Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Where on Earth is He

Feeding the Protesters
Originally uploaded by ebvImages
One of the concerns of the Thai government is tracking the current location of former PM Thaksin. Since his exile, he has spent time in Hong Kong, London, Cambodia and other locations throughout Asia and Europe.

His latest "base" has been in the United Arab Emirates city of Dubai. The Thai government had reported that he was expelled from the UAE back when the latest wave of protests started, but he appears to have returned there since.

There was an article in today's Bangkok Post which talked about how Thaksin had recently visited Sweden and Russia. In the article, Thaksin addressed some rumors that he was ill. He explained that he had been on a diet prior to his trip to Sweden, but had gained a few kilos while enjoying the food in Sweden and Russia. Specifically he mentioned that he enjoyed Russian caviar.

I understand that the former PM may enjoy rubbing the fact that he is still free in the nose of the government and the coup leadership. Its a high stakes game of "na na na na na na, you can't catch me".

What makes this behavior appalling is that at the same time the former PM is crowing about enjoying the good life, he is urging his followers to continue their protest on his behalf. These red shirt followers travel to Bangkok, many of them leaving their farms or businesses behind for days or weeks. They are sleeping in tents and braving the often brutal Bangkok heat. While the organizers do feed the protesters, its certainly not caviar, and I doubt that many of them are putting on weight.

Anyone left out there who thinks he is doing this because he loves the people? In the past he at least had the the good sense to say that he was suffering by only having "camel meat and camel milk" for nourishment.

Wat Phra Kaew and Grand Palace

Royal Symbol [55 of 365]
Originally uploaded by ebvImages
Visited Thailand's famous Wat Phra Kaew and Grand Palace today. I've been there a few times to take photos. I like to use it as bit of a gauge as to how I have developed in my photography.

I decided against taking all the same shots that I have in the past. I wanted to do something a little different. Some of the shots are similar to ones I've taken before, but I also wanted to try some new angles.

One thing that caught my eye this time were the beautiful pots that housed some of the plants. The artwork on these were very beautiful. I think it is the symbol of the royal family.

You can see the white elephant in the design. The white elephant was at one time on the Thai flag and is considered very auspicious. My understanding is that part of the reason it was changed was because Europeans thought that it was a white rat. Not sure if that's true, but that was what I was told.

Barbed Wired

Originally uploaded by ebvImages
When we visited the border of Thailand and Burma, there was a small outpost near the border. It was kind of interesting, because just outside the barbed wire was a helipad. There was no helicopter on the helipad, rather a small herd of cattle.

Of course when I saw the curves of the barbed wire, I just had to take some photos. I already posted one of Tim. It didn't take much convincing to get Jacob to climb (carefully) into the barbed wire for a few shots. I think he enjoyed it. Please take note, that no subjects were injured in the making of these photos.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Walking Up Hill

Walking Up Hill
Originally uploaded by ebvImages
There was one sad note from our trip to the school. The nun who is in charge told Tim that one night fairly recently, one of the teachers left in the middle of the night and took fifty students with her. She has no idea where they went or why.

A friend, hearing the story, told Tim that she should think positively and that maybe the teacher took the kids to a better place. As Tim adroitly pointed out, if the teacher had taken the kids to a better place, would she have sneaked out in the middle of the night without telling anyone?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sexy Swimsuit

Yaow told me a story today.  Aleena had swimming lessons after school.  There was an hour or so between the end of school and the start of lessons, so Yaow let Aleena play at school for a while.

Before it was time to go, Aleena went and changed into her swimsuit.  When she walked out, one of the other Kindergarten boys said, "wow, Aleena looks sexy in her swimsuit."  I'm going to keep an eye on him.

The Playground

Originally uploaded by ebvImages
The kids absolutely loved the playground equipment that Tim and her friends helped to donate.

Helping Out

This weekend the family went to visit a school a few hours outside of Kanchanaburi that my wife is helping out.  The school is run by a nun educated tribal kids in the Thai language.  Not only does it serve as a school, but also as an orphanage.  Many of the kids live at the school year round, while others live their during the school year.  Some of those who some to the school have a two day walk back to their homes.

The education level is only up to grade three, but there are kids who a bit older.  Some of them didn't get to start at five or six years of age.  A few of the assistant teachers are only in their early teens.

The nun in charge makes due with a pretty small budget.  She gets an equivalent of about thirty cents a day to feed the kids.  You know that when a big part of her "wish" list included food, clothes and shoes, that she is not focusing on luxury.

Tim donated a chunk of money and raised some from some of her friends here.  She was able to donate food, shoes and school supplies to help them out.  Each child got a little bag of candy, which we had our kids put together.  By Western standards, it was small and uninspiring, but for those kids, it was a treat they don't often enjoy.

The biggest hit with the kids, however, was the playground set that she bought them.  The playground included swings, teeter tooters and monkey bars.  The playset arrived before we did, and was already assembled by the time we got there.  The kids were already playing on it.  Apparently they were so anxious, that they helped carry all the parts down the hill to where it was assembled.

Below are a few photos from the trip.  Don't be fooled by the nice clothing that many of the kids were wearing.  We visited on Friday, when they wear their tribal garb, if they have it.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

At the Border

At the Border [53 of 365]
Originally uploaded by ebvImages
On Saturday we ended up driving around quite a bit more than expected. We went to visit a waterfall, but we were a little concerned about getting back up the dirt road, so we turned around before we reached it.

One place that we did stop was the border of Thailand and Burma (Myanmar). The border was actually about 1/2 mile from this check point where we stopped and took some photos.

Elephant Crossing

We were on our way home from Kanchanaburi when I saw a crossing sign of the unusual variety. Well, unusual in many places, but not here in Thailand. Yeah, an elephant crossing sign.

Tim was driving and by the time I said "stop" it was too late. Sure enough though, we found another one a little further up the road. I had to walk a bit, because the nearest place to pull over safely was about 50 yards up the road. Still, I think it was worth the walk.

Later I photographed a cattle crossing sign. While I didn't see any of those growing up in Northern Kentucky, I imagine they are a bit more common in the western U.S. Well, certainly more common than elephant crossing signs.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The School

Originally uploaded by ebvImages

The kids have a four day weekend which started today (Thursday).  Tomorrow we are going to visit the school near Kanchanburi that Tim is helping.  We are bringing food, candy, and school supplies.  The coolest thing is that Tim is having some playground equipment installed for them.  It should be a fun time.  

After we visit the school, we are going to visit some of the sights around Kanchanaburi.  

This is a photo I took last time we visited the school in Kanchanaburi. The lady in white in the middle is the nun who runs the school.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

More of Aleena's Classmates

Okay, let's face it.  Five and six year old kids can be kind of cute.  Here are some more of Aleena's classmates. I was playing around with my 50 mm 1.8 lens, so its not as sharp as some photos, but then again, I can take photos in fairly low light.





Aleena's Class

Dropped by at the end of the day to Aleena's class to read a few stories to the kids.  I got there a few minutes early, and as luck would have it, I had my camera so I took some photos.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Riding On the Sidewalk [50 of 365]

Took this shot when I was out today on Sukhumvit. While hardly an uncommon sight, I'm always amused by motor cycles on the sidewalks.

Good Progress

I went back to see my surgeon today about my wrist.  He looked it over and said that the flexibility was good.  He gave me some anti-inflammatory medicine and told me to come back in two months.

He instructed me to continue rehabbing the hand by stretching it back and forth.  I'll have to do this for another three to six months.  Fun stuff.

Monday, March 22, 2010

New Look

I decided to change the look of the blog largely because I think the photos look nicer with a black background.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ready Bare Handed

Baseball season is winding down with one week left in the regular season and then the tournament. Jacob is really enjoying his first year playing after a few year break.

Here is the Flickr photo set of Jacob and his baseball teammates.

Through Two Lenses

So there is more to life and my photography than red shirt clad Thais. I was playing around with a lens the other day that I hadn't used much lately. Canon's 50 mm 1.8 lens is inexpensive, and doesn't have the best autofocus system (its noisy and a bit slow sometimes), but its probably one of the cheapest wide aperture lenses that you can get. At about $100, its really a no brainer.

So I decided to get a little creative. I took my Canon 100 mm 2.8 Macro lens and put a AA battery behind it. I then took a photo of the macro lens with the battery also in focus. I converted it to black and white in Lightroom. Not a masterpiece, but a fun experiment.

Red Constitution

Red Constitution
Originally uploaded by ebvImages
I took this photo of Constitution Monument on Tuesday. I saw the red umbrella, and thought it fit well with the overall theme of the day.

Meanwhile, today the red shirts began a mobile protests, tens of thousands traveling through the streets of Bangkok. The idea is to generate support for their cause, but I wonder if causing traffic jams will have the desired effect. Perhaps.

The red shirt action is not limited to the streets. Apparently former Prime Minister Thaksin has ruled out negotiations offered by Prime Minister Abhisit. Opposition Peau Thai (red shirts) parliament members have pledge to no longer co-operate with the government, hoping to force a disolution.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Red Warrior

Red Warrior
Originally uploaded by ebvImages
When I was getting ready to leave the red shirt rally on Tuesday, I saw a group of people walking with a banner that said "No Justice, No Peace". There was also Thai writing, which I assume stated a similar message.

The man in the photo was walking along with the group. I think he was one of the guards for the rally.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

UDD Rally - More Photos

I took over six hundred photos at the UDD rally on Tuesday.  I'm going through the process of editing and processing these.  Of course, a lot of them are not really very good and many are duplicates.  

Below are a few that turned out fairly well.  I ended up removing all color out of these except the red.  

Arm of a protester

UDD leader Jatuporn Prompan

The Thai flag at the rally.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Fallen Hero

Every year Thailand has a reshuffling of the police brass.  A new chief is chosen and officers are placed into new positions.  There is a board including the PM, cabinet members and the current police chief that approve the list.

Its a very political process with a lot at stake.  The current government obviously wants a police chief that supports it.  The current government, for example, certainly wouldn't want a supporter of former Prime Minister Thaksin as the police chief or in any key role.  Its understandable that they want people they can trust in those key roles.

The stakes are also high for those being reshuffled.  Some assignments are much more attractive and lucrative than others.  If you are an officer in an area where vice is widely practiced, you might find that the purveyors are extremely grateful for you overlooking their transgressions, and may express that gratitude in the form of cash payments.  If you are in the deep south of Thailand, where Muslim insurgents are planting bombs and carrying out violence, people under your jurisdiction might express their "pleasure" with your efforts by trying to kill you.  With so much at stake, officers would be foolish to leave such matters to things like chance, polite smiles, or hard work.  It helps to have powerful friends and benefactors. 

The last police reshuffle was contentious, as the previous chief was embroiled in controversy.  He had been approved by the previous government, and was certainly not beloved by the current one.  There was also a split between PM Abhisit and his cabinet on who should be the next chief.  Abhisit finally won out, but things went far from smoothly.

While the reshuffle was completed a few months ago, last week there was a tragic footnote.  Police Colonel Sompien and his aid were killed in a bomb attack by insurgents in Bannang Sata.  The colonel had served in the south for forty years, and was due to retire next year.  The insurgents put a bounty on his head, so Colonel Sompien had requested that he spend the last year of his service somewhere safer, reasoning that he had earned it for his years of faithful service.  His request was denied, and he was killed. 

This week, the king posthumously promoted the colonel to the rank of general.  The story has been talked about as an example of the cost of corruption in the police assignment process, but the red shirt rally has attracted most people's attention. 

Blood, Congestion, and What Comes Next

Originally uploaded by ebvImages
So the red shirts carried out their promise to spill blood on the government offices yesterday afternoon. They followed it up with a visit to PM Abhisit's house (he's not there) where they spilled blood on the gate and heaved containers over the wall. Apparently there was more to it than just pouring the blood. There was some kind of "curse" involved.

All in all, I understand they had 50,000 donate blood. I'm not sure how much of it they spilled, but the authorities have already began cleaning it up.

Today the red shirts are on the move. They have caused traffic problems in central Bangkok. My children's school canceled their after school activity and are delaying bus service for kids living downtown. Its not really about danger, its about sitting in traffic for a potential long time.

One of the destinations for the protesters is the U.S. Embassy. They are not happy that the U.S. government shared some information about potential sabotage with the Thai government. There didn't seem to be any overall animosity towards Americans though. Yesterday when people asked me where I was from and said USA, they smiled.

The authorities are predicting that the protests should end within three or four days. Many of the protesters are farmers who need to get back to their work, and the heat has to be taking a toll on people. Former PM Thaksin is calling for replacement protesters to come to the city to relieve those who must return.

I'm not sure what the ultimate end game is for the red shirts. The Prime Minister is not going to dissolve the government and call for new elections. His coalition partners still back him, and he has the apparent backing of the military. The military support seems obvious, as any government that comes from new elections is not going to any better liked by the military.

The coalition partners really don't want a new election. If these partners wanted to be in a government with the reds (as they were a year ago), they would be. They got plum cabinet posts from the Democrats, and a new election is not only expensive, but they could lose their seats.

This risk is especially great for representatives from Newin Chidchob's Bhumjai Thai party. When they were elected, they were part of the red shirt movement; Thaksin's allies. They have been trounced in a few elections where they went head to head against the red's to fill a couple of vacant seats.

I just see the red shirt's spending a lot of money and effort to little effect. They are alienating many people who just want things to return to normal. People are tired of traffic jams and protesters.

On one hand, I think the best strategy would be to skip the protests and just ride out the next year and a half until the elections occur. Potentially they could pick up a number of seats, and maybe become strong enough to lead the next government. Its not like allies are permanent here. Newin was reportedly Thaksin's right hand man, and he went and joined forced with those who oppose Thaksin.

The only problem with that strategy is that PM Abhisit has shown no inclination to let Thaksin be in the mean time. Thailand has attempted to negotiate extradition treaties with countries where Thaksin has sought refuge. He hasn't been successful in all those attempts yet, but he's trying.

Thaksin can probably ride out the extradition storm if he lies low. The UAE seems content to let him stay if he refrains from political activites, and Cambodia has welcomed him with open arms as a way to thumb its nose at Thailand over some border disputes. The problem Thaksin has is that the verdict in the asset seizure case has opened the door for other civil and criminal charges, and PM Abhisit seems ready and willing to leverage those to the maximum. Within a few days of the verdict, he ordered the government ministries to review the court findings and see what additional charges should be brought against Thaksin.

So if Thaksin waits it out, he could end up with more jail time and potentially further assets confiscated. Of course if he and his allies don't come up with a better strategy, they have no other course. And if they continue to alienate voters and burn through large amounts of money in these demonstrations, then the next red government may be very far off indeed.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dayton Flyers Supporting Red Shirts?

In a lot of ways, going to the red shirt rally yesterday was like being at a sporting event. There is an enthusiastic crowd, all wearing the same color. Sometimes, the red shirts all start to blend together.

When I was reviewing my photos, I noticed that this protester was wearing a Dayton Flyers shirt. I'm not sure if he knew anything about the Dayton Flyers, or it was just a red shirt with English letters. Some of you may remember my blog entry about the guy wearing the t-shirt that said "<-- He Loves the Cock" who had no idea of what it said.

I think I also saw a Nebraska hat, but I didn't get a photo.

Awkward Moment

Awkward Moment
Originally uploaded by ebvImages
At one point during the rally, a group of monks marched their way through the crowd, chanting and heading toward the stage. The crowd made way for them, all except for the woman pictured above. She had a suitcase, was looking down and had a confused look on her face. I think she had some mental development issues.

What made this more awkward was that monks cannot touch women. They didn't know that she had some challenges, and tried to avoid her.

Red Stage

Red Stage [46 of 365]
Originally uploaded by ebvImages
I took this photo of one of the speakers at the UDD rally today in Bangkok. I'm trying to figure out the name who the police officer speaking, as he spoke for quite a bit, and excited the crowd.

Red Rally

I went to the Red Shirt rally.  I'll definitely post photos later, and I'll try to blog more, but I wanted to get some things down before I forgot.

I took a cab to the rally.  The traffic wasn't very bad.  The cab dropped me off where the road was closed, and it was only a block or two walk to the main rally.  I was pretty tired today, and when I got there, I definitely wasn't feeling the love to photograph.  At the time, I really didn't want to be there.

I walked around and took some photos.  I noticed people were in a really long line, but I didn't know why at the time.  Turns out they were part of the group looking to donate blood for the protest.  I don't know if all of the protesters donated, but a lot seemed eager. 

There was a stage where people were giving speeches.  They were speaking in Thai, so I didn't understand a lot. I heard the name of the current Prime Minister, Abhisit, quite often.  I am certain that what was said wasn't flattering.  I wandered near the stage, and there were guards keeping people out.  As I approached, they waved me through.  Having a nice camera and a white face can come in handy.  Its weird, that living in the U.S., I never really thought about my skin color, certainly not to give me an advantage.  Here it told people that I was probably a reporter.  I knew they had green armbands that they were giving to the press, but at the time I decided to not try to acquire one.  I was really in a bad mood.

So I walked around taking some photos of the people and drinking water.  Most people were more than willing to have their photo taken, and some even requested it.  I had my 24-105 L lens, which truthfully, I'm becoming less enamored with.  Its okay, but I was really wishing that I had my 70-200 2.8 IS lens. 

Finally I made my way back to stage area, and once again entered the back area.  I decided to get press credentials which I easily did by printing my name and the organization I represented... Flickr Thai Photos. :D  There was a foreign girl up on stage taking photos with a small point and shoot camera, so I decided to make my way up.  I went up and took photos without any issue.  The speaker at the time was a police officer who I had never seen before.  I recognize one or two of the heads of the UDD, but I don't think he was one of them.  One of the representatives invited me to a press conference for foreign media at 1:00 p.m., but I couldn't make it.  I needed to leave at 12:30.  I was going to meet Tim for lunch.

I walked around some more and shot photos of people giving blood.  They were happy to pose for the camera. 

I talked to Tim and we tried to find a place to meet.  She was driving from somewhere nearby.  I had a motor cycle driver talk to her so he could take me close to her.  The was a mixup, because after a ten minute motorcycle ride, I was much farther away from her than if I had just remained where I was.  I decided to just take a cab and come home.

Overall it was a fun time.  People were really nice, a lot asking where I was from.  I'm going to miss the spilling of the blood on the government building later today.  I'm considering going back tomorrow, but I'm not sure I want to.  Maybe.  I am definitely glad I went today though.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Seeing Red

The ill fated red shirt rally has taken an even more bizarre turn today.  After Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva declined to give into the protester's demand to dissolve the government and call for new elections, the UDD (leaders of the red shirt movement) leadership is looking to spill blood to get its way, but not in the way you might think.

The UDD is trying to get local hospitals to come and take blood donations from its members.  It wants to collect one million cc's of blood, and then spill it out around the government buildings.  The government officials would then have to walk through the blood of the protesters to carry on its functions.  While it make make for great drama, this is just a terrible idea.  First, its not a great idea from a public health perspective.  Let me rephrase that, its actually a health hazard to the protesters, government officials, and anyone else in the area. 

Secondly, the protesters are already exposed to the heat and humidity that is Bangkok's weather, so they really don't need to weaken themselves by donating blood.  It seems like this could actually put some of the protesters lives needlessly at risk.

Third, while it will get attention, this is not going to sway public opinion in favor of the red shirts.  I think a lot of ordinary Bangkokians are just plain tired of the protests and fighting from both yellow and red.  They want things to return to normal.  The reds are already alienating some of these uncommitted people by disrupting their lives.  Spilling blood will make them look like fanatics. 

Hopefully the medical community will not participate in this really horrible idea. 


For the last few months, when I drove in through the back gate of Nichada, I would see this small field of sunflowers.  I kept telling myself that I should go and take some photos.  Finally, this afternoon, I decided to do it.  I made the five minute bike ride from the house with camera in tow.  When I got there, I saw that they had removed all the flowers because they are doing construction there.  The flowers were there last week.  I guess that's what I get for waiting.

Back in the Pool

I've been running a bit since I had the cast removed from my hand.  Nothing very impressive, maybe four or five kilometers a day. 

Today, however, I made it back into the pool for the first time in about three weeks.  The doctor gave me the green light to swim last Tuesday when he removed the bandage, but I was hesitant because I thought it would actually hurt.  When I started swimming, my hand did hurt.  As I kept going, the pain diminished so that I didn't notice it so much.  I managed to do 8 full laps, .8 kilometers.  Not too bad for the first time out since the surgery.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sibling Smiles

Sibling Smiles
Originally uploaded by ebvImages
I really liked this photo of Jacob and Nalin in Kanchanaburi. We hired a boat and went along the lake.

Yeah, That Hurt

I took my camera to Jacob's game yesterday and today. The photos of them batting, but those are actually all batting practice, as I operated the pitching machine during the game.

I did manage to get some decent photos of them playing on defense. On this one Jacob was playing short stop and the ball took a hard bounce. I don't think it quite got him in the most sensitive spot, but it was close.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Science, Scholars & Stuff

Pretty In Pink
Originally uploaded by ebvImages
Lately Aleena has been very interested in me (and her mom) reading books to her about science. We have our routine for her big reading book where I read a book to her and then she reads a page from her workbook.

The other day, instead of picking up a normal book for small kids, I grabbed a book for kids about how things work. It covers a lot of topics, and frankly its presented in a way that is a little above her head. She looked at it and said it was a boring book, and wasn't happy. Despite her protestations, I "read" her parts of the book. I didn't read verbatim, but rather sometimes summarized, substituted simpler words, and omitted parts all together. She loved it and the next time asked me to read it again.

So we've been reading the Magic School Bus books, which really are a great way to learn about science. Its nice to see her so enthusiastic about learning.

In fact, all the kids really are pretty eager about learning. Despite the fact that Jacob says he hates school, his teacher said it appears that he is always having a great time. I think the thing he doesn't like is when he has to buckle down and produce some work, particularly something written.

This week we hired a Thai tudtr to help the girls with their Thai. We will probably involve Jacob at some point, but he is pretty busy right now, so we don't want to push him too much.


Originally uploaded by ebvImages
Jacob had a baseball game tonight, and he has another tomorrow morning. He has really improved his batting over the course of the season. The league is a machine pitch.

Tonight I was manning the pitching machine when one of Jacob's teammate's lined one back up the middle. It caught me in the stomach. It hurt a little, but I'm glad it didn't strike a little lower and to the left.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


A lot of businesses are closing for the day or shutting down early because of the protests.  Tim's business is closing early today and is closed tomorrow.  There was supposed to be registration for Thailand's public schools this weekend, but they have delayed them for many schools because of the protests. 

Sitting it Out

Some of the retired generals who support Thaksin and his red shirt cause are sitting out this latest rally reports the Bangkok Post.  They are not of the opinion that the protests will do anything to dislodge the current government and force new elections. 

One general predicted that the heat will cause the protests to be short lived.  The government has mobilized a force of 50,000 soldiers.  He stated that in addition to setting up check points to prevent weapons from entering Bangkok, the soldiers are also controlling the food and water that will be available to the protesters.  The general said that the opposition should instead focus on drawing attention to the government's alleged corruption. 

I agree with the generals that the protesters will not cause the collapse of this government with protests.  The military has been a supporter of this government, and there is no reason to believe that an election would result in a government that it likes more.  In fact, it is possible a new government could be one much more friendly to the red cause.

Still, I wonder if pointing out corruption will have the desired effect either. Certainly the current government claims that it is cleaning up corruption, and in one sense revealing corruption on its part might discredit it.  I'm not sure that this really matters to those in power, or even to most Thais.  Some might say its like revealing that there is gambling going on in Las Vegas. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Red Shirt Rally

The big red shirt rally is going to happen this weekend.  The plan is to have protesters from throughout the country to converge on Bangkok starting on Friday and Saturday for a huge rally on Sunday.  In addition to protesting downtown, they will also muster strength not too far away from here.  There are a bunch of government offices on Chaeng Wattana Road that will be the subject of protests.

Tim had planned on taking the kids to Pattaya for the long weekend.  Parent teacher conferences for the elementary school are Thursday and Friday, but ours will be complete by 8:30 a.m. Thursday morning.  That effectively leads the kids with a four day weekend.  There are warnings of major delays and disruption of traffic, so Tim decided to call off the trip.   

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Prescription of Pain

Went back to the doctor today.  The good news was that I don't have to wear a bandage anymore.  The bad news is that instead of prescribing me pain killers, he instructed me to do some painful physical therapy at home.  The therapy involves bending my wrist forward and backward at least ten times every hour that I am awake.  He specifically told me that I did not have to get up and do it in the middle of the night.  I think it was his way of making a joke, but I'm only mostly certain.

The reason for the therapy is to increase my range of motion.  Still, each time I do it, it hurts.  Not fun.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Caves of Kanchanaburi

During our December trip to Kanchanaburi, we visited some caves. I decided that I would take my camera and tripod and try to get some photos.

Well, taking photos in a cave is anything but easy. Not surprisingly, its hard to see in them. The darkness and the twists, turns and rocks makes lugging a tripod less than a joy.

In addition to making walking without tripping more difficult, the darkness also makes taking the photos themselves more challenging. Fortunately, I brought my off camera flash with me. I tried to take some photos without it, but I couldn't autofocus without the flash. It was too dark to manually get a good focus.

Despite falling a few times and banging my knees, I did get a few shots that turned out okay. I like this one for a few reasons. In addition to the cool rocks and the family, this shot also has bats in it. They are the black shapes on the rock in the upper left.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Aleena's Big Day

You Can't See Me
Originally uploaded by ebvImages
Today is a big day for Aleena. Tonight she is having her first sleep over at a friend's house. Of course it is with her best friend Makayla.

She is really excited, because the sleep over is only part of her day. After school she has her dance class, then she has her cousin Pinky's birthday party, and then to the sleep over. I think she is going to be pretty exhausted tomorrow.

A few days ago Aleena said something really cute. I am working to teach her to read. The way we do it now is that I read a book to her, and then she reads a page from her reading workbook. She was getting a book for me to read, and chose Smelly Socks by Robert Munsch. "Daddy," she said, "Robert Munsch is my favorite author."

I just smiled. I thought it was nice that my five year old has a favorite author.

Political Waters

When Tim and I were shopping at Othaga market, I saw a woman selling this bottle of water. The label is for the UDD, i.e, the red shirted supporters of Thaksin. I just thought the idea of political waters too tempting to pass on. After we bought it, the woman was asking us in Thai if we liked the red shirts. I just smiled.

The red shirts are planning a large rally across the country that will culminate in a massive (they hope) protest in Bangkok from March 12th through the 14th. There was an article in today's Bangkok Post talking about how the military is concerned with security around the rally.

The stakes are certainly high. While the Thai Supreme Court did not order the seizure of all of Thaksin's assets, his legal troubles are not over. The verdict has opened the door to a whole new slew of civil and criminal charged, and current Prime Minister Abhisit intends to take full advantage of them. He has stated that this is not politically or personally motivated, but is instead about justice. Um, okay, sure. I believe him; and the son of the Nigerian oil executive who is going to share a billion dollars with me.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not pro or anti Thaksin. Its possible that he deserves everything he is getting. This government, and the Thai people in general, are obsessed with him. Perhaps they should be. If he were somehow to return to power I think life could be very, very unpleasant for some people.

Nor are the implications limited to Thaksin. The court ruling could impact the mobile phone carriers revenue sharing with the government. Not only could it affect AIS, the company that Thaksin formerly owned, but other providers as well.

Monument Valley Window

Monument Valley Window
Originally uploaded by ebvImages
This is another shot from last summer in Monument Valley. I've been re-editing many of the shots and am really happy with how they are turning out. I particularly like the texture.

New Bike!

New Bike!
Originally uploaded by ebvImages
Here is a photo of Jacob and his new bike. He was very pleased with this present.

Toothy Grin

Toothy Grin
Originally uploaded by ebvImages
Nalin lost a tooth on Jacob's birthday. She is questioning the idea of the tooth fairy. Her plan was originally to not tell us she lost it, put it under her pillow to determine if it wasn't her parents. She lost it at dinner though.

She couldn't find the tooth to put under her pillow. Instead she left a long note to the tooth fairly detailing that she had lost it and describing the steps she took to get it back.

My understanding is that she received a note back and the money. She accused me of doing it, but I can honestly say I did not go into her room last night.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Jacob's Birthday

Originally uploaded by ebvImages
Today was Jacob's 10th birthday. Overall it was a pretty good day for him.

I brought cookies to his classroom in the morning and read the Robert Munsch book, I'm Perfect Kiss Me. I didn't know if the kids would still enjoy his books, but after talking to his teacher I decided to give it a go. They really seemed to enjoy it.

Jacob wanted ribs so we ordered out from the BBQ King restaurant. Very expensive; fortunately for Jacob I didn't realize the cost until I was done ordering. Yaow and I had picked up a cake this afternoon from Central. I took her to help me carry things, as my right hand is still very tender.

Jacob opened his presents, which included the baseballs from mom and dad, as well as some books. His big present was a bicycle. You can see from his expression that he was pretty excited about it. We told him that the bike came from us, grandma and grandpa, plus his uncles, aunts and cousins in the U.S.

Since Jacob has now entered double digits, we moved his bedtime back to 8:30. I told him its a trial run, so if he is cranky or tired all the time we'd move it back up to 8:00. I think it will work out. Nalin isn't too thrilled that Jacob gets to stay up later. She isn't out and out complaining, but she asks about it a lot.

We were going to have his birthday party with his friends this weekend. Its going to be a sleepover with 4 or 5 of his buddies. However, he didn't get the invitations out in time, so we are pushing it back a few weeks. Its not all his fault, between my surgery last week and the fact that they had a four day weekend, the date kind of crept up on us. Its probably better for him anyway, as the glow of the new bike will please him for a bit.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Jumbo's Hot Air

Jumbo's Hot Air
Originally uploaded by ebvImages
I took this photo at the Ayutthaya Balloon Festival back in December. I just really liked the image of the ruins, the elephant and the hot air balloon.

Cast Off and Bad Workout Ideas

I went to the hospital today and the doctor removed my cast.  The wound is not all the way closed up yet, so the doctor put a bandage on and I have to go back next week.  Until then I have to keep it dry, so I can't swim.

The hand is pretty stiff and hurts a little.  Its also still a little swollen.  Even so, I can start to use it, which is a big help. 

Traffic getting to the hospital this morning was awful.  I took a cab, and it took almost ninety minutes.  The way back was largely  traffic free and took less than forty.

I had the bright idea of trying to run this afternoon.  I'm itching to get working out again, but it was just a stupid idea.  It was way too hot and humid to run.  I probably only went 2.5 km.  Not impressive. 

Monday, March 1, 2010

Doctor, Doctor, Give Me The News

Well, I don't have a bad case of loving him, but I will certainly be quite pleased if he tells me that we can remove my cast tomorrow.  I have an appointment in the morning and I expect that he will remove it.

I am considering taking my camera along in case the cast is removed.  I could walk around a bit and take some photos.  We'll see.