With my web log (blog), I will just log some reactive comments on things going on in the world, mixed with recent things going on in my personal life which may be of interest to friends and associates.

2012 February

It is extremely frustrating how little time I have to spend on my humanistic pursuits -- space settlement and the human extinction issues. Nobody pays me anything for this, and practically no donations come in on my websites. I depend on my private business to support everything, all on my own shoulders.

Unfortunately, my business had a major setback in 2011. I depend mostly on my real estate business, helping expats coming to Bangkok, Thailand to find a home to rent (house, condo, apartment), most of them working expats. Bangkok is at the mouth of a huge river, at nearly sea level, a flat sedimentary flood plane which has been above sea level for only a very few thousands of years.

In late 2011, there was the greatest flood on record since the other great flood in 1942, with massive economic damage. Many entire industrial estates were flooded with massive damages. My neighborhood was flooded for more more than a month, under up to 1 meter of water, and we were one of the later ones hit and not nearly as bad as others.

The international news on this was, of course, sensational, and not in detail.

In any case, we had a dramatic drop-off in arriving customers over a 3 month period, while our office overhead expenses remained the same.

2011 New Year

New Year is always a special time to review events and progress over the past year, the resolutions & goals of the previous New Year, and goals for the next year.

I never go away on holiday for New Year since hotels are largely booked, choices reduced, and good choices more expensive, plus plane fares more expensive, more crowds, and there are drunks out driving the highways. Sometimes I take my break a week or two early since foreigners often wind down for the Christmas - New Year break, but this year it may be a post New Year break.

I enjoyed just relaxing in and around home with my wife. We plan to go to a nature retreat this month, perhaps in the mountains of Chiang Mai, visit some good friends, and I also want to visit a permaculture project there, plus of course write and work on some personal projects. It's good to get away from interruptions and distractions, though it's always a concern to leave our business and customers all in the hands of staff, and we never let go entirely, though my wife is an excellent manager for me.

The last few years with my wife have been the happiest in my life going back quite awhile, and the future looks very interesting.

2011 January 5 - sports, and team / fan loyalty vs. selfish money

Sports ... it gives us another prism to look at human nature. I see it as the tribal warfare instinct in humans. It's insane at times.

My in-the-city weekday apartment has only 3 foreign channels -- CNN, NatGeo, and a sports channel which shows mainly soccer, cricket, rugby, and everything else besides American football -- but surprise, one morning they were playing the game of my alma mater, the #8 Arkansas Razorbacks, playing the #6 Ohio State Buckeyes in a BCS finale. 12 hour time zone difference.

This time, the end of the American college football season, is also the time when many top college football players make a decision on whether to go pro rather than return for their last year on their university team. I find it questionable when a teammate sells out for cash, choosing money over typically about a million loyal home state fans and alumni, and over teammate loyalty, too. Incredible. They're unlikely to have as much playing time or stardom on the field in the pros as they are in college football. It's all about the money.

If there are special circumstances, maybe there could be exceptions, such as if they come from a very poor and needy family and/or intend to donate a huge chunk of their pro salary to youth development in their community, or something like that.

However, most of them appear to do it for one reason: just money for themselves. Never mind anybody else. Good bye loyal home fans and teammates, just let them down and head for another place where they know nobody but there is a stack of cash waiting. Supremely selfish.

The encouraging thing is that most top players stick to their teammates and their loyal fans, rather than go for the money in the pros, including a lot of top student athletes who come from poor families. Those are good role models and leaders. It's good to see them among the next generation.

15 September 2010: Exports Company Started

We have now officially registered a new company to get our exports business going, and to diversify my business.

Feb 24, 2008, Sunday: Aging and Retirement

Visions of old age ... sat near an old lady at Starbucks in Future Park (outer suburban Bangkok) and had a small chat. I like talking with old people, who tend to have wisdom plus they have free time and in retirement tend to not be too preoccupied with business or family or mating. This old lady had very charming English, and spoke to me in old accustomed ways, like a proud daughter of a foregone generation who knew the knowledge of other lands. She was from Calcutta, a lifelong teacher. However...

... periodically this lady kept repeating herself, revealing she's in early Alzheimers with serious memory problems. Scary that someday we could be this way. She told me she was bored with retirement, and I've seen retired people go to pot mentally, but this was different. She "came to Bangkok for a change in scenery", something I can relate to as I find changes in scenery refreshing, which is why I like to travel. She was physically very fit walking but looks very old, balding, prune face, aging spots... Someday, we may all be like that. Don't wait to retire to do your best works in life. And I wonder how much she will remember of this trip, much less be able to share with the world. If you lose your mind, what have you got left in life?

Don't wait until you're old to do your best works in life.

P.S. When she left, she forgot her bags, but her companion soon came back for them. (As usual in suburban Bangkok, nobody else touched them.)

Feb 23 2008, Saturday

Had a private investigation case for a lady in Australia who wondered why her husband went to Bangkok often "for business" -- over the weekend (only Saturday-Sunday) -- and didn't give her his hotel location. She's pregnant so I was dreading the possibility of breaking bad news to her. In these infidelity cases, I feel like I have the job of the military men who go to knock on the door of parents whose son was a casualty in action. Never a casual job despite its repetition.

Agents followed him from the airport (one lady agent this day being too pretty to do surveillance, so I was concerned she'd be noticed and remembered, hence I took her place later), and he went to the top notch Intercontinental Hotel, so I decided to join this one for a change in scenery from home, by sitting in the lobby to watch and do internet and write. So I essentially get paid per hour to sit there and write freely, just glance at passers-by, notify surveillance if he's on his way out, and take any photos if he's with a lady.

Fortunately, to our surprise, it was really just business, as he sat with two colleagues in the lobby near me discussing business, and they went out for a dinner and returned without even entertainment after dinner ("this is Bangkok"), and didn't go out. We left at 2am. What a relief this must be to his wife. (I later found out from her that he was sent with his wife's friend's husband, so this job is not over.)

The cost of these places is astonishing. I would never pay nearly $200 per night for a hotel room. Internet WiFi from the hotel is 428 baht ($13) for the first hour, and about $30 per day from the hotel, and you must go buy an account and log in. However, there's a free WiFi within range. :-) So many cheap hotels give you internet for free. Hotels like this are for the ostentatious and wasteful rich, and it's like they're always trying to find another way to pad your bill.

I could do so much with offshore labor on humanistic causes for that kind of money ...

Finding free time to write is often a challenge, and at times I've wished I was a security guard on the night shift, seeing how those guys have such free time (which they squander watching commercial TV, not the CCTV). I could live cheap and get paid to research and write whatever I wanted. My own P.I. company and surveillance is the next best thing, and it gives me changes in venue, as well as forcing me to see diverse parts of life.

The personal stories I get from customers are like living vicariously, but there is a major counselling part to the job. However, like my psychologist father, I get the same themes and stories over and over ... and wish I could find a good replacement for myself on counselling days like those. Oh, the emotional dramas...

Surveillance and P.I. work is not easy, and customer satisfaction is always a challenge. So much is out of our control.

Feb 22 Friday

Have a P.I. case in Petchabun province that I would really love to help out on because everyone says it's such a beautiful area.

(It's just visiting an address to find out about a Thai wife who has either neglected or broken off communications with her worried British husband, shortly after returning home, and there are children here, too. We can't do the case immediately because of weekend surveillance booking, and normally send two people upcountry for safety reasons, not a Thai lady alone. It has been an exceptionally busy week at P.I., a very unstable business.)

People say that Petchabun city is unique in that it's very green and surrounded by forest. Petchabun province is mountainous and a popular retreat for Thai tourists. There are also a lot of Dvaravati ruins spread around, up to about 1500 years old, but they are in an advanced state of decay here in the tropics. Nonetheless, it's nice to just go visit those places and sit there awhile and meditate.

Unfortunately, I have a major American customer who just arrived here to buy a luxury condominium with a signed contract to complete it by Wednesday, and have inspection and legal matters to handle Friday-Wednesday.

February in general:

After getting back from my vacation up north, I've been catching up on business, and trying to set up standard operating procedures (SOP) for others to take over more of my tasks, yet for our customer services to be reasonably complete and exceptionally high quality. This is a constant challenge of business, and is why mine has grown so slowly. I could do a lot better about training and wish I had someone in my company or a partner good at this.

I feel like screaming HELP !!!!!!!

Trip to Northern Thailand and Myanmar (Burma)

This is covered in my Travel blogs, and my style of travelling

  • Northern Thailand - motorcycling thru remote Thailand mountains, Myanmar (Burma), Golden Triangle

  • Chiang Mai

  • 700+ year old capital - Sukhothai, Sri Satchanalai (best of all), Chaliang

    21 January 2008, Saturday - Island work

    No mobile phone signal, and internet doesn't work, so what Heaven to be free from interruptions and distractions! I don't want to go back, but we got only 2 days free at the resort, plus my passport visa expires this week and I've neglected to clean up my paperwork. Rather than pay my lawyer, I'd rather just use that money to exit Thailand and visit somewhere else again. So it looks like a good week off!

    We have the most beautiful and classy beach of Koh Samet (Samet Island). It is only top end resorts with beautifully architectured dwellings in an ecologically preserved environment. The sands are pristine, beautiful little fish swim along the edge of the water (and some star fish washed up), and the rock outcroppings on both edges are beautiful. My daughter has collected a wide variety of rocks.

    There's no ferry for cars, as they aren't allowed on the island, but we rented a motorcycle our last day to explore, and I've got to say that the other beaches are not nearly as nice in comparison to our beach, Ao Phrao, and seem to be getting a bit overrun. However, the Thais are doing a good job at preserving the island as best they can despite the tourist onslaught to Thailand. Fortunately, the forest / jungle inland has been left alone.

    I've edited this website plus our website extensively, plus put in some additions as noted in the What's New menu selection.

    19 January 2008, Saturday - Island Resort Preparations

    I plan to spend two days on an island resort with my daughter and wife, driving down tomorrow morning. One of our staff in my wife's property business won an award of two nights at a resort for FREE, from a big public relations event in Pattaya, and kindly gave the two tickets to her boss, my wife. We looked it up on the internet, and my wife called to confirm. Free, unbelievable ... but if they reneg, there are always cheap bungalows around the island for $20.

    I love to write in nature, but I started to jump the gun on Saturday while at home packing for the next day. I extensively edited the Issues page just to warm me up for discussions with my wife on the drive down. It's a 3 hour drive to the ferry. The island is Koh Samet, which is technically a national park, and is a quiet, non-party (generally) island.

    12 January 2008, Saturday - Friend visits; Issue: Working Class to Very Wealthy

    I spent some time with a friend in his mid-30s who became extremely wealthy. He comes from the working class, but when a childless investor died, the investor's wife gave him custody of an immense investment fund. He's a very trusting and trustworthy guy, which is probably why that happened, and he had been educated and worked in investments, so it's not a complete surprise, but it's still awesome.

    He has plans to create some eco-friendly resorts, maybe the first of their kind, on some prime land now owned by a company I set up for him and a number of Thai entities, whereby I am project manager at the moment, and I've already lined up the best Thai architect and experienced, detail-oriented project manager (in my opinion) for this kind of project.

    However, I am always worried about people who come into money. This friend is still his good self, very generous and well intentioned with people, but I worry about his health and lifestyle. I've seen some people where coming into an inheritance or major business success can be the worst thing that happens to them health wise, and/or their power brings out the worst in them. In this case, I'm worried only about his health. He's a rare kind of person.

    It's also a major responsibility to watch someone's back when multiple entities and a lot of money are involved. Since he's a caring person, I care.

    (Of course, his identity is extremely confidential.)

    2007-2008 New Years

    Just lots of end-of-the-year housekeeping, and avoiding crowds. I'm not a party animal. New Years Eve and Day are when I sort thru my last year's Outlook emails and kind've close the books on the last year, at a leisurely pace, going thru the experiences of the past year during the email sorting. Wow, what a year. And even more surprisingly, it's almost 2010. What have I been doing with the time of my life ...

    22 December 2008

    Flew to Phuket for a few days for a project. Was set up in a nice big resort on the south tip of the island, overlooking some small adjacent islands, and it was a full moon. Since it wasn't my personal business, I didn't take any time to write, though I did explore and absorb the "ecologically friendly" claims of the resort.

    However, I don't feel good about the way these places pull at your wallet every way they can, like amazingly expensive hourly internet whereby you must go buy recharge cards at the front desk instead of just opening up your computer and getting complimentary service, since the tenants are already paying a few hundred dollars per night for one room units which actually aren't very big (or, in this case, my sponsor's wallet, as I wouldn't pay that much!).

    I'm happy in any place, as long as it has a comfortable bed, is quiet, no mosquitoes, decent bathroom, and a nice environment around it. I appreciate the finer elements of these high end places, but I wouldn't pay that kind of price.

    There are so many rich people in the world, and it is in resorts like this that you see them (people watching). My room was one of the cheapest, at $275, but even my little room went up to nearly $1000 per night starting on Christmas Eve and continuing past New Years, which is why I left.

    I just keep thinking of what I could do with that money invested otherwise rather than spent, or how much free time it would buy me.

    And I'd take a $20 bungalow on the beach run by a middle class community operator and relaxed staff and be just as happy, indeed feel better about the resources spent. 2007 October 27 - Bangalore, India

    I started this blog page in Bangalore, India, during a brief trip. Unlike a lot of places in this world where I spend a lot of time exploring, Bangalore's not such a nice place. It's good to take a break and get away from all of Bangkok's work demands and be able to focus on the big picture and compose some things without interruptions.

    You can see my Bangalore, India trip article.
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