Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

It's just after midnight here in Thailand, so all the very best for 2010 (or 2553 as it is in the Thai Buddhist calendar)!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My other personal blog

I have another blog over on WordPress that I use occasionally, and I have now decided that in the New Year I am going to start using it to write about things that I dare not write about in this here nice "family friendly" and "child safe" blog, if you know what I mean! ;-)

So perhaps you might want to check it out during the course of 2010. But please be warned in advance that it might not be suitable for persons under 18 years of age!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Top 10 Online Games of 2009 - Movie Games

Continuing the Top 10's of 2009 theme from my previous post, here is my own personal list of the Top 10 Flash online games that tie-in with movies released during 2009:

1.     UP: Kevin's Chocogobble

2.     Monsters vs. Aliens: Panic in the Streets

3.     A Christmas Carol: Ghostly Adventure

4.     Transformers: Roll Out

5.     Ice Age 3: Bubble Trouble

6.     Astro Boy: Blast-A-Bot

7.     Star Trek: Flash Trek V2.0

8.     UP: Merit Badge Mayhem

9.     Transformers 2: Starscream Showdown

10.    Monsters vs. Aliens: Video Game Demo

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Top 10 Celebrity Searches of 2009

Following on from my recent post about Top 10's of 2009, for all you celebrity followers out there Yahoo UK have very thoughtfully provided a list of the Top 10 celebrity searches for this year, which is as follows:

1. Michael Jackson

2. Jade Goody

3. Katie Price

4. Cheryl Cole

5. Patrick Swayze

6. Lady Gaga

7. Susan Boyle

8. Lily Allen

9. Oasis

10. Megan Fox

My wife has a proper web presence now

Further to my post earlier this year listing all my different places on the web, I am pleased to say that my wife Su is now on Facebook, plus she has a Blog and a YouTube channel of her own too. Top girl!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Really useful Pattaya, Thailand tourist information.....

.....can be found here:

Primarily it's a free-to-join discussion forum site with more information about Pattaya than you can shake a stick at. Everything you will ever want, or need, to know about Thailand's most famous tourist city will be in there. And of course, once you join you can post your own questions to the more than 16,000 other members.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Larry Niven's Known Space book series

Way, way back in 2006 I wrote in this blog about some sci-fi books I had just read, one of which was "Ringworld's Children" by Larry Niven. Well, since it's Christmas today I'm taking a break from my website work and am reading Larry Niven's latest book, "Destroyer of Worlds". It's a great read.

Both of these books are part of Larry Niven's famous "Known Space" future history series, which is my all-time favourite book series - I like it more than the Star Wars Expanded Universe series, more than the Star Trek Expanded Universe series, and even (shock, horror!) more than the Harry Potter series!

If, like me, you're a sci-fi/fantasy book lover, I highly recommend you to get hold of as many books in the series as you can - I'm sure you'll enjoy each and every one of them!

Here is a list of all current books in the series in recommended reading order, including links to pages for those that are still in print in case you wish to order them. There is also a free online short story which is highlighted in italicised text:

Three Books of Known Space (3 books in 1 volume: 2 novels - World of Ptaavs and A Gift From Earth, plus 1 short story collection - Tales of Known Space)

Flatlander (Short story collection)

Protector (Novel)

The Man-Kzin Wars (Shared Universe short story collection series, various authors, currently 11 books including Man-Kzin Wars IX, Man-Kzin Wars X: The Wunder War and Man-Kzin Wars XI)

Neutron Star (Short story collection, currently out-of-print)

Crashlander (Short story collection, includes 4 stories duplicated from the out-of-print Neutron Star)

Fleet of Worlds (Novel)

Juggler of Worlds (Novel)

Destroyer of Worlds (Novel)

The Color of Sunfire (Online short story)

Ringworld (Novel)

The Ringworld Engineers (Novel)

The Ringworld Throne (Novel)

Ringworld's Children (Novel)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

It's one minute past midnight here in Thailand, so it's officially Christmas Day here now! On that basis, even though it's probably not quite actually Christmas Day yet wherever you are reading this, MERRY CHRISTMAS to you!!

I hope you've enjoyed my blogging this year - check out the rest of this blog here and my other blog here to make sure you haven't missed anything, because there are loads and loads of lovely free online games and wallpaper backgrounds listed throughout both blogs.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Online Games

I love Christmas, and even though over here in Thailand where I currently live it isn't celebrated very much, I am trying to get into the festive spirit by playing lots of Christmas music on my hi-fi, and by enjoying these great Flash online Christmas games that you can find in my site:

  Jingle Ballistics

  Snow Throw


  The Nightmare Before Christmas

(This game also includes a Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas" wallpaper background picture)

  Casper's Haunted Christmas

(This game also includes a "Casper the Friendly Ghost" wallpaper background picture)

  A Christmas Carol: Scrooge's Star Ride

  A Christmas Carol: Ghostly Adventure

  A Christmas Carol: Rooftop Surfer

  A Christmas Carol: Penny Pincher

(These games also include a Disney's "A Christmas Carol" wallpaper background picture)

  The Polar Express Ticket Chase

(This game also includes a "Polar Express" wallpaper background picture)

I hope you enjoy playing them! :-)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Earth-like world discovered only 40 light-years away!

This interesting little news item in caught my attention this morning, being the space-buff that I am.....

Nearby Super-Earth May Be A Waterworld

A rocky and water-rich planet, not much heftier than our own, has been discovered so close to our solar system that astronomers one day may be able to study its atmosphere.

And though astronomers are pretty certain the water exists, they don't know its state, with speculations ranging from liquid water to water ice and an exotic state called a superfluid.

The extrasolar planet, now named GJ 1214b, is about 40 light-years away. It orbits a red dwarf star. It is the only known "Super-Earth" exoplanet — worlds that have masses between Earth and Neptune — with a confirmed atmosphere.

"Astronomically speaking, this [planet] is on our block," meaning it's in our cosmic neighborhood, said study leader David Charbonneau of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Mass. "For perspective, our own TV signals have already passed beyond the distance of this star."

The planet is about three times the size of Earth and about 6.5 times as massive. It is the second smallest planet discovered outside of our solar system to date, trailing behind only CoRoT-7b, which is 1.7 times Earth's size and about five times as massive.

GJ 1214b is rare among known rocky exoplanets because it partially eclipses, or transits, its star as seen from Earth.

This fortunate alignment allows astronomers to calculate the size and density of the planet, and Charbonneau's team thinks GJ 1214b is likely a water world with a solid center. Moreover, the planet has a thick surrounding atmosphere of hydrogen and helium.

Normally, a planet located at that distance from this particular type of star would be so hot that any water on its surface would be in a vapor form.

But scientists think the thick atmosphere of GJ 1214b creates a high pressure environment that keeps water on the surface in a liquid state.

That's just speculation, however.

"It really depends on how hot the planet is on the inside, and we don't know that," Sara Seager, an astrophysicist at MIT, told "I think this planet doesn't have liquid water because it is too hot on the inside. I think it goes from water ice, to a very exotic kind of water — a superfluid — and then it goes to vapor," added Seager, who just published a new eBook on exoplanets called "Is there Life Out There? The Search for Habitable Exoplanets."

(Seager was not involved in the new planet discovery.)

There are downsides to having such a thick atmosphere: First, the pressure is crushing, making life as we know it difficult. And secondly, the thick atmosphere blocks light from the feeble star from reaching the planet's surface.

"If you picture the sun as a 1,000-watt light bulb, this star is a 3-watt light bulb," Charbonneau said.

Whatever its exact composition, astronomers are excited about the finding. "We're really looking for a planet that's a big Earth orbiting in the Goldilocks zone of a small star, transiting," Seager said. "This one scores three out of four. We're excited because we're getting closer and closer to the thing we want to find." The missing piece: GJ 1214b doesn't orbit within the star's habitable, or Goldilocks, zone.

The planet was discovered using a suite of small, ground-based telescopes and is detailed in this week's issue of the journal Nature.
(End quote)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Cheap but good hotels in Bangkok, Thailand - Part 3

Also: My favourite relaxing bars in Bangkok - Part 2

Amongst my favourite relaxing bars in Bangkok (see here for another one) is the Tequila Bar, which is in Soi 4 of the Nana area of Sukhumvit Road. It's just around the corner from the 7-Eleven minimart that is on the right-hand side of Soi 4, about 250m down from Sukhumvit Road and about 175m down from Nana Plaza.

It's a very relaxing, friendly, inexpensive and honest ex-pat style bar, but what I like most about it is that the amiable owner, Eddie, has over the years put together an absolutely incredible collection of over 130,000 MP3 music tracks in iTunes for customers to use as a super jukebox. It's well worth a visit for the amazing choice of music alone! Eddie runs a fun Music Challenge where if he doesn't have a song you request, no matter how obscure, if he can't get it on his computer system for you to listen to the next day, you get a free beer upon your return.

The bar also has air-con, 4 satellite TVs with full sports coverage, a pool table, some lovely relaxing sofas to lounge around on inside, and outside seating should you want it. I love going there and I visit every time I'm in Bangkok, usually with my wife who is also a big fan of the fact that it's a totally hassle-free place. It's great for chilling out, like an oasis in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of the rest of Nana.

As well as being a friendly and chatty host, Eddie is also a fountain of useful Bangkok knowledge. For example recently, when I was looking for a nice but cheap hotel to stay in because all the hotels I usually use were full at the time, he recommended me to stay at the Nana City Inn hotel, which I'd never used before.

Normally I'm a bit wary of other people's recommendations because I have found over the years that what someone else thinks is good isn't always good for me. But in Eddie's case it was an excellent recommendation because the hotel has lovely double-bed rooms for only around 1000 Baht per room per night, with air-con, hot water shower, cable TV, safe and mini-bar fridge, plus free Wi-Fi on the ground floor. It's just over the road and slightly to the right from the Tequila Bar, so it's really handily placed in Nana too! The Nana City Inn's phone number is +66 (0)2 253 4468.

(See here and here for some more Bangkok hotel recommendations.)