Couple of music links

Just kinda testing again after all the problems I’ve been having here:

Sun Ra – Historic master tapes, stampers, and mothers auction on ebay
Somebody needs seed money for a microdot startup! “Which might or might not be Sun Ra’s. ” Classic.

Cry Baby: The Pedal That Rocks The World
One of the best street performers I ever saw in Japan used an electric shamisen and a Cry Baby; that was the day I had to sell my Groovebox.

Traditional Cambodian Music: Land Mine Victim Band
A video I took amongst Khmer ruins on a hot, hot day.

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Stick Stretching with Max and Mina

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props to Dr. Arthur

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Dekakeyou

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Min is ready to go!

Mommy took Max to Khon Kaen this morning for a check up. Mina and daddy are ready to take on the day together!

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Perfect Family Sunday

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Max and Mina got new bikes. Max tried his with the training wheels off for a while, and it went fine. We’ll take them off for good soon.

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Posted in Oh, baby!, Photos | 3 Comments

Um, a post magically disappeared…

…After I was transferred to a “new and more powerful server” by webhost. I guess it is powerful enough to make a post disappear.

Did you hear me?

WILL THIS POST REMAIN?

NEW!

MORE POWERFUL!!

mind-waves

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Until Game of Thrones starts again…

…House of Cards Season 2 and True Detective are the best recent shows on television. Fact.

Posted in Chillin' | 7 Comments

Difficult decision

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@English for Tourism training course at Nadoon Prachason school.

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In a taxi

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On our way to pick up our car in Khon Kaen, then to Ayutthaya.

Note: This post was uploaded 10 days late because of friggin webhost.

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beeeeeeatz

Dammit, my hosting provider is still fropping (friggin’ dropping) the ball. This site is going up and down and up and ERROR ESTABLISHING DATABASE CONNECTION and up and down and up and PERMISSION DENIED and…

Anyways, this made me feel a bit better:

)

(From cuz K’s FB feed)

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Site Recovery

We’ve been down for more than a week due to hard disk failure on the server plus many other problems that have been just a real bitch to resolve… Let’s see if the site stays up.

To reduce load on the server, we’re gonna try serving cached pages for unknown users for a while.

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The Westernization of Thailand

Fried egg and bologna sandwiches on fresh baked mini-baguettes (batons?)

Fried egg and bologna sandwiches on fresh baked mini-baguettes (batons?)

This was all all procured locally. This part of the world will be hit with a metabolic syndrome epidemic in the coming years that will surely rival that of Mexico and their pudgy northern neighbors – we have a Starbucks three minutes from my house, for Christ’s sake.

Note: This round of Hate Gaijin Expansion may be finished for now.

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

Neither Washington nor Colorado

Just say woe

Just say woe

Forty years of failed US drug policy has culminated in my daughter wearing what appears to be an anti-hemp headband in her preschool parade in Thailand… A country where you can buy marijuana-seasoned chicken soup (not easily, but still), but where possessing it can get you all kinds of ganked, gaffled, or even shot by the police, all thanks to US drug policy.

In fairness, there were also anti-drinking, -smoking, and -injecting headbands worn by other kids, and the only thing frowned upon among those by Theravada Buddhism is the alcohol. That’s why Buddhism is so fucking cool – in a place with such high road fatalities due to DUI, it actually makes sense!

Posted in Oh, baby!, Photos, Thai Society/Culture | 1 Comment

The Hidden River

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Last month, the kids and I went searching for a hidden river rumored to run along the property line of our friend’s dirt farm (have no idea what he’ll end up growing there, but it’ll have to be something hardy!!). We went as far as the eucalyptus stand, but didn’t find it. It was a fairly hot day.

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View from a remote Amazon Coffee

Somewhere in Kalasin Province

Somewhere in Kalasin Province

The sun shining just right can make anything look good.

Photo by Taro Machino.

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Catching Giant Snakeheads with an Excavator

In the past couple of years, the pond in front of our house got seriously overgrown on the banks (as well as on the surface) with reeds, vines, and other opportunistic vegetation. Yesterday, the banks were cleaned up with a Caterpillar 313b excavator:

A lot of heavy machinery we see up here in Northeast Thailand is imported used from Japan. This model was produced from 1996, so it's not really that old.

A lot of heavy machinery in Northeast Thailand is imported used from Japan. This model was produced from 1996, so it’s not really that old.

 

For a brief second, I saw the archway I've always wanted in front of my home.

For a brief second, I saw the archway I’ve always wanted in front of my home.

 

The road hasn’t been cleaned up yet, and I’m not sure that it actually will be (since the predominant way of thinking is that it will get washed away by the rain – even if rainy season is half a year away!), and the weeds need to be pulled off the surface of the pond, but it’s good start. Here are some before-and-after pics:

BEFORE:

September 23, 2013

September 23, 2013

AFTER:

February 5, 2014

February 5, 2014

 

Enthralled by the rumble of heavy machinery, I took some video of the big, beat up machines working:

When the dumper took off to unload nearby, I noticed that the excavator was scooping mud from the pond. The operator got and out and started rooting around the bucket… He was fishing!

A bit slow with the camera, I didn’t take video of him grabbing a freshwater eel or the fat, brutish snakeheads from the bucket, but I did get a good shot of what was left:

I have no idea what kind of snake it was.

After the work was done and the machines had retired for the day, I found a slightly smaller specimen of the snakeheads (this species is actually called the Giant Snakehead) I had seen earlier, wiggling around on the road. I saved it to show the kids when they got home:

While the cat operator was saving his catch to eat (we went so far as to ask how he would cook them: “spicy stir fry!”), we were not. I originally thought I would give our snakehead to a random worker on the street for dinner – this is a prized eating fish, I just refuse to eat from what I know is a polluted water source – Max got really upset about it. He asked of we could keep it, and I told him he had to choose between keeping our current fish, an antisocial plecostomus and a juvenile gourami, or just the snakehead (since the snakehead will kill, but necessarily eat, any other fish in the tank). The one(s) we didn’t keep would have to be thrown back to the pond. He chose the snakehead, but I talked him out of it by basically explaining that snakeheads, this species in particular, are vicious little assholes, and that I’d need to feed it other poor little fishies on a regular basis. The snakehead ended up being thrown back from whence it came, simultaneously dooming other little denizens of the pond and making merit for us by returning an animal back to nature.

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It occurs to me that my go-to book on local fish species backs up the stories I’ve heard about this fish perfectly:

Ophicephalus micropeltes
Laotian: PA DO
Thai: Pla Chado
Cambodian: Trey Chhdor (diep for small ones)
Vietnamese: Ca Bong
Others: Toman (Indonesia and Malay)

NOTES: Maximum length about 1 metre, usual length 30 to 70 cm.

This fish has an unpleasant character. According to Hellei it attacks isolated Khmer fishermen. Worse, it is one of the few fish which devour their own young, at least in certain circumstances. Maxwell explains that the parents protect their offspring to begin with but then, when the little ones are big enough to fend for themselves, drive them from the nest. It is those which are too obstinateto leave which are eaten. The Malays have a saying: “Bagai toman makan anak”. This means “like the Toman fish which eats its own young”; the phrase is applied to persons in high places who misuse their powers, oppressing those whom they should protect.

CUISINE: Some say this is not quite as good as the preceding species (pla chon); but it is still of high quality. The firmness of the flesh makes all the snakeheads suitable for fish salads and cold fish dishes.

- Fish and Fish Dishes of Laos by Alan Davidson

The only thing I can add to this is that the latin name for this fish species seems to have changed more than once. It seems that the currently accepted name for it is Channa micropeltes, the Giant Snakehead.

Posted in Food, Our New Thai House, Photos, Thai Society/Culture | 1 Comment

Max’s recent drawings 2014/1/31

Max has been drawing every day as usual. Here are some drawings from the past few months:

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Next up, Mina’s evolving princess art.

 

Posted in Oh, baby!, Photos, What Max Is Drawing | 3 Comments

How to Stop Spam SMS messages from True (TrueMove H)

I’m fairly satisfied with my monthly TrueMove H internet subscription; it’s fast enough and I’ve never run out of my monthly high-speed allowance (although I am careful not to download or stream too much with it). One thing that always bugged me about it, though, was the number of stupid spam messages I would receive from True, especially since I’m using this SIM with a Nexus 7 tablet (that doesn’t even have a phone function!).

Eventually, I got around to looking it up and found that it’s very easy to unsubscribe from the SMS spam sent by True themselves:

  1. Call *137 from the phone you want to unsubscribe (I had to put the SIM from my tablet into a phone to make the call).
  2. Press 9 for English.
  3. Follow the automated instructions (as of now, you press 1 to unsubscribe from SMS spam).

That’s it!

The only problems I have found after doing this for a few friends are that sometimes the system gets overloaded, and sometimes True has no control over 3rd party spammers – in which case you should look for an app to help filter your spam while praying feverishly that the spammers quickly die horrible deaths and are reborn as toilet brushes.

 

Posted in Thai Society/Culture, Toys & Tech | 2 Comments

Lunch with Nam in Khon Kaen

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@Larb Pet Nong Dae

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Posted in Food | 1 Comment

Monkey Holding Peach Brand

Monkey Holding Peach Brand Co., Ltd., or alternatively, White Monkey Holding Peach Brand, are the manufacturers of the original “Tiger Balm” type ointment. This is the OG shit right here. They deserve your respect just for having the coolest brand and company name… If I ever have the chance to work with them, I’ll do it just so I can write it on my CV.

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Posted in Photos, Thai Society/Culture, Work | 1 Comment

Chicken Braised in Milk

A couple weeks ago, I found a recipe so strange that I was inspired to make it the next day: Chicken in Milk

I’ve marinated chicken in milk before (but always grilled it or roasted it afterward), so I knew it would have a tenderizing effect. All of the descriptions of this recipe are spot on — it’s really a quite strange flavor at first because it’s a totally new flavor combination — but it’s delicious and gets even more so as you get used to it. We ate the whole damn chicken and it was PERFECTLY TENDER. I may try different flavor combinations with milk, it was so good.

I served it with garlic mashed potatoes and boiled greens:

Look at dat PERFECTLY CRISPY ASS!!

Look at dat PERFECTLY CRISPY ASS!!

Posted in Food, Photos | 4 Comments