Friday, October 30, 2009

Sentimental Journey, Part 2

Here continues the weepy, Hallmark post from yesterday, where the kids had to write about what they thought my family was like based on a picture and then write about their own family. Get out the toilet paper, you're about to shit tears. Or cry poop. There's a workable metaphor somewhere in there...trust me, I'm a writer.

Is there though?

I am only going to do a few of my favorites here, because many of them are quite typical (P.S. could you tell that one of the examples in the book was "We are just a typical nuclear family"?). So, here is the cream of the crop, the creative bunches, the flatterers and the doomsayers:




10) Aom

My teacher family is a typical nuclear family. I think, his father was 50 years old and his mother 48 years old. His sister, I think she was 25 years old. My teacher was about 18 years old. His family look happy and cheerful. I think, His family was friendly and kind. I think that they enjoy going to travel and love doing activity together. They enjoy eatting meals together. My teacher used to be small, he has become big and stronger. And his sister, she used to be skinny, she has become fat. Jason's parent used to be younger, they have become older.

In my family has 4 members. We're a typical nuclear family. My parent are 43 years old, my sister is 15 years old. I am 18 years old. My family is friendly and cheerful. My parent are very kind and generous. And my sister, she is very wild. All the same trait as my family. My mother love cooking so members family love eating too. We enjoy watching movie together. My parent used to skinny they have become fat. I and my sister used to shy. We have become friendly.

11) Sara

Jason's family is not big family. There are only four people; Jason's father who is 62 years old, Jason's mother who is 54 years old, Jason's sister who is 29 years old and Jason who is 26 years old. They have similar trait. They are outgoing and friendly. They enjoy travelling around the world and feel like meeting many new people and They don't mind expressing feeling and ideas in public. Jason's sister used to be shy when she was young but now she has become confident. Jason's parents used to be skinny. Now I think they have become chubby.

My family is nuclear family, there are four people in my family like Jason's family. There are my father my mother, my younger brother and me. My parents who is 42 years old are kind, my brother is 16 years old. We're tidy and sincere.
We can't stand being in a messy house
so we always clean our house together.
We enjoy cleaning and washing
We avoid lying. Everyone in my family don't like lying people.
My brother used to be a lazy boy but now he has become study hard.

12) Gam

My English teacher, Jason, has a nuclear family. From the picture I think that he was bout 20 years old. The age of his parents was probably about 40 years old, and his sister was about 25 years old. I think that they enjoy going out and spending their time together. They seem to be friendly outgoing and also relaxed. Jason used to be skinnier but now he has become well-builing. His sster used to be pretty, and his parents too, they looked very kind. But now they must have become older.

I have an extended family where my parents, me and and relatives are all live together. A good thing is that we all enjoy living together. We don't mind helping with chores around the house. We love going out on holiday, cooking and having meals together. We are all sincere and tidy. We're also into planting too!

::pictures of trees::

Trees! Everywhere!

13) Wang (Chinese exchange student)

Today our class saw the Jason's family picture. In the picture there are Jason's parents, sisther, and Jason. His family likes so young. I guess farther 50 years old, mother 48 years old, Jason's sisther 27, Jason 25. They were all looks friendly, outgoing, honest and sincere. I guess they are teacher and Jason's mother is husewife. But when Jason asked me did they changed? I don't know because I don't remember them befor. How can I know that?

My family have 3 people, my mom, my grandmother and me. My mother is 48 years old, my grandmother is 78 years old. and me? I'm 20. My mother and grandmother work in on company, and me I study in CMU. I forget tell you they are all in China. My family just like sun they give light. They are so friendly and honest. I think my family always likes. I holp it doesn't change.

Jason's Nuclear Family

My classes of freshmen are currently learning about families (nuclear, extended, and two-income), and so I thought it would be fun to learn about their families and for them to project a personality onto my own family. 

So I showed them this picture of my lovely nuclear family



and told them to answer 4 questions:
1) How old is everyone?
2) What personality traits do we have?
3) What do we like to do? Use 3 gerunds (we are also learning about gerunds)
4) How have I changed? My sister? My parents? (We also learned how to form a sentence using "Used to be" and "has become")

I want to get down all of their responses because they are universally precious/hilarious. Mostly precious, though: in class today I was getting emotional reading their responses. 

Misspellings and grammar errors will not be fixed. 

Apologies to my parents who will alternately have their feelings hurt/egos stroked:



1) Boom (Male)

In Jackson's family, there are 4 members. Jackson is around 33 years old. His father and mother is around 52 years old his sister is about 36 years old. Jackson's family looks friedly and outgoing. They enjoy traveling to places. They feel like staying together. The don't mind spending time together as a family. Jason and his sister used to be teenager, now they have become adult.


In my nuclear family, there are 4 members. It's my parents, my brother and me. We always keep our house tidy and clean so I think we are neat and tidy as our triat [sic - trait]. We enjoy having delicious dinner together. My dad love taking us aboard for vacation and we don't mind traveling for long distance. I used to be a school student now I have become a university student. My parents used to eat a lot now they have become healthy.

2) Bua (Female)

Jason's father is 55 years old. Jason's mother is 56 years old. Jason's sister is 30 years old. Jason is 28 years old. his parents enjoy cooking and ejoy listening to radio. enjoy watching TV. his sister enjoy sulfing Internet. his parents is friendly and generous. his sister is shy Jason's change to tall and handsome, his father's change to thin, his mother is change to fat, his sister's change to beautiful, lovely.

My family is 4 people. it's just my younger sister, my parents and me. My parents 're fifty-two ears old. my sister is 16 years old. My family is friendly and kind, relaxed. We enjoy growing some tree and listening to music, enjoy cooking. I'm change to tall and thin. My sister's change to thin and tall. My parents 're change to fat.

3) Boom 2 (F)

There are four members in Jason's family. There are his parents, his sister, and Jason. His dad is 55 years old. His mom 's also 55 years old, too. His sister is 28 years old. And Jason is 26 years old. All of members in this family are kind and generous. They enjoy helping other people. They are also friendly and outgoing. Jason enjoy going to party. And he love dancing with his sister. He used to be a fat man. Now, he enjoy exercising and eating fruits. His parents and sister used to hate doing exercise. Now, they enjoy jogging every morning

I'm Boom. I'm 18 years old. There are 3 members in my warm and lovely family. There are my dad, my mom, and me. My dad who is 45 years old. He used to smoke a lot. Now, he like to do exercise more. My mom who is 43 years old. She used to be a cosmeticlism. Now, she prefer to love her healthy more. And I used to avoid meeting people. Now, I enjoy going to party a lot. My family is wild and crazy. We feel like going dancing! We enjoy going party. We love dressing up, too! And we love each other.

4) Noei (F)

Jason's nuclear family--it's just Jason, Jason's sister, Jason's father and Jason's Mother. Jason is 31 years old. He is a teacher at Chiang Mai University. He love taking his family to Thailand because He think Thai people is very friendly and outgoing and he use to be shy and reserved; now, He has become to kind and generous. Jason's sister is very honest and sincere. In this year she has 36 years. She used to be a guide; now, she is a teacher like Jason. She feel like to be a good teacher in the future. and Jason's father is 61 years old and mother is 58 years old. Their used to be neat and tidy because their are teachers but: now, their are very strong and independent. Their insist on travelling around the world when their are retire. This family is nice and friendly. I love them.

My family is a typical nuclear family -- it's just my brother, my parents, and me. My father is 50 years old and my mother is 48 years. Their are both work. Their has been teaching me about the livestyle because their very care my. Their used to be neat and tidy; now, their has become laid-back and relaxed. My brother is 25 years old, He used to be wild and crazy but now, He is very neat and tidy because He is soldier. He feel like going USA and I have 18 years old. I used to shy and reserved Now, I had come friendly and outgoing because I feel like nurse.

5) Net (M)

Jason's family has 4 persons. There is his father, his mother, his sister and Jason. In my opinion his father is 52 years old. His mother is 48 years old. His sister is 30 years old and Jason is 28 years old. They're friendly and kind. They enjoy traveling. They're into going out to new foreign restaurants. They don't mind contact with other people. Jason used to cleaning his room, now, he clean his room when is dirty. His sister used to enjoy eating food, now, she control her eating habit. His parents used to enjoy a trip, now, they enjoy traveling and take a photo.

We're a typical nuclear family. I have my sister and my parents. My father is 49 years old. My mother is 45 years old. My sister is 27 years old and me 19 years old. We're friendly, outgoing and kind. We enjoy cooking. We don't mind to help other people. We're into seeing new cinema. My parents used to blame me and my sister. Now, they try to understand.

6) Poon (F)

I think Jason's family is a nuclear family. It's just his sister, dad, mom, and Jason. His father, he is 60 years old. His mother is 57 years old, his sister is around 21 years old and about him, I think he is 26 years old. Although his family is a little family, it's very lovely. They enjoy camping together in every holiday and some weekend they will have a BBQ party. They're into watching movies at cinema, fishing, shoping and also playing a game card. But they can't stand in a messy house and a quiet party because it feel boring. When Jason stays in Jamaica he never knows Thai food, but now he really love everything which is Thai. His parents used to hate gameshows; now they insist on watching overnight. And about his sister, she used to fat; now she's very slim.

We're a nuclear family. There're my dad, mom, my sister and me. I think my parents are older. My father is 53 years old, my mother is 52 years. They're older in exceed to work. But they love working. My sister is very lovely. She is a little girl. She's 14 years old, everyone loves her, but sometimes she insist on making her decisions. And about me. I'm 18 years old. My birthday is coming soon. I'm very happy, I'm look forward to that day. We're lover. In every weekend, we insist on shopping together. And we don't mind spending money for shopping. We're avoid arguing. I used to shy when I was young, now I has become outgoing. My sister used to skinny, but now she love eating it make her become fat. And my parents used to kind, now they strict more than ever.

7) Koy (F)

Jason's family have 4 peoples -- father, mother, sister and Jason. Father is 62 years old, mother is 57 years old, sister is 36 years old and Jason is 27 years old. His father and mother enjoy going to charity with their friends, so their neighbour told to another one that they are very kind and generous. His sister is very friendly and outgoing. She love traveling with her friends to interestly place. Jason is neat and tidy. He can't stand being in a dirty place. He used to hate wearing dirty shirt. Now, He don't worry about it.

My family is a nuclear family. I have father, mother, and younger sister. My parent is very kind and funny. They don't mind giving their money to me. My sister is wild and crazy. she will annoy me, when she has a chance but I also love her because she is only one sister of me.

8) Pai (F)

Jason's nuclear family has 4 people, there are Jason, his sister and his parents. I think, even it is a small family but it is a lovely and warm family. From the picture, I think that Jason is the youngest in this family. Therefore his sister doesn't look old, she is very baby face. And his parents is propably about 45 years old. This picture was taken a photo in somewhere. So this family may be outgoing and relaxed. It is not so hard to guess that they like going out on vacation, watching TV together and enjoy going to parties on special day. From now that contrast with the past, I think Jason is as the same or have changed just a bit. But I really don't know about his sister and his parents at all.

My family has 4 members. It is just my parents, my sister and me. My parents are about 45 year old. My sister is just 17 years old. And me is 19 years old. Though my family has a little members we aren't always lonely. Because we usually have some activities to do on weekend. So we are friendly and outgoing. We are into going many things to do together on relax day, like shopping sometime and like going out some interesting places. From now on, I don't have changed very much, it just have changed my old...but my face is still baby face! And my parents don't have changed anymore. My sister is the same.

9) Phak (F)

Jason lives with 37 year olds sister, his father is 58 year olds and his mother is 56 year olds. He has a warmth and lovely family. I think his family enjoy taking photo, love traveling together and they are into going out to new restaurants. Now Jason is taller and become enjoy eating guy because of Thai food (which are delicious.) :) His sister and parents may become older but still healthy and strong

I lives with 53 year olds dad, 44 year olds mom and brother who is 13 year olds. My family is an easy family. We love watching the movies, enjoy going out and have dinner together, and also enjoy making Christmas party. I use to have long hair, now my hair has become short, my brother used to be short, but now he has become the tallest. My parents become fatter because they don't have much time to have exercises, but they still healthy!!! I'm so happy to be in this family, I love all of them and I think that my dad always be my hero.

*******

Sniffle. I have nine more to post for you...will do that after a sweet, sweet nap.

I Am A Little Like a Thai Lady, I Suppose

Yesterday I played a game called "Teacher Tells the Truth" with two of my second-year classes. The idea is that they split into teams and write questions about me, and then write them on the board. If the grammar and spelling are correct, then I must answer the question, and that team gets a point; if the question is incorrect, I don't answer the question, and the team doesn't get a point. In the end, though, everyone wins, because we don't have to talk about proper outline format for 45 minutes.

Anyway, as you can imagine, this leads to many, many poorly-worded questions that I have to try not to laugh at while explaining why the grammar is incorrect; it also leads to some shockingly direct questions. Some of my favorites:

"Are you the British?"
"Why are you here?"
"What is your goal?"
"Will you marry Chatchawan?" (really gay boy hiding behind his Japanese fan in the front row)
"What do you think of Thailand's political situation?"
"Do you like Obama?"
"Are you like the Thai lady?"

One of my favorite moments, because I'm an egocentric Polo-turd, was when they asked "What school did you graduate from?"

"Princeton."

"Again please?"

"Princeton."

And then I wrote it on the board. This fat kid, a pre-law student (extrapolate what you will), raises his hand and asks, "Is that the Ivy Leagues?" And I say "Yes," and then he goes, "WHOO!!" and starts shaking his head in disbelief. So I've got his respect, at least. Or something.

One of my classes asked me "How old are you?" which is unfortunately correct English. I wrote five ages on the board:

20
23
26
29
32
And told them that I was one of those ages, and that we would have a vote. The results:

20 - 0
23 - 1
26 - 15
29 - 12
32 - 0

I erased 20 and 32 from the board, and no one was very surprised; but then, suddenly, I erased 26 off the board, and the class seriously lost its shit. They couldn't believe it. People were almost screaming in Thai, so much had their world crashed down before them. We took another vote:

23 - 5
29 - 23

When I erased 29, there was probably about two minutes of uncontrollable confusion. Everyone talking at once; people on their cell phones; I think a few desks caught fire. But eventually they calmed down enough to ask me if I liked spicy food.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Inevitable

Well, the inevitable happened: I finally got a student named Poon.

I had been worried that I would have a student named Poon for some time now, not knowing whether I would be able to handle it with a straight face. Luckily, it wasn't a head-on attack-- "Hi, my name is POON"--but rather a slow dawning, a back-door realization.

I made a few of my students draw pictures on the board representing different personality traits. I had forgot to bring money to print out my attendance sheets, so I still hadn't received anyone's English name. As I went down the row of photos, I was asking the artists to give me their names so that they could get credit for their work. And so we had masterpieces by "Aom," "Bee," "Pai"--the usual crowd.

And then I got to personality trait "Kind and generous," by the colored-contacted girl in the front row. Her eye color may have been false, but the idea that her name wasn't schoolyard American slang for "vagina" was falser. I asked for her name and she spelled it for me: "P-O-N," I heard, and wrote it on the board.

"No, no, no," she said, needing de replay. "Double O."

I tentatively, with a crooked slit of a smile, added an O in between the P and N.

"Poon?" I managed to get out.

She nodded.

"Well, okay, thank you to all of our artists..."

I was trying to keep it together, looking at my shoes and certainly not at the Poon in front of me, as that would have been too, too much. I managed not to audibly laugh, but only inwardly-ironically celebrate that I finally, finally have a student named Poon. But now I am faced with the face of Poon in the front row twice a week, just waiting so earnestly for me to call her name from the attendance sheet. This semester will certainly be an adventure in Poon, I can promise you that.

Oh, and I still need to get the names of three more classes, so Lord knows how many more Poons are in my future.

Monday, October 26, 2009

YOUR CITY'S A SUCKER

One of the great things about Chiang Mai (and Thailand in general) is the ability to eat five meals in one day, throw it all up on the side of the road, and not feel bad about yourself for wasting money, because chances are you didn't spend more than four dollars on the barf you just dropped on the stoop of a Thai glamour shot shop.

YOUR CITY'S A SUCKER

At around 10:30 A.M., I had twenty baht worth of fried bananas, which is approximately 37 fried bananas. For lunch, at about 2, I had steak fried rice along with two jumbo-sized chicken kabobs. Then it was dinner time, and so I had chicken-stew on rice, and then Ramen noodle stir fry with grilled chicken, and then garlic roast pork with rice and sweet and sour sauce. Was it delicious? Yes.

And hey, I was thinking about the Thai word "a-roi" yesterday (just typed it "a'roi," who I believe is a lineman for the Packers). A-roi means delicious, LITERALLY, and it's a high compliment to pay to a chef/waitress. If you tell your cook or server that your meal was "a-roi," you are not whistling out your pores, mister: you really mean that it was damn good, and if you're lying, you will probably be reincarnated as a turtle, or, worse, a person with tan skin. It's serious, man.

YOUR CITY'S A SUCKER

And yet whenever chefs or waitresses ask me "Aroi mai?" ("Was it delicious?"), I ALWAYS say yes, it was delicious, even if it was just average (which is delicious, true--but what is the a-roi standard? If all of the food in a country is delicious, are you supposed to tell every chef that your food was "a-roi"? Or only the for the meals that make you want to rip off your skin and lick your bones dry? This is something I think about a lot, but then again I've been off my medicine for months now).

CITY'S A SUCKER

I want to make a big list of words in Thai that are the same as they are in English, but that sound hilarious when you say them with Thai accents. Here is a start:

Suh-TEW = stew
hahm-bur-GER = Hamburger
com-pu-TER = computer
cheeah-lee-DER = cheerleader (I learned this from the Thai version of "Heroes")
ma-ga-roh-NEE = maccaroni
suh-pah-get-TEE = spaghetti
san-wit = sandwich
pock chahp = pork chop
wee-ZAH = visa (and, uh, probably "Weezer")
suh-tuh-raw-ber-REE = strawberry
bah-loo-ber-REE = blueberry
sun-DAY = sundae

I'll add more when I'm dead.

...city's a creep.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Weekend Wrap It Up, Let's Wrap It On Up

Lazy weekend, except when it wasn't.

Friday was indeed lazy, as I slept for many, many hours, went skateboard-exploring in the afternoon, finding a chicken farm among other things. Amused the locals by being on a skateboard/being white, not necessarily in that order. I ate at a restaurant, apparently a chain, called "Mr. Chicken Fried," and it cost a good deal of payola (sorry). I had the fried chicken, French fries, and salad combination, for a sweet 45 Baht. What am I, a brain surgeon? No, I'm not, because brain surgery doesn't exist in Thailand.

I spent most of Friday night searching for a good website to stream American TV shows and movies (mostly movies) on my laptop, finding none. I refuse to do that whole Torrent thing, so my options are limited. Suggestions?

Saturday was similarly lazy, waking up early, eating, falling asleep again, going out for a birthday celebration. I ate at the Warmup Palace for the first time, and the food was really, really good--had some honey fried chicken on the skillet, an incredible Spicy Bacon Salad, and a lot of rice. My waiter told me that he liked Jack Daniels, and I tried to get him to have some; but he said that he couldn't or else he would fall over trying to serve. Whatever man, I'm drunk when I teach all the time, and none of my kids mind it when I pass out naked across a row of desks. I think they like those days, in fact.

So today was mostly a recovery day. I've been reading Lolita again, which is a good antidote to ever wanting to be attracted to anyone. I catnapped for a while, and after I sold those stolen kittens, I fell asleep (see what I did there)?

Now I'm here, obsessively checking Facebook to see how high my price in "Friends for Sale" will go. I've changed hands about a dozen times so far, and my price is approaching one million dollars. And yes, you guys, I could use this time to be writing, reading, or otherwise improving myself, but really, when you think about it, it's easier to just muddy up the waters with this cliches than to get back on the horse again, you know?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Be Your Own (Student's) Pet

So by far the most popular Facebook application among my students is something called "Friends for Sale," in which you can buy any of your Facebook friends (regardless of their participation in said Application) as your Facebook "pet."

Well, today the Jason trading began and with it came, um, questionable English (and questionable Thai, frankly).

First Char bought me for $100,000, which is standard introductory price.

Then Dew took me from him at $110,000, with the note "ซื้อ ซื้อ" or "I bought, I bought!"

Then Jaao swooped in and got me for $121,000. Her note was in English:

i bougth u !! my best english teacher !i stloe i from dew lol


It's always nice to see that I had such a positive impact on my students' English speaking skills.

The last purchase was by Char again who got me for a tick over $133,000. He then wrote:

คัมมอน เบบี๋

I was looking at this trying to figure out the Thai--phonetically, we have "Kahm-mahn beh-bii." I typed the "Kahm-mahn" part in a Thai dictionary and got absolutely no matches, and then I realized...it's English. "Come on, baby."

I will keep you updated on this, my fascinating Friday night.

What have I done on my day off?

Today is a holiday in Chiang Mai; or at least, I didn't have class today. Or at least, I didn't go to class today. I'm banking on a holiday. Someone please confirm to me that it was a holiday and I'm not getting fired.

Anyone?

Okay. I woke up around 11:30 and headed over to the 7-11 to buy some Grape Mentos. Yes, that is literally how I started my day (after the requisite cleaning of Drool Cheeks and commenting on several pertinent Drudge Report articles).

Grape Mentos in pocket (and the other one is giving a HIGH FIIVE), I ate first lunchies, some Ginger Stir Fry Chicken at a recently-discovered food stand. They were absolutely shocked that I could speak Thai. The girl who took my order (literally, an 8-year-old girl) stared in wonder at me for a good ten minutes, as though I were powderizing Grape Mentos with my elbow and sprinkling them atop my stir-fry. You'd think she'd never seen a white person speaking Thai before! Among other things.

I decided to pamper myself with a massage, and so I bought a diaper and headed to a massage parlor, where I dropped a hard-earned $4 on an incredible one-hour Thai massage.

I'm coming up with a checklist of requirements or facets of an excellent Thai massage. Here are some I noticed today, which indicate sincere enjoyment. If the answer to any of these questions is "Yes," it means your masseuse is doing a good job:

-When the masseuse works your groin, do you uncontrollably pee a little bit?
-While lying on your stomach, does your masseuse spend more than ten minutes working one butt cheek?
-Also while on your stomach, do you drool more than five times, even though you promise yourself you won't anymore?
-Do you not realize until long after the massage is over that you put on your pants backward and that your ass was exposed the entire time, forcing your poor masseuse to suffer through the wet angel hair pasta mix that is your butt hair?
-Do you walk out of the massage parlor singing, in full-voice falsetto, "Rikki Don't Lose That Number," despite not knowing any of the words or melody past "Rikki, don't lose that number" and continuing to sing nonsense about "a golden slumber," "fallen lumber," and "wet cucumber"?
-Do you consider setting the massage parlor aflame so that no one else will be able to experience the satisfaction of your masseuse's magic fingers, so that you can be the last man on earth to have felt such joy? Instead of saying Thank you, do you say "Fire, Walk with Me," and hope that she does not speak English very well?

If so, then you had a pretty, pretty good massage. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to shower, because my hair smells like smoke.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I am living in Thailand, Part 360

On my Facebook front page, I now have four of those little request thingies on the top right.



Addendum, Thought, Thud End 'Em

I also ate a pack of those little wieners wrapped in bread from 7-11 yesterday, as well as a bag of guava.

Why are restaurant serving sizes described as "generous" or "not generous"? It's not like they are doing charity work by giving me the food that I paid for. Have you ever been at a restaurant and gotten food from your waiter and thought, "Wow, this came with a very large scoop of potatoes. What a kind-hearted man."

I guess what I'm saying is, I've got a farmer's tan that you wouldn't believe. Or maybe you would, if you have ever seen me without my shirt on, which is all of you, because I generally am shirtless.

October YN 20, 2009: My First Birthday Not in America

So, I bet you think this post is going to be about how I spent my first ever birthday outside of America, here in Chiang Mai, here in the Thailand "winter."

Well, you're wrong. This post is going to be exclusively about my anus.




Hey, just kidding! Here is a super-detailed description of my entire day. Everything that I remember. Details will be excised to protect the innocent, and also because they have slipped the trap that is my mind.

I woke up around 10 for class feeling refreshed. I listened to the first three minutes of "Tender" by Blur and walked to work. I arrived at work at approximately 10:45 and made small talk with some co-workers and then went to class. I told them it was my birthday. They sang me Happy Birthday. I told them I was 55. Everyone believed me.

After class a group of students approached and asked if I gave out many Fs. I said I had not given out any Fs yet. They were very, very relieved. But still upset that I didn't speak Thai and that I would not be teaching their English class in Thai. Tough noogies, I told them. They did not know what either of those words meant.

I taught two more classes. Both of them were absolutely shocked that they were stuck with a White person teaching them English. I'll write about this later, but in all 5 of my classes, when I walked in the room, chaos reigned amongst the students. Total astonishment that I, a white person, was their teacher. Bewilderment. Panic. Dizziness. Disbelief.

At lunch I asked the waiter for something delicious. He suggested "beek gai" which I had never heard of. Well, "gai" means "chicken," so I assumed that it was a "chicken beak."

I was wrong: "beek" in Thai means "wings." I had chicken wings on white rice. Really good ones. Scrumptrilescent.

I told the waiter it was my birthday. He said that I should buy some popcorn. Confusion, you win again.

I went home and watched some Twin Peaks. I ate dinner with Charles at the Rincome Market, my favorite little chicken dish there. Got a banana milkshake--too watery to be effective. Went to see my noodle chef friends, but alas--they weren't there! I have no idea where they went, which is bad, because I borrowed  about 30 DVDs from the guy. And because he is my friend and I want to see him. O A where art thou?

After dinner I don't know.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Halloween, Circa 1905

As you all know, Thailand is across the International Date Line from America, and thus it is already Halloween here in Chiang Mai.

Apropos of this, I thought that I would post a passage from John O'Hara's "Appointment in Samarra" (1935) that I came across while reading today, that shows what Hallowe'en was like in 1905, from the perspective of Julian English, a little boy growing up in suburban Pennsylvania ("Gibbsville," near Reading). This is the description of Halloween from 10-year-old Julian's point-of-view:
In the nights preceding Hallowe'en it was Walt who remembered the various Nights: one night was Gate Night, when you took people's gates off the fences; another night was Tick-Tack Night, when you held a button through which string had been run and wound up, against windowpanes, making a very effective sound until the string ran down; another night was Paint Night, when you painted sidewalks and people's houses. On Hallowe'en you dressed up as ghosts and cowboys and Indians and women and men, and rang doorbells, and said: "Anything for Hallowe'en?" If the people gave you pennies or cakes, all right. If they didn't you stuck a pin in the doorbell and threw the doormat out in the street and carried away the porch furniture and poured buckets of water on the porch so it would freeze in the night.

Ah, makes me pine for my days as a schoolboy, painting my neighbor's houses and seriously injuring them.

Oh, to again be young, and innocent, and a total asshole 10-year-old...

Second First Day of Class

Oh boy. It looks like we've got a bunch of giggle-monsters. Two classes have serious cases of the chuckles! As in, "Can you believe this young farang is our teacher? Look, he's moving! Oh my God, he can speak!"

::giggle giggle gigle gigle gigiglle::

That tittering and giggling and twittering and twiggling and gittling, it will all subside soon once they realize how uninteresting and incomprehensible I am. Also, I told one class today that I was 55 years old. No word on whether or not they believed me.

Tomorrow also happens to be my 56th birthday, which is exciting. And I got the nicest birthday present in my email today, from a student named Fang who I absolutely ADORE to death, and who I am considering bringing back to America as a puppy figure of some sort:

Subject: Good evening.................my teacher

I'm  Charanda ( Fange ).   Thank  you  so  much  for  everything. 

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
You're  my  lovely  teacher.   Miss  you  so  much

Have  a  good  time 


Good  Bye.  ^^



*******

Ah, now that warms my heart almost as much as the fifth of Scotch I am going to drink alone at midnight tonight.

Hahaha, just kidding, guys, calm down--Scotch makes my heart very, very cold.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Songs Thai People Like: "Oht Oht" by The Richman Toy and "Lesson 1" by Jui Juis

I just recently discovered the names of these two gems of songs that Thai people really love, and that you might love, too. I know I do.

Why might you like these songs? Well, how about the fact that they have ENGLISH IN THEM?!?! Adventures in Thai people speaking English, anyone? Yeah, there's Anglo-Saxon abuse in these puppies. In the best possible way.




The firsts ong is "Oht Oht" by The Richman Toy (which is apparently not a tribute to Jonathan Richman), with a chorus that is almost completely in English and almost completely coherent:




I couldn't find English lyrics, but basically the chorus goes:

You love me and I love you
I want to say that, Won't you please listen to me?
Can you?
"No but you,"
I want
"No but you"
Will you marry me?

This is, of course, a loose quote of a previous song that Thai people like, "Nobody" by Wonder Girls.

Pretty catchy, isn't it?

But hey, maybe you're thinking, "You know, this is good...but I wish there were more incomprehensible Thai cartoon voices and ripping off of guitar lines from Counting Crows songs.

I present to you Accidentally in Love Lesson 1 [Boht tee Neung] by Jui Juis (which I can only assume is Thai for "Jewey Jew"):




And hey, I have English lyrics, too, for this song that is apparently about among other things, learning English in Kindergarten, not getting too drunk when you drink, and making funny noises with your mouth. Among my favorite lines in the English translation:


An explaination not to the extend of a debate.
I've been there my friend, the song's not that good I guess?
A half Italian will relate for you to listen


What language is this textbook in? Not even a single Thai language.



Ezra Pound, ladies and gentlemen.


Okay, I have to go listen to these songs over and over again because I love them. Lesson 1! Boht tee neuuuung!

Update: Lack of Updates Update

Those of you following this blog in terms of analytics (a surprisingly large group of you) will have surely noticed by now that the number of posts per day (P/D) has decreased dramatically this month, and these past weeks especially. I can hear your wails and cries even across the ocean, dear readers. And I have an update:

The reason: my life has been quite boring lately. Nothing to write home about, really (to write other places, perhaps--but that for a later time----); I sleep late, waking up after the noon hour, stuff myself stupid at lunch (today: pad see ee-yoo (broad flat noodles), mama pad saam rote (Ramen noodle stir fried, three flavors), and a bag of guava. I watched an episode of Twin Peaks, Season 2 ("Demons"). I considered going to the pool but the sky is overcast now--so I have taken my shirt off, sensing with some disgust the odor emanating from my chest hair and thereabouts, and am now pondering a nap--though having woken up only hours ago, combined with the lack of wisdom of such idea with tomorrow's early wakeup in mind, I am having "second thoughts," as the parlance goes.

So now I am sitting here, shirtless, shorts button not buttoned, listening to M83, eating the last of my guava, now pondering a shower, though if I am to nap (the possibility of which increases with each bite of guava) it would be wiser to shower after the sleep which will almost certainly result in a cake of sweat, especially across my already odorous chest.

So I think, instead, I will get into bed with my laptop, my cuddletop, and start another episode of Twin Peaks, and if I fall asleep, so be it, and if I do not, so be it, and I will check my email periodically, perhaps the news at an appropriate hour, when the National Bureaus send out their early morning updates. Then I can begin to check my Google Reader, as blogs and whatnot begin to update.

And who knows, perhaps I will update this blog, too--if only for my analyticos. Tata, tater tatas: I bid you adieu, for now.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Students Have Found My Facebook

It would appear as though a rather sizable group of my students from last semester have found my Facebook and are adding me en masse, steadily steadily steadily over these past two days. It's nice to see how old they are, what they like to do, who has girlfriends and boyfriends, who's single, etc. etc. The general creepy things that I was thinking anyway but now have confirmation for. Now all I have to do is get drunk enough to send them pictures of my genitals and we'll be out of this country!

For those of you not friends with me on Facebook/not my real friends (Callie), here are some of the highlights of Wall Posts/messages I've gotten from my kids:


Raknajoopjoop Joop Hello !!

jasan

How are you?


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

Char Chachacha ้ำ้Hello! my teacher I'm Char can you remember me?


REPLY TO THIS:

Warayuth Tositarat
only one in the universe!!!
8 hours ago · Delete

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

Jason O. Gilbert Hi Mee, I'm fine, and how are you? Are you ready for school to begin?


Wara Suttiwan I very sad !!! T_T semester is begining


********

(MESSAGE FROM POOKAO, MY CLASS CLOWN/BADASS)

"This is Pookao"

กู... ภูเขา 17 October at 19:51
How are you teacher ?

miss you




กู... ภูเขา 17 October at 19:52
thank you for grade A

Chuan and tum miss u too

*****

If only the rest of my life could be so innocent and simple as these Wall Posts and messages. I love these kids; and oh, by the way, the new semester starts on Monday! So I'll have a new batch of hilarious "English" names, characters, and desperate misunderstandings for you in a mere 48 hours.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Text Message Funny Funny

About a week ago I received a text message from one of the guys I met in Bang Saen while I was out drinking. Apparently, he and his friends were drunk and were a little confused about when I said my birthday was, and so on October 10, I received this SMS from one of the dudes, named--sigh--"Fluke":

22:33

HAPPY
BIRTHDAY JSON
I WISH U
HAPPINESS
FROM FLUKE
AND MY FRIEND
BANGSAEN

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fountain of Youth (Brief Anecdote)

Two days ago my Farang friend Chuck and I rented motorbikes and drove about an hour to Doi Inthanon National Park, home not only to the world-famous Princess Sirindhorn Neutron Monitor (which is a real thing) but also to some of the more spectacular waterfalls in Northern Thailand. We decided to go to get out of Chiang Mai for a while, out of the city, and "into nature," whatever we thought that meant.

When we arrived at the first fall, the Mae Ya Waterfall (Mae Ya--ya'll don't wanna hear me, you just wanna dance), we were the only people--not just the only Farang, as usual--but the only people on the entire grounds.

"We can do whatever we want here," Charlie marveled, staring upstream at the peacefully gurgling water.

"Just think," I continued his thought, similarly hypnotized, "I could take a poop right in the waterfall--the Mae Ya Waterfall--and no one would ever know."

We shook our heads at how lucky we were, and started our trek toward Mae Ya.

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

We changed into our swimsuits and agreed that, should a park official point out a "No Swimming" sign, we would pretend to be Germans and not understand. Luckily, the "No Swimming" sign looked like this:



and so we could have pretended to be Americans and not understand the sign.

Anyway, I took a few pictures by the shore, including my first step. I took a photo of that first step into the cold, still water, because just then I remembered the old Oriental saying: "A journey of 1000 seconds thrashed helplessly underneath jagged rocks begins with one step." And so I wanted to capture that one step. Here it is:




After that, of course I was forced to leave my camera beside the trail, as we waded upstream toward the waterfall, the rushing water sometimes as high as our pointed man-nipples, the tide sometimes pushing us backwards.

And though our muscles creaked and our bodies struggled due to our almost total lack of exercise and proper vitamin intake, we both remarked that we felt so, so young, like the boy scouts we never were: we were hiking in the wilderness, marveling at the wildlife, pointing out bugs and creepy crawlies. I even collected a few rocks to store on my bedside table forever and forever.

It was then, I think, that the sad realization came: that, for many men, Thailand does make them feel like young men again, though for reasons not nearly so pure as the rush of nature or memories of backyard explorations, that their Fountains of Youth come from much more human sources, drinking in the women they could never have, the young girls, the beautiful girls, who, for such impure, unnatural reasons, bring them what I can only imagine is the same feeling of a lost time that I felt.

I know there are differences, of course: chief among them, while the youth that I felt has associations of innocence, the youth of White Men in Thailand is anything but.

This guilty pensiveness did not ruin the hike, nor the majesty of solitudinous nature, nor the giddy innocence of re-finding boyhood--nor did my bruised ribs, dis-aligned jaw, or turned ankle--it is only a curious side-shoot of a thought that I had, which I hope can only be symptomatic of my present location and culture, and not a rather insignificant upcoming birthday. Looking back at my nightstand, I can still smile: turning 23, I will still have my rocks.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Slight Return

Been very tired lately--perhaps I've got that fatigue virus everyone's been talking about lately.

Two days ago I went with a friend to Doi Inthanon, a wonderful national park with several big, swimmable waterfalls. (And when I say "swimmable," I mean no one will tell you to get out when you get in and swim). Anyway, I was trying to do some amateur rock climbing, caught a bad foothold, and fell face first about two feet onto solid rock, bruising my rib and knocking my jaw around pretty good. Plus, I've got a terrific sunburn.

Other than that, I got my haircut today, my first non-skinhead haircut since coming to Thailand. Since I can't speak Thai, my barber gave me a page of Farang hairstyles, and I was told to choose between six styles, which included The Elijah Wood, the Eric Bana, and the George Clooney. I settled on The Hugh Jackman, and my hair looks okay, if not a bit Eraserhead. It's okay though, I'm not going outside for the next few days.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

How the Other Half (And the Other Half (And the Other Half)) Lives

On Friday I completed my day of shooting as an extra in the incoherent Swiss-German movie I had volunteered for. I'm still recovering from the Wrap Party (Listen to me! "Wrap party!" I'm like Donnie Wahlberg over here!) but I want to give a brief (compared to The English Patient) rundown of the day's events, stories, and homo-erotic miscegenations. Mostly events and stories though.

You will notice the title, "How the Other Half (And the Other Half (And the Other Half)) Lives" (Have you read Lost in the Funhouse?). The movie gave me the opportunity, having cast me as a rich gay sex tourist, to experience how three "other halves" of Western culture live, all at once--an autoerotic menage-a-trois, if you will (but please don't).

So we met at Airport Plaza Mall, where a gray van with the sign "EXTRAS" on it was assigned to take us on the thirty minute drive to outside of Chiang Mai, to the beautiful Veranda resort, which is high in the clean-aired mountains, posh, sprawling, and lots of other adjectives that don't describe my current lodgings. We got there around 3:00, and were reminded of the scene that the 10 of us (6 men, 4 women) were shooting: rich Westerners in Chiang Mai for the sex, bribing our toys with our money. Joke about method acting, yadda yadda yadda.

We were led to a bathroom where we changed into our bathing suits for the poolside scene. I was the youngest male there by far, and I wondered, looking at my flabby, balding, saggy-toothed Western co-stars what they thought about being negatively depicted, as themselves, in a movie role which they might be said to play every day. But I am far too polite, and far too bad of a journalist, to ask any of them. But clearly some of them at least partly fit this role--the fat bald hairy-backed Frenchman, aged 45, who has been coming to Chiang Mai for six months vacation each year, and who immediately struck up a conversation with a prim, thin fellow extra, aged 20, and who had her phone number within twenty minutes; the silent, devil-goateed Cuban, who stood in a corner for five hours wordless, without a smile, a social recluse that one naturally must assume is here for unsavory reasons; and finally, the broad-shouldered Brit, who had actually come with his Thai wife, who, at the buffet dinner following the shoot, looked down at the table the entire time as though she were embarrassed, also not speaking, except to ask her husband, in a near whisper, what he would like from the buffet.

But enough with the judgment--if I were being non-judgmental, then I would be seeing how a fourth half lives...but I couldn't help it. We were led upstairs, next to the pool, where we waited for principal photography ("Principal photography!" Watch out, Ari Gold!) to finish the scene that leads into ours--namely, this one:


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.




You see that last part, after the dashes? That's me! That's my role! I'm the homosexual sex tourist! Yours truly, right here, creepy as all hell! Grease me up, child, and call me Mitterand, because this is my calling!

As I said, everyone else was in a heterosexual couple, except for me and my new boyfriend, a short, skinny, feminine 19-year-old Thai student, shy and with big eyelashes. I talked to him a bit, without much success in communication; but perhaps the most outstanding feature of him was his name, which was--get ready for it--Boy.

Boy and I and the rest of the couples were led out to the pool, to our lounge chairs, when the time had come for our big moment. The real couple, the big Brit and his silent girl, shared a lounge, she leaning back into his arms (and in one awkward moment, the director cut the film and asked for another shot with those two, wanting more affection. "I'm not seeing that you love each other," he said. [Loosens collar]. Is it hot in here?). The fat Frenchman and his 20-year-old paramour hopped into the pool and were instructed to splash each other and frolic ("But I was just trying to grab the girl as much as I could!" he told us gleefully at the dinner table later); and then there was Boy and I at the end of the shot, clearly the centerpiece, the big surprise at the end of a long pan.

We sat across a small table from each other, our legs intertwined underneath. He drank a cocktail with a lime-wedge and salt on the top of the glass; I drank a Spartan bottle of beer.

"What can they do?" the props man asked. "Play a game or something."

And so he brought us a bag full of rocks, and we were instructed to think of a game, which one might think would be the job of, I don't know, someone part of the creative team, but man you would be so wrong.

Luckily Boy knew a game which involved him coquettishly tossing a rock in the air, scooping up a rock from the table with his same hand, and then catching the rock before it hit the table. The director liked it, and we were told to go. And since Boy was busy tossing up rocks, all I had to do was stare at him creepily, smiling, laughing, drooling--as well as doing something with the rocks to make it look like I was involved. And so with the ten or so rocks on the table, I made a giant penis pointing toward Boy, and one by one I slid the stones toward him, from the tip of the penis down to the testicles. No one really noticed, but I think it was a triumph of Freudianism in film if there ever was one--the gay sex tourist building a big white penis out of round white stones on the table, pointing at his jolly gay little sex Boy, and shooting off the white tips of those penis one by one so that the Boy could nimbly juggle the stones with his hands until there were none left and I could only applaud and give him a Cheers with my beer bottle.

I know this is symbolic of something, but what that is will be left to the vaunted Swiss-German film criticism circles.

And that was it.

So you can see that my experience as the other half was rather short-lived--Boy and I said goodbye afterwards, he laughing nervously in lieu of actual words, me shaking my head as he walked away from me forever.

My sweet Boy! O Boy! Our stone penis ball-juggling game was too brief--like the Speedo you wore for me at the Veranda Resort all those years ago, my Boy! Where will you go, Boy, when Papa Mitterand isn't here to take care of you? I would have taken you to Tokyo, Goddammit! We could have sipped Mai Tais in St. Bart's! But you chose to go away from me, and only because we couldn't communicate with each other on any level of interpersonal relation past eye-sight, giggles, and the transferral of metaphorical gonads across a table propped up by our intersecting limbs.

So, I couldn't cut it as a rich gay sex tourist, this is clear. I can only hope that, some day in the not-too distant future, I can successfully live my life as at least one of the three.

Safety Advice for Visitors to Thailand

Last night I happened to be eating dinner across the row from a very stern-looking Thai military man in full uniform. Of course, he was not actually stern because he is Thai, and so he began talking to me to practice his English, asking me about my skateboard and how I learned to read Thai. It was a pleasant chat with a pleasant, well-meaning man, and when his food came, we agreed that it was quite nice to talk to each other.

At the end of my meal, as I got up to pay, he had his eyes on me. I reached into my pocket and pulled out my wad of bills--I don't carry around a wallet here because all I ever have in my pockets is cash, coins, and my apartment key, so i saw no reason to spend valuable Baht on a wallet.

"You do not keep your money in a wallet?" the military man says to me with some suspicion.

"No, I don't have a wallet," I tell him.

"You just keep your money in your pockets?" he asks, looking at me strangely.

"Yes, in my pockets."

"And what if you need to carry around an ID card or passport?"

I happened to be carrying my Passport that day, so I took it out of my back pocket and showed it to him.

"I see," he said, nodding gravely.

"Listen," he said suddenly, "Be careful."

"Be careful? Why?" I asked.

"Do you know what Songkran is? The water festival?"

[Songkran is a three-day citywide festival where everyone throws water all over each other all day and night, from buckets and hoses and waterguns, etc.]

"Yes, I know Songkran."

"Be careful for Songkran," he continued, quite serious, "and make sure you put your money in a plastic bag. Or it will get wet."

I thought about this safety advice coming from a member of the national army--that this of all things, was what I as an American carrying lots of loose bills in my pockets should be worried about--and I wanted to thank him, not only for offering the safety advice, but for offering that specific safety advice, that this was what I had to be wary of in this city. This is a great town, Chiang Mai, with great people and, apparently, no pickpockets.

Now if you'll excuse I have to run and make it to the plastic bag store before the start of Songkran.

Which is in April, by the way.

Safety Advice for to Thailand

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Chonburi Buffalo Races 2009: The World Is Not Enough-alo

(This is Part 3 in a planned 2-Part series on my visit to Chonburi to see the Chonburi Buffalo Festival, which is like Burning Man in every way possible. You can check out Parts 1 and 2 by using your common sense and trying to locate them on this webpage).

AFTER THE JUMP I HAVE PICTURES OF BUFFALO


When we last wrote (this blog, as many of you know, is co-written with Jonathan Ames), I was taking pictures of buffaloes, and people standing next to buffaloes.

This time, I have pictures of buffaloes, people with buffaloes, buffaloes occupying three-dimensional space, and more!



Here are two local beauties, dressed as some sort of Oriental elfin-creatures, next to a buffalo with a really big hat. It's funny because it's bigger than a, you know, normal-sized hat. 

And also it's crushing his neck muscles.

Haha.




And here's Buffalolly Ringwald, looking Pretty in Pink! This reminds me of this one time, when I was seven years old, my sister and I painted our gerbil Justice a pretty shade of pink! And then, overnight, it promptly suffocated to death from the toxic substances blocking its pores. Hey, not all stories are happy, you know!



Chik-Fil-A is missing out on a BIG TIME promotional deal here. Haha, can you believe those "Eat Mor Chikin" ads are still funny after all these years? I've never really though about it, because I'm laughing too hard!



Does this remind anyone else of Moses in Egypt-land? I mean, I'm sure this costume is MUCH more offensive than that, but by golly--I think I see Moishe in that beard!



After this is over I think we should all get airbrushed T-shirts of us drinking Tequila and watching an orange sunset.



Do you guys remember when two of the most important movies in early-American Film History were horribly, horribly racist? I'm talking, of course, about It's a Wonderful Life and Donnie Darko.



Ready to deliver a hot beef injection.



Yes, the boy on the right is completely naked. He was really embarrassed to have his weiner flopping around, so he mostly covered it with his hand and looked really bashful and upset. I felt bad for him, so I got naked, too. This did not make anyone feel better.

Except for me. I love being naked.



I'm naked right now.



King of the trees, the tree-meister. I count on them.



Can't quite tell what the signs say. White one says something about "middle" NOUN while the cardboard one says "Eat SOMETHING." My guess?
1. Middle, A Song by Jimmy
2. Eat World

No, in fact I'm positive.



A giant piece of poop! Probably from a buffalo.



They're like characters in a racist Dr. Seuss fable.



Like a Polaroid picture.



Joke about Michael Jackson and/or Tiger Woods.



You see, this fair was just like any other fair! There was a kiddie race track!



And an Ultraman moonbounce!



And an entire family of four on one motorcycle!



Off to the races!



Strugglign to a couple of buffalo into starting position.





Easy....



Easy......



....not a great showing.



When you fall off the buffalo, get right back on the buffalo, that's what I say.



And they're off! (Finally).



At the Chonburi Buffalo Festival, even the dogs got in on the totally forced costume wearing.



Hey, do you know what children like to eat? Sun-dried maggots.



Other competitions at the Festival included sling-shot accuracy contests...



The greased-pole climb (those little pieces of paper sticking out are increasing bills of currency).



Get on up there, big guy!



This reminds me, in a sick way, of that SNL game show parody "Who Wants to Eat?" Perhaps because these poor kids were attempting to reach 50 Baht bills for about three hours.

Bah, I'm at my photo limit again. Good news though: the very next picture is from a brutal, brutal cockfight.

Brought to you by Isuzu!