Animals lose a friend

Irwin1Some people might say that Steve Irwin is a crazy SOB with what he does with animals and that it might not be in their best interests… but for all it's worth, I think Steve Irwin was passionate about his work, animals and saving the environment.  Irwin dies on Monday.  He died doing the thing that he loved most, being up close and personal with his animal friends.  

So intribute to the Crocodile Hunter, here are some quotes from the crazy, yet caring, Australian…

Irwin2"Crikey, mate. You're far safer dealing with crocodiles and western diamondback rattlesnakes than the executives and the producers and all those sharks in the big MGM building."

"The only animals I'm not comfortable with are parrots, but I'm learning as I go. I'm getting better and better at 'em. I really am."

"You know, you can touch a stick of dynamite, but if you touch a venomous snake it'll turn around and bite you and kill you so fast it's not even funny."

"I have no fear of losing my life – if I have to save a koala or a crocodile or a kangaroo or a snake, mate, I will save it."

You can find more about Steve Irwin at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Irwin

Who's vain? Not me…

So I've been told that I don't have enough pictures of myself on this blog thing… I guess people must be sick and tired of seeing pictures of landscapes and scenery.  How boring can that be, eh?  But hey it's hard trying to take pictures of myself when I'm using the person holding the camera. So what you'll find is that all these pictures are taken by someone else.

Yaomin, Surang and me at Wat Aruncool poseDandan watching me eatHello there...

Europe allows only 20kg

If you ever want to go to Europe, the first thing I'd recommend you do is check your baggage weight limit.  I think ANY flights to Europe will allow you to check in baggages weighing a TOTAL of 20kg (yep, that's the total of the two bags you're allowed to checkin).  To make things more confusing, I think you're allowed a maximum limit of 32kg for one bag.  So basically, if one of your bags weighs over 32kg, you'll have to repack.  In any case, you'll have to pay an excess fee because your bag(s) is over the 20kg limit. 

BuddhaSo why do I find this interesting, you ask?  Well, I was taking a friend to the airport last night and came across this baggage issue.  Ok, so my friend had two HUGE suitcases that were a pain to move around and I knew they would be over the weight limit… when we arrived at the airport and weighed the bags, they came out to be a total of 90kg!!!  If you do the math, that means they were 70kg overweight.  So when the counter person told us about the 20kg weight limit, we weren't shocked… what shocked us was the fact that the charge came out to be about USD$100…  OH, wait a minute, let me move that one decimal place over… yep, that's right, the charge for the excess weight of 70kg was $1000.   *ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS!

Thai dancingSo kids, remember, don't overpack when you're heading to Europe… what I want to know is do they increase this limit in the winter when you'll have the same amount of clothes, but they'll be much heavier because they'll be pants, coats, and all that heavy winter gear?

 (ps… probably not the best to have pictures of my friends overstuffed suitcases with his underwear hanging out in this story, so I've spared you the images and included a couple of less riske photos.)

Computers and courses… (Sigh)

Hello there...So I've been spending the past week trying to work out all these computer issues at work and at home.  First it was red ants finding a home in my computer… don't know why but they just started to find a home in my computer.  Luckily I wasn't able to get them out (hopefully all of them) and I'm keeping the bug repellent close by.  I read that they are attracted to the electricity – that's nuts if you ask me… would us humans say "hey electricity is fun! Let me stick my hand in this socket"… I don't think so.  Anyway, now its the slow internet connections that I have to deal with.  (Did I mention that my internet connection at home is a 56k modem – and my apartment cuts off your call after 30minutes). 

No, it's a mercedes...Maybe I'm a little stressed with a couple of assignments coming up that I have to do for my Masters?  Who knows… at least the urban design course is all about drawing and coming up with ideas to an urban problem, which is a nice change from your standard write-a-paper type of course. I had a chance to explore a little around my neighborhood for my course and found out a lot about my area.  First, there's a 18-hole golf course across from my apartment (in addition to the driving range new my place)… and second, for the most part all the caddies for the golf course are all women over 35 who all wear florescent green shirts.

 

Getting back to the routine

Dragon TreeWell after what feels like 3 weeks of craziness, I'm slowly getting back to my routine of eat, sleep, work, study, reading… The past week and a bit threw me off my finely-tuned system of getting as much done as possible within a 24-hour period. Not counting my social life (which coincidently enough is almost non-existant), I have two jobs (possibly 3), studying my Masters online and via distance ed, and trying to stay healthy and in shape. So what threw me off this past week and a bit?

Isaan temple and muralWell, it was this rural development tour I went on with the agency that sent me to Thailand. It was the first time to get out of Bangkok and the craziness of urban life so it was a nice change. The one-week tour was basically checking out rural development projects and alternative types of agriculture (i.e. organic) around the Northeast Region of Thailand, aka "Isaan". The tour touched on a whole lot of issues from politics, development, agriculture to just group dynamics, especially when you're bascially living and eating with people you hardly know for a whole week. 

A rural templeAll in all the tour was great! We had a chance to see organic farming in action, a herbal hospital (where I was able to get free meds!), a very impressive wat/temple, and met great people from all over Thailand. Oh, did I mention that we were able to see "wildlife"? Yep, with the roaming cows, the firery "mot daengs" (red ants), mosquitos galore, and a spider the size of a small bird, this was definitely an interesting week.

Coca Cola turns BLAK

Coca Cola BlakCoca Cola introduced a mid-calorie drink supposedly to be healthier than the original. For all the health nuts out there and for the "trendy" 20-somethings who don't want to b e seen as kids hopped up on caffeine with rotting teeth, I think Coke has found a niche market. I thought the US website was pretty boring – listing all the health benefits of the drink, blah blah blah – so I recommend you to check out the France website which is way cooler! If you understand Francais, good f or you (I'm patting you on the back as we speak)… for those who don't have a clue about French, just click around and experience the website. French culture can take anything mundane and make it slick and cool… The site may take a while to start if you don't have a fast internet connection. http://www.coca-colablak.com/index.jsp

Langauge Barriers

So I've been trying to sign up for various courses in Bangkok, which have been advertised in English, but guess what, when I call or email the people in charge, they tell me the course is in Thai. My Thai isn't that great but it's not that bad either, so I think if I tried hard enough I'd be able to follow along with the course. If the course was free, I'd definitely do it – instead it's going to cost approx. $700 Canadian so I have to rethink it. What gets me going is that WHY ADVERTISE SOMETHING IN ONE LANGUAGE, BUT THEN HAVE IT TAUGHT IN ANOTHER?! Any ideas out there?

How-to Mapping Guide

Working with the United Nations Development Programme on a HIV/AIDs and development programme for Southeast Asia, I researched, wrote, and designed this publication that was released in 2004. This how-to guide stresses the importance of mapping as a tool for understanding and responding to HIV vulnerability. The content for the guide came out of an expert meeting on mapping from the organizations highlighted on the cover. You can find this publication along with others that I designed here.

Cimate and HIV/AIDS

As part of a series of covers on HIV/AIDS, development, environment, agriculture and transportation, I designed this cover to represent the publicationís content on the link between Climate Change and HIV/AIDS.† In addition to being the photographer for the cover, I also put together a series of photos to create the design. The publication raises the argument that the concept of hotspots, in which climatic factors can play an important role, it begins to be clear that certain aspects of climate are useful for an Early Warning Rapid Response System (EWRRS) for HIV/AIDS. The publication can be found here, along with a series of other publications covers I designed.