Tuesday, February 28, 2017



Actually, its quite nice upcountry the last few days.  Unusual for March as this is normally the time when the high temperatures start to kick in.  It was cool enough for me to put on long running pants for my walk this morning.  It was about 18C at 6 AM, with a slight breeze, so many of the locals had jackets and sweaters on.  A Tee shirt and long pants was perfect for me and the walk was refreshing and very pleasant.  There is a high pressure area in China that is pushing cooler air into the region and should continue for a few days more, especially in the northern part of the country.  

In Bangkok, its a bit warmer and more humid but still really nice for this time of the year. Hopefully we can get back to the mango near the end of the week and stay a bit longer than last time.  The country is a great place to live and raise kids, but I've always been a city boy and crave the excitement of the big city.  Having a choice is the best alternative and we will take advantage of it as long as we can.

B's cousin is doing much better.  I didn't visit her yesterday, but B went over and brought her some food.  She will be in the hospital for a few more days and will likely be taking meds for several more weeks.  No word yet on getting an OB/GYN doctor scheduled yet, but that should happen this week.

2000 liter tank from Home Pro

Took some time to buy some water storage tanks at the local Home Pro yesterday.  We are in the early stages of automating our irrigation system for the bamboo plantation.  The plan is to put two storage tanks on the high ground of the resort and run a drip system on timers to the plants.  Its a real simple gravity fed system with just a single pump to move the water up to the tanks.  Still requires some work as we need to get a concrete pad poured and then set up the drip hoses to all the plants.  Ended up buying two 2000 liter tanks for around 8000 baht each.  20 year guarantee and even food grade (which we didn't need).

I also ordered a whole lot of battery operated timers from AliExpress yesterday so that we could control each row of hoses for precise watering.  Using battery powered timers eliminates the need for any wires or power to the fields and if purchased in bulk, batteries are fairly cheap.  We could also opt for re-chargeable batteries as well, but it may not be worth the trouble if the batteries last a long time between replacement cycles.  Getting the timers from Aliexpress saves a bundle as many of these are sold directly by the manufacturers in China.  Got a dozen timers for under $200 including shipping so there will be some spares.  I want to completely automate all the watering because its a tedious and hot job, especially now that the weather is getting warmer.

Its not all work and no play as Marina and I went out to fly some kites yesterday.  It was a nice day and it wasn't too hot but there was a nice wind blowing.  That means kite flying time.  

Marina flying her kite with Daddy's cool glasses on...555
Work is still underway on the lanai.  Will have some pics and an update tomorrow.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Boomerrang Day - Back up in the country

I barely spent 24 hours in the big mango when I had to go back upcountry for a medical emergency. One of B's first cousins was in the hospital in critical condition.  She had a serious case of ovarian bleeding due to an infection and was at the local hospital.  The cousin is the only daughter of B's father's closest sister and we were asked to go back to provide morale and financial support.  She was at the local government hospital where poor citizens can be treated for only 30 baht.  The problem is that the hospital is only staffed with a pharmacist and no MD was present.  She was in danger of going into shock unless she saw a medical doctor fast.

I had committed to the Charity BBQ on Saturday and B had to get some things to bring back so we left the Mango at around 6:30 pm and was at the hospital by 10:00 pm.  During our trip upcountry, we arranged for a private doctor to come to the hospital to treat B's cousin.  Told him we would pay for his trip and fees from the main hospital in town to our local hospital.  We told him if she needed surgery, he should release her and we would pay for an ambulance to take her over to the main hospital for surgery if needed.  

As it turned out, the doctor said she was in serious condition, but he did not recommend surgery at this point as her infection had to be dealt with first and her condition had to improve.  He put her on a vigorous course of antibiotics, IV, and close monitoring in a private room.  When we got there she looked very pale and fragile, but she was stable.  We stayed a couple of hours and finally went back to the resort exhausted after a long day.  The doctor had already left and we were to meet him the next day.

Our visit to her yesterday was a lot better.  She was actually able to sit up on her bed and her fever was gone.  From what I could understand, she will be kept there for another 5 days for observation and treatment.  We are now looking for doctor that is a specialist in women's health to check her out in a couple of days, again on a private basis.

One thing I have learned and confirmed for sure is that public medicine can be a nightmare.  You can build the hospitals and equip them with beds and equipment, but one cannot create doctors out of thin air.  The best doctors are going into private practice and large hospitals where they can make a lot more money. Government hospitals suffer from both a shortage of doctors and doctors in many specialties. In our case, the hospital had a lot of space and beds, but no doctors at night.  I counted 10 new looking ambulances sitting idle,  with no drivers available.  Such a waste of resources and I hope the US will never go down the same path.  

During last night's visit to the hospital, patients were in beds in the outside waiting area in queue for the doctor, including a boy of about 5 years old who was crying. The doctor wasn't due in until the morning.  There is terrible injustice in the system, but I'm not smart enough or rich enough or powerful enough to do a whole lot about it.  As they say, life is hard and then you die.  And in the poor countries of the world, you get an up close view of how cheap a life really is.  A few thousand baht can be a good night out on the town in the big mango for some, but for a poor family in the rural northeast, it could mean life or death.

Health care is a major issue not just for the US, but the entire world.  Unless we change it drastically and make sure the incentives for those that treat patients, regardless of financial capability, are some how equalized, it won't matter what we want to call it by name.  

A slightly depressed Sevenwinds....exiting stage left

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Back in the mango

Actually got back yesterday afternoon, but was so tired that I wanted to take a nap before going for a two hour foot massage and then afterwards to the Friday night buffet.  My quick nap ended up being a long nap and I missed the massage completely.  

I met up with Bangkok buddy and a few others at the buffet, and chicken stew, rice, and fresh fruit was on the menu.  Afterwards, BB and I made our way over to the Ranch.  As it turned out, the place was packed.  It seems like its popularity has grown leaps and bounds and people are getting there early.  It was only around 9PM and it was wall to wall people and we just managed to find two seats at the main bar.  The scoop here is that one must get here early as the early birds always get the biggest worms.  

Had my usual coke and popcorn and our waiter Somchai was his big smiling self like always.

We don't serve your kind here......

There were the days before the Ranch changed venues, when one could toss a football across the place and not hit anyone. But it was the most fun in its heyday when it was like the Star Wars bar with its associated savory characters and anything could happen at any moment. There was also a time when one couldn't stay inside very long due to the smoke. But now its packed every night, the customers are different, the air is clean, and the lights are even brighter.  The owners are making lots of money and definitely smiling a lot nowadays.  Only stayed an hour or so and left to go home just after 10 pm.  Definitely getting a lot older these days...555

Only a quick post this morning as I am heading over to the charity BBQ to meet up with Barnaby and BB. Hopefully I can get some pics and do a post later, else it will be later.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Its bug season

These guys put up a nasty fight when you grab them

Was very busy yesterday with resort work and dealing with problems so no time to post.  For one thing, we lost another UPS unit which knocked out our internet access.  Seems like we lose at least one a year or more because of the lousy electrical service up here.  There is also a lot of lightning activity as well and a couple of years ago, one UPS unit was fried to a crisp with smoke coming out during one storm.  Will have to go to town and pick up another unit today or else our expensive computers and video surveillance equipment will be the victims instead of the UPS units.  We called our electrician to make sure the power line feeds are up to shape to see if that would help.

The workers are still on the lanai extension project.  B's mother wanted a covered lanai that connects our units and also provide a place where we can sit outside and socialize.  One thing about Thai families is that they all want to be close to each other even if we have 20 rai of space to build on.  If you want any kind of privacy for some fun and games, make sure your doors are locked..555.  The lanai will also have a built in storage shed and room for a sink.  

Big and plump this time of year

Its also bug season upcountry.  That means that red ant eggs are available and will be very plentiful in the next couple of months.  I've posted about these before and how we prepare them.  The ones we had last night were extra plump, which meant the ants were very well fed and the eggs were still immature.  Depending on the timing, Ella might get her first taste in the next month or two as part of her growing up ritual.  Her older sister Marina likes bugs and eats them like snacks out of a bag. She had her first ant eggs at around 8 months old.  These girls are not going to be snowflakes when they grow up here in the country!  

These are pan fried waterbugs

There are also crickets, waterbugs and many beetles that are just coming out of their hibernation period as the weather is getting warmer.  Bugs are a great source of protein with no fat except when they are deep fried like the bugs above.  Lots of times, they are just pan fried and tossed with a bit of garlic, salt, and peppered to taste.  Bugs gathered by the family insure no pesticides were used in the capture so its labelled 'pesticide free and organically grown' by Sevenwinds himself.  They go great with beer or soda - just eat them like potato chips.

One of the waterbug traps.  Black light attracts them to the trap
and they fall into the buckets containing water

B's father has several large traps set up to gather the bugs and what we don't eat, he sells.  The bugs shown on the top of this post, according to B, can sell for up to 30 baht apiece in Bangkok.  They are plentiful here, one just has to grab them around the black light traps as this kind of bug won't go into the water tub.  Yes, they can bite but they have no venom thus they are easy pickings.  To eat, peel off the wings and feet and munch on the body and head.  Some people eat the feet, but I don't like them because they get stuck between my teeth.  Also, while I can and do eat them, they are not high on my list of favorite foods.  Eating bugs became kind of an essential custom in upper Thailand because its poor population could not afford other protein sources such as meats and poultry.  They ate what they caught and survived any way they could and now many Issan dishes are considered fashionable in the big mango.

Bugs are a common sight on the streets of the big mango, especially in many of the entertainment and tourists areas.

Here is an funny video of guy trying to collect his own ant eggs.  I posted this video a while back, but it may already be archived so here it is again.

(obviously something that should left up to the professionals to do)

Hopefully I can get back to the mango on Friday in time for the buffet and the charity Bar B Q on Saturday.  Maybe bring some bug snacks for some of the guys to try...555..nah, just kidding.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Fast commute today

Had a very fast drive up to the resort.  In fact, we got here just after 1PM after getting a late start this morning.  Also stopped at Baan Suan for a restroom break, something to eat, and to buy some pastries.  Lots of people at Baan Suan dressed in black.  These are visitors from the remote parts of the country who came to Bangkok to pay respect to Rama 9 at the Grand Palace and are returning home.  Must have had at least 25 buses so there were hundreds of people there.

A lot has changed in the last two months.  After two years the two lane road from the main highway to Chaiyaphum is finally finished, saving about 30 minutes of driving time.  The old road was a dangerous one lane each way affair with many trucks, forcing a pass around the incoming traffic to get around them. There were many head-on collisions over the years, especially in bad weather or holiday seasons.  Now, its a beautiful road with two lanes each way and a landscaped center divider separating the traffic.  The road takes us within 1.5 miles of the resort and makes access easy and fast.

Tried to take a nap, but there are workers near my bungalow working on the deck of the wooden house we moved over. We are also building a storage shed between the houses to store all the stuff we've accumulated. With the banging and sawing, it was hard to fall asleep so I'm here in the office for a few minutes and hope they finish their work soon.  This was a left over project from last time and they are trying to finish as they won't get paid until they do and we (or I, depending on the project) OK the work.

More tomorrow after I have a chance to scout the place and see what's been done.

Going Upcountry

Leaving in about an hour to go upcountry for a few days.  Don't know how long until I get there and see what the situation is.  Having been away for nearly two months, I'm sure a lot has changed. Getting off to a late start because of my jetlag and getting a good workout yesterday at the archery range.

Met up with Bangkok buddy yesterday and shot arrows for about 2 hours.  It was the first time in more than two months because the weather conditions were so wet and lousy back in Kalifornia that the outdoor range there looked like a mud pond.   My new bow functioned flawlessly and I plan of using it a lot on this trip.  Even spent a bit of money to buy a new carry case as it didn't come with one.  Since it was a take-down, I carried it over wrapped in heavy paper inside my suitcase. 

Yesterday, it was rather warm and it drained us of strength quickly. A visit to Holly's at "The Street" was the perfect answer to rejuvenate our spirits and energy.  Hollys is fast becoming one of the favorite hangouts for the locals and they have some great coffee too.  I believe its a Korean originated chain but it definitely has taken the city by storm.

There are some coffee shops and restaurants (including a dim sum place) at The Street that are open 24 hrs a day for those that happen to be in this area in the wee hours of he night.  Ratchada is a very popular venue for a variety of reasons, one of which is rich nightlife.

More from the resort later.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Busy first day back.....

Met up with Barnaby and Bangkok buddy yesterday.

Barnaby and I had a late breakfast/early lunch at the McD out near On Nut.  We picked that spot because he is having some difficulty walking stairs due to a medical issue.  Otherwise he looked great and we did some catching up on local and world events.  I chat with Barnaby using LINE quite regularly,  but face to face contact is always better.  His lodge is sponsoring a charity BBQ next weekend and I have a couple of extra tickets (Free to you).  Funds are going to a help local school kids.  If you are in BKK and want them, please drop me a message or comment on how we can get it to you.  

Click to enlarge

Afterwards, I spent the afternoon unpacking all my bags and separating them into piles by destination.  Using the technique in my previous posts of securing valuable items together, nothing was missing from my checked bags, even though there was a TSA inspection card in one of my bags.  Ending up taking a big part of the afternoon and before I knew it, it was time for dinner at Oishi with Bangkok Buddy.  

This was kind of a special dinner because it would be the first time Marina has gone to an Oishi buffet.  Being only 3 1/2, she was still free of charge, but boy was she ready for some food.  Getting there early was a plus as there was only a 5-10 minute wait and everything was still in large supply. Marina did us proud by eating her fair share of the great buffet.

Marina was kinda shy with Uncle BB present...555

Oishi (Rama 9) has changed a bit since the last time we came.  First, the little metal clip system with the table number is gone.  In its place is a large card with a barcode containing your table number.  To order a special item, one takes the card over to the cooking area, scan the card under the scanner, and then a display screen will give you choices as to quantity and the type of dish desired. The food will then get delivered to your table like before. The raw ingredients like meats and veggies in trays are no longer available for custom dishes.  There is also a new dessert section which is quite good. Big thanks to Bangkok buddy who treated us last night - great guy that he is.  

Some of the sample risers from Blacktail

The plan is to do a bit of relaxing today to get over jet lag and maybe go out to the archery range to test out my new take down longbow.  It came in during my stay in Kalifornia after waiting nearly ten months for it to be built.  Its one of the first batch of this model and its gorgeous.  I will have some picture of it in a later blog.

Tentative plans are to go up to the resort on Tuesday morning and stay a couple of days or as scheduling permits.  That's the nice thing about the land of smiles...no rush and everything is as schedule permits....late?..., mai phen rai!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Home sweet home.....

After a long flight, a long nap, and some dinner its finally setting in that I AM HOME!  

The WiFi package I bought ahead of time for the trip was great.  If you buy it in advance, its only $19.32 USD for 24 hours of access. Got great WiFi speed on both flights.  After setting up my LINE account in Taipei when I finally got cellular service, I was able to do live Chat with Bangkok Buddy on the way from Taipei to Bangkok.  I liked it so much that I will be buying it again on my next flight. 

The normal passport control lines were pretty full as were all the flights from Taipei.  There were 3 or 4 flights coming to Bangkok this morning from Taipei and two flights leaving from SFO to Taipei only 20 minutes apart the night before.  My assumption was that this weekend being President's day weekend, created a larger than normal crowd.  My flights was completely full. Taipei airport was super busy at 6AM so its an indication of  a big travel week for sure.  The good news is that despite all the people traveling this week, I was able to get through passport control, baggage claim, and customs in less than 15 minutes! How so?
Image blurred for privacy? - not - just lousy photography
On this trip I got a special card from the flight attendant during my last segment of the trip.  It was a Priority Lane card.  This card allows one to bypass the normal passport control queue and get serviced at a special Priority Lane.  There were five officers in this lane and the wait was only a couple of minutes.  Once out, my bags were already on the baggage bay and I was out of the airport in record speed.  I believe this is one of the privileges given to EVA Gold card holders.  They also provide a "priority" stamp to clear TSA lines on the other end as well. 

This lane is about 50 meters past the main passport control area and near visa on arrival

Its was a tiring flight and it seems like it gets longer each time as age seems to make traveling harder. Maybe its just all the anticipation during the last few days that has drained my energy - might even be my heart condition.  After meeting up with B and Marina, I got back at the condo and promptly took a five hour nap!  

After the long nap, everyone was hungry so we jumped into a taxi for a local meal.  Unfortunately, everything was closed and we ended up in a Japanese restaurant in Silom. Paid too much, but the food was good.  

Anyway, more tomorrow as I plan on meeting up with Barnaby and Bangkok Buddy to deliver their goodies from the States.

Good night from the land of smiles........

Friday, February 17, 2017

Blogging at 30,000 feet

Took a short nap and couldn't get back asleep so I am surfing the net and blogging on my tablet.  My pre-purchased voucher code worked like a charm and I have 24 hours of internet service via the plane's WiFi.  The speed won't win any awards, but its acceptable.  As for cost, $20 won't break the bank and will provides hours of connectivity on a long boring trip.

Just tried to use LINE without success because it needs to be linked to a phone number.  We have internet access but no cellular phone access so I can't get the verification code to activate the app.  Going to explore other apps to see if I can get some real time messaging going.

Nine hours to go...

At airport lounge

It's crowded at the Eva lounge tonight but at least I am here.   Boarding in about 30 minutes so not much to report now.

SF lounge in need of a makeover and expansion

More on board with the WiFi service and lots of time.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The last day.........

My little girl would love this - Queen Elsa flying on EVA air....

Its the last day of this trip to Kalifornia.  Tonight is the night I get on that jet plane for the land of smiles and home.  Bags are almost packed after a last minute trip to Costco yesterday and there is time for more stuff if I think of anything today.  Plane leaves at midnight and I should be in the mango around noon on Saturday.  Its supposed to rain today and later this evening so the flight back will likely be a bit bumpy as its normal this time of year.  Not to worry, as I bought the WiFi package again in advance.  Its a couple of dollars cheaper and less than $20 for a 24 hour period.  It will be great on the long segment of the trip from SFO to Taipei, but I'm not sure if its available on the fight from Taipei to Bangkok.  We will report on that during the trip.

The timing to depart looks great as things are getting a bit crazy around here.  Our Prez is getting quite a challenge and he needs to watch not only his backside, but front, bottom, top, etc.  Draining the swamp is proving difficult, and already one casualty has occurred. There are some really dangerous and ugly swamp dwellers who are entrenched and have to be violently rooted out. Ultimately, he will be successful and Washington will be a lot different in eight years than it is now. The war is just underway to take the government back and there will be battles lost, and battles won. I'm expecting large, organized, civil disobedience this summer in many cities.  These will be largely funded by outside groups taking advantage of useful idiots.  Many cities might burn.  Ultimately, it will have to be settled with a forceful response and likely bloodshed before things are resolved.  Law and order must prevail if we are to have a nation.

From the Evening Standard, UK.

What is going on in France is an indication where the US was headed before Trump's election. Paris was once one of the most desired destinations for travelers.  Now its nothing but a scary, lawless cesspool of thugs.  

Bus loads of tourists are robbed inside their tour buses, people are assaulted in the streets, and there are many places where even the police refuse to enter.  I believe that a dramatic change in policy on immigrants and lawless youth will also come about throughout Europe.  Its needed or else a total societal breakdown will occur.  The trouble makers have no fear or respect for authorities and that must be corrected before any kind of law and order can be restored.

Enough rambling for now.  The task at hand is to get ready for my trip home.  Politics be damned!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Great Weekend plus watching the Oroville Dam disaster unfold

Had a great weekend due to the wonderful weather.  Did a bit of shopping, walked out in the sunshine, and too a quick excursion to one of the local National Parks.  I'll document my visit to Muir Woods later in another blog, but one treasure I found was the Interagency Senior Pass.  If you like to visit National Parks, this lifetime pass gives seniors (62 years and older), free access to all the National Parks across the country.  The pass costs only $10 USD and one can bring two guests, irregardless of age.  Details here.

One neat thing about being a senior in the USA are the discounts offered at many businesses and government facilities.  Many restaurants offer special senior menus and specials -- even McDonalds offers a senior coffee for only 69 cents.  I don't hesitate to use these specials because after all, I earned this privilege by suffering all this time paying regular prices until I got old...555  Kidding aside, many seniors suffer economic hardship due to the way our society has been set up and while often, its self induced by lack of savings and planning, many are in need of any kind of help they can get.

Even in the Land of Smiles, seniors enjoy some discounts like reduced prices on the MTR underground and the BTS skytrain.  While many are reserved for Thai seniors, some benefits extend to retired expats.  One just has to ask.

OROVILLE DAM Disaster...

The big local news, which has gone national, is the developing situation at Oroville Dam. The dam, located about 150 miles NE of the bay area,  is one of Kalifornia's largest dams and also the tallest dam in the country.  Due to the huge rainfall this year and the design of the dam, there is a danger of a major failure of the spillway which could unleash a 30 foot wall of water down river.  An emergency evacuation warning was issued yesterday for 200,000 residents along the Feather river basin.  Last night, people were scrambling out of the area while officials were trying to fix the problem.  It was a good insight into what a mass evacuation would look like as tempers flared and roads were jammed for hours.

As of this morning, the lake was successfully drained below its top at 901 feet, but the race is on to reinforce the spillway and drain the lake down another 50 feet.  Helicopters are being brought in from all over to drop rock bags in the weakened spillway.  The urgency is needed because another series of storms is on the way that could drop another 10 inches of water in that watershed. Residents are in emergency centers and the Governor has activate the National Guard.

Lake Oroville is only a couple of hours drive from here and I've been to the Feather river to fly fish during my younger days.  Beautiful place facing a serious situation.  Barnaby owns some property in that area, knows a lot about the dam and the area, and he thinks its going to be really bad.

Here is a live stream of local TV station located in Sacramento.  

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Last Weekend in Town...

View from my condo this morning...Even the Golden Gate Bridge is visible today!

Its my final weekend, and finally the sun has come out.  During my last month here in Kalifornia, I almost forgot how the world looked when the sun was shining. We've had rain or cloudy days for weeks on end, and today it is starting out gorgeous. It a bit chilly and windy, but the views are forever.  Now I remember one of the reasons people choose to live in this crazy state despite the politics.

Started to pack yesterday and boxes of stuff continue to come in at a furious pace.  Will only bring over two large bags instead of three to minimize hassle and bringing stuff back as my next trip to the LOS will be extremely light.  Even bought a new Backpack/Roller combo in anticipation of my having to travel light on my flight back from Cleveland Clinic.  Eagle Creek offers a great system at around 4lbs which can be converted to a backpack for everyday carry.  They have a lifetime gurantee and  was on sale at one online retailer for 60% off so it was a great deal.

Eagle Creek Lync System 22

You would think that with a residence in Thailand that my trips would be a breeze - one single bag since I have clothing and goods on both ends of the bookend.  But instead, I travel packed to the hilt because there are so many things that are cheaper or unavailable on each end.  For example, batteries are cheaper (and better) in the US at Costco.  On the other end, I can pick cheap clothing at a fraction of the cost it would be here in Kalifornia.  Then there are all the food goodies that are local to each end.  One thing is that these trips to Kalifornia keep me connected and refreshes my perspective of life on each end.

Lastly, got this picture last night from B.  Thinks she wants me to rush home quickly...I sure miss these little rascals..

Marina sleeping and taking care of little sis Ella

Friday, February 10, 2017

Starting to Pack.......plus some safety tips

Its about that time.  One week to go before heading home on the big silver bird.  That also means starting to pack and gather all those things I want to bring back.  This is likely the last trip with big bags until later this year as I will be limited in terms of how much weight I can carry or push on the next trip back to the land of smiles.  Planning on going back with just one small carry on after my heart surgery.  Big change for me as I am usually come back with three max sized bags completely full.

While I was looking at ultra light bags, I ran across this interesting video.  If you have a zippered bags (which I do), this video shows how easy it is for the baggage handlers or the TSA to rip off your stuff and not leave a trace.  All they need is a simple ball point pen.  Fortunately, I have been very lucky to not lose anything on my frequent trips, but this has me thinking about how to protect my stuff.  So the second video is a simple solution for the casual thief.  If someone is determined enough, there is no way to guarantee  your stuff won't be stolen - the best one can do is to deter the easy heist so that they will go on to another target or bag.

Anyway, hope this helps and if it saves you some stuff from being stolen, you can buy me a coke.

There is no reason this tactic can't be used on a larger check in bag.  Just put all your valuable stuff inside the cable lock loop and lock it to the bag frame or something big and awkward in your suitcase.  If they want a specific item, they will have to take out all the other stuff along with it and create a mess trying to get back in.  If you put the cable through a strap loop or the frame, there is no way to get the whole string of items out without some effort.

More as I get closer to departure day.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Next Week is RAKWeek

A little plug about RAK (Random Acts of Kindness).  Been my philosophy for many many years and the tagline to my blog since the very first day and very first post.  For every kind act I've paid forward, I've received many more blessings in return.  They may not have been financial, but ultimately they were much more satisfying.  Here is what RAK is all about.

Some examples caught on video.  Look carefully, as you will see something a bit odd in the clip about the Seattle man story.

Want to find out more about RAK?  See the link on the sidebar of this blog or click on the logo below.


Yes, it even works in the Land of Smiles...........

Monday, February 6, 2017

Was I good or What???

Almost had a perfect 50,000 to 1 prediction in yesterday's blog.  The odds of an overtime game was 894 to 1.  I even predicted the final score at the end of the 4th quarter -  28 points, each. Aside only from the fact that the Patriots won the toss and went on to score, I would have had a prefect prediction. I thought Atlanta would win the coin toss and get a field goal to win.

Would also have made a small fortune if I had made bets in Vegas yesterday.  Would have won two and lost one, but a $10 bet on overtime would have yielded me almost $9,000 USD.  Would have also won the over and under too, and the office pool bet at 100-1.

But then if I really did bet, I would likely have been so far wrong that I would have lost completely because of my greed...!

Great game, great result.  Happy for the Patriots, but the 49ers are still the best in my eye.

As for commercials, my vote goes to the Honda's Year Books. Well done, inspirational, and memorable. It was very prophetic about the game itself too.   

Just 11 more days to go before heading home...........Miss my kids sooooo much.

Marina and Mom at the Movies at MBK today

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Do Mosquitoes love you?

If you are coming to the land of smiles soon (or often), do you have something in you that attracts mosquitoes from miles around?  I do.  Mosquitoes love me, and if there is one nearby, she will soon find me and make me her next meal.  I joke with B when I go upcountry that the mosquitoes are bored with Thai food all the time and when Chinese food turns up, they go berserk.  Many mosquitoes are sneaky enough to even bite through loose knit clothing!

To combat the problem, I've been wearing insect repellent clothing during mosquito season. That seems to work, but the clothing is expensive and not always the right kind of style for my needs.  For example, I would like to wear our silk screened resort polo and still have the bug protection.  When I was browsing the web for shirts to bring back without much luck, I had an epiphany.  Why not just buy the stuff that is used to treat the clothing instead?  Then you can put it on the stuff you normally wear and it will be insect proof!  You can save a bunch of money because you already have the clothes you like or you can just coat any new stuff you buy without having to pay the premium price for the insect protection.

$14.71 USD on Amazon

Luckily, such a product does exist, and it fairly cheap and available on Amazon! Its called Permethrin, and its EPA approved for use on clothing. Here is a link to an article about its use and some of its characteristics.  Contained within the article is the link to Amazon for the product or you can just click on the image above.  Each bottle will treat several garments depending on size.  

Superbowl Sunday

Unlike last year when the Superbowl was held here in the Bay Area, its relatively quiet in this part of the woods.  The local team had a terrible year and the coach was fired and replaced with a new one. Once again, my attention will not be focused on the game itself, but the commercials. Unfortunately, even those once coveted moments of fun and entertainment are going to be tainted by politics.  So the jury will be out - who will have the best commercial and do it with the class and distinction of those in the past?  

Maybe its time to focus on Football again.  Prediction:  Falcons 31-28 in overtime.....


Friday, February 3, 2017

The Left is Freaking Out over this sign of loyalty...

The left is getting all freaked out over this video.  After all the posturing, politics, and yelling, its the guys with the biggest and baddest guns that are always in control.  Thailand was an example of that in living color when the country was taken over by the military a couple of years ago.   Its unlikely a military coup would ever occur in the USA, but the support of the military shows who ultimately has the 'power' in any government.  In fact, the only ones calling for a coup are far left kooks, like comedian Sarah Silverman.  

Any outrage regarding this video should be directed back at those who think burning and denigrating the America flag is a cool thing to do.  These guys flying the Trump flag are the same people who defend that same flag with their lives so you will find very little sympathy for those who object to their actions.  They can fly whatever motivates them to defend our country and our freedom. Allegiance to their Commander in Chief  and head of the military is not a bad thing.

Lastly there is little doubt as who the majority of the law enforcement and military support.  There is also little doubt who the gun owners of America support.  Taken in whole, that is an awful lot of gun owners who support the POTUS.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Headed Home with my Light Phone?

Got my tickets yesterday and will be back in the mango in about 2 1/2 weeks.  Had to move the schedule around a bit because of the President's day holiday, but its now all set and done.  My schedule will allow me to stay until late April before returning with enough time for my surgery in May.

Marina dressed in formal dress - Wow she sure grew up fast!

Very glad to get back and spend more time with the family and especially the kids before the surgery. The girls are growing up so fast and just a couple of months away can mean big surprises.  Its good that we have the internet and LINE to shorten the geographical distance. While I am there, I think I will also order another echocardiogram from Bumrungrad to help resolve a big discrepancy between my echo test and my TEE.  The TEE was an interpretative condition with no measurements provided and it was contradicting the echo results.  I am particularly concerned about the LV EF (Left Ventricle Ejection Fraction ) reading.  One showed I was very normal at 68%, and the interpretative report showed I was low or depressed.  The difference is almost 20% less which is like day and night. A third test from someplace I trust is the least I can do for peace of mind because the TEE was done in association with the 'valve factory' I posted about previously.  If indeed my TEE was that bad, the surgeon should not have offered me the procedure he proposed as it would be more risky.

Phone was embedded inside book packaging

Got my light phone in the mail yesterday.  It came uniquely packaged inside a book like box.  The front few pages of this book had some real nice photos of the outdoors - to represent, I'm guessing, the freedom one gets from being detached from one's big cellphone.  Had a bit of trouble getting it set up as the desktop software wasn't working properly.  Sent an email to their support ID and got an almost immediate response.  With their assistance I was able to get it partially working, but the app doesn't seem to be able to see or connect to the phone via the USB cable.  A new software release is due out later this week, but I can currently receive and make calls from my phone but not have it integrated to my existing phone number.

The phone is a little thicker than a credit card.  In fact, its about the thickness of 5 cards stacked together so getting it to fit in the wallet requires some decisions on which cards to carry along.  I tend to carry a lot of loyalty cards, business cards, etc. so some housecleaning of my wallet is something I have to do if I want to carry it around all the time.

That's it for now, more later as I start packing and getting ready to go home!!!

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