In Chiang Mai


I am Chiang Mai, the largest city in northern Thailand, and I will be here until the end of February. If you’re looking for commentary and photography on life in the penninsula you’ve come to the wrong blog (at least until February).

We’re here to get away from the cold by wearing shorts and t-shirts, lounging by the pool, and enjoying hearty sized gin and tonics. Plenty of walking around and checking out what the city has to offer has been done, and more is sure to follow.

With +1 our night life immersion has been limited, but we’re managing regardless. Plenty of markets, restaurants, coffee, and of course far glorious hot weather (did I mention we have a pool?).

Here are a few of photos I’ve taken over the past two weeks. More to come of course.

To view these photographs and more follow this link to my flickr page

To view these photographs and more follow this link to my flickr page

To view these photographs and more follow this link to my flickr page

To view these photographs and more follow this link to my flickr page

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Blogging: 2013 in Review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 25,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

A Year in Instagram


Here is my Year in Instagram. 508 Images, I believe, and over 9 minutes of wonderful filtered goodness.

Just in time for the new year I’ve come across a neat little app for the iphone called Flipagram. Essentially it collects all your photographs and allows you to organise them into a very simple slideshow, which you can then share across your various social networks, or whatever.

I had been looking for something like this to share my past year of photographs taken on Instagram, an app I’ve a lot of time for and one I enjoy not only posting but also looking at other people’s photographs. Of course it has it’s critics, but it also has its avid users (such as myself) who have taken amatuer mobile photography to a different level. For me, I use it as a photo-blogging or daily-photo tool (not that I post every day), as well as a convenient way of sharing photographs across multiple platforms.  I’ve spoken about Instagram a bit before so I’ll try and break new ground here.

You can read other Instagram related pieces here:

Instagramming My Environment October 2013
Italian Students Speak August 2013
In the Evening on the Twentieth Floor September 2012

What I’ve managed, eventually it has to be said, is to put together a slideshow of every instagram shot I’ve taken over the past twelve months, totalling over 500. I say eventually because this only came about after a number of mishaps which can probably be blamed on my slowly aging iphone 4, my dodgy internet connection, and faults with the app itself. I know there are faults because the person who made me wise to this app also expressed frustration with the actual processing.

It turns out that you can’t leave the app during the creating process, so I had to keep tapping the screen and to watch the percentage dial gradually progress towards 100%.  On more than one occasion my vigilance failed me and it was back to the start with my slideshow creation game, and by back to the start I mean all the way back.

That being said, both of us have created an almost 10 minute long slideshow with over 500 hundred shots, so perhaps it isn’t easy to actually develop an app capable of doing this fluidly. I think sometimes with the over propenderence of new tech and apps we just expect outright for things to work to our incredibily far reaching and rigid expectations. Nothing is ever really perfect, is it? But the more we see new things our expectations seem to spiral further beyond a reasonable level.

I could go about doing it the way I was actually considering doing which is to go through my folders on my computer and copy and paste all my backed-up instagram shots from the past twelve months. This would not only be frustrating, but undoubtedly one hundred times more tedious and prone to mistakes than this newer means of accomplishing the task at hand. Equally handy is the ability to go through Facebook albums to create a similar experience, and it is something I might do next.

The Flipagram app just about to process another slideshow,

The Flipagram app just about to process another slideshow,

In the end the final product came out rather well, and if I had some nice long piano concertos uploaded onto my iphone it would have been ideal. As it turned out I had no music at all. So once the slideshow was finished processing I had to save it onto dropbox, and from my laptop upload it to youtube where I used some of their ad supported music – the only free music they had was the Funeral March, which was not what I was looking for.

Do you use Instagram? Why not make your own Year in Instagram and share a link in the comments. 

Also, a big happy new year to all my readers!

Top Five 2013


Top Five Things I Did in 2013 

  1. Survived a year of +1 and gloriously celebrated her first birthday in November.
  2. Visited Ireland for two months during the summer, and laid the ground for a future there.
  3. Family (finally) visting us in Korea to celebrate Claire’s 100 Days.
  4. Representing the Irish Community in Korea and laying a wreath at the newly laid Memorial for the Irish Who Fell During the Korean War.

    Taking a moment after laying the wreath for the Irish who fell during the Korean War.

    At the Korean War Memorial in Suwon (image via flickr)

  5. Getting a new camera (a bit commercial and consumerist, but I am so happy to have it)
Top Five Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2014
  1. More family fun!
  2. Moving back to Ireland
  3. Starting my doctorate (fingers crossed)
  4. The next two months in Thailand

    Those next two months don't look to shabby from this perspective!

    Those next two months don’t look to shabby from this perspective!

  5. More rejection letters… 😉
Top Five Things I Should Seek to Do More in 2014
  1. Get paid to write
  2. Find the right family-work-writing time balance
  3. Get more writing published
  4. Learn to appreciate moments without a camera or story as a goal of the experience.
  5. Be more physically active and socially engaged, and less staring at the internet.

People I’ll miss in 2014

  • T.P., my grandfather, a scurulous rouge but as generous and warm hearted as they come. Without him I wouldn’t be where I am today.
  • 할머니, or I should say Herself’s 할머니, who passed away a few weeks ago. Another person who had a big say in my and Herself’s future together.

    With Herself's 할머니 around 2007.

    With Herself’s 할머니 around 2007.

  • More and more friends who move around the world, always looking for work, homes, or just some new challenge (myself and included)

Top Five Tips For Living in 2014

  1. Drink, of course, but don’t drink so much you can’t remember. Life is actually alright when you’re not locked, but do remember to get locked, that is important. Oh, and if you are drinking, drink nice beer/wine/whiskey, the price is worth the difference.

    Worth it.

    Worth it.

  2. Turn off the internet.
  3. Read those books you said you would last year.
  4. Give it up.
  5. Start a hobby, and if you have one already, improve your ability at it.

 

What’s your Top Five from 2013, or for 2014?

An Unconventional Christmas


Two days before Christmas day we had landed at Chiang Mai International Airport after a brisk six hour flight from Korea, and the day before, Christmas Eve, we pottered about our locality and did some shopping for the apartment we were staying in. We went to bed that night as we would have any other night, happy that we had made it finally to Thailand for the winter, and hopeful for what the coming few months would bring.

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The next day of course was Christmas Day, and we had not done much in preparation for it. We woke and breakfasted on what we could scrape from the fridge – an egg or two, some bread, tomatoes, and fruit. We played together with +1 for a while, waiting for it to warm up outside and for +1 to fall asleep again for her morning nap, which she dutifully did at the usual time.

Upon awaking we quickly packed what was required for the day and caught a cab to a big shiny new shopping centre on the ubiquitously named Super Hi-Way which circles the city. Once there we entered and began to potter around.

Spending Christmas Day in a shopping centre with all its glitz and annoying repetition of door after door bedazzled with logos and products may sound like an awful turn following the usual Christmas charge for presents. However, I don’t think we had been in one all December, and to be honest, it was an easy way to take the mind off obvious alternatives several thousand miles away.

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There was of course plenty to see and with a little baby in tow (or doing the towing as the case may be) finding the most appropriate entertainment is always the main concern. We wandered around different shops, obviously, trying our hand at the Japanese version (original perhaps) of Daiso in Thailand, a kid’s café, and we even took a few moments to wonder at the indoor ice rink on the fifth floor.

Before long we found a big kids section and went about choosing a few presents for +1 for her second Christmas. Although she’s only one, she was all but a month old for her first birthday so this would be kind of like her first Christmas. We decided against Santa because, to be honest, she will not understand or ever recognise the amazingness that is Santa Claus on a Christmas morning. We discussed it but decided that simply giving her presents without that kind of ‘appreciation’ seemed a little unnecessary. Herself didn’t really experience Christmas until she lived in Ireland with me, so when it comes to Christmas-like decision making generally she takes my word (at her peril). From next year I think there will be a big change.

After a little more shopping, like for stuff like food for the fridge (to vary the breakfast content and the likes), we settled on the notion that we would be well served by having some dinner. We had perused the restaurants already and knew for certain that there wasn’t a turkey to be found in the square mile of Thailand we were in, so we settled on the next best thing; wine, cheese, and serrano ham.

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We had snacked earlier and didn’t feel like going in for a huge feed, and we decided that if we could manage this and still feel hungry then we might consider something greater. We immersed ourselves in the wine and accoutrements, while feeding +1 who was happy enough to demand what we were eating while throwing all her toys and food on the ground. Later we decided on a plate of pasta, more I think to keep +1 satiated than for our own appetites, and cake.

At some stage, I’m not exactly certain when, we skyped my family in Ireland who were all up and busy with Christmas morning. It is always worth witnessing how the wonder of Christmas can relieve a good hangover, but I believe St Stephen’s Day is a little less effective. We did our best to hear what everyone else was saying over the din of the restaurant, and after a decent chat we let them be with promises to call back when we got home to stronger connection.

By the end of the day we were home again in our apartment not far from the city’s old walls. We quickly got +1 ready for bed, made another call or two wishing people happy Christmas. Once +1 had gone to bed, myself and Herself stayed up chatting, while I polished off more wine. She fell asleep and I decided to sit up at the computer. I may have wrote something, but that may have been the night after.

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So that was my Christmas. It was unconventional sure, but I think I’ve become used to unconventional Christmas happenings, although I will always stand by the belief that it’s not what you do that matters, it’s who you do it with.

A belated merry Christmas and happy new year to all my readers wherever you are in the world.