Saturday, October 29, 2016

A Mystery

Went out to Galeria this morning only to find the house in a mess when I got back home - clothes strewn around, sink full of unwashed dishes. It can't be Louis, because she's in Korea, and it can't be Sparky, because he's not with us anymore. So I'm mystified. And I know I haven't done nothing. Seems like this happens about every three days or so. I'm thinking of setting up motion sensors and hidden cameras.

Monday, October 24, 2016


Incredibly frustrating day yesterday, extending into the wee hours of the morning and finally resolved today. I'm exhausted 😜

It all started a few weeks ago when we received an email from Chase Bank stating that they were sending a new card with advanced chip technology (whatever that is). Naturally, we did not receive the card, so I called (again, some weeks ago) and advised them of this. It was decided between the representative and myself that it would be easiest to just cancel the new card and continue to use the existing card. The man assured me, perhaps five times, that there would be no problem, no problem at all.

Well, yesterday morning, when I went to the ATM to withdraw money deposited by Social Security, there was a problem. My card had been closed.

Came home, called Chase, and was told there was nothing they could do about this. Nor could they send a new card because my card was closed. Apparently, this was my fault.

Hold on. You're saying that you closed MY account and there's no way I can get MY money from the ATM?

Yes, sir, that's correct.

But, but, but ...

Is there anything else we can help you with, sir?

But you haven't helped me yet!

So sorry, sir. Thank you for banking with Chase.


So I call again, and again, and again. This department and that department. I tell the story over and over, and every time I tell it, they are sorry, but there's nothing they can do unless I send a photo of my card, front and back, a photo of my passport, and a third form of photo ID.

Well, let's see - I have an expired Oregon Driver's license. No, won't do. I have my birth certificate. No, won't do. I have an expired insurance card. No, won't do. I have a copy of my Social Security awards letter. No, won't do.

But I have no other form of ID!

Are you sure you don't have a valid driver's license, sir.


Perhaps there is someone you know in America that has a current and acceptable picture ID of you and you could have them send it to us.

What? WHAT? OMG, unbelievable.

So at 1 o'clock in the morning, I gather everything that I have. Passport, bank card, SSA award letter, Indonesian car license, Indonesian motorbike licence, Kitas card, expired Oregon driver's license,expired health insurance card, birth certificate, picture of me, picture of Sparky, and I send again, and then I call again.

And, praise God, this time a human being answers the phone.

We talked about Bali, how I happened to come here, how the adjustment period had been, and so on.

Wow, so this is really a bummer, he said. There you are in Bali, and you can't use your bank card or get any money, and you only have the equivalent of about two dollars in your wallet?

Yes, yes. YES!

Okay, let me talk to the senior supervisor here.

He does so, comes back, and says his supervisor says that I need the pieces of ID that I don't have.

We talk more. He actually understands why I don't have multiple active pieces of American ID.

Why would you, right?


Okay, I'm gonna talk to him again.

He does, and the supervisor himself gets on the phone. It's like pulling a dozen more nails, but finally, FINALLY, the supervisor decides he will let me have my own money. He will activate the closed card for 48 hours, and he will send a new card. With advanced chip technology.

Well, I'll believe that second part when I see it, but at least I have money now to buy food for a while.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

You Never Know

I would never have thought, not in a million years, that I, just a poor boy from Oregon, would one day be living on a tropical island with nothing in particular to do other than sip coffee, read books, write stories and float around at the beach. Life is full of fantastic surprises. And all I had to do to get here was to become old and unwell 😂. Totally worth it, in my book.

Crazy Rich Asians

[A review of Crazy Rich Asians. I read the book in Indonesian, so I wanted to do the review in Indonesian too 😅. If interested, just copy and paste in Google Translate.]

Seorang wanita menemukan sms di ponsel suaminya. RINDU KAU DI DLMKU. Kemudian, dia menemukan nota dari restoran mewah di Hong Kong. Dia bertanya-tanya kalau suaminya beselingkuh. Siapa wanita itu (dasar pelacur!). Seperti apa dia?

"Dia membayangkan Michael duduk ruang bercahaya lilin di puncak Hotel Island Shangri-La, menatap keluar ke kilau cahaya pelabuhan Victoria Harbour, menikmati makan malam romantis dengan wanita yang mengirimkan pesan itu. Mereka mulai dengan Burgundy kualitas tinggi dari Cote d'Or dan ditutup dengan souffle cokelat pahit hangat untuk berdua (dengan krim kemon beku)."


Detail-detail bisa sangat penting! Tempat, suasana, jenis anggur!

Orang laki-laki charters pesawat pribadi temanya untuk tiga penerbangan terpisah ke Taiwan karena dia nggak mau semua orang dari keluarga mati pada saat yang sama jika ada kecelakaan. Seorang harus bertahan hidup untuk mewarisi kekayaan keluarga.

Di Paris, Astrid berbelanja di boutique 1st class. Nggak ada biaya dengan baju manapun, kalau perlu tahu harganya, jelas nggak punya uang yang cukup. Pramuniaga di toko itu belum pernah lihat wanita Cina ini, jadi dia mengabaikanya. Kapan Charlie, pacar baru Astrid, cari tahu, mereka kembali ke toko itu.

"Memilih sepuluh gaun," ujar Charlie. "Nunggu - ambil dua puluh! Aku menelpon bankir-ku sekarang juga!"

Menghabiskan uang dengan cara Charlie Wu, pikir Astrid, benar-benar mengasyikkan--jujur saja, rasanya lebih nikmat daripada bercinta.

Ini adalah gaya hidup Cina yang super kaya - yang tinggal di Singapora, di Malaysia, di Taiwan, di New York, di Paris - di seluruh dunia - dicat dengan humor dan persepsi dalam novel ini dari Michael Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians. Ini adalah cerita tentang kekayaan yang tak terhitung, tata krama, tradisi, budaya, dari dunia lama dan dunia baru, kekayaan lama dan kekayaan baru, tentang kesederhanaan  ekses dan ekses kesederhanaan, dan tentang hal-hal yang kekal dan hal-hal yang hanya sementara.

Lucu, menarik, informatif dan mengejutkan, aku benar-benar menikmati buku ini.

"Ku-katakan padamu, yang disebut 'kekayaan' ini akan menjadi kejatuhan Asia. Setiap generasi baru menjadi lebih malas daripada yang sebelumnya. Mereka pikir mereka bisa membuat keuntungan dalam semalam hanya dengan menjual properti dan mendapatkan tip-tip terbaru di bursa saham. Ha! Tidak ada yang abadi, dan ketika ledakan ini berakhir, anak-anak muda ini tidak akan tahu apa yang menjatuhkan mereka."

Ayat favorit saya.


An opportunity to learn about MS management (Nutrition, Stress Management, Exercise)
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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Above the World

Yesterday, we drove up into the hills above the south Bali coast and into the rice tiers which cascade down from the high slopes. As you gain altitude, the air cools and the humidity relinquishes its hold. A stark greeness fills the world, spreading out like a plush carpet, dotted with stone dwellings which hug the edges of narrow roads. It seems the passtime of women and children to sit at the edge of their properties and watch the traffic come and go. They are simple and open and as much a part of the land as the rice and the grass and the stones. One has the impression that many of these folks have never been more than a few miles from their homes. Theirs is a world of tradition and labor and ceremony and family. The outside world is a rumor, a tale, a matter of conjecture which pales in importance compared to the life of the community, the latest gossip, the weather, the stage of the moon. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton do not exist. Iran and Afghanistan do not exist. The fields, the water, the sky, the temple, the ceremonies, the gods - these exist.