MT 4.01 Up and Running

Wow, that was the easiest upgrade of MT I’ve ever done. Sixapart, Dreamhost, and my crappy Thai inaka DSL connection all kept it together… It was all done in half an hour! Now I’m playing with settings and new features, which will take a lot longer to finish… Ooh, what’s this? The entries are autosaving? Ooo – very gmailesque! The new UI is just… beautiful! Now to work on the blog template…

Movable Type 4 Upgrade

Just to let you know, I’m starting a clean upgrade in a few minutes so the site may be down for a little while. I’m starting the design from scratch to take advantage of the new software architecture, as well. Too bad, I kinda liked this design. Oh well – new wife, new house, new country, new car – I guess a new blog design isn’t such a big deal…. See you on the other side.

Wild Animal Day / Akrachat’s Most Wanted

Since we live next to a forest, we are used to seeing both wild and domesticated animals just over the wall as well as in and around the house. Out of all of the creatures that we share space with, the ones that really pose problems are: Ants, termites, mosquitoes, and the tokay lizards. The insects are a problem for obvious reasons, and the tokays (two of which I recently caught off guard long enough to photo) are actually kind of beneficial because they eat cockroaches, beetles, and other large insects, but their mating calls are loud and go on all night for about half of the year.
For this reason, we seized the opportunity to capture and relocate one of these bad boys the other day, when we found him crawling on the first-story wall instead of his usual hangout under the eaves of the roof. We called a couple workmen in the neighborhood to come catch him, and they cobbled together a crude snare with a broomhandle and some string… which completely failed when it came to the task of actually catching the beast. The tokay laughed at their feeble attempts to ensnare it and ran back to the eaves.
Tokay: 1
Justin: 0

The next morning, however, it was time for a rematch. The same lizard decided to take a walk on the wall separating our yard from the adjacent forest, so I decided it was time to break out the heavy weapons: A foolproof snare made from heavy fishing monofilament and the top half of my trusty graphite-core jigging rod. Thus armed, I quietly stalked my prey and made no quick movements, sure of my impending success… The lizard backed away from the transparent snare, snorted at my feeble attempts to fool him with technology, and started running back toward the house (I noticed that tokays cannot run on horizontal surfaces as quickly as you would expect – they have kind of a clumsy, inefficient gait that works real well on walls, though). I just barely managed to cut him off and scare him back onto the wall.
Tokay: 2
Justin: 0

At this point, I realized that what was needed was a more direct approach, that is, someone needed to grab this bad boy behind the neck like a snake, and end this pussyfooting around crap. I also realized that I was way too much of a bi-otch to do it myself, so I did what any great leader does in a time of crisis: I delegated. There was a workman (a different one from the previous night) sweeping the street on our block, so we hailed him over to have a crack at it. The result of my getting the hell out of the way and letting a real man do the dirty work:

So the new tally would be:
Tokay: 2
Justin: I WINS, BITCH!

I took photos of the prisoner, prodded various parts of his anatomy (the foot pads of this lizard are absolutely amazing – they look like something out of a Giger sketch and have unbelievable sticking power – it gripped onto my fingernail and for a second, I thought I might lose it), and had him deported far away from my house. We paid the man for his services with 20 baht and a box of dried fish snacks. It was a very happy experience for everybody, except perhaps for the lizard. I have a feeling he won’t have a hard time finding enough insects to eat anywhere in this country, though. Unless the man took him home to eat, that is.
Immediately after the tokay capture, Nam let out a scream from the back of the house where the sink for washing dishes is, because this little guy scared her:

And a few hours later, she spotted this huge (about as big as my hand spread out) butterfly on our window:

It was truly wild animal day; I look forward to it again next year, at the new house!
RE: The title of this post – Akrachat is the name of our neighborhood


We were really busy running around to our schools and searching for the perfect set of tiles in a dusty warehouse all day, so the rain was most welcome when we pulled up to a roadside stand to buy take out. We sat down as the old couple chopped veggies and ground herbs and performed frying pan magic, and witnessed a most curious phenomenon: To the left of the shop it was raining down in sheets, as if the angry monkey in the sky was throwing buckets of water down at the earth, while on the right, it was merely sprinkling. The shop seemed to be situated right on the edge of the curtain of heavy rain, so to speak, and although it veered about twenty feet to the right of the shop a couple times, it always returned to center so we had a split view of the weather.
In other news, I saw a buffalo bird perched on top of a cow today, and I wondered if it knew it was a cow and just couldn’t be bothered to look for a buffalo, or if lice and ticks and other yummies are all the same to a buffalo bird.

Nam Nuong

Nam Nuong are the little grilled sausages on sticks shown below, but it’s also the name of this dish. It’s Vietnamese in origin, but I don’t know what it’s called there.

All of the ingredients are laid out on a rice wrapper and rolled up before eating, like a fajita.

The sauce is sweet and spicy, and full of roasted peanuts – the combination of all the fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs (including lettuce, cukes, green bananas, starfruit, mint, kaffir lime leaves, green chilies, and everything else in the photo that I don’t know the names for yet) is something that cannot be described, but must be experienced.