Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket

We have a room near the kiddie pool. Which means we also have a room near 3 adult pools, the inner tube river, the diving pool, five or six waterslides, a big whirlpool hot tub, a stepped plateau of semi-hidden wading pools, plus this big pond called the Andaman Sea.

I took the kids out to play when I was watching them today; Nam went to her conference. I was careful to slather them down with sunscreen which of course meant I forgot to put any on myself. There is nothing worse than being forced into the hot sun when you have kids screaming for you to come in the pool and the sunscreen is back in the room. I took one for the team and got burned a little — it was worth it, though. Taught the little rascals how to close their mouth and nose and dunk their heads underwater, and little things like that are priceless.

Haven’t taken so many photos yet, and I’m frankly sick of seeing tourists take so many photos of their ugly ass selves, but here are a few shots from our balcony.

Free SMS Messaging in Gmail

This could be a killer new feature for some people. Apparently Google at least partially pays for it by the return messages from the mobile device (that you’ve first sent a message from Gmail).

The way it works is that you start with 50 credits (displayed in the Gmail chat window where you send the initial SMS message). Every SMS message you send from Gmail uses one credit. Every message replied to from a mobile device restores 5 credits (for a maximum of 50). If you use all the credits, 1 credit will be restored automatically in 24 hours. So I guess you could game the system (because you’re a rebel screwing the system, man) by never replying from a mobile device.

So I’ve been trying it with both supported carriers (DTAC and True) in Thailand this morning, and there’s one big problem: The messages are arriving to the phones 8 to 10 minutes after I send them from Gmail. Too slow. The return messages are much faster, taking 2 or 3 minutes, but this is also very slow compared to sending between mobile devices in-country. I hope Google can use their magic influence to make their free SMS messaging a bit more usable in Thailand, but maybe it’s a case of you get what you pay for.

welcome home

Dear keys (that I have written off found),

Well screw you then. Welcome home. Everyone suspected the babies of throwing you away or hiding you somewhere, but it was just me accidentally leaving you somewhere in the house I would not have found you for months (if not for looking for something else today). I’m sorry for having already replaced you (except for you, Mr. Laser Cut), but you are my daily carrying set and those new guys are relegated to backup status now. Just don’t get lost again, k?

P.S. Pass on the “don’t get lost” thing to Mr. Wallet as well.

Your creator,

Toyota reviving Nobunaga (Toyota ReBorn), plus killer killer whales

Linkdump follows:

Any modern car ad using a 1960’s S40 Crown is worth watching in my opinion, but the CM being referred to (and uploaded to Youtube just 3 hours ago) is just indecipherable. The making of video isn’t much help, either.

Killer whales attack and eat sharks: In itself, not news but apparently orcas screw with sharks the way that dolphins screw with bait balls, using their cunning mammalian brains

This Chinese Village Is So Rich It Built A Fake Great Wall And Arc De Triomphe: I’m not sure those are signs of wealth by themselves — the small Japanese island I used to live on had miniature versions of those and several other famous structures at their aging amusement park, and the last I heard pretty much every last notable business went to shit (probably entirely coincidental with my leaving, but sorry to all my friends there just in case).

(At least one of the links above are from somebody, probably Mark, on Google+, but I can’t find it now)

doncha wanna come home?

Dear Keys (that I have lost),

I did not mean to lose you, and yet, your being away from home (an assumption based on my 2 hours of frantic searching with a flashlight to check dark spaces) is entirely my fault. I knew you were gone from your safe place (my pocket) from last night, because for some reason, I thought I had left you in the car.

I went to the shop to look for you in my Crown, but since I did not see you right away, I figured you were in my wife’s car. Now that I’ve searched my wife’s car three times with increasing levels of thoroughness, the last time even checking under floor mats and seat backs, I’m truly sorry I did not look harder through my Crown when I had the chance. I’ll do it tomorrow, I promise.

Please be there. Please wait for me. I will come for you, I promise (especially the spare key to my wife’s car that’s laser cut and has an embedded IC chip which has the twin qualities of being both [A] a great theft deterrent and [B] outrageously expensive — I’m coming for you, babies). Whether you be in daddy’s Crown, or at the copy shop behind the university, or at my desk at work (probably not, I just called a late-working coworker to check for me), or at the car audio shop, or at the body shop, or at one of several 7-11s I buy the human baby’s milk boxes at, I WILL COME FOR YOU!

My word is bond, yo.

All I ask is that you give me another chance.


P.S. I must admit that if it weren’t for you, you goddamn chip-embedded laser-cut bastard darling, I wouldn’t have bothered writing this.

We are Hos (love everybody) + special Tinglish Bonus

“Bye Nior” is a common Tinglish (Thai English) term meaning “graduation party” (goodBYE to the seNIORs)., which this flyer posted on a window at Maha Sarakham University is apparently advertising.

As for the hos, I think they are trying to convey that they will be our hosts/hostesses.

So, does anyone want to go to a graduation party with a bunch of hos?

Crown build progress

Post-respray, aged trim parts removed for chroming


Cutting a new rear speaker shelf


Perhaps the original (40 year old!) rear speaker shelf, at some point apparently modified by an epileptic monkey with children's scissors


New interior door panels and glove box being fitted


A pump we found in the passenger-side door apparently for a Mercedes-style pneumatic door lock system. I've never heard of this being used on Crowns and doubt it is original, but as they say, Crowns are Japanese Benzos


The taillight frames were apparently very difficult to chrome because they are made from strange 1970's not-quite-metallic material

the car, she is black now

Car Restoration Vertigo

I finally got my Crown out of the body shop that had taken her hostage for five months… Now she’s in my friend’s car audio/accessory shop getting shit done that was supposed to be done by the body shop, plus getting shit fixed that the body shop screwed up… They even lost a bunch of parts: Interior panels, various covers, the entire glove box (!), plus pretty much every type of clip, screw, bolt, pin and other fastener needed to keep everything together.

My pal, Ot, and his guys at Wattana Sound are busy refitting chrome parts, repaneling the interior, crafting new doors, making a new glove box (haha), plus fitting a bunch of cool secret stuff.

I actually have to take the Crown back to the shitty body shop to attempt to get some of the paint job fixed (they couldn’t even get the paint done right in five months). They promise it will be fixed in one day. We’ll see. Meanwhile, I’m taking build photos whenever I visit Ot’s shop and am getting obsessive about certain details, which is a good sign of progress… It shall be done soon, I swear.

raw onion

Today, Mina got so hungry in the car that she pulled an onion from a grocery bag, started peeling it, and had every intention of sinking her teeth into it until her mother took it away. I wanted her to try it, but Nam wouldn’t hear of it.

Max’s current thing is suddenly crouching into low kung fu poses and declaring, “LET’S FIGHT,” before assaulting you with low kicks and spinning back fists. Ultraman and Masked Rider are his current inspirations.