The First Element of Pimp (Thai Dub)

First step: Take your ride to get hand washed and waxed (approx. 100 baht / $3).

Thai car washes have concrete ramps for bidet-style cleaning. Your car will thank you.
The key here is the wax, you’ll see why later.

A cheeky rooster at the car wash is most auspicious, Keanu.
The next step of FEP (First Element, Pimp) can only be carried out at one place:

A central chamber of one of the large temples in Sarakham.
And of course, FEP should only be performed by trained professionals:

We humbly begged for the expert blessings of the head monk who married us exactly one year (and one day) earlier.
A bit of prep:

Nam’s first attempt at hand modeling.
The white cones are made of a white powder which are dissolved in water. This mixture achieves a mud-like consistency, and is normally used for anointing monk’s faces for certain ceremonies. On this day, it was used for something else… I have no idea what the proper name for it is, I just call it “blessing clay.”
In case you are wondering, the following ceremony has no set price. It is proper to give what you can in an envelope, and if you’re like me, worry that it isn’t enough.
On to the ceremony, then:

The artist examining his canvas.

This is the most common pattern of symbols anointed in the area above the driver’s head here in Thailand.

As far as I know, this does not void the airbag warranty. Neither, however, does it lower the cost of collision insurance.

After finishing the besmearification of the interior, the next step is tying a bundle of white strings around the steering column.
A lot of Thai Buddhist ceremonies employ string for some reason. At our wedding last year, we were all connected together by a length of white string (which I haven’t researched the meaning of yet, sis, sorry!), and I’ve seen bundles of string similar to the one in the photo above tied around different things – ceremonial platforms, trees, and motor scooters, mostly. This deserves further study.
Note: Someday, I will find out the exact meaning of each of these steps. I’ve heard several very general ones about how each represents safety and reliability, and that’s good enough for now.

Next, the “blessing clay” is further diluted with holy water. (I think that sentence just made the baby Jesus cry.)

This monk is SO not a vampire.
The head monk likes us; he always has. We didn’t have a lot of money to donate to the temple after our wedding last year mostly because we went over budget on everything else – I felt really crappy about that because he brought out a bunch of brothas from the temple to kick off the morning ceremony with chants and blessings galore… Obviously, he didn’t hold that against us because he went above and beyond the call of duty blessing my car on this fine day. I mean, the normal blessing ceremony is confined to the interior of the car, but the monk just went all out for us… Just watch.

You know how people always blur out their license plates in photos? Yeah, that’s gay. I mean, just how important do you think you are that someone would waste time actually doing something with that information?
I can talk all the smack I want ‘cuz I got some powerful juju that day.

He finger painted on EVERY door.

Then he painted a really cool pictogram on the hood.

coup de grace

I anoint thee, VQ30DE.

Nam is happy!
Bonus photo:

It appeared out of nowhere…
On the way home, an errant cow was used to test my new powers of invulnerability. Unfortunately, I did not have enough confidence to simply drive through the cow, as my new powers would surely have enabled me to – if I had just accepted the fact that the cow and I were one, and that the cow wasn’t there on the road since I was sitting in the car and hence the cow was also sitting in the car, I would have been okay. But like I said, I wasn’t ready. Yet. Some day I will have the ability to simply drive through the cow, but on this day what truly saved me was ABS.
And maybe, also, that pimp-ass pictogram on the hood.
UPDATE 2/28/07: In response to a couple of emails I’ve received, yes, the clay does wash off. You are supposed to leave the symbols on the outside of the car on for either 3 or 7 days. I split the difference and washed it on the 5th day because black cars get very dirty out here in the dusty hinterlands approximately every 30 seconds – I couldn’t bear waiting 2 more days. Even though the clay came cleanly off the paint, ghost outlines appeared after washing because the underlying wax coats had been removed. I kind of liked this effect, so I’ve left it for the time being. I’m pretty sure it will disappear completely after a good waxing.
Regarding the symbols written inside the car, I had the ones on the steering wheel removed. Therefore the ones one the ceiling of the interior and the ones written in the engine room are all that remain. The bundle of string around the steering column is also there to stay. The monk gave us a couple of amulets for the car as well, one made of red plastic, with the image of the king, that you’re supposed to hang around the rear view mirror, and another made of some bronzish alloy inlaid with images of revered monks. I’m not down with hanging things from my rearview, even fuzzy dice, so they are kept protected in my dash console.

Bye-bye to Bozo

It may just be my current rage issues, but I thought this was the funniest thing: Two clowns shot dead

“Acrobats, harlequins, animal trainers and other circus performers staged protests in different parts of the country following the killings, chanting ‘Justice for the assassins of laughter.'”

Mind you, the assasin of laughter’s name is “My Fish.”

“A spokeswoman for the Cucuta police said authorities were investigating the cause of the double slayings, but said they had discounted the reason being the men’s jobs.”

Heh, suuuure.

"Is something wrong, she said"

“Well of course there is
‘You’re still alive,’ she said
Oh, but I deserve to be?
Is that the question?
And if so…if so…who answers…who answers.”

I’m still alive… I just have no time, at least for a short while longer.
The most amazing set of photos have been taken, I just need some time to process and post.
I have many things to write about, I just need time to figure out how to say them.
I have not abandoned thee, I just ask for a little while to get my shit together.
I have a strict quality standard for this blog, in that I will either provide unique shit that I find interesting, intersparsed with angry spurts of “fuck that shit” commentary, or I will shut the fuck up for whatever reason. Right now, I have a whatever reason.
Thanks for the love.

Bangkok Bookstores

If you are looking for a specific book that’s still in print, your one-stop shop is the Kinokuniya in Siam Paragon. There is an Asia Books one floor down from it that looks like it’s about to go under because the selection at Kinokuniya is just that good. Also, the Kinokuniya branch at the Emporium comes nowhere close to the one at Siam Paragon, in terms of pretty much anything.
I haven’t been able to make a proper tour of the used bookstores in Bangkok yet. I know there are a few around, and a couple even have blogs – just haven’t had the time. I did spend a couple hours in the used book section at Jatujak market a couple weeks ago, and found a few treasures that I just had to have. The book section is the one area of Jatujak where you can leisurely browse and not feel completely overcome by that frenetic shopping/selling vibe prevalent throughout the rest of the market.