Sunday Salon for 19th June 2011 (#50)

Sunday Salon 01.jpgI almost didn’t write a Sunday Salon at all today. It’s already very late in the afternoon (closing in on 3:00) — I’d planned to do my writing today in the morning so I could accomplish more things later in the day. But I got involved on a project and it took me a while to get to a point I felt I could quit at.

Not a lot happened this week — at least that hasn’t already been documented on this blog. I’ve been writing quite a bit lately and have been saving the various blog entries in the Raven portable app for uploading when I get online. I haven’t been to the internet cafe since Wednesday night so I have quite a backlog of articles to publish this evening.

To coincide with all of my recent writing I’ve joined a challenge with the goal to write just 250 words for each of at least six days per week. I’m tracking my word counts at the bottom of my articles as well as in a sidebar widget. As you can see I’ve far exceeded this goal every day except for Saturday (where I came close). Perhaps I should sign up for the 500 or 1000 Words a Day challenges.

While on the topic of the blog, I hope you enjoy the new look.  I’ve particularly enjoyed going through my old photos and choosing additional images to display in the header. They rotate randomly so you never know what’s going to come up at the top. I have photo backups from December 2005 through the end of 2009 (the others were all stored on the damaged external drive) and it’s been fun cropping those old photos to fit in the header. Not every photo looks good cropped so I’ve been discarding some as I’ve gone along; some look even better as I can concentrate the image down to a 1024×300 pixel view which reveal previously “hidden” details. I also decided to include photos taken throughout Thailand rather than limit them to Phuket. Thus, you might see some headers with pics of Phang Nga, Phi Phi, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Bang Pa-In, Kanchanaburi, Ayutthaya, and elsewhere. Talk about blasts from my past!

As of today, there are 701 photos in the rotating header_images folder and I’ve also started adding location/date info…

The big news is that I’m moving ahead with my plans to get out of Phuket, at least temporarily. I have a place to store my boxes of stuff until I find a new place. I’ll probably start shuttling boxes over there sometime this week — it’s difficult doing that on the back of a motorbike! After the apartment is cleared out I won’t have to worry about rent for a little while (I’ll just owe my current landlord around a thousand baht to cover this month’s utilities). I’ll then be free to move around a bit and look for work and a home elsewhere. I plan to travel to Hat Yai first, probably at the very beginning of July.

Part of this is motivated by continuing problems in my present building. I’ve lived in the building for almost three years (two in the current apartment). While I love the room and the location (and the price is quite reasonable as well), the lack of assistance when something breaks has always bothered me.

The air-conditioner and the sound on the television have been broken for as long as I can remember (at least a year) but rather than fixing them the old landlord just gave me a reduction on the rent. While it’s never hot enough where I feel I need the a/c (although sometimes a guest will disagree) and I’m not that bothered by not being able to watch TV (the reception was always full of static anyway but it would be nice to listen to the news from time to time), I’d rather they fix things in case I change my mind.

It’s gotten worse with the new owner.

I’ve written about the water problems from time to time but the pump was always fixed in a reasonable amount of time before (it’s now been more than a month with very unreliable running water).

In the middle of this past week the electricity went out. Now, living in Thailand you become quite used to the occasional power outage, usually after a violent storm knocks out a transformer. But the local electricity authority has always been very good at getting the lights back on quickly. On this particular day there wasn’t a raindrop to be found. The power remained off throughout the day (which actually wasn’t that bad as I started reading the very last of my few remaining tree-books, Clive Cussler’s The Silent Sea). Late in the afternoon I went next door to buy a soda and told the lady in the minimart that there still wasn’t any electricity. She was shocked and tried to get a hold of the owner herself. We never did track him down but the next morning she called a friend of hers who came over and fiddled with the circuit box for a while before he succeeded at restoring power. Only the owner can call the electrical board, apparently.

Prior to a couple of days ago, I only knew that the water was working when my bucket began overflowing. Like all of the other residents in the building I’ll leave a turned-on hose in the bucket so that it will fill eventually. I believe that the residents in the apartment directly upstairs did the same thing but are now staying elsewhere. I have this belief because everytime that the running water is restored now it begins dripping from the ceiling in my bathroom. At first there was a single drip right above the toilet so the water landing in the bowl but the plasterboard tiles have become saturated and there are now multiple drips, A big chunk of plastboard distinegrated and fell into the sink last night — I patched that with a square of future board (used in classrooms for wall displays). Of course, the owner is nowhere to be seen. I’m afraid that the entire ceiling will collapse before I can get it fixed. Either the bathroom in the upstairs apartment is flooded from the water hose overfilling the bucket or, worse, the pipes have a serious leak in them. I’d rather move out than deal with workmen replacing pipes (I went through that once before — it was bad enough in New Mexico, I can imagine what disasters would happen during the process here!).

I had a few more topics to discuss in this Sunday Salon but I’m going to take a shower now that I can hear the drip-drip-dripping indicating running water. I’ll save a few items for a “Random Musings” or “Morning Meandering” later in the week — a few might even warrant a full article of their own…

UPDATE: In going through my archives in preparation to combining posts from ALL of my past blogs, I’ve discovered that this is actually the 50th SUNDAY SALON that I’ve written, the bulk being on my Expat Bookworm site before I combined that one with Baan Jochim Phuket.  I think this deserves some sort of celebration…

The Phuket Bookworm Daily Writing Word Counts:
This Article — 1149
Total Today — 1859

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