We have now moved here from Blogger.

Nov 5th, 2009 | Filed under Work

Hi all,

Sorry I didn’t get to post yesterday. I was very busy installing this WordPress Blog on the main Website, and migrating my posts over from Blogger.

I would just like to say to anyone that doesn’t work with any sort of computer languages much, it can be a very frustrating experience, it can be very painful to get things just right, and you will pull your hair out, shout out loud, and learn to curse more than you should. However in the end it is nice to see that you could follow through with something so difficult.

It is similar to climbing a mountain I guess, it is sure painful getting there, but once your there you are proud you have done it.

Anyhow, the proof is in the pudding, the Blog is up and running, and although it still needs an awful lot of tweaking, it works !

Bathing Beauties

Nov 5th, 2009 | Filed under Opinions and Perspectives, Poetry, Travel

I have just returned from a relaxing visit to Ko Samet, Thailand with my girlfriend and son. I had been there before, but found myself greatly disoriented on arrival with all of the development over the years. As I was walking around looking for a place to stay  I met an English guy that had lived on the island for the last fifteen years, coincidentally, the last time I was on Ko Samet was also fifteen years ago.

I said to him, “This place has sure changed, I can’t recognize anything.”

To which he replied “People don’t come here the same way they did before, everyone now is on one week and two week vacations, and the people aren’t like the people that came here before either.”

I remembered back to the old Ko Samet,  most of the visitors back then were in their twenties, often many already months into their world travels, Samet was usually just a place people did a stop over to wait for a visa from an Embassy in Bangkok to go somewhere more remote. There was open pot smoking in the restaurants, the men were mostly long haired and unshaven, the majority of the women were topless, Frisbees were being tossed around, and the locals played soccer on the beach. Now it was mostly overweight clean shaven business people laying around trying to get a tan on lawn chairs while consuming alcohol.

One morning way back then, while waiting for my three hippie friends, a french lady, and two British ladies, to wake up and join me for breakfast on the beach, I wrote the following poem:

Bathing Beauties

Bathing beauties on the beach,
I look at you my manners breach.
I want to look but if I’m caught,
My name is Mud instead of Scott

What is this game you play with me?
Drop your tops so breasts I see,
but see them not must say to you.
Escape this madness cannot do.

How Your Luggage Can Effect the Cost of your Travel.

Nov 1st, 2009 | Filed under Travel

Generally if you use a suitcase you are limited to where you will go, your best bet is airplane to taxi to hotel as they are not that easily portable, the problem is this.

The wheel system on the suitcases are generally quite heavy compared to a strait cloth bag, many wheel system bags are also hard, these two factors can make the bag difficult to carry. If you hit some rough terrain or a staircase or boat or buss es etc, the bag is so heavy it is just plain tiresome to do difficult traveling with.

You are therefore limited usually to traveling to destinations with other people that have heavy luggage, and share the same “convenience” priced hotels with all the others of your sort.

If you carry a backpack with the same items in it, you can usually travel a bit further because the weight preferably balanced on the middle of your upper back, the baggage itself is lighter, and you are in balance for walking up difficult terrain if you wish. Eventually the path will get to difficult or you are too tired, so you stop with others of your baggage toting kin. These hotels get less traffic are are usually quieter, and less expensive, often they are less spoiled than the easy to get to beaches.

If you carry a light backpack, you can arrive at the same original destination but travel further by foot. A cloth backpack with a week or more worth of clothing in it is actually quite light on its own.

The further you get from the easy to reach places the cheaper it gets, and generaly more beautiful also.

Back From Ko Samet

Oct 31st, 2009 | Filed under Travel

I just returned from Ko Samet in Thailand. This is my first visit to the island in approximately fifteen years, and wow has it ever changed.

About five days ago my girlfriend packed her new swimsuit , I packed my bags, then got my eight year old son all ready to hit the beach and off we went. First we went by taxi to Ekami bus station, the 40 minute ride, in the 2006 Toyota Carola with Air Con cost about three US dollars, then we jumped on the 5 dollar per person trip from the bus station to the pier which took us to Ko Samet.

The tickets for the boat were about $4.00 per person for the one hour ride, my son traveled for free. The trip itself was quite nice, very slow and casual with lawn chairs on the upper level for us to relax in.

All of this had so far been very familiar, the bus station hadn’t changed in a very long time, the buses were similar to what I was used to. They played a Thai Comedy DVD on the bus for our entertainment, which are not exactly my taste, but I must admit sometimes the slapstick humor made me giggle a little on the inside.

Once we arrived at Ko Samet from the pier, we were greeted with a view of some dilapidated concrete beach bungalows that may or may not have had residents in them, some were defiantly too far gone for most people to consider staying there.

After getting off on the Pier, I no longer knew where I was, I was faced with a winding concrete street up a hill, and storefronts all along the way, There were five truck taxis waiting to take people to their various destination, each one would sit about ten visitors, it was all very well organized and friendly, I must admit I hadn’t asked any questions at this point and was just following the crowd. On the taxi I asked some people where they were going and they named beaches I was unfamiliar with.

Normally I first read my lonely planet before I go to a place so I have some basic idea where I am going, but this time I thought, since I had been here before, and had two fluent Thai speakers with me, as well as my own very poor Thai I should be able to figure it all out…

Well I couldn’t I was confused. We were dropped after a short taxi ride in front of a cobblestone road, with lights and palm trees on it, and a big entrance way with a park ranger waiting there to take a park fee from each of us.

Now I was really confused, the last time I came here, we took a truck around the island and were dropped at a beach, there was no park entrance fee. I was suspicious we were being dropped at a resort entrance, with a cobblestone pathway , I tried talking to the ranger but his English was very poor, from his Thai I began to understand that most of the Island is a national park now.

We paid the entrance which wasn’t very much, I’m not sure if I paid the Thai prices or it was the off season or the guy gave me a break or something but it was about $6US for the three of us for five days.

We walked around a bit looking for the cheap rooms and I found the area was absolutely packed with tourists, it was a huge disappointment to me how this had changed, I found myself wishing I had gone to Ko Chang or even Pattaya instead. I went to the taxi drivers and told them this wasn’t what I was looking for and asked if there was some nice, quiet place we could go, they told me that around here I was lucky to find a room under $30 a night, I asked them if they could take me to the furthest away area, and they did, after a few minutes the paved road became mud, and we continued for about ten minutes on the dirt roads, to the very end.

We got off the truck taxi and headed down a path leading from the road. it was still quite busy, but not so bad, we dropped our bags and I let my companions know that I would be back in a while I was looking for a room for us.

Sunset in the tropics is very fast, you can actually watch the sun move down below the horizon, It was already twilight and soon would be dark, when my hiking over the rocks and through the trees found a little beach right at the end of the path, I will not share its name with you, it is one of my only little piece of paradise left. I’m sure you can really find it if you tried, I mean the three resorts on the beach are full of others that found it also. Its not hard if you try.

Anyhow we found a little bungalow just up the hill and off the beach, the for about $20 per night with no hot water or air con. I know this isn’t every ones cup of tea, but just so you know the luxurious ones with air con, televisions, satellites, nice balconies with expensive padded deckchairs etc are also on the beach, if you looking to spend a little more money.

I was quite happy with the bargain, and the quietness of the beach. 80% of the people staying there were Thai.

The people that ran this particular cottage did not smile at us, they were not overly friendly, there was a baby and its diaper was being changed right on one of the restaurant tables. Although my first impressions were poor, by the end of the four day stay they had warmed up to us quite a bit, and were all extremely nice.

The other guests of the resort were all very nice and friendly, their kids played with my son, as did quite a few Thai teenagers. (Generally I find Thai all very kind and nice to children, the teenagers are very much like a large group of good volunteer babysitters.)

One gentleman that makes and sells jewelry on the beach, made a very nice shell necklace for my son, and gave it to him for free, very kind considering he must have put a couple of hours of work into it.

Sometime on the third day I was able to find one landmark that let me remember where I used to stay, there is a mermaid on the rock that was there way back when, and I found the hill above the Muay Thai Gym and bars that I used to have a little cottage on way back when, on stilts on the rock.

All in all it was cheap, the people were nice, the beach was fantastic, and the rooms were clean.

Exactly what I was looking for.

Anyhow now we are all back in Bangkok, itching our mosquito bites and wishing we weren’t so badly sun burnt.

It was a good trip, though, I wish I could have afforded to stay forever.

The Man and his stupid copywrite laws.

Oct 21st, 2009 | Filed under Opinions and Perspectives, Rants

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OK, I know we have to protect the logos and hard creative work done by others, but I am faced with a situation currently on both my personal and business side that is making me wonder exactly what the logic is of these silly decisions.

First off the music industry.

I happen to love music, I am a big fan of all kinds of music and have a large CD collection of over 2000 CDs, as well as DVD videos of many of my favorite bands.

I used to be able to see all these bands on MTV and enjoy their videos and music, as well as listen to them in my car as I drove. This is my problem. I can’t hear the music of my favorite bands anymore, not legally anyhow. Radio stations back home have these programming directors that may or not play it. It seems at least in Canada these days we just don’t get the DJs that play whole albums anymore, it’s no longer up to them, I hear the US is the same way these days, not sure about the rest of the world.

The programing directors at the radio stations now decide based on the highest profitability of the radio station which songs will be played, instead of the music loving DJs of old, that just played what they wanted. The same thing has happened to MTV, its all about profit now, which is fine for them I guess, but I may not like what is popular and now I cant hear the music I like.

So what do I do? If I want to hear, or “try out” some music, I do what most people do,  search the Internet for what I want to her. Very recently I searched for some songs from Nickleback. Even though they are one of the biggest rock bands in the world today, and I happen to like them. I search and I search but I cant find the official video. Ones that were put up by fans yesterday are gone today due to copy write laws.

Why on earth do these big bands no longer want their videos to be played. OK I know Nickleback and most other large bands have official stations on YouTube, and on their official website, however they don’t display all the videos, and I cant hear all the songs. Often the Websites are not as easy to use as Google and YouTube . If the songs I want are there somewhere, I cant be bothered to find them, after five minutes I just give up forever.

Basically to make a long story short, I used to listen to the music and then buy it. Now I can no longer listen to the music, so of course I am not going to spend my $20 to see if they have any talent left.

Music Company, Epic Fail.

Second of all Mickey Mouse

OK do we all know who Mickey is? I would say yes but barely, Disney is so famous with their protecting of copy write laws, I swear I am afraid just mentioning them here will end me up in court.

Now I loved Disney as a kid, and loved going to their movies, I made sure I saw every one ever made until about 10 years ago. Then I just kind of forgot about them. Though I sill watch their films with my son from time to time.

Anyhow here I am in Asia, and people tend to ignore copy write laws here, everyone is free to print a mickey mouse shirt, and sell it on a street corner for 5 dollars, people buy them cheap and wear them. On my ninety minute walk today I was met with his cute little face no less that four times. They have little mickey logos on polo shirts, he is on bags and hats etc. People like him, he advertises Disney, and they are doing it for free.

Back home no one wears mickey, its not that he isn’t cute, but the local Disney store from where I lived was about a 45 minute drive, and the shirts are $30 each. Why bother ?

I forget all about Mickey back home, good job copy write lawyers.

Epic Fail Disney (wonder if I will get sued now)

Third of all beer t-shirts.

OK lots of people love beer, and lots of people travel and would love to have a beer shirt from places they have been. But beer companies want to be the only ones selling their shirts. The shirts on most of the official beer company sites are quite expensive, say about $30 plus shipping. So I would assume generally the people don’t buy them.

I used to sell a particular beer shirt on my website and was forced to take it down. I had outranked their official site on the Google Searches and I guess they didn’t like that. By the way I had surfed there official clothing site four times or so and had found it very difficult to find the actual shirts, it was painful to look for them through all the graphics, not to mention I had checked there Internet traffic numbers and they just didn’t get that many people. Basically a really bad site with lots of good graphics.

Why on earth don’t they want people to run around with their beer logos on their chest? I mean they spend millions if not billions on beer ads, billboards and event sponsorship. When did these guys decide that free advertising was a bad thing?

Beer Company, Epic Fail

This is a common pattern in current international big business, they so busy protecting their copy writes they have forgotten all about maximizing profits. They don’t even realize they are shooting themselves in the foot.

Way to go big business, when I go get my beer tonight I will forget to get one from your company, I wont have a new CD to listen to as I drink it, and my son wont be bugging me to watch a Disney film or go to Disneyland tomorrow. I hope you have somehow made enough profit elsewhere to make up for a world that is no longer craving your items, and that you somehow survive  in the future as more and more people forget you exist.