Sunday, February 28, 2010

Great Moments in Talking to Thai People on Facebook Chat

 (1:13:47 AM) Gift: how r u??
(1:13:49 AM) Me: i'm fine, how are you?
(1:14:38 AM) Gift: goods

For some reason this strikes me as incredibly funny. Probably just delirium though.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Holiday, Oh Holiday, And the Best One of the Year

Oh, yesterday, yesterday, yesterday. Where is to begin with her:

I woke up around--I'm bad with numbers--I'll say 80. I had to drop off some exams at the Maw (Saved-by-the-Bell-style nickname for CMU, Sleater-Kinney) and pick up a form that is essential for my tax returns. Yeah, that's why it's called a 'form.' The Nords know what I'm talking about.

I donned a cape when I went to CMU this time. Not really, but I might as well, because I'm finished working there and my non-traditional wardrobe can't get me in trouble anymore. What are they going to do, fire me? Tell me that wearing a cape with a giant silkscreen print of a flaccid penis on the back is indecent exposure? Ask me to go home? Yeah, okay, Ajarnaporn.

I sat around there for about an hour waiting for the secretary to return. You see, time in Thailand is like a rubberband: it's elastic. It's okay to be late for things, to wait--when  you say you will be back from lunch around 1, that could mean 1:30. Hey, it's no problem!

Unless a Thai person is waiting for you, in which case you better be on time or else.

I got the tax form and went to the rhinoplastiterium to "consult" with the "doctor." The doctor emerged from a back room and asked if he could help me.

"I'm interested in a rhinoplasty."

"Pass."

"What?"

"Pass...?"

"Pass...?"

"Can I help you?"

"I'm interested in a rhinoplasty."

"Oh, yes. I'm the doctor."

We sat down at the desk. He gestured at my nose. "We can remove the bump." I hadn't even told him what I wanted yet; I suppose I shouldn't be too upset--he is a doctor, you will recall--but what if I wanted to elongate my nostrils. Some girls like nose-bumps. In some cultures the nose-bump is considered very handsome and dignified. In these cultures, the King was decided on, regardless of intellect or family standing, by simply choosing the adult male (over 15 years old) with the biggest nose-bump.

I am the King of this Culture. Bow down to Bumpus McNoseson. (Palindrome)

I asked the doctor if he could do something about the way the tip of my nose curves back toward my mouth like a damn bird's beak.

"Yes, that's my job."

I get it, you're a doctor.

So he repeated the two procedures that he would do:

"So, I will remove the bump, and make your nose...slower."

Good. The ladies have always complained about my fast nose.

"Do you want to make an appointment?"

I haven't yet. He says the procedure will take about 40-50 minutes. Afterwards I can do whatever I want, except no swimming, which is too bad, because I will likely lose this toned swimmer's physique. It's okay, though, because afterwards, when I wear a swimming cap, I won't look like a falcon.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

THAI-NO-PLASTY 2010

I was reading Christopher Hitchens' obituary of Alexander Haig the other day, when I realized that I wanted to start off this blog as pretentiously as possible. So there we go.

Today, he-who-knows-Ladyboys Netty drove me around looking for rhinoplasty places. The one that he had recommended--"where the movie stars go"--appeared to have been demolished, so we went with his second runner-up, a charming little hole-in-the-wall across from a whorehouse. This is literally true--the place we went is across from the street from Spicy, which you may know is a notorious lady bar in Chiang Mai. Anyway, that's where the surgery will be going down if it happens.

On the price sheet outside of the clinic--yes, they offered a menu outside the establishment, just like Outback Steakhouse--the quote for a rhinoplasty is 22,000 Baht, "depending on the technique." I would like the really, really good technique that doesn't fuck up my nose, so I think I'll be shelling out the full 22,000. Plus, let's face it, my nose is really, really ugly.

What else did I do today? Periodically I will read a book or an article (like the Hitchens' obit) that mentions a daily diary, and I think--You know, I should keep a daily diary like that, too. Nothing profound, nothing comical, just a mundane shopping list of everything I did in the day. Yes, readers, update your RSS feed, here comes the juice!

So today I woke up around--let's say 11. I walked to lunch at what I will charitably call an outdoor restaurant, but which is really just a wooden shack with some green netting hung over it to keep the sun out. I had some mediocre Pad King Muu, at which point I walked over to another restaurant and got some fried rice. While I was there I saw a shrimpy little man, about 28, I would guess, being super-obnoxious on what I assume was a date with a young Thai girl (about 20). I thought lots of mean things about him and got very, very homesick. Then I came home, worked on my memoir (I'm writing a memoir), and conked out for hours and hours. Then Netty and I went searching for my plastic surgery hut.

Isn't this fascinating? THIS IS WHAT LIVING IN ASIA IS LIKE YOU GUYS

Monday, February 22, 2010

I, For One, Know What Happens to Nosy Fellas

Warning: this blog post is likely to upset those females who have told me that my nose is just fine the way it is. I'm looking at you, devoted ThisLandIsThailand blog reader Rachel George!

A few weeks ago I mentioned to my one-time Thai tutor Surat that I was interested in getting a nose job while in Thailand. I asked her (since she is a Thai person) if she knew of any good, cheap clinics where I could go. [Note: This isn't offensive. Thai people in America used to ask me where they could find a quality diamond salesman all the time.] I said that I didn't want to go to one of those super-expensive hospitals where the other Farang go--I wanted the discount price. She apologized that, since she was from hundreds of miles South of Chiang Mai, she wasn't aware of any local rhinoplasty shops.

"You should ask [our friend] Netty though," she said. "Because he is friends with a lot of ladyboys."

(And to think that eight months ago this response would have seemed totally, totally incoherent. And yet now--oh, of course, because ladyboys require a lot of cheap plastic surgery to feminize their various masculine facial and physical features. Sure, I'll ask Netty, he who knows the Ladyboys.)

For weeks I had forgotten to ask Netty if he could ask his Ladyboy pals (pals? Is that okay?) to recommend a face butcher. And then today, I ran into Netty at school, and before I could even say Hello, he skipped up to me and touched me on the nose with his pointer finger.

"I heard you want to get a nose job!" he said.

If you were at PiA Orientation (and really, who would miss such an invaluable and hilarious weekend?), then you probably heard that what we do in our Asian communities will resound through the neighborhoods, from laundry lady to laundry lady, until everyone in the town knows of all of our exploits. Why, I remember one night, about a month after I arrived in Chiang Mai, I went to my local 7-11 to pick up some toilet paper. I bought a six-pack, paid the cashier, and started the three-minute walk home. It was hot out, and I had become thirsty, so I decided to turn around and head back to the 7-11 for a Big Gulp.

By the time I returned, I realized just what kind of impact my actions and purchases could have on this community. In just over two minutes, the 7-11 had demolished and rebuilt as a Toilet Paper Specialty Store, with a giant toilet paper statuary built atop the edifice, and special offers on the specific brand of toilet paper I had just purchased. It was a humbling, humbling moment, the kind of educational experience that really reminds a Fellow of the kind of impression he makes on a local peoples.

Anyway, Netty had heard from Surat that I wanted to get a nose job. He had asked around and found a clinic not far from my apartment. It was run by "Hill people." The cost: about 30,000 Baht ($900ish). A Farang friend had gone there and was very happy with the results.

"But why do you want to change your nose?" he asked, again touching the pale, hairy Nerf football that sits in the center of my face. "It looks good!"

I didn't really have a summary response, so I just said that I didn't like my nose. FYI: I don't like the Nazis, either. Well, okay, that's not fair: the Nazis have never caused me a lifetime of crippling social anxiety and laughably low self-confidence.

"Whose nose do you want to have?" he asked.

"I don't know," I said. What was the name of that midget in The Station Agent? "Maybe [our friend] Charles' nose."

"Charles!" he laughed. "Nooooo!! You want Brad Pitt's nose!"

I hope that's how it works. You might remember that, for the first several haircuts I received, I was handed a menu which consisted of pictures of different Famous White People and told to point to the one whose haircut I most wanted. Would it be the same at the rhinoplasty place?

"I'll take the Jake Gyllenhaal, but I want the nostrils of George Clooney. Can you do that?"

I will keep you updated on this thrilling news (noose) as the situation develops.

Mom, I am looking forward to reading your eight-page email about how great an idea this is and how you will gladly pay for the whole thing.

Ex-girlfriends and girl friends, I am looking forward to your horror at the very idea that I would get a nose job in Thailand and how I will be a different person if I get a new nose and how please please don't do it it just won't be the same.

Male friends, I am looking forward to hearing about how gay I am for getting a nose job.

Let the great experiment--BEGIN!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Some Final Wisdom from My Students

Again I have not posted in a long while. The culprits: laziness, Jon Weed, erectile dysfunction (in that order). I have also been quite swamped grading final exams.

The other day, upon completion of my teaching, my mother asked me if I noticed improvement from the beginning of the semester to the end. I'm not sure if she meant in myself as a teacher (if anything I became lazier, more defeatist, and more complacent in my failures) or in the results I was seeing.

Well, let's check out some results shall we?

The final exam for my freshmen included a portion that required them to write a paragraph about the "benefits of regular exercise." Several benefits ("keeps you in good shape," "promotes mental health," etc.) were provided; the students really just had to put them in order with some subjects and linking verbs and they were golden.

They were required to write a topic sentence, stemming from the phrase "Benefits of regular exercise." A prototypical answer might have been "Regular exercise has many benefits" or "There are many benefits of regular exercise."

Yeah, we didn't quite learn that pattern, I guess.

So, here are some introduction sentences, some health tips, and some concluding thoughts from what are literally the very last things my freshmen wrote for me. Am I seeing improvement? I am seeing improvement in my happy, but not so much in my learn.

Now you might think it's cruel to post the shortcomings of my students on the Internet to see. Let me assure you, however, that the writers of these sentences all passed my class, and will head onto the ENG 200 level, where they will be writing academic research papers. Are they qualified to do this?

I will let you be the judge (I will not let you be the judge).

As always, enjoy:

Introduction Sentences


The good healthy is benefits of regular exercise.

How offened do you exercise? And you know benefits of regular exercise? In my opinion every body should have firm shape, strong, good health.

Benefits of regular exercise was helpping manage your weight. So you didn't lost your money.

Benefits of regular exercise can help strong body and having good healthy.

Benefits of regular exercise is way to care your heath.

Benefits of regular exercise for your good healthy and happy.

Benefits of regular exercise is good promotion.

Benefits of regular is good exercise.

Everyone know that exercise is good not only health but also your body shape too. I'll tell the reader all I know about the benefits of regular exercise. First, exercis can keep you in your shape...yes, all of you know that but how?

I think I like exercise. I like football. I feel happy.

Benefits of regular exercise. It is holping look like smat.

Exercise has good healty.

The benefits of regular exercise is the good attractions.

I enjoy going Benefits of regular exercise because something a good my healthy.

Nuggets of Inspiration


The moment you had exercise, it reduced stress too. It made sure when you had exercise you will happy.

Exercise is activity to relax when you aungry. After finishing to exerise, you will felt fun.

When you want strong health and happy, you should keep you in shape.

So that, you should have time to exercise, eat good food, no drink Alchol, no eat jung food and don't sleep over which you will your good healthty.

You should salfing the body and After drinking water 8 glass/day and eating health food. you shouldn't drinking lacalhor and eatting fung food more. After benefits of regular exercise you shoud clending body and sleeping 8 H/day.

In Conclusion...

If you eat food health, exercise and enough sleep is good health and live very happy.

Many people like going to where, because calm down and cool, who happy to go Benefits of regular exercise. Ater, many people, Who have been going very day.

After along working day, you burned out the exercise can make your stress, improve your mood and boost self-confidence. Many benefits let's exercise!

When you have exercised you will good shape and build up muscles and slow down ageing process you will good looking.

Finally if people exercis everyday and eat a food for healthty, you must have a good healthty.

The last I hope to should exercise for health your.

If you follow these, you are heving strong body good health and you is a good-looking in the eye's other people.

The promote mental health is reduce stress, which is boost self-confidence. This is a benefit we always enjoy because it is body health.

If you exercise every week week is 30 minute, you very strange.

This everything can helping you happy and strong health. If you love your lift, who you should exercise 3 day/week for your lift a good.

We can boost self-confidence when go to exercise you are health good and happiness.

Everything above can hely you to enjoy and happy.

I hope you come back to service mental health.

********

Thank you, New. I hope I come back to service mental health. Wait, what?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Let Me Tell You How Great I Am

My comedy has always had a very limited audience. This is due to the facts that I both joke about very odd, obscure things, and also that I don't have any friends. I spent an embarrassing amount of time closely quoting, line-by-line, two songs by a fat electronic artist named Dan Deacon, an art house film about an oil tycoon, and a YouTube video about a cross-eyed attorney-kitten.

This did not win me any friends at, say, sorority mixers. Which I was never invited to in the first place, and even if I had been, would probably have ended in disaster after repeatedly waiting for laughs on a brilliant "Whose chair is this?" reference. Not my social life, not my problem.

Now, I bring up how intensely clever I am because I did something intensely clever last night. It involves knowledge of Thai, the Lunar Calendar, and idiomatic English; but once we get through all of those, boy howdy, you will just laugh and laugh and laugh. So strap on your tittering girdle and tighten the buckles: it's titterin' time.

Now, all of my readers are native, idiomatic English speakers (save for the few subscribers who use this blog for ESL purposes--bonjour, Honduras!). So you know that today, February 14, is Valentine's Day. And you also know that a common phrase in the Candy Heart Canon, which almost-but-not-quite works as a portmanteau (Candyon (great Gruff Rhys album (veering away from relatability again))), is "Be My Valentine," which sounds about as romantic as other imperatives "Try harder next time" and "Get in the car." Regardless, "Be My Valentine" is a recognized greeting card phrase.

Now, this February 14 also happens to be the Chinese New Year. We can say Happy New Year, or, in Thai, สวัสดีปีใหม่, or in our alphabet, "Sa wat dee pbee mai," where "pbee mai" means "new year."


"Pbee mai," which you can doubtless tell from the tone markers in the original Thai, is middle and then low, and is pronounced like "Be my" in Valentine. Thus the phrase:


ปีใหม่ Valentine


A lexical combination of Valentine's Day and New Year's to match the calendar collision of the two holidays.Will you pbee mai Valentine? Does anyone know what I'm talking about, or is this too, too strange? Why do I think the things that I think?


N.B.: I wrote this post while listening to "Don, Aman" by Slint.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Blood Number of Death

My freshmen just finished learning the different uses of the simple past, the present perfect, the present perfect continuous, and other verb tenses commonly used in news stories, and so naturally their homework assignment was to go online, find a news story, and then submit it as their own as though they had written it.

No, actually, they were supposed to write their own news story. You can guess what the majority of the submissions were.

However, I am so proud of the brave few who actually followed instructions and wrote their own news story, and they receive the benefit of both a higher grade on the assignment and being mercilessly mocked on my blog.

So, unbeknownst to me, there was a big news story about a "blood telephone number." Apparently this was a big story the night before the assignment was due, because I got many, many news stories about it--all of them, of course, in massacred English, as this is happening in Thailand so all news sources would be in Thai.

I won't ruin the surprise of what this breaking news is about--though if you have seen the movie "One Missed Call" you will have an idea--but will instead let my student reporters fill you in. Enjoy, and don't get murdered after picking up your cell phone:

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

Yesterday I saw a television. The reporter said the news about telephone. It had something wrong. The reporter said the person who receive telephone that had number 083-333XXXX or had red colour had to be ill and later the person were died.

Next day My father call to me. He has anxioused about the news. Now I have been worrying about my telephone when it have the call and I don't know who are call I don't receive it because I'm scary.

-Bow

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"Puzzle of Telephone"

I have heard the new from my friend about have 2 people dead from puzzle of telephone number. And my friend told me if your phone has had 083-333-3XXX called you don't receive and this number is red number. It's different for another number. Everyone has known about this new but someone think accultism or virus. Nowaday people have been dreading for this new. Sometime this new has been faking or ture.

-Boom

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"Death Called" (Ed. Note - Best Title)

The last 2-3 days have had death call. My friend told me her friend received the phone then next day she died. I have been hearding a new victim, he answered calling then the nose has been breeding. When the phone has called, display phone shown red. Researcher has tried to the reason about that why did they die. They have not believed, maybe they were die by another cause. This news have not prove.

--Phak

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Blood telephone number. This is number of death. It was popgular in the people because someone who will be died. In the north of Thailand. people Fear the blood telephone number. you should save yourself.

-San A.K.A. the murderer

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"Call of Death"

Last week I heard a scary news about telephone. People have been talking about scary news that a exocist phone number has shown up and someone who accept will be die. In first time I have heard, I didn't belived it and think it's joke. But after I heard that have people dead by accept phone, I started to fear and belive it. Yesterday, my friend want to tested about that because he want to know how truth is it, by calling the exocist number but no one accept phone. Last night I got some email that telling me something. It has been telling me that the old woman receive the exocist phone number tell her that her son who was a soldier has die. Immediately she dead by her heart attack. Then when I heard that my scary about call of death has gone away.

-Chun

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This new story is about "Death Number." I've heard about the news since last week. The news were on-air in many channel of TV, newspaper, and on the Internet. The news said that if you have some strange number call you, please don't answer, don't reject, don't call back and don't save it on your mobile phone. The people should observe that the screen of your mobile phone will show the red number. Some people who don't about the death number answered the phone and then they heard the monk pray in the Cambodian language. As they were hear that voice, they began to sick and died by heart attack. Some people said that they have had bad shocked after they've known the news because it seems to be impossible.

-Pat

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"One Missed Call" is available on DVD and Blu-Ray at most major retailers.