Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thailand Ultimate Explorers

We have sent in an audition video to be one of the couples selected for a contest being put on by Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). We recorded a video and threw in some of the video and picture we took in Bangkok on our previous trips. Now that we have submitted our application we just sit and wait and hope that we get chosen. It sound like an amazing opportunity and Karen and I are both hoping we get chosen. We would be brought to Bangkok and given an awesome vacation that we would then twitter, blog and facebook about while we are doing it. There are five teams competing and the winner of the five teams wins a grand prize. There will be a voting process over the next little while so stay tuned and help us become Thailand's Ultimate Explorers.
Clink on the title to go to the site.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The New Hanoians take on Halong Bay

The 1st annual Grass Roots and Bamboo Shoots in the Bay occurred on Saturday, September 26th. We gathered in Downtown Hanoi for some breakfast and coffee at 7:30 am on Saturday morning and waited to board the three buses that would be taking all 150 of us to Halong Bay. The trip was long but not uncomfortable and everyone was anxious to get on the beautiful junks, we could see awaiting our arrival, anchored in the bay.
After a short organizational stopover at the Bhaya building we were ferried over to the junks where we were showered with rose petals as we made our way onto the boat.We were led upstairs to the dining area and given a welcome cocktail. We all found a seat and listened while the organizer welcomed us and gave a short orientation speech.
Our names were called out and we collected our room keys.
The rooms were awesome. Private balconies and soft, plush double beds. It was so much better than any junk I had ever been on before. We quickly settled in to our room and hurried upstairs again to have lunch. I filled my stomach with surf and turf and then it was time to decide if we wanted to go swimming, kayaking or take a nap. WE took a nap.
I was woken up an hour or so later and told we had to head over to the cave right away to do soundcheck. I jumped out of bed and gathered everything I needed. I was still rubbing sleep out of my eyes as I boarded the little shuttle ferry for the 20 minute ride to the cave.
The cave, or Grotto if you prefer, was outstanding. It was massive and wide with steps leading up from the water. We took a few moments to take the amazing location in before getting down to business and doing soundcheck. With the help of Sean, soundcheck went smoothly and we were ready to have a cold beer or two by 5:30.
The rest of the people arrived about a half hour later to more rose petals and insane but very appropriate music creating a surreal atmosphere that everyone was quite taken with.
The Jagermeister, rum and beer were attacked with gusto and everyone was able to have a drink or two before sitting down to yet another wonderful bbq buffet. The band got changed and made our way to the stage after dinner. We played two 45 minute sets in the coolest location I have ever seen. With free rum, beer and jager flowing all evening, it can't be too hard to imagine that people got a little tipsy. DJ Kulture came on after us and spun tunes until they finally had enough and kicked us out.
We finished off the evening with some bottles of wine and some Bitburger beer on the top deck of boat 3. It was a fantastic ending to one of the best days I can remember having in a long time. Great work Eliot and the rest of the gang at New Hanoian and Bhaya cruises. Well done.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Props Live at R&R Tavern


This is my new band, The Props, playing at R&R Tavern last Friday evening. This is the fourth band I have been in since landing here in Hanoi. This band is, by far, more my style than any of the others. I enjoyed playing in all of the other bands, but The Props is more like the music I would be writing myself if I were currently writing music, which I'm not. Maybe I will start writing again soon if I ever get some free time to do so. Anyway, I am heading back to the candy cane stacks once again with my lovely wife Karen and we are hoping to see all of you a few times, at least, while we are there. We are only going to be home for just under a month so we have a lot of stuff to squeeze into that time frame. I look forward to seeing everyone and there is a second half of this video that i will post soon. I had to cut it in half as it was too large to post as one video.

Take 'er easy.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Yard Dogs LIVE!

I have enjoyed practicing with Mike, Simon and David for the past month or so. It has been a great way to spend a Sunday. We were preparing for a one time only show before Simon heads back to the UK and France for the summer. Our one show turned into two shows as we were invited to play for a benefit being put on for a poor local boy who has lost both hands and a foot trying to save a friend from certain death at the hands of a live power box.
The basement of Al Fresco's restaurant was filled with friends and acquaintances for the Yard Dogs first show. We had some help setting up the sound from Shaun, and we'd like to thank him for everything. It was a great evening that I am still recovering from as I write this. I am including a video of some highlights from the evening. Next stop, the Matador on Wednesday evening for an encore performance

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Just a post to show we are still alive and well.

I have nothing exciting to write at this time. Be patient, it is coming. I will post this amazing quote by the legendary Hunter S. Thompson, I couldn't possibly say it better than he does....

Security ... what does this word mean in relation to life as we know it today? For the most part, it means safety and freedom from worry. It is said to be the end that all men strive for; but is security a utopian goal or is it another word for rut?

Let us visualize the secure man; and by this term, I mean a man who has settled for financial and personal security for his goal in life. In general, he is a man who has pushed ambition and initiative aside and settled down, so to speak, in a boring, but safe and comfortable rut for the rest of his life. His future is but an extension of his present, and he accepts it as such with a complacent shrug of his shoulders. His ideas and ideals are those of society in general and he is accepted as a respectable, but average and prosaic man. But is he a man? has he any self-respect or pride in himself? How could he, when he has risked nothing and gained nothing? What does he think when he sees his youthful dreams of adventure, accomplishment, travel and romance buried under the cloak of conformity? How does he feel when he realizes that he has barely tasted the meal of life; when he sees the prison he has made for himself in pursuit of the almighty dollar? If he thinks this is all well and good, fine, but think of the tragedy of a man who has sacrificed his freedom on the altar of security, and wishes he could turn back the hands of time. A man is to be pitied who lacked the courage to accept the challenge of freedom and depart from the cushion of security and see life as it is instead of living it second-hand. Life has by-passed this man and he has watched from a secure place, afraid to seek anything better What has he done except to sit and wait for the tomorrow which never comes?

Turn back the pages of history and see the men who have shaped the destiny of the world. Security was never theirs, but they lived rather than existed. Where would the world be if all men had sought security and not taken risks or gambled with their lives on the chance that, if they won, life would be different and richer? It is from the bystanders (who are in the vast majority) that we receive the propaganda that life is not worth living, that life is drudgery, that the ambitions of youth must he laid aside for a life which is but a painful wait for death. These are the ones who squeeze what excitement they can from life out of the imaginations and experiences of others through books and movies. These are the insignificant and forgotten men who preach conformity because it is all they know. These are the men who dream at night of what could have been, but who wake at dawn to take their places at the now-familiar rut and to merely exist through another day. For them, the romance of life is long dead and they are forced to go through the years on a treadmill, cursing their existence, yet afraid to die because of the unknown which faces them after death. They lacked the only true courage: the kind which enables men to face the unknown regardless of the consequences.

As an afterthought, it seems hardly proper to write of life without once mentioning happiness; so we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Another year over, and a new one just begun

It has been far too long since our last post and for that we apologize. We are now recovering from the week that was Christmas and New Years. We had as much fun as was possible considering the vast distances between us and our friends and family. R&R Tavern was our home away from home this holiday season. We enjoyed a wonderful turkey dinner on Christmas day with co-workers from Oxford English UK. Huong outdid herself with a fantastic meal that made us, if only for a short time, feel as though we were home enjoying a turkey dinner with all of the fixings. Next was NYE where we also celebrated the coming of the new year with friends at the bar. It was a good way to ring in the new year so far from home. Thanks again, to Jay and Huong for their efforts this holiday season. I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Years and we miss you all and were thinking of you over the holidays. I will do my best to not let so much time pass between posts.
Bring on the new year and year number four for the Merlins rocking South East Asia.
Ciao for now,
Please enjoy this short video of clips taken by Karen over the past year on her cell phone.