Pink Kubota

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At a fruit orchard tour in Chonburi, Thailand.

I will never catch up with all the photos I have to post before I retire… At least I’ll have a lot of photos to look at then.

Posted in Cars, Exploits, Oh, baby!, Photos | 1 Comment

Into the Muk

The start of the new school term means that I am juggling full-time teaching, weekend studying, steady part-time work, and intermittent lecturing gigs all at the same time while parenting, so for the past couple months, I’ve been busier than a one-legged man in an ass kicking contest.

Today I’m off to Mukdahan, where I will teach a seminar at the Mukdahan Grand Hotel tomorrow morning. It’s about a three hour drive, and I’ve been trying to pin down a gearbox problem with Nam’s car on long drives, so we’ll see what happens.

Posted in Exploits, Web | 2 Comments

Reposted from my Facebook account

I’m having an eventful birthday. After dropping off Max and Mina at school, Nam and I drove by an accident on the side of the road. I saw my co-worker Bruce lying on the asphalt, so I told Nam to pull over and ran out to help. A middle aged woman riding a small motorbike with a little girl on back had hit Bruce’s mountain bike from behind. Judging from the damage, she had been going pretty fast.

There were already several people gathered around watching and talking bullshit, but typically, nobody was really helping. The woman was lying down, motionless, in a pool of blood leaking from her head, so I made sure she wouldn’t drown in it and left her alone, then helped Bruce who was down and in pain but seemed to not be seriously injured. Nam picked up the little girl so she wouldn’t get hit by a passing rubbernecker. The girl seemed totally unhurt.

The reason I am writing about this here instead of my blog is that my Facebook page has much more local exposure, and I would like to publicly shame someone – Nam saw a doctor that we know (who works at the university clinic just up the street) standing there, just watching with the rest of the crowd. She called his name and motioned him to come over to help as we couldn’t even hear sirens yet, and HE REFUSED. Instead, he just stood there and continued to watch for another few minutes until the ambulances arrived.

So I would just like to take a few minutes to publicly address this cowardly asshole: HEY ASSHOLE, your job is to HELP people! It’s NOT to inspect enough ears and throats to buy a big house, or to prescribe enough drugs to buy a new Camry every two years. When you see people injured on the side of the road, it’s YOUR JOB (and it’s actually the law) to GO HELP THEM AND STOP WATCHING LIKE IT’S A FUCKING MOVIE.

Anyway. Nam rode in the ambulance with the little girl, Bruce was followed in a second ambulance, and I drove our car there. The woman was hurt in a bad way. Her family eventually showed up and claimed the little girl, didn’t say thank you to Nam, were only concerned with the money the woman had been carrying (and apparently kind of accused Nam of stealing it!). So hey, fuck them, too.

Then I was in the ER with Bruce, explaining his condition to the nurses and doctors, when a baby was brought on to the next bed with bad burns. The nurses said it had been doused with boiling water and started taking photos for evidence. The baby was screaming at first, and then just crying, and it took about half an hour for it to get exhausted enough to fall asleep as they cleaned the burns and applied some kind of cream…. it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to see. But the worst part about it was that the young mother was more concerned about herself than about her baby. She kept looking at me and Nam and the nurses as if to say, “forgive me!” I could only shake my head in disgust and Nam actually admonished her, “take care of your child, he needs you!”

There is a lesson in here somewhere. I’m just trying to figure out what  it might be.

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Posted in Around Mahasarakham, Work | 1 Comment

Faces of Alyonka

Posted in Oh, baby!, Photos | 2 Comments

Classic

I’m in the middle of editing a particularly confusing English translation of an academic paper for publication. I usually decline work like this, but the client agreed to a generous hourly wage (it makes more sense than charging per page), so here I am, slogging it out all weekend. I hate doing work like this when the kids are home, because all I want to do is play with them and there are constant distractions.

Anyway, I had a sudden need to hear Mariah’s first album in all its Vision of Lovingestlyish glory, so I fired up the music transmogrifier and the tunes instantly flowed from my PC’s speakers… Took me back to listening to the Carpenters in my dad’s VW beetle decades ago, and I realized that there is a similar gap between musical generations – Mariah’s first album was released 24 years ago!!! Holy shit, I am old.

And now, back to the grindstone.

UPDATE #1: Let me be very specific. I keep playing one specific loop from a single song, to chase the bad English away. This one: http://youtu.be/I3_cOYvvjog?t=4m05s

UPDATE #2: Note to self – Future mashup:
“All In Your Technicolor, Blurring the Mind” by White Carey
Tracks:
http://youtu.be/I3_cOYvvjog
http://youtu.be/A3SOfRrbUMI?t=4s

UPDATE #3: Now I got myself stuck listening to Astrocreep 2000 while editing bad English and it’s not going so well..

Falling down I am a psychoholic
Erratic and sure I cannot fail
Replay slow smooth and automatic
Go easy riding danger
Yeah – two guns west I ride an instamatic
Polaroid rat crucifixion nail
Antenna down cruising in the deep red
Mouth of a demon angel

GET IT ON!
GET IT ON!
GET IT ON!
GET IT ON!

Posted in Music, Oh, baby!, Work | Leave a comment

First Grade

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Max no longer wears tartans.

He has so many girls fawning over him at school, it’s ridiculous.

And so a new era begins….

Posted in Oh, baby!, Photos | Leave a comment

Heavier Breathing

The video of pro wrestlers’ heavy inhalations I linked to last year was one of my all-time favorites. It now has a sequel:

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Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

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When I told Max not too step on or over headstones, he asked if it was because they are traps.

I remember being told not to do the same thing decades ago in a cemetery in Hawaii. I remember asking if it was because it’s impolite to step on people’s heads.

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Posted in Exploits, Photos, Society & Culture | 1 Comment

How poor are poor families in Myanmar?

Poor enough to sell their children to human trafficking rings for $50 US: Trafficker of Rose-Selling Children on Khaosan Road Arrested

The story linked above is currently displayed along an article stating that Thailand has been downgraded to the lowest level (with the worst offenders) in the US State Department’s latest report on human trafficking.

…This is a direct result of the recent reporting on slavery on Thai shrimp boats and the media tying some of the largest corporations in Thailand, the US, and the UK to human trafficking (the big NY Times article ran just yesterday). The response from some of these corporations has been promising:

Through our research and development of alternative protein sources, CPF could walk away from fishmeal. However, doing so would shift the problem to the fishing industry, which is mostly comprised of fishermen earning their living in legal ways. The products of the fishing boats involved in human trafficking and slavery will continue to be purchased by other factories, and the issues around slavery will remain unchanged.

I believe it is better to work within the system, using our buying power to eradicate slavery in the region and make fishing practices fully sustainable…

- Dhanin Chearavanont
Chairman, Charoen Pokphand Foods, Bangkok, Thailand

Excerpt from: CP Foods condemns slavery and human trafficking in fishing industry

Posted in Thai Society/Culture | 1 Comment

Best football video, ever

Is this Team USA vs. Germany?

Posted in Videos | 2 Comments

Candy Sushi-making Kit (Tanoshi Sushi-ya san by Kracie)

A self-explanatory photo series (because I am lazy, although I should state that this was brought by Michiko & Dave for Mina, who watches kawaii Japanese candy-making videos incessantly on YouTube and is learning little girl Japanese phrases as a result):

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Posted in Food, Oh, baby!, Photos | 2 Comments

Trash Raider

There is a fat gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus) in our house that raids the kitchen trash when I leave the lid off. He runs away as soon as he hears someone approaching the kitchen, but I can hear the crumpling of the trash bag as he explores. Sometimes I leave the lid of the trash off just so I can hear him exploring…. He’s been with us for a couple years now (they apparently live 5-10 years), so I consider him a friend, but he’s still very skittish.

Although he probably just hangs around the trash to catch flies, I like to believe that he’s eating our leftovers; perhaps a tasty bit of stir fried basil-stained rice here, and a few nips of mango peelings there. I’ve yet to catch him in the act, though. Even Nam, who really hates geckos, thinks this little guy’s trash raiding habit is amusing… We call him Mr. Fatty because he’s just about the piggiest common gecko we’ve ever seen.

Posted in Chillin' | 1 Comment

Candy Bugs in Mukdahan, Thailand

A friend just posted this to Facebook, and I needed to share it here, just because:

Look very closely.

Look very closely.

Awesome!

Original post: LINK

Posted in Food, Photos | 1 Comment

Beef Stew & Garlic Mashed Potatoes (and Garlic Bomb Bread)

The slow cooker is like our live-in chef.

The slow cooker is like our live-in chef.

Max loves mashed potatoes.

Posted in Food, Photos | 3 Comments

Isan Lunch

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Lao-style somtam, grilled tilapia, beef meatball skewers, rice noodles, sticky rice: Around $5 US!!

Posted in Food, Photos, Thai Society/Culture | 2 Comments

Taco night

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When Dave and Michiko visited from Japan a month ago, we had a Mexifood party. Due to what’s available here, we had to improvise a few things, but it all turned out well: I made carnitas pork and refried beans in the slow cooker (in that order, without washing the pot, using pork fat to season the beans) from the night before. A trip to the supermarket only yielded a single, cement-hard avocado, so we nuked it for a minute and mixed it in with locally available (Khon Kaen) sour cream. Finally, we deemed making corn tortillas with the masa I have in the freezer and the tortilla press my mom brought over a few years back too much work, so we made due with flour tortillas for everything, which are available at the Tops supermarket in Central Khon Kaen. Dave kindly brought over many sauces from his stash: Sriracha, Cholula, and hundreds of Taco Bell hot sauce packs from the states.

The final result:

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Posted in Food, Photos, Thai Society/Culture | 2 Comments

The Perfect Breakfast – East Meets West

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Pan-fried eggs with assorted meat, toast, rice porridge, coffee. It’s hard to find a good breakfast in Thailand if you are tired of the standard fare. We found a good place.

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Posted in Food, Oh, baby!, Photos, Thai Society/Culture | Leave a comment

Mina loves noodles

Mina is a 4-year old noodle snob.

I have a 4-year old noodle snob.

 

What my co-worker hilariously dubbed "gay balls" noodles. .. maybe because they are actually called "sweet eggs" noodles by the store (although they aren't actually sweet, which is puzzling).

What my co-worker hilariously dubbed “gay balls” noodles. .. maybe because they are actually called “sweet eggs” noodles by the store (although they aren’t actually sweet, which is puzzling).

 

I still haven’t finished posting all of the food photos from Nam’s phone.

Posted in Food, Oh, baby!, Photos | 1 Comment

Menopausal Chicken, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Spent Hen

Mina celebrating the arrival of Ms. Hen

Mina celebrating the arrival of Ms. Hen

 

I came to know about Ms. Hen, and spent hens in general, by accident.

I found a ridiculously cheap whole chicken at Tesco a few weeks ago. The thick plastic bag it was packaged in read: “Ms. Hen”.

Ms. Hen was only about 85 baht ($2.60 US), about one-third the price of a normal chicken, but it being a giant supermarket chain that buys in tons and pallets and truckloads and prices accordingly, I didn’t think much about it.

My usual recipe for a whole chicken is a slight variation of the Hainan Chicken recipe my cousin Kris posted on YouTube ages ago (228,000 views!!! Awesome!! When I get that many hits, Google generally bans my videos!), and it bears great results time and time again, as demonstrated by my daughter’s reaction in the photo above.

This time, however, we were in for a horrible surprise. Ms. Hen looked and smelled delicious, however, was as hard and rubbery as a tire. No joke, she resisted being cut with my sharpest knives. Max bravely said he didn’t mind how chewy it was, but I knew dinner was a bust. We ended up eating everything but the chicken. In disgust, I made a barbarian face, let out my best war cry, and with some difficulty, tore the stubborn bird in half. I threw the carcass in the refrigerator with every intention of giving it to some street dogs the next day.

———————–

For some reason, the next day when I was making a small test run of pork carnitas in the slow cooker, I had a sudden flash of inspiration and threw Ms. Hen’s dead body on top of the pork and then let it cook all day. The end result was simply THE MOST DELICIOUS CHICKEN IN THE WORLD. I’m talking better than the best I’ve had in Hawaii (Huli huli chicken), Bordeaux (Les volailles at La Tupina), Japan (Kochin), or my previous favorite from Rayong (animatronically grilled chicken).

The best way to describe it was what my friend who devoured it with me said: Issan turkey. It had the perfect amount of gaminess like turkey, but the heavenly golden fat and skin of a chicken. Somehow, cooking it on top of carnitas seemed to have little to do with it, but a test for repeatability is in order.

So far, I’ve not seen Ms. Hen again at Tesco, but the price tag on the shelf where she would be stocked still remains. One day, I will find her again. One day, we will be together. And perhaps then, I will dress her up and attempt to better my arch rival, Jamie Oliver, by adapting his recipe and giving it an even more eclectic name: Spent Hen in Milk

Posted in Food, Oh, baby!, Photos | 1 Comment

So I found out why 7/11s have locks on the doors…

…it’s in case there a coup and 10 pm curfew is enforced nationwide. The last time there was a coup, there weren’t any 7/11s near my house. Alas, Thailand has returned to its seemingly default state: Military rule. Besides there being nothing on TV (the broadcasts are controlled by the military), and closing all of the schools, it hasn’t affected anyone up here much (unless they need to work outside from between the hours of 10 pm and 5 am).

Posted in Thai Society/Culture | 1 Comment