Archive for October, 2009
Lots of it too, at least for a while. Time to try out the new board which felt delightful underfoot and very speedy. Sadly I only got about thirty minutes of blasting before the wind dropped. More please.
Good to see the windsurfing club coming to life as the new season approaches. Plenty of boards on the water and some “I’m only here in the winter” faces appearing.
Craig was playing with his daughter and I snapped a quick father and daughter shot.
Craig, ever conscious of promoting his brand, saw I was pointing the camera and immediately ensured that product logo was in the frame.
Product placement junkie.
The actual headline in the local press read “Aussie gambling-ring busted”.
The local police have their hands full, what with all the murders, rapes and general mayhem that is a feature of life in this fine city; not to mention the ongoing vigorous campaign against those not wearing helmets on a motorbike, which is all about increasing road safety and nothing to do with funds collection.
Even so, organised gambling syndicates can bring destitution and despair to those who unwittingly fall under their control, so good to see that the police are taking action against the evil mobsters who run these organisations.
Reading the article beneath the headline, we discover that seven Australian nationals were involved in this filthy racket. Apparently they were sat at home at the ungodly hour of 1730 in the afternoon, drinking beer and listening to music. The fiends. The police raided the joint and discovered a set of playing cards, 100 baht in cash, a piece of cloth upon which cards could be played, 50 red chips, 20 blue chips, and 20 yellow chips. Clear indication of illicit gambling with the 100 baht probably being the kitty which would be divided up later based upon the numbers of chips of different colours held by each player. Imagine the destitution for the losers? Pitiful.
We can only be thankful that the police stepped in and got these scum off our streets, otherwise what would they do next? 200 baht kitty? Purple chips? We can only shudder to think of the possible consequences.
String ‘em up I say.
Today is my actual birthday. Given that there can only be a few more years when I am able to get on a board and go sailing, it is of a some significance (to me) to go windsurfing on my birthday and wave a finger at decrepitude. You haven’t won yet you bastard! Last year was not possible because I was in the process of being discharged from hospital. This year there was no wind. Next year perhaps. I did get a cake from she who must be obeyed, and before I eat that we plan to go for a nice dinner somewhere. That’s about enough birthday excitement for someone my age.
There was something else to celebrate today apart from the coming into being of me; the release of the latest, and last, add-on for Grand Theft Auto IV; The Ballad of Gay Tony. Sadly I discovered I did not have enough Xbox credits to buy it, so will have to wait a week for a fresh supply to arrive from Hong Kong. Bugger.
Apart from a host of new missions, there are additional programs on the in-game TV stations. Station CNT, for example, will be bringing us the adventures of Princess Robot Bubblegum.
Also was pleased to see that GTA has not lowered standards in respect of generally pissing off those who adopt some form of moral stance:
Life is good, may I still be around for Grand Theft Auto 14.
Off to Central to raid the food hall to purchase essential ingredients for she who must be obeyed’s ham fussilli surprise, the surprise being that it doesn’t always have ham in it.
While there we take little sister to visit the much advertised “pet show” on the ground floor. We find a stall offering an assortment of dogs with well-scrambled genes, a sad looking terrier in a 1930′s look bathing suit, and a series of cages containing distressed wild animals which those with no compassion might be inclined to keep as a “pet”.
At the end of the pathetic display there were a couple of bored looking birds.
I assumed they would be nailed to their perches, but they were free to fly anywhere. I suggested a quick circuit of the Central ladies wear section where they could crap extensively over the designer dresses while the public address system played the theme from the Dam Busters; but the response was a feeble squawk. Where are the radical birds of yesteryear?
Thoroughly underwhelmed by the “pet show”, we moved away, but then chanced upon a breakaway section dedicated to rabbits. There were rabbits is cages, rabbits in boxes and, best of all, about twenty rabbits hopping around on real grass in an enclosure.
Rabbits are great. I’ll bet even Richard Dawkins doesn’t know how evolution threw together this floppy eared, nose-twitching, bouncing disaster of an animal; but once two had evolved, they had no trouble churning out millions more; because rabbits like shagging.
The shop putting on the display was called something like “Happy Bunny”, but it should have been called “Horny Bunny”, because rarely a minute went by in the enclosure of shame (later dubbed “the porn pit”) without at least one rabbit attempting, and often succeeding, in mounting another rabbit. There was a small white bunny that was after everything. He even tried to conquer a large fluffy rabbit at least four times his size, a triumph of lust over logistics.
It was shag central and the reactions of those who came to see the cute bunnies was varied. Most of the Thais laughed and pointed. Young children were told that the bunnies were “just playing”; a phrase they could remember and use back at their parents once they reached their teenage years and were caught at it behind the sofa. There was a elderly couple on holiday from somewhere like Bournemouth, the sort who normally amuse themselves by writing letters to the Daily Mail expressing outrage. “They shouldn’t let the rabbits do this sort of thing” they whined, as if they expected some bromide to be mixed in with the feed to spare them any embarrassment.
Best of all was the fat, tattooed lout with a beer belly and a Singha vest. He loudly exclaimed to his bar girl friend “Hey look, he is doing what I was doing to you this morning!! Haha!” She gave him one off those killer looks and responded with “but I bet he didn’t need to take a little blue pill first.” They left rather quickly.
Rabbit sex is great, I am going back to watch again tomorrow.
I am a sucker for media. Apart from living too much of my life connected to the interwebby, I love movies, music and computer games and I am constantly on the look out for good stuff. My helper in this task is Metacritic.
Handily broken into entertainment categories, Metacritic accumulates critiques from various sources, scores them, and spits out an average rating. It also allows “real people” to add a review; the result being a handy overview of what is probably good and that which is almost certainly crap. Looking at the latest movies, for example, I shall not be going to see “Gamer” (“A futuristic vomitorium of bosoms and bullets.” – New York Times); but I would like to see “Rembrandt’s J’accuse” (“The filmmaker uncovers a foul, lurid, corrupt, and perversely compelling conspiracy–which is to say, he successfully turns The Night Watch into a Peter Greenaway film.” – Village Voice).
Trouble is, whereas “Gamer” is already gracing the cinemas of Pattaya, there is not the slightest change that “Rembrandt’s J’accuse” will make it here. But when it comes out on DVD, it will appear in the Metacritic DVD section, and then it will be Torrent time. She who must be obeyed flatly refused to go and watch the Sam Raimi horror/comedy “Drag me to hell” at the cinema, because of the horror bit. So I waited till it appeared in the DVD section, trotted off to Torrents, and have now watched it (alone). Scary fun.
The TV section only covers American TV; but I have to sadly admit that American TV rules the world nowadays (much of HBO’s output is an example), so I keep an eye open. Right now there is the Monty Python documentary which needs some downloading.
The music section is also American oriented, and some really weird stuff bubbles up to the top. Third rated album of 2009 is Merriweather Post Pavilion by Animal Collective. No Ripcord magazine said “MPP had aura to burn long before most of us heard it, but now those of us who have heard it and do love it know that this music will not be content to stand idle on the margins of tuneless hype. Time may very well lend Merriweather Post Pavilion a legend extraordinary enough to faithfully capture its myriad treasures.” I didn’t actually understand that review, but I had to try the music. It was awful. I should have listened to a comment by a normal person who said “What utter trash. I’d rather listen to some Swedish gangsta rap performed by punked out cows.” That I understand; and agree with.
The games reviews come neatly packaged by format so I can concentrate on Xbox and PC offerings. Yesterday I discovered Machinarium in the PC section. Downloaded the demo which I was pleased to find was also available for the Mac and was soon parting with $20 for the full game.
What joy. It’s charming, funny and stuffed full of challenging puzzles, many of which I have failed to crack. I am currently carrying around a pot plant and an electrocuted robot cat (in the game, not real life) for which there is no obvious purpose. But a few brain stretching hours and progress might be made.
Get it here.
A year ago today I had the dubious pleasure of making a blog entry from the comfort of the intensive care unit of Bangkok Pattaya Hospital.
Recovering from a broken back was as about unpleasant as I expected it to be. Three months in a restraining brace was a form of torture. Then the brace came off and a new pain experience presented itself when all the muscles which had been on a three month holiday complained about having to work again. Lots of physio, exercises and hot pads; but the pain never really improved and I became resigned to a life of back agony. Then in August, the back decided I had been punished enough and everything started to feel better. It still hurts a bit, still stiff and I expect I will always live with a level of discomfort befitting a crushed vertebrae.
But it could have been so much worse. I still have no recollection as to what happened that afternoon. But I have seen what happened to my car and I realise I could easily have been killed, or paralysed, or had my perfectly chiseled features reduced to pulp. The fact that none of these things happened is down to:
1. The grace of god
My very good friend Desmond Tutu would go for number one. She who must be obeyed is in the number two camp. Me? I was bloody lucky. Whatever the reason, today is a day to celebrate being alive, being in one piece and still being almost unfairly handsome. So to mark the occasion I went sailing.
The wind was promising but it never blew enough to for planing windsurfing. So out with the Serenity which is 4+ meters of pure pleasure in lighter winds.
It’s more of a small yacht than a windsurfer and it slices through the water like a thing that slices through water really well does. Looks gorgeous too. An hour of Serenity sailing and the rain came; but it was enough for my body to confirm it is still capable of such activities, long may it continue; especially as my new board arrives on Monday.
Special mention has to be made again of she who must be obeyed who nursed me through the initial, almost immobile, stages of recovery, and supported me through the long recovery period. I am lucky to be alive and lucky to have her as my wife.
Now can we have some monsoon wind please? I missed it last year.