Wednesday, 31 December 2014

C & H

Calvin and Hobbes

On That Note

ktelontour wish you a very happy time seeing in the New Year and we hope you will join us later on tomorrow with sore heads and plenty to look forward to in 2015.

Appropriate for Tonight

As midnight approaches on December 31st, more than a few of us will crack open a bottle or two of champagne to help toast the New Year. With a few choice facts about the bubbly stuff, you can look knowledgeable rather than just tipsy when you drain your flute. Here are a few little nuggets you can share with fellow revelers.

WHAT EXACTLY IS CHAMPAGNE?

Strictly speaking, champagne is a sparkling wine that comes from the Champagne region of northeastern France. If it's a bubbly wine from another region, it's sparkling wine, not champagne. While many people use the term "champagne" generically for any sparkling wine, the French have maintained their legal right to call their wines champagne for over a century. The Treaty of Madrid, signed in 1891 established this rule, and the Treaty of Versailles reaffirmed it.
The European Union helps protect this exclusivity now, although certain American producers can still generically use "champagne" on their labels if they were using the term before early 2006.

HOW IS CHAMPAGNE MADE?

Sparkling wines can be made in a variety of ways, but traditional champagne comes to life by a process called the methode Champenoise. Champagne starts its life like any normal wine. The grapes are harvested, pressed, and allowed to undergo a primary fermentation. The acidic results of this process are then blended and bottled with a bit of yeast and sugar so it can undergo a secondary fermentation in the bottle. (It's this secondary fermentation that gives champagne its bubbles.) This new yeast starts doing its work on the sugar, and then dies and becomes what's known as lees. The bottles are then stored horizontally so the wine can "age on lees" for 15 months or more.
After this aging, winemakers turn the bottles upside down so the lees can settle to the bottom. Once the dead yeast has settled, producers open the bottles to remove the yeast, add a bit of sugar known as dosage to determine the sweetness of the champagne, and slip a cork onto the bottle.

WHAT'S SO SPECIAL ABOUT THE CHAMPAGNE REGION?

Several factors make the chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier grapes grown in the Champagne region particularly well suited for crafting delicious wines. The northern location makes it a bit cooler than France's other wine-growing regions, which gives the grapes the proper acidity for sparkling wine production. Moreover, the porous, chalky soil of the area -- the result of large earthquakes millions of years ago -- aids in drainage.

DO I HAVE TO BUY CHAMPAGNE TO GET GOOD SPARKLING WINE?

Not at all. Although many champagnes are delightful, most of the world's wine regions make tasty sparkling wines of their own. You can find highly regarded sparkling wines from California, Spain, Italy, Australia, and other areas without shelling out big bucks for Dom Perignon.

SPEAKING OF DOM PERIGNON, WHO WAS THIS GUY?

Getty Images
Contrary to popular misconception, the namesake of the famous brand didn't invent champagne. But Perignon, a Benedictine monk who worked as cellar master at an abbey near Epernay during the 17th and 18th centuries, did have quite an impact on the champagne industry. In Perignon's day, sparkling wine wasn't really a sought-after beverage. In fact, the bubbles were considered to be something of a flaw, and early production methods made producing the wine somewhat dangerous. (Imprecise temperature controls could lead to fermentation starting again after the wine was in the bottle. If one bottle in a cellar exploded and had its cork shoot out, a chain reaction would start.) Perignon helped standardize production methods to avoid these explosions, and he also added two safety features to his wines: thicker glass bottles that better withstood pressure and rope snare that helped keep corks in place.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BRUT AND EXTRA BRUT?

You'll see these terms on champagne labels to describe how sweet the good stuff in the bottle is. As mentioned above, a bit of sugar known as dosage is added to the bottle right before it's corked, and these terms describe exactly how much sugar went in. Extra brut has less than six grams of sugar per liter added, while brut contains less than 15 grams of additional sugar per liter. Several other classifications exist, but drier champagnes are more common.

WHY DO ATHLETES SPRAY EACH OTHER WITH CHAMPAGNE AFTER WINNING TITLES?

Getty Images
Throughout its history, champagne has been a celebratory drink that's made appearances at coronations of kings and the launching of ships. However, the bubbly-spraying throwdowns that now accompany athletic victories are a much more recent development. When Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt won the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1967, they ascended the winner's podium with a bottle of champagne in hand. Gurney looked down and saw team owner Carroll Shelby and Ford Motors CEO Henry Ford II standing with some journalists and decided to have a bit of fun. Gurney gave the bottle a shake and sprayed the crowd, and a new tradition was born.
Mental Floss

Travel Tip #4

Samsung gear is very picky when it comes to chargers and USB cables and it is usually best to use their OEM leads and connectors they provide.  However, to save on space, a Samsung charger and USB cable will take care of your Kindle eReader.

DYK?

did-you-know-1198

See Then With X - Ray Specs

IMAGE CREDIT: 
THEAWL.COM
Here are a few things you might not have known about one of your favorite childhood pets.

1. THEY WERE INSPIRED BY A VISIT TO A PET STORE.


Trade publication ad for Sea-Monkeys, 1972. Courtesy the Strong National Museum of Play; click to enlarge.
In 1957, Harold von Braunhut became fascinated with a species of brine shrimp, Artemia salina, that he saw being sold as pet food in a pet store. “These shrimp live in salt lakes or salt flats, and when the water of a salt lake evaporates, the shrimp go into this state of suspended animation,” says Patricia Hogan, a curator at the Strong National Museum of Play. While in this state—also known as cryptobiosis—the animals are in a protective cyst-like casing, until water is added. Von Braunhut, with the help of marine biologist and microcrustacean expert Anthony D'Agostino, figured out a way to treat tap water with a mix of nutrients (von Braunhut called them “magic crystals” and mixed them in a barn on his property) that would revive the shrimp in a tank at home.
"People say, 'What gave you the idea for Sea-Monkeys?'” von Braunhut, who held about 200 patents, said in an interview with the Baltimore Sun in 1997. “I thought, if you could take a package of powder and put it in water and see it come to life. What could be more remarkable than that? … I was always interested in wildlife, and I was looking for something that would interest other people in it."
Hogan says that von Braunhut may also have been inspired by another popular product that hit the market the year before he got the idea for Sea-Monkeys: “This was also around the time of Uncle Milton and his ant farms,” Hogan says. “There was this kind of idea that you could sell science to kids or sell them lifeforms that would entertain them from which they could learn about nature. I’ve never seen anything that specifically said why Harold Von Braunhut was particularly hellbent on selling brine shrimp to kids, but it’s a good way to make a buck.”

2. THEY WEREN’T INITIALLY MARKETED AS SEA-MONKEYS.


Sea-Monkey ad circa 1963. Photo courtesy of eBay; click to enlarge.
When he began selling his shrimp in 1960s, von Braunhut marketed them under the name “Instant Life.” The kit sold for just 49 cents. “What you got was the packets of the shrimp and then the little packets of nutrients and the food the shrimp would eat,” Hogan says. “They did not come with a tank. You had to provide your own goldfish bowl.”

3. THEIR TAILS INSPIRED THEIR NAME.

Though they weren’t marketed that way, von Braunhut did call the brine shrimp sea-monkeys (and "exotic Saskatchewan Brine Shrimp") in his ads. According to Hogan, “He called them sea-monkeys because they have a tail that looks like a monkey’s tail. The sea part is obviously because they’re a water animal—though not of the ocean.” Notes Tim Walsh in his book,Timeless Toys: Classic Toys and the Playmakers Who Created Them, “if this was marine biology these facts would matter, but this was marketing!” In 1964, the product lost the Instant Life name in favor of Sea-Monkeys.

4. THEY DON’T REALLY LOOK LIKE THE CREATURES ON THE PACKAGING.

The naked, pot-bellied humanoid creatures with crown-like head ornaments don’t resemble actual brine shrimp at all. Von Braunhut hired comic book artist Joe Orlando—who would later go on to become vice president of DC Comics and associate publisher of MAD magazine—to draw the 1950s-esque humanoid creatures, which actually look like this:

Photo courtesy of Hans Hillewaert via Wikimedia Commons; click to enlarge.
“The sea monkeys weren’t all that kids were led to believe from the marketing,” Hogan says. “I think kids are pretty clever at making things work or finding ways to have fun, even with something that may disappoint them because they’re not exactly what they appeared.”
In 1999, Educational Insights—the company that owns ExploraToy, which markets Sea-Monkeys—attempted to revamp the critters’ look. Gregory Bevington, at the time art director of ExploraToy, described the Sea-Monkeys’ old aesthetic to the Los Angeles Times as "naked people with webbed tails and feet and hands and three prongs sticking out of their heads. They have potbellies and skinny arms and legs so they're not really physically fit. … If we really want them to appeal to kids of today, they need to look like superheroes or action figures.” According to Times, the new Sea-Monkeys “had enormous torsos and tree-trunk legs. Some wore scaly breast plates; others sported capes.” Ultimately, the changes weren't made.

5. THEY WERE FIRST ADVERTISED IN COMIC BOOKS.

Despite the success of Uncle Milton’s ant farms, chain stores wouldn’t touch von Braunhut’s creatures, in part because of Wham-O’s disastrous Instant Fish toy. “Wham-O was flying higher than a kite with the Superball and the Hula Hoop, and they took a risk on an instant fish. But the fish didn't work,” von Braunhut told the LA Times in 2000 (this same piece revealed the inventor’s ties to white supremacist groups; you can read more about this unsettling part of von Braunhut's past here). “The buyer at Sears, Roebuck almost got fired because of it. So when I took my Sea-Monkeys around after that, you'd think another Ice Age had happened. The doors that weren't open to begin with slammed shut in my face.”
So in 1962, he started buying up advertising space in comic books, writing the copy—which promised “a BOWLFULL OF HAPPINESS”—himself. “He was quoted as saying that he bought 3.2 million pages in comic book ads a year,” Hogan says. “He put those ads in every kind of comic book—in Archie and Spiderman and Casper the Friendly Ghost. He didn’t go for a type or genre of comic books. These were marketed directly to kids, bypassing parental authority, but also parental cautions. And that strategy was successful.”
All people had to do was send the money to the address in the ad, and their Sea-Monkeys would arrive in the mail.

6. THEY’RE A SPECIES THAT DOESN’T EXIST IN NATURE.

Keeping the original Sea-Monkeys alive was "a terrible struggle," von Braunhut told the Sun; typically, just two of the shrimp would live for a month (the inventor got around their short life spans by offering a “sea-monkey life insurance policy,” good for two years after purchase). He and D'Agostino began cross-breeding shrimp from the genus Artemia to make a heartier species, which they named Artemia NYOS, after the Montor, Long Island lab (New York Oceanic Society) where they were created.
“We wanted them to grow to be large enough to be of interest, but also live long enough to be a pet,” von Braunhut recounted in Timeless Toys in 2002, just a year before his death. “These goals took years to attain.”
"There's something in the powder [Harold] formulates that does something to those eggs that nature can't do," George C. Atamian, Vice President of ExploraToy, which sells Sea-Monkeys, told the LA Times. "It used to be [that] only one Sea Monkey lived and that [same] one died. Now the formulation of the chemistry, the vigor of the Sea Monkeys themselves, is better than ever.”

7. THEY BREATHE THROUGH THEIR FEET.

And that’s not the only weird thing about their anatomy: They’re born with just one eye, but grow two more upon reaching maturity.

8. THEY’RE ATTRACTED TO LIGHT.

“If you put a flashlight to them, Sea-Monkeys will swim toward it,” Hogan says. “It’s kind of a natural reaction. And if you run your finger tip across the tank, they will often gravitate to it.”

9. INSTANT LIFE? WELL, NOT QUITE.

Any kid who had Sea-Monkeys knows that you had to add the nutrient packet to prep your tap water, wait 24 hours, and then add the packet of eggs. But according to von Braunhut’s patent, there are eggs in the nutrient packet, too—and a dye from the second packet of eggs makes those first hatchlings easier to see (emphasis ours):
This invention provides for making an aquatic life habitat for the hatching of brine shrimp in tap water and divides the materials that are necessary into two groups. The first a water purifier and conditioner group comprising a number of salts necessary for the creation of the proper saline environment including also a drying agent such as calcium chloride for maintaining the group in a dry condition, an oxidizing agent such as sodium thiosulphate and some brine shrimp eggs. This first group is added to the tap water and allowed to stand for 24 to 36 hours at room temperature. The second group is comprised of additional salts for the saline environment, food for the hatched brine shrimp, additional brine shrimp eggs, a drying agent such as dried Epsom salt and a water-soluble dye. The second group is added to the aged water medium whereby the dye colors in the water give the hatched brine shrimp of the first group easier visibility, thereby giving the impression of instant life.
Sneaky!

10. THERE ARE A TON OF SEA-MONKEY ACCESSORIES.


Sea-Monkey sets that included tanks (notably Sea-Monkey Ocean Zoo and Sea-Monkey Circus) became available in stores in the late 1960s; soon there was a slew of other sea-monkey accessories, including Sea-Monkey Speedway and Sea-Monkey Fox Hunt (above), which debuted in the 1970s.

Trade publication ad circa 1973. Courtesy of the Strong National Museum of Play; click to enlarge.
More recently, kids could take their Sea-Monkeys on the go in a specially designed “wrist aquarium” and with an Explora-Sub.
The Sea-Monkey Handbook that accompanies the critters in that first set also offers a range of other products for the microcrustacean's pleasure, including a "banana treat" ("a long-lasting supply of tasty 'dessert' for your aquatic pets"), "red magic" vitamins ("this is the formula containing EVERY KNOWN VITAMIN your Sea-Monkeys NEED for robust health!"),"Sea-Diamonds" ("this heap of sparkling 'sea gems' make Sea-Monkeys happy by giving them toys they will actually play with!"), and more.

11. THEY’RE NOT HARMFUL TO THE ENVIRONMENT.

Don’t worry: If you end up losing some of your shrimp down the drain, they won’t become an invasive species a la the asian carp or the lion fish; in fact, they can’t survive outside of the water prepared for them with von Braunhut’s formula.

12. YOU CAN TELL MALE SEA-MONKEYS FROM LADY SEA-MONKEYS.

Males have whiskers under their chins; females don’t. You can often see males locked together, fighting for the attention of female sea-monkeys. If two sea-monkeys are locked together and one of them doesn’t have whiskers, you are witnessing a very private sea-monkey moment that can last for days. (Yup. Days.)
Females will develop a pouch when they’re pregnant, but they don’t need to mate to become so: They can fertilize their own eggs, a process known as parthenogenesis; when the eggs hatch, the shrimp are tiny—just about as big as the period at the end of this sentence—and can grow up to 2 inches long.

13. SEA-MONKEYS WENT TO SPACE.

On October 29, 1998, the Space Shuttle Discovery carried some very special cargo into space: Astronaut John Glenn—who, at 77, was participating in a study on the effects of space on the elderly—and 400 million Sea-Monkey eggs. The eggs spent nine days in space and, when they were hatched eight weeks later, the creatures showed no ill effects from their journey. Educational Insights commemorated the trip with a special edition aquarium builtaccording to NASA design (above).
Mental Floss

Quote/Unquote

At my lemonade stand I used to give the first glass away free and charge five dollars for the second glass. The refill contained the antidote.

Emo Phillips
 

Very Sad

After confirmation that the Air Asia flight did crash into the Java Sea, the recovery operation is now hampered by bad weather.

You really have to feel for the victims and their families but also for Malaysia in General.  That's the third downed plane this year and it's going to take a huge amount of hard work and effort to get over this major setback for their aviation industry.

DYK?

did-you-know-1197

Better All Round

Fair or not, wifey won't be missing him. She's already holding the door open to him to leave with his coat.

Alan Pardew leaving Newcastle United to take over as Crystal Palace manager may be seen by some - when placed in the context of scale, potential and Premier League placing - as a step down into a relegation fight.

And yet it seems clear that Pardew can barely wait to pack his bags and leave Tyneside for Selhurst Park once the call came from his former club following the sacking of Neil Warnock.

So why did Pardew finally feel it was time to end his loveless marriage with the Toon Army and what will await him at Palace after a reconciliation with the club where he distinguished himself as a player?
Fanbase


WHAT PARDEW LEAVES BEHIND

At Newcastle, Pardew's stock with the supporters was so low that few will mourn his departure. Even if he had brought a trophy to Tyneside, you suspect credit from fans would have been delivered elsewhere rather than at the door of the manager.



Alan Pardew has been regarded with suspicion by Newcastle fans

From his appointment in succession to the popular Chris Hughton in December 2010, many fans simply viewed him as part of owner Mike Ashley's so-called "Cockney Mafia" and a stooge for the man who runs such a tight ship. He was regarded with suspicion by supporters who felt he was simply a "yes man" for a disliked hierarchy.

In some instances Pardew hardly helped himself, such as when verbally abusing Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini in the technical area or putting the head in on Hull City's David Meyler.

This season "Pardew Out" banners have been held aloft at regular intervals and a fans' website was set up devoted to getting him sacked. "Pardew Is A Muppet" was also daubed on a bedsheet paraded by fans - in others words he was fighting a battle for acceptance that he would never win.

When he got good results, Pardew was simply disliked a little less.

WHAT PARDEW TAKES ON

Pardew will receive a warm welcome from passionate Palace fans who remember him as the man who scored thedecisive goal in the famous 4-3 FA Cup semi-final winagainst Liverpool at Villa Park in 1990 and played in the finals against Manchester United.

He will be well received by supporters who could see the Warnock reign was not working and he will also be well-regarded for leaving a club higher up the Premier League to embark on a survival mission.

Pardew will be viewed as someone who knows what makes the club's supporters tick. He will already be aware of the noise and hostility that can be generated by Palace fans in some of the most atmospheric surroundings in the Premier League.

Results are the traditional barometer of managerial popularity and Pardew will need them quickly - but he will surely feel a burden has been lifted by doing his job in an atmosphere of support and affection from a fanbase that was never afforded him at Newcastle.
Owners

WHAT PARDEW LEAVES BEHIND

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley deserves credit for refusing to bend in the face of fan protests and sack Pardew - but this may have been a matter of convenience as his manager accepted the way he wanted to run the club.

Football is strictly business to Ashley, especially at a club where he also has little affection or respect from fans. Transfer budgets were strictly controlled and prize assets such as Yohan Cabaye were always prey if the chance of a big profit came along, such as when the Frenchman wassold to Paris St-Germain last January for £19m after signing from Lille for £4.3m in June 2011.



It has been suggested that no transfer funds would have been made available to Pardew in January by Newcastle owner Mike Ashley

Ashley was never going to cede control to Pardew when it came to signing players and it is believed a conversation which suggested no transfer funds would be forthcoming this January - unless of course midfielder Moussa Sissoko was sold - was part of the process that led up to this move.

Ashley, like the shrewd businessman he is, keeps his eye on the cash but at least he kept Pardew in place when many others would have bowed to demands from supporters.

WHAT PARDEW TAKES ON

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish will back Pardew after acting decisively to dismiss Warnock - and he will need this appointment to work as much as his new manager. Pardew will instantly be working from a position of greater power than he ever had at Newcastle.

Parish, a passionate Palace supporter, has had a chequered recent record and will not want history to judge him as making another poor decision - especially aftercircumstances surrounding the departure of Tony Pulis.



Pardew would be working for a chairman who is as desperate to make a go of this as him

The chairman deserves credit for appointing Pulis last season and watched with delight as he plotted an escape from what seemed certain relegation, only for the mood to change when he left just 48 hours before the start of the new season.

Parish always denied claims the pair had a rift over transfer targets but did admit "the communication was difficult".

Warnock was a mistake, albeit a short-lived one. Pardew would be working for a chairman who is as desperate to make a go of this as him. Parish cannot afford another failure with the stakes so high.

What is certain is that Parish would give Pardew a much greater say in who comes and goes at Palace than he had at Newcastle, although not a huge budget. This will have great appeal.



Goalkeeper Tim Krul is one of the stars of the Newcastle team
Squad

WHAT PARDEW LEAVES BEHIND

Pardew leaves behind a Newcastle side in 10th place in the Premier League, respectability and the same position they finished last season. He will also have gone out with a 3-1 win against Everton.

Newcastle's squad contains real quality in the shape of players such as goalkeeper Tim Krul, defenders Daryl Janmaat and Fabricio Coloccini and midfielder Sissoko.

It was a group of players that would never threaten the top four places but had enough to ensure a very comfortable Premier League existence - which is exactly how owner Ashley likes it.

WHAT PARDEW TAKES ON

Palace are 18th and seemingly condemned to another fight to stay up, a fight that has increased in intensity with Burnley's recent upturn in form and Leicester City's win at Hull City.



Would Pardew be able to re-ignite Wilfried Zaha's career?

There is quality about, however, in the shape of captain Mile Jedinak - who also leads Australia - and the maverick Yannick Bolasie can offer the unexpected when in the mood.

And, as Pulis proved, if the right buttons are pressed in this squad they have the pace and attitude that can make the unlikely happen. Pardew would hope to re-ignite some of the spirit that served Palace so well towards the end of last season.

Will he also be able to re-ignite Wilfried Zaha, so impressive in his first spell at Selhurst Park before his ill-fated move to Manchester United? If he can do that, Pardew will have another talent to work with.

Pardew's first job, however, would be to restore confidence on and off the pitch and hope to do some clever work in the January transfer window.
Profile

WHAT PARDEW LEAVES BEHIND

Pardew leaves behind a one-club city in Newcastle with a passionate (albeit success-starved) support and regular attendances of more than 52,000 at St James' Park. Had he been able to create success it would have resulted in almost limitless fervour and perhaps even some fulfilment of the potential this club possesses.



Newcastle enjoy regular attendances of more than 52,000 at St James' Park

Much was made of supposed "over-expectation" from Newcastle's fans. This was unfair - they were not demanding a regular supply of silverware, simply some indication the club might fulfil that potential. Not actually too much to ask.

Ashley's insistence on such control at Newcastle may see some managers less than enticed by the prospect of succeeding Pardew, but such is the history and passion that surrounds this club there will always be plenty of takers.

Newcastle spent more than £30m last summer, which included a £12m deal to sign Montpellier's Remy Cabella and around £11m on Dutch pair Siem de Jong - out injured for most of this season - and Daryl Janmaat.

In line with Ashley's policy, this was offset by that £19m sale of Yohan Cabaye to PSG last January and the summer departure of France defender Mathieu Debuchy to Arsenal in a £10m deal. The books have to be balanced and this is something Pardew's successor would also have to address.

The highest transfer fee Newcastle have received was the £35m spent on Andy Carroll by Liverpool in January 2011, while their biggest buy remains the £16m handed over to Real Madrid for Michael Owen in August 2005.

WHAT PARDEW TAKES ON

As with Newcastle, Pardew will be doing his work in front of supporters who have a fierce passion and love for their club. There are rarely too many empty seats at Selhurst Park with attendances around the 25,000 mark.

Last season's dramatic 3-3 draw with Liverpool, as Palace came from 3-0 down in the dying minutes, was an electrifying night and even earlier this season when they were again managerless and losing 3-1 to West Ham United, the level of support was remarkable.

Newcastle can attract a greater level of support in their home city than Palace can in London and despite Ashley watching the pennies, they can always pay bigger fees and attract bigger names.

Palace's summer spending was on a more modest scale, with the main purchase being James McArthur from Wigan Athletic in a £5.5m deal, parting with around £11m overall.

The McArthur deal edged out the previous record deal of £4.5m paid to Peterborough for Dwight Gayle in July 2013, while their record fee received was the £15m Manchester United paid for Wilfried Zaha in January of that year.

But no-one should underestimate what the Palace environment could create if Pardew gets it right - this and more control over his own destiny will have been a lure.
Expectation

WHAT PARDEW LEAVES BEHIND

As stated previously, Newcastle's fans simply want the club to deliver on the huge support they attract by at least looking like they might win a trophy or edge into the top six.

It should be remembered Newcastle were in contention for a Champions League place under Pardew until the final day of the 2011-12 season, when they finished fifth.



Will Pardew feel more comfortable with expectation levels at Crystal Palace?

Expectations have not been met and Newcastle's will always be higher than Palace. Pardew may feel more comfortable with the levels at Palace despite his very ambitious nature.

WHAT PARDEW TAKES ON

Expectation is very simple at Crystal Palace. Survive in the Premier League and if possible establish themselves there for the foreseeable future.

For this season though, the only expectation on Pardew would be that he keeps Palace up after their poor start. Higher goals can wait for another day.

BBC

Small Things

I am not a huge fan of baths and much prefer a shower.  Given that, I would most prefer a choice but in Asia baths are rare and everyone takes showers.

Here though we do get the option and I am looking forward to a lukewarm dip so that I can get a really close shave before heading off out tonight to welcome in the New Year.

There is no better shave than a wet one in the bath, as they say...

Green Very Cross Code

Bangkok has the infamous honour of having the most congested roads in the world and having lived there long enough plus travelled a bit, I can only agree.  The difference is that for us, we only have one road to cross on a regular basis, everywhere else we can access via walkways, bridges and traffic lights where vehicles do (mainly) stop.

Getting used to the traffic here is a real mind switch.  It is chaotic, loud, aggressive and there is no road craft, sense or awareness whatsoever.  Even crossing a one way street is fraught with danger and peril- and that is just from the push bikes.

People ride/drive all manner of things illegally and without any kind of tuition or understanding and this results in having to be most vigilant when attempting to get to the other side.

We're back in our groove but it's taken a day or so to find but imagine how bad it is here for us to be wishing to be back in Bangkok traffic...

Dilbert

The Official Dilbert Website featuring Scott Adams Dilbert strips, animations and more

Not Happenng

I'm not sure how long we can plough on as it is becoming increasingly more tedious waiting for the internet to reconnect and then just hang.  If we leave abruptly, you'll know why.

Unusual Film

The Detail was a very quirky movie but well worth a look.  Nicely paced, neat detours, good acting and overall a fine night in, finishing off with a Midsomer Murder which we hadn't seen before.  Episode 3 all the way back to 1997 odd, a real treat.

Seriously?

Wifey spotted the following statement on our cab receipt/flyer to drum up business for taxi drivers:

"Some of the money you have paid will go towards helping the homeless, support their families and the rest will go towards Angkor Hospital for Children and the Cambodian Red Cross of Siem Reap branch."

They charge $30 per day for a car around the Angkor area but bear in mind a tuk-tuk is $15 at most.

Without doubt all worthy causes but sadly I would like to put a figure or percentage on what those donations would come to.  I have found that with most charitable works, it always starts at home.

DYK?

did-you-know-1196

A Tenner

Now that we have an extra bag, we needed to upgrade our ticket back to Bangers with Air Asia to include a case for the hold.  They do not have the best of websites and adding in flaky internet connection, we didn't hold out much hope.

Imagine our surprise to be able to amend our ticket, first time to include a bag weighing up to 25 kg for just an extra tenner?  That's going to make going home so much easier.  :o)

Extra Bagage

Having now taken the decision to make this our final trip to Siem Reap (aside when taking friends back to show it off, for that it is wonderful and well worth a week or so) we no longer need to leave some of our things here.

Over the years we have ended up accumulating plenty of essentials (toaster, electric toothbrush, shaver, DVD player- the list goes on) but now it's time to cull and take back only what we really can't live without.

Hopefully some of the locals will be needing some of the gear we're chucking out and can out it to good use.

Still Struggling

You'll have to excuse some of the formatting and appearance of the Blog recently, unfortunately with our dodgy wi-fi connection we seem to be getting double/triple posts appearing and some images may not make it through.

Our apologies but we're doing our best and it's not being helped by using a keyboard that would make stamp seem huge.  What a comedown, going from our new 17" HP to our travelling Samsung 10".

Not that I am knocking our netbook mind, it's doing a grand job.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

C & H

Calvin and Hobbes

More Trouble

THU 1 JAN 2015 - PREMIER LEAGUE
  • StokevMan Utd12:45
  • Aston VillavCrystal Palace15:00
  • HullvEverton15:00
  • LiverpoolvLeicester15:00
  • Man CityvSunderland15:00
  • NewcastlevBurnley15:00
  • QPRvSwansea15:00
  • S'thamptonvArsenal15:00
  • West HamvWest Brom15:00
  • TottenhamvChelsea17:30