Sunday Summary #38

Welcome to Sunday Summary, the meme in which I attempt to summarize the week that came before.

This was an odd week. I didn’t leave my home that much although I did get around to a few more places than usual. I feel I didn’t accomplish much but I actually did. Most of the week was spent staring at my laptop screen.

As I start to write this, it is already approaching midnight on Sunday so this will be another late posting. Does it really matter?

Last week saw two potentially busy days for me. The Coronation of King Charles III occurred on Saturday and I got the times all screwed up. I managed to tune in just as the King was leaving the Buckingham Palace balcony and the BBC cut to commentary. I had planned to spend Saturday and Sunday blogging about new Coronation stamps including those from Canada and New Zealand but I just could not motivate myself properly.

The same thing happened on Tuesday as that was Europe Day and I planned to add many of the Europa 2023 Peace stamps to my online catalogue. I ended up finishing just three — Faroe Islands, Serbia, and Ukraine (which announced theirs fairly late in the day). The next day I added one (Denmark) and over the next two days managed to write-up the Europa issues from the Vatican City, Poland, and Malta. In all, some 24 different countries issued their Europa 2023 stamps on the 9th so I am now extremely far behind. I did start to separate the different sections of the full catalogue article into individual articles (and back-published on their release date) but ran out of steam on Friday with an idea for yet another project.

The new project is for this site, cataloguing My Book Collection. I threw away quite a few physical books during my recent move but the ones I kept are those that are really useful in my work or research while others are perennial favorites. There’s a small amount that made the move to Asia with me nearly 20 years ago. Also, I have amassed a HUGE collection of eBooks over the years but they were scattered around different external hard drives and several Google Drive accounts. Over the past month or so, I have from time to time been working to consolidate those into one folder on my trusty HP laptop (the most reliable I have ever owned) and also adding them into a new library under the calibre e-book management software (yes, the lower-case “C” is correct here). Right now, there are just over 1300 epub-format books in there, all with the extensive information that I like having in the metadata. When trying to decide on which book to read next, I like to read book descriptions and/or reviews as I make my choice.

One of my favorite 7-11 meals is this spicy rice with pork and basil and to dump about a half-bottle of ketchup on top. Yummy!

My Book Collection will put all of that information about the books (e- and tree) that I own right on my personal site. I am using several different sources as I am finding various sites have great write-ups on some books but nothing at all for others. At the very least, I want to have accurate publication dates (at least the correct years) for the first edition of the work — unless I have a stated later revision. Many of the years that are retrieved when using calibre to download metadata are for a later paperback edition rather than the original hardcover.

Due to the limitations of my WordPress theme, I cannot add tags to Pages so each book entry is published as a Post (which appears on the blog and also goes to my Twitter feed simultaneously). I think the tags will be very useful at a later date to find different categories of books, i.e. all those about Ukraine or the Titanic. At the moment, I am proceeding alphabetically by the author’s last name but I might go out of order sometimes.

Dangerous Crossing. This is just outside of the kindergarten school. The green light is only 10 second long. However, very few people will stop at the red light on the highway. If somebody stops, invariably they cover the crosswalk and others who come up behind them (motorbikes, cars, trucks, buses, those damned tractors hauling jet-skis) will just go in the other lane and pass those who are waiting at the red light. So dangerous that I will go up the street aways and take my chances. I hear the screeching of breaks all day and all night long (my apartment is not far away) and sometimes the sounds of breaking plastic and glass.

Yes, it’s slow going but I am enjoying it so far. I have done seven entries (one for each author) with a total of eleven books. Of those, I have only read three to date. I have so many more unread books than ones that I have finished. That’s the problem with having such varied interests and so many “favorite” authors — I always add more books to the collection than I have time to read.

Speaking of books, I finished THREE this week! That’s quite a jump but two of those were in the Images of America series comprising vintage photos with quite lengthy captions. I have quite a few of these and each one takes between one and two hours to read if I do it in one sitting (and am interested in the subject matter). I finished Carlsbad and Carlsbad Caverns by Donna Blake Birchell (2010), Mammoth Cave and the Kentucky Cave Region by Bob and Judi Thompson (2003) as well as Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston’s 1999 novel Thunderhead. Midweek, I started reading Song of the Lion by Anne Hillerman and am more than 50 percent finished with that one already.

I stumbled across the Mammoth Cave book while trying to find a work called The Longest Cave that I had checked out from the local library when I was a teenager and I quite enjoyed. I found that but I also found a completely rewritten and updated account of the subterranean Kentucky explorations called Beyond Mammoth Cave: A Tale of Obsession in the World’s Longest Cave by James D. Borden and Roger W. Brucker (2000). At the time the earlier book had been published (1987), the Mammoth Cave system extended some 144.4 miles. By the time the sequel came out, the length extended past 300 miles. According to the latest update of the National Park Service website (December 5, 2022), the total length stood at 426 miles (685 kilometers). As a teenager, I was amazed that they kept finding more and more of the cave and now, as a somewhat senior person, I am just as fascinated. I will probably start reading Beyond Mammoth Cave fairly soon.

For the first part of the week, I had the Rolling Stones on in the background almost constantly as I continued listening to my collection in chronological order. But once I got to 1976’s Black and Blue, I needed a change of pace so I listened to several Sade albums followed by a bit of Bonnie Raitt and Pat Benatar. Today, it was Heather Nova and Billy Joel!

The new Chinese teacher lives up this soi. It is to the north of the highway but the hill and trees mask the sound of the traffic.
There are a lot of cute bungalows and houses for rent in hidden spots surrounding her soi. The rates are fairly low.

My previous school’s new Chinese teacher returned to Phuket on Thursday. She’s a friend of the previous Chinese teacher and we met once when she came to the school to visit. We kept in contact while she went to Chiang Mai on holiday. Upon her return, I helped her move into her new apartment (another second-floor walk-up with loads of HEAVY boxes!) and have been showing her the sights and eateries of Kata. It would have been nice to work with her during the upcoming school year. I am anxious for that to begin.

We had some rain a week ago but nothing since…

While there was a nice rain shower at the start of the week, it got progressively hotter with each passing day. Today, the temperature topped-out at 104 degrees Fahrenheit and felt much worse. It makes it difficult staying in a room without air-conditioning and I find myself constantly going to the icebox to chug some cold Pepsi straight from the bottle. I keep my soda in the freezer so it remains extremely cold; it’s rarely in there long enough to freeze!

I fulfilled an important family obligation early Saturday morning by getting up at 3:30 to watch a graduation ceremony live-streamed on YouTube. It had been my nephew’s life-long dream to become a veterinarian and he received his DVM from Kansas State University this week. I was up late so only got a couple of hours of sleep before my alarm went off. I was fairly groggy when the ceremony began but found the guest speaker interesting — she had written a book I once owned about Visual Learning (a friend of mine later asked me if it was a picture book — ha ha!) Thankfully, Spencer’s last name starts with a “B” (and they managed to mispronounce it!) so as soon as he was “hooded”, I went back to bed.

My sister, her son — the graduate — and my Dad.

All too soon, my alarm went off again as I had to travel to Phuket Town in order to teach a class. A few months ago, I had been asked to teach an adult business English course for a yacht brokerage in the far northeastern part of the island. The company kept delaying the start of the course but I finally got to do a class at the end of April. They cancelled again last week but confirmed for this Saturday. In order to get there, I had to catch the 9:00 songteaw in Kata which got me to Limelight in Phuket Town just before 10. A driver then picks me up at 11 for the roughly 45-minute ride to the Ao Por Grand Marina. I taught for an hour and then returned to Phuket Town and caught the songteaw back to Kata, arriving at my home just after 3:30. A very long travel day for a single hour-long class!

While waiting for my driver to pick me up, I laminated some game pieces in my old agency’s office on Saturday.
I think I have almost too much physical material for the new school year now. It’s time to start thinking of chants and songs to use.

The area near the classroom location is quite scenic but I haven’t yet been able to take any photos due to the speed at which the driver roars through! I did manage to take photos this week of two of the models which decorate the office which I use as a classroom. They specialize in super-yachts one of which has a helipad and they will provide the helicopter as an option.

My classroom at the marina is full of models. I hope someday they will take me out to one of the real yachts.
I am not teaching enough hours to be paid with a model, but would accept one if they offered…

Now that Thailand’s first elections since 2004 are now over (voting taking place today), it looks like Kan will be making the journey to Bangkok (at least eight hours on a bus) and then flying to Phuket within the next week or so. It depends on bus availability — all of Thailand is now traveling following these elections so there may be a lot of fully-booked buses and the inevitable delays.

Another favorite eatery is Potato Queen at the Kata Walking Street market. It had moved since my last visit but I soon found it. I usually order a cheese potato (they melt the cheese with a butane torch) and add sour cream and onions to that. No ketchup!

Unless there is some other unforeseen event, I should start work at my new school in just two weeks. I still do not have a curriculum or a schedule nor do I expect either before about Week 2 (or 3!). I am just anxious to have something to do everyday (and get paid for). I wake up early every morning. I have been checking what time the bus passes my home each day as well. Sometimes it’s right on time but mostly it’s up to four minutes late. I worry about the traffic flow bogging down near other schools along the route. Arriving at the school on time hinges on so many different factors (and I am trying not to think about the inevitability of torrential downpours when the monsoon season begins in earnest). I really hate to be late for anything.

These don’t offer much protection from the rain. There are tarps they can put down but they usually wait until it’s pouring sideways before they pull over and do that.
The main market area of Phuket Town on a Saturday afternoon. I don’t think it was this quiet even in the middle of COVID. The pharmacy is also a weed shop. Seems so wrong to me.

I think that completes this week’s “Sunday Summary”. For the upcoming week, I will work a bit on my blogs each day alternating between the Book Collection entries here and Europa updates on Philatelic Pursuits. Hopefully, I’ll feel like I accomplished something once next Sunday rolls around.

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