Saturday, May 30, 2015

Nong..and a new twist on Khao Mun Gai

Men in Thailand hold the power, but its the women who keep the rest of the country up.  You see it in the villages and neighbors of the mango.  Immigrants like Nong are what built the USA and without people like her, the existing pool of government assisted deadbeats can't carry us for the future.

An inspiration, but most importantly....her quote that 'giving first' will result in getting back...often many times over.  Nong was like many of the girls you see in the big mango...broke, unable to speak English, and uneducated, but like many of them, she had the fire in her belly to do better.  Will we ever have that among our youths again?

TEDx = "We exist to dream—to think up what might be—with not one vision, but many"

On the other side of the spectrum, Jon Jandai has another perspective, we make it hard on ourselves.  Only thing is that here in the USA, many things that he did are not legal.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Back from Italia........but tired out big time

 Just got back last night from 11 days in Italy and was totally drained of energy.  Went straight to bed and didn't even take time for something to eat.  Its now about midnight, and I just woke up again thinking I was someplace else.  As I wait for the food to heat up, I am updating this blog with quick post.
The Pope

St. Peter's Square

The trip was not a typical 'tourist' type of program, but something they call a 'pilgrimage'.  It differs in destinations and focus.  Here is Wikipedia's definition:

pilgrimage is a journey or search of moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person's beliefs and faith, although sometimes it can be a metaphorical journey into someone's own beliefs

This trip was for my Godmother who turned 95 this year and with her family and friends of her church.  It involved visiting the tombs of the Saints, a stop at St. Peter's square to attend the the weekly mass presided over by the Pope at the Vatican, and the viewing of the rarely shown Shroud of Turin.  We also got to celebrate mass inside each of the churches where these Saints practiced their ministry.  For example, we had a chance to visit the tomb and church where St Francis of Assissi did his work.  St. Francis = San Francisco (in Spanish) = San Francisco, California.  Didn't get pictures from many locations due to the ban on cameras and videos. In reflection of the  sign of the times, many sites banned large bags and backpacks and going through a metal detector was common.  

viewing of the Shroud of Turin from a private back chapel 

Italy is very historically significant from both a social and religious aspect.  Once the seat of Roman power for the entire known western world to today's location of the Vatican, its a very beautiful country that I would like visit again with more time.  With only 11 days, it was impossible to see anything in depth, but it was certainly a good overview of important sites for future return visits.

The trip was very educational.  Aside from knowing the Saints better, and actually viewing their preserved bodies or tombs, there was a bit of time to see other things like the Colosseum, the leaning tower of Pisa, Pompeii, Venice, Florence, and take my first ride on an Airbus A380.  We were on the go from dawn to dark every day, and didn't get to spend much time at the great hotels we were booked in, 

We visited the upper 2/3 rd of the country, covering the entire trip with our own bus.  Typically, we would arrive late, stay only one night a each destination, and left early in the morning after an early breakfast.  On some days, we only got a box breakfast.  It was physically hard for the elderly, but most did the pilgrimage with renewed energy obtained by seeing the sites that form the foundation of their faith.   

The preserved bodies in Pompeii

Central Pompeii

Yes, it actually does lean

Recognize this building - the inspiration for the Venetian in Vegas

I will be posting more in the next few days as I get caught up with this blog.  

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Went to the range yesterday..again

Took a trip out to the archery range in the Oakland hills yesterday as I was testing out a couple of my new bows.  Once I get back from Italy, I will only have a couple of weeks here in California before going home to the mango.  In the meantime, I have to figure out what accessories and parts I will need buy so that I can bring them back with me.  Archery parts and bows are generally cheaper in California except, bows from Korea and parts from Japan.  The US still dominates a lot of the industry and good deals can be had on eBay and the various Archery Forums for used equipment.  The only limitation are the full size bows, which are too bulky or long to conveniently check-in with the airlines.  If they do accept the bows, they will make you sign all kinds of waivers against damage, etc.

The local archery range also has targets of various distances set up in the woods among the trees.  You walk the trail, just like a golf course, and you shoot at the targets and keep score.    Some of targets are foam animals and others are targets or pictures of animals.  The hiking is kind of strenuous as its on hilly terrain and the targets are either uphill or downhill, making you have to adjust for elevation in your shots.  Beats shooting at paper targets all day long.

Before I left the mango last time, I bought a bow from Rama 2 archery.  They have a lot of traditional archery shooters there and also have a lot more space for distant targets and games.  One that I hope to catch is depicted in the video below.

กระต่ายวิ่ง มายิงกระต่ายกันครับบบบ
I enjoy this kind of variation to still paper targets because in real life hunting or survival conditions, the prey will seldom stay still and wait patiently for you to adjust your sight and aim before getting shot.  Also shows why a traditional bow, while not as fancy or glamorous as a high tech compound bow, can be more useful in survival and hunting conditions.

Anyway, will do some final packing today and then it will be off to Europe tomorrow.  Found out that most of our hotels have some kind of WiFi, so it will be a lot easier to keep in touch and maybe do some posting on the road.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Still here.......

Still packing my bags and getting ready for the trip to Italy on Sunday.  A few more days to do things like working on my taxes, more archery, and chores.  My trip will involve stops in Rome, Pompei, Pisa, Assi, Florence, Venice, Milan, and Turin.  We will also get to visit the Vatican where hopefully we will see the Pope during one of his public masses.  I am going with my godmother's family on a pilgrimage to visit historical religious sites in addition to the popular tourist venues.  It will terminate with a viewing of the Shroud of Turin, the controversial garment that is rarely shown to the public.  The last time it was shown was in 2010 and it was viewed by 2.5 million visitors.

It it real?  Real or not, its interesting. 

 Don't know what arrangements I can make for internet access, but I think it will be limited to WiFi at the hotels.  I might be able to find a sim card for my phone, but since its all new to me, it may take a couple of days to get oriented.  I will however, take a lot of pictures.

More as I get closer to takeoff.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Can you figure out how they did it?

Here is the original video:

34 Million views.....
Before you see the next video, can you figure out how they did it? cheating now.
If you can' on the video below.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Busy Week

Its been a week now since the golf tournament and I am finally at a point where I am about 1/2 way caught up with things I need to have done.  Have to hurry as I am going to Italy next weekend for about 10 days.  Didn't do any posting the last few days because I was having some internet problems.  Seems like my bandwidth suddenly slowed down to a crawl a couple of days ago.  I went from 2 MB download speed to less than 200K and my browser and other programs just froze.  After some detective work, I found that Google drive was sucking up all my bandwidth synchronizing my files.  It made sense because I upgraded my drive size around that time to accommodate moving some files back from California to BKK.  Anyway,  I found the problem and set the bandwidth limit on the application that controls Google drive and the problem went away partially.

It appears I don't have enough bandwidth as my guaranteed speed is only 1.5MB according to AT&T.  We don't have have the new AT&T digital network in our area yet and I didn't want to switch to a cable system because I still have my employee discount from Ma Bell.  So for now, I am still with third world internet service (In BKK I think I have 10MB service at the same or lower price).  Its only for a few more weeks and then I will be home again.

B is taking care of things on the home front.  We closed out 'the deal' yesterday on the adjoining land next to the resort.  Now we have a contiguous 20 rai parcel with double the lakefront exposure - enough land to expand and grow our own food.  I already told the extended family that I have no intention of being a farmer or doing farm chores...555  But that might exclude some things that I deem fun, but my participation will be limited to being an 'interested observer and adviser'.

Lastly, in acquiring things for my trip to Italy and as a result of my computer network problems, I ran across some interesting info on how to communicate during an SHTF scenario.  With cellphone service and internet service out, what would you use to communicate with your family members or friends?  Walkie Talkie radios are viable, but there are lots of issues such as bandwidth, distance, and privacy.  In my browsing on the net, I ran across the Motorols i355.  This was a cellphone introduced in 2003 when Motorola was still a dominate force in cellphone manufacturing.  The neat thing is that the i355 can operate as both a cellphone AND a free standing digital walkie talkie with its own network OFFLINE.  That means no problem.  Add Mil-Spec construction and availability on ebay for around $25 apiece and you have a great SHTF communicator.  I bought six of them for use by our kite team and plan to bring a couple to Italy to try out.

The big advantage besides the quality build is the range and privacy that it offers.  It uses a spread spectrum digital network and has superior range (2-6 real miles) to the run of the mill walkie talkies.  I don't like radios that are GMR based because they are not private (anyone can listen in) and its likely that during a SHTF scenario, the repeaters will likely be down as well.  

Here is more info on the i355.  Two will definitely go into my bugout bag along with batteries and a solar charger.

Have to go to a kiddie birthday party for my grand daughters today.  More in the next post about my newest archery acquisitions.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

For the survivalists...........Your own battle tank

Yep, you can get this from Amazon.  I'm not sure of prime delivery though... If you don't believe me, here is the link:  Badonkadonk

At around 20K, this thing will terrify your neighbors and send the little rascals running for the hills (or have them laughing so hard that you can just crush them).  Weapons are not included nor are there any details on the warranty or insurance coverage.  You don't want to go into the end of the world battles without some kinda insurance for damage and a warranty if it breaks down will you?

And there are more than 400 reviews on this...guess they had a banner year in sales too.

If you want to buy one of these, I also have some preferred stock on the Golden Gate Bridge that I can sell to at a big discount.....

Monday, May 4, 2015

Coming up for some air

After being fully immersed in the golf tournament for the last few days, its good to not have to drive into the city for a bit.  There were some very long days in which there was only time to eat and sleep after getting back.  Its good to have some time again for normal activities again.  As an event, I think it came off pretty good.  The crowds were not as large as expected, but TV coverage and viewing audience seemed to be better than normal.  People like to see head to head competitions and the drama of match play, with its back and forth swings, offer much more drama to golf than normal where a player just keeps score against the entire field.

The big drama of the competition was the confrontation in the video below.  Golf is a 'gentleman's' game and this kind of stuff just doesn't happen on the pro tours. Gosh, they even whisper during the commentary!  This was a kind of a meaningless match as they had both already been eliminated from going forward - but you can see the emotions were running kinda hot....  At least it was emotionally better than the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight - that was a big dud.  Its going to be interesting to see what the PGA/European tour does to the this tournament spans three professional tours.  They have both apologized to the tournament directors and audience, but they are not likely to be having drinks together this weekend at the Player's championship.

Some chores to do this week and lots of laundry.  Gosh, I miss my maid Pond already......

Two more weeks before my trip to Italy and tons of business and mail to go through.

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