Monday, 25 May 2020

Winds of War

It seems to me that the world is about to change in ways that will make what we have all lived through seem quaint and of an earlier epoch.

The world we have known our entire lives is fading away. The ‘progress’ many of us hoped for may end up being referred to in texts years from now as quixotic and doomed. My mind travels back to Herman Wouk’s book, Winds of War. It took him one thousand pages to get to Pearl Harbor in that book. It was not just one thing then and it is not just one thing now. It is many things, some large and some very small.

Small, such as uninhabited reefs and atolls in Asian seas. Small as in a telecommunications standard and the preferred vendors. Big, as in the abandonment of all nuclear weapons era treaties. Big, as in the abandonment of the push for international trade in favor of trade wars and high tariffs. Big in the centripetal forces pulling the EU apart from its easternmost and westernmost edges. Big, as in the potential instability within China as its economy, built on international trade, and expansive international economic policies run headlong into the pandemic which has pulled all the pins out of China’s efforts, causing many around the globe to re-evaluate China’s intentions while China’s policies regarding Taiwan. Hong Kong, and the Muslims in their western provinces are creating dissonance internally.

And so, with all this swirling around, as our lives move along with the currents but unable to affect those currents… I hope you are OK in your small section of the world.

Kenny Hendrick: Mike, I am under seige (spectrum and AT&T have blocked my legitimate website) and there's more but I'll spare you the details. I was wondering if I could get your email in an effort to communicate with you concerning a topic you made mention of. In short, I want to build a signal that is accessible to my local neighborhood which will allow them to connect freely if they so desire. The signal will not contain any internet access since I'm already quickly being muted and will soon be left without internet anyway. I am relatively proficient at operating my own server and have a couple of towers in the yard but don't know how to build an omin-directional antenna that will allow any passerby to notice the unsecured wifi that, if they connect to it, will be free to retrieve files at their liesure (basically the political content that is no longer allowed on the internet). Presently At&t, cloudflare, spectrum and others are blocking access to so I thought I could circumvent the block by obtaining another entity to host my domain, that is clearly failing so I obtained another domain name without the dashes in the url ( but that is clearly failing quickly as I cannot go to my own website using either ip monopoly (even from within my own home) withou using a proxy. THIS IS THE SYNOPSIS QUESTION TO YOU: I'm not too concerned about the "lawful" regulations hindering communications (my bible says to shout from the rooftops) so I was wondering if you could tell me if you have an antenna plan that I can duplicate to reach as far as the eye can see to allow others free access to the semi-private network? Sorry so wordy, I'm old and frustrated as hell right now. (08/21/20)

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Days during the COVID-19 era

A long time has passed between posts here. I did eventually get ahead of the hack attempts and the denial of service on the network. They were directed at the mail server as that really is the only exposed server on the network.

I established a blacklist that automatically adds IP addresses most every time an attack is attempted. There are thousand if ‘deny’ lines now in my logs, but the server itself and the network is in OK shape.

There is a lockdown and quarantine in effect here in our city. I have taken advantage of that to rebuild the OS on a little used but just fine PC and create a Virtual Machine host out of it. It doesn’t have the RAM I wish it had, but there is enough for two VMs running on it and that’s really all I need.

In the past, I had my DNS, Mail, and Web Server running on the physical platform. That made the loss of drive, a real scary thought. Now all my actual services are running in VMs which I have complete backups of. Should bad shit happen, I can load them up on another host and be running in under an hour.

Lenka: Hello, I want to access a website to watch live streaming and series from my home country but that website blocked all ips from all countries exept Macedonia. Almost all macedonian vpns I found are also blocked. I can access that website by its original ip address, but then I have to create an account, so the original ip becomes useless because everytime I click on "create my account", the browser replaces the ip address with the domain name... and it says again my country is blocked. My question: How do you force the browser to only use the website's original ip address and never the domain name? Waiting for your answer, Lenka (05/02/20)

Thursday, 07 November 2019

Under Attack

This network as been under sporadic attack for the past four days. All the IP addresses seem to be connected to a hosting company in Lithuania. The end point IP addresses come from London, Iran, and Romania. The contact info for each end point IP network is a Russian.

On the first day they attacked both my mail server and the Fiber Modem which may look like a commercial customer premise equipment router to the attackers.

As a result my mail server was being bombarded with attempts to break-in and the modem was on occasion simply going off line based on the direct attempts to compromise the modem. The modem's code was so overwhelmed that I could not log into it for two days.

For the first day, while I was able to code the mail server to block all requests from the related IP addresses of the bad guys, the mail server was still getting hammered with the futile attempts.

By the end of the third day I was able to access the modem. I checked and I had previously implemented the DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) protection, though it didn't seem to be doing any good. I implemented IPv4 firewall blocking on the IP address ranges from which the attack was coming. That quieted the hits on my server. I made sure that WAN access to the modem was disabled, and went to bed.

Today, the forth day, the modem is under another DDoS attack but I am not seeing any leakage through the modem on to the server. But the attacks are overwhelming the modem which has repeatedly today been completely failing to work at times and other times simply unable to handle any legit traffic.

PLDT, my ISP, has not once responded to my request to assist in blocking the attackers at their equipment which is far more robust than the little Fiber Modem they supply me, their customer. In this, they have been and continue to be useless. I guess so long as I pay my bill they just don't care.

Why am I under attack? Beats me. There is nothing here that they would actually want and, if they were trying to infect my with ransomware code, I would just reformat everything as a have everything backed off and offline. The server runs virtual OSes and I have each “virtual machine” completely backed-up. What's on the server? A mail server, a web server, a network monitoring program. The mail server does not store mail after it has been retrieved by the inbox holder. The websites are non-commercial and store no personal information.

Of course the attackers don't know that there is nothing worth their time. And so the attacks continue.

11/07 00:03:05  UP    Lieberman:16:PLDT (Was down for 21 seconds)
11/07 00:12:05  UP    Lieberman:16:PLDT (Was down for 51 seconds)
11/07 00:15:05  UP    Lieberman:16:PLDT (Was down for 21 seconds)
11/07 00:23:06  UP    Lieberman:16:PLDT (Was down for 3 minutes, 22 seconds)
11/07 01:57:06  UP    Lieberman:16:PLDT (Was down for 52 seconds)
11/07 04:47:06  UP    Lieberman:16:PLDT (Was down for 22 seconds)
11/07 04:49:12  UP    Lieberman:16:PLDT (Was down for 57 seconds)
11/07 05:36:09  UP    Lieberman:16:PLDT (Was down for 24 seconds)
11/07 05:50:06  UP    Lieberman:16:PLDT (Was down for 21 seconds)
11/07 06:04:36  UP    Lieberman:16:PLDT (Was down for 1 minute, 51 seconds)
11/07 06:44:36  UP    Lieberman:16:PLDT (Was down for 21 seconds)
11/07 07:27:36  UP    Lieberman:16:PLDT (Was down for 21 seconds)
11/07 08:47:36  UP    Lieberman:16:PLDT (Was down for 5 minutes, 51 seconds)
11/07 10:11:06  UP    Lieberman:16:PLDT (Was down for 51 seconds)
11/07 10:22:09  UP    Lieberman:16:PLDT (Was down for 24 seconds)
11/07 12:04:09  UP    Lieberman:16:PLDT (Was down for 24 seconds)
11/07 12:05:36  UP    Lieberman:16:PLDT (Was down for 51 seconds)
11/07 15:12:36  UP    Lieberman:16:PLDT (Was down for 21 seconds)
11/07 15:41:06  UP    Lieberman:16:PLDT (Was down for 21 seconds)
11/07 15:49:36  UP    Lieberman:16:PLDT (Was down for 21 seconds)

Thursday, 24 October 2019


My attention has been diverted into a few frivolous activities. I am fascinated by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. I have no idea how any of you feel about the guy, but as a complete bystander the view is of a clown having a series of temper tantrums, getting slapped down and just proceeding with another tantrum, lesson unlearned. And his opposite number, Jeremy Corbyn, is so far into the anti-semetic crap that you get your choice of assholes. Maybe one of them is your hero, and if so, I am sorry if you are offended. We all have our own crazy politicians. We have Duterte. In the US, it's Trump. If you are angry with your parliament, well we have an equally dysfunctional legislature in the Philippines and the US congress is it's own sort of crazy.

At the heart of all three nations there are deep intransigent problems related to federations, to populism, and to religious tensions. The matters of all predate the advent of the Internet and social media but all are inflamed by that advent.

Here in the Philippines, the island of Mindanao probably should never have been included in the nation. It is most realistically a separate nation with unique issues that create problems for a national government on a distant island to resolve. There is the massive disparity between the haves and have-nots throughout the nation made far worse by rampant and endemic corruption, which gives fuel to a communist insurgency. And finally this is not merely a Christian nation, it is a Catholic nation with a ten percent Muslim population. That is a toxic mix for any number of reasons. One of those reasons is, weirdly, the inability of any one Muslim clan's ability to become the most powerful and predominant, which results in an endless cycle of clan wars in the Muslim regions.

In the US, the realities that caused a civil war one hundred and fifty years ago are essentially unresolved. The tensions related to immigration are part and parcel of the need of some in that nation to perceive itself as a home for white, christian, Europeans. Looking at it through that lens, everything comes into focus. Those regions with the highest density of ethnically white, christian, Europeans, in well defined voting districts, make up the “red states.” Other states with more fully mixed populations throughout voting districts are the “blue states.”

In the UK you have four nations which are ruled by a single unified parliament where simple majority votes control decisions. The devolved legislatures have no meaningful way to inhibit a parliament, which has no meaningful way to balance those separate national interests. A truly classic example of this was the decision to have a referendum in 2016, where all votes in the four nations where made into one voting result, regarding what is now called Brexit. The realities of Northern Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement makes any Brexit toxic. Further the 2014 vote on the Independence of Scotland was predicated on the fact that if Scotland separated, it would not be part of the EU. So some of those votes to remain in the UK would have changed to separate if the two votes had been held in reverse order.

And so watching the current doings in the UK parliament, the impeachment inquiry in the US regarding Trump and his clown car of assorted treasonous buddies, and the doings here which have so many threads it is more of a crazy quilt than a novel, I have been wonderfully distracted!

Tuesday, 17 September 2019


When I was a boy my father worked for a chemical company. In those days, mentioning chemicals didn't freak anyone out. It was before the Vietnam war, before the horror stories of Agent Orange and 'Better living through chemistry' were the actual words of an ad for a major company.

But OSHA was the new federal agency and there were new rules being promulgated. My father's company owned some paper mills. The mills, from what he told me, we profitable. But the new OSHA rules regarding what came to be termed the toxicity of pulp and paper mill effluent caused his company to sell all those businesses, or shut them down. I am not clear on which happened.  

The word was that paper was bad and the new plastics were better. Plastic was the 'thing.' Don't believe me? Watch the movie the graduate! Yes, it really was what we were all banking on to save the environment from the evils of the environmentally bad use of all that paper.

Now fifty years later, we are told to stop using plastic and stores here are using the alternative... paper bags. Yes, that same paper we were told was so bad for the environment.

And now just when you think moving from the internal combustion engine to an EV is the answer there is this in the news today! Climate change: Electrical industry's 'dirty secret' boosts warming. It is all over the news feeds. Here are the first two short paragraphs of the article.

Sulphur hexafluoride, or SF6, is widely used in the electrical industry to prevent short circuits and accidents.

But leaks of the little-known gas in the UK and the rest of the EU in 2017 were the equivalent of putting an extra 1.3 million cars on the road.

Levels are rising as an unintended consequence of the green energy boom.

Chew on that for a while.

Monday, 05 August 2019

Symptoms and causes

This past four days have brought six mass shootings in the USA: Suffolk, VA; El Paso, TX; Chicago, IL; Dayton, OH; Memphis, TN; and Chicago, IL for the second time on the very same day.

Some blame the gun laws. Some blame Trump and his use of hateful, racist speech. Some blame mental illness.

But while all these things are contributing factors; while all have their rightful place in how we understand what has happened; it is not the all of it. It doesn't explain why the shooters are white men.

Clearly that one element is rationalized off in various ways. But mass shootings, and bombings by white men, long predate Trump's presidency. Of course, not all acts of violence and fear belong to the same bucket of causes.

For instance, why are trigger warnings needed in college campuses now when we never had a need for them in years past? Why is bullying leading to suicides now when it wasn't so much of an issue before? Why are children so sheltered now when years ago kids were out, playing without direct parental supervision at far earlier ages?

Clearly the society in the USA has changed remarkably in the last half a decade.

But one thing that has been clear for a while and becomes more palpable as the nation moves forward is the increasingly large non-white number of citizens in ratio to the ethnically European white citizenry.

We have always known that racist beliefs and fears existed in a large section of the white citizenry in all parts of the nation. It was never just the South. No, just ask yourself, why were blacks so long excluded in baseball from the Boston Red Sox? Ask yourself, why the state constitution of Oregon forbade black people from living, working, or owning property there? From Massachusetts to Oregon and all places between, there has long been a Whites-Only sign in the hearts of many Americans.

If Obama's presidency was groundbreaking, it was also chilling for those hateful-hearted souls. Each step in the march to a truly integrated, multi-ethnic society has only served to ratchet up the fear and desperation of those who are unwilling to accept that.

And... there ought to be no expectation that as the scales tip over completely to a society with non-majority anything nation that the violence will lessen. In point of fact, it will most likely escalate.

From the days of the beginning of 'affirmative action,' we have seen only progressively increasing violence. To blame Trump is to miss the real point. Trump is president BECAUSE of the hatred and fear. He didn't stoke it as much as he is the public voice of the anger and fear that was already there.

There is no normal political-social agenda, no swing to 'democratic socialism' that will vanquish the Trump vote next time.

There is nothing that any politician can do in a political way: no set of programs, no right or left wing philosophy. The Republicans who said Trump wasn't a real Republican were right and it made no difference. They had, since the days of Nixon, made their party home to those with a specific type of hate, one of the fear of the loss of White Supremacy. And now those with that fear have taken control of the party. There is no longer a truly conservative Republican party. Its politics can be summarized by identifying policies that hurt minorities and defunding those programs.

The 'Never-Trump' Republicans have lost their party to folks who may have been in the past either more likely to vote Republican or Democrat but now vote Trump.  These voters do not belong to the Left/Right political spectrum. When Democrats act like that spectrum matters, all they are doing is helping the voters with hate filled hearts reelect their man.

Just like it is said about how armies always train and prepare for the last war, politicians in the Democratic party are engaged in internecine warfare over how far left they should be. It is both meaningless and insane.

What all should be asking is how can those who do not hate find common ground. It won't stop the bloodshed, but there might be ways to lessen how many acts of violence Americans have to endure.

Thursday, 04 July 2019

The Fourth

I'll be over tomorrow.

What? The party is today! On the the Fourth.

It's not the Fourth in the US, yet.

So? We are not in the US. It's the Fourth here, now. The party is today.

Yeh, that conversation really happened only a few minutes ago. My friend is absolutely wrong. It is the Fourth in the US, albeit, it is 2AM on the Fourth there (on the east coast and 1AM in Illinois where he last lived). Just when did he think we should celebrate? One PM on the East coast would be 1AM of the Fifth here. 

Our party is at 6PM today. It will be the Fourth all over the USA when we celebrate. Sure, no one will be out at the BBQ at 6AM or earlier depending on where in the US you care to mention, but it most assuredly will be the Fourth. 

Being half a world away does cause confusion on occasion. I am giving birthday greetings on Facebook while the intended recipient is most likely still in bed. I receive emails from folks when I awaken and the immediate reply may not be seen until the next business day. 

That alone provides the backdrop for while communications are now instantaneous, we do feel distant from those back in our home nation. Some just want to get back in step. It can't be done; at least not if you stay here.

Wednesday, 05 June 2019

Democracy and the mob

There have been a seemingly endless number of articles recently about Steven Crowder, Carlos Maza, Vox News and YouTube. It's enough to make your head explode with the competing constitution rights issues. (Don't know what this is all about? See this post.)

Quite frankly all of it is beside the point. 

Here's a question for you. What is the difference between true democracy and mob rule.

No, it is not a trick question, and no it isn't a question of nuanced understanding of the terms. The simple answer is, there is no difference. None. 

There are no true democratic polities in the world. Each has hedges at the least. What's a hedge? Well, if you vote in political subdivisions for a representative, you do not have pure democracy. The USA doesn't even pretend to be a democracy. It is a republic and good old Ben Franklin was doubtful if even that could stand for long. 

No, on a purely political level, there are no true sovereign democracies in existence and that is a damned good thing. 

But, the Internet functions very much like a true democracy, and therefore, it functions very much like mob rule. It is true that some platforms can be influenced by flows of cash, but if the mob has cash, well, there will be money. 

Political subdivisions can be effectively boycotted much easier than a vloger on the Internet. The concept that Internet platforms are not microphones for the mob is to have one's head in the sand. The expectation that Internet platforms, such as YouTube, or Facebook, or Twitter, can police and correct the needs of the mob is beyond foolish. 

As wonderful as the Internet is in some many ways, it is also that which is the essence of the mob. China's response is a massive firewall and even that has holes in it. Europe thinks it can regulate by imposing onerous fines, it can't. Oh, sure, it will extract some income, but the more it gets from the fines, the less it has reason to find a way to shut off the spigot, and it can't shut off the spigot anyway.

China's other way is to indoctrinate its citizens to think that questioning the State is evil. Many young Chinese when the issue of Tienanmen comes up tell people, It is better to not know some things. Why can't we just move on. Those things are in the past. In such a culture, a firewall on information is sold as you might think of seat belts. It's there to keep you safe. And in a truly bizarre way it is. 

Mob responses among one point three billion people is a truly scary prospect. It's scary enough in a nation of fewer than four hundred million people. 

The truth, as the founding fathers of the USA were cognizant of, is that political stability necessitates mediation, distance, and abstraction from direct democratic rule. In their time in the USA, that's what they designed. The UK has in its own in a fashion with levels of mediation, distance, and abstraction from direct democratic rule as do all the EU nations. Many nations only have a fig leaf of democratic rule, with a powerful class running the show. In other nations simple dictatorships exist. 

All polities are afraid of the mob for the simple reason that mobs are destructive (and eat their own): Crowder vs Maza being a prime example. It is our version of 'strange fruit hanging...'.

But even where the attempt is to accept as much democratic rule as possible, there exists the desire of some to lesson democratic input by limiting the right to vote, by rigging voting districts, and by any of a number of ways that make even what was supposed to be an effective limited democracy (or republic) only a fig leaf of covering a complete power grab. 

And so what we have are polities that are either playing hide the ball or are totally undemocratic and an Internet that is essentially mob rule if not totally censored. 

And now I ask you, are you really surprised with things like Crowder and Maza? Such a thing is baked into the cake. Our polities have no mechanism to deal with it and the Internet is the mob itself.

The numerous articles about Crowder, YouTube et. al. are simply missing the point that it is not a problem, it is simply a symptom of a far larger problem and that is why there is no good resolution.

Sunday, 02 June 2019

Do I need to know this?

This morning on the NPR.ORG website, prominently posted in what in the old days of newspaper journalism we would have called above the fold was a link (with catchy photo) to an article titled Another Tick-Borne Disease to Worry About. So, like so much click-bait, I clicked to read about what might be worth knowing.

So, what did I learn?

  • The disease is currently localized to Inner Mongolia (China, not the country).

  • It is treatable.

  • It is not as severe as a common flu.

  • It lasts maybe a week following anti-viral and antibiotic treatments.

Another words, in the vast scheme of things, did I need to even know, much less worry, about this?

Of course not!

What have we become as a people? Are we to be afraid of our own shadows?

How much fear is the average human expected to carry around? Are we all going to live in bubbles, afraid of the world itself?

And in the process of this establishment and aggrandizement of a fearful world, are we constructing insane new rules and demands of behavior that simply make life intolerable for the vast majority those around us?

Years ago, a relative, who I dearly love, came with her family to visit me. It was far enough from their normal stomping grounds that they had never been within a thousand miles of my place before their visit. Her two boys were aged 19 and 17, hardly babes in arms. The boys were bored. 

As I lived in a small town, the entire place could be explored by bicycle. I had two decent bicycles in the garage and I offered them to the boys. It turns out neither knew how to ride a bike. I asked my relative, How can that be?

She looked at me and earnestly told me that bikes were dangerous and she had barred her kids from all such dangerous activities. 

I truly believe that living with fear of all around us is as great a hobble as any enemy from abroad. 

I surmise that I have come to a very unfashionable way of thinking, but I am convinced that we need a course correction because societies that: fear all and any disease found anywhere; fear anything that could possibly be unsafe in any manner of use; need 'trigger warnings;' need laws and institutional protection from bullies; need codes of conduct that all but require written consent in social interactions, produce exactly what we have now, a totally polarized society. One of those poles seems to be willing to cast any members adrift for any infraction, while the other is convinced that infractions no longer matter as to go down that path at all leads to madness. 

Public society can't fix everyone's individual problems: 

  • Have sexual identity issues? I'm sorry to hear that, but creating an entire class of public facilities doesn't make any sense. We separate bathrooms so that those with a penis go one place and those with a vagina go to another. The distinction is not about rape. It is about pregnancy from a rape. Why does that have to be so hard to deal with or to understand?

  • Don't like to be called a name? Yeh, we all have things we don't like being called. Grow up. You should have gotten beyond that by second grade. Remember the childhood adage, sticks and stones will break my bones but words can never harm me? Why do you think we have that saying? It's because that's when we learn to ignore some crap.

  • Afraid of getting a disease? There is no help for you. Unless you literally suffer from some ailment which has killed off your immune system, all I can do is tell you to grow up. Childhood fears have no place in the lives of adults. And, by the way, get everyone around you vaccinated. I don't care if you have a fears. You don't have a right to put others in jeopardy, regardless of your fears. Sure, wear a condom if you are having sex with someone you are not sure of. But normal life should not be a place of overhanging fear.

  • Think we need laws about bullies? The earlier you are exposed to bullies,the earlier you will learn to survive them. You will encounter them all through your life. A bully can't make you suicide. Your fear does that and the longer you stay in your shell the larger your fear grows. Get the fuck out in the world and suck-it-up. And if you have kids, kick them out of the house to play unattended as early as possible. Age six is not too young. The younger the better. Don't fight your kids' battles for them. They need to learn how the world works. Every time you, or institutions, intercede it delays their process of learning to deal with them.

Why must the world believe what you believe? Convoluted, self-righteous logic might make you feel superior but only creates bizarre chasms of beliefs. 

In almost all cases, absolute judgments about social processes are wrong as there must be an understanding of the function of time, place and context. There are few, if any, absolutes in this world and 'ought-to' is a concept that often implies condescension. If not used self-referentially, it is freighted with inherent problems. 

  • You might well believe that it is best that people avoid marriage until a specific age. You are certainly entitled to your belief. But when you say it is true to all and all time, you have crossed a line and you are simply wrong.

  • Your religious beliefs are yours and not mine. As much as you might live in a multi-religious society, many of your beliefs/values have religious bases. Some societies are based on a single religion.Telling them to change is both arrogant and simply wrong. Will there be individuals in those societies who disagree with the rules of their own society? Sure. Stay out of it.

  • Think you understand the value of life? Who appointed you God? Each society does that for itself. Oh, there are exceptions. Genocides beg the question, but life is valued differently in different places. To many Hindus, someone who lives on burgers and meat in general is not valuing life as many Hindus avoid eating meat because they believe that it minimizes hurting other life forms. There are those who will tell you plants can feel pain. Truth is conditional and context driven.

I started this piece with a question of, do I need to know about a disease? The simple fact is that the very reason that such an article is written and posted where it was, for a readership far from Inner Mongolia, is symptomatic of a societal mindset that has gone terribly wrong. There is no way to approach the wrongness of it without seeing it in the larger context. 

Our society is being pushed via the media and social pressures by kids who were never let out of the house to play on their own until age thirteen, who live with massive fears due to their own socially stunted development, and who spent those 'formative years' interacting with electronic devices instead of the hurly-burly of real life. They can't even make good eye contact! There needs to be push-back but I doubt it will come.

Friday, 26 April 2019

A trip to the USA: Filipina vs American thinking

Objective: Attend my mother's one-hundred-and-fifth birthday party.

  • See my son, daughter, my sister and her family, and cousins.
  • Beth gets to visit with her BFFs in the USA.
  • Shop for things we can't get in the Philippines.
  • Do some traveling and sightseeing.

The international flight rules allow for two 33K (50lb) checked bags each plus a carry-on each. So from GenSan to NY and from LA to GenSan those rules apply. We have a domestic flight from NY to San Diego which allows for one checked bag and one carry-on. 

In truth, we do not need to bring a lot with us. We could get along with one bag a piece going to the USA. All I need is a carry-on size, though I'd probably check it. I figured Beth would want a full size bag.

We will purchase things we will ship back to GenSan in a Balikbayan box (a couple of cases Manischewitz wine [Beth], a kilo or more of beef jerky [Nicole], a down pillow [me], plus other stuff) which we will ship from my sister's home in Pennsylvania. There are a few things we will pick up while on the east coast that we will need to bring with us on the domestic flight.

Shopping for the things we will bring back to GenSan in suitcases will occur while we are in California.

So I thought... OK one checked bag and one carry-on flying to the US. Maybe we purchase a smaller bag while on the east coast if needed before flying to San Diego. The purchase of three large bags while in California, bringing back the full allowed amount back in luggage on the return leg.

Then my wife says, No! I can buy more if I don't have to by more suitcases!

So I suggest, we pack my carry-on and put it inside an empty checked bag. That means would fly with three bags but you would only see two. 

But no... Here's how my Filipina wife sees it. We will bring four bags with us to the USA! A checked bag each plus a carry-on each! Why? Well, she tells me, pointing to piles of clothing she has already in piles in our bedroom, “We need this to pack around things in the balikbayan box so nothing breaks! Where I put the things for my sister, my nephew and niece in Wyoming? And where I put the dried fish for my friends when I see them in California? All four bags will be filled on the way to the USA!

We are not going to Wyoming, but I guess we will ship some things UPS or FedEx ground to Wyoming, once we get to the US.

And yeh, we are bring kilos of smelly dried fish from GenSan to San Diego. Gotta love your Filipina wife!