Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Goldfingers Still Smoking

FBF saw Randy this week (first time in over 4 years) and he made a point to state that the smoking lamp is still lit at Goldfinger's. There may be the occasional overblown shootout on Patpong but Randy's place is always a good place to escape the throngs.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hua Hin Regatta 2009

Hua Hin Regatta 2009
Date : 30 July-3 August 2009
Venue : Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan

At the close of the month, 30 July, sailors gather for the annual Hua Hin Regatta 2008 that will test their skills over three days of competition. The coveted trophies are the Royal Vega Rudder trophy of His Majesty the King, Super Mod National Championship trophy from HM the King, OK Dinghy National Championship trophy from HM the Queen, and Princess Cup for Optimist Championship of the late HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana.

Hua Hin is considered the traditional home for the country’s sailing community, due to HM the King’s keen interest in the sport. A Southeast Asia Games winner in the sailing category, HM the King built his own racing dinghy and helped to establish the Super Mod class and is an enthusiastic patron of sailing resulting in this annual regatta being held in his honour off the coast of Hua Hin in sight of the palace.


From Long distance sailing across the gulf to the 10th Hua Hin Regatta

Forty years ago, His Majesty The King Bhumibol Adulyadej an accomplish
yatchman who was a boat designer, builder and racer sailed the OK Class dinghy,
"Vega 1, number Th 18" he build across Gulf of Thailand from Klaikungwon Palace,
Hua Hin, Prachuab Khiri Khan to Toeyngam Harbour in Marine headquarters,
Sattahip, Chonburi. The journey covered 60 nautical miles and took almost 17 hours.

The occurrence was marked notable considering the the fact that His Majesty
The King solely built and sailed the sailboat across the sea by his own hands.

His Majesty The King set the Marine flag on the historical stone pillar. Owing
to that, the Royal Yatch Association of Thailand under the royal patronage of His
Majesty the king founded in 1964, hosted the sailing across Thai Gulf competition to
commemorate His Majesty’s great role as the first pioneer in long distance sailing in Thailand.

Above all,His Majesty the King was also generously gave Royal Vega
Rudder to the champion of the long distance sailing competition. This trophy would
be handed to the winners of each year and their names would be inscribed on it.

This year, the 10th Hua Hin Regatta will take place from the 29 of July to the
2rd of August 2009 on the beach near Sofitel Centara Grand Resort and Villa.
Hua Hin.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Coming Soon to a Pizza.* Near You

News.com.au reports (news.com.au doesn't seem to believe in permanent links so if you want to read the story you'll need to Google Sunday Telegraph pad thai) that The Sunday Telegraph states Thai Tops Pizza As Fattiest Takeaway:

IT'S cheap and tasty but full of fat: Pad Thai has beaten pizza to be rated one of our unhealthiest takeaway dishes.

Australians spend on average 10 per cent of their food budget on takeaway dishes that are mostly too high in kilojoules and drowning in fat and salt.

A survey by consumer group Choice compared popular Thai, Chinese, Italian and Indian dishes with pizzas, chicken and fish and chips, and found some Asian specialties were laden with nasties.


"Pad Thai, which is probably one of Australia's favourite takeaway meals, tops the list of all the Thai dishes both because of the fat content - it's a noodle dish so it's energy dense - and also the sodium involved," Choice spokeswoman Elise Davidson said.
Not to be outdone, which of our local pizza giants will offer the Pad Thai Pizza first?

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Taco Bell May Have Red Tacos But Hua Hin's Got Dom Yam Pizza

OK, it has absolutely nothing to do with Hua Hin but Serious Eats has a great story on the rebirth of the Volcano Taco.

First introduced last September, the Volcano Taco appeared on Taco Bell's menu for only three months. Whether it was the red crunchy taco shell (just the normal one with artificial dyes) or the spicy orange goop (which goes by "Lava Sauce") or the limited-time-only appeal, people were into it. Really into it. When it disappeared from menus, Facebook groups formed with folks acting like it was the fast-food apocalypse—even worse than when the Crazy Gordita Crunch left us.

Thankfully, all the members of "I Refuse to Go to Taco Bell Until They Bring Back the Volcano Taco" can stop freaking out. It's back as a permanent item, joined by the Volcano Double Beef Burrito. Both have the pretty standard taco and burrito skeleton (ground beef, shredded lettuce and cheese, sour cream) multiplied by the Lava Sauce.
We'll see it in Bo Fai just after they raze the buildings on the beach side of Naresdamri Rd. and, at 800 Scoville Units, the Lava Sauce sounds a little wimpy for Thailand, but it certainly is original.

The story is based on a tour of the Taco Bell HQ in Irvine, California, and they even let Erin play with their toys like the:

Sour Cream Gun

There's a matching device for Guacamole. These could really liven up a Songkran party.

Perhaps this will give Fred some ideas and he might even start opening for lunch again...
Check out the link at the top for the full story.


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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Latest Report on the 2009 Hua Hin Jazz Festival

A reader posts:
Oh, and speaking of the Jazz Fest, near as I can tell by visiting both venues last night, in spite of the claims that it's going to be the best yet (new management, Hua Hin 100 year celebration and all), it appears to be the worst in the 7 or so years it's been held.  They've brought back the 'boxer park' (Pone Kingpetch?) venue but there's no beer garden with tables / chairs.  It's SRO.  And the usual beer garden with large video on the beach road next to Sofitel is no longer.  The Heineken and cigarette girls are still pretty but I was nevertheless forced to a stool at Billy's Bar!
Well, FBF doesn't do jazz, or festivals, or places where he has to walk too far, so he can't attest that any of the above is true but a stool at Billy's doesn't sound bad at all.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

There's A Hole In My Soul

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead.
He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.
After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.
When he was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as
he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side

When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?" 

"This is Heaven, sir," the man answered.
"Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked.
"Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up."
The man gestured, and the gate began to open.
"Can my friend," gesturing toward his dog, "come in, too?" the traveler asked.
"I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets."
The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.
After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence.
As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.
"Excuse me!" he called to the man. "Do you have any water?"
"Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there, come on in."
"How about my friend here?" the traveler gestured to the dog.
"There should be a bowl by the pump."
They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.
The traveler filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog.
When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree.
"What do you call this place?" the traveler asked.
"This is Heaven," he answered.
"Well, that's confusing," the traveler said. "The man down the road said that was Heaven, too."
"Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's hell."
"Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?"
"No, we're just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind."
Sometimes, we wonder why friends keep forwarding jokes to us without writing a word.
Maybe this will explain.
When you are very busy, but still want to keep in touch, guess what you do? You forward jokes.
When you have nothing to say, but still want to keep contact, you forward jokes.
Also to let you know that you are still remembered, you are still important, you are still loved, you are still cared for, guess what you get?
A forwarded joke.
So, next time if you get a joke, don't think that you've been sent just another forwarded joke, but that you've been thought of today and your friend on the other end of your computer wanted to send you a smile. 

You are all welcome @ my water bowl anytime
The gentleman that sent the above to me, William (Bill) Glascoe Thompson, passed away a couple of weeks ago and I just learned of his passing last night.

I first met Bill at a Bangkok Users Group (BUG) Club meeting in early 1986. He was there with Woody Khoman, Nikhon Viravatanadej, Ramesh Indhewat, Peter Beal, Tony Waltham, probably Craig Emmott and a few other nerds whose names I can't think of right now. 

Bill was the only one who didn't use DOS and he never did.  As far as I know, he never had a Microsoft product on any of his machines. He was using CP/M at the time and was most happy when Linux came out and there are probably dozens of distros of various flavors of that OS at his house that someone will now have to figure out what to do with. He passed several to me over the years and I actually have one on a memory stick that I use on my notebook occasionally.

Bill was retired Air Force and later spent many years in Saudi and other places in the Middle East. He did his time at Utapao and moved to Thailand to live with Pom out in Bangkapi almost 40 years ago.

He had the first and probably only non-DOS based BBS in Thailand and when Tony got the go ahead to start the Database, Bill was one of the first he enlisted to write an occasional column.

Bill was an active user of many BBSs in those early days and was very helpful to those new to computers, even DOS machines.

Bill was one of those guys you read about in novels: large in stature and even larger in heart but with a voice so soft you had to listen very carefully. But you were glad you did. He wasn't like Will Rogers in that he never met a man he didn't like but he was very careful not to speak ill of anyone.

Bill's probably the only guy I know that spends more time behind a keyboard than me. He sent lots of emails to lots of people around the world. He was always forwarding this link or that joke or some odd video clip. I've saved 99% of them over the years so it took several hours to find the one quoted above.

I'm going to have more free time now and I don't like the idea that I won't be getting any more of Bill's spam. 

It's a very large hole.

As Bill's sig used to read:

Acknowledge, Forgive, Learn...

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A New Golf Course For Hua Hin?

They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Isaiah 2:4 & Micah 4:3

The Thai military budget has risen substantially since the 2006 coup (the budget before the coup was 86 billion Baht) though the recent announcement of a reduction of the budget from 171 billion Baht to 151 billion Baht (about US$4.97 billion) means that the Army will have to suspend the 3.89 billion Baht purchase of another lot of 89 armored personnel carriers (APCs) from the Ukraine. However, it seems most of the cut will be simply from the delaying the purchase of the second set of 6 Gripen fighter jets worth 15 billion Baht from Sweden.

Taxes on alcohol (other than lao khao) , tobacco, and petrol continue to climb and the government has introduced the country's first property, land, and inheritance tax legislation.
The Thai cabinet in February approved about 270 billion Baht (US$7.8 billion) in domestic and foreign borrowing to boost liquidity in state enterprises and finance infrastructure building. Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij also won cabinet approval for his request to raise 200 billion Baht (US$5.8 billion) in short-term loans from local banks to help Thailand's 58 state enterprises ease their liquidity problems this year.

A new golf course in Hua Hin might help in solving these problems and the good folks at the Army Welfare Office who maintain Suan Son Pradiphat, seem willing to oblige (beat their APCs into golf clubs?). Behind the tattered azure curtain along the highway south of town you can observe the earth moving equipment hard at work.

No details on who's designing the course or when it will open but the work is fast and furious so it shouldn't be too long. It is a great location and very convenient for those staying at the Banyan.

Perhaps the revenues will go towards reducing Thailand's 58 state enterprises ease their liquidity problems.

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Monday, June 8, 2009

UPDATE--Hua Hin Jazz Festival 2009 June 12-14

Jazz Festival web site is here.

A word to the wise. If you're driving from Bangkok, be aware that several thousands of your neighbors are doing the same thing. If you want a parking place, you should already be here. On Friday, it will probably take you an at least an hour to get from Cha Am to the Sofitel.  Double or triple that on Saturday and you'll probably end up parking at Suan Son as even the hotels with large parking lots will be filled. Traffic shouldn't be as bad as it was during the Honda Summerfest in May, but that could just be wishful thinking on FBF's part. Enjoy the festival and don't forget to help clean up when you leave.             

From The Post.


Bangkok Post/VANNIYA SRIANGURA Jun 5, 2009

Hua Hin's annual music festival is promising a blockbuster line-up from around the world.

Hua Hin will once again host of one of the world's few beachside jazz festivals over the next weekend. But the free concert event, initiated by the community simply as an activity to boost the town's tourism, is never to be underestimated.

More than 35,000 jazz fans­both locals and foreigners­packed Hua Hin beach during last year’s festival.

Since it launched in 2002, the festival (with a few changes of title and organisers over the years) has welcomed over 300,000 visitors from across the globe, while its guest lists have included some of the world's most prestigious jazz performers, including Grammy award-winner John Pattitucci and Kenny Garrett from the USA, Cannon Ball from Australia and Montefiori Cocktail from Italy.

Hua Hin Jazz Festival 2009, which will take place on June 12-14, is, as usual, hosted by Hua Hin Municipality in conjunction with Hua Hin Hoteliers Club, Provincial Authority of Prachuap Khiri Khan and the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

This year, the three-day fiesta is organised by Plus 5 and Fatima Broadcasting International and will see British jazz-funk band Shakatak, Danish jazz singer Malene Mortensen, and Brazilian bossa nova group, Popsanova, among a number of international and local artists who will perform on the stage with Hua Hin's solemn sea in the background.

This is the first time Plus 5 and its sister company, Fatima Broadcasting, have gotten their hands on the Hua Hin affair. But the two companies aren't a new face in the business. Vilasinee Chivanond of Plus 5 and Rawiwan Jinda of Fatima Broadcasting are veterans of the music industry, and that seems to be very important, especially when it comes to handling world famous performers.

''I think one of the reasons we've been selected to be this year's organisers is because we have a good profile in music festivals and experience working with a lot of international artists,'' said Vilasinee.

''Since this is a free concert, we don't have financial ability to bring in world-class big names so we need to depend on a great relationship with the artists. Luckily, we happen to have that connection in hand,'' she noted.

Other than these famous guests like Shakatak and Malene Mortensen from Europe, 2009's line up of artists will see a rich blend of Asian artists including Noon, a sweet-voice bossa nova songstress from Japan, Estrella from Malaysia, as well as Mocca from Indonesia and Brass Munkeys from the Philippines. The latter two groups have performed in Europe many times.

British jazz-funk band Shakatak is expected to be another show stopper.

At the same time, the festival promises a neat selection of local jazz acts from three generations, from The Infinity and Bangkok Connection to Koh Mr Saxman and Gale Dila to Doobadoo and Mellow Motif, to name just a few.

''We try to make it as pure a jazz festival as possible, and not to combine several genres. But that doesn't mean we are making it a hard-core jazz event, because a section of the audience will not be hard-core jazz lovers. They might come just to chill out and might not be very familiar with acid jazz or fusion jazz. So we try to offer a variety, from easy listening pop jazz, to bossa nova and big band,'' Vilasinee said.

Among the underlined artists, Fatima Broadcasting's Ravivan, who is also a famous songstress herself, said that this will be the first time Shakatak will perform in a free concert, while Popsanova from Brazil is another one of the most interesting acts.

''I bet most music lovers here have listened to [Popsanova's] songs but didn't not know who they are,'' Ravivan noted. ''As far as I know, their CDs sold very well in this country, and this is going to be their first time in Thailand. Meanwhile, we shouldn't forget Malene, one of the most requested artists. She joined last year's festival and got an outstanding ovation from the audience.''

Hua Hin has been a current residence of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. And this year the noble resort town is celebrating its 100-year anniversary. So the organiser aims to make this year's episode a world-class affair that pays tribute to HM the King, whose musical talent, especially jazz, is highly glorified, as well as to celebrate Hua Hin's centennial anniversary.

Among a rich blend of Thai jazz artists to take the stage this year is Nui Viriyapa.

With the ''green jazz'' concept, other than a variety of entertainment activities which will pack Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, the organisers have come up with a number of community service activities to give something back to Hua Hin. These include planting trees and beach cleaning. But the big highlight this year is the fact that every single band _ local and imported _ will perform at least one of His Majesty the King's numbers.

''Because jazz performance relies on the quality of sound and not other visual effects, we can't compromise on the sound system. Actually it's the most important concern among all artists, especially when they're world-class performers,'' said the organiser.

''We know that it is difficult to set a good concert outdoors, especially when the sound of waves and wind are the obstacles, but we hire the best sound engineers available, so audiences won't have to worry.''

This year, the balmy jazz tunes will be presented on two stages: the beach stage near the Sofitel Centara Hua Hin Hotel and the city stage, officially called Jazz Royale satge, at Phone Kingphet park on Damnern Kasem Road. Between the two venues, the 200-metre strip, which will be open to pedestrians only, will see a number of activity workshops and booths that will keep the festival mood running all day long.

''The only difference between the two stages will be the atmosphere. The beach stage is more chill-out, while the park stage will be ideal if you'd like to enjoy the music rather than the ambience,'' noted Ravivan.

For security issues, the festival has gathered support from the municipality, while the organisers have hired a team of security guards with extensive experience of working at outdoor concerts. ''They know what to do; how to react with music fans and festival goers,'' confirmed the organiser.

Visitors are asked not to bring lots of food, due to security concerns. For example, any food on skewers will not be allowed into the audience area, nor will be glass bottles.

''There will be a number of local food vendors both from the five-star hotels and local food shops. So plenty of food and drink will be available at reasonable prices,'' Vilasinee said.

And if you'd like to stay overnight, do book a room now because accommodation in Hua Hin and nearby Cha-am get booked up quickly during festival times. Most five-star hotels are offering special packages that weekend. Contact the hotels for more information.

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