Today’s Wish: See a Garbage Truck

I can’t recall a daydream that I have ever wished to see a garbage truck. Not. One. Daydream. I’ve wished to see celebrities. It happened. I’ve wished to see America. It happened. I’ve wished to go to the moon. This one remains to be seen. But so does our garbage truck.

Today we turn one year in our new address and we’ve only seen the garbage truck once. Yes, just once and it stopped by to pick up our trash just because we offered to pay for it. It didn’t show up again after that. So what happens to one year of trash? Everything goes up in smoke.

An ironic statement from someone very particular of sorting and recycling stuffs. But that’s how we’ve been doing it for the whole year however opposed we are to burning garbage in our backyard at the expense of the environment and right under the risk of our son’s asthma being triggered because of the smell of smoke. 

The metal drum I converted last year into an incinerator is already beginning to crumble so it should be about time to get another. I can make a new one, it should be easy especially now that I have my own power cutting tool. Yet I decided to give our barangay another chance. I’ve dropped by the office last week to inquire when the garbage truck really passes. They said Monday. Today is Monday.

So here I am for the first time in my entire life so full of anticipation to see if that garbage truck still exists. I’m keeping all fingers crossed, toes included, that today I get to see a week of trash taken by our barangay’s sanitation department or whatever it’s called locally. When you see white smoke though, it means only one thing: the truck misses and we start burning our trashes once more. Next step? A visit to another complaints desk.

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One of things that fascinated me while in the US is seeing in person the modern sanitation equipment at work. One sunny but cold morning the motorized street sweeper made its regular pass on the neighborhood’s court. My in-law said it is just to keep off dirt that could turn into sludge and clog the drains. Too bad Marcus didn’t see everything but it would have made him remember those cartoon shows. Well, Call of Duty was more important that day.

A day or so later came the huge green garbage truck. No other personnel with it but the driver. It performed a seemingly well rehearsed stop beside each covered plastic bins of each house, picked them up using a hydraulic claw, dumped its contents at the back of the truck, returned the empty bins in front of the fenceless yards, and left the court without any fuss. All in a day’s work.

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Image above is a derivative of William Warby’s Smoke Plume as seen on Flickr’s Creative Commons. Truck is from Google. Driver is Marcus’ Spongebob.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (So this is one year.)

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Trash, Trash, Trash

It’s not every time that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Sometimes trash is just trash that needs to be disposed, ideally, properly but this will only happen if and when the right options are there. At the very least, there should be regular garbage collection or a nearby recycling facility. So what if none of these are present. How does one dispose trash?

Proper trash disposal continues to be one of the main concerns where we are at right now. We are close to our second month in our new address but so far we only had a visit from the local government’s garbage collector and that was only after we agreed to pay them. The last time we saw the little garbage truck was more than a month ago.  We live in a compound with my in-laws and I learned from them that the garbage truck only picks up the trash of gated subdivisions located nearby while residences situated along the way are left on their own. The good news is that I haven’t seen any trash bag on the road sides but I haven’t checked the nearby creek just because I don’t want to. I just know what to expect.

So there was no big surprise when I saw this video on Facebook of a man carelessly throwing garbage bags from a bridge—on broad daylight. It was the sight I hate to see but it was a reaffirmation of what could be happening in most places where people are deprived of proper and regular garbage collection. From what I have heard some families do pay a mangangalakal (individuals who collect recyclable materials) to dispose their trash which usually ends up somewhere but the garbage landfill.

Image from Facebook.

I am very particular about how I dispose trash. I make it a habit to sort recyclables and non-recyclables. Back in our old residence, our garbage footprint had been the lowest relative to our neighbors of the same family size. In fact, there would be  times when the garbage truck would miss to pick up ours and they would return the next week with the trash bin still not overflowing. Sadly, we cannot and do not have the same control anymore.

As much as I hate to I have resorted to another approach. It’s the lesser evil than throwing garbage into the creek but an evil nevertheless. Our son Marcus has asthma condition and very prone to getting sick once exposed to smoke and other airborne irritants so burning trash was never an option but we really have no choice. I already fabricated an incinerator barrel and we have been using it for weeks already. It was effective though I know that this isn’t right and shouldn’t stay long term. I am planning to talk to an officer of the local government to help us but I have been indirectly advised that for now this could be a futile attempt. Politics, I get it but there is hope. I heard that the incoming administration has solid waste management as one of its top priorities. I am crossing my fingers that this will materialize but until then our garbage dilemma remains.

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Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Marcus is still sleeping. He’s getting better after one week.)

Got Lego from Shell This Year?

Christmas 2015 is different for those who have been fans of Lego toys from Shell gas stations. Yes, that is because Lego broke its ties last year with the giant Shell Corp. after constant pressure from groups especially Greenpeace International against its Artic drilling activities. It was a big victory for the environment but at the same time a sad loss for us parents who get our chance to buy cheaper genuine Lego toys after filling up.

Legos block Shell’s Arctic drilling. (Image from The Guardian)

It’s not entirely true though for our son.

Well, naughty or nice, Marcus got one this December from Santa Claus. It’s from the Santa Claus who bought the stuffs last year and waited for the right moment when he runs out of idea on what to give next. And it happened.

Yesterday, Santa skipped our home, or didn’t get the opportunity to sneak his way to Marcus’ red sock, so this morning he makes up for it with an F12 Berlinetta.

A Lambo from Petron, a Ferrari from Shell.

I don’t know if Santa still has more left but I heard Mrs. Claus said there’s one more. Let’s see what Marcus gets in the next days.

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There is good news. Shell Corp. eventually pulled out its Arctic drilling activities after realizing there is no long term potential in the area or probably after encountering radical Santa’s elves who got annoyed by the noise and threatened a lifetime of zero gifts for the sons and daughters of all Shell employees. Now we wonder if we will soon see the return of Lego-Shell partnership. Make the answer ‘yes’ please.

Legos from Shell in 2016?
Happening again in 2016?

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (The building game begins tomorrow. This isn’t Minecraft this time but it could like a villager’s house.)

Driving Conditions We Have Come To Accept?

Image by Marcus’ dad.

Every day as I drive home I realize that there are conditions that we must have already accepted as the norm. At some point in the past these got so much attention most in the form of promises and grandstanding of politicians, and rants from the general public and the media. But as time passes focus on these issues have gone cold.

For example, dark streets. For more than three years I have been driving through the same dark inner roads and highways. On these roads I have witnessed countless accidents that could have been avoided had these places been well-lit. It bothers me to think that lives and limbs would be wasted soon unless the concerned government agencies start getting their acts together. There are already cheap solar street lighting so it makes me wonder what keeps our officials from installing them.

Then there are also the potholes. Years ago, each time I hear an exposé about substandard road projects I hoped and believed that change will start to happen soon–that roads will stay paved for long. But it was being naive because change was temporary. What appeared to be worthy projects have once again ended in the hands of corrupt contractors. Our roads are back to its sorry state.

Then we have the existence of smoke belchers. These vehicles, usually trucks and jeepneys, continue to pollute and to make driving a lot more difficult. Just imagine the challenge I experience almost daily as I make my way through pitch-black, zigzagged, and potholed road while following a slow-moving truck spewing a screen of thick black smoke. Oh, before I forget, this part of my trip is uphill. Whatever happened to the clean air act?

I don’t know when another campaign to eradicate these problems will kick in once more. Maybe soon but maybe not. Or, maybe when these hazardous road conditions claim the life of someone famous. Until then it looks like these are just things that we must accept and live with.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (My body clock is American, time zone is Asian.)

Love Earth, Wear Dirty Jeans

What I don’t do for my jeans saves the planet. If you don’t know what I am talking about, then it is time for you to read Mashable’s article about CEO of Levi’s earth-friendly advice–do not wash your jeans. Yes, you got that right. Do not wash your jeans!

This is the second time I have read an article that encourages what I have been doing all along. Few weeks back, Yahoo! also featured tips on how to extend the life of fabric simply by washing it less often than most of us are used to. In that same article, it mentions freezing the clothing to kill germs rather than the usual laundry. I nearly tried it the last time had I found a ziplock bag where my jeans would fit as except for an almost untouched pint of ice cream, a partially filled ice cube tray, and a small bag of hotdogs, our freezer could accommodate such experiment–yup, it’s that empty.

Now that a CEO has spoken about this earth-friendly idea once more, regardless if it some sort of hype for a material and process that require less water to manufacture a pair of Levi’s jeans, my excitement to get my pants dirty for the love of the environment is becoming stronger. I am no stranger to this, in fact there was once a time when I have kept my Levi’s–I can afford one back in ’96–unwashed and continued to wear it to work for more than a month. (I now recall that it was also when Shaggy’s Boombastic became the catchy commercial jingle of Levi’s.)

Today, while I cannot accomplish same duration of an unwashed jeans, I still make it a point to wear my pants more than once. There’s just this feeling of guilt whenever I throw a pair of pants to the laundry bin worn only for a day. Maybe because I am aware of the decreasing water levels in our dams or just maybe because I would avoid laundry if I can help it. Whatever the reasons are, I now feel that wearing dirty jeans is one of my many contributions to save mother earth.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Will skip gym just to write this post.)

Henry Hates Joyce

I think I shall never see

A sad poem about a parking lot made by Mr. Sy.

A parking lot whose chilly basement is pressed

Against Baguio’s once abundant pine tree crest.

A parking lot that looks at the mall all day;

And waits for cars of shoppers who pay.

A parking lot that covers people in Summer wear;

A nest of evicted bird species in its lair.

Upon its concrete levels Baguio’s cold has lain;

Insensitive of the dead forest’s pain.

Poems are made by fools like me

But only greedy men can uproot hundreds of pine tree.

***

Credit: Poem derived from ‘Trees’ by Joyce Kilmer.

Photo derived from http://www.freephotosbank.com

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Mood: 1/10 Honks! (Monday and WE are home.)

Knock, knock!

Contrary to my goal, again, I’m failing in my goal to fill my need to write more posts and Marcus has a lot to do with it. For wifey and me, parenting lately has been a lot crazier than before. Don’t get me wrong, despite nerve-wracking moments with an active 3-year old we seem to spend more enjoyable times as we witness his rapid development and antics that come along with it. Nowadays, our one and only boy….

…has become more articulate than ever. Other than saying our names clearer, he can now say Manny Pacquiao.

…can recognize Toyotas and Pajeros and other car brands. He can just spot Hondas before. (When he was more than a year old, he screams whenever he sees wheels.)

…has transitioned from nursery rhymes to more mature music. He used to just like GTO from the movie RV and lately he surprised me when he showed to me that he can dance to Top Gun’s Danger Zone and Mighty Wings. He also goes ballistic when he hears Party Anthem and Moves Like Jagger.

…continues to impress us with his pace in learning to use cellphones, computers and home theater. (Thankfully, he has not figured out why his favorite cartoon show doesn’t appear however he press the TV’s channel button. Yes, I locked it.)

…seems to start understanding that littering trash will result to flood and that whenever he sees some of the Sendong video footage, he’ll look for his clothes and tell us to donate them. (This one makes us feel so proud.)

Well, this is just a knock knock and I have to cut this short because sooner or later, he’ll be up and ready again to keep our day busy…and stressful…and fun. Parenting is exciting, isn’t it?

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Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Thankful to be home.)