This is page 5 of my diary archives. Other diary entries can be found here, Page 18, Page 17, Page 16, Page 15, Page 14, Page 13, Page 12, Page 11, Page 10, Page 9, Page 8, Page 7, Page 6,Page 4, Page 3, Page 2 and Page 1, (oldest entry).
Was it only me that saw this event in Sydney as missed opportunity to cull some undesirables.
He was a new colleague at work and a couple of us, realising he had moved here alone, tried to make him feel welcome. He mentioned that he played the guitar - and we both liked the guitar - and he was playing in a band that night and did we want to go. So we did.
The fact the event was at a church did not set any alarm bells ringing, why should it, and even when we sat down and realised the stage had no drum kit we remained blissfully unaware. Until that is the 'concert' started. Born again Christians, all standing around us waving their hands. We couldn't have felt less at home being Michael Jackson at Ku-Klux clan meeting.
What possessed him to invite us there. We had never discussed religion, we were only colleagues after all. Would I have invited him to some Masonic initiation ceremony or a black magic inner circle bridge night.
What a missed opportunity.
I happened upon the Air Force One movie last night; for those who haven't seen it it is the story of some extremists who hijack the Air Force One airplane to force the US president to release some army general. However he feigns escaping from the plane and then spends the remainder of the movie single handedly wiping out the terrorists. Shear bunkum of course and reminiscent of Bill Pullman getting in the fighter jet to fight the aliens in Independence Day.
Of course movies have always had heroes but it seems in the 1990s that Americans needed their hero to be the US president. Faithful family men, yet able to break someones neck, wield a machine gun or fly a jumbo jet having only ever 'flown small single engine planes' before, (and yet he still needed to get his secretary to send a fax).
Americans seem to need this super-human figurehead yet they have elected one who struggles to tie his own shoelaces. It is very unlikely that we will ever again see anyone of the calibre of George Washington or Abraham Lincoln as president, society does all it can to prevent these people becoming president. Most people are flawed and it is a question of how much the good outweighs the bad and also what society deems to be good and bad.
These are fluffy days when a quick lick of gloss paint gives a sheen to shit and for some reason we cannot seem to see it. It is better to have a hugely incompetent buffoon who is kind to dogs that someone who has the wisdom and foresight to actually make a difference but shags sheep as a hobby.
Worst of all is the seeming requirement for the president to be a Christian. How refreshing it would be to have a atheist, but of course, it would never happen. I cannot be the only one that ponders the credibility of these all so powerful men who at the first sign of disaster dive into a church to get some advice from a mythical creature. I just don't feel comfortable with that. Is it a coincidence that Lincoln was a freethinker and Bush is a Christian?
This report from the Independent newspaper about a Canadian politician from Alberta trying to entice Britains to move to Canada seems at odds with the palaver we have had getting visas, work permits and permanent residency. However it is interesting to read that Canada is the country least likely to be affected by global warming. That said we have just endured one of the worst winters on record, although compared to be being permanently submerged I guess it is relatively trivial thing.
'Others have criticised its pop culture, suggesting that the nation has made a disproportionate contribution to the naff end of the scale, citing the likes of ballad merchant Celine Dion, ageing rocker Bryan Adams and vacant actor Keanu Reeves.'
Funny that, I was just mentioning to Ploy last night the number of Canadian women singers that there are these days. Yes Celine Dion of course, but also k.d.lang, (a favourite of mine), Shania Twain (a favourite of Ploy's), Diana Krall, ( I should like her because of what she sings but I can't seem to warm to her), and Nelly Furtado, (take her or leave her). And Joni Mitchell, (one of the best). And Sarah Maclachlan, Alanis Morisette, Avril Lavigne and Anne Murray, (all of whom I can take or leave).
Bryan Adams is unforgiveable of course and Canada does seem a little short on the rock and roll front. It has Rush, who I hadn't heard of until I came to Canada; they sound like Yes to me. And Bachman Turner Overdrive of which I will say nothing. And Neil Young who always sounds like his dog has died. And Leonard Cohen who always sounds like his dog committed suicide.
Keanu Reeves is also best forgotten, but then we can easily counter that with Leslie Nielsen. And William Shatner, Dan Ackroyd, Genevieve Bujold, Kim Cattrall, (not because of Sex in the City which I hate, but because she was an incredibly sexy Vulcan in one of the Star Trek movies), Jim Carrey, (Ploy hates him), Yvonne de Carlo, Michael J. Fox, Brendan Fraser, Lorne Greene (Bonanza), Paul Gross (Due South, Ploy loves this program, mostly because of Diefenbaker), Ruby Keeler, Lois Maxwell, Raymond Massey, Walter Pidgeon, Christopher Plummer, Norma Shearer, Jennifer Tilly (I have a little thing for her, unfortunately it is a little thing), Fay Wray and Rick Moranis and Mike Myers, (oh dear my case is being severely weakened again by those last two),
And Brent Butt; 'Who?' you ask, well I like him and Corner Gas has that sort of old style comedy centred on its odd collection of characters that seems lost elsewhere. Actually Canada has some very good comedians, from the political acerbic ones to the gentle unassuming ones of which my favourite is Al Rae.
It is an eclectic mix but from a country of just 30 million it is not so bad.
I don't mind being challenged by engineers I respect; that is how I learn new things. However I am at an age where, if a manager from the MBA school challenges me to 'prove' what I have just said, I get annoyed. So my 30 years of working in the industry, my qualifications and my experience, are being brought into question by someone who doesn't know if he has a flat screen or CRT TV. These managers are becoming more prevalent, they are probably coming from the same 'how to be a modern manager course'. I wonder if they say the same thing to their doctor or dentist.
'You have a small cavity, I'll just fill it for you'.
'No, first prove it'. (It is unlikely this manager would be able to associate the pain he is experiencing with the cavity, their bodies are wired differently to you and me).
Ask anyone of my age if 'O' or 'A' levels are easier today than they were 'in our day', and the answer is a unanimous yes. But unfortunately the governments of today have said 'prove it', and that is easier said than done. So I was pleased to see this report, which does just that. Of course it is just one report and I am sure it will be challenged, but none-the-less it is satisfying that it 'proves' what anyone with an ounce of common sense already knew.
It is amazing that the education in the UK is now at the point where Universities are turning a blind eye to the fact that Media Studies perhaps does not require the same degree of intellectual vigour as Physics does. If ever there was a condemnation of the education policies of the Government, it is that their tables of performance are forcing Universities to do this.
This is also a reflection of today's quick and easy society. Maths is 'hard' so I will do media studies instead so when I am older, instead of unlocking the mysteries of the universe or discovering a cure to Alzheimer's, I will be one of the forty three co-producers for Big Brother.
One disappointing thing in the study is that geography is rated easier than media studies; I failed my 'O' level geography exam, although that may be because I answered the section on Europe when we had spent two years studying the US. It was my little pointless rebellion at the school that forced me to study geography instead of another 'proper' science subject.
'England's problems go much deeper, into the heart of the old nation with its tiredness, into the schools with their softness, into the past with its stubbornness, into the present with its lack of conviction.'
I have spent quite some time via e-mail to friends, talking with Ploy and also thinking alone, about what it is about England that makes it the country I would least like to live in, even though it is where I was born. I used to think it was a Western thing, a sort of arrogance in decline as the Asian nations worked harder and had a sense of unity of purpose. But having lived in Canada for over eighteen months now, I see the same unity and work ethic here, and there is a better life/work balance and an ability to make fun of themselves that Asia hasn't got yet. Friends in other European counties and the US don't seem to be blighted by it either. It does seem to be an English thing.
That quote above is taken from this article which is actually talking about the decline in English cricket, but I think sounds applicable to the nation as a whole. Tiredness. Yes that is it. The nation is tired and wants easy fixes. It wants prosperity, it used to have it, and it doesn't understand why it doesn't have it now. That children won't do their homework, that their parents don't sit down with their children to help them with their homework, that teachers don't run after school activities any more, that once in work all that is expected and required is to turn up often enough to earn an annual salary increase else we go on strike.
'Unavoidably, the main difference lies between the ears. Patently it is a state of mind, a point Englishmen are extraordinarily loath to accept, especially from an expatriate long since gone native. Attitudes towards the game and life itself make enough of a difference to persuade ambitious counties to hire foreign coaches, soccer teams to seek overseas, or Celtic managers and cricket selectors to give the stripes to imports.'
It is a state of mind. It is as if the English are all suffering from a state of clinical depression. Occasional events seem to mildly rouse them, winning the Ashes in 2005 or Blair's first election victory. But these events, which could have been watersheds, just exacerbate the situation and the patient soon goes into relapse. It is difficult to see a way back now. As with any patient suffering depression it requires the correct treatment but first it requires diagnosis. And who is going to effect the treatment.
England was the first Western country Ploy had lived in. It did not take her long to see the problems. 'Why do these people (beggars) not work'? 'Why are these children not at school'? 'Why does someone not stop that'? Out of the many long term Thai immigrants that quickly embraced Ploy, she remains in contact with only one. All had been Englicised and spent all their time back-biting and maliciously gossiping about any member of the clique who was not present. Here that does not occur, or at least the people that do that are in a minority. Ploy's new friends here are just that, friends, who not expect something in return for their friendship and talk about real things and don't malevolently gossip. If I come into the room when they are talking they apologise for talking Thai and change to English; in England they all hide in the kitchens whilst they slag off their husbands in turn. Not that the husbands were any better, they were English after all. They would crowd around the TV watching football whilst talking about moving to Thailand because things were so bad in 'this country'. Never did it occur to them why it was so bad, that they might be part of the problem and if they did move they would take their little depressive corner of England with them and encamp it to Pattaya or Hua Hin or some other 'home from home' ex-pat community where they could moan about the weather and the Thais.
The very people that could turn this around, to rouse the English are the immigrants, people who are not already blighted by this disease. And they are the very people that England is making it more difficult to go to England, as if they realise the threat. The last thing depressive people want around them are happy people.
After the superb meal at Palettes' restaurant I walked back to my hotel through the historic quarter of Denver and finished the night in the hotel bar again. Everyone was coming back from the business dinner early, apparently the food was poor and with long queues and the atmosphere was not conducive to conversation: I was glad I had missed it.
I saw my society president at the hotel reception and walked over to invite him for a drink, that's how relaxed I felt. However as I approached him I realised he was having a rant at the reception staff for a mistake he had made with his booking. He needed to stay another night but the hotel was full and for some reason he decided that calling the sheriff was going to help things. I later found out that he left his booking to a secretary; in my experience a very big mistake assuming you don't want to share a quilt with a new inebriated companion underneath a pier near a sewage outlet on a bitterly cold snowy night before being arrested, cavity searched and having to be bailed out by your new female boss on the day of your appraisal.
However he did spot me and came over for a drink once he exhausted his threats. He had been telling me at every opportunity that he wanted to talk to me but so far had not been able to do so, largely because he was talking to other people all the time or voting on renaming paragraphs. As we were immediately joined by someone else, who decided to quiz me on the delights of Singapore's Orchard Towers for some reason, I still don't know what the subject of the conversation was to have been.
I managed to make it through to lunch on the second day but decided my attendance at these meetings was superfluous and instead I went for a swim in the hotel pool and then went to the bar which was across the road from the hotel to sample some of the local culture. I had a bowl of indifferent chilli, but I wasn't that hungry so it didn't matter and the beer was good. As usual in these circumstances I ended up having an incomprehensible conversation with the local 'characters', but it was fun enough.
Back to the hotel for one quick drink and then to bed I thought, but almost as soon as I sat down in came the hoards of lost souls whose meetings and, therefore, reason for living had just ended. Unable to think what to do without written schedules they headed for the hotel bar to "drink it dry". Like a flower in those time lapse nature films, the people around the sole table worth inhabiting, (it had the meeting President at it), grew at an alarming rate, as did the volume, surprising as so many of them had their noses and even necks inserted up some president's arse. I couldn't take any more and so left for my room.
The next day I wandered around Denver again as my flight was not until 3p.m. The historic district had been taken over by a gay rights parade. I wondered if that was reason the military man who presided over our meetings had chosen Denver as the location. The flight home was uneventful although I was grateful for not travelling by United as the check-in queue circled the airport several times. I had heard on the news that American airlines and United were now charging for check-in baggage. Predictably, to avoid the charge and without any policing, everyone was taking all their luggage as carry-on. It is bad enough as it is without people trying to take their kitchen sinks on board, especially as most of the US passengers should really be taken as cargo given their size.
However my flight had no check-in queues and I was home by 10p.m. Travel really is a pain these days but I was glad to have seen Denver. The next society meeting is in August in Washington and I am planning to drive there with Ploy and stay an extra couple of days. For now it is back to work.
I was pleasantly surprised by Denver. By the time I had endured the trip from the airport to the hotel - why did they choose to build Denver airport in the next state? - I was not really in the mood to go out. However I didn't want to stay in my hotel in case I got summoned to some dreary business dinner. On the bus I heard someone say that 16th street was a good place to go and as my hotel was next to 17th street I thought I would aim for there.
The street is a vibrant mix of shops and restaurants with street musicians and a free bus service that runs the length of it; a nice touch. I walked down the street, window shopping, enjoying the sun - it was about 30degC - and found myself warming to Denver, literally. I wanted to find somewhere to eat and read a few of the menus but non of them generated much interest. However at the bottom of the street I noticed a relatively nondescript building which announced itself as 1515 restaurant. I crossed the street, read the menu briefly and walked in, already mildly excited by the prospect. The bar is downstairs and I walked upstairs to the restaurant to enjoy as good a meal as I have had in recent memory. Tea smoked salmon followed by a dandelion leaf salad and monkfish in a green curry sauce. The dandelion salad was sensational, I know it doesn't sound much, but the bitterness of the leaves was offset with sweet strawberries and each mouthful was just a perfect blend of crisp and soft and sweet and bitter. And I should also mention the wine list with its extensive choice of wines by the glass which, at least for my selection, were fresh and with no hint the bottles were probably opened in a previous century.
I walked back up 16th street, still basking in the late evening sun, and spent the last hour having a glass of wine in the hotel bar whilst listening to a very accomplished pianist.
The next day was the first of the meetings and I was not looking forward to it. I had slept well but felt a little under the weather because of the wine the night before, and I had to wear a tie for the first time in a very long time. A friend had pointed out that ties starve the brain of oxygen, just look at the people that wear them for evidence, and it didn't bode well for the meeting that I had to wear one. I hadn't brought my laptop which made me a minority of one and meant I had little to do except listen to the dirge and doodle in my notebook.
The meeting didn't start well, the video projectors were misaligned, the sound system produced feedback all the time and the vice president - who we didn't need to be told was a military man anymore than if he had been wearing fatigues, but he told us anyway - spoke condescendingly in that sergeant major style. I watched a roomful of a couple of hundred engineers fail to dim the lights, admittedly the light dimmer was password protected for some obscure reason, and listened to a resolution suggesting that paragraph 2.4.2.a should be renamed 2.4.1.a and other such thrilling discussions. Just think, some of these engineers were possibly involved in putting a man on the moon!
The whole meeting was like seeing your mother naked; it was just something you didn't want to see. An apparently dynamic society, responsible for many innovations and standards, reduced to an ineffective, bureaucratic monstrosity. I escaped the society buffet lunch and had lunch by myself in the hotel restaurant. By mid afternoon I was struggling to stay awake. My society president, who was the one who had insisted that I come, suggested that I attend the evening entertainment with the carrot that it offered "unlimited booze". Oh goody, people I had already taken a dislike to and the brownies that fawned after them shut in room with me and "unlimited booze".
After the meeting ended there was a two hour wait until the bus left for the venue so I went out to 16th street again. I bought a jacket for Ploy, (that I had since been told off for buying), and then walked the other way up 16th street. I saw an advertisement for the Denver Art gallery which had a special exhibition of Impressionist landscapes so I decided to try and find the gallery although by now, 6.p.m., I guessed it would be shut. After a little exploring and passing the US Mint, (which has the second largest gold reserve in the US apparently), I saw some art installations that indicated I must be close. It turned out that Friday night is late night opening and even better there was an escorted gallery tour about to start. The forty five minute tour took two hours and was fascinating and had the added benefit of me missing the bus for the evening do. From local native American art, to Robert Motherwell, to Clyfford Still, (who will have his own unique gallery in 2010), through to African art. It was not a big collection but it was nicely chosen and displayed.
It was the first gallery I had been in for a long time and it rekindled some of the interest that first started me studying art history and which I felt the Masters degree had squeezed out of me. I could now enjoy art again but have that little bit of knowledge that allowed me to appreciate it even more. For example the simple Benton landscape painting - Benton taught Jackson Pollock - and to wonder how Pollock moved from the this to his drip paintings. And the gallery itself was an amazing building of acute and obtuse angles, nothing seemed to be a right angle, added its own interest without just confusing or obscuring the art inside it.
I was tired after all that standing so after profusely thanking the guide I walked down to a restaurant I had spotted. And if anything, this meal surpassed the one of the night before and it was all accompanied by the artwork that hung on every wall. A sensational gazpacho soup followed by sushi grade tune with jasmine rice and a cucumber salad with a soy sauce and chilli oil dressing; it doesn't get much better than that. As I walked back to the hotel I felt relaxed yet stimulated, a very good end to an indifferent day.
It started well. Ploy went to have a look around the local Farmer's Market and I started updating the SingMai website with a new product. I took a break to fix a new lampshade in our bedroom which has been lying in its box for a couple of months leaving the bedroom adorned with a solitary bulb dangling by its wires. Halfway through and our neighbour interrupted me to ask if I had any flour. We don't do much baking but I looked anyway, found some rice flour which was refused, and then returned to the lamp shade.
Finishing that I decided to get another small SingMai design tested before uploading the new pages but I found I did not have the cables I needed so I popped into work which wasted an hour. On the way back Ploy calls - she is back at home now - and asked if I could take her round to a friend's house which I did. By now it is lunchtime so I decided to go out and get a sandwich and then get back to work with a vengeance after my repast.
It was now 1.30p.m. so I changed my mind and decided to upload my new web pages first but was interrupted by a knock at the door; it was the chap who will be changing our old fuse panel for circuit breakers who wanted to just check a few things before his visit on Tuesday.
Thirty minutes later, back to my website, but I found I couldn't connect to my server. I tried everything, but then remembered last weeks frustrations trying to get my e-mail working again. My Internet provider is pissing me around I am sure but won't admit to doing anything, hiding behind the, 'it's a non-Rogers e-mail/website so we cannot help'. I decided to go on the live chat 'service' they offer where I have the opportunity to chat to a prepubescent, mentally challenged youth. despite previous experience I logged in. I won't bore you with the details, but ninety minutes later, as I logged off, I felt as if some alien had drained all my juices and just left me a hollow shell. And, needless to say, I still could not access my website. And every time he replied he spelled receive wrong, consistently, not because of any rapid typing mistakes. I wanted to correct him, but that would have been just the start I am sure and in any case 'it is a non-Rogers thing'.
I went into work again with a copy of my web pages and uploaded there, without any problem. But before I could leave another engineer, also in work, stopped to chat to me for a while. It was hard to get away as I am due to deliver a report to him next week and he was asking questions about that.
On the way back from work I called Ploy, she was in Toronto with her friend. It was now 5.30p.m. and I felt exhausted from doing nothing. I went out for a meal here, to treat myself, but it was a mistake really as it was expensive, and although I tried to enjoy it, everything conspired to ruin it. The restaurant itself was not busy, but there was a big private party next door which absorbed most of the waiters' attention. My waiter also was serving a couple next to me who were choosing the menu for their wedding, so he spent inordinate amounts of time explaining the difference between chicken and duck and between a Chardonnay and a Cabernet.
For main course I ordered their special, a chicken supreme. It came with creamed potatoes which were infused with truffle oil and mushrooms. As I don't like mushrooms I asked if I could just have the creamed potatoes plain which he did. And what was the vegetable of the day, mushrooms! Nothing else, not a green bean or a carrot to be seen, just a bed of very fragrant mushrooms. Now having explained that I wasn't keen on having mushrooms in my potato, what did I do to suggest that having half a kilo of the blighters as my solitary vegetable would be acceptable. I mentioned it, but the only sympathy on offer extended to a nod of his head before he scurried off to the soon-to-be-wed couple to explain what spinach was.
I went home to find Ploy waiting to be picked up to go to a party. I watched a Fleetwood Mac DVD that I got recently. It might have been me but I found Lindsey Buckingham's ego too much to cope with and for all his ability it spoiled the concert. I fell asleep on the couch before the end and went to bed. A day wasted.
I still cannot upload to my website at home but I have decided to ignore it and spend the day on SingMai and in the garden. The garden's sprouting unknown (to us) plant life all over the place and it is a pleasure to wander around it. Just a bit more tidying up at the back and it will be done, until next year at least.
On Thursday I have to travel to an IEEE meeting in Denver. Nothing exciting about it, just fly in for the two day's of meetings and then fly back. My Singapore air Gold card has expired now and although they have sent me a silver one out of sympathy that does not get me access to the lounges or to the express check in. I am now one of the plebs, officially. Not that I miss the travel anymore. The next IEEE meeting is in Washington in August and I will drive to that as it just 900km away and I hope to take Ploy with me as neither of us has been there before; it will make a nice break.
Ploy came back from her trip to the driving license centre. She has spent a couple of days trying to get her Thai driving license officially translated. $25 later she had a translation she then had to take to another office to get stamped as official, even though those people had no knowledge of Thai. When she took this to the driving license centre, they who had requested this farce in the first place, they sent her back asking her to now get a copy of her license and get that stamped too.
I say farce because her driving license is irrelevant. Having a Thai license makes no difference here and she will have to go through the test as if she was a beginner - so why the hassle about translations of irrelevant documents. Her International driving license was ignored. And that is in English! Even if we can get her through the test she still becomes a probational driver with limitations on where she can drive, (e.g. no highways), but, depending on who you speak to, she may be able to overcome this by 'proving' she is an experienced driver in Thailand, or though how you do this is unclear.
Tomorrow we will receive, yet again, our application for permanent residency with yet more columns and boxes to be filled in with guessed information. I can hear the lawyer frowning on the end of the phone when I tell her that we are just inventing dates. "You are aware that you sign this to say all the facts are true, she helpfully tells me". Then I cannot fill in the information because "I DON'T KNOW IT". "You have to fill in all the boxes", she repeats, ad nauseum. I don't care anymore and neither does Ploy, we are filling in anything just to get this thing sent to immigration. This should be the last round, but I said that last time.
Despite all this bureaucratic nightmare I have noticed that I am becoming more content with my lot. Instead of trying to do ten things at the same time, I am learning to pace myself somewhat better. I feel more relaxed. My list of things to do is decreasing and I am refusing to add ever more things to it. I have some new SingMai things to add to the website, I am on top of the stuff at work, the garden and house are slowly being finished. But all of these things are ready when they are ready. With the result that I am sleeping better and not trying to solve all of the world's problems overnight.
I am unsure what has brought this about but it is nice even though it may not last long. Ploy has given up looking for a job but is going to help me with SingMai instead. If Canada don't want her then I will take her in. I need someone to help build stuff so I have started teaching her to recognise resistor colour codes and as I write she is putting all my little envelopes of resistors into labelled drawers. Soon it will be teaching her to solder. I have a feeling she will prove to be a natural.
Ploy and I ask this of each other from time to time. The answer from Ploy is usually, 'of course, very happy'. But when Ploy asked me just the other day I thought long and hard before deciding, 'yes of course I am, very happy'.
If you had asked me when I was filling in yet more details for our permanent residency application then I might have answered differently. I am quite close to giving the whole malarchy up. The papers had been sitting there for a while again when I made a supreme effort to fill them all in and send them to the immigration lawyers. Within two days I got a call telling me I had not filled out the months I had moved house. I don't know them, that is why, I replied. You have to fill them in I was told. But if I don't know them how can I? I won't bore you with the details of a protracted discussion but for Ploy and myself we need to detail the month and year we moved in and out of every house we have lived in since we were eighteen years old. Clearly, with all the moves the two of us have made that is a nonsense - I can barely remember what I did yesterday and I have no papers to consult or relatives to quiz. I asked if every applicant had managed to remember. The answer I got, in legal speak, was people invent dates, but of course lawyers won't tell you to lie. But that is what we did and so the forms have been sent off once again.
We have yet to overcome the problem of Ploy not having a birth certificate - it might be easier if we just go to Thailand and buy a fake one. Even if the forms are accepted by the lawyers and sent to Canadian immigration it will take two years to get PR - Christ, it takes them 10-12 weeks to acknowledge we even sent anything which is barely credible considering the weight of the application folder must be sufficient to cause a shift in the earth's orbit.
But once the papers are on their way we can forget it for while, until that is we have to get police searches done in three countries for both of us, and they realise we really meant it when we said Ploy didn't have a birth certificate.
But apart from that, am I happy? Well the simple answer is yes, because I am married to Ploy and it sounds saccharine but every day just seems to get better between us. We don't seem to have any of the problems that I read about on almost every Thai/Western website, from gambling to having affairs to just little cultural things that irk. We could not be more different as people, or more alike as people.
And the house is beginning to feel like a home and there is some pride in driving past it and realising we have done all of that. The garden is beginning to look better now, our attempts at growing things seems to be successful, we even have some gooseberries budding. And sitting on our front steps watching all the young birds in the garden taking their first steps is a perfect way to unwind for the day.
SingMai is busy although we have not turned the website traffic into orders yet. However our current three or four products should soon be 17-18 as I have finished the basement workshop and can work from there whenever I need to. I have also designed two audio modules to sell which have the benefit as also being our own home amplifiers which means we are close to being able to listen to some music at last. I have my eye on this CD player which I hope to treat myself to once the amplifiers are finished. But I am now reasonably sure it is a question of when and not if SingMai will succeed, which will give me the freedom from the increasingly annoying business practices which all companies seem to employ these days.
Like today, when I have a completely pointless hour long meeting which is held to show the manager is actually doing something. Or the IC architecture meetings I have once per week where more time is spent explaining things in children's terms to managers and marketing people rather than actually doing what the meeting is meant for, discussing the architecture of the new IC. If we do need a question answered from marketing as to whether a feature should be included or not, the answer is always the same, convene another meeting or forum or think tank or quango or 'let's just waste everyones time because I don't know the answer but by holding meetings it looks I do'. To them and their managers anyway, to anyone else it looks like you don't know the answer, which you don't because you are too cretinous.
So happy, yes, because this will soon be behind me. And perhaps in two years time when SingMai is strong enough, the house and car are paid for, we have our PRs and I have been excused a jail term on the grounds of justifiable homicide for anally inserting live grenades into certain managers and marketing zombies I won't even have to think about it.