Archive for May, 2010
After more than a week of Jeff mania, life appears to be returning to normal.
Back to a couple of hundred viewers per day and no more “you’re stupid”, “no, you are more stupid”, “your Mum sucks” comments, probably because my patience ran out and I closed down comments on the Jeff-related posts. Hopefully the comment morons have gone away to play on the more robust local forums where current popular threads include topics such as “Wats Your Favorite Hole Mouth/Pussy/Ass?” and “Have you humped a ladyboy?”.
June is almost upon us and she who must be obeyed is eager to go and point her new camera at something. So a trip is being planned; I await the itinerary from the management. Other than that, no idea what I will write about. Except that Jeff is due back in court in a few days which could be good for a post; with comments turned off of course.
Buddha days crop up on a regular basis and are marked around our way by some prayers and a circumnavigation of the local Buddha. I have almost certainly posted photos before on this event, and the offerings from this evening are not as crisp as previous shoots, because I did not have use of a tripod.
It’s not that I forgot my tripod, it’s just that she who must be obeyed had her new camera and wanted to take some shots, so it seemed only decent to let her use it. I had to prop my camera against a convenient statue; only to discover she was intruding into my frame:
With shutter speeds of a second of more, it was hard to get a steady shot, but here are a few:
The British government’s latest travel advisory for Thailand states: “We are now advising against all but essential travel to Bangkok.”
I had a lens which was acting up and decided it was essential that I have it attended to; so off we go to Bangkok this morning. Park at The Emporium and then skytrain to the Canon repair centre where I tell them the problem, they tell me the diaphragm is sticking and needs replacing. That will be 7,000 baht please and come back in a couple of weeks. Painful.
Decide to pop into Panthip and spend a fruitless hour trying to track down a copy of Red Dead Redemption, the latest and greatest from Rockstar Games. No luck, but my journey does take me past Central World where I take a few shots. Rather depressing, but it’s only a building and can be replaced, unlike the 80+ people who died.
Deciding not to flaunt the government advisory too much, we return early to Pattaya. Just as well because Bangkok decides to have a massive traffic jam later in the afternoon as the residents head off for a long weekend. Perhaps they need to re-word the advisory:
“We are now advising against all but essential travel to Bangkok, because the traffic can be abysmal.”
Never thought I would write that, but it’s true. After a month or so of blissful usage, it is dawning on me that I made a error of judgement. I should have bought a model with more storage.
So far, 16GB has been enough. I stream video using AirVideo, so no need to hold any video on the device. I use Pandora Radio to listen to music and discover new bands, so have little of my own music installed. The only significant consumer of storage has been the large number of applications I have acquired; so now I only have 10GB free. But since I have discovered magazines, my remaining storage is under threat.
An application called Zinio offers a wide range of publications. I have always enjoyed the photographs and articles in National Geographic, but at 275 baht for a copy in Thailand, it is an occasional pleasure. A year’s subscription on the iPad works out at 45 baht an issue and comes with videos in support of some of the articles. Maxim, the magazine for boys of all ages, is 365 baht from a book shop, 28 baht from Zimio. Rolling Stone is 55 baht. They are ridiculously cheap, and of course they all look great on the iPad, and are easy to read with zooming and scrolling.
Good as they are, they are rather overshadowed by the first iPad edition of Wired magazine which was released today.
The bad news is that it is relatively expensive at about 160 baht a copy; although that is still less than half of the Thailand newsstand price. And at half a gigabyte; it is a big download and a substantial consumer of storage.
The good news is that this is the first magazine to really take advantage of the medium. The other magazines are just digital copies of the original, with a few added goodies. Wired gives you a completely different experience from the printed version.
It’s a magazine; but it is more than a magazine; and my 160 baht has bought me many hours of interactive enjoyment.
So, if you are buying an iPad when they are released in Europe this Friday; get plenty of storage, and get Wired.
She who must be obeyed has a plan. It is probably a cunning plan, but I have yet to fully understand it. It involves the internet and photographs and making money; and she is currently in the research phase which involves buying several books in Thai about a variety of subjects and not really reading any of them.
But she did decide that she needed a camera. We have many cameras or, more precisely, I have many cameras. I grudgingly allow her to use one of my older models until I decide I need it back for some purpose (the purpose being to ensure that she does not assume ownership).
So she decided to purchase a camera of her own and there was little doubt which one she would choose. When I was considering a move into micro four thirds, the choice was between a Panasonic GF1 and an Olympus EP1. Not much to choose between them, but I went for the GF1 because I really wanted the lens that comes with it. But she was sold on the EP1, because it looked so good.
Last night we walked past a shop selling the EP1 at 10% discount, plus 3,000 baht off. Most importantly, it was the white model which is the colour she wanted. And now it is
On the top of the camera there is an engraving that says “Olympus PEN since 1959″, and I explained to she who must be obeyed that the her camera was the latest in line of classic Pen cameras going back more than fifty years. “It looks very classic and elegant” I observed.
“It will look even better once I have put some Little Kitty stickers on it”, was her response.
Yoshihisa Maitani, the designer of the original Pen, will be turning in his grave. I just intend photographing the aberration and sharing it with you here. And I am going to fight back by putting some Transformers stickers on my GF1.
Last week I was extolling the virtues of Guardian Eyewitness and their extremely sad photo of Rama IV under siege.
Today they have a more uplifting offering:
On Sunday, the people of Bangkok came out on the streets and helped clean up the mess from the protests. Local businesses handed out free food and drinks. Passing motorists dropped off supplies. Good to see that the community spirit of Bangkok has not been lost.
This morning the schools are open again and it is raining, two factors that will ensure that the Monday morning traffic jams are even worse than usual. The Big Mango is back to normal, for now.
Some reasons not to undertake property development in Pattaya right now:
A saturated housing market where nothing is selling
Obscene exchange rates
But I must be too pessimistic, because there are a rash of new developers spending money on posters, brochures and fancy sales offices, hoping to persuade punters to part with some cash; after which they may or may not start to build something.
Took she who must be obeyed to Starbucks in Central Beach Road a couple of days ago and discovered that a nearby unit had been converted to a swanky sales office for a development called The Koral.
Sticking the word “the” in front of a a random word is the latest trend from property developers, desperate to come up with a name which will hint at opulence and exclusivity. Naming a development “Crumbling Towers” doesn’t say much, but “The Crumbling Towers” tells the world that this is the special crumbling towers; out of all the crumbling towers on offer, this is the one. Utter bollocks of course.
Substituting a K for a C in a word is a currently cool (sorry, kurrently kool) thing to do; as in Mortal Kombat (computer game) and Korea (Editor: are you sure you have your facts right? If so, kool).
And so we have The Koral, which is already sufficient reason for not wanting to live there.
But the brochure was opulent; printed on thick, quality paper in full colour and stuffed with computer generated images, illustrating what The Koral will look like should they ever get round to building it. And with encouraging text written in English; sort of. It starts with “Millions of travelers from around the world know Pattaya as a city of vibrant.” No, I didn’t leave a word out; they did. And there is more. “Uniquely design for timeless style”. “As you step out the landscape is surrounded minimal tropical garden”. The lovely, expensive brochure, clearly designed for attracting English speaking customer, is grammatically buggered.
Why do they do this? How hard would it be to have the wording checked by a native English speaker before printing? For goodness sake, they could just walk up to someone and ask them to take a look.
Hello, do you speak English
Yeah. But. No. But. Yeah
Can you check our slogan please? It’s: “Luxury living in the beach lifestyle”.
Nah, that’s no good, innit. Wanna use “Buy this condo you fucker or we’ll come and burn the fucker down. Fucker”
Thank you for the correction. What’s your name by the way?
Jeff Savage, innit.
OK, so the name is crap and the brochure is flawed, but the actual show units were rather pleasant. Good use of space and the view out the front across beach road was OK. “I’ll take this one, I like the view”, I told the flustered sales girl. “No, no, no, you have to see real site” she said.
So I looked in the brochure, and this was the view:
Very nice elevated view of Pattaya bay. Looks very similar to the view that you get from the lookout point at Pratumnak hill. Hang on; it IS the view you get from the lookout point at Pratumnak hill!
So we went to the lookout point to check the view, and indeed it was the same:
And this is the lookout point area, not enough space for a new development; hardly got space for another food cart:
And of course this is because the view in the brochure is a photoshopped lie.
The actual site is 10 kilometres away from where the photograph is taken, at a location which is more than three kilometres from the seafront. Maybe you will be able to catch a distant view of the sea from one of the higher units; but I doubt it; although the brochure states that you can have sea view, garden view, pool view or mountain view. But then, neither did I spot any mountains. Or a garden.
The good news is that development is only 2 minutes from Pattaya City Centre, according to the brochure. As Pattaya is about 15 kilometres away, this means they must be providing some sort of shuttle bus that can get there at an average of 450 kilometres an hour. Worth the price of investment just for that, I reckon.
Anyway, work seems to almost underway at the construction site:
So get yourself down to the sales office and agree to purchase several units, provided that they guarantee the view printed in their brochure; and that they change the name to The Kon.
The antics of Mr. Jeff Savage were of sufficient interest to make yesterday the busiest day ever for Pattaya Days. Not that that is saying much; and rather sad that it should take the antics of a dickhead to draw in the crowds, rather than perhaps a beautifully written analysis of the role of post-modernism in the culture of Eastern Europe (under preparation, watch this space, don’t hold your breath).
It seems appropriate that I should follow up on yesterday’s media success with a post bearing a title that will attract a large number of punters, and a content that will please nobody (apart from genuinej, who has been pleading for more pussy shots for some time).
This is Tiki. She has a half sister called Gabrielle who is content to spend the day dozing somewhere quiet, with the occasional break for eating and shitting, and a built-in guarantee that she will purr obligingly should you pass within one metre of her slumbering body. A typical cat.
Tiki is very different. She who must be obeyed describes her as “hard core”, and she is certainly a challenging companion. Several times during the day I will be called to attend to her need to be violently stroked. The locations vary, but the top of a very scratched chair is popular. The latest hot spot is the area at the back of the condo where the washing machine lives. I will be first be summoned to the kitchen area by a series of complaining calls which indicated that she needs attention. Once I have arrived, I am led immediately to the top of the washing machine by a cat with a walk that says “you are my slave”, where several minutes attention will be required. She then jumps onto the shelves holding towels and gives me a “Right. More stroking. NOW!” look; like this.
Of course I oblige and I am eventually released to do whatever I was doing prior to the call.
Once we have done a few tours round the condo, she settles down in a box next to my computer where she will happily stay for the rest of the day, provided I give her regular attention; or unless I go somewhere, in which case she needs to follow so she can interfere with anything I try to do. Occupying boxes is her speciality, particularly boxes I am trying to fill.
In the evening she will decamp to she who must be obeyed’s lap, lying on her back with her legs in the air and with a dreamy look on her face. SWMBO must then comb her thoroughly.
And so to bed, where an interruption at some point is guaranteed when Tiki paws at the covers, demanding to carry out an under the sheets inspection; after which she will settle down on my feet for the rest of the night. Of course, if I go for a pee, she has to come too; so that she can attempt to trip me up in the dark.
I have never encountered a pussy with so much personality. She already used up some of her lives when she jumped from our condo balcony; I just hope that the few she has left will enable her to outlive me; hard to imagine a day without being subject to her regime.
The Boston Globe’s The Big Picture is a regularly updated web gallery of photographs. A gentleman by the name of Alan Taylor chooses the subjects, sources the photos, and the collections are invariably stunning.
Today’s offering is the Bangkok crackdown and the photo selection is impressive, sobering and sad:
Not surprising to see that most of the photographers are Thai, there are some great photographers in this country. And, given that it takes more balls than I could ever muster to put yourself in the middle of a riot, I offer them my profound admiration.
There is also set from the 17th May.
Great photography, puts my crappy motorbike shots into context.