Mikes Thoughts

News, Views, Subterfuge

Some days just seem like I should do less. I realized it’s Thursday today after thinking yesterday was Sunday. Perhaps because I went to Hoan Kiem Lake and I usually do that on weekends. I also started playing with the Halide Mark II camera app on my iPhone 12 Pro and got a new photo editing tool called RAW Power. The ProRAW photos on iPhone 12 are significantly larger and one can recover significant highlight and shadow details by simple editing. The format Apple released really creates more fun for people like me that enjoy experimenting with what these small sensors can produce. I gave up on digital cameras over a year ago after finding them not so good and really a PITA on the photography I enjoy. I had a number of fujifilm cameras but none lasted and my XT2 soured me on trusting them with repairing and servicing the camera. I had my friend take to Singapore Fujifilm for repairs and after waiting months and finding myself in Siem Reap I got the camera back from its trip from Singapore to Phnom Penh. Not two weeks later the same issue. Meanwhile my iPhone 7 Plus lasted me through all this. I also had two x100f cameras. Nice cameras but they broke. Finally had the xt30 and it was not enough and too much. So ended up giving it away with two lens. From that I started with iPhone 11s. Now an iPhone 12 Pro.

I mention all this because this post is about being lazy. There is nothing lazy about digital cameras. They are work. Work to heft around. Work to protect if not weather sealed. Work to get shots off the camera. The antithesis of lazy. Then I ask myself,

what do I expect from photography?

Loaded question. I realized my goals were simple and digital cameras are complex. I wanted no workflow. No transfer. No bulky bag to heft. For me, photography is enjoyment and personal fulfillment. I could give an F less if you don’t like what I share here or on mastodon. You can skim on over it. Then laziness and wanting to just take memories and experiences without aperture priority and manual mode and SD cards and firmware and on and on. So I stopped.

Lazy days won. Just like today. Like most days. Some say,

what did you accomplish?

Say what? I don’t do things to accomplish them. I’m past that mode. I do them because I want to. Some things like a book I don’t finish on my kindle. It’s ok.

It’s like this blog. Never really done. Another day comes and I think of writing. I get lazy. I decide to write another time. This is another time.


It’s like medicine for the spirit and soul. Fresh. Warm. Served with many smiles. And a green table. Hanoi knows pho.

It’s the morning at one of my favorite coffee shops. Close to where I live is Tom Coffee. They serve all the usual variety of coffee but also some good breakfast foods. I particularly enjoy the pancakes with bacon and fresh fruit. Then there’s the cat. The cat dashes around chasing all the invisible enemies only cats see. It’s very vocal and has come up to me and stretched like wanting some attention. It then runs away. An enemy must be attacking. 😊

last night

Last night I went to Fabrik Bar by the lake for beer and fish and chips. It’s a expat hangout owned by a nice French guy that can do some cooking. He visits with everyone and will sip beer and chat for any length of time. The Vietnamese waitress is fun to tease and she just smiles and laughs along. I stayed for a few beers and then walked back to my place.

back to now

And the cat. Precocious and stubborn the cat sits and will act friendly but chases the dance of sun through the window or a shadow in front. I just watch and write here. Try to remember what day it is. Decide to walk to electronics store and get a type c to lightning cable for my iPhone 12. Now though I sit and watch. Watch the cat. Think of pancakes. Look out the open doors to outside. Out there is Hanoi. Sometimes strange. Most often wonderful. Usually fun. It’s one of the great cities I think. Full of food, beer, coffee and adventure. Places I could go walk today or tomorrow. Once I figure out what day it is.

and the days never do matter

They never have for years. They just come and go. I don’t even watch them. This is when I reached Tokyo Japan so long ago. I spent a week there and then hopped the Shinkansen to Hiroshima for awhile. Then on to Osaka. Then after two weeks of wandering Japan I flew to Hanoi. Japan was fun. I made it to two places I had not been. Tokyo I’ve been a number of times. You could leave your wallet on the street in Tokyo and it would either be there hours later or your hotel would call asking you to please pick up your property.

So since the days all melt together I will go get my cable, plan to do nothing today and then go accomplish that.

My anniversary of being retired. I got my life back. Found happiness and sadness. Walked a lot. Got lost. Resisted google maps. Took a lot of pictures. Now I live here. Life is good. Thanks to all my friends for putting up with me. Most of all so grateful to be here. Right now. ❤️ u Vietnam.

Check it out and see if it helps with this. Just have fun with it. No unhappy faces. It’s a challenge. Linux is fun. Repeat after me 😜.

It’s a rainy morning in Hanoi. Springtime vacillates from wonderful warm days to cooler and rainy. Today one of the latter types. So I decided in a bit to go to my favorite coffee shop which does a variety of breakfast foods. Pancakes I think are in order.

I can look out my window and see the staggering raindrops streak down on my window, hear them gently striking down on rooftops and windows and watch birds dot around.

This is not rainy season here so the rain is a gentle affair. There are the songs of a Sunday morning I hear. Music and voices and laughter. On Sunday it seems things slow down but Hanoi is still a busy city and traffic horns and motorbikes sound off.

It’s fun to sit in my room and look at a Sunday. A rainy spring day. If I focus on the rain outdoors, I can see it making it’s journey and then I hear a dog barking. It’s like the counterpoint of the peaceful rain which eludes my attempts to hear it. In the rainy season there is force and precision. The rain falls then with authority. The dog might still let us know. But even in that season it will rain only 30 minutes. Or so. Often the wind picks up first and I’ve noticed the same thing wherever I have wandered in the edge. Phnom Penh Cambodia or Melaka Malaysia. The first sign of a rainy day is the wind. In Saigon Vietnam it bustles down busy streets and Vietnamese stop to put on raincoats or jackets. Fewer carry umbrellas. Many find shelter under an awning. I’ve shared awnings with police officers, security guards, young people tapping on phones, and older folks watching the younger people with some pleasure. Sometimes talk springs up and I think an umbrella, rain, and proximity leads to social connections.

Many times I also have stopped under a bus stop and watched the people come and go on the bus. Then the rain comes. More people want the bus. I get many nods and smiles and hellos. On many rainy spring days, this gentle touch of rain on ground leaves small puddles and rainy day thoughts.

This blog post really has had no underlying reality. As Edward Abbey once noted about the topic,

I must confess that I know nothing whatsoever about true underlying reality, never having met any.

Source:Edward Abbey

If it’s good enough for Edward, it’s good enough for me. Now I’ll go enjoy no particular reality and pancakes.

So being old I get the choice. I don’t care to do both. It’s too taxing. Anyways I’m practicing sitting with music going and not doing anything. Kinda like my other days. Today I am using the WriteFreely iOS app on my toy. The iPhone toy. Next to me a young family shows up at the bench next. The boys wave and smile. The mom takes delight in seeing them wave and smile. It seems most times when I sit at the lake that I’m greeted by kids and young people. They are really active at the “hello” thing. Old people are more serene and will nod and wave. Amazing there was a war here once. You could come now and never see a memory of it besides in museums. The Vietnamese people love Americans I think. Some believe America is a dream for them. The place is the land of plenty. Dreams and wonders. Many have told me they fantasize about a life there. But always to come back. Because Vietnam needs them and their muscle and their brains. Witness this article about how a generation here is becoming lost due to Covid. Now America is not the next stop or any stop for their dreams. Many cannot go and fear losing so much.

To me sitting here the edge is a real thing. It balances on the head of geography, economics and politics. Meanwhile the young move in a direction. Sometimes not forward or back. Sometimes lost in the same place here.

My daughter in California fares no better. Her entire life disrupted. She went from adult to adult child by moving back home. Only one story amidst millions.

So I sit and determine not to think. Instead I watch the mom and dad play with their boys here. Only a moment. But they will grow up and it reminds me of the saying RWR would tell me,

nothing so constant as change

There is no permanence, no stability, no status quo. Give it a moment and it fades.

Just like life on this park bench.

Around the corner. Down the block. Maybe you know a cafe. This one gives a view of a small life left for all to see in Hanoi.

I’ve been enjoying read.write.as lately. Thanks everyone that participates, creates, and comments! Wanted to mention Inquiry particularly. I don’t do good advice on most things and I’d never suggest a person do what I did. Each of us has to find something of value and worth in what we do. I think you still find both in IT. That's good! I left after 20 some years not feeling that buzz. But I had decided before then the US was not for me. I think you will find the things worthy and challenging as long as you follow your own heart, mind and soul. My kids don’t call either. Strange how that works. It’s ok though. They have their lives. My ex wife calls more. Mixed blessing! Lol.

So whether I would be here or there it’s no different. For me, here is better. It’s just a step I knew I would take over a decade ago. For you perhaps you find other steps that will let you find joy and happiness. For sure, 60 is a good year. Revel in it, boomer! 😎

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