Monday, November 30, 2009

Wat Arun


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Originally uploaded by ebvImages
One of the photos that I took at Wat Arun today.

Busy Morning

After dropping the kids off at school, I headed over to the pool and swam a kilometer.  I did a light workout yesterday (15 minutes on stair master and 40 minutes on elliptical glider), but I've been taking it easy over the past four or five days because I think I overdid it a bit with my 12.5 kilometer run last week.  

Later in the morning I went back to Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn) to take some more photos.  I think I got some nice shots, but we'll see when I process them.  I really need to get out at least 2 or 3 times a week to get some shots. 

One thing that annoyed me is that I spent quite a bit of time cleaning my sensor on Sunday, but some of the photos came out with spots on them.  After looking at the lenses, I think that the lens might have been dirty.  I have to do some more testing.



Saturday, November 28, 2009

Wat Arun


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Originally uploaded by ebvImages
I went to take a few night photos at Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) last night. I really want to go again, both at night and in the daytime.

A Stop!


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Originally uploaded by ebvImages
Jacob played a half at goalie in today's game. He made some pretty good stops, but missed a few as well.

Nalin and Caroline


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Originally uploaded by ebvImages
One thing that has made soccer even more fun for Nalin this year is that she is on the same team as her good friend Caroline. I like this photo. They were both looking in the same direction when I snapped it.

Oh, and yes, Nalin has two different color socks. She lost one of the dark ones.

Soccer Saturday


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Originally uploaded by ebvImages
The kids had soccer games this weekend. Jacob and Nalin's team both lost, but I'm not sure of the actual score in Aleena's game. Technically they don't keep score, but people usually know.

In typical fashion, Aleena was more interested in having fun and laughing than kicking the ball towards her goal. Still, she has fun out there.

In this photo, she is next to her teammate Ireland.

Leg

I haven't worked out for the last 3 days because my left leg is bothering me.  The calf is really tender as well as my inside left thigh.  I'm going to take off one more day (Sunday) and then I am going to try to do something on Monday.  

In the Movies

Tim was watching a Thai movie today and saw that her station was in the movie.  They showed both the outside and the interior.  

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Reality Setting In

The red shirts had a big rally planned starting this weekend.  Their plan was to rally until the King's birthday on December 5th, take a day off, and then resume the rally until the government collapsed.  A few days ago, former PM Thaksin, the power behind the red shirts, announced that the time was not right for the rallies.  

Protesting during another holiday was exactly what the red shirts needed; if they wanted to turn every Thai not already committed to their cause against them.  The rallies in April disrupted Song Klong, the Thai New Year, and probably cost them a lot of support.  I was a little surprised at Thaksin calling off the rally because in the last six months, his actions were hardly consistent with his apparent desire to return to Thailand and perhaps to power.  Rumors were that he was in Cambodia during the April protests, waiting for the masses to congregate and usher him back in.  An interview with a London based news organization was viewed by his opponents as against the monarchy.  Recently, Thaksin's flirting with Cambodia at a time when Thailand and Cambodia are feuding over borders earned him no love.  

Perhaps the former PM has had a change of heart.  Today's Bangkok Post had an article which stated that Thaksin wanted to negotiate with the government to end all the red shirt rallies in exchange for him returning to Thailand free from his two year prison sentence.  The negotiations would also deal with the 76 billion baht asset seizure case against him that is expected to be decided in January.  Theoretically, the agreement would allow Thaksin to return to Thailand with his fortune in tact, and in exchange his political opponents, the Democrats (unrelated to the U.S. party of the same name) would remain in power without the worry of potentially economically crippling protests.

The problem is that Thaksin's bargaining position is considerably weaker than it was back in April.  Even back then, he did not have the number of supporters to cause a change in government.  Unlike the previous government, the current administration seems to enjoy the support of the military.  Whether this is because the generals support the Democrat party or just felt it was finally time to put an end to the disruption of government, I do not know.  I have strong suspicions, but I do not know for certain.  Let's also not forget that it was the military that deposed him in the first place. 

In addition to his lack of success rallying the people and the military, Thaksin and his supporters have not enjoyed much success in the courts.  The courts have sentenced him to jail and are considering seizing his assets.  Many of his political allies have been banned from politics (for a few more years anyway) and twice the courts have dissolved the government controlled by his supporters. 

What incentive does the current government have to make a deal with Thaksin?  Further protests, while unlikely to dislodge the government, could disrupt the Thai economy, lead to further deaths, and widen the crack in Thai society.  Logical or not, the fugitive billionaire is supported by the impoverished Thais and is seen as their man.  If Thaksin returns and stability returns, Thailand benefits, at least theoretically.  

Of course, once he's back the itch to rule might return.  Even an agreement to a lifetime ban is only worth the power behind the paper its written on.  If the reds gain the upper hand in the next election and manage to get the support of the military, who knows.  I can see the shirts already now, "He's tan, he's rested." (Its an old Nixon joke for those of you who don't remember).    


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Jacob's Story

Jacob's class had a day to celebrate the stories that they wrote.  They wrote the stories, drew pictures, and then recorded the audio.  Jacob does a great job using his voice.

The people in his class seemed to believe (since Jacob told them it was) the story was true.  

Here is the link:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Weather

The weather in Bangkok is fantastic right now.  Its nice and cool.  Don't get me wrong, its not cold, just a pleasant break from the heat and humidity. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Aleena at the Science Museum


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Originally uploaded by ebvImages
This was taken back in April at the Science Museum in Singapore. Its kind of funny that Aleena's clothing sort of matches the floor.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tim and the Kids


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Originally uploaded by ebvImages
Sunday was really a great day. We had a lot of fun at the Science Museum, and I was able to get some photos of the family.

Singapore Vacation


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Originally uploaded by ebvImages
Here is a family shot I took back in April when we visited Singapore.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sitting on Top of the World


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Originally uploaded by ebvImages

Science Museum


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Originally uploaded by ebvImages
The exterior of the Science Museum is shaped like two cubes.

Ears


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Originally uploaded by ebvImages
At the Science Museum, we went to a workshop that discussed sound. At the end, everyone made "elephant ears" to help us hear better.

Wrong Way


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Originally uploaded by ebvImages
I've talked before about motorcycles driving the wrong way down Bangkok streets. On our way to the Science Museum, I saw this guy driving in the wrong way on the shoulder.

Unfortunately, this is not uncommon.

Elephant Ear


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Originally uploaded by ebvImages

Thorn

Three years after he was deposed from power, former Prime Minister Thaksin still manages to grab headlines and polarize Thai society.  Recently, he accepted a position as an economic advisor to Cambodia.  

Thailand and Cambodia share a border, and recently there has been tension involving the Preah Vihear Temple, which was declared a world heritage site in July of 2008.  The temple itself is apparently in Cambodia, but the area around it is in dispute.  Both lay claim to much of the surrounding area.  Cambodia bases its claims on maps created by France when it colonized Cambodia, while Thailand supports its position with evidence of watershed.  In any case, both countries have placed troops along the border.  There may have been some gunfire, but there is little chance of a real war breaking out over the area.

It is widely believed that Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen appointed Thaksin as an economic adviser to tweak Thailand.  Its certainly worked in getting people talking.  Thailand requested that Cambodia extradite Thaksin to Thailand when he arrived in Cambodia, but the request was refused.  Thailand refused to let Thaksin's private jet enter Thai airspace on his return trip home.  Cambodia arrested some Thai employees at the airport whom they accused of spying for Thailand in trying to get information on Thaksin's flight. 

While Thaksin made it safely back to Dubai, I'm not sure these latest moves won't hurt him.  Thai people are very nationalistic and proud of their country.  At best, Thaksin seemed to have allowed himself to be used by Cambodia in their dispute against Thailand.  At worst, some may believe that is he choosing to help Cambodia against Thailand.  If Thai people start believing that, I think his support will fade even more rapidly than it already has.  

Family Photo


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Originally uploaded by ebvImages
I realized that I don't take enough photos of the family together. Today, before we went to the Science Museum I took a few photos.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Jacob Getting After It


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Originally uploaded by ebvImages

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Originally uploaded by ebvImages

Jacob Just Kicking It


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Originally uploaded by ebvImages

Aleena Playing Soccer


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Originally uploaded by ebvImages
Aleena had a soccer game this morning. Her game was at 8:00 a.m., the same time as Nalin's.

Aleena has a pretty laid back attitude towards the game. By that I mean she is more interested in talking to her friends and laughing than she is scoring goals. Still, she has fun. Her team tied 2-2 today.

Friday, November 13, 2009

2012

Tim and I went and saw the movie 2012 today.  The basic premise is that a cataclysmic event befalls the earth in 2012.  The date 2012 is based on the Mayan calendar, which ends in 2012.  Be prepared to suspend a lot of disbelief when watching this movie. Its not a bad rental, but definitely not a must see in the theater.

Monday, November 9, 2009

3 Teachers

During Aleena's soccer practice today, I did a few laps around the track.  There were three teachers working out together while I was there.  The funny thing was that all three of them were my kids' teachers.   

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pool

Went swimming today for the first time in a few months.  Only did half a kilometer, but it was nice to get back in the water. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fender Bender

Tim was out of the office today, so I went to lunch with Sine.  We were on our way to the restaurant when a passenger van cut right in front of me.  I had to hit the breaks to avoid hitting the van.  I felt a jolt from behind.  I looked in the rear view mirror and saw a motor cycle down on the ground.  I said that he hit us.  Sine apparently is hard of feeling, because she missed the jolt.

We pulled over and went back to see if the two cyclists were okay.  At first one started to say that I swerved into him, but quickly changed his story.  I'm not quite sure why.  I tried to call Tim three or four times without success.  Finally, I had Sine call Top.  Top sent over some people from the office to help.

There was a big crack on my bumper.  Of course the motor cyclist didn't have insurance and didn't have the money to pay for it.  Still we waited.  Some people from the station came and talked to the other driver.  Sine was "explaining" what happened, and I had to interject.  Eventually we just went on our way.  It sucked because the entire thing took almost an hour, and I had the same result as if I had kept driving. 

I actually felt some sympathy for the motorcyslist, which is certainly not normal for me.  He should have maintained a safe distance, but the guy who really caused the accident was the passenger van who forced me to break suddenly.