HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Your Health & Happiness

The Doctor's Consultation 

Agony Column

Camera Class by Snapshot

Dr Byte's Computer Conundrums

Letters from Lek

Life in the Laugh Lane

Your Health & Happiness:  Relax Point – small but stylish

Jessica Winston

The newest addition to Chiang Mai’s spa industry incorporates the quaintness and simplicity of a small but homely massage therapy clinic. ‘Relax Point’ a small but stylish two person massage parlor offers therapeutic foot massages as well as traditional Thai massage, although it is adapted by the masseur to become his own personal style.

The small but cute 2 person massage parlor

Yutana Chailerdlangka, or Od as he is commonly known, learned Chinese foot massage and traditional Thai massage therapy in Bangkok, and is currently employed to run this little parlor by Kovit Boonma from “Hair Pro” on Huey Kaew Road.

The small shop only has Od for total body massages but for a relaxing foot massage there is always somebody on standby. The ‘menu’ to choose from includes an hour long full body massage for an inexpensive 200 baht, with an optional addition of the herbal treatment ball for only 60 baht. And even for those in a rush but with the wish just to get their arms, shoulders, back and head massaged there’s the 30 minute ‘crunch’ program for only 100 baht. In the early evenings chairs are set up along the street, in front of ‘Hair Pro’ and five to six masseuses from one of the local temples carry out massages for passersby.

Od’s foot massages are exquisite and like any well trained masseur he can tell you which point in your body requires some extra attention for the following days. I learnt that if a spot is painful, something is wrong and massaging that spot will help as it helps to improve the body’s blood flow to that certain area.

The body massage is a mix of the traditional Thai and Od’s own style but it is as relaxing and as nurturing as any massage can be, especially after a long day at work or a workout at the gym. So why not get a massage the next time you feel all cramped up? Please call to make a reservation first though with Kovit at 0 5340 0253.

The Doctor's Consultation: Slashing one’s wrists

by Dr. Iain Corness

Whilst slashing one’s wrists is a commonly used way of attempting suicide (though not often successful), slashing a wrist can produce a great deal of bleeding, enough to make onlookers feel very weak, as well as yourself!

However, if you have cut yourself severely enough and you lose enough blood, you can indeed die. It won’t be instantaneous, so you do have plenty of time to do something about it, even by yourself if nobody else is around. The thing to do is to keep your head, when everyone else is losing theirs. (That was a famous quote during the French Revolution!)

People still faint at the sight of blood. In fact, in my class in medical school we had such a chap who managed to last till third year but kept on fainting, even when we were being shown slides of anything a little gory. He certainly had picked the wrong course of study.

‘Blood’ has no ‘magical’ properties. It is mainly a water solution with oxygen bearing red cells and disease fighting white blood cells floating in it. Unfortunately, we do need blood to circulate the red cells or otherwise the tissues starve of oxygen and they die, so we die. Simple.

Our blood circulation system is also very simple. It is really just a closed circuit pumping system - the heart pumps the blood through the arteries which get progressively smaller then hook up with tiny veins that get larger and larger and return the blood to the pump (the heart).

Because it is a closed system, you do not get to see this blood rushing around - until we open up an artery or a vein. Then you can see lots of it! The common way this occurs is when we accidentally cut ourselves, which we medical folk call “lacerations”. No matter how it happened, if you cut open a vein or artery, the heart pump keeps on pumping and the blood keeps on coming out.

So how do you know if you’ve cut an artery or a vein? If it is a vein, the blood pumping at a fairly low pressure, so you get a nice steady ooze at the site of the cut. But if it is an artery that has been cut, then these are high pressure pipes and the blood will spurt in rhythmic pulses, in time with your heart beat.

From the point of view of stopping the blood loss (which we call haemorrhage, or hemorrhage if you come from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean), it does not really matter whether the blood loss is venous or arterial. Even arterial blood is only at 3 pounds per square inch pressure and you can stop the flow with your thumb. You can stop 99 percent of all haemorrhages by putting a piece of cloth (a handkerchief, rag, torn piece of shirt, etc.) over the site of the wound and applying firm pressure with your hand.

Some parts of the body have more blood vessels than others, so these are the areas that really bleed. The scalp, the ear lobe and around the mouth are classic sites. Fortunately the treatment is always the same. Cover and apply direct pressure and the flow will cease. Of course, you will still need to see the doctor for the closing of the laceration - but you will not bleed to death in the meantime!

Elevate the limb, apply direct pressure over the wound and take it and yourself to the trauma centre!

Agony Column

Dear Hillary,
Deepjoy your wickey-baskey full of dribdrobs! Shall dashly mad barbeerio for downit glistle and malty! Ahh, deepjoy togethermost!

Dear Mistersingha,
I think this time you’ve gone flippedippy. Take more water with it, Petal.
Dear Hillary,
I lent a lady over 4 million baht, so I reckon I know twice as much about lending than Ken (ex-Pattaya resident) a couple of weeks back who only outlaid 2 million. He should think himself lucky that he got to help spend the two mill he coughed up, and I presume he lives in the house too and gets to drive the pickup if he’s been a good boy. I didn’t even get to set foot in the house, but she did send me a photo after I bought it. OK, so I was stupid to send that kind of money over to Thailand. My friends all warned me, but I thought I was different. After all I had known the “lady” for over six years, spent six months of each of those six years with her and helped her start a small business. We had no secrets from each other, did we? She knew I was married, I knew that she was single. So my money’s gone. So the “lady” has gone. I’m not going to cry over spilled milk, or spilled money, but it ain’t as good as you say it is, ex Pattaya resident Ken. It ain’t.
Ex Birmingham resident Bob (now Chiang Mai)

Dear Ex Birmingham resident Bob (now Chiang Mai),
Hillary is glad you are you are not holding on to bitterness, despite the financial loss. Life and love and lottery all start with “L” and can end in hell. You didn’t draw one of the winning tickets, but Ken did. I just hope that you keep up that strong spirit. There are better ones out there. Perhaps you should try an Isaan girl as Ken suggests - or did the last one come from there too? I have to say that I doubt if you would have given forty thousand pounds to a girl in Birmingham to spend, while you were over here on your six month period, now would you. It ain’t different, Bob. It ain’t.
Dear Hillary,
I have noticed that you spend much of your column appealing to your worried clients who want good advice to send you champagne and chocolates. Do you think this is fair? These people have problems and you dismiss them with a “send chocolates and champagne” answer. What is it with you and the choccies anyway?

Dear Perplexed,
You young people are all the same these days - wanting an answer for everything. Some things are just written in the stars, my Perplexed Petal. I suppose you also want to know why the earth is round, when the simple answer is just because it is! Or why the moon is made of green cheese. Likewise with Hillary and my chocolates. Now, for having read your letter, Perplexed, that’s one chocolate bar. For replying to it that’s another. Remember that not everyone is like you, my little enquirer. There are some writers who appreciate the hours and hours I agonize over the replies and send suitable recompense. Mistersingha is not one of them.
Dear Hillary,
I have been told by some friends in the pub over here that my Thai children cannot inherit my estate when I die. Their mother and I have been together for nearly eighteen years, but we have never been “officially” married and I have a grown up family back home (UK). What is the situation as regards my Thai kids? All that I want is that what I have in Thailand is theirs. With what my friends are telling me, I am worried that in the event of my dying (I am 69 at present and the children are 12, 10 and 7) they will be left with nothing. I don’t have much, but the UK family is all grown up and since they don’t care about me, they can take care of themselves. Can you sort this out, Hillary?
Ready to Go

Dear Ready steady Go,
Please don’t go yet. There are a few things you have to do before you pop off, Petal. First, have you made a valid will in Thailand? If you have not, then your family in the UK would have certain rights to your estate, which could rate higher than your Thai children’s rights. It is all very complicated, as these things always are. There’s nothing like a good fun funeral to get family members scratching each other’s eyes out! The important factor to protect your kiddies here is to see an accredited lawyer who will register your will in English and in Thai. If you really are that close to shuffling off then do it today! For that matter, do it today anyway - you might get run over by a rampant red bus. Your embassy can advise you on lawyers if you are unsure. Hillary is glad to see that you are protecting the welfare and future of your new family too.

Camera Class: Take the camera on holiday

by Harry Flashman

One of the last items to be flung in the suitcase when you are packing for your holidays is the camera. I believe it should be the first, as much of the enjoyment from holidays comes later in recalling the fun times with family and friends. And what better way than by snapshots.

Let’s look at a few specific examples of “how to” when you are looking to record those “once in a lifetime” events you will see while on vacation.

The old and the new in Chiang Mai

Every city, town or village anywhere has its parades, but have you ever tried to record a parade? It is actually very difficult. The eye sees a long procession of musicians, marchers, flag wavers and the like as they pass by, but the camera sees only one thin slice of the action about 1/60th of a second long!

There is only one way to get parades, and that’s get up high and preferably use a long lens. By shooting down the oncoming procession you will get several squads of musicians, marchers, etc., all on the one frame of film. By using the telephoto lens you ‘compress’ the action and get even more in the one negative. Honestly, if you can’t get up high don’t take parades. You will be disappointed with all ground level shots.

All tourist towns have their nightlife. Lots of lights, neon signs and flood-lit fountains are the norm for this type of photograph. The secret here is a wide angle lens with an aperture down around f 1.8 and some “fast” film. This is the time to get some 800 ASA film, or 400 ASA at least. The other trick is not to use your flash. Let the attractions provide the illumination, rather than blitzing it with flash bursts. If you try and take neon light using flash you will totally wash out the neon and again get very disappointing results.

One of the more challenging travel situations is the winter snow holiday or the summer beach holiday. The problems are the same. The camera auto exposure meter will try and record the white snow or yellow beaches as ‘grey’. The best way here is to use a Polarizing filter and open up the aperture by one stop more than the auto thinks should be used. You are potting more light onto the film and ‘blowing out’ the snow or the sand. The Polarizer will also give you a blue sky to contrast with the snow or sand. The time of day is also important. Shoot early morning or late afternoon when the sun’s rays are skimming across the snow or sand and the tracks and ridges in the environment will show up as shadows.

Capturing falling snow is another difficult winter holiday challenge. If the shutter speed is too fast you will not really get the full concept of the snow storm. The secret here is to use a slow shutter speed and let the snow produce white streaks across the photograph. Round about 1/30th of a second works well and you can even use the on camera flash as well to add some bright highlights.

Some of you will be exponents of the wilderness type holiday, trekking and camping and taking in the vast grandeur of breathtaking natural wonders. The secret here is a wide angle lens, look for low viewpoints and use slow film, plus a tripod if you can. The idea here is to set the lens at around f 16 or f 22 to maximize the depth of field. This in turn and the slow film, will require longer exposures - hence the tripod. Shooting in this way will give you maximum detail in the shot, maximum content and theatre. Finally, shoot early morning or late afternoon as well to get the dramatic shadow effects and really give the impact to the Grand Canyon!

So you can see, whilst you can get holiday “snaps” with the trusty point and shooter, to really get the really great holiday photographs you will need a choice of lenses, a choice of film and a tripod.

Dr Byte's Computer Conundrums

by Dr Byte, Citec Asia

I promised in the last column to update you with some new information about your internet connection options. But before that I ask, has the era of hands-free web surfing arrived?

A Canadian inventor has developed a computer navigation system that relies on the movements of a user’s nose to direct a cursor. Honest - trust me!

For good measure, a simple blink of the right or left eye corresponds to the right or left click of a mouse button, New Scientist magazine said. Dmitry Gorodnichy, an inventor from the Institute of Information Technology in Ottawa, said he expected the nose-steered mouse, or “nouse”, would make using a computer easier for people with disabilities or for video game enthusiasts who would like to slay bad guys with the bob of the head and blink of an eye. The magazine said the technology worked in conjunction with a single webcam plugged into a computer’s USB port.

When you start session, the camera takes a snapshot of the user’s face using the nose as the guide point. Mr Gorodnichy chose the nose because it is easier to track than other facial features. The technology matches the cursor’s movements to the path of the nose as the head moves side to side. Motion detection software is used to pinpoint the blink of a user’s eye. A double blink switches the nouse on.

Industry observers are mixed on the practical implications of the invention. While some see it as a feature to be used in conjunction with a keyboard and mouse, others are not so sure. “I cannot ignore the high silliness factor of nouse,” said Joe Laszlo, an analyst at Jupiter Research in New York. “People baulk at doing things that require them to look silly and there is ample room for looking silly here.”

And now back to internet connection options. My observations shared in the Chiangmai Mail August issue were all from direct experience. If a company got 2 stars, this was because they earned it, or not earn if you get my drift. Small and medium business users should note that I can now recommend the best of the bunch. Not new to Chiang Mai (but one of the less well known providers) was not included in the August review. CM Net, with offices in Huay Kaow Road, provides several ADSL packages and when compared with Asia Net for example, there is not only a significant difference in performance (connectivity and bandwidth / speed) there is a significant difference in price and customer service.

Asia Net charge around 7,000 baht per month for a 256K ADSL cable connection (not including all the other costs for cable modem/router, network hubs, upgrading the local network, plus the cost of cable and connection fees). While many people claim the network is stable and problem free, our experience was daily outages, not just once, but endless downtime and disconnections.

Asia Net does have a couple of technicians who tried really hard to solve problems and even re-cabled part of the street, to solve problems. I suppose my biggest beef and frustration (apart from the endless disconnections and timeouts) was an arrogant company who were more interested in paperwork than customer service. For example, we were kept waiting 10 days while company documents were processed before they went ahead and connected us. Another example, we telephoned the local sales office to advise that the monthly payment would be paid within 3 days and the person we spoke with said, “No problem you have until 28th” (3 weeks away) - and the same day we were disconnected. No ifs, no buts, no sorries and no connection.

CM Net, on the other hand, charge 5,900 baht for 512K (twice the bandwidth / speed for almost 2,000 baht less), and bent over backwards to offer us a 10 day trial period for no charge, a technician who is not only knowledgeable but helpful and even adding the cost of an ADSL modem / router (one time only cost) only added another 2996 baht (inc VAT) to the total.

CM Net work alongside TTNT, and I can confirm that while we don’t have true 512K bandwidth (read about sharing nodes in the August issue), we now have the most stable connection and much, much faster speeds than we have ever had. CM Net definitely moves to the top of the list of choices for small and medium business organisations.

There are also some interesting packages for home users starting at 1550 baht for an international connection. The CM Net call center number is: 053-895135 and this company gets 4.5 stars for effort, customer service, helpfulness and value.

In the next column, I’ll be discussing some great downloads for anyone interested in News Groups.

Dr Byte appears in Chiangmai Mail every 2 weeks and if you have any questions or suggestions you would like to make, you can contact me at Dr Byte, Chiangmai Mail.

Letters from Lek

Hi kids,

Have you had your Halloween party yet? Did you enjoy it as much as I did? Did you have a Halloween Fun Day? Our school had, the Middle School 5-8 grade made a fun house for the Elementary School and the Pre Kindergarten – Grade 4.

We made a tunnel out of computer boxes, where you had to crawl through, it had disgusting and scary things in it and at the end of the tunnel you were in a room with spooky things. Like a box, where you had to feel things like ‘brains, eyeballs and guts’. We used spaghetti, grapes, and eggs. But nobody except the ones who made it up knew about it and believe me, it is a strange feeling to grab any of them in the dark. Ugh.

Also we had a Jeannie tent. You could go inside and get your fortune told. Then we had a ‘murder show’ where two people pretended to kill each other and not to be missed of course were Dracula and Frankenstein. It was really fun. But like always, these kinds of days seem to be so short, while normal school days never end.

Joke of the week:

A monster landed on earth and the first thing he saw was a sparrow. Can you direct me to a hotel? He asked.
Cheep cheep said the sparrow.
It better be, the monster answered.
Getting here cost me a fortune.

Bye bye, stay cool

Life in the Laugh Lane: Trick or Trot!

Only one trick-or-treater horsing around this Halloween

by Scott Jones

For those of you from countries that don’t have Halloween, it’s a dream holiday for kids: one day every year, you can dress up as any despicable, wicked, mean, bad and nasty monster (ogre, troll, lawyer, your mother-in-law, the President of the USA), scamper around town collecting enough free candy to rot your teeth for life (the “treat”) and if a neighbor’s house is dark and treat less, soap their windows, hang toilet paper in their trees and let the air out of their car tires (the “trick”).

In America, being the trick-or-treatee was almost as fun. My lawn became a graveyard with sinister headstones, life-like dead bodies lay on the steps, horror movie themes blared from open windows and a six-foot spider on a web hung above the porch. I’d answer the door dressed as the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz: silver face and funnel cap, pseudo-metal suit, oil can and a silver ax. A real one. (For safety in America, many people keep one under their pillow.) At my country bungalow in Thailand, there’s no extra preparation necessary. I live with spiders the size of auto tires, large warted toads and frogs that love to leap on your skin and there’s enough hooting, hollering and screaming from the march creatures to scare young and old.

My only trick-or-treater had a very creative horse costume. There must have been at least three or four kids in it to move from house to house. Ah, the skinny legs gave him away. It was just Gao the neighborhood horse, carefully disguised as himself. He trick-or-treats at my house everyday and sleeps under my window, audibly expelling air from all of his openings, all night long. If Gao doesn’t get his treat, he visually follows me around, staring at me through the windows, incessantly working on my guilt. He’ll eat most anything except beans, som tum and rotting pomelo. He got a wrinkled cucumber on Halloween and left me a large pile of road apples in return.

He seems a bit lonely and confused. The assorted fowl, cats and other humans don’t pay him much attention. He tries to play with the dogs but size gets in the way. Maybe he thinks he’s a dog, since he sees no other horses around and doesn’t have a mirror to check out his species.

I fear he may be getting too close to the chickens. Their legs seem to be getting longer, their feathers browner and I hear hefty calls at night that are halfway between neighing and cock-a-doodling. Great Halloween horror flick: Horooster From Hell! 7 foot hairy chicken pecks residents to death! Hey, if you can tame it, one egg should feed the whole neighborhood.