Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Well All Right, So I'm Being Foolish

I have booked my hotel at Bang Saen Beach, which is a short drive from what I believe to be Chonburi City Hall, where the water buffaloes shall sprint and strut this weekend. I'm not 100 percent sure that it's close to anything, because I couldn't find any information whatsoever on the races, the location of Chonburi City Hall in relation to any hotel, or what the hell am I doing this weekend.

But at the very least, I will be staying on the beach. And I know the word for 'buffalo'---'kwaai.' As in, Bridge on the River Kwai.

As in, this weekend's gonna be the bomb!

[Spoiler alert]

Monday, September 28, 2009

Surely Today Will Be A Good Day...

...how could it not be, waking up to this email from Ping (a.k.a. Pig).

__________________________



hello teacher

how r u?

tomorrow,i will back home

i hope you happy every day

^____________^
 



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




Isn't that precious? And why don't any of you, my so-called friends, ever wish me to be happy every day?

Answer: Because you know me better than Ping does. Ha. The audacity of hope, indeed.

I'm Bringing Trashy Back

About a month ago there was a big to-do outside of my classroom, as a student organization called TrashBack was holding some kind of registration drive. Basically there were three laptop computers, a bunch of kids shouting in Thai, and a carpet of these little notebooks, which seem to be made of recycled materials.


Well, I went over to investigate, and I was told to take a notebook. As I did so, the video camera and the photographers both went nuts and got all up in my grill, and I thought, well, great, this is going to end up on the Internet.

I came across my Trashback notebook today, and then I did a little search for the Org on the WWW, and I found their homepage, which includes a helpful YouTube video showing what the club is all about:



From the video, TrashBack appears to have three main interests:
1. Filming garbage men and then seeing if the footage syncs up to different musical genres
2. Adding sound effects to things
3. The "Speed-Up" button in iMovie.

And then I navigated to the pictures page. And I found myself. And here I am, on a typical day of work:



Towering over the Hipster locals.


So I'm guessing that TrashBack is a constructed word (isn't English wonderfully flexible) meaning "Recycle," except, unlike the word "Recycle," it is inherently coherent to non-English speakers.

If TrashBack really is about Backpacking, and not about having junk in the trunk, as I had hoped it was, then I say, Bravo, and I echo the sentiments of Ploy in the comments section of the TrashBack website:


All about project is very good for environment in your University sigh.
Change the world with your small hands.
Good vision,I like to agree.
good luck to your project.

Reduce, Reuse, Trashback, everyone.





A Few Thoughts Apropos of Apricots

Not really. I did just eat a cantaloupe though.

1. Blog devotees will remember that Thai people love "Boom Boom Pow" by Black Eyed Peas. It turns out, per a Thai friend, that "Boom Boom" is Thai sa-lang for "sex." As in, "You want to go make boom boom?"

So that might somewhat explain its absurd levels of popularity.

2. Little hot dog wieners wrapped in sweet croissant bread from 7-11 is my new addiction, supplanting unpasteurized goat milk.

3. I just yesterday realized that "Trippy Green Skull," a song by Dan Deacon that I have listened to a million kajillion times, quotes "What's Your Fantasy?" by Ludacris. I was probably too plastered off unpasteurized goat milk to notice.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I've been wanting to share this with you for a long time now, but BlogSpot was being all Scalia and wouldn't let me upload a picture.

After the jump, one of my students (a male named Pao) drew a picture of me (uh, instead of paying attention in class. Whatever).






Look how skinny I am!




And fierce.

Thoughts About English, Cities from the Sea

Thai is such a simple language, and such a seemingly inflexible one: it makes me realize how special English is, as a language (over the protestations of George Orwell).

1. I mean, okay, the flexibility of English should have its limits, and perhaps English at its most pure (and closest to Thai) is also its most elegant--but I'm talking about slang here, and why I love it.

2. Isn't it funny how inflexible the Thai language is and how ridiculously flexible Thai time is. Thailand has flexibility issues. And if you're thinking that sounds like my first wife, then you are correct.


So I was thinking about this in the shower the other day. Some people sing in the shower; I muse about linguistics (genetic shortcomings, thanks, Mom and Dad (shout-out to G. Walton Comp High Scho 05 Year of Destiny).

Isn't it amazing how any proper noun in the English language can be an adjective meaning "good" or "bad"? You just have to have proper context and anyone will know what you're talking about.

"How did you like the movie?"
"Yo, that shit was Ruth's Chris good."

"What do you think of the new Jay-Z album?"
"That's dat Rob Schneider shit."

"Is the Obama presidency so far a failure or a success?"
"Are you kidding? Cat's been Johnnie Walker Blue Label."

This is why I am glad to be a native English speaker. Can you imagine slogging through basic grammar points for 15 years, thinking you're fluent, and then hearing an educated American say something like this? Of course, most people don't talk like that--but you get my drift. The flexibility of American slang. This is the topic. Main idea; There are some advantages and disadvantages of the flexibility of American slang.

A Skittles stomachache never felt so good. So Only Built For Cuban Linx Part II right now.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

While I'm hollerin' at fellow Chiang Maiers

On October 3 and October 4 in Chon Buri, about an hour outside of Bangkok, the annual Chon Buri Buffalo Races will be held.

Here is the blurb:

Around the time of the full moon in the 11th lunar month, usually the first weekend in October, farmers from all over the province bring their buffalo to Chonburi City for a festival that dates back centuries. Costumed dancers move to the music of traditional Thai songs amid flags and banners. General merriment prevails as local beauties vie for the title of "Miss Farm Maiden". Judges also award prizes to the best decorated buffalo.

If you think that I am going to miss this, then you are wronger than Wrongley Wrongerson on the Fourth of Wrong-tober. Because I am going to be there. BIG TIME.

Who wants to go with me?!?!?! I am flying down on the 2nd to catch a bus that night. Probably returning the 4th or 5th.



UPDATE: There is also a prize for "healthiest buffalo."

Friday, September 25, 2009

It ('s Going to be) A Brilliant Career

I've been sitting on this one for awhile, but I think it is time to let you in on what is probably the most exciting development of my time in Thailand so far:

I am going to be an extra in a Swiss-German movie shooting in Chiang Mai!

Not that exciting? WAIT UNTIL YOU SEE THIS EMAIL CHAIN

I found the ad on the awesome Thai Visa Classifieds page, which has always featured incoherent horse-diddle, but which this time is gonna give papa some fruit. BIG TIME

Here is the original ad.

EMAIL CHAIN, CHAIN GANG:

Hello,

I am a foreigner living in Chiang Mai, available to be an extra in your film if you still need any.

Jason

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

Thanks for your interest. I attached a synopsis for ya to read. its a swiss movie >>> love story which happen on Thai- Burma Boarder. 
Shooting  in Chiang Mai city will be on 9 OCT. til 13 Oct. and after that we are going up to MAE-WIN ( out of Chaing mai ) for Karen people
The rate is 1500 baht a day for Farang extra . The rate for Thai extra = 500 baht. ( working 12hrs.) 
please send us your age, nationality, height, photo details..

I will contact u again on when u will be work. 

Cheers, 
numtarN



(I'm not going to attach the synopsis out of respect for the privacy of the film. And I know you are thinking, "Privacy wtf?" After I get paid I will certainly attach the synopsis, which is as incomprehensible as you are imagining. If you really want to read it, email me, I will forward it to you.)


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

Hi Numtarn

I am 22 years old, American, 6 feet tall (1.8 meters). Do you need me to send a picture?

Jason



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



Yes Picture + your contact no. 

numtarN

(I love how now the first letter but the last letter of his/her name is capitalized. As though he had a really horrible English teacher who got confused on capitalization/grammar day. Say what you will about my terrible accents, student privacy abuse, and hangover days, but at least my students know how to capitalize the first letter of their names.

I hope).

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

Here is my photo. My phone number is 0828911833.

Jason




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


hi Jason , 

On first day shooting > 9 oct. , we are shooting at VERANDA resort and spa hotel ( http://www.verandaresortandspa.com/chiangmai/html/facilities_ch.html ) its a pool bar scene. Would u be comfortable wearing short at swimming pool ?  if its okie then i can confirm u working on that day. 

I copy a scene for u to read .... just in case u wanna know what u have to do in a scene. 



12. HOTEL / RESORT CHIANG MAI – POOL / POOLBAR EXT/E


The sound of a fountain. A handful of small pebbles slowly trickle through Fritz’s hands.
Lena lies next to him in a bikini besides a pool, dozing and holding a book in her hands.
Now she stretches.
FRITZ
Was mached mer no?
(What else are we gonna do today?)
LENA
Was ächt... – bade.
(What do you think… Have another dip.)


Lena gets up and goes to the luxurious pool. She wets her body. Fritz takes up Lena’s
book, flips through the pages, and puts it aside listlessly. Then he has a look around and
notices the mixed couples at the tables of the pool bar: European and American men with
young Thai women – or young Thai men.


Cheers, 


numtarN


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




Yes, I am comfortable wearing a swim suit. Will transportation be provided to the hotel?

Jason

(Check out this hotel, guys: Mom, Dad, are you paying attention?)

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

yes ...... we will provided transport to the hotel. 1 more question, would u be comfortable to be with another Thai gay extra on set (as couple ) The reason that i have to ask u first coz on the scene u might or might not have to be with a Thai gay at swimming pool. so i wanna make it clear before we book u . 

Thanks 
numtarN 

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

That's fine. I prefer to be with a girl on set as a couple, but I would be comfortable with a man too as long as we don't have to kiss etc.

Jason

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

Thankssssssssssssss >>>>> NO KISSING for sure !! however, there will be bikini girls on a scene tooo . Do u have any farang girl who can wear bikini ?  if so , can u please invite her.

Cheers, 
numtarN


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


So thats where we are right now. And that's kind of why I posted this. Are you a Farang girl living in Chiang Mai who is available to wear a bikini and be shouted at by a Swiss-German filmmaker from October 9 - October 11? You can make 1500 Baht (45 dollars) per day! And you can watch me "be with another Thai gay on set (as couple)!" Watch me act! Watch me squirm! Watch me try to comprehend what that phrase ("be with another Thai gay on set (as couple") means! It is sure to be a really confusing experience!


Updates to follow.

Mailbag!

Remember on Letterman when he used to answer actual fan letters by mocking the senders viciously? This is kind of like that, except I don't have the letter writer's consent to share their writing in public.

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

Good evening Aj.Jason

     Thank you for everything all semester you are very cool teacher HAHA!!
I hope will see you again.

Khobkhunkrub ^^



[Wait: am I not a very cool teacher? Also, is there something menacing in the "I hope will see you again" line, or is that just me?


Speaking of menacing...]


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


Thanks you for teaching us the whole semester


and be in touch too



Sumit
*********************


thank you teacher

have a nice time in BKK

PS. final exams are very difficult

TT ___ TT



****************************
Hello, jason

  we(teaw,cake,nooknik,kookkai) want to know store point . If you finish check final exam . Please send grade to us.

we great to see you , and you teach very good , kind .   Finally,kookkai tell you handsome. Thank you very much.



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


[Let's end on a sweet one.]



  Sa-wat-di-kha (It's a greeting in Thailand)



 I'm Tik , i know you can remember me.

Thank you for being a good teacher, you're my first teacher that be a foreigner.

In the first time on the class,I feel afraid and not sure to do anythings like speaking,reading or talking with you

but now I feel better when I meet you and I hope if I run into, we'll say Hi gather.However

I hope on the next term I will have a teacher like you.

Finally,I wish you to be a good teacher for every students like me.

If my letter have something wrong please rewrite to me.

Thanks..

                                                        Sincerely from Tik

 

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Farewell Gift (ping kham)

Okay, I need to recap the last few days because a lot of great stuff happened. And if I hadn't gotten to see my parents, this would have been the best:

On the day of the final, when all of my students were waiting outside the room while I prepared the desks and papers and whatnot, Ping poked her head in the door and called me outside. Ping, Gift, and Kham (and Fang, that hanger-on), had a farewell present for me. Aaaaand if I had just a little more sentiment in me, I would have cried, even if it was grade-baiting.

Here is what they gave me:




First, a beauty sash. Guess which prize I won?



Take that, Ajarn Rob.

The sash had a back, too.




Teacher = me. Me! They love me!


I was also officially crowned the King of English 203, Section 014. Take that, Kwang.



But the real centerpiece was a little poster they made me, which they also signed, yearbook-style, with wishes for the future.

Here it is, with close-ups of everything, including their innocent pleas for A's.



Me (center), with Pig, Monkey, and...uh...Shrimp, I guess.


I really like my shirt, by the way, and I wish I owned one like it. I'll have to ask Matt Schmitz about it.


From Kham (thx)


The adorable meter is already pushing 9.



From Gift.

Notice "Obesity like Ping/Some illness like Kham" in the bottom left. I wasn't lying.

And, finally:



From Pig 







I'm not gonna cry...not gonna cry...not gonna cry...


Harriet Beecher Stupendous!

So every day on my way to work I pass "Uncle Tom's Steaks Salad and Pasta," a restaurant specializing in Steaks, Salad, Pasta, and inadvertent memories of American racism.

I finally went there today and ordered their Lasagna Supreme, which I can assuredly say is the best piece of lasagna I have ever eaten for two dollars; and perhaps the best lasagna I have ever eaten, period. It was cheesy, fresh out of the oven, with some nice minced pork inside--delish. This is perhaps the first time this has been said since Bloody Kansas, but I highly recommend Uncle Tom's.

Also, in case you are wondering, they do have a nice selection of wines; however, I did not check the actual wine list, so I do not know if they offer an Uncle Tom's Cabernet.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Renegade Master

Back once again!

I am back from my three day vacation in Bangkok with the 'rentals. Bangkok, which any sixth-grader can tell you is Thai for "Please punch my testicles, was full of adventures, some of which included old, fat men with young Thai wives, others of which included old, really fat men with even younger Thai wives. But more on that tomorrow.

Hey, guess what? Being a local Chiang Mai-head (tech. term) now, I was able to beat the Hitler-esque taxi system at Chiang Mai Airport, which charges a flat rate of 120 Baht per taxi to go wherever. Well, this time I used the taxi meter system, which costs 50 Baht plus whatever your meter ends up at. Surefire way to save money if you live close to the airport, right?

Well, slap me on the dick and call me the Nixon presidency if my fare didn't come out to 68 Baht. 118 Baht < 120 Baht. Am I right, Credit Suisse? Gimme some love, math.

I have lots of pictures (read: 6) from my trip to Bangkok, and I will be happy to post them tomorrow, when I am not so disgruntled.

On the plane ride over, I was seated next to this Western man...how to describe him...you know how some morbidly obese people are forced to buy a second seat on an airplane for their rolls of fat? Well, this guy should have had to buy another seat for his smell.

Which isn't to say that he wasn't also fat, because he was--he looked like Wilford Brimley and John Goodman sharing a pair of Khakis.

Anyway, luckily the plane was way undersold so I didn't have sit next to that Heavyweight Co-starring Ben Stiller; I got right up and stretched out in the front row.

But the stench was still on me, and haunts me in my dreams--constantly choking, like a green sea, Quick, boys, The Gas, The Gas!---

By the way, if you are wondering whether this fat, smelly, neckless old Farang had a young Thai wife waiting for him at the Chiang Mai Airport baggage claim, then the answer is I clicked my tongue at them as I passed them.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Hooo Boy

There are some meals here where, two or three dishes in, you just feel this bomb drop in your stomach and you think, "Why even keep eating this? Why not just get up and dump this straight into the sewer, because that is exactly where it's going as soon as I get home?"

Tonight for dinner (really, breakfast/lunch/dinner thanks to a marathon sleep), I did have three dishes. First, suki nam gai, which is a spicier-than-it-looks egg based glass noodle soup; second, panang muu, a not-as-spicy-as-it-sounds Indian pork curry on top of rice; and then, after a 90 minute break, maggaroni soht gai, which is stir-fried macaroni with sauce (or "source," as my menu spelled it--perhaps the proprietor is from Brooklyn).

I was trying to think, as I have ample time to think when these things occur, of which dish was the culprit. I automatically thought back to the Suki, which was spicy, as UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD I EVER EAT SPICY FOOD according to, uh, science. And I also thought about that macaroni with source, as  it was about halfway through that dish when I felt the tummy gurgle.

But something odd happened when ordering the Panang Muu that really makes me think it was that. Here is the conversation from when I ordered it:

Me: [I'll have the] panang muu.
Waiter: Panang muu? HA HA HA.
[Walks away].
Waiter [shouting back to cook]: Panang muu! HA HA HA!

I am writing this post from my knees, because I still do not feel comfortable enough to sit down. Was my Panang Muu sabotaged, poisoned, rotten? Made of feces?

Coincidentally, the way you order food here is to say "Ow [name of food]," which literally means "Get me [name of food]." So I said "Ow Panang Muu."

And I am still saying ow, Panang Muu. Owwwwwww, my stomach. Ow ow ow.

Where are my Tums. Where are they.

Most Audacious Ad Campaign for a Book Ever?



Here is an image of an advertisement from Dan Brown's new book "Lost Symbol," which I assume is a fan biography of Matthew Fox.

I love this advertisement, for a lot of reasons. First, the ambiguity of "All." Does this mean "All" as in "All within the world of the book," as in, "THIS BOOK HAS A RESOLUTION!!!" It reminds me of the ad campaign for "Devil in a Blue Dress": "THIS IS NOT A POSTMODERN DETECTIVE NOVEL"

Or is it more? Does Dan Brown's Matthew Fox bio contain the answers to all of my questions, and all of your questions, and all of the questions we don't know we have? I suppose it is possible, and you have to admit that your interest is piqued. What questions are we not asking that are answered in Dan Brown's Lost Symbol?

One thing is for certain: all of the revelations are INSIDE of the book, not outside. We know this because the word "WITHIN" is partitioned from the rest of the phrase "ALL IS REVEALED." So, if you want the answers, don't just read the book jacket. You actually have to read it.

Kind of a bummer, but for a book that has some hot shirtless pictures of Matthew Fox AND the revelation of the meaning of life etc. etc., I think I can go ahead and at least read the first few pages. A+.

Songs Thai People Like: "Boom Boom Pow," by Black Eyed Peas

The first song in this multi-part series was the most popular song of all time ever in Thailand, "Nobody" by the Wonder Girls. The second song is equally vapid, if that is possible, and almost as popular, which is really unfortunate. It continues the Black Eyed Peas' attempt to destroy the English language. The song was written by the winner of "Yo Momma" on MTV (valid cultural reference point?), and the beat is designed to make you hump whoever you are standing next to. It is Boom Boom Pow, by the Black Eyed Peas, and they have a message from God:




I'm so 3008/
You're so two thousand and late.

OH SHIT DO YOU SEE WHAT THEY DID THERE?!?! Fergie is at a time period in the far future, while you (me? the listener? that sucks) are stuck in two thousand and...late? I have to say, I thought she was going to say eight. But then she said late. This is what good poetry does. Good poetry also makes you want to hump things. It's true, ask Harold Bloom.

Why do Thai people like this song?

1. Good meaning
Thai people only like songs that have a "good meaning." They do not like songs that have "bad meanings." Thai people like this song, and thus this song must have a "good meaning." That's indie-duction. (See what I did there?)

2. Simple chorus

Boom boom boom. Boom boom boom. Boom boom boom.

Gotta get that.

You could sing it in your sleep. And, if you live in Thailand, sometimes you will, because chances are that a bar outside your window is playing it really loudly when you are trying to.

3. Auto-tune

So 3008. This might be the first thing ever that has to do with the movie Tron that is actually successful. And yes, I'm including my junior prom.

4. 3000 and Great!

I'm so 3008
You're so 2000 and late
I'm so Jon, you're so Kate
And I'm so Aubrey McFate
You're 80 pounds overweight
I'll shut you out like a gate
I'm so 3008
You're so 2000 and not good at poetry like I am.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Student Draws Picture of Me, Ignores My Bulbous Nose

As a going-away present of sorts, one of my Animation students drew a portrait of me and gave it to me at the end of our last class of ours. If this is how I appear to everyone, then I know why I am so attractive to Thais.

Picture after the jump:




More Language Barrier

Last night I was out for drinks with a friend, and, as happens every time that two Americans are out for drinks after eight P.M., two super-drunk Thais sat down with us wanting to be friends. They were both artsy types: long hair, grungy T-shirts. One of them was a Master's student in Music, a 30 year old, and he spoke excellent English; the other was a 25-year-old 8th-year undergraduate in Sculpture; his English was like, uh, the English of a Sculptor who doesn't speak any English.

Case in point. A third Thai sat down with us briefly, said something to the Sculptor, and then went away. The sculptor leans over to me and says:

"He fucks boys!"

Me [a bit confused]: "...What?"

Sculptor [Louder]: "He fucks boys!"

Me: "Uhh...I'm sorry, I don't understand."

Sculptor: "I'm sorry, my English it's...he's the fuck-boy."

Me: "The fuck-boy?"

Sculptor: "Him, he's the fuck-boy. You know?"

Me: "No, I don't..."

Sculptor: "How do you say...he's crazy, he's awesome...he fucks boys."

Me: [after some thought]..."He's the fucking man?"

Sculptor: "Yes!"


I'm glad we got that cleared up.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Last Day of Class/First Day of Spring

Today was the first day of my last day of class, as one of my English 203 courses finished their Semester of Misunderstanding with the Farang Teacher.

It was raining in the morning for the first time in months, and when it was time for class to start, there were approximately 7 about 33 students. So much for the sendoff from little LuLu (or, LiewLiew, as it were).

I was informed that three of my favorite students (Pig Monkey and Shrimp) would not show up today by Fang 3. "Pig Monkey Shrimp absent" she said, coming up to my desk, "because it's raining." Note: probably not a valid excuse for missing class

About 20ish of them showed up eventually for what was billed as Final Exam Review Day but was really more of a "Talk on Your Cellphone While Farang Teacher Corrects Your Laughable Grammar" Day. And yes, I did write that on the board, next to a smiley face.

I will see them again, of course, at the final. In fact, one of the girls was kind enough to interrupt her phone conversation to ask me if I would be at the final, which was nice. There were a lot of smiles in the crowd as I winded down, and everyone bowed to me as they left. But I really had to poop all class, which was too bad.

Take us out, LuLu.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I have an update

Merriweather Post Pavilion is still really good.

Nothing really happened today, as I stayed in for the most part with tummy issues, but I did get a chance to catch up on some music listening. Really digging the new Raekwon, Kurt Vile, The Clientele and Girls (see below). Jay-Z's Blueprint 3 is a poop disc, as is the new Twilight Sad. The lead singer of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah has an album out with his new band "Flashy Python"; it is Clap Your Hands Say Meh.

I've pooped three times today already, and I'm about to make it four. There was a baby elephant at dinner tonight. How he got into my pajamas, I'll never know.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Eeeeek!

There is a little thatch hut near my apartment that I like to eat at, because they play American movies in Thai and because they have a Gone With The Wind poster (the food is pretty good, too).

Usually I just ask for the English menu because that is easier for everyone, but today I noticed that the English menu has thirteen dishes while the Thai menu has close to 100.

So after I ordered I took the Thai menu and began to practice my handwriting with it, translating, etc. When the owner, a kind old Thai woman, saw what I was doing, she literally SCREAMED. EEEEEEEEK!

Some days...

Some days  you just want to lie in bed and listen to acoustic songs about the sunrise.

This is one of those days.

Is Lady Gaga still famous? Lord.

Droll lord

I've only taken a picture of one dog this week. Dog Problem.

Melbor is a good name for an alien in a corny 1950s sci fi movie. Melbor from the planet Roblema.

Or am I thinking of a sci-fi pastiche porno, specifically from the late-90s Heather Graham episode of SNL and the Ladies Man skit? I think she was from planet Boobula, but I can't remember her character's name.

let's all move to a satellite, at least for a month or two.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Songs Thai People Like: "Nobody," by Wonder Girls

I wanted to start what will hopefully be a series of posts--

--isn't it amazing how many failed blogs start this way? "This is the place where hopefully I will... [record my thoughts, write about this, write about that, make jokes about him, talk about them...]"--

--and then two days and one REALLY long post later--dead-----

---a series of posts about Songs Thai People Like, a category that I find fascinating for both academic and deeply-ironic reasons. These songs will be chiefly English language/Western, but there are some exceptions. Like Song 1, for example...

Anyone who has ever been in a Thailand dance club/bar/mall/restaurant/place with oxygen knows that this series can really only start with one song: "Nobody," by the Korean girl group Wonder Girls.







This is, I dare say, the most popular song in the history of Chiang Mai. It has saturated the market like really heavy rain falling down onto a market. Thai people go apeshit for this song. I go apeshit for this song, too. It is only a matter of time before it is covered by Local H.

What are the primary appeals of the song:
1. The hand-claps.

Thai people don't like "dancing," per se--the dance floors at most clubs are really just rooms with lots of tables where girls drink Whiskey and Coke, send text messages, bob up and down, and, occasionally, point at each other's faces. In Thai, this is called "Dan-SING." But because this song has clapping, Thai people can do something besides point at each other's faces: they can clap.
Nobody, nobody but-choo [CLAP CLAP, CLAP. CLAP. CLAP.]
Yes. Clap your hands say ใช่!

2. Good meaning.

When I ran my Thai hipster music experiment (see link above), I was constantly being told by students that songs that I liked had "good meaning." These usually correlated to songs whose lyrics were easy to understand.
This song is in Korean with one line in English repeated a thousand times. The line is easy to understand, and it is also conducive to pointing.

3. Conducive to pointing.

See above. Nobody but YOU! ::points at your face::

4. Happy, or At Least Seemingly So

Thai people love happy songs, or at least songs that sound happy, even though this one is like the "Reeling in the Years" of Korean Girl pop, a sugar-coated, deceptively-sad up-tempo song. The chorus, though--"I want nobody but-choo"--seems to indicate an acceptance and affirmation of love. Check those lyrics, though: the guy is totally not into her.

5. Really conducive to pointing

Listen to this song, bob up and down, and pretend that you are dancing across a table from someone. Then put up a really sassy finger and point at their face. Isn't this song good for that? Did you try pointing at someone while listening to this song? Do you have a webcam so that I can see you doing it?

IDEA: a worldwide video of people jamming to this song, clapping their hands, and occasionally pointing at their webcams. Globalization, web 2.0, going green.

***********

That is the end of my presentation today. I have talked about the advantages of the song "Nobody" by Wonder Girls. These advantages are that it has a good meaning and it is conducive to pointing. I think that everyone should like this song, because it is good for your health and wielding a sassy pointer finger is a fun thing to do when listening to music (SEE VIDEO). Now is the time for your questions? Are there any questions? If there are no questions, then that is the end of my presentation today. Thank you for your kind attention.

NEXT TIME: I don't know, something by Black Eyed Peas probably.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Great Moments in Thai People Calling Each Other Fat

Today, in a presentation about hypertension, three girls (Ping, Gift, and Kham) were wrapping up a very nice talk, and then they claim to the conclusion, which included the following line:


Gift:
The causes of hypertension include obesity and some illnesses. We think that everyone should take care of themselves because everyone can get hypertension, like Ping, who is obese, and Kham, who is an illness.



Quo Diddy An

I.

I was quite pleased when I woke up yesterday from a nap to find that my room smelled absolutely lovely, better than it has since I moved in. If you are wondering how you can make your room smell so good, I have some simple instructions:

1. Spill an entire bag of liquid fabric softener onto the floor.
2. Let sit overnight.

All right all right all right

II.

Those who know me best know that I am a passionate collector of many things: deodorants with pictures of horses on them, human fingernails, etc.

III.

I am teaching myself how to write in Thai, which is going about as well as you might expect from someone who can not even draw a stick figure. And I was transliterating the names of some people I know and I noticed some irregularities:

1. "Jeff Gilbert," the name of my father, is impossible to pronounce in Thai. His name would be "Jep Ginbird."
1a. This is now my father's Native American name
1b. A Google search for "Jep Ginbird" returns only this:

"หรือคุณหมายถึง: jep gunbird "


on 

2. The transliteration of John would probably just be "Jahn," which means dish or plate.
2a. "The Transliteration of John" is also the name of my favorite Giotto fresco.
2b. Google Image Search "feeling lucky" return of the phrase "The Transliteration of John:






III. I had been seeing this dish called "Pad Kee Maow" on a lot of menus, and I didn't know how to translate it or what it was, so I went ahead and ordered it last night. Well, "Pad" means "fried," I knew already (as in, "Pad Thai," which literally means "Fried Thai person"--PAD THAI IS PEOPLE!) Pad stands for "fried" and apparently "Kee Maow" means--well, something that gives me diarrhea.

Something delicious that gives me diarrhea.

Delicious, delicious diarrhea.

No but seriously I think it's just spicy stir-fried vegetables.

IV. My skin is peeling in one of very specific part of my body, on a splotch of red just outside my right armpit on the chest-side of my arm. I guess I should stop flexing my right arm when I am out in the sun wearing my tube top.
 IVa. Google Image Search "feeling lucky" result for "tube top flex muscles":


VI. Flex your puppy muscle like antennas to heaven.

 God all the time all the all the time,
God all the time God all the time God.
Dog emit that La La, La La
Dog emit that La La La.

Great Moments in Twitter

http://twitter.com/Inesk68

Impossible to find peace after visiting this Twitter page.

You're Killing Me, Blogger

Well, I spent the last thirty minutes trying to figure out why my Blogger Sidebar has now become a Blogger Footer (good band name), to absolutely no avail. Is anyone else having this problem? Either with viewing my Blog, or with their own Blog?

What makes this even more frustrating is the fact that Blogger does not interact very well with Google Chrome. Five Baht to the first person who can tell me why this is ironic. Ten Baht to the first person who can give me a definition of "irony" in Simple English.

Awwww shoot looks like my new favorite website beat you all to it:

Irony is when something happens that is opposite from what is expected. It can often be funny, but is also used in tragedies.


....




  • An example of cosmic irony, is when someone wants something so much, that they do bad things to get it. They are punished by getting what they want, but not as they wanted it. An common example could be that a child wants some kind of pudding that isn't available, and so they don't eat whatever is. The parent might then serve it cold, or for several meals.
  • Verbal Irony can be found in sarcasm, but not just that.
[End of article].


Thank you, Simple Wikipedia. Thank you so, so much.

Verbal irony

Great Moments from the Simple English Wikipedia

"In art, postmodernism meant playful use of everyday objects and logos, or changing one political or social message to make a different one. Postmodern art is also often meant to be funny, unlike a lot of art before it. Postmodern art does not always try to be beautiful, or very well made."


-From "Postmodernism," retrieved September 13, 3:01 P.M.


Literature is usually the best books a country or culture has made. It is art with words.


-From "Literature," retrieved September 13, 3:09 P.M.




Agreed Reality

In this view "real" is what is agreed on by a group of persons.
In Example:
  • Jesus is real to Christians.
  • Buddha is real to Buddhists.
  • Trees are real to tree observers.
-From "Reality," retrieved September 13, 3:11 P.M.
Reykjavík is the capital city of the island country of Iceland. It is also the largest city in that country. The population of Reykjavík is over 117,000 people. Björk, an Icelandic singer, is from Reykjavik.
[End of article].
-From "Reykjavik," retrieved September 13, 3:16 P.M.
The city has a multi-cultural style, because 20% of the people there are from outside France. There are many different restaurants with all kinds of food.
-From "Paris," retrieved September 13, 3:23 P.M.


Somerville has married three times: to Stephen Band (1970 - 1975, no children), Ray Gowdridge ( 1984 - 1992, two children). She currently lives in North London with her third husband, thearchitect Sir Jeremy Dixon. Somerville and Dixon were interviewed by police in 1996. The people who developed their photograph had raised suspicions, because the couple wanted ot have images of their seven-year-old child developed. These photos showed the child bathing. No caution or charges followed the investigation.[2]

-From "Julia Somerville," retrieved September 13, 3:25 P.M.
***********
I LOVE THIS SITE.

Khun Paw, Khun Mae, Coming Soon, Coming Soon

I have one class of second year students--economics majors, too--who think it's the funniest thing in the world to say "Coming soon, coming soon" about a classmate, Oui, (take a guess as to how it is pronounced; nope, that was wrong) who is always late.

Well, I have just learned that my parents the economics majors are coming soon, coming soon, two months ahead of schedule. Mom is going to a conference in Chiang Mai and brining Papa Bear along with her, and then they are jetting on down to Bangkok on September 21, abt. 8 P.M.. Really convenient given that my final Final is September 21, ending at 6:30 P.M.; and so from there I am heading to the airport and flying down to meet them. I am mentally preparing myself for the parental bewilderment at how gaunt I've become as we speak.

I am also mentally preparing myself for SLEEPING IN CLEAN SHEETS and TAKING A SHOWER IN A STALL THAT HAS A SHOWER HEAD AND NOT JUST A HOLE WHERE THE SHOWER HEAD IS SUPPOSED TO BE. Damn you, Chomdoi, and your shower that is like getting pissed on for five minutes!

Also, have any of you heard about The Simple English Wikipedia? I just found it, and it's effing fascinating, if not grammatically...poor. Here is an article about Thai food and here is one about--hold on, let me stop my Ivory Tower douchebag laughter--about the literary term "Deconstruction."

Simple, simple, simple.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

69 Love Songs Turns 69 Divided by 6.9

I wrote this while I was really drunk and outraged last night. I am going to let it stand, unedited and uncompleted, as a celebration and defense of The Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs on its 10th birthday. I think Stephen Merritt would appreciate its messiness and lack of completion.

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

Stephen Merritt's got 69 problems, and a bitch is almost all of them. I don't have a valid transitional line to follow this opening sentence, but God, aren't I clever?

I want to take this drunken opportunity to celebrate the Tin Anniversary of 69 Love Songs, the sprawling (but not epic--and when was the last damn time you saw any music or movie reviewed use the word "sprawling" without "epic" in front of it. Lazy English. Say what you will about Christgau---no, seriously, he's horrible, inconsistent, pans great albums, celebrates terrible albums, and has a style of writing that destroys the point of criticism--but at least he avoids cliches) three CD masterpiece from The Magnetic Fields.

It's great for a lot of things. Wallowing in depression. Throwing a depressing party. Holding a depressing Power Hour that is 9 minutes too long (why didn't this ever happen?)

But I feel compelled to write about it not because I love to watch myself think when I'm drunk, nor because it is one of my favorite albums of all time, not because I really like clever depressing music (my Itunes top 50 most played would dispute this) but because I learned of the anniversary on Stereogum and because all of the commenters on the 2Gum post were trashing it for idiotic reasons.

Now, I don't have an account at Stereogum--though rest assured that if I did it would be an obnoxious pun on a hip-but-well-known band/song (off the top of my head, I have hair.

No, but seriously, off the top of my head: Vampire Workweek, Cum Fee in Nautica, Clap Your Hands Say Some Loud Thunder Was Horrible)

--but as a music-liker and a "writer" I respect 69 Love Songs a lot to defend it. And I'm not talking about an Allen Iverson limp-wristed slap-at-the-ball-as-a-faster-point-guard-blows-by-me offense. I'm talkin' bout PRACTICE.

And defense.

69 Love Songs has 69 love songs and at least 65 of them are really, really good. The anthology of Jorge Luis Borges has a lower success rate, and he had a lifetime to write the same story over and over again. The Fields did it in a couple years. Of course, they're not blind. (AND I HAVE LEGS).

Nor is this a revolutionary disc. It's just solid. The Stereogum poster listed "All My Little Words," "Nothing Matters "When We're Dancing" "No One Will Ever Love You" "Underwear" "When My Boy Walks Down The Street" "The One You Really Love" and "If You Don't Cry" as the instant classics; I know this is a great album because if I were to cursorily choose 8 songs to be called Instant Classics (and I could), I would probably choose about 7 different ones. And you would too. And so would that guy in the jeans over there.

And so would that guy wearing Converses. You understand.

69 Love Songs is sloppy as hell and the sequencing might be non-existent for all I know (I am guessing it is not), but to write SO MANY GOOD songs in such a short time is tremendous. A commenter on Stereogum writes:

69 Love Songs is great, but not my favorite Magnetic Fields (that would be The Charm of the Highway Strip). That aside, I challenge anyone to listen to Punk Love without skipping the song or blowing your brains out.
I challenge anyone to listen Revolution #9 without blowing their [sic] brains out. I challenge anyone to listen to The Murder Mystery without blowing [sic[ their brains out. I challenge anyone to listen to any of the interludes on any Wu-Tang album without blowing their brains out.

And now I challenge anyone to tell me that The White Album, The Velvet Underground, or Enter the Wu-Tang aren't masterpieces. AND I HAVE LEGS

No, the real point is that the Revolution that is the Ninth is unlistenable now and makes up approximately 10% of The White Album, while Punk Love is unlistenable and makes up a little over 1/2 of 1% of 69 Love Songs. So what are we really talking about here?

**********




And then I fell asleep and didn't push "Publish Post." Things happen.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Keyword Analysis Or, "Is Thailand Famous?"

Before I launch into the main stream of this evening's symposium (Tom Lehrer), I just want to say that since I became aware of these sorts of things, I have always found the word "Analysis" to be extremely odd; for although it comes from "Ana" (Up) and "Lyein" (Loosen) (put 'em together and what have you got? "Loosen up"), I always break down Analysis as "Anal Lysis," as in, the Loosening up or destruction of one's anus.

Generally, this is not what an analysis does. But hell, let's do some good ol' Anus Loosening on the ol' blog, shall we?

My StatCounter page--where I can SEE you, by the way--tells me how Random Visitors come upon this blog by giving me the keywords they typed into Google. This tool is handy not only because it can help me refine my blog posts in order to increase traffic, but also because it means that I can cruelly mock the things that people are searching for on the Internet.




Here are some good search phrases from the past week:

1. "skateboard remedies jelly legs"
2. "going diarrhea"
3. "farang ding song videos"
4. "ironic hipster cover songs"
5. "is thailand famous"
6. "happy science thailand"
7. "examples of famous people that are passive"
8. "Seinfeld what's the deal with homework"

I am afraid that I provided none of these people with the information they were seeking. To remedy this, in the hopes of repeat visits, allow me to answer these 8 queries:

1. No, it doesn't.
2. Yes, I do. A lot.
3. 
4. Yes, I know of some.
5. Thailand's Q Rating, as of September 2009, is 45.6. Is that how Q ratings work?
5a. I don't care.
6. Beats "Sad Mathematics Cambodia" any day of the week.
7. Famous people that are passive (off the top of my head):
        1. George Bush the Elder
        2. Atlanta Braves first baseman Adam laroche
        3. Yves Saint Laurent
8. I calculated my odds of ever getting together with a Portuguese waitress. Mathematically, I had to do it, Jerry.

I hope that helps. Keep those inane Thailand-/hipster-/passive-voice-related searches coming!

A Picture from You, Gristle

You may have read over on our sister blog The Guangzhou Story about Jon's new swim "trunks," which are what I colloquially know as Jammers, having been a swimmer for the last 32 years of my life.

Well, Jon would have you believe that he doesn't look that good in them and that he is very bashful to be seen in them; and well, the second part is true, but let me tell you, I know for a fact that he looks good. In fact, I just received this picture in an Email message from Jon's Chinese friend Gristle, who snapped in while Jon was stretching out his neck muscles in the monochrome pool locker room.

100% non-Photoshopped picture of Jon wearing Jammers, AFTER THE JUMP:




Lookin' good, pardner!

[Postscript: Can you believe that Windows still comes with Microsoft Paint? This is probably the only applications in the history of the desktop that a company has made no effort whatsoever to improve over the upgrades of its OS's.

And I love them for it.]

I Got 90 Dog Problems But a Dog Ain't Dog

The pun broke down about three words in.
In honor of the exciting* news that Blogger now supports jumps within posts,
*Only exciting if you have a really, really boring life.

I am hereby presenting my first Jump post, which I considered entitling "Jump!" in honor of the working title of Bring It On, but settled on a vague "pun" working in both 99 Problems and the song "Dog Problems" by The Format. One of them is one of the best songs of the 2000s; the other is a song called "Dog Problems" by The Format? Which one is which? You decide.

[P.S. congratulations to Blogger by announcing the addition of Jump Posts with a Pun on "You might as well jump," which I can only assume they settled on after decided that "Finally, something that White Men Can't Do" was a little too racy].
Anyway, since I now have jumping capabilities, I am going to use them each Friday to post the pictures of dogs I have taken over the week. Look, I take lots of dog pictures. Because there are a lot of stray dogs in Chiang Mai, and also because there are a lot of really adorable dogs that are bred to be the size of bread slices, and because I'm shameless.
After the jump, former WCW wrestler Konnan presents: Dogs!


And now, WCW wrestler Konnan presents: The Dogs of Thailand!
This little guy fell asleep right outside of my class one Monday morning! Too bad I took a picture of him! Busted! Picture snapped!


My fellow Ajarns will recognize this little fellow as the English Department dog. You may be wondering why the English Department is filled with boxes; I can only assume that this is where they keep the really interesting teaching materials, which is sort of like the Glengarry leads in Glengarry Glen Ross, or like the contents of the briefcase in Pulp Fiction.


Here he is again. I wish I could find a woman who could stretch her legs like that! Heheheheh.

[Apparently necessary joke clarification: I don't have sex with dogs.]

I saw this mysterious pooch OUTSIDE of the English office (imagine that--dogs not being allowed in a place of work) and I snapped a quick one before he sprinted away off into the dog-verse. Shall we meet again?  Only time shall tell; time, and the river.
This dog was, in the words of East Coast rapper Wale, "D.C. chillin'!" But if only if "D.C." stands for "Dead Canine."

Nah, just kidding, he was only sleeping. Or did I take this picture just before he died? Only time can tell; time, and the river.

This fur-ball belongs to a noodle stand owner near my house. Or, he did, before I stole him and snuggled with him forever and ever and ever awwwwwwwwwwww
Well, I've had a long day, giving you the best in Chiang Mai dog photos from this week; and man, I'm so tired, my dogs are barkin' like Ellen in the 1989 Al Pacino vehicle Sea of Love. Am I right, movie fans!?!

See you next week, Esais! Viva la raza!