Monday, August 30, 2010

Bat Poop

On our way to Ratchburi on Sunday, Tim pointed out a sign that offered bat poop for sale.  I asked the kids if anyone needed any bat poop.

Nalin responded, "what does it taste like"?


Yesterday the family went out to visit the Siam Cultural Center in Ratchaburi.  The Cultural Center's main attraction is the wax figures of some famous Thai and international figures.

Neither Tim nor I recognized any of the Thai people depicted in polymers, but we did recognize former Chinese premiere and one of the most despicable human beings ever to live, Mao.  The other figure was Mother Theresa.  Talk about a contrast in two people.  Mother Theresa toiled to feed the poor, while Mao enslaved and starved his people, destroyed their culture icons, and stands with Hitler and Stalin as the men responsible for the most deaths in human history.

One nice thing about the park is that it is very well maintained.  A lot of places here in Thailand look nice when they are built, but the owners do not keep up with maintenance.  This was a pleasant exception.

In addition to the wax figures, the Cultural Center has samples of Thai houses and monasteries from different regions of the country.  It also has Buddha statues from different eras of Thai history.








Sunday, August 29, 2010


So I went down the kitchen a few nights ago to get something to drink, and was pretty unpleasantly surprised when I saw a rat scurry across the kitchen.  Today I bought one of those sticky traps, and within a few hours it had caught the rat. 

I went and got a bat, covered it with a bag, and intended to end the rat's "suffering".  That was not an immediately popular idea with my wife, who as a Buddhist, believes in the sacredness of all life, including animals.  I explained that if I just threw the rat in the garbage, it would slowly starve to death, a fate much crueler than a swift end. 

So there is still one more trap up in case my first catch has friends.  I hope not.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Jacob's team played their first basketball game of the season.  Mark McDermott is is coach again this year, and there are a few players the same from last yer. 

The game did not start off so well; just past the midway point of the first quarter, they were down 8-0.  Now if I tell you the final score of the game was 22-12, it would be reasonable to guess that they had lost the game.  It would be reasonable, just not accurate.  They managed to defend and rebound their way back into the game.  The had a halftime lead of 14-12, and went on to cruise in the second half. 

Jacob played a pretty decent game.  He had a rebound or two and made a few steals. There is still plenty of room for him to grow though. 

More Bout

How things can change in just a week.  Last week the U.S. won an important court case, that seemed to pave the way to extradite alleged arms dealer Victor Bout to the U.S.  Then, the additional charges that the U.S. requested be filed seemed to hang things up.  Reports are that these charged can't be rushed, and that they will take some time.

Mr. Bout and his supporters are obviously aware that the delay caused by these new charges only buys them time, not an automatic victory.  The Bangkok Post reported today that Bout is alleging to have been visited in prison by a parliament member and close aid of Prime Minister Abhisit, and claims that the aid asked if former PM Thaksin had smuggled weapons into the country, and how they could take down the former PM's plane.

I think this story pushes the limits of credibility. If Mr. Bout is to believed, the PM, or the people around him, were considering shooting down the former PM's plane and had to reach out to an arms dealer who is sitting in prison for help on how to do it.  Its certainly possible that he was asked about Thaksin smuggling in weapons, but if the PM really wanted to take down the plane, I would think that there are many people in the Thai military who would be willing and able to carry out such instructions.  Would they really go to an alleged arms dealer who is causing an international tug of war between Russia and the U.S.?  Could they possibly believe that they could ask Bout something like that without it coming out in the open if things didn't go his way?

This is exactly why the U.S. wanted to move so quickly to extradite Bout once the court ruled in its favor.  While his allegations may lack credibility, the opposition party (red shirts) will seize on these allegations to attack the government.  There will undoubtedly be pressure to keep Bout here until the matter is fully resolved.  Maybe someone will suggest he be given a deal in order to cooperate. 

I still think that he will end up in the states.  Here is my breakdown of the probabilities:

Extradited to U.S.  60%
Escape/Freed        20%
Found Dead          20%

Sad Passing

Yesterday the seventeen year old daughter of U.S. Ambassador to Thailand, Eric John, died in an accident.  The young woman fell to her death off the 25th floor of a building in New York.

Its obviously a terrible tragedy for Ambassador John's family. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thai Politics

Its always amazing how a Prime Minister deposed almost four years ago can stay in the headlines.  Former PM Thaksin Shinawatra resigned recently from his position as an economic adviser to Cambodia.  Thaksin's position, along with the border temple dispute did little to warm the relationship between the two neighbors.  The reported reason for Thaksin stepping down was that he was too busy with other business interests. 

When people hear protests in Thailand, they usually think of the red shirt protests in 2009 and earlier this year.  However, the yellow shirts really kicked off the protests in 2008, when they occupied the Parliament and the two airports.  Almost two years later, yellow shirt leader Sondhi was required to appear at the police station to answer charges against him for his alleged role; including charges of terrorism.  Sondhi has threatened to sue the policeman handling the case in both civil and criminal courts.

The red shirts are quick to point out that while charges against the red shirts for events in the late spring are proceeding, that the charges against the yellow shirts from 2008 are still "limping along".  They are right; just because the red shirt's did a lot of stupid things in their protests doesn't mean they are entirely wrong about unequal treatment.  Of course, if they were at the other end of the stick, they'd be swinging it just as hard. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tangled Up

The U.S. was prepared to take alleged arms dealer Victor Bout to the U.S. to face charges when they hit a snag.  Shortly before the Appeals Court ruling that opened the door to extradite Bout, the Thai government filed another extradition request for additional charges, including money laundering.  This was likely an insurance policy in case the Appeal Court had ruled against the U.S.

Well, the insurance has complicated things.  The U.S. had up to three months to extradite Bout, but a plane showed up within a week to take the Russian to a comfy U.S. jail cell.  I can certainly understand the U.S. eagerness to get Bout to the U.S.  Accidents can happen anywhere, and with a high profile guy like Bout, one doesn't want to take chances.

So when the U.S. showed up and said "ready to take him", the Thai authorities threw up their hands and said "not so fast".  It seems that it is against Thai law to allow Bout to leave until all the extradition charges against him have been decided or dropped.   It boils down to the fact that the U.S. cannot take Bout back to the U.S. because there is a pending case against Bout that could result in his extradition to the U.S.  Yeah, the law always makes sense.

The U.S. has requested that the Thai government drop the new charges against Bout.  It makes sense that the Thai government would comply, as the additional charges were filed on behalf of the U.S., and involve crimes that violate U.S. laws.  The Thai government probably will, however, this is Thailand, and you can never be sure until its done.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wall of Photos

Over the course of the last few years, particularly the last two, I've taken a lot of photos.  Some are good, some are really bad, and most are just plain okay.  One thing that almost all of them have had in common is that they are only in electronic format.

Until very recently, I've printed and hung very few photos.  I've printed some photos for Tim's office, and there were a few photos around the house, but not many.   It wasn't as if I didn't want anyone to see them, I actually intended to print them out, I just never got around to it.  My Lexmark printer didn't print the colors correctly, and the printer at Tim's work, while quite good, took more effort (although truthfully, not that much).

Finally, with the purchase of my new printer and a little motivation, I decided to do something about the lack of photos in the house.  I didn't want to spend a lot of money on frames, so I decided to use the glass block wall in our living room.  The blocks acted like frames for the one hundred and ten 5x7's that I hung, as well as for the sixteen A4 size prints.

I organized this one by theme and orientation (portrait versus landscape).  Here is what it looks like.

My Wall

I'll probably mix it up as time goes on, changing photos out and reorganizing.  So far, though, I've very happy with how it turned out.

Monday, August 23, 2010

New Train

Today was the grand opening of the train link between downtown and the airport.  For 100 baht (~$3), you can ride non-stop from the city to the airport.  Next year the fare will rise to 150 baht (~$5).  Soon you will not only be able get to the airport from downtown, but you will also be able to check your bags before you board the train. 

While this is pretty cool, it really doesn't have much of an impact on me.  There is no sense for me to go downtown before going to the airport.  When they finally get the BTS station opened on Chaeng Wattana, then maybe it will help, but even then, its probably a lot easier to just take a taxi. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Happy Birthday Aleena

It was an important day in the Vogel house today, as Aleena turned six years old.  Normally we let the birthday girl chose what she wants to eat for dinner, but instead we let her pick a restaurant to go to for lunch.  She said that she wanted to go to the Crepe & Company.  

Cousin Noodee shares a birthday with Aleena, so we decided to meet Top's family there as well.  As a surprise, we arranged this morning for Aleena's best friend McKayla to join us.  Needless to say, Aleena loved the surprise.  

Lunch was pretty good.  Normally I order a breakfast dish while there, but this time I tried one of their Mediterranean offerings.  While I can't remember the name of the dish, it was a chicken with a curry type sauce served along with couscous.

You might not be shocked that I took a few photos while we were there.




When we first arrived here, it didn't seem like Noodee and Jacob got along that well.  Lately, however, they really seem to like to play together.  Jacob spent a couple of nights over at Noodee's house a few weeks back, and they just really have fun together.




Friday, August 20, 2010

Falang Released

Australian "red shirt" supporter David Purcell was released from jail yesterday after pleading guilty to breaking the emergency decree as part of the civil unrest back in April and May.  Purcell received a forty-five day sentence, but was released as he had already spent more than two months in jail. 

The other foreigner imprisoned over the protests, a British national with the last name Savage, was released in a similar deal back in July.   Its not surprising that Purcell was released more than a month after Savage, as Savage seemed more in tuned with how to behave in Thailand.  Even the photo in the Bangkok Post showing Purcell about to be released had him yelling. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Big Win For U.S.

In 2008, the U.S. worked with Thai officials to execute a sting on suspected arms smuggler Victor Bout.  Some say that Bout's life was the inspiration for the movie, Lords of War.  Bout is also wanted in several European countries for similar type charges. 

The U.S. attempted to have Bout extradited to the U.S. where he faces terrorism charges, while Russia fought hard to prevent this, as he is also alleged to have significant ties to and information about Russian intelligence.  Both sides were lobbying to prevail, with accusations that both were offering bribes to win.

Last year, the Russians won a victory when a lower court judge denied the extradition request, stating that the group that Bout was allegedly selling weapons to in the sting, FARC, a South American group the U.S. labels as a terrorist group, was actually only considered a political group by Thailand. 

Yesterday the Thai appeals court reversed the lower court, ruling that Bout could be extradited to the U.S.  It is not clear if an appeal to the Thai Supreme Court is possible, but if so, you can count on Bout and Russia exercising that option. 

While waiting for the appeal, Russia requested that Bout be allowed to stay in the Russian embassy instead of in a Thai jail, promising that he would not leave the country.  I think the Thai courts were wise in denying that request, as once he was released to Russian custody, any future legal victory to secure his extradition would likely be moot. 


Came home today and saw the blue screen of death.  That's the first time I've seen it in quite a while.  When I tried to reboot, I couldn't even get to the BIOS screen.  I deduced it was probably the memory, since I was working with it yesterday.  Reseating the memory didn't work, but I finally isolated one of the DIMMs that was bad.  So now I'm sitting at 6 gig.  I'm not actually sure if it was a new DIMM or old one that is bad.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

IT Day

It felt like I was doing IT work today.  I Installed RAM on two computers, set up two printers and installed anti virus software on two PCs and a laptop.

I was going to buy two 4 gig ram sticks for my PC, and add the two 2 gig sticks that I already have into the kids (they currently have one 1 gig stick).  I had trouble finding 4 gig sticks, so I just bought three 2 gig sticks, giving me 8 gig of RAM, and the kids 3.  I've only played around a little bit, but the difference in performance with the additional RAM is significant.

The printer setup was not as easy as plug and play.  Well, it was and it wasn't.  One of the problems that I had with my old printer (the one the kids are now using), is to get it to print colors the way I want them.  I manage the color on my monitors using the Spyder 3 Elite.  The Spyder calibrates monitors, so that colors are presented in a consistent way.  If you've ever noticed how the colors on a photo might look a little different on your laptop or on different monitors.  By calibrating the colors, you can ensure that the colors is presented consistently on all your displays.

The problem was that while my colors were calibrated on the monitor, they were printing out looking muddy and muted.  I actually experienced the same when I had them printed at Walmart in the U.S.  I was really disappointed with the colors.  The print shop at Tim's business actually does a fantastic job with printing the colors.  I recently had a big batch of 5x7's and 8x10's done, and I was very pleased.

Still, I wanted to be able to print at home, so that is why I bought the Canon.  My first prints were disappointing.  Finally, I found in the manual how to use color management, and I have been pleased with the way the photos are turning out.  It actually may be more expensive to print them at home, but its a lot more convenient.

Land of Smiles Update

Things are pretty much business as usual here in Thailand.  The red shirt's allies in parliament, the Peau Thai party, have declared their intention to impeach the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister over alleged security law violations. 

They will have almost as much success as if the Republicans decided to attempt to impeach President Obama next week.  Actually that's not entirely accurate.  Impeaching the President which would require his own party to turn on him, while impeaching the PM may only require his coalition partners to turn on him.  While the later has a greater chance of happening, almost certainly neither will.  And for the record, I am not calling for the impeachment of the President (or the Thai PM for that matter), nor am I claiming that he has done something to merit impeachment.  It was simply an example.  I know the people who typically read my blog (all three of you) understand this, but in case "impeach" and "Obama" bring in some foaming at the mouth type (from either the right or left), I just want to make it clear. 

And let me clear something else up.  While I generally vote Republican, and am certainly not a big fan of the President's policies, the birthers are an embarrassment; largely to themselves.  I'm not going to go into the fact that his birth certificate had been released, and that it is beyond belief that his mother would have had the foresight to place a false birth announcement in a Hawaii newspaper shortly after his birth in order to preserve his chances to become the president of the U.S.  (okay, if it was John Kerry, I might have believed it was contrived ;0).  My argument is simply two words: Hillary Clinton.  The rumors of this came out before the Democratic nomination was decided.  Love them or hate them, the Clintons are adept political players, and are certainly willing to play hardball to win.  If there was any truth to this whole birther crap, Hillary Clinton would have made sure it came out, and she would be the President today. 

Okay, back to Thailand.  The emergency decree was lifted in Chiang Mai and a few provinces in the north.  It is still in effect in a number of areas, including Bangkok and Nonthaburi.  It doesn't really have much of an affect on every day life; in fact, if I didn't read that it was still in effect, I wouldn't know.

Five of the red shirt leaders facing terrorism charges are attempting to get released on 2 million baht bail each.  They are appealing the criminal court's rejection of their bail request. 


I've mentioned before how riding a motorcycle can be pretty hazardous here in Thailand.  Certainly a lot of the danger is the result of the motor cyclist themselves, weaving in and out of traffic; darting in and out of blind spots to get to their destination a few minutes earlier. 

When I was driving to the IT Mall today, there was a bit of a traffic backup on Chaeng Wattana.  That's not particularly unusual, although at midday traffic is usually fairly light.  There was a policeman standing in the center lane, waving people to go to the left and right of him.  Immediately behind him was the body of a motor cyclist lying dead on the road.  The wreckage had already been cleared away, but they body remained were it had fallen; waiting for the morgue to arrive. 

It struck me in a weird way.  They didn't even close the lane off for this man's death; just a policeman waving traffic around in order to miss his corpse.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


So I'm having problems getting Symantec to take my money for their anti-virus software. They are telling me its a server issue, but it seems I had an issue once before with either them or another anti-virus vendor to accept my credit card order.  Its not a credit card rejection problem.  I tried once and thought maybe they picked up something about me being in Thailand, so they thought it was fraudulent (although I don't usually have that issue).  The second time I even connected to a proxy server in the U.S. to change my IP address so it appears I'm coming from the U.S., but had the same results. 

I've chatted twice with their agents.  The first wanted to remotely control my PC so he could install the trial version of the software for me.  Um, no thanks, I can manage just fine myself.  During the second conversation, the agent wanted to remotely control my PC so he could place the order for me.  Once again, no thanks.  Besides, the problem wasn't that I couldn't fill out the order form, rather that afterwards they said there was a technical issue.  Eight hours later I got an email that the order was canceled. 

Of course, I installed the trial version of the software, so if I try again tomorrow with the same results, I am going to have to uninstall and find another vendor.  The funny part is that I could drive down the road about fifteen minutes, buy a pirated version of the software for about five dollars and be done with it.  Instead, I get a headache trying to actually pay for the software. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Elephant Ride

Originally uploaded by ebvImages
When we were in Chiang Mai, we took an elephant ride. Its not the most comfortable ride and not great for taking photos.

Day at the Park

Originally uploaded by ebvImages
While back in Cincinnati for the summer, we visited Devou Park in Covington. The park has a great view of the city, and I brought my camera for some photos of the family. I didn't get any of all four of us (Jacob, Nalin, Aleena and myself), but got most other combinations.

My Weekend

So after the show on Friday, I went back to Tim's office with her.  She had a meeting that was supposed to last an hour, so I was going to wait it out and ride back home with her.  The meeting took almost four hours.  The time wasn't completely wasted, I got a foot massage and stopped at the pharmacy there.  I had a small ache in my lower back, so I picked up some medicine for it.

Tim and I got home about 10:00 p.m.  I ate a leftover hamburger and we went to bed.  About 2:30 a.m., Nalin came and woke up Tim, complaining of stomach problems and that she had vomited.  About thirty minutes later, I woke up feeling very ill.  I was nauseous, vomiting and had diarrhea.    As you might imagine, I was pretty miserable.  I didn't know the cause of the problem; a virus, food poisoning, or some reaction to the medicine that I had taken.   I didn't sleep the rest of the night.  Finally in the morning, I was able to drift off to sleep.

We had made plans to go to Pattaya on Saturday to view a fireworks show.  Tim had already booked a hotel room and acquired tickets through one of her contacts at work.  With both Nalin and I feeling sick, we decided to cancel our plans.

By late morning, I was feeling somewhat better, although still very tired and a little nauseous.  I napped throughout the day.  Nalin was feeling somewhat better, although she wasn't able to keep much food down. 

Around 11:00 p.m. I decided to go to bed.  Shortly after I started getting severe pains in my upper back.  I tried to change positions to alleviate the pain.  At first it worked, but eventually it didn't matter if I stood, sat or lied down; it just really hurt.  After about a half an hour, I woke Tim up and had her take me to the emergency room.  As Yaow was not home, Tim called her brother Top who drove over to sit with the girls while we were gone.  Jacob was already spending the night at Top's house; visiting his cousin Noodie. 

The doctor gave me a shot gave me relief pretty quickly.  I came home went right to bed, sleeping for about ten hours. 

Nalin was also feeling better by morning.  Tim took the three kids out for brunch with Top's family.  Afterwards they went to see a movie.  I decided to stay home and rest. 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Oh My God

Today Tim had tickets to a live show based on the Thai TV show which name translates as "Oh My God".  The show is a variety show which features some Thai culture and comedy.  There are three hosts, two Thais and one falang.  The falang, Todd, speaks Thai very well. 

This was one of those shows that I was kind of luke warm on.  I mainly went so that I could go with Tim.  I assumed (correctly) that it would all be in Thai, and I would understand very little.

We left home very early, and arrived at the location almost an hour before the show was to start.  Well, we thought the Thai Cultural Center was the right location, but the parking lot was closed.  Tim called Ticket Major (Ticketmaster equivalent) and learned the show was actually across town at the King's Power theater.  After calling Top for directions, Tim ended up hiring a motor cycle taxi to follow there. 

We arrived at the will call window five minutes before the show started (at 2:00 p.m.)  The customer service rep told Tim that a buffet was included in the price, and that we could have come from 12:00 to 2:00 to eat.  So even though the show was about to start Tim, wanted to grab some food really quickly.  We ended up sitting down about five minutes after the show started.

The show was okay.  The dialog between the hosts was pretty boring to me, as I didn't understand most of what they were saying.  The acts included some singers, dancing, and a musical Thai comedy skit.  About an hour and forty minutes in the show, they broke for a fifteen minute intermission.  Tim had told me that the show was only two hours long.  She had a meeting at 5:00 at her office, so we ended up leaving.  Apparently the show went on until about 6:00 p.m.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mother's Day

Tomorrow Thai's celebrate mother's day.  Mother's day is August 12th of each year, in honor of the Queen's birthday.

Of course the kids are off school, and Tim doesn't have to go to work.  I mean, the kids have been in school three whole days (two for Aleena), so they need a break already. 

Not Very Appealing

By a vote of 103-4 (12 abstaining), the Thai Supreme Court voted today to reject former PM Thaksin's appeal of their verdict in the seizure of 46 billion baht of his assets.  It was no great surprise that they rejected the appeal, as the "new evidence" presented as grounds for the appeal involved evidence that the court had already refused to consider.  Now the the appeal was rejected, the verdict is final and it does not appear he will have the opportunity to get back those assets.

So today certainly isn't a good day for the red shirts and the former premier.  First he and twenty four others appear to be on their way to being indicted as terrorists, and then the court shuts the door on any chance of getting back his seized assets.  Definitely not a good day.


The Bangkok Post is reporting that the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is planning to indict former PM Thaksin and twenty-four other red shirt leaders with terrorism charges based on the rally early this year.   Peau Thai MP Jatuporn Prompan disclosed that his source in the OAG reported that the decision has already been made.  MP Jatuporn is among those to be indicted.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

1st Day School

1st Day School
Originally uploaded by ebvImages
The kids started back to school today. Yes, indeed it was a joyous day in the Vogel house. I'm not saying I won't miss them at all, but its good that they are a way for a bit so I can find out if I do.

Aleena's first official day isn't until tomorrow. She goes and meets with her teacher and some of her classmates today. I guess they want to ease those first graders in a bit. This explains why Aleena is not wearing her uniform.

There is also something different about today as far as Nalin and Jacob's uniform. No, it doesn't have anything to do with the different color pants, at least not directly. Students have PE every other day and on those days wear their PE uniforms. The 1st, 3rd and 5th graders have PE on the same day, while K, 2nd and 4th graders share PE days. Jacob and Nalin normally do not wear their regular uniforms on the same. day. Maybe this is also boring and inane trivia day. I'll let you decide the accuracy of that.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Smile Gap Photo

Loss of First Tooth
Originally uploaded by ebvImages
As promised, here is a photo of the girl with the missing tooth.


Today was a big day for Aleena.  When we got home from the doctor's office, her best friend McKayla came over and visited today.  This was the first time that they'd seen each other since we left for the U.S. in June.  McKayla bought Aleena a matching outfit, so they have two identical sets of clothes that they can wear.

While brushing her teeth tonight, Aleena lost her first tooth.  To say that she is mildly excited would be a very large understatement.  She is dancing around in anticipation of the tooth fairy's visit.

Tomorrow I'll try to get a photo of the new smile. 

Emergency Decree

Its weird, but we are still under the emergency degree invoked back in April. I say weird, because it really doesn't have any noticeable impact on things around here. 

One area it actually does impact is the plan for some groups to rally over the Preah Vihear temple issue with Cambodia.  The government warned that a rally in Bangkok would be illegal and violate the emergency decree. 

The yellow shirt PAD have been critical of how the government has handled the issue.  At the last Unesco meeting, a Thai official signed some document that the PAD said actually gave away some sovereign Thai soil.  The Thai government denied that the document did any such thing, and some pundits have said that the PAD's zest for the Preah Vihear temple may have more to do with bolstering its newly formed political party than concern over the temple. 

Rat Out Your Bloggers

Tim and I were taking the girls downtown (no not to sell them) and I spotted a large billboard that included the Prime Minister's photo on it, and a phone number.  I jokingly asked Tim if I could just call that number and the PM would answer.  She told me that the sign actually was encouraging people to call the number if they saw any inappropriate material on the Internet. 

While there is a chance that they might take some pornographic material off the Internet, it seems like the big target is usually speech allegedly offensive to the monarchy.  I say "allegedly", because the papers cannot print the "offensive" speech.  A few months back, the Thai authorities arrested someone who ran some forums for leaving posts deemed offensive on their boards for too long. 


Sunday, August 1, 2010


Now that the Internet is not constantly disconnecting, the Slingbox seems to work pretty well.  For those not in the know, the Slingbox is hooked up to a cable box in my home in Cincinnati.  The Slingbox then streams that content to my PC over the Internet.

The good part is that it works.  The downside is that my connection speed means that the quality is not the greatest, certainly not HD quality.  Still, its pretty nice.  The box in Cincinnati is a DVR, so I can record things and watch them later.

There is some software that is supposed to allow you to save the the recordings as wmv files.  I may give it a try, so they I could possibly burn some DVDs for the kids.  Of course, that means subjecting everyone in the house to hours of iCarly. 

Good Night's Sleep

Last night I ended up staying awake until about 11:30 p.m.  That was good, as I wanted to stop falling asleep early and waking up at 4:30 am.  It worked out, as I ended up sleeping until 7:30. 

Although I'm sure I'm not over jet lag completely, I am feeling so much better today.  Worked out today again and was pretty wiped after 30 minutes on stair master and lifting for thirty minutes.  While I don't lift a lot of weight, unlike some people at the gym, I actually spend most of that time lifting, not sitting on the machines resting.  I've worked out four of the five days since I've been back, so hopefully I'm back on track. 

Internet Issues & Kids Entertainment

Starting a little while before we left for the U.S., I started getting frequently disconnected form the Internet at my house.  The frequency kept increasing to the point where yesterday it was disconnecting every five or so minutes.  Not very conducive for browsing, watching my slingbox, or anything else Internet related.

Tim had someone come from True (the dsl provider) to come and take a look.  Before they got here, I decided to change to my old router.  After I did that, everything seemed to work.  A few hours later the True guy showed up and said the line in the house was broken so we called the landlord to try to get it fixed.  In the meantime, however, it seems to be working just fine.  Hopefully it will continue.

I finished setting up the DVD, x-box 360 and Wii in the living room.  We actually have two TVs there.  The old large screen (similar to the one in our family room in Cincinnati) had broken, and while it was being repaired, Tim got an HD set.  When the old one was fixed, there was really no place for it, so it ended up next to the new one.  I ended up setting it up so that the kids can play x-box or watch a DVD on either TV.  That way if someone is already playing or watching TV on the new TV, the others can still watch on the old one.  They can only play the Wii on the old TV, but truthfully, I don't think it will get that much use. 

Preah Vihear

The ancient Khemer temple complex of Preah Vihear is in Cambodia near the Thai-Cambodian border.  Some of the land around the temple is claimed by both countries.  The border dispute has heated up recently, as Cambodia has attempted to get Preah Vihear declared a World Heritage site.

Cambodia submitted a plan on its own to get the temple recognized by Unesco as a World Heritage site.  Thailand has opposed the plan, claiming that the submission did not recognize its rights, and strongly protested recognition.  After negotiations failed, Unesco ended up delaying its decision, citing technical deficiencies in Cambodia's application. 

Unesco's decision has not resolved the issue, as Cambodia can undoubtedly refile and correct the identified issues.  It is unclear whether Thailand and Cambodia can resolve their issues.  Some here have made it an issue of national pride; claiming that Thailand is losing sovereign territory, so the issue definitely won't go away quietly.   

Cincinnati at Night

While I was back in the States, I managed to make my way down to the river to get some photos of the city at sunset. My sister-in-law Heather joined me.

While we were there, we saw a helicopter parked in Newport along the river. I talked to one of the pilots of Stratus Helicopters. He was a really nice guy, and was really cooperative in letting me take some photos. He even let some kids who were hanging around get inside the copter. A few customers came for a ride, so I got a chance to take some photos of the helicopter in action.

Heather had some lens problems. By problems, I mean that she didn't bring the lens she intended to bring. She had no lens with a focal length less than 50mm, not your traditional landscape lens.


Tim ran her first 10k race today.  I'm not sure of her exact time, but it was in the 50's.  The big thing was that she finished.