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      CommentAuthortallman
    • CommentTimeOct 17th 2008
     
    Look at me...Two entries in one week! Amazing, right?

    So I'll be heading to the mountains this weekend. Been a while, so it should be a good time. Hope everyone else has a good weekend.

    Ok, so this entry didn't have much substance, but it's something. Heh.

    BTW, I'm really enjoying Anathem now. I'm about 300 pages in, and I realized that when I'm reading it, I lose all concept of time and I'm not paying attention to page number. It's been a while since I've read a book like that.

    ~tallman
    • CommentAuthorgrenville
    • CommentTimeOct 24th 2008
     
    I haven't dropped in for a while. I haven't read Anathem yet, but I did see Neal Stephenson talk about in on GoogleTalks on youtube. Interesting. Have a look at it if you haven't seen it.

    I'm living in Bangkok at the moment -- my least favourite Asian city after Jakarta. I've got this "designer boutique" apartment on a quiet little soi off Wireless Road. I usually avoid places with words like designer or boutique in their name, but this place is amazingly spacious and has every imaginable convenience and technology. Every day I find something new that looks incredibly stylish but either doesn't work or provides a bad user experience. I just figured out how to drop the plug in the bathroom basin -- tiny hidden behind the basin lever that is too stiff to push down. You got to love it.

    I'm off to Taipei in a few days, so good break from the heat. It will be interesting to see how the Taiwanese are reacting to the global implosion. South Korea just went down the toilet. Its funny how its the ones who think they won't be affected that are hit the most.
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      CommentAuthortallman
    • CommentTimeOct 26th 2008
     
    Grenville! Good to hear from you. I just watched the Stephenson talk on youtube. Excellent stuff, thanks for the pointer. Have you read any of Stephenson's other stuff?

    As usual, best of luck with the asian globetrotting...

    ~tallman
    • CommentAuthorgrenville
    • CommentTimeOct 26th 2008
     
    Its good to drop in some time. I haven't actually read any of Stephenson's novels, although I have a vague recollection of reading something he wrote on line years ago. It might even have been you who put me on to it. He's one of those writers I have on my to-read list, but have never got around to. My current plane reading is Tony Judt's essays on 20th century European history.

    I'm in Taipei right now and in combative mood for some reason. Maybe its the global economy that's put me on edge. I just had the hotel front desk in a shambles over the limo fare from the airport. The money was a pittance (10 USD), but its the principle of the thing. I demanded to see the legal agreement between the hotel (very exclusive and expensive) and the airport limo company. That put them in a panic. The customer is always right, especially when the exclusive end hotel market just dropped off the cliff. If the manger has to be phoned at home on a Sunday evening that's a good thing. If you don't give hotel managers a really knotty customer service crisis sometimes, they slide.
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      CommentAuthorDyre
    • CommentTimeOct 26th 2008 edited
     
    Stephenson's one of my to-read-but-still-haven't-made-it-around-to-it yet authors too. I absorbed a few books in a quite a quick span a few weeks but have dropped off on the reading, mostly due to craziness at work and moving, both of which have just recently stopped being crazy. In the beginning of Chuck Palahniuk's Survivor (which I loved), I thought I was making amazingly good progress a few times until I remembered that the page and chapter numbers go backward.

    tallman, when you say you're going off to the mountains, I totally know what you mean, 'cause you've mentioned such activities before, but I always picture with you with a long scraggly beard, a walking stick, and grey hair wandering through the Appalachians on your own, cutting new paths no one's created before, living on a diet of lizards and insects. Alternately, you are going to a secret fortified compound to train to be an elite eastern seaboard ninja. I understand if it's the latter and you can't tell us.

    grenville, good to hear from you. Did the recent government issues in Thailand affect you at all? I've heard that foreigners have been able to go about their business (tourism, or actual business) largely unaffected, but I suppose that would be different depending on what kind of business it is, and if what I'd heard is even true.
    • CommentAuthorgrenville
    • CommentTimeOct 28th 2008
     
    I was in Thailand the last time the military decided to remove a government and put in a new one. You would not have known about it if it hadn't been on CNN and the BBC. Thais are blase about it. This latest difficulty is confined to a couple of blocks in the government area, a good half hour taxi ride from where I live. Not that what is happening is unimportant -- there are important issues involved -- but it happens often enough and Thai civil society is mature enough not to come apart over it like it frequently did in the past. Its similar to the situation in Taiwan where I am now. They used to have police brutality, political repression and fist fights in Parliament over minor issues, now they just have vigorous debates with the odd riot thrown in. Its no bad thing when Prime Ministers have jump the back fence to get away from an angry mob. Stops them feeling so self important. It should happen more often.