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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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5 Bangkok Golf Driving Ranges


All Star Golf Range
Given that there are many golf holidaymakers in Bangkok, there are bound to be some staying at a hotel in the city center who wants to just get out to a range to hit some balls. Here are a five of my favorite ranges where any Bangkok golfer can get their game on without leaving the city.

1. All-Star Golf Complex
A popular one-stop destination for Bangkok golfers, All-Star has retail golf equipment shops, short-game practice facilities and a quality long-distance driving range with new Srixon golf balls. This is the place where Bangkok locals go to hone their game and try out the latest models of equipment.

2. 42 Tee Off
A short walk from the Prakanong BTS, this two-story driving range is the place to practice for those staying in the any of the popular Sukhumvit area hotels. Insider tip: Go before noon or after 5PM as hitting into direct sunlight in the afternoon makes for very hot practice sessions and can be literally blinding when tracking your balls in the sun.

3. 247 Yard Driving Range
This is the place to practice for those who stating in the Ratchadapisek area. The 247 range is open-air facility with 40 driving bays on the grounds of the Chaophrya Park Hotel. The range is known for its cheery staff and even offers Thai massage for those who like to combine some golf practice with some relaxation. The hitting area is narrow, but presumably that just helps to hone your fairway game. The restaurant serves some very good Thai dishes at prices of around US$3 per plate! 

4. RCA Driving Range
Proving there is more than one way to hit the clubs, RCA's two-storey driving complex is in one of Bangkok's most infamous nightlife zones, and is popular for its central location. Go in the evening, hit some balls and then pop into one of the many trendy clubs just outside and see how local Thais party.

5. Dusit Thani Hotel
Weird, but true! A 50 yard mini-driving range sits atop the Dusit Thani Bangkok smack in the center of Bangkok. While the short length may not be for everyone if you are staying at a Silom hotel and want to hit a few balls it is good to know you can do so in less than 10 minutes.  Good for honing ones short game.
Well now that you know what's available in Bangkok why not get out and hit some balls in between golf games.

Great video of The Street

Great video of Walking Street by Plahgat.

If you are missing Pattaya, this will take you there. Either that or push you over the edge!!!!


Pattaya by Night 2010 from Plahgat on Vimeo.

Winning At All Costs - RT/WW

The computerized mini bar in Marina Bay Sands Hotel room reminded me of one instance when I checked a foreign guest into one of our 5-star hotels. That hotel has computerized mini bars in their rooms too.

A few hours after he checked out, I got a call from a hotel staff. I was asked to pay for his consumption from the mini bar. I was surprised why they didn't bill him. The staff was a friend, I was invited to go down to take a look.


When she opened the mini bar, the bottled drinks were emptied and replaced with water. How could the hotel not charge to him when he removed the bottles?

Later when I asked my guest how he did it, he proudly claimed that he didn't trigger the sensor because he uncapped the drinks without lifting them, used a straw to drink the contents and then replace with tap water.


Why did he do this? He wants to prove he's smarter.

He's the President of a successful foreign company. But how does one do business with such males? Every time he wants to win. He will do whatever it takes to win and his horrifying quote : “If you’re not willing to cheat, then you don’t want to win bad enough.”

sigh.






First Commenter -

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mayor Kunplome's 14 urgent projects for Pattaya

As part of the Mayor's 'Let's Balance Up Pattaya' strategy, the following projects have been classified as urgent:




For sure some of the projects fall in to the 'nice to have' category so they could be easily pushed to the end of the queue. For sure crime, water supply, flood prevention, traffic flow and garbage collection are areas for immediate attention. Much will depend on the budget assigned to Pattaya by the government.

Serotonin, Psychedelics and Depression

Note: This post is part of a Nature Blog Focus on hallucinogenic drugs in medicine and mental health, inspired by a recent Nature Reviews Neuroscience paper, The neurobiology of psychedelic drugs: implications for the treatment of mood disorders, by Franz Vollenweider & Michael Kometer. That article will be available, free (once you register), until September 23. For more information on this Blog Focus, see the "Table of Contents" here.

Neurophilosophy is covering the history of psychedelic psychiatry, while Mind Hacks provides a personal look at one particular drug, DMT. The Neurocritic discusses ketamine, an anesthetic with hallucinogenic properties, which is attracting a lot of interest at the moment as a treatment for depression.

Ketamine, however, is not a "classical" psychedelic like the drugs that gave the 60s its unique flavor and left us with psychedelic rock, acid house and colorful artwork. Classical psychedelics are the focus of this post.

The best known are LSD ("acid"), mescaline, found in the peyote and a few other species of cactus, and psilocybin, from "magic" mushrooms of the Psilocybe genus. Yet there are literally hundreds of related compounds. Most of them are described in loving detail in the two heroic epics of psychopharmacology, PIKHaL and TIKHaL, written by chemists and trip veterans Alexander and Ann Shulgin.

The chemistry of psychedelics is closely linked with that of depression and antidepressants. All classical psychedelics are 5HT2A receptor agonists. Most of them have other effects on the brain as well, which contribute to the unique effects of each drug, but 5HT2A agonism is what they all have in common.

5HT2A receptors are excitatory receptors expressed throughout the brain, and are especially dense in the key pyramidal cells of the cerebral cortex. They're normally activated by serotonin (5HT), which is the neurotransmitter that's most often thought of as being implicated in depression. The relationship between 5HT and mood is very complicated, and depression isn't simply a disorder of "low serotonin", but there's strong evidence that it is involved.

There's one messy detail, which is that not quite all 5HT2A agonists are hallucinogenic. Lisuride, a drug used in Parkinson's disease, is closely related to LSD, and is a strong 5HT2A agonist, but it has no psychedelic effects. It's recently been shown that LSD and lisuride have different molecular effects on cortical cells, even though they act on the same receptor - in other words, there's more to 5HT2A than simply turning it "on" and "off".

*

How could psychedelics help to treat mental illness? On the face of it, the acute effects of these drugs - hallucinations, altered thought processes and emotions - sound rather like the symptoms of mental illness themselves, and indeed psychedelics have been referred to as "psychotomimetic" - mimicking psychosis.

There are two schools of thought here: psychological and neurobiological.

The psychological approach ruled the first wave of psychedelic psychiatry, in the 50s and 60s. Psychiatry, especially in America, was dominated by Freudian theories of the unconscious. On this view, mental illness was a product of conflicts between unconscious desires and the conscious mind. The symptoms experienced by a particular patient were distressing, of course, but they also provided clues to the nature of their unconscious troubles.

It was tempting to see the action of psychedelics as a weakening of the filters which kept the unconscious, unconscious - allowing repressed material to come into awareness. The only other time this happened, according to Freud, was during dreams. That's why Freud famously called the interpretation of dreams the "royal road to the unconscious".

Psychedelics offered analysts the tantalizing prospect of confronting the unconscious face-to-face, while awake, instead of having to rely on the patient's memory of their previous dreams. To enthusiastic Freudians, this promised to revolutionize therapy, in the same way that the x-ray had done so much for surgery. The "dreamlike" nature of many aspects of the psychedelic experience seemed to confirm this.

Not all psychedelic therapists were orthodox Freudians, however. There were plenty of other theories in circulation, many of them inspired by the theorists' own drug experiences. Stanislav Grof, Timothy Leary and others saw the psychedelic state of consciousness as the key to attaining spiritual, philosophical and even mystical insights, whether one was "ill" or "healthy" - and indeed, they often said that mental "illness" was itself a potential source of spiritual growth.

Like many things, psychiatry has changed since the 60s. Psychotherapy is currently dominated by cognitive-behavioural (CBT) theory, and Freudian ideas have gone distinctly out of fashion. It remains to be seen what CBT would make of LSD, but the basic idea - that carefully controlled use of drugs could help patients to "break through" psychological barriers to treatment - seems likely to remain at the heart of their continued use.

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The other view is that these drugs could have direct biological effects which lead to improvements in mood. Repeated use of LSD, for example, has been shown to rapidly induce down-regulation of 5HT2A receptors. Presumably, this is the brain's way of "compensating" for prolonged 5HT2A activation. This is probably why tolerance to the effects of psychedelics rapidly develops, something that's long been known (and regretted) by heavy users.

Vollenweider and Kometeris note that this is interesting, because 5HT2A blockers are used as antidepressants - the drugs nefazadone and mirtazapine are the best known today, but most of the older tricyclic antidepressants are also 5HT2A antagonists. Atypical antipsychotics, which are also used in depression, are potent 5HT2A antagonists as well.

So indirectly suppressing 5HT2A might be one biological mechanism by which psychedelics improve mood. However, questions remain about how far this could explain any therapeutic effects of these drugs. Psychedelic-induced 5HT2A down-regulation is presumably temporary - and if all we need to do is to knock out 5HT2A, it would surely be easiest to just use an antagonist...

ResearchBlogging.orgVollenweider FX, & Kometer M (2010). The neurobiology of psychedelic drugs: implications for the treatment of mood disorders. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 11 (9), 642-51 PMID: 20717121

Hollywood stars in Khao Lak

According to the Phuket Insider, Ewan McGregor, (Trainspotting / Star Wars) and Naomi Watts, (21 Grams), will soon be arriving to film 'The Impossible' on Bang Sak Beach in Khao Lak. 





The movie is a true story based on the 2004 tsunami. Sets are already under construction. 

Sands SkyPark for the best views of Singapore!

The coolest pool in the world!

The first time I paid  for 9 foreign guests to visit the Sands Skypark, I thought the ticket price of S$20 per adult was expensive. On top of that I felt heart-ache when they took only 15 mins to look-see and then rushed to the Casino. :(

The Sands SkyPark is an architectural marvel which floats atop 3 soaring Marina Bay Sands hotel towers 200m in the sky. It was featured on Discovery Channel and I was very impressed as it is one of the most challenging construction projects in the world!.

The 150m infinity pool in the morning

Besides a public observation deck, the other attraction of Sands Skypark's is a 150-metre-long infinity pool overlooking Singapore's city skyline and Marina Bay. The vanishing edge of the pool gives me the goose bumps.

I was worried my boys would fall off when they got close to the edge with nothing to hold them back. They had awesome fun though, calling it the "coolest pool in the world!" But I still think it is the "scariest pool in the world". :D


The infinity pool at night


For hotel guests who just want to relax by this chic pool with a book, they will have to look elsewhere. It was impossible to relax in this tropical garden in the sky because the place was packed with lots of families, rowdy kids and rude youngsters and that spoiled the ‘chicness’ of it. 

Although the infinity pool is out of bounds to the public, they are not barred from gawking or taking pictures of the pool users.

Spectacular views as you swim

We enjoyed the beautiful sunset and breathtaking night views of Singapore in the world's largest floating pool in the sky!

a heated jacuzzi facing the city

There are also heated jacuzzis which were packed and the boys had to wait a long time just for a chance to dip in one. Since this is a 2500-room hotel, I guess it’s impossible to enjoy the amenities without the crowds.

While the boys swam, I walked around the observation deck feasting my eyes on the panorama view. A magician was entertaining the visitors who were dumbfounded by his magic tricks.

With an impressive 12,400 square meters of space, the Sands SkyPark can host up to 3900 people. Enjoy some of the magnificent views I took - from the world's largest floating garden!


    Singapore's business district is beautifully light up at night


    The Singapore Flyer


    The Esplanade

    You can purchase your tickets for the Sands SkyPark Observation Deck at the Box Office on the day of use. Public entrance to this area is outside Hotel Tower 3.

    Pricing for entry to the SkyPark is:

    Adults – S$20
    Children (2 – 12 years old) – S$14
    Senior Citizens (55 years and older)  – S$17


     First Commenter -

    Saturday, August 28, 2010

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