Archive for November, 2011
All men have been there, all women don’t understand. Your throat is sore, your head aches, your nose runs; compared to this, having a baby would be a minor diversion.
She who must be obeyed has been mildly attentive, but not to the extent I deserve (full time coddling with cool hands, preferably dressed in a nurse’s uniform – her, not me). And anyway, she has been at work, so I have had to nurse myself. I have managed this by slumping in a chair and watching downloaded entertainment.
It’s that time of year when American TV launches new series, hopeful of more hits and usually disappointed. We have started watching a few of the higher rated offerings, but most have been discarded as rubbish after one of two episodes. The exception has been Homeland, which offered a promising premise of a marine returning from Iraq who had been turned into a terrorist (or freedom fighter, depending on your world view) and a mentally unstable CIA officer trying to catch him. After a few episodes it turned into a kitchen sink drama and I considered not watching further, but it perked up around episode eight, so I will keep going. Not highly recommended though.
The best of TV has been the returning series. House continues to be marvellous entertainment with Hugh Laurie as the constantly annoying genius, Dr. House. She who must be obeyed said that if I knew some medical terms, I would be just like House. Not sure if she was referring to the “annoying” or the “genius”….
Dexter, the ongoing story of a serial killer who works for the police department is stupid but easy viewing, and Modern Family makes us laugh. The wife enjoys watching Desperate Housewives. I keep her company on the sofa but I would never admit to glancing at the screen. Conversely, I watch The Walking Dead and she keeps me company by hiding in another room wearing earphones. She just doesn’t like zombies.
Standing head and shoulders above all of the rest is the quite brilliant Breaking Bad. The everyday story of a chemistry teacher who has cancer and turns to the drug trade to pay for his treatment and provide for his family. Sounds gloomy, and it is, but it is also darkly comic, exquisitely shot and has a slow burning storyline that keeps you coming back week after week. Series four finished a few weeks ago, and the season closer was the best piece of television I have seen in a long time, even the title of the episode had you gasping with delight by the end. Quite honestly, they could stop the show right there; but a final season will be shown next year; so you have some time to absorb the first four seasons if you missed it.
I realised all the above come from America, but that’s because the best of TV comes from the USA. The UK just can’t compete, although Downton Abbey delights, even if the second series’ attempt to recreate the horrors of the WW1 trenches was more Blackadder than All Quiet on the Western Front.
Anyway, that’s all for now; I have a one hour feeling sorry for myself session coming up and I don’t want to be disturbed.
While the wind howled outside, I spent far too long this morning fiddling with a website. Once lunch was out of the way and I had made my way to the windsurfing club, the wind was already dying. But never mind I had my camera with me.
As the wind dropped, the learners took to the water, and this young lady provided proof that you are never too small to start:
And this guy proved you are never too big:
Although the young lady was doing rather better than he was.
After windsurfing I popped over to the polo club, just to drop off some photos. Unfortunately they were playing a practice game when I arrived, and I had my camera with me, and I just can’t help myself when there is something to photograph.
Plus, with none of the pressures of a tournament game I was able to relax and try shooting at much lower shutter speeds than normal. I find that 1/640th second is a safe speed to freeze the horse whilst leaving some blurring on the legs. Taking it down to 1/250th would mean much more risk of a blurred shot; but a better sense of action should I manage to get the panning right. I also sat on the ground so I would be looking up at the horse; or I did until my bum started to ache and I stood up.
The only downside from shooting a slower shutter speeds (other than many more failed shots), is that the camera struggles to maintain 10 frames a second shooting speed and there is less chance of catching the “all the legs in the air” shot that I love and you are heartily sick of.
Then back to Pattaya and dinner with she who must be obeyed. Not a bad little day.
In search of another mocking piece on property development, I head off to see two sites which are taking a very different approach to sales.
The first is a condo to be built by A.D. who have thrown up cheap and cheerful blocks all over the place. They take a similar approach to sales, with a couple of tables and some chairs under an awning by the side of the road.
I enquire about availability. Of the 31 floors, there are a few at the bottom and a few at the top (where the price is much higher); otherwise sold out. Thais from Bangkok are the buyers, looking to ensure a bolthole when the floods return. Good business for A.D. and proof that if you have the right product, there is no need for a fancy sales office.
Talking of fancy sales offices, just down the road is a recently constructed edifice in support of the Atlantis development.
I drive past regularly and the car park is always busy, and so it is today. Inside is crammed with potential buyers.This is not the deadbeat project I was expecting to write about. They are building a resort complex with one thousand units. The units are small but with separate bedrooms; big enough for a holiday, a weekend away or for single person living at a pinch. For the money you get a fully finished unit with all the fittings and furniture, right down to the bed sheets.
Again, for a nervous Bangkokian, I can see the attraction. Purchase one of these and just turn up when the waters arrive at your front door in Bangkok. The salesman told me they were selling more than 30 a day, mainly to Thais, and that more than 600 were already sold.
Both A.D. and Atlantis are being developed by Thai companies who understand that their countrymen, and others, are looking for compact condo units at a reasonable price. They will sell them and they will build them; unlike the many developments fronted by shady Easter European thugs, offering over-sized and overpriced crap which they have no intention of building.
I know where I would put my money.
Suphoth Sublom was until very recently the Transport Ministry permanent secretary. An important government post which probably carries a reasonable if not excessive salary. So it must have been a terrible shock when 5 million baht in cash, earmarked for his daughter’s wedding, was stolen from his house earlier this month.
Luckily for Suphoth, the police were quickly on the case, arrested some of the perpetrators, and retrieved his 5 million. Unluckily for Suptoth, the police recovered a good deal more than the 5 million, 17.5 million so far; with estimates that as much as 100 million may have been removed from the house. Oh dear.
Suggestions have been made that the cash came from bribes received from subway line extension projects and that the robbery was commissioned by other politicians who felt they had not received their share of the loot. Personally I find it a little far fetched to suggest that a government official could be in any way involved in corruption, especially in Thailand, where the incidence of bribery and corruption is so low.
And in other news, I got stopped by the police yesterday for speeding when I wasn’t. The misunderstanding was resolved with 100 baht. I’m off round to the policeman’s house tonight to steal it back; might be buying a BMW tomorrow.
She who must be obeyed wanted to “browse” the shops yesterday evening, which always means that I spend an hour or so playing games on my phone in a dark corner, while she lays waste to various retail outlets.
Yesterday the target was cosmetics, and I knew this long before being shown the contents of her shopping bags. To persuade her towards a purchase, the cosmetics staff had troweled on layers of gunk, and then added a rainbow of colours to her face, before finishing it all off with a coating of black tar around the eyes. She looked like a novelty drag act, and I was brave enough to tell her so. This came as no surprise as she knows my preference is for a touch of lip gloss and little else when it comes to make-up, and I would not be seen dead with her looking like she did.
Never mind, we made our way home safely without being spotted and she carried out the first phase of remediation and removal; but the black eyes remained.
While she had been carrying out her pointless shopping, I had been conducting some crucial DVD appraisals and came home with a reduced price Blu-Ray of Taxi Driver. Time for a movie and I put it forward as an option. Having briefly outlined the plot, it was of course rejected and instead she chose One Day, a romantic story which she thought was just what she needed. But I have read the book and know that the ending is not usual babies and puppies vomitathon and so was happy to see what they had done with an adaption for the screen.
Sure enough, we got near the end, something unexpected happened, and I could hear muffled sobbing from the end of the sofa. Result.
End of the movie and I turned and asked “so, how did you enjoy…. OH MY GOD!!”. Yes, I was somewhat shocked to discover that my wife had turned into a Panda. The black eye stuff had run and smudged with the tears with a predictable and hilarious result.
Would you like a bamboo shoot?
Can I take a photo?
And she scuttled off for a cleansing, drain-blocking shower.
Which gave me some time to settle down for yet another watch of Scorsese’s wonderful “Taxi Driver”. And this after watching his documentary on George Harrison “Living in the material world” earlier in the day. And this after watching his Dylan and Rolling Stones documentaries last week. I think I am now Scorsesed out.
I have suggested we watch Kung Fu Panda this evening, but that suggestion met with a frosty response.
A nasty head cold has meant I have not felt like doing much over the past couple of days. Just as well, because there was the small matter of 2,453 polo photos taken over the weekend which needed attention.
Not finished yet, but progress has been made and I am quite proud that I have had the willpower to only stick one photo on here.
So let’s make it two….
Not a particularly dramatic shot; but taken around 4 p.m. when the sun was starting to dip and I really like the colours. Looks great full size, which you can’t see but here is a 100% crop to give an idea of the detail available:
Great camera and lens; but I will be glad when the horsey shots are done and can look forward to the Jetski racing this weekend which should be good for some action shots to bore you with.
Neighbour Nic has been on one of his travels, this time to the south of Thailand; and as is often the case he returned with gifts. A pineapple, some rather excellent Thai cakes, assorted other snacks and a bag of food colouring of dubious parentage sprayed onto some crackers.
He saw me looking at the latter item with concern and assured me he had only bought it for me because he thought I might like to photograph it. So I did.
She who must be obeyed, who is not easily put off by a few chemicals when there are foodstuffs involved, pronounced them delicious. I expect she will have pink stripes on her skin tomorrow.
Even the most occasional reader will be aware that I enjoy photography. I would define myself as being technically competent; but not at all artistic. I have yet to produce a photo of such beauty that I would hang it on the wall and be proud of it; and I probably never will because I am not sufficiently creative.
A visit to 1X is a humbling experience; but then great works of art can be found in many places on the web. Take this for example:
Check out the magnificent footpath, the water and the dull sky. There was a power station in the background but the artist (and this photo could only be taken by an artist) took it out and replaced it with the featureless sky; wouldn’t want anything of interest to liven up the view.
The photographer says it is “an allegorical picture about the meaning of life and how things are”.
Florence Waters (sic) from the Daily Telegraph commented “This image is a vibrant, beautiful and memorable – I should say unforgettable – contemporary twist on Germany’s famed genre and favourite theme: the romantic landscape, and man’s relationship with nature”.
I say it’s boring bollocks and he should have left in the power station. Which just goes to confirm that I am no artist, because this photo just set a new sales record of $4.3 million at Christie’s.
Maybe I will hang one of my cat photos on the wall after all.