Saturday, 27 August 2011

Didn't really quit smoking, just adapted my way how

I have a friend who likes smoking, but no more than a few cigarettes a month. Obviously he possesses special DNA which makes him insensitive to the addictive elements contained in cigarettes.
When I grew up in the 60's everybody smoked, all the cool people did anyway. Both my parents smoked. They even smoked in the car when we went on holidays and teachers smoked at schools. At later age in some classes even students were allowed to smoke.
Nowadays it might seem mad why people knowing all the health risks are still smoking.
In most cases smoking lowers the day to day quality of life, but for many quitting isn't as easy as it sounds.
I've seen people falling back into the old habit after quitting for periods of five years or longer.
A friend was diagnosed with lung cancer and had 1/3 of her lungs removed. Three months later she picked up the dirty old habit.
I know an old guy who couldn't quit and eventually was about to die. Even this wasn't enough motivation to stop, but soon the birth of his first grandson was. He still loves the smell of tabacco and likes to sit in rooms where people are smoking. Ask him how long ago he quit and he will tell the number of days, which are over a 1000 now. There isn't an hour he doesn't think about smoking, so he says, but his lungs and his grandson prevent him from falling back.

I seem belong to the group who didn't find effective ways to quit yet. Even being mentally 'fully' prepared to stop, cold turkey or aided with nicotine patches or acupuncture, quitting usually lasted just a month or so.

Since 2006 thanks to Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik there's a healthier alternative.

E-cigarette and accessories
Smoking laptop? Use a USB to recharge batteries for the internal vaporizer.

Despite the obvious health benefits as opposed to real thing, from the time they came on the market, there has been a lot of controversy about the next thing as good as smoking.

According to Cancer Research UK, "For a smoker, the health hazards of continuing to smoke greatly outweigh any potential risks of using nicotine replacement therapy"

Many countries however restrict the sales of e-cigarettes to certain extents. In a number of Western countries use or sales of e-cigarettes are not really restricted, but In some nations they can be obtained through doctors prescription only, similar for example like nicotine patches in Malaysia. In Singapore e-cigs are banned all together, since they are regarded as "an industry's attempt to attract new users and were marketed to appeal to younger customers, including women". Forbid all sales of tabacco products as well and let the new target group go and sniff glue, fascist c*nts.
As far as I know here in Thailand e-cigs are currently illegal as well, the rumour goes that someone from the ministry of health minister is also the single producer of nicotine chewing gum. If true, how typical Tailand.
Anyway, also typical for Thailand is that knowbody knows and nobody cares.
E-cigs can be found here in small electronic shops in larger cities or tourist territories, usually next to a shop which unlocks your cellphone.
Price is between ฿500 (€ 12 / $16.20) and ฿600 (€ 14.41 / $ 19.44). I've seen Thai wholesale prices of $ 15.- so ฿500 seems reasonable. Cartridges with 10 butts with e-liquid cost ฿200 (€ 4.80 / $ 6.48).

E-cigarettes surely work for me, in fact I like it better than the real stuff. Besides being basically able to smoke everywhere I want, like in the old days, e-cigs taste a bit like smoking a water-pipe, since you will inhale cold smoke where one can choose from flavours like mint, apple and coffee, to mention a few.
Most people are not familiar with the device, so they just will think I'm smoking the real thing. Often I'm given an ashtray and get suprised looks when I hold the end, which is lit by a red LED after a puff, on my cheek or against my eye-lid.
Just be sure to have a spare one, since when you run out of liquid or batteries, within the hour you will just be running to the nearest 7/11. I now bring the small USB charger with me as well, since the batteries as well as the vaporizer slowly wear off.

Still, the addiction remains.

Showers in Patong

We were at a party in Otop area. The problem was: we couldn't leave till the next day
The situation, the next day (Photo thanks to Hans v/d Peppel)

Coral Island today III

Local showers coming (lasted 1 min.)
Sea star (30 cm diam.)
Hermit crab

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Fishing trips around the world

Coral Island, Thailand - A couple of Germans wanted to go on a fishing trip.
The boat was expected to arrive at 9:00 and they were all set and ready. For a long time it didn't show up and they called several times to the office in Phuket, who assured them that the boat was on its way. Of course the cliche joke about 'Thai time' was made. Finally the boat arrived at 9:45.
I thought it would be fun to imagine what could happen in the same situation in other countries.

Here are some examples:
GermanyBoat arrives at 8:45, just to be on the safe side.
FranceBoat is delayed for indefinite time due to strikes.
UKBoat arrives on time, but all gear is looted.
GreeceBoat is sold due to lack of funds.
IrelandBoat arrives, but the captain was pissed and fell overboard.
NorwayBoat arrives as planned, but the guy on deck starts shooting at you.
NetherlandsBoat arrives on time, but is hindered by Greenpeace activists to set sail, since fishing is cruel.
ItalyBoat arrives at 4:00, but is sent back by immigration.
SurinameBoat arrives at 9:00 sharp, but not that day and probably not that week.
IndonesiaYou set out fishing, but use of dynamite kind of spoils the sport.
RussiaBoat arrives, but after a while the vodka makes you forget what you came for.
JapanYou go fishing as planned, but you feel kind of sorry for the whale.
BangladeshBoat arrives on time, but is taken apart on the spot.
JamaicaHey don't worry man!
SomaliaAt sea you board a bigger boat and amongst others steal their fish.
NigeriaNo boat, but then again you should never pay in advance.
BermudaBoat arrived on time, but no one has heard from you since.
PalestinaThe crew arrives on time and blow up the rubber boat.
LibyaIt's kind of cramped in there with the other 100 passengers.
USBoat arrives on time and sets sail, but hey, who wants to fish when you can drink beer in the onboard jacuzzi.

Contributions anyone?

Monday, 8 August 2011

Google+ invitations

    Click here (Good for 150 invitations)

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The unsolved mystery of paper cocktail and ice cream parasols

During the course of my life a lot of questions have been answered, like if the earth is round why don't the people on the other side fall off? Or why do we have lightning and thunder? Where is the end of the universe and other mind bogglers people have been wondering about since their very existence.
Thanks to modern education all has become a bit more comprehensible. Well, at least I'd like to think so.

On a personal level one great mystery still remains, namely paper cocktail and ice cream parasols.

At the time when Mao Zedong had just finished his little red book, my elder sister and I aged 5 discovered after reverse engineering several ice cream parasols they revealed a big secret.
When we occasionally visited the local Chinese restaurant we both never passed the ice cream desert.
As far as I remember this was the only place in our city which decorated their ice creams with this complimentary artifact.
The most interesting parts were the small top and bottom paper cylinders which each had a piece of Chinese newspaper hidden inside.
As long as I can remember it has struck me as akward that one would take the trouble to use recycled newspaper rather than custom made parts for such small components, but at the time it just seemed funny and a bit mysterious since we were in fact more intrigued by the strange characters and the idea that people in China would actually be able to decipher those weird hieroglyphs.
And hey, this was a Chinese restaurant, so as children it made kind of sense that they used weird stuff from China. Or for all we knew a grandmother in the back of the kitchen was creating these decorations just to please children like us. Well, at least such thoughts must have crossed our minds.
As a matter of fact as I grew older, paper parasols continued to intrigue me and sampling wise kept on disassembling them now and then until current age. Surprisingly I found out that in more than 40 years not much that I know of has changed. I vaguely remember that the ribs used to be made out of wood instead of thin carton, but during 4 decades that must have been the only major innovation.
While traveling during the years, I noticed all cocktail and ice cream parasols seem to come from one area or perhaps even one factory, since without exceptions they are all constructed in the same way.
So far, nobody I met or whom I showed it to had ever taken the trouble to dissect it in a way my sister and I did. So in retrospect we were kind of the first Western discoverers of an Eastern secret hidden away in the billions of pieces produced and globally exported for almost half a century and possibly even longer.

A paper cocktail and ice cream parasol.
The top consists of a small strip of rolled up newspaper.
The end is glued together and dipped in chalk.

The bottom which also consists of a strip of
newspaper is covered with a piece of white
paper glued onto it.
The disassembled version:
Twist the top and bottom paper cylinders off, carefully remove the cover and unwrap.
If you don't succeed, use a hobby knife.
Regardless of the place you got it from,
you will be able to see these kind of strands from
Chinese newspaper.
The question is where and how are these parasols actually being produced?
A few facts:
1. The paper parasols cost a few dollar cents and even less at wholesale prices.
2. Since each top is slightly different they are most likely dipped in liquid chalk by hand.
3. Because of it's irregular distribution, the carton ribs are most likely glued to the paper cover manually as well.
4. Who collects Chinese newspapers and who cuts them up into small pieces. The paper strips are not 100% straight, so again manual labour (using siccors)?
5. How are the paper strips rolled up? The rolling looks irregular when you take different samples, so it seems to be done by hand.
6. How is it possible that the manufacturing process has hardly changed during the last 43 years?
7. Due to the great consistency of the product over the years, are they made in just one place?
8. Even with the relatively low salaries in China, the product seems too labour intensive for such a low sales price. And now with China's growing welfare this almost seems impossible.
9. Are perhaps thousands of Chinese prisoners doing this tedious job?

In the mean time I have asked several Chinese trading companies these kind of questions, but so far my attempts were in vain. So I would appreciate it if someone happens to know anything more.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...