Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The final curtain call for 2010

IMG_20802010 will soon be just a faded image in our rear view mirror, sitting back and staring at the credit card size calendar, reflecting on what had happened in the past twelve months is turning out to be quite a good mental exercise.

Anyway, lets hope 2011 bring only joy, happiness and prosperity to all of us :)

I wonder if I could reach 100 posts next year? :)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Returning to the Marble Tripitaka

We got there a bit earlier than last time, so there were some goooooooood light left :) (are there such a thing as bad light???). So this time round, I had to get some pics of the marble tripitaka (I think I got too carried away with the post processing…).

After a good walk around, it was obvious that this place have been neglected, although it is still in an ok/good condition but, as important that this place is, it should have been in better shape (more top notch), in one particular corner it was being used as a storage place for a huge old wooden door.

Pigeons were everywhere but there were no usual mess that seems to follow these pests, so these were either the cleanest pigeons I have ever seen or they were all totally constipated, because in a simple equation, Pigeons equals a pile of … :)



Friday, December 24, 2010

My only wish this Christmas…

Dear Father Christmas,

My only wish this Christmas is for a boffin to re-invent all of the known medicine for toddlers.

Our Matt is about two and a half, and after a visit to the Doctor last week, he was given 4 bottles of liquid medicine. One for his cold, one to ease his congestion, one to ease his phlegm and the most important one was the antibiotic, all of these came in different colours and flavours; green, yellow, orange and white...

Obviously I took the easy way out, all of the above went into his milk except for the white antibiotic (not allowed to be mixed with milk), and of course there was no hope in *&^^ that he was going to willingly swallow that.

Who the *&^^ would invent an antibiotic for toddlers that is a thick white liquid and smells like a million bananas being squeezed into a single drop! It was like making him swallow ‘over ripen banana flavoured Tipp-ex’.
DSC03175And of course the dreaded syringe had to come out, oh what joy. Giving him this antibiotic can be classified as torture for both him and us. We hate it, the missus have to lock down his arms while I use one hand to gently squeeze his mouth, of course he would be gritting his teeth like his life was depending on it, you would have thought we were giving him poison (perhaps we were, perhaps it was really banana flavoured correction fluid).


After getting through his gritted teeth, comes the most powerful tongue in the known universe, it is like duelling against a giant one tentacle octopus, the syringe would be fighting to get into the correct position, while the tentacle would be cunningly getting in the way and pushes the syringe out.

Ok, I am in position to deploy the correction fluid, I am now gently squeezing the syringe to release the ghastly white paste into the deepest side of his cheek; his final trick is a classic and I have no idea who had taught him to spit while his mouth was fully open.

It’s like a giant whale’s blow hole, for a millisecond I could see that he had blocked off his throat, and most of the white ooze is just laying there, and in a blink of an eye I could tell that he was drawing in air through this tiny nose and next comes the release… just like a whale’s blow hole… I never knew the white thick antibiotic is so difficult to get out of clothes, face and hair.

The counter punch is to make him swallow before the air intake… not always possible… of all the bouts we have taken, I’d guessed we are talking about 50-50 success rate, which is pretty darn good, did I mention the crying and the screaming that comes with every bout?

I lost it once, ended up slapping the sofa and shouted at him like I was an idiot, of course I felt absolutely terrible straight away, I was making him drink correction fluid that smells like a banana, anyone would fight tooth and nail against that too.

Coming back to my wish, someone please just invent an odourless and colourless medicine with a consistency of H2O, but at the same time make it so potent that one would only need to use 1 cc instead of the usual 5 or 3 cc. Matt loves to drink water from a syringe, he can go all day long pushing syringe after syringe of water into his mouth, but anything else is just a no no…

So Dear Father Christmas, please, I have already been watching out, and I have not cried and I am certainly not pouting… so please just give me a boffin who can make my wish come true…

Monday, December 20, 2010

Practice Practice Practice

This was taken back some time in June of this year, while we were on a business trip in Shanghai. The group was given a few minutes to wander around; not being much of a shopper I decided to head for the nearest road and whipped out the G7.

Have been trying the pan technique on & off for a about a week, and so far have not had a single acceptable photo. This was the first ‘acceptable’ capture ever :)

What worked for me was to use continuous shooting mode and the panning was purely guess work, which got better with experience. I kept rushing the camera while panning, so instead of keeping pace with the subject my composition often cropped out part of the subject.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wow Grandma, what big eyes you have!


I have no idea how this came to be, but the latest trend over here right now are these ‘big eyes’ contact lens. They are just like normal contact lens, a pair lasts about four weeks and purely for cosmetic purposes.

It simply increases the size of the pupil of your eyes, and I must admit the effect can be stunning... frighteningly stunning... it is like looking into someone possessed, making very hard to hold a normal conversation :) (especially at work).

Looking at the point of purchase materials, it looks like these came from (South) Korea, apparently Thailand’s teens are all Korea crazy at the moment, just like the British invasion of the American music scene, K-pop are everywhere and in everything from sweets packaging to representing the top motorcycle brand.

Hoping it will be just another phase

For the past few weeks your eating has gotten so much better, but a couple of days ago we noticed you were chewing but ended up spitting out all of the food rather than swallowing it. Yesterday and this morning you have decided to go back to square one, refusing all solid foods.

Not exactly sure why this has come back, we are all hoping it is just another phase you are going through, both your mother’s and my patience were running so thin yesterday, going back to square one was quite hard to take and so frustrating. However, this morning our senses have returned, at least you are still taking you milk.

You are now on your Christmas break, so to keep you entertain, we decided to enroll you into another half day nursery, it is so much better than having you cooped up in the room, as this nursery is only across the road, we decided to walk across the overpass rather than driving. Walking and carrying all your stuff took some getting use to but as of now it is all running like clockwork :)

Marble Tripitaka



Not wanting to take you to same old places especially when Phutthamonthon is such a huge place, there was this landmark that I have been meaning to visit but never did.

On this day your mother decided to stay home to make her infamous soap, it was just you and I this time…

Tripitaka Marble Shrine (actually not quite sure if is correct to call it a shrine) totally took my breath away, unfortunately didn’t have a chance to take a pic of the Tripitaka itself (ran out of light juice), just imagine a tall man height marble slab, at about one and a half to two meters in width and about 15 cms in thickness. On it are etching of Buddhist canon. But there wasn’t just the one, there were hundreds of these, all laid out in a circle surrounding the centre shrine architecture (these pics).

It would have made a really good location for a ‘Lara Croft – Tome Raider’ game (by the time you are old enough to understand this I am sure Tomb Raider would have already been totally forgotten).

It was obvious that I found this place far more interesting than you did, being only two and a half all you wanted to do was to play hide & seek, and in this place hiding (your job) was easy, seeking (my job) was frighteningly super difficult… :) However in this serene surrounding it was totally inappropriate (although I was awfully tempted to have a quick game).


Monday, December 13, 2010

And now for something completely different…


Stage locationsDuring this past long weekend there was an event in Lumpini Park, International Street Show (in Bangkok).

There were 12 stages plus some roaming shows all around, what a nice change of pace, it had a real festival feel to it, unfortunately the weather was far too hot and humid…

With everything that was going on, I had only managed to take Matt there late one evening while the event was winding down, walking with a pram against the hoards of people coming from the opposite direction was like swimming against a land slide, after a couple minutes and 2 cms later, an alternative route was taken… Managed to get to station number 11, a show from Laos, “Kabong Lao”. 
Kabong LaoIt was a great change to see a performance that was not based on physical strength or agility, but an actual performance-performance… We had already hit a real Gem with our first stop.

After a few minutes Matt was getting a bit restless, and that was a signal to move on…

The next stop was a pair of acrobats from the Netherlands, “Bencha Theatre”, talking about a ‘Wow’ factor… it had a flying hoop and everything (leaving the rest to your imagination). Matt was mesmerised, but now it was my turn to get a bit restless, people dangling from hoop and ropes was nothing new, the choreograph was actually very good, and I must say seeing it live did hold my total attention for a while…

The night ended with a huge balloon and a ‘multi coloured flashing light stick’ thingy for Matt… and now we are having trouble taking both away from him :)

Monday, December 6, 2010


That's a whole lot of love :)

What perfect timing, yesterday (December 5th) was our beloved King’s Birthday because it felt on a Sunday thus the ‘9 to 5ers’ were given Monday off as a ‘catch up’ holiday, making this a much needed long weekend.

6th of December was also set for your year performance, no costumes and no props, the average age was only 2.7 years old so it was just a show to give you and your friends confidence. It starts off with a group song, then each class would come to the front to do their own little piece, you were in the ‘green’ class.

In the beginning all parents (including us) were very polite and sat perfectly still in rows (quiet chit chats here and there of course), you can feel the anticipation and excitement building at every tick of the clock…

Then the curtains were pulled back, revealing about 50 children, sitting, fidgeting with startled faces everywhere, as most of the parents stood up (some at the back even stood on their chairs), laughing and smiling all around…

The performance was perfect, of course we would say that, all the teachers and assistants have great voices… haa haa haa, the whole morning was absolutely adorable :) Can not wait to show you the video :)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

She just can’t get away… :)

Now that we’ve moved your Little Gym class to Sunday, for this class parents are not allowed to participate in the lesson.

So your mother has about an hour to do whatever she wants… Since she has so few chances to have free time, I had assumed for that free hour, she was going to be off, shopping or sipping hot cappuccino or visit the hair dresser or anything…

Instead, she chose to be sitting outside the gym watching you play :) and it was my job to trot off and get her that hot cappuccino. She wasn’t reading any magazines, playing with the mobile phone, talking to friends, she just sat there laughing (quietly to herself) and smiling at your every move… I just wanted you to know that :)


What will this be?


For the past few weeks, this structure was (and still is) going up (bit by bit), I am still trying to figure out what it will turn out to be.

The location is quite unique, as it sits above one of the major crossroad in Bangkok, Sathorn – Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra, it links the BTS and BRT (‘sky train’ and ‘special bus service’ respectively).

A motorcycle taxi told me (as he screamed his thoughts while we were travelling at warp 9.9, dashing between cars stucked in traffic)… “IT WILL BE A FOOD COURT!” Imagine that, it  would be the funkiest food court in Bangkok, but it would be a real surprise if it did turn out to be what he had told me.

What will this be? Will it be some bold and fantastic art? Or just another waste of tax payers’ money… :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Time to dress up :)


For Loi Kratong festival, the school left a note for all parents to dress up their children in a traditional Thai attire, of course the first person we turned to for advice was my mother… and she did not let us down :)

Unfortunately she did not see you all dressed up first hand, but the video I took gave her a huge smile. It must have been destiny, but the traffic was non existence, so we arrived at the school well before it starts (which is a rare occasion, haa haa haa), and to see all the kids dressed up was just  amazing.

In the afternoon, all of the children went over to the pool and each class’ paired representatives would ‘loi’ the ‘kratong’, V and Angie were chosen to represent your class, and for your mother and I, it was a good decision (V and Angie were always calm and well behaved when we saw them) you sat at front all smart and salivary… haa haa haa.


Monday, November 29, 2010

That’s a lot of concrete :)


The composition was kind a obvious, I just wished there were more cars beneath it, to balance it out a little more. This is Siam BTS station (aka Sky Train), probably the busiest station in the whole of the kingdom :)

Not quite sure how the structure is lit at night, but it could be an interesting shot, with less cars and display lights coming from the various stores.

Good to be back…

It has already been three months since we’ve moved, but for the past few weeks we have been going back and staying over the weekend at the old place, your mother loves it because she is into making soap at the moment, and so she needs as much room as the Space Shuttle needs before she takes off for the stars.

I think you love it as well, with all that space to run around, and a garden with 5 taps all connected to a huge water pump meaning you can be totally soaked in about 5 seconds, it also gives us opportunities to be back to Putthamonthon…

All in all it is certainly good to be back… :)




Saturday, November 27, 2010

Loy Kratong 2010

“Loi Krathong
takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional
Thai lunar calendar. In the western calendar this usually falls in November.”


DSC02702-001The moon was certainly full that night :)

Here was an attempt to capture the bright full moon with no tripod, not too bad, well it helped having the camera jammed up against the wall.

To be honest here baby, I think you have the view out of all of us, not that you care of course, being only two and a half, you are now more interested in jumping fully clothes into the bath full of water.

Anyway, this was your only second loy-kratong and there was no way we were going to stay in, we had to go and ‘loy’ the ‘kratong’ (a direct translation would probably be ‘float-basket’). Usually the place to go would be the riverside temples, so that the kratong can be floated down the river. However, another popular place is ‘Suan Lum’s (huge) lake’.

We decided to head for Suan Lum, simply because we wanted to take you on the sky train…  (and it was close to our house)

Somehow you have forgotten how to walk, you now come in two modes, ‘sit’ or ‘run’, both are really tiring for both your mother and I, because we ended up either carrying you everywhere or chasing after you at full pelt (running towards moving cars seems to be your specialty).

The one station BTS (aka Sky Train) ride was a hoot, the crowd was not that bad and you were all bright eyed and bushy tailed :)
It was a good walk from the BTS Silom station to the main entrance of Suan Lum (there is large statue of King Rama VI), the street hawkers were out en mass, the delicious smell of food cooking filled the cool night air, while the colourful kratong added eye candy to the normally peaceful but plain square.

DSC02738-008Not to repeat the same mistake we made last year, this time we bought our kratong early, we basically stopped at the very first hawker we saw, you chose the kratong, then we made our way through the gates.

It was a mistake letting you carry the kratong, no need to go into detail here, (after a minute most of the flowers were on the floor :) )


DSC02726-007The organiser decided to re-create old bangkok, with people dressing like the olden days, there were also stalls selling traditional food, I quite liked the display boards explaining the past.

By far the stall with the longest queue was the ‘fortune teller’s’, anyway, after a couple of minutes we decided to ‘loy’ the ‘kratong’ so that we would have more hands to look after you :) Of course I no longer carry a lighter, so we had to borrow it from a ‘farang’ (a polite slang for caucasian foreigners) to light the candle and the joss sticks.


DSC02740-009After the kratong peacefully floated away (we totally forgot to put some coins in the kratong… aaahhhggghhh). Your mother and I decided to have a walk around, there was quite a lot to be seen, but you were having none of it… so we decided to call it a night.

Before going home we decided to stop by Chester Grill (Thailand own QSR), then you decide to drop your special #2… haa haa haa, without a spare nappy, it was the correct decision to make a quick exit :)

In stead of going back by BTS, we decided to catch a ‘tuk-tuk’ instead, I never haggle (because I am just terrible at it), so in no time we were sprinting through Silom and Narathiwas. Luckily the traffic was very light, with all that fresh air it really helped us to forget that you were totally filled up with #2 :)


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bangkok’s BRT

First was the BTS (aka skytrain), then came the MRT (undergrounds), now comes the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit). Although the first (and only) BRT line runs right in front of our place, we have never thought of actually using it… until now (before going on any further, BRT is simply a bus with a dedicated lane all to itself (although on some part of the route they do share the road with the rest)).

This mass transport has caused a bit of a stir, because in some area they took away one lane of the road and gave it to BRT, just imagine that you’ve been stuck in traffic for the last 45 minutes without moving an inch (a very common occurrence in BKK), then as you glance to your right and see this empty oasis lane (as far as the eyes could see) but you can’t just get to it… :)

Anyway, right now there is a promotion, 10 THB for the whole route… as this was a weekend the road was pretty empty, so it took us only 30 minutes to travel 12.5 Kms, very good for BKK standard.







Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

First Book is coming (end)… in my very hands :)

IMG_1978Very pleased  with it (since I don’t have any other experience with the other vendors), but just for this first time order for the quality check, I shall definitely be going back to Blurb :)

Now, I can see myself slaving over thousands of photo, trying to group them into stories, then painstakingly put them in a book… :) I wonder how long this fad would last :)

Friday, October 29, 2010


imageOnly until recently I have started to do simple ‘tweaks’ to most photos before adding it to the blog, I don’t mean heavy manipulation or anything like that, nothing have been added and certainly no frown lines have been removed (much to your mother’s despair). 

I always knew that most of the photos could do with a few tweaks (contrast, brightness, colour and etc.) but just couldn’t be bothered, and more importantly there wasn’t a truly simple tool (well this being 2010, there were probably loads of good tools out there but I just wasn’t aware of it).

I’d guess if one was serious, then one should always shoot ‘raw’ then you can have a field day tweaking anything from the exposure to white balance, making it truly perfect (kind of).
Anyway, I have known about ‘Photoscape’ (click here) for quite some time now, but have never seriously looked into it (apart from its very good Gif tool), until a friend said that this was the best and simple tool there is, there was the magic word… ‘Simple’. So after giving it a chance it has become as important/essential to me as ‘Windows Live Writer’.
image Here is how I use it, usually working in the ‘Batch Editor’ section (this is where you can do things to several photos at the same time), load all the photos into this window, then go to the ‘filter’ tab to the right, then just tweak away…

Once you are all tweaked out, you can save it, so that for your next batch lot of photos you can apply all the same filters you had painstakingly tuned earlier.

If all permutations of Photoshop gives you a headache, or even if Gimp is a tad too much, then you certainly should give this Photoscape a try :)

First Book is coming (cont.)… ‘On Schedule’


It is on Schedule :) according to the projection it will be here next Tuesday :) can not wait to see it, to have it in my hands; at this moment I don’t have any expectation whatsoever, I know I am going to love it whatever the outcome… :) :) :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

First Book is coming


While I was listening to the ‘This Week in Photo’ podcast, there was a mention of ‘Blurb’ (online self publishing'), the premise of having our own personal book was just too ‘fun’ to not have a go.

Decided to do more research on this self publishing thing, there are loads more than I had first thought, here is a link to a nice round up, ‘http://photo-book-review.toptenreviews.com/’ but some upper class players were missing from the list, such as Asukabook.

Decided to go with ‘Blurb’… downloaded their program and in 15 minutes I was dragging and dropping various pics from our latest trip library into the program. Admittedly, I was having too much fun to put any real arty-farty mind to it, just picked the best pics and stuffed it in… just wanted to see the quality of the book first before putting real effort into it. So by 3 am I was uploading the book to Blurb… and then clicked ‘Pay’ :)

Decided to go with all the best options, including paper, binding and so on… as per my past experience the shipping (from there to all the way over here) was going to be about 60%-70% of the actual book… all in all can not wait to have it in my hands though… :)