male murmurs and some allusions to rape and violence.

“Gently, at first,” I said. “Slowly building in intensity while looking for signals from her body, like her breathing or her muscle spasms or the expressions on her face.”

What did I know about a woman’s muscle spasm or facial expression? Nothing. I was quoting verbatim from page 57 of The Sensuous Man by M [1], but it was working. "I like women who voice their pleasure. It tells me whether I'm doing something right or whether I should try something else."

Several women verbally endorsed the statement. “You tell ‘um, girl!” said Keisha, the only black woman living in the house. Keisha had Bo Derek cornrow braids and light-chocolate skin that made me think of brown sugar. Her show of support was followed by suppressed tittering and giggling from the rest of the room.

I looked around. The women would never think I had anything germane to say. Then it occurred to me that I had actually learned something from the slide show.

“Wasn't the whole point of the slides to show that every woman has the same body parts, but every woman is different? Different techniques for different women,[2]” I said.

I continued for a minute or two explaining in the most feminine erotica of terms, the sex scene from some Mitchell Brother's porn movie I had seen at my best friend, Jeannette’s older brother's friend's bachelor party, and attributing it to me. When I finished, the room fell silent. I felt like smoking a cigarette.

Keisha fanned herself in exaggeration. “Wow! I’m exhausted. You can roll over and fall asleep now!” Keisha was wearing a tight Danskin’s Camisole that clung to her dancer’s body. I couldn’t imagine falling asleep with her.

Several of the other heterosexual women in the room murmured in agreement. Carrie and her lesbian lover hugged each other tighter and glared at me in disgust while the other lesbians kept reassuring themselves by repeating their mantra, "A woman doesn’t need a man to satisfy themselves!" to anyone that listened. I was proud of myself. I had upheld the benefits of the male penis in front of the legion of lesbians.

At the end of the discussion, Candace held up a reference book. It was the revised and updated version of Our Bodies, Ourselves. She said, “I recommend that your co-op purchase several copies for your house library.”

“Let’s vote on it at tomorrow night’s house meeting,” Mary Jewel said.

“Can we get it on the agenda this quickly?” Jill asked.

“Not a problem,” Lisa said. “I’ll just show my Bunkie the coital positions in chapter twelve. It’ll be on the agenda tomorrow.”

The meeting ended and several women, who I did not know but wanted to get to know, approached me.

“You were brave to attend this meeting,” said one. “Welcome to Cloyne Court.”

“Yeah, I wish my Bunkie would have attended. He might have learned a lesson or two,” said another. “Glad there’s a sensitive man who understands women.”

I basked in the attention. I looked around the room. My mystery woman was leaving. She was cheerless and silent, unlike the rest of the attendees, who seemed energized and empowered from the evening’s information. I wanted to introduce myself, but she disappeared up the stairs. I wondered why she looked so sad.

[1] Which I read sub rosa at the Briones Valley Public Library Reference section while hiding it in an oversized monograph on Pet Care.

[2] What I meant to say was ‘different strokes for different folks’ but stroking is a man thing. I didn’t think the lesbians would appreciate the phallic metaphors.

Web Site: Cloyne Court Home Page( http://threecloverpress.com)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Its Already Christmas in the Philippines

Do you know that September 1 is the beginning of Christmas Season in the Philippines? It not only starts on the first day of September, but it ends 5 months later on January 31 every year. If you do not believe me , try reading some blogs about life in the Philippines from American and European expatriate nationals who are now living in the Philippines with their Filipina wives. My favorite web site is Bob Martin's, www.liveinthephilippines.com. In this magazine, one of the contributors discuss how he felt hearing “White Christmas” and other Christmas songs two weeks ago, cooling off at Mcdonald Restaurant at their local mall because there was a power outage that day in their subdivision. Speaking of Christmas songs my favorite Filipino Christmas song is Pasko Na Sinta Ko( Its Christmas, My Love) sang by world famous singer Lea Salonga. Here's a short video of the song plus another Filipino Christmas ballad( Sana Ngayon Pasko Na). If you are an OFW ( Overseas Filipino Worker) you will enjoy these two songs with background of the Philippine scenery, Filipino food and delicacies. I hope it will make you feel nostalgic about the Philippines.
I hope you enjoy Lea Salonga's rendition of these two popular Filipino Christmas ballads.

Here in US, the Christmas Season starts after Thanksgiving and ends the day after New Year or sometimes after the Feast of Three Kings on January 6. Merry Christmas to ALL!

I believe the Philippines is the only country in the world that celebrate Christmas 5 months every year.
Am I right? Are there any other countries in the world that celebrates Christmas longer than 5 months?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

My Five Favorite National Parks

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Tomorrow is officially the start of the Fall Season here in Northern California. However, the temperature is still like summer and my air conditioner is still humming. I believe in a couple of weeks, the temperature will turn to normal levels and you will see the leaves turning yellow and golden brown in the foothills of Northern California and in the Lake Tahoe Areas. Next week we are spending one week at our time share at “The Ridge”, Lake Tahoe, Nevada. I am looking forward to see the start of the fall colors along Highway 50 as well as some casino gambling at Harrah's and at Harveys. Perhaps, a Cruise and Dinner at the Lake if we are lucky at the casinos. Wish us luck!

How about you? Have you been to a national park with your family this summer? Macrine and I have visited the following five national parks just recently with the exception of Yosemite. I added a short description of the five parks. These five parks are in our favorite list.

1. ARCHES: The park is known for its natural arches. There are more than 2000 ranging in size from a three foot opening up to the Landscape Arch which measures 306 feet from base to base. It lies near the heart of the desert called the Colorado Plateau, in the State of Utah. Towering spires, fins and balanced rocks complement the arches, creating a remarkable assortment of land forms in a small area. You can bike, hike or drive an 18 mile scenic road from the entrance to the north point of the Park. There are three picnic areas along the way. The two most famous arch are the Delicate and Skyline Arches.

2. BRYCE CANYON: The park is famous for its unique geology, consisting of a series of horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters carved from the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau of Southern Utah. The erosional force of frost-wedging and the dissolving power of rainwater have shaped the colorful limestone into bizarre shapes including slot canyons, windows, fins and spires called “Hoodoos”.
The park was named after the Mormon pioneer Ebenezer Bryce and it become a national park in 1924.

My wife and I visited this park just about three months ago. This visit was one of the best vacation we had since my retirement in 2002. Tinted with colors ranging from light brown to dark red, these whimsically arranged rocks, creates a wondrous landscape of mazes. A 45 minute walk from Inspiration to Sunset Point was the highlight of our visit. Ponderosa pines, high elevation meadows, and fir-spruce forest border the rim of the canyon and abound with wild life. Several scenic points offer a panoramic view of three states and about 200 miles of visibility. We did not stay overnight, but our guide tour and driver, informed us that the lack of large light sources nearby, creates unparalleled opportunities for for stargazing at night.

3. GRAND CANYON: This park is the only natural wonder of the US, that made it to the final 28 natural Wonders of the world as announced by the new 7 natural wonders of the world organization, recently. I have also visited this park and I agree with the 7 new natural wonder judges that Grand Canyon should be one of the top 28 finalists in this worldwide contest. I am even hoping that it will be voted one of the 7 new natural wonder of the world in 2011.

The Grand Canyon is more than a great chasm carved over million of years ago through the rocks of the Colorado Plateau. It is more than an awe-inspiring view. It is more than a pleasuring ground for those who explore its roads, hike its trails or float in the currents of the turbulent Colorado River.

The Canyon is a gift of nature that transcends what we experience in life. Its beauty and size humbles us. Its timelessness provokes a comparison to our short existence in this universe. Visiting the place makes me feel calmed and relaxed , as I gazed in amazement the beauty and splendor of this National Park. The park can be enjoyed whole year round.

4. YOSEMITE: I have visited this park a number of times about 20 years ago, when my family was still residing in the Stanislaus County, Modesto, California. The park embraces a spectacular tract of mountain and valley scenery of the Sierra Nevada. It was made into a national park in 1890. The park has a number of waterfalls, meadows, forests that include groves of giant sequoias, the world largest living trees.

The park highlights include the Yosemite valley, high cliffs, and waterfalls. There is the historic Wawona Hotel( famous for its Christmas Dinners and Decorations), the Mariposa Grove, which contains hundreds of giant sequoias, Glacier Point, Tuolumne Meadows and a large sub-alpine meadow surrounded by mountain peaks and Hetch-Hetchy- a reservoir in a valley considered a twin of Yosemite Valley. Ninety Five percent of the park area is designated as wilderness areas that provides opportunities for solitude and relaxation. There are over 800 miles of trails for hiking and backpacking. There is some trout fishing in the streams that my family enjoyed during one of our visits several years ago. Our first visit to the park in the early 1970's was my first experience in camping. One night, our camp site and garbage can was visited by the bears - an experience my kids will never forget. The visit of the bears was the highlight of our trip to Yosemite at that time. The classic beauty and fascinating ecosystems of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range are well represented in the wilderness of Yomesite National Park. I consider this park very friendly to families with small children.

5. ZION NATIONAL PARK: This is another park that my wife and I just visited recently. The park is home to narrow canyons, overlooks, emerald pools, a petrified forest, a desert swamp, springs and waterfalls, hanging gardens, wild flowers and wildlife .It is located in Southwest Utah near the Arizona border. Zion is part of the Southwest “ Grand Circle” of national parks, monuments, historical areas and recreation areas. It is also a wilderness preserve which includes the world largest arch-KOLOB ARCH, spanning 310 feet. The park has high plateaus, a maze of narrow, deep, sandstones canyons and striking rock towers and mesas. The North Fork of the Virgin River has carved a spectacular gorge with canyon walls that rises to 2000-3000 feet above the canyon floor in most places. My wife and I just spent just 90 minutes touring the canyon by the Park's bus. We did not have the time to hike or at least stay overnight. We wish we have more time to enjoy the wild life flora and fauna of the park. According to the park's guides, the Park is home to many mammals and critters such as the collared lizard, Gambel's quail and sometimes even a golden eagle.

Other parks that we have visited are as follows: The Redwood National Park, the Muir Woods National Monument, The Point Reyes National Seashore, The Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, The Hawaiian Volcano National Park (photo above), Shenandoah Mountains, and the Blue Ridge Mountain and its famous Skyline Drive in Virginia, and the Luray Caverns in West Virginia. For description of these parks, visit the National Park Service site at www.nps.gov/parks.

Social Networking and Face Book

Some of the Networking Sites
There are several social networking sites in the web. The four popular ones are Face Book (FB), Twitter (TW), My Space (MS) and Craigslist(CL). I have FB and TW, but I like FB better, because there are several applications available for users. I love the Chat option and the Link option. You can also play games, like Farmville or Mafia Wars. But I do not play the games posted in FB. It is just an avenue for advertising. I play Bridge and Bookworm in the computer, however. You can also post your pictures, set up events and create and joined open and closed groups. I created a group, "Marinduquenos All over the World”. I joined the group, The Catague and Katague Clan and Marinduque the Heart of the Philippines. In FB, I was able to reconnect with long lost relatives, and linked my eight blog sites. I have Twitter, but you are limited to 140 words so I prefer FB. The Chat option of FB is sometimes spotty and slow, but I have chatted from locations in Jedda, the Philippines, Canada, Australia and other parts of US. I am happy with the Chat option. Try it, if you have not done it yet. You can actually chat with several users at the same time.

So, what are your reasons why you use FB. I guess you want to find friends in the Internet, chat with them and expressed your daily sentiments for everybody to read.
By doing so, it makes you feel better for you know at least one person is reading it. Right? You probably also enjoy reading what others are doing or saying. It is just like eves dropping on someone. Probably, similar to watching a reality TV show. Am I right?

I observed that most users of FB are young. You will know by their chatter and immature comments. But I have also several mature, intelligent and educated friends in FB. I believe most of my friends in FB are in their early 20 to 30's. I have only about 200 friends, and wants more. So, if your are reading this blog and used FB and are not in my friends list, please invite me. Again, I will be glad to hear, why you like Face Book and Social networking in general.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My Favorite TV Drama Show! What's Yours?

My Favorite TV Drama is Six Feet Under. If you have not seen it, tapes of it are available in music stores. You could also watch it in You Tube. Here is a short introduction and synopsis of the widely acclaim TV show, winning several awards, three Golden Gloves and nine Emmy's. May I ask what is your favorite TV Drama show?

Six Feet Under is an American television drama series created and produced by Alan Ball. It premiered on the premium cable network HBO in the United States on June 3, 2001 and ended on August 21, 2005, spanning five seasons and 63 episodes. The show was produced by Actual Size Films and The Greenblatt/Janollari Studio and was shot on location in Los Angeles and in Hollywood studios. The show revolves around members of the Fisher family, who run their funeral home in Los Angeles, and their friends and lovers. The series traces these characters' lives over the course of five years. The ensemble drama stars Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy, Lauren Ambrose, Freddy Rodriguez, Mathew St. Patrick and Rachel Griffiths as the show's seven central characters.
Six Feet Under received widespread critical acclaim, particularly for its writing and acting, and consistently drew high ratings for the HBO network. The series is noted for its exploration of mortality and death in western society. It won numerous awards, including three Golden Globes and nine Emmys. It also generated controversy for its graphical depiction of sexuality and some of the themes it addressed.
The show stars Peter Krause as Nathaniel Samuel "Nate" Fisher Jr., the son of a funeral director who, upon the death of his father (Richard Jenkins), reluctantly becomes a partner in the family funeral business with his brother David, (Michael C. Hall). The Fisher clan also includes widow Ruth (Frances Conroy) and daughter Claire (Lauren Ambrose). Other regulars include mortician and family friend Federico Diaz (Freddy Rodriguez), Nate's on-again, off-again girlfriend Brenda Chenowith (Rachel Griffiths), and David's on-again, off-again boyfriend Keith Charles (Mathew St. Patrick).
On one level, the show is a conventional family drama, dealing with such issues as relationships, infidelity, and religion. At the same time, it is a show distinguished by its unblinking focus on the topic of death, which it explores on multiple levels (personal, religious, and philosophical). Each episode begins with a death — anything from drowning or heart attack to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome — and that death usually sets the tone for each episode, allowing the characters to reflect on their current fortunes and misfortunes in a way that is illuminated by the death and its aftermath. The show also has a strong dosage of dark humor and surrealism running throughout.
A recurring plot device consists of a character having an imaginary conversation with the deceased; for example, Nate, David, and Federico sometimes "converse" with the person who died at the beginning of the episode, while they are being embalmed or planning or during the funeral. Sometimes, the conversation is with other recurring deceased characters, most notably Nathaniel Fisher Sr. The show's creator Alan Ball states they represent the living character's internal dialogue by exposing it as an external conversation.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Be Californian, Be Counted- 2010 Census

Ditas(in red jacket) and her staff with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The following news article by Fe Seligman was published by Filipinos Press dated August 29- September 4, 2009. If you follow my blog, I am sure you know that Ditas Katague, the current Director of Census for the State of California is my youngest daughter. So as her father, I am very proud of her accomplishments. Here's the news article on her recent outreached trip to San Diego area.

NATIONAL CITY, Calif.-- The California Census 2010 Director met  key Filipino-American leaders throughout San Diego County to emphasize the importance of  Filipino Americans being represented in the national survey.

Miss Ditas Katague, a Filipina American, oversees and directs the statewide outreach effort to ensure a complete count of all Californians in general and the Filipino community in particular. She spoke to more than 20 key leaders on August 18th at a Filipino restaurant in National City. “There is a lot at stake for everyone to be counted,” Katague explained. “But especially for Filipinos.”

The Filipino-Americans whom Katague addressed came from a diverse group of interests. They included political representatives, faith-based administrators, senior, youth and health care advocates as well as members from the media.

“San Diego is the second hard-to-count County (next to Los Angeles) in California and the eleventh in the country,”  Katague explained.  Immigration issues, linguistic and cultural isolation of some ethnic groups are a few of the reasons for such difficulty.  The task is even more challenging during this decade because of a gnawing fear associated with a receding economy; and the reality in the number of transients that has increased resulting from job loss and home foreclosures.

The California Census 2010 is an innovative effort launched by the State of California to push for a complete count in California. It was initiated in 1999 when its leaders realized the huge amount of federal dollars lost in 1990 resulting from an undercount. In 1999,   $24 million was earmarked by the Governor’s office towards the creation of California Census 2000 which increased its  actual  count and  allowed the state to gain an additional  congressional seat in the House of Representatives. The California Census 2010 is a replication of a successful program. And the secret? Grassroots outreach.

“Well, we learned that the thing that worked was you—the leaders of the community,” Katague said. The California Census is now partnering with state grassroots organizations to provide hands-on assistance in identifying and suggesting ways to reach those who may not be reached by mainstream media. These are the seniors, immigrants, the physically handicapped, low-income families, transients, linguistically isolated families who have no way to access the information passed except through friends and leaders in the community.

“In Census 2000,  there were 1.8 million Filipinos across the nation,” Katague said. “You know what, more than 50% of those Filipinos were here from California. With that, I asked  ‘Why don’t we have a Filipino state representative?...Why don’t we have a congressional representative?’ Do we have anyone in the nation? I challenge all of you tonight to start thinking about that.”

Meanwhile, Nampet Panichpant, also from the California Census Bureau, explained the difficulty in counting some populations in the Asian community. Nampet oversees outreach for hard-to-count Asian communities particularly those who are “mobile” (rotational beds) and those who belong to the “hidden units” (i.e. converting a garage to be  used as a dwelling unit for  families).

She explained that Southeast Asians have their own so-called “homeless families.” These are not the typical mainstream “homeless families”  that we find in the park or under the bridge. These so-called homeless or transient families live in rotational beds, a lifestyle common among Hmongs. The beds are rented out (instead of rooms),  8 hours a day for a Hmong to sleep in. And because they survive on temporary jobs that are offered in other cities or states, these families don’t stay longer than a month. They move from one city or one state to another where employment may be found.

Another “homeless” lifestyle common to Asians (which we may find in some Filipino families) is the “hidden unit”. Under this set-up, a garage is converted into a dwelling unit for a family to occupy. These families, too, are transients. They also move from one city or one state to another wherever manual jobs may be found.

The key here, according to Nampet, is to find a strategy that will catch them to be included in the count. One idea is to find “trusted voices”; those who may be able to identify these groups and communicate with them the need and importance of being included in the national survey. Another strategy is to count newly arrived immigrants by working with commercial airlines, such as the Philippine Airlines. Upon arrival, Filipinos may be given Census 2010 forms to fill up and submitted in strategic locations.

Strategies and ideas on pushing for a complete count for the Asian and Filipino communities abound. As the Census 2010 approaches, the Filipino community needs to continue to build the momentum in raising the urgency to be counted not only on a political level but more important,  on a personal level. ( Printed from Filipino Press , August 29-September 4, 2009)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cloyne Court, Episode Twelve

Lesbianism and Art- From artgazine.com
Cloyne Court, Episode Twelve
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

Based on a true story that took place in Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.


I made eye contact with the nearest one and introduced myself across the side of the sofa arm. “Hi, I’m Derek.”
“Get lost, dickhead!’

“Is this the house meeting?”

“Ass, what do I look like, the agenda Nazi?”

“Well, now that you mention it.”

“Fuck off, prick.”

Why were they angry around men? Was it a mating ritual that identified them to other lesbians? Was there some secret phrase or password that would let me into their inner circle of understanding? I imagined the conversation.

“See that man seated over there?”

“You mean that prick?”

“Yeah, I’m a dyke too. Let’s go to my room and read some Camille Paglia." (wink)

I would have been honored to have a lesbian woman as my friend. It would have been so edgy. So racy. So Berkeley. Think of the special bonding conversations we could have. “See that woman there. She’s hot. I’d like to get into her pants!”

“Me too.”

I didn’t care whom they had sex with. I only cared about whom I had sex with. Learning to figure out whether a woman was interested in men was just another hurdle that stood between me and losing my virginity.

Mary Jewell called the meeting to order. Her long peasant sundress hid her rubenesque body. She glanced at me and looked surprised. “Ok, let’s start the meeting. We have a speaker tonight, but before we get to that, Carrie wanted to voice a concern. Carrie.”

Carrie was the butch woman with the short-cropped haircut I had spoken to earlier. “I am concerned about the oppressive presence here tonight. I do not feel I can adequately value or express my views when there are intruders among us.”

I was wondering whom she was referring too, when Mary looked at me and asked me to introduce myself. I stood. “I’m Derek Marston. I’m pleased to meet all of you. I moved into the house this morning. I’m new to the co-op system and Berkeley. I’m here to learn new things and try new experiences…”

I was interrupted by a voice from the back of the room. “It goes against custom to have you here.”

Before I could respond, a verbal sparring debate began. “Custom is what has oppressed women for centuries. Why should we behave like our oppressors?” said a strong female voice.

“I think the meeting should be open to everyone,” said another voice.

“But it puts a damper on open discussion.”

“If we can’t discuss sensitive topics with men present, who are we going to talk too?”

“Besides, how will they ever learn to please us if they don’t learn?” said another voice.

“Women shouldn’t have to depend on men for anything.” That statement came from the aisle of lesbos.

The discussion deteriorated into everyone talking at once and nobody listening to anyone. I listened in awe to the impassioned pique my presence had provoked.

“OK, let’s take a vote,” Mary said.

I was impressed at student democracy in action. However, if the house had to vote on every item, like who was allowed to attend the house meeting, this was going to be a long night. They still hadn’t approved the minutes from the last meeting, and I was interested in whether the house would approve building a backyard sauna.

The vote was taken. I was allowed to remain. Carrie the lesbian rolled her eyes in disgust.

“Ok, tonight’s speaker is Candace Harris,” Mary said, reading from a card. “Candace is a facilitator from the Peer Sex Education Program.”

Candace was a tall, lanky woman. She was wearing leather motorcycle pants, black boots and a white camisole that showed off her firm, bare shoulders and accentuated her nipples against the thin material. She was not wearing a bra, and I watched her breasts jiggle as she paced the floor.

Mary continued. “Tonight’s discussion is entitled Pre-orgasmic Women and Techniques for Self-Gratification.”

That’s when I realized I was at the wrong meeting. This was the Sunday night women’s group. The house meeting was the next evening. I discovered later that there was an unspoken understanding that men were not welcome at these meetings. It was for women only, so they could discuss topics freely without the dominating masculine viewpoint hampering the discussion. How could I leave? Too many women had spoken in my defense, and the vote had been overwhelmingly in favor of letting me stay. Though I was now embarrassed to be there, I did not want to disappoint them. I remained.

Candace led the discussion by asking, "Can I get a show of hands of women who haven't had an orgasm or aren't sure?"

I looked around nonchalantly trying not to stare. Half the women in the room raised their hands. That’s when I saw her sitting on the windowsill for one of the large French windows. She was the pretty woman I’d seen at the Berkeley BART station on my eighteenth birthday.

Now that I could see her face, I studied her. She had long flowing auburn hair and a quiet, familiar face that turned to look at every person who spoke. She was barefoot and wore a simple collarless striped shirt with long sleeves and a worn pair of faded blue jeans. She looked like all the women I had known from high school. Yet, something was different about her. I stared until we made eye contact. She smiled. My heart jumped. She shifted her gaze to answer Candace’s question and, if memory serves me correctly, raised her hand.

Candace continued her poll. “And let’s have a show of hands from the others who have had an orgasm but want a stronger one or multiple orgasms?”

There were a couple of raised hands from the side sofa, including Carrie and her lover, Sonya. Multiple orgasms? I had never thought about them. At least I had enough experience, although self-induced, to know that if one orgasm was good, multiple ones had to be better. I paid attention now. I wished I had brought some paper and a pen to take notes.

Candace turned off the room lights and started the slide show. The slides were actual close-up pictures of women’s vaginas with the labia held open to show the clitoris.

Web Site: Cloyne Court Home Page( http://threecloverpress.com)

A Tribute to Our Senior Citizens

Image from swapmeetdave.com
Senior Citizens Merriment

Recently I received this short posting from a friend knowing that I am a member of the group called "senior citizens" here in Northern California. If you have been a follower of my blogs, you probably know this already. However, if this is your first time to visit my blog, let me assure you that I am a very proud member of that group. As a member, I just don't seat all day watching TV, but quite active in managing my eight blogs and one web site. However, I believe, there are not too many seniors involved in blogging, most of the bloggers I know are in their early 20 to late 50's. If you know of a blogger who is over 70 years old, please introduce me to her or him, for we have something in common. Here's the posting that I received recently. It is titled " The $2.99 Special".

"If you are a senior you will understand this one, if you deal with seniors this should help you understand them a little better, and if you are not a senior yet........God willing, someday you will be......
We went to breakfast at a restaurant where the 'seniors' special' was two eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast for $2.99. 

'Sounds good,' my wife said. 'But I don't want the eggs.' 

'Then, I'll have to charge you three dollars and forty-nine cents because you're ordering a la carte,' the waitress warned her. 

'You mean I'd have to pay for not taking the eggs?' my wife asked incredulously.   

'YES!!' stated the waitress. 

'I'll take the special then,' my wife said. 

'How do you want your eggs?' the waitress asked. 

'Raw and in the shell,' my wife replied. She took the two eggs home and baked a cake.
  WE'VE been  around the block more than once!  
Note: If you want more senior jokes, visit my old posting in this blog dated 7/3/09.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Today is Grandparents Day in US and Canada

David B & Macrine J Katague-Grandparents of Six ranging from 6 to 18 years of age-Photo taken August 22, 2009, Buena Park, California

Do you know that today is grandparents day. I was not aware of it until after church this morning. The priest celebrating the mass ask the congregation of the significant of this Sunday. Only one out of the 500 attendees was able to answer him correctly. Then he invited all great grandparents to stand. About 10 couples stood up. Next he requested all grandparents to stand up to be recognized. There were about 50 of us who stood up. The whole congregation then gave us an applause.

National Grandparents Day is a secular holiday celebrated in the US and Canada on the first Sunday after Labor Day. In the United Kingdom it is observed on first Sunday of October. In France, grandmothers and grandfathers day are celebrated separately each year. Grandmother's are honored in the first Sunday of March and Grandfathers on First Sunday of October just like in UK. I have no idea if Grandparents Day is observed in the Philippines. If there is no official day for grandparents in the Philippines, I urged the Arroyo administration to do it before her term ends next year. If there is such a date, please let me know. Here's a short history of grandparents day from Wikipedia:

“Grandparents Day can be traced back to the first national Grandparents Day in 1978. With the efforts of Hermine B. Beckett Hanna, of North Syracuse, New York, who started the process in 1961 and was recognized by Congressman Jim Walsh, of New York in front of the U.S. House of Representatives. Marian McQuade of Oak Hill, West Virginia has also been recognized nationally by The United States Senate, in particular Senator Alphonse D'Amato, and President Carter as the founder of National Grandparents Day. McQuade made it her goal to educate the young in the community to the important contributions senior citizens have made, and to the important contributions they are willing to make if asked. She also urged the young to adopt a grandparent, not for one day a year, not for material giving, but for a lifetime of experience and caring just waiting to be shared with others.
In 1973 Senator Jennings Randolph (D-WV) introduced a resolution in the Senate to make Grandparents Day a national holiday. Five years later in 1978, Congress passed legislation proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day and then-President Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation[1].The statute cites the day's purpose as: "... to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children's children, and to help children become aware of strength, information, and guidance older people can offer."
So listen all you young people of US and Canada, if you read this blog, please say Hello to your Grandparents to acknowledge their importance in your lives. If you want to send flowers, the official flower of Grandparents Day is the Forget-me-not. As for my own grandchildren, I really do not expect them to send me anything, for I am very sure, they do not even know that today is Grandparents Day!
Carenna Katague Thompson sent a video clip via Face Book to greet Lolo and Lola on
14 September 2009 12:30
Happy Grandparents Day!!!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering September 11, 2001 (9-11-01)

Do you remember exactly where you are on that day-when the most heinous crime in the 21th century was committed by Terrorists? I know exactly where I was and what I was doing that day. I documented it in my autobiography. Here's a short excerpt from my autobiography describing that day. Whether you are an American or not, this crime has reverberated all over the world and still affects the way we live and travel all over the world. Here is my posting from http://theintellectualmigrant.blogspot.com

"My career in FDA would not be complete if I do not mentioned the terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. I remember clearly what I was doing and how I felt afterward. That morning in September 11, 2001, The office of New Drug Chemistry had a joint meeting with representatives of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PHARMA) at the Hilton Hotel in Gaithersburg, MD. At about 9:20AM, we received an announcement that the meeting is canceled and we can go home, since the World Trade Center in New York was burning. All of the attendees went to the hotel lobby and the TV was announcing the news. I felt sick, depressed but helpless to see the burning WTC building((see photo above).Later, I learned that the Pentagon in Washington DC was also bombed and another plane crashed in the field somewhere in Southern Pennsylvania. Later I also found out that this United Airline plane was intended for the White House. Had it not been for the courageous heroics of several passengers, the White House would have suffered the same fate as the WTC and the Pentagon.
The most heinous crime of the century produced thousands of burnt victims. Two drugs in my Division, Sulfamylon and Silvadene, approved for the treatment of burns were out of supply. A chemistry manufacturing supplement has to be approved to manufacture more of these ointments in a new facility. This required a review by the chemist, an inspection of the facility by a field inspector, my approval as the chemistry team leader plus the paper work by the project manager. The drugs are needed immediately, so we have to do an expedited review of the manufacturing supplement. It took us only 12 hours to approve the new facility and the review of the chemistry, manufacturing and control submission. This review normally will take at least one month to three months depending on the availability of the field inspector and the schedule of the review chemist.
In December, 2001, the four members of my review team received a special cash award and recognition award from FDA management for our work on expediting review of two drugs, Sulfamylon and Silvadene. Of my more than a dozen awards I had, this one is the most appreciated. I felt that I have done my job as a public servant and had helped the victims of the terrorist attack in a timely manner. The photo above, the first picture I saw on television the morning of September 11, 2001, I will never forget as long as I live".

Here is also a video from You Tube remembering that Day of Infamy. Please extend your sympathy to the families of the victims of this heinous crime of the 21th century!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cloyne Court, Episode Eleven

Photo from siline.com

By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

Based on a true story that took place in Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.

Shortly after dinner, I sat on a couch in the sunroom and waited for the house meeting to begin. As women sauntered in and took seats, I ogled them and categorized each one into one of two groups: Group A, women that I wanted to sleep with, and Group B, women I wanted to have sex with. There is a difference.

I did not find it odd that no men had come into the room. Women at my high school were always in the forefront of student government.

As I classed them using my secret genus and species nomenclature (for instance, mammary gigantica or oral seductus), I discovered there were subcategories of women; groups of lifestyle choices or fashion statements, I wasn’t sure which, that were new to me.

I soon discovered that Cloyne Court’s largest group of women was the earth mother type. Women like Becky, Bonnie and Mary Jewell, who wore long flowing sundresses or peasant skirts, granny glasses and Birkenstocks with home-knit toe socks. They were the Berkeley natural granola women, who cared about what food they ingested, but went to Grateful Dead concerts smoking and snorting or dropping whatever drugs they could get free, cheap or barter. I saw them as anachronisms of the flower children, Sixties holdovers that refused to accept the double knit polyester disco styles that were now in vogue.

Mary Jewell put a slide projector on the table at the front of the room while Becky moved a clunky portable movie screen into place. I assumed tonight’s house meeting would use audio-visuals to give us an idea of what type sauna the house should install.

Bonnie was talking to Jill, who from her rapid speaking cadence and harsh nasal voice and mordant syntax (“Smart, he isn’t!”), I assumed was Jewish. Like Lisa, who I had met earlier as she polished her toenails, Jill had a distinctive large nose and spoke like a New Yorker. I couldn’t figure out whether her dialect was regional or cultural. I was not attracted to the disguised derision in her innocent questions (“I should be happy for him with such a small shmeckle?”). She acted distant and aloof.

Sitting next to me on the couch was Cindy from the telephone switchboard. She was a punker dressed in black with pale-white skin, her hair dyed an orange Day-Glo color. She sported pierced jewelry in several visible body locations. Cindy liked wearing leather jackets and studded neck chokers and fingerless gloves when she went out, but tonight she was dressed casually in a black Buzzcocks T-shirt, Army Surplus pants and black combat boots. She looked darned hot to me! I just couldn't get past the pierced nose ring. I kept staring at it when I talked to her instead of looking at her eyes.

Nonetheless, I was an equal opportunity hound-dog. I had only two criteria in dating women.

First, they had to be intelligent. One reason I never attempted to date Jeanette, my best friend from high school, was that she wasn’t on the same intellectual plane as I was. She didn’t know who Paul McCartney’s first band was before Wings[1], and she didn’t care. It's not that I use cultural literacy as a bellwether of intelligence, but if people don't know general history, science, art and literature, what good are they at Trivial Pursuit® parties?

That criterion was easily met at Berkeley. Everyone was intelligent, many to the point of being obnoxiously erudite. They had to be to get accepted to the university.

Second, and the harder of the two criteria was that they had to want to go out with me.

While I vowed to remain open-minded and unprejudiced, the infinite possibilities of women I wanted to lose my virginity to was growing smaller by the second. I was crossing women off my list for later liaisons for all the wrong reasons or maybe for the right reason. I was not attracted to them as a person.

Then, to my disappointment, I saw a group of women that halved my list. They were the butch-biker chicks who were sitting on the next couch with their lesbian lovers. They were giving me dirty looks.
Photo from dipity.com
These women lived at Cloyne Court with a festering blister on their shoulders. It seemed that there were a lot of them. At least, I thought so. This was the first time I had ever encountered lesbians in quantity (more than one) and quality (giving each other tongue as they sat on the couch, their arms around each other's waists, waiting for the meeting to begin).My first impression of them was as stereotyped as the misogynistic, libido-driven, dumb asses they thought men were.

Why did they hate men in general? Why did they see any man’s attempt to have a friendly conversation to be a sexual come-on?
[1] And while I will accept The Beatles as the correct answer, the history purists among us will point out the more correct answer is The Quarryman.

Web Site: Cloyne Court Home Page

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Genealogy of the" K(C)atague" and "Balleza" Surnames

Several years ago, I started a genealogy of my mother's last name- “Balleza”. I was able to trace it back to the 15th century. The name originated from Bilbao, Spain. I then traced it to Mexico, then to US in Texas and then to the Philippines. I was able to locate a town in Mexico named Balleza, in the state of Chihuahua. The town was founded in 1640 and named after Fr. Mariano Balleza ,a Spanish friar. I was able also to communicate with a radio announcer in Houston, Texas whose family name is also Balleza. I also found several Balleza families in Googles and recently in Face Book. Note that the name is similar to another name in the Philippines “Belleza”, a Spanish word which means beautiful. But “Balleza” and “Belleza” are two different names in the Philippines. I am happy and satisfied with the origin of my mother's last name. When my mother was still alive, she told me that her great grandfather was a Spanish soldier that participated in the Spanish colonization of the Philippines (1565-1898).

Today, I am curious on the genealogy of my father's last name. When my father was still alive, his last named was spelled with a “C” instead of the “K”. He changed it with the “K” when he was in high school. My father has two brothers who also changed it to start with a “ K”. But all of my father other relatives as far as I know has not change it. So there are a lot of “Catague's” in the Philippines, that are my relatives. The famous Catague is a painter named Fernando. His paintings are exhibited in the museum of Iloilo and Manila. My father has informed me that Fernando is a relative and originally was from Antique. In the Philippines, I know there are Katagues in Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Bohol, Antique, Cavite and in Mindanao. I also found there is a Katague in Brazil from Googles. I just recently meet a niece in Face Book from Vancouver, B.C. She is the daughter of my first cousin from Bacolod, Negros Occidental. There are several Katagues in Face Book, and one in Twitter, but I do not know if we are related. Incidentally, there is a town in Bohol, named “Catague”. I am curious, how the town got its name, but I do not have the time to do research on it. If you know, please let me know. It will be highly appreciated.

There are several variations of the Katague name. These are: Catague, Catage, Catagi, Katagi, Katage, Kataque and Kata Gue ( from Indonesia). I know of a Japanese chemist with surname of Katagi. It may be true that Katague originated from Japan from the surname Katagi or Katague as my father once mentioned. This was recently confirmed by one FACE BOOK member whose last name is Katague but is now residing in Brazil.

So if your last name is any of the above or if you are married to someone with any of the names above, we may be related. I will appreciate if you contact me in Face Book or Twitter or in this site. I will be delighted to meet you on line or in person. We have a group in Face Book-The Katague and Catague Clan. Please join us.

Friday, September 4, 2009

My Filipina Wife-My Little Brown Girl?

If you search for "Filipina" in Google, Yahoo or Scour search engines, majority of the "Hits" will be about mail order brides, sexy dates and dating Filipino or Asian women etc.

Today, it is not as bad compared to about five years ago. Thanks to the campaign of a few of our educated women in the Philippines (www.filipinaimages.com), the Filipino women on line image is improving. However, there is still room for improvement. Visit the site. There is an instruction in how you can help improve the Filipina image on line.

Recently there was a good news toward recognizing women's rights in the Philippines. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed into law the measure prohibiting discrimination against women, and recognizing and promoting their rights.

Republic Act 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women, signed at the Heroes Hall in MalacaƱang Palace, ensures women’s equitable participation and representation in government, political parties, international bodies, civil service and the private sector.

RA 9710 recognizes and protects women’s rights at home, at work and in all spheres of society toward developing all aspects of their well-being. Its most salient features include increasing the number of women personnel until they fill half of third-level positions in the government, setting up in every barangay (village) a “violence against women’s desk,” providing incentives to parties with women’s agenda and barring the derogatory portrayal of women in media and film. I believe this law was an aftermath of the latest Hayden Kho sex scandal, where Halili claimed she was maltreated sexually by Kho in a degrading and violent manner.

Moreover, to all Americans, Europeans, Australians, or Canadians and Non-Filipino Husbands, do not call your wife "My Filipina" as if your wife is a commodity that you have purchased or "my little brown girl", even if you meant it as endearment. I am addressing it to all non-Filipino husbands who are married to Filipina women whether your are residing in Philippines or other parts of the world. I am also addressing this to all Men looking for Filipina wives in the internet and other dating sites. Filipina women are known to be good wives and they must be treated with respect and dignity. Comments anyone?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Escape Mechanism or Bad Habits?

Some Representatives of Northern California Chapter at the MI, Inc. Dinner Dance, August 22, 2009 in Buena Park, CA

MI, Inc four days of fun, dancing, feasting, meetings and reunion concluded last weekend. There were five coping mechanism EXHIBITED by several members and guests of Marinduque International ( MI, Inc).

MI, Inc is a non-profit organization based here in US with nine chapters. Two from Canada, one from Saudi Arabia and the rest are Southern CA, Northern CA, Chicago, New Jersey, Washington DC and Texas. MI,Inc. main project is conducting medical mission to the province of Marinduque.

The five coping and escape mechanism I observed during the meeting were:

Overeating, Filipino time ( always late for events), gambling in the Casinos, smoking & drinking and public outburst. Although I am not an MD or a psychiatrist, I know that the above activities are one of the many ways of coping with the pressure of daily life here in the United States. I will discuss my observations but will not mentioned names. You know who you are , by the activities I described. I hope you do not get mad at me. My purpose of writing this is to make you aware of your bad habits. As the Filipino saying indicates "Bato Bato sa langit, kon sino ang matama-an, huwag magalit". It means do not get upset if you are the one I am describing in this article. In controlling your bad habits, I hope you will live longer and hope to see you more in our future meetings and reunions.

1.Overeating and Hoarding: A typical activity would be indulging in “All you can eat Buffet” ( Sea Food or Chinese). All of the California Indian Casinos offered “All you can eat Buffet” ranging from $14.99 to $24.99 per person. With the food discounts, senior citizen discounts and promo discounts, one could enjoy this buffet for as low as $9.99 per person. I am always amazed at the pile of food some people put in their plates in these places. Another observation that inspired me to write this -is how much food people took to their hotel rooms during the “after dinner dance snack “ at our dinner dance last Saturday. I called this hoarding.
2.Filipino Time: I notice that the same people are the one always late for events. I have attended almost all the Reunions of MI, Inc for the last 10 years, and the same people are the ones that are always late. Lucky for me, I am not the host. Moreover, in Filipino Parties, there is always extra food prepared. If the hosts expect 50 attendees, there is always food for 100. Macrine and I could identify on the subject of preparing two times the amount of food when we have a party in the Philippines. The reason for these is that when you invite one person to your party, she or he would bring one or two more guests. This indeed is bad manners in US, but for some reason , it is tolerated in the Philippines.
photo from cbc.ca/news
3.Gambling in Indian Casinos: The popularity of Indian Casinos and their profits are soaring in spite of the economic recession here in US. An example of the popularity of this activity was our escapade to the San Manuel Casino in San Bernandino County, Friday Night. Forty-six members of MI, INC joined this activity. After this activity, I heard that only two participants went home as winners. The rest of us lost adding to the income of the Casino. Most of us, consider this as part of our entertainment expenses. It is a good way to escape from the daily pressures of living. And If you are a retiree, it is one way to relieve boredom. The trick is to have a budget for this activity, otherwise you can be easily addicted to it.
4.Alcohol and Tobacco: You know who you are. The smokers and drinkers in MI, Inc are known to everybody. They are the same members from year to year. I just hope we are not influencing our young members to follow your footsteps. Every smoker or drinker has reasons why they smoke or drink. Most of them knows the bad effect of these habits to their health, but they can not stop because they are already addicted.

5.Public Outburst: I have thrown one public outburst about five years ago in Marinduque, when somebody cut ahead of me on the line when I was opening a bank account in Boac. I gave a public lecture why people should not cut in line, Last year, I also give a one-to-one lecture to a clerk of Zest Air who changed the schedule of my flight without informing me. But I have never thrown a tantrum or public outburst during an MI, Inc meeting . However, I know of two MI members and three incidents of public outburst during an MI Inc meeting. The first incident was during the Texas reunion two years ago and the other one was during a medical mission in Boac when Macrine was president of MI,, Inc. The latest one was last week at our business meeting and Election of Officers. Again, may I reiterate that the only reason why I am writing this, is to insure that the person(s) involved should get medical help. If the public outburst is a side of effect of medication, then it should also be reported to your physician. I hope that by my writing these incidents in my blog, whether it is overeating, habitual lateness to events, gambling, smoking, drinking or temper tantrums in public, the person(s) involved should be aware of these bad habits . The earlier you recognize you have a problem, the earlier it should be treated by a medical professional. Hopefully, you will live longer and can attend more MI, Inc meetings and reunions in the future.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cloyne Court, Episode Ten

Photo from i09.com
Cloyne Court, Episode Ten
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

Based on a true story that took place in Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.


I was parked on the driveway, the only spot I could find. “I think that’s me. Sorry, I’ll move my car as soon as I move my stuff into my room.”

“Oh, you’re the new person Central Office sent over?” He reached for the folder with my paperwork that was lying on the desk next to a huge bong. “Did you get your keys or see the place yet? If not, I’ll give them to you as we head down to the shower room.”

“As for roommates,” Lisa continued, “We’re all adults here. Your roomie can be anyone you want, male or female. We don’t care. We are not your parents.”

“And Sandy is your roomie,” I said, stating what I believed to be the obvious.

“No, Sandy is not my roomie. He’s my bunkie. There’s a difference.”

I was puzzled.

“A roomie is someone who shares a room with you. That person can be male or female. It can be a platonic relationship if you want. But a Bunkie is someone who shares your bunk or your bed and that means more than roomie status.”

I looked around the room. The two co-op-issued single-sized wooden bed frames had been pushed together under the north window to create one large double bed. A queen-sized mattress had been thrown over both beds to eliminate any crevice between the two. That furniture arrangement I understood.

Sandy grabbed his bath towel and walked down the stairs in the direction of the office. I followed, mouth agape, still wondering if this place was an Alan Funt hoax. As we walked, he pointed out the common rooms of the house.

“This is the sun room.” He pointed to a large bright peninsular shaped room with French style casement windows on three sides, letting the sunshine in on the four worn couches. The view from the windows overlooked a courtyard with a basketball court, green grass lawn and flowering poplars.

“House meetings are every Monday night,” he said. “You just missed the new resident orientation. Since the student residents run the place, we vote on everything that goes on here. You should come to the meetings. Next one is tonight. Should be exciting. We’re voting on whether to convert Jeff’s mound hole in the backyard into an outdoor underground sauna. He needs the V poles for his next sculpture.”

Through the large windows, I could see the pink V poles female sculpture on the grass in the backyard.

We passed the Rogue’s picture gallery I had seen when I first entered the building. “Make sure the photo manager gets your picture to put in the Rogue’s Gallery. That way everyone learns your face and who you are. With a hundred and fifty people living here, it’s hard to get to know everyone in the house. Oh, by the way, didn’t I read in your house application you were into photography? Do you have darkroom skills? We’re hiring a new photo manager. Our last one graduated.”

“Yeah, I’m into that,” I said. “I know how to develop black-and-white film and print pictures with an enlarger.” I felt proud and was astonished he had actually remembered something I had written in my application.

“Wonderful! There’s a darkroom in the basement. You should run for election for the photo manager position. It’s an easy two-hour work shift. I’ll nominate you at the house meeting.”

“Work shift?” I asked.

“Geez, didn’t you read the house application you signed. That's why living here is thirty percent cheaper than living in the dorms. The students run the place. That means we all have jobs. If you don’t want a cushy assignment, you can sign up for a shift cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming the carpet, yard work, gardening, recycling or work in the kitchen.”

I didn’t like cleaning my room at my parent’s house. Assuming the other eighteen-year-olds in the house had my same work avoidance issues, I didn’t see how the house actually got cleaned. And that underlying work ethic certainly explained why the house was in a state of shabbiness and low level of cleanliness.

We walked by the newspaper room. In the center of the room was a massive craftsman-style conference table, an original to the house with two long benches on either side. The table was so large that six people, three on each side, could lay out the newspapers flat on the table and still have room to turn the pages without getting in one another’s way. The table had dozens of outdated newspapers strewn about, so you couldn’t actually see the tabletop. On the wall by the windows were two vintage vending machines in pristine condition. Next to them, were recycling bins overflowing with newspaper, glass bottles and aluminum cans. The room smelled like the bins hadn’t been emptied for some time.

“What brand of beer do you like?” Sandy asked.

Because I was underage and couldn’t legally drink, I could not give a definitive or experienced answer.

“Doesn’t matter anyway. We’re voting tonight on whether to keep selling the Lucky Lager beer in the vending machines at the same low price or raise the price a quarter and substitute a better brand.”

I looked at a vending machine. It was dispensing beer at fifty cents a bottle, various brands of candy, condoms and an empty slot whose dispensing handle appeared well used. Sandy saw me staring.

“That’s for the doobies. A dollar each. They go quick. We run out on weekends and Laurent restocks them when he rolls a new batch. He actually gets two hours work credit for it.”

We continued along the hallway past the TV room, dining room and kitchen and headed down the stairs to the basement shower room. On the door of the shower room was a posted sign:

M-F 9-10 AM, 4-5 PM Women only
M-F 10-11 AM, 5-6 PM Men only
All other times, Co-ed

I followed him into the shower room and was dumbstruck. It was a large open room with eight showerheads spraying from a central stainless-steel structure with niches for a soap dish and water handles much like my high school shower room. Along the tiled walls were several wooden benches and near the door were wall hooks to hang your towel.
Photo from waxmanmedia.com

“The showers are coed. Anyone, male or female can shower at any time except for the four hours when it’s either women or men only."

My jaw dropped. “Doesn’t that cause problems?”

“We haven’t had complaints. Is that going to be a problem for you?”

Sandy draped his towel on a hook and took off his gym shorts. He turned on the shower and signaled that the tour had ended.

“No,” I said, stammering, “I think I can get used to it.”

Episode Eleven from Chapter Three will be posted September 9th.
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