Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Take Me Out

Yesterday after summer camp, I took the kids and Yaow to the Reds game against the Phillies.  Last night was the final night game before the Reds go on a two week road trip.  I didn't want to wait until the end of the trip. so we went last night.  I was going to buy the tickets online, but the ticket fees were almost as much as the cost of the tickets themselves.

Jacob watched the game, while the girls really weren't that interested.  I think the girls had more fun walking around and eating snacks.

The Reds ended up losing in extra innings, but we left at the top of the eighth because the kids had camp in the morning.  By the time they were in bed, it was 10:00 p.m., well past their bedtime.

You can see all the photos I uploaded on Flickr by clicking here.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bill Collector

I've gotten a handful of calls for the guy who had my mobile number before me from a bill collector.  The automated message goes something like "This call is for Wally West, if you are not Wally West, please hang up the phone."  Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to stop the calls.   

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day Camp

The kids start day camp tomorrow morning at Beechwood Acres, one of Anderson's parks.  The camp runs from 9:00 to 4:00 p.m. for five days.  The kids go to the zoo one day for a field trip, and the other four they go to Sunlite Pool at Coney Island.  The price is really pretty reasonable. 

Aleena is a little apprehensive about going to camp.  I think that she will be fine, as she and Nalin will be in the same group.

Cincinnati Zoo

Originally uploaded by ebvImages
Took the kids to the Cincinnati Zoo on Saturday. The family passes are really affordable at $67 for a season.

The kids had a great time, particularly with the lorikeets. They just love feeding those birds.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Woodland Mound

Originally uploaded by ebvImages
This afternoon I took the kids and Yaow to Woodland Mound, one of the Hamilton County parks with a wet playground. Heather and Rebecca also went to the park with Ethan.

The kids had a lot of fun splashing and getting wet. After I was there about five minutes, I heard a voice asking me what I was doing there. I turned around and it was my cousin Steve. I haven't seen Steve in about two years. He and his wife came with their son Carter, as well as a gaggle of nieces and nephews.

Children's Museum Trip

Yesterday we took a trip to the Children's Museum in Indianapolis.  I had thought about taking the kids to Kings Island, but there was a chance of rain, so I decided to do something indoors.

Its a two hour drive to Indy from Cincinnati, so it makes for a bit of a long day.  Still, the kids had a lot of fun.  Jacob really enjoyed the rock climbing wall and the Star Wars exhibit.  No doubt that Aleena's favorite thing was the Barbie exhibit.  They had a program where you make your own Barbie clothes.  The forty-five minute session holds up to thirty people on weekends, but Nalin and Aleena were in a session all to themselves.  They both really liked it.  I'm not sure what Nalin's favorite thing was, but she definitely had a good time.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Butterfly Show

On Saturday we went to the Butterfly show at the Krohn Conservatory.  The show has been running since April, but the last day is Father's Day, so we just got in under the wire.

For the most part, the kids had a good time.  Nalin was upset that a butterfly landed on everyone but her.  We tried to help her to no avail, until Jacob picked up a flower off the ground.  He managed to get a butterfly on the flower, and gave it to his sister.  It was a really nice moment that almost makes me forget all the bickering that they have done over the last few days.  Afterwards, we walked up to the area with the view of the river and got a snow cone.

In the evening we went to St. Phillip's, my old grade school, festival.  The kids had fun.

Father's Day

Originally uploaded by ebvImages
So today we celebrated Father's Day for the first time this year. Thailand celebrates Father's Day on the King's birthday which is December 5.

Chef dad took the day off and ordered pizza. This is the first time they have had all the grandchildren over the house in two years.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Our Friday

Today was a pretty easy going day. It started off a bit earlier than I had hoped, as I woke up at 4:30 to the sound of footsteps on the floor above. When I went upstairs, I found my three children and my nephew watching TV. The new rule is that no-one leaves their room before 6:00 a.m.

I'm having the kids do reading and some summer school work over the break. We started that in earnest today. Mom and dad came over for lunch, which consisted of carryout from Jacob's favorite sub shop (and perhaps even favorite restaurant), Jersey Mike's.

After lunch we went to Juilif's Park for a few hours, before stopping for Slush Puppies, and then a trip to Walmart. There are still a great many things that I need to pick up before we leave, but managed to get a start on it.

Internet Here and There

While I have "high speed" Internet access in Thailand, being back in the States reminds me of just how slow it is there. Sometimes it takes thirty or more minutes to upload a dozen or so photos to Flickr. It took only a couple of minutes here. Sometimes I jokingly refer to it as "Thai speed" Internet.

I also appreciate being able to watch TV shows on For those of you not in the know, you can watch TV shows on hulu. Unfortunately, it is blocked outside the U.S. When I try to access it in Thailand, I get a message saying that it is unavailable in my country. I could go to the trouble of getting a proxy server to hide my IP address and possibly gain access to the show, but with the slow connection speed, I don't think that it is worth the effort.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Traveling Shots

Originally uploaded by ebvImages
Our trip from Thailand to the U.S. took us through Japan and San Francisco. We left our house in Bangkok at 3:00 a.m. local time, and arrived at our place in Cincinnati at about 8:30 local time. That made for a door to door travel time of over twenty-eight hours.

The kids were really good on the trip, although there were a few minutes in the middle of our ten hour flight from Tokyo to San Francisco that I was a bit frustrated. Aleena was the lucky one, as she slept through most of the trip.

I took this photo in Tokyo while we were waiting for our flight. Earlier, Nalin had struck up a conversation with a man traveling back to Georgia after visiting his son in Indonesia.

Some Sleep and Fun

Last night was the first night since we've been back that I got a full night of sleep.  I woke up the first night at 4:00 a.m. to the sound of the kids walking upstairs.  The second night Nalin woke me up at 1:00 a.m. because she was itchy.  Today, I slept in until 9:30.  I was half awake when I heard Jacob walking downstairs to talk to me.  He wanted to tell me that he had figured out the sound on the computer upstairs.  I told him that it was a good thing that it was late and I was already half-awake.

We went to the library today then had lunch at Frisch's Big Boy.  Our first stop was IHOP, but service was just dreadful.  We waited fifteen minutes to be seated in a half empty restaurant, and then sat for ten minutes without anyone taking our order, so we left. 

After a quick stop at Hallmark to pick up some Webkinz, we went and saw the Karate Kid movie.  The kids really enjoyed it, and I thought it was okay.  It was funny that Aleena thought that the main character, Dray, was a girl. 

I went out to dinner with some friends to an Irish place at Newport on the Levee.

Overall it was a pretty good day.  Tomorrow I'm thinking about taking the kids to the zoo, but not sure yet. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010


The kids, Yaow and I leave for the U.S. in about 30 hours.  I'm mostly packed, but I have a few things that I need to include.

I love all my camera gear, and am really fortunate to have a lot of nice lenses.  The problem is that I really can't check them in my luggage for fear of theft, so I have to carry them on.  The problem is that they are pretty heavy.  By the time you add my laptop to the mix, I think my carry on bag weighs a good 20+ pounds.  Even though it is a bit expensive, I do actually put my tripod in checked luggage because it is heavy and a bit awkward to carry.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Lately Aleena has started saying "oopsies" when she does something wrong.  Its really cute, but I don't know where she got it from. 

Portrait of Nalin

Originally uploaded by ebvImages
I was playing around with my camera the other day and took this photo of Nalin.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Raingutter Regatta

Originally uploaded by ebvImages
Was digging through Lightroom and saw that I hadn't uploaded any photos from this spring's Raingutter Regatta. Jacob placed 3rd (out of 4). He didn't get a trophy this time, but handled it really well.

Jobs in Thailand

I've written before about how jobs are advertised and filled a little differently here as opposed to in the states.  Its not uncommon to see a manager role advertised as looking for a male in his 30's or 40's, while an advertisement for an assistant role might specifically request female applicants in their 20's. 

Selling lottery tickets is primarily the domain of individuals who are blind or in some way disabled.  This is often done on the street or possibly from a small booth in a shopping area.  Perhaps this is the country's way of trying to help those individuals who might have a very difficult time finding other work.  There is no Thailand with Disabilities Act which requires employers to accommodate and individual's disability.  If you can't physically do the job, you aren't going to get it.  

Recently, the lottery ticket sellers gathered to protest wages or working conditions.  The government invoked the still-in-effect emergency decree to force them to disband.  Photos of blind and disabled people jumping into the canal to avoid being arrested by police was probably not the government's idea of good publicity. 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Falangs With Red Shirts

Not all of those detained because of the red shirt protests are Thai. There are two falang, one from Australia and one from England who are also in jail for breaking the emergency decree. A Thai court recently determined that these two could be held an additional seven days pending the filing of charges.

The Australian, David Purcell, was reported to have appeared on the stage at Ratchaprasong and given speeches decrying the government and praising former Premier Thaksin and the red shirt cause. The other falang is a British national who allegedly talked about looting and burning down Centralworld.

One of them, I think Purcell, has alleged that he has been roughed up while in custody. There is a photo of him in the Bangkok Post where he appears to be yelling and being held back by a Thai guard. Apparently he doesn't know how to behave in or out of prison.

Seriously, it takes a special kind of stupid to get yourself involved in this to the point of being arrested. If these guys are lucky, they will be released and made to leave. If they aren't lucky, there are all kinds of unpleasant scenarios. They could spend some time in jail because I doubt they have any Thai friends with serious influence. Maybe they will find themselves as scapegoats, as its never good to talk about buildings burning, and then it actually happens.

Aleena's Dance Recital

Nalin's Dance Recital

Thursday, June 3, 2010

End of School

Yesterday Tim and I went to Jacob's class for their reading and writing celebration.  Jacob did a video news report on cat sayings.  He did a nice job, but the volume was very low on the video, so it was a bit hard to hear.

Afterwards, Tim and I stopped at the kindergarten playground where Aleena was having fun with her friends.  Of course, I took some photos.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Immigration Story

So today I went to the U.S. Embassy with Yaow for her interview to get a visa to visit the U.S.  The interview, originally scheduled for May 14th, has been postponed twice due to the red shirt protests.

We arrived at exactly 8:30, thirty minutes before the scheduled interview.  There was a line of about fifty people already queued up for the 9:00 appointment slot.  As a U.S. citizen, I could go to the front of the line and get in, but I hung around with Yaow. If it had been raining or really hot, maybe I would have left her on her own.

After about forty-five minutes, we made our way inside.  I went to the ACS (American Citizen Services) to get pages added to my passport while Yaow waited in a series of lines.  Apparently I misspelled her first name on one of the forms, but fortunately that didn't sink the application.  It was 11:00 by the time that she finished her interview.  To our surprise, the interviewer told her that she would have her visa by next week.  I wasn't surprised that she would be approved, but my understanding is that they wouldn't usually tell you outright, but might hint at it.

You often encounter an interesting collection of individuals seeking services at the ACS.  Today's entertainment included a black clad shirt gentleman who had to tip the scales at close to the three hundred pound mark.  His graying goatee had a tinge that made it look like grooming was an essential part of his daily routine.  I saw him when I was waiting in line, but didn't think a whole lot of it.

I was waiting for my passport pages, when I heard the aforementioned gentleman speaking to another American waiting for some service.  He was discussing his latest trip to the U.S., and how everyone there was unhappy, miserable, and wanted to leave.  Apparently this was the reason that he had lived in Thailand for the last fifteen years.  The guy next to him agreed that the U.S. had become a police state, but was still anxious to go back.

I just rolled my eyes as I listened to them.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

PM Censure

The opposition political party, Puea Thai, is conducting a censure debate against the PM and current government.  They will attempt to present evidence that that the government has conducted some wrong doing in hopes that some of the coalition parties will drop from the government.  While this will undoubtedly get some MP's "valuable" TV and media time, it will do nothing to bring down the government.

The PM announced a few days ago that there will be no new elections this year.  He stated that the November election date that he proposed was contingent upon the protesters accepting it immediately.