Archive for November, 2009
……Someone asked the author Terry Pratchett. His reply: “Because I don’t have enough space for eight”.
Well, I am not sure I want or need six monitors, but it is certainly an improvement having two.
The one on the right is my brand new 24″ Apple LCD monitor. The one on my left is my brand new 23″ piece of crap Samsung monitor (the previous 25″ Samsung is part of the “get the Xbox running on the old modelling table and then play games endlessly” project).
Here is what is wrong with the Samsung monitor:
1. It’s crap.
Here is what is right with the Samsung monitor:
1. It’s cheap.
Here is what is wrong with the Apple monitor:
1. You need the stupid little Apple plug to connect it, which means it only works with recent Apple laptops and certain Mac Pros.
2. The cable between the stupid little plug and the monitor is too short.
3. It’s got a camera and microphone and speakers and I don’t need any of those.
4. It hasn’t got an HDMI socket and I might need that.
5. It is insanely expensive.
Here is what is right with the Apple monitor:
1. None of the above negative points matter because this thing is utterly, utterly gorgeous.
When it is turned off it is an orgasm of brushed metal and glass. When it is turned on, well, everything just looks so damn good, and they look equally damn good from any angle, unlike the Samsung which looks varying colours of crap depending on the viewing angle. Photos pop out of the screen in a way that had she who must be obeyed actually praising some of my shots. Then we tried a movie; stunning. Yes, it is glossy and if the screen is displaying a substantial percentage of black you can use it as a mirror to squeeze your spots (it wipes down easily). But in practice you don’t notice the reflections.
Fabulous monitor, I just wish I had two of them, or maybe six.
If it’s good enough for The Pattaya Ghost, it’s good enough for me. No, not half the female population of Pattaya, but an Apple Magic Mouse. Having previously poured scorn on the idea of ever owning another crappy Apple mouse, I played with the new offering in a shop and rather liked it. The Ghost then confirmed it was good, so I added one onto the end of my order for my LCD monitor.
And I do like it. I glides nicely over any surface I choose (especially cats) and has a pleasant heft to it thanks to the metal body. The buttons have a solid click to them and the “scroll anywhere” feature is brilliant. Like The Ghost, I wish there was more I could do with my fingers (stay on topic folks), but expect there will be updates to facilitate that. Nice one Apple, the Logitech is in the drawer.
Of course, I had to photograph it. These are my initial efforts:
Even though I wiped it before snapping it, close inspection reveals assorted marks, biscuit crumbs and vast quantities of cat hair. Proper product photography needs a sterile environment, or at least an absence of cats.
Called to Bira today to take some photos of a professional racing biker. Regret to say I can’t recall his name, mainly because nobody told me what it was, but there was much fawning and doe-eyed admiration going on; so I assume he is quite good. The plan was for him to take Graham’s bike, and he ended up borrowing Graham’s race suit too, because he did not bring his own. Suddenly the reason for wanting the photos became obvious. Once the guy was suited up, he was, to the casual observer, Graham. So now Graham has a collection of photos of what appears to be him riding his bike in a perfect racing position.
Like this one:
While super-racer-boy was out on the track pretending to be Graham, the real Graham took out another bike, crashed it, and fractured his collar bone.
P.S. Have a click and take a look at the enlarged version of the photo, its really rather fine; even if I say so myself. And I do.
Much celebration over on Billy’s blog where, after a lifetime of trying, he has finally persuaded our previously mutual employer that he should be released into the welcoming arms of early retirement. Well done that man, but let me assure him that retirement is not just the carpet slippers and the hours spent staring blankly into space that you might be looking forward to. It’s much harder work than that.
Today was a fairly typical day in my retired life. The recent trip with she who must be obeyed, followed immediately by seven days of polo photography, followed immediately by four days of windsurfing; meant that the Spike domestic agenda had been somewhat neglected. A couple of e-mails and an SMS reminded me that there were bills to be paid, and the cats seemed to be indicating that they were out of food.
First the car insurance, a reminder for which had arrived a month or so ago, far too early to worry about so I dropped it into a drawer and forgot about it until a mail arrived telling me I was about to be uninsured. Given my propensity for destroying vehicles and myself, I thought it wise to renew on time. While foraging in the drawer I also found some condo service bills, two telephone bills, an electricity bill and a small embroidered mouse. I threw away the mouse and headed out to pay all the bills.
The cat food was more difficult. These are executive cats which only eat a certain type of food (the expensive type), and they turn up their noses at fish treats, milk and all the other stuff that cats are meant to enjoy. So it took me three pet shops before I found what I needed.
All this bill paying and cat food procurement made me quite weary, so coffee and some lunch before returning home.
Time to sand a table! We have a basic wooden table which I managed to substantially damage during my radio-controlled model-making phase and it is now covered in dried epoxy, soldering burns, screwdriver indentations and a Turin shroud-style likeness of Jesus. Hallelujah! I persuaded the maid to help carry the table out onto the balcony, and then indicated that we should tip it over the edge so it could plummet the many floors to the swimming pool. I don’t think she will stay with us for long.
Brought the electric sander out to play and in half an hour there was substantially less table and a big pile of sawdust; job well done. She who must be obeyed thinks I am doing this to prepare the table for covering with pretty tiles. Actually I am doing it so it makes a good surface onto which I can screw my Xbox racing wheel.
Suitably smothered in sawdust, it seemed a good opportunity to launch into a long-outstanding project, the cutting of holes in my desk to install air vents to help cool my computer. Out with the power saw and an hour or so of swearing and more sawdust, the job was done. No time for a shower before she who must be obeyed returned from work and suggested dinner.
Now, correct me if I am wrong; but that is a much more activity-packed day than I would undertake when employed. Then, the main challenges were staying awake in meetings, managing the cup of coffee/toilet break balance and forwarding risque jokes to the likes of Camberley and Billy. Don’t recall an extensive use of power tools, and you had
servants subordinates to go and pay your bills for you.
I tell you, if it wasn’t for the pension I would resign from this retirement job and go do something easier.
It’s been the usual week of mayhem and pillage in fun city. A man shot dead while fishing at a lake. A bomb at a construction site which critically injured a worker. Suicides, drug busts, a body washed ashore, and a law office attacked by gunfire (I can sort of understand that).
So, plenty to keep the local cops busy, as well as the usual activities of extorting cash from motorists and sleeping next to their bikes. Luckily they had the help from Police Colonel Gitipong, who holds the title of “deputy chief of special investigations for police region 2″. He mounted a massive operation yesterday and raided a snooker hall. Was his elite team of storm troopers there to arrest one or more of the many murderers, thieves, rapists, lawyers or drug runners at large in this town? Nope, they swooped upon a slot machine which, horrors of horrors, was rigged to pay out real money. This is illegal and is a crime that should be punishable by death.
I think we can all sleep easier tonight knowing that the two evil men using the machine and the owner of the snooker hall were taken to the police station and given a stern talking to.
Tomorrow the special investigations unit will be doing some more swooping, my guess is the target will be double parking.
Five months since I last reported on this magnificent development, so thought it was time for an update.
So, the same signs on the door as before, and it is clear that there is still no “construction in progress”. But there has been some news.
First, the bad news. The sales pitch from the developer that the noise and filth from the boat park in front of the condo would be eliminated because the boats were going to be moved, has been rather undermined by a recent announcement from City Hall that they intend extending the boat and car parking in that area to serve the tourist industry. Oh dear.
But there is some good news for the wise investors in this landmark development. Last weekend we were driving past the site and the normally locked doors to the “construction site” were open. Exciting times! Perhaps piling was in progress? Perhaps hundreds of tonnes of construction material were being delivered to be crafted into a magnificent edifice by dozens of skilled artisans? Well, no. But there was a bloke sat on a chair collecting money from people who wanted to use the “construction site” as a car park.
No doubt the funds are being deposited into the condo sinking fund for the benefit of all the future owners of this prestigious property which hasn’t quite started yet.
In these difficult times, it is understandable that there can be delays and minor problems. But, as The Waterfront’s web page tells us:
Waterfront Pattaya Bay is backed by Elran Real Estate , a leading international real-estate investor and developer: its worldwide operations and assets total over half a billion Euros. Elran Real Estate develops projects throughout Europe. Russia and Asia.
A publicly listed company. Elran is able to demonstrate over 50 years’ experience and countless success stories.
Here are some recent success stories about Elran Real Estate:
“Elran Real Estate lost NIS 5.2 million from real estate development activities in Thailand and NIS 1.9 million from the real estate activities of subsidiary Rus Basilica, in Russia.”
“Elran Investments no longer consolidates its financial results with those of Elran Real Estate, as the value of the investment in this subsidiary has shrunk to zero and the mother company is not a guarantor for the subsidiary’s debts. Elran Real Estate’s accountants attached a going concern warning to the financial report, noting that by August 2010 the company will have to pay banks and bondholders NIS 87 million, of which only NIS 49 million is on deposit in the company’s accounts.”
Doesn’t sound too promising. Given the need for additional room for parking in the area, perhaps they should scrap the condo and just continue with the car park operations. The “investors” could each be given a cap and take it in turn to sit in the chair and take the parking fees. Not much of a return on their investment; but it’s all they are likely to get.
The last couple of days have been windy. Really windy. Like smallest sail you can find windy. And it has rapidly dawned on me that I am not as fit as I used to be. Truth is that I have done very little windsurfing since my accident a year ago, and what I have done has been in reasonably benign conditions.
All this is an excuse for the panting, wrecked individual that crawled out of the sea yesterday. She who must be obeyed was there to video me collapsing onto the beach, a piece of footage which will never be published to a wider audience if she knows what is good for her.
And of course high winds, choppy seas and an unfit sailor can only result in one outcome; an accident. My lovely new board was propelling me at a healthy pace across the water, until one particular wave launched the front of the board into the air, the wind inserted itself below the board, and the entire contraption, including me, was airborne.
The normal reaction to this event is to bend the legs, sheet in the sail and perform a neat jumping action before landing safely. But my reaction was to think “I don’t know where, and I don’t know how much, but this is going to hurt”. And it did. My head hit the mast, my legs hit the boom and my arm hit the board. The first two resulted in an ache for a while, but the latter was more messy.
New windsurfing boards have their decks treated with what is known as “non-slip”, which means sprayed-on, industrial strength sandpaper, extra coarse grade. This is great for giving grip to your feet, but it is also very effective at removing all the skin from other body parts should you be foolish enough to drag them across the board. And I was, and if you bother to look at a recent tweet you can see the result, a bit of a bloody mess which is refusing to stop being bloody; yuk
Never mind, the sun was spectacularly elegant on the way down to the horizon this evening.
I’m a Northern boy. Never lived south of Teesside in the north east of England, and spent my last eight years in the UK in the chilling wastes of Aberdeen, where shirt sleeves in the depths of winter were de rigueur, and hypothermia was something invented by people south of the border.
But living in Asia for more than twenty years seems to have changed me. On our recent visit to Tak it felt decidedly chilly in the mornings, such that I was forced to wear a warm jacket that I had brought along for emergencies. And this was an emergency, it was bloody freezing.
So I was somewhat surprised to check the thermometer and find that the temperature was 19 degrees Celcius, slightly warmer than the hottest day ever recorded during an Aberdeen summer (a season which lasts no more than a week), and a temperature which would have had us stripped to bare essentials and consuming gallons of cooling ice cream, rather than seeking refuge in a warm jacket, whimpering like a puppy and sipping hot soup for warmth.
The shot is a little blurred, but that is because my hands were shaking with the cold. It seems that my body has adjusted to living here and sadly this means I could never, ever go back and live in the UK. Such a shame.
And it has become colder since my ordeal in Tak. Yesterday the local media reported:
Temperatures In Thailand Dropped To 15 Degrees Celsius; 2 Dead.
It’s tough in the tropics.
That’s how many photographs I have taken over the last ten days. Still have about 1,500 left to process which will take the next couple of days. But she who must obeyed has suggested that what I need to do right now is go out for a draft beer; she is so wise sometimes.