Festival of Lights

July 1st

I was enjoying the festival of lights until a convoy of vans (clearly governmental; I heard that the PR President was in Tacloban for some reason) had to travel the EXACT SAME ROAD as the festival. With the entire rest of the city deserted. F-ing morons.

I didn’t have much else to report, until below, so wasn’t making much of an effort to blog. I’ve been feeling better, day by day, but still making regular visits to the toilet. So far today (2 PM as I type this), I seem to be fine. Tomorrow we may try for a jog, only the second since we’ve been on vacation.

Yesterday we visited what’s basically an extremely high-end Bed and Breakfast by the sister of a sister-in-law of mine (well, wife of my brother-in-law, so once removed?). They don’t advertise and work exclusively by word of mouth. It only has a total of 11 units and two of those are penthouse suites with multiple bedrooms. They were very lucky during Yolanda in that they were one of the first places to get their generators going again and so wound up being the headquarters of much of the international support. They called it a mini UN for a time. Had one official pay the day rate for an entire year! Anyway, it was beautiful and they had amazing windows that blocked out all the sound. They saved much of the wood from the original structure and used lots of polished marble. Relatively expensive, but I think well worth it.

I just experienced a small (very small) earthquake, and what prompted me to finally do the blog entry. Probably, if I hadn’t been sitting perfectly still at my computer, I might not have even noticed (I’ll have to ask the others if they did (many did, but a few didn’t)). I believe I’ve noticed at least one each time I’ve been here. Once, I suddenly felt light headed, again while sitting at my computer, only to notice a necklace hanging next to me wiggling back and forth.

It would seem, searching my blog, that I never describe the earthquake (no question about that one!) we experienced on a 2006 trip to Hawaii. We were on the last day of our trip and doing laundry and packing (that royal ‘we’ again; I was goofing off and Elise was ensuring the rest) when a 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck. It was a ‘settling’ earthquake, in that the massive island chain, which continues to get bigger and heavier all the time, sometimes drops down a few feet, now and again. While I sat there, marveling at the sensations between the P waves vs the S waves (I can never remember which one is vertical and which is horizontal; here’s some info, if you care), ogling the chandelier as it swung back and forth and watching dust from the ceiling filter down, my much more intelligent and practical wife grabbed our son and raced out of the building. I didn’t start moving until the shaking was all over. Dumbass.

Anyway, I finally did get outside, but then we all (it was a condo complex and there were lots of us) sort of looked at each other, thinking ‘what now?’ After a few minutes, I shrugged and headed back in. Lots of other people followed. We discovered that there was no power and our clothes in the washing machine were, naturally, completely soaked. It seems that no sooner were we back when a 6.1 hit. You’d think, having been so recently reminded about practical things to do, that I’d be hustling out the door with my wife and child, but, nope, I stood there, once again, marveling at the experience. Some people just don’t learn.

We were outside much longer this time, but the world stubbornly refused to end (what point being outside anyway? To watch it?), so we straggled back in. We moved a bit more expeditiously this time, and I recall helping somewhat. When we turned in keys, etc. for the timeshare, there was a small aftershock. I was leaning against a desk and it was like it punched me. A woman ran a couple of steps toward the door before realizing that no one else was panicking, but wasn’t the slightest bit sheepish when she slowly returned.

There were a number of road closures, due to fairly minor landslides, but we could reach the airport. We went early, not sure what would happen, and sat around in the un-air conditioning for a good while. The backup generators would work the important things, such as security and air traffic control, but not AC.

We had to fly to Oahu before we could head back to the mainland and, interestingly, that airport’s backup generators weren’t working for some reason. This surprised me: planes could land and people could transfer, as we did, but no one could come into the airport because they couldn’t be screened. The airport was very warm and getting warmer by the minute. Word filtered to us that once the sun went down, the airport would be closed, as it had no electricity for runway lights. We all watched the sinking sun with a very sinking feeling, getting more and more convinced we’d be sleeping in a hot sweaty airport that night.

Instead, we managed to get on the plane (thankfully cooled on its own, not to mention with lights) and took off with part of the sun still above the horizon. We were several hours late, though, and I just assumed we were going to miss our connecting flight. Interesting thing, seemingly since we were traveling via first class (thanks to miles), they held our departing flight for some half hour because of us. My wife grabbed our son and raced through the airport while I took the stroller (he was two-ish) and carryons and followed in a more ambling pace, convinced the plane was long gone. Color me shocked when I see my wife standing in the plane’s doorway.

I don’t remember any longer if our bags made it on or not, but it was an interesting trip, for sure.


Our party has shrunk to perhaps 10 now, with the ‘defection’ of a number this morning. They’re going to visit for a few days in Manila, while we will only be there long enough to catch our flight back to the states. Could be quiet the rest of the week, but who knows…

I’ve got almost 8,200 words written on my sequel story and feel like I’m making good progress. I might actually have the draft done in a week, after all. Well, ‘done’ in that everything written that I planned in the synopsis. I still have the transition to work on that I never sorted out when I wrote the synopsis.

I went through my Treasure Hunt script and assigned a physical location to each scene. There are 75, with a total of 30 unique locations. More than 20 of those locations are either at one of our houses or very close by. There are two, however, I have yet to iron out at all, though a friend suggested some potential, and there are two others I haven’t contacted to see if they’ll let me use their place. I need a library, for a short scene, and hope to use the Mount Jackson public library (sent them an email). I’d like to use the Shenandoah County land office, but couldn’t find a contact email address online, so will call when I get home.

I’m trying to figure out an estimate for how long it will take to shoot the various scenes. I’ve asked the DP I’ve been interacting with for his suggestions on how long to set up under various conditions (say, moving from one end of the house to another, lighting the same scene for a different time (all the scenes in the same physical location will be filmed one right after the other), moving the whole kit and kaboodle to another location on the same property vs one further away, etc.) so I can try and put parameters on the process and see if 4 weekends is even possible.

Things are moving in the typical non-linear way that my mind seems to work. It feels very inefficient, but others seem to believe I’m getting things done fast.

Author: Tfoui

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