times go by

Friendships and memories seem constant.

We had a great meal finding all the times between then and now. Tomorrow I leave for Asia.

Today another wonderful set of things. See my daughter for a late lunch and a beer. I came back for the few days to see all these special people in my life and to get the second Covid booster shot. The vaccine booster and my daughter set for today.

E SIM cards, Ubers, and more

In a few days I get the first of two E SIM cards for my few days in California. Then later in the week will get a second for Cambodia so I can have data when I get there. I will go with Airalo for both. I get a week with 1gb for $4.50 compared to no deal at all with T-Mobile for the e SIM card they offer. For going like this, these electronic cards are so easy. I buy the plan and when I connect in the US and activate it, I have the plan so I will have data. In Cambodia it used to be SIM cards were available at the airport. I am not sure these days and I get in rather late and after 17 hours of flying, I don’t think I want to futz with it. Easier to find a SMART store and buy a regular card when I get to Phnom Penh. That card will carry a month plan for so many Gb each month which I then top up using Ding. I could just find any one of the thousands of local places that sell scratch cards or top up using one of the SMART stores. I’m just lazy and prefer to let it get done once a month. I’ve used Ding for years to top up cards in Vietnam, Cambodia, and now in Mexico. Just works well and no hassles.

Truth is I guess I could get just a data plan in Cambodia because most of what I use is stuff like Google Voice, WhatsApp, Google maps, etc. These things are not expensive in Asia compared to what US cell services charge. I can get 6gb a month plan with texting and calling for about $6 in Cambodia. No contracts and renewable.

These are my last days using Uber thankfully. I really prefer Grab and the PassApp in Cambodia to get ride hailing done. In Cambodia I just get a tuktuk on either service where I wish to go. Cost may be $1 and Cambodia takes US dollars as long as they are not old and torn. I’m old and torn but I don’t have to worry about that at all. Grab is just so much better and one app does it all where Uber does food but I guess it is better with Uber Eats. Then there is this other app I installed but never used. DiDi seems nice but Uber is easier I guess. My last few times using Uber will be to get a ride on Tuesday to the Merida airport and then from SFO International terminal to my hotel and then back to SFO three days later. Then I am done with Uber stuff and the apps go away.

Finally when I booked my flight out of Merida I used this app called Trip. It is okay but sometimes it does weird things. Not this time really but somehow I booked business class for both flights back to SFO. I am pretty happy with that since the longer flight is true Premiere class with free meals, wifi, stuff. I only have three days left here and in two days I can do the check-in using the Aeromexico iOS app which is very good.

I also booked the flights to Cambodia on Korea Airlines using Trip. I wanted a flight which left at a regular time after years of flying to Singapore at 1am which always seemed terrible to me. This flight leaves at 1240pm on 9 September. It takes 12 hours to make it to Incheon Seoul Korea and then a connecting flight a few hours later takes 5 hours to Cambodia. It takes a long time to GTFO of these places. I’ll take it. I am already tired of the US and I have not been there yet this time.

I was thinking that the next time I fly is in late December when I visit Vietnam for a month. I have to go to Saigon first to see my friend Tom there and then fly up to Hanoi for about three weeks. I don’t care for Saigon too much but I know a nice hotel in District One I can spend a few nights at. There’s nothing else in Saigon for me. Then I fly to Hanoi but then back to Saigon and then back to Phnom Penh. If Tom only lived in Hanoi again there would be no need to visit Saigon at all. So that is the “more”. Little pieces of this and that which I have thought of a few times over the months of having a nice life in Merida. Honestly, when I came back in March after a week in Houston that seemed like a year, I could not imagine the 170 some days going by. Yet they did.

Now I’m ready for a second coffee this morning. Perhaps some pastries and a banana. Because I deserve and I accounted for all the little things right here in this blog post.

Just for fun I did this…

I am not sure why but I attribute it to wanting something different and fun. This photographer I really like, Samuel Elkins, had a video about the use of a point and shoot camera no matter what other gear one carries. Sam will shoot with any camera basically and has done videos on iPhone 12 Pro and 13 pro taking beautiful photographs along the pacific coast, the deserts, mountains, etc. I really admire his work and the fact he discusses his art and science in accessible and real world YouTube videos.

So while I really enjoy taking photos with my trustworthy and fun iPhone 12 Pro, I decided to get an older point and shoot camera. I had gone through a few of them and found plus and minus about any of them. There is not a camera made that does not have a strike against it I think. Some I would never buy like a $5k camera for what I do. Others I kinda think of but have seriously bad luck with them. Namely any FujiFilm camera I have owned. FujiFilm cameras cost too much to dork around with anyways. I think I have had:

  1. FujiFilm X100F twice. Each one broke in different ways. One just refused to take photos. The other had this issue with something else.
  2. FujiFilm X-T2. A really nice camera for a month. Then the shutter button started acting up and would not take a photo. It was a known issue so it went back to Singapore FujiFilm who claimed they fixed it. But voila! Two weeks later in Siem Reap it started again.
  3. FujiFilm X-T30. A really nice camera that I got tired of and gave away. I was tired of just about all cameras then. This one just got in the way.

I settled and had a lot of fun initially on my iPhone 7 Plus which seemed to get wet, get dropped, have problems in bags and it still took photos. I cannot say that much for the X100F cameras. So perhaps digital cameras and I are doomed together. I dunno.

But I wanted something old. A used camera that did not cost thousands of dollars but still seemed relevant. Really from watching any number of videos any old point and shoot can work especially if it is not going to take the place of the iPhone. So to make a long story longer, I got the Sony RX100 Mark III. Used. For $399. It comes with battery, case, wrist strap and its tiny! It will fit in the every day carry bag I use to roam around with lots of room to spare for my iPhone, AirPods, magsafe battery, etc. I can also carry an extra battery and SD card if I want. This is the camera. Or a photo of the camera. A photo of a thing that takes photos. That’s kinda cute.

So what will I do with this charming little beastie? Well the same stuff I do with the iPhone really. It is just another expression of my desire to find little things to take photos and then take them. Find places in Siem Reap to offer up every day between the iPhone and this camera and then do that. Add more photos to my photo gallery on Cambodia and soon after on Vietnam.

Most of all I did not break the bank getting it since I bought it used from this place. It costs just enough for me to have fun with it and not stress over something happening to it. I figure I will still have the iPhone 12 Pro because every iPhone I’ve had has lasted longer than every digital camera I have had. Seems strange but it is legit.

Finally, I am not a photographer. I don’t dress or act or sound like one. However they sound or dress or act. I just am the person wandering around with no destination that wants to have some fun finding things to take photos of and then sharing them on the blog and mastodon. The method really is not to become famous or sell my work. Hell, you can just take a photo and have it. I figure most of mine no one wants anyways. That leaves having fun. Going to Angkor Wat at sunrise sometime this year and having fun with both the iPhone and the Sony. Taking photos of doors and windows, sunsets and buildings. People and tuktuks. All the things that matter and not.

Then sharing them all because that is the final part I enjoy. I enjoy finding the things, perhaps grabbing them on either device, writing about them here, and then sharing them here and there.

I have many friends that are wonderful photographers out there. I think Maique takes beautiful and sometimes haunting photos with whatever it is he takes them with. The device never really matters , does it? What matters is the taking. Then the fun. Then the sharing. I’m appreciative of both Maique and Sam for showing a path but letting me walk it on my own. We all must experience the world, find the way to capture it, enjoy it many times, remember it forever or not. One way is to take photographs. Another way is to write. The best way is to do both.

Hence this blog perhaps.

Take care you all.

breaking from Mastodon

I’ve had this feeling for awhile that I needed to take a longer break from being on Mastodon. It sometimes seems frustrating or I get upset at myself for not writing more or deciding how I want to publish my Going West stories. When I had the Obsidian Publish site, publishing the longer works seemed more organic and with less friction. I could basically write as I pleased, not be done, not worry about publishing or finishing. The idea behind the Going West work was to write with so-called door open and richly link between the articles where I wished. I don’t feel as much as I really like the blog and writing here that publishing my stories on wordpress is the best method or gives me the “never finished” feeling. Some of this I think comes from not giving time to the writing itself, building the stories yet again from publishing them first on the Ghost blog and then not publishing them on Obsidian.

So I decided I needed to simplify and decide a few things about the stories. The first thing is a break from social media completely which is only Mastodon for me. The second is being able to create and update the stories and then decide how I wish to publish them. I don’t feel they have to be on some digital garden or as a series of never finished notes. I have thought the writing could become simply an online expression and I would come up with a new order of publishing on wordpress with a different tag or category. I think as I go through the stories they all belong as a part of the blog here.

So for some bit of time, I won’t be logging into mastodon because I want to find some of the missing. Starting now also I will be creating some possible methods I wish to use to publish the stories on the blog. I had become endeared to the never finished and always editing “garage door open” thing but it has a downside for me. I want to get the words out there without just splitting the work between my blog and yet another site that then requires another editor.

I will be putting photos here on the blog which I have thought is the best place for them. Prior to leaving Mexico I will publish my first Going West stories to the blog. I have about 10 stories which I think need editing and cleaning up from having wikilinks in them but also include some updates to a few of the stories.

So if you look and I ain’t there…

Now you know why. I cannot do both. Cannot write and be on mastodon the way it was and I prefer to work on the stories and write here.

I’ll return at some point when I feel good again about the writing and have progress to how I wish to publish the stories.

Thanks for reading.

Friday morning blogging

I had thought of writing a Thursday evening blog post. Actually started one but decided to let it go. Friday seems a better morning to start than the Thursday finishing up with doing mostly nothing yesterday. Took a day off walking. Now I feel like walking today :-). I do have a thing to do today. My todo list:

  • pick up laundry

And that is it. As you can tell I don’t do todo lists. I don’t do shopping lists or reminders because there is nothing to be reminded for either shopping or things “out there”. I even invented a take on “GTD” which is completely opposite to whatever the heck GTD could be. I call my take,

Not getting things done

There are no contexts, review or the use of Notion to build complex scenarios or databases. Hope you like. You can do my way too. Just delete your GTD workflow completely. My take is you all spend way too much deliberating what must be done, spending money on screwy methods and techniques to track all the things. Color code them, prioritize them, make them due on a day. You also spend too much effort on turning things into projects BTW. Seems like a waste of time to me. I mean if you want to do something why not just do it or don’t do it. I could wait for laundry until tomorrow so there is no preferred date next to it or priority. So not Getting Things Done is all about you not about things. The big turn off for me is the middle word “things”. We focus way too much on things and then we want to combine things with times and dates and priorities. F all that. You too can subscribe to my wonderful lack of productivity methods. Don’t write anything down, don’t buy apps that equip you to manage all this stuff, miss a few things today and do them tomorrow, and finally relax. You think it matters to me if you don’t get thing A done or not? Nope. I could give a shit less.

So there you have the essence of the Mike lack of productivity method. Soon out in an ebook. If your room coffee has cooled off, pop it back in the microwave. I’ll wait…

Waiting, waiting, waiting.

Ok you back? Well goodbye. That is all there was to this Friday blogging thing.

in News | 409 Words

Welcome to Mikes Thoughts

Going backwards I guess to another time when I would publish these things. This time on some basic wordpress. I started a new micropublishing platform just recently here. Now I feel that the site needs a companion but I don’t really want something federated or on some mastodon or other social media. I created this site to just be the basic site to follow along with my SubStack.

There’s not a goal here or a need to become popular or linked to. Just a place for me to write and consider and also accompany the newsletters. I can see a place for both and the blog serves a different need in my little life.

Anyways, that is the idea here. The writing will be perhaps pieces that come from my Craft notes or smaller daily pieces I feel like jotting down or preserving or denying or creating.