Little Days

Some days on the voyage are little days. Maybe most are little days. It seems in my life things change with alacrity yet they are things which I just accept or ignore or decide to live with. Last night I received an email from my friend here Ah Vy. She is a Khmer woman I met here years ago and we would go to malls, out for dinner, she would laugh and tell me time is not real in Cambodia. So we invented two kinds of time. AV time was whatever she wanted it to be and Mike time. Mike time was regular time or so. Really though when I retired I let the whole thread of time go so when she emailed me and told me she saw me out walking and could not call me I was happy for the end of yesterday’s little day. She is the one person I could not find my time here.

Since I’m living for a year in Cambodia I felt pretty certain I would find her but there are lots of Khmer people and I had no real idea where to look. Instead we will meet for lunch tomorrow at the same place I met her years ago and I get to have her back again as a friend.

The little days here go by and Saturday I will fly to Siem Reap and live there a month this time and get to see some retired expat friends there and just wander the city streets, the country, perhaps go back to Angkor Wat again for a day tour. I’ll really enjoy the slow little days in Siem Reap which is a lot more than some beautiful temples in antiquity. The city itself has this feeling to it like a small city but with exquisite restaurants and friendly people.

This morning though will be coffee soon and my new toy to take photos with and have fun with. The iPhone 14 Pro is all I could ask for in an upgrade. It has doodads and thingies I like. Most of all it is a fun toy and I like the photos it takes. I have not played with the ProRAW stuff yet so I don’t know about the 48mp photos. I would not take pictures of dogs and bicycles with it but I would try on more challenging things to see what it can do. The images are sufficiently larger so I am glad to have gotten the 256gb phone. I won’t try to save them but will get JPEG exports and save off to SmugMug.

And the little days go on

Now I can sit here and type this on my wonderful MacBook Air. It seems all my tech stuff comes from Asia. This laptop came from Vietnam and has traveled back and forth and around with me since 2021 early on.

I can’t even begin to measure the little days because they all seem to be little. Not manageable or with large events worthy of recording. Perhaps when I retired all things became small from those older days when all things seemed complex and required management to deal with. So glad that now I have nothing that requires that. All the days are little days. The walks take me to markets and malls and historic sites and temples or pagodas.

Let the days never become big. Small suits me more and I can move through them slowly with no purpose or method at all. Well, there is one thing this morning. Coffee gonna come from down the street and maybe some photos before I meet my friend Chet at 1pm. Perhaps we will decide to just sit at Starbucks and talk but I hope we hop a tuktuk and go to the Russian Market.

If not, I will be back in early November because my friend from Mexico Jason arrives in Cambodia then and we will wander around together for awhile. More little days.

Hello night mode on iPhone 14 pro. One of my very first photos of the end of a rainy day spent getting wet out walking.

Bye for now!

Part of the Joy of Living this way

It seems a friend will be making his way to Cambodia to live awhile early November. He wants to kind of travel around the kingdom for awhile to find a place he would like to live. The original plan was to go to Siem Reap this Saturday, find a place to live long term, and then leave again in December for Vietnam for a month. Now things have changed and I don’t think I will get an apartment since I will not be in one place for too long through the end of the year. I wrote down an idea. Not a plan. I don’t do plans and I copied it our chat on WhatsApp to see if it works for him.

Basically the idea puts back all the randomness of life I have had and loved for the last years over the rest of this year. I will come back to Phnom Penh in early November, meet up with him, spend a week here and then leave on the bus for Siem Reap. He will most likely stay for some bit of time there and I will stay there for awhile with him. I don’t know if I will come back to Phnom Penh after we get done in Siem Reap and just find an airbnb from November until late December when I will go to Saigon.

Half the fun is really having no idea where we will wander to or how long we will stay. Perhaps we will go to Kampot so he can check it out too.

This kinda left me wondering why I would rent an apartment if I would never be in the apartment longer than a week. I guess as November gets closer we will firm up the plan or lack of plan. Of course it could all fall apart and then I would do something else totally random.

Just like buying a new iPhone 14 pro

Totally impulse today to call Sokly Phone Store and ask if I can have the purple iPhone 14 pro tomorrow. They happily said yes and to bring my passport and debit card. I will get the 256gb phone and then come back and do all the fun steps setting it up. The iPhone 12 Pro goes to my dear friend Lily who has a phone that has problems so she wants the upgrade.

What I am looking forward to with the new iPhone is the photography playing. I am not a demanding photographer but I am very interested in seeing how the new main camera works and how the screen looks and just how much of a toy it is. For me, not being a photographer at all, the interest is in taking nice photos and then editing them just a bit with the tools like Raw Power or DarkRoom and sharing them on the blog and Mastodon. I also want to revel in the screen and island thingy.

Back to semi-reality

Now it is about 5pm here and it rained like crazy and the roof leaked so the airbnb host sent a Khmer girl up to clean the room. This is a developing country so things are always developing. Everyone gets used to things being same same but different and nothing really ever gets to me. I just have no expectations and it all works out well. Sometimes much better!

When my friend Jason comes over I am hoping he finds something he wants here or perhaps decides to leave after and go back to the Philippines where he will be living. This is just a visit. I met Jason in Merida Mexico last year in my first stay there and he left to work in the US for awhile truck driving. That wore on him so now he needs an Asian vacation or life.

So we will do something like a life. Travel a bit around the kingdom. See this or that. Get tired of each other and hopefully then he goes his own way. What it has all meant to me is that life has never meant to be tied down or setup some kind of regular pattern of living. Asia does not thrive with regularity or long term plans. And neither do I. I very much love the going or changing or finding the new element in it all and then living it. I’m sure late December though I will get on a plane bound for Saigon. Not my favorite place but there are things I enjoy there like this.

Opera House
Opera House

The Saigon Opera House always struck me as the big example of old and new since right behind it is the Viacom Center Mall. Not so far from this was the small bar down an alley somewhere that served up cold Pabst Blue Ribbon beers.

Let us all go and enjoy our randomness. Fuck the plans. The hell with schedules. Destroy timelines and lists and notes.

Daily Wanderings of the Diary Kind

I’ve been a Day One user for some years. I stuttered around before and used markdown files for journaling. These still exist and I can read them in Ulysses or IAwriter if I wish but they don’t offer the wondrous history and location and being able to simply see what happened a year ago. Day One has been the evolution of daily journaling for me and I’m approaching 500 consecutive days of writing which is good! I think the whole journaling thing has let me explore so many things at a personal level, find these things that bug the Hell out of me, think back and forward and be able to also just open up and write my things. The diary things are extremely personal so having something encrypted end to end is required.

The other parts that are important is I write in the journal where I am and I want to write on the iPhone when I want to. I could do that with Ulysses but to me its like trying to eat soup with a fork. It is possible but why do it. So anyways, back to my few reasons for keeping these days in Day One.

  1. Writing daily in a diary is important to me. I often start the day with music and looking at morning things. Big things. Little things. Mike things. It is the act daily of finding, placing, maybe a photo. I think a daily photo of wherever is important because it locks the location to a feeling and emotion.
  2. Reading backwards is delicious. I enjoy seeing that last year at this time I was in Puerto Vallarta Mexico and two years ago in Vietnam living. It gives me the past view of the writing daily thing. Preserved with all the innuendo, emotion, apathy I am capable of.
  3. I don’t skip on the emotions writing the journal. I blame, castigate, approve and hope and the words all are there. I think it has meant I can see just how human I am. How I’ve just gone and found or not gone and not found. Some days the emotion runs deep and others it is a shallow thing skipped over like stones tossed in a lake that skip across the surface. Both the deep and shallow are just as important to me.
  4. Finally and perhaps most important is the happiness and joy in using Day One. There are few apps which I have found that are end games to me. I tried Craft, Obsidian, Evernote. So many. None are end games. Many are frustrating kind of like different blog platforms I won’t discuss. This thing though is an end game. Words come here to start and then to finish a day of my little life.

If you don’t keep a journal, I get it. I would never recommend one for a person that would get none of the 4 things above out of it. It has become this marker for me of the going and never arriving. Contained with the faces of people in words and my own deeds. I don’t value goals or responsibility so I don’t set them to do some diary entry on some day. I don’t use reminders or lists either.

The desire to write in the journal and here is more of a basic thing to me. It has worked and sometimes not worked for me and many of the entries seem yearning or demanding or complacent or hating on a thing or people. Such is life in my end game.

words working

It’s a Tuesday morning over coffee and a kindle. I think I’ve reached the regular. Chatting with a friend in Vietnam, considering my day. I will go walk and take time to gloss over the news. Now though it’s a morning. Sometimes Cambodia seems to take a breath. Like sit still and watch quietly. Coffee shop seems pensive or provoked into slow memories.

My friend on WhatsApp goes on. I admit to tuning out. There’s always a story waiting to be told and he seems to be on the cusp of it. It makes me wonder about the whole friend thing. Like how does someone earn that label in our lives? Do we just each wake up one day and remark,

oh him. He’s my friend

Do we share so much or so little? Are we so alike or different? I feel hard pressed sometimes to use that word with people that cross my path. For years I found, met, and lost people. Were they friends?

The person in Vietnam always relates to me with the name. But what is it really? It seems just a thing when we move past some other relationship thing. We are acquaintances or pals or buddies. Do we both agree to these powerful bonding words? Or they are just trotted out when we reach a milestone of time, feelings shared, sharing changes. I don’t know with him.

His wife though is different. She is Vietnamese and powerful, strong, resilient. My mom. She calls me at a moments notice to only say she loves me. That they miss me. Want me back.

And on it goes. Friendships and other people and I don’t understand any of it. Or perhaps want to. I’m not good relationship or friendship material. I am narcissistic and egotistic and selfish. Those are my good qualities.

Yet people come along and see something else and want some of me. Why? I don’t encourage them. I go as I please both in life and in matters of heart, mind and soul.

So I wonder and blog about it because the blog is the place where words wander. Where feelings talk. Where my life unravels just a bit to a morning in a coffee shop in Phnom Penh.

blogging on Sunday

There is an enjoyment factor I think on Sunday at the very close Starbucks with a latte close at hand. The words always seem to just come when the preconditions are met. Nice WiFi, hot grande latte, a pastry this morning. I read over on Rays blog some say blogging is dead. I remember people saying that almost since I started in 1999. Now I approach it as a statement I can make. On my own WordPress but with a cloud hosting partner. I found my balance to this writing thing. It comes alive with Ulysses but the thoughts are shaken and stirred over so many different pursuits. Out walking. Sitting in the evening. Eating. Moving along between points on my compass.

What I think is the primary thing for all this is making the blog right here the primary thing to express, share, build, create. I can create once and share easily but the thoughts and dreams, detritus and remains all percolate here.

It’s not losing mastodon or stopping being on a social network. It is creating the moods from here and then sharing. That way they are mine. From when I write in Ulysses to publishing on the blog. Tooting the post on mastodon. All starts not from some remote network. Blogging for me starts right here, right now.

On a Sunday in Starbucks what else could there be? From my iPhone to you.

Finding Old Friends

I guess today was the day for three of us to get together over some food and a couple of beers and a lot of talk about Linux, companies we have all worked for, venture capital funding and how it works or does not work, and some rather strange management teams we have had over the years. All three of us stretch back to the 1990s working for the GAP, Inc. Many of those people then left and went to work at Linuxcare and then spiraling on to yet other Linux and open source companies. I guess hindsight being 20/20 let us all see how things went with the veil lifted and we could see with the vantage point of the now how the then really went. Take this much funding, toss in that talent, create lines of business, finding how fragile human relationships truly are. All of this comes to bear with companies and perhaps it is why I never want to work around Linux and open source ever again. I saw too much of it for 20 years. People that turned this way and that. Became the best or the worst. Now I can look back at it from some vantage point and merely shake my head. Perhaps mumble,

so glad to not be doing any of that. I’ll just take a simple life. Few things or no things to own. No debt to speak of

It seems the complexity of life spins forever forward and when we all looked back at the times we were all children then. Linux seemed almost like a toy to play with then. Perhaps we all felt it could do anything. Just the right talent and ability had to be spread over the problem.

What I’ve come to realize after seeing my friends today is that we invented this world then. It became the vision we had. So when the company ended or morphed into other things, so did the vision. This was bad sometimes but we all went along for the ride.

My Friend Sean

We go back to the days of selling and building relationships with a few companies that were big. Dell, Sun, IBM. We built large consulting and services approaches with them, traveled to them often. Wondered over what it was we were doing and how it all seemed. Sitting in bars in Austin, Texas and finding worlds that spun in so many directions. But we had fun. We found that fun again today in retrospect. Now we remembered fondly those days spent talking up Linux with Dell Computers. Selling them on certification, professional services, support, training. We sold them some of it all but the major thing then was certifying their hardware to run different Linux distributions.

It all came around again today over burgers and beer. How we spiraled out and soon found our wonderful trajectories crashing to the earth when the .com thing imploded and sent us all away. Sean would go his way and since about 2002 I have not seen Sean until today. Today we reveled in the past and the moments after but with the clearness of vision of just looking backwards and not reliving all the moments.

We drank a lot of beer together, ate ribs in Round Rock, did meetings. Found strange times in life sometimes so funny. Sean will probably never read this blog. Thanks Sean for always being there. For being loyal and funny and engaging.

My friend Arthur

Then there is Arthur. I’ve known him just as long from those GAP Inc days forward to Linux companies he built from the ground up, with funding to follow. Finding other gigs for me to do sometimes saving me at moments of desperation. Arthur has been the one person to stay in contact with. Even to see in Manila in 2019 Christmas time and stay with him at his condo. To reflect today on how life just spins along. He also has seen his share of these companies light the torch and then burn themselves down.

When we found each other today, Arthur found yet another bear hug to give me. To tell me he loved me for being me.

Then moving on…

It is easy to move on from those years and find these two wonderful people having their own lives which have given joy, happiness, some sadness. It has been hard to find people to have friendships with for me. But these two have stood the test of time. Have left me with the feelings today nothing was left on the table. All the feelings were said. Laughter was given. Times where shared.

Thanks to my friends Arthur and Sean. I hope we don’t wait another 20 years to see each other again. My own trajectory is not wishing to come back to the US ever again but Arthur mentioned, forever is a long time. We shall see. I just know how I feel now. I have not enjoyed living in the US for a long time. I feel I leave my best parts in other places and only the fears and hatreds, the divorce and cruelty exist here.

Now I will let this go. Finding old friends. Years have spun down. Now we all wear glasses but our vision is no less sharp.

Day One Tongue Wagging

I’ve written a daily journal entry in Day One for some years. For about 5 years I kept diaries in markdown files so I moved them around to Ulysses or IA Writer or whatever. But now the tongue wagging is done in Day One because for me it offers the best of all things. I really enjoy the tracking of my times and the history of journals and locations and photos I add. The daily entries have persisted and I’ve felt sometimes I should add a daily photo to just really jog the memory upon future writing.

I cannot see a time when I don’t do Day One or I decide to simply migrate to some other software. Of all the stuff I have used and quit or continue, Day One has been this constant thing with writing a daily accord.

Last year I split off the journal into a new file. Prior to that I had about 1000 entries in one file which covered some years. Some years I guess I did not write every day. When I kept the journal in markdown, I had one document divided into dates so finding a specific entry was easy with searching but I did not have the real record. I rarely included photos and I don’t know where some of the entries happened besides working in California or traveling somewhere or leaving at the end of those journal days. I had thought of copying them to Day One, but too much work and they are a record as they are of how the journey has progressed or not.

Reasons why I mention this…

Only to reinforce how important this has become to me. This daily writing sometimes or most times longer entries. I’d never presume to tell others to either keep a personal touch or use Day One to do the touching. What I do know is it has worked for me through work, divorce, happiness, sadness. What else could one ask for a companion? Oh encryption because the words are mine in the end. No printing because then the words are not mine. I did decide to start a new journal each year. I don’t know why really. Day One just deals with both files as easily as one. In January 2023, who the F knows what will have happened. I do know one thing. Day One will have gone with me. Held my words, feelings. Could not ask for a better companion to carry some extremely personal thoughts.

Don’t look to me to impress on you the significance of writing a daily journal or diary. It is a choice. Mine has become the daily recording of whatever it is.

End of the tongue wagging for a Monday morning. Back to coffee and music.

when the routines aren’t

Flowers cascade
Flowers cascade

Nothing is a routine for me in this life. Each thing is a subtle joy to go find. Moments to become enriched. Sometimes bored and then I think of just out my door. There where Merida stirs. Where the motorbikes cruise and the tailor shop down the street with the friendly people take a day. They sit in the evenings with big bottles of beer laughing and have invited me. I must bring my own bottle. They play beautiful and lonely music that I don’t know but I feel sad listening.

I can walk home in 5 minutes. Find my door and realize I did find the beautiful, the slow, the usual. Right out my door.

We do Saturday

I had thought of a few things I could want to do today but I think instead I will head downtown tomorrow for the day. I love roaming around the historic central district. So many nice parks to visit, old buildings to take yet more photos of, and I can also just distance myself from others, eat outdoors, and not fear those that are maskless since about 95% of people here wear masks outdoors as well as obeying the indoor mask mandates. I kinda wonder why this Mexican state take things so much more seriously than a place like Texas or Arizona. I was in Houston earlier this year for the visa run and I doubt I will ever go back. That is one sad and angry city. I could have spent only 3 days there and been bored with it and left for Merida again but I spent 8 days.

Anyways, it is Saturday now so I decided to write a bit more on the train travels this weekend and also include some train trips in Vietnam I did. Perhaps it becomes the 4 parts or so of train trips. Just for fun, I did these:

  1. 2018 riding the train from Hanoi to Saigon Vietnam. It took 30 hours. That was something! No bullet trains and a lot of fun Vietnamese people to meet, drink some beer with, share food and talk with. Some with good English and others with google translate. Beer is a language of its own though.
  2. 2018 riding the bullet train in Japan from Tokyo to Hiroshima and then to Osaka. There’s nothing like this experience. One must do it!
  3. 2019 riding the high speed rail in Taiwan from Taipei south with days in each city along the way I wished. That was a fun train trip!
  4. 2020 Amtrak train travels from California to Texas and then from Orlando Florida to New York. Then on to Chicago and finally Seattle. All in a sleeper. Fun times!
  5. 2020 riding again in Vietnam from Hanoi to Ninh Binh to see a friend that lives there. I really did it for no reason other than to just go. I met a lady on the way back intent on sharing her food with me so I could not disappoint.
  6. 2021 Amtrak voyages from California to Chicago with 5 stops in Reno, Salt Lake City, Denver, Omaha and finally to Chicago where I ended up staying in an airbnb for a week in uptown. Then east to Los Angeles with a week in Albuquerque and a train trip to Santa Fe for the day and to Las Vegas New Mexico and then Flagstaff and Los Angeles.

So anyways, I started thinking how I wanted to write this all up. There is a lot more unsaid about train travel I think. My friend AFT and I have discussed many times and there is a gentleness and fun to just the going. If you are a ”destination” kind of person you may not enjoy it. If you want to just go, nothing like train travel. I would say the bullet and high speed rail voyages were timely. The Shinkansen train team apologized for being early to arrive in Hiroshima. LOL. In Vietnam one never worries about things like clocks.

So I think somehow I will glue all this together over this weekend into numerous blog posts but it may be I don’t also. I never really know what it is I will do. Like today. I look at the calendar with 30 days left in Mexico and I have to admit to wanting to just go. I had good times here for a year but I feel like I did my time here. I could never be an expat here long term. They like “things” too much. I dislike things a lot. Cars and homes and property. Boats and entitled behavior. I have never figured out expats or digital nomads anywhere I have been. I think a whole bunch of Saturdays ago I stopped really trying. I have realized that that life is not the one that rings my bell. I want nothing that does not fit in a 60 liter travel bag. I want no mortgages and cars and stuff. This Saturday like my life for the past years is about the things I can carry with me that take no extra room. Memories, moments, and experiences far outweigh big or even small ticket items. They weigh us down, encumber us. Make us sometimes slaves.

There ya go. A Saturday of views and news and subterfuge. Just like this blog is all about.

Morning of this and that tabulated

I started writing this two part post about my rides on Amtrak last year east and west. Instead of doing it like a travel journal or blog, I am focused on the people I met in both directions because they really made the trip extra special I don’t know when I’ll finish them but I think before I leave for California. I also have this draft post about going back to Vietnam but I kind of put off that trip in favor of getting settled in Cambodia. I want to get there before end of the year but to tell the truth, the visa limits really irritate me. Right now, one can only get the 30 day e-visa online. I want the 3 month visa so I can take my time going and not do visa runs every 30 days and then come back. To me, that is stupid. So I will just wait awhile and see if Vietnam changes the policy. Their achilles heal have always been their visa policies and limits especially for someone like me that wants to slowly travel the country, see friends. I could stay a month in just Hanoi and never tire of it. Then I could also ride the train to Hue and Da Nang which means I would spend time in Hoi An again as well. Finally there is Can Tho to visit in the south.

So I think I will publish the Amtrak travel things soon but I’ll continue to write daily here as well. I am not sure now about migrating the site to Cloudways. They have some interesting verification requirements and as it happens I do not have a LinkedIn profile, a Facebook profile, or a twitter handle. They also want picture ID. I mean, really? I’m hosting a personal blog there. I don’t want to build the next big search site or marketplace. I sent the required documents but I have not heard back. It just seems rather frustrating for what they offer I would have to do any of this. They did not ask for a social security account number surprisingly. Meanwhile I am waiting for them to tell me I do or don’t rate. If I do, great. I will go test it out. If they don’t, that’s great too. My humble blog can find another hosting provider. I do know I want to get this done at least before I leave for Cambodia. I have some other options too. There’s no lack of hosting providers with bad reviews out there I can wade through.

In the meantime, I can just use what I got on DigitalOcean the way it is. Continue publishing my debitage. Write some of this and that. Today is just another one of those days where I will go do what the Hell I please. Like all days.

Meanwhile, here’s a little memory of other days that I always seem to find on google photos.

I happened across this and thought “wow” look at that tree thing. This is in Taipei Taiwan somewhere.

Now go make it a good day. Do you have some ID so I can verify you before you read my blog?