Dale Hodgins

gardener
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since Jul 28, 2011
I've worked in demolition and salvage, construction, real estate, ... Currently developing bus business and expanding my knowledge on a wide array of subjects related to land development and ecologically sound energy and food production. I'm a hard core skeptic and strong believer in science. Athiest, idealist, pragmatist, inventor, thinker, learner. Developing a grand plan for turning my property into a model of energy and resource efficiency.
Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Recent posts by Dale Hodgins

We're going to start out slow and I'm only meeting immediate family and the landlord at first. Then a few days later, they will be a birthday party attended by about 6 people. Her situation is unique in that there is no family beyond her mother and sisters, who she sees on a regular basis. They may come out of the woodwork, but they aren't people to whom any of the rest of the family are close. I would have no problem getting her to translate a question for me, if I'm ever approached concerning needs. I would ask, "did this person bother with you at all, before they found out about me?" We have talked about that and she said that she will ask that in the bisaya language as a way of shutting down requests or statements of need.

I have hired somewhere around 600 people in my life. Many of them couldn't hold on to money, and they would pop by on days when they weren't working, with statements of need various requests. I had no problem saying no. Sometimes I would say it to the tune of well known songs drives them nuts.
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This is a family without a father or any strong male. The brother, is the weakest of the bunch due to his mental condition. The three sisters have been looking after the brother and mother for quite a while. So there's not really any individual in charge or anyone who thinks they are in charge. That may change because I love to be in charge of things.
2 hours ago
I haven't really spent very much money at all. Under 1000 Canadian on everyone else. A few hundred dollars worth of dental work and a couple of hundred to extract her from the home where she wasn't being paid. Then I paid for a place that I will stay in. So not a big deal. I spent close to $15,000 on my Kenyan Odyssey. But the real Odyssey was the trip home. 66 hours, most of it without sleep.

I have a simple rule that I won't waiver from. No money spent on anyone outside of the immediate family, other than maybe the occasional Street meal. I'm not going to buy anything for anyone and I won't give anyone money. I have bought a few things for her immediate family for Christmas. Three tablet computers for the three who are going back to school. 4 power banks for the various cell phones. A total of just under $400 Canadian. And I might spend $500 on the house. If all goes as I hope, I expect to spend six to eight thousand per year for the next two years, until her siblings have finished school. Of course I'm hoping that I can set them up in a little business to supplement this or completely replace it.

The other day she told me about various people including her new landlady who have told her about various business ideas they have that require financing. So I told her that I got started in the demolition business with $100 and it cost me about the same amount when I got started in the scrap metal business years ago. I have tried many things that require no real investment, and I have been able to immediately do well. So I don't buy the whole investment needed thing anyway.

Her landlady is in her fifties and has never accumulated anything, other than an inherited house. Doesn't sound like somebody I would ever invest in. If a person hasn't done something by the time they are in their thirties, I put that in the negative column.

Her biggest worry seems to be that many people will present ideas and request. I'm always open to ideas, but almost never open my wallet over them. The first thing I would ask of anyone, is which of their other ideas have worked out. If they can't name any, I'm done.

My girl has had some silly ideas of her own. She's suggested entering into many, "me too" businesses. Things that anyone can do, that don't require a specialized skill or resource. Selling street food, selling old clothing and other things that have tons and tons of low-paid competition.

I decided to try soap, because it's not something that any of them seem to know about and it requires some knowledge and skill in its preparation. So it's not quite the same "me too" business as selling Street Food. I had a friend here in Victoria who invested in a coffee shop, where there were plenty of Starbucks and McDonald's. I suggested that they go to a small town or just somewhere where they wouldn't be crushed. Instead, a long-term lease was entered into and they spent five years working for a landlord. So, whenever I have an idea, I run it through the me too lens. My thing where I chop buildings in half and get them ready to be moved on trucks, is far from that sort of business. Most people would go horribly wrong, so I don't have a bunch of low paid competition. I talked with the family about this briefly, and really tried to stress the need to enter into things that aren't absolutely flooded.
2 hours ago
I paid the uncle 4000 pesos today, which is roughly $100. This is the amount owed for labor and material to fix the old house. They told him to not do anything more and to make no attempt do weedle the cow out of her mother. It is the only valuable asset she has left. It's a strange thing, dealing with a drunk that I have never met before.

I have encouraged everyone to go in for a dental check-up. None of them are in pain right now, but two were when I first met them and nobody told me. I had to wring that information out of them. So, I sent a couple hundred dollars that is for dental work. Drill and fill on one tooth costs about $25.

Today, I went over the list of things I'm bringing and asked if there was anything else I should bring. The answer to anything that's needed is always the same. No, I'm fine, thank you. This was the answer when there was nothing to eat and when my girlfriend and her sister both had cavities that caused pain.

I wonder if one day I will be asked to account for all of the money that I've sent to Kenya, for braces and training and other things. Most of it was before I met my current girlfriend. But she has questioned me in depth about that relationship, why it ended and how she compares in attractiveness etcetera. But somehow she had never touched on money. Women are strange creatures. I seldom talk to a man who won't say what he wants or needs. And I seldom talk to a man who thinks that I should provide for all of his needs. I know women in both categories.
1 day ago
My brother's wife has many high quality earrings. Some of them are gold and silver, with little diamonds or sapphires. She gets them for free.

That's because they are mismatches. People often lose one earring and then they have no use for the other one. All of her friends know that she does a mix and match thing. She has so many, that it's always easy to find two that go together well, although they are not an exact match.

Just a simple little trick, that allows her to have quite upscale jewelry on no budget at all.

I don't think this would work with shoes or dentures, but it's working quite well with earrings. Her friends also give her stray necklaces and broken bits of jewelry that are cobbled into other attractive items.

I will ask for a picture, the next time I see them.
2 days ago
Welcome to The Forum. I'm sure if you stick around here for a while you will find that there are other people in Europe and other people in your own country with similar interests. Write out an introduction for yourself in the introductions section and explain where you live and some things about your projects.

But this place can be a very good resource for everyone no matter where in the world we are. I have met many people from different parts of the world while on this forum. And it doesn't matter that we are far apart.
3 days ago
I completely familiarized to myself with everything to do with bringing someone into the country before I ever went on the website. Getting into Canada isn't nearly as difficult. In fact we have a special deal with the Philippines that makes it one of the easiest countries to come from. I would be hesitant to bring anyone who isn't white into the United States, just because I know how badly things can go for minorities there.

It's my hope that I will avoid Canadian Winters in the future. There's a possibility that we might spend a winter or two here but it is certainly not part of my long-term plan to endure any more cold weather than I absolutely have to.

I have spoken to her about what gifts are appropriate and what are not and left it completely in her hands. She has agreed that the best thing to get for all of her siblings are power banks for their telephones and the best thing to get her mother is a small solar panel so that she can charge up a light and charge a phone. They have no desire for a spam. It's not something to eat. They do eat canned fish and I have asked that that never be opened in my present since to me it's cat food. They eat canned fish because of the inability to afford good fish. I don't consider tuna to be food because of the Mercury. I questioned her about getting other gifts since it is near Christmas time, and it seems that power for the electronics is the thing that will be appreciated most. There is no plan to get anything for any other member of the extended family, but I will get something for the new landlord who has gone out of her way in many ways. She has helped with the acquisition of ID and with getting things for the apartment Etc. There will be a birthday party after I am there for a short time. The birthday happened a while back, but right in the middle of her need to depart the old job and escape from that family.

She has a strong desire to try new things and to leave some old things behind. It took quite a while for me to convince her that working any regular job would be a complete and utter waste of time. Because she has always worked. But of course I ask the question, what has it gotten you so far, the only answer, was a few years older. Beyond Staying Alive, none of the work done by any member of her family, has amounted to anything. So if I can demonstrate ways to improve upon that, they are all open to it.

I remember several years back, one of my brothers started a relationship with a South African woman who came from a diamond mining background. I told him that he was in a heap of trouble, because no matter what he did or how extravagant a lifestyle he provided, nothing would compare to the roughly 50 million dollars held by her family, but lost as power shifted in the 90s. I remember telling him that he be better off finding a nice girl from the slums of Sao Paulo. Everything went exactly as I predicted, and nothing he did was ever good enough. Given a choice between a girl with a silver spoon in her mouth or one who has always had to hustle to survive, I'm sure I would get along better with the poor one. Poverty can be corrected very easily. The need to always be spending is not quite so curable.
4 days ago
Thank you Ed. Some really good information there. She has expressed many worries, concerning how her family will behave toward me. She is mostly worried that they will embarrass her and themselves, in making unreasonable requests. She doesn't seem at all worried that I will do anything wrong, but I'm sure I will.

Because the dysfunction was so extreme in her family, she is absolutely okay with me limiting any and all help to the five in her immediate family. In fact she didn't ask for any of that and was very reluctant at first. She had talked to many people on the dating website and not one even bothered to ask about the condition of her family or even how she was living. They mostly wanted naked pictures. Several girls sent me pictures that were almost nude. I didn't respond to them.

She has been very worried about what just about everyone thinks, but she is most worried about what I will think of her Village and her family. I told her that I'm not expecting her to be wealthy or the village to be perfect in any way. Still she thinks it's something to be ashamed of.

We talked about rice today. She was proudly not eating it. She had chicken, sweet potato and coconut, with some vegetables. She grew up without rice most of the time and it only became a regular part of her diet, when she moved for school. She actually prefers coconut, peanuts and sweet potatoes for her energy portion of her meals. But she learned in school that rice was very important, and the diet in her village was looked down upon by the lowlanders, who couldn't imagine living without rice. She told me that when she was young and living in the village, that almost every meal consisted of coconut, sweet potatoes and whatever eggs the chickens produced along with whatever they were able to capture in the river. This was supplemented by wild gathered things. A much healthier diet than the majority living on the coast tend to eat. So, the education system taught her that her people eat the wrong things. Any dietitian would disagree.

A few weeks ago, I sent her a minor amount of money, that was earmarked for improvements to her diet. She has been eating eggs, chicken or fish, everyday. Her former employer was making her live on almost pure starch, and she had to sneak healthy foods she also visited her sister regularly. Her sister works for a much better family, where food for her and visitors is not restricted.

My apartment that I rented for 2 months, is costing me $111 Canadian per month. It's rented from an older woman who is a friend of hers. It was given to her at less than the advertised price, and now that knowledge of me has gotten out, her friend is really wishing she hadn't reduced it by $15. And that price is if you don't have a refrigerator or an air conditioner. I will get both of those things and pay for the extra little bit of power. Children play right in front of the window, starting as early as 5:30 a.m. . And they are out there again until late in the day. So, I asked if there are any large trees, and there are. The landlord is okay with me putting a swing for the children in the most distant corner, away from my window. They also have a karaoke party on the lawn every Friday and Saturday night. The caterwauling shakes the building.

When I had her search for a place, I made temperature the number one criteria, along with security. This place is in a good neighborhood with a large locking gate so that only residents are allowed inside. Almost everyone is related to the landlord. There's a goldfish pond, containing very large specimens and no one steals them. That's a good sign. She chose this place mainly because she knows the landlord and because the large trees keep the sun off of the living space.

If all goes well between us, I will keep this apartment for her to live in until she gets a Visa and for the rest of her family to live in while finishing school. I think it's a nice size place for three people. She thinks there is room for 8 or 10. So, one of the rules I will make, is that residency must be limited to be immediate family. One of the sisters, will move in very soon. She is working at a very low paying job that includes food and housing. She could get a different 9 to 5 sort of nanny job that would pay quite a bit more and wouldn't give people the opportunity to keep her doing things until bedtime. One of the main complaints, for people with a live-in job, is that it never ends. Although the parents might get home at 4 or 5 p.m., they still have the girls running around doing things until 10 p.m., just because they are there. So the free time that was discussed when they took the job, is often forgotten. Her sister is looking forward to being able to spend time with her, watching movies and socializing in the evenings, instead of doing everything to the schedule of the host family.
4 days ago

I want it be because,duh, FIRE!!!, but I also have a responsibility to make sure my playtime pays off for the family. ---   William Bronson

This is an excellent philosophy. I have known two guys who bought a race car and pretty much bankrupted the family with their playtime.
5 days ago
The family discord at my end has led to some strange discussions. My mother was visiting a week ago. That was the first visit in 5 years. Of course she had opinions. So at one point I asked, "do you think I  consider you successful at anything in your life?"  She knows the answer.

I asked my brother and my ex-wife the same question. They know the answer. And it's not a flattering answer.

Then I told them that I would only be interested in personal advice, from someone who I considered somewhat successful in that regard. Just as I would only seek financial advice from someone who has done much better than me in that regard.

My children are completely independent, being almost 24 and 30. They've gone the embarrassment route. Concerns about what other people are thinking. I remember once on Star Trek I saw this guy who could do you serious harm with his thinking. But nobody here seems to have those powers.
...........
Concern about what people are thinking is mentioned constantly by my girlfriend in the Philippines. She's mostly concerned by what people think of her. Maybe her family thinks she's trying to take advantage of me, maybe random people we meet will think something bad about her, maybe members of my family will think this and that. We started several calls with her telling me that she's worried about what her sisters are thinking and worried about what her aunts and uncles are thinking. I have told her that the only worry I have about what they are thinking, if somehow they think they can charge double for bamboo.

Then there's been talk of what people will allow. What if your children don't allow you to this or that? What if your mother doesn't like me? What if your brothers and sister don't like me? I have said this would be great, because then I would have a good excuse to not see that one again. I have repeatedly told her the number of people that the Earth contains, and that I'm sure there will be some people who like us just fine. But it comes up pretty regularly, this worried about what others are thinking.

On several occasions I have had to repeat, that I do as I please, and I don't ask anyone for permission. I am one of the most Free People that I've ever met, and she has never encountered someone as free as myself.

If any member of her family was thinking about educating for something or starting a business or entering into a relationship, they run it past everyone, in an attempt to form a consensus. So she finds it a little hard to understand that I don't do that.

It's often been framed as a respect thing. Don't you respect this person or respect that person? So I told her that we are expected to be decent to other people but many people aren't worthy of respect, so I don't show them any. This includes some family members. And for me respect is not related to age. My 23 year old daughter has made much better decisions then my 75 year old mother. Therefore she's worthy of more respect.

When I wrote my long letter to her sisters, I made a point of going over that particular trait of my personality. They think they have to respect their uncle because he is their elder. So I told them that I have been told all about his alcoholism, and therefore I don't respect him and I won't ever respect him. This concept is completely foreign to them. They have been taught to be differential to anyone older than them, particularly males.

My girlfriend definitely gets it now. A short while ago she said," what if my relatives don't this and what if they don't that," then she answered her own question. She said, you will say fuck them then. And she got it about right. I'm not looking to make enemies, but I'm not looking to have anyone tell me what to do. I hope nobody orchestrates any sort of family sit down, where I'm expected to be compliant. It's just not in my nature.

Last week, when we talked about going to the Village, she said what if my relatives want this and what if they want that, and what if they say you should help with this and what if you should help with that? I said they will have to learn the meaning of no. And no doesn't mean maybe or keep trying, it means no. Her sisters definitely have trouble with no. They tried to get her to spend some of my money inappropriately and she said no. They kept going and going and going for quite a while, before they gave up. And no isn't just about financial matters. No is probably the most common word I will use, when someone wants to run interference on personal matters. No, I don't need advice. No, we will choose where we live. No, I only require the agreement of one person from the Philippines. I expect it will take some adjustment, for people to realize that a huge change in one of their relatives fancl status, doesn't necessarily translate into anything for them.

There are things that I will seek advice on. Things like where to find land, how much I should pay for things and dangerous areas to avoid. But I won't be taking big picture financial advice from people who have never accumulated any resources. Especially, since it seems likely that any advice given would be self-serving.

One of my brothers started chirping a few weeks ago, so I asked him if there was any part of his life that he thought was worth emulating. Do you think that I would like to be in your financial shoes? Do you think I would be happy with that woman you call a girlfriend? There's nothing wrong with seeking and taking advice. My friend Felix is someone capable of giving advice. He has managed his career, family life and finances pretty well. And I know several other people in that boat. But I probably know more people whose boat is slowly sinking.
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Quite a few relatives and others have mentioned huge cultural differences. I tell them all that I have huge cultural differences with the people surrounding me right now. I don't generally buy into their values, I don't practice their religion and I refuse to buy most of their stuff. I live in a consumer culture, I have a few hundred dollars in my pocket right now and I have no desire to buy anything. It doesn't matter to me if my girlfriend totally fits into this culture. I would be disappointed if she did. I think each family has their own microculture, and at some individuals have their own. I don't expect to become a Filipino and I don't expect her to become a completely normal Canadian. Somewhere in between is fine with me.

We have talked about cultural differences quite a bit. She understands that I am much more of an individual than most people, putting little stock in what others want for me. And I understand the herd mentality that she was raised with, particularly the way that they learn to be poor and to stay poor.

Much of the Philippine diet is something I would consider garbage. I'm not only judging from pictures she has sent me, I've eaten at the Philippine Community Center here. Absolute junk food, for the most part. Rice with sugar on it, little spring rolls with sugar on it and really sweet drinks. Her family have all had dental issues because of it and diabetes is rampant. Huge reliance on rice and sugar seem to be the main culprits. When I first asked how she would feel about not eating rice very often, the concept was completely foreign. But there are many foods she prefers over rice, but couldn't afford them. I took my mother to a Chinese restaurant last week and that was the first time I've eaten rice in probably 2 months. When I told her about this, she was shocked. How is it that I didn't starve to death, if there was no rice? I'm not going to try to prevent her from eating rice, but there will always be many, much better choices available. When she was a kid, rice wasn't available very often, because she's from a spot where the ground doesn't hold water. So they relied on coconuts and sweet potatoes for their starch. Both items are nutritionally superior to rice. She grew up believing that rice was a very healthy thing to eat and that they were greatly deprived in having to eat sweet potatoes and coconuts. After talking to several people, I've pretty much determined that knowledge of what is actually good for people to eat, is not universal. They are concerned with quantity, as anyone who has gone hungry would be.

That has been a major issue with her on a few occasions and a really major issue for some of her friends. They have gone hungry, sometimes for days. And I wonder if that experience has led to some of the very short-term thinking that seems prevalent. So, the idea of food not being one of life's major expenses, is also beyond her experience. She worked on a food cart when she was 12 years old, and got quite chubby, because she seized the opportunity to put on weight, after going through a very lean time. I have never gone hungry. The worst that has happened to me is I've missed a few meals when I got really busy working. Her brother went hungry to the point where he had to go on psychiatric medicine for a while. It really messed him up. For those who have been reading since the beginning, she was in a terrible job where they stopped paying her completely but she continued to work there, because it's a place that included somewhere to live and food. To me, that is slavery. I arranged for her to leave that place and they threatened to report crimes that she has not committed, in order to hold her there. Food can be a weapon to control people, under the right circumstances.
5 days ago
That all sounds quite reasonable. Yes we are taking a vacation. Specifically to look at tourist operations. I don't expect to do the beachfront Resort thing, at least not for more than a day. I have never been interested in beaches or motels. But there will be a good deal of travel.

I can't get more specific and saying I am using the city of Cebu as a jumping off point. And that's because so many of my family members are saboteurs. I haven't told them her name and I won't unless we are married. I'm pretty sure that my children, ex-wife and brothers don't follow me here, but one brother was actually stupid enough to suggest that he come and visit in Cebu while I'm there. He lives 40 miles from me and I don't care to visit him here. I certainly don't want him running interference over there. His thing would be the promised people that he's starting some business and offer them jobs and then disappear forever. I'm not going to embarrass myself by having him come along.

She's been doing an excellent job of saying no to the flood of requests. Yesterday it was just a little thing, someone wanting her to spend several hours taking someone to a ferry boat. Of course they thought I would pick up the tab.

On the language thing, her English has improved greatly in the past few months simply because we've been talking a lot. Both of her sisters can get by in English but its pretty choppy. I have to get them to repeat everything , because it is delivered with confidence and speed. Her mother and many older relatives speak no English. She tells me that the majority have poor English but that anyone in the tourist industry tends to be good at it. That includes taxi drivers, waitresses and just about anyone who works at a motel or drinking establishment. But she told me that when you go deep into the hills, there are many who took some English in school but it just isn't part of their daily lives. She speaks three languages fairly fluently.

I found if the same in Kenya. I communicated with elderly people in single words and gestures. Little children have seen all of the Disney movies and they all seemed to have some degree of English. Almost anyone sitting behind a government desk spoke English quite well. It's a matter of Pride and one-upmanship amongst the different groups there. Probably the best English speakers were service staff in Nairobi and the Masai Mara. I bought food at many rural Farm stands, where the people never try me on Swahili, but instead they use whatever English ability they had. Often if I was talking to someone older, a younger person would intervene and act as interpreter. I rolled down the tinted window of the car one time to buy a basket of guava from a girl about 10 years old. Her face lit up when she saw me and she held the basket forward saying 3000 Shillings, in perfect English. In that instant when the window rolled down, she switched to English and she changed the price from 1000 to 3000 Shillings. I am very aware that my presence is likely to trigger a white tax. I don't pay that tax.
5 days ago