I was looking through my Google Analytics page at the keywords section and I started noticing some really weird, bizarre, and just downright foul stuff. It’s crazy what people search for. Anyhow, I figured I’d share it. Some of it is worth a good laugh. Some of it will make you say “WTF!”. Either way, it’s bound to be entertaining. Also, most of this is NSFW.
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I suppose the lesson to be had from this is that porn drives the Internet more than anything else. Thankfully, most of the keywords people are hitting my blog from are much more productive and on topic than these.
Also, to all you sick bastards out there looking for naked children… you won’t find that here.
Jeepneys are a popular form of transportation in the Philippines and most owners customize them to suit their tastes and to attract passengers. This Jeepney has a Fantasy Ladies theme that reminds me of Japanese RPG video games. Maybe the characters actually are from a video game?
Anime style decoration on a Philippines tricycle.
I also saw this tricycle today and thought the art on the back was pretty neat. We know someone whose nickname is Weng. We’re going to send her a copy of this photo too.
Filipino tricycle driver.
The driver of the tricycle was really excited that I was taking a photo of his vehicle. Well, maybe his friends were the ones that were more excited. They insisted that he pose for a photo of him and the tricycle together.
I really enjoy how creative people get with the designs on the public transportation here. Hopefully I can get a few more good photos of examples before I leave.
Last month on the 1st I posted a photo of some odd Pringles flavors, including Seaweed and Grilled Shrimp, that I’d found here in the Philippines. I think they’re totally weird and I’m not all that interested in trying them, but I suppose they’re patterned after local tastes, the way McDonald’s patterns it’s menu to match the country they’re in.
In the comments to that post, I was given a link to another blog called Everything-Everywhere. The blog writer, Gary Arndt, has a project going on that he calls “Project Pringles”. His intent is to document all of the Pringles flavors from all over the world, including photos. The commenter on my post recommended I get a better shot of the Grilled Shrimp Pringles since it wasn’t on his list yet, but it took me way too long to get back around to it.
I did finally remember to take my camera with me to the grocery store, but alas, it was too late. Someone else had already submitted the grilled shrimp flavor, as well as the other two I found:
I found this sign outside a retail store in Antipolo here in the Philippines. I can only imagine the PR shit storm something like this would cause in the US. I wonder what it is exactly that they need boys and gays for. It doesn’t exactly come across as being on the up and up.
Also, I wonder if being gay and a boy would guarantee being hired?
If you’re not familiar with the anchor baby problem, there’s a part of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution that basically makes it so that any child born on US soil is granted US citizenship. This was put in place to help ensure that the children of former African slaves would be guaranteed US citizenship. Unfortunately, it is now being abused by illegal immigrants who enter the US and ‘drop’ an anchor baby, which can later grow up and bring in the rest of the family legally through regular visa application processes. The problem is mostly with Mexicans, since it’s so easy for them to hop across the mostly unguarded southern border of the US. There are other opportunities and places where foreigners attempt to use babies as an anchor to get into the US though, and I’m going to tell you a story about one such event. This is a story that my wife related to me. I won’t mention any names for the sake of privacy.
An American man was living a happy, regular life in the US with a well paying job, a wife and two kids. Due to the economic downturn he was laid off. Unable to find another job that would maintain the lifestyle he and his family were accustomed to, his wife threw him out of the house and divorced him. Sucks right? So much for “richer or poorer”.
I’m not too clear on the details of how he wound up in the Philippines, but he did, and he got married to a Filipina and had a child with her. She seemed eager to be a good wife, but something just didn’t seem right about her, so he applied for a permanent residency visa in the Philippines and after receiving it told her he wanted to stay indefinitely. He was testing her, and she failed in epic fashion. In an honest relationship, it shouldn’t matter if he wanted to stay here or go back to the US. She should have been satisfied with just being together. That’s what it’s all about right? Instead, she flew into a rage and threw him out into the streets.
Three years further on, this American man is still in the Philippines, working to save up money to allow him to move back to the US at some point and trying to find a way to get custody of his child. He’s still technically married, but has filed for an annulment. Since the wife threw him out of the house, she’s required to pay for it, but she’s stalling. She doesn’t want to go through with it because she wants to use the anchor baby method to try getting into the US.
Luckily, the guy still has some protection from letting this woman carry through with her evil agenda. By birth, the child is American, but only if the father signs off on the paperwork to process it. He won’t do it until she processes the annulment. She won’t process the annulment because it will stop her from using the baby to anchor herself in the US. So, that’s where the problem is. Neither one wants to budge and there’s really no reason why the father should.
Hopefully, at some point the guy will find a way to get the kid back from her and get back into the US with him, leaving the conniving bitch to rot in the Philippines. I’m glad I don’t have this issue.
That’s the best way I could think of to describe this particular practice in the Philippines.
The guy in red is trying to direct cars on how and where to park at the McDonald’s I was in when I took the photo.
Depending on where you go, there might be a parking lot available for your car. Most places you just have to park along the street, but the franchise establishments usually have at least a few parking spots, like Max’s Chicken and McDonald’s, where the above photo was taken.
These restaurants don’t hire people to stand out in the parking lot and direct people about where to park. This opportunity, however, has been coopted by people looking to make a buck doing whatever they can. So, it’s not uncommon to see randomly dressed people standing in or near the road trying to direct people as to where they can park. Then, they try to use hand gestures to tell you how to park and later, when you’re leaving, when it’s safe to back out into the road.
For this service, they expect a tip. Is their service necessary? Probably not except in the most bizarre of parking arrangements. What they’ve done, however, is position themselves so that you feel like a complete jackass if you ignore them and drive off.
So, as an addition to the other costs of owning an automobile in the Philippines, you can expect to feel obligated to dish out a few pesos here and there to people who have become self-appointed parking attendants.
In the Philippines there is a snack cake called Fudgee Barr. It comes in a variety of flavors including chocolate and vanilla and some green one. I don’t remember what that’s called. I’ve had the chocolate and vanilla flavored Fudgee Barrs and they’re both tasty but I prefer the chocolate one.
A few weeks ago, my wife was walking through the hallway eating a chocolate Fudgee Barr. She was really enjoying herself. I was following her and happened to look down and noticed that she’d dropped a piece on the floor. So I said to her, “Honey, you dropped some of your Fudgee Barr.” She said, “Oops!” and bent over and picked it up.
Her face went from happy to shocked to disgusted. Well, it wasn’t Fudgee Barr. At least it wasn’t the kind of fudgy bar she was eating anyway. The piece of “Fudgee Barr” was on the floor in the hallway next to the storage room where the cats’ litter box is. I think you can see where I’m going with this. The moist brown morsel in her fingers was cat shit.
When I was out shopping I noticed these ice cream flavored Oreos. I don’t know if they’re local to Asia or if they’re being sold in the US, but it looked interesting, and kind of weird, so I figured I’d give them a try.
When I opened the pack I could smell blueberry right away, but there was also a weird minty smell.
The inside is definitely a blueberry color.
The taste is something that I couldn’t quite appreciate. The cookie part is fine. It tastes like the usual Oreo, but the cream is … weird. When I bit into it, it had a minty blueberry taste. It didn’t taste much like ice cream to me. Suddenly I realized that it tasted like menthol, from a menthol cigarette like a Newport or Marlboro Menthol. Once I made that connection I had a mental image of eating cigarettes and I couldn’t stomach it anymore. The rest of the pack went straight to the trash can.
Anyone know if these are being sold elsewhere? Have you tried them? What did you think?
Continuing right along with my problems with Globe, I’d like to give a few examples of why Globe Telecom sucks horribly when it comes to customer service. As a service provider, customer service is an area that Globe should be excelling in, but they obviously don’t know the first thing about taking care of customers. I’ll just give my examples in order of when I experienced them.
When we were using Globe Tattoo’s USB sticks for Internet access, there were times when the network would go down or it would be so horribly slow that it literally couldn’t load pages, even though it would connect you and debit your account. This would lead to lost money either way, because even if you registered for all-day surfing, how can you surf all day and get what you paid for if the network is down?
So, we would call up the Customer Service hotline and ask for a refund since we weren’t able to use the service. WITHOUT FAIL the CSR we talked to would always tell us that they were going to put us on hold to check the status of the network in our area, then come back and tell us the network was working fine, as if they were trying to say the fault is somehow ours and they don’t want to take responsibility for it.
I mean, hello! The network isn’t fine! If it was, we wouldn’t be wasting our time calling the hotline over 5 or 10 pesos.
It usually required an epic amount of arguing to get that small refund. Every, single, time.
When we wanted to sign up for WiMax, we went to the Globe store at SM Taytay and talked to a CSR there. We agreed that we wanted the service and we were asked for contact details. We were told that they would check to see if there was coverage in our area and then get back to us.
My first problem with this is, why can’t they check on the spot if an area has coverage? Shouldn’t that data be on hand? Should a person have to physically go out to a location every single time someone wants service and check? How inefficient is that?
My second problem is that they never did get back to us. After waiting for 3 weeks we wound up using an authorized agent and distributor to get our WiMax.
Why is it that the CSRs never update account notes? If I have an ongoing problem, even after they pull up the account and say they’ve reviewed the details, they never know what’s going on and I have to re-explain something to them from the start. On top of that, I have to explain it multiple times in multiple ways because they never seem to understand what I’m talking about. I get the feeling that I understand their services better than they do. These CSRs really need to be retrained, or to get some training to begin with.
I’m mostly referring to my on-going issue with WiMax here, which still isn’t resolved by the way, since the technicians that were supposedly coming out to make a house call never bothered to show up. I’ve made multiple calls to their office about slow speeds and every single time I talk to them I have to start from the beginning. Looks like I’ll be doing it again shortly, and now in addition to have to re-explain myself, I’ll have to complain about how the technicians blew us off and didn’t show up for the appointments that they set.
Globe CSRs will always try to make you feel like a liar and a thief. In some cases, they’ll even tell you an outright lie to try to keep from having to refund money. They even quote things that have no bearing on what the issue is.
A few days ago, on the 18th, I registered for a text promotion called SULITXT 15. Basically, you pay 15 PHP and you get 100 text messages that are available for 24 hours. After 24 hours, the unused portion is forfeited. This is a good deal because text messages are typically 1 PHP each.
To register, you send “SULITXT 15” to 8888. To check your balance, you send “SLTX BAL” to 8888.
So, after registering and using it for a while, I decided to check my balance. I accidentally copy / pasted the registration code instead of the balance code and sent it.
Instead of returning an error and letting me know that I was already registered, it double registered me, giving me an extra 100 available messages that I didn’t want or need and debited my account for another 15 PHP.
I called the Customer Service hotline to try to have the 2nd registration canceled and have my 15 PHP returned. It took me about 20 minutes to get the CSR to understand what I was saying and then after that, he started quoting the Fair Use Policy and saying that SULITXT and my situation falls under it.
The fair use policy states that text offers are applicable for person to person transactions only. They are not intended and should not be used for spamming. Globe reserves the right to suspend promo subscription/s of accounts suspected to be engaged in such activities.
Just what the hell does this have to do with my problem? I was asking for a cancelation of the service that double registered since I didn’t need it, and was asking for my 15 PHP to be returned. What about that has anything to do with spamming?
It seems more like he was trying to blow smoke up my ass to get me to stop trying.
He also lied to me, directly. He tried to tell me that I hadn’t registered for SULITXT services since early July. I told him that I was using it then and had been using it almost every day for the previous few weeks. He told me that I was lying to him and that “the system” didn’t show that I’d used any services during that period. I told him I had proof, the reply messages from the automated service, and that I was definitely using the service and I told him to stop trying to bullshit me.
Here are screenshots:
This is the screenshot of when I accidentally resent the registration code instead of the balance code.
This is the screenshot showing where I checked the balance after accidentally registering again.
In fact, here are screenshots of all the times I’ve registered for SULITXT from August 3rd through this incident:
I guess the concept of smart phones that can take screen shots hasn’t quite dawned on people here. So, which one of us is lying, huh?
I don’t like being lied to, especially about something that’s easily provable, and especially over 15 PHP. That’s 33 cents USD. Why the hell would I call and try to fabricate a story for an amount that can’t even buy a pack of gum?
After arguing with this guy for quite a while, he finally said he would submit a report and gave me a reference number, but I never got my 15 PHP back and the reference number probably isn’t even real.
On the 13th I wrote a blog post about Globe services. I tried to keep the tone neutral, to be fair. We’ve been having some problems with them, but I wanted to give them a fair chance to get their shit together so the post was mostly just about what they offer in terms of Internet services. However, every single day we seem to have an issue with Globe and their response is less than adequate, even for a provider in a 3rd world country.
To put it simply, Globe sucks. I hope their offices burn to the ground, but only after I’ve left the country or someone may see this and come looking for me. Today I’ll talk about why Globe’s WiMax sucks. Tomorrow I’ll talk about how their mobile and customer service sucks.
Globe’s WiMax Rip-Off
My biggest issue right now is with Globe’s WiMax service.
We had two choices when we signed up. We could either pay 795 PHP per month for a 512 kbits/s plan, or pay 995 PHP per month for a 1 MB/s (~1024 kbit/s) plan. We figured it was worth the extra 200 pesos for double the speed so we went with the higher plan.
WiMax is high speed broadband, or so they claim, and for a while it was fantastic. When it was first installed, the morons put it on the side of the house, under the eaves, so the signal was bad. When we finally got it installed correctly on the roof and our signal strength went from 36% to 100%, it was like I was in the US somewhere. Well, ok not that great, but it was close. Everything was fast and download speeds were reasonable at 100 kbits/s, on average, meeting the rate quoted in our plan.
So here’s the fucked up part. Everything went to crap after we had the service for about two weeks. On the 8th, our connection speed dropped from 1 MB/s to 300 kbits/s. Now, just to make sure you understand, that’s 1/3 of what it should be, and is lower than the lower tier plan, which is supposed to be 512 kbits/s. So, we’re paying for a higher tier plan and can’t even get the connection speed of the lower tier plan. What kind of sense does that make? I’ve contacted their customer support numerous times, in numerous ways, to try to get this fixed, but the answers are getting increasingly stupid and I think we’re just being screwed.
Globe has a Twitter account, @talk2Globe, and I figured why not give it a shot? It’s easier to communicate in type when you’re talking to someone that has trouble understanding English, which is the impression I have of Globe CSRs after having dealt with them many times previously. Either that or they’re trained to make conversations intentionally more difficult than they have to be So, the day after the connection slowed down, I DMed their Globe account with the details of our problem.
The following day I received these DMs from Globe:
So, I messaged them back letting them know I’d checked all of those things before messaging them and that the problem was ongoing.
They replied with this:
That’s a reasonable request, so I went ahead and used Speed Test and sent them the results.
As you can see from the results, the speed seems to be fairly well capped at .30 Mb/s down, or about 300 kbits/s. That’s constant. It’s still this way now, as of the 21st (keep in mind the times on the Speed Tests are in GMT, not local Philippines time):
If this problem were due to network congestion, it wouldn’t stay capped at 300 kbits/s ALL THE TIME, would it? At some point, our connection would meet the 1 MB/s plan we’re signed up for, but ever since the 8th that’s not the case.
I sent links to these Speed Test results to Globe via DM. This was their response:
This is the first time I heard Globe say that 300 kbits/s is an acceptable speed for their WiMax, and while that might be completely fine if I had the 512 kbs/s plan, I expect more from them when I have the 1 MB/s plan. I expect at least more than I would get from the tier below me. Common sense tells you that 1 MB/s is the maximum, but not the speed you’ll get all the time. Common sense also tells you that you should get 1 MB/s at least most of the time. Unfortunately, I’m not getting it, period. Ever. I can’t even break 512 kbits/s. So, I let the Globe guy know his response wasn’t satisfactory, because there’s no way we’d be getting 1 MB/s speeds consistently and then suddenly be completely capped at 300 kbits/s.
“We hope you understand.”
Ya. I do understand buddy, but I’m not going to let your company keep screwing me.
I resolved to call the hotline, lodge my complaint again and also lodge a complaint against this Twitter imbecile.
Call to the 211 Customer Service Hotline #1
Right after sending my DM replies to Globe’s Twitter account, I called the hotline. I explained the problem to the CSR and he walked me through their standard trouble shooting techniques. Then he got smart and had me access the modem’s information page. He had me read off some numbers on the page and told me that one of them, either the ‘RSSI’ or ‘CINR Reuse’, he didn’t specify which, wasn’t within acceptable limits. Right on. So then I told him about how inept their Twitter CSR is, and asked him why the guy wasn’t trained to find the same things that he did.
Then we agreed that he’d send out some technicians to look at my set up and figure out what the problem is. These technicians showed up on time the following day (the 12th) and checked everything out. They looked at the figures on the modem’s info page, ran some speed tests, and then told me that the problem is with the tower that our modem connects to. They said they’d submit the report and have it checked out.
Call to the 211 Customer Service Hotline #2
On the 14th I called back and asked what was going on since our service hadn’t improved. I was told that the tower in our area would be serviced on the 16th and to just monitor our connection speed. We were told to be sure to call back if nothing improved, but then, despite the fact that there was a verified problem, she also reminded me that 300 kbits/s is “an acceptable speed for WiMax.” I told her we had a perfectly good 1 MB/s connection until it suddenly dropped off, that it was a verified problem, and that I expected my regular speed to return to 1 MB/s since I knew it was possible, and it’s what we are paying for.
Call to the 211 Customer Service Hotline #3
I kept an eye on the connection speed and nothing happened. It stayed slow and steady at 300 kbits/s. On the 19th I called back again, asking what the problem was and when I could expect my connection to return to the speed we’re paying for. That’s when I had to argue again about the supposed acceptability of 300 kbits/s for WiMax speed.
I asked them how it was possible for us to have 1 MB/s speeds for two weeks and then for it to suddenly drop off and stay capped at 300 kbits/s. I asked why I would pay for a 1 MB/s plan when they couldn’t even offer the speed for the lower tier plan. The moron couldn’t seem to understand the concept, so I had to make it really simple for him. I asked him:
“If you went to the gas station and paid for 10 liters of gas and they only gave you 3, would that be ok with you? Would that be acceptable?”
The analogy isn’t quite right, but it’s close enough.
I’m sure the person on the other end of the line finally got what I was talking about, but instead of agreeing with me, he just went back to quoting company rhetoric about 300 kbits/s being acceptable for WiMax. Do they really think we’re going to pay 995 PHP per month when they can’t even give us the level of service that people paying 795 PHP per month are getting? It’s not an issue of it occasionally being 300 kbits/s. It’s ALWAYS 300 kbits/s.
The call ended with them assuring me they’d send someone out to look at our connection again. Those people were supposed to show up yesterday, but didn’t. They called at 6:30 PM to tell us how deeply sorry they were and that they’d come today instead (Saturday, the 21st). Thanks a lot. I’m glad I wanted to sit around the house all day Saturday waiting for them after doing the exact same thing on Friday.
It’s really possible that there’s something wrong with the tower, considering the response from the 1st call about there being something wrong with the RSSI or CINR Reuse figures, and they’re just too inept to figure out how to fix it. Or it could be that they know what’s wrong with it but won’t spend the money to repair it. Neither would surprise me, but it’s still not acceptable.
However, I think there might be another reason for it. I think Globe did this on purpose so they could accommodate more customers using that same tower, without upgrading their hardware. Since we got our WiMax set up, I’ve seen other Globe antennae popping up in the neighborhood. From a greedy, ‘fuck-the-customers-let’s-make-money’ perspective, it makes perfect sense. What doesn’t make sense is that my connection would be perfectly good and then suddenly drop off, never to rise above 300 kbits/s again. If my connection regularly hit 1 MB/s but sometimes slowed down to 300 kbits/s, I would understand. That’s definitely network congestion and I can live with that. What I can’t live with is that either my connection is being forcibly limited at so low a speed that it’s in the next lower tier of service, or they’re too stupid to figure out how to fix their own hardware.
However, I’m not going to just stand around and get screwed. One of two things is going to happen: they’re either going to fix my connection and get it back where it should be or they’re going to shift us down to the lower plan. We’re not going to pay for what we’re not getting. It’s just too bad we’re locked into a contract.
In the meantime, I’m going to make sure to cost them as much money as possible by constantly calling their tech-support line and constantly having house visits by their technicians. I’m also going to start visiting other people in the neighborhood to see what kinds of speeds they’re getting on their connections. If their speeds are being capped too, then that’s all the more ammunition I can use to blast out their corrupt business practices on my blog.