Categories
FILM

Why you should watch Tom Hanks in Greyhound

I was honestly not interested in this movie when I saw it advertised. I wondered how could a boring movie with Tom Hanks about the Navy in World War II be interesting? Well, I was dead wrong. This movie is fantastic.

Nonstop Action

Greyhound runs for an hour and a half, but it feels like it goes by in about 15 minutes. Even though I watched it on a small screen, it really captured my imagination and made me feel like I was out to sea in 1942.

Based on Truth

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I don’t know about you, but I really appreciate a story that is based on reality. Some of the art on the side of the German U-boats were really interesting to me.

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Our lord and master, Google, blocks anything about Nazis, so I couldn’t find an example without capturing the frame from the movie.

Looks Legit

I’m not a naval expert, but this movie looks like they did their homework. There was so much to take in that I watched it a second time and it was just as good the second run.

Tom Hanks

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When was the last time he let us down? He gets to play the Captain again and gives us a very believable performance. I was glad I screen captured the big helmet sailor.


Categories
FILM

3 Reasons Why YOU Should Watch THE OLD GUARD

Action

This movie has an interesting story, but the action scenes really help you forget the B movie feel. It’s fast paced with fresh fight scenes and lots of gun action.

Charlize Theron

She’s the shit in this movie and looking great after 40. She must have trained a lot because her fighting and shooting look pro. I think as an actor it would be very difficult to play someone of an ancient age. How would someone hundreds or thousands of years old walk or talk?

What if?

Since it wasn’t all CGI in your face, this movie seemed to draw me more into the characters and really gave me that “What if you were Wolverine?” feeling. The Old Gaurd is easy to find. It’s on Netflix and is a popular download on The Pirate Bay.

Resources

https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-old-guard-movie-review-2020

Sanctuary in Luang Prabang, Laos

Home Alone

My friend from Germany is the only guest staying at this hotel due to the virus. I wouldn’t have even known about this place if he hadn’t invited me over for some beer.

entrance

entrance

I’ve walked or driven by several times, but because of the sign, I always thought it was a religious place and just ignored it. It’s not religious, but it’s quite expensive.

discount

discount

My buddy and his girlfriend are the only guests staying here, so they got an 80% discount.

Mai Too Restaurant

Mai Too Restaurant

Nice, but empty.

Nice, but empty.

Around here, mid-level and cheaper businesses are doing fine, but these fancy places have become bare.

pond

pond

Seating for No One

Seating for No One

It may be a sad story for the hotel owner, but my friend feels like royalty staying here alone.

Beautiful Roof

Beautiful Roof

You may appreciate the lovely pond, but I can only see a beautiful, but dumb roof. It collects way more than enough solar energy a day to run everything. I would like to have a hotel just like this, except that the roofs will collect solar energy like Elon Musk’s roofs do. It could be marketed as a green off-grid place to stay.

supermarket

supermarket

If you do fancy staying at this hotel, it’s south-east of the Dara Market.

How far from home?

How far from home?

I personally despise America. The food tastes like GMO shit, the people are fat, dumb, and judgmental. Everything is fake, including the religion, the news, the financial system, and the whole “American Dream”. I’m glad it’s all over 13,000 kilometers away from here.

Haunted Bar

Haunted Bar

This is a sad picture because I really wanted to do a post about this place after it re-opened after the lockdown.

Hive Bar

Hive Bar

I was planning on showing the owner our HIVE community and how to post here, but it looks like it is another unnecessary lockdown casualty. Things feel almost normal here in Laos, there just aren’t any Chinese tourists, and a third of the businesses never came back.

New Restaurant

New Restaurant

This travel blog has been a great motivator for me to try new places. I’m a creature of habit and love to go to the same spot and eat the same thing every day, but I’ve been trying new places a lot now.

”Resfaurnt”

”Resfaurnt”

The artist got the Laos spelling right, but not the English, because fuck spelling right?

playtime

playtime

The staff was warm and friendly. It was nice of them to think of the kids.

Riverside View

Riverside View

I’ve swum across the Mekong river before but decided not to join my friend this time. I was super hungry and was already drunk so we just enjoyed our food and beer while we tried to keep an eye on him.

menu

menu

I always get mad at my friends who have something like this printed before checking with a native speaker. I mean come on, how hard is to ask someone to check it for a minute before you go and permanently make it look like you don’t give a shit?

Start the swim.

Start the swim.

My friend probably got HIV and Covid-19 by swimming in this river, but that’s how you boost your immune system right?

Small Dot

Small Dot

You can barely see him in the center of the shot here. His head is just a small little dot.

Jet Ski Time

Jet Ski Time

The lifeguards were at the same restaurant as us, so maybe they could jet ski to him in time if he cramped up, but he was fine. I still follow my military training of always having a swim buddy and told him not to swim alone, but he didn’t listen or care.

The End

The End

Thanks for checking out another restaurant with us today here in Luang Prabang. Don’t swim across rivers alone!

Constructively Enjoying Lockdown in Luang Prabang, LAOS

I couldn’t think of a better place to end up during these crazy times. Luang Prabang truly is a hidden gem that I’ve been lucky enough to call home for two years now.

farm work

I was in the military then became a teacher, but it wasn’t until I came to Luang Prabang that I discovered I love working in hospitality.

tractor

I was a general manager before the pandemic, but there are almost zero high paying tourists left, so some of the things I ended up doing were farm work and construction. An old guy I’ve known since I got here was laughing at me helping a chicken that had fallen out of the tree. He thought it was really funny that I used to be wearing a suit and now I was a chicken farmer.

Before and after lacquer.

I lived on a sailboat in San Diego for two years where I learned how important wood maintenance was. The wood lacquer here was cheaper than foreign beer and brought all the doors and frames to a shiny finish. I had to do a before and after of half the door so the owner would agree. This picture convinced her we needed a lot more wood lacquer.

Crocodile cement

All the construction workers here use this crap they call Epson. I think it’s a liquid version of drywall. Whatever it is, it sucks, so I used cement to repair many things.

more cement

Fixing cracks and holes in the walls works best with cement here because they don’t use drywall for walls. It’s mostly bricks and mortar construction.

after

It will take a bit more paint to cover up later, but it is permanently repaired.

Only use 3M.

I don’t know what kind of painter’s tape you have where you are from, but here in Laos, there is only one choice, 3M. If you use any of the cheap Chinese ones, they’ll fail you. The paint will leak through. Sticky residue will be left behind. And worst of all, it won’t even stick to anything longer than a day. What’s the best painter’s tape in your opinion?

Murica

If I were from here, I’d hate Americans for all the bombs the CIA dropped here that are still exploding and killing kids today, but they have the attitude that it was in the past and forgive my generation for what our elders did to them. This very American screwdriver was made in China.

Make the cut.

The first room I started to renovate had false windows with thin plywood. I could hear the owner talking in Laos and watching songs on YouTube like she was in the same room, so I got some better plywood and cut it to fit the window. I glued and cemented it in and it added some privacy to the room.

Sanding the flakes out.

I wish it was as easy to rid life of flaky people as it was to sand out the flakes of the plywood.

art time

After cementing and painting, it was time to bring life to this boring windowless room.

Kuang Si

I used my pocket projector to trace the famous waterfall with pencil.

paint

I didn’t have the best paint or brushes.

abandoned painting

The owner told me to finish this by the end of the day. It made me not want to paint it any more and I just left it like this.

hammer time

Heavy foreigners warped this bed so the owner used a strap and a hammer to warp it back.

Line it up.

They most likely used strings to line things up even before the ancient Egyptians built the pyramids.

Get your wiring right.

The electrician did something wrong, so they will have to rip out some of the new ceiling again.

drywall

The drywall here is different. It’s the cheapest junk from China.

bad idea

This plugin was loose and it always had the TV power cord falling out so I thought I could make the holes catchier by adding cement and paint. It achieved the goal of keeping the TV plugged in, but it looks very *Flintstones*.

Not this time.

This time I put tape over the face so it would look the same, but it didn’t come out so well. I really need to work on making plugins look nice.

finished ceiling

It only gets too hot here in the summer so you don’t need airconditioning, but all the rooms will have it if you want it.

Mekong sunset

Thanks for reading. How have you been killing the time?

Super Mario 64

Nothing has ever been a bigger deal or more revolutionary for gaming than adding truly 3-D graphics like Nintendo did a quarter of a century ago. There were some very crude 3D games like Wolfenstein and Doom, but they were just turn left or right mazes with 2D sprites. Going from Super Nintendo to the N64 was like upgrading from a PSP to a PS4. It was magical. Nothing has ever been more exciting or fresh since.

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I rode my bike very far to the “Super Mall” in 1996 to get my hands on a new Nintendo 64 and had to purchase the Mario 64 cartridge separately. They were giving the game away for free if you could slide down the Princess’s Secret Slide in under 21 seconds, but they only gave you one try. The graphics may seem crude today, but it felt like something from the future back then. On a funny side note, my son saw me playing it on an emulator which he imagined was a Chinese ripoff and laughed at what he thought was a pathetic attempt to copy what he was used to on the Switch.

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I didn’t go to swimming practice or Karate and even played hooky a few times in our 17 day marathon of collecting all 120 stars. I was kind of a late bloomer. I was 16 in 1996 and while my best friend was busy mackin’ on babes, me and his younger brother escaped reality completely and hooked my N64 up to his giant (at the time) 50 inch screen TV. People who weren’t even into gaming were blown away by it’s awesomeness. I remember feeling proud that I had a processor way more powerful than any of my school’s computers. I didn’t want my mom to know I had spent over $300 on everything, so I hid it in a bottom drawer and drilled holes in the back for the power and AV cables.

Emulators

I would love to hook up an original Nintendo 64 to an old TV along with a Super Nintendo an Sega Genesis while I rap that when I was dead broke that I could never picture this, but emulators are what most of us have now. I was super happy when I was able to get it to work on my PSP back in the day. Thanks to Project 64, it looks great on PC and if you have a Bluetooth controller, you can play it on your phone too. I’ve had some problems with Linux. They have Mupen64 Plus which is inferior to Project 64, so I ran Project 64 through Wine which slowed down the PC making it unplayable. Good job Nintendo! You made the game so different that it can still be difficult to emulate even today. I fully expect to play this game in VR in future versions. Some people have redone some levels in Unreal Engine. You can see one example here:

Thank you for reminiscing about MARIO 64 with me today. I’m going to ask my mammamia for some spaghetti now. Have a great day. If you want to emulate N64, check out Project 64:
https://www.pj64-emu.com/

Categories
TRAVEL

UTOPIA in Luang Prabang, LAOS

This is the most famous place in Luang Prabang to drink, chill by the river, and watch the game. Everyone in town knows where it is and it’s easy to find on Google Maps.


It is near the good ATM opposite the street of Wat Aham. You can see Mount Phousi if you look up too. This is a great landmark, because you can see it from most spots in Luang Prabang. They light it up at night. I’m using an old iPad to take this shot, so I took this at 13:00 to get the best lighting.


There are three ways to get here. This is where they keep the garbage, so not many people come in from here.


This way has a cool bridge though. I have a lot of great memories crossing this bridge. There will be some dogs that may bark at you to the left, but they are all sweet ones.


Most people will come from this way. There will be several tuk-tuk drivers here at night. They will charge you around 50,000 kip to go somewhere else in town. If you have a big group, you can try to negotiate, but 50,000 kip is around $5.


You can come in by the ice cream stand and walk past Wat Aphay. If you miss this entrance you will see Red Bull Sports Bar and people playing pool inside. It’s a good place too.


This is a famous ancient temple here in Luang Prabang. I like to come here and add audio to my Youtube videos, because it’s quiet here.


There are plenty of signs to lead you there. There are a few other bars and cheap places to stay along the way.


This is the entrance. If there is a live sports game on, you’ll see a lot of people in this area watching it on the projector screen.


All of the staff are friendly and can speak English well.


There are UXOs or unexploded ordinances as decorations. Don’t worry. The fuses and explosives have been removed. These were not so nice little gifts from Uncle Sam during the Vietnam War. The CIA and US Air-force had a not so secret war here.


You can sit or lay down and enjoy the view of the Namkhan River.


This is the central area and what you’ll see when you first walk in.


This is where they will have fires to stay warm at night. Sometimes guests will chill out and chat and sometimes it’s the dance floor. I spent New Years 2019 here. It was one of my best memories ever.


I couldn’t find the menu on their Facebook page, but my iPad was able to get a clear shot. I just had to crop, rotate, and adjust the lighting a bit, but you can read it.


You can check out their Facebook page here:
https://web.facebook.com/Utopialaos/

Their Facebook page has way better pictures, but I couldn’t find the menu. They accept Bitcoin here as well. Thank you for checking out Utopia today. Hope to see you here one day!


View this post on TravelFeed for the best experience.

Categories
TRAVEL

Sunset in EDEN: Kuang Si Waterfall in Luang Prabang, LAOS

Luang Prabang truly is a magical place. It feels like it’s Christmas every day here. When I was a kid in Catholic school, I remember reading about The Garden of Eden. I imagine it was here, or someplace similar.

Toe Nibblers

I came here with my Dutch friend Frank. He is 53, but way more energetic and fit than I’ve ever been. He had a stroke when he was 32, but is doing very well now. He is a Muay Thai fighter, so he knows how to overcome things like a warrior.

We used his iPhone 7 to take these at about 14:30. I’ve taken great shots and even video here with an iPhone 5 with good sun. Frank said people want to see the natural wonder of Kuang Si Waterfall, not two old white guys hitting on Chinese ladies and our selfies. I agree.

We went for a dive from the big tree with the sign warning NOT to jump in. It’s 9 feet deep, so you can dive in. I would just suggest arching up to surface or jumping in feet first.

If you stay still for longer than three seconds, little fish will come and nibble at your toes.

Layers

You’ll see the bears after paying the three dollar entrance fee. People hunt them, so they need help protecting them. They are very shy and hard to get on camera.

The hike up to the waterfall isn’t arduous. You’ll think you’ve arrived at the best spot, but it keeps showing you it’s many levels of natural beauty.

If you hike up ALL the way to the top, you’ll find a cool swing to show off on. No one seems capable of getting on it, so they’ll take pictures of you or try to do the same. It’s funny either way.

Sun Ray

Southeast Asia has some spectacular islands. In a way, Luang Prabang is one of them. Rather than being surrounded by ocean, it’s an island surrounded by beautiful and farmable mountainous jungle.

I almost deleted this shot because of the sun ray, but I think it looks like a blessing of light.

Farm

It’s about an hour drive from town so we started heading back. Farmers don’t rely on automation or chemicals here like in the west. This makes the food taste good. Organic food is one reason why people here look healthy and happy.

Mekong Sunset

We made it back to town in time to see this. Thank you for exploring beautiful Luang Prabang, or my nickname for it, The Garden of Eden, today. Just don’t eat any apples from The Tree of Life!

Categories
ART

PENCIL: Sacred Unicorn

This is my favorite Splinterlands Card and my students wanted to draw again, so we drew without cheating by tracing with the iPad Pro or projector.

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We used our phones to find some inspiration.

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It was getting dark so, I sketched the outline quickly. It wasn’t exactly like the source, but none of my students noticed.

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Once I got the outline and some of the unicorn’s mane, I was able to shut the screen off and add my own style. If you want to straight up cheat and trace drawings with the big iPad, that’s easy, but it works great as a smooth sketching surface and for holding A4 papers with the cover shut. I honestly don’t like Apple as a company, but I absolutely love the iPad Pro.

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I taught everyone how to use Qtips to blend pencil. I made a black spot for collecting the lead at different shades. The paper it was on served as a protector from my dirty hand too.

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My students didn’t spend as much time on their drawings as I did. When I was a kid, older people complained that we had short attention spans. It seems like things have gotten worse, but who knows?

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All the smudges were easy to clean up in Procreate.

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I gave the unicorn my style of eyes and hair for the mane. It’s been fun drawing again. Thank you for this great community where we can share our life, art, and thoughts together. If it weren’t for this blog, I doubt I would’ve ever started drawing again.

Categories
ART

PENCIL: Marilyn Monroe


This photo of Norma Jeane isn’t well known and it looks perfect for converting to my favorite medium, pencil.

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I got the photo from Wikipedia, but I really enjoyed reading the Everipedia article.

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America is different than other countries for stars. It was supposed to be a career ending controversy that she posed in nude photos before being an actress, but it just made more people watch her movies which earned two billion dollars in today’s money.

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The stage name, Marilyn Monroe came from Broadway star, Marilyn Miller, and her mother’s maiden name.

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The authorities ruled her death a suicide and twice as many people followed her and did the same in the city that month.

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She actually caused the suicide rate to double in the City of Angels.

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I’ve been told that if you kill yourself, that your children are seven times as likely to do the same.

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What if she didn’t kill herself at all and many people ended their lives because of fake news?

Categories
ART

PENCIL: Spirit of the Forest

This is one of the Splinterlands cards I haven’t given my own nickname to because, Spirit of the Forest, is a perfect name for her.

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After circling the head, shoulders, hips, and boobs, I drew her huge elf ear. It seems every monster has elf ears in this game. I’ve noticed that I feel more attached to the cards I’ve drawn.

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I like doing these shots were it looks like the pencil will poke you in the eye. It always reminds me of the Joker asking in the 2008 The Dark Knight, “How about a magic trick?”

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It’s a good thing she’s a spirit, because it would be pretty hard to sleep with branches growing out of her head.

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I spent most of the time drawing the branches and leaves.

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The face and hair took only a few minutes.

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No Qtips today, just a good old fashion finger smudge. Is it a good idea to post your fingerprint online? I never use biometrics, have horrible credit, and if I do get framed for murder, I use this post in my defense. Besides, I only kill people with my left hand.

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It’s time to say goodbye to the real world, put her on my wall, and bust out the old iPad and Procreate.

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I’ve noticed posts where I don’t touch up with the digital eraser wont earn as much.

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My murderous finger did a good job smudging the lead, but a bit of digital smudge looks nice. I decided not to add any color and quit here. I actually don’t own this card, but I will soon. Thanks for going through the process with me again today. Drawing is a nice way to relax and forget about all the craziness in the world for a few hours. Personally, I feel surfing is the best way to escape the world, but drawing is good too. Have a nice day. May the Spirit of the Forest bless you.

🖼 Photography Tips:

☀️ Submit to the sun! Nothing can provide better lighting than a clear day at noon. 🌤

📷 Get close up! Make the photos feel 3D by having the camera focus on something very close while showing layers of blurred background. 📸

✂️ Cut, crop, and delete until you have ten good shots with unique proofread text. 🔪

⚙️ My Gear 🛠

🍏 iPad Pro:

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🖌 Procreate:

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📷 Canon Rebel:

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🎥 Sony Projector:

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先生 เจ

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Jeremiah Lee Custis