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Sunday, May 22, 2016

The May Party

page2Dear Matt and Mar,

Usually the cake at school, shared between your friends would be it, but this time one of the parents (and a close friend) suggested to throw a joint party for the 3 children whom were born in May, it was a fantastic idea. The destination was Rockin Jump, and the party was held this past Saturday :-) A billion words could not even begin to describe the fun you all had, haa haa haa. But the best surprise of the evening was when your class teacher turned up with his baby, all of you went from hyper to super hyper mode, haa haa haa.

Come to think of it, the last time we had a BD party was when Matt was 2 (or 3) haa haa haa, we could not say thank you enough for all the friends that had turned up, not to mention all of the amazing presents, lol, Matt was over the moon.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Matt is Eight :-)

MBD1Dear Matt and Mar,

Eight years old already? Happy birthday Matt, as always 5th of May is also a public holiday (Coronation Day) so we had plenty of time getting the cake for Matt to enjoy with his friends at school (no holiday for you, lol).

A few days earlier your mother asked Matt what kind of cake he wanted, without a thought ‘Sponge Bob cake’, haa haa haa. Matt’s class assistant teacher told us to come back just a little before one with the cake, so they can have a little celebration before the afternoon class. Your mother decided to go with cupcakes, the best option really.

Everything went like clockwork, Mar was picked up around half past twelve, we then hung around for a bit before it was time to move to Matt’s class. Before we reached the class we ran across a couple of Matt’s classmates, “Here come the Sponge Bob cake”, haa haa haa haa, sounded like Matt had been telling all of his friends about the cake... haa haa haa. As always, Matt didn’t eat his cupcake (he doesn’t like cakes), on the other hand some of his classmates and Mar stepped up and all the cupcakes (including a few spare) were gone faster than Pacman chomping down his dots.

I have never heard a birthday song sung like this, adding the section “how old are you now?” into the song was great, lol. As you can see below, it was a laugh! A couple of Matt’s friends also have their birthday in May, so the three families will get together and will now hold a joint party at ‘Rock n Jump’ this coming Saturday, can’t wait.

Happy Birthday Matt, can’t wait can’t wait to have all the fun with you and Mar this coming year… :-)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Playing ‘Dad’

Year 3 Assembly-08222Dear Matt and Mar,

A few weeks ago I found a play script inside Matt’s bag, I really do wish Matt would share more of all the things he was doing in school, lol. After some serious Spanish Inquisition, we’ve found out that for this coming Year 3’s assembly there was going to be a play, and Matt was playing the ‘Dad’, lol.

The play was to show the parents the topic of ‘persuasion’, as a gist, the play was about a family of four, with the two children trying to persuade their parents to go to Brazil for their holiday, haa haa haa.

By the time the Assembly arrives, Matt was more than ready for the play, reciting the lines was not my concern, but the acting... oh the acting... Matt was brilliant, not sure if he was channeling me a little (or a lot), this could be your best performance yet...  :-)

 

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sporty Saturday

Dear Matt and Mar,

It has been over a year since your mother have been working at Virgin Active, and in that time your wardrobe had changed drastically, lol, nothing but sport clothes now…

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IMAX Sunday :-)

Fun Sunday-07960Dear Matt and Mar,

What to do on a Sunday… go to the cinema of course.  I think the last film we saw together was ‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of the water’, that film had permanently killed part of my brain, not because it was weird (I survived Eraserhead), but it was such a terrible film! Of course Jungle Book is a bit better than that, lol, with so many positive reviews it was the one to watch.

The time slot that was convenient for us happened to be an IMAX show, and I was dreading it! The last time I saw an IMAX film it was such a horrible experience, it was underexposed and lacking in detail, truth be told I can’t even remember the name of the film, all I remembered was me continuously taking off and putting on the glasses. However, according to Jon Favreau this film was made especially to be viewed on IMAX.

You both were a little confused when the usher handed you two a pair of glasses each, haa haa haa. I had doubt that Mar would be engaged enough for the whole film, let alone a whole film with a pair of glasses... lol.

I am glad to say was wrong on all counts! I knew the film would be good, but the IMAX experience was way beyond my expectation, hearing the both of you gasping with joy when the first scene came on the screen was amazing. Even I found myself uttering ‘wow’ a few times under my breath, it was fantastic.

The scene where we entered into King Louie’s dilapidated palace was incredible, and to see that face filling an entire IMAX screen was beyond words, when he started singing my favourite song, it was so hard not to jump up and dance (Mar did her best to try to stop me, haa haa haa).

After the film started Mar took of the glasses, turned her head, stared at me and quietly whispered “How…”, even Mar was lost for words, lol.

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Off we go to Singburi

Singburi-07692Dear Matt and Mar,

This trip was a few weeks back, we were fresh back from Hong Kong and arrived back in Bangkok just in time for the start of the Songkran festival, 3 glorious public holiday (13th - 15th) in celebration of the the Thai New year.

Your grandparents didn't have any plan so on the 15th we'd decided to take a day trip out of BKK to visit one of the popular temple in Singburi, not to mention a lunch by the river.

The weather was ‘boiling’, so being out of the concrete jungle was great, after a quick breakfast we left (together with one of my older cousin) to pick up my aunt and parents, it’s always a joy to drive during Songkran, time like these I wished for manual transmission (by the time you are old enough to drive, you two will have no idea what is manual transmission, lol).

In no time we arrived for lunch at ‘Pae Lung Chaow’, usually we would go next door to ‘Mae Thong chup’, but your grandmother have heard that their chef had left and is now working next door at Pae Lung Chaow, I have no idea where she gets her information... haa haa haa.

After a fantastic lunch we headed towards Wat Chaiyo Worawiharn, one of the most revered temple in Singburi, I had expected the crowd to be bigger, but it was the end of the festival now.

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On the way back your grandmother decided to visit the ‘Bang Pa In Royal Palace’, I was quite looking forward to it as I’d thought I have been to all attractions in this area, but obviously not, lol. By the time we’d arrived the small hand was pointing at four, and the palace was closing.

Across the river sits a temple, Wat Niwet Thammaprawat, so we took the cable cart crossing the narrow(ish) river, it is always nice to visit new temples to see different style, artwork, murals these are things I’ve always appreciated, but I would have never expected this in a million years, and initially I had a hard time believing that this is was built during the reign of King Rama V.

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To see a Buddhist temple in the style of a (small) Gothic Church was something different, haa haa haa. We have made plan to come back to visit the Royal Palace, but since then the weather has been so hot, hot enough for your school to cancel most outdoor activities. People keep saying it has never been this hot, well until next year anyway. I am really looking forward to the monsoon, then perhaps it will be time to go back to visit the Royal Palace.

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Microsoft’s ICE remains King of the Hill.

Dear Matt and Mar,

Not so long ago Lightroom had introduced ‘Panorama’ function, and I was over the moon, in practice I couldn’t have been more disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those super user, in fact quite the opposite, and I think Lightroom’s panorama function is great… when it works (for me). My Notebook with discreet graphic card is around 5 years old, and with today’s development it is woefully under power, and one of those limitation is the Lightroom panorama, lol. When it takes hours to complete a 7 fullframe 24MB files panorama, really took the fun out of developing a photo some what.

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For the longest time, the go to program for me was Microsoft ICE, when I had discovered it the first time it was like finding an uber rare sniper rifle with exaggerated elemental damage, lol. I never knew it was able to create a panorama from RAW files as well, (that is until tonight).

Last night I was totally frustrated with Lightroom’s pano, something went wrong and after giving Lightroom some benefit of a doubt, 2 hours later it was still at 64%… like a poker game with a great hand, it was difficult to press cancel and give up.

Today, the first chance I had was to fire up ICE once more, and to great surprise there was an update… the look and UI has totally been vamped up, totally brilliant… People keep saying Photoshop remains top for creating a pano, but I wouldn’t know anything about that, I don’t have the skill nor the Ka-ching, nor the need to have PS. So back to ICE it is for me, and perhaps forever? LOL.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Hong Kong Day Six, Going Home.

Dear Matt and Mar,

With hindsight, perhaps we should have booked a later flight, but then again these past fantastic few days had put a toll on all of us, well, more on your mother and I rather than you two, lol.

On our final day, the morning routine ran like clock work (wished it was like this on our previous days, lol). We even had a little time for you two to play after breakfast. As our flight was leaving around noon, it didn’t make sense to hang around, pretty much after breakfast all of us were off to the airport.

The rain was heavy, the wind was fierce so there was no surprise after boarding (full flight) we were told to sit tight as there will be a delay for an hour, luckily the entertainment system was working, managed to watch a full film, haa haa haa, can’t complain.

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Apart from a bit of an anticlimax yesterday, there was no doubt this has been the best family holiday so far, Mar’s first time overseas and the first time with four of us together overseas... now it’s time to think where to go next year :-)

Matt wants to go to Malaysia, he has his heart sets on Nickelodeon Lost Lagoon, to me it can definitely be a one day thing, but for a full holiday I am not so sure. Will probably stay in KL then travel to the waterpark.

On the other hand, I would love to go to the East of Malaysia, to Sabah Sarawak... :-)

Friday, May 13, 2016

Hong Kong Day Five, should have worn our trunks.

HKD5-07409Dear Matt and Mar,

After such a long day yesterday, this morning your mother and I had less spring in our steps, of course you two were as bright eye as usual, lol. Today was the day for Ocean Park, perhaps we should have wore our swimming trunks, for the heaven made up for yesterday with the rain.

Ocean Park has been opened since the ice age (actually 1977), it sits at the bottom of Hong Kong Island which isn’t connected by the MTR, at first I thought it was going to be difficult to get to, as it turned out it was a simple matter of catching the bus (No. 629) from Admiralty MTR Station. MTR that takes you straight to Ocean Park had actually been constructed, but it wasn’t due to open until the end of 2016.

Before I begin, I am totally against holding animals in captivity for entertainment, so I was a bit apprehensive bringing you two here in the first place, my main focus were for the rides and not the animals. I’ve also read that they somewhat focus on scientific research and have helped to breed rare shark species, bottlenose dolphins, sea lions, penguins even jellyfish and other birds and animals.

This place was huge... simply divided into 2 zones, ‘Summit’ and ‘Waterfront’ to get from one zone to the other one had to catch a cable car to a top of a huge mountain. Each zone sits several attractions such as Marine World, Thrill Mountain and etc.

As usual, we were a little lost once through the main gates, first thing first, photo with the mascot, haa haa haa, that gave me time to find a map... The boss decided to take the cable car straight away to the Summit, the cable car ride was entertaining enough, especially when it starts to drizzle.

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The day started off great, Matt had his heart on the bumper car (done, lol), and then there was the Arctic Blast (almost as fun as Space Mountain), then we slowed it down to see the penguins and the sea lions, I’d decided to go on the ‘Hair Raiser’ but Matt wasn’t big enough to ride, so the three of you went to the ‘Rain Forest’.

The weather started to turn, wind and rain was picking up, after a few more indoor activities we could see that you two were craving for more excitement... but the weather was turning for the worst. In the rain we’d let Matt play one of those carnival games where you could win a doll, and of course he did, and this is where I’d made a mistake... Although Matt won the game but we let Mar choose the doll... sorry, at the time I didn’t think it was a big thing.

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The next few hours Matt was all quiet and wouldn’t tell us what was wrong, finally a few tears were shed, he wanted the Doraemon, but Mar chose the Pink egg doll thingy instead... And all those few hours (through lunch) the rain decided to pay us a visit... and all the rides were closed... which made the situation even worse.

In the rain, after your mother and I found out what was upsetting Matt, and after my apologies, all of us cheered up again although the rain were still pelting down. Suddenly your mother had enough and decided to call it a day.

The day wasn’t completely spoilt, once back in Kawloon, we had a great time walking around Jordan MTR station, visiting small local park and had a superb supper.

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Again, with hindsight I wished I had chosen a slower pace attraction, rather than 2 similar places on consecutive days, haa haa haa haa haa.

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Tagscanner is brilliant (Thai characters on iTunes)

Dear Matt and Mar,

Literally for the longest time (I mean years and years) I have harboured this huge pet peeve with iTunes, actually it’s not iTunes’ fault. Part of my music library are Thai songs, and it was just so annoying to see a good part of those Thai songs’ name display in ascii characters rather than the usual Thai font on iTunes.

TagscannerThe issue is the ID3 Tag, not being in Unicode format (I am not going to pretend I understand what I had just typed, haa haa haa). Anyway, the Tag is in a format that iTunes (or MusicBee which I am using now (love it)) can not fully comprehend.

The solution (after several remedies, my hope had been crushed too many times, lol) for me was ‘TagScanner’, bloody brilliant it is… Here is the link “http://www.xdlab.ru/en/”.

Fired it up, point it to the folder with all of my Thai songs, it took a few minutes to populate all the (1,000+) songs into Tagscanner program (or do I call it App now, lol). I can see that a good chunk of the library, some characters were indeed ascii. By selecting a bunch at a time, then ‘right click’, select ‘Convert Codepage’ the rest should be self explanatory… I did manage to correct all the funny fonts in about 20 minutes… it was more satisfying than watching Dr. Sandra Lee’s YouTube channel (not by much though, haa haa haa), to at last have this problem out of the way.