Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Watch out for the kid with the orange shoes

North Carolina

Four of the seven grandchildren went with me to play soccer Saturday.

I took the four that were old enough not to need car seats. It was very cold and a little wet.

The oldest is a referee.

Little Bob was scoring ten goals a game in his age group so he moved up to play with the 8 to 10 year age group.

I heard one of the Dads on the other team say, "Watch out for that kid with the orange shoes".

He's a fast mover...

An exciting game.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Not Home Alone

North Carolina

Mrs. Phred got an IPAD2 for her birthday so now we can download books from a variety of different "APPS", play "Angry Birds" and try to avoid zombies while driving a virtual car down a desert highway. We also have an APP that is trying to teach us Thai phrases like "Where is the bathroom?" and "please bring our check".

Mrs. Phred's cousin in Chiang Mai, Thailand has hundreds of piano albums and songs available in the Apple Store. Our passports came back with a visa good for ninety days from the Royal Embassy of Cambodia. The only worry we have now is the increasing flooding in Bangkok, which looks to still be there by December 4th. Our hotel in Bangkok is where "Hangover II" was filmed.

Christmas and our 45th anniversary on Christmas Eve will be on the Mekong River in Cambodia. Like the song "Holiday in Cambodia" says, "..pack a wife". Click on the MP3 thingy to the right side of the blog to hear the song.

The grandchildren are easy to amuse. Playing dodge ball on the trampoline or swinging them high in the hammock sends the little ones into paroxysms of laughter. Our oldest grandson taught us to program and use the new IPAD2.

The cameras on the front and back of the IPAD are very cool. I love the way the display rotates when you spin the pad around.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Once more unto the breach

Sarasota, Florida

We will be going up to Raleigh to overlook the seven grandchildren next week. After that, Mrs. Phred and I will catch a fast train to New York City and leave the Toyota behind. I think the train is the Orange Blossom Special.

We'll take sleeping bags and some simple cooking equipment and join the "Occupy Wall Street" movement. If they can do it in Egypt, we can do it too...or maybe not.. The forces of oppression have never been stronger...Even Jimmy Hoffa would be daunted by the scale of the corporate and banking money in the pockets of our politicians. The worst that can happen is that they start shooting us like Kent State or Syria. I don't care. Our grandchildren deserve better than a lifetime of paying off banking fraud and graft.

I expect that as Winter progresses the rain and snow will decimate our ranks, but Mrs Phred and I plan to be in New York for the long term. I hope there are bathrooms..but, if not..we are prepared to sacrifice for the future...

We are leaving for Bangkok on December nobody's perfect.

Friday, 14 October 2011

All Gimped Up

O'leary's Bar...Sarasota Beach

We went to the beach last night to watch the sun set, drink some dark rum and eat a shrimp salad croissant.

Mrs. Phred is going to test her shrimp allergy before we head out to Bangkok because we understand that they put shrimp paste in almost everything.

A dear friend (that I've never met) told me about the free program, Gimp 2.0. I've been playing with it a little. I could see it becoming a major time waster.

I call this Gimped one "Sunset in Sarasota"

This is the same picture before Gimp.

This is "The Phreds on Lido Beach".

The one below is "The Phreds at the Edge of the Grand Canyon".

This is "Red Fish, Blue Fish".

This is "15 ton Solid Gold Buddha".

Antelope Canyon in Arizona....

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

The News Gets Weird

Believe it (or not)

So Santorum says that Mitt Romney belongs to a "cult" religion? Excuse me? Pot? Kettle? Black?

Sadly, my man, Obama, has extended the civil rights abuses of George Bush. He decides to summarily execute American citizens with a pen scratch and a Hellfire missile.. Off with his head....(belch)...

It's not that I'm against extrajudicial assassinations of troublesome citizens. I just think they should be kept secret.

The whole global financial system teeters on the edge of a vote by Slovakia to support an increase in the ECB (European Central Bank) assets or not....Slovakia????

We are faced with getting a lot of shots for our visit to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam...

The Center for Disease Control recommends:
  • Tetanus shots
  • Polio booster shots
  • Malaria pills
  • Typhoid shots
  • Hepatitis A and B shots
  • Japanese encephalitis shots 
The Sarasota Health department is willing to help us with this for about $800. I'm starting to think that Part D prescription insurance would almost have paid for itself.

There's a statue in Bangkok that is a 15 ton solid gold Buddha. It's over 10 feet tall. 600 years ago it was covered with plaster because of an invasion. They were surprised a few years ago when a crane knocked off some plaster during a 1950 demolition of this minor temple and the gold shined though. Now tourists like me go to see it.

$36,000 a pound times 30,000 pounds is a little more than a billion dollars...I am no longer impressed with less than a steal a 15 ton Buddha would take some planning...

I struggle to remember Bangkok in 1967. There was the lovely Temple of Dawn, a pyramid inlaid with broken blue and white china. I had a lunch from a vendor in a boat on the canal. He had one plate and one fork that he washed in the canal between customers. The rice and fish head cost a baht (that was a nickle then, but 3 cents now). My air force shots must have protected me from the feces and other drek in the canal.

I remember climbing the stairs of the temple. They were very steep, but I was young, stupid and fearless. We rode down the canal in a "long-tail" boat. Back then I think that 4 cylinder Renault engines were very common. This guy looks like he's handling a a Chevy V-8. Time marches on.

 An old lady on the canal with orange gums smiled at me and tossed me a narcotic betel nut. Betel nut makes your gums orange.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Running Down The Road

Sarasota, Florida

The trip from upstate New York to Florida took us three days.

We spent the first night in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Maryland and the second in a Georgia rest area.

When we were younger we could do a 70 hour cruise from Seattle to Miami at a constant 80 MPH by stocking up on coffee at truck stops. Now we are old and easily fatigued.

Quebec city is a lovely place. It is perhaps the oldest city in North America.

30 people settled her 400 years ago and 21 of them died during the first winter.

On the way back a piece of metal flashing separated from the under carraige and started dragging on the ground. I wired it up and we continued South.

The process of obtaining visas for Cambodia and Vietnam is not easy.

Just as an example, they both require photos 4 by 6 centimeters in size. That's 1.57 inches by 2.36 inches. So you have to start by converting that to 32nds of an inch. they want 2 and 12/32 by 1 and 18/32nds.

Cambodia has an e-visa. I got one for $50 but it only works at the two major airports. Since we are entering Cambodia on the Mekong River, that won't work.

So I'm working on getting a visa by mail. The website for the Royal Cambodian Embassy says to fill out a form and send in a bank check, but they don't specify an amount.

So I e-mail the embassy and they tell me that I should send $45 Australian dollars for each visa by mail. I suspect that they also want the same amount of US dollars, but the difficulty is real.