Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Crimbo 2015

Boxing day 2015-04107Dear Matt and Mar,

Christmas 2015 was a bit flat for me, simply because the team and I had to work. Unfortunately 25th of December isn’t a public holiday in Thailand, but usually I would take time off just to be with you. Your mother is Catholic so the 25th is really, really sacred.

On the 25th was also the date when the company launched the third location (Paul Bakery Restaurant), only about 7 days after we had launched the second, and it has been such a difficult journey for both locations, from negotiations with the landlords, extremely difficult build, and probably the worst of all, some bad missed communication with the contractor.

In the end both were launched on time (kind of), the only regret was the pressure on the team, both front line and supporting team, but their character came through and made it all happen... quite amazing really (stand up ovation very much deserved), and now not four days after the launch of the third location I have to call another meeting for the preparation of the fourth location. I wished I could have waited until after the new year, but timing wise it would have been too late.

20151226_121128Luckily Boxing day fell on a Saturday this year, having the weekend with you was a real boon, lol. Anyway, back to Christmas day, you two were up before the sun rise as usual, opening up of the presents was a laugh (as anticipated). Mar got her princess Aurora dress (as ordered, lol) and I got Matt a ‘manual’ battleship game (since then I have lost to you twice already, lol). I am glad both presents were such a hit!

Usually my choice of present for your mother would be nothing short of a cataclysmic disaster, I don’t think I have got her something that she had actually liked for the past decade... seriously... haa haa ha haa haa, but all changed this year though (of course with some help, lol).

One of my colleague helped me to find the gorgeous dress for Mar, and so I turned to her once more on what to get your mother. Without a thought she took me to this sunglasses place and in less than five minutes picked out the present for your mother, it was the ‘it’ brand of Sunglasses, judging by the price I thought it was made from solid gold, haa haa haa haa haa. But who cares, your mother loved it, and she also knew immediately that I had help, lol. So from now on your mother is making it mandatory for me to get help shopping... haa haa haa.


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To the weekend immediately following Christmas day, luckily Matt’s morning and late afternoon class was cancelled, but Mar still had her nine am play class (basically only music in the early afternoon). So instead of taking Matt to the driving range, I’d decided to take him to the park, with our new small rugby shaped ball, touch rugby was going to be my mission, lol.

It was shameful to be out run by a seven year old, haa haa haa, I thought we were going to spend an hour or so, but it went way beyond that, it was fantastic. By the way, a day before Christmas your mother also took Matt to get him a new bike and now he wants to ride it everywhere! So in the afternoon we went to the park to let Matt show me some of his cycling skills lol.

Sunday afternoon was blocked for lunch with my second cousin and my parents, he had just passed a very important exam to become a judge, that is quite an achievement in our family, on top of all that he is an extremely nice guy too.

As our lunch was taken near our out of town home, where there was a new community mall which we have been meaning to visit, so it was only a short drive. I wasn’t expecting much, but I was totally wrong, it was a great place, the name of it is ‘Paseo’. It was a great weekend, full of activities and no drama... haa haa haa haa haa.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Open Live Writer :-)

Dear Matt and Mar,

I love to write, it may be boring to read, it may not even receive a C grade in an English exam, but the process of thinking and typing it out, together with countless times of backspacing and re-writing over and over, until it reads just right (to me) is unconditionally pleasurable, probably the number one hobby on my list, leading photography by about a hair width.

20151223 Open Live WriterBlogging allows me to merge several of my favourite things in the world, firstly to be around you and the rest of the family, to take mundane (to others) but totally engrossing (to me) photos of you and the family, and at the end of the day tinkering with a bunch of photos on the notebook before writing it all in Google Doc, then using Windows Live Writer as a melting pot between the texts and photos.

Unfortunately Windows Live Writer (WLW) which is an absolutely essential tool to me for blogging, as it does everything so well, of course there were some quirks but one easily learns to overcome all those few minor issues. It was such a joy to use, to see the format of one’s blog on WLW whilst compiling the post is extremely useful. Ok, back to the ‘unfortunately’ bit, Microsoft has decided not to develop WLW further.

All I can say is a grotesquely huge ‘Thank You’ to Microsoft for developing WLW in the first place, it has been a real joy to use this freeware, you have made blogging such fun (for me). But as they say, all great times must come to an end (although who said it I am not exactly sure).

One evening after a having a great time compiling a post on WLW, it failed to connect to Blogger (Google free blog hosting, another fantastic service), after some digging on various forums, apparently someone, somewhere, somehow had changed some kind of protocols, and now WLW won't talk to Google Blogger, or vice versa... :-) I don't think I can be any more vague :-) can I?

So someone has moved my cheese, nothing else to do but to go out there and find an alternative, in the past I have actually tried to find an alternative to WLW but (for me) nothing else ever came close. So to my surprise when I’d found a small article on Open Live Writer! Judging by how excited I was, you would have thought I was asked to play a Seth Lord in the latest Star Wars film (red light sabers are the absolute best).

To cut a long story short... found Open Live Writer ('OLW’, www.openlivewriter.org), now I have found my 'cheese' again, well, a slightly different cheese, a piece of cheese that needs aging, and it will get better with time :-) (because so many brilliant people are behind it).

It just goes to show how brilliant WLW was, to have such dedicated followers, enough to spend their own valuable time to build OLW... I have been using OLW to post a few articles now, and it is 90% the same experience as WLW, their nightly build actually handles labels so much better!

So my beloved is back, thank you OLW.

(It has been a couple of weeks now, and for me the ‘nightly’ build of OLW is amazing, there could be an issue when connecting to blogger but the the solution is super easy.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

New fav place

Dear Matt and Mar,

You have now been hooked lined and sinkered with Em Playground, and to be honest even I am besotted with the place as well. Instead of those generic indoor jungle of climbing frames, this one has techonology built in to almost all of its activity :-) Not to mention first class security, they take a photo of you guys and us, and before we leave the picture had to be crossed checked.

pageThere are DJ station, with full scratchy things… and I don’t mean a toy thing, a propery scratchy thingy, haa haa haa. One of my fav is the digital animal on screen thing. Well, you scan your face into the computer, put a digital mask on it (any animal you like), and a second later that animal would be marching on the huge screen but with your face on it!

There are so many more… and the best place to keep you busy for an hour or two, lol.

Tantalising Telecom

Dear Matt and Mar,

As you know I am currently working for a Telecommunication company, to be very honest we are more than that by a long chalk, with our portfolio I would prefer to call ourselves CommuniTainment (I don’t expct this term to be catching on anytime soon, lol).

By @ YowareSo the talk of the town lately has been about the bidding war for the 4G licenses, there were two separate auction one for 2,100 MHz and another for 900 MHz (with 2 liceses up for grab for each frequency), all in all the goverment made over 220,000 million THB, which was way, way above anyone’s expectation (apparently even broke the world record), and the consesion is for 18 and 15 years respectively.

The 900 MHz auction lasted 87 hours! Imagine all those executives had to be locked away incommunicado from the rest of the world for almost 4 days, I hoped they bought a change of clothes.

So how is the Telecom landscape now that the dust had settled… looking great for some that’s for sure, lol.

*I belive full credit goes to Yoware for compiling and making the graphic (no idea who he/she is) but it has been doing its round on the social media quite a bit.

Biking challenge, lol.

Biking Sunday-04070Dear Matt and Mar,

Your mother has been working so hard lately, and she’d came home rather late on this past Friday, so Saturday morning to give her some alone time to chill, I’d decided to take you two out to get breakfast (and to tak-bart with the monk) (I would usually go alone or with Mar). It wasn’t particular far nor fancy, just to the small morning market around the back of the apartment.

However this time, I’ve decided to let you two take your bike… haa haa haa, your first time riding the bike outside of the apartment’s grounds, and you two couldn’t have been more excited, and if I knew how fast you were on a bike I would have let you taken the bike a very long time ago, I’d ended up running after you two… Usually walking it would have taken you two forever… lol.

So came Sunday, your mother had decided to take breakfast all the way by the BTS (at Dean and Deluca), and she had decided to allow you two to take the bike too… I was a bit apprehensive at first, riding on totally rubbish pavement no wider than a piece of A4 paper, then carrying the bikes up several steps to reach the bridge and overahead walkway, then down again to the brekkie place, seems a lot of work (not to mention that Mar was still on training wheels, and Matt’s break doesn’t exist, haa haa haa). But once I saw how excited you two were, how could I have refused, haa haa haa.





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It was great! Love watching you smile and laugh all the way to till the end… we’ll definitely be doing this again, perhaps I can jump on the back of Matt’s bike, lol.

[Living in an urban jungle, one does the best one can to maintain the idealistic Sunday morning of cycling to breakfast, but instead of riding on the rustic country roads one has to make do with broken pavements, about 7 flights of stairs (up and down), and nothing but grey concrete for view… and thus the old cliche of living in the urban jungle.

But you two were having such a fantastic time, and that’s the only thing which is important :-) on this out of routine Sunday morning, lol.]







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Monday, December 21, 2015

The long walk :-)

Dear Matt and Mar,

For the past few weeks your mother has been on my case, ‘somehow’ since she has been working at the fitness club (surrounded by beautiful people, lol) she has been demanding that I loose some weight... haa haa haa haa haa. Look guys, take a pointer from me, never argue with your mother... just go with the flow is the foremost policy... :-) Even if you win, you’ll lose... lol.

Another breakfast-03990I’m never going to find time to join a fitness club but many people will say that is just an excuse... and my reply would be [Insert several EXPLETIVE WORDS here], haa haa haa, and if I have any kind of a spare time I would rather be home with you two, I am already finding it hard to find time to help you out with your homework, lol.

So what now, decided to make the daily routine more challenging on the body... usually I would leave the apartment, walk a few steps to catch the motorcycle taxi to the MRT (undergrounds), literally involving no effort at all (well, apart from the gluteal muscles).

Now I try to walk as much as I can, from the apartment to the BTS (500+ metres), all the way sweating like a hog on a heat during a hottest summer day. Just to catch the BTS and go one station, then more walking (300+ metres) to the go from the BTS to the MRT, and several stations later, another 500+ metres walk from the MRT to the office, all in all I am doing around 2.7 Kms a day on commuting alone :-)

First week was a little tough, haa haa haa, but now several weeks in, I am actually looking forward to the commute, and we are on track. Started at 78+ Kgs (shock horror, lol) to 72-ish, haa haa haa. The funny thing is I don’t really know what my target is, I don’t think I can go below 70 Kgs unless I lose a limb or my head, haa haa haa.

Christmas is coming (again), lol

11.12.2015

Term ends party 2015-141105Dear Matt and Mar,

Can’t believe Christmas is almost here, today is your last day of term one, has it been a term already? The usual class party was a bit of a laugh, luckily Matt’s and Mar’s party was on a different day, lol.

This year was a bit different, for the first time the school decided to do ‘Secret Santa’, all Matt knew was that he was giving his present to a girl, whilst Mar knew exactly who she would be giving to (Liz, lol). Being a very proactive parents that we are... we’d left it until the night before... only to realise when a chat conversation started on the Parents’ Line group chat.

It was almost seven in the evening when the parents’ Line group chat started (on the very day we came back from a long weekend in Pattaya, lol)... you should have seen the expression on our faces. Luckily the shopping mall was still open, so off I went once again, lol.

The parties were a bit of a laugh as always, short but fun, nothing more than a quick get together for the kids, and to be honest I think the parents had more fun, after Matt’s party which parents were allowed to attend, the parents also had one of our own afterwards. Forgot to mentioned that Matt received a lovely alarm clock from his secret Santa (Pluem, thank you krub)

Unfortunately I couldn’t join Mar’s party, but from the photos your aunt and mother had sent me, it looked like a bunch of fun and Mar was given her 2 favourite things rolled into one… Kitty Cookies, lol. Not to mention that finally Mar got a chance to wear her red flamingo dress… perfect, lol.

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Mar kept asking when is Father Christmas is coming, and how will he knows what she wanted, haa haa haa haa haa, I’d told you that I’ll call him, but it will depends if she had been a good girl or not (of course you said you have been a super good girl). Mar, of course knows what she wants... a nice “Sleeping Beauty’ sparkling dress” (pink of course), but where to get one? (Don’t worry, got one already).

Now for Matt, quite opposite to Mar... he has no idea what he wanted, he kept telling me he wants 10 pillowly... (his favourite pillow), haa haa haa haa haa. I was thinking of get Matt a watch, but I don’t think he will wear it, still no idea... still a few more days to go yet.

With 2 restaurants opening in the same month, it looks like I’ll be working through Christmas this year... sorry.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Just to get away, lol.

Dear Matt and Mar,

It was like a tornado, suddenly late Friday evening leading into the long weekend, your mother decided we all needed a break from BKK. Being our beloved King’s BD (Saturday) all of your weekend classes were cancelled so we had 3 clear days ahead of us.

Pattaya Dec 15 page-03818We wanted to see our friend Chat (uncle Chat to you) again, and you two were looking forward to seeing and playing with his two children (Gun and Jun), so after a quick call we’d booked our usual place and in no time all the bags were packed (while you two were sound asleep) and definitely ready to go... haa haa haa.

I was excited to see what your reaction would be, when you woke up to see the suitcase packed and ready to move out, haa haa haa, and I was not disappointed.

The drive across to Pattaya was an utter nightmare, of course not everyone on the road was heading to where we were heading, but the road we were on is the main road leading to the east. So the usual almost 2 hours drive became a 3 hours plus plus slog, lol.

Once arrived, late lunch was very welcomed by all, especially me, lol, then after a short break it was the mandatory swim. The evening was quite special, instead of heading to uncle Chat’s house, we met up with him and his family at a very local seaside eatery, it was brilliant. You four got the whole hut to yourselves.

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Sunday was a bit of a strange day, after the morning swim, Mar wanted to visit the sheep farm and who were we to argue, lol. I see that they had expanded the attractions, one of them being a bunch of huge turtles and I was totally besotted with them (but it would have been better if they were free though...). Of course one could buy food to feed the turtles, ice cold carrots…

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After about two hours of fun, and with a somewhat depleted wallet we’d decided to leave for lunch. Driving across the city into town for lunch was a mistake, we ended up having lunch during the afternoon tea time slot, lol. After a quick spell in the arcade it was time to go back to the resort, pretty much a bit of a non afternoon, haa haa haa. On Monday morning we’d decided to skip the swim and checked out early, as uncle Chat had mentioned about J-Park not too far from the hotel, and it was en route home which made it even more enticing.

J Park Sriracha-03981The ‘J’ in J-Park, I am assuming it stands for Japan (a bit obvious once you’ve seen the decor), and it was quite well done, it was fun just walking around. We ended up taking lunch here before driving home.

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Loy Kratong 2015

25th November 2015
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Dear Matt and Mar,

Loy Kratong festival is here with us once again, Mar was super excited with dressing up, in the beginning I’d thought she would moan on how her costume was not pink, haa haa haa, quite the opposite she’d loved the green traditional Thai costume. For Matt, we’d decided to go with the most comfortable traditional Thai shirt and trousers we could find.. lol. This is one of my favourite photo :-)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Late for class :-)

Braiding-074110Dear Matt and Mar,

We are already struggling a little to arrive on time at school, haa haa haa, trust me it isn’t your fault (nor mine... haa haa haa, there is only one person left to blame but I can’t say it, if I did, you’ll be Dad-less).

And now we have to add another routine into the already pretty full morning, braiding of the hair, and your mother isn’t the fastest in the world, haa haa haa, and yet Mar insisted, can you see your mother’s frustrated face?

So far Mar is enjoying her first year at school. I am noticing that they now have many more activities since Matt was at EY1, just imagine they now have ice balls with polar bear in the middle as one of the many activities :-)

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Shield Project, lol.

Dear Matt and Mar,

The theme of Matt’s class for the first term was ‘Ancient Roman’, cutting a long story short… time to make a shield from cardboard :-) yipppp… pppppeeeee, what a Blue Peter moment for me, lol.

Page3There is a craft shop not too far, and we had a field day (well I did, haa haa haa). The direction was clear… buy a piece of cardboard (x by y in dimension) and paint it red (really, the instruction could not have been any clearer, unless you are me).

Of course I’d decided to take a short cut, why should you paint when there is a perfectly good (already) ‘perfect red’ cardboard screaming ‘buy me’ within my reach… of course I’d bought it… and at the instant the money went from my hand to the till, I was full of regret…

That regret came back when the parents’ chat room (on the mobile phone) began to be filled with photos of your friends having a great time painting the cardboard… oh dear… haa haa haa. It really wasn’t about the destination but the journey.

Of course, with one week to go we’d rushed back to the craft store (another great time had by all, haa haa haa). By luck I’d found a piece of sturdy cardboard with brown wood grain effect, can life be anymore perfect? Of course I had to buy more than one, we were bound to mess it up… haa haa haa (surprisingly we didn’t, and the painting was super fun, ended up gluing two pieces of cardboard together.).

The shield was supposed to follow the theme of Roman’s God, of course you decided from the beginning that your shield was going to be dedicated to Pluto, the God of Death! Your draft design that was submitted to you teacher, came back with a bunch of comments, the best was ‘Please no guns or bombs’… haa haa haa haa haa.

After some heavy negotiations, you got rid of the tanks, guns, bombs, bullets and so on, and what was left was quite tasteful (from a certain perspective, lol), we were left with Gold and Silver Skulls and some golden lightening… haa haa haa haa haa, I am assuming you teacher must have been downing his pints in celebratory style, when you showed up with such a toned down shield, haa haa haa.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Temples Tour :-)

Temples Trip-03522Dear Matt and Mar,

Unfortunately yesterday your mother had to work (Sunday 22.11.2015, your mother is facing a difficult issue at work at the moment, hopefully it all should be solved this week), so of course once again I was looking for help, haa haa haa haa haa.

We ended up having lunch with my parents at their home, then off we went to the temples, which after a dodgy start it turned out to be a fantastic day! By the way this was all planned the day before, we were to visit 2 temples along the Chao Phraya river, Wat Kalayanimitr and Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn). There are actually 3 main temples along the river in this area, the last one being Wat Rakangkositaram Woramahaviharn.

The first temple on today’s list was at Wat Kalayanimitr, a very important temple to the Chinese community, if we were to come here during the Chinese New Year it would have been more like a punishment rather than a boon, lol, just too many people. We have managed to park along the wall of the main temple, but my mother decided to take us for a walkabout, before circling back to the car and the temple, lol.

I was a little on edge (probably from the lack of sleep), and the overbearing heat didn't help, keeping the temper in check was a little difficult but manageable, especially when two monkeys were running around and trying to make the loudest 'gong' with probably the biggest bell in Bangkok, lol, you two had obviously forgotten that the temple is the embodiment of serenity and quietness. The possibility of being the first family in history, to be kicked off the temple’s ground was always on the back of my mind, lol.

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It must have been a very long time since I’d visited this temple, because my memory was lacking of any detail of ever coming here, but my mother had confirmed otherwise, so who am I to argue... lol.

Next we were off to Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), this is probably as well known as the Wat Phra Kaew, but after we were back on the road, we began to notice a whole lot of policemen and soldiers dotted on either side of the road. Then it dawned on all of us that today was the rehearsal day for the ‘Bike for Dad’ event.

Wat Arun is probably less than a kilometre away, but the parking is rather limited, in fact it was so limited that we couldn’t find a place to park, lol. We almost cancelled the rest of the day, the threat of being stuck for hours somewhere when they close the roads for the ‘Bike for Dad’ was just something we were desperate to avoid.

After driving a lap around wat Arun, we decided just to go home, driving deeper along Arun Amarin road looking for a place to make a u-turn we drove pass Wat Rakangkositaram Woramahaviharn, now this temple I do remember, it was like our third home, lol. My father has given me a Buddha Amulet from this temple many, many years ago, and I have no doubt that by the time you are reading this post, I would still be wearing them around my neck, :-)

Mother old me that they have now constructed a multi-story carpark to accommodate the demand of the worshipers, that was I wanted to hear, a place to park, haa haa haa. On a whim we turned into Soi Wat Rakang, and tears were free flowing down my face, the carpark was beautiful, haa haa haa haa haa.

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It brought back so many memories, Wat Rakang had changed a lot, but I could still remember various bits and pieces. With time on our hands, mother decided to give Wat Arun another go, but this time we caught the boat (this boat, all it does is do loops around the three temples).

By boat it took us less than 5 minutes to arrive at Wat Arun, apart from the main temple with Buddha’s relic, there was also a shrine of our beloved King Naresuan (reigning over Ayutthaya, when Ayutthaya was Thailand capital city). There was a platform that King Naresuan uses regularly to govern the country, and it was supposed to be good luck if one crawl underneath it.

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Your grandfather’s eyes were as sharp as ever, as soon as he saw the platform (at least 2.5 metres in width) he signaled to Matt to crawl under (the gap from the floor could not have been more than a couple of feet), of course Mar was not far behind... haa haa haa.

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By the time we caught the boat back to Wat Rakang it had already gone five (the last boat was at half past five), two very tired kids were glad to be back in the van, haa haa haa, but just as we were leaving the parking spot we were told to shut off the engine, the ‘Bike for Dad’ rehearsal was in full swing and the road was blocked off for another one of two hours!

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Cutting a long story short, we were only inconvenient for about forty minutes; after dropping off my parents we headed straight for home... What a wonderful (tiring) day :-)