Monday, August 31, 2009

Good News?

Well, I now know which store on the bottom floor of my apartment building I live directly above.

I live on the sixth floor, you see, and on the first floor beneath me there is a row of various work establishments--a few laundromats, convenience stores, even what appears to be a Networking Solutions company.

I got to know the owners of one of these establishments in my Crazy-Farang-Sitcom way tonight, after drying my Khaki shorts went horribly, sit-comically wrong. I laid my Khakis out carefully on the air conditioning unit, and the slickness of the fabric meant that it almost immediately went tumbling over my balcony as soon as I had put them down. I watched helpless as my Khakis fell six floors to the ground and hit the concrete.

No one was looking, I guess, because I watched the shorts for about 30 seconds before it became apparent that no one was going to come out and check what the eff had just flying from the floors above.

And so after a very confusing "conversation" with a laundromat owner, who was happily watching her Thai soap opera before I interrupted her, it was understood that I had "forgotten" my "pants" from "that place [wild gestures pointing up]"

Still don't know how to say "sixth floor" or "dropped" or "fell"...but I'm getting by.

Do I Dare to Eat a Pii Set?

*Note: The title joke requires a working knowledge of American poetry and the Thai language.

But what else is new.

----------------------

Time was when I came here that a man (and by "a man" I of course mean me)--time was when I came here that a man could eat four or five plates of Thai food in a sitting. Time was that I would eat pork fried rice, chicken with basil and white rice, pork noodle soup, and garlic beef, and then grab a rotee with bananas for dessert. Sure, I pooped it all out almost immediately, but time was that a man could eat that much and still be hungry for a pocky box in bed (not as dirty as it sounds, I swear).

That time has passed, like the massive amounts of feces that I used to. As my weight declines steadily toward the 150s for the first time since 10th grade, my stomach is approaching the size of the Grinch's heart (pre-climax), three sizes too small--or smaller, anyway.

I just came back from dinner, my first meal of the day (besides, okay, a bowl of white rice around 10 A.M.). I ate garlic chicken with a side of white rice, and then a little fried kana (English equivalent? I don't know) with crispy pork, both with a little clear soup to clear the palate. And do you know what? I am stuffed. Stuffed to my stomach skin. The penis alien is about to pop out, Ripley.

What happened? My stomach has shrunk, shriveled, shed mass, whatever. When Elena's boyfriend was here, I watched with admiration and wist as, on his first night or so he knocked down approximately seven plates of food. Now, the portions in Thailand are much smaller than they are at, say, Panda Express (which I could polish off three of in my day, no problem, btw), but I find myself often thinking about my past fast food eating habits, and what they will be like when I return to America.

Will I be able to eat a double cheeseburger combo meal from Wendy's, with large fries, and then also order junior bacon cheeseburger and chicken nuggets? When I go to the Chinese buffet, will I make four trips back and forth, each time filling up my until there is no white showing, and not with rice or noodles or any of that starch-filler shit either--I mean with meat, and fried vegetables, and more meat? When I go to Taco Bell--okay, that was a joke. But has the day arrived when I will finally be full after eating Chik-Fil-A? Jing jing?

I have--how long now?--several more months of stomach shrinking before I know. But I can only imagine that when I get back, it will take me a while to build back up to the fat disgusting sloppy repellent American eater that I once so proudly was.


V is Very, Very / Extra-Ocean-airy

The above taken from a Thai band's performance of "L-O-V-E," in which V, despite being mispronounced, was still quite resonant.

I was all excited because last night was the final night of this musical/promotional festival in the park near my apartment building, and at 8:30 P.M. it was listed that there would be a performance by a band performing "Rock Pop Indy Music."

As it turns out, "Indy" here was like "Indies," like "India," like "Hey, Christopher Columbus, we've landed in the Indies!" And so I didn't get to hear any Thai Animal Collective (even if my students hated "My Girls" (Chiang Mai Girls?)

Actually, insert Chiang Mai Girls into the chorus for a moment and that song suddenly becomes a very sad tale of Thai girls forced to marry Westerners they hate in order to provide homes for their children.


I don't mean to seem like I care about material things, like a social status/
I just want four walls and adobe slabs/
Chiang Mai Girls


:(

That's about all I've got right here right now. I haven't been able to download from Mediafire/Rapidshare lately, so I'm missing out on the new Twilight Sad/Volcano Choir/Times New Viking (GREAT band name) albums. Bummer.

And yes, I would pay for these albums, if paying didn't constitute spending 10 percent of my monthly spending money on one album. Sacrifices.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Thought

What is better: having someone to shave your back, or having someone to shave your back for?

I have loads of video coming for you, grainy video with crappy video taken from my digital camera (not my brand new camcorder, which I am still eagerly awaiting). Get excited, this is quality stuff.

Also I should note that it completely slipped my mind but speaking of Just the Way You Are: wish my parents a happy thirtieth anniversary on Wednesday! Love you guys.

My armpit hair grew back really, really fast. In the words of Cosmo Kramer in re: Jerry's chest hair...well, you know. Stronger, stronger, stronger.

To the razor room!


Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Song in Thailand That Makes You Cry

Epigraph (from what is easily one of the top 5 Rock songs of the decade):

When I used to go out,
I knew everyone I saw/
Now I go out alone,
If I go out at all.


****************************

Last night I finished dinner around 8:30 and so I was stuck in between meal-time and going-out time and so I decided to fill that time by drinking and writing. So I bought a notebook and some pens from Seven Eleven and I found a bar in the dark of a parking lot called Tula Bar that had an excellent deal on beer (three large Leos for 129 Baht). I sat down in the dim dirty light ( yes somehow the light managed to be dirty) and I began to drink my way towards creativity.

[Note: Worrywarts, this is not the norm and I almost never do this; and I would not have if I hadn't had plans to meet up with some people later.]

The bar was small and there were only two other tables of people there, one drunkenly singing Thai karaoke, the other drunkenly talking (yelling, really) about God knows what. They both took an interest in me and my pen and my skateboard and my white skin at first but eventually they left me to my work.

So I wrote and I drank, and I drank and I wrote, and drunken Thais came and went, and the Karaoke machine was unplugged and a microphone and stool were set up for an acoustic guitar player who sang Thai pop songs to the delight of the five people still drinking. I was focused on my writing, though, and the words were all in Thai, so I didn't pay much attention. I intermittently practiced my Thai with my waitress, a 20-year-old aspiring fashion designer named Kwang, who was very bashful and bemused that I was alone and drinking three large beers by myself. But mostly she was interested in the music.

It was about the time that incoherence set in (we'll say, 2.125 beers deep) that I heard from the microphone, after a string of Thai, "Stand by Me." I thought I had hallucinated, but again I heard: "Stand by Me."

And so I stood up and walked inside and I joined the table with Kwang and her boyfriend Nut and Kwang's brother who all cheersed my glass and I asked Kwang if he was really about to play Stand by Me, the American song and she said yes and sure enough he did play Stand by Me and I was reminded so strongly of all of my friends from back home that I almost lost it, in a sentimental and beautiful way.

And when Stand by Me was over and I clapped heartily and clinked glasses with Kwang and Nut and Kwang's brother again the guitarist invited me up to his stool to sing a song but I politely declined and then he gestured that I could choose any American song in his songbook and I thumbed through a few pages and I did not want to make my four new friends wait very long and I did not want to disappoint them either by picking a bad or boring song and that would have been bad or boring for me too and so I skipped over a few ironic choices like Air Supply and Journey and Air Supply again and then I saw on maybe the third page I flipped to here is what I saw I saw "Just the Way You Are" by Billy Joel and my mouth opened and I pointed to it and I said "Do you know it?" and he said "Yes I know it" and then I sat down and Kwang and Nut and Kwang's brother and I all clinked glasses again and they asked me what I chose and I said "Just the Way You Are" and I told them that it was pleng kahng paw mae tii chawp which means my parents' favorite song and I said that it was my parents' favorite song because I don't know how to say wedding song and it was their wedding song, their first dance at their wedding and it has always put me at ease and in a sentimental mood John Coltrane and this wasn't the song in Thailand that made me cry but it is the closest I have ever come.





Because because because

Because imagine if you will, sitting at a table with four new friends who you can barely talk to, much less bond with--imagine sitting at this table, alone and drunk, across an ocean from those you love, hearing the song whose every play on the radio makes your parents instinctively hold hands across the cup holder in the car--imagine hearing this song, with all the right chords and in a broken yet aching English--imagine hearing it, the poignancy of your heartbreak, the depth of your solitude, the numb shadow that is cast over everything.
*************

The rest of the night, you will be glad to hear, was considerably happier than this bittersweet incident. Kwang and Nut and I had a nice (if totally confusing and intermittently failing) conversation as Nut and I finished our beers and shared a bucket of ice. I met up with Le Gang Farang to wreak havoc on the Chiang Mai dance floors, where they don't play Just the Way You Are and one is relatively safe from that overwhelming homesickness. I met yet another prostitute at Spicy, this one a really heartbreakingly young and cute one. I bargained in Thai with Tuk Tuk drivers (those banes, those pangs). I fell asleep naked listening to a Pixies album.


I had a dream about Halloween. And I woke up perpendicular on the bed, with my feet on the nightstand, toeing some receipts and pocket change.


An assurance

Via Ian:

http://store.theonion.com/my-friend-went-to-thailand-and-all-i-got-was-this-lousy-prostitute-new-p-1027.html

Let me just assure you that when I bring everyone back their souvenir prostitutes, they will NOT be lousy.

(Nor kidnapped! Hello, Thai government! It's a joke!


And now my parents do too. Keep it clean, mister.)

So Now We're Playing This Game

Canceled my Thai lesson to take a personal day.

I can't help but chuckle every time I say that, because I think back to my Clay Aiken-ish senior year English teacher, whose best quality might have been that, every time he watched American Beauty over the weekend, he would take Monday off to "find himself." So we knew that every time he wasn't in class on a Monday, he had probably watched American Beauty over the weekend again.

Heh. Well, in case you couldn't tell, I had a bit of a Thai overload when I woke up, and frankly I still have a bit of a headache. But this cheered me up some. The email back from my Thai tutor, in its entirety:

ไม่เป็นไรค่ะ แล้วเจอกันวันพุธนะคะ ตอนหนึ่งทุ่ม

สุรัตน์ค่ะ

The very fact that I can tell that this isn't a menu item means that I have at least learned something here. See you Wednesday, Surat.

Edit: Doesn't this look a little like Hebrew? Someone back me up.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Skateboard Farang, Pulling His Groin Muscle!

So last night, because I thought I was an athlete or something, I decided to skateboard out to a bar, going from Chomdoi Condo (mi casa) to Heaven Beach Bar (which I always call "Heaven Gate," which would be an inappropriate (or really awesome?) name/theme for a bar for many reasons (especially one that sells sugary drinks by the bucket).

So, for those of you a little familiar with Chiang Mai: Dunkin Donuts to Spicy. The way there is a slightly downhill grade, a gentle slope from Doi Suthep all the way there. Of course, like a moron, I tried to take a shortcut and did a huge, thirty minute circle, going from Kad Suan Kaew and ending up at Kad Suan Kaew in just half an hour.

Then I gave up and took a taxi.

On the way home, because I wasn't drinking, I decided to skateboard back, which physics will tell you is a slight uphill grade but nothing I couldn't do. And oh how the Thais at their roadside noodle stands and bars pointed and cheered as this lanky skateboard Farang kicked and pushed by, furiously maneuvering back home, flicking off (figuratively) every Tuk Tuk driver I saw. Twenty five minutes and a few pints of sweat later I was home, with an awful twinge in the groin and my chest hair greasy like angel hair pasta in the boiling pot.

I don't know why I did this. To save, perhaps two dollars, which seems like an outrageous amount of money in Thailand (60 Baht? Are you kidding me? I REFUSE to spend 60 ANYTHING on ANYTHING).

Sixty minutes
sixty seconds
The man who invented standard time was an idiot
Don't you reckon?

(Unless this was part of God's design, in which case, infallible).

I have all of these passport photos strewn about my room. I want to take pictures of them (pictures of pictures META POST COMING SOON) because it's really incredible how different I look.

I still have the photos from the Princeton CVS I took, that Princeton in Asia thought WERE SO NECESSARY AND I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU DID NOT COME TO THE VISA ORIENTATION SESSION that I never used and that I could not use because PiA told me the wrong size. But my hair is greasy, my eyes have bags, I have a five o-clock shadow and--is that the beginnings of a double chin? Thinking back on it, I wonder if this was a little F-U to PiA. Well, the joke was on me, because I spent 5 dollars (200 BAHT! Are you kidding me! Give me a refund!) on worthless visa photos. Fail one.

Then there are ones from Thailand. Some were the wrong size that I was forbidden to use by an idiotic CMU administrator, some are those wrong-size leftovers which I used just fine at immigration even though this same CMU administrator told me that immigration would absolutely not accept them and that I had to go do them over, some are the do-over photos which I will not be reimbursed for, even though they were completely unnecessary:

But you can track my weigh gain. And the fact that I apparently always wear my yellow golf shirt to go get visa photos done (four times, natch).

This was a long one blahhhh

I asked my freshymen to write their favorite sports to watch, favorite sports to play, and their favorite athletes on the board...


...this is what we came up with.


Note that Joey Boy's favorite athlete is Joey Boy.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Two Unfamiliar Penetrations


Some pictures of two unfamiliar penetrations that I came across today in Chiang Mai.

First: remember that Nickeloden cartoon "CatDog" from the late 90s, when the quality of cartoons (or my tolerance for them) was on the wane? It was a cartoon about a cat and a dog who were attached at the bum and had to cooperate to move, a really strange concept for a not-strange-enough show.
Well, I was reminded of CatDog today when I saw, in the street [of course--more photo evidence of this in the coming days], what must have been their real-life, Asian cousin, DogDog:


So these poor dogs had become attached, somehow, at the anus, and they were struggling mightily to break free from their butthole bonds. I laughed at the absurdity for a second, and then I was strangely reminded of the climax of Requiem for a Dream, and then I felt really, really bad for these little pups, who wanted nothing more than to bum-touch but had ended up stuck at the hip.

"Action shot"

It really was pathetic. How do dogs get like that? Back to back, as it were? And they wouldn't let me close to them at all.



They do appear to be smiling though...right? Right?

Maybe this was all just an elaborate advertisement for The Pub Guest House.

"Rates so good you won't even mind the two-assed dog out front!"

"Come for the freak show out front, stay for the hospitality inside!"

"If you think two dogs attached at the anus are amazing, wait until you try our continental breakfast!"

And so on and so forth.

**********

Unfamiliar Penetration 2

I found this brochure for a ritzy (read: over 10 dollars for an hour of massage) local spa/massage parlor today:




It's called "The Miracle Spa," and the slogan at the top says " Experience the Miracle at Chiang Mai's Newest Boutique-style Massage Therapy Facility "

What is the miracle, you ask? Here's what I think it is:




The miracle: the scrawny pale white man has found his loving Asian wife!

Attention loser Americans who come to Thailand because they are social elephants forced to Southeast Asia to throw money at a girl until she'll have sex with him and clean his house! Come to the Miracle Spa, where other American losers have come with the women who have miraculously agreed to have sex with him, women who would be about four leagues above him in the U.S. of A! If this loser can do it, so can you! Do you believe in miracles? YES!

Let's hear it for capitalism!

(P.S. I knew Edward Norton was out of work, but posing as a model for Thai massage parlors? Sheesh.)

Speaking of capiatlism, check out these outrageous prices at this outrageously expensive massage parlor:



Almost nine dollars for a sixty minute body massage? What am I, Richard Branson? Get thee behind me, Miracle Spa--I do not want your milky bath.

While We're Unethically Posting Emails

This email from my ebay "Power Seller" does not inspire much confidence that my camcorder will ever arrive:

dear friend
You are the winning buyer for the item below. Thank you for your business!

pls pay it now ,and i will send it wthin 24 hours , but post office
dosen't work in weekend , if you get it in weekend , i will send it monday
soon for you !
many thanks!
yours wushilei


She Probably Doesn't Need the Extra English Practice Anyway

Dear teacher

Teacher I am sorry. I can't study in class room tomorrow.
Because I will go to visit my kinfolk in Nakhonnayok province
with my parent. And I will come back study 1 september, 2009.




Yours Sincerely

xxxxx

Dogging It


One of my students was really dogging it today:


Get it? Because it's a dog, and it trotted into my classroom, fell asleep for a few minutes, and then left.

This gives me a brilliant idea for a movie that is a cross between Hotel for Dogs and Dangerous Minds starring Michelle Pfeiffer featuring music by Coolio.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

In the Year 2000...

Hey, we (Royal) just passed 2,000 hits! The big 2000! Whoooo

And the spending spree continues: having bought my rice cooker, and spoons and two bowls with pink cartoon girls on them, I went ahead and bought a camcorder (video camera?) off Ebay. 25 dollars, plus cheap shipping from good ol' Hong Kong (shout out to my Chinaman friend)--what's the worst that could happen?

(The worst that could happen: a shady Hong Kong Internet company steals all of my money.)

It's okay, Ebay tells me he's a "Power Seller" and he has a red star next to his name. But then again, of course he has a red star next to his name, he's Chinese.

I'll keep you updated on the videocam shipping process, because I would be really, really surprised if it goes smoothly.

Speaking of which: I had a light bulb die on me over the weekend, and then after dumping some rice down the sink, I had that clog on me. Now i have to figure out how to tell this to the super. I think maybe I will just grab his shirt sleeve and pull him up to my room and then gesture wildly at the bulb and the sink and then shrug my shoulders.

There are days here when you wake up and you just wish that everyone spoke English, that the signs were in the Roman alphabet, and that all conversation could be easy, that you weren't the target of stares and constant honking from taxi and Tuk Tuk drivers assuming that you are lost and need a ride.

I had a thought I wanted to write down: will I ever be able to watch a movie in Thai without reading along with the English script off IMSDB? That is my goal for the end of April. Right now, I can't even imagine what that would be like, in any foreign language.

Soooo full off a 30 cent bag of kettle corn (maybe not kettle corn--not butter popcorn though. Certainly regular popcorn coated in sugar, maybe. But I am SOOO full. Time for beddie bye. Bye bye beddie.)

Return to Return to Form

I slept from about midnight to 3:30 P.M. today, minus two and a half hours from 6:30 to 9:00 A.M. to watch the Braves game. Strange, considering I wake up so easily for class at 7:00 A.M. four days a week.

The good news is I woke up with my head near the headboard and my feet where my feet are supposed to be. So at least I am showing some improvement on my sleeping technique.

While I was watching the baseball game I had my leftover Mama Pad, which my toilet can attest might have been a mistake. And other than that, I have not done anything today--have not even left my room (it's 5:30 P.M.).

I am committed to finding a videocamera by September 15. Looking for: under 5000 Baht (130 dollars). If I find one, I'ma snap it up. Devil may care.

UPDATE: These days nothing makes me more impatient than extended drum solos in jazz songs.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Okay.

I have now been friended by four of my students on Skype (is it called "friended" on Skype?) I don't know.

This is not cause for panic, right? There's nothing incriminating about Skype, right?

Internet Roadblocks

"Sorry, the web site you are accessing has been closed by Royal Thai Police due to inappropriateness such as pornography, gambling or contain any information which is deemed to violate national security."
I am now convinced that the Thai 'net police are simply blocking certain websites arbitrarily without any real idea of what is on them, assuming that since I am going to an English website, I must be looking at smut/engaging in the sex trade
 For example: I just got this notice (Above) when trying to access the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Atlanta Hawks (NBA) webpage. I wonder what transaction the Hawks made--did they finally sign veteran forward Demetrius Midget-Orgy to a lucrative contract? 

Okay, now I can visit it again, after simply pressing reload. Not a very effective means of policing, I would say.

Another Night in Thai

Woke up around 7 from a long satisfying nap and after some self-maintenance I headed over to Think Park for some Mama Pad with A & Eak (pronounced Ache). I wasn't even that hungry--believe it or not, I believe I'm still hungry from that bowl of rice last night--and yet they shoveled four containers of Mama Pad into me and gave me one to take home, too. Cost to me: zero dollars.

(Except that time isn't free, I know--but I enjoy working with them on their English).

I enjoy giving them free English lessons (well, I guess I received about 80 Baht worth of Ramen noodles and cabbage tonight). A speaks pretty well, can understand well, his grammar and pronunciation are not great but he knows so many words and can get complicated thoughts across. Among the complicated things he shared with me tonight: his sub-standard grade point average while he was a student at a technological institute in Bangkok; his younger teacher friend who has problems with his students' discipline; and the fact that he is cheating on his wife.

And I now know the Thai slang word for "mistress": "geek." (That's what it sounds like, anyway).

Did I mention that I've known this guy for about a month, I see him for about an hour once or twice a week, and that there is a small chance I would not recognize him in a crowd? But now I know he is having an affair. What a crazy person.

Eak, on the other hand, has atrocious, atrocious English so far. He has just started, in fact--never took it in school, but he is trying to learn with me. Today we learned things like "How are you?" (which he still has not mastered) and the difference between "I" and "you." I do not know whether he will ever get to the English level where he can tell me about his extramarital dalliances...but if he can get to a point where he can answer my question of "How are you?" without just nodding and smiling, then we can call it a success story and feel good about ourselves, I think.

I'm Ramen-heavy. My mother will be surprised to hear this, but I think I actually ate too much Ramen.

Consider this: between the ages of 8-12 (is this accurate, Mom?) I ate one packet of Maruchan Ramen (or Top Ramen sometimes) soup, either Oriental (Blue), Pork (light red), or chicken (orange) flavor every afternoon of every day, seven days a week. That's one pack of Ramen noodle soup every day for four years, without ever missing a day (seriously--not an exaggeration). I would put my Ramen intake at over 2,000 packages of Maruchan and Top Ramen, easy.

So for me to say that tonight I ate too much Ramen--well, you should know what a surprising and dramatic statement this is for some of my family members.

Does anyone want this Mama Pad that's in my fridge?

Please

Please
plz

Tee Nigh

I walked to school today because I thought it was going to rain, which it didn't At the end of the day, as we were leaving class, one of my freshymen turned to me suddenly and asked "Where is your skateboard?!?!"

That's all.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Banned in the Thai, Esai

I have now come across two websites that have been blocked from me by the Thai government for decency reasons:

1: Lifehacker
2: The lyricwiki page for "Valse de Melody" from Serge Gainsbourg's Histoire de Melody Nelson

I managed to find the lyrics elsewhere...being that my French is, uh, limited, would someone care to enlighten me about what filth I'm trying to view here?

Le soleil est rare
Et le bonheur aussi
L'amour s'égare
Au long de la vie

Le soleil est rare
Et le bonheur aussi
Mais tout bouge
Au bras de Melody

Les murs d'enceinte
Du labyrinthe
S'entrouvent sur
L'infini

Oh, Those Kids

Just got an email from one of my students. His name is, innocuously, Bom, and he is one of the better English speakers in my classes--though not that great. He wanted to know whether or not I had received his assignment on my desk. Thank you teacher.

Why do I report this to you, dear readers?
His email address: Dicky_BadBoy@xxxxxxx.com
The name that appears in my Gmail: Big Dick

On a scale of 1 to Clarence Thomas, how inappropriate would it be to call him Dicky BadBoy from now on? Keep in mind that he is in the same class as another of my students, named Mee, whose Skype is mee001fat. Mee is, indeed, fat :(

Also, on the heels of the big basin news, I made another purchase this evening:

a rice cooker.

I am sated on rice right now.

Much, much more detail coming in the next few days, including: descriptions, anecdotes, pictures of me with my rice cooker at the beach, etc etc.

Huge Find at the Sticker Shop

I've heard that one constant of Southeast Asian school-children is that they all go grape nuts for stickers, and that especially the younger ones will shut up, sit down, and really concentrate if you promise them stickers for good behavior.

At first I thought, "O that's quite quaint" and sniffed it off. But that was until I found myself going similarly cereal-crazy at the sticker shop this weekend:





(Sorry about the glare. I mean, obviously I'm not that sorry, or else I would have taken another picture. This is more of an "oh well" sorry than a "I really feel for you in your time of need" sorry, I guess).

A few great things about this sticker set:

1. It is spelled "Serpiko" instead of "Serpiko," which makes him sound like a German special ops rather than a hardened NYC cop.
2. The heavy association of Serpiko with American patriotism
3. This fits perfectly on my skateBOARD (Thai for "Skateboard," remember)
4. Which reminds me, "Serpiko" can only be possibly be pronounced "SerpiKO!" in Thai.

I didn't get to choose the design on my "deck" this time (Ha, listen to me, "choose the design on my deck"--I'm a regular Anthony Hawk, this one!) and so I have a big lame map of LonDON ("London" in Thai) with a huge red X in the middle.

Well, not anymore, Britain (more like Shittin). There's a new sheriff in town, and he doesn't wear a stupid furry hat and he doesn't play by the Queen's rules. He's SERPIKO:



And now I am Serpiko too:



Frank Serpico: What's this for? For bein' an honest cop? Hmm? Or for being stupid enough to get shot in the face? You tell them that they can shove it.

Let's go clean up the streets.

By grinding some rails!

(Can't believe that's not a movie yet...Skateboard Cop. Serpico meets Surf Ninjas. God, I'd be lying if I said I hadn't been thinking about the movie Surf Ninjas a LOT lately. Remember that one? Lord, I wanted to be a surf ninja. Little did I know that I would one day end up being a Skateboard Farang, which is a corollary-opposite in some ways.

Skateboard farang
Patrolling the cit-tay
Skateboard farang
Ain't it a pity
That you're not him

Skateboard farang
Cruisin' down the freeway
Skateboard farang
Don't have no leeway
It's sink or swim

It doesn't scan to anything, don't bother.

I've got a CBS sitcom coming out! Huge find at the Sticker ShoP!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

All YOur Basin Belong to Me Now

Whewww what a night I had yesterday.

Nothing too out of the ordinary--hours of skateboarding around downtown CM, window shopping at the electronics plaza (still searching for that elusive one hundred dollar video camera).

But look: I got a basin yesterday. If you do not know why this is a big deal, then you do not know me very well.

You see, I'm a guy who loves and appreciates a good basin. This is a statement that is basin reality.

Basin appreciation seems to have gone out of vogue recently. It's like the opera of plastic containers (or is opera the basin of performance music?) In either case, having a prestigious Princeton education, I learned to appreciate a good basin.

Here is what makes a good basin, for those who might not know:

1. Big
2. Portable
3. It doesn't have holes in the bottom.

Now, I already had one basin that was portable and that didn't have holes in it; but it wasn't that big, and so I couldn't watch that many clothes in it at once.

That problem is the problem of old administrations. I'm on that next shit now. So three thousand and great, or something.

My basin is so big that I can almost take a bath in it. I can definitely take a foot bath; I can certainly bathe a small dog, or numerous guinea pigs in it.

How much bigger (and better) is my new basin? Check out these comparative photos:




Can you believe this basin I got? Look at the size difference? Look at all the suds in that thing! Look at the myriad of clothes (and the myriad of colors!)

Here's another angle, Kurt (anyone?):



Are you kidding me? That smaller basin looks like a frightened sparrow next to my new basin, which I have nicknamed THE FALCON.



Russian nesting dolls! Are you kidding me! I've got a big basin over here!

Of course, the basin cost a little money (Thailand has strict drug laws, so of course it wasn't a free basin). It set me back Ha Sib Ha baht (55, or not quite two dollars). I hope my pride is not too much of a base sin, but I really like my new purchase. The thing is huge--you could empty out the water from all the bays in Thailand and still have room for more liquid!

Conclusion: Basin is conducive to puns.

I have never wanted to have a party so badly in my life.

http://classifieds.thaivisa.com/services/event-planning-resources/professional-acoustic-guitarist-singer-available-30094.html

An Odd Way to Sleep


This is where I woke up on the bed this morning:


The pillow in the background is where my head is supposed to be. The pillow in the foreground is where my head was.

I did some pretty serious body-moving body-movin in ze night, non?

And yes, you can see the crack in between the two mattresses that make up my "King" bed (a dual monarchy, if there ever was one). And yes, I can know feel that crack in my back. If only there were somewhere I could go to get an hour long massage for less than 5 dollars...hahahaha later suckerzzzz

Friday, August 21, 2009

Shaved My Armpits

Shaved my armpits this morning. Out of boredom or necessity? Hard to say. I do sweat a lot, especially from my armpits, which are the canary in the mine shaft as it being were is to be

But I think that if I weren't cooped up here, waiting for the rain to ease up a little so that I could get some lunch, I wouldn't have shorn them so. Now I have little girl armpits. I touch the pit and it feels like my elbow skin (weenus? weanus?). We'll see if this keeps my body temperature down any. Already I can feel the coldness in my pecs. Not rly though

These are the VCDs I've bought:

The Curious Case of Benjamin ButTON
Doubt
Wall E
My Bloody Valentine 3D
Gran Torino

I'm about halfway through Benjamin ButTON. The old lady's voice dub is so obnoxious--surely she is not so desperately on the edge of death in the English version as she is in the Thai. She wheezes obnoxiously with every breath and can barely get words out in the Thai. Seriously, it sounds like she vomits in between every sentence. Killing me. Softly.

With his song.

Gone til November Wyclef Jean. Remember that song? Had a video in an airport, I know. Not sure the rain will let up. Been waiting for a few hours now and my tummy's grummyling. I think I will check out the maul today. I need a large basin with which to wash clothes/bite children to death with anywhose.

Okay, I'm going to go gorge myselves. I slam a grape juice for ya out there. Rage at your age? Bad for your health.

Bohn appetit.

(Bohn = On top of. Work out the humor men.)

Dark Mnmnmnmneomnics

I think probably the best-known sentence mnemonic in English is the one for the planets:

My very energetic mother just served us nine...

Well...

My very energetic mother just served us nachos.

All right.

Being that it is taught to children, it seems natural that this mnemonic is, um, appropriate for children. Compare this with the first Thai mnemonic I learned, which is the mnemonic to remember a certain class of consonants. It goes like this:

gai jig dek tdai dek tdai bohn pbahk ohng.

Which loosely translates to:

A chicken bit a child, who died. The child died on the rim of a large basin.

I can just imagine six-year-old me, shivering in my bed at night, afraid to fall asleep, since that is where monster chickens bite me on large basins, on the rims of which I lie dead. And what if I
passed a chicken on the street? Or a large basin? Or, Lord forbid, a large basin AND a chicken?


Can you imagine the Goosebumps books this would have been inspired? The gory Halloween costumes (older sister is chicken, little brother is child, pooch-stomached father is large basin)? The Gorey cartoons? The Pixar films? What a frightening concept.

The Second Bumming

August has been my cruelest month, bowels-wise. I'm sure there is a correlation between something I have been eating and my newly volcanic excretory system--perhaps the discovery of the Thai phrase for "fry an egg on top"; perhaps I am getting more adventurous in the addition of spices; perhaps I should just stop eating things off the ground altogether.

Whatever it is, though, lately the old poop hoop has needed a volunteer firefighter or two.

What else happened today, beside those two things? I woke up at 6:30 to watch the baseball game--I've been thinking about it, and I do not know how I am going to wake up when there are no more early-morning Braves games. What, is the meager value of this ambulatory life supposed to get me out of bed in the morning? Is that normal? What are you, the groin police?

Today in my 8 o'clock class I accidentally lopped off a kid's ear with a butcher's knife; his name was Van, and he bled a pocketful. Then I dangled a modifier on the board and was called out for it. By a Thai student! Make haste to the nurse's room now, Van; go quickly, now.

The Braves won this morning, thank David Justice. Who knows how many ears I may have lopped off had they lost. (SABRmetric estimate: 8.3 ears/class period).

I'm listening to a Radiohead song from Amnesiac now, one I haven't heard in a while; and I kept on hearing these glitchy female vocals in the background, maybe a half a second each, spaced at two second intervals: and I'm thinking, Wow, this is really avant-garde, I don't remember this. Really, though, the ESPN video player was starting up in another window and was having trouble loading.

The autoplay caught me off garde, I guess.

Nap number two of the day is up and coming. I need to take one more nap after that in order to take more naps than diarrheas on the day, a goal that I try to maintain after reading an illuminating article about the nap-diarrhea connection in Reader's Digest years ago at Grandmama's in Tempe.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Victory

Holy Mother of Rome and Jerusalem I can read Thai!

Those squiggles, this Cuneo-form, with no seemingly no form at all, no structure, this alphabet written by an ancient Thai scribe during an epileptic fit--I can read some of it!

Now, granted, it takes me about thirty seconds to read a really short word; and right now, I'm basically reading Hebrew out of the Torah, which is to say that I haven't learned any of the 21 vowels, so I'm really just guessing what comes in between the consonants--but spit on that sidewalk, I read some letters tonight! Those eels squirming next to Macaroni on the menu--they actually spell 'macaroni'! Who knew! This isn't some Thai Ed-Harris-in-The-Truman-Show conspiracy to feed foreigners retarded pig brains and fish egg chum--they're actually giving me macaroni! If the menu is to be trusted!

I know it's probably not Kosher to consider what should be a personal accomplishment as a victory against something--but hell, pour out the gin and ice cubes because we're celebrating a tick in the win column!

Okay, maybe that's premature--maybe this is more like a run in the first inning, a field goal lead ending the first quarter--but people have gotten drunk for less, haven't they? We have the momentum now! The good guys! Sure, we're on the road--Thailand has home-field advantage, sure, but we have the momentum--we bunched together a couple of singles there, a sacrifice fly, and boom--I was eating pork stir fry.

Yeah, Squiggle Land, yeah Water Slide Language, I'm coming for you, down you, and then I'm going to wait at the bottom of your slides and punch the child coming down after me, right in the face, and the lifeguard with the farmer's tan can blow his shrieking whistle all he wants, but I will keep on punching each of the 44 consonants and 21 vowels that slip down that slide until the sun is low and the Coal Miner's Hamburger Stand closes and police escort me from the waterpark, shoulders peeling, back sore, but having drowned the entire Thai alphabet in my aqueous brain fluids forever.


Also today I hitchhiked for the first time.

Thai Science Day Cont. Q.E.D. abbr.

"Do you major in Physics?"
"No. I major in excellent physics."
"Oh."
"Yo, you surf, man?"
"No, I major in industrial chemistry."


"HAHAHA yo are you serious, nerd? You don't even have a pink-shirted woman wearing panties on her face to guard your building entrance!"
"I know."
"Does your department even strive for excellence?"
"I don't know, maybe. It isn't in the title, like yours is."
"Shah, I know, Ayatalloh, that's why I had to ask you. No one ever has to ask me whether or not my department strives for excellence in physics. Because they know, man. They know."


That is a one-hundred true not-made-up-after-I-saw-that-building-sign conversation I overheard at Chiang Mai University on Science Day (which is, by the way, Science WEEK, as the seismic thrusts of Lord Science cannot be contained within one measly day).

Here are some other things that happened to me/that I made happen:




I saw this ADORABLE girl in a Santa Claus jacket selling water.



Then I shamelessly took a picture of her.
Not pictured: Me standing paralyzed in front of her ice bucket making a puppy dog face, bottom lip quivering, until the girl started crying and I was led away by police.
Goodbye, little water salesman. I'll see you on Cute Overload.

I was asked whether this "science fair" had exhibits and cardboard and standees and whatnot.
The answer is yes.


I stood in front of this one for about thirty seconds thinking, "What are the Some theories? Who was Some? [pron. Sohm] Does So Others Might Eat have a mathematics department?"
The answers: The word is some, no one, and no.
Been in Thailand too long, guys.





Not a hedge maze, but a Hefty maze. Last I checked, Ashlee Simpson was singing as best she could in there but couldn't get out.
It's a stretch, shut up.
This is actually a recreation of a scene from the Thai movie The ShiNING, starring revered Thai actor Jack NicholSAHN.


Getting out of the maze is a SLAM DUNK!


Ingenuity: Checkers, rocks vs. blades of grass.
SCIENCE SCIENCE SCIENCE SCIENCE SCIENCE

The Faculty of Political Science and Public Administration has seen better days.



God knows how many corpses are behind this door.

SCIENCE SCIENCE SCIENCE SCIENCE SCIENCE


This is a 1.7 MV Tandem "Tandetron" Accelerator, for all you mongoloid Americans reading this blog.

From what I could tell, this high-powered telescope was pointed directly at the sun.



And you thought Waffle House was cheap: one waffle, 15 Baht (appr. 45 cents U.S.)
Flavors include raisin, blueberry, and shredded pork (seriously).
And despite shamelessly taking a picture of this woman's The Waffle stand, I did not buy one from her.

There was one across the street selling waffles for 10 Baht. Son of economists, ya'll.

END SCIENCE DAY PICTURE BOOK
Pictures of your mother
Taken by your father
A long time a-go

- Written by Hewlett Packard

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

For the Record

Pitchfork's Top 100 Tracks of 2000-2009 will go out tomorrow. For the record (HAHA GET IT LIKE AN LP) here are my totally unsolicited Radiohead-less, Animal Collective-less (and thus no doubt incorrect) for the top 10:

Gold Digger - Kanye West
Hey Ya - Outkast
Fell in Love with A Girl - White Stripes
Bros - Panda Bear
All My Friends - LCD Soundsystem
Chicago - Sufjan Stevens
Last Nite - The Strokes
99 Problems - Jay-Z
Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) - Arcade Fire
Take Me Out - Franz Ferdinand

Last 5 Out
D.A.N.C.E. - Justice
Wolf Like Me - TV on the Radio
Daft Punk Is Playing at My House - LCD Soundsystem
Crazy - Gnarls Barkley
Oops I Did It Again - Britney Spears

Who knows, these things are impossible to predict. Thus the Brit-nay, bitch.

UPDATE: Oops, 100-51 is already out. Of note:

91. D.A.N.C.E. - Justice
87. Still Tippin' - Mike Jones
84. Young Folks - Peter Bjorn and John
80. A Milli - Lil Wayne
77. Three 6 Mafia - Stay Fly
72. The Killers - Mr. Brightside
71. Gone - Kanye West (doesn't look good for Gold Digger)
69. Rebellion (Lies) - Arcade Fire (doesn't look good for Neighborhood 1)
68. Forgot About Dre - Dr. Dre (feat. Eminem)
65. Justin Timberlake - Cry Me A River (I would now like to submit Sexy Back for my top 20)
58. Fell in Love with A Girl - White Stripes (Bollocks)
57. Wolf Like Me - TV on the Radio
55. Ms. Jackson - Outkast
53. Someday - The Strokes (Last Nite is a reach now)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Happy Science Day, Scientistas

As I briefly mentioned in the preeve post, yesterday (Tuesday), my scientifically-proven crappiest day of the week, was Science Day at CMU. Over 12 million Thai elementary and middle schoolers were bused in from all over Northern Thailand, with most of them coming from Cuteville and Adorable City.

The fair (or "phair," if you are a scientist; and isn't it funny how many words in the supposedly "logical discipline" are spelled without any phonetic logic?) was divided by department, with each major's students setting up activities for the kids and food and merchandise stands to make some money for themselves. There were also several markets and stands (food and crafts) with vendors from all over Chiang Mai (and at least one from Cuteville--picture anon).

Here are some highlights, in chronological order ("chronological"--seriously, who spells the letter 'K' with a 'C' and an 'H'?):


My day started at the Department of Geology with these transvestites. I tried to think of how this was relevant to Geology, but all I could come up with was that transvestitism is earth-shatteringly irrelevant to Geology, and that's how it was relevant.
Probably why I was an English major.



If you were wondering why the ladyboys were so wet--which is something I think about all the time--it's because the activity for the kids at the Geological Irrelevance Fair was to throw a tennis ball at a balloon over a seated transvestite's head, thus soaking the transvestite. No malevolence intended of course; just lots of overt, overt, homoeroticism.


To get to the next department I had to walk through one of the crafts markets, where I ran into this sunny fellow who was making meth a glass sculptor.



Cute Tim-Burton-esque baby panda statues. 35 Baht=1 dollar.





Presumably this ice cream comes from an ancient recipe (the Amish?) and is not just be-sticked rectangular blocks of ice from ages past dyed neon. Am I right, Ray Romano from Ice Age?



You know, at some point I just started shamelessly looking for excuses to take pictures of Thai schoolchildren and their cute uniforms. Here is one such excuse: the RC car rink, which was a great source of amusement for these girl-children (sorry, I couldn't help myself).




Closer...yes, closer...



Clay figurines. I believe that sign says "15 Baht." You can do the math on that one. Or Google can. I'm not gonna Anne Sullivan you here.
(Don't bother Wikipedia'ing, it's nonsense).




Hello Kitty and Disney-print Swine Flu face masks.
This doesn't help my opinion that every looks like they're wearing panties on their faces when they strap these things on.


You better Ephraim believe that these Texas-style cowboy hats are H1N1 free, because the salesgirl is wearing some panties on her face. Don't mess with Texas, Swine Flu. The immuno-stampede is coming, and it will drag you behind its truck for personal reasons.




I thought I would include this place-marker because of the following picture...


Let the record show that I took this picture in the Department of Physics and Materials Science

Okay, now is the time on Sprockets when we eat lunch. I have about fit-teen pictures to geaux, so don't grind your axes, because after lunch I'll churn out a run of nu-media. Dig.