July in Bangkok, Part I

After June

July 1-5, 2005

Friday, July 1, 2005

The red screen of death!

I'd heard of the 'blue screen of death': when Windows is murdered or commits suicide or just gives up the ghost. But, let me go back about nine hours to shift the spectrum.

This morning on the way to coffee I noticed that my Sony VAIO screen was black. 'Odd', I thought, as I never use the hybernate mode. So I clicked the 'enter' button a couple of times and for a very brief second I saw my page in crimson ink ... and then it went instantly to black. Now, very concerned, I force-clicked the 'off' switch (using manual override) and restarted the Sony ... again for one tiny moment there appeared the word "VAIO" in that same scary blood red ink, only for it to disappear into the black.

The hard drive seems to be working OK ... it made all the proper noises as it was starting up so I think the fault lies somewhere in the world of the occult. Perhaps the occupants of our 'spirit houses' have felt slighted; Watcharee regularly gives them wholesome food but I notoriously neglect them.

Whatever, I am now on a spare machine: one that I have not used in a long time. So, I'll take this opportunity to see what old out-takes are in its memory.

Here goes:

Saturday, July 2, 2005

What is the life expectancy of a computer? I mean her real 'life'; not when you, as the user, are experiencing a 'seven year itch' ... and start looking around for something fresher off the shelf. I want to know how long can you reasonably expect your digital mate to breathe ... assuming you intend to remain monogamous to the end?

I have had a dozen or so digital mates over the years. Most of them have been cast aside when I found something younger and more beautiful. But, a couple of them have died prematurely. This last happened to me yesterday. My Sony VAIO, which I have loved ever since I bought her, died sometime during the night. Today I am back with my "mia noi" (*). She is not grumpy for having been neglected for so long. But, I am not sure what she is going to say when I take delivery of my thirteenth mate tomorrow night. I pray that she just quietly folds away and says, "I'm always here when you need me."

(*) "Mia noi" in Thai literally means "minor wife". She has a status similar to a mistress in the west.

PS: From my friend, Don Bull:

Good-bye to Your Partner in Love

It is so hard to say Good-bye.
The tears pour forth, as we all cry
We want to see that face, that smile.
We won't be ready, for a while

To say Good-bye to one we knew
Who lived and loved and laughed so true.
We realize a broken heart
Is there inside you and: Apart

From all the things, we do not say
We wanted you to know today
That your love was a gentle kind
Of tenderness. So hard to find.

And though we may not say much more
Outside that giant hardwood door,
For it would cause more tears to flow,
We still wanted you to know:

We say good-bye to your Partner in Love ...
And pray God saves your place ... above.

Sunday, July 3, 2005

Please Stand By. Repairs Are Currently In Progress.

Monday, July 4, 2005

He is a twenty-something 'graduate' of Pantip Plaza ... 'mall-smart' in a Petchaburi Road way!

Thanks to him THOCBDC is ready to broadcast again. During the day Panya works for True (my Bangkok broadband service); at night and on Sundays he operates his own company: Panya Computer and Networks.

Faster than Gateway or Dell could ever have done it Panya had custom built for me a desktop machine according to my specifications ... OK, he asked what I wanted but then he made some helpful suggestions. The surprise: he hand delivered the finished product less than 24 hours later. Plus, he updated all of my software and he even attached some of the quirky and ancient peripherals that I had previously 'umbilicaled' to my now dead VAIO.

Computers are cheap in Thailand. (*)

I am very happy.

(*) Cars are not!

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Most of you already know that this was going to be a Sofitel hotel. But, for years it has remained unfinished. When THOCBDC first moved to Bangkok this hulk was already a zombie. THOCBDC even visited it twice; photographing its abandoned bowels. There was no sign of life.

Bangkok's skyline is 'peopled' with many of the city's concrete walking dead. Most of them stopped breathing in 1997: at the moment of the great Thai monetary crisis. Not so the Sofitel! It, many say, joined the walking dead just because of ghosts. Since ghosts are an important part of Thai beliefs (*) this was an obviously 'killing' sales point for the property and its lenders.

Sometime in late 2003 or 2004 the place was bought by the Hilton folks. They have scheduled an opening for December of this year ... the Bangkok Hilton (sister of Paris?). I am not sure what the new owners did about the ghosts. Maybe they handled it a typical Thai way: paid them money to go away. (**)

In the past, when in a lazy or non-creative mood, I have photo-chronicled its remake from our back porch here at River Garden. Today is another one of my unimaginative days. Enough apology. Now it appears that the construction workers have finally gutted the revolving bar on the top of the building.

(*) My wife's mother has a powerful string1 (blessed by a monk) that weaves its way through the frame of her house in Ayutthaya. It is a barrier through which ghosts can not pass.

(**) I doubt that they used strings.

1 Yes, it appears to be just ordinary household string: white, wound and thin ... the same stuff you'd find in your kitchen drawer at home.

PS: Mandy writes: "Boring!"

Next: Part II

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