Archive for September, 2011
A few months ago I clicked my mouse and bought an Amazon Kindle. It has proved to be an excellent purchase with ludicrously long battery life and a wonderful screen for reading. I also like the way it works with the Kindle app on other devices. Stuck in an endless supermarket adventure with she who must be obeyed, I can start up the Kindle app on my iPhone and it will automatically take me to the latest page I was reading on the Kindle device. When I get home and pick up the Kindle, it will update to reflect the seventy six pages I read while she who must be obeyed was choosing fabric softener. Neat.
So, everyone who reads should have a Kindle, and now they can have one for even less money. I paid close to $200 including shipping and duty, as of today the price has dropped to a shade over $160; delivered by courier to your door in Thailand.
For the lower price, you don’t get a keyboard; but I have never used the keyboard on my Kindle. When I buy books I do so via my computer, and then just sync the Kindle to Amazon.
Order the new Kindle today and you could be reading books on it in Thailand by Monday.
Also announced, but not yet available for ordering outside the USA, is the Kindle Touch. The Kindle Touch is only $20 more than the Kindle and has the advantage of a touch-screen. It also has the disadvantage of a touch-screen as you slowly see sentences being obscured by your sticky finger marks. For ultimate book reading pleasure, I still reckon the base Kindle is the best.
Top of the new Kindle range is the Kindle Fire. $199 buys you (if you live in the USA) a high quality 7″ colour display with the same resolution as the iPad. Several more dollars will enable you to buy movies, books, music and magazines from the Amazon store to consume on the device. A rather clever web browser, e-mail and access to games and other applications complete a rather compelling product for a low price.
The Kindle Fire is going to take some sales from Apple and make it tough for other players in the Android tablet market. Personally, I am happy with my current Kindle and iPad; which is just as well because the current exchange rates means I have no spare cash for toys.
The cats love it when we receive a parcel. It usually arrives with a box laden with interesting aromas and the cats take it in turns to occupy the box for several days, until boredom sets in and a new parcel is then awaited.
Tiki + box + Fuji X100.
Off to Bangkok again for another round of interviews for she who must be obeyed. We have lost count of the number of people she has been required to meet; but yesterday took her fairly close to the top of the management tree, so hopefully we are nearing the end and a job offer will be forthcoming soon.
I would like to think she benefited from my interview advice, which was: don’t get pissed during the interview; but apparently that option never arose. I based this advice on the interview for my job in Bangkok. I met with my potential future boss in an Irish bar in the Hague and the first pint of the interview went very well. By the third Guinness we were both talking bollocks and I suspect I only got the job because he couldn’t remember anything the following morning. A job in Bangkok was highly prized, especially compared to some of the alternatives (Lagos, Sakhalin Island, Lowestoft) and my peers were somewhat miffed that I had got the job merely by turning up and drinking too much. They were even more miffed five years later when my final task was to transfer the company to a new owner, thereby eliminating my job and any chance of a Bangkok assignment. Never mind, I understand Lagos is still an option.
While she who must be obeyed was not getting pissed, I amused myself by going to AV Camera to have the sensor of my GF1 cleaned. After nearly two years and countless lens swaps, the level of crap on the sensor had exceeded the camera’s ability to clean it; so I spent 150 baht to have it cleaned manually.
AV Camera is a treasure trove of stuff I don’t need but desperately want, and it took considerable willpower not to lash out on a G3 and/or a new Olympus lens. But I had to buy something (or so I told myself), and came away with a new strap for my Fuji X100.
The original Fuji strap was adequate, if a little thin; whereas this is a chunky piece of leather. She who must be obeyed admired my sense of style in matching the red stitching on the case. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I hadn’t noticed. On the downside, she said that the leather smelled like buffalo and that it looked a little gay; there’s just no pleasing some people.
I think that’s the final piece of bling for the X100. Unless I can find some Hello Kitty stickers that would fit over the viewfinder.
Not long ago, Amara Watersports arranged a SUP race on the beach near their club.
Yesterday, they did it again, except this time they took the SUPs onto Jomtien beach and waited to see who wanted to have a paddle. The answer was that all the kids that hang around on the beach were keen to try, plus a few guys who looked suspiciously like Thai national team windsurfers. Massive enthusiasm and after some general messing about…..
…there was a briefing….
…and the race got underway:
The first race was enjoyed so much, the kids demanded another, then another; and they were still inventing new races as darkness was falling and I left.
Great initiative from Craig and Amara; and their good deeds continue next week when they join the relief effort for those trapped by the floods in Thailand; by bringing SUPs and paddlers to the flood-hit areas with the intention of delivering relief supplies to places that are hard to reach by normal means. I am considering going along to record their efforts, although she who must be obeyed is not keen on the idea, pointing out that I am not at my best when I get wet.
Things I like about Facebook:
a. It’s good for finding people you used to work with twenty years ago, exchanging one mail to discover neither of you has done anything of interest since you last met, and then feeling that maybe it would have been better not to have made contact at all; because now you have to suffer their daily updates on what they had for lunch.
b. It’s good for publicising your business/hobby to other people.
Things I don’t like about Facebook:
1. Everything else.
2. See 1
I have four Facebook accounts. One is for Pattaya Days and every post I make here ends up there. As a result I get a few hits a day from my Facebook page. Another account is for me and that is where I suffer the daily updates of all the people I used to work with. Then there is an account for my polo photography where I have more than my fair share of beautiful south American women as followers and I get a chance to publicise my photos in the hope someone might buy them. Finally I have an account for playing poker, where I have found that being a cute young girl with large breasts gives you a better chance of taking down punters in a game.
So I use Facebook; but I detest doing so. A Facebook page looks like Zuckerberg and his mates are projectile vomiting words and pictures onto the screen in random sequence. Up until a couple of days ago there was a heading for Top News and another for Most Recent. I could never work out what each provided; both seemed to contain a pathetic selection of “I had chips for lunch. LOL” posts. Now these headings have been replaced by a stream of consciousness called “recent stories” which mixes nonsense from two days ago with nonsense from two minutes ago. For no apparent reason, some items have a little blue tag and are titled “top stories”, even though they’re not. On the right there is a stream of fetid garbage masquerading as interesting updates and my list of “friends”, many of whom I have never met.
Facebook has always been awful, and now it is even worse. I really hope there is an alternative soon.
In the meantime, please add me as a friend, LOL.
One morning, around eighteen years ago, I woke to find my left arm somewhat numb. I put this down to a bad sleeping position and got on with my day. By the afternoon my entire left side was comfortably numb and I assumed that I had somehow trapped a substantial nerve. It took a trip to the doctors to bring me back to reality, I had had a stroke; although thankfully a small one.
At the time I was living in Brunei, and having exhausted the capabilities of the local medical service, my company sent me to a specialist in London. Several thousand pounds later, the consensus of opinion was that nobody had a bloody clue what had caused it, that all my tests results checked out OK, and that I must just have blood that has a tendency to clot more than it should.
All I got out of this was an instruction to take aspirin every day, and a fine collection of MRI scans of my brain. The latter were great for making a T-shirt with a graphic of my head and a slogan “If you think my brain is big, you should see my dick”; although I never had the guts to wear it.
As for the numbness, that disappeared over time as idle brain cells took over the tasks previously held by brain cells that had been killed off in the stroke. Pretty damn clever of my brain; although when I get very tired the newly assigned cells go on strike and hold up little placards saying “we weren’t designed for this” (or at least that is what I assume they are doing), and partial numbness returns.
My view is that the personal and business related stress I was going through at the time contributed to the incident. Doctors, however, refuse to accept stress as a symptom, because god knows they get enough of it, what with having to work four hours a day before heading for the golf course. For my part, I try to live as stress-free life as possible to help ensure no more brain cells get exterminated.
So it is ironic that a continual source of stress is the bloody bastard aspirin container which I have to battle with on a daily basis.
As it comes from the shop, it is not a threatening object:
But open the lid to remove a pill…..
First there is the tinfoil cover which cannot be peeled off, it has to be pierced by a sharp object. But don’t worry about damaging the pills underneath because there aren’t any to be found. Instead, crammed tightly into the neck, are two sets of instructions. These are almost impossible to remove without the aid of needle-nosed pliers. Fortunately, I have such pliers, but there must be grannies around the world, laying dead on the floor, clutching an aspirin pill bottle still containing the full complement of pills which grannie was unable to access. Put that on Wikileaks.
Finally I manage to remove the instructions. No point in reading them because they will just say: “put pill in mouth, drink, swallow”; and I can just about manage that without needing guidance. But no sign of the pills yet. Instead there is a packet of silica gel of just the right dimensions that it is impossible to remove. If you try, then you will almost certainly break the packet, leaving the beads of silica gel (which are conveniently almost exactly the same size as the aspirin) to rattle around in the container with the pills. I have no idea what role silica gel might play in stroke prevention, but I have certainly ingested some as aspirin substitutes over the years.
It’s a fucking nightmare, and I rarely manage to clear all the obstacles to the pills; meaning that every day I have a little stress-filled battle to extract the pills I require. Except for the latest bottle, where I spent a happy twenty minutes extracting all the crap so I could photograph it for you.
Unfortunately, I won’t get the full 60 pills worth of benefit out of this, because while I was uploading the photos to my computer, a cat jumped on the table and ate three of the pills and rendered 14 others unsuitable for human consumption. Being a cat, this will not thin her blood, but it will most likely make her vomit, probably on something that is hard to wash. More stress due to aspirin tablets.
To Bira circuit where I heard there was kart racing. Indeed there was, but most of the drivers were less than ten years old.
It’s was a round of the junior kart championship; but just because the drivers are kids, it doesn’t mean that there was a lack of commitment. Indeed in the first race, a young lady ended up in the barriers. Amazingly, the race wasn’t stopped and, perhaps less amazingly, the resident ambulance took almost ten minutes to pick her up. She who must be obeyed rang the hospital this evening to learn she had been discharged, which was good news.
Three races with kids on board and I took a lot of shots, most of which I have deleted and a few are shown below:
The last race was for “35 up/VIPs”:
The young winners were interviewed for TV; could be future GP stars, except Thailand lacks the racing series for youngsters to develop from karts.