Sunday, July 31, 2016

Shorts for the Land of Smiles

A while back, I made a post regarding clothing for travel, and for the land of smiles.  One of the items I recommended in that post were "Dry on the Fly" shorts and pants from Duluth Trading Co. They are well designed with lots of detail like front zip pockets, double seams, and use of quick-dry wicking fabric.   I like lots of pockets on my shorts and to have them well made as well as being cool is perfect for use here.  For the next couple of days, they can be picked up at a big (25%) discount. Because they don't go on sale that often, this morning I jumped online and bought me three more pairs!  They look like ordinary shorts, but once you get one you will notice the quality and feel of the material is different.  You will soon want another.

I don't wear long pants in the mango as often as in the past.  Casual clothing like shorts on men is much more acceptable nowadays, especially on the weekends.  If I wear a nice sport shirt, I can get into almost all venues even during the weekdays with these shorts.  Naturally for business and formal social or religious functions, shorts are not acceptable - but I don't have that many of those activities being retired.

Duluth Trading Company is a publicly traded company which specializes in work related clothing. Great service and they have a no bull guarantee - essentially a kind of "lifetime' guarantee on work clothing... Never had to return a product yet !  Link to the shorts here.  

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Friday Free Buffet

Great food tonight.  Posting from the free buffet we are always talking about.

Lap Moo, sticky rice, veggies, and fruit.

BB and Barnaby in attendance tonight.

Red Meat

Had a craving for some red meat today and since a steakhouse wasn't nearby, decided on a McDonald's. 

There goes my $2 meal.

Cost of upsized Big Mac lunch.  192 baht (about $6 USD)

Ah...junk food heaven today

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Clinton Cash...the Movie...Free showing

I'm over six thousand miles away, but still care deeply about my country of citizenship.  My home is here in the Land of Smiles, but my roots and friends are still in the US of A.  So the upcoming election is in my view, is the last chance for any kind of reversal of a truly corrupt and distasteful government.  As you can see, the 99% of the people have less power than you think.

Take a moment and view the movie or read the book like I did, and it will open your eyes to the extent of the corruption around the planet, facilitated and perpetrated by these two criminals.  Enough said, here is the link to the movie, the director's cut edition even:

 Available for anytime viewing

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Had fun at Rockin' Jump

Main Entrance

Have too much energy?  How about your toddler having too much energy?  Just spend a couple of hours at Rockin' Jump and that energy will turn into exhaustion.  

Need to buy special socks for 85 baht.  Has rubber on the bottom for traction 

Had a great time this morning at Rockin' Jump Bangkok.  They have a couple of time slots for young kids (ages 1-6) on Wednesdays and Saturdays where they have the place to themselves.  Its great because they can't get hurt by the bigger teens and adults and they have other kids their age to hang out and play with.

Marina testing out the trampoline the first time

After a timid start, Marina got right into the hang of things.  Took her all of 5 minutes to find out she could do it just fine and that it wouldn't hurt her if she fell down.  After that, it was "let's rock and roll!"  See the YouTube video below:

Too much energy and too much fun.

Sevenwinds tries to get into the jumping rythum
Anyway, the admission price allowed one adult to play also and since B couldn't jump because of her condition, Sevenwinds got to play!  All was going well and I was actually having a lot of fun until I tried to jump into the foam pit.  Hey, after all I see all the kids doing it and it was on the videos too!  Did a really great flop into the pit..soft landing, etc.
Hey Papa, what are you doing in the foam pit?
Oops, the foam is so soft that I couldn't get in position to get out easily.  I was submerged in the pit about 1/2 way down - drowning in foam squares.  After a few minutes of struggling and figuring out that I needed to move enough cubes to stand up, I was finally able to pull myself meekly out of the pit.  Not going in there again...555

Hang on, I am coming to rescue you....

In the meantime, B and Marina were laughing their heads off.  Marina even offered to pull me out..yeah sure.

Anyway, lots of fun and will definitely go again when time permits.

A visit to Bobae Market

After a late start, I spent a few hours at Bobae Market yesterday as planned.  Haven't been there in a few months or longer -  Can't remember.  Unlike the other markets that have been 'cleaned up' by the local authorities, Bobae continues its hustle and bustle.  The outside stores and stalls are still there, but lots of the markets on the other side of the canal seemed to have closed up. In its heyday, the streets, bridges, and buildings on the other side of the canal were full of clothing for sale.  There was even a night session that started at 3am and ran until 6am for all the 'back of the factory door' stuff.

Parked at Bobae Tower which is also the Prince Palace Hotel.  This parking lot is a nightmare of tight turns, small spaces, and congestion.  This is premium space and there is not enough for the demand. Best to go in the morning or late in the day.  But there is no other choice if you drive.

Note the overhead signs.  Only way to keep from getting lost or finding the stall again.

Once inside, you will be greeted with thousands of stalls selling casual clothing of every type.  Kids have sections on the upper floors 4th and 5th, while many of the bigger companies have Tee shirts and casual shirts on the ground and 2nd floors.  There is a food court on the 6th floor.  Its really two buildings, connected by a ramp between floors.  Restrooms are located on the ramps between floors.

After a bit of searching, I found the two stores that sold what I wanted. The CoolMax shirts are now 285 baht apiece and the great, heavy cotton Manga tees are 85 baht wholesale. Ended up getting the CoolMax pique polos and will try to have them embroidered with the resort logo to see how they look.  Also bought 24 Tee shirts.  

Would have bought more, but it started to get a bit heavy to carry around.  I think on my next trip, a few dozen more will be on the list before we go to the silk screen shop.  Want to reduce our 3 color logo down to one color to cut down on the cost.

These tee shirts are perfect as work shirts for our workers and family members.  After screening, I think we can get the cost down to about 100-110 bath per shirt.  Good enough to give away to our workers as uniforms, and long stay guests as promo giveaways

Thats it for now.  Have to get ready for Rockin' Jump in a few minutes

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Bangkok Lazy days....

Now that I have had some of my morning Joe from the prior post, I can sit down and post a bit.  

Went out to the archery range yesterday.  Bangkok buddy didn't show up, which meant he was staying in Pattaya for a few more days.  Will go out again on Thursday so maybe he'll show up then. Had the usual crowd there, but I showed up a bit late and stayed a little longer which made my commute back home that much harder.  You don't want to be around the Ratchada area around 4pm during a rainstorm.  The street turns into a parking lot and mini pond.

For today, I am planning a trip out to Bobae Market to check out some polo shirts for the resort. Bobae Market is one of the wholesale clothing markets in the mango.  Its the place many street vendors buy their stuff for sale.  Bobae usually has more stuff designed for the locals, while Pratunam is more fashionable and has more export stuff geared towards women.  Bobae along with Pratunam and Chatuchak Markets will cover most of your shopping needs if you are looking for cheap clothing in the mango.  The caveat is that one cannot usually buy just one item at the wholesale markets. Since Bobae a wholesale market, 3 pieces or sometimes 6 pieces is the minimum quantity you must buy per sale.  In many cases, the pieces must be in at least the same style or color and cannot be a mixed bag of items like a department store.  So, if you are shopping for a team, a business, or like to wear the same kind of stuff a lot, then these places are great places to shop.

Bobae is the only place I found that had polo shirts made of CoolPlus fabric.  CP is a fabric invented by a Taiwanese company that has the feel of cotton, but also has the fast dry, wicking properties like other synthetic materials.  Its a generic basis fabric for such brands as Dri Fit (Nike), CoolMax, and Dri-Tech, distinct only in weaving, colors, patterns, etc.  The CoolPlus shirts I've found sell for around $7 USD with the only issue being that they are in Thai Sizes and the largest is an XXL, which translates to a "L" in western export sizes.  

The nice thing about these shirts is that they are plain and ready for silk screening or embroidering your team's or company's logo.  I've made both team shirts for our kite team and a couple of batches of shirts for the resort from this material and it holds up great and feels fantastic in the heat.

Tomorrow morning, we are planning a special trip for Marina to Rockin' Jump.  On Wednesday mornings, they have a special Toddler time slot for kids 1-6 years old and a special admission price.  Trampoline jump parks like Rockin' Jump, Bounce Thailand, etc. is one of the latest crazes in the big mango.  As athletic as Marina is, she is going to have a great time.

Fun for the older kids and adults:

Time for the kiddie too:

The Rockin' Jump we are going to is right next door to the Central Rama III mall which I frequent several times a week to shop at the TOPS market so it will be very convenient.  Will have a full report on Thursday.

12 baht coffee

Yeah, its not too fancy cause its served in plastic bags instead of a nice Starbucks environmentally friendly cup with a fancy sleeve, but its pretty decent coffee.  The nice lady that makes the coffee does it fresh and knows exactly how I like it.  Plus I get a bag of hot water to make it as strong or weak as I want depending on how I feel that day.

It usually comes with a paper cup, but since I like to drink out of a mug, I put the coffee in my coffee mug before I drink it.

Starbucks coffee = $3 USD .....Coffee Lady Coffee............... .33 Cents.   

Price difference 1/10.  Taste difference = this time of morning, they all taste the same.

Don't worry, this blog is not turning into a food blog.  Just getting a bit carried away with all the cheap eats.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Decided to splurge today

Spent another 10 baht for this softie cone at McD.  Still only came up to 70 baht and under $2 bucks.

Good to go for an afternoon of archery now.

Today's $2 buck or less lunch

khao mun gai piset.  Total 60 baht at Lotus Tesco food court.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Changed blog font size

Had a comment that the text size on my blog was too small and that it was hard to read.  After looking at it objectively, I agreed.  I guess my eyes too are getting old and following along my rambling text is hard enough without the size of the font also being an issue.

So now my blog has a larger font size and a style that is much easier to least I hope it is.

Take care and have a nice weekend.

$2 USD and under meals in the Land of Smiles

One of the neat things about residing here in Thailand is the cost of living.  Local food is cheap, good, and available everywhere and at almost anytime.  Many of the friends that live back in the states often wonder how I could stay so healthy on third world food.  After all, there is no FDA, local health departments, frozen foods, or other 'safeguards' that are the basis of their food chain.  We have all come to know that is pure fiction and the food chain from the farm to consumers is nothing but a system designed for maximum profits with very little concern over the safety and benefit of the end consumer.  If you have an hour to spare and haven't eaten yet, this is a great video for you.  It will change the way you look at your food forever - it changed mine.

But this post is also about eating here in the LOS.  So as the opportunities come up,  I will periodically post my simple $2 or less complete meals. There are numerous and almost unlimited chances to document these, I just have to remember to take pictures of them.   I am not starving myself either as my waistline and weight are my witnesses.  

Omelet over rice plus Tum Yum Pla (Hot and Sour Fish soup) - 55 baht

Chicken Fried Rice with Fried Egg and a Pepsi....65 baht
And these are not the cheapest prices in town either.  My fried rice plate is usually only 30-35 baht on the street.  This meal was one of convenience as it was in a food tent across from the archery range.  

For those that are planning to visit, you can allocate you food budget based on your dinning preferences.  If you plan to eat at the hotel or mall restaurants, then I would allocate around $20 USD per day.  For those that like to eat local food from local establishments, I think even $6 USD per day would be more than adequate.  Naturally, these estimates don't include drinks and alcohol and are based on today's exchange rate and monetary conditions.  How much entertainment expense (drinks out, etc.) is something only you can control - depending on the goal of your trip.  

However, Bangkok is also a food haven for the rich and meals can be astronomical as well.  Take for example, this charity event last week where the cost is 12,500 baht ($350 USD)  per meal. You can blow you whole budget for a trip on this one fabulous meal...555

I would personally feel very uncomfortable at an event like that.  Give me my simple $2 meal any day.

KAT is gone.....

KAT has been busted and taken off the net by USA authorities, who have also seized the URLs.  Not to admit that I ever used the site for anything, but it looks like many of torrents for file sharing are getting harder to come by. 

Some alternatives include Pirate Bay, Extratorent, and Torrentz.  


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Dark Tone indeed.

The media is once again in its coordinated response to the great acceptance speech Trump gave the other night.  They say the tone was dark and scary.  And I think its really "dark and scary" for the liberal press because the truth is harsh if its exposed to the light.

Updated:  CNN instant poll that had to be quickly hidden because it didn't fit the narrative.

For too long, we have allowed the MSM to sweep untruths and bad news under the rug or bury it somewhere where its impossible to find.  Those places tend to be dark and dirty right?  The big question will be if the average American will wake up from its zombie like state and realize what is going on.  Many don't even know when and why the revolutionary war was fought, and these are the same people we have entrusted to vote for our future and the future of our children?  

Anyway, the match-ups are final now.  Trump/Pence VS Hillary/Kaine

Prepare for a long Summer and Fall with lots of hit ads, campaign swings, and robocalls.  Just glad that I will be here in November to watch the results.  Maybe the embassy will have a big party like they did when it was Bush VS Gore.  They had a great party with free food and drinks...until they realized that the results were not going to be available that night..and that the food and bar tap was very quickly rising to astronomical heights.  They finally shut things down after midnight.  

That was at the end of the first Clinton era when cash was flowing free and easy..  They never had another election party since.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Brown and Obama are the best gun salespeople in the world

Yep, they sure are.  

As soon as  Moonbeam Brown signed into law the prohibition of AR15s sales in California next year, I went out and bought me another one.  And I wasn't alone as reports have been coming in that gun stores and online retailers have not only sold out existing inventory, but all the orders that have yet to come in have been pre-sold as well.  If I were a gun maker, I would be running my factory overtime to get these orders filled as it will likely be very slow next year.  But things can change, like a winning injunction by the NRA or some other legislation that comes up that over rides the new laws. Both highly unlikely and thus the rush.

I decided this time to get one of the most popular AR15s on the market, the Colt AR-15 LE6920. This is the official civilian mill-spec version of the rifle issued by the US military, without the automatic fire option.  Contrary to the mainstream media, civilians cannot buy or own new automatic rifles. Under special conditions and with the proper permits, guns made before 1986 can be purchased from collectors.   All new civilian AR-15s publicly sold are semi-automatic or one bullet per pull of the trigger - just like any other rifle on the market, including the junior .22LR rifles used at scout camp.  Also, AR is not an abbreviation for "Assault Rife" or "Automatic Rifle".  Its an abbreviation for Armalite Rifle.  Its been called that since it was invented by the Armalite Rifle company back in the 1950s.  So when you hear the mainstream media talking heads yak about rifles, most have no clue as to what they are talking about.

From Wikipedia:
In a strict definition, a firearm must have at least the following characteristics to be considered an assault rifle:
  • It must be an individual weapon
  • It must be capable of selective fire
  • It must have an intermediate-power cartridge: more power than a pistol but less than a standard rifle or battle rifle
  • Its ammunition must be supplied from a detachable box magazine[5]
  • And it should have an effective range of at least 300 metres (330 yards)
Rifles that meet most of these criteria, but not all, are technically not assault rifles, despite frequently being called such.

An AR-15 aside from its looks and neat features, is basically like any other hunting rifle on the market.  In fact, it has lower power cartridge than a big hunting rifle.  So when you hear talking heads saying these are powerful weapons, they show their ignorance.  But for some, its a BIG BLACK Gun, so it must be scary.  So my choice of gun is this one.  It has the upgraded Magpul Digital Dessert furniture already installed at no extra cost.

See, its not all Black so it can't be scary anymore.
Anyway, it should be waiting for me at my firearms dealer when I get back.  This will complement my Colt competition version of the AR-15 in my safe and one that I can shoot a lot on the range.

Am I one of those crazy or weird people who own a ton of guns getting ready for a war?  No.  I just like target sports.  For example, my bow and arrows don't stand too much of a chance against someone with a rifle or handgun, but I enjoy shooting at targets on the range and out in the field.  I like to collect quality pieces of craftsmanship in both categories of guns and archery equipment.  But if I ever needed something for TEOTWAWKI self defense...I will have a variety of choices.

I hate you Brown and Obama.  I'm out of some spending money now that I bought me another rifle  - and likely too, that I will have to invest in another case of two of ammo since that is going to require background checks next year too,,,555

Posting from the Resort

We left early this morning around 5:30 am.  It had been raining and storming all night and the streets in the mango were wet and there was a light drizzle as we pulled out.  The rain lasted for another hour or so before tapering out near Saraburi.  Despite one stop at Baan Suan for some pastries and some food to eat in the car, we rolled into the resort by 9:30 am.  B's mother just brought in some lunch and drink and I'm a happy camper.

Also went out to check the bamboo plants.  They seem to be doing quite well.  Looked like we picked a great time to plant them and if they survive this year, we won't worry about flooding or anything else for a long time.  B's father also added some more plants to the market and maybe later today I am going to check on some more black bamboo and some special trees for the market.

The black asper bamboo survived the ordeal of staying in my aircon condo for over a week and they are going to be rested a while before they get planted in the ground.  After taking off the wrapping and adding some water, they seemed to have perked right up - they like their new future home!

Here is a  photo of the building we are looking to build as the center of the Jungle market and food court.  Instead of being made entirely from bamboo, our version will be made of steel and concrete with simulated and real bamboo veneers.  A structure made entirely from bamboo would be just too costly to build and hard to maintain.

Bamboo Pavilion in the center of the Jungle Market
We plan to elevate it about 1 meter off the ground and it will be used to sell water, drinks, ice cream, and bamboo gifts.  There will be tables, but a limited amount as there are also going to be huts around the market to sit and eat.  Roof will be made of bamboo like tiles and all beams made of steel with simulated bamboo shells.  

Here only for today as we plan on going back to the mango tomorrow morning.  Don't want to be too far away from the hospital.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Middle of the long weekend

Busy couple of days during this long weekend.  First of all, we finally made it over to Dinosaur Planet.  Actually it was the third time we planned to go, the first one was the parking fiasco and then we were rained out, and then finally Sunday all the stars lined up properly and we made it over.

What are they looking at???? while waiting in line

This huge guy of course
As previously posted, the attraction is rather pricey.  The regular price is 600 baht per person, which by local standards, is a lot.  Fortunately there are lots of discounts, and the one we took advantage of was the Bangkok Bank promo which was a two for one ticket price.  Marina did not meet the height limit so she was free.  In all, the total admission was only 600 baht for the three of us.  Inside, there are extra charges for the Dino Farm and Dino Eye (which was out of order).  Food and drink is available inside at typically higher prices that you find inside an amusement park - but not outrageously excessive.  

Line for 4D Deep World - One hour at this point
The park is divided into different zones, but its not very big in overall size.  See the map below. When we arrived at around 12 noon, the line to the 4D Deep World was already an hour long - we opted not to wait so we missed the attraction this time.  There is also very little shade so going during the middle of day can be very hot and so an umbrella is recommended.  There are little kiddie dino umbrellas for sale at the gift shop and at kiosks around the park if you really needed one.

My overall impression was that the park is a nice half day getaway to take younger kids.  While the animation of the dinosaurs was pretty good, its not going to fool anyone over the age of 5 or 6 years old.  However, the Raptors running around in the Raptor Extreme ride look pretty convincing and sent many kids running around and crying.  Marina was scared of many of the models, since she  still believes dinosaurs are real.  I was too busy holding her to get any shots of the Raptors.

The lab where they hatch the dinosaurs.

Betagro's Dinosaur District - Marina pointing out some features...555

We didn't stay too long as it was hot and B was getting tired walking around.  I was getting a bit tired as well as Marina wanted to be carried every time we got close to a dinosaur that moved or looked scary.
There is a large food court, shopping, and activities inside Dino Square
Maybe in a couple of more years, we can make the trip again in cooler weather.  Overall recommendation is that the park is a good visit if you have kids from about 3-10 years of age and get a discount on the tickets.  Its worth a 1/2 day and its also very conveniently located next to the Emporium at Sukhumvit 22.  Easily reached by Skytrain or Taxi.  Recommend going after 4PM when it a lot cooler and hopefully on a weekday when the lines are shorter. 

Swallowed by a dino at Dinosaur Planet

Went out to the archery range yesterday with Bangkok Buddy.  It was more crowded than usual due to the holiday and our regular group of shooters did not come.  It was also hot yesterday but we did manage to shoot for a couple of hours before retiring to a new mall called "The Street",  which replaced the old Robinson's Department store on Ratchada.  We had a great meal at the Took Lae Dee (Cheap and good), attached to the Foodland in the basement level.  Then some great coffee at  Holly's Coffee.  Its definitely a great place to hang out afterwards to cool off and get some food.

Plans are to relax and do some shopping today to replenish our supplies.  We are likely going to go up to the resort for a short trip Thursday.  Then we are going to wait.  After the visit to the doctor yesterday, the latest date for the baby is August 18th - but don't bet money in Vegas on it.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Loooong Weekend

This is a long weekend for the land of smiles.  Monday is actually a 'free holiday' not commemorating anything special, but it links Tuesday which is Asalha Bucha and Wednesday, which is Buddhist Lent day into a long five day weekend.  That rivals Songkran, which is a long holiday in April.  As a result, Bangkok residents will be taking to the roads to go upcountry to visit relatives or travel around the country for pleasure.  That leaves the capital like a ghost town, especially here in the central business district.  

We would normally be out of town too, but we are on baby watch even though our doctor told us he would be out of town himself for a couple of days this weekend.  Never the less, we didn't want to take a chance on this weekend with the horrendous traffic leaving and returning to visit upcountry. We are going to check again with the doctor on Monday when he gets back and if its OK, we may try to make a dash upcountry for one night on Wednesday.  

Went to the buffet on Friday and met up with Bangkok buddy and Barnaby.  BB was still a bit jet lagged, but we made it over to the lobby and chatted for a bit before he started to nod off.  He brought over my barbless hooks and light tackle line so now I am all set for fishing at the resort.  Afterwards, I picked up some medication BB recommended for B's grandfather, who has been suffering from gout.  Evidently BB get periodic bouts and this medication really helped him.  Will meet up with him tomorrow at the archery range.  

With all the horrendous events happening around the world, its good to be in the mango.  Sure we had our issues like the political unrest of the yellow and red shirts and even the horrible bombing at the Erawan Shrine,  but it all seems to pale in comparison to the social unrest in the States and around the world.  Its hard however, with today's 24 hour news cycle and digital media distribution to stay isolated from world events.  It brings the graphic horror into our homes, no matter where in the world we live.  One thing for sure, unless things get changed fast, we are all doomed for more violence - no matter where we choose to hide.

Will it make a difference in the long run what happens?  Ask me again in a few million years if we last that least the dinosaurs lasted that long.  Which by the way, we have rescheduled to see at Dinosaur Planet this morning...priority to the important things in life - time with your 3 years old daughter.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Still waiting....

We are still in a waiting mode.  As B continues to get bigger and the bump in her belly gets lower, the day is rapidly approaching, but we don't know exactly when. That is the challenge we are facing.  Yes, the doctor said the baby is due to be delivered in September if its carried full term and delivered naturally, but by her looks and prior history with Marina, we are almost positive it won't be that long. So now, its taking things day to day and not straying too far from home and the hospital.  B can just barely get around and when the baby moves, its painful.  She is getting random cramps but not often enough for any kind of pattern.

I did have a chance yesterday to go out to Nakhon Nayok to pick up a couple of bamboo plants that I ordered via an internet ad.  Met a very nice guy who goes by the handle 'Smithson' on the Thai Visa site.  Smithson is a local expert on Bamboo and bamboo construction, having built himself a fabulous home with bamboo he locally sourced and cut.  See the his photos below from Thai Visa.

Smithson has a few rai of land and its full of exotic bamboos.  He gave me a little tour of his site and we had a bit of a chat about raising fish, etc.  I think he believes like I do, that renewable materials and recycling hydroponics, etc., is the most ecological use of the land.  Would definitely like to visit again in the near future, but had to cut my visit a bit short due to my worry of being away too long.
The black Asper is the tall bamboo in the background.  Its about 20-25 meters tall
 Anyway, he had a couple of special black Asper 'Hitam' bamboos for sale.  Asper Bamboo is one of the largest bamboos in the world, and having a black variety is very rare and hard to buy in Thailand.  The bamboo is prized for the black color which is retained after it has been cut.  Its used mostly for fine furniture, walls, floors and wood based items which benefit from a dark accent.  I wanted to add a couple to our research and collection section of the plantation and found Smithson's ad on a classified ads website for Thailand.  Plus the shoots are very tasty. 

These are the clumps separated from the mother plant above

Got a couple of calls while I was on the road, and each time I was thinking, it might be 'the' call.  Fortunately, I got home in a timely manner despite a huge rainstorm on the way back.

Now the challenge is to keep the bamboo in good condition until I can get back up to the resort.  Might just leave them by the window and keep them hydrated as it may be a couple of weeks.  

Anyway, plans call for a visit by B to the doctor today.  Hopefully, the good news is that the date has been revised or as in the case of most births in the LOS, for us to pick a date when the baby will be born.  Our hospital has a reputation of 'assisted' births (90%), likely because the doctors like the predictability of the schedule and they make more money.  With the technology today, a baby born a bit early is not at any greater risk than one with a natural birth.  Its actually good for the hospital as it means more stay days and profits..its the same everywhere. We will see after the visit today.

If all goes well, I might still have a few hours to visit the range.  After all, I do have to stay in shape right?  Never know how much less sleep and how tired I am going to be once the new baby arrives.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Air Con people are here

The air con people arrived around 10AM.  Two guys and a gal arrived as promised this morning by Powerbuy.  Naturally they are a contracted firm and don't work for Powerbuy, who is just the retailer.  Many other companies do the same, such as Big C,  Makro, and the other major retail names in the country.  So when buying an aircon unit here in the Land of Smiles, don't worry too much about the retailer selling the unit as they all buy from the same distributor and have access to the same pool of installers.  Take advantage of the store promos and negotiate for the best price.

So far, this team has been really professional and fast, and the installation is going smoothly.  

I did notice however, that both the outdoor unit and indoor unit is a lot larger than the old Samsung unit.  After all, its supposed to be a heavy duty unit that is geared towards businesses rather than residential unit.  Unlike its competitor, Mitsubishi Electric, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries seems more focused on the business market.  Aside from the name, they are separate companies that split off from each other back in the 1920s and have no affiliation between themselves and in fact, are rivals in the industry.

I can tell from the units that the materials are superior to my old Samsung. Instead of plastic, there is a lot of metal in the outdoor unit.  The MHI unit is bigger and even the fan is larger in size.  The indoor unit is supposed to have some kind of jet flow technology that is derived from jet engines so we will have to see after its all installed.  Fortunately, there was a sale and big discount offered for the MHI units so I jumped at the opportunity.  

Even though both brands carry a Japanese name, I believe that they are both manufactured in Thailand and are exported all over the region.  The local factories make all the components, including compressors for use in many other brands.  Carrier, the US company in the news recently due to the political campaign, is not a major factor here at all due to their high cost (maybe that is why they want to move their production to Mexico?).  The big names are Mitsubishi (both), and Daikin on the top tier.  Then there are the others, LG, Panasonic, Hitachi, Samsung, and Sharp bringing up the rest of the pack.

More later.

Never made it to Dinosaur Planet

The best laid schemes of mice and men...often go kaput.  They are often thwarted by circumstances or poor planning.  In this case I have to take both on account as we failed in our attempt to go to Dinosaur Planet.  Circumstances hurt us because it was very bad traffic on a Sunday afternoon, in a very congested area of the mango.  And poor planning on my part because I did not notice in my research of the park that it did not have any parking available.

What?  No parking in one of the busiest parts of the mango?  So after circling around Sukhumvit  Sois 22 and 24 for over an hour and a half, we gave up. Couldn't get into the Emporium lot or the other mall lots nearby as lines were out in the street and any designated lots for the park we couldn't find so our plan was to just come back another day by Taxi.  Besides a remote lot would have required a lot of walking which B cannot do much of nowadays.  She is hanging 'real low' and extensive walking is painful.  Fortunately she can get around and sit and was going to watch Marina while I roamed about the park.

Maybe another day this week, we might get the chance again.

I did make it over to the archery range yesterday afternoon.  Met up with the regular Monday crowd and had a lot of fun. But is was very hot and humid so shooting two hours was harder than normal.  Bangkok buddy was still too jet lagged to go.  Probably best as it would have been a grueling welcome back to Thailand outing.

Today, the air con guys are supposed to be here in the morning to install my new Mitsubishi unit.  Can't wait, as this 1/2 room arrangement where one room is cold and the other warm is a pain in the but.  Especially when it so hot and humid the last few days.  Its 86.7F degrees here, feels like 97F and its only 6:30AM so you get the picture.

Time to go back into the bedroom where its cool.  

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Mixed couple of days

The last few days have been a mixture of relaxation and issues.  First of all, I did have a chance to make it over to the free Friday night buffet.  Met up with Barnaby and then ran into the White Knight and Singapore Jimmy later on in the lobby. Bangkok buddy was too jet lagged to come.  I love to chat with Singapore Jimmy because he has such great insight into the current issues and the four of us chatted and time passed so quickly that before we knew it, we had to scramble to get our transportation home.

Also during the week, I had a chance to go to the archery range and do some more shooting with my longbows.  Haven't given them much attention since I got my fancy new Blacktail recurve.  But it was a joyous reunion and I really enjoyed getting back into shooting my simple, but very effective longbows.

Friday, I finally decided to give up on my Samsung Air conditioner after 3 1/2 years. The torrid history on this pile of junk is that one week after the warranty which was only 1 year, the circuit control board crapped out.  We have since then had three other service calls, and last week the service guy told me our compressor was bad and had to be replaced and then he wouldn't guarantee that would fix the problem because there was also a leak in the main control unit and that it would take a couple of days for them to take it back to the factory to refurbish it.  

With that news, I decided it was going to the junk yard.  I had two aircon units installed in my condo back in the 1999-2000 time period.  One, a Mitsubushi Mr. Slim is still running strong after 16 years.  The other Mitsubishi unit lasted 12 1/2 years before going bad.  So getting less than 4 years is just unacceptable for a big company like Samsung - but that is the same that all my relatives, friends, and reviews have been saying about their air con units.  They are junk and don't last.  

This is the unit, but I got it a LOT cheaper than the price in this photo as they are running a big Promo at Powerbuy

Anyway, I ordered a new Mitsubishi Heavy Duty unit on Friday from Powerbuy. They had a great deal for 1 Card holders and then a special 8% discount if you paid with certain bank cards.  At least with this unit, it has a three year warranty for the interior control unit and five years for the compressor.  It cost a bit more, but its not worth the hassle to be constantly replacing cheaper air con units, especially here in the mango where it can get really hot and you don't want to go days waiting for the new one to be installed.

Major failure in the hose

Then last night, we had a major incident.  While B was doing the dishes after dinner, one of the hoses underneath the sink burst.  It didn't leak, but was literally spraying water like a shower all over the kitchen.  Before I knew it, we had over an inch of water on the floor of the kitchen before I found the cutoff valve.  After all the towels we had around were tossed into the water and the mops going full throttle, we managed to get everything dry.  

So this morning, I took a little trip over to HomePro and got me a new, made in the USA,  hose with a TEN YEAR warranty and installed it. I hate home repairs. Hot water to the kitchen sink is now OK so the trip later to Dinosaur Planet is still on.

Dinosaur Planet?...yep.  The big kid want to take his little girl to see the Dinosaurs....555

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Followup on Fish Head Restaurant

Got an anonymous comment regarding the Fish Head restaurant that we like to go so often so I am making this extra post with a great YouTube review by Mark Weins on the place.  Mark goes all around Thailand to review various places to eat from restaurants to street stalls and his comments are usually spot on.

Anyway, here is his video review of Hua Pla, Chongnonsi.

Here in the land of smiles, FOOD, not politics is the priority of the day.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Bye, Bye America

FBI just held a press conference.  As predicted, Hillary is going to walk.  America, RIP. , bye, bye, it was great while it lasted.

How easy is the fix??? Check this out...

How easy is it to fix an election?  Aside from the shenanigans with the voter registration and polling place fraud, I mentioned that voting machines can be rigged.  For those in doubt, check out this video.  According to these researchers, all it takes is a minute alone with the machine (like the time you are allowed behind the closed curtains alone with the machine) to reprogram it.

Those of you with smart phones and PCs have a more secure system than these voting machines.  And with Microsoft a potential vendor for the new state of the art machines... I don't think its going to get any better.  Windows systems (their bread and butter product) are hacked thousands of times a day by even the most novice of hackers.  I don't give any new product from Microsoft, especially if they have never played in the field before, a lot of credibility.

So, before you go off and think conspiracy theorist are always nuts, maybe take a good look at the realities of the world and realize that things are not always what they appear.

Oh, one more about people who do it for a living?  Programmer under oath admits to doing just that...

Monday, July 4, 2016

The Fix is in already

Are you ready for President Hilary Clinton?  Like it or not, that is very likely going to be the case unless some miracle on the Hudson happens.  

As I indicated before, I doubt that Clinton will be indicted because she has so much dirt on Obama and Lynch and can literary take down the entire house of cards if she is denied the Presidency.  That is not going to happen so expect every dirty trick and fraud to be used to fix the system so she will win.

Having already rigged the system to win the Primary election, its not going to be too much of an extension for her to 'rig' the general election too.  For one thing, her 'political machine' has control over the majority of the politicians controlling the voting network as well as mechanisms designed for voter fraud.  Then there are the Microsoft voting machines which can be easily hacked for whatever result is desired and so in reality, you have nothing but a banana republic called the USA.  

See this very interesting documentary on the uncounted votes of the California Primary.  I personally know one of my friends who received one of these notices of non party affiliation, even though the voter has voted republican for the last 20 years!  I know if I was a Bernie supporter, I would be so pissed that I would sit out the election just so that Team Hillary will have to make the fraud that much more obvious during the general election.

One thing I have found so far is that life here in the mango has been a lot better in recent times under military control than the time I have spend in a democratic Kalifornia or during the years of the 'red' or 'yellow' brands of democracy.  Here in hey days of the old Thailand, at least they had the decency to pay the people to vote for the politicians instead of just stealing their votes behind the scenes.  

I'm just glad to be out of the political circus that is defining life in America today. For us here in the mango, its issues like what time should I be working out today or what should we have for dinner that should take precedent.   A decision such as when to go to the archery range is far more important to me today than who is going to be the next president of the USA.  It won't matter anyway.

The system is rigged.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Enjoying the mango

Quiet couple of days in the mango.  Celebrated my birthday with B and Marina by going out to dinner at our favorite seafood restaurant, Fish Head.   Bangkok is famous for its party atmosphere and venues, but I don't drink and I don't like large parties and big celebrations, so this was a perfect kind of evening for me.  Lots of food and its so neat that Marina can sit at the table with us now propped up with a high chair.
A hefty assortment of seafood at reasonable prices

We believe you must have noodles on your birthday for loooong life.
Its a significant time for us because now we are able to eat out again without having to worry about her running around or crying in the restaurants.  During the past few years, we have cut down a lot on our dinner and lunch outings because of baby logistics and we have a month or so before the next one arrives..555

I now can only dream of having to request a table for four in a few years and eating together as a family.  But as I have posted before, I wouldn't have it any other way as I am enjoying this new chance at being a parent again very much. It also gives me the extra motivation to eat properly, exercise, and keep my stress level down so that I can be around to help and watch them grow up.  

Little princess and don't forget the dinosaur candles too!

After dinner, we celebrated with birthday cake.  I must confess, its one of the most unusual cakes I've ever received because it was personally picked out my Marina from Big C.  You see, its daddy's birthday, but she gets to pick out the cake and blow out the candles again even though it was just a couple of weeks ago when she had her own birthday.  She liked it so much that its her turn again, even on my birthday...555.

Hurry, light the candles so I can blow them out!

Everyone in the family is taking guesses as to when the new baby is going to arrive. Its not due until September, but B is carrying the baby so low now that it looks like it could be any day, and that is why we are going to stay in the Mango for the immediate future.  Marina was a month early so my guess is that its maybe this month or early in August at the latest.   We don't want to drive back from the country 3 hours to have the baby at our chosen hospital and we don't want to have it upcountry or in the car on the way back.

Can't complain too much, there could be a lot of other worse places to wait out the birth of your new daughter than the mango.  Some more birthday cake seems like a good idea at this moment...

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