Archive for February, 2005

Bangkok, Thailand — February 2005

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005


The first noble truth in Buddhism is dukkha [], which means suffering—mental and physical. Bangkok is filled with dukkha. Bangkok is the dirtiest city I have ever been to. The streets are filled with smells of decaying trash and unwashed bodies, broken intermittently by the smell of cooking food sold by street vendors. The street vendors cook the food and then set it out on their stalls for the fly’s to eat. Even if I was not a vegetarian I would not eat the grilled meat covered with whatever comes off the fly’s feet.

Bangkok was caught in the middle of uncontrolled expansion in 1997 when the Asian financial crisis stuck. Bangkok was the epicenter of the crisis and the wounds still show. Half finished skyscrapers stand like skeletons amid the, mostly older, buildings. Rusting out cranes dot the skyline, I hear one fell down recently and killed some people. It wouldn’t surprise me if it killed a lot of people. All the land around these half-finished monuments to economic growth is covered with shanties. Hundreds of thousands of them, made from corrugated steal and plastic tarps. I think most of the population of Bangkok actually lives in shanties. Traveling by train from the central station is like a journey into the ads for Christian Children’s Fund []. All along the tracks people live and work amid the shanties. Children really do play in trash heaps—in the shade of a dumpster.

Here amid the row after row of shanties the smells are overpowering. The canals that once won Bangkok the nickname ‘Venice of the East’ are little more then black water pools of trash festering with who knows what undiscovered disease. Many of the houses are built on stilts to span small canals and the rivers of trash that line their banks. In many places chicken peck at the trash for food, dogs rummage amid the plastic bags and cats sleep in the shadows.

But Bangkok has not lost all charm. Get lost a little bit near China town in all the no name wat‘s and the markets and you can still see the faces of people who gave Bangkok it’s other nickname; the city of smiles. The bigger wat‘s are filled with bus loads of tourists but along the smaller back roads you still see many saffron robed monks out begging for their daily bread.

Filled with tuk-tuk‘s and taxis Bangkok is a noisy, crowded, polluted city hiding it’s charm amid poverty, prostitution and profiteering. But hidden away amid the cheep fakes for sale on every street corner and the flashy tourist dives filled with prostitutes there is still some charm left.

yellow jacket

Thursday, February 17th, 2005

Yellow jacket

I happened upon this yellow jacket one day walking form my apartment in DC to Dupont Circle. I think the effect of the yellow jacket and the pestles being in sharp focus while the petals are out of focus makes for a nice wallpaper. A far cry from the minimalism of ‘have you seen my keys’.

new layout for photos

Wednesday, February 16th, 2005

I put together a new layout for the photos section of confusion. At this point all sections are now just different catagories in my blog. The main page contains the most recent three entries from all catagories. And all the other pages contain a list of the 5 most recent entries in that catagoy and links to the archives pages.

Gulf Shores, Alabama, USA — August 2004

Wednesday, February 16th, 2005


Gulf Shores, Alabama used to be a sleepy sea side town only frequented by people from other parts of Alabama and sometimes from Mississippi or Florida. A quiet alternative to the major resort towns of Florida. My grandfather owns a beach house there and when I was young my family would spend a couple of weeks there every other year. Eating fresh Gulf Shrimp and swimming all week. Over the course of my lifetime the town has become more and more commercial like every town on the gulf coast it has been invaded by the land developers. Most of it’s charm was long ago bulldozed down to make room for high-rise hotels and timeshare resorts. There’s a Super Wal-Mart and all the chain fast food you can eat.

I hadn’t been to Gulf Shores for about six years, which means I had not seen my Grandparents for six years, and before I headed over to Singapore I wanted to see my grandfather again. So the last week in August, the last week before I headed to Singapore I drove down to Gulf Shores. A 22 hour car ride on a Wednesday night. I stayed with my parents for two days and went to Axis Alabama where my grandparents house it to visit them for a day. Then I drove 22 hours back to Washington DC and two days later headed to Singapore for the first time.

Two weeks after I left Hurricane Ivan came ashore at Gulf Shores destroying most everything. I understand that the beach house is still there but that it took extensive damage. I’m not sure if my grandfather will fix it or if it will get sold. He doesn’t use it much anymore. So these places in these pictures have been washed away now. The beaches will recover and he hotels will be rebuilt but for the next few years at least the beaches won’t look like they do in these pictures.

New York City, New York, USA — October 2004

Wednesday, February 16th, 2005


I took a one day drip to New York in October last year and of course I took the camera. I went because a visiting colleague from Singapore wanted to see New York while she was in town. I also took the opportunity to visit with a good friend who lives there—even if only for a few hours.

Metro Washington DC, USA — Summer 2004

Wednesday, February 16th, 2005


These pictures were taken in or around Washington DC between June and October 2004. Most of them were taken on weekend walks around Dupont Circle or late at night down by the National Mall after coming back from work. The main goal was just to use the camera, to get more familiar with it.

London, United Kingdom — October 2004

Wednesday, February 16th, 2005


I took a lot of pictures in London while I was living there in 2001/2002 but that was before I got my 10D. Most of those pictures are now sitting in a steamer trunk in my parents basement. I had a chance to visit London for a few days in October 2004 on business and I took my camera along. I did not take a lot of pictures and I didn’t go very many places, mostly around the Jubilee walk South of the river and up to St. Paul’s and Angel on the North side.

have you seen my keys?

Friday, February 4th, 2005

Have you seen my keys?

Minimalist wall paper made from a photo of my keys on the dinning room table. Why? Cause I was board one night. There’s a lot of white in this pic which kinda annoys me after a while as a background.

buttons, buttons, buttons!

Thursday, February 3rd, 2005
2011.03.09 & Buttons gone… why? Well, XHTML is dead, The CSS is not valid as per the validator, it’s out-of-date and jQuery does crazy things, blah blah blah. I updated the footer’s ‘disclaimer’ to link to the Creative Commons as all my words is still free…
2008.12.24 & I have updated to the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported [] license. The link(s) below are to the older 2.0 version.

You may have noticed there are a bunch of buttons at the bottom of the pages here at What does it all mean? Let me tell you…

powered by wordpress

This button links to WordPress [] because I use their software to run the blog [] on confusion. And basically all the content on the sight is uploaded as an entry in the blog (which I call my ‘journal’ a holdover from when I was doing this manually before the glory days of blogging!)

Creative Commons License

Next is the Creative Commons [] license button. This button is intended to show that you can copy anything you want from this website and use it (with a small number of restrictions) how you want. Read this post [] for more info.

Valid CSS!

Ah the power of standards! This button means that the pages on this site are designed using valid CSS []—whcih stands for Cascading Style Sheets and is a way to separate the layout and visual style of a webpage from the HTML code and content. We love standards! And we’d love them even more if they worked in IE! Damn Micro$oft and their non-conformist ways!

Valid XHTML 1.1!

This one says that confusion is coded in valid XHTML []. What does that mean? It’s another standard that along with CSS is designed to make coding and maintaining web pages easier. All of the basic pages here at confusion should validate but some of the older journal entries may not. Click the button to see if this page validates!

rss entries feedrss comments feed

Want too keep up with my latest dribble? Feeds are just the thing! Using a feed aggregator like those you can find here [] and here [] you can add the links these buttons and you will be able to keep up-to-date with all my pointless ranting. The ‘entries’ link will will give you all the new entries I post and the ‘comments’ link will provide a feed of all the comments other leave.

what are these things

WTF? This one takes you to this post, because an odd number of buttons was not cool. I made this button to match the other second row buttons using this handy utility [] created to support the “steal these buttons” craze which you can read about here [] and if you need a bazillion buttons go here [].


Wednesday, February 2nd, 2005
Frank Herbert


I first read Dune one summer sitting in an old arm chair in the basement of my grandparents house in rural Minnesota. I found a copy of Dune on the book shelf next to Louis Lamour western and Readers Digest Condensed Books when I was 14 or so. A battered musty original print run version that had belonged to my uncle. I read it in 3 days sitting in the basement in a chair that is probably older than me.

I still have that copy of Dune — it’s held together by a strip of Duck Tape along the spine. Has that lovely quality of curling into the palm of your hand naturally when you read it but still manages to close flat. The well used nature was hard won by repeated readings over the years.

I think I have read Dune 10 times, give or take. I read it in high school on the bus. I read it in college late at night and in the student union. I read it on planes on my way to business meetings. I keep reading it because it blew my mind the first time.

There are so many interweaving topics in Dune: It deals in ecology, psychology, philosophy, politics, physics, and a myriad of other subjects. Most good Sci-Fi and Fantasy books have politics and religion but only at a very shallow level. A ‘look, back-story! Now over here…’ level. Frank Herbert weaves them into the core of the story in a mostly coherent way that is missing from most Sci-Fi and Fantasy, J. R. R. Tolkien excepted..

Maybe it appeals to me because I like complected, epic stories. I know that each time I re-read Dune it looses a bit of it’s magic. The story is not high fiction and it doesn’t grow up like I do. But it’s still a good story, and one of my favorite. Dune is one of the books I would want with me if I was lost on an island or, lost in space.