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Saturday, September 22, 2012

FOUR DAYS TILL LEAVING SE ASIA

NARRATIVE

Still hanging around Cambodia eating Mexican food.  In about four days unless everything goes to hell a plane should be winging me rapidly toward Istanbul.   Since enough of this town has been seen to  be ignored, books have been read and a pretty awful free MMORPG called 'Crystal Saga' have been my only indulgences.

It will be nice to return to the Republic of Georgia.



SHOE STORY

Since making the extremely minimal effort at health known as 'walking around', shoes have begun to be demolished as rapidly as cheesecakes in times past.  Not only have my Czech walking shoes moved into the irreparable category but yet another pair of sandals has been lost.

Only the left shoe of the sandals seems to get destroyed.  Apparently left handed is indeed left footed as forensics has taught and the strain upon the primary foot greater.  This has ruined yet another left sandal.   Should it have been the right, perhaps mismatched sandals could have been added to patched and sewn shorts and - regrettably - tee-shirts.

Asia has become synonymous with a vast over abundance of shoe stores.   Should all shoe stores be forced to close and give their stock without charge to the inhabitants of the country, every person would be ten pair of shoes to the better.

Sadly the fashion of these shoes is regrettably Asian.  Shoes made by the same culture that thinks multicolored lights within a mouse which twinkle incessantly does not make the sort of unobtrusive goods I prefer.  Not being a teenage girl nor redneck, these sorts of overenthusiastic products are made to attract attention.

Better if my shoes made no sort of statement than quiet and competent.  Gaudiness pulls attention from where I'd prefer it - my face and my words just as the  overenthusiastic mouse draws attention from the computer screen with it's needless incessant carnival light show.

Knowing that any pair of sandals I purchased with the shoddy workmanship endemic to Asia will perish within a couple months, I went for low price and managed to ruthlessly bargain a poor lady down to $10.  Given that I may have been her only customer for the day it eludes me how she and others are able to keep their stalls open.




BOOK REVIEWS

John Keegan, "Winston Churchill - A Life".

Long have I had an abiding interest in Winston Churchill.  Arguably the greatest Englishman ever and certainly one of the most determined people to have lived.  Long conversations chiding my friend Matt Lunn that he wasn't nearly as cool as Winston Churchill come to mind.  His retort that I wasn't all that cool fell of deaf ears as I wasn't even English.

Reading this book helped dispel some of the illusions about W.S.  He was a great man - but a deeply flawed.  He was extremely smart but prone to many poor choices.

Overall, an excellent book.  It was detailed without becoming dull.  Unlike some of the other biographies of W.S. I've read this one kept things moving along at a fast enough clip you could listen to it without either nodding off or slitting your wrists.



Stephen Fry "Moab is My Washpot"

Prior to listening to this, I only had three thoughts on Stephen Fry:

1.  He is a 'treasure of England'.  This is the guy whose sonorous voice did the wildly money generating 'Harry Potter' audio books.  And, he just seems to be a 'treasure of England' though I'm sure that many people - including Stephen Fry - may disagree with that.

2.  He is a very smart person.  I've seen him on QI - 'Quite Interesting'.  I know that they feed him a lot of the answers and such via an ear piece, but this guy strikes me as very smart indeed.

3.  He is funny and has been in several comedy TV shows and movies.

After listening to the first twenty years of his life in autobiographical terms, my opinion of him is the same as of Winston Churchill after listening to a biography of him.  Both men are deeply flawed individuals, very human and it would be very nice to know them personally.  They are interesting people.

As to the book itself, Mr. Fry is very easy to listen to.  Much of what he says is interesting though he goes off onto huge tangents and a bit of rambling.  Since it is his autobiography, I feel he is allowed to do so.  Glad I heard it though it won't become something like the Discworld  series that I like to listen to again after a period of time has passed.


The Fry Chronicles - an Autobiography

This book picks up where 'Moab' leaves off and covers the next decade.

Although it is an interesting look into the rapid catapulting into fame, it wasn't as endearing as Moab.  Also, he makes  quick reference to many names, businesses, products and such that - not being English - I've never heard of.  For his countrymen, these probably bring a quick whiff of memory.  For foreigners, they become tedious lists of no consequence to the overall narrative.

Interesting but not as poignant as Moab.


Stuff White People Like


Currently listening to the book "Stuff White People Like".  As the philosopher Homer Simpson once said "It's funny because it's true."

They even covered an experience I've noted earlier in my blog about how upset other white people get when they are traveling abroad, in an obscure place and spot a fat white guy lounging around.  Since this destroys both their 'unique experience' as well as the 'authenticity' and they no longer feel like some sort of explorer, they become sad and upset.

Wack jobs.

The book itself is ironic and humorous.  Reading it immediately brings to mind many people who are white and middle class I know.  Disturbingly, I myself have done many of the things listed there.

More disturbingly, various directors and such listed are completely unfamiliar.

I don't feel like I am being a good white person.  I didn't even get a liberal arts degree.

I recommend this audio book.



LUMSIE STORIES (NERO LARP)

Lumsie loved the undead. Being a necromancer was great. Story: I was up at a chapter in Canada. It was dark and foggy out and all of the PC's were hiding in their cabins. "What's up?" Oh, I was told, there are loads of undead out there. We're going to stay in here till the morning. "Bugger that." So Lumsie wanders out of the warded cabin. Immediately two death knights jump out of the shadows. "Take me to your leader, beotches!" One is into it, the other makes lots of threats. I am taken to the leader. He rants about how it is his town, everyone is his subjects and he will crush everyone. Including me. Then, he asks who I am. "Brother Lumsie!" The guy playing the NPC and the NPC himself were both of one mind at this point. "Oh my god!" He gushes. "I have always wanted to meet you!" Big hand shakes and back slapping all around. Lumsie points to one of the death knights. "He was mean to me." Glower and a growled "I will deal with him...later..." The death knight shifted uneasily. I was then taken on a tour of the town and given armed death knight escort back to my cabin when tired. Upon gaining entry "Were you OK?" "Yeah", I responded. "Pretty quiet out there..."

Lumsie was hanging out in the woods.  There were half dozen ogres wandering around throwing up.  Their blood had apparently been tainted.  Tempest (Seth Warfield) wandered up and screeched in the high pitched dragon voice "Lumsie!  What happened?"  Lumsie, looking panicked said "Plague!  Real sudden like!  Best I should go!" and scurried off.  Tempest glared after Lumsie grunting "Uh huh..."


Big I'm not sure but one that comes to mind:  Lumsie has undead for parents.  'Not consorting' is simply not able to be done as it would be 'rude'.  So, it is Lumsie's birthday, Oct 31.

There were only a few people in the tavern.  Lumsie's mother (played by Amy L) - a very nasty vampire - swoops into the tavern with several minions.  Everything stops.  The people who are there are either unwilling or unable to take on this level of Fa King undead.  Plus, to do so might start a really nasty interplanular war.  They just sit, riveted to their seats.

Amy had baked me a chocolate cake.

It got very 'upper class English' after that.  "Lumsie are you being good?"  "Yes mummy!" and so on.

She would alternatively threaten and speak at the other people in the tavern.  Whenever she had her back turned, I stuffed as much of the chocolate cake into my mouth as possible.  When she looked back, sit up straight and attentive - with huge chunks of chocolate cake falling out of my mouth.

She utterly failed to notice - by design is my guess since my face looked like I'd eaten out a chocolate golem.

"Yes mummy!" I'd say in stereotypical upper crust English to whatever question she had or statement she made then back to the face stuffing.

The thing I remember most about that whole scene was the frozen looks on the witnesses faces, halfway between humor and horror.  It was a nice birthday for Lumsie.




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PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan | Portugal: Faro

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